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Showing posts from July, 2009

Will There be Justice from Unfair Trade?

July 28, 2009

U.S. tire workers in consumer tire-producing operations are at the losing end of a surge in tire
imports from China. This surge has a direct link to the 25 percent decline in U.S. production and the resulting 7,000 workers who are being impacted by factory shutdowns and slated shutdowns.

These are family and community supportive jobs that are disappearing because China isn’t
playing by the rules, and the Steelworkers are taking action through a trade case to help right this wrong.

It’s time to make a break from the failed trade policy of the past.

This case has far-reaching implications for many USW industries beyond just tire. If we lose, we can expect more industries to be harmed. If we win, we start on a course of trade law enforcement where U.S. workers get a fair shot.

China’s Unfair Trading Practices are Not New

The artificial level of imports has a direct connection to China’s distorted, non-market economy and manipulation of its currency. There are numerous cases in the…

Democrats, be aware

“Any Democrat who upsets the healthcare reform, or any Democrat who stymies a meaningful public option for real competition ought to be targeted in the primary and taken out.”
Leo W. Gerard
President, United Steelworkers

The below ‘direct link’ is a podcast of USW Pres. Gerard’s provocative 30-minute interview segment Friday morning (Jul. 24) with progressive talk radio host Jeff Santos on WWZN-AM’s ‘RevolutionBoston’ that’s a 50,000 watt station with a listening audience in Greater Boston, most of MA, NH, VT and parts of NYC.

Leo cites reports of an estimated $1.75 million per day expenditure by the health insurance lobby in the legislative fight for health care reform as demonstrative of the stakes. He suggests that any Democrat who stymies the public interest in healthcare should be ‘taken out’ in the next election, predicting that if we don’t fix health care now, he expects more personal and corporate bankruptcies. The other issues discussed on the show include auto sector manufacturi…

A Letter For All Americans

July 24, 2009

Barack H. Obama, President of the United States
Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
All members of the U.S. House of Representatives
All members of the U.S. Senate

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you on behalf of the 340,000 members of the National Union of Public and General Employees (Canada) about the scurrilous misrepresentations of Canada and our single-payer health system in the debate over the future of health care in the United States.

We applaud you for reopening the national discussion of health care reform in the U.S. There are various policy proposals on the table and you’ll have important decisions to make in the months ahead. As legislators, it’s critical that you use the best available evidence to inform your decisions.

Unfortunately, rather than a true debate about its merits, Canada’s single-payer system, and by extension Canada’s reputation, has been the victim of a multi-million dollar tidal wave of special-interest propaganda and scare ta…

House's Public Option: Good News and Bad News

By Jonathan Walker
July 15, 2009

The House released its America's Affordable Health Choice Act today along with a preliminary CBO scoring. It will include a robust public option. There is some good and bad news about the public health insurance option:

The Good News

-The public option will be available nationwide and from “day one” on the new national health insurance exchange.

-The public plan will be run by the Department of Health and Human Services.

-The public option will pay doctors the same rates as Medicare plus 5% for the first three years.

-The public option will have the power to directly negotiate drugs prices.

-Roughly a third of all people buying health insurance through the exchange are projected to select the public plan (around 11 to 12 million). This is not a high enough percentage that the public plan will “dominate” the exchange. Incredibly important!

-The public option's premiums will be 10% cheaper than a typical private insurance plans.

-The public plan will d…

Another great demonstration for Universal Healthcare

Another great rally yesterday for Universal Healthcare took place at Senator Evan Bayh's office in Hammond, Indiana.

Here's a photo of Cheryl DeCero, an active Steelworker and Bill Cantrell, a member of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees.

The demonstration was a great success and we got our message across to Senator Bayh.

Thanks to all who were able to attend.

There were a few opponents to Universal Healthcare in attendance claiming that they didn't want a government run program.

The interesting thing about them is that those I spoke to had health insurance, and as a matter of fact, had Medicare which is a government run health system. Another told me that his health care while serving in the military was great. He didn't seem to realize that that too is a government run health system. Pretty sad, huh?

