Friday, June 27, 2008

Obama for President

On June 27, 2008, the delegates to the conference of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) unanimously passed the following resolution:

Whereas, the present administration in Washington has seriously damaged the very fabric of our society by its repeated failures in both domestic and foreign policy, such as its incompetence in meeting the needs created by the tragedy of Katrina, its increase in the national debt to unprecedented levels, its increase in the threat of terrorism by its ill timed and mismanaged invasion of Iraq rather than focusing on the terrorists who attacked the world trade center in New York, by failing to support the standards for the administration of justice for which a
America had been held in highest regard throughout the world, to mention but a few;

Whereas, the present administration has not only failed to meet effectively the health and educational needs of the American people but has continued a calculated attack on social security as well as a campaign against meeting the need for health care insurance for all Americans;

Whereas, as a result of these and other similar failures of policy and action, America’s reputation as a leader of the free world has been severely damaged in the eyes of democratic nations throughout the world and its influence, therefore, greatly reduced;

Whereas, we now face an economic crisis that may well be the most serious since the Great Depression, as a result of the unconscionable increase in the inequality of incomes between the wildly excessive incomes of corporate executives and the stagnation and frequent decline in the incomes of working and middle income citizens, compounded by the absence of a policy to maintain and build manufacturing capacity in America and the promotion of so-called free trade agreements that, in fact, provide additional opportunities for corporations to exploit the low wages of workers in the developing countries;

Whereas, in November we are provided the opportunity to elect a President who, along with further changes in the composition of Congress, can lead the country in preventing further deterioration and in building an America of which we can all be proud, which meets the needs of its people and restores its reputation as a leader in the society of nations;



Whereas, the Republican candidate offers more of the same kind of administration that has reduced our strength and our status to its present low level;

Whereas, by way of contrast, the Democratic Party candidate, who throughout a vigorous and demanding primary contest demonstrated both a broad and detailed understanding of the situations we face, a vision of how change can be achieved and in what directions it must move, an ability both to inform and inspire our people;

Therefore be it resolved, that the Conference endorse the Democratic candidate Barack Obama as the candidate who presents the program and possesses the qualities of leadership and the background necessary to meet the challenges we face; and

Be it further resolved, that we commit our organization to act in every possible way to achieve the success of the campaign; and

Be it further resolved, we instruct our Executive Board to develop a set of plans and procedures that will assure that the campaign achieves the best possible result.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NEVADA SENIORS TO PROTEST JOHN MCCAIN’S PLAN TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY

Henderson, NV – When Senator John McCain arrives in Henderson tomorrow evening, the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans will be on hand to protest his support for Social Security privatization and urge him to keep his “hands off our Social Security.”

In an interview appearing in the March 3 edition on The Wall Street Journal, McCain said, “As part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it -- along the lines that President Bush proposed.”

The proposal Senator McCain now favors is the same Bush privatization plan rejected by the American people in 2005 for jeopardizing the economic security of current and future retirees and ravaging guaranteed benefits for seniors and the disabled.

“Social Security benefits would be thrown to the whims of the stock market under the Bush-McCain scheme,” said Scott Watts, President of the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans. “We get all the risk while Wall Street gets all the reward.”

The Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans is a non-profit, non-partisan organization representing approximately 16,000 retirees and senior citizens in 17 affiliated chapters throughout Nevada. It is a state affiliate of the Alliance for Retired Americans, a national grassroots organization representing 3.5 million retirees.

Monday, June 23, 2008

"My Friends"

John McCain is the only person I've ever heard of that used the phrase "my friends" when referring to those he's speaking to.
He uses that phrase pretty often too. Can't quite figure out why.
To me, it seems as though he's talking down to me.
Condescending is the word that comes to mind.
I'm pretty used to most people being smarter than I am, but usually they're bright enough to do a pretty good job of disguising it.

My friends, do you get what I'm driving at?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Good Gardening Weather


With the rain turning on and off, day after day, and the heat we've been having is promising a great gardening year here in Indiana.
Here's a photo of a turtle I saw in my garden the other day. He/she was about the size of a dinner plate.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I'm Voting Republican

Why? Because I don't want to get my Social Security check anymore, and I don't want my children to have any either. Another reason is because if 50 million Americans can survive without any health insurance, why can't I?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Looking at the 2008 Election


June 11, 2008

Now that the Democratic Primary race has come to an end, let’s look at the November election in a clear light of what it will mean to working families. Too many attempts were made in the past months to define working people’s voting decisions as racially based, while completely ignoring the fact that for years Senator McCain and many of his Republican colleagues have treated all working people with complete disdain, whether those workers are white, Black, Hispanic or otherwise.

We can expect the Republicans to continue to utilize this tactic to distract attention away from the fact that John McCain will only offer a continuation of the Bush administration’s assault on working people and unions. Here are some facts:
  • McCain votes the Bush party line almost 90 percent of the time, according to the AFL-CIO.
  • McCain voted “right” on labor bills only 16 percent of the time; Obama’s rating is 96 percent.
  • McCain is against the Employee Free Choice Act and the Davis-Bacon Act. Obama support them.
  • McCain is for a national right-to-work law. Obama is not.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Give McCain a Break

Look.

