by Scoobie Davis
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship on Ralph Reed's comeback
. What a piece of work:
Which brings us to that curious Mariana Islands minimum wage plank in the Republican platform. Some years ago, our government made an effort to clean up sweatshops on the islands — including Saipan — that have been under the control of the United States since the end of World War II. . .
Chinese women were brought over to the islands to work under awful conditions — subject to forced abortions and prostitution and paid pennies for producing garments labeled “Made in the USA.”
Corrupt local officials hired the firm of infamous lobbyist Jack Abramoff — for more than four million dollars — to try to stop the reforms proposed back in Washington. Abramoff, in turn, hired Ralph Reed and his political direct mail company, Millennium Marketing, to conduct a phony grass roots campaign urging Alabama Christians to write their local congressman to oppose the reforms.
Of course, Reed didn’t tell those Christians he was being paid to help keep running sweatshops that exploited women. Instead, he told them the reforms were a trick orchestrated by the left and organized labor. Limits on Chinese workers would keep them from being “exposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ.” His company explained it was just trying to encourage “grass roots citizens to promote the propagation of the Gospel” and that many of the workers were “converted to the Christian faith and return to China with Bibles in hand.”