Personal Experiences With Labor Unions Here In The U.S. Both Good And Bad

 

 

A couple of days ago I read an article from another Blogger concerning his experiences with Labor Unions, it was his article that gave me the idea to write this article to you today. The Author’s name is Dan Antion and you can find his article on his site at http://nofacilities.wordpress.com/

 

I was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia back in the mid 1950’s, this was an area where there simply were no Union jobs. All of the jobs in the area all paid what ever the Federal National minimum wage happened to be at the time. None of the factories, silk mills or saw mills paid anything to their employees that was not mandated by law. Besides the people being paid the minimum wage there were no benefits at all for the employees, no health insurance, not dental or vision insurance, no paid holidays, no vacations or vacation pay, no overtime pay when you had work on a holiday, unless in doing so put you over the 40 work week. Another big thing was there was no job security at all, you could have been at a job for 20 years and the foreman or “Boss Man” as most were called could come into work one morning in a bad mood and fire you for any reason, or no reason at all and there was nothing at all that you could do about it. Needless to say my Mom and Dad whom were both factory workers were in favor of Unions but it was something that they had to keep quiet because you would definitely get fired if the Bosses ever even thought you were talking pro-union even if you were not at work when they heard that you were condoning the concept of a Union. The reasons are pretty simple, if the Company was forced to have a Union then the bosses would have to have a real reason to fire you or to suspend you. The company would be forced to pay much higher wages and be required to pay for benefits like vacation pay, health insurance, paid sick leave. To me I believe that there are two main financial reasons for a company to treat their employees this way. One is pure greed from the ownership stand point. If you own a company what you don’t pay out in wages and benefits you get to put into your own pocket. Two, competition, you as an owner had to be able to keep the wholesale prices of your product in line with what other companies whom made the same products as you were charging. When you paid more out for your costs than your competition then the customers would buy from your competition and not you, thus putting you out of business. Back then competition was mostly all domestic, now days everything is international. This is some of the reasons why so many factories have closed here in the States and moved overseas, competition and cheaper production costs.

 

Now to the crux of this article to you today. I was a long haul truck driver from 1981-2013, I drove all over the lower 48 states and all of the Provinces of Canada. Most of my driving was here in the U.S. so I am only going to speak of my Union/non-Union experiences here in the States. I my self do believe that the concept of Unions is a very good thing for the working class poor people but as a truck driver I really did not like having to go to Union customers. Companies simply want to get employees to get as much product out the door as possible for the least amount of cost. Unions want to make companies pay the employees as much as possible and they want the employees to have to do as little as possible for that higher pay. Also Unions want to have as many members as possible so their theory is if the employees of a company do less and less than the company will have to hire more Union employees to get the finished product out the door. This in turn creates more revenue for the Union via the employees Union Dues. The problem between the companies and the Unions are just like the problems we all see in American politics between the Republicans and the Democrats, they are total polar opposites.  The only way to make things work whether it is in politics or with companies and Unions is if both sides of the issues will decide to ‘meet in the middle’.

 

Examples of why a driver does not like to go to Union companies: There was a large Paper Mill in Lamar Louisiana that I went to several times, once you backed in the dock to get loaded you walked about 200 feet back into the Mill to the Shipping Office to sign and pickup the paper work for your load. By the time you walked to the Office then back to your trailer, it was loaded. These are big rolls of paper that are loaded with a clamp machine (adapted forklift). This Mill is non-Union and you could always hear the tires squealing on the forklifts as they were loading the trailers and your trailer was only in a dock for a total of about 15 minutes and you were ready to leave. One time I picked up a load from this Mill and the load was an (in-house) move, meaning that it was going to their own warehouse in Indianapolis Indiana. The difference here was that the warehouse in Indianapolis was a Union Shop. I got to the Receiver about a half hour early and was given a door assignment to back into which I did. This warehouse had about 40 dock doors and I was the only trailer in any dock. I waited for two hours and they still had not entered the trailer for the first time so I went back to the Receiving Office to ask when they might start, about another hour and a half passed before they pulled the first roll out. From that point it took them two hours to unload the trailer, my total time in their dock to get unloaded was 5 1/2 hours. Remember, at their non-Union Mill they loaded this load in 10-15 minutes.

 

One time I picked up a load of car fenders that were on either 5 or 6 racks that took the loader literally no more than about 5 minutes to load. This load was going to a General Motors Assembly Plant in Michigan. General Motors is very strict about incoming freight and they only give you a half hour window in which to be arriving, if you are late the company that you drove for gets a big fine so you don’t dare be late. My appointment was for 5 AM. I checked in at 4:30 and was told to pull in front of door #5 and to stay there until someone comes out and tells you to back into the dock. All of the dock doors had trucks lined up waiting just like I was. A couple of times during the day I went in to check with the Receiving Supervisor to see when they might get started as my dispatch had me a reload to get picked up and that customer was wanting to know when I might show up. Turns out that all of the Receiving Department employees were sitting in the break room doing things like reading newspapers and books, playing card games and watching TV. When the Supervisor asked them to please go out and unload these trailers they cursed him quite badly and told him to go F-off. The Supervisor one time even got a hold of the Union Representative who showed up on his little three-wheeled power cart and he asked the employees to please go unload the trailers, he got cursed just as the Receiving Supervisor had before him. Turns out that at about 6 PM I finally got to back into my dock door and they did get me unloaded in about 10 minutes. That was the one and only load that my company ever hauled into or out of a U.A.W. (United Auto Workers) location. Is it any wonder why the Company built factories in Mexico to get away from the Union here in the States?

