Friday, April 18, 2008

Evidence Turns "Honest Debate" Re Bob Schaffer and Marianas Against Big Blue Lie Machine

Lefty propagandist Alan accuses me of fearing an honest debate because I have yet to respond directly to his following colorful characterization:
You're right about the money being perceptual and subjective--even though you and Wadhams hoped to use it as a shield against the real questions, which involve Schaffer's "Potemkin village" tour of the CNMI, and his subsequent official actions that were precisely aligned with the Abramoff strategy of stalling reform in the territory. This is about how Bob Schaffer, either willingly or negligently, abetted a scheme that deprived workers of basic rights (and even their unborn children) for the enrichment of Chinese nationals who wanted to manufacture their products in the same sweatshop conditions found in China while still being able to label them "Made in the USA." This is about Schaffer's unyielding and deeply troubling opposition to human rights reform in the CNMI, reforms which Udall co-sponsored repeatedly while Schaffer took parasailing trips to Saipan and declared the situation there a "model" for the rest of the country. This is about how Schaffer enabled a medieval nightmare of abuse and exploitation on American soil, a nightmare that is only now ending with a different majority party in Congress.
My question is whether Alan (not to mention absurdicus, Taylor West, or the rest of the Big Blue Lie Machine) has actually read or looked at any of the Congressional oversight hearings on the CNMI issue in which Bob Schaffer participated. If he (or they) had, he probably wouldn't be so brazen about using the term "Potemkin village tour" or stating that Bob Schaffer was opposed to reform in the territory.

Here is the key excerpt from Schaffer's testimony at the oversight hearings** (Note that this was Congressional testimony made under oath):
I went to Saipan and spent five days. Visited probably eight or nine factories in the time that we were there. And, with the exception of two or three, all were unannounced. We literally showed up based on testimony we had taken from other workers that we had heard off-premises of work sites and worked kind of backwards. Found out where the complaints were first, then went to the factories and met—showed up at the gate and asked to come in and sometimes there were exchanges between the gate and the front office, but, in all cases, we were eventually let in, never took more than five minutes at the longest.

The first factory we saw was a Chinese-owned factory, owned out of Hong Kong. It was probably the worst one we saw. My experience was not the same as those who said they had been there and found things to be wonderful. I found a number of specific factories and specific incidents that I found to be offensive and believed they need some attention, clearly. Those issues I’ve discussed with a number of people and, for my part, my five-day investigation is not over. This hearing is certainly part of it and there’s still a lot of documents that we’ve requested that we have yet to receive.

But I will say this. We spoke with lots and lots of workers, not just on work sites. We met with about 10 who had plaintiff’s attorney bringing lawsuits against the garment industry, had helped arrange for us. We met with several at a church on Sunday. And with the exception of those that were organized by the plaintiff’s attorney—obviously they had complaints of some merit or they wouldn’t have been there—almost all workers said they would come back to CNMI. The biggest complaint we had was that, because of the work slowing down, the number of contracts seemed to be dropping, that workers are not able to work as much as they want to. They like the overtime hours and they like the time and a half pay that they receive and they want to work more. And that was probably the biggest complaint....

You know, there are, in all seriousness, there are real problems in CNMI that need to be addressed. I am encouraged that there has been a new election in January and there is some new leadership that seems to be a little more forceful in bringing about some of the changes that need to occur. I’m also impressed that the industry itself seems to have gotten a little more serious in the last few months about trying to enforce some of its own internal standards. And we did see some evidence of that, not just because they told us, but because we interviewed workers and asked them about changes that they’d seen, whether they knew about the rights that they had and how they found out and how they had read them.

But question is one that does ignore the importance of maintaining and preserving and elevating the level of human dignity for any human being. That is not in dispute in my mind. What is in dispute is how to arrive at securing that goal, whether we resort to Washington, DC, and our laws here in Washington to accomplish that or whether we rely on the ingenuity of local governments.

Congress is almost a continuous investigation like this. Every day you can walk somewhere around Capitol Hill and find an investigation about some American scandal, whether it’s selling missiles to the Chinese, whether it’s letting the Chinese government steal sensitive nuclear technology out of our most sensitive areas, whether it’s a labor disputes, whether it’s sweatshops in New York City. And so the notion that somehow we are the definitive characters in deciding what laws are most appropriate is just nonsense.

The INS, for example. I would hate to see the CNMI have a record similar to the INS in the United States. When I call the INS, when we find illegal aliens in my district, they laugh at us and tell us we’ll get there in a year or two if we feel like it. Now nobody can tell me that those kinds of laws will be in the best interests of CNMI.

