Doing As Big Daddy Tells You

Two months back, Senator Mike Lee of Utah posted a video to his youtube page in which he can be seen running down child labor laws.   After the events in Wisconsin and the growth in assaults against working people around the country, it is time to revisit that video.

Lee’s people posted this video themselves, which is understandable if you think that the U.N. a greater danger to children today than factory work…or homophobic bullying.

Certainly a few harsh daddies will be attracted to the argument. Many more people will be revolted.

What the Hell is going on here? Lee’s speech will appear nonsensical to most. You have to accept that the treatment of children “is supposed to be harsh” as he says, in order to really follow his argument.

To put a…well…positive spin on the case for child labor, you have to believe that parents can essentially do what they like with their kids. And that the states can do what they like with their workers.

Lee is a noted proponent of what he calls a theocratic re-interpretation of United States law.  This means, in practice as advocated by Lee, a position of absolute authority for the father in the family, and an absolute control for “Godly” authorities in public life.

So Lee is not just advocating a overly rigid argument for childrearing, but an alteration in labor law that will impact all workers and all parents. Such is their hatred of unions, one has to wonder if Lee, Miller and DeMint did not come to their conclusions on child labor while looking for another way to undermine collective bargaining.

Child labor laws were passed with the support of trade unions, who wanted to protect the children of workers from exploitation. In the mills of South Carolina and the coal mines of Appalachia, low wages and tractability put children in direct competition with their parents. By restricting the workforce to adults, labor was made more scarce and factory owners were forced to raise wages. Workers were able to support their families while their kids went to school.

It wasn’t so long ago that DeMint’s predecessor Ben Tillman was railing against mandatory childhood education.

Jim DeMint, is of course, at the center of this movement to unleash capitalism on children. In the last congress, DeMint created a photo-op for a “Parental Rights Amendment“. Only the hard-core right noticed at the time. With a few more allies like Lee in the Senate, DeMint will find it easier to get his views out.

Via Raw Story:

“Congress decided it wanted to prohibit that practice, so it passed a law. No more child labor. The Supreme Court heard a challenge to that law, and the Supreme Court decided a case in 1918 called Hammer v. Dagenhardt,” Lee said. “In that case, the Supreme Court acknowledged something very interesting — that, as reprehensible as child labor is, and as much as it ought to be abandoned — that’s something that has to be done by state legislators, not by Members of Congress.”

Lee’s reasoning was that labor and manufacturing are “by their very nature, local activities” and not “interstate commercial transactions.” He added: “This may sound harsh, but it was designed to be that way. It was designed to be a little bit harsh.”

The key Congressional law that addresses child labor is the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which placed a series of restrictions against the employment of people under 18 in the public and private sectors.

The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the law in the 1941 United States v. Darby Lumber decision, overturning Hammer, on the basis of the constitutional authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. It has hardly run into controversies since.

Jim DeMint is on record as stating that public sector workers should not be permitted to associate in unions.   He finds himself in agreement with South Carolina’s governor Nikki Haley, who promised that her appointee to head the SC Department of Labor would “fight those unions”.  And just today Rep. Mike Scott from the first Congressional District submitted a bill that would strip entire families of foodstamps if one member went on strike.  All three oppose the extension of the rights of children.  All three would stand with Lee in opposition to child labor laws.

Authoritarianism in the family, authoritarianism in the workplace.  As Senator Lee says, it is supposed to be harsh.

In short, eliminating this:

'A little spinner in Globe Cotton Mill. Augusta, Ga. The overseer admitted she was regularly employed. Location: Augusta, Georgia.'

…helped lay the groundwork for this…

 

…and he…

Jim DeMint

…can’t have this.

Protest march  Anti-budget bill protesters marching at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. February 26, 2011

Protest march Anti-budget bill protesters marching at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. February 26, 2011

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DeMint’s Cuts: A Recipe For Unemployment And Hardship

A Visit to the Food Stamps Office, Recession, Washington State Department of Health and Social Services, Ballard, Seattle, Washington, USA

"A Visit to the Food Stamps Office, Recession, Washington State Department of Health and Social Services, Ballard, Seattle, Washington, USA." Flickr photo By Wonderlane. Reproduced under Creative Commons License.


Washington Post author Joe Davidson reports on a paper by Federally Employed Women on the work that is actually done by federal employees on which people depend every day.  It is just this sort of work that you may not miss until it is gone.

