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John Kline

Globe University is going under

by Dan Burns on December 22, 2016 · 1 comment

studentdebtThe Globe empire has been a textbook example of for-profit education gone very wrong, and the righteous endgame has looked inevitable for a while. Having a state Attorney General, Lori Swanson, who is not a corporate tool has of course been a big help.

Globe University and Minnesota School of Business will be shuttering their Minnesota campuses, the Woodbury-based schools announced on Tuesday.
The for-profit schools have been cut off from federal funding and were stung by a lawsuit that found they had committed fraud in their criminal justice program.
(Star Tribune)

It looks like steps are being taken to help current students there with getting their credits to transfer and so on. As far as teachers and other staff, it sucks for now, but letting this corrupt institution continue its ways wasn’t doing anyone any good.
If you read the Strib article you’ll see that Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) is indulging in a bit of a tantrum about this. Tough.
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kline2This is from an email I got from the Pension Rights Center.

We’ve heard from reliable sources that high-paid lobbyists, working in concert with retiring Representative John Kline, are redoubling their efforts to get the “composite bill” inserted into the end-year Appropriations bill – just as they did with the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act at the end of the 2014 congressional session. In fact, we’ve heard that this bill could pass as early as Wednesday, December 7th…
Like MPRA, this draft composite legislation was developed by Representative John Kline (R-MN), the retiring chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Where MPRA gave license to trustees to slash the benefits of retirees, this ill-conceived proposal would allow the trustees of healthy multiemployer pension plans to switch to new inferior plans that don’t provide guaranteed benefits to workers or retirees. Even worse, the bill would allow plan trustees to divert money from the old plans to the new plans – increasing the chances that well-funded plans could fall into underfunded status, threatening the promised benefits of both workers and retirees.

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kline2Going after the people who do the actual necessary, worthwhile work in this world has been at the forefront of retiring Rep. John Kline’s (R-MN) political career, so it’s hardly to be wondered at that he’s ending it this way. The actual bill that was passed is HR6094. It’s thankfully not going to be signed into law.

A bill to delay the new federal overtime rule came up for debate in the U.S. House of Representatives as the Dec. 1 implementation date nears.
On Sept. 29, the House Rules Committee debated proposed legislation, introduced by Republican Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), that would delay the changes by six months, according to the…
The Protecting American Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act, introduced by Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) as S. 2707, and by Walberg and John Kline (R-Minn.) as H.R. 4773, would direct the Department of Labor (DOL) to go back to the drawing board with its overtime proposal, as CSNews Online previously reported.
The debate came one week after two legal challenges were brought against the new rule.
(CS News)

Earlier this month:

Rep. John Kline of Minnesota has proposed a new pension reform law that he said can save troubled multi-employer retirement plans from dissolution or insolvency by making benefits more flexible…
The bill allows multi-employer pension plans to transition from guaranteeing monthly payments to paying flexible benefits based on investment results. The program is somewhat similar to a 401(k) plan except that trustees, not employees, will make investment decisions for contributions…
In 2014, Kline attracted criticism by attaching to the federal budget an amendment that let failing multi-employer pensions cut some current retiree benefits to avoid insolvency.
His latest attempt at pension reform has already drawn the fire of five unions and three advocacy groups who sent a letter to House members expressing their “strong opposition” to Kline’s proposal.

I guess it’s appropriate, in a perverse, twisted way, that Kline is ending his wretched, miserable time in politics like this. Good, very good, riddance.


Donald_TrumpThe article also has plenty about Minnesota GOPers in general who aren’t thrilled. A last-ditch effort to deny Donald Trump the nomination failed on Monday, though. Not without plenty of action.

Among Minnesota Republicans, Congressmen John Kline and Erik Paulsen are staying home. Aides to both note neither went to the national convention four years ago either.
Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt will be there as a Rubio delegate.
6th District Representative Tom Emmer is headed to Cleveland, too.

Minnesota’s prominent no-shows do have plenty of company. And Stewart Mills III, the Republican trying to defeat Rep. Rick Nolan in MN-08, isn’t there, either.


MN-02: All My GOP Candidates

by Dan Burns on June 2, 2016 · 2 comments

uscapitolThis thing is taking on a soap-operatic quality.

He wants to build a wall. He refers to himself in the third person. He’s not Donald Trump, but he appeared on TV as Trump’s campaign spokesman in Minnesota. Now he’s running for Congress.
Matt Erickson becomes the fourth candidate to join the primary race for the second congressional district Republican nomination to replace retiring Congressman John Kline…
Erickson was Donald Trump’s Minnesota volunteer coordinator and appeared on TPT as Trump’s campaign spokesman. He claims to be the, “True Conservative,” in the field. “Real trailblazers like Donald Trump are the leaders that we’re looking for,” said Erickson.
(The Uptake)

Jason Lewis won the endorsement over another radical right candidate, David Gerson. The “mainstream” candidates, Darlene Miller and John Howe, didn’t try very hard for that, and are primarying Lewis. The district’s (and state’s, and national) establishment Republicans would undoubtedly have preferred that Howe drop out and give Miller – who is endorsed by the current officeholder, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) – a real chance to beat Lewis.
So Miller and Howe would split the “sane” vote, and Lewis would win in a walk. But along comes this new guy, with his direct connection to the Great and Powerful Trump, to split the far-right lunatic vote as well. Lewis, who maybe remains the favorite, is obnoxiously self-important and self-satisfied, but at the same time extremely touchy. Not a likable combination, but very common among far-right politicos. Probably Erickson is that way, too. Fun times!
The Democratic candidate is the most excellent Angie Craig.
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MN-02: Jason Lewis wins GOP endorsement

by Dan Burns on May 8, 2016 · 3 comments

lewisbuckley(Our candidate, representing the major party that is not running Donald Trump for president, is Angie Craig. You can help her out here.)

