Friday, December 31, 2010

Supreme Court ~ Now Belongs to Large Corporations !

"Person" of the Year: The U.S. Supreme Court
Bob Burnett.Berkeley writer, retired Silicon Valley executive
Posted: December 31, 2010


It's difficult to look beyond the tumult of current events and ask, "what happened this year that will be remembered ten, twenty, or fifty years from now?" However, there was one 2010 event that, in terms of its long-term impact, loomed above the others, the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court Decision.

Writing in the New York Review, law professor Ronald Dworkin explained Citizens United v. FEC: "In the 2008 presidential primary season a small corporation, Citizens United, financed to a minor extent by corporate contributions, tried to broadcast a derogatory movie about Hillary Clinton. The FEC declared the broadcast illegal under the BCRA [Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act]. Citizens United then asked the Supreme Court to declare it exempt from that statute on the ground, among others, that it proposed to broadcast its movie only on a pay-per-view channel." In an extraordinary example of judicial activism, the Supreme Court conservative majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, declared the entire BCRA act unconstitutional. The Supreme Court hadn't been the story of the year since the December 12, 2000, Bush v. Gore decision. This paved the way for Bush's installation as president and his nomination of John Roberts as Chief Justice in September of 2005. Many Supreme Court observers regard Roberts as the judicial equivalent of the "Manchurian Candidate." New Yorker legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin noted Roberts' dogmatic conservatism: "In every major case since he became the nation's seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts [and his conservative allies] has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff." John Roberts had worked as an attorney for both the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations and, therefore, possible conservative "judicial activism" was a concern of the Democratic Senators who questioned him before confirmation. Roberts denied that he was an activist and appeared to honor the legal tradition of stare decisis, abiding by precedent. Five years later, it's apparent that Roberts hid his true philosophy. In the Citizens United decision Roberts aggressively advanced the conservative agenda along three fronts. First, the decision to hear this case was an extraordinary example of judicial activism. Professor Dworkin observed, Citizens United "did not challenge the constitutionality of [BCRA]. But the five conservative justices -- Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas -- decided on their own initiative, after a rehearing they themselves called for, that they wanted to declare the act unconstitutional anyway." [Emphasis added] Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, explained that the conservative justices called for the rehearing because they had dissented on the most pertinent precedent, McConnell v. FEC, and had continued to complain about it. Second, the Citizens United decision strengthened the conservative contention that corporations have "personhood" and, therefore, enjoy the same rights as ordinary individuals, including the right of free speech. (For a compelling account of how the bizarre notion that corporations enjoy the same constitutional rights as human beings has evolved, see radio host Thom Hartmann's book, Unequal Protection.) Third, the Citizens United decision allowed corporations to spend unlimited funds in political contests. It was this aspect that caused President Obama to observe, during his January 27, 2010, State of the Union Address, "The Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations - -to spend without limit in our elections." The decision granted corporations more rights than those of human beings. The 2010 midterm elections demonstrated the lethality of the Citizens United decision. The non-partisan group, Opensecrets.org calculated that, excluding Party Committees, $294 million was spent by outside groups. Conservative outside groups spent twice as much as did Liberal groups. For example, the US Chamber of Commerce, a conservative-leaning outside group, spent $32.8 million, more than the combined total of the two leading Liberal groups: the SEIU ($15.7 million) and the AFSCME ($12.6). (The McClatchey Newspapers reported that the US Chamber, which has foreign corporations as members, expected to spend more than $75 million in all forms of political support.) Massive spending by outside groups influenced the outcome of the midterm election. In the Pennsylvania Senate race, outside spending was more than $12 million: $5.9 million was spent on ads attacking the Democratic Candidate (Joe Sestak), whereas only $1.9 was spent attacking the Republican (Pat Toomey); Sestak lost. In Illinois, $6.2 million was spent attacking the Democratic candidate (Alex Giannoulias), whereas only $1.5 million was spent attacking the Republican (Mark Kirk); Giannoulias lost. There are many similar examples, including outgoing New York Democratic Congressman John Hall who attributed his defeat to the decision. We've entered a new phase of American history, the Corporatist period where multinational corporations have unbridled political influence. This movement started before the Citizens United decision, but the Roberts' Supreme Court has accelerated the pace and thereby profoundly weakened our democracy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bonus for Millionaires ~ Cuts for Social Security Recipients



Millionaire$ get a Gold Mine ~ Social Security Recipients get Shaft !


http://action.ourfuture.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=131



Did it make you crazy that the President thought he had to give the Republican hostage-takers a tax windfall for the very wealthy in order to get a weak stimulus ?
Well get ready for the next, even bigger hostage battle. This one we have to win.

Republicans are demanding Social Security cuts. If they don’t get those cuts, they will threaten to destroy the economy by refusing to raise the debt limit when it has to be extended in March. This time, we have maybe a month to make sure the President is on our side – before the upcoming State of the Union address. This is no time to let frustration with Washington paralyze progressives. Too much is at stake.
Tell the President: "Don't Give Social Security Cuts To The Republican Hostage-Takers." Sign the "No Social Security Cuts" petition.



http://action.ourfuture.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=131



Rumors are rampant that the President will embrace Social Security cuts in his upcoming State of the Union Address, to avoid a showdown over raising the debt ceiling.

We have to tell him: You can’t give a $700 billion windfall to the richest families in America, and then cut Social Security!

We cannot let this happen. And it won't happen if we sternly remind the White House that Social Security cuts will shatter his grassroots base. And we need to tell him now, before the State of the Union address is written.

Tell the President: "Don't Give Social Security Cuts To The Republican Hostage Takers." Sign the "No Social Security Cuts" petition.

If ten of thousands of the President's most committed supporters tell him in no uncertain terms that cutting Social Security is political suicide, he will have no choice but to heed our call.
As the President himself said to progressive activists earlier this year, "keep holding me accountable." If we don't, the hostage-takers will.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Definition of Labor Unions or Killing the Myth !














