Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Exxon/Mobil has biggest quarterly profit ever at $11.68 Billion... Are we fed up with the robbery at the pumps?

I hope this will be circulated far and wide… if you know any of the “Progressives for Obama” pass this on to them for their comment and consideration.

Can a movement be built around “We are fed up!”?

We are fed up! Stop the robbery at the pumps!

If progressives can’t build a grassroots movement around stopping the robbery at the pumps now taking place, I question whether or not “progressives” have the ability to build any kind of grassroots movements in this country anymore.

The outfit called “Progressives for Obama,” from Tom Hayden and Carl Davidson to Katrina vanden Heuvel and Emanuel Wallerstein to Bill Fletcher---and, well, look at this list…


Barbara Ehrenreich

BIll Fletcher, Jr.

Danny Glover

Tom Hayden


Sean Ahern
United Federation of Teachers

Jean Alonso
Dorchester-Roxbury Labor Committee

Fran Ansley
University of Tennessee

David E. Apter
Yale University

Barbara Aguirre

Rosalyn Baxandall
American Studies SUNY Old Westbury

Daniel Bourke
National Lawyer Guild

E. Richard Brown
Public Health, UCLA

Paul Buhle
Writer and Historian

Anna Burger
Secretary-Treasurer, SEIU

Paul Burke
Sacramento Progressive Alliance

Malcolm Burnstein
Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party

Duane Campbell
Sacramento Progressive Alliance

Jim Campbell
CC-DS, Nat'l Co-chair

Jeff Chang
Author, 'Can't Stop, Won't Stop'

Frank Christopher
Crosskeys Media

Steve Cobble
Progressive Democrats of America

Barry Cohen
NJ Institute of Technology

Carl Davidson

Laurie Davidson

John Delloro
Dolores Huerta Labor Institute

Ariel Dorfman
Chilean Playwright

Peter Dreier
Occidental College

Thorne Dreyer
MDS Austin, Texas

Terry DuBose

Andrea Dupree
Lighthouse Writers Workshop

Carolyn Eisenberg
Hofstra University

Eddie Eitches
President, AFGE Local 476

Daniel Ellsberg
Writer, Military Analyst

Jane English
Plymouth UCC Board of Social Action

Diane Fager
Public School Administrator

Margaret 'Julie' Finch
Progressive Democrats of America

Mickey Flacks
Housing Advocate

Richard Flacks
Santa Barbara County Action Network

Jane Fonda
Writer, Actor

Rev. John C. Forney
Progressive Christians Uniting

Aviva Futorian
Long Term Prisoner Policy Project

Christine George
Researcher and Unversity Teacher

António Geraldo Dias

The Rev. John-Mark Gilhousen
Progressive Democrats of Oregon

Todd Gitlin
Columbia University

Danny Goldberg
Gold Village Entertainment

Jorge Gonzalez
Cuba Journal

Thomas Good
Next Left Notes, Editor

Van Gosse
Franklin & Marshall College

Ellen Gurzinsky
Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues

Paul Haggis

Nancy Hall
City Life/ Vida Urban

David Hamilton
MDS, Austin Texas

Lionel Heredia
Freedom Media

Jim Hightower
Radio Commentator

Adam Hochschild
Author, 'Breaking the Chains'

