Wednesday, April 25, 2007

DeKlining To Open Up, Kline Could Use Some Tips From Klobuchar and Ellison

Congressman John Kline would have us believe that his tightly controlled tele-meetings are open forums but we know they aren't. He can regulate the callers, who speaks, even go so far as determining topics and pre-screening of participants. So the question is, when will Kline do as all other elected officials and meet face-to-face openly and regularly with the people who elected him to office?

Workday Minnesota had something to say about face-to-face open meetings contrasting both Klobuchar's and Ellision's multitude of open forums and face-to-face meetings unlike our own representative Mr. 'Duck and Hide' Kline. Maybe the two DFL freshman officials could give our own Congressman Kline some tips on open dialog?!

Klobuchar's meeting with labor representatives followed two breakfast meetings March 16 and April 13 between Ellison and Minneapolis area unions.

"They actually sought us out," Ledger said. "They want our input."

These meetings stand in contrast to a recent town hall forum hosted by Second District U.S. Congressman John Kline, when labor union members who attended couldn't get their questions answered.

"The difference is the degree to which that was staged versus the open dialogue we had with Amy and Keith," Ledger said, adding "we don't screen the questions."

Friday, April 20, 2007

John 'No Comment' Kline

Kline once again is showing is leadership by his strong and often heard “No Comment”.

John Kline with several terms in office has apparently no opinion about a call for an independent ethics commission to judge wrongdoing by lawmakers. He also has no opinion about the commission replacing the House Ethics Committee....even though John Kline was appointed to the Ethics Committee in January. Kline would even lose oversight duty if the new commission is established. But still, Kline has no opinion other than: “No Comment”. Yes siree...don't want to be on record with an opinion or a comment that might look like he's a leader instead of a Bush puppet.

Compare Kline’s non-leadership role with newly elected Congressman Tim Walz regarding this issue. Mr. Walz is very vocal in saying that an independent ethic commission should replace the House Ethics Committee. As Tim says “I’m uncomfortable with members policing their own members”. People are distrustful of their elected officials and government and Tim Walz is proposing an independent oversight committee to make the process more transparent.

All I can say is it must be great to actually have a Congressperson that gives his opinions and solutions on issues facing Americans, that actually meets with constituents (Walz has in less than 6 months already broken Kline’s 5 year record for face-to-face town meetings), and is truly motivated instead of wrapping himself in the flag and relying on his old military record. Having been in office only a couple of months, Walz's leadership and openness is refreshing compared to Kline's lack of comments and opinions other than to rubberstamp the failed Bush administration and his blind support of the war.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

DeKlining A Draft?

"If you're talking to me in eight or 10 months, and we're not starting to see actual withdrawals, I'll be shocked."- Congressman John Kline , Nov 2005

Since the start of the Iraq war John Kline has told us repeatedly how great things are going in war...through the killing and bombing of American soldiers and civilians, through the torture and humiliation of Iraqi citizens, and through the fraud and stealing by war profiteers like Haliburton. So John Kline telling one more lie like 'We don't need a draft' shouldn't come as a surprise to most of us.

John Kline is on record saying "We do not need a draft", but apparently Pentagon personnel are singing another tune to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Senate Armed Services Committee heard testimony Tuesday that increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps may not resolve severe and growing personnel problems. There was even talk of returning to the draft to fill the ranks. More from the Marinecorps Times.
Beside mentioning how the 'all volunteer force' was never designed for a protracted ground war, it was pointed out that the United States has no reserves if something happens somewhere else (Korea? or even here at home!).

“For the first time since Vietnam, we are caught with no strategic reserve. We simply do not have a strategic fallback position for the crisis that will come inevitably,”
Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, an international relations professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., described what he sees as the “disastrous state” of ground forces, a broken commitment to troops because of broken equipment, missed training and his sense that the 95,000 increase in Army and Marine Corps personnel planned over the next five years isn’t fast enough to provide relief.

So while Kline continues the current Bush administration mantra of 'no draft', ask yourself: Can you believe anything they've said over the last four years? Has any of it been remotely proven true like Bush's 'Mission Accomplished on May 1, 2003'?

Friday, April 13, 2007

BUSH’S WAR CZAR- Is Kline Next?

With the Washington Post’s reporting that three other top former generals have already turned it down, the question must be asked as to how far President Bush will have to go down the ranks. And would he open it up to nominations?

We know you’re desperate, Mr. Bush, to appoint a “War Czar” with stature AND credibility but it’s time to get real. These other generals don’t want “the ulcer.” How about considering a lowly retired lieutenant colonel who got himself a little stature back in the early 1990’s getting his picture taken carrying the “nuclear football” for Ronald Reagan?