A Simple Guide for Talking Unions


by Zoe Bridges-Curry on December 14, 2010 .
It’s no secret: Not everyone sees unions as key to rebuilding America and the middle class.

It’s easy to tune out the misinformation about unions and the workers who make them strong when you hear it on the news, but what should you do when the same misinformation comes from your friends and family? We’re here to help with some simple facts so you can speak up the next time you encounter someone attacking unions, and help shed light on what unions are really all about!
MYTH: Unions are run by big, overpaid bosses.
FACT: Unions are run by workers.

A union is simply a group of employees who join together to address workplace issues, so they can improve their working conditions and have a fair shot at a better life for themselves and their families.
Unions are democratic institutions. At the local, state, and national level, all union leadership is elected by majority votes—just like elections for public office.
MYTH: Unions only care about their members.
FACT: Unions are fighting to improve the lives of all workers.

It’s easy to forget that we have unions to thank for a lot of things we take for granted today in today’s workplaces: the minimum wage, the 8-hour work day, child labor laws, health and safety standards, and even the weekend.
Today, unions across the country are on the front lines advocating for basic workplace reforms like increases in the minimum wage, and pushing lawmakers to require paid sick leave. Studies show that a large union presence in an industry or region can raise wages even for non-union workers. That means more consumer spending, and a stronger economy for us all. So it’s no wonder that most Americans (61%) believe that “labor unions are necessary to protect the working person,” according to Pew’s most recent values survey.
MYTH: Union workers are lazy, and unions are bad for business.
FACT: Unions and profitability go hand in hand.

Actually, unions make the workplace more efficient – despite the stereotype that we all hear.
Unions raise productivity on average by up to 24% in manufacturing, 16% in hospitals, and 38% in the construction. Union workers have higher professional standards because unions increase opportunities for worker training. Many even offer their own training programs. Union workers are employed in some of the most respected professions. They’re nurses, firefighters, teachers, day care providers, engineers, and NASA scientists. Union members are responsible for building nuclear subs, the space shuttle, The Smithsonian, the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, and even the American flag. Even small business owners think that unions are good for workers—and the economy. In fact, over 80% agree “strong unions make the free market system stronger.” They’re right. Unions exist at some of the most successful companies out there, including AT&T, Costco, UPS, and Southwest.
MYTH: Unions ask for too much. In this economy, people should be thankful for any job.
FACT: Good jobs mean a stronger economy, and that means more jobs.

This idea is coming straight from the same corporations that ran our economy into the ground. Now they’re taking advantage of our financial worries to grab an even bigger slice of the pie. It’s just plain wrong to make working Americans foot the bill for Wall Street’s party. And it’s also bad for the economy. Because when workers can’t afford the products they produce, consumer spending takes a serious hit, and the economy does, too. But when workers can bargain for family-sustaining pay and benefits, consumer spending increases. The result is a stronger economy—one that creates jobs and enables people to work their way into the middle class.
MYTH: Public employees are to blame for our budget woes.
FACT: Public employees earn less than private-sector workers in similar jobs.

You’re going to hear this a lot more soon. But we can’t afford to have extremist policymakers get away with scapegoating civil servants like teachers, fire fighters, and police officers. Private-sector workers should be angry about the inadequate benefits they receive, but the solution isn’t to take hope away from the public sector workers who keep our communities strong. We have to make the economy work for everyone. Recent studies show that public employees make significantly less than private-sector workers with comparable education and experience, even when you factor in benefits. And according to Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman, state and local employees’ pensions make up only 6 percent of non-federal public sector spending. Still not convinced? It turns out that what’s bad for public workers is bad for the economy, too. The Center for Economic Policy Research reports that freezing federal workers’ pay will mean a loss of $2.5 billion in consumption by 2012—18,000 private sector workers stand to lose their jobs as a result. And don’t forget, it was Wall Street’s recklessness that caused budget shortfalls in states across the country—not public service workers. Making public service workers pay for Wall Street’s wrongdoing won’t create jobs, and it won’t save the public services we all depend on.


Editorial : Free Democratic Labor/Trade Unions are one of the greatest resources in our Country`s history, and ought to be taught in every class room in this country. DVJ

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Want to Contact Your Congress ? Here`s How !


Everybody Needs to Contact Their Congressman at Times ...
By: Underdog = Don Jones
12/11/10



There are many and varied votes taking place on your behalf. I would suggest that you start to pay attention, as to how your Congressional Representatives vote on bills that affect you ! Just click on the title of this blog or the link above. Follow directions and you`ll soon be in contact with your elected Representative. Once you are on the site, you can save it to your favorites. Sha-Zam, I believe you`ve got it. I urge you to use it !

Friday, December 10, 2010

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ~ Gave Us the Social Security Road Map ! Follow it !



Proposed Tax Deal Goes Against FDR’s Vision for Social Security
For the newest fact sheet “Health Care Benefits for Seniors in 2011,” go to>>>>
President Obama announced a tentative deal with Congressional Republicans on Monday to extend the Bush-era tax cuts at all income levels for two years. The package would reduce the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax on all wage earners by two percentage points, to 4.2%, for one year. However, the package would cost about $900 billion over the next two years, and would be financed entirely by adding to the national debt. The deal would also extend unemployment benefits at their current level for 13 months, through the end of 2011.
The Social Security payroll tax cut is estimated to cost $120 billion per year, and is a provision that Senate Democrats say could ultimately be the undoing of Social Security. Allowing the payroll tax to expire in a year will mean that workers will see a nearly 50% jump in payroll taxes as the rate reverts back -- an event that is likely to be described as a tax hike. According to The Huffington Post, reducing a person's responsibility to contribute to Social Security also deprives the program of the political and moral capital that has kept the program intact despite fierce opposition from a determined investor class. In arguing against the deal, Nancy Altman, head of the group Social Security Works, noted that such responsibility was put into place by FDR for just that purpose. To see more from FDR on the topic, go to
http://huff.to/gVorby. Altman said that dividing the stimulus evenly by simply sending an equal check to every worker would be far more desirable. Both the Senate and the House are expected to debate and vote on the proposal next week.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Seniors Can Eat Kibble & Bits !

