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Bad News for Horizon Workers

Judge lifts stay on sale of Horizon Natural Resources
A federal judge in Kentucky has lifted the stay he placed on the sale of Horizon Natural Resources -- a bankrupt coal company with operations in Illinois and three other states.The judge today ruled that the sale of Horizon could go on as planned. He had temporarily halted the sale Tuesday.

Resist Oppression Commentary:
This is even more of a reason why we need to get HR 3796 passed.
Click HERE Sign the Online Petition to Congress

Attention Those Affected by the Horizon Natural Resources Bankruptcy Decision

Go to http://resistoppression-horizon.blogspot.com/ to take action.
Tell your elected official to support HR 3796.
Also, sign the online petiton


Small victory against Horizon Natural Resources

For Immediate Release
September 28, 2004

U.S. District Court of Kentucky Issues a Temporary Stay of Federal Bankruptcy
Judge’s Aug. 31 Ruling Concerning Horizon Natural Resources
United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil Roberts Says
Stay is a Victory In Union’s Battle to Rectify A Great Injustice

This afternoon, U.S. District Court (Eastern District of Kentucky) Judge Henry R. Wilhoit Jr. issued a temporary stay of an Aug. 31 decision in U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Court that granted Horizon Natural Resources the right to sell its properties. The temporary stay is in effect through Oct. 8 and effectively puts a hold on the sale. The stay does not impact Horizon’s voiding of its contract with the United Mine Workers of America or the company’s termination of health care benefits for its retirees and miners.
"While this temporary stay does not reinstate our contract or force the company to continue providing health care benefits, it does mean that a fresh set of eyes will soon be reviewing this case," explained Roberts. "We are hopeful that this new review of the great injustice that occurred in Lexington might cause this judge to reverse the horrible decision–with respect to our UMWA members–made on Aug. 31."
The request for a stay was filed in U.S District Court by the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds.

Folks the war is far from over and now is the time to take further action. Keep contacting your elected officials, the media and spreading the word. We can win this battle, but its going to take effort by everyone to get it done.
Use the Contact Congress Link on the right hand side of the page to find your elected officials and your local media. We can win this war if everyone pulls together.


Great Story

Source: The Guardian (London England)

George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.

Today, 250 miners lose their jobs & 3,000 employees lose their health care

Its about a half an hour since the official closing of the Zeigler No. 11 mine in COULTERVILLE, Ill.Officials told union leaders Monday the mine was closing and the health benefits of its 250 workers were ceasing.

The mine was one of several that Ashland, Ky.-based Horizon Natural Resources sold to New York financier Wilbur Ross Jr. this month in Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana.

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled in August that Ross could buy them without upholding contracts in place with the coal union, a ruling that outraged the UMWA.

Monday was a dark day in the history of many coal miners lives, not only did the Coulterville mine shut down, but also Horizon's 3,000 employees/retirees from other facilities affected by the bankruptcy ruling had their medical benefits cut off.

There's no doubt Ross will fire this mine back up again soon, but it will be with non-union labor. Workers hired will be paid far less than industry standard and probably will receive little or no medical coverage.

What happened today has nothing to do with cost-effective steps being taken for financial viability, instead it was a power move to bust a union.

People like Ross are afraid of workers having rights and empowerment, it undermines their megalomaniac ideology. Sickening...truly sickening.

United Mine Workers' of America local 2161 and the 3,000 Horizon workers who lost their health care today....our prayers and thoughts are with you.

Solidarity....we shall overcome....we shall overcome.


250 miners to lose their job Tuesday

Horizon Natural Resources is at it again
The quickly dying Southern Illinois coal industry took another direct hit Saturday with the announcement by Horizon Natural Resources that production would cease at the Zeigler No. 11 Mine near Coulterville, a move that will send 250 union and salaried employees to the unemployment line. Perhaps even worse than the loss of employment, the union miners were also notified that Horizon planned to terminate its contract with the United Mine Workers, which will leave more than 3,000 working miners and retirees without health care benefits, effective at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.......(MORE)

Resist Oppression Commentary:
Once again more lives have been ruined by the bankrupt Horizon Natural Resources.
3,000 employees and retirees lost their health care because of the Judge's decision to allow Horizon to file bankruptcy and now 250 more are now without jobs.
Utterly disgusting and gross abuse of power.
Wonder why the economy is going to hell? Well its because those in ivory towers have no respect for their workers and if they wouldn't contribute $800,000 to Republican election campaigns and the directors wouldn't give themselves a $10,000 raise...then maybe they wouldn't be in the mess they are in right now.
I'm in no means an economist, but how aboutCorporate America try out this economic philosophy:

"A happy-well-paid-appreciated-having-job-security employee equals a better work environment, higher production and thus higher profits"


UMWA Supports HR 3796

For Immediate ReleaseFebruary 12, 2004Contact: Doug Gibson(703) 208-7241

United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil Roberts Hails Introduction of Legislation By Reps. Rahall and Cubin to Extend America's Vital Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program and Ensure the Federal Government Keeps Its Promise to America's Coal Miners of Lifetime Health Care Benefits
Legislation Provides Long-Term Coal Act Funding Solution

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil Roberts is hailing the introduction of legislation (H.R. 3796) yesterday by Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.) that would extend funding for America's vital abandoned mine reclamation program for another 15 years. More important to the UMWA, the legislation also contains a long-term financial solution to the ongoing financial crisis at the UMWA's Combined Benefit Fund, which was created by the Coal Industry Retiree Health benefit Act of 1992 (Coal Act) to administer lifetime health care benefits to retired UMWA coal miners and their dependents. The Coal Act affirmed–and made into law–a 1946 agreement between President Harry S. Truman and UMWA President John L. Lewis that promised UMWA coal miners and their dependents cradle-to-grave health care coverage.

"UMWA members nationwide are very thankful today," said Roberts. "Since Congress passed the Coal Act in 1992, it has been an almost constant battle to ensure the Combined Benefit Fund had the finances needed to ensure the government's promise to coal miners of lifetime health care benefits is kept." He continued, "Just a few weeks ago, the Bush Administration and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) helped avert a severe funding crisis by announcing that a pilot Medicare prescription drug program covering UMWA beneficiaries was being extended to September 2005. This decision allocated an additional $190 million to cover beneficiary drug costs–and that was great–but it is only a short-term fix to the ongoing problem. The UMWA has repeatedly called for a long-term solution to the Combined Benefit Fund financial crisis, and we have been joined in that call by Democrats, Republicans and the Bush Administration. We now have a piece of legislation that contains the long-term fix everyone agrees is needed, and I am hopeful the bill will be passed expeditiously."

Roberts explained that the long-term funding solution in the Rahall-Cubin legislation is based largely on language contained in Rahall and Rep. Bob Ney's (R-Ohio) "Coal Accountability and Retired Employees Act for the 21st Century," or (CARE 21), which passed in the House in October 2002 with strong bi-partisan support. Unfortunately, time ran out before CARE 21 could be introduced in the Senate. Like in the CARE 21 legislation, the Rahall-Cubin bill would lift a restriction mandating the transfer of AML funds just for certain beneficiaries, allowing the government to transfer funds to offset Combined Benefit Fund deficits and prevent a cut in benefits.

"This legislation will allow us to keep the promise to retired coal miners and their dependents while continuing to ensure the money is there to clean up the nation's abandoned coal mines," explained Roberts. "It is a win-win solution for retired miners and America's coalfield communities."
Roberts acknowledged the introduction last week of the Bush Administration's bill to extend the AML program, but he said the UMWA had problems with certain elements of the legislation.
"Primarily, the Administration bill would not have lifted the restriction that AML interest transfers can be used solely for one group of beneficiaries, as opposed to going to help offset any and all deficits," said Roberts. "That was worrisome to us because it would not have helped us reach the desired goal of finding a long-term solution to this problem."

