Monday, December 06, 2010

John Kline Increases the Deficit

Conservative Representative John Kline (R-MN-02) has repeatedly voted against extending unemployment benefits to 2.5 million Americans by stating:

"We can't fund everything."

By comparison, Kline supports continuing to fund tax breaks for the richest 2% of American millionaires and billionaires.

Kline is voting to borrow 700 billion dollars and increase the deficit to extend tax cuts to the richest Americans while cutting money away from the poorest. I suppose it's a question of priorities, do you support average working Americans, or the wealthiest among us? Kline decided to support the wealthy and by doing so increases the deficit.

In his fourth term in Congress, Congressman Kline has been a active participant in America's budget and deficit, as he states:
"The Washington’s culture of taxing, borrowing, and spending is doing nothing to stem the tide of lost jobs and economic uncertainty"
Now Kline owns that culture of 'taxing, borrowing and spending' because he supports cut taxes on the wealthy, while increasing the deficit. Kline's loyalties lie with the millionaires and billionaires and not with the average American.
After nearly a decade in office, are you better off today than when Kline took office? No, of course not... unless you are among the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Tell Kline there's a difference between economic well being for all Americans verses economic wealth for a few.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rep. Kline Pleads For....Earmarks?

Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) sent a letter to the Labor Secretary asking they use "all appropriate resources" in assisting Lockheed Martin employees that will soon be laid off when the Eagan plant closes. As Kline points out, a lost of this magnitude (1000 jobs) will threaten the overall economic well being of Eagan.

Most of the lost jobs are higher paying engineering level positions that will have a devastating domino affect on the local community. From the lost of homes, jobs and services, Eagan will have a difficult time recovering. The closing of the Eagan Lockheed Martin plant will see millions in lost revenue for the local community.

"I am deeply concerned by the implications of closing the Eagan facility. Job loss of this magnitude not only threatens the economic well-being of the workers currently employed at the facility, it also threatens the economic well-being of the broader Eagan community and the state of Minnesota."
Given Kline's anti-earmark stance, one wonders just what Kline is asking for from the Labor Secretary? It's no secret that Kline will be chairing the House Education and Labor committee starting January, so we will have an opportunity to see first hand how Kline's 'no earmarks' and 'no government involvement in business' will play out in private businesses like the Eagan Lockheed Martin plant closing that threaten the economic health of the community. Especially if that community is in Rep. John Kline's district!

Does John Kline's letter to the Labor Secretary signal a change of values for Kline, or just so much expected lip letter service when something of this magnitude happens locally? Perhaps Kline is willing to host another job fair to address his economic concern! (laugh out loud here) In the past, Kline has presented these low paying, entry level job fairs as part of his solution to the high unemployment rate.

Will Kline be mindful of his administrations ballooning budget deficit that gives tax breaks to the wealthy, but denies unemployment benefits to millions of Americans? In the last two years John Kline has repeatedly voted to deny extending unemployment benefits to millions of Americans but vows to support all of Bush's tax breaks including those for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.
With Kline's strong stances against earmarks, it's hard to imagine that he would support any additional or 'special' incentives for a local community but his letter seems to imply just that by asking for immediate attention and special treatment from big brother government.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Will Rep. John Kline Continue To Cut Taxes For The Wealthiest 2%

Representative John Kline (R-MN-02), needs to make a decision... Will he be voting to continue to cut taxes on the wealthiest 2% while taxpayers pick up the tab, or will he allow them to pay their fair share like the rest of us?

The Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of this year if Congress does nothing. Some of those tax cuts allow the wealthiest two percent of Americans to not pay their fair share like the rest of us. The theory was what they didn't pay in taxes would 'trickle down' to the rest of us in the way of more jobs, less costs, and magical wands we could wave during parades...but it hasn't worked and it won't ever work...

We have lots of independent studies that show there is no trickle down, just bigger windfalls for the greedy and less Americans able to work. Over a decade plus of 'trickle down' has show that reality is: Large companies making large profits that benefited fewer and fewer Americans.

Take for example any oil company operating in the United States, the larger ones made billions ($000,000,000) in profits but most didn't pay taxes. Exxon/Mobil paid zero (0) taxes in the United States for 2009. In spite of record profits for Corporations and incredible CEO pay increases, rest of us Americans declined in wealth substantially in wealth.

The price tag ($700 billion) for extending the Bush cuts for the wealthy is more than 16 times the cost of Obama’s infrastructure proposal. That $700 billion is what the nonpartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates it would cost the Treasury to continue tax cuts for top earners over 10 years. That's a lot of taxpayers supporting the very wealthy and polls show a majority of Americans are against this.

Cutting the existing tax breaks for the wealthy (or letting them lapse back to pre-2001 level) would save billions of dollars and also pay for the middle class and poor to continue their tax breaks...

One of the most common objections to letting the cuts expire for those in the highest tax brackets is that it would hurt small businesses. As Rep. John Kline likes to point out often because facts don't matter, allowing the cuts to lapse would amount to a job-killing tax hike on small business....

But this often repeated Kline claim is false and misleading at best. If, as proposed, the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire for the highest earners, the vast majority of small businesses will be unaffected. Less than 2 percent of tax returns reporting small-business income are filed by taxpayers in the top two income brackets -- individuals earning more than about $170,000 a year and families earning more than about $210,000 a year.

According to the Washington Post: If the objective is to help small businesses, continuing the Bush tax cuts on high-income taxpayers isn't the way to go -- it would miss more than 98 percent of small-business owners and would primarily help people who don't make most of their money off those businesses.

Voters will soon know if Rep. Kline represents them or just the wealthiest 2% of Americans by his vote on Bush's tax cuts as his 'hurt small business' argument is just more elitist manure.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rep. John Kline To The Unemployed, Bah Humbug

In an MPR interview this week, Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02), the incoming chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, announced he doesn't support an extension in unemployment:

"We simply don’t have the money to keep extending unemployment benefits indefinitely. We just don’t have the money."