Amidst Talk of Tax Cuts for the Rich, Republicans Block $250 Checks for Seniors
A proposal to provide seniors an emergency payment of $250 was blocked on Wednesday by Republican-led opposition in the House and Senate. The measure would have provided the one-time payment to 58 million Social Security recipients in lieu of an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). This is the second consecutive year that Social Security beneficiaries did not receive a COLA. Senior advocates note that the Consumer Price Index in Social Security, which measures the rate of inflation, does not accurately reflect the rate of inflation faced by seniors who spend a huge amount of their income on health care. Alliance members sent more than 5,400 e-mails letting their representative and senators know that they were counting on them to vote in favor of the payment. The bill, (S. 3985), required 60 votes to shut off a filibuster in the Senate, but failed 53-45. No Senate Republicans voted for it. For a Senate vote tally, go to http://bit.ly/h1XTqt.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Republicans Can`t Wait to Vote their Millionaire Contributors a Huge Tax Break !
The proposal also failed in the House for passage under House Suspension Calendar rules. There, the measure came up short, 254-153, with 141 Republicans voting against it. Under those rules, two-thirds of members present and voting were necessary for the bill, (H.R. 5987), to pass. For a tally of the House vote, go to http://bit.ly/hdtk52. In arguing for the $250, Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) mentioned the Alliance’s support on the House floor. “This legislation is critical to retirees, but unfortunately, congressional Republicans overwhelmingly chose to oppose it,”

Friday, December 03, 2010

Lifeline ~ God Help Us ! ~ The Republicans Won`t !



God Help Us ! The Republicans Won`t !

You need to watch this video. It made me furious, and it made me cry. It’s a powerful reminder of the real faces behind unemployment statistics. It’s about three minutes and it’s worth every second—so I hope you’ll turn up your speakers and watch the whole thing. The same senators who are fighting to charge $700 billion in tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires to our national credit card say extending unemployment is “too expensive” and “must be paid for.” Meanwhile, more than one person a second is losing his or her lifeline.
If this video doesn’t fuel your outrage and give you a sense of the human cost of delay on emergency unemployment, nothing will. Please watch and send a strong message to your members of Congress. Tell them to restore unemployment insurance benefits for jobless workers who are being cut off right now at the rate of more than one a second. Then, share this video with your friends and ask them to take action, too.
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVOIhc2EHUY <

Let’s fix this outrage. If you live in Tennessee ?
Contact Senators Alexander & Corker (R`s) Tennessee here > also your Congressman/women >
http://www.tennesseeanytime.org/government/elected.html <

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Deficit Commision~Is Only For The Very Rich !

Trumka: Latest Deficit Commission Proposal Tells Workers...

‘Drop Dead’—Again !
by James Parks, Dec 1, 2010

With 800,000 workers losing their unemployment benefits last night, the deficit commission’s proposal “once again tells working Americans to ‘Drop Dead,’” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. All the commission members should vote against the latest blueprint presented by Commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, which calls for keeping the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy while cutting Social Security and Medicare, Trumka said. And all members of Congress should oppose these “job-killing policies” if they are raised in future legislation or budgets, he said. We need to focus now on the jobs deficit, Trumka said. Fifteen million people are out of work, and another 11 million have given up looking or are working part-time involuntarily. We need to end tax breaks that send American jobs overseas and invest in jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and green technologies. To address long-term deficit issues, the AFL-CIO supports the core principles underlying the “Investing in America’s Economy Budget Blueprint,” he said. We need to put jobs and economic growth first; we must invest in education and infrastructure to be competitive in the 21st century; Wall Street and the Wealthy must bear their share of the burden; and we need to deal with the growth of health care costs.

Editorial : The Middle Class can no longer carry the Country`s Debt Burden alone ! The Rich must step up and assist us in this quest to save our Country ! If you do not understand this ? Where on Earth have you been ? And when are you going to say, enough is enough ! Trumka has got it right !

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hands Off Social Security !


Politicians ~ Keep Your Hands Off of Social Security !


Congratulations! We slammed the phones on Capitol Hill yesterday thanks to your help. In fact, we overloaded the Capitol Switchboard and the phones went down.

Tens of thousands delivered the message: "Hands Off Our Social Security!" Members of Congress even called our offices and those of our allies to say that they were hearing the calls loud and clear. The Fiscal Commission was supposed to vote today on a plan to slash Social Security benefits. But they’re still trying to round up the votes. The vote is now scheduled for Friday, and many members of the Commission are undecided.

So you have time to call your U.S. Senators TODAY and THURSDAY to make your voice heard.
Please call 1-866-529-7630 now.

We know many of you called yesterday but could not get through to the offices because the switchboards were jammed. So please try again TODAY.

Call 1-866-529-7630 right now. There will be less phone traffic today, which should allow you to get through.

We can beat these guys. That’s why we will continue fighting all week against the Fiscal Commission. They released their new proposal for slashing Social Security benefits this morning. Once again it disregards the will of the American people. Their plan will raise the retirement age to 69, cut the annual COLA, and cut benefits overall for middle-income earners by 17% to 36%.


It`s YOUR Money ! Tell them to back off on Social Security ~





Republicans are Poachers ! The Party of The RICH !