Sharron Howard
Lafayette Area Peace Coalition

George Hunsinger
Princeton Theological Seminary

David Jacobs
Americans for Democratic Action

Steven Jacobs
Rabbi, Progressive Faith Foundation

Harold Jacobs
SUNY New Paltz

Michael James
Heartland Cafe, 49th Ward Democrats

Zenobia Johnson-Black
Nat'l Org of African-Americans in Housing

Earl Katz
Public Interest Pictures

Marilyn Katz
Founder, Chicagoans Against War on Iraq

Stephen R. Keister M.D.
Physicians for National Health Care

Georgia Kelly
Praxis Peace Institute

Robin D.G. Kelly

Anne Lowry Klonsky
Education Writer, Chicago

Fred Klonsky
President, Park Ridge Education Association, IEA, NEA

Susan Klonsky
Education Writer

Michael Larkin
South Kingstown Peace and Justice Action Group

William Mandel
Journalist and Activist

Amy Manuel
Denton for Barack

Eric Mar
SF Board of Education

Jay Mazur
Working Families Party

John McAuliff
Fund for Reconciliation and Development

Joe Moore
49th Ward Alderman, Chicago

Ruth Needleman
Labor Studies, University of Indiana

Max Palevsky

Robert Pardun
Writer & Producer

Patricia Paredes
Texas Campus Compact

Frances Fox Piven
Author, 'Poor Peoples Movements,' CUNY

Matilda Phillips
Progressive Democrats North Carolina

Brian Redondo
Asia-American Activist

Christine R Riddiough
Americans for Democratic Action

Constancia Dinky Romilly, RN
Civil Rights Activist

Mark Rudd
Writer, Organizer

Jay Schaffner
Local 802 American Federation of Musicians

Stanley & Betty Sheinbaum

Jennifer Amdur Spitz
Amdur Spitz & Associates

Don St.Clair

Andy Stern
President, SEIU

William Strickland
UMass, Amherst

Dan Swinney
Center for Labor and Community Research

Harry Targ
CC-DS, Purdue University

Jonathan Tasini
National Writers Union

John Trinkl
San Francsico for Democracy

Flo A Weber
Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles

Immanuel Wallerstein
Yale University

Paula Weinstein

Cornel West
Author, 'Race Matters'

Mildred Williamson

Betty Willhoite
Living Wage Advocate

John K Wilson

Tim Wise
Author, Anti-Racism Educator

All of these “Progressives for Obama” continue to say that what we need is “grassroots organizations” and “movement building” to influence and keep pressure on Obama to force him to do what is right by the American people. We know Obama understands and appreciates mass movements because his mentor was Frank Marshall Davis… the journalist, poet and member of the Communist Party USA. Check out this excellent video:


Two books by Frank Marshall Davis are well worth reading; I assume Barack Obama has read them both:

"Livin' the Blues"

"The Writings of Frank Marshall Davis"

Both books are available from your local socialist institution, more commonly known as the Public Library.

Plus, we know Barack Obama was a community organizer; so, we know Barack Obama will not only appreciate, but understand, the power of such a grassroots campaign with people marching and picketing across this country at Exxon/Mobil/Esso gas stations and convenience stores saying: We are fed up! Stop the robbery at the pumps! Tax oil company profits to pay for education, housing and health care! No more wars for oil company profits!

With obscene profits like Exxon/Mobil has reported this corporation can't even pay those employed in its gas stations and convenience stores real living wages... now, this is downright criminal.

Now, look at this list of “Progressives for Obama.” These people have the resources and the influence to roll out such a grassroots movement for change… if they can’t spark this kind of movement, they sure can’t be believed they are going to influence Obama and the Wall Street coupon clippers backing him. Make no mistake, Barack Obama is the candidate of choice for state monopoly capitalism in this country… his handlers are the foremost proponents of neoliberalism. Progressives will not get such a candidate’s attention to act on our concerns by whispering in his ear.

These people have control over tremendous movement resources… there is no way anyone can tell me that if this most impressive group of writers, newspaper and magazine publishers, union officials, philosophers, historians, ideologists, university professors, radio commentators, and activists from a variety of movements and organizations can’t come together around organizing a nationwide boycott of Exxon/Mobil--- a boycott which would include an educational campaign about the nature of imperialism and exploitation; more important, a grassroots action campaign aimed at demonstrating to Barack Obama and the Democratic Party that we mean business by flexing our collective, united progressive muscle for change as we bring Exxon/Mobil to its knees… if we can’t do this then there is something drastically wrong with “progressivism” in the United States.

