Wednesday, December 21, 2005
First, the bad news: This morning, the Senate passed a budget hurting low-income families just four days before Christmas. Now the good news: Because of your prophetic voices, the vote was so narrow that Vice President Cheney was forced to cut short a diplomatic trip to the Middle East to break a 50-50 tie. (Civics class flashback: He's the president of the Senate.) More importantly, your voices helped remove some harmful provisions of the bill, changes that will force the members of the House to fly back to Washington to vote on the amended bill.
Bottom line: Because of our hard work, we have one last chance to reject these harmful cuts to children and families struggling to work themselves out of poverty.
Call Representative Kline now at 1-800-426-8073!
After you connect to Representative Kline's office, tell the staffer you reach:
As a person of faith from Minnesota, I ask you to please vote "no" on the new budget bill that the Senate passed. Before you go home for the holidays, don't take away health care for low-income children and crucial work support for families trying to work themselves out of poverty.
This morning, the Senate approved the budget reconciliation conference report. Vice President Cheney, president of the Senate, cut short a diplomatic trip to the Middle East to break the 50-50 tie. All Democrats and Independent Jim Jeffords (Vt.) opposed the bill, as well as five Republicans: Chafee (R.I.), Smith (Ore.), Collins (Maine), Snowe (Maine), and DeWine (Ohio).
But, just prior to the vote, the Senate removed several provisions from the conference report that the House had passed at 6 a.m. Monday (212-206). Therefore, the House must now approve the Senate's version and could vote as early as Thursday or Friday, or as late as January or February.
What does this mean? We get another chance in the House. We must appeal TODAY to congressional hearts and minds, asking legislators to oppose a budget that hurts the poor. Call Representative Kline now at 1-800-426-8073.
Many in the religious community cannot believe that leaders could pass a federal budget cutting health care, child support, and educational assistance to low-income families while further lowering taxes for the wealthiest Americans and increasing the deficit for our grandchildren. Making this decision just before Christmas does not proclaim goodwill toward all. Although the faith community played a strong role in preventing food stamps from being cut in this budget, we cannot ignore the many other cuts that could become a reality for many of the 36 million people living in poverty in the U.S. Despite clear messages from people of faith that the poor families and children with whom we work need better policies and support, our political leadership is missing the meaning of Christmas. Instead of filling the hungry with good things and sending the rich away empty, this budget process will only fill the rich with good things and send the hungry away empty.
Bipartisan efforts to prevent severe budget cuts continue to provide hope. Congressional leadership may cast today's slight change to the budget bill as a way to delay the inevitable. That is not the case, and your voice can continue to have an impact. Please keep doing the great work you have been doing all year!
Make sure your member of Congress knows you are still watching and praying. Call Representative Kline now at 1-800-426-8073 and ask the Representative to oppose the budget reconciliation bill.
The political and organizing staff at Sojourners and Call to Renewal
While sparing big businesses John Kline voted cuts to programs that aid working families like Medicaid and Student Loans.
Also just today drilling supporters fell four votes short of getting the required 60 votes to avoid a threatened filibuster of the defense spending legislation. Senate leaders were expected to withdraw the legislation so it could be reworked without the refuge language. The vote was 56-44.
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who has fought to allow oil exploration and development in the refuge’s coastal plain since 1980, angered many of his Senate colleagues by attaching the drilling measure to the must-pass defense spending bill. Senators determined to protect the refuge from development found it difficult to oppose the politically popular defense bill, which has money for troops in Iraq, relief for Katrina hurricane victims and help for low-income families to pay energy bills.
The bill also still allow states to impose significant new costs on health care for the poor, cut child support enforcement and foster care aid, and impose new work requirements on welfare recipients.
John Kline also voted for the defense bill where veteran GOP leaders maneuvered and engineered to add the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Drilling. It was a procedural tactic that pushed the Artic Drilling 'add-on' that had repeatedly been voted down on it's own. Knowing that moderate Republicans and Democrats would be unwilling to hold up legislation that funds US troops, they added on with the Arctic Drilling. Obviously the GOP leadership don't care to use democratic means in deciding issues or reaching consensus.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Minnesota's state and local rankings are going down in both taxes and spending. Total state and local taxes ranked 8th in 200 and 10th in 2002 (most recent data available). Total state and local spending ranked 19th in 200 and 22nd in 2002*+
Minnesota now ranks among the low-spending states (below 25th) for:
K-12 Education (27th)
Higher Education (35th)
Total Education (29th)
Health and Hospitals (43rd)
Key Public Safety Areas:
Fire (47th) and
State and local tax burdens heading downward by more than 12% from 1996 to 2007:
-In 1996, Minnesotans paid 12.7% of their income in state and local taxes.
-In 1998, state and local burden went down to 11.8% .
The Projected burden in 2007 is 11.1%+
* Governing magazine Sourcebook — ranking derived directly from the U.S. Census Bureau
*+ Minnesota Taxpayers Association — rankings derived from U.S. Department of Commerce
** Tax Foundation in Washington, DC
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Representative John Kline has already been busy this month voting himself a raise, voting tax cuts to the wealthy and then voting to pay for it with cuts to healthcare for working families and elderly. Let's see if we can't get him to vote Minnesota values instead of Bu$hism.
Join others with others for a Candle Light Vigil outside John Kline's Office (101 W. Burnsville Parkway in Burnsville) on Wednesday, December 14 at 6:00 - 7:00 PM. It's time we demand a budget that will be fair and just. Budgets are moral documents! They are about priorities and choices.
In the wake of the recent hurricanes, Congress has the chance to reassess its plans and set a new course—one that places a priority on meeting the needs of vulnerable families, including those directly impacted by the hurricanes, rather than cutting vital programs or dispensing unnecessary tax breaks to the wealthy that pile more debt on future generations. Congress can and should choose to do the right thing this fall.
To sign up or for more info: Sojourners
Budgets are moral documents!
Kline says he stands for families, but his voting tells another tale. In the next few weeks the Senate and House will have to hammer out a budget agreement. To date both versions are fundamentally flawed because the tax cuts are being paid for by cutting necessary services like daycare, student aid and health services to the working poor. Before that happens let Kline know that tax breaks to the rich while cutting services to the poor is just not Minnesota Values.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Kline's fellow MN Republican Ramstad doesn't think so:
"We should cut the massive pork barrel spending instead of cutting health care for the poorest of the poor, the elderly and people with disabilities,"(Star Tribune)
Instead Kline while voting to cut $50 billion in services from healthcare, the elderly, education, government college grants and medicare, votes to give $70 billion in tax breaks/cuts to the wealthy.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Rarely do we do activism here at The Agonist. In 2006 we may adopt 1 or 2 candidates, tops. Coleen Rowley will be one of them so I ought to explain why. Anyone who stood up to the President, John Ashcroft and the Director of the FBI for reasons of pure, unadulturated patriotism, deserves my support and yours. Coleen is not a politician. She doesn't talk like one, she doesn't act like one but, there is no question in my mind that if she is elected (and she'll probably be running against a Tom DeLay crony, from Texas to boot!) she will become the conscience of the Congress. We need that.
So, if you have a few shekels, will you please toss them her way. Her campaign is a worthy cause so please donate HERE. This won't be the last pitch on her behalf you hear from me but I promise you I will keep them to a minimum. Sometimes we have to support those who exemplify our ideals. And Coleen does that, she's Agonist approved.
