Thursday, October 20, 2005

More evidence Kline values corporations over workers

You've probably heard that sub-market wages are being paid to people doing the hard work of cleaning up from hurricane Katrina while their employers make a huge profit. What you may not have heard is Rep. John Kline is partially responsible for it. Here's the story from the Star Tribune:
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!

Kline "afraid of voters" according Secretary of State candidate

MN Secretary of State candidate Mark Ritchie points out that Rep. John Kline is trying to limit voter registration by sneaking a horrible ammendment into an affordable housing bill.

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.

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".

Kline: Profit and Pollution over American Safety and Security!

Just two months ago, John Kline voted yes to pass a dirty, dangerous energy bill that did nothing to help consumers at the pump but did help increase profits for big oil companies with record earnings. Now, under the guise of hurricane relief, Congress compiled and passed an industry-wish list of environmental rollbacks to key Clean Air Act protections in the guise of a new energy bill..and John Kline voted YES for this bill at the risk of our safety and security to enable oil companies even larger profits!

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

Ask Kline to Return Delay's Dirty Money

Two weeks ago, the Republicans in Congress were offered an opportunity. The American people were watching, and they had a chance to show that middle-class families are more important than their twice indicted and three-times admonished Republican House Leader. Only three out of more than 200 Republicans who accepted DeLay's influence peddling money took this opportunity to return the money and declare their independence. That number still stands at... three.

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.
http://whatcounts.com/t?ctl=F6BBDE:2901436

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
y.

Women Rights Suffer but Kline Brags!

Kline loves using the word freedom and spinning the GOP lies. Unfortunately while he paints a rosy lie, women are suffering.

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

The Speech We Will Never Hear From Kline

Yesterday the McCain amendment barring cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of military detainees by any American personnel anywhere in the world passed by 90 votes to 9. The Senate has clearly rebuked the President on this issue. The House military bill doesn't have it. Will John Kline lead the way in seeing that this amendment makes it into the final bill? Below is the McCain speech. I bet we'll never hear this speech from Kline.

Mr. President, war is an awful business. I know that. I don’t think I’m na├»ve 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

Kline sides with Delay (sigh) and Big Oil Companies (again!)

Kline sided with Ethically-Challenged Delay and Big Oil over his Constituents’ Desire for Clean Drinking Water.

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.