SENATE BILL WOULD ELIMINATE COMPANIES DABBLING IN BLOOD MINERALS FROM STATE CONTRACTS
Rep. Barbara Lee and George Clooney have Darfur. Madonna has Malawi. Angelina Jolie has half of the third world countries and Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett has the Congo.
Corbett appeared Tuesday with groups supporting her bill to deem companies that procure raw minerals from the rebel-led Eastern Congo to be ineligible to bid for state contracts.
Raw “conflict minerals” such as tin ore, tantalum, tungsten and gold are easily procured in the Congo and come relatively cheap by the rebel use of slave labor. Those minerals help power many of the smart phones in use today while fueling one of the most diabolical and ruthless wars in the past century. The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristoff wrote of the African conflict and its funding with raw minerals.
The issue for Corbett is basic humanity, but it also shows a willingness seen in the past to take on the state’s tech-heavy establishment. You might remember she went after Facebook last year unsuccessfully to force them to scrub the home addresses and phone numbers of minors from the pages.
While companies making iPhones and Android smartphones whittled down their bottom lines by trading with Eastern Congo rebels, the ability to chat seamlessly via text messages could come at the cost of thousands of mutilated and raped women and children a continent away. Most times in the state Legislature all politics is local, in this case, Corbett thinks it’s ringing in your pocket.