Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Be A Part of the Progressive Movement...The Life You Save...Could be Yours !

Dear Reader`s,

Signatures matter. If you want proof, look no further than Richard Trumka.

First, tens of thousands of progressives signed our petition to Democrats on the deficit super committee, then it started gaining support like a snowball rolling downhill. Now Trumka, the president of the enormous AFL-CIO labor federation, is making news by supporting Progressives United's principles -- principles like making sure millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations pay their fair share of debt reduction or else Democrats walk away. The super committee could fundamentally reshape our country's values, and the pressure on them is growing -- and it all started with individual progressives like you signing a petition. If you haven't signed our petition yet, sign it today and increase the pressure on super committee Democrats. This debate needs your voice. I hope you'll take action now.

Thanks for uniting as a progressive,
Underdog = Don Jones

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mitt Romney on Social Security ! Not Good !

New Hampshire Seniors Takes on Mitt Romney(R)

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a group of New Hampshire seniors, including members of the Alliance, that he supports raising the retirement age or cutting benefits, as opposed to asking all taxpayers to pay a fair share to strengthen Social Security. Currently, all workers pay the Social Security payroll tax on the first $106,800 of their earnings; anything over that amount is exempt from the Social Security payroll tax. That means a grocery clerk or warehouse worker pays a bigger chunk of their income to Social Security than a hedge fund manager. In a meeting in Lebanon, N.H., Alliance State President Charlie Balban asked Romney if he would support raising the Social Security payroll tax beyond its current $106,800 cap to help strengthen Social Security. One member of the audience told Romney, “We’re just asking that everybody pay at the same rate.” Romney said he was opposed to having the wealthy pay Social Security payroll taxes on more or all of their income. He said he instead would support raising the retirement age or cutting benefits by changing the way the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is calculated. CPI is used to determine cost of living adjustments for Special Security recipients. Romney is referring to a proposed new inflation formula known as “chained CPI,” which, if implemented, would mean that a worker in 2011 at age 65 will see his or her Social Security benefits slashed by $6,000 over 15 years. Referring to all of the Republican candidates for President, Terry Lochhead, Senior Field Organizer for the Alliance's Northeast Region, told The Boston Globe, “All of their plans to reduce the deficit by cutting programs that benefit retirees, instead of raising taxes on the super-wealthy or cutting out corporate loopholes, have really brought them right into our focus.” To see a video of Mr. Balban’s exchange with Romney, go to> . For all the recent news articles that mention the Alliance, go to> Also, to see more on former Governor Romney’s position on Social Security, which includes means testing, go to>

Social Security Disability Insurance Program Draws Attention

An Associated Press story earlier this week [ ] described how the Social Security disability insurance program is projected to experience a funding shortfall as early as 2017, meaning that benefits could not be paid in full and on time to those eligible to receive them. While the story struck a frightening tone, the basic financial soundness of Social Security has not changed. Benefits can be fully paid for approximately the next 25 years.

According to the Strengthen Social Security campaign, a coalition of 320 national and state organizations, including the Alliance, a few basic facts about Social Security help explain the implications of the AP story. Social Security is comprised of two programs with their own trust funds – Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI). OASI is fully funded through 2037, according to the Social Security Trustees; DI is fully funded through 2017, according to the Trustees. Combined, both programs are fully funded through 2037, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and through 2035, according to the Trustees. In the past, when one of the two trust funds had insufficient income, Congress quietly and quickly reallocated the income to the two funds to ensure that they were on the same financial footing. It has six years to do so once again. “The Social Security Disability Insurance program could be made solvent - with no additional spending - for approximately 25 years, if Congress passes a simple transfer of funds,” Ole Mitt has guts, he tells you he`s gonna put it to you and will !

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tennesseans ~ Alert ~ Republicans on the March !

Tennesseans Need to Know !

In Tennessee, the dog days of summer are providing plenty of heat for Tennessee Republicans just home from Washington. Their out-of-touch plans to end Medicare, raise taxes on more than 100,000,000 working and middle class Americans and give tax breaks for the rich and big corporations have drawn protests across the state.

Check out some of the coverage below:
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN06)
Protesters urge U.S. Rep. Diane Black to focus on jobs (Gannett)
A crowd of pickets marched and chanted Tuesday in front of U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s office, calling for more focus on jobs and less emphasis on social spending cuts. The protest, which numbered 20-25 people shortly after 4 p.m., was initiated by Tennessee Citizen Action, a public interest and consumer rights organization, but also was attended by local Democratic Party and union members.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN03)

Groups plan Fleischmann protest (Chattanooga Times Free-Press/Carroll)

U.S. Rep. Charles J. Fleischmann might regret his nickname today. Two nonprofit organizations are staging “The Trial of Chucky,” playing off the legendary “Child’s Play” movie villain of the same name and “charging” the Republican congressman with “murdering jobs, impersonating the working class and endangering the economy.”

Social justice group plans “trial” protest against Fleischmann (Nooga)

For the first time, members of Chattanooga Organized for Action are staging public protest against the voting record of Rep. Chuck Fleischmann. The demonstration, billed as “The Trial of Chucky,” is scheduled to take place outside the Chattanooga Convention Center on Wednesday morning, while Fleischmann attends a keynote meeting hosted by the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce that will feature a speech by Gov. Bill Haslam.

