We’ve all had one of these, huh? G. Love:
More disturbing (at least to me) in light of the charges is his affiliation with a Texas adoption agency:
HONOLULU — Six recruiters were accused Thursday of luring 400 laborers from Thailand to the United States and forcing them to work, according to a federal indictment that the FBI called the largest human-trafficking case ever charged in U.S. history.
The indictment alleges that the scheme was orchestrated by four employees of labor recruiting company Global Horizons Manpower Inc. and two Thailand-based recruiters. It said the recruiters lured the workers with false promises of lucrative jobs, then confiscated their passports, failed to honor their employment contracts and threatened to deport them.
Once the Thai laborers arrived in the United States starting in May 2004, they were put to work and have since been sent to sites in states including Hawaii, Washington, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah, according to attorneys and advocates.
Many laborers were initially taken to farms in Hawaii and Washington, where work conditions were the worst, said Chancee Martorell, executive director for the Los Angeles-based Thai Community Development Center, which represents 263 Thai workers who were brought to the U.S. by Global Horizons.
[...] The six defendants include Global Horizons President and CEO Mordechai Orian, 45; Director of International Relations Pranee Tubchumpol, 44; Hawaii regional supervisor Shane Germann, 41; and onsite field supervisor Sam Wongsesanit, 39. The Thailand recruiters were identified as Ratawan Chunharutai and Podjanee Sinchai.
They face maximum sentences ranging from five years to 70 years in prison, according to the Department of Justice.
But wait, it gets better:
In 2006, Global Horizons was implicated for violating labor laws and underpaying 88 Thai workers. Orian initially denied the charges but ultimately settled the case for $300,000.
In 2007, Orian legally — and unsuccessfully — went after a rival labor contractor, J&A Contracting, to whom he had lost one of his biggest clients. According to Fortune magazine, he claimed it was because J&A “provides cheaper, illegal workers, scooping workers up on street corners by the vanload and delivering them to farms.” He also claimed he had “evidence of falsified Social Security cards” as proof.
In what now appears to be a twisted irony, Orian at the time presented himself as a moral crusader against illegal immigration. His lawyer then, David Klehm, told Fortune the lawsuit would reflect a new era of accountability for employers when it comes to workers.
And in another strange twist, it turns out that Orian is listed as the president and “business manager” for Adoption Services Worldwide Inc., a San Antonio, Texas adoption agency active in international adoptions. The website features many pictures of Orian with happy adoptive families. I have to wonder: Exactly what kind of business services did he provide to this Texas company? I mean, the guy lives in Beverly Hills.
Here’s hoping he wasn’t coercing the poorest and most vulnerable into giving up their children for adoption.
IS ABOUT REORDERING OUR NATION’S PRIORITIES TO INVEST IN OUR MOST VALUABLE RESOURCE
— OUR PEOPLE.
Event Date: October 2, 2010
Location: Washington, D.C.
On Saturday, October 2, 2010, hundreds of thousands of Americans from across the country will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate our re-commitment to change. The One Nation March will feature human and civil rights leaders, labor leaders, environmental and peace activists, faith leaders, celebrities and sports figures – all marching together to help Put America Back to Work and to Pull America Back Together. And to help reorder our national priorities so that investments in people come first.
We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve the American Dream — a secure job, a safe home, and a quality education — but banksters and corporate lobbyists have made off with trillions of public dollars while small businesses can’t get loans and cities are laying off teachers, police, and firefighters.
In this time of economic crisis, it is easy for fear-mongerers to pit groups against each other and to find convenient scapegoats for the problems that plague us.
ONE NATION seeks to transcend our superficial differences and bring us together in a common quest for equal opportunity and justice for all.
HAS A NEW
STORY TO TELL
AND WE WANT
YOU TO BE
A PART OF IT.
This movement includes human and civil rights organizations, unions and trade associations, nonprofit organizations, youth and student groups, religious and other faith groups, educational, peace, environmental, and ethnic associations, and any other groups and individuals who are committed to pulling our country back together now. As of late August 2010, there are more than 150 ONWT organizational partners and tens of thousands of individuals.
See a list of endorsing organizations at:
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Looks like Beck was wearing a bullet-proof vest at his own rally. Is he afraid of his “godly” followers?