Monday, November 21, 2005
The day before, all three voted to gut social programs for the disabled and working poor. They voted to cut $14 billion to student loan programs and voted to cut $12 billion in Medicaid funding (Medicaid is the health care program for the poor and disabled).
Don't these guys have any shame?
Sunday, November 20, 2005
LTE at This Week OnLine :
The mainstream of our community, like the mainstream in the United States, opposes blind, unthinking stubborness masquerading as character when it comes to addressing issues like the Iraq war, energy independence, the ballooning government deficit, properly funding education, and thinking of new ways to solve the looming health care crisis.
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," as Ralph Waldo Emerson said. This district's voters need to decide if they want a congressman who shows consistent, principled loyalty to incompetent and corrupt leadership or one who might show innovative leadership responsive to the needs of this district.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Answer: John Kline who is on a first name bases with NWA CEO has taken $2500 from Northwest Airlines this cycle alone.
I wrote about this before here!
Kline's loyality lies with NWA and their CEO. He helps meets any of the NWA corporation needs over…oh let’s say…the mechanics or pilots or the flight attendants or the everydammday airline worker? It's just plain wrong. Contact Kline and tell him what you think. Ask him support the workers.
For Immediate Release
November 17, 2005 Contact: Afshin Mohamadi (Maloney)
Sonia Meléndez (Solis)
Corey Caldwell (AFA)
Rob Laughlin (PFAA)
Action to Save Northwest Flight Attendant Jobs From Outsourcing 87 Bipartisan Members of Congress press Northwest CEO, while flight attendants descend on Capitol Hill to lobby Congress
WASHINGTON, DC - As Northwest Airlines prepares to outsource 2,600 flight attendant jobs on international flights, there was action on Capitol Hill today to stop the plan. 87 bipartisan Members of Congress, led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), today urged Northwest CEO Doug Steenland to reconsider his company's plan. Meanwhile more than 50 flight attendants, joined by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and the Professional Flight Attendants Association, visited Washington today to meet with lawmakers.
Northwest, which has filed for bankruptcy, has already begun contracting out mechanic work, and there is concern that other airlines will adopt their flight attendant plan. It is uncertain if the foreign workers Northwest plans to hire for international flights will be subject to the same security background checks as American employees.
"We are trying to keep this outsourcing scheme from taking off," said Maloney. "Northwest's plan will cost thousands of American jobs, and it could compromise American security - we still don't know if foreign-based flight attendants would be subject to adequate background screening. If Northwest outsources, other air carriers will surely follow, and the costs will be multiplied."
"At a time when flight attendants have suffered layoffs and benefit reductions as a result of the airline industry's financial problems since September 11th, Northwest should not pull the rug out from under these hardworking men and women with an ill-advised outsourcing plan, said Rep. Hilda L. Solis, (CA-32). "The qualifications and experience of flight attendants are vital to our national security, and we should support these flight attendants, not outsource their jobs for small savings."
"This attempt to outsource flight attendant jobs not only affects our profession as a whole, but the entire general public as well," said Dianne Tamuk, President of AFA-CWA Council 5 at United. "It has been shown that one airline job supports 18 additional jobs in the community, so if this proposal is carried out, entire communities will be devastated. We will continue to fight this issue to ensure that we protect our profession, our communities, and the safety of our passengers. We must not compromise our safety and security just so that companies can sell our jobs to the lowest bidder."
"Legislators agree that Mr. Steenland needs to reconsider his over-the-top proposal to outsource such important safety-security positions onboard U.S. flag carriers," said Rob Laughlin, Legislative Affairs Coordinator of PFAA. "Flight attendants are unsung heroes of national security. They should be fairly recognized and valued for the service they provide daily to millions of Americans in making our skies safe for travel. Some lawmakers we met with in Washington recognized that having U.S. Flight Attendants staff U.S. flag carriers is another way of ensuring our skies remain safe. They recognize that you cannot put a price on securing our nation's airliners."
According to the PFAA, U.S. Flight Attendants are subject to extensive 10-year criminal security background checks, fingerprinting and are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate onboard U.S. carriers. The federal government has classified flight attendants as "safety-sensitive" employees and therefore they are subject to random drug and alcohol testing.
Signing the letter to Mr. Steenland were:
CAROLYN B. MALONEY (D-NY), JIM RAMSTAD (R-MN), HILDA L. SOLIS (D-CA), JOHN D. DINGELL (D-MI), FRANK R. WOLF (R-VA), THADDEUS G. McCOTTER (R-MI), GEORGE MILLER (D-CA), JOHN CONYERS, Jr. (D-MI), JANE HARMAN (D-CA), MARCY KAPTUR (D-OH), ALCEE L. HASTINGS (D-FL), BART STUPAK (D-MI), MARTIN OLAV SABO (D-MN), JERROLD NADLER (D-NY), SHERROD BROWN (D-OH), ED PASTOR (D-AZ), SANDER M. LEVIN (D-MI), NICK RAHALL (D-WV), BART GORDON (D-TN), GINNY BROWN-WAITE (R-FL), ROSA L. DeLAURO (D-CT), GARY L. ACKERMAN (D-NY), JAMES P. MORAN (D-VA), ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ), BERNARD SANDERS (I-VT), ELIOT L. ENGEL (D-NY), COLLIN C. PETERSON (D-MN), PETER A. DeFAZIO (D-OR), EDWARD J. MARKEY (D-MA), DALE E. KILDEE (D-MI), DENNIS J. KUCINICH (D-OH), BILL PASCRELL, Jr. (D-NJ), BARBARA LEE (D-CA), EMANUEL CLEAVER (D-MO), MICHAEL E. CAPUANO (D-MA), NEIL ABERCROMBIE (D-HI), RAÚL M. GRIJALVA (D-AZ), LEONARD L. BOSWELL (D-IA), BRIAN BAIRD (D-WA), SAM FARR (D-CA), TIMOTHY H. BISHOP (D-NY), THOMAS H. ALLEN (D-ME), ANTHONY D. WEINER (D-NY), JIM McDERMOTT (D-WA), BETTY McCOLLUM (D-MN), JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D-IL), STEPHANIE TUBBS JONES (D-OH), JIM MARSHALL (D-GA), MELISSA L. BEAN (D-IL), SHELLEY BERKLEY (D-NV), MICHAEL H. MICHAUD (D-ME), FRANK PALLONE, Jr. (D-NJ), RIC KELLER (R-FL), LINCOLN DAVIS (D-TN), JAY INSLEE (D-WA), MICHAEL F. DOYLE (D-PA), JOE BACA (D-CA), HAROLD E. FORD, Jr. (D-TN), ADAM SMITH (D-WA), ROB SIMMONS (R-CT), JOHN F. TIERNEY (D-MA), DEBBIE WASSERMAN SHULTZ (D-FL), ED CASE (D-HI), CAROLYN McCARTHY (D-NY), JOHN M. McHUGH (R-NY), BRIAN HIGGINS (D-NY), JOHN BARROW (D-GA), ROBERT A. BRADY (D-PA), RICK LARSEN (D-WA), JIM DAVIS (D-FL), CHARLIE MELANCON (D-LA), LUCILLE ROYBAL-ALLARD (D-CA), STEPHEN F. LYNCH (D-MA), CHARLES B. RANGEL (D-NY), JULIA CARSON (D-IN), TIM RYAN (D-OH), TIM HOLDEN (D-PA), DANNY DAVIS (D-IL), JOHN LEWIS (D-GA), LYNN WOOLSEY (D-CA), CORRINE BROWN (D-FL), TOM TANCREDO (R-CO), STEVE ISRAEL (D-NY), DANIEL LIPINSKI (D-IL), ROBERT WEXLER (D-FL), RICK RENZI (R-AZ), RUSS CARNAHAN (D-MO).
note: Where the heck is JOHN KLINE? Why won't he represent the voters who put him in office!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Here's was a nice response:
Congressman John Kline has taken $40,000 from Tom DeLay's ARMPAC. Money which he refused to give back or foward on to charity. That makes it no surprise that Kline voted with Tom DeLay 96% of the time between Jan. 1 2004 and March 31 2005.
