Friday, June 30, 2006

Bu$h's Spin-Master John Kline

Beside having an overall voting record that supports Bu$h 94% of the time, Kline is now emulating Mr. Bu$h by mixing half baked logic with 'half truths'. Recently, John ‘Kline’s Corner’ newsletter cited ‘Minnesota’s low unemployment rate’. Unfortunately, Kline left out a few more of the pertinent details such as….
“… jobless rate declined primarily because people gave up trying to find a job, not because people found work. Steve Hine, research director for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, says 2,500 people found work from April to May. But he says more than 9,000 stopped looking for work altogether during the same time period. He says that group is the bigger factor in last month's declining jobless rate.

"The number of unemployed people can diminish because unemployed people are finding work or because unemployed people are dropping out of the labor force. On the face of it, these numbers look like it's about a 3-to-1 ratio here in terms of labor force dropouts as opposed to those finding work," according to Hine." -MPR

Spin-master Kline also doesn’t mention how many higher paying jobs in Minnesota have now been replaced with lower paying service positions. In Minnesota this chart really says it all:

John Kline and the rest of Bu$h's corrupted GOP leadership keep saying the economy is cruising along despite wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a "housing bubble", massive high energy prices, rising health-care costs, higher gas prices, record high budget and trade deficits, lack of an international policy, and widespread corporate outsourcing. The voters know better.

Kline has betrayed America's middle class and their family values. Ask John Kline to stop ‘spinning’ statistics. Or better yet vote for a change.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Corruption On Target With John Kline

When I think of Target I see red…and it’s not their marketing of a red target icon…it’s the red of the ‘culture of corruption’ that so often marks the Republicans and their supporters.

So far in 2006, Congressman John Kline (MN R) has received $46,100.00 from Target. Add to that sum $12,600 from Target’s CEO, Robert Ulrich and his immediate family members. Then also look at the money Ulrich has given to numerous PACs that support republicans like John Kline.

All in all, Target has been very good to John Kline and the republicans.
Which makes me wonder, Are they as good to all of Minnesota?

Target Corporation has listed on their website ‘targeting the community and being a ‘good’ corporate citizen in Minnesota. They say ‘From national partnerships to local initiatives to our own programs, Target is committed to making our communities better places to live’.

That’s a super nice Minnesota value, but here’s some disturbing facts:

  1. Target spends more to “publicize” their donations then they actually give to charities. Even their donations come out of their advertising funds according to the filing with the NYSE.
  2. Target dosn't pay a starting ‘living’ wage. And while giving Targets massive tax breaks, taxpayers often then pick up health insurance and food stamp needs for their employees. A survey by the UFCW found that starting wages are similar to Wal-Marts -- possibly higher overall at Wal-Marts – and that Target benefits packages are often harder to qualify for and less comprehensive.
  3. By contrast, according to Forbes, Target CEO Robert Ulrich, earn $23.1 million in 2005, making him the second-highest paid CEO in the retail sector. That’s more than 1300 times as much a many Target workers!
  4. Much of Target’s merchandise, like Wal-Mart, is from foreign countries like India, Vietnam, Cambodia and Mexico, where they pay the very low prevailing wage in sweatshop like factories. And many tasks and functions are outsourced, again, to foreign countries.
  5. Target allows pharmacists to choose not to fill requests for emergency contraception, also known as Plan B, if it is against their religious beliefs

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Robert Ulrich, the SUPER RICH CEO of a Teflon Target (Star Tribune May 22, 2005), supports and is supported by John Kline. Kline has voted to strip overtime protection from millions of workers. Kline's recent vote to protect the heirs to the wealthiest 1 % of Americans by voting for the current estate tax is one more example that helps the super rich but not most Minnesotans.

Target -- thanks to its hip advertising campaigns and its longtime contributions to a variety of civic and cultural causes -- is seen as a model corporate citizen and benevolent employer. Just as John Kline –thanks to his military service is seen as a strong leader. Both fall in the face of the truth.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Kline-All Talk No Substance!

Mr. Kline would like you to know he's tough on border protection and immigration. He even sent out a glossy oversized flyer to constituents to let them know he'll protect their borders with their money (including the cost of the glossy flyers!)... Problem is, the facts don't support his promises.

Suddenly, after years of neglect, Kline and Bu$h are giving speech after speech about the importance of border security – but the question remains: where have they been and what have they done for the past four and a half years?

Typical of what Republicans are now saying about border security is the following statement from Kline:

"I have long called for allowing troops to help secure our borders, and I applaud the president for finally recognizing this need." (Star Tribune, 5/16/2006).