Chattanooga protest group finds Fleischmann guilty of job murder (Chattanooga Times Free Press/Cliff Hightower)

Chattanooga Organized for Action tried U.S. Rep. Charles “Chuck” Fleischmann today and found him guilty of murdering jobs. The advocacy group, about 30 strong, marched from the Chattanooga Convention Center to the federal building to give Fleischmann the verdict. Chattanooga Organized for Action, along with the Service Employees International Union, organized the protest, which coincided with Fleischmann and Gov. Bill Haslam speaking at the Convention Center.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN04)

FACEBOOK: Rep. Scott Desjarlais Listening Session
Congressman DesJarlais will hold a public listening session at the White County Courthouse from 3:45-4:30pm CST as part of his "Listening to Tennessee" tour. He listens, we ask questions - about jobs, cuts to much-needed public services like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, fair revenue generation, and education.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)

Union to focus on economy in protest at Corker's local office (Nashville City Paper/Williams)

Service Employees International Union Local 205, which represents many of Metro’s public workers, is helping organize a rally and protest outside U.S. Sen. Bob Coker’s Nashville office. Dubbed “Jobs Not Cuts,” the protest/rally is set for Thursday, Aug. 25, at 5:15 p.m. outside Corker’s 3322 West End Ave. office. According to an SEIU press release, the demonstration is “part of a growing number of protests against members of congress this month by Americans who are fed up with politicians who side with CEOs and Wall Street bankers over middle class families and have failed to create jobs.” The release says protests will be aimed at ending tax breaks and loopholes for CEOs, hedge fund managers and others, while calling for corporations to “pay their share of taxes.”

Editorial : The above mentioned Politicians are NOT for Middle Class Tennesseans ! Try to learn about your candidates, not just a (R) by their name. Republicans are not your Friends !

Pulmonary Hypertension Patient & Family Resources

PHA Family & Patient Resources

One of the things that is most important at PHA is finding better ways to communicate valuable information to the patients, family members and medical professionals who are the reason for our work.

An example of that goal has just been released for caregivers…

Resources for Family and Friends is a free information packet > > <
designed especially for family members and friends of PH patients. It offers a range of opportunities to help caregivers plan their next steps, find important resources and connect with other caregivers. It follows the also free Envelope of Hope packet which we created almost two years ago for patients …and which we are constantly upgrading. Both packets can now be ordered online. Medical professionals are able to help patients and caregivers get these packets by giving out referral postcards which can be ordered in quantity at no cost. The packets are particularly valuable for new patients and their families. I’m particularly pleased that PHA is now focusing hard on building new ways to support PH caregivers. Lian Latham, a nurse who has treated many PH patients, says it well. “The families of patients are the true backbone support of PAH. They stand by the patients every day, providing solace and care to those who are in need. Often, they sacrifice themselves in many ways to make sure their loved ones get what they need. They are like the battlefield medics for PAH.”
PHA is glad to be able to help. Like PH patients, caregivers are not alone with this disease.
Labels: caregiver, Envelope of Hope, Lian Latham, Resources
for family and friends> <

Editorial : I think it should be noted, That Vanderbilt and Dr.`s Hemnes and Robbins of Pulmonary are my PAH Dr.`s ! Although they say they are not sure, if I have PAH or not ? I learned this from Dr. Hemnes. Some patients might be upset or amazed at no diagnosis ? I appreciate their honesty and candor ! I just asked them not to give up on me ! Although At Vanderbilt, I`m not sure that "Give Up" is in their vocabulary. Kudos, for Heart-Transplant, Dr. Mark Wigger and the team !

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tennessee Millionaires Representing, WHO ?

50 Riche$t Member$ of Congre$$

According to Roll Call’s annual survey of Member wealth, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is now the richest Member of Congress, with a fortune worth at least $294 million, a vast increase over last year that was apparently the result of large transfers from his in-laws. The Texas lawmaker topples Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) from the No. 1 position, who reported a minimum net worth of $193 million on his most recent financial disclosure report and is now the third richest Member of Congress. McCaul also leapfrogged Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who remains the second richest Member of Congress, with a reported fortune of more than $220 million.

See the chart listing the 50 richest Members of Congress Click below...Hey Tennesseans, see anyone you know ? You Bet`Cha ! (top left) Congresswoman Diane Black - (top center) Our Governor Bill Haslam, (top center) SenatorLamar Alexander (top right) Senator Bob Corker !

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tax Millionaire$ $ Billionaire$...You Bet`Cha !

Tax Millionaire$ $ Billionaire$

Wow ! We were going for 200,000 signatures on this petition standing behind Warren Buffett's call to tax the rich fairly—and we've busted through to 285,000! But before we deliver it to every single member of Congress, we want to get over 350,000 Americans signed on. Can you add your name today ?

Click here to stand with Warren Buffett and demand higher taxes on the rich.
Dear Underdog Reader ,

Click here to sign your name:
"I stand with Warren Buffett. It's time for Congress to stop coddling the super-rich and make them pay their fair share."