 

Twice I had to pick up a load of flooring tile at a manufacturer in north-east Illinois. Both times I had gotten appointments for about 10 AM. The Shipper had a good-sized parking lot for the trucks to wait in until they were called to back into a dock door. Both times the company I worked for ended up canceling the load and the reason was simple economics. This was a Union Shipper, after waiting for a couple of hours past my appointment time I went inside to see what was going on as no trucks had moved from the docks yet. Just like at the GM Factory the shipping department employees were all just siting around in their break room. I was told that the Union had gotten a deal where the employees only had to load 4 trailers per shift, figuring 2 hours per trailer x 4=8 hour shift. Reality was that when the day started at 7 AM the employees would hustle to get their 4 trailers loaded. But, it actually only took them about 30 minutes to load a trailer so, 4 x 30 minutes =2 hours. Then the employees would just go to the break room each day until their 8 hour shift was finished then they would check out and go home. The reality was that they had a whole lot full of trucks waiting to get loaded that they didn’t give a damn about.

 

Folks, here is my take on this issue. We all know that all companies are in a global economy, if your company makes a product, lets say widgets, you are not only competing with other Widget Companies in your State or even just in your home Country. If I have a company here in Kentucky, Union or not, and I make Widgets at a cost to me of 48 cents each and another company in lets say China and or Indonesia comes into the market selling Widgets for a total cost of 35 cents each having a production cost of 20 cents per Widget then I have a tough choice to make. Either I get my production cost down to no more than 20 cents per unit so that I can stay competitive, or I close my factory before I go bankrupt. The other option is to close up my factory here in Kentucky and to open up a factory in a place like China or Indonesia where I can be competitive. Either way, I must close up my factory here in Kentucky.

 

My Mom instilled in me a major ‘work ethic’, the concept that when you are at work, you bust your behind, you work. It has long been my belief that if you are an employee and you are lucky enough to have a Union job then you should always work as hard as you can and to always put out the best possible product for you employer. If you are  employed in a Union Business I have always believed that you need to produce at a higher level because you are being paid at a higher level than your non-Union neighbor. Getting contracts where you can work for two hours and sit on your butt in the break room for the next six hours is how companies either go bankrupt, or move away to a non-Union location, like China. Either way, you now have no job at all.

China to continue opening up: Chinese Ambassador to US

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS SERVICE ‘SHINE’)

 

China to continue opening up: Chinese ambassador to US

Xinhua

Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai has said here that China will continue to open its doors to the global community.

“We cannot develop ourselves behind closed doors… We have to open our door even wider and seek cooperation with others, particularly with countries like the United States,” Cui said at the welcome banquet held by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin on Monday.

Cui said China-US relations are not zero sum game, but rather will continue to be mutually beneficial. He said Beijing and Washington should deal with trade issues in an effective way.

Addressing Kentucky officials and businesses, Cui said he has full confidence in bilateral cooperation at the provincial, municipal and county levels, adding that the Chinese people came to know the state after the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant opened in Beijing over three decades ago.

Over the past decades, the Chinese people have learned that the state has much more to offer, including Bourbon, race horses, farm products and manufactured goods, prompting the Chinese public and business leaders to develop strong relations with Kentucky, Cui said.

For his part, Bevin said his administration is working to cut red tape for businesses who wish to invest here, highlighting the elaborate transportation web his state boasts.

Bevin admitted that certain trade policies Washington has pursued created uncertainties for bilateral business ties, but pledged to work at a state level to assure foreign investors.

Kentucky: Veteran Amy McGrath continues a Democratic winning streak for women and veterans

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF VOX NEWS)

 

Veteran Amy McGrath continues a Democratic winning streak for women and veterans

McGrath, a first time candidate, beat Lexington Mayor Jim Gray in a Kentucky House primary race.

Courtesy of McGrath campaign

Insurgent candidate Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot, pulled off an upset victory in a Democratic primary House race in Kentucky on Tuesday night, defeating the party establishment candidate.

McGrath emerged from a three-person race in Kentucky’s Sixth District, beating her main challenger Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. The race was called around 8 pm, with McGrath winning with 46 percent of the vote, compared to Gray’s 42.3 percent. Gray, a millionaire who ran for US Senate against Rand Paul in 2016, had the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

McGrath was born in Kentucky but only recently returned to the state; she spent the past couple decades serving in the Marine Corps as a fighter pilot. With help from a viral campaign announcement video highlighting her years of military service, McGrath went from an outsider and first-time candidate with no name recognition to the Democratic nominee.

Throughout the campaign, McGrath positioned herself as a change agent, part of a new generation of young candidates and Congress members, and touted her lack of political experience — the very thing her opponents attacked her for.

“Recruiting the same types of big-city, older millionaires is not the future,” McGrath said in a January interview with Vox. “Especially in the Democratic Party, we cannot keep relying on a staple of rich white people, old men, to save the Democratic Party.”

But McGrath’s opponents attacked her outsider status as evidence that she didn’t know the district she was running in. Having recently moved to Kentucky from the DC area, McGrath struggled to name the counties of three rural communities when asked about them at a debate.

In the run-up to Tuesday night, Gray’s campaign released its first negative ad about McGrath, hitting her for moving back to the state to run.