But Kline does supports and is willing to pay for the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. By budget standards, we have John Kline saying $830 billions to finance tax cuts for the wealthy is acceptable, but $12.5 billion to extend unemployment benefits 3 months when they are now due to end during the holidays is too expensive.

Is there any doubt who John Kline is working for during this financial crisis? The unemployment extension could be paid for by not allowing the tax credits to continue for the wealthy and as the majority of Americas don't approve of the wealthy tax breaks, shouldn't Kline also be supporting that?

Instead Kline wants to extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich. In Kline's world, $830 billion to finance tax cuts for the wealthy is fine, but $12.5 billion to extend unemployment benefits for three months is too expensive. Pat Garofalo at ThinkProgressive sums this up perfectly by pointing out:

"In the last forty years, the U.S. has never allowed extended benefits to expire with the unemployment rate above 7.2 percent, far below today’s rate of 9.6 percent. Plus, there are currently five unemployed persons for every job opening in the country. In fact, there are so few job openings, that even if every open position in the country were filled, four out of five unemployed workers would still be out of work. But for Kline and the other House Republicans, extending tax cuts for the rich is much higher on the priority list then ensuring that these households have an adequate safety net"

Because Kline and Congress voted down a three month extension of unemployment yesterday, 2.5 million Americans will run out support during the holiday season. By Kline's insistance in supporting a renewal of the tax cut for those who absolutely don't need it, America loses $830 billion over ten years, or roughly $83 billion per year. That would easily pay for unemployment compensation until the jobs situation improves...

What's more important to Kline, 2.5 million unemployed Americans or a few rich friends? Which is better for America?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Will Rep. John Kline Give Our Social Security To The Pentgon?

Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) has repeated often that 'in these tough economic times Americans need to tighten their belts'...and he also says 'everything is on the table' from taxes to social security, education to veterans benefits...but does that include the Department of Defense budget? In the past Kline has been totally rescind in considering the Pentagon budget when discussing budget cuts.

Take a look at the below graph of US discretionary spending and tell me again Rep. Kline, where should we be cutting? The nearly $1 trillion-a year bloated Pentagon budget needs to be reviewed and trimmed before we even consider looking at cutting currently self-sustaining programs (through 2039) like social security
The United States accounts for 46.5 percent of the world's total defense spending. The next-biggest spender is China, which has undertaken an immense buildup to become a military as well as economic superpower - yet accounts for just 6.6 percent of the world's total.

Additionally we pay for nearly half of all global defence expenditures, while our close allies Britain and France pay just 3.8 and 4.2 percent respectively. Somebody;s getting a free ride while the US taxpayers go belly up!

While John Kline talks about reeling 'out of control government spending', so why ignore the billions of dollars being lavished on the Pentagon annually? The two wars are currently costing approximately 1.1 trillion with no return on our 'war' investment.

The federal budget is expected to run a $1 trillion deficit this year. So while America is borrowing money from China and using it to wage war in Afghanistan, the Chinese are signing contracts and building infrastructure that will let them exploit Afghanistan's vast mineral wealth. Concurrently the Taliban remains powerful and grows in size, President Hamid Karzai and his administration is riddled with corruption, war profiteers still receive 'no bid' contracts and Americans are going broke.

Obama and Gates are calling for an increase in military spending for the next five years. So Rep Kline could have a win-win. One he would help decrease the deficit while cutting the Pentagon's run away spending and two, he could oppose the Obama administration at the same time.

The question is, will Kline recognize that there are no 'sacred cows' in the American budget and take for real the current economic crisis destroying our country or will John Kline take away our Social Security and give it to the Pentagon?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rep. John Kline Supports Religious School Vouchers

Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) is expected to chair the House Education and Labor Committee when the new Congress convenes this January. One of the first changes he'll propose is bring back and perhaps expanding the five year experimental program for school vouchers that Obama let lapse last year.

The DC School Choice Incentive Act of 2003 established the first federally funded private school voucher program in the United States, providing scholarships of up to $7,500 for low-income residents of the District of Columbia to send their children to local participating private schools. While initially the programs was to see if educational attainment and student safety improved, over the five year period, neither happen.

While not boosting student academic achievement, it did serve to prop up financially shaky religious schools at taxpayer expense. Catholics especially have been lobbying for vouchers as it will help to stave off school closings — about 250 a year nationwide. Now that they have a friend in Rep. John Kline, religious groups are pressing hard for the House Education committee to once again approve vouchers.

Most private and religious schools gain with school vouchers, but public schools would be the biggest losers especially with funding. It’s a fallacy that every child in a private school saves the public schools money. There are certain set expenses of public schools that don't change like overhead for the buildings, liability insurance and janitorial needs. And while public schools have to meet certain standards, private and religious schools do not.

Moreover, where is the extra money going to come from to fund the vouchers? Either our taxes will rise, or the public school budgets will be reduced even further making them unable to provide adequate education basics. Most Americans understand the need for an educated workforce and don’t mind paying more taxes for the public schools but they would object to more taxes for subsidizing private, and especially religious school tuition.

While Kline supports removing funds from public schools and sending them largely to church-run parochial schools, at the same time he feels it's grossly unfair to hold those schools to the same standards as public schools.

Public schools are required to meet specific standards like curriculum, teacher certification, facilities, and standardized test scores; private/religious schools do not! Additionally there will be additional cost incurred in monitoring these schools. How will they be compared when public schools and private/religious schools are not on a level playing field?

The vast majority of students in voucher programs attend religious schools rather than secular private schools, which tend to be more expensive. Funneling public tax money into religious institutions violates the Constitutional principle of separation between church and state. Again, while most support public education, many do no want to pay for someone else's religious education. The voucher program subvert the constitutional principle of separation of church and state and threaten to undermine our system of public education.

Rep. John Kline won't let facts stand in the way of advocating for vouchers, or merit incentives, or parent triggers, or charter schools. Now that Kline will chair the House Education committee, look for the education system to be even more compromised and replaced with a less functional and more costly alternatives like vouchers.