Sign the Petition !

Multi-billionaire investor Warren Buffett just published a powerful op-ed in The New York Times with a simple message: Tax me !

Buffett said openly what all of us have been thinking—Washington needs to "stop coddling the super-rich."

The op-ed is already making a huge splash, but we need to make sure Congress can't ignore it. So we're joining with Rebuild the Dream on this petition. We're aiming to get 200,000 people to go on record saying that they stand with Warren Buffett and want the richest Americans to pay their fair share.

If we can get 200,000 signers, we'll deliver the Buffett op-ed, along with your signature, to every member of Congress.

Click here to stand with Warren Buffett and demand higher taxes on the rich.

Here's what the petition says: "I stand with Warren Buffett. It's time for Congress to stop coddling the super-rich and make them pay their fair share."

If you haven't already read it, here's an excerpt from Buffett's op-ed:

Our leaders have asked for "shared sacrifice." But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as "carried interest," thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they'd been long-term investors. These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species.
It's nice to have friends in high places.
Pretty powerful stuff, right? Click below to add your name and stand with Warren Buffett:

Thanks for all you do.

USWA ~ The Fighting Spirit

Democracy At Work ! You Bet`Cha ! When our Union was strong...OUR UNION/Nation WAS STRONG...Think About IT !

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Working Mans View on Jobs & Trade !

By : David Whorley...8/21/11

David Whorley is my friend and brother, we both worked at Goodyear Union City Tennessee, before retirement. He says our views are not the same ? Are You sure ?

I have not seen any info in your Underdog > < about Biden going to China to sell us out and pat them on the back. When State Rep. 77th. District Tennessee, Bill Sanderson went to China, I noticed you had it front and center. That’s why I watch Fox news instead of all the liberal stations that back Barack Obama. CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC (totally out of line), and others. I listen in on them now and then and get sick real fast then go on over to Fox and get a “Fair and Balanced” news cast with both Democrats and Republicans meeting face to face to air differences. I see where Coca-Cola is going to invest 4 billion in China to increase market share and “cut operating costs.” This means we’ll be drinking Chinese made cola before long. GE just announced that they were going to move their 106 year old x-ray division to China. This is one of Obama’s pet companies that pay no taxes and they’re still leaving. What in heck is going on in this country. Has union labor pushed us out of the market ? I think some pay is on the high side but not extremely out of range. Is our health care pushing these companies away? Instead of building relations with a country that pays 3 and 4 dollar an hour wages and has one of the worst human rights records of any country, I think instead that we should be going the other way from China. This country of ours is falling down fast, especially the last three years. When is this individual going to make good on just ONE of his campaign promises from the first election let alone what he is sooth saying trying to get elected again. I sure wished that some Democrat would have ran against him. I rather have a billy goat in office than him. No leadership ability at all and never once has he accepted any of this as his. Always blames someone else or something else. I don’t think the country can stand another term under his lack of leadership. And what gets me is ALL of the other liberals think he is a god or something. Reid, Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer, Clinton, and all the anti Constitution team side with him on everything, no questions asked. Now he and Clinton are trying their best to let the darn United Nations set gun policy for the US. If this bull crap passes then we will be disarmed and have no way to fight back at all. Just like Britain is going through right now. Jefferson said once that one of the main reasons for the right to keep and bear arms is to protect ourselves from a government turned to tyranny. Why does`nt Obama lower the tax burden on businesses and let them be assured of a low tax structure for a long period of time so they can expand, re-build, re-tool, and get this nation back to work. If business is successful then the people will benefit from it. I know you don’t like to hear the “trickle down” effect, but when corporations make money the workers make money too. They have job security, and wages that they can depend on to be there for them. Dang Don.....I did not mean to get so far away from my “hit” line, I wanted to send you. Sorry. Just wanted you to know that the Dems are as far in bed with China as the GOP is.

Editorial : David Whorley is a Friend and Brother, we both worked at Goodyear Union City Tennessee. Fox News is not NEWS. It is Commentary/Opinion-Conservative ! Same for MSNBC-Liberal ! Want the real news, PBS-WLJT-TV Channel 11. Yes, Health Care is a high cost item on Manufacturing/Industry ! You are correct in your assessment of Unions, They are not the problem...low China wages and third world Country`s. And your estimate is too high...more like 0.48 per hour. The Vice-President in this writers opinion has and should travel the world as his country`s & Presidents Ambassador. A local state rep. NAW ! Just a nice trip at someones/ours/lobbyist/ expense. Dems and Republicans in same bed, you bet`cha !

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Medicare Open Bidding ~ A Start ! Prescription Drugs Next ?