Unfortunately, the Republican rhetoric like Kline's doesn’t match the Republican record of neglect and underfunding.

Under Bu$h & Kline's leadership, from 9/11 through April 2006, only 1,641 new Border Patrol agents had been hired, which is less than a 17 percent increase in four and a half years....

Between 1999 and 2003, worksite [immigration] enforcement operations were scaled back bigtime...a 95 percent decrease! by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which subsequently was merged into the Homeland Security Department.

In 1999, the United States initiated fines against 417 companies. In 2004, it issued fine notices to three (3)!

more here

Monday, June 19, 2006

Kline: War Cheerleader, Not A Minnesota Leader

Congressman John Kline (R-MN), recently returning from a weekend visit to Iraq said he never heard a shot fired or an explosion. "You would think based on media reports that it's a raging gun battle. Obviously there is still fighting going on, but things are not nearly as bad as the media makes people believe."

Hmmm...a little 'fighting going on' with 2,500 dead and 18,ooo American troops wounded, and with Iraq's unofficial counts in the hundreds of thousands. And now the Washington Post has a cable, marked "sensitive," that shows the U.S. Embassy in Iraq painting a starkly different portrait from John Kline's visit. For Kline to continue to try and drum up popular support for this war by deceiving the American public about the "grave threat" posed by Iraq's (non-existent) WMD and then linking them to Al Qaeda ties (non-existent) is one thing but it's disgraceful, criminal and unconscionable to continue to send soldiers to kill and be killed in an unwinnable war for the sake of a politically inspired Bu$h agenda fueled by yet more deceit! Among some of the troubling reports:
  • "Personal safety depends on good relations with the 'neighborhood' governments, who barricade streets and ward off outsiders.
  • Iraqi staff at the embassy, beginning in March and picking up in May, report "pervasive" harassment from Islamist and/or militia groups. Cuts in power and rising fuel prices "have diminished the quality of life." Conditions vary but even upscale neighborhoods "have visibly deteriorated" and one of them is now described as a "ghost town."
  • Two of the three female Iraqis in the public affairs office reported stepped-up harassment since mid-May...."some groups are pushing women to cover even their face, a step not taken in Iran even at its most conservative." One of the women is now wearing a full abaya after receiving direct threats.
  • It has also become "dangerous" for men to wear shorts in public and "they no longer allow their children to play outside in shorts." People who wear jeans in public have also come under attack.
  • Embassy employees are held in such low esteem their work must remain a secret and they live with constant fear that their cover will be blown. Since April, the "demeanor" of guards in the Green Zone has changed, becoming more "militia-like," and some are now "taunting" embassy personnel or holding up their credentials and saying loudly that they work in the embassy: "Such information is a death sentence if overheard by the wrong people."
  • "More recently, we have begun shredding documents printed out that show local staff surnames. In March, a few staff members approached us to ask what provisions would we make for them if we evacuate."
  • The overall environment is one of "frayed social networks," with frequent actual or perceived insults. None of this is helped by lack of electricity. "One colleague told us he feels 'defeated' by circumstances, citing his example of being unable to help his two-year-old son who has asthma and cannot sleep in stifling heat," which is now reaching 115 degrees.
  • "Another employee tell us that life outside the Green Zone has become 'emotionally draining.' He lives in a mostly Shiite area and claims to attend a funeral 'every evening.'"
    Fuel lines have grown so long that one staffer spent 12 hours in line on his day off. "Employees all confirm that by the last week of May, they were getting one hour of power for every six hours without.....One staff member reported that a friend lives in a building that houses a new minister; within 24 hours of his appointment, her building had city power 24 hours a day."
  • The cable concludes that employees' "personal fears are reinforcing divisive sectarian or ethnic channels, despite talk of reconciliation by officials."

A footnote in one of the 23 sections relates, "An Arab newspaper editor told us he is preparing an extensive survey of ethnic cleansing, which he said is taking place in almost every Iraqi province, as political parties and their militiast are seemingly engaged in tit-for-tat reprisals all over Iraq."

As a 25-year career Marine Corps veteran, Colonel Kline is a good soldier who only follows what the Bu$h agenda lays out, but Kline isn't a soldier on a mission anymore. Minnesotan's elected him to be a leader not a war cheerleader. We want someone who speaks power to truth instead of lies for corruption.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Kline, Fox News, And Big Story Myths

On the June 8 edition of Fox News' The Big Story, host John Gibson falsely claimed that former Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was recently killed in Iraq by American forces, "attacked" and "blew up" the USS Cole in October 2000.

In fact, according to the 9-11 Commission report, the attack on the Cole was an Al Qaeda operation that was "supervised and directed" by Osama bin Laden. The report made no mention of Zarqawi in the operation's planning or execution.