I'll blog more on what to expect in the way of changes to education now that Kline will be leading the House Committee later this week.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What Would John Kline Do?

Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) has campaigned the last several years against excessive govenment spending including earmarks. His stance is to be totally against any earmarks... while letting a few slip in like promoting mega costly but unwanted and not needed F-22s fighter jets! And Kline's earmark ban has cost the people in CD2. They receive only 35 cents which is less than half in terms of returned federal dollars to their district compared with all other Minnesota districts.

Kline has repeatedly told us that earmarks are bad and the Republicans will change how business is done when they control the House, according to John 'it won't be business as usual!' only...oops...guess he was wrong...

His good buddy Rep. John Boehner who spearheaded the no-earmark principle during the Democratic controlled house has now said there will be a moratorium on banning earmarks. According to Boehner: "Only because some things that people call earmarks here, uh, wouldn't classify as an earmark to the American people,"

So it appears that voting for the GOP and John Kline is now back firing...there will be business as usual including earmarks. While it was acceptable to ban earmarks when Democrats ran the House, now that the GOP are in charge of the house, it's now important to bring home the bacon...

For 2 years Rep. John Kline has decried earmarks to hide his real voting record on fiscal issues. In other words, he votde for huge spending increases, bank and wall street bailouts, and to cut taxes for the wealthiest 1 -5% among us but then blasted earmarks. As a result of his incessant demagoguery, just the term “earmark” has become a dirty word for many voters.

It would serve us well to rememeber that when Republicans controlled Congress from 1994-2006, earmark spending went from under $8 billion to over $29 billion, according to watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

Rep. John Kline has a decision to make, still ban all earmarks while hurting the people in his district (as not all earmarks are pork and bad, noR does it save the government one cent)...or join the rest of his party and be part of the new GOP spending frenzy (same as the last one)! Looks like a lose - lose decision for John Kline.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Thank You Rep. John Kline, Can I Have Another?

Congratulation are in order to Rep. John Kline (MN-R-02). It's now official, the Reagan Revolution is complete, the wealth of America has been transferred from the middle class to the top 1% and they couldn't have done it without John Kline's votes!

The top 1% of Americans, now make 24% of the income and own 34% of all American wealth. They (the top 5% of Americans) now own more than the entire bottom 95% of Americans combined! Roughly they own 60% of all of America's wealth!

So be sure to send a big 'thank you and can I have another?" to Rep. John 'we don't need no stinking regulations' Kline. By his votes while in office, he took a country that used to have a middle class and turned it into a nation where only the richest 1% have rights. His insistence on 'trickle down' has turned America into a third rate nation with only two class, rich (top 5%) and super rich (top 1%)!

For those left that even care, besides redistributing wealth, John Kline has also allowed the poor to have more debt... a whopping 73% of debt. For the vast majority of poor Americans, their homes are the most significant wealth they possess but also represents their largest debt:

Now that the middle class has been eliminated, look for Kline to squeeze the poor even harder to make more money/profit/returns for the wealthiest 1%...

Extending Bush Tax Cuts
Kline wants ALL the Bush tax cuts extended...

In other words, Kline wants the wealthiest 1% to continue to avoid their fair share of taxes.

Inheritance Tax
Rep. Kline is against any inheritance tax or as he calls it for PR reasons...a 'death tax'. Yet it's a tax only on 1% of Americans. According to a study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, only 1.6% of Americans receive $100,000 or more in inheritance. Another 1.1% receive $50,000 to $100,000. On the other hand, 91.9% receive nothing, zero, zip, nada!

Thus, ultra-conservatives like John Kline in eliminating inheritance taxes takes a huge bite out of government revenues for the benefit of less than 1% of the population. Kline's stance can only be seen as anti-American government and only serves the wealthy 1%...but does not reflect the majority or those that are middle class or poor.

Social Security
Even though social security has enough funds to pay for itself though 2039, Kline wants to do away with social security. Yet Social Security has not contributed one dime to the federal deficit – it actually has a surplus of $2.6 trillion today. As it stands today, only the first $105,000 of a person's income is taxed for Social Security purposes, so it would clearly be a boon to the Social Security Fund if everyone -- not just those making less than $105,000 -- paid the Social Security tax on their full incomes.

Given Kline's position on protecting the top 1% of wealthy Americans, look for social security to end under his tutelage.

If you compare the actual rates of increase of the salaries of CEOs to ordinary workers from 1990 to 2005, CEOs pay increased almost 300% (adjusted for inflation), while production workers gained a scant 4.3%. The purchasing power of the federal minimum wage actually declined by 9.3%, when inflation is taken into account. Yet Kline voted against raising the minimum wage.

The bottom 80% of Americans receive only 6% of all the new financial wealth generated in the United States during the '80s, '90s, and early 2000s (Wolff, 2007). So while Kline goes after unions and collective bargaining units (can you say the shrinking middle class?) CEO's are reaping huge benefits and becoming the wealthiest of Americans. Kline's mantra of 'letting business determine it's own rules' has lead us to fewer jobs, lower pay, higher corporation profits, gross CEO pay and incentives, and lower industry standards of safety.

All in all, the voters decided last week to give up and let Rep. John Kline continue to vote against their best interests and continue down the path of being a third rate congratulations to Kline, and to all who voted for him. Expect more bridges to fall down, less road repairs, more fees and higher taxes, with less government regulations and rules protecting your community. In other words, expect more of the same since Kline has been in office.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

John Kline Must Stop Wasting Our Money

John Kline has an opion piece in the Star Tribune telling voters that Congress is wasting our money and he's working for us...but hasn't he been in office the whole time that Congress 'is wasting our money'? Maybe he's right, let's stop Congress from wasting money by voting Kline out!

Rep. John Kline(R-MN-02) has failed the Middle Class. No surprise there. Year after year Kline has voted against the average voter, and for corporations. From bank bail outs, to denying senior/military/children's benefits, Kline has destroyed the American Dream.