Robin Hood Rides Again ! Republicans Take from the Poor and Give to the Rich !
by: Don Jones = Underdog
12/01/10

Do you ever get just plain disgusted with our politics ? I do ! It seems, that it does`nt matter who we (middle class) elect, we get it taken from us to give our millionaire's a break. They say, they need a break from tax`s to create jobs. The problem is they do not create jobs in the good ole USA. They create them in other countries. Am I missing something ? Why do multi-millionaires need a tax break, and we middle class pay more tax`s, than they do ? Warren Buffett and Bill Gates and a host of other billionaires, say, (we as in Buffet and Gates) do not need a tax break ! Who are the millionaires who need this tax break ? Perhaps we need to take up a collection for them ? Now, I voted for President Obama, because he was going to institute change. In some instances, he did. In others he has not ! Pardon me, but, it just seems that we are in a class war. I make no apologies for that fact. If you do not believe me, listen to the Republican rhetoric. They are telling you, that tax breaks for the rich are necessary to create jobs. If that is true, why are`nt we just covered up in jobs ? The tax breaks for the rich has been in place since George W. Bush was President. We are in debt up to our eyes. We borrow money at an all time high. Obama, inherited a monetary crisis almost unparalleled. He has successfully saved our Automobile Industry single handed. I`m afraid Obama will cut a deal with the Republicans and leave the tax breaks for the rich, in place for a trade off on something else. If we incur bills like we are, then we need to pay them. He has stopped the war in Iraq. He has not stopped the war in Afghanistan. My one big question is, what has happened to our fixing TRADE ? It`s Trade, that is cooking our goose. You rarely hear anything about it. If we are going to be third world Country, then things are going pretty well. If we do not want to be third world country, we must fix Trade ! I call it our race to the bottom. Our Politicians encourage manufacturers to go to other countries to get the benefit of cheap wages ! Most Republicans are Anti-Union. Most workers need one ! It`s all about Tax Cuts for the RICH. I predict that Republicans will hold up any legislation until they get their Tax Breaks for the RICH ! President Obama needs to stand up to them and (As they Did Just Say NO!) I`ve ranted long enough, I hate that I`ve had to rant at all ! Our Race to the bottom continues. Just one more thing, if you live in Tennessee, our two U.S. Senators Alexander and Corker (R`s) Vote for the Rich on a regular basis ! Both are Anti-Union. They voted against minimum wage ! They voted against the Automobile stimulus. They oppose Healthcare. They oppose unemployment benefits.So, in essence we Tennesseans get what we vote for ! Want to inform Senators Alexander and Corker (R`s) from Tennessee of your disappointment in their representation ? click on this link or the title of this article ! > http://www.tennesseeanytime.org/government/elected.html <

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension ~ Maybe Thats Me ?



Eye on Health: Lung Disease...PAH
Posted: Nov 18, 2010
By Latrice Curry , Eye on Health Reporter
Everyday activities that most of us take for granted, are extremely difficult for some people. Making it through a normal days work became almost impossible for Christine Wilkinson. "As a nurse when I couldn't do my 12 hours on the floor between patients without having to sit down all the time," says Wilkinson. After several frustrating visits to various doctors, Wilkinson was finally diagnosed with a rare lung disease, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension also known as P-A-H. "In the nutshell it is high blood pressure in your lungs," says Dr. Mike Czarnecki. Dr. Czarnecki is known as the "Lung Doctor" and he says this condition is often mis-diagnosed as other common ailments such as COPD. "This is a rare disease and often goes mis-diagnosed because the symptoms are dizziness, shortness of breath, maybe you are unable to walk to your mailbox without getting short of breath," says Dr. Mike Czarnecki. There are four categories of P-A-H, Classes 1 through 4 with four being the most serious, where patients show symptoms with any type of activity, sometimes even while resting. While Dr. Czarnecki says most cases aren't caught in the early stages, Wilkinson's was. "I am more aware of it, the heart pain, but I am feeling better because not also having the asthma slow me down as well," says Wilkinson. Correct diagnosis and treatment is crucial. Dr. Mike Czarnecki says "Without treatment it is a lethal disease." P-A-H is more common by a 3-1 margin in women, with most of them being diagnosed in their 30's and 40's. Treatment can range from oral medications to inhaled therapies and IV therapies. Dr. Czarnecki says if you ever took the diet drug phen phen, you might be at risk, because it was taken off the market because it caused Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.
Editorial : This writer has PAH, We/Vandy think`s ? Sometimes walking can be a nightmare. Taking a shower is a nightmare. Dressing is tough. It affects you, as if you are running a race, and cannot catch your breath ! (It is shortness of Breath) I am a Male ! My medications are (revatio 20mg. tabs) 3 times a day & (tyvaso inhalation liquid therapy) 4 times a day. I`m not sure, that it is helping ? And wow is it expensive. $$$$$...You don`t want to know. If you see me out, you would think, I was fine, but, I`m at rest. When I get up to walk after a longtime idle, it is a nightmare. Oh, did I mention, I`m a Heart-Transplant 16 years post !
I do have a Female Heart ! I have never taken phen phen. Top left is my PAH Physician, Dr. Anna Hemnes, Vanderbilt University. She`s a Dandy !

Monday, November 22, 2010

Health Care ! ~ It`s All About The Money ! Insurance Money...





Health Care Giants Spent $86 Million in Effort to Kill Reform
by James Parks, Nov 19, 2010

We reported that Big Insurance funneled millions of dollars to the Chamber of Commerce to fight health care reform and millions more to try and water down the law once it was passed. Now Bloomberg Business News reporter Drew Armstrong has put a price tag on the effort to kill the bill. In an article earlier this week, Armstrong says tax records show big health insurers last year gave the Chamber $86.2 million that was used to oppose the health care overhaul law. The Chamber is not required to disclose its donors, but unnamed sources told Bloomberg that the money came from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an industry trade group that represents companies like Cigna and UnitedHealth Group. AHIP’s donation accounted for 40 percent of all the money the Chamber received in 2009. The money paid for advertisements, polling and grass roots events to drum up opposition to the bill that’s projected to provide coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, a Chamber spokesman told Armstrong. But the spending hasn’t stopped. Opponents of the overhaul have spent $108 million since then to advertise against it, the New York Times recently reported—six times more than supporters have spent. Meanwhile, the big insurers continue to make outrageous profits. Six of the nation’s biggest private health insurance companies saw their profits increase by 22 percent over last year in the quarter that ended in September, according to a new analysis by Health Care for America Now (HCAN). HCAN says the $3.4 billion in 2010 third-quarter profits for WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc., Aetna Inc., Humana Inc., Cigna Corp. and Coventry Health Care Inc. is tied to the companies spending a “smaller share of their premiums on medical care, purging unprofitable members and burdening consumers with higher cost-sharing limits.” !