DeMint and the anti-political, pro-business politicians in Congress say they will slash government spending and claim that they will do it without cutting Medicaid, Social Security or the Pentagon budget.  DeMint’s promises are misleading on Medicaid and Social Security (he aims to privatize them)  and he never addresses military spending.

Consider the thousands of effective services and jobs that would be lost under DeMint’s proposals:

Here’s how federal employees affect the life of FEW’s average working mother during just one hour of her day:

June 29, 2009 Launch of GOES-O weather satellite

June 29, 2009 Launch of GOES-O weather satellite. Flickr photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video. Reproduced under Creative Commons License.

“11:00 a.m. Equal employment. My fellow workers and I work as a team allowing us to succeed. This is because workers at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforce federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee. The Office of Disability Employment Policy works toward a world where people with disabilities have unlimited employment opportunities. The Department of Justice enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act to help provide access from design standards for buildings to mediation. Without these people, several of my co-workers would be unable to work or would not be hired, and I would miss their valuable input.

“11:30 a.m. Weather reports. I check the weather reports. NOAA’s [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s] National Weather Service and Global Systems Division employees do the best job possible in trying to predict the weather to allow us all to adequately prepare for adverse circumstances.

“[Noon]. Health care. I grab a quick lunch and stop to visit my friend in the hospital. We thank the experts at the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] who help ensure that her medications are safe and those at the Department of Health and Human Services who help oversee our health care laws. Helping to relieve my friend’s stress about paying for her medical care are the Health Care Financing Administration workers who make sure Medicare and Medicaid are run efficiently.”

DeMint pretends to never considers the savings these services give to the average person.   It is just these services that will be impacted or eliminated by the proposed cuts. South Carolina alone has over 60,000 federal workers, including 30,000 retirees, all contributing to the community. There is no scenario where the the loss of these jobs would be offset by eliminating, for example, the Food and Drug Administration.

This despite the fact that no analysis can show that even eliminating these programs would reduce the budget deficit.   These ‘discretionary’ programs  do not form a very large portion of the overall federal budget.   And they are highly cost effective.  Adding to the nation’s unemployed, cutting food safety inspections, and reducing education is only going to hurt the country.

Chart shows funds authorized to be spent each fiscal year.

NYT Graph: "Obama’s 2011 Budget Proposal: How It’s Spent Rectangles in the chart are sized according to the amount of spending for that category. Color shows the change in spending from 2010."

The growth in the budget deficit comes from military spending (up 75% since 2000 to $533.7 billion in FY2010) , health care spending (from $460.7 billion in 2000 to 891.2 billion in 2008), and special Bush/Obama spending to stimulate the depressed economy (nearly $800 billion in tax cuts and spending).   Unfortunately, President Obama shares the Washington habit of ignoring the largest parts of the federal budget.   His proposed five-year freeze on “non-military discretionary spending” would target the same daily services as DeMint.

Anyone can question government spending.  They’re just looking at the problem in a completely backward fashion: without addressing ending the wars, you’ll never get military spending under control; without cost containment, you’ll never manage health care costs; without considering how to maintain the services that people actually use, then you’re not really looking out for people. In this as in all other things, DeMint has an ideological commitment first, then lets other usually poorer people worry about the consequences.

McClatchy Papers: Senators DeMint, Graham divided on Obama’s tax deal

From James Rosen of the McClatchy Newspaper group of papers (including Columbia’s The State)

U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint once against canceled each others’ votes on major legislation Wednesday as Graham backed but DeMint opposed a compromise two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.

Incidentally, I don’t buy the logic that Graham and DeMint canceled each other out.  Both votes were counted. It’s not like South Carolinians could ever be completely unified on any issue.  Both politicians represent aspects of the state.   Rosen’s chosen a curious kind of either/or argument for his intro.   But anyway…

Graham said the deal between President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders isn’t perfect – but that it achieves the critical need to prevent tax hikes on some Americans.

Only four other Republican senators joined DeMint in voting against the tax legislation, while Graham was among 37 GOP senators who voted for it.

Graham praised the Senate’s 81-19 vote to pass the tax bill as an early payoff from the Republican rout in the Nov. 2 elections.

