So I began to respond to a comment and this has now turned into a full on blog entry. One of the comments for Friday's KBR Follow-up blogpost characterized me or the blogpost or both as "remarkably dishonest":
That's remarkably dishonest, since (1) the arbitration clause has nothing to do with whether the DOJ decides to criminally prosecute the rape allegation; (2) the arbitration clause does not prohibit Barker from bringing civil suit against her alleged rapist; and (3) the arbitration clause does not require the arbitration to be "secret."
So basically, every single fact you quoted was an out-and-out lie. But obviously the truth won't do when it comes to legislating away consumer's right to choose mandatory arbitration clauses.
Huh. I'll respond to this now-predictable tactic of calling anything critical of corporate back-patting "dishonest" with a little review of the Alternet article highlighted in Friday's blog.
First, while I can't speak for the author of the quote, I can agree with the sentiment I took from it, which is that: it is, as the article states, "beyond belief" that a rape would take place between two American citizens--with a rape kit and medical examination confirming that the crime occured--and that the DOJ not pursue prosecution of the rapist; it is "beyond belief" that because of this government's inaction, the rape survivor's only viable recourse is through a civil suit against her employer for its egregious treatment of her after reporting the heinous crime, and its role in fostering an environment in which such acts are tolerated and go unpunished; and it IS "beyond belief" that the rape survivor/employee would be denied even this little bit of justice because of a contract loophole forcing her into a corporate-biased, non-public proceeding.
Second, I never claimed that the arbitration clause prevented the victims from suing their perpetrators in civil court. Those claims aren't the issue. These women, these rape survivors, are also seeking redress for having been locked away in a guarded storage container by their employer after reporting the crime; being told that if they report this to the government they won't see their job when they get back to Iraq; and being subjected to an oppressive, sexist, and ultimately violent environment for women that was condoned by their employer via the employer's utter inaction in the face of clear and straightforward complaints.
Finally, I am accused of quoting lies and promoting "legislating away consumer's right to choose mandatory arbitration clauses." That's a very creative way to describe legislation that would restore consumers' rights to take fraudulent or otherwise wrongdoing corporations to court rather than be forced into arbitration. However, legislation to prevent binding mandatory arbitration (the Arbtiration Fainess Act) would prevent corporations from forcing arbitration down people's throats before disputes even occur and before people even have the opportunity to weigh the risks involved in arbitrating versus going to a public court of law. It would not prevent people from arbitrating on a post-dispute, non-binding, voluntary basis.
Honestly, this is a national disgrace and a scandal. Honestly, I wonder why tort deformers have such outrage toward those who think these women deserve justice, but so little indignation toward corporations that refuse to listen to their employee's complaints and even bully them out of pursuiing justice by threatening to take away their job, or bully them contractually by sending their so-called disputes over to arbitration.
Let's face the facts--the "dispute" involved here is not what one thinks of when one thinks of arbitrable disputes. Yet KBR insists that the issue of whether they permitted a work environment in which sexual harassment was the norm and whether they did nothing to investigate allegations that male employees raped female employees, is now a matter of "dispute" that is suitable for a private arbitrator and not a court of law. This is pure injustice, and anyone with a sense of human decency knows it. We need to rethink a legal structure that allows for this sort of abuse. But for suggesting this, and for suggesting that KBR/Haliburton is acting improperly, I'm the dishonest one, according to commenters. Oh yes, and I'm also "a hopeless, clueless, left wing ideologue."