We in Minnesota’s 2nd District can all assure you that what John Kline lacks in rank, he makes up for in Gung Ho. Not only did he draft the recent letter to Nancy Pelosi fighting to continue the Iraq War on behalf of his group of other GOP Vietnam veterans in the House—a letter most probably devoid of those nasty facts on the ground in Iraq but full of venom for Jane Fonda and other congressmen veterans who developed more sober assessments of their Vietnam experience.

Not only is retired Lt. Col. Kline one of your most consistent top supporters in the House, legislation wise, somewhere around 95%. Not only did he clap for your “Mission Accomplished” performance but he’s been telling us of your “progress in Iraq” for over four years now. Even if other generals have “fundamental issues” about you not “knowing where the hell (you’re) going,” there’s no doubt that John Kline would follow both you and 5 time draft-deferred VP Cheney right into hell. What other true believer is still defending, with a straight face, your lying us into this unjustified war? Who never had one critical word about Donald Rumsfeld right up to the bitter end? Who else winks about your “surge” knowing it’s intended to be a long term escalation? And who else voted for and condones your construction of permanent military bases in Iraq?

No, Decider President Sir, unless you want to consider pardoning Duke Cunningham from his military contractor corruption conviction, you probably can’t find a more gung ho guy for that “War Czar” position right now. Ulcers and all. If you haven’t heard much about our Minnesota 2nd District Republican Congressman John Kline, just check with your right-hand man Karl. “Lifeblood of the Republican Party” Rove can certainly vouch for how quick study John Kline has been in following his cutthroat Rovian tactics. And, if you think about it, that propensity can’t hurt someone you want to become your new “War Czar” either.

Of course we’ll have to be honest here about our ulterior motives in making this recommendation. Your promotion of Kline from mere warhawk congressman to “War Czar” would also make many of us 2nd District Minnesotans happy too, happy to be rid of his heavy-handed tactics.

But on second thought, maybe this isn’t a good way to pawn him off. We can’t, in good conscience, wish John Kline on the rest of the country. It would probably be better if Bush’s “War Czar” position just stays vacant a while longer.

---DJK Staff Writer

Monday, April 09, 2007

Repya Slams Patriots At Kline Event

Joe Repya is everyone's bull dog...always in a barking frenzy, all of the time. It would be nice to see the GOP at least try and offer up someone thoughtful for a leadership position but I guess we'll have to settle for another polarizing rethug spewing hate and distortions....

Jim Johnson had an observation and posed a question about Joe Repya's comment during John Kline's first face-to-face town hall meeting. (Yes I know that Kline's staff is spinning him as having over 20 meetings but tightly manipulated GOP tele-meetings that are completely staged and controlled by his camp aren't town hall meetings! At least with the face to face town meeting, his staff can't completely micro-manage everyone....and that's why to date Kline's had...only one real town hall meeting!)

Repya Slams Patriots

Leave it to Joe Repya, Eagan resident and pro-war hawk, to politicize personal tragedy and impugn the patriotism of over half of the crowd at Congressman John Kline's 1st open topic, face-to-face town meeting.

During this meeting, a gold star mother stood and told the story of the loss of her son in Iraq. She also asked that the war continue so that the "mission" is completed. Many conservatives in the crowd jumped to their feet with raucous applause while the others politely applauded and respected her tragic loss.

Mr. Repya then stood and said that those who did not jump to their feet were not patriotic and did not support the troops.

For war hawks like Mr. Repya to politicize this mothers' loss of her son in support of the tragic war in Iraq shows just how low the war hawks will sink in their misguided support of the Iraq war. Is this what we can expect from Minnesota's Republican party if Mr. Repya is elected its chair?

Mr. Repya hear this. We all support the troops, everyone of us, all Americans. Those who believe it is now time to end this disastrous war are no less patriotic than you. The clear majority of Americans and Minnesotans now believe that, after four years, it is time for our sons and daughters, heroes all, to come home from this tragic misadventure before more American blood is spilled.

-Jim Johnson

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Kline's Lack of Support for Veterans?

One of the more vocal questions posed to John Kline (R MN) during the recent open forum held in Lakeville this week was from someone who questioned Kline's lack of legislative support to veterans. Naturally Kline took exception to this as he's a big macho military man...but the facts speak for themselves: The sheer number of bills related to national security or helping America's Veterans that were voted down by the Republicans while they had control of both house and senate with no substitute measures of their own is simply startling. Kline voted along side the GOP in defeating most of these measures without offering any alternative legislation to address the needs of our troops, veterans and their families.