Medicare says Competitive Pricing will $ave $28B
By Sam Baker - 08/19/11

Medicare is dramatically expanding a program that it says will save billions of dollars and serve as a model for other cost-cutting efforts.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Friday announced the second round of a program that uses competitive bidding to set prices for certain medical products. Medicare now uses competitive bidding in nine cities and will expand to 91 areas, according to the Friday announcement. In its first six months, the nine-city competitive bidding program has saved roughly $130 million, CMS officials said. The agency expects to save $28 billion over the next 10 years, roughly a third of which would be savings to patients. “The president has clearly acknowledged the need for further savings to implement (in) the Medicare program, but I think we also need to take stock and take credit for what’s been achieved so far, and from a CMS perspective, DME competitive bidding is one that we’re proud of and one we believe is working,” CMS Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum said. The competitive bidding program is limited to durable medical equipment — such products as wheelchairs, oxygen supplies and hospital beds. Blum said CMS is open to expanding competitive bidding outside of durable medical equipment in the future but is focused for now on expanding the existing program to more areas. Competitive bidding has faced criticism from the medical device industry. It is partially replacing a system in which Medicare simply set payment rates for medical products. CMS officials said the agency is paying 35 percent less for products covered by competitive bidding. The industry has also raised concerns that patients will lose access to important devices if bids are too low. Blum said that hasn’t happened in the initial phase of the bidding program, adding that CMS set up a system to monitor complaints and respond to any access problems. But none have been reported so far, he said, and “no one has disputed this information.” The laws directing CMS to expand the program also dictated how it picked the areas where the competitive pricing will become available, Blum said.

Super Committee Information Available from Social Security Works

Social Security Works, an umbrella group encompassing over 300 organizations – including the Alliance – all working to protect Social Security, has created a web page that provides information about the 12 members of the powerful Joint Select Committee on Budget Deficit Reduction, also known as the Super Committee. The webpage, at , highlights the votes Super Committee members have taken on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and raising new revenues in 2011. Some of their personal statements about these issues are also provided.

Editorial : This is a great start. Now, on too Prescription Drug Coverage !

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Goodyear North American Tire President

Goodyear Names New NA Tire President
Associated Press, 08.18.11

AKRON, Ohio --

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has named company veteran Stephen McClellan (upper left) as President of its North American tire business unit. McClellan, 45, replaces
Curt Andersson (upper right), who plans to pursue other professional interests, the Akron, Ohio, tire company said. McClellan joined Goodyear in 1988 and was named to his current position as president of Goodyear's North American consumer tire business in 2008. He will continue to lead that business until a replacement is named, Goodyear said. In early trading, Goodyear shares fell $1.26, or 9.5 percent, to $12.08.

Editorial : This writer has it on the QT that, Mr. Andersson was opposed to Closing Union City Tennessee Plant. Trouble in Akron ? Ya Think ? Goodluck Mr. Andersson !

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Congress Takes Care of Itself ! You Bet`Cha

It Just Dawned on ME !

My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day. He has his food prepared for him. He can eat whenever he wants. His meals are provided at no cost to him. He visits the Dr. once a year for his checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise.
For this he pays nothing, and nothing is required of him. He lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than he needs, but he is not required to do any upkeep. If he makes a mess, someone else cleans it up. He has his choice of luxurious places to sleep. He receives these accommodations absolutely free.
He is living like a King, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever.
All of his costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day.
I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick.

I think my dog is a member of Congress ! Republican or Democrat, does`nt matter !

Want to contact your Congressman/Woman ?

Editorial : Thanks to Ralph Stamper for this one !

Universal Healthcare for All..You Bet`Cha !

Why the New Healthcare Law Should Have Been Based on Medicare (And What Democrats Should Have Learned By Now)
By : Robert Reich

Two appellate judges in Atlanta -- one appointed by President Bill Clinton and one by George H.W. Bush -- have just decided the Constitution doesn't allow the federal government to require individuals to buy health insurance.