“The Obama administration agreeing to extend the tax cuts for all Americans is one of the first dividends from the election of more Republicans to the House and Senate,” the Seneca Republican said

“Overall, I think the agreement is a good one for the American people,” Graham said. “No agreement is ever perfect. There are, of course, areas I would have liked to see improved. But overall it is worth supporting as it will give certainty to those concerned about what a tax increase would mean to their businesses and family budgets.”

DeMint, whose amendment to make the tax cuts permanent was rejected before the vote on the broader bill, said the package will increase the deficit too much as it trades more federal spending for extended tax cuts.

“I’m concerned the bill currently under consideration does not permanently extend tax rates – and thus will have a marginal, if any, benefit to our economy,” DeMint said on the Senate floor. “Temporary rates make for a temporary uncertain economy.”

The legislation extends all Bush-era tax rates, including those on the very wealthy, for two years; they are due to expire Dec. 31.

[…]

We’re not in favor of reducing revenue, especially when demands on unemployment and healthcare assistance are growing.   Regardless of what you think of the President’s deal to extend the tax cuts, it does seem like he’s found common ground with the GOP, at least for the moment.  DeMint and the three other senators who voted against the tax cuts are speaking from a position of eliminating taxes first, then worrying about government services.  That is a position that the other more political GOP senators probably would endorse in a stump speech, even if they would bow to the reality of funding the government.

But let’s examine the logic behind DeMint’s statement that only “permanently extend[ed]” would benefit the economy due to the certainty of the benefit.   A look at the history of the current economic depression refutes DeMint.   The Bush tax cuts were introduced in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 then deepened and extended in the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.

The tax cuts were in no way intended to be permanent, since the 2010 expiration date was part of Bush’s compromise to peel off right-wing Democratic approval.

DeMint’s contention that the impermanency of the nine year old tax cut led to the downturn in the economy is ridiculous. After all, the tax cuts precede the economic meltdown by five to seven years.   DeMint wants us to believe that the a “permanent” reduction in the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans would have so benefited the economy that we would have avoided the the explosive housing bubble and Wall Street’s frenzy of speculation on securitized mortgages.

There is evidence to suggest that by reducing the tax rate on the wealthiest Americans, that the Bush (now Bush-Obama) tax cuts fed the housing and securities bubble by freeing cash for speculative investment.  Mark Thoma notes, as part of a longer article on the negative impact of the cuts:

Even the part of the tax cuts used for investment purposes may not result in enhanced long-run growth. Suppose, for example, that the money is invested in housing to take advantage of rising prices, but people are unaware that the price increases are being driven by a housing bubble. This will look at the time as though growth is robust — and this helps to explain the little bit of growth that did come about in the period before the housing bust — but the growth disappears as soon as the bubble pops. In fact, this type of investment leads to reduced growth relative to what could have been achieved with other investments. Thus, to the extent that tax cuts helped to fuel the housing bubble, they actually harmed rather than helped long-run growth.

A nuanced argument like Thoma’s is of no interest to DeMint, Cornyn and the rest, who begin with the idea of reducing the role and size of government in all areas but national security.  The ultimate extension of which is to put a vise on any socially responsible role for government.

Looking at a typical DeMint stump speech (like this one for example) you’ll find a lot of talk about freedom, with very little specifics about actual policies.  Maybe this is typical of a politician.  Given that DeMint is unquestionably radical (frequently holding up legislation on his own and being on the losing end of lopsided votes), the voters and media of SC deserve answers to tough question about DeMint’s real priorities.

DeMint and the rest hope to exclude human welfare from the political debate, throwing questions of health, education, quality of life and so on into the market while maintaining U.S. military interests abroad, where in both cases might makes right.

Read the rest of Rosen’s article, which concerns the reactions of other Senators, here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/12/16/105383/sc-sens-graham-demint-divided.html#ixzz18TjodXYr

New Article: Exposing Sen. Jim DeMint’s Deplorable Record On Women’s Rights

Scott Rose has posted an article “Exposing Sen. Jim DeMint’s Deplorable Record On Women’s Rights”  to the PoliticsUSA blog.  I’m reposting part of it here, with references to the some of the bills in question.   Thanks to Tom Clements for forwarding Rose’s article.

South Carolina’s Senator Jim DeMint voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.  The bill, signed into law by President Obama, is symbolic of the nation’s commitment to eliminating discrimination against women in the workplace.  That such discrimination continues is well documented.  DeMint very blatantly abused his power as a United States Senator to attempt to perpetuate that vile discrimination.

