Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...

What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

This is one of the dumbest open letters I have ever read...

A lot of people are expressing similar concerns along the lines of this letter; however, I would note that neither Obama nor Clinton ever objected to any of the trivial questions they received, nor has either Obama or Clinton talked about anything of substance during their campaigns.

There hasn't been one single proposal from either Clinton or Obama when it comes to solving any of the problems working people or the entire country are experiencing.

Furthermore, I haven't seen any of the publications any of the signers represent bringing forward any real solutions to problems either.

Just read my blog that follows this one and you will get the point.

I think this entire "race" is one big fiasco and those who put any effort into supporting Clinton and Obama are just wasting their time... progressives should be out organizing around the issues and drawing people into real struggles around solving problems by bringing forward real progressive alternatives.

Unless we do this, Clinton and Obama set the stage for a frivolous campaign devoid of talking about real issues and what they intend to do to solve real problems.

Alan L. Maki

About ABC

US elections 2008: An open letter deploring Wednesday's
debate from a group of prominent American journalists
and commentators

The Guardian April 18, 2008

We the undersigned deplore the conduct of ABC's George
Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson at the Democratic
presidential debate on April 16. The debate was a
revolting descent into tabloid journalism and a gross
disservice to Americans concerned about the great
issues facing the nation and the world. This is not the
first Democratic or Republican presidential debate to
emphasise gotcha questions over real discussion.
However, it is, so far, the worst.

For 53 minutes, we heard no question about public
policy from either moderator. ABC seemed less
interested in provoking serious discussion than in
trying to generate cheap -shot soundbites for later
rebroadcast. The questions asked by Mr Stephanopoulos
and Mr Gibson were a disgrace, and the subsequent
attempts to justify them by claiming that they reflect
citizens' interests are an insult to the intelligence
of those citizens and ABC's viewers. Many thousands of
those viewers have already written to ABC to express
their outrage.

The moderators' occasional later forays into substance
were nearly as bad. Mr Gibson's claim that the
government can raise revenues by cutting capital gains
tax is grossly at odds with what taxation experts
believe. Both candidates tried, repeatedly, to bring
debate back to the real problems faced by ordinary
Americans. Neither moderator allowed them to do this.

We're at a crucial moment in our country's history,
facing war, a terrorism threat, recession and a range
of big domestic challenges. Large majorities of our
fellow Americans tell pollsters they're deeply worried
about the country's direction. In such a context,
journalists moderating a debate - who are, after all,
entrusted with free public airwaves - have a particular
responsibility to push and engage the candidates in
serious debate about these matters. Tough, probing
questions on these issues clearly serve the public
interest. Demands that candidates make pledges about a
future no one can predict or excessive emphasis on
tangential "character" issues do not. This applies to
candidates of both parties.

Neither Mr Gibson nor Mr Stephanopoulos lived up to
these responsibilities. In the words of Tom Shales of
the Washington Post, Mr Gibson and Mr Stephanopoulos
turned in "shoddy, despicable performances". As Greg
Mitchell of Editor and Publisher, describes it, the
debate was a "travesty". We hope that the public uproar
over ABC's miserable showing will encourage a return to
serious journalism in debates between the Democratic
and Republican nominees this fall. Anything less would
be a betrayal of the basic responsibilities that
journalists owe to their public.

Spencer Ackerman, The Washington Independent
Eric Alterman, City University of New York
Dean Baker, The American Prospect Online
Steven Benen, The Carpetbagger Report
Julie Bergman Sender, Balcony Films
Ari Berman, The Nation
Brian Beutler, The Media Consortium
Michael Berube, Crooked Timber, the University of Pennsylvania
Joel Bleifuss, In These Times
Sam Boyd, The American Prospect
Lakshmi Chaudry, In These Times
Joe Conason, Journalist and Author
Brad DeLong, Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal and UC Berkeley
Kevin Drum, The Washington Monthly
Henry Farrell, Crooked Timber, George Washington University
James Galbraith, University of Texas at Austin
Todd Gitlin, Columbia University, TPM Cafe
Merrill Goozner (formerly Chicago Tribune)
Ilan Goldenberg, The National Security Network
Robert Greenwald, Brave New Films
Christopher Hayes, The Nation
Don Hazen, Alternet
Michael Kazin, Georgetown University
Ed Kilgore, The Democratic Strategist
Richard Kim, The Nation
Ezra Klein, The American Prospect
Mark Kleiman, UCLA/The Reality Based Community
Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed
Ari Melber, The Nation
Rick Perlstein, Campaign for America's Future
Katha Pollitt, The Nation
David Roberts, Grist
Thomas Schaller, Columnist, The Baltimore Sun
Mark Schmitt, The New America Foundation
Adele Stan, The Media Consortium
Jonathan Stein, Mother Jones Magazine
Mark Thoma, The Economist's View
Michael Tomasky, The Guardian
Cenk Uygur, The Young Turks
Tracy Van Slyke, The Media Consortium
Kai Wright, The Root