Roberts said the UMWA will be mobilizing its members like never before to get behind the Rahall-Cubin legislation.

"In the past two UMWA conventions, our delegates have made protecting the Coal Act and finding a long-term solution to the funding problem the union's number-one priority," said Roberts. "We now have a legislative vehicle to accomplish that goal, and we will be rallying our troops as never before."

Roberts also appealed to members of Congress from both parties to get behind the legislation.

"In the past few weeks, we've heard not only our long-time friends on Capitol Hill–both Democrat and Republican–calling for a long-term solution to this problem, but also the Bush Administration as well," said Roberts. "Now is the time. Let's get it done!"

For Immediate ReleaseMarch 22, 2004
Contact: Doug Gibson(703) 208-7241
United Mine Workers Of America International President Cecil Roberts To Meet With Retired and Active Miners And Their Dependents To Discuss Status Of The Coal Act
UMWA Launching Campaign This Year To Win Passage Of Legislation That Provides A Long-Term Solution To The Coal Act's Historic Funding Problems

On Thursday, March 25, nearly 1,000 retired and active coal miners and their dependents are expected to fill the Lakeside Party Center in McClellandtown, Pa., to hear United Mine Workers of America International (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts discuss the status of the federal Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act of 1992, or the Coal Act. At the meeting, which begins at 9 a.m., Roberts will also lay out the union's campaign to get legislation passed that will provide a long-term solution to the Coal Act's historic funding problems.
In advance of the meeting, Roberts said, "I am excited to meet with our active and retired miners and their dependents because for the first time since the Act began experiencing funding problems, I will be able to talk with them about a very real solution to the problem."

Roberts is referring to H.R. 3796 and S. 2211, two companion bills recently introduced by Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va) and Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va) that will provide a long-term solution the Coal Act's funding problems. In addition, the legislation will ensure that America's vital abandoned mine reclamation program will continue well past its scheduled September 2004 expiration date.

"The Rahall-Cubin bill is a win-win for the nation's coalfield communities," explained Roberts. "It ensures that there is money available to clean up the nation's abandoned mine sites until the year 2019, and it provides sufficient resources to shore up the Coal Act's finances. This is a long-term solution to the funding problems."
Roberts explained that the UMWA's friends in Congress, led by Sens. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Rockefeller and Reps. Rahall (D-W.Va) and Bob Ney (R-Ohio), repeatedly have come to the rescue and found emergency funding and other ways to keep the Coal Act solvent. He also noted that the White House and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) recently worked with the union to find a temporary solution to the funding crisis.

With their help, a pilot Medicare prescription drug program covering UMWA beneficiaries–originally negotiated by Sen. Rockefeller–was extended to September 2005. Roberts cautioned, however, that as great as all this help has been, it is past time for a long-term solution.

"It seems that nearly every year, our retirees and widows, whose average age is now 80, have to live in fear that their promised health care benefits will be cut," said Roberts. "This is wrong. These benefits were promised to them by the federal government, and these upstanding citizens–who have given much to this great nation–should not have to constantly fight to keep them. There is a legitimate, bi-partisan solution to this problem in Congress, and we intend–with the help of not only our retirees and widows but also our active miners and our other supporters–to see that it gets passed. This is the year we need to get this done–once and for all."

Coal miners were promised cradle-to-grave health care benefits in 1946 as part of an agreement between President Harry S. Truman and UMWA President John L. Lewis. The promise has been reaffirmed in contract after contract between miners and the coal industry.

In 1992, the U.S. Congress enacted the Coal Act to codify the promise into law. UMWA retirees did their part by giving up more than $200 million in pension benefits to help establish and finance the Combined Benefit Fund (CBF) to administer the benefits. With bi-partisan support, the legislation passed and was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush.

Since the Coal Act became law in 1992, it has been an almost constant battle to keep it funded. Bankrupt coal operators, adverse court rulings and other external factors have slowly eaten away at the funding mechanisms that ensure full health care coverage for retired coal miners and their dependents. For years, the UMWA has battled in the courts and on Capitol Hill to keep the Coal Act funded.


Beware of Patriot Act II

WASHINGTON - House leaders want to increase federal investigators' anti-terrorism powers similiar to a Patriot Act II draft proposal from last year, as senators make final changes in their legislation addressing the Sept. 11 commission's recommendations.....

Urge Congress to Fix the PATRIOT Act

Executive gets raise while company defaults on workers comp

Horizon Natural Resources plans to default Workers’ Comp payments....While Executive Gets $10,00 RAISE

Horizon Natural Resources, a bankrupt coal company with mines in Southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, will soon stop paying Workers’ Compensation benefits to its injured workers.
During its meeting on Tuesday, the Workers’ Compensation Board of Managers announced that Horizon, which is self-insured, will go into default at the end of this month.

During the meeting, the Board of Managers voted to increase Executive Director Gregory A. Burton’s base salary from $130,000 to $140,000 a year (MORE..........)

Resist Oppression Commentary:

Once again Ashland, Kentucky's Horizon Natural Resources shows its arrogance and disregard to those screwed over by the bankruptcy ruling.
The new director of this bankrupt company can get a $10, ooo raise, but they can't honor a contract that provided medical coverage for their employees and retirees.
That is pure crap.
This is just a long line of self-serving financial decisions the company has done, which ranks right up there with their former owner Larry Addington giving over $800, ooo to Republican Election Campaigns.
My math says there is about $810,ooo in wasted money that could have been used to save the company instead of making their workers and retirees pay for Horizon's money mismanagement.
So to Horizon let's just say you deserve a big middle finger from the working class.


Fed. Agency's Secret meetings with Lobbyist Uncovered

United Mine Workers Of America International President Cecil Roberts Says Recently Uncovered Meetings Between Mine Safety And Health Administration Chief And Energy West Lobbyist Only Bolsters Union's Concerns That Industry Needs Take Priority Over Miners' Needs.

Says Union Could Not Even Get A Meeting With Lauriski To Discuss Its Findings About The Tragic Explosions That Killed 13 UMWA Miners In Alabama(more..........)

Kentucky workers...Revolution Starts Now

"Contract talks have come to a halt between more than 800 nurses and Appalachian Regional Healthcare.
Some RN's say if an agreement is not reached before October 31st they may be heading to the picket line. "

This makes my heart swell with pride that yet another group of workers are standing their ground in Kentucky against their employers and demanding better wages.

There is a revolution starting in this country because of what our leaders, namely the Bush Administration, has done to working class people. They raped and pillaged like raiding barbarians on our health care and wages, slashing employee health care plans and erradicating overtime pay rules. Workers are getting sick of this and thank GOD that they are showing backbone and gumption enough to say "this isn't fair".

All workers like Kentucky's teachers, stateworkers, ARH's nurses and the Ashland-based PCI employees are asking is for what is rightfully theirs.

The CEOs and Kentucky's Government Officials have gotten richer, while these workers are getting poorer. There is not a thing fair about that.

Here is an idea, how about when operation costs go up because of various market reasons those in charge take a pay cut to cover the cost or eliminate some of their unnecessary spending, instead of making their workers pay for it all.

Every working person in this country needs to take a stand for their rights, because guess what folks...four more years of this crap and you won't have any left to defend.

Support the Hotel Workers and Unite Here

I have to give props to the efforts of the hotel workers unions and Unite Here for making the hotel owners stand up and take notice.

These workers deserve better wages and benefits for the type of work they have to perform.

The hospitality industry is a tough one and one that I know I personally couldn't handle. Most people don't understand the amount of crap they have to put up with from rude tourists and always having to make customers happy (even Wally World employees don't have to be this self-sacrificing).

I say during these negotiations be patient if you are traveling and understand these workers are people too and deserve to be treated fairly.

Standing up for your rights should be respected in this country and not looked down upon.

Most of all, if the owners don't come around to meet the needs of the workers then we should boycott those hotels.