Ally Mutnick

@allymutnick

SIREN: @JimGrayCongress is airing 1st negative ad of the race, hitting @AmyMcGrathKY as a carpetbagger ahead of Tuesday’s primary

“Now she’s running for Congress to represent the one place she’s never lived: here,” a narrator says on the ad. “In fact, she moved here from Maryland just last year to run for Congress. We honor Amy McGrath’s service, but shouldn’t she live here for a while before she tries to represent us?”

The ad immediately received pushback from veterans groups like VoteVets and some sitting members of Congress who are veterans, such as Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA).

“You can elevate yourself, but don’t attack another Dem,” Lieu tweeted. “One reason @AmyMcGrathKY lived in a different place is because she was serving our nation in Afghanistan & Iraq flying F-18 combat missions. Stop attacking her military service. Take your ad down.”

Ted Lieu

@tedlieu

Dear @JimGrayCongress: You can elevate yourself, but don’t attack another Dem.

One reason @AmyMcGrathKY lived in a different place is because she was serving our nation in Afghanistan & Iraq flying F-18 combat missions.

Stop attacking her military service. Take your ad down. https://twitter.com/votevets/status/997660601886429191 

Gray’s ad demonstrated another thing: In the last few weeks of a race that was supposed to be an easy win for him, the Lexington mayor saw McGrath as a serious competitor.

McGrath now faces Republican Andy Barr, and she’ll likely have help from national Democrats

Even though things started out tense between McGrath and national Democrats, this likely won’t be another Laura Moser oppo memo situation in Texas. McGrath wasn’t happy with the DCCC for backing Gray early on; her campaign had also been in talks with the organization before they added Gray to their Red to Blue list.

“It’s disappointing to me that they would do that, especially after the talk of them wanting more veterans and more women, and more first-time candidates,” she told me in January. “To have done that, it kind of shows you the real disconnect between the national Democratic Party and places like Kentucky. And the key is, we have forgotten, as a party, how to win the Midwest and the South.”

Even after the McGrath campaign’s initial furor at the DCCC backing Gray, National Journal’s Ally Mutnick reported the campaign has kept in regular contact with the DCCC to show them internal polling numbers that had McGrath ahead of Gray.

McGrath has also shown herself to be a very capable fundraiser; she’s raised about $2 million as of May, as opposed to the $1.3 million Gray raised (although Gray still had more cash on hand).

In other words, even as McGrath positioned herself as the outsider candidate, she was making sure to keep up a good relationship with national Democrats, whose support she’ll need in order to triumph over Barr in the fall.

The ultimate test in November comes down to whether McGrath can convince Trump voters to cast their ballots for her instead of Barr. The district leans Republican, and many of its rural counties voted for the current president in 2016. But it contains 100,000 more registered Democratic voters. In other words, it’s prime Trump country.

Barr will face a tough election no matter what. Democrats have already mounted credible challenges to him in past years but fell short on fundraising. That’s different this year. McGrath and Gray fundraised millions between the two of them in the primary; they have real fundraising chops. Barr will also have to defend his votes for Obamacare repeal and GOP tax cuts.

Now she’s made it through the primary, McGrath is betting that her anti-establishment brand will carry her to Washington in an election year that’s shaping up to be a Democratic wave.

(Real Life Poem) The Roads Of My Life

The Roads Of My Life

 

Born unwanted in the mountains of Western Virginia

Just a poor hillbilly boy taught with a belt and switch

One more mouth to feed and one more back to bleed

Alcohol, hate and anger run generation to generation

 

To the Black Hills of Dakota we stopped roaming for a while

Alcohol, hate and ignorance new scenery doesn’t change

Alcohol a disease embedded in the genealogy of family trees

Faults in the blood help to dilute the heart, Soul and mind

 

Flat grounds of Boone County was cold outside and within

Life in a house is difficult where alcohol and ignorance live

The parent teaches you nothing except, your nothing to them

Hate is like em-breeding, a chain only you yourself can break

 

One’s mind and body must get clear to except that they’re an ass

Understanding then forgiving, is the beginning of your new life

These Kentucky Hills so beautiful with loving Son and Great Wife

Wife and Son know what love is and under the Blue Grass I’ll wait

 

 

VA Treachery, Fraud, Malpractice And Lies (Part 2 Of 2)

VA Treachery, Fraud, Malpractice And Lies (Part 2 Of 2)

Toward the end of part one I was speaking of the Ratings Board for the VA and how crooked they are and have been. In the guidelines for how the VA Ratings Board is supposed to conduct themselves it is stated that if their own Doctors agree with the Vet like their Neurosurgeon did in October of 2012 concerning the MRI I was finally able to get, that the Board would have to side on the side of the Veteran. Those guidelines also say that if the Veteran goes to civilian Doctors and those Doctors in writing agree with the Veteran that it is “reasonable to believe” that an active duty injury “could have caused” the veterans issues that they are trying to get a disability increase on then the Board has to side with the Veteran. As most any and all Veterans who have received negative answers at these Boards of Inquiry know, the VA personnel who are being paid by the VA, they pay no attention to those guidelines. As I said yesterday in part one, poop flows downhill, you know that these actions have to be being dictated to them from higher up in the VA chain of command. Otherwise why would these underlings be going against the very guidelines that they are told to uphold?

