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abanschoolMost of this article is actually about Rolling Jubilee, if you want to find out more about that ultra-righteous endeavor.

(In September) the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a $500 million lawsuit against Corinthian, a corporation they have been investigating, as have various state attorneys general. Corinthian is charged with running a “predatory lending scheme.”
For-profit schools are notorious for preying on students from disadvantaged backgrounds and spending more on advertising and marketing than on teaching. For example, according to the CFPB, Corinthian paid other companies to temporarily hire graduates in order to inflate job placement statistics and tricked students into taking out private loans from the school itself.
“Part of the tragedy here is that most students who attend the Corinthian company schools come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and many are the first in their families to go to college,” a CFPB official said. “For these students, Corinthian too often turned the American dream of higher education into an ongoing nightmare of financial despair.” (A spokesman for Corinthian has disputed the claims made by the CFPB.)

As chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) has been the most high-profile, relentless congressional ally of predatory educators-for-profit. MN Political Roundtable notes how Corinthian is not his only big supporter in the industry being investigated.

And mnpACT! succinctly takes down Kline’s entire House tenure, here.


klinewinsRep. John Kline (R-MN) has rated low in his district, and now he rates low in the national eye. HBO Real Timers’ Bill Maher picked Kline as the worst of the worst.  Maher said, as he announced Kline’s win on the #flipadistrict chart, “He’s one of those silent threats you never see coming…Ebola…ISIS…John Kline…He embodies the sellouts that keep this town running.”  I agree, Maher. And yes, let’s win one for the Flipper (if you don’t know what that references, look up win one for the Gipper).
Kline penned the bill to increase student loan interest rates resulting in the government profiting billions off of students and some of his biggest donors are for-profit schools with questionable records.  Kline and his opponent Mike Obermueller were recently invited by the national organization Student Debt Crisis to participate in a virtual town hall on the student debt crisis.  Kline neglected to answer the organization, but Obermueller responded to the questions. Here’s Mike Obermueller on  refinancing, government making money off of student loans, and for-profit schools with questionable records.



MN-02: The real John Kline manifests

by Dan Burns on September 10, 2014 · 1 comment

Here’s Rep. John Kline (R-MN), just, well, just being John Kline, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.


Now, with the #FlipADistrict challenge, people across the country are looking closer at the Kline Agenda … and this video is making the rounds showing a floor debate during which CHAIRMAN John Kline was so vehemently defending the Republicans’ excellent treatment of women … featuring the exchange between Judy Biggert (R-IL) and the CHAIRMAN … with the CHAIRMAN interrupting and ignoring Representative Biggert…
(MN Political Roundtable)

Fundamentally, the authoritarian Kline’s incredibly crude and limited perception of how human interaction should work is one of those qualities that render him, and his far-right ilk, entirely unfit for political office.

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1922312_291422187681656_881030080_n- First of all, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) has about as anti-woman a congressional record as one could have.

So, who can Republicans count on to “preach the Gospel of Bachmann” … of course, John Kline. Just look at the bills that he has sponsored :
H.R.7 : No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act
H.R. 23 Sanctity of Human Life Act
H.R.61 : Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act
H.R.217 : Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act
H.R.346 : Stop Abortion Funding in Multi-state Exchange Plans (SAFE Act)
H.R.447 : Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2013
H.R.732 : Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act
H.R.940 : Health Care Conscience Rights Act
H.R.1091 : Life at Conception Act
H.R.1797 : Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
(MN Political Roundtable)

(That’s just regarding reproductive choice; there are many, many more War on Women efforts, with Kline’s name on them, in other areas.)
– And there’s this:

But the Supreme Court isn’t the only government body limiting insurance coverage to women. A new White House report released Wednesday argues that the 24 state governments that have failed to expand their Medicaid programs to individuals and families earning 138 percent above the federal poverty line could also be undermining women’s health.
That’s because women make up nearly 70 percent of adults on Medicaid and the report finds that limiting their access to coverage significantly restricts their access to health care. Relying on past health research, the analysis concludes that “having health insurance increases the probability that individuals report receiving ‘all needed care’ over the prior year.” “If the 24 States that have not yet expanded Medicaid did so, an additional 651,000 people would receive ‘all needed care’ over a given year once expanded coverage was fully in effect,” it says.
(Think Progress)

“A Comprehensive Guide To Right-Wing Media’s Mockery, Victim-Blaming, And Denial Of Sexual Assault.” What a bunch of sorry, craven, whimpering, worthless losers the right-wing punditry are. I don’t know how to successfully hold them accountable, though.

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Labeling Kline and Paulsen as out of touch

by Dan Burns on June 12, 2014 · 3 comments

kline 1176138_546177168752935_1735475244_n

I agree with those arguing that the main reason Eric Cantor got beat like a drum is because his district was effectively convinced to regard him as a guy lost in DC ambition, who didn’t care any more about, and in fact was just using, the homefolks.

Which got me thinking about a couple of House incumbents in Minnesota. I mean, come on, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) practically revels in maintaining an aloof distance from, and even an almost contemptuous attitude toward, his constituents. (The ones that aren’t millionaires, that is.) And while Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) perhaps is spending some time here, if that‘s so, I never see it noted in the paper or anything. Even if he is, the perception could well be that he isn’t, because the guy is basically an ambulatory no-charisma zone.
My thinking in this is undoubtedly influenced by the fact that as a voter in MN-08, I retain clear memories of how well the “out-of-touch“ charge worked for Chip Cravaack against Jim Oberstar in 2010. And the fact that the incumbent apparently didn‘t realize how much trouble he was in, until it was too late. (Note that the e-newsletter for MN-08’s current House member, Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN), constantly features images of, and articles about, him hanging out with constituents, of all ages.)
I have to mention that the potential fatal flaw in this is that my examples involve the “out-of-touch” attack working when pitched to right-wingers. Those aren’t the voters that could oust Kline and/or Paulsen in November. I don’t know that the approach has been shown to work in motivating the more issues-based center-to-left crowd.


MN-02: DFL endorses Obermueller

by Dan Burns on April 28, 2014 · 7 comments

29243_437835619256_3682028_nMike Obermueller was endorsed right away at the district DFL convention on Saturday. His opponents, Thomas Craft and Paula Overby, will not go to a primary.

He plans to campaign against (Rep. John) Kline (R-MN) on three main issues.
“I think the big issue between us is the difference in how he treats the middle class,” Obermueller said. “He’s been giving huge tax cuts away to millionaires and pushing that burden back onto seniors and the middle class. I think we ought to grow the middle class because that’s the only way to get our economy up and running again.”
The second issue, he said, is Social Security and Medicare for seniors. “He wants to privatize it. I want to make sure we’re shoring it up,” Obermueller said.
Finally, he criticized Kline for failing to support pay equity for women and allowing women to make their own health decisions. “That’s a big contrast between us.”
(Pioneer Press)

If you ask me, those “three main issues” are well-chosen, indeed.
Kline is egocentric, reactionary, and none too bright, and his time in Congress has been a disaster for everyone except the corporate honchos that he serves. He needs to go, and in this purple district, we have a legitimate opportunity to make that happen.


MN-02: Kline breezes to GOP endorsement

by Dan Burns on April 6, 2014 · 5 comments

271_19344293946_1831_nLike many progressives I was hoping for a much more entertaining scenario here, but that was probably never realistic.

U.S. Rep. John Kline easily brushed aside a challenge from the right Saturday, winning a first-ballot endorsement at the 2nd Congressional District Republican convention in Lakeville.
Libertarian challenger David Gerson of South St. Paul conceded to Kline, a six-term incumbent from Burnsville, before the results of the first ballot were announced.
(St. Paul Pioneer Press)

It cannot be emphasized enough that Democrats have a realistic shot here, this year. And if that doesn’t happen, we’re likely better than 50-50 to win it in 2016.