Mr. Kline also voted to weaken the ethics rules to protect Tom Delay. And only when it became apparent that their attempts to gut house ethic rules would fail did Kline 'flip-flop' and voted to put the old rules back in place. In fact, when Democrats offered a solution to clean up the House by strengthening ethics rules, Mr. Kline voted twice to make sure it never even came to an up or down vote.
I would also offer up Mr. Kline's voting record of over 90% with the Bush administration shows a repeated pattern of cronyism and partisan voting instead of bipartisan efforts to get our government working for us. Apparently Kline does need Patrick Garofalo partisan letter to the editor 'to defend him' as Kline's votes are anything but 'principled'. This is not the kind of representation working families deserve deserve.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
In case you want to know:
The US balance of payments deficit hit an all-time high for the first quarter of the year, rising to $195.1 billion (up 3.6 percent from the previous record for the final three months of 2004 and well above market predictions of $190 billion). What all this gobbly glop means is the US payments deficit requires $2 billion a day from the rest of the world (mainly provided by Japan, China and other Asian nations)to finance it.
In other words, this administration (with Kline's help) is selling America to foreign interests. Do you feel safe yet?
Monday, November 07, 2005
Several thousand a year...Target's CEO, Robert Ulrich, has donated a lot of money to Republicans, and almost nothing to Democrats. No surprise there, huh? Wonder why they support Kline? Could it be they share the same beliefs to limit your rights?
More shame in Minnesota
Americablog has been covering this story about how Target, a Minnesota company, is perfectly okay with its employees refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception. See, in the eyes of Target, an employee's ability to pass judgment on a customer far outweighs the rights of people to have private lives or anything their doctor may have prescripted.
When does this stop? Would it be okay for a cashier to refuse to sell a person condoms if that person did not have a wedding ring? You know, sex outside of marriage and all. And I know that Target sells back massagers that can be used for, um, other purposes. How about that?
You have to love Target. They're willing to hire people who don't want to do the very job they're applying for. Their own employee's bigotry and bias matters more to them than the emergency health needs or own customers.
So let's ask Target if they also support the following Target employees:
- Check out clerks who verify how fat you are before selling you that package of potato chips?
- Pharmacists who don't want to fill prescriptions for Jewish customers who killed Christ.
- Pharmacists who don't want to help customers who worship a "Satanic counterfeit" (read: "The Pope," in fundie-speak).
- Pharmacists who only dispense HIV medicine to "innocent victims" of AIDS.
- Pharmacists who want proof that women seeking emergency contraception were really raped, and that they didn't "deserve it."
- Pharmacists (or cashiers) who are Christian Scientists - can they refuse to sell any medicine, even aspirin, to anyone?
Maureen Dowd did an OpEd, in the NY Times. She was relating women she thought were heros. On the list was Minnesota's own Coleen Rowley.
Coleen risked a twenty year career at the FBI to do what she thought was ethically correct. She was in Time as 'Women of the Year' for 2002.
And not satisfied to leave it at that, Ms. Rowley running as a Democrat for congressional office in Minnesota's second district. She's going up against GOP John Kline who has sullied his name by voting straight bush/delay agenda.
Judging from all the GOP party hacks that have lined up to take a shot at Coleen in recent weeks, they must be worried she'll win! Even the ever poisenous Ann Coulter has chimed in and taken a swipe at Rowley for being 'too right' (there's just no winning with these folks!)....fortunately for those of us in the second district, Coleen Rowley is the 'Real' thing!
Saturday, November 05, 2005
President Bu$h and his current Administration (yes that would include Kline who votes over 90% of the time with Bu$hCo!) have now borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks than the previous 42 U.S. presidents combined.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, throughout the first 224 years of our nation's history, 42 U.S. presidents borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial. In the past four years alone, the Bu$h Administration(with Kline's fullest support!) has borrowed a staggering $1.05 trillion. More here and here
So next time someone tells you they are conservative like John Kline and GW Bu$h...ask them to define the word. Apparently GOP conservatives like Kline aren't against borrowing, don't promote 'pay as you go' as being responsible and have no problem being in debt for decades (generations!) to come. Or at least that's the policies they have promoted.
Kline and Bu$h have changed the meaning of the word...it now means bankrupt...as in money, moral leadership and community values. I began this post by saying the GOP managed to hit this out of the park, but it was fouled the whole way.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Kline has an important choice to make...Does he accept and encourage the sort of unethical behavior epitomized by Tom DeLay or does he put his foot down and say enough? Sign a petition asking Kline to give the 'Delay Money' to Charity at http://www.ourfuture.org/return_DeLays_cash.cfm
Here's the letter being sent:
The climate of corruption and scandal in Washington is at an all-time high and you have accepted campaign contributions from Rep. Tom DeLay — the epitome of pay-to-play politics. By taking DeLay's money, you're sending a clear message that you're willing to profit from his unethical behavior.
You have a choice: either accept and encourage Tom DeLay's corruption or put your foot down and say enough! We demand that you take the money that you've accepted (~$40,000) from Tom DeLay and reinvest it to address one of America's most pressing priorities — helping Katrina victims rebuild their lives.
Thanks to Truth Surfer for posting this! I signed the petition and sent it off...
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Led by Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., 32 House members - including Minnesota Republicans Gil Gutknecht and John Kline - sent a letter to Bush urging him to suspend the Davis-Bacon Act. The law, which was passed in 1931, requires contractors to pay their workers at least the prevailing wage on construction projects, including highways, buildings and bridges. The prevailing wage is defined as the average wage for specific jobs in a local area.Remember what jmjm posted about John Kline's siding with Northwest Airlines vs. its workers and John Kline siding with Big Oil Companies vs. the environment?
Anybody see a pattern here? Does it make you sick? You can do something about it! Dump John Kline!
It's just another example of John Kline doing the Bush administration's dirty work and trying to wrap it up in the pretty package of "affordable housing".
Unfortunately, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote next week on a draconian attack on our right to register and vote. This bill, H.R. 1461, includes a section called the Affordable Housing Fund, a measure that gives grants to nonprofit and public organizations for the purpose of building or preserving affordable housing. This sounds like a very good provision, and most housing-related community groups support it.
However, a group that includes Minnesota Reps. John Kline and Gil Gutknecht, sneaked in an amendment that would prohibit organizations that do voter registration from receiving grants from the Affordable Housing Fund. It would even bar organizations that had done voter registration up to a year in the past and groups that affiliate with other organizations that do voter registration from participating in the Affordable Housing Fund program.
For example, if a Minnesota nonprofit organization applied for funds, the request could be rejected if the organization had worked with the League of Women Voters in the past year.
What are supporters of this bill afraid of? The voters? Maybe some of these elected leaders are worried about their next election and want to keep the voters away.