Later in the show, talking with Rep. John Kline (R-MN), Gibson again claimed that "[i]t was Zarqawi who blew up the Cole."

So why didn't Congressman John Kline refute Gibsons false statement? Was it simply to divert attention from the still very much alive bin Laden to Zarqawi? Does Kline believe lying on national TV is okay? Perhaps this was just a prelude to the Republicans trying to shore up support for Bu$h's Iraq war policy this week by planting the seeds of fear, hate and 'Big Story Myths'. Tell me again how Iraq was behind 9/11?

Kline Unwilling To Debate The Iraq War

Yesterday and today Congress orchestrated a very sick game of charades that was politically motivated to support the Bu$h administration’s handling of the Iraq war, while framing those who don’t as weak or against U.S. troops.

Kline, who voted for the sham Iraq resolution in effect re-affirmed support for Bu$h’s failed war policy. Prior to this the Pentagon(aka Rumsfeld) distributed a ’74 -page briefing book ’ filled with ready-made knee jerk responses for any criticism of the war. It brought the level of debate down to the lowest most simplistic, venal and bipartisan terms. Thanks to the Republican majority leader Boehner and John Kline, what could have been a serious debate was reduced to another dog-and-pony show lacking substance and accountability that was designed to do little more than frighten and divide the populace.

Republican Majority leader Boehner also release a Confidential Messaging Memo to Republican house members that called for those opposed to the war to be labeled at ‘weak, sheepish and prone to waver endlessly’, It's highlights called for exploiting 9/11 during any debates on Iraq as well as saying those who don’t support Bu$h’s policies, don’t support our troops. In short, it framed up responses meant to silence instead of encouraging open dialog among our representatives.

The America people deserve an honest and open discussion on the war in Iraq and its costs in human life and the quality of life. To date billions of our tax dollars have gone into the black hole of Iraq instead of our children's education needs, senior medicine or healthcare, and workers transportations needs or gas prices. While Congress has resorted to name calling, in Iraq...more die, more money gets diverted, and more services for Americans get cut.

At this point all claims regarding the war should be examined and looked at independently. Until am open and honest debate is allowed, Congress members are little more than Bu$h puppets in a charade that has resulted in the deaths of thousands. Let’s hope for the sake of all our futures that those responsible are held responsible for their lack of leadership. Come November, we will see.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Coleen on Huffington Post

Coleen recently posted this on the Huffington Post. It is worth re-printing:

My opponent in November's election, two-term Representative John Kline, has a distinguished record of 25 years of service in the Marine Corps. He is justifiably proud of the fact that he rose through the ranks to serve as an aide to both Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, carrying the "football" with our nation's nuclear codes.

Indeed, Kline has consistently campaigned on his military record as his chief qualification for a seat in Congress. Although John Kline's duty now is to serve the people of Minnesota's second congressional district, his allegiance is still to his Commander-in-Chief, carrying water for the Bush administration. Kline is a vocal supporter of each of Bush's signature policies. Tax cuts for the wealthy? Kline never misses a chance to demand the cuts be made permanent. Social Security privatization? Kline has spent more time in Congress supporting privatization than any other single issue. The war in Iraq? Kline suggested it might be time to "finish the job in Iraq" even before the Administration rolled out its plans to invade. And on the rare occasions when Kline's views haven't matched up with Bush's, Kline has been only too happy to change his.

Kline originally opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, saying that the issue was best left to the states. But when the administration turned up the heat on FMA to energize its base for the 2004 elections, Kline voted for it. More recently, Kline came out in support of Bush's plan to put National Guard troops on the U.S.-Mexico border, saying "I have long called for allowing troops to help secure our borders, and I applaud the president for finally recognizing this need." But just a year earlier, Kline had opposed legislation to use troops for border security, proclaiming: "I am afraid that in our eagerness to defend the border, we will call more and more on our men and women in the Armed Forces and put them in a very untenable position where they are poorly trained to do a job that should be done by professional law enforcement officers and taking them away from their primary mission and stretching them ever thinner in their primary duties."

Ordinarily, John Kline would just be a problem for Minnesota's second district. But every vote he casts for the Bush agenda is a national problem. And it recently got worse. For the past few weeks we've heard about the atrocities committed by U.S. Marines against the people of Haditha, Iraq. Two dozen innocent civilians, including a 1-year-old child, were shot at point-blank range and killed. There's compelling evidence that senior officers made an effort to cover up the massacre, first by filing an erroneous report on the incident, and then by failing to conduct an immediate investigation as required by military policy. Congressman and long-time Marine Jack Murtha rightly denounced the coverup, insisting "It goes right up the chain of command". Republican Senator John Warner, former Secretary of the Navy and also a former Marine, also expressed "serious concerns" about the actions of senior officers.