I wrote about the race here. I did not specifically note a long-priced outsider, Gene Rechtzigel, but he apparently did provide the most memorable part of the convention, using his presentation to accuse President Obama of having ordered the murder of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and so forth. Anyway:


Under Minnesota’s endorsement system, party conventions vote to endorse candidates, but other candidates who don’t get the endorsement can ask voters to overrule that endorsement and pick them instead at the Aug. 9 primary. (David) Gerson said Saturday that he would abide by the endorsement, drop out and support Lewis.
But at least one and possibly two candidates will challenge Lewis for the Republican nomination in the Aug. 9 primary. Businesswoman Darlene Miller has promised to run in the primary, while former state Sen. John Howe said he will decide soon whether to stay in the race.
(St. Paul Pioneer Press)

Retiring/fleeing Rep. John Kline (R-MN) has endorsed Miller. Given that Kline’s time in Congress has been nothing but a negative for students, women, workers, the elderly…really, everyone except rich white men, there’s no good reason for his endorsement to matter. But it might, anyway. We’ll see. Howe is presumably under a lot of pressure – as in, might even get a phone call from Kline himself – to drop out and avoid splitting the “sane,” anti-Lewis vote.

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Effort to slash pensions rejected

by Dan Burns on May 7, 2016 · 0 comments

pensionsI wrote about this issue before, here.


A U.S. Treasury Department pension ruling will block a reduction in pension payments to hundreds of thousands of retirees, including roughly 15,000 in Minnesota. Friday’s decision drew praise from the state congressional delegation’s Democrats who said anything less would be a broken promise.
The decision involving the Central States Pension Fund headed off potential cuts of up to 50 percent.


Pension rights rally in DC

by Dan Burns on April 15, 2016 · 2 comments


Many multiemployer pension funds, which provide retirement benefits to unionized workers employed at different companies, are covered by the reform law, but Central States is one of the first to apply to cut benefits under the law, according to the Pension Rights Center. The fund, which covers 400,000 people, of whom a little more than half are retired, is projected to run out of money in 10 years.
“I’ll lose everything,” said Pete Lomonaco, a retired Georgia truck driver and Teamster. “I’m 75 years old, and I’m going to lose my house.”
Lomonaco’s pension will be cut by 61 percent under Central State’s plan, he said. John Wilkinson, 58, said he’ll lose 43 percent. Del Viehland, a Missouri Teamster, said he knows retirees who could lose anywhere from 70 to 75 percent of their pensions. Ray Brofford, a 73-year-old retiree from Columbus, Ohio, said he’s going from getting $2,600 a month to $1289.

Here’s background. Outgoing Rep. John Kline (R-MN) is a bogeyman here, and with excellent reason.

This was actually one of a number of events this week. For example, on Monday, there was a sit-down, get-arrested event at the Capitol protesting gerrymandering, voter suppression, and buying elections. One group originally marched from Philadelphia to Washington. These are all exceptionally cool and righteous people.
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MN-02: What’s up with this GOP field?

by Dan Burns on April 13, 2016 · 5 comments

capitol2There were as many as seven candidates. A couple have dropped out. I suppose that right now, four of them look like “serious” players. Yeah, quite a crew. The Democratic candidate is Angie Craig.

– David Gerson, who in the past ran quixotic campaigns against the retiring/fleeing incumbent, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), keeps winning straw polls. Whether that will carry to more comprehensive success…we’ll see. Dude’s one of those pseudo-libertarian types, whose levels of self-admiration tend to vastly outstrip their real-world political success. Like with Rand Paul’s presidential “effort.”

– Speaking of which, I read somewhere that Jason Lewis wiped his past blogging when he announced, presumably with the intention of trying to get away with acting more reality-based in the here and now. Whether or not that’s true, he seems to have found that like the shades of Borley Rectory the past does not go down so readily, and so he’s determined to embrace the crazy and let it roll.


– John Howe was pretty much a nonentity in the Minnesota legislature, and maybe the idea was that a record like that would make him a “safe” pick. There hasn’t exactly been a groundswell.
– Darlene Miller has been endorsed by Kline, will presumably have plenty of money, and is clearly aiming for the primary.

Gerson might well win at the endorsing convention on May 7. But as for the August 9 primary election, right now, your informed guess is as good as mine. Probably better.
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Righteous rally against pension cuts

by Dan Burns on March 16, 2016 · 1 comment

pensionsThe event took place on Saturday afternoon, at the Minnesota Capitol.

The cuts were proposed by the Central States Pension Fund, and would impact about 15,000 retired Minnesotans, KARE 11 says.
The station notes pension funds can reduce the amount of money they give out in order to avoid running out.
According to KSTP, the average pension cuts would be about 32 percent. Some news stations report cuts could be as high as 60 percent.
(Bring Me The News)

This sort of odious corporate behavior is enabled by the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014, which was tacked onto a must-pass budget bill. One of the chief movers behind it was Rep. John Kline (R-MN). Here’s an informative website about the issue.

It’s hard to get old people (most people in general, actually) to change their entrenched habits, including voting. But let’s try to legitimately use anger and nervousness over pension cuts.
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