 

From about August of 1984 up until the heart attack I had while living in Ocala Fl in March of 1999 I suffered with not only my legs, hips and low pack being in constant pain, I suffered horribly with chest, neck, left shoulder and hand pain from the un-diagnosed heart pains. In 1999 I was working on a dedicated account for J B Hunt and I had another heart attack while at a company safety meeting. I was 42 at the time and my boss didn’t figure it was something serious so he pointed me in the direction of the hospital and I drove myself there. It was a Saturday morning and it was flu season and the ER was full of Mom’s and kids. When I was able to finally get up the ramp and into the building I went to the check in window, told them what was going wrong with me, they thought that I was lying just trying to get in front of the line. They did check my blood pressure though and as normal it was about 110/70.They had me sit in the waiting room for 5 1/2 hours before they finally called my name. When they finally did an EKG they freaked out because of them seeing the heart attacks. 3 days later they did a 4 way by-pass as all my arteries were 100% closed. At that time it seems that even the heart Doctors were unaware that the body in attempts to save itself will grow small veins around the blockages and into the heart. Trouble is that my blood would close these just about as fast as the new ones could grow. Literally your body is in a race against itself as it tries to keep some blood going to the heart. This was the first time that I ever got a hospital to do an EKG, ever. Over a span of 14 1/2 yrs I was never able to get a VA Doctor to do that simple 30 second test. How many yrs of my life did their ignorance, arrogance, and laziness shave off of my life span? This also doesn’t include the fact that during this time I had no quality of life at all. I couldn’t play any kind of games with my kids and my whole life revolved around working (being a long haul truck driver) and when I wasn’t working about the only thing I ever did was to sleep.

 

After my insurance ran out three months after the heart operation I had to rely on the VA system for my meds because I had no other way to afford them. The company I was working for would not let me come back to work so I did the only thing I could do, I had to lie my way into jobs with small companies or starve and go homeless. In January of 2002 I was able to get on with a company in Knoxville Tn that I stayed with until January of 2004 when my health made it impossible to do my job, so I had to quit. As was very normal with the VA system they change who they get their medications with quite often so even if you are getting the same medication from one supplier for a few months the VA would then change and you would get the same medication (supposedly) but the pill would look totally different. It also was and sometimes still is common to get a medication bottle that just says the name of it and to take it once or twice a day or to take at bed time or before breakfast, but that would be all that was on the bottle. About the first of January 2004 I got one such bottle that simply said take it twice a day but not what it was supposed to be for, this was not uncommon. I tended to follow what the bottles said so I started taking it two times a day, about twelve hours apart. Within a few weeks I was feeling so wore out I could hardly function at all. I had to quit my job because I thought I must be having trouble with my heart again. In mid February 04 I was able to get a heart-cath done through the VA in Johnson City (Mountain Home) Tn. When these are done a Cardiologist always has to be present, this day I had a young Doctor named Israel Garcia as the supervisor. I remember the name because of what he did. Before the test he was looking over the medications that I was on and he came across one that he said I did not need to be taking because it is only used if the patient had a history of strokes and I had not had one. Thirteen days after he took me off the med I had a stroke, the very next day they put me back on it, I’m still on it. I have never been mad at the man because all people make mistakes, I don’t believe he meant to hurt me on purpose, I forgive him. Yet because of this stroke I was not able to work until April of 2009, this VA doctors mistake cost me a little over five years of work income for my family.

 

The stroke hit my left side which is my dominate side and I still feel some of the effects to this day, but not major, I’m used to it. Reality was that the medication I had been taking was a muscle relaxer so my taking it every twelve hours just about stopped my heart, as you know, the heart is a muscle. Now I was in a situation where I could not work at all and my family lost our home and we had to move into a ‘state apartment’. I was unemployed until I decided to lie my way into another driving job in April of 2009. I had to lie to get employment because the only job that I could do that I knew how to do was to drive a truck and no company would have hired me if they knew that I was ill. I felt as a husband and a dad I had to try to get our family out of the base living conditions we were living in, just barely surviving. My health for many years had mandated that the only work I could do was if I was sitting down and not lifting anything, that is very limiting in the employment spectrum. The left side of my face is still numb and I still have a little bit of trouble with objects coming quickly from my left to my right. Also I could only be on my feet for about ten minutes at the most before the pain in my low back and legs would force me to sit down, now day’s I am lucky if I can get 2-3 minutes before the pain puts me down and I am forced to use the power wheelchair the VA gave me back in 2007 all of the time.

 

I was able to work from April of 2009 until June of 2013 when I simply had used up every ounce of pain fighting ability that I could muster. In 2007 I had another heart-cath done in Johnson City at the VA and it showed that all of my grafts from the 1999 operation were 100% closed. Yet they refused to even try to do a balloon surgery to see if any of those grafts could be opened because in their words “that operation would probably kill me”. Folks, I know I am not the wisest person in the world but I have a question for you. When all of a persons arteries and grafts are totally closed and the only blood getting to the heart keeping you alive are those little veins I told you about earlier that grow around the blockages in a race for time, what does a person have to lose? You are going to die from this condition guaranteed! Yet the VA refused to do anything except give me more medications.

 

As I told you earlier I went back to work in April of 2009 for a small local company. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would simply work as long as I could, expecting that one day I would simply go to sleep in a truck-stop somewhere and not wake up. I felt that the least I could do before I died was to give my family as much help financially as possible. Because I had been out of work for so long I didn’t even have the credits with social security to be able to leave them with even that check so I had to try to work as long as I could, hoping I could work long enough to get those credits. Social Security and VA disability pensions are a poor mans life insurance for their families they leave behind. Because of the VA’s methods of operation I was going to not be able to leave anything for my family, this is why I had to try going back to work even though I knew I shouldn’t do it.