The Department of Interior, for example. Now I heard the gentleman from Samoa talk about the unfortunate nature of these hearings becoming political. When the Department of Interior itself fires off memos that says, ‘‘As a one-time candidate with a similar district against a Frelinghuysen in the old New Jersey fifth, I understand the utility to all hands of administrative candidate communications on such matters.’’ Now this is a communication involved directly in a political campaign about this issue at CNMI. I’m sorry the administration has decided to make this topic a political issue. It should not be and it’s unfortunate that it has become such.

Yes, the Department of Labor. I could go on about all the efforts that I’ve seen in my own district of the Department of Labor putting people out of work and reducing the number of jobs in my district.

And then, of course, you know, I don’t what I’d say about the Department of Justice, the least of which is that they themselves in the CNMI hire non-resident aliens to do jobs for them. You know, we could go on about the other investigations going on in the Senate about the new revelations that the Department of Justice down there in Texas. FBI background checks. Chinese campaign checks making their way to Democratic National Committee going uninvestigated. The independent counsel and on and on and on.

I guess the final conclusion is that there are acknowledged problems in CNMI but Washington, DC, is the absolute last place anyone should look to fix them because this government has proven time and time and time again that, in the end, at the end of the day, people around here in DC tend to make matters worse, not better. [emphases added]
To say therefore that Bob Schaffer "abetted a scheme that deprived workers of basic rights (and even their unborn children)" is more than a gross exaggeration - it is an intentional mischaracterization of a substantive, philosophical policy disagreement, taken out of the context of its time as fodder for a scandal du jour. Whether it's been perpetrated out of ignorance or willful malice, participants in an "honest debate" would look at such evidence and reassess their characterizations.

I suggest that if Alan and the Big Blue Lie Machine wanted an "honest debate" about the issue, they wouldn't ignore actual evidence and leap to a conclusion that smears someone's character, and then browbeat anyone who disagrees with that evidence-free conclusion. Because Bob Schaffer did not work to support a particular kind of heavy-handed federal reform does not mean he "enabled a medieval nightmare of abuse and exploitation on American soil...."

Those on the Left may disagree with Bob Schaffer's view (whether past or present) of how to reform CNMI, but they have not been approaching the issue in that way - they have been approaching it as an opportunity to engage in political mud-throwing. Too bad. Perhaps they could explain why workers trapped in alleged "sweatshops" that were enduring "a medieval nightmare of abuse and exploitation" did not see the situation as dire as cadres of Lefty bloggers sitting in comfortable Colorado homes and offices apparently do.

Besides building their attacks on a distorted characterization of events and conditions at CNMI, the Big Blue Lie Machine's impeachment of Bob Schaffer's character and integrity has yet to prove that any of the arrangements or indirect connections with Jack Abramoff led to a change in Schaffer's votes. They have just concluded that the votes were immoral based on a preconceived notion that has been challenged here.

I submit that Alan, absurdicus, and company have greatly distorted their disagreements with Schaffer both on description of the island's working conditions and on policy prescription to address the problem. They also have taken the leap and falsely aligned Schaffer's views and interests as aligned with a class of Chinese manufacturers, when they are in fact distinct and separate.

Because Bob Schaffer's personal visit to CNMI, which included numerous unannounced visits to factories and other sites to interview real workers spontaneously, did not come to the same conclusion cited by Alan and his friends, perhaps we should look more closely at where the observations differ in terms of time, place, context, source, and methodology, etc.

However, I think all that gets at a deeper point than the Big Blue Lie Machine is interested in dealing with. They want to drive a 30-second soundbite attack TV campaign commercial based on loose points, drawn from a Denver Post news story written to win some sort of investigative journalism award.

In case some point in this post was missed or didn't come across clearly enough, please feel free to follow up. I hope the Left will not ignore the evidence but is willing to continue the "honest debate."

**Due to temporary FTP troubles, I'm not currently able to upload the large PDF. Please feel free to remind me, and I will upload and link a copy of the Congressional oversight hearing for further examination**

6 comments:

absurdicus said...