Another interesting thing that I noticed was their use of the flag that you see here.

After some research into this flag, one of our members found the followin…

Rally for Healthcare

Rally for Health Care

5400 Federal Plaza, Hammond,In
Hohman and Douglas
Hammond, IN 46324
Thursday, July 23, 2009, 12:00 PM

We will stress to Senator Evan Bayh that we are active in Indiana and we would like to demonstrate how much support we have in the region. We will be delivering a letter supporting Public Option and rallying outside his Hammond office.

We are one of several events in Indiana. It is time to drive the message home to Senator Bayh that we need him to support a public option for health care and clean energy jobs.

We are going to meet at the corner of Hohman and Douglas at 12:00. There is a lot of free parking behind the Federal Court House which is right around the corner on Douglas. Be sure to leave home early, traffic can be a mess. Please ask a friend to come with you.

Health Care for All.....NOW!

By Peter Harbage | July 20, 2009All of the roughly 170 million Americans with private health insurance share concerns about skyrocketing costs and shrinking benefits. But there are even greater challenges for the roughly one in four Americans who either purchase their insurance on the individual market or have considered doing so. The individual market is confusing, complex, and typically costs more for less coverage—if coverage is available at all.Conservatives claim that comprehensive health care reform will lead to government control and rationing of care. Yet private insurers already effectively limit and deny the health care that their policyholders can access, especially those who have to find coverage in the individual market. And make no mistake—the insurance companies are well aware that just 20 percent of patients are responsible for 80 percent of health care costs in the United States. That’s why insurers try to limit the coverage of this 20 percent, especially…

I Got Mine, To Hell With You

Went to a demonstration in Valparaiso, Indiana at Senator Lugar's office in support of National Healthcare last week. On the other side of the street was a counter demonstration against National Healthcare.

Out of curiosity, I moseyed over to the counter demonstrators to speak to some of them and read the signs they were carrying. Low and behold, each and every person I spoke to had health insurance. So those who considered themselves all set, and OK as far as their own health insurance was concerned, for some reason, were satisfied with the uninsured or underinsured staying just the way they were and just going without.

Let me try some of my Hobart High School math again......The population of the United States is about 300 million........It's said that about 50 million people are without health insurance.
That means that one sixth of the American people are without health insurance.

We can't afford National Health Care?

We are the most powerful nation on the face of the ea…


RAGBRAI®, is The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is an annual seven-day bicycle ride across the state. Heading into its 37th year, RAGBRAI is the longest, largest and oldest touring bicycle ride in the world. RAGBRAI is sponsored by The Des Moines Register.

Tomorrow, bicycle riders will begin cycling across the south Iowa farm lands for a total of about 472 miles averaging 68 miles per day. They’ll do this in seven days. They are limited to 8,500 week-long riders and 1,500 daily riders.

They’ll begin somewhere near Iowa’s western border and end along the eastern border at the Mississippi River.

Click here to learn more.

Retirees Laud House Move to Close Medicare Donut Hole

Alliance for Retired Americans Member Speaks at House Press Event

Speaking today at the U.S. Capitol, Maryland retiree Phil Feaster today praised House Democrats for their plan to improve the lives of millions of retirees by closing the so-called donut hole in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

Feaster, a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans, spoke at a press conference to unveil a sweeping health care reform bill introduced today by the Democratic leaders in the U.S. House. Among its key provisions is closing the donut hole, which forces many retirees to pay
both their monthly Medicare premiums and full price for their prescriptions.

The donut hole costs Feaster $700 per month. Along with 3.4 million other retirees, I am in what is known as the Medicare donut hole. More than one out of four seniors falls into the donut hole, so this is no fluke thing that is unique to just me. Let me tell you, the donut hole
is no treat for seniors, he said.