Here we have the biggest rip-off in world history taking place, combined with massive seething public anger and we have this body of progressives coming together in support of Barack Obama while acknowledging that Obama is neither progressive or liberal and it will take grassroots organization to convince an Obama Administration to do what is right by the American people instead of going along with his “handlers” and the big-business interests backing him to the hilt and we keep hearing from Carl Davidson and Katrina vanden Heuvel that they are all for “grassroots movement building.”

A war for oil is being fought in Iraq… Exxon/Mobil is poised to reap the spoils of this war… its profits should be taxed to the hilt to pay for socialized health care, or, at least single-payer universal health care.

I don’t think anyone would mind if on each and every sign carried in front of an Exxon/Mobil/Esso gas station convenience store saying, “We are fed up! Join our boycott of Exxon/Mobil/Esso” would be this: “We are fed up! A united grassroots campaign for change initiated by: Progressives for Obama.”

You see, I do not think Tom Hayden and some of these other “progressives” are sincere. I think they have ulterior motives. I think they are intentionally trying to stymie real grassroots campaigns for change even as they repeatedly claim “movement building” as their intent. It would be easy as heck for this impressive group of “Progressives for Obama” to initiate a campaign: We are fed up!

If this headline: Exxon Mobil has biggest profit ever at $11.68B isn’t enough to spark a grassroots movement--- “We are fed up!”--- I don’t know what it will take. Perhaps Carl Davidson or Tom Hayden or Robert Borosage could provide us with an articulate explanation as to why they aren’t rolling out such a campaign. This campaign could be kicked off around the country on Labor Day… it is not like it takes a great deal of thought to pick up some heavy black markers and poster boards and walk in front of Exxon/Mobil/Esso gas stations and convenience stores. It is not like it takes book after book being written to explain to people that there is a robbery at the pumps taking place. I think most Americans will get the drift of what is going on, and why.


Exxon Mobil has biggest profit ever at $11.68B

Jul 31, 8:28 AM (ET)


HOUSTON (AP) - Exxon Mobil reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results fell well short of Wall Street expectations and shares fell in premarket trading.

The world's largest publicly traded oil company said its net income for the April-June period came to $2.22 a share, up from $10.26 billion, or $1.83 a share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 40 percent to $138.1 billion from $98.4 billion in the year-earlier quarter.

Excluding an aftertax charge of $290 million related to an Exxon Valdez court settlement, earnings amounted to $11.97 billion, or $2.27 per share.

Analyst on average expected Exxon Mobil to earn $2.52 a share on revenue of $144 billion, according to a survey by Thomson Financial. The estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Exxon shares fell more than 2 percent, or $1.88, to $82.50 in premarket trading.


Big prices for oil, record 2Q profits at Shell

Jul 31, 7:37 AM (ET)

By TOBY STERLING AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) reported a 33 percent jump in second-quarter profits Thursday, its biggest quarter ever at $11.6 billion thanks to high oil prices and the weak dollar.

The company earned $8.67 billion in the same quarter last year.

Shell said its selling price per barrel of oil was around $112, up from $64 a year earlier. That pushed earnings at its main exploration and production arm up 90 percent to $5.88 billion, despite a 1.1 percent fall in production to 3.05 million barrels of oil and equivalents per day.

Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer dismissed calls in Britain for a windfall tax on oil companies.

Britain's BP PLC (BP) reported this week that its profits jumped 28 percent to $9.47 billion in the quarter.

"If we do less investment there will be less supply for consumers" which would drive prices higher, Van der Veer said.

"The world needs energy."

He said the company was reinvesting profits and now expects capital spending of between $35 billion and $36 billion this year, up from the last previous estimate of $24 billion to $25 billion. That figure includes the company's $5.8 billion bid for Canada's Duvernay Oil Corp., launched earlier this month.

He said Shell was benefited from a strong operating performance as well as high energy prices, but said refining margins had weakened.