Here you go:

from: http://unheardnomore.blogspot.com/2008/04/bob-schaffer-foot-soldier-for-abramoff.html

Shaffer rejects incidences of coerced abortion

One controversial topic the A-Team wanted to suppress was that there were incidences of Chinese garment workers coerced to return to China to have an abortion if they became pregnant, or coerced to have one in a Chinese clinic on Saipan. In an April 11, 2008, Rocky Mounatin News article, Bob Schaffer claims he talked to the Bishop and others and no one knew of coerced abortion:

"Schaffer said he discussed that issue with the Catholic bishop and other Catholic leaders."

"None of them could confirm any examples or episodes of this," he said.

Perhaps he should have read the 1998 report and the hundreds of attachments which contained a statement by a woman who was told she must have an abortion. Her story was told in the Philadelphia Inquirer on February 8, 1998. The article reads:

"She fell in love with a Chinese laborer and became pregnant. When her factory found out Tu said, it pressured her to go back to China to have an abortion. She said a supervisor summoned her four times to deliver the same message.

"She didn't say you must go back to China to have an abortion," Tu said, "but she always said, "think about it."

...Tu refused to have an abortion and was fired after missing several days of work because of pregnancy-related illness. Her boss at the factory owned by mainland Chinese and Hong Kong investors told her not to come back she said."

Also, in the report are statements and documentation from investigators who uncovered clinics on Saipan that performed abortions in 1998. One investigator interviewed a former Chinese factory worker about working conditions in the factories. The worker confirmed that pregnant Chinese workers were told to have an abortion. From her statement:

"According to Miss Y, if the company found out a worker became pregnant they would fire her and return her to China where she would be "forced to have an abortion." Knowing this, workers who became pregnant either tried to self abort or fond someone in Saipan to perform the abortion. Some women ran away and hid so they didn't have to have an abortion."

Of course, Schaffer could not admit that there may be evidence of coerced abortion. That was not in the game plan. One of the key players at the 1998 Senate Hearing was the Traditional Values Coalition, an organization said to be tied into the Abramoff web. In fact, it was the Traditional Values Coalition who funded the $13,000 trip that Schaffer and his wife took to the CNMI in 1999. Executive Director, Andrea Sheldon Rafferty was also an Abramoff foot soldier and took a junket to the CNMI.

Andrea Sheldon appeared outside the hearing room in 1998. She was distributing a handbill calling the hearing a "sham" because their prepared witnesses who wanted to refute the documented incidences of coerced abortions and religious persecution were not asked to testify. I watched her confront one witness, Eric Gregoire who testified that as the former human rights advocate for the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa.

She yelled at him, "Why didn't you tell me about forced abortions when I was in Saipan?"

Former Chinese garment worker, Sui Jian Wei also testified that day concerning coerced abortions. From his testimony:

"I see Chinese workers have to get an abortion. I know Chinese doctors who do the abortions."

The CNMI government claimed that abortions could not take place in the CNMI because abortion is illegal. A May 10, 2000 Saipan Tribune article states:

Under the Constitution, abortion is prohibited. The Legislature, however, can lift that ban. At present, there is no local statutory law that penalizes such practices here.

Abortion has become a thorny issue in the CNMI following allegations leveled by the federal government that it allows forced abortions here, particularly among the nonresident workers coming from the People’s Republic of China.

It also has been one of the reasons used by the Clinton administration to justify attempts to extend federal immigration and labor laws to the island. Local leaders have repeatedly denied these accusations.

Loyal A-Team member Bob Schaffer still follows their line.

Schaffer used a victim of human rights abuses to go after Mr. Stayman and the DOI

It was Schaffer's role and behavior in the September 16, 1999 House Hearing that demonstrated his obedience to the game plan outlined in the Abramoff memo. Part of that plan was to attack Allen Stayman who was the Deputy Secretary of Insular Affairs for the Department of Interior. Schaffer's most insidious act was the badgering of a hearing witness, former CNMI guest worker, Nousher Jahedi.

I first met Nousher in January 1998 when I was hired by the Clinton Administration's Department of Interior to lead a seven-member team of human rights advocates and attorneys to investigate and document the current status of the foreign contract workers in the CNMI. After video-taping and interviewing over 400 guest workers, including Nousher, a report, entitled CNMI Labor and Human Rights Abuse Status Report, was issued. The report had hundreds of pages of attachments which included police complaints, labor cases, workers' testimonies, statistical data, video footage, audio tapes, and newspaper articles. It was given to key members of Congress, cabinet members, members of the House Natural Resource Committee and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Former Rep. Bob Schaffer must have seen that report because he was a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

In January 1998, Nousher was living in a ramshackle house with 25 other Bangladeshi guest workers. They crammed into the small rooms and shared a tiny bathroom. Their kitchen consisted of a tiny refrigerator and a two burner hot plate. They had running water only in the small bathroom. I was struck by Nousher's intelligence and gentleness. He assisted me with interviews and helped to connect me to others to document their stories. I have over one hour of video interviews and one box of documents just from interviewing Nousher and those living in his house.

