Monday, June 20, 2011

Senator Demint explains flip flop on "Romney care"

While a whopping 16.1% of South Carolinians go without health insurance and while the State makes cuts to Medicaid, Jim Demint continues to resist measures that would insure nearly every South Carolinian and every American against the huge costs of health care.

Senator Demint supported Mitt Romney's 2008 Presidential campaign and praised him for his health care initiative in Massachusetts saying it was a great example of private solutions to the huge public problem of providing health care to the millions who go without it.

From CNN: Demint explains early support for "Romney-care."

Demint out to kill medicare.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Who owns Jim Demint? Take a look at the list of campaign contributors and Demint PAC supporters is a non-partisan service that provides free information to the public about the influence of money over politics. It details campaign contributions, PAC financial information, lobbying expenditures by business, labor and issues organizations, donor background information and political issues and influence and the voting records of federal elected officials.  It's an excellent resource for anyone interested in understanding who pulls the strings behind the scenes.

Charles & David Koch and own one of the two biggest private companies in the U.S. The money they make from their vast oil and gas operations has been used to fuel conservative politicians like Jim Demint and the phony grass roots Tea Party movement that supports them.

Top100 contributors to Senator Jim Demints campaigns. 
Includes: Koch Industries, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Scana Corporation, AT&T, Club for Growth, Murray Energy.

Despite having no credible opposition in the last election, Jim Demint was the second largest recipient of money from Koch Industries of all Senate candidates. Only Marco Rubio of Florida received more.

How Boeing's generous contributions to Senator Demint's campaign may be paying off for the aerospace giant.
Koch Industries campaign money supports Demint's anti-climate change agenda
South Carolina legislators cut state programs while they line pockets with strange pension-salary scheme
Wisconsin conservatives ask Demint and Club for Growth to back off in selection of local congressional candidates

Friday, June 17, 2011

DEMINT DECODED: Follow the money in the Boeing-NLRB dispute

Toledo Autolite strike of 1934. A year later Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act. Today, Jim Demint and anti-NLRB conservatives want to return to the days when labor  conflicts were often fought out on the streets and union and non-union workers had no legal protections.
South Carolina Senator Jim Demint has requested documents from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to see if a pay for play scandal lurks beneath the Agency's recent finding in favor of the Machinist's Union. In their ruling, the Agency found that Boeing broke federal labor law by punishing its workers for engaging in legal strike activity over the years.
As we shall show in a forthcoming post, the NLRB was just doing its job and Jim Demint is swiftboating the NLRB to justify destroying the rights and protections the law currently gives both union and non-union American  workers through the NLRA
Here's what Senator Demint said in his request:
“The public facts surrounding the complaint raise serious questions about the interpretation of the National Labor Relations Act upon which it is based, to say nothing of the troubling appearance of partisan, special interest politics at its heart,” Source: 
In Congress money = influence. And Boeing with 10 times the lobbying expenditures beats the Machinist's Union hands down.

Machinist's Union:    $1.79 million
Boeing:                      $17.9 million

Let's compare Congressional campaign contributions for 2010

Machinist's Union:  $2,206,500   Total 2010 revenue: $420 million*
Boeing:                  $2,648,661   Total 2010 revenue:   $64.3 billion

Now that seems pretty even but when you look at those figures as a percentage of annual revenue you can see its much easier for Boeing to make those contributions.


Big surprise! The South Carolina Congressional delegation got its fair share of Boeing money. In fact Demint leads both the delegation and all Senate Republicans having received $10,701 from the aerospace giant during the 2010 election cycle.Source:


Could Boeing's contributions be the real smoking gun behind this story or the more than $900 million in subsidies the company has received from South Carolina taxpayers?

Anti-union politics and low wages the dastardly duo of South Carolina's economic reality
List: Senator Jim Demint's campaign and PAC contributors
Where Senator Jim Demint stands on public employee unions and collective bargaining

*Estimate based on average hourly wage for an IAM member is $24.29. Union dues = 2 hrs. per month. Source:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NLRB challenges Boeing in planned South Carolina jobs move. The Board claims retaliation against Company's union employees

Boeing Assembly Plant in Everett Washington. Will the National Labor Relations Board and the Courts permit moving  1,000 union jobs to "right to work" South Carolina?  Photo: Getty Images-Stephen Brashear

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is calling Boeing's planned move of 1,000 union aircraft assembly jobs from Seattle to South Carolina illegal. The claim the company is retaliating against its Puget Sound, unionized employees for exercising their legal right to strike. The issue has become a Republican cause celebre and is expected to become a major issue in the upcoming 2012 Presidential elections.
The matter is going to court but in the meantime, South Carolina's Senators Jim Demint and Lindsey Graham, Governor Nikki Haley and others have not only weighed in on the case but have used it to propose defunding the NLRB which would effectively turn back the clock in US labor relations nearly 80 years. Demint contends that so called right to work states outperform union shop states economically.

In upcoming posts, we will look at the evidence. We will ask if "right to work" has helped or hurt South Carolina and we will look at some of the ulterior motives of Senator Demint and the anti-union right as well as the history of the National Labor Relations Act and what this has meant for American workers and their standard of living.