The decision is a major defeat for the White House. The so-called "individual mandate" is a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's 2010 health care reform law, scheduled to go into effect in 2014. The whole idea of the law is to pool heath risks. Only if everyone buys insurance can insurers afford to cover people with preexisting conditions, or pay the costs of catastrophic diseases. The issue is now headed for the Supreme Court (another appellate court has upheld the law's constitutionality) where the prognosis isn't good. The Court's Republican-appointed majority has not exactly distinguished itself by its progressive views. Chalk up another one for the GOP, outwitting and outflanking the president and the Democrats. Remember the health-care debate? Congressional Republicans refused to consider a single-payer system that would automatically pool risks. They wouldn't even consider giving people the option of buying into it. The president and the Democrats caved, as they have on almost everything. They came up with a compromise that kept health care in the hands of private insurance companies. The only way to spread the risk in such a system is to require everyone buy insurance. Which is exactly what the two appellate judges in Atlanta object to. The Constitution, in their view, doesn't allow the federal government to compel citizens to buy something. "Congress may regulate commercial actors," they write. "But what Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die." Most Americans seem to agree. According to polls, 60 percent of the public opposes the individual mandate. Many on the right believe it a threat to individual liberty. Many on the left object to being required to buy something from a private company. Had the president and the Democrats stuck to their guns during the health-care debate and insisted on Medicare for all, or at least a public option, they wouldn't now be facing the possible unraveling of the new health care law. After all, Social Security and Medicare -- the nation's two most popular safety nets -- require every working American to "buy" them. The purchase happens automatically in the form of a deduction from everyone's paychecks. But because Social Security and Medicare are government programs they don't feel like mandatory purchases. They're more like tax payments, which is what they are -- payroll taxes. There's no question payroll taxes are constitutional, because there's no doubt that the federal government can tax people in order to finance particular public benefits. Americans don't mind mandates in the form of payroll taxes for Social Security or Medicare. In fact, both programs are so popular even conservative Republicans were heard to shout "don't take away my Medicare!" at rallies opposed to the new health care law.
Requiring citizens to buy something from a private company is entirely different. If Congress can require citizens to buy health insurance from the private sector, reasoned the two appellate judges in Atlanta, what's to stop it from requiring citizens to buy anything else? If the law were to stand, "a future Congress similarly would be able to articulate a unique problem ... compelling Americans to purchase a certain product from a private company." Other federal judges in district courts -- one in Virginia and another in Florida -- have struck down the law on similar grounds. They said the federal government has no more constitutional authority requiring citizens to buy insurance than requiring them to buy broccoli or asparagus. (The Florida judge referred to broccoli; the Virginia judge to asparagus.) Social Security and Medicare aren't broccoli or asparagus. They're as American as hot dogs and apple pie. The Republican strategy should now be clear: Privatize anything that might otherwise be a public program financed by tax dollars. Then argue in the courts that any mandatory purchase of it is unconstitutional because it exceeds the government's authority. And rally the public against the requirement. Remember this next time you hear Republican candidates touting Paul Ryan's plan for turning Medicare into vouchers for seniors to buy private health insurance. So what do Obama and the Democrats do if the individual mandate in the new health care law gets struck down by the Supreme Court? Immediately propose what they should have proposed right from the start -- universal health care based on Medicare for all, financed by payroll taxes. The public will be behind them, as will the courts.

Robert Reich is the author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future, now in bookstores. This post originally appeared at

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Social Security & Medicare ~ Important ? You Bet` Cha...

Social Security’s 76th Anniversary is this Sunday

On July 30, the Alliance celebrated the 46th Anniversary of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This Sunday, August 14, we will be celebrating the 76th Anniversary of Social Security, and Alliance members have been working to educate other members and the public on the importance of these programs. Check out the latest and greatest photos from Medicare and Social Security anniversary events here: , or to watch a slideshow, click here: ! Check out the Washington Alliance as they march through downtown Seattle with a band here: . More great coverage from their weekend rally is at . This week, the Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio and Pennsylvania Alliance all hosted Social Security birthday celebrations. For the complete list of 27 Social Security events, including those still to come, go to .

Super Committee Named to Tackle National Debt

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) announced her appointments to the bipartisan congressional “super committee” on Thursday, tapping Democratic Reps. Chris Van Hollen (MD), Xavier Becerra (CA) and James Clyburn (SC) to join nine other lawmakers tasked with reducing the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion by Thanksgiving. Those selections round out the bipartisan, 12-person group. House Speaker John Boehner tapped House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (TX) to serve as co-chair of the committee. He also appointed House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (MI), and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (MI) to the committee. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) appointed Sens. Jon Kyl (AZ), Pat Toomey (PA) and Rob Portman (OH). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) named Sen. Patty Murray (WA) to co-chair the committee, and also appointed Sens. Max Baucus (MT) and John Kerry (MA). “Cuts to the Social Security and Medicare programs coming from the ‘super committee’ are major concerns for seniors”. According to Politico, the debt ceiling agreement could also jeopardize billions of dollars in initiatives from the health care reform law if the super committee can’t come up with required spending cuts. The funds for prevention programs and community health centers; grants to help states set up insurance exchanges and co-ops; and money to help states review insurance rates could be triggered across the board if the panel can’t find enough cuts this fall.

Tea Party Sees Chance to Cut Medicare

Since the passage of the debt ceiling deal, the tea party and its supporters have named Medicare their prime target, and they view the “super committee” as the means to slash it. While Medicare benefits cannot be touched by the committee, reshaping the program is very much on the table, and it is expected to be one of the most debated topics. Tea partiers support the approach outlined under the Paul Ryan Budget, which was released earlier this year. The Ryan budget turns Medicare into a voucher program by combining private insurance with government subsidies, ultimately raising costs for seniors. Recently, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) spoke in favor of it, saying, “Americans must come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many.” Widespread Republican support for the Ryan plan comes despite a special election upset by Democrats in New York in May and recent polls showing wide public support for taxing the wealthy over cutting programs. “If ending Medicare as we know it is what the tea party thinks America wants, then they are seriously misguided,”

Editorial : These Republican politicians , act like we "WE THE PEOPLE" don`t pay for the Social Security and Medicare Programs...DUH ? WE DO ! TEA Party ? Kinda remind this writer of The WASP party years ago ! Don`t know what the WASP party is ? Ask this writer. Put the Bush tax-breaks for the wealthy, back in place. Republicans call them raising tax`s. NOT SO ! Then concentrate on JOBS, good paying JOBS ! Problem solved. A word about the "SUPER COMMITTEE" A politicians way of passing the BUCK ! You Bet`Cha !

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The Goodyear/United Steelworkers Volunteer Employee Benefits Association ?