During this campaign season, Kline has been MIA. Preferring to raise money for candidates out of state and teabaggers, rather than stay at home and talk with average Minnesotans. He won't discuss the issues, won't debate his challenger, won't make himself available to locals to explain his record and how it supports large corporations while taxing us.

Kline blames 'others' for the high deficit, unemployment, underfunding of programs, bank bailouts... but Kline has been in office now for years (almost a decade!). So can it always be 'the other guy'? Where's the accountability? It's time to stop and consider what Kline has done.

We have wars that Kline has been the main cheerleader for and whole heartily supports. They take over 40% of our budget to maintain and most of that money goes overseas away from America and into the hands of war profiteers and foreigners.

We have wall street and bank bailouts that cost millions, and Kline supported by voting YES. We have record unemployment, and Kline voted NO against extending benefits and the creation of jobs.

Kline doesn't accept earmarks, so while all the other Congressional districts in Minnesota receive double or more from his district, and, roads go unrepaired, jobs go unfilled, and business infrastructure doesn't get replaced.

This Tuesday, please vote. Tell John Kline with your vote what you think about his lack of support for your community, family, and Minnesota.

Let John know that you're aware that Congress has wasted your money, and as Kline is part of that problem, it's time to vote for someone else. It's time for a change from John Kline's wasting money ways.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rep. John Kline's Pawining America!

The Star Tribune reported that Pawn America's licensing fee was slashed in Burnsville from $10,000 to $100 by the Bursnville City Council! In addition, in Burnsville, Pawn America no longer have to pay the $2.50 per-transaction fee to help maintain a database of pawnshop information that the police share.

"And under a new ordinance, fewer kinds of merchandise will be tracked as it is pawned and resold."

Burnsville Police Chief and other law endorsement entities believe the Busnsville policy will restrict investigations and suggest that stolen property will be hard to recover. Additionally, taxpayers will now have to cover the cost of fees.

This is the perfect example of John Kline's motto: Let the business world regulate itself. And how ironic and coincidental (if you believe in it) that Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) has a close relationship with Pawn America and CEO Brad Rixmann. As I've noted before, Pawn America has been one of the biggest donor to Kline's campaign fund.

Besides the above changes, Rixmann (Pawn America) wants is to switch from the current database (APS) maintained by Minneapolis and used by the Minnesota and Wisconsin police to a private one (LeadsOnLine) of a firm in Texas (ah, another coincident! BTW the CEO David Finely also donates to GOP campaigns).

By law in every U.S. jurisdiction, all pawnshop transactions must be recorded and made available to local police. Known as tickets, the records contain the name and driver’s license or state identification information of the person who pawned an item, and a detailed description of the item pawned. Police officers collect the tickets and scan them to compare with reports of stolen property.

This represents big business, but it also represents how unregulated businesses can cost the community. Pawn shops exact a heavy fee because they impose a heavy burden in the communities they operate:

- Incredible high fees:Loans are steep, usually asking 10-20% service fees monthly making them pricier than bank loans or credit cards, and if the fee isn't meet, they can sell the item. A 10-20% fee translates into an annual percentage rate exceeding 300%.

- Increases in crime: With a pawn shop "comes an increase burglaries and break-ins. A pawnshop might give the addicts who regularly buy their drugs on that corner ready access to cash for their habit. A pawnshop might make it hard to woo more respectable businesses to that part of the south side; lower property values; increase gunfire; drive families away"

- With the elimination of pawn shops transaction fees, taxpayers will have to cover the fees!

- More stolen goods go unrecovered: Police report that more stolen goods will be unrecoved due to less reporting.

Rep. John Kline has consistently fought against any legislation that regulates businesses including limits on high interest rates. Kline is against any government regulations or over sight of any business sector including loan sharks and pawn shops. That's why in the eight years of John Kline being in office, we've seen the wall street crash and the banking industry melt down. Kline's adherence to 'no government oversight, regulations, or interference', has made John Kline a Pawn American poster child.

Unfortunately, the taxpayers get stuck with the bill for Pawn America fees while PA makes larger and larger profits and throws some of the profit at John Kline to deregulate them. Ask John Kline to work for the police and not against them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Palin/Kline Ticket in 2012?

Like Minnesota Governor Pawlenty, will Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) be running in 2012? If so, can we assume Kline is on Sarah Palin's short list? Is this the future GOP ticket....
Palin Gives Kline $5,000 contribution... PALIN /KLINE 2012 -Forming a 2012 'Falling Down Bridge to Nowhere'.

"With the Palin/Kline...The end is nearer than you think'

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rep. John Kline, The Lying Job Killer

Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) has been in office since let's get a reality check on what he's not regarding job creation...

"...Like me, Tom [Emmer] believes the private sector - not the federal government - creates jobs."
Really? So if what John Kline says is true,

He has been in office almost a decade serving four years under a two term GOP administration, and the same along with a GOP MN Governor Tim Pawlenty, so then, just where are the jobs?
John Kline had 'pawlenty of time' and resources at his disposal...

Ah that's right, Kline has voted against: green jobs, stimulus jobs, minimum wage, job assistance, earmark jobs, jobs in education and a whole slew of legislation the would have help create, you guessed it... JOBS!

More of the usual from Congressman Kline, he says one thing, but his action, support, resources and vote does another! Which begs the question of which title fits John Kline best:



Friday, October 22, 2010

John Kline's Friday Fables

'fable'  from the latin 'fabula' (a "story"), derived from 'fari' ("to speak") with the -ula suffix that signifies "little": hence, "little story"...

'All Hat No Cattle'
It's good to see the 'good ole boys' in Texas are still backing John Kline's congressional seat! Open secret shows Kline taking almost ten thousand dollars ($9,600) from Houston, Texas. That comes as no surprise since 30% of the money Kline accepts is from out of state...and much of the rest is from outside his district....Makes one wonder why outsiders are trying to buy his position?