Editorial : It`s all about the money ! The Big Insurance and Drug company`s get richer and the consumer gets poorer ! President Obama pass`s laws...they learn quickly how to get around them. The Chamber of Commerce, picture at top R should read small business UNION !





Saturday, November 20, 2010

Trade ~ Trade ~ Trade ! ~ Fix it or Nix it !


Trade is the Problem ! Until it is fixed...Our Economy will Continue to Fail !

We Need to save Union City Goodyear Plant !

I have written many times about our trade problem. I am deeply concerned by the rapid decline of our manufacturing sector, which imperils our position as the world's strongest economy. Over 5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost in just the last 10 years - 2.4 million are the result of our trade deficit with China. Senate passage of H.R. 2378 - a bill to deter China from its market-distorting practice of currency manipulation - should be a top priority before Congress adjourns. Most economists believe that currency manipulation gives Chinese manufactured goods a 40 percent cost advantage when shipped into our market and an equivalent disadvantage for our goods when they enter China. Left unchecked, this policy stands in the way of free and fair trade, job creation, and a higher standard of living for millions of Americans. Confronted with stiff international pressure, China made a phony pledge in June 2010 to restore flexibility to its exchange rate and allow market forces to determine the value of the Yuan. However, the value of the Yuan has risen just 2 percent since that announcement - a far cry from the 40 percent undervaluation that is fueling a massive and ever-expanding trade deficit for our nation. History shows that strong action by Congress will bring positive results for American workers and companies. The Senate voted overwhelmingly in 2005 to penalize China for currency manipulation, and the result was a 21 percent appreciation of the Yuan in the months that followed. Unfortunately, China has restored its mercantilist currency policy and American jobs are in jeopardy. The House has already taken decisive action. On September 30, 2010, the House showed a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation by voting 348-79 to pass H.R. 2378, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, sponsored by Congressmen Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Tim Murphy (R-PA). Now the Senate must act before closing out the 111th Congress. This issue is too important to postpone any longer. With each day that passes without action, more jobs are lost in my community and the tipping point of no return for our economy and middle-class America gets closer and closer. Ending China's currency manipulation will create more than 750,000 good American jobs at no cost to the U.S. Treasury. In fact, the anticipated growth created by such a
move could lower our budget deficit by as much as $500 billion over the next six years.
Fortunately, it is not too late to act.
I am counting on you to take
action to preserve our jobs, especially Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Union City, Tennessee and insist on a level playing field for American workers and businesses.
Please vote for H.R. 2378 and send the bill to President Obama for his signature. If you live in Tennessee ? click on title of this article or link below !
Contact Senator`s Alexander and Corker. Urge them to vote for this bill !
H.R. 2378

http://www.tennesseeanytime.org/government/elected.html

Sincerely,

Don Jones = Underdog

Friday, November 19, 2010

Social Security ~ A Lifeline & It`s Our Money !



Call Congress on November 30th to Protect Social Security!


The Social Security Works & Strengthen Social Security (SSS) Campaign wants your help in flooding Capitol Hill with thousands of phone calls to protect Social Security on Tuesday, November 30,2010 a national call-in day. The goal of each call will be to urge elected officials to oppose both benefit cuts to Social Security and the raising of the retirement age. As time nears for the full Fiscal Commission to release their official proposal, it will also be important to urge elected officials to oppose the Commission’s proposals to cut Social Security. The SSS Campaign is providing an email message, call-in script, and the following phone number for November 30: 1- 866-529-7630. Watch for these materials to come by e-mail next week. Tell Congress “NO!” to Social Security benefit cuts, and to keep their hands off Social Security!

GAO: Raising Retirement Age Would Hit Low-Income Workers, Minorities Extra Hard

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on Friday highlighting the risks of raising the retirement age. The Senate Aging Committee Chair, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), had requested the report to address potential problems Americans would face with raising the Early Eligibility Age (EEA), the earliest eligibility age at which workers first qualify for retirement benefits, or the Full Retirement Age (FRA). The report found that raising the retirement age for Social Security would disproportionately hurt low-income workers and minorities, and increase disability claims by older people unable to work. The projected spike in disability claims could harm Social Security's finances, because disability benefits typically are higher than early retirement payments, GAO concluded. Under current law, people can start drawing reduced, early retirement benefits from Social Security at age 62. Full benefits are available at 66, a threshold gradually increasing to 67 for people who were born in 1960 or later. The fiscal commission's leaders, Bowles and Simpson, last week proposed a gradual increase in the full retirement age, to 69 in about 2075. The early retirement age would go to 64 the same year. About one-fourth of workers age 60 and 61 - just under the early retirement age - reported a health condition that limited their ability to work. Among those older workers, African-Americans and Hispanics were much more likely to report fair or poor health than whites, according to the report. “Raising the retirement age would make it impossible for many workers to continue to work in their current conditions, while crippling their eligibility for retirement benefits,“The GAO’s report has many striking statistics that show the harm in raising the retirement age.
To read the report, click here: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11125.pdf. <

Editorial : what part of "NO", do our Republican friends not understand ? Keep your hands off of Social Security !



China & The Unions ? "Long Read ~ But, Informative" !