Allen West pitches in for John Kline

by Dan Burns on February 21, 2014 · 2 comments

klineRep. John Kline’s (R-MN) extreme distaste for interaction with the public is well known. As an authoritarian social dominant, he believes that the only proper behaviors for his constituents are to keep their mouths shut and keep voting for him. But once in a while he’ll do something “safe.” Like a recent “tele-town-hall,” involving a very special guest of honor. From Tuesday:

Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline will host a campaign event today with Tea Party activist and former congressman Allen West.
Kline and West will participate in a telephone town hall meeting with residents in Kline’s district, which covers the suburbs and exurbs south of the Twin Cities.
Scheduling the event with West — a favorite of the GOP’s right wing — may help boost Kline’s conservative bona fides ahead of his district’s April 5 nominating convention.
(Star Tribune)

Most, perhaps even all, of you know about West. If you want a reminder, about how he’s not right in the head – indeed, ostentatiously and even dangerously so – here you go. It’s been underreported that West left the U.S. Army because he was facing a court martial.

Kline recently went 0 for 28 on an environmental scorecard. Read all about it, here, from MN Political Roundtable. The post includes a list of some of his contributors, which certainly clarifies things, if you’re wondering how even the worst of the worst could possibly put up a goose egg like that.


If he votes like a Tea Partier…

by Dan Burns on January 23, 2014 · 2 comments

4469683230_236dcc9d4cWell, you can draw the obvious conclusion.

The other group of Republicans flirting most blatantly with electoral danger are those who showed outstanding loyalty to the Tea Party despite representing districts in which President Obama beat Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Of these, Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada had the highest loyalty score, voting with the Tea Party 85 percent of the time in 2013. He was followed closely by Rep. Erik Paulsen of suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul whose Tea Party loyalty score was 83 percent and Scott Rigell of the Tidewater area of Virginia who voted with the Tea Party 81 percent of the time – all while trying strenuously to cultivate a moderate image. Overall, Republicans in “Obama” districts voted with the Tea Party 75 percent of the time. (Bolding mine.)
(Americans United For Change)

Rep. John Kline (R-MN) also did “well,” by Tea Party standards that is, rolling in at a robust 79%.

(h/t Capitol View Daily Digest)


Kline and veterans: the ultimate hypocrisy

by Dan Burns on November 7, 2013 · 3 comments

klineYou should read this whole thing, not just the teaser blockquote I’m providing.

Timing is everything … November 1st, the day that SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] which provide food assistance for qualified families, including veterans, saw a cut in benefits, John Kline (R-MN-02) issued a press release touting military veteran-related legislation that the House approved this week.
Too bad, he did not mention that the House refused to vote on H.R.3108 – Extend Not Cut SNAP Benefits Act – which would have forestalled those cuts.
Did you know that in 2011, approximately 1.5 million veterans, living in households with a net income below the federal poverty level, received food assistance. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, more than $100 million in food stamps were redeemed at military commissary stores in 2012.
Heck, even if Mr. Kline did not want to extend food assistance to all, he could have joined Betty McCollum (D-MN-04) and sponsored H.R. 2038, known as the Disabled Veterans Nutrition Fairness Act of 2013. H.R. 2038 would strengthen the ability of SNAP to respond to hunger among disabled veterans while their disability claims are pending with the VA office.
(MN Political Roundtable)

Presumably election strategists have given a great deal of thought to the best issues to use against Kline, who is quite vulnerable in 2014. I don’t know whether his behavior on veterans issues is on the short list. The problem is that for low-information voters, it may seem like a cheap shot, because of Kline’s own status as a combat vet. That said, it would be good if there’s an effective way to work it in, because it’s one of the ugliest aspects of a truly ugly record in political office. The voters in MN-02 can do way, way better.