Refining profits rose 16 percent to $4.54 billion, but Shell said at the current cost of supplies - which strips out the impact of oil prices - refining earnings would have fallen by 63 percent to $1.08 billion, mostly due to weaker margins in the United States.

The company's net sales were $131 billion in the quarter, up from $84.9 billion.

The strong quarterly results had been widely expected and shares rose 1.2 percent to 23.63 euros ($36.77).

Petercam analyst Alexandre Weinberg repeated his "buy" recommendation, saying the company has been undervalued since 2004 when it was forced to restate its proven oil reserves in a major accounting scandal.

"Though the sentiment toward the majors (major oil companies) has weakened in the past weeks due to the oil price decline, we believe that Royal Dutch Shell will continue to generate massive cash flows," he wrote in a note on the earnings.

"The following 18 months should see significant production capacity increase," he said, citing a large project on Sakhalin island in Russia expected to begin production at the end of the year.

"The company still trades at a discount to its peers and we deem this unjustified."

There are some problems ahead for Shell, however.

In Nigeria's oil-rich delta region, the company had nearly 200,000 barrels per day of oil shut down during the quarter due to attacks by armed militias. The militias seek a share of oil profits now controlled by the national government.

Shell has been investing in deep-sea oil platforms in Nigeria to minimize the risk, but in June, its Bonga platform 75 miles from the coast was shut down briefly after an attack there.

"We had always right or wrongly thought that being that far away, an attack would be relatively unlikely," Van der Veer said.

"We will think through how we can better protect our facilities, I don't think we should publicize what we (plan to) do."

Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I have said it for years...

"Eisenhower was president,
Senator Joe was king;
Long as you didn't say nothing,
you could say anything."
From the song: Julius and Ethel,
Bob Dylan, 1983

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were murdered by this dirty rotten government and now the scoundrel, as he approaches death, who lied to save his own neck and that of his wife admits that he has lied and the courts of this country are still covering up the facts from the American people and the world.

Two little boys, robbed of their parents; two innocent people murdered. For what? So Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover could fan the flames of anti-Semitism, anti-communism, bigotry and hate and plunge the world into a Cold War that robbed humanity of untold resources which could have been used to rid us of the scourge of poverty and disease; plunged us into war after imperialist war and left the U.S. corporations as the masters over us and the rest of the world... to carry out this campaign of hate and war... two innocent human beings were sent to their deaths in the electric chair by that worthless piece of scum, J. Edgar Hoover, and a system of INJUSTICE wrapped in the American flag that is second to no bestial regime on the face of this planet has been created; a virtual monster of political repression.

An entire corporate controlled apparatus from the media to the courts to police and intelligence agencies participated in the murder of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg... their one and only crime being members of the Communist Party USA and having the unfortunate circumstance of being related to a greedy little sleezeball; how pathetic that any human being would lie to send his own sister to the electric chair to save his own neck.

How shameful that a scum-bag like J. Edgar Hoover together with the entire FBI would engage in this dirty, dirty, deed... and then, to top it all off, every single sleezeball who passed themselves off as Presidents continued to allow J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI to intimidate and TERRORIZE the entire nation and the world for over fifty years.

How many people lost their jobs, their families, and had their lives ruined and made a living hell as J. Edgar Hoover and Joe McCarthy continued to perpetuate their dirty deeds when they should have been put in the electric chair themselves for framing the Rosenbergs... this was outright cold-blooded murder with political motivation... it was an execution from which this Nation has yet to recover.

And, to top it off, the FBI is still up to the same old dirty deeds and the cowards in the United States Congress refuse to end this stifling and smothering of democracy because 90% of these people passing themselves off as Congressmen and Senators are just as perverted as J. Edgar Hoover was... an outright pervert running the FBI for years in the name of "keeping America free of communists" whose only crime has been to speak out against the injustices of capitalism and the crimes of U.S. imperialism.

The entire world knew the Rosenbergs were the victims of a vicious political frame-up.