This outrageous restriction is another sneak attack on our Constitution. It is the opposite of what we should be doing. We should go out of our way to thank and help the groups that are helping bring in new voters, especially new Americans, our neighbors with lower family incomes, and others who may benefit from affordable housing. It is sad that some of our leaders would attempt to punish nonpartisan organizations that do voter registration instead of applauding them for this important work.
The legislation does nothing to solve our energy problems or help consumers cope with rising energy costs. Even its name ‘Gasoline for America’s Security’ should be changed to reflect what it’s really about ‘Profits for Corporations, Pollution for Americans’. It doesn’t reduce gas prices or increase energy security.
For communities across the country, the consequences will be devastating: millions of additional tons of air pollution and thus more heart attacks, lung cancers, asthma attacks, and premature deaths.
The bill also contains new handouts to the oil industry, even as oil companies are reporting record profits, and actually weakens enforcement provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act by limiting penalties for price gouging.
In a time of crisis, American families should be protected, not exploited and exposed to further risks. John Kline doesn’t want to protect Americans and their families... instead Kline voted to increase air pollution and give handouts to rich oil companies. Isn't it time we kick John out and vote someone in who will represent Ameicans over profit rich corporations?
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
So now more than ever, we have to keep up the pressure. More calls, more e-mails, more petition signatures. Let's reach a critical mass! Make them walk the line -- they can either choose to return the money and stand with the American people, or keep the money and stand with Tom DeLay -- the former Republican Leader who has been admonished three times by the Ethics Committee and indicted multiple times by a grand jury.
Republicans got themselves into a bad spot through years of blind loyalty to DeLay and his culture of corruption. Time and time again, they've taken DeLay's dirty money thereby accepting the corrupting influence of the DeLay, Inc. money machine and marking themselves as DeLay dead-enders. But we are exposing them. Through the dozens of local and national press stories we generated, hard working families are beginning to know the truth.
Now, we need to give them one final push before we deliver your names to their campaigns. If you haven't forwarded this to your friends and family, please ask them to join us now:
Forward Our Call to Tell House Republicans to Return DeLay's Dirty Money.
Here’s a letter to Kline asking him to return the dirty money he’s accepted:
Hey Kline how about returning Tom DeLay’s tainted money that you’ve received through PACs the last several years. Tom DeLay’s dirty money has been earned through the systematic betrayal of the American people. It is the result of a pay-for-play agenda where hard-earned tax dollars are funneled to Republican supporters like the oil and gas industries. The least you as a House Republican can do is run your 2006 campaigns without continuing to capitalize on the culture of corruption DeLay has cultivated.
So I’m asking you today…return Delay’s dirty money (wasn’t it around $30,000). It’s one thing when you didn’t know it was dirty money, but now that you know, it’s time to do the right thing and return Delay’s dirty mone
Below this posting is Kline's newsletter referring to the draft Iraq constitution...
Pretending all is well in Iraq doesn't make it so...just like saying 'all Iraqis will be deemed equal', doesn't make it so. Unlike other established democracies the Iraq draft constitution doesn't act as the supreme law of the land. The second article of the draft constitution says it all: even if it is passed, the rule of Islam will still rank higher. Islamic law trumps all other laws, controlling everyone...especially women. Females are forbidden to have a passport or travel without a family male escort, forbidden to divorce without permission from a husband (rarely granted), and are still beaten for wearing bare arms in 90 degree plus heat! Because of this the constitution lacks the necessary elements to establish equal rights.
I guess Mr. Kline needs to define what he means by 'freedom of'. If the constitution was 'democratic' then it would be a secular not religious government. Only then, will women be equal and will Iraq become a functioning democracy (if ever). I would add that without electricity, clean water, jobs, roads and health care, a constitution will change little (if anything). This is just another neo-con 'spin' to legitimize a failed pre-emptive war and the continued occupation and planned expansion. Saying freedom six times in five paragraphs doesn't make it so. Iraqi freedom can't be forced at the end of an American gun.
I have followed an Iraqi blog (http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/) since it's inception in 2003 (2 months after 'the end' of the Iraqi war). An Iraqi women, calling herself Riverbend who offers searing eyewitness accounts of the everyday matters with her analysis on the politics behind events. She recounts stories of life in an occupied city of neighbors whose home are raided by U.S. troops, whose relatives disappear into prisons, and whose children are kidnapped by money-hungry militias. She also describes a once-secular city where women are now afraid to leave their homes without head covering and a male escort. She focuses especially on the fate of women, whose rights and freedoms have fallen victim to rising fundamentalism's in the chaotic post-war society. I would encourage all of you to read through her postings and see her analyst of the new constitution and what it means for women who make up 60% of Iraq,
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Kline's Corner: An E-mail Newsletter
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2005 11:32:34 -0400
On Saturday, October 15, the Iraqi people will take an important step toward achieving complete sovereignty as they participate in a democratic vote on their draft Constitution. This document, drafted by representatives elected by the Iraqi people in January of this year, protects human equality and rights; establishes checks, balances, and the separation of powers; and sets parameters to ensure Iraq remains a free and independent nation.
Under the draft Constitution, all Iraqis will be deemed equal before the law, without discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, origin, color, religion, belief, or economic and social status. In addition, the full range of political, civil, economic, social, and cultural rights are protected, including freedom of speech and expression, freedom of the press, freedom of thought, and freedom of religious beliefs and practice. In fact, the Iraqi Constitution’s protection of religious freedom will be one of the most progressive in the Muslim world – defining Islam as one, not the fundamental source of religion. The provision and protection of these rights, which are too often taken for granted in the United States, represent a major victory for the men and women of Iraq
To ensure the new government remains a participatory democracy, the Iraqi Constitution establishes checks, balances, and the separation of powers. A President and Prime Minister will share power over the executive functions of government. An elected Council of Representatives with primary authority over legislative functions will share power with the executive branch. The full right of judicial review and power to enforce the Constitution will rest with a fully independent Iraqi judiciary.
Finally, a strong federal government will ensure Iraq remains unified and democratic. Political power will be exercised solely through Iraq’s elected representatives, chosen every four years on the basis of free, fair, direct, and universal elections. These federal representatives will retain control over key sovereign functions – national defense, foreign policy, fiscal policy – and the oil and gas resources belonging to all Iraqis. New regions will be allowed to form, but only under procedures established by the next National Assembly and in a deliberate manner consistent with the federal Constitution.
I am optimistic about the outcome of this weekend’s Constitutional referendum and the promise of freedom it holds for the people of Iraq and global community
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Mr. President, war is an awful business. I know that. I don’t think I’m naïve about how severe are the wages of war, and how terrible are the things that must be done to wage it successfully. It is a grim, dark business, and no matter how noble the cause for which it is fought, no matter how valiant the service, many veterans spend much of their subsequent lives trying to forget not only what was done to them and their comrades, but some of what had to be done by their hand to prevail.
I don’t mourn the loss of any terrorist’s life nor do I care if in the course of serving their ignoble cause they suffer great harm. They have pledged their lives to the intentional destruction of innocent lives, and they have earned their terrible punishment in this life and the next.
What I do regret, what I do mourn, and what I do care very much about is what we lose, what we -- the American serviceman and woman and the great nation they defend at the risk of their lives – what we lose when by official policy or by official negligence – we allow, confuse or encourage our soldiers to forget that best sense of ourselves, our greatest strength – that we are different and better than our enemies; that we fight for an idea – not a tribe, not a land, not a king, not a twisted interpretation of an ancient religion – but for an idea that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights.
