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?