Since Jack Murtha has logged nearly 30 years of service as a Marine and has an established record of hawkishness in Congress, his criticism carries a lot of weight. When the GOP needed a Republican counter to Murtha, they turned to John Kline. Kline has proven to be a great team player in the past, blasting Murtha in 2004 for suggesting we should increase troop presence in Iraq, and blasting him again last fall for advocating withdrawal. As someone who will vigorously oppose any deviation from administration policy, Kline is the perfect man to rebut Murtha's charges of a coverup in Haditha, and he has not disappointed his Commander-in-Chief.

In a recent radio interview, Kline said: ". . . there is no indication that this is broad-based, that there is a high-level coverup, that this was instigated at higher levels, there is nothing at this point that would indicate that at all." Kline further dismissed the suggestion that the administration's deception in selling the war and incompetent handling of it were in any way responsible for the atrocities: "To suggest that it is a policy from the U.S. government that has caused that, I think is a stretch."

Apparently John Kline sees no connection between the actions of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, and the actions of the Marines in Haditha. He refuses to acknowledge that the Bush administration intentionally misled the country and our troops about Iraq, "fixing the facts around" a predetermined policy of war that put our soldiers in harm's way. In particular, Kline still promotes the notion that we invaded Iraq to avenge 9/11, citing the attacks as a primary justification for the need to 'stay the course' in Iraq. Kline has never spoken out against the administration policies of extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention, and abusive interrogations which inspire otherwise peaceful Iraqis to take up arms against our troops --- indeed, he even condemned Amnesty International's report on prisoner abuse, calling it "unfounded".

The Administration has thrown the Geneva Convention out the window, sending our troops a clear signal that the rules don't apply to them. And from John Kline: silence. Under Donald Rumsfeld's guidance, and against our generals' advice, we invaded Iraq with only one-third the troops required, without any thought as to how to secure the postwar peace. After Bush declared 'Mission Accomplished', Rumsfeld disbanded Iraq's military, creating a nation full of angry, well-armed men with time on their hands. And after failing to secure 380 tons of explosives in the post-war aftermath, Rumsfeld insured that insurgents had plenty of raw materials for IEDs. Yet when the Abu Ghraib abuses were revealed and more responsible voices demanded that Rumsfeld resign to be replaced by someone who could give our troops competent leadership, John Kline defended Rumsfeld, insisting he had done a "very good job".

Just three months before the Haditha killings, the city was run by insurgents, carrying out public beheadings and distributing DVDs of the executions for families to show their children. Our Marines were sent into Haditha with little or no training in fighting an insurgency, unable to distinguish between insurgent and civilian, and understandably confused as to how the situation they found themselves in squared with the mission: the Administration's linking of Iraq to Al Qaeda and the "war on terror." To this day, the U.S. can't recruit a home-grown police force in Haditha because Iraqis fear retribution if they cooperate with the U.S. Under the tremendous stress of trying to create order in a country descending into civil war, compounded by extended deployments and seeing their fellow Marines regularly attacked and die, there's no wonder that some soldiers eventually cracked. Retired Army General John Batiste put it bluntly when he said there's "a direct link between Haditha, the national embarrassment of Abu Ghraib . . . with the bad judgment, poor decisions of our Secretary of Defense back in late 2003 and 2004."

John Kline has been briefed on the situation in Haditha, so he knows all of this and more. But instead of siding with the troops and demanding competent leadership, rigorous counter-insurgency training, or even sufficient body armor, he has declared that all responsibility for the Haditha massacre begins and ends with the "two or three Marines" who pulled the trigger. Those Marines do need to be held accountable to the full extent of military justice. But to insist that George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld bear no responsibility for putting our troops in this high-pressure shooting gallery without the necessary tools to succeed is flat out wrong. Abu Ghraib was a great recruiting tool for insurgents and terrorists alike; and now so is Haditha. And a host of less well-publicized incidents feed recruitment in the meantime. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said that U.S. killing of Iraqi civilians "has become common" in Iraq, a view corroborated by many U.S. veterans of the war.

Our troops are the best in the world, but they're also human. And in Iraq they are subject to tremendous stress day after day, month after month, which exacts a substantial toll. These are the conditions in which tragedies like this can and do occur, and these conditions are directly related to Kline, Bush, and the policy set in Washington. The Bush/Kline 'stay the course' strategy in Iraq is wrong strategically, it's wrong morally, and it's wrong for our country. With
almost 2,500 American troops dead, we're killing innocent Iraqis and traumatizing our own troops while spurring on al-Qaeda recruitment, yet John Kline insists it's making us safer. That kind of irresponsible talk doesn't help anyone but George W. Bush.