Wages, Conditions Improve as Workers in China form Unions
By Kathy Chu and Michelle Yun, USA TODAY

> http://www.usatoday.com/money/world/2010-11-19-Chinalabor_cv_N.htm <

SHAJING, China — In many ways, Lan Yimin represents the new generation of Chinese factory workers. She wants fair working conditions. Time off to socialize. And a job that pays enough so she can open a milk tea business one day.
Lan, 22, is one of millions of migrant workers powering the electronics, furniture and toy factories in China's Pearl River Delta. While she's following in her parents' footsteps on the assembly line, unlike them, she's less willing to "eat bitterness" — as the Chinese call it — and toil away for meager pay and benefits. She has more job options and better access to information. And as China's economy booms, her generation is becoming bolder. "The young generation has a wider social circle; we talk more about factory conditions and we know more about our legal rights," Lan says at a workers' center in this industrial town where she attends seminars on handling late wages and contract termination.

INFLATION THREAT: China orders banks to boost reserves
Workers' growing awareness and their willingness to take action are slowly pushing up wages and improving conditions in the manufacturing industry. The Chinese government already moved to increase salaries and labor standards a few years ago. Now it is trying to maintain a delicate balance of improving income levels for workers while not scaring away foreign corporations with higher labor costs. "That's USA !"

As wages and other costs rise here, U.S. companies will have to decide whether to take their production to other Asian manufacturing hubs or increase prices for American consumers.

This year, strikes at Honda factories and a spate of suicides at Foxconn — a maker of electronics for U.S. companies such as Apple and Dell — raised alarm among corporations and the government that the era of the docile worker had ended.
Strikes still happen each week in China, labor rights groups say, but the government doesn't allow them to be reported. The labor unrest is even inspiring strikes in Cambodia and Vietnam, whose workers say they're emboldened by their Chinese colleagues' examples.

For now, factory workers in China "are only making economic demands, not political," says Chang Kai, a labor relations expert at People's University in Beijing who has assisted workers with strike negotiations.

But history shows that labor movements don't necessarily follow logical, or peaceful, paths. U.S. railroad and steelworkers staged massive strikes during the late 1800s that led to violence when authorities intervened.

In China, "If the government does not treat the workers' struggle for collective bargaining seriously, if it decides to treat these demands as political, then this will turn into a political struggle," says Han Dongfang, a labor activist deported to Hong Kong for his role in the Tienanmen Square protest of 1989.

To a certain extent, the Chinese government is tolerating worker unrest because it recognizes that higher wages translate into more spending that can stimulate the economy. The government wants all residents to share in the country's economic growth, says Juzhong Zhuang, deputy chief economist of the Asian Development Bank, because "high income inequality can lead to social problems that undermine long-term economic growth." The challenge is that the government wants to "offer more protection for workers, but it is also exposed to a lot of pressure from companies" resisting change, says Debby Chan, a project officer for Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), a workers' advocacy group.

Labor unrest on rise

After this year's labor unrest, the government is stepping up efforts to unionize companies, says Lesli Ligorner, a Shanghai-based partner at Paul Hastings law firm who represents multinationals doing business in China. The idea is that if workers join the state-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) — the only union allowed in the country — they'll have an avenue other than strikes to air their grievances.

Yet having more companies establish unions does little good if those unions don't represent workers, says Han, who founded Hong Kong-based worker advocacy group China Labour Bulletin. "If I'm thirsty and you give me another cup with no water in it, I'll still be thirsty."

In Beijing, Liu Rongli is trying to make his employer more responsive to workers.

Inside a vast workshop, where crane operators sort heavy slabs of metal, Liu calls to order a meeting of the company's trade union. A shout to co-worker Gao Wei, and the full membership is soon sitting down in a grimy room.
Both of them.
The trade union was established against the odds in September 2010, thanks to Liu's perseverance.

While the group is still under the umbrella of the ACFTU, the new union better represents workers, according to Gao, because "we have a way to negotiate with management."

The ACFTU didn't respond to requests for an interview. But one trade union representative describes union meetings as straightforward affairs. The employer "guarantees major decisions in advance," according to Liu Ying, a union worker in a large, state-owned energy company in Dalian, eastern China. "The trade union selects delegates from among all the workers, people we can trust, then these representatives always raise their hands in approval."

Because the union is a "state tool, labor rights fall secondary to social stability," acknowledges Qiao Jian, a director at the China Institute of Industrial Relations.
The union does have its strengths, Qiao says. As an offshoot of the Communist Party, the union can implement changes quickly for the benefit of the country's workers.

But until major change occurs, and until workers have viable options to air their complaints, strikes will keep rising, predicts Li Qiang, founder of China Labor Watch, a group with offices in New York and Southern China.

No official numbers are available on strikes. But labor cases heard by arbitration committees more than doubled from 2000 through 2007 to 350,182, according to Chinese government data. In 2008, arbitrated cases surged to 693,000 after laws took effect making it cheaper for workers to pursue arbitration and requiring employers to provide written contracts.

Young factory workers are frustrated because they're generally not sharing in the country's economic boom, says Eli Friedman, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California-Berkeley, who spent a year and a half in China studying labor disputes. "They want to make a life in the city," Friedman says. "But if you're making 1,000 yuan a month, it's not going to cut it."

As workers demand higher living standards, companies will have to adapt, says Jeremy Prepscius, Asia managing director for BSR, which advises members on sustainable business strategies.
"The old way of managing labor is looking at workers as a plentiful resource," Prepscius says. "The new way is looking at workers as a scarce resource."

Higher price tags in U.S.

In the Pearl River Delta — known as the factory of the world — a labor shortage is giving migrant workers leverage to negotiate better wages and benefits. Evidence of this can be found along Southern China's dusty streets.

In Dongguan city, where three of every four residents are migrant workers, for-hire signs taped to telephone poles compete for people's attention. Brightly colored banners hang from factory gates;
one offers 1,300 yuan a month, about $200 U.S., for eight-hour workdays, 26 days a month.