I have been asked before where did the brave men I was privileged to serve with in Vietnam draw the strength to resist to the best of their ability the cruelties inflicted on them by our enemies. Well, we drew strength from our faith in each other, from our faith in God, and from our faith in our country. Our enemies didn’t adhere to the Geneva Convention. Many of my comrades were subjected to very cruel, very inhumane and degrading treatment, a few of them even unto death. But everyone of us knew, every single one of us knew and took great strength from the belief that we were different from our enemies, that we were better than them, that we, if the roles were reversed, would not disgrace ourselves by committing or countenancing such mistreatment of them. That faith was indispensable not only to our survival, but to our attempts to return home with honor. Many of the men I served with would have preferred death to such dishonor.
The enemies we fight today hold such liberal notions in contempt, as they hold the international conventions that enshrine them such as the Geneva Conventions and the treaty on torture in contempt. I know that. But we’re better than them, and we are the stronger for our faith. And we will prevail. I submit to my colleagues that it is indispensable to our success in this war that our servicemen and women know that in the discharge of their dangerous responsibilities to their country they are never expected to forget that they are Americans, the valiant defenders of a sacred idea of how nations should govern their own affairs and their relations with others – even our enemies.
Those who return to us and those who give their lives for us are entitled to that honor. And those of us who have given them this onerous duty are obliged by our history, and by the sacrifices – the many terrible sacrifices -- that have been made in our defense – we are obliged to make clear to them that they need not risk their or their country’s honor to prevail; that they are always, always – through the violence, chaos and heartache of war, through deprivation and cruelty and loss – they are always, always Americans, and different, better, and stronger than those who would destroy us.
God bless them as he has blessed us with their service.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Congressman Kline had a chance to show who he really represent — his Minnesota constituents or the oil industry. During debate on the Energy Bill (HR-6), a motion was offered by Representative Lois Capps of California that would removed a controversial polluter immunity provision from the energy bill that would let oil companies off the hook for contaminating over 1,800 drinking water systems across the USA with a foul smelling and tasting gasoline additive, MTBE.
This vote was a no-brainer. The MTBE provision benefits a handful of BIG companies at the expense of millions of Americans nationwide whose water supplies are contaminated with MTBE, sometimes to the point of being totally undrinkable. In some cases the extremely high cleanup cost will be borne by the Congressional Districts’ taxpayers. In other words you and me!
According to industry documents, assembled at http://www.ewg.org/reports/withknowledge/, MTBE was a refinery waste product that Big Oil representatives found a way to make profitable. MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) was not a substance most people knew much about, or cared much about - until it started showing up in their drinking water. And it has been showing up a lot in recent years, both in private wells and in public water supplies. Oil companies knew that MTBE is an especially slick chemical that would leak from storage tanks and pollute water supplies, but they lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use it as an additive in gasoline. This is key to this issue...oil companies were not forced to adopt MTBE as a gasoline additive. And in fact they instead lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for permission to use it anyway. Today, Big Oil seeks exemption from liability by claiming their hand was forced.
According to some estimates, MTBE contamination exists in water supplies used by at least 15 million people in 15,000 U.S. communities, schools and businesses. A nationwide study by the U.S. Geological Survey has found MTBE in 86 percent of wells tested in industrial areas, 31 percent in commercial areas and 23 percent in residential areas. The cost of cleanup and containment is estimated at $29 billion.
Reps. Tom Delay and Joe Barton insisted on a provision in the Energy Bill (H.R. 6) that would make taxpayers, not big oil companies, pay to clean it up. The DeLay-Barton provision would immunize oil companies against dozens of defective product lawsuits brought by community water systems after September 5, 2003.
So guess how Kline voted? Did he side with Rep Capps’ motion to strike Tom DeLay’s MTBE polluter immunity provision from the Energy Bill. Did he stand firm against the corruption of Delay and Big Oil Companies? Did he vote in favor of the health and safety of his community?
Nope. Congressman Kline voted for the DeLay/Barton shield for oil companies. He rather Minnesotan’s citizens pay then the companies that polluted our drinking water.Congressman Kline voted in favor of lawsuit immunity for these drinking water polluters—and against the interests of his own constituents and thousands of communities nationwide. He betrayed the health of all CD2 community members in lieu of his friendship with Delay and Big Oil.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Monday, September 26, 2005
We know DeKline can follow, but a true leader would find the truth and support it in lieu of lies. The WMD lie got us into the Iraq war, and lies keep us there. It's a true Patriots responsibility to find the truth and tell it. Instead Mr. Kline is the Bush Administration's 'Yes Man'.
Mr. Kline, it's time to be a true Patriot and show some leadership. A Patriot would stand up to represent average Americans and tell the truth about the Iraq war. Support your country instead of a far right wing neocon idealogy that is costing our children their future.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
“Over the past few months, I have been in contact with Northwest Airlines CEO Doug Steenland and know of his efforts to resolve the company's financial woes. I will continue to work with Northwest to determine the most effective solution for their employees and retirees. I have also shared my concerns with Treasury Secretary John Snow and requested his assistance in addressing the specific needs of Northwest Airlines.”
Is it just me or does Mr. Kline emphasis helping NW Airlines and meeting their needs over…oh let’s say…the mechanics or pilots or everydammday joe airline worker?
Kline should be working for pay equity and benefits for the modest everyday NWA workers…like the NWA striking mechanics. He should be talking to the people that get up every morning, eat cereal and get the kids off to school then go to work for a living wage, an average wage, a middle income wage, a wage that most of ‘us’ make verses multi-millionaire NWA CEO Steenland. Which one represents the average population in Congressional District 2? As an elected official Congressman Kline is charged with looking out for our interests, the people who elected him and not the profiteering elitist interests of a BIG Corporation.
What’s that phase... thieves working together or foxes guarding the chicken coop! What really is shocking is that Congressman Kline brags in a newsletter that he’s in contact with Steenland and seems to defend him in his role at NWA. A role, I might add, that has seen more than a fair amount of NWA positions in the last 4 years OUTsourced to foreign countries.
A Tale of Two NWA Workers
The average NWA striking mechanic made $60,000 a year.
That’s above average but certainly not an obscene amount of money to raise a family.
Naturally there’s a benefit package that goes with each employee, such as...health care, retirement pension…so we’ll round up their yearly salary to the grand total of $70,000 a year. Of course, Mr. Steenland wants them to take a 25% pay cut, defer their retirement pension, and allow over 50% of their positions to be OUTsourced. But that's another story....
Compare that with what Kline’s talking pal and CEO Steenland made in 2004:
• Salary $472,649
• Short term comp $71,040
• Other Long term comp $3,108,575
That’s a grand total of $4,421,480 (or 4 million plus or an obscene amount of money!)
Oops, I forgot his stock options…
• Unexercised market value $241,799
• Unexercisable market value $725,390
That’s a total of $967,189
NWA paid CEO Mr. Steenland in 2004…. 4.4 million!
Not bad considering that NWA has NOT turned a profit since he’s been CEO. And just this week, NWA filed bankruptcy.
But not to worry, a day before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, (a right to bankruptcy that John Kline voted to eliminated for average Americans but not for BIG Business)Northwest Airlines Corp. inked a one-year deal with Steenland to prevent him from taking a job at another airline.