But working class folks usually don't stay at Marriott International, Hilton Hotels Corp. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide...get the picture of what the problem here is folks and it aint' blue collar America, its the elitists.


Abandoned Mine Land Act Update

The Bush administration on Thursday proposed to continue — but cut by 75 percent — the coal tax that funds the federal Abandoned Mine Land program.

Under the U.S. Office of Surface Mining plan, the tax would raise $69 million next year to continue required payments to the United Mine Workers’ health care plan.

But the new OSM proposal, like the administration’s initial plan to extend the mine cleanup program, does not fix the UMW plan’s long-term financial woes.

“Unfortunately, the administration has been AWOL on the coal miner health care issue,” said Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va. “Its AML proposal does not address the matter.”

More than a decade ago, Rahall tapped the nearly $1.6 billion AML trust fund to stave off financial collapse of the UMW health care system.

Rahall did so after then-President George H.W. Bush vetoed 1992 legislation to create a separate coal tax to fund miners’ health care.

Created by Congress in 1977, the AML program charges coal operators a per-ton tax to fund reclamation of mines abandoned before federal strip mine rules were adopted.

Without congressional action, OSM’s authority to tax coal companies for reclamation projects would expire on Sept. 30.

But, the law also requires OSM to continue to charge the tax at a rate sufficient to continue interest transfers to the UMW health care plan.

Various proposals to continue the entire AML tax, including the reclamation program, have gotten little attention from the Republican leadership in Congress.

If Congress doesn’t act, OSM could still use the $1.6 billion balance in the AML fund to clean up abandoned mines. But, federal officials project that amount is $3 billion less than what is needed for coalfield cleanups.

Earlier this week, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., attached a nine-month extension of the program to next year’s proposed budget for the Interior Department. That measure still needs the approval of the full Senate and the House.
Today, OSM plans to publish its plan to continue the AML tax, for health care benefits only, in the Federal Register.

Under the plan, surface mine operators would pay 8.8 cents per ton of coal and underground mine operators 3.8 cents per ton. That’s compared to the current rates of 35 cents for surface mines and 15 cents for underground mines.
Over the last two years, OSM has repeatedly promised to publish a proposal for continuing the tax, but then not done so.

In today’s Federal Register notice, OSM will publish both a proposed and final rule for the tax.
“Because of the urgent need to have a rule in place before the date that the current reclamation fee rates expire, OSM is invoking the ‘good cause’ exemptions of the Administrative Procedures Act and is adopting the rules immediately on a final basis without prior notice or opportunity for public comment,” OSM said in a news release.

OSM said it would accept public comment, and then revise the final rule if necessary.

Also, OSM said it would publish new AML tax rates every year before the start of the federal budget year Oct. 1.
The UMW program provides health care benefits for about 45,000 retired miners and their families.

Under Rahall’s legislation, OSM must transfer interest on the AML fund to the miners’ health care plan.
In 1992, Congress passed the Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act to ensure long-term health benefits for coal miners. The law required operators to keep their historic promise of cradle-to-grave health care for miners. It also set up a mechanism to fund health care for miners whose last known employers had gone out of business.

But, lawsuits by coal operators and firms that have purchased former coal companies have chipped away at the 1992 law, creating periodic financial emergencies.

Current law continues to transfer money from interest on the AML fund to the UMW fund. But, it allows interest transfers only to be used to finance orphaned miners — those whose last employer went out of business.
UMW officials want to eliminate that restriction, but the Bush administration has not proposed to do so.

Rahall, along with Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo., has proposed to allow AML transfers to eliminate any deficit in the union health care fund. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., signed on to co-sponsor the Rahall-Cubin bill.

“For nearly two years, the UMWA and other concerned parties have been asking the OSM to tell us what the agency’s plan was to fund coal miner health care in the event of a failure by Congress to reauthorize the AML program,” said UMW President Cecil Roberts. “Now, two weeks before the expiration, OSM has finally acted.

“However, today’s OSM announcement does not resolve the coal act’s funding problems, and a long-term solution is still desperately needed,” Roberts said. “It’s time for legislative action to match the political rhetoric.”




Republican Video

Great stand-alone video by Bushflash.com, really nails down what so many Americans feel about the current administration in power.
Click Here To View

Check out others at www.bushflash.com

Kentucky Teachers Union our heroes of the week

News Flash: Kentucky Teachers Give State Government ultimatum

The Kentucky Education Association board of directors voted Saturday to give Gov. Ernie Fletcher an ultimatum with a list of demands that if not met could result in a strike by teachers and school employees.

The strike proposal would call for school districts across the state to cancel school on Sept. 27 to allow teachers to participate in a statewide protest.

If the teachers' demands are not met, they would go on an indefinite strike starting Oct. 27.

Resist Oppression Commentary:
For far too long, American workers played the give-and-take game where they give more out to employers and than they ever receive back. It's true that everyone who is working in this country who has medical benefits is facing the same thing as the teachers, but that does not make the situation right nor does it merit employees to simply shut up and take the pablum that Bush Republicans (not true Republicans in my eyes) and some corporation-friendly media sources preach.

So what that Kentucky has a no-strike law for teachers? If teachers show true solidarity in their unions and strike, the school systems and Fletcher can't fire them all and that little rule will not mean a thing if the state's education system comes to a halt.

As far as the teachers striking sending a wrong message to many Kentuckians, as your editorial suggested, I think it sends a positive message that our teachers have backbones for standing up for what is rightfully theirs and they know that if they don't make this stand now the state will continue to impose higher premiums year after year. I'd rather Kentucky's students and parents see that our teachers will fight for fairness, instead of projecting an image that everyone should keep quiet and nothing is worth fighting for in this world.

Hopefully Kentucky's teachers will strike and make Fletcher stand up and take notice that they are not going to take it anymore, and the state's other employers will take notice that working people are sick of being robbed.



Time for Congress to take Action

Sept. 30 could be the beginning of the end for our state if Congress does not take action to extend a federal program that supports retired miners benefits and mining reclamation.

The Abandoned Mine Land, or AML, is a program created in 1977, when it passed the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

Under the program, coal operators pay 35 cents tax per ton of surface-mined coal and 15 cents per ton of underground-mined coal. The money is used to clean up coal mines that were abandoned before 1977.
If that happens, thousands of abandoned mine sites — mostly in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky — would go unreclaimed.

Currently the AML is languishing on capital hill and set to expire at the end of September
Without congressional action, the coal tax that funds mine cleanups would expire Sept. 30.

As a result, more than $2 billion worth of high-priority coal reclamation will remain unreclaimed, leaving millions of people who live, work and recreate in the nation’s coalfields to continue to be exposed to the many dangers these areas represent.

Kentuckians and tax payers of other coal producing states could be forced to pay for the clean-up, instead of the coal operators. The state is already in a budget crisis and paying for this would sink the Bluegrass in to a much deeper deficit - one that potentially we would never find our way out of.

Lawmakers and Interior’s Office of Surface Mining have showed great humanitarism by allowing AML money to fund infrastructure projects like health-care benefits (UMWA Orphan Funds) for retired miners who have fallen between the cracks by coal corporation bankruptcies.

On Aug. 31 in Lexington, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge William Howard finalized the decision allowing Horizon Natural Resources to file bankruptcy, thus voiding union contracts providing health care coverage for nearly 3,000 employees, including 2,300 retirees -- many of whom suffer from black lung as a result of their working years at Horizon. Many of these affected by the decision are Kentuckians who's only hope for health care is for the AML to continue.

Cutting off the health care benefits provided by the tax could not only devastate thousands of retired coal miners lives, but also be detrimental to the state's local economies who's doctors and pharmacies main source of income is treatment of these miners.

Congress Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., with support of House Democrats, took the first step Sept. 14 to stave off the end of the federal program.

Byrd won Senate Appropriations Committee approval to extend a tax that funds the cleanup program for another nine months, but so far no outward support has been shown by House Republicans to save the issue.
The far reaching effects of letting the AML languish and die could spell disaster for the Bluegrass State.