Inside a factory of TAL Group, thousands of workers churn out as many as 33,600 shirts and 7,200 pairs of pants daily, sometimes to Chinese pop music bellowing overhead. Many work 10 hours a day.

Orderly chaos reigns on the factory floor, a blur of flying hands and whirring sewing machines. Every 35 to 45 seconds, a dress shirt is sown for clients such as Brooks Bros. and J.C. Penney. An electronic panel hangs from the ceiling, counting down how much clothing remains to be completed during the shift.

While TAL has added employees to its busy production lines, it's been harder to recruit them because of the labor shortage, admits Roger Lee, the company's chief operating officer.

Labor costs have surged 25% this year due to rising wages and benefits, forcing the company to become more efficient.

Yet even with productivity improvements, higher costs mean "we ultimately have to pass along" certain expenses to clients, Lee says. U.S. retailers then have to decide whether to raise prices for consumers.

In the textile industry, labor accounts for as much as a third of production expenses, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, meaning that U.S. consumers are likely to see higher price tags when costs in China rise. In other industries, where labor represents a small percentage of total costs, U.S. companies may be willing to bear one-time hikes.

While higher wages may crimp the profits of U.S. companies making goods in China, they also boost the bottom line of those that sell products here. As Chinese consumers' household income rises, there will be a "stronger market for U.S. goods and services," says Sandra Polaski, U.S. deputy undersecretary of Labor.

Unsafe working conditions

As workers scramble to meet production quotas, accidents and injuries can occur. Ruan Libing worked at Elec-Tech's appliance factory in Zhuhai, Southern China, for a month when a molding machine mangled his left hand. It had to be amputated.

Ruan, 22, is one of about 60 workers who lost fingers or hands or had other accidents at Elec-Tech's Zhuhai factory from July 2009 through June 2010, according to an August report by SACOM, the workers' advocacy group. The group blames the accidents on the pressure to work faster, unsafe machines and insufficient employee training.

Eva Chan, vice president of sales and marketing for Elec-Tech, says the company recently upgraded all machines in its Zhuhai factory so they require two hands to operate. No accidents have occurred since then, and the supplier — whose toasters and blenders sell at U.S. retailers such as Walmart, Bloomingdale's and Williams-Sonoma — hasn't lost any clients, according to Chan.

Walmart is "actively monitoring" conditions at the supplier's factories and has asked an independent group to evaluate the machines' safety, says the retailer's spokesman, Kevin Gardner.

Unsafe working environments and inadequate pay are common, according to Li, of China Labor Watch. U.S. companies share responsibility, he says, because "they're encouraging the exploitation of Chinese laborers by hiring factories based on the lowest price and the fastest production."

This criticism, however, ignores the fact that U.S. companies are investing more money and resources to monitor their suppliers, says Drew Thompson, director of China studies at the Nixon Center, a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank. "By and large, American companies are doing it right."

Still, labor experts generally agree that China has a long way to go in improving working conditions. And the surge in job-related strikes and lawsuits may signal that workers are no longer willing to stand idly by.

The developments are "incredibly hopeful," says Charles Kernaghan, director of the National Labor Committee, a workers' advocacy group. "You're talking about the biggest working class in the world rising up. Change will come through these people."

Editorial : China`s State operated Unions are not gonna cut it ! Only through worker organized Unions will workers prevail. Then, Chinese Government may turn organizing unions into Tennemon square ! The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is building a 100 million dollar plant in Dalian China now. It seems that livable wages are not part of the equation ! Let`s see now, We build plants in other countries and hire cheap labor and then import the product back to the United States, no tariff involved. We then close our plants and put thousands of people out of work in the USA ! Seems fair to me, seem fair to YOU ? Oh, did I mention, the price does not come down ! one more thing, Goodyear cannot sell their tire in China for five years from start of production. Me thinks that, we need ever who negotiates this crap, to negotiate for USA ! Our Politicians have sold us OUT ! Thanks to Buddy M. for this one !

Monday, November 15, 2010

Absolute Insanity ~ Tax Cuts for the Wealthy ! Have We All Gone Mad ?

'Absolute Insanity’ to Keep Bush Tax Cuts for Wealthy
by James Parks, Nov 12, 2010

Republicans on Capitol Hill want to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich, which are set to expire at the end of the year. President Obama and congressional Democrats want to extend the cuts for middle- and lower-income families, but not for persons making $250,000 or more. The Bush tax cuts never came close to living up to the promise that they would create jobs—we actually lost private-sector jobs under the Bush administration. Extending the tax breaks for the wealthy also would add billions to the national deficit. In a statement today, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said it is “absolutely insane” that in these tough economic times some people want to continue the “tax give-aways to millionaires while working families are losing their jobs, their benefits and their homes.” We need to focus on creating jobs by giving tax breaks only to middle-class families and investing in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and green technologies. Millionaires and Wall Street already had their party, which tanked our economy and left Main Street stuck paying the bill. He urged the lame-duck session of Congress not to compromise on this issue.The election is over and now it’s time for politicians to show courage and stand and fight on these issues for working families. Let the millionaires fend for themselves for a change.

Read Trumka’s entire statement here, click on link below http://www.aflcio.org/mediacenter/prsptm/pr11122010a.cfm

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Social Security ~ Is it Safe ? Rep. Miller Says, YES !




Does Social Security Have WMD ?
By Rep. Brad Miller (D). Representative, North Carolina 13th District
Posted: November 12, 2010


The PowerPoint released by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform ("The Deficit Commission"), said we should

"Reform Social Security for its own sake, not for deficit reduction."
No kidding. Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Not now, not ever !
Critics of Social Security have frequently made alarming claims about the future of the system to support calls for "reform." President George W. Bush conceded in 2005 that "it's not bankrupt yet," but said we couldn't "wait until it's bankrupt." "The problem with that notion is that the longer you wait, the more difficult it is to fix," President Bush said. "You realize that this system of ours is going to be short the difference between obligations and money coming in, by about $11 trillion, unless we act... That's trillion with a 'T.'"