In 1996 Nousher and 11 other Bangladeshis paid a Bangladeshi broker, M.A. Gafur Miah $7,000 to be commercial cleaners in "United States of America." Miah and his partner, CNMI resident Margie Tudela, of The Pyramid Enterprises ran the recruitment scheme issuing fraudulent CNMI entry and work permits.

Nousher and other victims of the scam were issued entry permits, and were told they would enter the United States via the Philippines. Recruiter Margie Tudela, a Filipina, kept them in Laguna Philippines for four months where they were virtual slaves. They were told that the entry permits for them to enter the CNMI were fake, and she needed to exchange them for valid ones with her friends who worked in the CNMI Department of Immigration. Ramon O. Llamzon, a friend of Tudela, filled out an affidavit of support to keep the men in the Philippines "working" under Tudela's sponsorship.

Finally, on October 19, 1996, Nousher and the other Bangladeshi men were flown to Saipan where they learned that there was no job for them. They were told they must pay an additional $29,000 to secure work. None of them had the money. A few of the men were given work for 8 days in November. That was it - eight days of work in exchange for a $7,000 recruitment fee. To pay for the recruitment fees, some of the victims had sold their land, some sold family jewels, and most took out high interest loans. All were deeply in debt and were afraid to return to their homelands where their owed money that they could never repay. Between 1992 and 1999 dozens of illegal recruiters raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars, bilking hundreds of innocent Asians looking for work and seeking the American dream. Nousher was one of many.

In a Saipan video interview in February 1998, I asked Nousher why he accepted the job. He explained that he had worked in Saudi Arabia on a US Air Force base, and had excellent employers and good pay. So when the recruiter told him that Saipan was in the United States - just a train-ride away from Los Angeles, he jumped at the chance to work on U.S. soil. He was shocked when the plane was going to land on the small island. He realized at that moment that he had been scammed. You can hear Nousher briefly describe his ordeal in an NPR interview from 2006.

In 1999, I was contacted by Melanie Orhant and Steve Glaster of the Washington, D.C. based non-profit organization, Global Survival Network. They were interested in writing a report and producing a video about the status of the CNMI guest workers, saying that they would educate the grass roots, and help end the abuses. I copied hundreds of documents for them, sent them video footage from 1992 - 1998 containing guest worker interviews, and put them in contact with key guest worker leaders who could help them with their investigation. One of those guest workers was Nousher who had become very close to me and my family.

The Global Survival Network, for the most part, retraced the path that we had laid in the 1998 investigative trip, wrote a report which reinforced what had been written in the 1998 report, and made a video similar to the one I had made previously. Their findings matched those of the 1998 investigative team and served as an updated reconfirmation of our investigation and report.

The Global Survival Network brought Nousher to Washington, D.C. to testify at the September 16, 1999 House Committee Hearing. At around 12:30am on the morning of the hearing, I was awakened by a call from Nousher. He was very concerned that Congressman Bob Schaffer had called him earlier that evening to quiz him about how he got to Washington, DC, what kind of visa he had, what he was doing in the states, who helped him write his testimony and similar questions. I thought it was very unusual that a U.S. Congressman would call a witness before a hearing. I had never heard of this before.

The September 16, 1999 hearing was a total mockery of justice. I planned on going, but canceled my flight because a hurricane was set to hit the East Coast. Nousher told me he was drilled relentlessly by Schaffer with questions about federal officials, Department of Interior officials, who paid for protests conducted by guest workers in Saipan. The transcript of the hearing reveals that House Resources Committee Chair Don Young, and members Bob Schaffer and John Doolittle turned the hearing upside down by following the memo's strategy of going after Mr. Stayman and other DOI officials, while ignoring the purpose of the hearing.

Clearly, Schaffer was given the questions to ask the witnesses by members of the A-Team. He did not question Nousher about the condition of the workers. He questioned him about his participation in a February 1999 rally organized to get the attention of visiting House Resources Committee Chair, Don Young (R-Alaska). Schaffer suggested that DOI officials gave the workers $1,200 for placards, cars and supplies.