Reading this is just sickening... it is enough to cause any caring. loving, and concerned human being to vomit in disgust.

Here are the shameful and disgusting facts...

Reuters didn't even have the courage to publish pictures of the Rosenbergs...

This is how the ruling class protects the dirty deeds of its own kind.

From Reuters...


Key evidence in Rosenberg trial to remain secret

Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:54pm EDT

By Edith Honan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Testimony that could help clear executed American communist Ethel Rosenberg of charges she helped pass atomic secrets to the Soviet Union in the 1950s will remain secret, a judge ruled on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein rejected a petition from the National Security Archive seeking the release of grand jury testimony by Ethel's brother, David Greenglass. Greenglass was a key prosecution witness in the famed 1951 spy trial that ended in the 1953 execution of Ethel and her husband, Julius Rosenberg.

The case, which has been described by Rosenberg supporters as a frame-up amid anti-communist McCarthyism hysteria and Cold War fear, hinged on Greenglass and his wife, Ruth Greenglass, fellow communists who became prosecution witnesses.

David Greenglass, 86, admitted in interviews for a book published in 2000 that he gave false testimony under pressure from prosecutors. But unlike most of the other surviving witnesses who testified, he has asked that his grand jury testimony not be made public.

Hellerstein said the public's right to know was outweighed by the tradition of grand jury secrecy following arguments in a hearing held Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.

"He may be a scoundrel, he may be a hypocrite, he may be a liar," said Hellerstein. But he added, "It's no easy task to compare the value of accountability with grand jury secrecy."

Hellerstein reserved a ruling on whether the transcript would be released following Greenglass' death.

Greenglass' lawyer, Daniel Arshack, said in a letter to the court that Greenglass' objection was based on an expectation of privacy.

As a rule, grand jury proceedings are secret. In June, the government agreed to release transcripts in the Rosenberg case, so long as each of the original 46 witnesses who testified was dead or had given consent.

Greenglass, who confessed to helping Julius and served 10 years in prison, testified at the 1951 trial that Ethel, a secretary, had aided the conspiracy by typing notes that included top secret information on the U.S. Manhattan project to develop the atomic bomb.

In interviews, Greenglass has said that he had fabricated that detail in order to protect his wife, Ruth Greenglass, who was also implicated in the conspiracy, from being prosecuted, said David Vladeck, the attorney representing the National Security Archive.

Ruth Greenglass died earlier this year at 83.

Other witnesses testified that Ethel Rosenberg had not been present when national secrets were discussed, Vladeck said.

"He has, in our view, forfeited any reasonable right to privacy" by speaking publicly about the case, Vladeck told the court, referring to Greenglass.

It was not discussed in the proceedings whether Ethel Rosenberg would be eligible for a posthumous pardon if evidence came to light clearing her.

(editing by Christine Kearney and Cynthia Osterman)

These are the despicable prosecutors responsible for this cold-blooded political murder... including the perverted scumbag, Roy Cohn, who became Joe McCarthy's right-hand man...

This is the pathetic, perverted piece of crap that was personally responsible for the frame-up and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg...

J. Edgar Hoover

And the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation today is no better... they probably found this scumbag in J. Edgar Hoover's closet...

The FBI is celebrating one-hundred years of its existence... during that time it has conducted the Palmer Raids, harassed and intimidated trade union organizers, peace activists and communists to no end, framed Tom Mooney and the Rosenbergs, initiated the dirty COINTELPRO operation, tried to railroad Angela Davis to the gas chamber, and left a trail of lives and families ruined...

... the time has come to close down this disgraceful agency and padlock the doors.

One cannot help but ask this question: Can a government which allows an agency like the FBI to carry out these dirty deeds and continue to exist be any better?

The FBI... One hundred years of political repression... this is the legacy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation... millions of dollars spent to frame and execute two innocent human beings... a loving husband and wife, a mother and father.

America, this is the dirty work of the FBI...