I know that John McCain's memory is fading and he gets mixed up once in a while, such as his confusion between Shiites and Sunnis and he has difficulty either seeing his teleprompter or perhaps his eyes are going bad or his glasses need cleaning or his prescription changed.

But:

His difficulties are not due to old age. Heck, I know people on our SOAR Executive Board who are in their nineties and are sharp as tacks.

He's dead wrong on most issues. He's a war monger and he's against everything any working person or retired person is for. But.....
He's not old!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Gerard to McCain: The Steelworkers Are On To Your Pandering

Berry Craig, AFT-Kentucky/KEA-NEA

MAYFIELD, Ky. -- We Presbyterians – the “Frozen Chosen” – don’t do “amens” like our Baptist brothers and sisters.

But I’d like to “amen” some recent remarks by Leo W. Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers of America.

Gerard said his union’s leadership is concerned “about the media’s ongoing attempts to sensationalize and mischaracterize the contest between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.”

He added, “Most disturbing have been attempts to define working people’s voting decisions in this contest as somehow racially based, while completely ignoring the fact that for years Senator McCain and many of his Republican colleagues have treated all working people with complete disdain, whether those workers are white, Black, Hispanic or otherwise.

“Shouldn’t that be the issue for 2008, and not this absurd and unfair focus on race and sometimes on religion?”

Amen.

Gerard also stressed “that both [italics mine] Democratic candidates would be far superior advocates for the rights of working people and their families than Senator McCain.”

Amen.

In addition, Gerard warned that McCain’s backers “are already engaged in the politics of divide and conquer,” especially against Obama, the almost certain Democratic nominee. Gerard called the Republican tactics “destructive…deeply troubling and completely unfair.”

Gerard pointed out that Obama’s grandparents, who helped rear him, “fought in World War II and worked honorably in manufacturing jobs to support their family. Obama, Gerard added, “has pledged his own undying allegiance to our country and to working-class Americans.”

Amen.

Gerard said that “dividing working people along racial and ethnic lines is the oldest and meanest game in the book, and it is the one the Republicans are already using to distract attention from the fact that Senator McCain has made it abundantly clear that he offers nothing more than a continuation of the Bush administration’s sorry record of relentlessly assaulting the well-being and interests of working people and of our nation’s unions.”

Amen.

The record could hardly be clearer.

McCain votes the Bush party line almost 90 percent of the time, according to the AFL-CIO. The senator has voted “right” on labor bills only 16 percent of the time, says the AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education.

By comparison, Obama’s COPE rating is 96 percent. Clinton’s is 94.

McCain is against the Employee Free Choice Act and the Davis-Bacon Act. Obama and Clinton support them.

McCain is for a national right-to-work law. Obama and Clinton are not.

While the Steelworkers have endorsed Obama, other unions, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, are sticking with Clinton.

But unions agree on the most important part of this year’s presidential campaign, says Joe Delio of AFSCME. “We’ve got to beat John McCain,” he told the Paducah-based Western Kentucky Area Council before the Kentucky primary.

The delegates added an amen with loud applause.

With the economy and Iraq, all McCain has got is “the politics of divide and conquer.” Also look for him to trot out the old Republican red herrings -- “the Three Gs,” meaning God, guns and gays.

Anyway, you’d think convincing a union member to vote for an anti-union candidate like McCain would be mission impossible. Labor leaders like Leo W. Gerard are working hard to make sure it won’t be mission accomplished for McCain.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

ARA President, George Kourpias Speaks Out


An Open Letter to Retirees:

I’m always reading. I love to keep up on what is going on, and like you, I believe it is our responsibility as citizens to stay informed and make intelligent decisions.

Two articles I recently came across really caught my eye. The first said, “Medicare Advantage Drives Humana Profit Above Expectations.” (Associated Press, 4/28/08). Humana’s profits are up 12.5 percent this year because of its success with government contracts.

And then I read “Medicare ‘drifting towards disaster’: U.S. Official.” (Reuters, 4/29/08). According to the article, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said that Medicare faces a dire financial future.

Am I the only one who is confused?

On one hand, we hear Medicare is in trouble. But yet we keep sending more and more tax dollars to insurance companies to run Medicare Advantage programs. Big corporations are now making large profits on what our government used to do as a public service. We subsidize insurance companies – to the tune of $150 billion over the next ten years – to operate privatized Medicare Advantage plans, at a cost between 12 and 19 percent higher than if Medicare directly served these same people.

Some of us are old enough to remember what people said when Medicare was first proposed. The critics predicted it would be a disaster, the start of socialized medicine. Now, 43 years later, Medicare has been the savior for millions of seniors. But our government sees it as yet another public asset that can be sold off for private gain.

In June, Congress may be debating the future of these federal subsidies to private insurance companies. If this happens, it is more important than ever that we understand the issues and where our elected officials stand.

We all know what Medicare has meant for our generation. Let’s make sure it stays strong for all who follow us.


George J. Kourpias
President
Alliance for Retired Americans

Sunday, June 01, 2008

By the Numbers: Why We Don't Need John McCain and Another 4 Years of Bush's Policies

Number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq before the "Mission Accomplished" speech

139

Number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq as of May 6, 2008

4,073