Here is a selection of some questions Schaffer asked Nousher (nicknamed Toppen):

Mr. Schaffer. Thank you. Now let me ask, when Chairman Don Young was in Saipan.
Mr. Jahedi. Yes, sir. Mr. Schaffer. As I understand, you were at a rally there?
Mr. Jahedi. Yes, sir, I was. I was with the workers.
Mr. Schaffer. Right. How did you learn about the rally?
Mr. Jahedi. Sorry,
Mr. Schaffer. How did you learn that the rally was going to take place?
Mr. Jahedi. We know that Mr.--I read it from the newspaper that Mr. Don Young and other members of the Committee is going to have a plan to visit the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island. And, by that time, before Mr. Young came out there----
Mr. Schaffer. Right. Can you tell me about the car you borrowed to drive to that rally? Who did you borrow the car from?
Mr. Jahedi. My friend, sir.
Mr. Schaffer. Your friend? That same friend tells me you accepted $1,200 to help round up other friends for food, gas, and for the vehicle, to help find other Bangladeshis to go to the rally. Is that true?
Mr. Jahedi. No, sir.
Mr. Schaffer. Did you receive any money or compensation at all for attending that rally and rounding up friends?
Mr. Jahedi. No, sir. No, sir.
Mr. Schaffer. None at all?
Mr. Jahedi. No.
Mr. Schaffer. Do you know any others who did?
Mr. Jahedi. No, sir. I don't know about that.
Mr. Schaffer. On my visit to Saipan just two weeks ago.
Mr. Jahedi. Yes, sir.
Mr. Schaffer. I heard from two separate individuals that you received $1,200 from a Federal official, frankly, to attend that rally. And that you used it to help pay for food and gas and so on. Is that incorrect or is it correct?
Mr. Jahedi. No, sir. It's not correct.
Mr. Schaffer. Okay.
Mr. Jahedi. It's not correct.
Mr. Schaffer. Do you know any others who received money to attend that rally from any Federal officials?
Mr. Jahedi. No, sir.
Mr. Schaffer. None at all?
Mr. Jahedi. No, sir.
Mr. Schaffer. Let me--how about the signs that were used at the rally. Did you make those signs?
Mr. Jahedi. Not only me, sir.
Mr. Schaffer. Now where did they come from?
Mr. Jahedi. Sir, we made the banner, sir, and the placards. The placards, sir?
Mr. Schaffer. The chairman would ask--like me to stop asking questions. Okay. Yes, the signs. The signs you were holding.
Mr. Jahedi. Yes, we hold it. We make it on the boat, you know, the cartons. We use the cartons.
Mr. Schaffer. And where did those materials come from?
Mr. Jahedi. We grab it from the street some and we buy from the Joeten some, though, not all though, everything, only the color:few. Like the six pages that we buy from the Joten. The colored one.
Mr. Schaffer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Schaffer later continued his questioning, not with relevant questions about Nousher's testimony or knowledge of conditions on the island, but with questions concentrating on whether DOI officials gave Nousher money:

Mr. Schaffer. Now, Toppen, can I ask you a couple more questions? Do you know Jeff Shore?
Mr. Jahedi. Sorry, sir?
Mr. Schaffer. Do you know Jeff Shore?
Mr. Jahedi. Yes, he's working in the Department of Interior Saipan, sir.
Mr. Schaffer. Right. Has Jeff Shore ever given you any amount of money for any reason?
Mr. Jahedi. No, sir. No, sir.
Mr. Schaffer. No. And has Alan Stamen ever given you any amount of money for any reason?
Mr. Jahedi. No, sir. No.
Mr. Schaffer. Did Jeff Shore or anyone else ever ask you to help in getting people together for demonstrations or protests?
Mr. Jahedi. No, sir.
Mr. Schaffer. No? Did Jeff Shore or anyone else ever ask you for help in getting cars to round up people?
Mr. Jahedi. Excuse me, sir?
Mr. Schaffer. Getting cars to round up Bangladeshis?
Mr. Jahedi. No, sir.

It was not DOI officials who helped to organize or fund the rally that Schaffer quizzed Nousher about. After we returned from the CNMI in 1998, we saw a great need to unify the workers. We had interviewed Filipinos, Chinese, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Sri Lankan, Indians, Pakastani and other guest workers. All shared similar problems with illegal recruitment, payless paydays, and denial of due process; many were victims of hate crimes and criminal acts. Yet, the groups were isolated by nationality and language. We felt that there was power in numbers and strength in being united, so we proposed the idea for a United Worker Alliance to the leaders of each group we had met. They embraced the idea. We helped initially by connecting them through telephone numbers and addresses, and soon the group was established.