Pleas check back with us for more news on the Boeing-Machinist's Union dispute and in the meantime we offer you these related articles.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Take a tour of Allendale, South Carolina where half of all residents live below the US poverty line

With little industry other than the US nuclear facility on the Savannah River, run down infrastructure, dilapidated rail lines, some marginal cotton and timber farming and no Interstate highway to bring in traffic, Allendale County, South Carolina is the poorest and most neglected county in South Carolina and the 10th poorest county in the United States. 

The rapidly diminishing population is overwhelmingly African-American and majority female. When I visited the City of Allendale in January 2011, I saw no operating businesses on either of the two main drags. Likewise the streets were striking in their absence of both cars and people. The single operating restaurant was a warm and friendly place that was not prepared to serve more than coffee and iced tea.

Here are some pictures and links that illustrate the long term effects of conservative politics on a community.

This boarded up filling station on the virtually abandoned main road into Allendale, SC is typical of the state of businesses in Allendale, SC.

Half of all Allendale, SC residents live below the US poverty line and a quarter exist on incomes half that amount.

Cotton, the mainstay of the Allendale, SC economy since slavery, continues to be the basis of a local economy where industry and business are almost completely absent. This photo was taken just south of the Allendale city limits.

Allendale County, South Carolina: America's 10th poorest county

Palmetto and cedar swamps like this one found within the city limits, restrain agricultural and other economic development in the Allendale, South Carolina region.

Allendale, SC residents more than half as poor as other South Carolinians

Rusted railroad track and businesses like this dilapidated grain operation in neighboring Hampton County, SC explain much about why the economy has been sidelined and unemployment continues to soar not just in south west South Carolina but throughout the State.

With a population with little to pawn and no money to "rent to own" even businesses like this Spartanburg, SC pawnshop that dot the landscape in the rest of the State are virtually invisible in Allendale County.

Where there's poverty there's crime; where there's crime there's fear and unfortunately, rural Allendale, South Carolina has more violent crime than the average American city and as we've documented, the State of South Carolina boasts the most violent crime in the U.S.

So in somewhat more prosperous neighboring Hampton, County, concealed weapons training is available under the water tower.

Learn more about Allendale, South Carolina from the town itself.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shared sacrifice in South Carolina? Not while Nikki Haley is there to cut the State budget and reward her friends with big salary increases

With high unemployment, violent crime and some of the Nation's worst poverty bound to get worse under her draconian budget cuts, South Carolina's Governor Nikki Haley rewards GOP elites, campaign supporters and staffers with big salary increases. This in a state where the median household income is a meager $39,316 (2005) 41st in the United States.

By Jody Barr, WIS

Haley's highest-paid staffer is her chief of staff, Tim Pearson, who rakes in $125,000 a year. Pearson also ran Haley's gubernatorial campaign.

Pearson isn't not the only Haley campaign worker to follow her into the governor's office. Haley's campaign consultant, Trey Walker, is also now on the state payroll as Haley's deputy chief of staff, earning $122,000 a year.

Haley and her spokesman, Rob Godfrey, have denied several requests for interviews to defend the increases our investigation uncovered. Late Thursday, however, Walker agreed to explain the governor's salary increases on camera.

Read more about Govenor Haley's Good Old Boy system.

South Carolina pays for Gov. Haley's European vacation, "vague" results on jobs and trade
Legislators rig South Carolina pension-salary deals in their favor

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Demint out to kill Medicare while South Carolina ranks high for seniors living in poverty

Hear Senator Demint endorse the Ryan Plan which would eliminate Medicare in its present form to replace it with a coupon program.

With 14% of South Carolinians over 65 years of age living in poverty, the State ranks 38th in the country in that category according to the Kaiser Family founding.

This should come as no surprise, he higher rate of poverty for older South Carolinians is the logical outcome of a lifetime of high unemployment, lower wages, less unionization and fewer opportunities to accumulate savings or establish private pension or retirement plans.

Despite the high rate of elder poverty in his state, Senator Demint supports Paul Ryan's budget plan which would end Medicare as we know it and replace it with a health insurance coupon (voucher).

With nearly $1 Million from the health care industry going to his campaign committee and PAC between 2010, Demint shows loyalty to one of his key constituencies while turning his back on South Carolina's senior citizens.

Massive budget cuts threaten South Carolina's elderly and impoverished youth

Massive state budget cuts, the result in large part of federal austerity policies forced by the Republican dominated House of Representatives and supported by tea party Senators like South Carolina's Jim Demint and Governor Niki Haley threaten to further impoverish South Carolina seniors and poor children.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Here's who will pay for a Jim Demint Presidential campaign

With one of highest jobless rates in the US legalized loan sharking businesses like this one in Spartanburg are as easy to find as fast food on roads and highways throughout Jim Demint's South Carolina. 

Tea Party Senator Jim Demint claims "grassroots conservatives," unsatisfied with the lackluster field of Republican contenders either committed to or considering running for President are pushing him to run in 2012. While Demint may claim support from regular folks, let's take a look at where his money has come from in the past and what he's done with the PAC that is affiliated with him.

Senator Demint's campaign donations by industry

Senator Demints top campaign contributors

$10 million Demint affiliated Pac information

Boeing gives major contributions to Jim Demint and South Carolina Congressional delegation

CNN Report: Jim Demint mulls presidential run