Friday, July 30, 2010

Minnesotans Tired of John Kline

The headline on Rep. John Kline's website reads "Minnesotans Tired of Borrowing, Spending, Bailouts, and Takeovers". And Kline should know. In his eight years in office Kline's policies have brought us to supporting two major overseas war that cost $1.03 trillion in fiscal year 2010 alone, voting to bailing out the banking industry, giving tax breaks to the wealthiest 1 %, and cleaning up BP spills after voting for lowering oversight and regulations and being Minnesota’s top recipient of campaign contributions from BP, taking in nearly $130,000 !

Yes we're tired of borrowing, something John Kline does repeatedly to support the 3 W's: war, wealthy and wall street!

Kline has worked in Washington DC for the past eight years during which time the problems in America have escalated, our pay hasn't kept up with inflation, the top 1% have gotten wealthier while the middle class has collapsed.  This is Kline's leadership!

Yes, I guess Minnesotans are tired of Kline.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Worse Kind (Kline) of Republican

 In a interview with AP, former Rep. Bob Inglis (R -SC) a conservative who helped lead the impeachment of Bill Clinton, said the Republican Party had become poisoned by demagogues and racists. Inglis singled out the oft-repeated (but false) claim that there were "death panels" in the health care reform bill.
"There were no death panels in the bill ... and to encourage that kind of fear is just the lowest form of political leadership. It's not leadership. It's demagoguery,"
Inglis said voters eventually will discover that you're "preying on their fears" and turn away and that it distracts for the real problems that politicians should be resolving like the deficit.

For the past year, Congressman John Kline’s critiques of President Obama’s health care plan has centered on issues such as 'death panels', coverage for illegal immigrants, subsidies for abortion, and proposed Medicare cuts. Taken together, these types false criticisms have helped to build confusion and opposition to many Democratic initiatives and reforms, but they have done nothing to advance any alternative vision for reform or resolution of issues. Their sole purpose is to drive a wedge into the issues, cause anger, and allow misinformation, hysteria, and the politics-of-fear tactics to prevail over debate and discussion and resolution.

Instead of engaging in honest and rigorous debate about the economic (insert your issue here!) and policy issues related to reform, John Kline has kept the conversation stuck on fear rhetoric like 'bureaucrats and government growing out of control', or 'crippling deficit'. There are too many legitimate concerns, issues, and problems to let blatant falsehoods, fear mongering and wedge policies mire down the conversation with false and misleading tactics. Promoting delusion, half-facts and conspiracy theories aren't leadership traits instead it's the worse KLINE of Republican!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kline and Bachman = Peas In A Pod

Kline on Bachman
Kline said Michele Bachman (MN-R) has become a national voice for Republicans and has lots of admirers among her congressional colleagues.
“She certainly has a very ardent following,” and “She’s unafraid to speak up,” said Kline
Far right tea party loonies stick together!

Kline/Bachman on Extending Unemployment
In the last couple of weeks, we seen a dizzying array of Republicans like Kline and Bachmann made it their official stance that $33 billion to extend unemployment benefits must be fully paid for, but financing a $678 billion extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy with deficit spending is just fine with them.

 “I think we need to be paying for all the spending that’s going on,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann. “But when people can keep more of their own money that shouldn’t be considered a cost.”

Ah, I get it, I can pay more in taxes so the wealthy can keep more of their money!  That old failed trickle down economics.

Kline/Bachmann Working Together
Reps. Michele Bachmann and John Kline were among a group of Republican members of Congress who signed on to a lawsuit that would force the District of Columbia to put gay marriage to a vote. The lawsuit was dismissed but look for them to team up again to take rights away from the GLBT community.  Congress has the ultimate authority over law-making in the District.

Both hold very similar views that would outlaw gay rights, unions, and women rights. When they use the freedom (and they do that a lot when speaking... they don't mean your freedom!)

Kline/Bachmann on Big Business Hand Bail Outs
Both John Kline and Michele Bachmann support big businesses, corporate America, and not taxing the wealthy. Both Kline and Bachmann voted  for the bank bail out. Hard to believe when they taut fiscal responsibility while siding with bankers (that would be bailed-out bankers) and voted against reforming Wall Street.

Both believe that the free market should be just that...totally free of regulations, government oversight and legislation. No wonder larger corporations and banks represent their donor base.

Kline and Bachmann...peas in a pod

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kline's Party of NO!

John Kline has consistently voted against any legislation proposed by the Democrats. According to The Washington Post, Republicans have embraced being the 'Party of No' strategy for re-election hoping to once again control the legislative branch. Instead of working for solutions, the GOP just vote 'NO'...which doesn't resolve, improve or change anything.
"And the barrage of "no" votes from the GOP has not abated. Republicans are nearly unanimous against nearly every legislative initiative brought up by Democrats."