DeKlining to Work for CD2
Shelley Madore, the Democrat running in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District, points out in an op-ed that federal money is going elsewhere because of GOP Rep. John Kline policy on earmarks. CD2 gets 35 cent back in federal dollars, less than half than any other congressional district in Minnesota and no where near the average federal return.

Still 'Hiding' while seeking Re-election
Congressman John Kline refuses to debate his challenger Shelley Madore..."The image of Marine veteran and self described tough guy Kline desperately running to his car and burning rubber to escape the pesky and persistent Shelley Madore is hilarious!" Unfortunately, hilarious or not, it's not very professional nor does it further the interests of CD2 voters.

Out of Excuses
Kline is notorious for not doing town hall meetings. I'm aware of only two in 8 years. He likes to qualify robo-calling as 'town meetings' but that's like defining catching an ant to big game hunting...the two aren't remotely the same! In a recent letter to Robert Gates, Kline complained that he was 'thwarted, blocked, ignored and stymied by the Department at every turn' Kline knows how CD2 voters have felt since he's taken office!

Failing to Provide for the Future
John Kline's mission is obstruct and delay ... with the thought that a Republican resurgence in November will bring him more power like the Chair of the Labor and Education Committee. While he says one thing, Kline's voting record tells the real story. Kline's future America would provide immense tax cuts to the wealthy, increase taxes on poor and middle class to pay for out-of-controll war spending, privatize or do away with Medicare and Social Security and cut all social spending in education and transportation. A vote for Kline is a vote against families and community.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why Rep. John Kline Is Too Busy To Debate

Rep. John Kline's schedule is just so busy these days! Way too busy to do his job. Just how busy is he? Well, he has no time to debate his DFL congressional challenger Shelley Madore or hold town meetings or allow voters in CD2 to hear about the issues. John Kline (R-MN-02) is just sooooo busy because in his own words....:
"I look forward to campaigning tonight in Clarksville, Tenn., with Stephen Fincher, a conservative candidate for Congress in Tennessee's 8th Congressional district."
Prior to Tennessee, Kline was in Iowa:
"I am campaigning today in Iowa with Ben Lange, who is running for Congress in Iowa's first district.... I am campaigning with Brad Zaun (Iowa-3) tonight and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Iowa-2) on Saturday."
Prior to Iowa, Kline was in Wisconsin and then Illinois:

I campaigned last night in Wisconsin with Dan Kapanke and look forward to joining Randy Hultgren today in Illinois.
John Kline's priority is toward his party, the teabaggers, and himself.  Fortunately,  Kline doesn't have to come back to Minnesota before we send him back home to Texas . The election will happen even if Kline is still on his GOP/Tea Bag tour.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rep. John Kline's Refusal To Support Reforms Leads To Record Minnesota Foreclosures

Most Americans believe in and work toward the dream of  home ownership. For over 80% of Minnesota's families, that dream has been a reality. We believe if you work hard and play by the rules, you can afford to support your family and put a roof over their heads. Unfortunately, many are now losing their homes while our elected representatives like John Kline (R-MN-02) continue to vote against banking reforms and legislation that could save homes.

It has now come to light that Wells Fargo, the second-largest U.S. mortgage lender, used a worker who quickly rubber stamped documents without checking their accuracy. The worker said they processed as many as 500 foreclosures a day and only checked for signatures and dates as directed.

At the very same time Wells Fargo also posted up record earnings. Wells Fargo.'s profits jumped 20% from the prior quarter:
"US banking giant Wells Fargo projected Thursday a "record" three-billion-dollar profit in the first quarter, sparking hopes of recovery from a financial crisis that is battering the economy."
While Wells Fargo and other banks are posting up record earnings, and foreclosing on a record number of homes, Rep. John Kline has voted against banking reform that could save family homes (**see the below list of votes against regulations and reforms in the financial industry!). Besides voting against banking reform, Kline has voted for cash bailouts for Wall Street and Banks.

While many Minnesotans are losing their homes, and/or seeing their home values bottom out due to foreclosures, the banking industry is donating record amounts of money to political campaign like MN Congressman John Kline.

The American Bankers Assn has given Rep. John Kline. $20,000, ranking as a top contributors to Kline’s Campaign Committee and Leadership PAC. Additionally, Commercial Banks account for $28,608 toward John Kline's campaign war chest. Still receiving money from banking and the financial industry is not new to Kline, since coming into office, John Kline has always received money directly from Wells Fargo PACs.

Currently Minnesota's Attorney General Lori Swanson along with the other Attorney Generals in the remaining 49 states,  is investigating the banking industry's record foreclosures.

While working families struggle to get by, Wall Street CEOs use our tax dollars to enrich themselves and pay out massive bonuses and/or, like Wells Fargo, post record profits. Wall Street bonuses alone could stop every foreclosure in America through 2012.

Nobody is asking for lavish mansions, but Minnesotans are asking for a fair chance at the American Dream of owning a home. Unfortunately, nobody in Minnesota's Second Congressional District will find help from Rep. John Kline.  Instead of the American Dream, John Kline has chosen to support the lavish, rich and immoral lifestyle of banking and financial institutions and their CEOs over Minnesota's families and their American dream of home ownership.
**Rep. John Kline voted against authorizing bankruptcy courts to modify the terms of mortgages made on homeowners’ primary residences. The amendment would permit bankruptcy courts to restructure the debt on home mortgages by reducing the principal owed, extending repayment periods, reducing interest rates, and prohibiting, reducing, or delaying future interest rate increases saving countless homes for the working poor and middle class. [H.AMDT. 534 TO H.R. 4173]

**Kline voted against Wall Street Accountability and Consumer Protection...sigh...naturally siding with big business and corporations. [HR 4173]

**Representative Kline voted to bailout our country’s financial sector, but later voted against a bill to strengthen oversight of these TARP funds and make more community banks eligible to receive assistance. [HR384]

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

John Kline Makes Another Worthless Pledge To Voters

Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) has taken a "Pledge to America", a 21 page document that was put together by a House staffer who was a lobbyist for powerful oil, pharmaceutical and insurance companies up until April of this year. Under the heading a 'Call to Action' on the 'Pledge'  it states it was built through a process of 'listening to the people'. But instead the document was 'outsourced' from 'big business'. In other words, the very foundation of the 'Pledge to America' is built on a lie.