Juan Cole on the collapse of Afghanistan’s major bank:
I write in anger. Not blind rage, mind you. A cool, searing, steady anger. I think it is a righteous anger. It is not consequential, but it is my reality. I am angry about the 1,172 US troops dead in the Afghanistan War, and all the other brave NATO and Afghan soldiers who gave their lives for a new Afghanistan. Because they haven’t gotten a new Afghanistan. They have paid the ultimate sacrifice for a ponzi scheme masquerading as a reformist government. And, as usual, you and I may well get stuck with the bill for the economic damage done by the fraud.
The house of cards that is the Hamid Karzai government in Kabul may be falling before our eyes, as vast, globe-spanning webs of corruption, formerly hidden in shadows, have suddenly had a spotlight thrown on them. The crisis raises the severest questions about whether the Obama administration can plausibly hope to stand up a stable government in Afghanistan before US troops depart.
As with the second phase of the Great Depression in the United States, the crisis begins with a run on Da Kabul Bank. Depositors took out $85 million on Wednesday, after a damning story appeared in the Washington Post. They took out another $70 million on Thursday. The bank, which owes $300 million, may now have as little as $120 million left in the kitty, though it had once been worth over a billion. But the problem is not just a run on one bank. Can Afghanistan’s whole financial system and economy emerge unscathed?
Who could have known that letting Wall St. take over the newspaper business would lead to the end of investigative journalism?
One of the stimulus ideas being considered by the administration — but only on the employer side. And tax cuts, to give Republicans a handy prop for the mid-terms (“We TOLD you only tax cuts work to stimulate the economy!”)
Way to go, guys!
If a voter were actually inclined to back policies that favored workers over bosses, or wanted to support education or the environment, who on earth could they vote for?
I really want to see this, but it’s not going to do wonders for my blood pressure:
From Abigail Disney (yes, those Disneys):
One thing I do know is this: In a far stricter tax environment, my grandfather still managed to accumulate and pass on ample funds to make three subsequent generations very comfortable indeed. And as an inheritor I am here to tell you, the estate tax is not as much of a bogeyman as you’ve been led to believe.
Let’s start with the facts:
• First, the estate tax is not a double tax. Have you met a multimillionaire who earned that much money pulling down a weekly paycheck? People who make enough to be affected by the estate tax — fewer than 1% of Americans who die in any given year — amass their fortunes by investing. Investment income is taxed differently from earned income, often not at all until it’s sold. People like me, who inherit assets such as Disney stock, can spend our lives watching those assets grow, and when we pass them along to our children, they have not been touched or diminished at all by the tax system. The only thing I have paid taxes on is the interest from these assets, not their increased value.
•Second, opponents of the estate tax claim family farms will have to be broken up to pay the tax, but good luck finding an example of this. Further, if the exemption is kept at $3.5 million (where it stood last year) and indexed for inflation, the likelihood of this ever happening is reduced to nil.
•Third, the estate tax incentivizes people like me to do good with our wealth because there is no estate tax on donations to charity. My filmmaking and foundations rely on a tax code that supports a vigorous non-profit sector, a vital part of our society that is bigger and stronger because of the many millions of dollars that flow into it as a result of the estate tax and other tax provisions.
To those who believe the estate tax is unfair, I say that there is no tax more fair than this one. I recently signed the Call to Preserve the Estate Tax organized by United for a Fair Economy because the estate tax is an expression of our deepest American values: that we live in a meritocracy, not an aristocracy; that every generation is a fresh start; and that we choose to build a society in which wealth and opportunity do not accrue to people simply for being born wealthy.
Walt and Roy embody those values: They started without two cents to rub together and made a million wishes come true.
I have seen the business environment in Liberia, for example, a country with no tax revenues. I suspect even my brilliant grandfather would not have been able to build a successful business there. I have been to places like Sudan and Congo and know what it looks like when there is no 911 to call, no schools and where governments are disinterested in working toward the collective good.
Here at home, I have watched the gap between rich and poor driven to historic highs by a tax policy that has exacerbated our deficit and eviscerated our basic capacity to provide schooling, emergency services, and clean water and air for one and all. The estate tax is the cornerstone of a progressive system that leaves wealthy heirs with ample funds while providing the government with the resources it needs to build an environment for the common good. By preserving it, we not only restore billions in revenue to the national treasury — we also restore our most cherished collective ideals as a nation.
“Tax me” may be the least popular sentence in America, but it’s what I am asking, and I hope that our leaders are listening.