The new deal keeps Steenland's base salary and incentive compensation, which were reduced as part of a cost-cutting program last December. Steenland's salary of $675,000 was cut to $573,750 as part of a deal that trimmed management salaries as well as pay for Northwest pilots. Still, Steenland's base salary and incentive compensation packages remain unchanged. And given the amount he made in 2004…well 2005 should be more than okay for Dougie. But the future is not as shiny for other NWA workers.
Average Worker Facing Possible Loss
Northwest Airlines' move to bankruptcy court came as unsettling news for Linda Harris of Niceville, Florida, a former Northwest flight attendant. Her husband is a retired Northwest pilot, and their family lives on his monthly pension checks.
Harris said she's worried about the possibility of losing income and insurance as Northwest reorganizes in bankruptcy.
"They will look at people like us who retired with a good salary, who have medical insurance, who earned all these things," says Harris. "And they do whatever they can to take advantage of any monetary obligations they have in order to survive."
I guess it takes one to know one…so go ahead Mr. Kline, keep talking with your pal Steenland and keep furthering the cause of BIG CORPORATIONS like NWA over everyday American workers. But don’t be too surprised when the everyday working joe votes you out on your elitist derrière.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
from Minnesota Politics…
Saturday, September 17, 2005
John Kline's priorities
John Kline wants to put Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill.
Let's see. Massive deficits that are only going to increase with the reconstruction of New Orleans and Bush's insistence that once again, an emergency is no time to raise taxes, FEMA's problems, the ever-present threat of terrorism, high gas prices...and this is what you are working on?
As if we needed more reason to get rid of him next year.
posted by MN Politics Guru @ 16:45
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Kline told the Star Tribune:
additional deficit spending is unavoidable, "making it all the more critical to continue the pro-growth policies which have resulted in the nearly $100 billion reduction in the federal deficit over the past year."
Of course that "deficit reduction" is mostly smoke and mirrors since it doesn't take into account the continuing cost of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq.
When you spend money you have three choices. You can pay me now. You can pay me later (plus interest) or you can go bankrupt.
Our Federal government really doesn't have the bankruptcy option, so by continuing deficit spending, John Kline is putting off paying the bill. And when that debt (and the accumulated interest) comes due, the ones who will pay will be the next generation.
We need a responsible Representitive in Congress. Not one that shirks responsibility.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
From the St. Paul Pioneer Press editorial page
Politicians like Sen. Norm Coleman and Rep. John Kline, who have been President Bush's supporters and cheerleaders, should take a look at where the policies of the far right have led us. The pattern of warped priorities, short-sighted decisions and inept management that have characterized the Bush administration are now on full display in New Orleans and the Gulf states.
This president, who so loudly touts "homeland security," slashed millions of dollars from New Orleans levee rebuilding projects, sent 35 percent of Louisiana's National Guard to Iraq and was numbingly slow in his response to the unfolding tragedy after Katrina struck. The people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are the latest victims of Team Bush. Who's next?
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
It marks the fourth straight increase in the government's annual poverty measure. At the same time while household income remained flat, the number of people without health insurance edged up by about 800,000 to 45.8 million people. Overall, the nation's poverty rate rose to 12.7 percent of the population last year. Of the 37 million living below the poverty level, close to a third were children.
More to the point, since Bush/Kline have been in office the number of poor Americans have grown each year ...coincidence? I don't think so...the facts speak for themselves.
Given the increase rise in poverty, and our recent painful reminders of what poverty looks like by the daily coverage of the Gulf Coast victims, and the gross failure of the Bush administration to invest in our own infrastructure, you would think the US Senate wouldn't vote to permanently abolish the federal estate tax...the only tax on large inheritances of wealth.
Still the Republican's can't be bothered to protect our country's poor. Instead the GOP wants to pass a trillion dollar tax break for billionaires! The size of our county's current deficit alone should make abolishing the federal estate tax a criminal offense. How many more cuts and rebates to the wealthy can we heap on the backs of the poor before they completely break?
There's no clearer evidence of the cost of such cuts than the devastations brought on by numerous slashes to programs meant to prepare and plan for emergencies. The poor planning and the shameful federal response following Hurricane Katrina are just symptoms of these deep cuts. Add in the current lack of funding for education, for early childhood learning, for medical coverage, for the deteriorating infrastructure, for our inadequate community transportation...et al... and our country is in deep trouble. What was once first rate is now third world.
The progressive estate tax is paid only by multi-millionaires and billionaires. Currently, the first 1.5 million is exempt (3 for couples) and by 2009 that raises to 3.5 million (7 for couples). We're talking wealthy....and not necessarily working wealth...it is, after all, an inheritance.
Some more reasons for needing this fair and progressive tax on the wealthy ...
The number of people without health insurance coverage grew from 45 million to 45.8 million last year.Charles Nelson, an assistant division chief at the Census Bureau, said the percentage of uninsured remained steady because of an "increase in government coverage, notably Medicaid and the state children's health insurance program that offset a decline in employment-based coverage."
There was a great article on the TomPaine website today that detailed what services the estate tax could fund - healthcare for children in poverty was about 22 million children.
It's time to take care of America's citizens, all of them, not just the wealthy. We need to return to the values that made this country great. Where all the people were treated with dignity and respect regardless of their bank account. Where the tax responsibility fell evenly across the social economic class instead of exempting those most able to carry the responsibility. Call Kline today and tell him it's time for everyone to pay their fair including the wealthy. When it comes time for a vote, will Kline support you or his wealthy friends?
Friday, August 26, 2005
On the show, Kline fessed up that the Bush administration had made several tactical and strategic errors in Iraq (such as giving Iraqis weapons and not really training them). But he said that doesn't matter now because we're in Iraq and we need to "support the troops". He also DeKlined to say the U.S. should send more troops to secure the country... even after Jack Rice pointed out that as soon as the U.S. moves troops into an area, the enemy just moves someplace else. Kline said the U.S. Military is killing large numbers of the enemy, it just doesn't get reported in the media. He also denied that the U.S. invasion of Iraq is helping recruit more terrorists. Jack Rice, who is a former CIA agent, was pretty skeptical of that statement.
So John Kline admits the Bush administration which he supports 98% of the time with his votes has messed things up, but shouldn't do anything different now to get us out of this mess.
What do psychiatrists call it when you keep doing the same thing, but somehow expecting a different result? Insanity!
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Mr. Kline went on to say, “There are those who may have debated the U.S. role in this conflict, but now is the time to rise above divisive partisanship and send one clear message to the men and women of our armed forces. Our message is one of gratitude for what they have done and will continue to do to advance the cause of peace and protect national security. Our prayer is one for fortitude that they can persevere throughout the battle, and return safely to their families and loved ones. We commend our troops for their service as we pray for their safety.”
While Kline (like Bush) speaks pretty words, they lack substances. Our troops need more than prayers for their safety and fortitude. What our troops needed (and still do) is support and equipment to protect them. When Kline voted to send our troops into harms way, he should have also voted to make sure they were adequately armored and protected.
Many of America's 1,800 dead and 14,000 wounded were killed because they were riding in unarmored or lightly armored vehicles that are totally inappropriate to the nature of the war in Iraq. Many of the US troop families had to purchase their own loved one's body armor as our government was unable to adequately equip them. Tens of thousands of troops arrived in Iraq to find that with danger around every corner there wasn't enough body armor to protect them.
Acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee testified before Congress that US forces were "not prepared" for the present conflict in Iraq and they didn't have "the preparation and hardware they needed" to fight as effectively as they could. "I also regret that we were not more farsighted here. We simply were not prepared for that kind of a counterinsurgency that attacked our convoys and our soldiers in the rear, as it has proven to be,” stated Brownlee.
This while the heaviest and deadliest divisions in the world's best Army were being ordered to leave most of their best equipment - the M1A2 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles - parked at their home bases in orderly ranks. The crews of these vehicles were ordered to abandon them and become infantry to patrol the most dangerous streets and roads in the world in unarmored Humvees. These are the same unarmored Humvees that fall victim daily to roadside bombs and small-arms fire. Their crews also are falling victim to the greed of our leaders who haven’t ensured that they were protected adequately.
Sure John Kline speaks of ‘operation enduring freedom’ but instead it’s really ‘operation enduring fear’. The fear that comes from fighting a war while being totally unprepared and inadequately equipped by our government.
This administration (Bush et al...Kline) waited through months after months of ambushes before they started manufacturing armored kits. Still today many Humvees in Iraq are protected by make shift armory that the troops have inserted and welded onto them.
The men and women engaged in this struggle as Kline stated "do face a difficult challenge". A challenged made worse by the complete lack of regard for their welfare as demostrated by the inadequate equipment and lack of protection provided to them in doing their job. Instead of words, prayers or resolutions, John Kline should have been providing armored protection and ensuring adequate support.
At $5 billion a month for this war -most of it siphoned away and sucked up by private contractors - we can't send our soldiers and Marines to war with the best equipment in the world - the equipment we already own and know how to use to great effect. Since when does it make sense to send our people into harm’s way without adequate support? I guess that decision was made at the same time we were told the decision to go to war was based on the missing WMD. In other words, lies all around.
If Mr. Kline wanted to send 'one clear message' then he should have provided for the safety of our service men and women instead of allowing them to go into war without adequate protection.
Now tell me Mr. Kline how you are going to do everything you can, spend whatever it takes, to give our sons and daughters what they need to fight and survive and prevail even in a war that makes no sense. Tell me you can at least do that. Tell me that you made some serious mistakes, Congressman John Kline, but that you are willing to do anything to correct those mistakes, straighten the record, and protect our troops.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
The Christian Coalition’s Five-Fold Mission:
1. Represent the pro-family point of view before local councils, school boards, state legislatures, and Congress
2. Speak out in the public arena and in the media
3. Train leaders for effective social and political action
4. Inform pro-family voters about timely issues and legislation
5. Protest anti-Christian bigotry and defend the rights of people of faith.
I’m assuming number 6 is:
6. Kill anyone that stands in our way.
Now there’s a good pro-family point of view! BTW, the Christian Coalition rated Congressman Kline 92%.
Friday, August 19, 2005
The Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment report states that since the last economic peak in March 2001, the only group whose employment rates have grown are the least-educated workers - those who failed to complete high school - which are up by 2.7 percentage points. This compares to the overall rate, which is still down by 1.5 points.
High school graduates employed remains down by 1.5 points, those with some college but no degree is down 2.9 points, and those with college degrees is down 1.8 point.
What this means is we are bursting at the seams with unemployed computer engineers and well-educated professionals who are now displaced by outsourcing and H-1B visas. During Bush's entire first term, there was a net loss of American private sector jobs. Today there are 760,000 fewer private sector jobs in the US economy than when Bush was first inaugurated in January 2001
Manufacturing is also losing ground… even though July's losses were slight (employment in the sector was only down 4,000, but production-worker employment was off by 10,000, suggesting larger losses among blue-collar workers). It is widely recognized that manufacturing is in the midst of a long-term structural decline as opposed to a strictly cyclical slump. The increase in the magnitude of job loss in the sector is quite dramatic and, given the importance of the sector to both living standards and innovation, our government should be fighting the war of lost jobs instead of the war in Iraq.
The loss of higher end US jobs to India and China is having a real impact on our security unlike the weapons of mass delusion. The only jobs that Kline and the Bush administration have created has been for domestic services. In other words, do you want ketchup with those fries? working poor jobs!
Until recent years, American companies employed Americans to produce the goods that Americans consumed. Employment supported sales, and sales supported employment. No more. The shortsighted policy of the current administration (that would be Bush with John Kline!) in moving US jobs abroad are destroying the American markets and destroying Americas financial security.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reported on August 5 that jobseekers are competing for fewer employment opportunities compared to last year. Job vacancies in the state were down by 9.9 percent in second quarter 2005 from one year ago. This means that there were 5.0 job vacancies for every 10 unemployed people. So not only do you have only lower end jobs with openings, you also have to compete with more over experienced applicants.
Additionally only 14% of Minnesota firms expect to increase their employment levels in the next six months. That’s a marked decline in the numbers projected in prior years. If people are feeling vulnerable to global economic conditions and a sense that they lack clout in commanding a highter wage, it’s because that’s exactly what has happened in todays labor market.
A study released this month by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) focuses on "unprecedented" declines in the workforce in the wake of the 2001 recession that continues even now. Job growth in this economic recovery has been substantially slower than previous recoveries. Including a budget deficit of $308 billion during the first 10 months of fiscal year 2005.
John Kline doesn’t present all the facts on the current economy because it not good news. All the facts speak for themselves, America and it’s job market is deklining under Kline.
Friday, August 12, 2005
(with information he forgot to include in red)
The most recent report from the U.S. Labor Department revealed more encouraging news about the ongoing job creation occurring throughout the United States. Another 200,000 jobs were created in July (the vast majority of them in the domestic service sector including 30,000 jobs bartending or waiting on tables) - bringing the total jobs created over the past year to 2 million.
More Americans have jobs today than at any other time in history. (Could that be because we have more people than anytime in history? That might also explain why we "own more homes" than any time in history or "produce more fecal matter" than any time in history) Over the past two decades the U.S. has created more than 40 million jobs. (Most of those jobs were created during the Clinton administration) This is more than twice the number of jobs created in Europe and Japan combined - hardly the "jobless recovery" bemoaned by partisans just last year. (Job wise we're now treading water because of new grads entering the market and losing ground on wages vs. inflation)
In the past 24 months 3.5 million more Americans have found work. Every single job that was lost during the bursting of the technology bubble and stock-market collapse of 2000-2001 has been matched by a new job - often in a new industry (I'm sorry, that's an outright lie.) . A unique feature of the U.S. economy is that Americans move in and out of jobs at a rapid and persistent pace. (Especially if you're a bartender or waitress) This is the key to America's consistent job creation and a reason to be optimistic about continued economic growth. (Please put money in the tip jar so I can send my kids to college so they can get an engineering degree and then wait tables)
They've all been paid employees of the Center Of The American Experiment.
Notably, John Kline was an Executive Vice President of the group, giving him a job inbetween the times he ran unsuccessfully against Bill Luther for Congress.
The Star Tribune reports:
The center has its share of moderate and liberal critics, but few have been as doggedly watchful as Rob Levine, a Twin Cities writer and founder of the media watchdog website cursor.org. Levine has written several detailed critiques arguing that the center is a poorly disguised arm of the Republican Party and that it is improperly functioning as a 501(c)(3) organization, which allows donors to get tax deductions.
"The center is part of a huge, well-funded national movement pursuing the interests of corporations and inherited wealth, and they have a natural bottomless pool of capital to draw from," Levine said.
The center was one of the first state-based conservative think tanks and it has been a model for others. Now all but a half-dozen states have think tanks linked to a national group called the State Policy Network, based in Virginia.