 

In September of 2011 I was in Atlanta having a trailer washed out for a customer and was leaning up against the outside wall of the business, it was a hot day and they had the big outside door propped open beside me. When they finished the trailer washout I stepped away from the wall and blacked out. I fell face first into the big metal hinges of that door busting my forehead open about three or four inches. The workers revived me and to make a long story shorter, I was taken unconscious in an ambulance to the nearest hospital which turned out to be less that a half mile away. The first three days I was there I was unconscious and remember nothing of it. Once I was awake the heart Doctors told me that when I got to the ER my numbers were 50/20 and dropping fast and that both of my kidneys had completely shut down, they told me that I would have been dead in another five to ten minutes if I hadn’t gotten there when I did. I was also told that the VA had me on four times too much blood pressure medicine and that it was what had made me black out. Once again I was minutes away from the VA killing me. While I was out on that third day they did a heart-cath on me, it was after that when I woke up. There were two heart Doctors talking with me about the condition of my blood flow. I told them what the VA Doctors had told me about why they couldn’t/wouldn’t try to balloon them open, I remember they just looked at each other and wagged their heads in disgust. Within the hour they had me in surgery where they were able to balloon open two of the grafts from the 1999 surgery and they put stints in them at that time. This is why I am still alive today was because of the quality of the Doctors at the Gwinnett Medical Center just outside of Atlanta.

 

These Georgia Doctors gave me a new med list to give to the VA Doctors and to no surprise they got upset about the new list. One of the meds is a very expensive one for the heart that is actually required by law for them to give to me because of my particular condition. The condition being when a person has no arteries open and all the person has for blood flow are stints in old grafts they must give you this medication. It took them twelve months before they agreed to do it and then it was only after a new VA Doctor I had been assigned went up the chain of command to insist they do it. I am not saying that all people or all Doctors at the VA’s around the country are worthless or evil, but many are and it seems that the chain of command above the Doctors are in many cases just plain evil. I know that the VA system goes through a huge amount of Doctors, it seems like every time you go to one of their clinics you have been assigned yet another new Doctor. Could it be that in many cases when a good Doctor gets a job with them that they see how crooked that system is and they decide to find somewhere else to work?

 

I am going to finish with one last kick in the privates that they are very guilty of, and that is they refuse to pay their own bills so you the patient ends up with all their medical bills laid against your credit. By their own rules they must pay those medical bills I have in Georgia, it has been almost seven years now and they have paid nothing. By their own rules in a life or death emergency and you could not get to the nearest VA Hospital then the VA will pay that bill. I have been told several times that they believe that I could have made it to the VA in Atlanta so they have steadfastly refused to pay the $70,000 dollars in medical bills I have there. Folks, what part of arrived unconscious in an ambulance from a half mile away, five minutes from death do these people not understand? You have to believe that they can’t be that stupid so the other alternative seems to be is that they are that crooked, at least it seems that way to me. Back in August of 2015 my wife and I bought a house in Kentucky just outside of Lexington. We chose here because it is one of only two VA Hospitals I have ever heard good things about and in this thirty months we have been here I have been an inpatient twice already and they do actually seem to give a damn here unlike the other hospitals of theirs I have had experience with. But now about that $70,000 dollars on my credit that I can’t get off. When we bought the house I was forced to use the VA Loan program because I couldn’t get anyone else to finance us, not even the Credit Union that we have banked at for many years. Even through this loan, because my credit score was only 668 because of those medical bills our rate of interest is much higher than it should have to be, meaning that every month we have to pay more out-of-pocket of our set incomes for the house payment, leaving less for life’s other expenses. Okay, I’m done gripping about them, I know this was a long story folks, but I guarantee you this, everything I have said to you is true. As I said early on, I do not believe that anyone at the VA has a personal vendetta against me, I am just one of millions of service connected disabled Veterans who have been and are being treated like this. What is your opinion of the VA now?

 

 

 

 

Being A Moderate In Extremist America

Being A Moderate In Extremist America

 

I am going to use this first paragraph to try to qualify to you where I stand on a few issues facing every person in America and in deed I think in every country. Personally I am a fundamentalist Christian but by no means am I a perfect person and I do not expect anyone else to be able to be perfect either. Politically I consider myself to be a moderate conservative. In a perfect world I would probably line up behind the ‘Tea Party’ on most issues, but we do not live in a perfect world here in America nor anywhere else. I consider the Tea Party to be the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party so much so that the Conservative Republican base considers them to be extremist. Personally I believe that the Tea Party should be expelled from the Republican Party forcing them to run as a third Party. The Democratic Party has this same type of issue if you consider their Party to all be a bunch of liberals even to the point of people like Senator Bernie Sanders who is really an Independent as he is far to ‘the left’ of the Democratic platform. I believe that Senator Sanders who is a ‘Independent’ should split from the Democratic Party and that he should run as an Independent in the next Presidential election.