Wal-Mart Pharmacy On-line > <

You can also click on the title of this blog !

By : Underdog = Don Jones...


This is aimed at my fellow retiree`s from Goodyear ! You and I are now in a VEBA(Health and Drug Coverage) plan operated by the United Steelworkers of America. It is still called The Goodyear VEBA ? I don`t know why ? As you know, we have no eye care coverage from the day we retire. When the premium runs out at the Union City Tennessee Plant, we will have no dental coverage. Now to the crux of this blog. Our "Prescription Drug" program. It is operated through Express Scripts Insurance.There are now, actually some drugs at Wal-Mart Pharmacy, cheaper than Express Scripts. Ask me why ? Insurance Company`s now run the health care programs in this country. Here is my point. If you are taking a prescription drug and it is a generic, check out Wal-Mart generic Drug list, you can do this on-line or go to a Wal-Mart Store/Pharmacy and they will give you one printed out. Some Drugs are $4.00 for a 30 day supply and $10.00 for a 90 day supply, some are even cheaper ! Express Scripts calls me almost everyday, wanting to switch me to their drug/purchase program. I do not. Inform your Wal-Mart Pharmacist to not run your generic drugs through Express Scripts ! You are paying cash,Not only will this save you money, it will save OUR VEBA money. I had a discussion with now retired, Jerry Ivey former P&I Rep. He is on the VEBA Board of Directors. He informed me that this could possibly save the VEBA millions of dollars. Saving myself/you money and saving the VEBA money at the sametime, makes all of us a winner ! The way the stock market is going, we need to save the VEBA all we can. If the VEBA goes broke, we have no Health Care Insurance. I urge you to check this out. If you have questions about this call me ! Don Jones (731-332-0603) or email me

Monday, August 08, 2011

Buy American Made ! If You Can ?

Buy American Made ! It is Difficult !

Hi Don,

I need new tires for my van.
Tell me which companies make their tires in the USA ?

Enclosed is part of a web site form "how to buy American" it indicates that Goodyear are made in the USA.

I don't care that Goodyear is American owned , I want an American Co. that manufactures in the USA.

Have a good one,

Tires :

Over 90% of the tires Cooper sells to our market are American made. Most Goodyear tires are made in America as well. As I was waiting to have new set of American-made Cooper tires put on my Lincoln Town Car at my local tire store, I looked through at all the Goodyear tires they had in stock and the foreign-made ones were not easy to find. You can buy foreign-owned brands like Michelin that are made in the USA, but why buy an American-made tire from a foreign company when you can buy an American-made tire from an American company?

Brand Name Nationality :

Cooper American
Goodyear American ; Maybe ? - Better Check it out Closely !
Kelly Springfield American ; Maybe - Check it Out Closely !
BF Goodrich France ; Some here, some there ? Better Check.
Michelin France Non-Union ; Better Check it out Closely !
Firestone Japan ; Some here Some there !
Continental Germany ; A Few Here Some there !

Note:These listings are part of over 20,000 brand name products and services in the third edition of How Americans Can Buy American:

The Power of Consumer Patriotism.
Want to find out more? Click Here !

How Americans Can Buy American :

Post Office Box 780839, Orlando, Florida 32878-0839
Tel: 1-888-US OWNED (1-888-876-9633)
Emergency Backup: 407-234-4626
Email the Author: Roger Simmermaker > <

"There is only one thing worse than unanswered questions...unquestioned answers."

Editorial : This is from my friend in Hersey MI., Steve Sauter ! Remember, because it is an American Company, does not mean, Made in the USA ! Better Check it out ! Goodyear comes to mind.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Longest Living Heart-Transplant Survivor...


John McCafferty was warned that the best he could hope for was an extra five precious years
Saturday August 6,2011
By Adrian Lee