Through it all shines the love and courage of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

By the way... piece by piece as this frame-up against Ethel and Julius Rosenberg has unraveled... piece by piece their innocence becomes more clear... when everything is out in the open we will find that both Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were completely innocent of any wrong-doing.

The unfortunate thing is that all the perpetrators of this ghastly frame-up and political murder have been allowed die natural deaths after committing this dirty and heinous deed.

Just so nobody can say this blog is biased... This is written by a person who has personally experienced a life-time of harassment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of INjustice.

Alan L. Maki

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Al Franken... Minnesotans now have a chance to dump the Dumb Donkey

With the entrance of Priscilla Lord Faris into the MNDFL U.S. Senate Primary, Minnesotans not only have a chance to dump another dumb donkey, they have a chance to demand some real accountability from politicians.

Chances are, not many of those who have already endorsed Al Franken are going to be jumping ship... although, if they were smart, they would.

This opens up a whole new opportunity for grassroots activism centered on the issues of concern to progressives. This is an opportunity to get Minnesota back to at least the liberalism of Paul Wellstone in support of many progressive issues.

Priscilla Lord Faris isn't going to get us to a political level of a Floyd Olson, Elmer Benson or John Bernard; but, if grassroots activists and rank and file trade unionists demand something from Priscilla Lord Faris in exchange for their votes we sure can start to rebuild on the firm progressive foundations of Olson, Benson and Bernard.

Priscilla Lord Faris really doesn't have much choice other than to work with us if she wants our votes; and, she is going to need our votes to win the Primary on Tuesday, September 9.

Priscilla Lord Faris can only win if she brings forward real solutions to the problems working people are experiencing. If Priscilla Lord Faris doesn't do this she won't win in the Primary on September 9, and can't win in the General Election, because no one is going to turn out to vote for her... although her very principled stand in opposition to the war in Iraq is more than enough for me to vote for her.

Priscilla Lord Faris' stand in opposition to the war in Iraq is light-years ahead of any other politician in Minnesota... and most in the Nation.

So far, for the most part, Priscilla Lord Faris has only pitched the same meaningless messages we get from Obama; she is going to have to do better; she can do better. To win the Primary Election, Priscilla Lord Faris, is not only going to have to properly frame the issues, she is going to have to bring forward real solutions to the problems working people are experiencing where they work, in their communities and she is going to have to be as tough as her dad, Judge Miles Lord, on the corporations, especially when it comes to environmental issues.

Will Priscilla Lord Faris take on United States Steel and the peat mining boon-doggle in the Big Bog? Will she stand up and oppose the sulfide mining operations and the land-give-aways being pushed by Jim Oberstar and Amy Klobuchar in the Arrowhead?

Will Priscilla Lord Faris push for a minimum wage that is a real living wage based upon the calculations of the United States Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics for what a real living income is based upon the actual cost of living factors?

In fact, Priscilla Lord Faris has a great opportunity to show the Obama campaign what it will take to defeat big-business as you win an election.

If Priscilla Lord Faris fails to take up real solutions to the problems of working people like socialized health care; or, at least, the first step on the road to socialized health care--- single-payer universal health care--- by supporting House Resolution 676 (HR 676), chances are she can't defeat this Dumb Donkey the Summit Hill Club and Cadillac Liberals have brought forward in the form of Al Franken.

This would be a good time to get a commitment from a politician about saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, also.

Priscilla Lord Faris will have to confront the corrupt Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party machine if she intends to win, too; and this is good news for Minnesotans.

Already Brian Melendez and Andrew O'Leary along with their AIPAC funded entourage of Palestinian hating warmongers are trying to harass and strong-arm members of the Minnesota DFL State Central Committee into maintaining an allegiance to the Dumb Donkey--- Al Franken.

Melendez' and O'Leary's strong-arm tactics aren't sitting well with many people and using this kind of approach to politics is losing more friends than winning new ones which is not good this close to an election.