That is the number WorkingAmerica.Org reports to be the number of jobs and workers affected by outsourcing.

200,000 lives placed in to financial peril by corporate greed and a presidency that preaches the gospel of job exportation.

I can only hope not a single one of those 200,000 will vote for Bush this election and if some of them do, then that proves our nation has its priorities all wrong.

Is this the kind of future you want?

A future where our Commander-In-Chief puts the best interest of China's economy or any other nation's over ours?


Report offers gloomy outlook for Iraq

Report offers gloomy outlook for Iraq

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. intelligence report prepared for President Bush in July offered a gloomy outlook for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst scenario being a deterioration into civil war, government officials said today.

The alarming possible future in Iraq as outlined in the classified National Intelligence Estimate is in line with the view of many analysts and members of Congress, and the Bush administration has slowly begun to shift away from an optimistic tenor to a more realistic one..........

Working America launches new site

September 16 - America’s workers know their jobs are being shipped overseas. They know that this trend is driving down their wages and benefits, while CEOs and corporations are making huge profits. But average workers have no way to actually see how this vast, global corporate system actually works - - they have no way to track this multinational race to the bottom.

Until today, that is. Today, Working America and the AFL-CIO launch the Job Tracker, a brand new tool that, for the first time, puts in the hands of workers information on U.S. businesses that are exporting jobs from their local communities. See it at www.workingamerica.org.

Villians of the Working Class

Resist Oppression's Top Five Villains of the Working Class

1. Bush Administration
They support outsourcing, not raising federal minimum wage, are bedfellows with Corporate America and have the biggest deficit in U.S. history.

2. The National Right to Work Committee
This SCAB anti-organized-labor committee hides under the guise that they are helping American workers. This special interest group is funded by large Corporations in order to keep workers from joining unions and preaching "bootlicking" philosophies in the workplace.

3. Horizon Natural Resources
Their bankruptcy decision left 3,000 coal miners and retirees without health care by voiding union contracts. This one is a personal issue for me, because I know many of the retirees who are affected by this and many now in the golden years of their lives are having to pay out of pocket for their breathing treatments, medication and other illnesses that resulted from 30-50 years of mining coal for Horizon.
Delta Airlines and U.S. Airways are following the example set by Horizon and look for a corporation near you to do the same.

4. U.S. Labor Secretary Linda Chao (Ky Sen. Mitch McConnell's wife)
Her treachery of the American worker by leading the charge to cut out Overtime Pay shows, just like her husband, she loves Corporate America. This supposed to be OUR LABOR SECRETARY, not Corporate America's lackey.

5. Fox News
Fair and Unbalanced...yeah right, this is not broadcast journalism, instead its one big 24/7 infomercial for Conservative-Corporate Politics.


FAHRENHEIT 9/11 Soundtrack

Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax to Release

Star-Studded Album Features 12 Anthems for All-Time and 2 New Originals for These Times; Fallen Patriot Fund to Benefit from Sales of CD

"Though the songs on this album aren't 'mine,' I feel them in me, and they urge me on to do the work we all need to do. I hope they have the same effect on you."

So says filmmaker and Executive Album Producer Michael Moore about SONGS AND ARTISTS THAT INSPIRED FAHRENHEIT 9/11, a songbook of stirring classics about patriotism, freedom, war and hope by Little Steven, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, System Of A Down, Pearl Jam, Dixie Chicks, John Fogerty, The Clash, Steve Earle, Black Eyed Peas featuring Justin Timberlake, Nanci Griffith and Jeff Buckley, along with new songs by former Rage Against The Machine front man, Zack de la Rocha, and The Nightwatchman (Audioslave's Tom Morello). The Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax release will be in stores on October 5, along with the Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD.

Everything on the record was selected by Michael Moore based on the songs and the artists that he listened to as he created his documentary.

"Minus the Black Eyed Peas w/ Justin Timberlake track, this album is a must have.
-- Resist Oppression"


Check Our Other Sites

Be sure to check out our sister blog site dedicated to reforming federal bankruptcy laws in order to protect working class Americans from corporations that misuse these laws

Also use our Citizens United in Opposition of the Horizon Natural Resources Bankruptcy site.

As well as check out these archives in this Resist Oppression blog for enteries about Horizon Natural Resources:

Horizon Natural Resources and Politics: Follow the Money
Horizon Natural Resources - Corporate Trash
Bush hates coal miners...wake up West Virginia
More Help Is Needed
Police arrest protesting coal miners

Cheney vistis WV

On a recent trip to West Virginia, President Cheney didn't mention a single word about the 3,000 employees or retirees affected by the Horizon Natural Resources Bankruptcy (many of which live in WV), nor did he say anything about how the state has lost more than 18,100 jobs since Bush took office in January 2001, according to the state Bureau of Employment Programs -- Of course it doesn't surprise me one bit considering the Bush Administration never admits anything to do with how bad the economy is doing. Again I don't understand how anyone with morals and those who live in people in poor economic areas can vote for this administration. I already know the answer and its called playing religion, trumping up the war on terror and fear tactics. Here is a quote that ran in a Huntington Herald Dispatch story, from a citizen who attended the rally:"We’re in the Bible Belt, and people here feel the way he does about issues like abortion," Shumate, 78, said of Bush. "I believe in what he believes. He’s got good morals."
Good morals huh?
Oppression of the poor, corporate greed, etc, in Christian is a violation of God's word:

"Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow." (Isaiah 1:17) "Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not defend the orphan, and the widows cause does not come before them." (verse 23)

The only thing the Bush Administration has to do with God is using his name in order to get votes. Read the Gospels and see how many times Jesus spoke of "wolves in sheep's clothing". What's the difference between what the Bush Administration is doing with manipulating Christianity and how Osama bin Laden is manipulating the Muslim faith? Both are using and manipulating religion to gain power. Nuff Said

List of companies exporting American Jobs

Click here to see a list of American Companies exporting American Jobs to other countries

Plain and simply put no questions about it , Bush and his administration have touted in no uncertain terms that the outsourcing of the American workers job is very good for this countries economy. Well I happen to disagree with Bush and those types of corporate welfare supporting ideals.

I have no idea what is to be gained from millions of Americans being put out of work because of outsourcing.
Simple economics tells you that if Americans don't have jobs, they can't buy products that have been outsourced.

Sometimes I wonder if there is some kind of genocide plan being implementd by the Bush Administration and Corporate America to weed out the middle-class and poor by starving them to do death.

"So the question is, do corporate executives, provided they stay within the law, have responsibilities in their business activities other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible? And my answer to that is, no they do not." -Economist Milton

More Proof the Bush Administration is against working class people

Three more news stories showing that the current Bush Administration does not have Working Americans best interests in mind.
How much does it take to show this administration is for corporate owners, not the workers.
GOP discussion about National Security is a smoke and mirrors effect to divert voters eyes away from the current state of the economy.
-- Revolution


Apparently without even reading it, the Bush administration rejected a petition calling for strong trade sanctions against China unless it revalues its currency.

The China Currency Coalition, a broad-based coalition of businesses, unions and agricultural and service organizations, filed the 200-page petition Sept. 9 at 9:30 a.m. Three hours later, the U.S. Trade Representative, on behalf of the administration, rejected the petition outright. China’s stubborn refusal to change its exchange rate gives it a 40 percent price advantage over U.S. products and is an unfair trade practice under World Trade Organization rules and U.S. trade law, coalition leaders say.

“This is so far from a level playing field, it is almost vertical,” AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka said at a Sept. 9 press conference in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, members of Congress are taking aim at China’s trade practices. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation to impose stiff trade penalties against China if it does not revalue its currency within 180 days.

House Democratic leaders also introduced a bill Sept. 8 that would help save 700,000 U.S. textile jobs that could be threatened by a flood of imports from China once global textile and apparel quotas are eliminated at the end of the year.