Along with other Republicans, Rep. John Kline pledges to return to the level of government we experienced under Bush. You remember back when these exact same Republicans including Kline were doubling the size of government, deregulate the banking, mortgage and wall street businesses making record profits while ignoring the needs of Americans.
"With our Pledge to America, we proposed bringing the federal budget back to where it stood before the bailouts, government takeovers, and failed stimulus"
The pledge has little to no substance and doesn't even mention balancing the budget! It's a joke and shows that John Kline is still not serious about fair governance or finding solutions to American problems.  Eliminating wasteful and applicative programs in government is a good idea, so maybe we could start by replacing John Kline with someone who would actually work for us?

So let's take a look at what Kline's pledge plan will do...

Create more lower paying Jobs...
Keep the minimum wage at $5.25 for another ten years (Kline voted against raising the minimum wage...we're not even talking a 'living wage', while voting against any job creation plans by the current administration.)

Freeze all government growth (Given the majority of new jobs this year were in the government sector, won't that send the American economy into free fall?)

Take care of Corporations...
Give fat tax breaks to his oil company pals (Kline takes more corporate money from oil companies than any other Congressperson in Minnesota.)

Continue to allow the drug and oil companies to make federal policy (Kline is supported by big corporations and votes lock-step with their agenda including wanting to stop health care reform but voting for bank bail outs.)

Eliminate all government regulations so that big business can generate even more profits at our environment and workers expense (Kline's mantras of Self Regulation with Drill, Baby, Drill)

Care for the Wealthy and eliminate the Middle Class...
Extend the Bush/Kline era tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% and eliminate the estate tax and $1 trillion in revenue in the process (Kline wants his rich friends to be taken care of, he refuses to support tax breaks for the middle and lower class while supporting extending the Bush/Kline tax cuts.)

Destroy social security (Kline wants to stop all government spending...even those programs that we paid into for our retirement)

Reduce funding for health, education and social services across-the-board (Kline's record clearly shows a pattern of voting against any support programs while voting for any programs supporting war.)

Continue to send troops to die in war, squandering precious military and financial resources that could be used here at home. (Kline has never seen a war he didn't support. Currently over 40% of the American budget goes toward war. That money could fund our education system, put Americans back to work, and pay off our national debt.)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Top Ten Reasons Why John Kline Won't Debate

Rep. John Kline (R- MN-02) is really quite good at avoiding public debates with his challenger in CD2, DFL endorsed  candidate Shelley Madore.

Kline has refused debates from the League of Women Voters, the Chambers of Commerce and numerous newspapers in the district to arrange debates. It looks like the only time the two will meet face to face is for 25 minutes right before the election on a MPR debate late next month. So one can't help but ask...Why won't Congressman Kline debate his challenger. Naturally I came up with a few reasons:

 10.  Stuck in traffic in CD2 due to crumbling roads
 9.    Kline and his supporters don't like to cloud up their brains with facts.
 8.    His corporate sponsors won't pay for it.
 7.    Considers debates as 'earmarks'.
 6.    Needs more time to enact another tax break for the wealthy
 5.    Schedule for debate thrown off already by too many debate cancellations
 4.    On deadline to finish his self help book, "How I Got Rich as a Congressman Without Working (or debating)!"
 3.    Kline never does public services for the people that elected him to office...ever
 2.    Debate schedule conflicts with tea party

and the number one reason:
1.   Must have something to hide!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rep. John Kline: Another Of His Scams Exposed

Wikipedia defines a confidence trick or confidence game (also known as a bunko, con, flim flam, gaffle, grift, hustle, scam, scheme, swindle or bamboozle) as an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence.

A master trickster aka confidence man, con man, trickster, or con artist lears the mark in by laying out a story and getting the mark to bite....

Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) tells voters of all the current massive wasteful government spending...and who doesn't want to cut that? Don't all good Americans want to cut wasteful spending...Aren't you a good American?

The confidence trick exploits typical human qualities such as  honesty, compassion, and naïveté. The common factor is that the mark (victims or CD2 citizens)  relies on the good faith of the con artist (John Kline). The victimized individuals come from all walks of life not just the young, elderly or poor.

Don't be fooled by Rep. John Kline's shell game!
John Kline then runs the YOUCUT game (scam, bunko) where you can cut the wasteful spending...'Play along', 'Come on', he shrills, 'You know you want to cut the wasteful government spending!'

Shills, also known as accomplices, help manipulate the mark into accepting the con man's plan

The GOP/John Kline sets up a YouCut websites and polls, they run testimonies, and promote the scam throughout their base...'Come on', they bark, 'YOU CUT the waste', 'Tell us which of the programs we picked to cut', 'You are in control and can make the call'.

The confidence trick (bunko, con, flim flam, gaffle, grift, hustle, scam, scheme, swindle or bamboozle) is then put into play with the desired ending.

Rep. Kline oozes pleasure....'We have a winner! You have spoken (WOW! all one quarter of one percent of registered CD2 voters!) and we will now cut the wasteful spending on the FreedomCar!'

And the scam? Well Rep John Kline and the Bush Administration started the FreedomCar wasteful spending in 2002...As mnpACT! points out:
"It [FreedomCar] was a Republican initiative and it was kept alive by the 2002 and 2004 Republican Congress.(of while Cong. John Kline was a member)."

So the GOP and Kline introduce the waste, then ask CD2 marks to vote it as waste under the Democrats, and then promises to do the job they (GOP and Kline) are paid for by eliminating the waste they introduced!:
'When Congress resumes Tuesday, Sept. 14, Congressman Kline will ask his colleagues to cut the project voted most wasteful by Minnesotans. The “FreedomCAR” and fuel partnership program provides federal funding for research on fuel cell technology, despite existing private-sector research and the market incentives. Eliminating this program would save taxpayers $2 billion over 10 years.'