Lilly Ledbetter was a salaried worker at a Goodrich Tire plant in Alabama.  In 1998 she filed a complaint about discrimination in performance evaluations creating a pattern of women workers paid thousands less than their male c0-workers.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the statue required Ledbetter to have filed a complaint within 180 days of first discovering the discrimination.   The Supreme Court never approached the question of discrimination because of the 180 day window.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay act of 2009 removed the statute of limitations.   Jim DeMint attempted to attach three anti-union amendments to this bill (with the co-sponsorship of Louisiana’s David Vittner), which was tabled and forgotten by the Senate.

Rose explains DeMint’s vote on the Franken Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act of 2010.

On October 6, 2009, DeMint voted against Franken Amendment number 2588.  Senator Al Franken had been motivated to propose the amendment by the case of Jamie Leigh Jones.  Ms. Jones was an employee of the Halliburton subsidiary KBR, under contract with the US government in Iraq.  She was the victim of a brutal gang rape, carried out by some of her fellow KBR employees.  Her Halliburton/KBR contract forbid her from pressing criminal charges and also from pursuing legal remedies in a civil court.  Following the rape, the company subjected Ms. Jones to unlawful imprisonment.

Furthermore, it tampered with evidence of the crimes committed against her by losing essential parts of the rape kit for the case.  Halliburton engaged in much additional disreputable behavior in an attempt to evade accountability.  The following details of the rape were confirmed by U.S. Army physician Jodi Schultz.  “When she awoke the next morning still affected by the drug, she found her body naked and severely bruised, with lacerations to her vagina and anus, blood running down her leg, her breast implants ruptured and her pectoral muscles torn – which would later require reconstructive surgery.  Upon walking to the rest room, she passed out again.”

People of good conscience must never forget that Senator Jim DeMint voted against holding companies contracting with the U.S. government accountable for such monstrous crimes.

Read more of this post

GLAAD: DeMint OKs Bullying Of Gays

This dates to early October, but is still worth noting:

It is absolutely crucial that the media is devoting as much time to September’s tragedies as it is. But if we’re going to solve the problem and put an end to homophobic bullying in our schools, we need to ask the question: Who’s telling the bullies that it’s okay to harass kids who are (or are perceived to be) LGBT?

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint seems to be sending a pretty clear message that LGBT people are worth less than their straight peers, by defending his remarks that gay individuals shouldn’t be teaching in our schools. DeMint is telling our nation’s youth that gay people aren’t fit to teach them. How is that type of rhetoric supposed to do anything other than encourage exactly the kind of sentiments that led to last month’s tragic suicides? Not only does this type of rhetoric tell LGBT kids that they’re not good enough, it encourages an entire school community to be antagonistic towards kids who are (or are perceived to be) gay.

DeMint’s Candidates Back Repeal of Direct Election of Senators

Jim DeMint’s candidate for US Senate from Utah, Mike Lee, takes a “biblical constructionist” interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. The language is similar to “strict constructionism” but goes much further. For example Lee is on record supporting the repeal of the 17th Amendment.  

More than that, Mike Lee believes, as does DeMint, that the U.S. Constitution is a divinely ordained document, which naturally endorses the political opinions of Lee and DeMint.

“In my faith, the LDS faith, we do feel the Constitution has divine origins,” said Lee, who has made his adherence to the document the centerpiece of his campaign.

-source: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700050449/Mike-Lee-keeps-his-eye-on-the-Constitution-as-he-prepares-for-general-election-race.html?s_cid=rss-32

This is a consistent opinion among DeMint’s candidates and DeMint has made similar statements himself [http://player.vimeo.com/video/7251184].

Yesterday his protege Joe Miller endorsed repealing the 17th Amendment in front of a town hall meeting in Fairbanks. Miller, of course, is DeMint’s choice for Senator from Alaska. His Senate Conservative Committee takes credit for $217,000 in donations to Miller, to date.

Miller’s assertion that you ought not be allowed to chose your own Senators, comes only a few days after DeMint’s claim that gays and non-virginal single women should not be allowed to teach. What is consistent in these opinions that people should not be the judge of their own affairs, but submit to the moral judgement of a Patriarch like Jim DeMint.

Read more of this post

DeMint’s Opponent Responds To Anti-Gay, Anti-Working Women Comments

A backlash is building against GOP Senate incumbent Jim DeMint as one of his ballot qualified opponents is interviewed criticizing DeMints religious test for school teachers.