Look at this guy... do you really want him representing you in the United States Senate? Between the President, the House and the Senate, Washington D.C. is already a three-ring circus.

My advice to Minnesotans is: Don't rush to support Priscilla Lord Faris until we get a commitment from her that she will support H.R. 676... we need to start getting something for out votes because otherwise we don't get much from these Dumb Donkeys other than what the sparrows leave behind.

We shouldn't have to make a choice between a Dumb Donkey and a Dumb Cluck:

Let's find out if we have a real alternative in Priscilla Lord Faris...

At least she is intelligent.

See and hear her for yourself:


Priscilla Lord Faris is the very first MN DFL politician to come forward, bucking the worthless DFL party hacks, demonstrating a complete understanding of what this war in Iraq is all about--- oil--- and for once we have a politician demonstrating an empathy for the suffering people in Iraq as well as the American families suffering deaths of loved ones, along with understanding that this war is wasting our precious resources that could be going to socially useful programs... reason enough, in my opinion, to vote for Priscilla Lord Faris in the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party Primary Election on Tuesday, September 9... mark your calendars... this is a chance to send a real message to the politicians.

I would suggest working people should start communicating with Priscilla Lord Faris on the issues of real importance.

Here is her e-mail address:


Contrary to the lies of the political pundits, most of whom are employed by the corporations, progressive politics is winning politics in Minnesota.

Now Minnesotans really have something to discuss around the dinner table.

Alan L. Maki

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Obama needs to offer solutions to get working-class votes

Link to article in Capital Times I responded to:


Link to my Letter to the Editor:


Alan Maki: Obama needs to offer solutions to get working-class votes

Alan Maki — 7/17/2008

Dear Editor:

I agree with the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka that "labor must battle racism"; however, I don't think racism is the main obstacle to Obama getting the votes of working people.

Trumka recently eloquently rattled off the list of problems working people are experiencing. The problem Obama is having convincing workers to vote for him is that he has not put forward one single solution to any of the problems Trumka listed: "when it comes to protecting jobs, when it comes to protecting pensions, when it comes to health care, child care, pay equity for women, Social Security, Medicare, seeing to it that people can afford to go to college and buy a home -- and restoring the right to collective bargaining ..."

Until Obama clearly brings forward real solutions to the problems of working people he is going to have a very difficult time getting our votes -- and this has nothing to do with racism.

For some reason, Trumka conveniently made no mention of the need to end this war for oil in Iraq. Why not? We cannot have an economy of guns and butter.

Trumka also failed to note the other twin evil of racism: anti-communism.

Anyone who looks at the conservative and right-wing bloggers supporting John McCain sees that the attacks on Obama are both racist and anti-communist.

These attacks center around Frank Marshall Davis, the deceased black journalist and Communist Party member who Obama says was his "mentor." Apparently Joe McCarthy has risen from the grave and intends to go goose-stepping backward over the dead body of one of this country's most courageous working-class journalists.

Richard Trumka had better concern himself with both racism and anti-communism, pernicious forms of hate and bigotry which feed on each other and spell a doomsday scenario for progressive working-class politics.

Alan L. Maki

Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

Warroad, Minn.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A dangerous threat to Social Security linked to proposed "carbon tax" from Al Gore

Please distribute this widely to all your e-mail lists and list serves so Al Gore's speech gets the kind of discussion these ideas deserve in a democracy.

Here is Al Gore's entire speech on YouTube:


Just click, watch and listen.

My response to Al Gore's speech

The time has come to start talking about the politics and economics of livelihood... working class politics.

Al Gore has proposed that the solution for keeping Social Security solvent is to fund it with a "carbon tax."

Think about this: The idea behind the "carbon tax" is to end pollution... as carbon emissions decline, so will revenue from the "carbon tax."

Social Security should continue to be funded from the sources that are taxed right now... any change jeopardizes the very existence of Social Security.