President George W. Bush has threatened to veto the bill that funds the nation’s education and health care if it contains an amendment that blocks new rules that threaten overtime pay for 6 million workers. The House of Representatives, on a bipartisan vote of 223–193, passed Sept. 9 an amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill that would force the U.S. Labor Department to rescind changes to the Federal Labor Standards Act that limit eligibility for overtime pay. The amendment would let stand new inflation adjustment rules that will benefit some 384,000 low-income workers. The Senate is expected to begin work on its version of the appropriations bill this week. The House vote “sends a strong message to the White House: America’s workers, leaders and communities do not support his overtime pay cut, and President Bush should back off his threats to veto this important protection for workers’ overtime pay,” AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said. To tell Bush not to veto overtime pay protections, visit www.unionvoice.org/campaign/bush_NO_VETO. Bush has ignored four previous votes by Congress to stop the administration from cutting overtime pay. Workers have sent more than 1.6 million letters, e-mails and faxes protesting the overtime pay take-away since it was announced in March 2003. For more information, visit www.aflcio.org.


Social Security will be at risk if President Bush wins a second term, say advocates for seniors and working families. At the Republican National Convention Sept. 2, Bush renewed his call to privatize Social Security, America’s most comprehensive family protection program. Meanwhile, the Bush administration’s Department of Health and Human Services took another swipe at seniors’ hard-earned benefits Sept. 3, announcing that Medicare premiums will rise 17 percent beginning January 2005—the largest increase in the program’s history. Fully 15 percent of the increase will go directly to private HMOs, according to analysis by the Alliance for Retired Americans. Bush’s Medicare reform bill passed by Congress last fall promised additional payments to insurers. The Alliance compiled a state-by-state analysis of the annual cost increase for Medicare beneficiaries. Download the chart at www.retiredamericans.org. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced legislation (S. 2180) to stop the record premium increase. Stabenow’s legislation would place a cap on Medicare premiums and hold the premium increase to the level of inflation.

Your Overtime Pay is still at risk

Three Things You Can Do to Protect Overtime

The U.S. House of Representatives has heard us and approved an amendment to restore overtime pay rights for some 6 million workers threatened with its loss under new Bush administration rules. The House action also maintains the one part of the rules that expands overtime coverage to 384,000 low-income workers.
President George W. Bush refuses to give up the fight and is threatening to veto important legislation in order to keep his outrageous, massive pay cut for working families in place--once again defying the wishes of the public and Congress with his actions.

One thing is clear--the Bush administration is determined to strip workers of their overtime pay. While Bush keeps fighting for his corporate allies, we need to keep fighting for working families who depend on overtime pay to make ends meet.

You can join the fight to protect overtime pay and protections. As of 12:01 AM on May 1 there have been 170,404 messages sent opposing cuts in overtime. You can help by doing these three things.

1. Send a message to President Bush, your U.S. senators and representative. Tell them you oppose overtime cuts.
Send message now >>

2. Tell your friends, family and co-workers about the two-pronged attack on overtime.
Send them e-mails now >>

3. Download, reproduce and distribute this flier alerting people to the attack on overtime and asking them to call their U.S. senators and representative.

Download the flier now (PDF) >>

Adobe Acrobat Reader is need to download and view the flier. If you do not have Acrobat Reader you can download it for free from the Adobe website.


Today's Headlines: Election 2000 All Over Again?

Short Blog of some new stories that disturbed me today. Both of course show how Bush is afraid he's going to lose the election in Nov....and let's all pray that he does because our nation can't take much more.

Don't think Bush is scared he'll lose Florida?
"I am astounded that Jeb Bush is willing to defy the judiciary to help his brother." Counties are allowed to put Ralph Nader's name on overseas absentee ballots, which must be mailed by Saturday.

What happened to seperation of church & state: More dirty Bush tactics
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) believe clergymen should be allowed to endorse political candidates from the pulpit.

Important Call to Action Alert
This one makes me worry about Bush's crew manipulating the votes of our soldiers.

Missouri and North Dakota election officials recently announced that they will allow military voters from their states to e-mail their absentee ballots from combat zones to the Defense Department. The Pentagon would then fax the ballot to the soldier's local election official. This surprise move has alarmed computer security experts and voting watchdog groups, and has renewed concerns about the Department of Defense's role in administering federal elections.

Horizon Natural Resources and Politics: Follow the Money

Horizon Natural Resources (a.k.a AEI Resources, Addington Bros. Inc and dozens of other names) has a long and expensive history of funding Republican Candidates in Elections.

As you've read many times in this blog ,Horizon got a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge to agree to voiding of union contracts and thus cutting off nearly 3,000 of their employees and retirees medical coverage. A heartless decision that has left many lives devastated, especially the retirees --which many are suffering from blacklung and now have no form of medical benefits.

After searching through soft money donations to election campaigns I found some very interesting information about who the top CEO's of Horizon spent their personal and corporate donation money on in the elections.

AEI Resources (Horizon Natural Resources) was the top soft money contributor in Kentucky for the past 2 Election cycles:

2001-2002 $357,500 given to Republican campaigns

1999-2000 $535,000 given to back Republican campaigns

Larry Addington has contributed more than $800,000 to political groups and candidates over the past three years.

What are Horizon's Top Brass Up to in the Upcomong Elections?
Thus far in the 2004 elections here is how those top members of the now bankrupt Horizon Natural Resources are spending their money in the upcoming elections:

Information comes from the Federal Election Commission Website and all contributions are public record.

    Republican National Cmte

    National Republican Congressional Cmte

    Republican Party of Kentucky

    Bluegrass Cmte

    Northup, Anne M (R)

    Bush, George W (R)

    Republican National Cmte
    Bush, George W(R)

    Bush, George W(R)

    Rogers, Hal (R)

    Rogers, Hal (R)

    Rogers, Hal (R)

    Kerr, Alice Forgy (R)

    Northup, Anne M (R)

    Bunning, Jim (R)

    Bunning, Jim (R)

    Northup, Anne M (R)

    Northup, Anne M (R)

    Northup, Anne M (R)

    Kerr, Alice Forgy (R)

    Kerr, Alice Forgy (R)

    Bunning, Jim (R)

    Bush, George W(R)

    Republican National Cmte (R)

    Northup, Anne M(R)

    National Republican Congressional Cmte
    Republican National Cmte

Draw your own conclusions, but before you do read this link....

WASHINGTON -- Eastern Kentucky coal magnate Larry Addington has contributed more than $800,000 to political groups and candidates over the past three years giving more money to the Republican Party last year than such corporate giants as Exxon Mobil Corp. ...

Makes you wonder if the Horizon gang wouldn't have given so much in soft money to elections, maybe they could have had money to run their business better instead of devastating 3,000 lives by filing bankruptcy and cutting off their employees and retirees medical benefits.

To date none of the elected officials Horizon donated money to has made a comment to the media or replied to letters written by concerned citizens to them regarding Horizon's bankruptcy.

Not a single comment has been made about what has happened to the miners as result of the bankruptcy ruling-- That's something for families in Kentucky to think about when the go to the polls in Nov.

Its easy to to draw a conclusion that their silence means Horizon got what they paid for.


U.S. Airways Files Bankruptcy

Again another huge corporation is filing bankruptcy and shafting its employees because of their financial mismanagement

Today it was announced US Airways, the nation's seventh-biggest passenger carrier and a major Delta Air Lines competitor (whom is also threatening to file bankruptcy), filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection.

The airline company joins the ranks of a growing trend of corporations with union employees that are breaking contracts by filing for bankruptcy. Just like what happened to the miners and retirees that worked for the Ashland, Ky-based Horizon Natural Resources that ruined 3,000 lives by cutting off their medical benefits.

US Airways had sought $800 million in pay and benefit concessions from its 28,000 employees — but pilots and mechanics both rejected the most recent series of demands.