Ben DeGrow said...

What's your point? The source you cited doesn't challenge the nature of Schaffer's trip or what he saw, and merely speculates about where his line of questioning came from.


Are you questioning the authenticity of Schaffer's testimony and the collected record to support it?

Are you going to attack pro-life Schaffer on the issue of abortion because in his trip he didn't see evidence of what some other report indicated?

Furthermore, these accusations are from someone who admittedly worked in Clinton's Interior Department. Are you going to stand by a blog post from a former Clinton Interior Department staffer as an unimpeachable source in this story? That her motives are pristine and unalloyed?

You're wading really deep to try to make your point now. This is insider politics and disputes over policies, far afield from any credible charges of illegal or unethical activities.

Keep the ball shifting, until people forget that the Big Blue Lie Machine's original charges are weak and unsubstantiated, that this is about reasonable policy differences and long-buried political squabbles.

Alan said...

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I was out of town at the end of last week offline the whole fine weekend. Besides, I wanted to see if anybody actually read this blog, in particular this absolutely fascinating bit of testimony from then-Rep. Schaffer. Because nobody who read it could fail to comment on the gaping inconsistencies Schaffer's own words open between this hearing and today--not to mention his (and your) self-defeating philosophy of governance. PJ O'Rourke famously said Republicans say government doesn't work, then get elected and prove it. And here y'all are.

It comes down, you see, to a fundamentally opposed worldview separating people like you and people like me. What you call "a particular kind of heavy-handed federal reform" I (and I hate to break this to you but just about everyone else in America) call the same labor protections and immigration laws that exist in the rest of the country. It's cool, I'm sure, for you to imagine some kind of Ayn Rand-inspired laissez faire utopia where guest workers love to work 90 hours a week for three bucks an hour and get sent back to China (or to a Saipan back alley) if they get knocked up, live in squalid bunks rented from the company at inflated rates, the cute ones siphoned off into white slavery, having no chance of ever paying the "private sector recruiters" who trafficked them there, with the products from that sweatshop labor proudly labeled "Made in the USA," etc. -- most people I know wouldn't see a stretch attaching the label "medieval" to it, though. And if it is occurring in a United States territory it is absolutely the responsibility of the federal government to intervene (see "self-defeating philosophy of governance," above).

Seriously, Ben, Schaffer said in this testimony that the idea "somehow [the federal government is] the definitive characters in deciding what laws are most appropriate is just nonsense?" That the solution here was to "rely on the ingenuity of local governments," the ones paying Jack Abramoff to stall overdue reform in successive Republican Congresses?

And here's the problem with your whole "you're just manipulating this for political mudslinging" argument--Schaffer's dealings with the political orchestrator of the lobbying campaign to defend the status quo in the CNMI, Abramoff, have already been plainly exposed as collusive. I know you've dismissed the series of Denver Post articles on Schaffer's trip to the CNMI and subsequent action in Congress as a "slime job"--a characterization I'll be sure to remember next time I see your boss in public with a dildo--but the fact is that Abramoff promised his clients in the CNMI that he would direct an attack on federal officials investigating the situation there, and Schaffer kept that promise. A few weeks after his free trip there. Where he met with Abramoff's clients. Paid for by a conservative front group intimately linked with Abramoff. Where, as he told the Post recently, most of the workers he met were "happy" and according to photographic evidence the parasailing was awesome. It doesn't require complicated spin. The simple facts are laid out for the reader, and it's their natural reaction to be disgusted. Sucks, doesn't it?

Ben DeGrow said...

alan,

I'll let your words stand up against the record. Nothing more needs to be said.

Curious Stranger said...

"Are you going to attack pro-life Schaffer on the issue of abortion because in his trip he didn't see evidence of what some other report indicated?"

No, the latest member of the Big Blue Lie Machine, Colorado Right to Life, is:

"Officials with two anti-abortion groups are blasting Bob Schaffer, a Republican candidate for a Colorado U.S. Senate seat, over his defense of human-rights conditions in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory where allegations that factory workers must undergo forced abortions are common.

Colorado Right to Life accused Schaffer of closing his eyes to reports from Chinese workers on the islands about forced abortions."

That's gotta sting!

Ben DeGrow said...

You're a little slow, Curious. Already addressed that:

http://schaffervudall.blogspot.com/2008/04/big-blue-lie-machine-co-opts-fringe.html