 

Here in the state of Kentucky registered Independents can not exercise our Constitutional right to vote in the ‘primary season’, this is how it was when we lived in the state of Florida also. Yet when the main elections roll around in November both Party’s vigorously court the ‘Independent’ voters. During the 2012 Presidential elections Republican Mitt Romney made the comment about ‘48%’ of the voting public whom he had no chance to woo over to his side of the divide and the American Media railed against him for that comment even though he was correct in that evaluation. There are about 48% of the Democratic electorate who would rather not vote at all than to vote for a Republican. There is a flip side to this equation though, there are about 48% of the voters who vote Republican that would never vote for a Democrat. This leaves about 4% of Independent voters that the election is all about, whoever gets the majority of us Independents wins the Presidency. The term that has been used a lot in the Media for this situation is the ‘polarization’ of America.

 

Here in America the people of our country gripe a lot about how the politicians in DC never seem to get anything positive accomplished and I believe this is a fair belief. The Democratic leadership forces their members to vote a ‘far left’ agenda and the Republican leadership forces their members to vote to a ‘far right’ agenda. This reality means that nothing constructive ever gets done. There is also the issue that each Party wants all the credit on a bill if it is something that is actually a positive issue, they both vehemently do not want to share any ‘credit’ with the other Party. Because of these Politicians being so pious and egotistical they are destroying America from the inside and it is obvious that they really don’t care about the American people as a whole.

 

I am going to use my Father-in-law as an example of non-thinkers, (sorry Dad). He is a Tea Party type of believer, he hates all Unions and believes that America would be better off if there were no Unions at all, he thinks they are destroying our Country. He hates the Democrats and he wants the Republican agenda’s to be made law. Yet he is like most folks who believe that the Congress is a do nothing Congress. He doesn’t want to compromise on the issues yet he wants the Congress to get off their butts and get our Country moving again. Where Dad and I differ is that even though I wish the Country was living in a true Christian manner I know that this is not going to happen until after the Tribulation. In the mean time we must compromise with each other by working toward the middle and get at least some things accomplished for the good of the people (the Country). By the way, to my wife and I Dad’s position on Unions is really flawed, this is because he retired from two different Union Factories. Because these two factories were Union he now survives financially from two different retirement checks he gets each month. If it wasn’t for those Unions he and his wife would be in the poor-house or having to live in our basement.

 

I call myself a moderate conservative because I know that the Tea Party agenda has no chance of happening. I want to make mention that I am not a fan of everything the Tea Party leaders want as not everything they want would be something that would qualify as “Christ like” policies. I believe that if the Politicians do not get off of their ‘high horses’ they are either going to destroy our Country or the people are going to rise up and destroy these pious bought and paid for frauds. Personally, I am a fan of the NRA even though I do not like some of their policies, for example I believe that ten-round clips are big enough as long as the amount of clips and bullets a person can own should have no limits. Personally I am for many things that the Democratic Party wants to pass into law just as I am for many things the Republican Party stands for. The issue is that I am also against many things that both Party’s want to pass into law. We as a people must wake up and learn to work with each other or we as a Country are going to implode.

 

Kentucky: Where Registered Independent Voters Aren’t Allowed To Vote

Kentucky: Where Registered Independent Voters Aren’t Allowed To Vote

 

Okay, so I have ALWAYS registered as an Independent, only to find out that Kentucky doesn’t allow Independents to vote in any of the primaries. That COMPLETELY makes me an irrelevant voter. Let’s face it both parties have always had crooks and liars presented to us as candidates. That’s the whole point of voting as an independent. I don’t want to be forced to vote Republican or Democrat. I want to be able to make my own decision as to who to vote for. Now the only thing I can do as an Independent voter is choose between whichever crook and liar the two parties put before us in November. POINTLESS!!!

 

One person one vote? No, I don’t believe that it is true in politics here in America today. My wife, son and I are registered voters as Independents, this is supposed to mean that you are not tied to any party, you can vote for whomever you choose. Florida was the first state I personally came across that did their political system like Kentucky does. I leave you with this thought. Some people defend their right to not let you vote during a primary because you have to be a registered member of their party don’t you know. Otherwise it wouldn’t ‘be fair”, really? Here is the irony of this fraud voting system, we Independents can vote in the main elections in November though. After the DNC and the RNC have figured out which one of their people who ‘we the people’ are going to be allowed to vote for. How come I can’t vote for Bernie Sanders today but if he is on the ballot in November representing the Democratic party, I can vote for him then? What I am saying is that I believe this current system is illegal as in Unconstitutional. Every person must be allowed the opportunity to vote equal times otherwise the State is not acting legally just as the RNC and the DNC are doing and being sanctioned by some of the States to do it. One person one vote, no not in Kentucky!

Kentucky governor says teachers’ strike left children vulnerable to sexual assault

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(I LIVE IN KENTUCKY AND THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT THE PEOPLE OF KENTUCKY HAVE LEARNED ABOUT OUR FIRST TERM GOVERNOR. WE HAVE LEARNED THAT HE WILL SAY ANYTHING TO GET WHAT HE WANTS. WE HAVE LEARNED THAT HE LIES A LOT AND THAT HE DOES NOT GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THE ‘WORKING CLASS’ PEOPLE AND THAT DOES INCLUDE TEACHERS AND PROFESSORS, HE IS A TRUE ‘TRUMPIAN!)(IF YOU WANT TO BE TOTALLY HONEST ABOUT IT, IT IS GOVERNOR BLEVIN, THROUGH HIS ACTIONS OF LITERALLY ROBBING THE PENSIONS OF ALL KENTUCKY EDUCATORS THAT MADE THEM HAVE A ‘SICK IN’. BLEVIN THROUGH HIS ACTIONS CAUSED THIS WHOLE EVENT: SO CHILDREN BEING LEFT VULNERABLE TO SEXUAL ASSAULT IS TOTALLY THE FAULT OF GOVERNOR BLEVIN AND HIS REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS IN THE CAPITAL. HE/THEY, ROB PEOPLE THEN HE BLAMES THEM BECAUSE THEY DARED COMPLAINS ABOUT HIM ROBING THEM, WHAT AN ASS!)(COMMENTARY IS BY: OLDPOET)

Kentucky governor says teachers’ strike left children vulnerable to sexual assault

(CNN)Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says children were left vulnerable to harm, sexual assault and drugs as a result of public school closures throughout the state Friday to allow teachers and supporters to protest at the state’s Capitol.