Co-written by Coleen Rowley, Candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 2nd District and David Bailey, research and communications volunteer for the campaign.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Kline Needs A 'Reality Based' Travel Agent

John Kline (MN - R) has returned from yet another weekend trip to Iraq. Each time Congressman Kline goes into Iraq he comes back with personal stories on how great everything is going. These trips have gone on now for several years with the same bi-line each time Kline returns: We are making amazing progress and will soon be victorious. But the reality of Iraq is much different.

Last time Kline was visiting two things were happening during his visit that he must have missed or forgotten to report:

  1. Iraqi POWs being abused and tortured under Kline's watch.
  2. Civilians being intentionally targeted and killed by our troops in unprovoked attacks while under Kline's watch.

Makes you wonder what will come out after this trip? How can anything but bad things be expected when...

Iran is yet another chapter in a long shameful history of US interventions in other countries' economical and political affairs. We've deferred to a destructive foreign policy that prefers to gain short-term victories based on intimidation rather than long term successes based on diplomacy. John Kline is one of the main leaders of the Iraq failure that continues to result in more deaths and destruction without achieving any specific goals.

Kline has failed to understand what the rest of us already know: 'freedom, libertyy and democracy' don't come at the end of a gun point. It's the policy of this administration and John Kline that has lead us into a war that can't be won and allows for the abuses ands deaths of civilians.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Why Doesn't John Kline Support An Open American Policy Discussion

There's no doubt as one of the Bu$h administration's chief spokesperson, John Kline supports it's policy of war in Iraq. Kline believes this war is a good thing and necessary. So my question is, why won't Kline debate this policy openly on the Congressional floor? Isn't it time for an honest and open discussion on what the war has cost us? Doesn't Kline support a democratic format? Call Kline today and tell him an open debate on Iraq is overdue!

Americans want their sons and daughters home. Children want their mothers and fathers home. The Iraqis want their nation back. Most of the troops think they should leave in the next six months. These are the compelling majority opinions that must be addressed. Facing this is a moral and non-partisan challenge.

But, after more than three years, $300 billion, and the death of over one hundred thousand Iraqis and nearly 2,500 American soldiers, Congress still refuses to debate real alternatives to the President’s stay-the-course policy. It is a policy that over 80% of Iraqis, more than 70% of U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq and a majority of Americans say is a failure.

As a people who seek peace and justice, we have a unique opportunity to demand that Congress stop passing the buck. So far, 122 members of the House of Representatives have signed a ‘discharge petition’ calling for immediate debate and consideration of ALL alternatives to the policy of open-ended occupation of Iraq. All we need is 96 more members to sign the petition for debate to begin. We need your help!

Call John Kline and ask him to sign H.Res. 543
Here are lists of those who have and have not signed including John Kline:

Tell Kline you demand to see a debate with an “open rule,” meaning that any amendments can be introduced, debated, and voted on. Call 202-224-3121 and give the operator your Representative’s name, or go to power search on Congress for the local district office:

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Deklining Morals

Under the Bu$h Administration and Kline's watch, we just keep seeing the bar of what is socially and morally acceptable drop lower and lower.
Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.

Let's Hope We've All Learn!

But despite all this, I have faith most Americans will understand that folks who speak or leak before the investigative system is given a chance to work are nothing but destroyers of morale - opportunists who hurt real people with real families to further their agendas. And to paint all the troops with one broad brush, as happened to an extent in Vietnam, is so very wrong

That's part of a long Laura Armstrong's rant and I can't help but wonder if Powerline would have it apply to John Kline doing this?

Does appear that Kline is speaking out before the investigation is concluded as the Bu$h administrations point person. Yep that’s Kilne… “destroyers of morale - opportunists who hurt real people with real families to further their agendas.”

hat tip to Paul at Powerline. Keep 'em coming!

Friday, June 02, 2006

A Review Of The Current DeKline

If you were born the year before Congressman John Kline(MN R) was elected to office your share of the national debt was $0. Today (Since Kline has been in office) your share has balooned to $27,982.57

Of course that doesn’t include $20,000 in school debt, or the new tax on student income, or the cuts in medical benefits, and the six year high cost of fuel, and the lack of affordable and adequate transportation, and deklining veteran benefits, and homeland security cuts

To put it simply, since Kline has been in office you pay more but get less! Naturally John Kline did give tax cuts for the wealthy.

Whew! Isn’t it time for a change?