AMAZON LogoA few years ago we had started to use as a source for some purchases where we did not need the products immediately, there is always several days required for shipping. The situation is rapidly changing. Recently Walmart has announced a resurrected “Buy American Program” but it is a sham. See Walmart sham and We can’t Shop Ourselves into Prosperity.

I try to keep track with what is going on in the rest of the world

  1. I watch cable news from Europe and Asia available on Comcast Channel 241, MHz broadcasts worldwide news programs from Midnight thru 7:00am.
  2. I read foreign news on

Alibaba LogoI have noticed something very interesting.

The Chinese news channel frequently covers news and events about an Internet Marketing firm called which at one time exclusively sold products in wholesale quantities worldwide while selling those products in individual quantities to the Chinese public.  Alibaba has since become the largest internet sales company in China and sells more consumer product than any other company in China, and perhaps, the world.

Alibaba has now expanded their consumer internet sales operation to where they sell consumer products to anyone, anywhere, at any time, any place in the world. I have made several purchases from Alibaba, delivery can take up to 3 weeks but… they usually pay the shipping costs. They ship via China Post Air Mail  and there is no China sales tax. I pay 1/3 to 1/10 of what I would have paid for the same item from a U.S. source.

This is real globalization that is starting to benefit you and me rather than U.S Multinational Corporations.

When I search an item in I see comments from others who have bought the same item, as well as the quantities purchased to date, Alibaba even includes a small national flag identifying the country of each purchaser. I have made my living involved in manufacturing and exporting consumer hard goods, we spent a lot of time in determining where to build factories in the US.  Walmart refused to deal with distributors and sales reps and insisted in dealing directly with manufacturers and bypassing the middlemen.   Eventually when US companies began to import foreign manufactured goods we selected what factories to close down until there were no factories left to shutter. And later Walmart bypassed American Importers and bought direct from China. We consumers had no power at all.

Now the Chinese are beginning to sell direct bypassing the U.S. corporations and retailers and offering absolutely great prices. It also appears the Chinese government supports this China export effort by subsidizing the shipping costs so Chinese exports ship free to anywhere in the world.

You can take a look at this unique internet marketer at

Alibaba Page


Cloister Condo YTD Sales thru July 2013

HappyMoneyCloister units were built as either two or three bedroom units with options which included an extra den room, one or two car garage, fireplace, and bay windows. Naturally these show up in the appraised and selling values. County records show fourteen units sold this year where a selling price was recorded. Below is a chart with selling prices and appraised values for these units. Selling prices for Cloister Living Units have increased this year compared to recent previous years and units are now usually selling above their appraised values.

Cloister Units Sold thry July 2013

Medicare Expands Competitive Bidding Program for Durable Medical Equipment

WebconfusionI have been contacted about my CPAP gear. It can be somewhat complicated and may require changing suppliers.

The 2003 law that created the Medicare Part D program also changed the way Medicare pays for certain DMEPOS,( durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies.) The payment program did not affect every part of the country or every Medicare beneficiary, however.

Effective July 1, 2013, Medicare beneficiaries in Tennessee as well as other parts of the country saw a change in how they obtain DMEPOS.

The Competitive Bidding Program The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) established requirements for a new Competitive Bidding Program for certain Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS). Under the program, DMEPOS suppliers compete to become Medicare contract suppliers by submitting bids to furnish certain items in competitive bidding areas, and the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awards contracts to enough suppliers to meet beneficiary demand for the bid items.

The new, lower payment amounts resulting from the competition replace the Medicare DMEPOS fee schedule amounts for the bid items in these areas. All contract suppliers must comply with Medicare enrollment rules, be licensed and accredited, and meet financial standards. The program sets what CMS calls more appropriate payment amounts for DMEPOS items while ensuring continued access to quality items and services.

DMEPOS items include wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen and oxygen equipment, hospital beds, and support surfaces (mattresses and the like).

According to Medicare, the Competitive Bidding Program will result in reduced beneficiary out-of-pocket expenses and savings to taxpayers and the Medicare program. That’s because Medicare beneficiaries owe a 20 percent coinsurance payment for DMEPOS. If Medicare pays less, the copayment will be less.

The original competitive bidding program was limited to certain zip codes in 11 states, among them California, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

The program has been expanded to other states, including certain zip codes in the four major metropolitan areas in Tennessee. Medicare beneficiaries who live in or plan to visit an area that is part of the Competitive Bidding Program generally must use a Medicare contract supplier.

Beneficiaries who are in a Medicare Advantage Plan are not affected by the Competitive Bidding Program. It is applies only to beneficiaries in original Medicare.

FoodPriceInflationWhat should Medicare beneficiaries in Tennessee who need DMEPOS do? It is very likely that they reside in a zip code in which Competitive Bidding Program is now in place. To make sure, beneficiaries should visit and enter their zip code.

For Medicare beneficiaries who are already receiving DMEPOS, they should check with their supplier to see whether their current supplier is under contract with CMS. If not, a supplier can seek to become “grandfathered.” This “grandfathering” includes suppliers who repair equipment that is already owned by the Medicare beneficiary.

If the Medicare beneficiary elects to continue using a non-contract supplier that isn’t grandfathered, the supplier must give the beneficiary an Advance Beneficiary Notice that explains that Medicare won’t pay for the DMEPOS. (Which is not a good outcome for those of us using such products.)

More on

What is Warner Park and The Cloister Neighborhood Group?


Nextdoor1What is this “ Neighborhood Group”

I am registered with I noticed that 11 homeowners from the local neighborhood have connected through Nextdoor. This is what The Tennessean has to say…..

Tennessean 6/29/13 by Fisk

A California firm has added Nashville to its online social network based on the city’s neighborhoods.

Nextdoor, a service designed to connect neighbors through social media, said Friday Nashville had been added to service that ties users’ home addresses to an online social network. The service also is available as an iPhone app.

Mayor Karl Dean announced the partnership last week as part of the Mayor’s Neighborhood Challenge.

“On Nextdoor neighbors can easily connect with their neighbors about the things that matter,” such as finding lost dogs and keys, organizing neighborhood cleanups and alerting neighbors to suspicious activity, the company said in a statement.

“Having easy, immediate access to those people that live nearby is extremely useful and often crucial.”

More than 50 other cities have signed up for the service, the company says. Those include San Diego, Dallas and Buckhead, Ga.

Nashvillians can sign up at

It looks like the Nextdoor App could be interesting and valuable. One neighbor told fellow neighbors about a speed trap on Post Road. I’m watching to see if enough neighbors get involved to make it useful. It resembles a up-featured private text messaging and message board. Cloister residents may want to visit