Every 'NO' vote that Kline makes, he frames by saying he objects because it would increase the deficit (although he backs the continued massive funding of our Middle East wars which is now topping around 43% of our total US budget!).  Kline even voted against financial regulatory system reform (although he did vote yes to the massive bank bailout!). John Kline could be the poster child for 'NO' since he opposes any legislation or policy involving social, economic or political progress.

Polling suggest that Kline can continue to oppose all Democratic initiatives by just saying it would increase the deficit and grow government. Unfortunately for Republicant's like Kline, NO  and business as usual aren't solutions. Kline's choosing obstruction over progress, recovery and reinvestment, leaves Americans in worsting economic conditions and calls into question his lack of leadership.

Re-election by 'NO' doesn't represent good leadership nor does it represent vision and solutions.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Targeting John Kline and Tom Emmer

Lots of blogging today regarding Target supporting GOP Tom Emmer's TV ads...but Target has a long history of supporting far right 'don't tread on me' ideologist that support zero government involvement, regulation or oversight into any businesses. It doesn't take a genius to know why...just ask BP, or Goldman Sachs, or the housing market lenders.
I've mentioned in previous blogs about Target funding far right demagogues like John Kline. All businesses want an elected official that believes that government has no business trying to regulate them. .

Now that the Supreme Court allows businesses like Target to spend unlimited funds on political campaigns, do you think they will take care of the community by self regulation, or do you think they will do whats good for their profit margain? I suspect that Target will be giving even more to elected official and candidates like John Kline and Tom Emmer who support self-regulation instead of oversight and safety.

As John Kline says he's "Against taxes and regulations that stifle job growth and destroy small businesses" '  "Against a union-driven push to strip workers of their right to a secret ballot" .

Kline is willing to see living wages turn into lower wages and workers safety turn into business profits...all in support of profit. Just as Emmer wants,  we'll to see waitstaff wages lowered to help business. Yet the end result of that greed will be bank buy outs, environmental disasters, and worsting tax burden.

The real war in America is not a class war. It is People vs Corporations. Now those Corporations have unlimited spending to buy politicians like John Kline with their mantra of Greed, War, Power and Corruption.

Monday, July 19, 2010

John Kline's Indefensible Vote NO

By all estimates millions are about to join 14 million other unemployed Americans without extended unemployment benefits. Congress’s failure to renew the program that provides extended benefits to the long-term unemployed has caused more than 2 million unemployed workers to lose their unemployment insurance benefits in the last six weeks. Rep. John Kline's NO vote on extending unemployment during this crucial time to America's families is indefensible.

Rep. John Kline (MN-R)cited, among other things, the deficit as his main reason for voting NO in extending benefits, even though Kline has voted YES repeatedly to extend unemployment benefits during the Bush era! (yes there was a deficit then too). Unfortunately Kline's willingness to give away America's economic future for his far right ideological point is unexcusable.

Unemployment benefits fulfills two important national needs: assisting those most hurt by the recession and, as one of the most efficient mechanisms available for injecting spending into the economy, generating jobs. In essence, Rep. Kline is voting against Americans.

There are at least five unemployed workers for every current job continue to need assistance to weather this economic calamity. Unemployment benefits is a crucial lifeline to those families most hurt by the downturn. But instead of voting to help the economy and provide for 2 million Americans, Kline throws a job fair the serves only a handful of people (at best!). 

It's no surprise that 750 people attended Kline's sponsored job opening,meaning many of those who are unemployed have and will fair.June's unemployment rate was 9.5%, and 45.5% of the unemployed have been seeking work for more than six months. The current economy needs more of a boost than a local job fair made up of business donors to Kline's campaign! There are 4.7 unemployed persons for each job available in America. People are out of work and there aren't enough jobs. But, at best John Kline's job fair will provide less than 3% of the 750 attendees with entry level low paying jobs. That's a far cry from helping our nations 2 million unemployed with extended benefits.

Besides providing a crucial lifeline to those families in need of extended benefits, a YES vote would have injected spending into the economy and generated jobs on a national level.  The reasoning is so simple even John Kline could understand.... "Those who are unemployed are experiencing a major challenge to maintain anything close to their regular standard of living, so any assistance they receive will be spent on necessities, not saved. The spending that results as the unemployed pay their rent, buy groceries, and so on saves and creates jobs throughout the economy."

Kline is using this crisis to further his personal ideology, reward businesses that contribute to his campaign, and further the recession hardships for America rather than take the leadership role he was elected to and make real change in creating jobs.  Kline's current lack of leadership will have very real consequences on our country's economy.  While many lose their jobs, homes, and families, John Kline argues for a across-the-board tax cut (like the one that helped get us into this mess). He spins an argument trying to make a tax cut case but with 50 years of history, we know there is no trickle down. His actions shows a lacks empathy and any real sense of responsibility for others. It's void of true leadership, and simply put, indefensible.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Being Pawned By Congressman John Kline

It's really an amazing coincident that Congressman John Kline's big show (his hosting of a job fair) reads like his donor lets take a look at the relationship Kline has with one of the job fair participant and major donor to Rep. John Kline re-election campaign...Pawn America (CEO Brad Rixmann) which contributed $10,100 .