My generation likes to t…

Health Care Demonstration

Valparaiso, Indiana

On July 9, 2009, SOAR members joined other community organizations in a demonstration at Senator Richard Lugar’s office in Valparaiso, Indiana.
After the demonstration, we presented his office with 1,700 signatures in support of a public health care plan.
Motorists honked their horns in support and the police were on hand to protect the demonstrators.
The fifty or so demonstrators cheered and shouted “Health Care Now”! and “What do we want? Healthcare! When do we want it? Now!
The rally was organized by
Steve Skvara, SOAR board member in District 7 was one of the speakers.

Drive Union

Click on the photo above to enlarge it

Faith Leaders Statement


Today health care reform has become an urgent priority, with many Americans
fearful about the health care they now hold and more than 45 million lacking
coverage altogether. Rising unemployment, underemployment and a decline in
employment benefits have deprived many more of health care. The health of our
neighbors and the wholeness of the nation now require that all segments of our
society join in finding a solution to this national challenge.

"...Learn to do good, seek justice; rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan,
plead for the widow." Isaiah 1:17

"...Love your neighbor as you love yourself." Matthew 22:39

"...Ye who believe! Stand up firmly for Allah, witness to just,
that is next to piety." Qur'an 5:8

Our diverse communities of faith -Jewish, Christian and Muslim- are each shaped and
guided by our respective sacred texts which compel us to speak out on behalf of the
most vulnerable members of our societ…

Debunking Canadian health care myths

By Rhonda Hackett

As a Canadian living in the United States for the past 17 years, I am frequently asked by Americans and Canadians alike to declare one health care system as the better one.

Often I'll avoid answering, regardless of the questioner's nationality. To choose one or the other system usually translates into a heated discussion of each one's merits, pitfalls, and an intense recitation of commonly cited statistical comparisons of the two systems.

Because if the only way we compared the two systems was with statistics, there is a clear victor. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to dispute the fact that Canada spends less money on health care to get better outcomes.

Yet, the debate rages on. Indeed, it has reached a fever pitch since President Barack Obama took office, with Americans either dreading or hoping for the dawn of a single-payer health care system. Opponents of such a system cite Canada as the best example of what not to do, while proponents laud…

Healthcare Rally

Public Option Now! Rally

Sen. Richard Lugar's District Office
Thursday, 9 Jul 2009, 12:00 PM
We will rally outside Senator Lugar's Valparaiso office.
Lets join our voices in support of a public option!

175 West Lincolnway, Suite G-1
Valparaiso, IN

"Never confuse motion with action."
Ben Franklin

Karl Malden 1912-2009 - Union Man


"I am thrilled to be honored by the Screen Actors Guild because I've been with it for such a long time. The Screen Actors Guild is sort of a highfalutin name for a union, and this union was always wonderful to work for. For the rank-and-file of the union to honor me is the best compliment I can receive."

Conservatives and the Party of Death

Do we have pitiful priorities?

According to the National Priorities Project, the war in Iraq since 2001 has cost us about 684 billion dollars or an average of a little over 7 billion dollars per month and 5,000 U.S. deaths.

This mornings paper indicates that the Congressional Budget Office in an analysis released Thursday put the net cost of the congressional proposal for universal health care at 597 billion dollars over 10 years which would be about 5 billion dollars per month.

7 billion dollars per month to invade and occupy a country for eight years plus 5,000 dead.


5 billion dollars per month to reform our failed and cruel health care system for the people of the United States for 10 years and saving countless lives.

You be the judge.

Samuel Gompers Monument

Although I’m not a student of Samuel Gompers, there’s something about his life that has fascinated me.

Just about every time I go to Washington D.C. I at least think of getting some photographs of the Samuel Gompers monument, but something always messes up the attempt. Once, I had no camera. Once the camera I had didn’t have fresh batteries, and once, although photos were taken, I just didn’t get them.

While attending the Alliance for Retired Americans legislative conference June 15-18, Elaine and I arrived on June 14 by train and she advised me to see what was most important that first day, otherwise I might not have time later in the week, so off we went.

Next time you’re in Washington, and have a few extra minutes, you might think about visiting it. It’s not far from the Washington Hilton and Towers hotel, and is located near 11th and Massachusetts Avenue, NW.