The October 4 edition of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal ran a lengthy article in response to incumbent Jim DeMint’s widely quoted statements advocating the exclusion of gays and sexually active single women from teaching jobs. These statements were also originally reported by the Herald-Journal.

———————————-

http://www.goupstate.com/article/20101005/ARTICLES/10051011/1083/ARTICLES?p=all&tc=pgall

Clements criticizes DeMint on gay teacher issue: Opponent for Senate blasts incumbent for stance on who is fit to teach

By Jason Spencer, jason.spencer@shj.com. Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

[…]

Tom Clements, the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, criticized incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint on Monday for saying gay people and unmarried women who sleep with their boyfriends shouldn’t be allowed to teach.

“If he wants to come up with guidelines for some kind of morality test, I challenge him to produce it,” Clements, 59, said in an interview at the Herald-Journal.

“Lay out how you’re going to screen out people you don’t like. And how far does it go? Does it go beyond gay people, or single women, or single males? Let’s hear how extensive your morality test is going to be applied to people. And I don’t think people in South Carolina would agree that somebody else’s morality test be applied to public school teachers.”

DeMint spoke to several hundred people Friday night at a Greater Freedom Rally at First Baptist North Spartanburg.

He told the crowd that if someone is openly homosexual or if an unmarried woman sleeps with her boyfriend, then that person shouldn’t be allowed in the classroom.

He talked about taking that position in the past, saying, “No one came to my defense. But everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn’t back down. They don’t want government purging their rights and their freedom of religion.”

The comments harken back to those he made in his 2004 Senate race. Then, he apologized for “distracting” from the debate — saying hiring policies should be left to local school boards — but not for the actual comments.

Clements took issue with this.

“He’s trying to push his version of religion onto the entire country. And I believe in separation of church and state. And I do believe that gay people should have equal rights,” Clements said. “That’s his belief, but I don’t think he can force that on society as a whole or the public school system.”

[…]

Clements praised the call for military budget cuts put forth by Reps. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Barney Frank, D-Mass. He called DeMint “a strong supporter of the military-industrial complex which is financially andmorally bankrupting our country.”

He also accused DeMint of “big government corporate elitism,” where rampant privatization of government programs and services benefits only a small number of large corporations: “That’s the big government he likes.”

Clements estimated his campaign had raised about $30,000 as of Sept. 30. That compares with the nearly $3.7 million DeMint had on hand this summer.
[…]

DeMint Has Spoken To Evangelical Business Group Before

National news media are picking up on DeMint’s backward opinions on gays and single women working outside the home. It’s not the first time he’s made controversial statements in front of the same group.

DeMint’s extremism is exposed in front of a friendly crowd at the North Spartanburg First Baptist Church.  The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reports that DeMint reminded the rally that he’s always been anti-gay and and in favor of keeping unmarried women in the home.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) says that even though “no one” came to his defense in 2004 after he said that gay people and unwed mothers should be banned from teaching, “everyone” quietly told him that he shouldn’t back down from his position.

He also implied that not banning gay people and women who have sex before marriage from teaching would be an attack on Christians, and defended his position on banning gay teachers because he holds the same position on women who have sex outside of marriage.

“[When I said those things,] no one came to my defense,” he said, the Spartanberg Herald-Journal reported. “But everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn’t back down. They don’t want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion.”

No one this bigoted can represent all the people of South Carolina.

The Senator is apparently closely allied with the group. Here’s a video of DeMint promoting the 2010 event, sponsored by the CEO Rountable of SC [web], :a group that apparently functions as a charity, but has an overt political agenda.

The CEO Round Table describes itself: “The uniting element of our objectives: the person of Jesus Christ. Our team believes that the principles of the Judeo-Christian Ethic are tested and timeless and, thus, provide the greatest framework for corporate and state governance….We believe that Christian Principles and Capitalism saved America, and define South Carolina. “

DeMint spoke to the same group in Taylors SC back in 2009:

Here he claims that the mission of America goes back to God’s covenant with Moses and thanks the Reformation for contemporary Capitalism:

WordPress won’t allow me to embed the vimeo video…but it is here: http://player.vimeo.com/video/7251184.

Here’s another one, where he talks about everybody getting involved:
http://player.vimeo.com/video/7134293.