For those not acquainted with pawn shops, they make money by giving short term loans of one to three months to customers based on the items they put up for collateral such as jewelery, electronics, musical instruments, hand tools... 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%.

Additionally, many feel with pawn shops "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"

Pawn America has a majority of  the pawn-shop business in Minnesota, both with stores and a variety of spin off subsidiaries such as Payday America, Pal Card Minnesota, and Cash Pass Network. Each carries a service fee for their 'services'. Business is really good.

"Loans are up 20% to 25%," estimates David Crume, president of the National Pawnbrokers Association. Because of the GOP ideology of 'no government interference' and the subsequent banking melt down, pawn shops have experienced a mega boom. Because of this pawn shops also want to overcome any obstacles to their doing a profitable business and that means being able to have legislators lobby on their behalf against legislation.

Gold, as in jewelery, is the biggest item for pawn shops. In recent years, more people are pawning jewelery, not meeting the jacked up service fees, and pawn shops reap the reward. But with Washington taking a look at lending practices in the fallout of the banking bailout, pawn shops see their biggest obstacle to business at that potential reform legislation. According to Time:

More worrisome to investors is the potential power of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, part of the financial-reform bill recently passed by the House and under consideration in the Senate. Under the current versions of the bill, the agency would not have the power to set interest rates. But public anger with America's financial industry is rising, and that raises the possibility that extremely high interest-rate charges could ultimately be subject to federal limits.

When we talk about financial reform that means extremely high interest-rate charges like those charged by pawn shops could ultimately be subject to federal limits. To Pawn America a 9.5 percent service fee for two weeks works out to be an annual percentage rate higher than 200 percent. Not bad for a few minutes of work! It is also the reason Pawn America contributes to John Kline's campaign.

Rep. John Kline has consistently fought against any legislation that would limit high interest rates. Kline has made no secret that he's 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 'drill baby drill' mentality, and his adherence to 'no government oversight, regulations, or interference', has made John Kline a Pawn American poster child.

Isn't it past time to tell Kline he works for us and not Pawn America?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Congressman John Kline Declining to Support Safety for American Workers

Coal miner Josh Napper had a sick feeling something wasn’t right at his job, so he put his thoughts on paper for those he loved the most before heading back to work. It would be his last communication with them.

His handwritten note read: “If anything happens to me, I will be looking down from heaven,”
This week Representative John Kline(MN-R) went on record saying instead of enacting needed mining safety regulations, just enforce the existing ones. Unfortunately it’s difficult if not impossible to shut down a mine with poor safety records under the current appeals process. Additionally the government oversight agency has no power to subpoena documents or testimony, and even if it could, there is no whistle blower protection. American mine workers put themselves, co-workers, family and neighbors at risk by reporting problems.

In April of this year, the Upper Big Branch mining disaster left 29 workers dead. The accident brought to light numerous violations..a grand total of 1100 violations in the past three year against the mine. In the months prior to the accident, the operating company, Performance Coal Company, a subsidiary of Massey Energy was fined $382,000 for serious violations cited for 57 safety infractions. Just the day before the explosion, the mine received two citations and in the year preceding the explosion the mine had been closed 60 times.

There were lots of reports posted regarding the serious myriad violations within the mine over the last three years. And while their number is overwhelming, unfortunately the mining company can point to having a better than industry average for six consecutive years. Which begs to question of: a low thrust hold for mining safety regulations if they are better than others!

In addition the company has contested nearly a third of the violations since 2005. The appeal process has both delayed penalties and delays the process which could potentially stop any unsafe mine from closing for years!

This speaks to a serious problems with the enforcement of regulations (MSHA, Mining Safety and Health Administration) and oversight. Now that the Democrats want to pass improve legislation for miner’s safety, John Kline is opposing it. Just as with “drill, baby, drill”, Kline would have the industry ‘self regulate’. BTW John, how’s that working out with BP?

“Democratic lawmakers, seeking to prevent another mine disaster like the April explosion that killed 29 workers in West Virginia, proposed sweeping new legislation Tuesday that would make it easier to shut down mines with poor safety records”

As with most all the other Democratic legislation that John Kline opposes, Kline has no specific recommendations other than asking for stronger enforcement of existing regulations. Which is ironic considering it was under the Republican’s administration that MSHA was gutted and made worthless.

The bill introduced this week would boost penalties, grant regulators expanded access, and protect whistle blowers. As demonstrated by the numerous mining accidents and the human toll, how can Rep. Kline be so shallow as to think that’s ‘overreaching’?

Unlike the Democratic summary of the proposal, Representative Kline doesn't believe  “All workers deserve to come home safe after work each day.”