Really Kline? If you were serious about government waste maybe you could have stopped it in 2002...this is just another gimmick...scam...hustle...scheme. Frankly the residents in CD2 are tired of your gamesmanship. How about just doing the job you were elected to do?

Coming soon to this blog...John Kline's 'A Pledge of America' scam

Thursday, September 23, 2010

More Failing Grades for Minnesota's Rep. John Kline

 Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) is the lead Republican on the Education Committee in Congress. And while, he talks of reform for education system, what he has done is offered up unproven mandates in the way of teacher merits raises, increasing charter schools, under funded student loans, and attempts to dismantle the teachers unions.
Through his Education Committee position, Kline has promoted the belief that teachers aren't doing their jobs well. He's even gone so far as to introduced a bill that would establish a 'Teacher Incentive Fund', seed money if you will, for states and schools to reward teachers for improving student academic achievement.

In Kline's own words he wants to:
"break the tenure stranglehold that the teachers unions have had all across the country. ... We [Secretary Duncan ] both agree that we need some way to remove the bad teachers and reward the good teachers."
Like John Kline's other educational suggestions,  it's smoke and mirrors but not much in the way of substance and facts. Kline has called publically to decrease spending for unproven educational mandate from the government.  But he must be making exceptions if they fall into his ideology of more charter schools, busting teacher unions, or establishing teacher merit pay.
"Challenging economic times are not the time for new and expensive experiments that siphon funds from existing programs and impose massive, unfunded mandates on state and local school officials"
Kline would have you believe that instead of fully funding schools, effectiveness and accountability of teachers is the corner stone to your children's eduction. Part of that equation is advocating against teacher unions while promoting merit pay. However a thorough study came out this week with the research to completely debunk his notion.  Education Week published a story Tuesday headlined “Merit Pay Found to Have Little Effect on Achievement.”

Vanderbilt University’s National Center on Performance Issues conducted the teacher compensation study.  Researchers followed nearly 300 middle school mathematics teachers in Nashville, Tenn. to evaluate the hypothesis.  On average, students taught by teachers taking part in the program did not make larger academic gains than those taught by teachers in the normal wage group.

Merit pay doesn't work but now we have the research and facts to back up the claim. Most teachers would like and are entitled to more pay for the important responsibility of education our children. In Minnesota on average teachers make $45,000 a year, so obviously they didn't get into teaching for the pay! Kline's Bill implies that more money would make teachers better performers which would mean they aren't performing. We now know Kline's reasoning is faulty.

It's time that Rep. Kline put to rest his claim of  'teacher merit/incentive pay' and advocate for fully funding education. I applaud his work for special education and urge him to apply that same commitment to all our children's educational needs not just the ones that fall outside of his far right ideology.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rep. John Kline Tries To ReRIGHT American History

Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) attended a 'non-partisan' forum in Watertown last week. This 'non-partisan' event had the inclusion of many Republicans but they forgot to invite Democrats like the  DFL endorsed candidate Laura Helmer for senate in SD34 which includes Watertown,  and the DFL endorsed candidate from 34A, Leanne Pouliot Kunze. Still word got out and a few Democrats managed to showed up.

For a 'non-partisan' forum, Rep. Kline talked about some very partisan issues that negatively critique the current Obama administration... like criticism for high unemployment, needing smaller government, no more stimulus packages, no more government spending in general and lowering taxes. All in all, it didn't feel much like a  'non-partisan' speech but the one thing that was most upsetting is John Kline's statements on America's history and his focus on religion and fear:
“I’m standing here on this stage with a document [the United States Constitution] that was founded on those Judeo-Christian principles of belief in the almighty and belief in an all powerful God,” he added. “We opened this rally with prayer to that God, but we have many people sometime — nameless, faceless people — who are literally trying to erase God from the public square, from the nation’s capital.”
See John Kline's full speech in The UpTake video below. The Religious Right and John Kline's claims that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and thus the government can promote those principles is completely FALSE and not based on America's own history. In fact just the opposite is true: The Founding Fathers intentionally create a government that was totally neutral toward all things religious....When Kline is referring to 'nameless, faceless people', he is in fact referring to America's Founding Fathers!

....America's Constitution was crafted specifically by the Founding Fathers to stop a Theocracy. Our Founders wanted ALL men to make the choice for themselves and not be forced to adhere to one religion. That is why we have the FIRST amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances"
In other words, the government did not need the permission of the Church in order to act nor did they want the government to be of religion but free from religion. The first amendment enumerates the right to; speech, religion, press, petition and assembly. This is not to suggest that 1st amendment rights are absolute or that they have not been impinged upon time and time again.

The U.S. Constitution is secular and does not contain the words God, Christianity, Jesus, Christ, or Judeo-Christian. The Constitution's only references to religion serve to exclude it from the government, by providing that there shall be no law respecting an establishment of religion, no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, and no religious test for any public office. This was because most all of the Founders were Deists and Unitarians who rejected doctrines like the Incarnation
This is the opposite of what the Religious Right and John Kline's are claiming.  Kline's claim that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and thus the government can promote those principle is removed from the reality of what U.S. history has been. Since the earliest days of the nation until now, efforts have been made to amend the Constitution to include a recognition of God and Christianity. The repeated failure of those attempts has led to a new strategy in recent years, including what John Kline is doing by rewriting the history and claiming that God and Christianity have always been in the Constitution.

What John Kline is doing is trying to rewrite  reRight America's a elected Representative to Congress, he among all people, should know better. Like our Founding Fathers, it is imperative that the church-state separation be maintained. This single principle has allowed for the freedom of all religions. Regardless of what Teabaggers and John Kline claim, America's history is based on separation of church and government. 

By the way Mr. Kline, even the phase 'In God We Trust' on our money and in our pledge were added on later (1950s) ...Below are some information and quotes from America's Founding Fathers regarding government and religion...