One thing no one in US Airways upper management offered to do was cut their own top brass pay. Oh no, they couldn't imagine cutting their own multi-million dollar salaries in order to save the company, instead they put the entire load of burden on their employees.

To those US Airways union workers who stood up for their rights and contracts I salute them and although they are on the losing end of this now, at least they had to guts to stand up for their rights and not be pushed around by huge corporations.

Lack of solidarity and concessions is why American workers are losing their rights and receive so little pay/benefits. I know most working Americans are grateful just to have a job, but rocking the boat is necessary when companies keep taking and taking from their workers. Companies see it as a weakness when they get a union to agree to a concession and then like wolves, the CEOS go in for the kill.

I know standing up for your rights in the workplace can be a tough thing, especially when you have a mountain of debt to pay off, but there comes a point where American workers are going to have to stand up for their rights. I know that message won't reach all, especially the SCABS and corporate-suck-ups out there because all they know how to do is kiss tail when they go to work and generally have spines made of mush, but to the true American worker...who has dignity and honor, its time to start taking notice of what's going on and that you could be next if you don't start working for change. I can hear those spineless types now "its wrong to rock the boat", hell its past time to start rocking that boat and its time for American workers to call for a mutiny.

Solidarity is necessary to save American Jobs and workers rights. So to all the US Airways Union Workers...God Bless You All for having backbone and conviction.


Tell Congress to stop outsourcing U.S. Jobs

Take Action!
Tell Congress and President Bush to Act to Stop Exporting U.S. Jobs
Congress and President Bush are considering $40 billion in new tax breaks and new trade deals that would encourage companies to export U.S. jobs, while 10 million jobless people are looking for work in America. We can stop this and change America if thousands of people speak out about this outrage. Please take one minute right now to send a letter to President Bush. Feel free to personalize the letter below with your own words. Tell me more



"Democracy is hard work. American democracy requires constant vigilance to survive and nothing short of total engagement to flourish. Voting is vital, but in times like these, voting alone simply isn’t enough."

--Steve Earle

"If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost."


"The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don't agree with."

-- Elenor Holmes Norton


Tell Bush to back off his threat to veto OT pay protection

Take Action!Tell President Bush to back off his threat to veto overtime pay protection.

The U.S. House of Representatives has heard us and approved an amendment to restore overtime pay rights for some 6 million workers threatened with its loss under new Bush administration rules. The House action also maintains the one part of the rules that expands overtime coverage to 384,000 low-income workers.

President George W. Bush refuses to give up the fight and is threatening to veto important legislation in order to keep his outrageous, massive pay cut for working families in place--once again defying the wishes of the public and Congress with his actions.

One thing is clear--the Bush administration is determined to strip workers of their overtime pay. While Bush keeps fighting for his corporate allies, we need to keep fighting for working families who depend on overtime pay to make ends meet.

Tell George Bush to back off his overtime pay veto threat. Please act today by sending a letter to President Bush. We'll deliver your letter via fax with a copy to your U.S. senators, who are about to take up this important legislation. Please add your own words to the letter below to personalize it with your own thoughts and feelings.


Horizon Natural Resources - Corporate Trash

The Associated Press reported today that The United Mine Workers of America is appealing a judge's decision that the union has said would strip the health benefits of more than 3,000 active and retired coal miners.

The union protested Howard's ruling in three separate demonstrations, including one on Aug. 31 in which 17 union members were arrested for blocking the entrance to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Lexington.

The United Mine Workers of America and other unions are trying to change federal bankruptcy laws so judges have more leeway in ordering that the assets of bankrupt companies be used to honor promises made to workers and retirees.

Although this is not a victory for those of us who support the Horizon employees and retirees, its a positive step in the right direction.

Judge Howard's decision was cruel and unjust, but considering this guy was appointed to his 14 year term under the Bush Sr.'s Administration it does not surprise me that his ruling was for the company and against organized labor.

AEI RESOURCES A.K.A Horizon Natural Resources Inc. should be ashamed of their actions that show they have no heart for their workers and their retirees. All these corporate suits care about is money and not those who work for them. Do they ever think that their actions are destroying lives...I doubt it because corporate swine usually have no souls. You know what, swine is too good a word for them...how about lets call them corporate trash instead. How would they like it some company put them out of work or cut their parents off of much-needed health care? Again these people have no soul or compassion.

A lot of the readers of this blog have taken my call to action to contact their elected officials to reform federal bankruptcy laws and to support the miners affected by Howard's decision....but more help is needed. I would like to thank everyone who has taken this call to action and especially to those who are writing letters to the editor of their local newspapers (To date 5 newspapers and websites have posted letters I have sent...its a good way to help the cause). The message is getting out there and we can't stop now. Keep up the good work.

Commentary by Cecil Roberts, UMWA

Cecil E. Roberts

Horizon ruling: Bankrupt public policy dooms W.Va., U.S. coal miners

Horizon Natural Resources coal miner Kenny Kondoudis couldn’t believe it when he heard what happened in a Lexington, Ky., courtroom on Aug. 31 after a federal bankruptcy judge confirmed the sale of Horizon Natural Resources assets “free and clear” of any and all contractual obligations to its United Mine Workers of America-represented miners.

After hearing the judge’s decision, Horizon lawyers and lawyers for the entities who will soon own the bankrupt coal operator’s properties, began laughing and high-fiving each other — all knowing full well that the ruling meant that thousands of Horizon retirees and active coal miners, many suffering from chronic, high-cost medical problems like black lung disease, would soon be without promised health-care benefits and job rights.

In Kondoudis’ and the UMWA’s opinion, the lawyers’ callous display shows just how insignificant the needs and concerns of working people are to many in corporate America. It also shows why Congress must act now to help working Americans by reforming our nation’s bankruptcy laws to end corporate abuse.

Prior to the Aug. 31 hearing, 16 Horizon miners and I were arrested for sitting down in front of the courthouse entrance and blocking it. We were hopeful — much like the thousands of protesters with us outside the courthouse — that an arrest might draw some attention to the plight of these workers and retirees. We also thought that maybe the judge would have a change of heart and overturn his decision. Sadly, at the end of the day, he did not, which put big smiles on the faces of the corporate lawyers and executives inside the courtroom, and brought tears to the eyes of many of the miners and retirees outside.

Thankfully, the UMWA’s efforts to highlight the need for reform of America’s bankruptcy laws have not gone unnoticed. Our friends in Congress are now contacting us to ask what they can do to help. At our Aug. 31 rally, Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., addressed the crowd, telling them that what is happening is wrong and strongly supporting our calls for reform. And Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has recently issued statements saying he intends to introduce legislation that addresses the anti-worker bias of America’s bankruptcy laws. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., and Reps. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, and Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., are also pledging to help. This is very welcome news, but the UMWA fully understands that there is much more work to be done, beginning with the Nov. 2 election.

As UMWA members were being arrested in Lexington, Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards was on a front porch in Beckley, discussing the Horizon bankruptcy injustice with UMWA member Darrell Todd and his wife. After hearing from Todd how nearly 2,500 Horizon retirees and almost 1,000 active miners are soon going to lose their health-care benefits because of the bankruptcy, Sen. Edwards told Todd that he and presidential candidate John Kerry would help address the problem by enacting policies that guarantee all Americans access to the same quality, affordable-health-care benefits Congress enjoys. While not a cure for all the problems plaguing the nation’s federal bankruptcy laws, Edwards is right that a national health-care policy would help alleviate much of the suffering caused by unjust bankruptcy laws and other factors. This is exactly the kind of action the UMWA believes is needed in America.

The UMWA, Kenny Kondoudis, and thousands of Horizon miners and retirees are learning a very hard lesson about what happens to working people when politicians are elected — and judges appointed — who care more about corporate interests than those of workers. We know that America’s federal bankruptcy laws were written by business-friendly politicians and banks and that it will take an act of Congress to reform them.