“I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them,” the Republican governor told reporters Friday afternoon, according to CNN affiliate WDRB.
“I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent didn’t have any money to take care of them.”
Bevin went on to say that “some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone.”
CNN has reached out to Bevin’s communications director. The governor’s press secretary did not immediately return CNN’s request for comment Saturday morning.
The Kentucky Education Association, which organized Friday’s rally, strongly opposes a bill to overhaul pensions that Gov. Bevin signed this week. Under the bill, new hires will have to enter a cash-balance plan, as opposed to a traditional pension, and teachers will be limited in the number of new sick days they can put toward their retirement.
Members of the teachers union also were critical of Bevin’s vetoes of budget and revenue bills, both of which the union said are crucial to funding public education.
On Friday, Bevin claimed to see people “hanging out” and “taking the day off” as teachers and school personnel gathered at the Capitol in Frankfort.
“I’m offended by the fact that people so cavalierly, and so flippantly, disregarded what’s truly best for children,” he said.
Bevin’s comments received bipartisan backlash in the state.
“There are no words for this other than, I am appalled!” President of the Kentucky Education Association Stephanie Winkler wrote on Twitter.
Republican state Sen. Max Wise, who serves as the chamber’s Education Committee chairman, also had harsh words for Bevin’s remarks.
“The disgusting comments by Gov. Bevin insinuating that a peaceful protest by teachers would lead to sexual assault are reprehensible,” Wise said Friday on Twitter. “I don’t agree with these comments & I find them repulsive.”

The DAV 100% Worthless To America’s Service Connected Disabled Veterans!

Is The DAV 100% Worthless To America’s Service Connected Disabled Veterans!

 

This article today is derived from my personal experiences with the DAV. The DAV for those of you who don’t already know stands for Disabled American Veterans. This is an organization that its members (like me) have paid $230.00 to for a lifetime membership. Their job is to help service connected disabled veterans concerning issues with the VA (Veterans Administration). My personal experiences with them have gotten me nothing except having $230.00 less in my bank account. Each month members get a small magazine telling its members about things they are doing like having conventions and of course, asking for donations and offering things for sale like t-shirts. Where I live here in eastern Kentucky I have three neighbors whom the DAV ‘represents’. When I have spoken with them and or their wives they say the same thing, that yes the DAV is their representative but no, they haven’t seen anything from them yet. They like I have waited and waited for years now to have our issues with the VA addressed, but still nothing.

 

I have a case before the VA to have my service connected disability rating increased from its current 40% as I am totally disabled because of being hit by lightning while I was in the Army. I filed for the increase in February of 2013 and was turned down in March of 2014. I at that time filed an appeal but as of yet I still don’t have a date to get to see the Judges (next step in the appeals process). I was told in March of 2013 that the process was taking about 22-23 months before I could expect to have my case in front of this 3 Judge panel. Folks, that was 30 months ago and I still have no date set for this meeting with these Judges. So far what has the DAV done for me concerning this issue? As far as I can tell the answer to that question is, absolutely nothing!

 

I have two medical bills that are on my credit report that are labeled as ‘in collections’. These two bills are from September of 2011. I was in a suburb of Atlanta Georgia at that time and I blacked out and busted my forehead open about 3 to 4 inches on a large steel exterior door hinge . The reason I blacked out I was told later by the Doctors was because the VA had me on 4 times too much blood pressure medicine. I was taken while unconscious in an ambulance to the nearest hospital which happened to be a civilian hospital that was about 1/4 to 1/2 mile away. I was unconscious for three days once I got there. I was later told by the ER Doctors that when I arrived that both of my kidneys had 100% shut down and that my blood pressure was 50/20. They also told me that if I had not gotten there within another 5 to 10 minutes, I would have died. The VA via their guidelines are supposed to pay the medical bills if the bills derived from an emergency, they still have not paid the bills and now they are on my credit report. The VA has said that the reason is that in their opinion I could have made it to the Atlanta VA which would have been at least 30 minutes away, in good traffic. Also anyone who knows anything at all about Atlanta traffic at about 4-PM knows that the chance I could have made it to the VA before I died, knows that I would not be writing this letter to you now, I would be dead. I have written and called the local DAV rep here in my home town and all they do say is for me to contact the National office in Louisville Ky. Concerning writing letters to them, they just send you a letter back telling me/you to either visit or call the Louisville office. Well, I have done this and the people who you are able to get a hold of don’t know anything about what the VA policies are and all they try to do is push you off the phone telling me that I need to handle the issue and that it would be an up hill battle trying to get them to pay those bills because “I should have gone to a VA Hospital’.  The DAV, even at the National Head Quarters, zero help, total laziness, total ignorance of the rules/policies.