What’s most disturbing about this clip is DeMint’s inflexible thinking. He apparently cannot imagine any way to improve this economy or nation, because both are anointed by God. This is similar to statements made at the Values Voter Conference a few weeks back. DeMint was quoted as saying

“When you have a big government, you’re going to have a little God,” said DeMint. “You’re going to have fewer values and morals, and you’re going to have a culture that has to be controlled by the government. But when you have a big God, you’re going to have a responsible and capable people with character to control themselves and lead their own lives. And you can’t have a little God that promotes freedom and allows people to keep more of their own money, and a government that’s not bankrupt. A government that’s not bankrupt. We’re talking about fiscal issues.”

DeMint raises an issue that many people have likely forgotten about, a brief controversy before his first election to Senate. Notice how he deflects an interviewer with a “sorry you’re offended” argument in this 2004 Meet The Press interview:

MR. RUSSERT: You also, when asked about your comments about gay teachers, said this: “I would have given the same answer when asked if a single woman, who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend, should be hired to teach my third-grade children.” Do you also still believe that, that a single mom should not be a teacher in South Carolina schools?
REP. DeMINT: I believe that’s a local school board issue. And, Tim, I was answering as a dad who’s put lots of children in the hands of teachers and I answered with my heart. And I should just say, again, I apologize that distracted from the real debate.
MR. RUSSERT: But you apologize for distracting but are you apologizing to gay teachers or to single mom teachers?
REP. DeMINT: No. I’m apologizing for talking about a local school board issue when the voters want us to talk about how we’re going to make them safer, win the war on terror, how we’re going to create jobs, how we’re going to fix our health-care system. And these are things I’ve worked on in the Congress and that’s what I plan to do in the Senate. […]
MR. RUSSERT: But you’re making judgments about gay people or about single moms and, in effect, disqualifying them. Are you certain that you never had a gay teacher?
REP. DeMINT: Listen, I have my personal beliefs, Tim, but I honestly believe that the teachers should be hired by local school districts. They should be making the decisions on who should be in the classroom.
MR. RUSSERT: But don’t the voters have a right to know about whether or not you still stand by comments you made in the campaign? Do you stand by your comments?
REP. DeMINT: I apologized for answering a local school board question.
MR. RUSSERT: No, you’re apologizing for the distraction, but it’s a simple question. Do you believe that gays should be able to teach in South Carolina schools?
REP. DeMINT: Well, Tim…
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that single moms should be able to teach?
REP. DeMINT: It’s a very simple answer. I think the local school board should make that issue, not Senate can–I mean, make that decision.
MR. RUSSERT: But you didn’t think that a month ago when you answered the question.
REP. DeMINT: And I apologize for that, Tim.
MR. RUSSERT: For answering the question?
REP. DeMINT: Yeah, for distracting from the real thing.
MR. RUSSERT: But not for the substance of your comments.
REP. DeMINT: Tim, who hires teachers should be decided by local school boards.

REP. DeMINT: I believe that’s a local school board issue. And, Tim, I was answering as a dad who’s put lots of children in the hands of teachers and I answered with my heart. And I should just say, again, I apologize that distracted from the real debate.
MR. RUSSERT: But you apologize for distracting but are you apologizing to gay teachers or to single mom teachers?
REP. DeMINT: No. I’m apologizing for talking about a local school board issue when the voters want us to talk about how we’re going to make them safer, win the war on terror, how we’re going to create jobs, how we’re going to fix our health-care system. And these are things I’ve worked on in the Congress and that’s what I plan to do in the Senate. […]
MR. RUSSERT: But you’re making judgments about gay people or about single moms and, in effect, disqualifying them. Are you certain that you never had a gay teacher?
REP. DeMINT: Listen, I have my personal beliefs, Tim, but I honestly believe that the teachers should be hired by local school districts. They should be making the decisions on who should be in the classroom.
MR. RUSSERT: But don’t the voters have a right to know about whether or not you still stand by comments you made in the campaign? Do you stand by your comments?
REP. DeMINT: I apologized for answering a local school board question.
MR. RUSSERT: No, you’re apologizing for the distraction, but it’s a simple question. Do you believe that gays should be able to teach in South Carolina schools?
REP. DeMINT: Well, Tim…
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that single moms should be able to teach?
REP. DeMINT: It’s a very simple answer. I think the local school board should make that issue, not Senate can–I mean, make that decision.
MR. RUSSERT: But you didn’t think that a month ago when you answered the question.
REP. DeMINT: And I apologize for that, Tim.
MR. RUSSERT: For answering the question?
REP. DeMINT: Yeah, for distracting from the real thing.
MR. RUSSERT: But not for the substance of your comments.
REP. DeMINT: Tim, who hires teachers should be decided by local school boards.