That does sound scary.

So what was the period for that projected shortfall ? It was for the "indefinite future." Forecasts of the end times are usually the work of religious prophets, not economists or actuaries. According to the Book of Revelation, at the end of days earthquakes will level mountains, hail will fall mixed with fire, and a beast with seven heads and ten horns will arise from the seas. In that context, a shortfall in the Social Security system just doesn't seem like that big a deal. At least President Bush used the term "projected shortfall," but Republican talking heads sent forth to battle on cable television routinely used the word "deficit," implying that we'd have to pick up the difference. No, we wouldn't. Here's how it would work if we just left the current law alone. The system has been running a substantial surplus for a generation because the Baby Boom has been working and paying payroll taxes, and the Baby Boom dwarfs the generation now receiving benefits. The surplus has gone into the Trust Fund, which now stands at about $2.6 trillion (That's trillion with a "T.") As the Baby Boom retires, the system will stop running a surplus later this decade. Then the system will pay full benefits, including cost-of-living adjustments, from payroll taxes and the interest from the Trust Fund. About a decade after that, payroll taxes and interest on the Trust Fund will not be enough to pay full benefits, including cost of living adjustments. Then the system will pay full benefits, including cost of living adjustments, from payroll taxes, interest and the principal of the Trust Fund.
Around 2037
, the principal of the Trust Fund will be exhausted. Under the existing law, the system will then reduce the benefits to what can be covered by payroll taxes. The projection is that the benefits would then be reduced by about 22 percent. A 22-percent reduction in benefits is pretty unattractive, especially if the finances of the middle class are as fragile in 30 years as they are now. But proposals to "fix" Social Security by reducing benefits would really just swap one reduction of benefits for another. Paul Krugman argues that raising the retirement age is a reduction of benefits that works to the disadvantage of blue-collar workers: While average life expectancy is indeed rising, it's doing so mainly for high earners, precisely the people who need Social Security least. Life expectancy in the bottom half of the income distribution has barely inched up over the past three decades. So the Bowles-Simpson proposal is basically saying that janitors should be forced to work longer because these days corporate lawyers are living to a ripe old age. Would blue-collar workers be better off if we raised the retirement age or let an across-the-board cut in benefits go into effect in 30 years or so? Isn't that a question we should ask ? More to the point, Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. "Since Social Security is legally prohibited from ever spending more than it has collected in taxes," Dean Baker correctly argues, "it cannot under the law contribute to the deficit." The Social Security system "fell outside of the mandate" of the Deficit Commission, Baker said. "They must have been expecting extra credit." We are right to worry about Social Security, and we are right to worry about our long-term deficit. But the two are completely distinct.
So proposing to "reform" Social Security because of long-term deficits is like invading Iraq because Afghanistan attacked us.
Or maybe the Social Security system has weapons of mass destruction.

Editorial : It`s politics as usual, in regard to SS# ! Ask, why do the Republicans want your $ocial $ecurity ? They say to privatize it. Now, What does privatize SS # mean ? Lets see, put it on wall street. Now looking at the recent fiasco on Wall-Street, that would be a great idea ! I know, we can take it to Vegas and gamble with it, ( Makes more sense that Wall-Street) Com`on folks, wake up and smell the honey( I`m from the South) suckle ! Stop politicizing SS# ! Keep the politicians hands and mouths off of it ! Including our Presidents ! SS# problem solved !

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Don`t Extend Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy ! Or Will Obama Fold ?





Tell Congress: Don't Extend the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
The Bush tax cuts, like the Iraq War, are one of the primary drivers of our large federal deficit. And like the Iraq War, the Bush tax cuts were sold to the public through outright deception.

The snake oil the Bush administration peddled was that the tax cuts, which overwhelmingly went to the rich and the ultra-rich, would spur the economy.

Now that we're facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, many so-called "conservatives," joined with corporatist "moderates," are singing the same tune. They are demanding we extend the tax giveaways for the wealthy (set to expire at the end of the year) at a cost of $700 billion over the next decade.
Meanwhile,
these same members of Congress are demanding deep cuts to the social safety net for the poor, the middle class, the unemployed and the elderly.
There is very little that so clearly demonstrates the callous venality of some members of Congress than the simultaneous demand to give Paris Hilton a tax cut while pushing benefit cuts to Social Security.

Tell Congress:
Don't extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Click below.
Tax cuts for economic elites aren't free and they aren't effective. The government still needs revenue and giving away money to millionaires (who on average would receive over $100,000 in tax cuts per year if all the Bush tax cuts are extended) takes away from the money we can spend to help the victims of this economic downturn. There is simply no excuse for Congress to plead poverty when it comes to helping those in need while literally giving it away to those who don't need it.
Congress needs step up to the plate and make sure we don't continue one of the biggest economic injustices of the Bush era. Tell Congress:
Don't extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

The petition reads:

"Let the Bush tax cuts that affect only the richest 2% of Americans expire on schedule at the end of the year. Congress needs to step up to the plate and make sure we don't continue one of the biggest economic injustices of the Bush era."
Complete the following to sign the petition. You'll receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities.
Tax cuts for economic elites aren't free and they aren't effective. The government still needs revenue and giving away money to millionaires (who on average would receive over $100,000 in tax cuts per year if all the Bush tax cuts are extended) takes away from the money we can spend to help the victims of this economic downturn. There is simply no excuse for Congress to plead poverty when it comes to helping those in need while literally giving it away to those who don't need it. Congress needs step up to the plate and make sure we don't continue one of the biggest economic injustices of the Bush era.
Tell Congress: Don't extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Just click on link below or the title of this article.