The center purports to be a serious nonpartisan policy analyst but invariably supports conservative dogma ranging from school choice to privatizing Social Security, Levine contends, and says the media too often parrot the center's propaganda because it's packaged in a sophisticated wrapper.
"The CAE has played its role perfectly by inviting dozens of the [conservative] movement's political, ideological and media figures to speak. Often, these speakers have their voices amplified, without rebuttal, by media outlets such as public television and radio, and local newspapers," Levine wrote on the website mediatransparency.org.
Rob Levine, a longtime critic of the center, contends that it's an arm of the Republican Party and shouldn't have nonprofit status, which lets donors take tax deductions. Even though it portrays its work as nonpartisan policy analysis, the organization reliably supports orthodox conservative positions such as school choice and Social Security privatization, he added.
"The center is part of a huge, well-funded national movement pursuing the interests of corporations and inherited wealth, and they have a natural bottomless pool of capital to draw from,'' said Levine, a Twin Cities writer who founded the media watchdog web site cursor.org.
The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.
As this weekend is the 70th anniversity of Social Security, it seemed fitting to talk about Kline's dismal record in supporting seniors and Social Security.
John Kline advocates having individually controlled retirement investment accounts (which implies investment in the Stock Market, Bond Market, and Money market). Basically John Kline is supporting Wall Street Financers over working Minnesotans, seniors and the disabled.
Why Privatization doesn’t work:
The privatization plan threatens workers and families now receiving disability payments.
It doesn’t resolve Social Security’s financing problems and in fact is projected to make them worse.
What you will receive will be dependent on if the market is up or down when you retire. This makes it more like a game of chance or gambling verse the current stable and established social security guidelines.
All the other countries that have done privatization have gotten disappointing and failing results.
The weakest among us, minorities and women stand to lose the most under privatization.
It would create a new government bureaucracy that cost more to substain that the current system.
There is nothing to hedge the new program against future inflation.
With minor changes the current program can meet all the future needs of our aging population.
Why Kline rates a ZERO:
John Kline is a lapdog. When there is a choice between serving Minnesotans or the man in the oval office, Rep. John Kline’s record speaks for itself. John Kline looks out for the interests of big business and Wall Street over Minnesotans.
Brokerage houses, banks, and mutual funds have been very active in the campaign to privatize Social Security. Small wonder, since they stand to gain enormous fees if billions of dollars are shifted each year from Social Security payments into accounts under Wall Street management. Of course, those fees must come from somewhere, namely from the balances in individual accounts. So is it really a surprise when one of the largest contributers to Kline in 2004 was Voyager Financial Services!
Among the one hundred best stock mutual funds, management fees range from 0.2 percent per year to 1.4 percent of the asset value of an account. The average is near the high end of that range, however, and many mutual funds charge substantially more. Smaller accounts require proportionately larger management fees because many costs such as gathering and mailing out information do not depend on account size. Indeed, most mutual funds actively discourage small accounts by setting a minimum opening deposit of $1,000 to $3,000.
Experience in the United Kingdom offers a warning about what the future could bring regarding management costs. Workers there have been allowed to open private accounts starting in 1988, since which time management fees and marketing costs among financial intermediaries have eaten up an average of 43 percent of the return on investment.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
The current Bush administration is trying to endanger if not totally dismantle Social Security. Retirees should receive the benefits they were promised. And they should recieve social security without heaping trillions onto our national debt or trying their retirements to the ups and DOWNS of wall street.
Our representatives should fight for genuine pension reform that protects working families from future abuse. A representative to work on new ways to help hard-working Americans create retirement savings and stand up to those special interests that want to gut the program for a quick profit. Unfortunately,our Representative John Kline won't be working to ensure our retirement. As a lapdog to the Bush Administration, 95% of the time with Bush!, John Kline will be voting to eliminate social security.
Want proof of John Kline's Social Security flip flop to 'stay the course' with those extremist wanting to dismantle social security? It was caught on tape!
Standing on both sides of the fence?
Flip: 2002 Ad "John Kline will protect Social Security. No cuts in benefits. No change in the retirement age, period."
Flop: 2004 "I very much agree that for young workers, some system of personal accounts, so they can build a personal nest egg, is a central component to make sure that Social Security is there for our kids and grandparents,"
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, HOME Line and the Minnesota Federal Housing Action Coalition are hosting a public meeting with Congressman Kline at 11 a.m., Tuesday August 30, at Dakota Woodlands, 3430 Wescott Woodlands, Eagan.
Constituents will present information about federal housing policy including public housing, Section 8 and GSE regulation policy. The event is open to the public. For more information go to http://www.housingminnesota.org/events.cfm?PageID=6 or contact Joanna Dornfeld at (651) 649-1710 ext. 108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you there.
(651) 649-1710 ext. 108
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Friday, August 05, 2005
The Children's Defense Fund Give Kennedy and Kline scores of ZERO on legislation benefiting kids!
Except for election day, our elected officials don't often get a mid-term report card on their work. That's why the Children's Defense Fund Action Council Congressional Scorecard is so important.
It looks at how politicians vote on children's issues, like pre-school funding, health care, school lunches, and a wide variety of similar issues that can have a dramatic impact on the success or failure of our children's preparation for adulthood.
The Scorecard is also an indication of who influences our elected officials... special interests and corporate interests... or we the PEOPLE... we the VOTERS... we the TAXPAYERS...we the working Minnesota PARENTS.
The State of
Who were the leaders and the losers on children's issues for
The higher the score, the more votes for children's interests... the lower the score, the more votes against children:
92% Senator Mark Dayton (D)
92% Congressman Martin Sabo (D)
92% Congresswoman Betty McCullom (D)
85% Congressman James Oberstar (D)
46% Congressman Collin Peterson (D)
38% Senator Norm Coleman (R)
23% Congressman Jim Ramstad (R)
0% Congressman Mark Kennedy (R)
0% Congressman John Kline (R)
0% Congressman Gil Gutneckt (R)
For more information see the Children's Defense Fund website at www.cdfactioncouncil.org
Kline gets failing grades in looking out for the interests and welfare of our Minnesota children! Now it's time for us to flunk Kline out of congress.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
John Kline voted YES on the Energy Policy Act of 2005 – and thereby failed to deliver a responsible energy policy to
The bill fails to reduce dependence on Saudi Arabian oil and amounts to giving taxpayers money to large energy companies, including wealthy oil giants reaping record profits with crude oil near $60 a barrel and gasoline averaging well over $2 a gallon.
John Kline sided with these big oil companies such as Exxon over working Minnesotans who are paying more and more for a gallon of gas to get to work. Instead of working on an energy bill that encourages alternative fuel sources and energy conservation, John Kline voted for a bill which offers billions in tax breaks to wealth corporations of which nearly 9 billion is earmarked for oil and gas production, electricity reliability and coal pollution projects.
While we pay more and more for gas and taxes John Kline passes a bill that will increase our burden. This bill is rift with royalty relief, tax breaks, and loan guarantees for energy companies even as they report the largest quarterly profits of any corporations in the history of the
Isn’t it time to send John Kline the message that Minnesotans deserve the same or better than the wealthy oil companies? John Kline’s support of this bill was morally wrong. It shows his blind support of the Bush Administration instead of believing in the values of the working Minnesotans who elected him.
This blog will detail the great divide between what Kline does, and what his constituents in Minnesota Congressional District 2 believe in, want and do.