– Source: Amanda Terkel. “Sen. Jim DeMint: Gays And Unmarried, Pregnant Women Should Not Teach Public School”. First Posted: 10- 2-10 07:24 PM. Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/02/demint-gays-unmarried-pregnant-women-teachers_n_748131.html

DeMint faces Tom Clements of the South Carolina Green Party and Alvin Greene in the November 2 election.

National Women’s History Museum to be built with private funds – blocked by DeMint

The National Women’s History Museum is a privately funded effort which could be built in Washington D.C…except that Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn are blocking the sale of land for the building.

DeMint is so hung up on his anti-abortion ideology, that he will not permit the museum to be built, according to USA Today.

From shewire.com:

The project of building the women’s history museum, which currently exists in cyberspace, has been a pet project for many for 14 years. The House approved the bill last October but there continue to be two Senate hold-outs – Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who’ve held up the project based on funding –even thought it would be paid for through private donations –abortion politics and redundancy, according to Think Progress — as women already have their quilters and cowgirl museums spanning the entire history of women in the country.

Regarding the abortion politics piece of the DeMint’s and Coburn’s objections to the mueum:

“The senators’ action came two days after the Concerned Women For America [sw pac, lobby -ed.] a conservative group, wrote DeMint asking for a hold. The group’s CEO, Penny Nance, wrote in July that the museum would “focus on abortion rights without featuring any of the many contributions of the pro-life movement in America.”[…]”

Collins wrote in the Times that when she contacted Coburn’s office for a list of existing spaces that render the comprehensive museum redundant, “The office sent me a list of the entities in question. They include the Quilters Hall of Fame in Indiana [open April 7 – December 10, 2010, Wednesday to Saturday, 10 am to 3 pm -ed.], the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Texas and the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Washington.”

Source: Meryl Streep v. DeMint and Coburn Over National Women’s History Museum; by Tracy E. Gilchrist. 09/29/2010 8:55 PM; http://www.shewired.com/Article.cfm?ID=25829

Not to denigrate the work of quilters, cowgirls or lilac growers of any gender, but there is a broader story to be told.

Meryl Streep gave a very nice talk at recent dinner for the museum, pledging $1 Million of her own money and asking the two Senators to get out of the way.   According to USA Today:

“What they are doing is holding us to a standard that no museum associated with men has ever been held to,” museum CEO Joan Wages said. “The content of the museum is being questioned, and it hasn’t even been built. The Holocaust museum, the African-American history museum, the Native American museum — they all had very little money in the bank when Congress passed their legislation.”

The museum got a push last week from actress Meryl Streep, who headlined a $350-a-plate gala in Washington. Streep herself pledged $1 million — as did former Abbott Laboratories CEO Duane Burnham. “We will get permission, because I can’t imagine those two senators who have put a hold on our museum have the stomach for war with the women of America,” Streep said.

Here’s Streep’s speech:

DeMint’s thinking on nuclear weapons is dangerous

DeMint’s comments start about three-fourths though this audio:

http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/files/[Audio]%20US-Russian%20Relations%20-%20Beset%20by%20Reset.mp3

DeMint revealed how whacky, dangerous and backwards his thinking is about controlling nuclear weapons, when he stated on June 23 his complete opposition to a new US-Russia treaty to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles.

At a forum by the Foreign Policy Initiative, he described the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) as “worthless from the start” and stated that that he would oppose it. Granted, the New START treaty is but one step but which should be supported by anyone pursuing a more peaceful world.

DeMint, who fails to grasp the threat of proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies, goes on to support “missile defense.” Technologically, this won’t work.  In thirty years of trying, no one has ever shot down a ballistic missile with a rocket.  The latest version of “Star Wars” is ineffective, but it is also very expensive – yet another tricky way to transfer our money to the military-industrial complex. Another example of DeMint’s support of his version of big government.

Read another analysis here:

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/06/24/demints_russia_rants_cause_amusement_and_concern

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