For that reason, the UMWA is calling on its members — and all working Americans — to ask candidates running for federal office this year where they stand on the issues of bankruptcy law reform, a national health-care policy and finding a long-term solution to the Coal Act’s funding problems. Only by electing politicians who understand the injustice of America’s bankruptcy laws and skyrocketing health-care costs, can we help ensure that callous celebrations by jubilant, greedy corporate lawyers become a thing of the past.
Roberts is international president of the United Mine Workers of America.

House Votes to Protect Overtime Pay

House Votes to Protect Overtime Pay
Sept. 9—Working families scored a major victory today when the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to restore overtime pay rights for some 6 million workers whose overtime pay was threatened by new Bush administration rules that became effective Aug. 23.

On a bipartisan vote of 223–193, the House passed an amendment introduced by Reps. David Obey (D-Wis.) and George Miller (D-Calif.) to the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill. The amendment would force the U.S. Department of Labor to rescind overtime pay eligibility changes to the Federal Labor Standards Act but let stand new inflation adjustment rules that will benefit some 384,000 low-income workers.

The fight to stop President George W. Bush’s overtime pay take-away is far from over, however. Bush has threatened to veto the appropriations bill, which includes funds for health care and education, if it contains the Obey–Miller amendment. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney called on Bush to do the right thing and withdraw his veto threat.

“Today’s vote…sends a strong message to the White House: America’s workers, leaders and communities do not support his overtime pay cut, and President Bush should back off his threats to veto this important protection for workers’ overtime pay,” Sweeney says. “The ball is now in the president’s court. We will continue to keep up the pressure to translate today’s win into a larger victory in the battle to save overtime pay.”

The House has voted twice and the U.S. Senate three times to stop the administration from cutting workers’ paychecks. Workers sent more than 1.6 million letters, e-mails and faxes protesting the overtime pay cut after it was announced in March 2003.

The Senate is expected to mark up its version of the appropriations bill next week. In May, the Senate approved an amendment by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) to the Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) tax bill (S. 1637) to protect overtime pay. The Harkin amendment would repeal any provision of Bush’s new regulation that takes away workers’ right to overtime pay. House leaders had blocked several attempts to vote on a similar measure and refused Democratic requests to allow debate on the issue.

Speaking before a 1,000-strong rally outside the Labor Department in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 23, Harkin and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said congressional Democrats and a handful of Republican lawmakers will continue to push to stop the pay cut. The Washington, D.C., rally was among nationwide protests against the overtime pay take-away, with workers in Cleveland, Miami and St. Louis also distributing thousands of leaflets to passersby urging them to urge their lawmakers to turn back Bush’s overtime pay assault. In Cincinnati on Aug. 19, union members, community groups and others held town hall meetings to discuss the impact of the Bush pay cuts and strategize to defeat it.

Read AFL-CIO President John Sweeney’s statement on the overtime pay vote.
Read the Economic Policy Institute’ report Longer Hours, Less Pay on the impact of the overtime rules.
Read a report by former Labor Department officials that confirming “large numbers of workers” will lose their overtime pay protections and the report’s executive summary.
Examine the myths and facts about the Bush overtime pay take-away.
Find out if you could lose your overtime pay under the Bush administration rules.
Ask a lawyer if your overtime pay is at risk.


Social Security is essential

Social Security at Risk in a Bush Second Term

As President George W. Bush renewed his call to privatize Social Security, working family advocates are exposing the ways his plan would cut benefits, subject workers to the whims of the stock market and enrich Wall Street at the expense of current and future retirees.

In accepting his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention Sept. 2, Bush revived his appeal to privatize one of America’s most comprehensive family protection programs, promoting his plan as a way to create an “ownership society.”

But under a privatized Social Security system, millions of tomorrow’s retirees would be at risk of falling into poverty, say Social Security supporters. By replacing Social Security’s guaranteed benefits with private accounts subject to the ups and downs of the stock market, “what individuals really own is the risk,” says Barbara Kennelly, president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

Privatizing Social Security would enrich banks, insurance companies and investment firms, which would reap millions—even billions—of dollars in fees for administering private accounts. “When it comes to Social Security reform, it’s clear [Bush] has chosen Wall Street investors over American workers and retirees,” says Edward Coyle, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, a nationwide grassroots advocacy organization for seniors.

In contrast, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) supports strengthening protections for workers’ retirement security, including traditional defined-benefit pensions, 401(k) plans and Social Security, and has pledged not to privatize Social Security.

Medicare: A Preview of Privatized Social Security?
Just as Bush’s drive to privatize Social Security would weaken the safety net that protects older Americans, Bush’s changes to Medicare already are endangering health security for the elderly and people with disabilities, say senior advocates. In November, Congress passed a Medicare prescription drug bill that threatens the health benefits for Medicare’s 35 million seniors and people with disabilities, does nothing to control prescription drug prices and was written to benefit big drug companies, not consumers.

On Sept. 3, Bush’s Department of Health and Human Services announced nearly 39 million Medicare beneficiaries will have to pay 17 percent more for the premiums covering the part of Medicare that pays for doctor visits and outpatient hospital services—the largest increase in the program’s history. Fully 15 percent of the increase will go directly to private HMOs. Congress promised additional payments to insurers in the Medicare bill.

Meanwhile, advocates for union members and seniors are trying to make sure that employers don’t drop prescription drug coverage for retirees. Proposed regulations could allow employers to get a government subsidy encouraging them to retain coverage while still shifting costs to retirees.

Trillions in U.S. Treasury Needed to Fund Privatization Scheme
Bush has pressed for privatizing Social Security for more than four years, both during his last presidential campaign and throughout his administration. Three years ago, he handpicked a panel of privatization advocates to draw up plans to gut Social Security.

Meeting in private sessions, the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security outlined several schemes that would privatize Social Security at a cost of up to $2.8 trillion. Even at that price, the privatized plan relied on deep cuts in benefits for disabled workers and the surviving children of workers who die young. In addition, privatizing Social Security would require cuts to guaranteed benefits, raising the retirement age or both.

Those plans would significantly worsen Social Security’s finances by subsidizing private accounts and require trillions of dollars from the federal treasury to finance the private accounts, according to an analysis by The Century Foundation and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

In the years since his handpicked panel issued its recommendations, Bush funded two huge tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest individuals with money that could have been used to strengthen Social Security and that instead, caused the federal budget deficit to balloon, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “The facts speak for themselves: The tax cuts that the administration has proposed would cost more than three times as much over the next 75 years as the entire 75-year Social Security shortfall,” the center notes. “In fact, the cost of the tax cuts (including making the 2001 tax cut permanent and adding expensive new tax cuts on top of it) would be greater over the next 75 years than the combined deficits in Social Security and the Medicare Hospital Insurance program.”

By pressing to privatize Social Security, “President Bush proved once again that he is out of touch with the concerns of average Americans,” says George Kourpias, president of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

Take Action! Urgent Action Needed to Save Overtime Pay

Take Action! Urgent Action Needed to Save Overtime Pay

Act today to help save overtime pay.

The Bush administration's overtime pay take-away, which took effect Aug. 23, put some 6 million workers at risk of losing their overtime pay. This massive pay cut for working families will have a huge impact on workers' ability to provide such things as food, shelter and education for their families.

Legislation being debated NOW in Congress could rescind this outrageous pay cut. The measure, sponsored by Democratic Reps. David Obey of Wisconsin and George Miller of California, could be voted on as early as TODAY (THURSDAY SEPT. 7, 2004)

Please send a letter now to your U.S. representative and urge him/her to support the Obey-Miller amendment to save overtime pay

Cheney's remark was sickening

Vice President Cheney suggested Tuesday that a ''wrong choice'' on Election Day could mean a greater risk of another terrorist strike.

The Bush Administration has now sunk to a new low in dirty politics and if it was not evident before, this blatantly shows they are using fear tactics just like Hitler did in Germany.

