The Electrical Worker online
August 2012

Letters to the Editor
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Hypertension Alert

I recently went for a routine medical appointment at the VA Medical Center in Denver. Over the last several visits, my blood pressure was climbing just slightly. They gave me a blood pressure cuff to take home with me so that I could check it frequently and report the results back to them.

They told me that I'm entitled to one, because I'm an American veteran (of Vietnam).

It was paid for with American tax dollars, through the Department of Veterans' Affairs, so I'm entitled to have one as an American veteran. I really do appreciate having the cuff to take home with me so that I can keep tabs on my blood pressure.

Problem is that the blood pressure cuff raises my blood pressure.

How does it raise my blood pressure?

It raises my blood pressure because it is not made in the United States.

Nothing against other countries, but we have unemployed Americans who could — and would be proud to — manufacture this item.

And especially regarding things that are purchased by our Veterans' Administration: We have unemployed VETERANS who could — and would be proud to — manufacture the item!

The best way to get America back to work is by buying American-made products!!

Ed Knox
Local 68 member, Denver

Democratic Double Standards?

It is not just the Republicans who are misguided. The Democrats get the same big pay, big retirement and lifetime health care. They also don't believe in a level playing field and are a bunch of hypocrites. Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements if you have put money in these programs through taxes. All politicians have used the Social Security trust fund as they wish. To me this seems like a Ponzi scheme.

The Democrats want the rich to pay more in taxes but think it is OK for themselves not to pay taxes. For example, Sen. John Kerry (D) had a yacht built in New Zealand instead of in America and had the yacht docked in Rhode Island instead of Massachusetts to avoid paying taxes. Is that fair? Imagine that — a Democrat having a double standard. Second, Treasury Secretary Geithner failed to pay self-employment taxes on $35,000. Again, another double standard by the Democrats. Third, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D) failed to report rental income from his beachside villa in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Again, another double standard. Fourth, Mr. Tom Daschle failed to pay $128,203 in back taxes. Fifth, HHS Secretary Sebelius had to pay over $7,000 in back taxes.

The IBEW needs to step up and do what is best for the members and not worry about lining the pockets of the Democrats. I am neither a Republican or a Democrat. I think for myself and vote for who is going to do the best for our country and follow the Constitution. I will be surprised if this gets printed since I came out with some facts about the Democrats.

Rodney Rooks
Local 26 member, Washington, D.C.

Representing Retirees

As a 60-plus retiree of the IBEW as well as a former signatory contractor, I'd like to suggest that a bumper sticker be developed that would tout the benefit of union membership. A suggestion would be the current masthead of The Electrical Worker substituting "The" with "Retired" and keeping the line below "Electrical Worker."

In the current climate of anti-union efforts, I am proud to have worked in an industry that provided good benefits for my family and a proud retirement. In the current climate of the country, I don't see that the same benefits are available in the non-signatory industry.

Eric David
Local 11 retiree, Los Angeles