Thomas Paine was a pamphleteer whose manifestos encouraged the faltering spirits of the country and aided materially in winning the war of Independence:

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of...Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all."
George Washington, the first president of the United States, never declared himself a Christian according to contemporary reports or in any of his voluminous correspondence. Washington championed the cause of freedom from religious intolerance and compulsion is shown by his embracing Freemasonry

John Adams,a Unitarian and the country's second president, was drawn to the study of law but faced pressure from his father to become a clergyman. He wrote that he found among the lawyers 'noble and gallant achievements" but among the clergy, the "pretended sanctity of some absolute dunces". Late in life he wrote:
"Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!"
It was during Adam's administration that the Senate ratified the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which states in Article XI that "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."

Thomas Jefferson,a Unitarian and third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, said:
"I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian."
He referred to the Revelation of St. John as "the ravings of a maniac" Thomas Jefferson held most clergy and organized religion in low regard not so much for theology, but for abuse of power and attacks on liberty.

James Madison, fourth president and father of the Constitution, was not religious in any conventional sense.
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

Ethan Allen, whose capture of Fort Ticonderoga while commanding the Green Mountain Boys helped inspire Congress and the country to pursue the War of Independence, said,

"That Jesus Christ was not God is evidence from his own words."
In the same book, Allen noted that he was generally "denominated a Deist, the reality of which I never disputed, being conscious that I am no Christian." When Allen married Fanny Buchanan, he stopped his own wedding ceremony when the judge asked him if he promised "to live with Fanny Buchanan agreeable to the laws of God." Allen refused to answer until the judge agreed that the God referred to was the God of Nature, and the laws those "written in the great book of nature."

Benjamin Franklin, delegate to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, said:

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion...has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble."

He died a month later, and historians consider him, like so many great Americans of his time, to be a Deist, not a Christian.

All of these Founding Fathers had two things in common, they had the American government recognize your right to participate freely in the religion of your choice, and they insisted that religion be separate from that government. Rep. John Kline apparently doesn't know America's history or doesn't share those same time honored values, or just plain wants to rewrite-reright our American history.

Friday, September 17, 2010

CD2 Voters Reject John Kline's Latest Gimmick

Yesterday Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) sent out an emailing touting his six weeks of effort that resulted in less than half a percent of registered voters in Congressional District Two participating in his latest gimmick 'YouCut'.

"Throughout the past six weeks, more than 1,000 Minnesotans like you have shared their thoughts and concerns by participating in my YouCut initiative. ...I received more than 1,400 votes and hundreds of suggestions regarding how the federal government could save money."
Yes, clearly the voters have spoken but not by participating as Kline infers but by rejecting John Kline's methods of turning our Democracy into nothing more than a “American Idol” gimmick — Clearly CD2 voters want real dialogue, with real solutions, not more of the same partisan obstructive behavior from Congressman Kline who offers PR gimmicks in lieu of solutions.

For all his effort in the last six weeks only 1,400 people played along with Kline's latest 'YouCut' gimmick. That's less than one half of one percent (.5%) of the registered voters in CD2. Being a registered voter wasn't a requirement to play so in all likely hood, participation was even less than one half of one percent! While I don't know the identity of those that played along, it's not hard to imagine that most were the radical fringe group of teabagger that the game is geared toward and John Kline seems to be positioning himself more and more with in ideology.

The last six weeks Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) spent his Congressional time and energy trying to get Minnesotans in his district to participate in his latest GOP gimmick, the 'YouCut' game. As Kline and his party has no ideas, no solutions, and no accomplishments, it's easier to chose to obstruct instead of working across the aisle to find solutions. While other Congressmen are working at finding compromises and solutions, Representative Kline is tosses out spitballs.

Given the extremely low participation in Kline's latest gimmick, obviously his credibility with CD2 voters is running on empty. It's time Rep. Kline stops with the political chicanery that isn't serving his community and get back to working for his district. NO is not a solution, obstructing is not a solution, and wasting time on gimmicks is not a solution!

BTW, according to Kline
"The FreedomCar program was chosen by more than 55 percent of those who participated in my YouCut online vote."

So that would mean that less than a quarter of the one percent (.25) of the voters in CD2 voted...That's not much of a mandate and a huge waste of time and tax payer's money.  If Kline really wants to be fiscally responsible, he would have been doing his job all along while in WA, DC, and making cuts throughout the last decade and not spending tax dollars playing games to determine a spitball that the majority of voters reject.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rep. John Kline, Host Of Partisan Games

Republican Congressman John Kline (MN-02) is shrilling for a new partisan game show called  "You Cut."  Briefly, five items are listed that Republicans like Congressman Kline promise to bring 'the winning item' to the floor for an up or down vote in a drive to reduce spending and bring the deficit down. That said, this is unfortunately just another gimmick intended solely as a partisan political game we've become so accustomed from Congressman Kline.

Instead of getting a professional representative, CD2 voters now have Rep. John Kline, the game show host of the 'You Cut' project. While Rep. Kline touts the event as 'listening to the people of his district' and voting accordingly, the exploitation of the 'You Cut' project belies that effort. The five items listed weren't chosen by the  people in his district, instead they were picked by the GOP leadership as programs THEY want to get rid of...any one of the five would be welcomed by them. This is a win-win GOP game.

If Rep. John Kline was really interested in listening to the people of his district (including the majority which is made up of Democrats and Independents) then the issues on the table should have come from us. Like how about a Congressional benefits and pay decrease? Fair taxes? Campaign finance reform? Lobbyist influences? War Funding? But no, the game has been fixed so that the outcome is one only benefiting the GOP leadership!

This is just another gimmick meant to intentionally polarize the elective base, while promoting a GOP agenda under the guise of everyone having a 'chance' to participate! Next thing you know, if you believe that John Kline will have a bridge he'd like to sell you along with some swampland in Florida!

If in fact Kline was doing his JOB, instead of spending his time as a partisan game show host, he would have spent the last 10 years in office actually bringing real cuts to the floor instead of the excessively wasteful spending he's voted for and supported including this gimmick!