In the week of the first British patient to be fitted with a plastic heart, we meet the man who defied all doctors’ predictions nearly 30 years ago... WHEN John McCafferty was given a new heart he was warned that the best he could hope for was an extra five precious years with his family. In those days transplant surgery was still in its infancy and sadly many recipients of new organs didn’t live for long. It’s now 29 years since John was wheeled to the operating theatre at Harefield Hospital and he stands proudly as the UK’s longest surviving heart transplant patient. Still going strong he will be an inspiration to Matthew Green, 40, revealed this week to be the first person in the country to receive a fully artificial heart. In October 1982 John, now 69, was among the first 100 people in the UK to receive a heart from a dead donor. That month, as the Mary Rose was raised from the seabed off Portsmouth and Culture Club topped the charts, he was a desperately ill man. Diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease that weakens the heart, his weight had dipped to six stone and he was bedridden at his home, in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire. In his younger days John had played rugby and football and it was only when he became breathless while serving an apprenticeship that he suspected there was a problem. “Eventually I became so ill my teenage son Iain had to carry me to the bathroom,” says John, who was a union leader. “There was no doubt I was going to die within a few months before I reached the age of 40.” He’d watched a TV documentary about heart transplants and read about the work of Christiaan Barnard but John admits he was apprehensive and thrilled when first told he was suitable for a transplant. “It was still quite an experimental operation and the doctors said that if I had a transplant they couldn’t promise me any more than five years. At that stage no one had survived for longer but I didn’t have to think twice. I wanted the chance to live and see my son grow up and get married.” John was placed on a waiting list and vividly remembers the day the telephone rang. “My mother was visiting from Scotland and I was just about to put a spoonful of her Scotch broth into my mouth when my wife Ann called upstairs to tell me an ambulance was on its way. In those days they had three patients on standby and selected the best tissue match, which happened to be me. “My last memory before surgery is being wheeled to the operating theatre and saying to my wife, ‘See you later.’ I was quite excited because my only other alternative was just to wither away. I’d sooner have died on the operating table.” John was in surgery for about eight hours as the heart of a road crash victim was transplanted into his body. “The first few weeks were crucial because of the risk of infection and rejection so I was wrapped in cotton wool. I suffered pneumonia but was allowed home for Christmas. The house had to be cleaned from top to bottom and we were told we should get rid of our pet dog, although my wife refused. At one stage there were signs of rejection but the drugs worked and once my new heart started pumping I could feel myself gaining energy every day.” John, who was given Guinness to drink to help build up his strength, was able to return to work but took early retirement before beginning a career in IT at Milton Keynes Hospital, which he enjoyed for 19 years. My quality of life was transformed,” he says. “I was able to play bowls and I competed in running and the long jump in the British Transplant Games. A year after my transplant I walked from my home to Harefield, about 60 miles away, to raise funds and ran half-marathons. I used to swim 80 lengths to get fit. “The cost of the surgery then was about £30,000 but you can’t put a value on life.” He never discovered the name of the donor, a man in his 20s from Essex. “If I’d traced his family I might have brought back painful memories for them but I am forever grateful. I feel that a little part of the donor is living inside me.” In 1991 John’s nephew Steven Paterson, now 33, who was suffering from the same heart condition, also had a transplant. JOHN, who still takes drugs to fight rejection, says: “It’s an incredible operation and I do as much as I can to encourage people to carry organ donor cards. It’s awful that people are dying while waiting for transplants. “When I had my transplant I never imagined I would still be alive all these years later and would become a grandfather. Having a transplant made me appreciate life more.” In two years’ time he will become the world’s longest surviving transplant patient, replacing an American man who died a few years ago after living another 31 years. He succumbed not to heart disease but cancer.
John says: “I visit Harefield occasionally and in the room for transplant patients and their families there’s a board with the name of the longest survivors. Over the years I’ve got to the top. Every extra year has been a bonus but it’s also sad because I’ve lost people who became friends. I was the 41st to have a heart transplant at Harefield. “Being the longest survivor is a position I never really wanted to be in but I’m a living tribute to Sir Magdi Yacoub and all the other heart transplant surgeons. When I meet transplant patients I want them to think, ‘If he can live for 29 years so can I.’”

Editorial : This could have been my story ! I`m almost 17 years post now. On 8/17/94, I received "The Gift of Life"! At Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville TN. Thanks to a donor, who had the foresight to be a Organ/Donor. And Physicians who were not only talented, but cared !

Monday, August 01, 2011

TIRES ~ Clothing ~ Shoes ! Electronics ~ Appliances ! What Do They All Have in Common ? They Are going to Foreign Country`s !

New Balance Struggles as Sole Remaining Major U.S. Athletic Shoe Manufacturer
By Peter Whoriskey, Thursday, July 28, 2011

NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine At the factory here owned by New Balance, the last major athletic shoe brand to manufacture footwear in the United States, even workers on the shop floor recognize that in purely economic terms, the operation doesn’t make sense. The company could make far more money if, like Nike and Adidas, it shifted virtually all of these jobs to low-wage countries. So employees try each shift to make it up. Conversations on the shop floor are sparse at best, and the tasks at each work station have been stripped of waste and precisely timed. Workers cut leather for a pair of shoes in 88 seconds, handle precise stitching in 37 seconds, and glue soles to uppers even faster. “The company already could make more money by going overseas and they know it,” said Scott Boulette, 35, a burly team leader who has his son’s name tattooed in Gothic letters down his left forearm. “So we hustle.” Now, however, comes what may be an insurmountable challenge. The Obama administration is negotiating a free-trade agreement with Vietnam and seven other countries, and it is unclear whether the plant can stand up to a flood of shoes from that country, already one of the leading exporters of footwear to the United States. “We are deeply concerned by the inclusion of Vietnam in a potential free-trade agreement,” said Rob DeMartini, president and chief executive of New Balance. The workers’ predicament highlights the difficulty facing the Obama administration as it seeks free-trade agreements as a potential remedy for U.S. unemployment, now at 9.2 percent. Backed by many economists, the administration says the agreement with Vietnam and the other countries, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, would create U.S. jobs by opening up Asian countries to U.S. exports such as computers from California and paper products from Maine. “This agreement will create a potential platform for economic integration across the Asia-Pacific region, a means to advance U.S. economic interests with the fastest-growing economies in the world,” U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk told Congress in announcing that negotiations were about to begin. Moreover, importing shoes from Vietnam at lower costs would benefit some in the United States, either by reducing prices for consumers or raising profits for manufacturers that have their operations overseas. But the example of New Balance, which has long resisted the exodus of American footwear manufacturers, highlights the fact that despite the benefits of free trade, it can also destroy some U.S. jobs, and those losses are felt more acutely in a time of high unemployment. “We want to fight really hard to keep this business in Maine,” said Lori Cook, 28, a single mom with two kids. “I’d like to keep my job.”
The company’s primary concern is that any free-trade agreement with Vietnam would likely eliminate the steep tariff on footwear imported from that country, making Vietnamese sneakers even cheaper than they already are. New Balance officials said removing the tariff would also undermine years of efforts at the company’s five New England factories to compete against cheap foreign labor. The plants employ 1,000 workers. Those employees earn upward of $10 an hour, plus benefits, while labor costs in China are about $1.50 an hour, and even less in Vietnam. With the support of some New England legislators, the company is hoping that an unusual exemption can be created in any agreement with Vietnam to maintain the tariff on the shoes New Balance makes in the United States. “Making footwear in the U.S. isn’t as easy or as profitable as making them overseas. If it were, every company would still be doing it,” DeMartini said. “We will continue to ask our negotiators to embrace President Obama’s manufacturing agenda and to save what is left of our nation’s once-vibrant shoemaking economy.” For decades, shoes coming in from China and Vietnam, the largest sources of imported footwear, have been hit with tariffs of as much as 20 percent or more. The shoe tariff, by pushing up the cost of importing shoes, means a pair of athletic shoes made in the Norridgewock factory or anywhere else in the United States is more competitive than it otherwise would be, and partially offsets the costs of higher wages paid here. On a pair of shoes that comes into the country valued at $30, for example, a typical 20 percent duty amounts to $6. (In many cases, the markup amounts to 100 percent, meaning those shoes would sell to consumers for $72.) As workers in New England look around at the shuttered textile and shoe mills that still dot many towns, relics of the industrial era, some see the shoe tariff as the least the United States could do for what’s left of the battered industry. In their view, removing the tariff only rewards those companies like Nike and Adidas that have shut U.S. factories and concentrated their operations elsewhere. Adidas’s last plant was in Kutztown, Pa. Joanne Twomey, 65, worked at the Nike factory in Saco, Maine, until it closed in the mid-’80s, the last significant Nike shoe plant in the United States. “I have not bought one thing from Nike ever since,” Twomey, now the mayor of nearby Biddeford, Maine, says. “I tell my children and grandchildren not to buy it either. They owed it to the people who got them to the top — the workers in the U.S. — to stay.” About 25 percent of the shoes New Balance sells in North America are either manufactured or assembled at one of the five New England factories, despite the likelihood that owner Jim Davis could improve profits by joining other shoemakers overseas. But while the tariff may be protecting New Balance’s 1, 000 U.S. workers, it appears to have done little to protect the rest of the U.S. shoe industry, which employed as many as 250,000 people in the ’50s but fewer than 15,000 people today.
“The production of footwear is still very much a labor-intensive process,” said Erin Dobson, Nike spokeswoman. “This, combined with the cost of labor in the U.S., makes it cost-prohibitive based on the way product in our industry is manufactured today.” She noted that while the company has no shoe manufacturing in the United States, it directly employs 22,000 in the country.
Since about 99 percent of shoes sold in the United States are imported, removal of tariffs likely would save consumers money and help improve profits for retailers and companies that do their manufacturing overseas. Those companies have banded together in recent years to lobby against what they call “the shoe tax.”
“If you are buying shoes, you’re paying a shoe tax,” said Nate Herman of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, which has led the fight against the shoe tariff and supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “For products that are no longer produced here and haven’t been produced here for decades, there’s no sense for consumers to be paying it.” The employees at the factory here shrug off the cost to consumers, and question how it is that a move to save jobs could be considered bad economic policy, as economists often say, when jobs are so hard to come by and they have tried so hard to compete. Since 2004, the 350 workers at the plant have increased daily production by nearly 9 percent while significantly reducing errors, plant manager Raye Wentworth said. The Maine unemployment rate is nearly 8 percent. Some like Michelle Witham, 40, count three generations involved with footwear manufacturing. She works at the New Balance factor here, as did her parents. Her grandparents worked in the same building, too, years ago, when it was a shoe factory for another company. “When I started, people would say, ‘Oh you don’t want to work there. They’re not going to be around for long. They ain’t got a chance,’ ” Witham said. “But I’ve been here 20-something years now.” “If customers pay a few more dollars for a pair of shoes, then so be it,” said Sheri Fuller, 54, who has worked at the factory for 24 years. “If you take jobs away from people, the hit is going to be a lot bigger.”

Editorial : Clothing, Shoes, Appliances, Electronics, TIRES are all on the move. Clothing is gone. Shoes are all but gone. Only Speed Queen is left for appliances.
What are politicians call Free-Trade is Job killing trade ! The only thing we export is our JOBS ! This writer has maintained for sometime now, that until trade is FIXED. Our race to the bottom will continue ! If there is something about this our politicians don`t understand ? Please contact ME !