 

I have an electric wheel-chair that I got from the VA back in 2007 that weighs 300 lbs, plus the weight of the lift that is hooked to the back of our 2006 Chevy Equinox. This vehicle is getting old and it has 150,000 miles on it so my wife and I are a bit concerned about how much longer it can last. Even this large SUV strains a bit with all of this weight hooked onto its rear end. I went to the VA in Lexington to see if I could get a smaller chair with a smaller lift so that hopefully we could trade the SUV in on a smaller vehicle. The Doctors did their evaluations and then told us that I am going to be getting a new chair but that this new one weighs 425 lbs. They also informed us that we needed to purchase a large van for the new chair as they didn’t want it hanging on the back of a vehicle exposed to the weather. The VA has a program where if you can jump through all their hoops that a service connected disabled veteran can get up to a once in a life time sum of money of up to $20,000 (paid directly to the seller of the vehicle) to help pay for things like this needed van. My local DAV lady did as she/he always does, they tell you to contact the National Office in Louisville. In other words the local office has been 100% useless to me since I started paying that $230.00 fee. So, when I called the Louisville National Office, all I got from the man on the other end of the phone was attitude, he knew nothing and he very obviously didn’t want to be bothered with talking to me about anything.

So, I ask you this question once again, is the DAV 100% worthless to America’s service connected disabled veterans?

(Yesterday march 31st I got a letter from the VA stating that in their opinion I did not qualify for the disabled van program and a letter saying that all of my disability claims for a higher rating have been denied. I never received a single letter or call from anyone with the DAV nor did I get to see any ‘Judges’. Now after waiting for 5 years and 2 months I get to try to start the appeals process all over again. What a HUGE FRAUD the VA and the DAV are!)

Kentucky Politicians Vote Away Teachers Self Paid Pensions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(Since (R) Governor Matt Bevin came into office two yrs ago he non-stop has been attacking the Kentucky education system stripping the system and its educators of funding. Kentucky was already one of the lowest rated/funded systems in the country yet it just keeps getting worse under Gov. Bevin. The teachers pension fund was self funded and the Politicians (mostly all Republicans) have now stolen those funds. Ky educators get no Social Security benefits, this self funded pension was all they had, now Gov. Bevin and his Republican thieves have even stolen that money. It is time for all schools in the state of Kentucky to go on strike until Gov. Bevin is removed from office!) (Commentary by oldpoet56) 

Kentucky teachers to skip work after lawmakers’ ‘bait and switch’ on pension reform

Retired teacher Lydia Coffey chants "Vote them out" as lawmakers in Kentucky debate a bill to make changes to the state's pension system.

Story highlights

  • Pension bill passed Kentucky’s House and Senate and heads to governor’s desk
  • Changes to pension were put into sewage bill, in a move angering Democrats and teachers

(CNN)Several Kentucky teachers won’t be going to work Friday after the state legislature approved changes to their pension on Thursday.

Educators, who are furious over the pension issue, called out of work in protest. At least nine counties have canceled school, the Kentucky Democrats tweeted early Friday. Kentucky has 120 counties.
The bill, which overhauls the state’s pension, passed mostly on party lines and heads to Gov. Matt Bevin, who supports reforming the system. State leaders say it’s critical to fix the pension crisis, which ranks as one of the worst in the US.
Kentucky teachers have opposed changes to their pension, which was in Senate Bill 1 that proposed reducing benefits.
But in a surprise move, elements of Senate Bill 1 were tucked into another bill, Senate Bill 151, which had been about sewage services, reported several CNN affiliates in Kentucky. And the new, nearly 300-page Senate Bill 151 passed both the state House and Senate Thursday to the chagrin of teachers and retirees who crammed into the Capitol.
“Just vote no!” they chanted Thursday. “Vote them out!”
The Kentucky Education Association, which represents teachers and other education professionals, slammed the maneuver as a “classic legislative bait and switch.”
“It stripped all the ‘local provision of wastewater services’ language out of SB151 and replaced it with many of the harmful provisions of SB1,” the association stated.
The group expressed further concern: “We haven’t seen the bill, weren’t allowed to testify. The bill hasn’t had the required actuarial analysis, includes no fiscal impact statement and no fiscal note.”
A summary of the bill has the following, according to CNN affiliate WKYT:
  • There will be no changes to the annual cost of living adjustments, which will remain at 1.5%.
  • New hires will have to enter a hybrid cash balance plan, in which members contribute a specified amount into their account.
  • Limits the number of sick days teachers can put toward their retirement.
Kentucky Republicans tweeted a summary of the bill.
Republican lawmakers attempted to allay concerns, saying that the bill is a compromise to save the state’s pension.
“I would urge everyone to take a deep breath and not buy into the talking points and the hyperbole,” Sen. Damon Thayer, a Republican, said during the discussion. “This is good news for teachers, current, retired and future, because it puts Kentucky’s pension systems on a path to sustainability.”
The bill passed the House in a 49-46 vote and the Senate by 22-15, according to CNN affiliate WLKY.
Gov. Bevin, a Republican praised the lawmakers who supported the bill for not “kicking the pension problem down the road.”
But Democrats and opponents of the bill disagreed. Kentucky’s Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat tweeted: “This is government at its worst.”
Inspired by the West Virginia strike, in which teachers went on strike and won concessions, teachers are similarly organizing and publicly pressuring their state lawmakers in states including Oklahoma and Arizona.