Here's a complete list from Bob Geiger of what Kline and the GOP has done to our Armed Services and our Veterans. Keep in mind we're talking the 109th Congress shooting down of 207 out of 283 pieces of Democratic-sponsored legislation. The number of bills that related to national security and America's Veterans among the voted down legislation is staggering:
  • Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) proposed S.Amdt. 3007 to "increase Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes." It was voted down 46-54 with every Republican including John Kline voting NO... Lincoln Chaffee (R RI)was the sole Republican voting for it.
  • S.Amdt. 3141, was proposed by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to provide for Veterans benefits that steadily increased over time to account for both inflation and the large number of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Stabenow's bill was rejected 46-54 -- probably because she stipulated that it be "paid for by restoring the pre-2001 top rate for income over $1 million, closing corporate tax loopholes and delaying tax cuts for the wealthy.". Naturally Kline voted to keep loopholes for the wealthy and deny benefits for the troops.
  • John Kerry (D-MA) who has consistently been a Veterans advocate, proposed S.Amdt. 3143, to keep medical-care fees and co-pays from going up on military retirees, only to see it shot down by the Republican majority.
  • Two measures by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) -- S. Amdt. 4999 and S.Amdt. 3054 -- were proposed to provide additional funding to increase inspections at America's shipping ports and to improve the security of cargo containers destined for the United States. Both were killed on party line votes that saw only Jim Talent (R-MO) cross the aisle to vote with Democrats on one of the bills.
  • Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced S.Amdt. 4587, to boost transit security funding in major cities by $300 million and saw it rejected by the Republican majority.
  • America's firefighters had a friend in Chris Dodd (D-CT) who proposed S.Amdt. 4641 in July " fund urgent priorities for our Nation's firefighters, law enforcement personnel, emergency medical personnel," but saw it go down on the Senate floor because he proposed paying for it "by reducing the tax breaks for individuals with annual incomes in excess of $1,000,000" -- obviously the kiss of death in Kline's GOP-controlled Congress.
  • Byron Dorgan (D-ND) proposed S.Amdt. 4292, to thoroughly weed out fraud and war profiteering among big Republican donors like Halliburton and had it defeated 44-52, with only one Republican -- Lincoln Chafee again -- siding with Democrats, troops and American taxpayers. Again, Kline calls himself a fiscal conservative but voted like a war profiteer on this one!

And it goes on and on from there… Kline can say he's a military man and therefore supports the military but his voting record tells another story...of Kline as an opponent of benefits, goods, training and health for our Veterans. John Kline has all but abandoned his responsibilities to help Veterans and has failed in to performing any oversight on the private war profiteers during his time in office. Instead John Kline has chosen to stand along side of Bush with zero loyalty to Americans, Veterans and their families.

Kline's supporters are quick to question the patriotism of others, but maybe they need to review Representative Kline's voting record. Take away the chest thumping for Kline's military record and expose his voting record on National Security, Veteran affairs, and troop benefits, leaves only a hollow shell of an old wash and wear uniform with a handful of medals...

These are the reasons Kline has received a 0% rating from Disabled American Veterans (DAV) in 2004 and 2005 and continues to have his lack of support for our troops, our veterans, and their families called into question.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Is Kline Confused or Just Flip Flopping?

Confused or Flip Flopping Again?

One of the first questions asked of Rep. John Kline at the 'open forum' last night in Lakeville was about ‘no child left behind’. What I hear Kline answer (keep in mind I'm paraphrasing...) is something similar to:

…hmmmmm, well you know I’m not sure about the no child left behind legislation. I mean it’s only been a unfunded Federal mandate since I’ve been in office so I haven’t really made a decision. Sure I'm studying it but it only affects all the children in my district so really it's something I haven't worked out yet.

And oh, just because I met with school superintendents from the area with Mark Kennedy and John Boehner (aka 'architect of the federal Leave No Child Behind law') in August 2004 to help promote the law and answer your silly questions before our threesome went out and played a round of golf, well that was then, and no…well I just don’t know what to say…I'll have to study this further...give me another three terms and I'll get back to you...

Like Bush I’m a decider and I’m still deciding….besides I wasn’t in office when the bill first passed…I can’t be responsible. So to answer your question, let me be positively clear: I just don't know...

Or did I hear wrong? Anybody? I was sitting in the back so I probably left out a few of the 'errrrs' and 'hmmmms'. I did noticed that Kline didn't bring up his taking at least $35,000 from both John Boehner and his Freedom Pac. I'm sure Kline doesn't see that as a conflict of interest and would never let money play a role in what he'll decide on renewing this unfunded federal mandate...errr...hmmm, when he does get's around to deciding.