This is an evil regime running this country that is afraid they are going to be voted out come Nov. and now are resorting to disgusting tactics based strictly on lies.

Why did Cheney do this?

Simple...they know it works and the average American no matter how much information they have at their disposal through television, print, online, radio, etc...still is just as in the dark about current events and truth as is those people in Iraq that we supposedly liberated. Sadly, as much as I want to blame Fox News for everything, its the peoples' fault for not caring enough to do any type of research for themselves. That's an entirely different blog for another time, but point being Bush's Crew knows Joe Blow on the street will believe what Cheney said and if its repeated enough around the water cooler and community it will become the gospel.

Cheney should have to apologize for his remark and so should Bush, because our democracy is eroded when people like Cheney knowingly try to scare voters in to keeping them in office, especially in this post 9/11 United States.

How can people vote for the Bush-Cheney in Nov. when its obvious they are resorting to the lowest forms of treachery to get re-elected.


Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence
Committee, said "there isn't a shred of evidence to indicate that a terrorist
attack is more likely under a Bush or Kerry administration."

"It is completely inappropriate for the vice president to, in effect, threaten the American people to be part of instilling fear into our country," Democratic minority leader, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi


Senate blocks outsourcing of some federal jobs

Senate blocks outsourcing of some federal jobs

CAPITOL HILL The Republican-led Senate has scored a victory for Democrats.
The Senate has voted narrowly to block President Bush from outsourcing some Homeland Security jobs to private companies.
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy says it effectively keeps Bush from replacing eleven-hundred immigrations officers who he says "weed out terrorists."
The White House had threatened a veto if the measure was blocked. The House has already approved a similar measure.

Finally some bi-partisanship going on in the Senate. I can't believe the White House is trying to outsource even these jobs...I believe the Bush Administration hates American Workers.
This Madman-lead Administration that tells us every day on the news that they are dedicated to protecting Homeland Security, but they are trying to outsource the jobs to private companies overseas -- which will probably not have the proper training or our best interests at heart.
What's worse is once Again Bush is trying to send our jobs overseas. How can anyone who says they love this country and their neighbors support this?

Delta..KY Teachers...its time for revolution.

Today Delta Airlines it will be cutting nearly 7,000 jobs over the next 18 months in order to restructure its roughly $20 billion in debt and its CEO said "bankruptcy is a real possibility."

Delta's woes sound very similar to what happened to the employees and retirees of Horizon Natural Resources, and its likely if Delta does file bankruptcy another Federal Judge will allow it to happen.

It can't be said enough...action to reform federal bankruptcy laws is necessary.
How much more will it take before Americans will rise up and revolt.


Also today, Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced his revamping of health care benefits for state workers.

Fletcher's plan will make employees pay 35% more for their health care and this has many upset, especially Kentucky Teachers.

The state's health insurance program covers 171,000 state government and school district employees. Their dependents bring the total to 229,000.

Deductibles will be higher as will some pharmacy costs and out-of-pocket costs _ as high as $4,000 for family coverage at the "preferred" level, up from $2,500 at a comparable PPO plan this year.

The higher costs will make it rough on lower-paid state workers that earn minimal salaries (some as low as $5.15 per hour) and will no doubt lead to more teachers leaving the state in order to find better jobs-- something Fletcher said promised voters during his election speeches would not happen.

Kentucky Teachers have a no strike clause, but rumblings within the KEA teachers union are showing the sentiment for a strike was building within the union.

I say show solidarity...every employee in state government including every worker in the school system need to walk out and strike....What's Fletcher going to do fire everybody...I THINK NOT.

5/2001- Senator Byrd Speech (Audio)

"America's coal miners have served their country proudly. On the battlefields. In the mines. Because they believe in what our nation stands for. That's why, over 12,000 active and retired miners, their spouses and families came to the Capitol on May 17, 2001., to petition our government for fairness. To ask that our nation's promise to retired miners and widows...a promise earned in blood...be kept. " -- UMWA Journal

I was lucky enough to be there that day and to be part of the biggest protest rally I had ever attended. Something happened that day that I did not expect, I found a new hero and he was Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV).

Byrd's speech was inspiring and heartfelt, unlike a lot of the other trivial politics spouted about that day. He told stories my grandfather use to tell about the Great Depression and growing up in the coal fields. Byrd understood the long plight of the miners and how the PROMISE (THE COAL ACT) the federal government made with the miners was about to be broken if action was not taken.

For nearly two years after hearing him speak, I have found myself reading every speech he has given and every action he has ever taken in the Senate. During the debate over going to war with Iraq, Byrd without fear stood in the face of the Bush War Machine demanding answers and a fair chance to evaluate the preemptive strike. Of course Bush pulled slight of hand tricks and rushed the war resolution through (Just like the Patriot Act) without fair discussion and debate, thus leading to what we know now...he lied, 9/11 Commission proved it...1,000 dead today because of his lies. Byrd wanted to prevent what happened right from the start, which is why he stood up for the American people and demanded answers. Point being...I watched C-SPAN religiously during those dark months and Byrd was the only elected official having enough guts to ask questions and push the issue. While other Democrats rolled over for the President and even true conservative Republicans cowered...BYRD was the man.

I could turn this entry into a novel...but I'll digress and say this....

Sen. Byrd is the last true patriot and defender of the Constitution we have left in D.C.

To Listen to the speech from 5/17/2001 Click on the link below:



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Bush hates coal miners...wake up West Virginia

I just got through viewing some highlights of President Bush's speech in Parkersburg, WV and all I can say is I don't see how this man can even show his face in Appalachian Coal Country.

Bush gave his usual spill of terrorists are lurking around every corner and how the economy was getting better garbage, but of course he streamlined his speech to include that he is for the miners to get a few cheap pops from the crowd.

The very thought of Bush being for the Coal Miners is as ludicrous as Osama bin Laden being for Christian Values. Bush didn't live up to his promises he made during his stump speech in Huntington, WV back in 2000 when he was running for President and I don't see how any one in the coal fields could believe his lies again. Bush is for the coal companies, not the miners and his track record proves it:

Look at what happened to the Horizon Natural Resources workers and retirees that have now gotten shafted by legislation Bush signed in during first 100 days in office.

Already his administration has repealed more safety and environmental laws than other Presidency to date. Many of those safety rules involved the mining industry. This madman is virtually trying to undo what miners have fought for over the past 100 years to make the industry safer.

Bush's Administration hates UNIONS and wants everything to be run SCAB. They have already drafted legislation to make it harder to form unions and are using California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as their mouthpiece of union-busting. During the RNC Arnold called unions "special interest groups" and "girlie men". Let me ask you ,were those proud miners who marched up on Blair Mountain and stood up against gun thugs girly men...I think not Mr. Terminator.

The Over Time Takeaway will directly affect miners. Miners will not qualify for overtime and all of those extra hours spent underground will be for either straight time or flex time (time off in lieu of pay). Don't know about you, but after I worked a 40 hour work week and then being told I have to risk my life for another extra 8-12 hours...I'd be demanding something more than a day off work that you don't get paid a penny for.

All of those new mines opening up he promised never came about. That great second coal boom fizzled as soon as he got in office. More than 2,000 mining jobs has been lost in WV since he got in office. Bush is proposing new rules governing mercury emissions that could lead to large scale fuel-switching from Appalachia to the Powder River Basin, which includes Wyoming-Dick Cheney's home state. This fuel-switching will lead to coal miners losing their jobs, just like in 1990 when the Acid Rain rules were enacted. Where's the Jobs GW, sounds like they are all going out to your Vice President's home state.

Its obvious Bush is against the Coal Miners and the crap he spread in today's speech stunk like one of those cow pastures out in Texas. If Bush wins West Virginia - one of the important swing states- then I don't know where the priorities of their voters are...obviously its not in helping themselves, friends, neighbors, local economies and communities.