If anything, Social Security taxes on the employers needs to be increased.

This idea of creating a "carbon tax" to fund social programs like Social Security is a very regressive and reactionary idea aimed at destroying the best progressive social program we have in this country--- Social Security.

Contrary to Al Gore's reactionary neoliberal thinking on this question, wealth should be taxed... and wealth should be taxed to the hilt to pay for universal social programs like Social Security.

Should there be a "carbon tax?" You bet, and the "carbon tax" should be so stiff that it forces real action.

However, there are other methods, working in conjunction with this proposed "carbon tax" which will get better results quicker; quicker than Al Gore is suggesting for a time frame.

Again, contrary to Gore's claim, he has provided no real solutions to global warming.

Gore talked about switching out incandescent light-bulbs--- Wal-mart is making big profits from people switching out their incandescent light-bulbs; Hugo Chavez is providing millions of new bulbs for free... again, the capitalists profit at the expense of people; socialism provides real solutions to help people and the environment.

Al Gore's proposals will see tax-payers subsidize the multi-national corporations and Wall Street coupon clippers and Wall Street entrepreneurs... if the decision-making process is left to Gore and Obama, workers will continue to lose jobs, the new "green" jobs will pay poverty wages, and poverty will worsen.

Shifting industrial production overseas where we can't see what is going up into the clouds is no solution.

The source of funding for Social Security is just where it belongs right now… the only reform in funding required is to drastically increase the burden on employers so Social Security will provide all those in retirement a real living income; and, retirement age should be reduced to 50 so that the millions of unemployed will have jobs so they continue to build-up the Social Security fund… unemployed people contribute nothing towards Social Security; apparently mercury emissions have retarded thinking among some politicians.

There is nothing wrong with Social Security that full-employment wouldn’t solve. Plain old common sense tells us that millions of unemployed workers are not contributing to Social Security--- neither are employers paying into the Social Security fund for unemployed workers. Unemployment is killing social security. The work week needs to be cut to 32 hours while paying all workers real living wages.

The minimum wage needs to be raised to a real living wage based upon the calculations of the United States Department of Labor's calculations for a real living wage. Raising the minimum wage will result in greater funding for the Social Security fund.

Social Security should derive its funding from the point nearest where wealth is being created; not where wealth is being destroyed.

A “carbon tax” should be placed on each and every corporation and industry, including a very heavy carbon tax on any industry using coal, gas and oil; this tax should be used to finance the creation of new clean, green industries being proposed by Barack Obama.

In fact, if these industries were threatened with nationalization and public ownership we would see more rapid compliance than with the threat of taxes or fines.

What is really bizarre is that Al Gore and Barack Obama have been completely silent when it comes to what kind of concrete action is required to save closing auto plants like the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant… ironically, this present clean, green manufacturing operation would pay no Social Security taxes at all under the Gore proposal supported by Barack Obama. Obama supports this hare-brained scheme like that advocated by Al Gore to finance Social Security; but he has not raised his voice to save the jobs of two-thousand auto-workers, who, with their employer are paying into Social Security in a very big way… Do Al Gore and Barack Obama support the capitalist scheme to close the St. Paul Ford Plant Twin Cities Assembly Plant, place a hydro dam powering the operation into the hands of a private foreign corporation, and shipping these two-thousand jobs to Thailand… this is really a boon to Social Security, isn’t it?

At some point there has to be some accountability from politicians like Al Gore and Barack Obama--- this is not a one-way street; in return for votes, politicians have to be taught to listen respectfully to working people with an eye towards solving problems in favor of working people and their standard of living and livelihoods.

How much will carbon emissions increase when the Ford Motor Company brings its new Ford Ranger plant in Thailand into full production once they begin shipping to North America? How much will the Ford Motor Company contribute towards the U.S. Social Security fund from "carbon taxes" on its operations in Thailand… The same amount they will pay into Social Security in Thailand--- absolutely nothing. Al Gore and Barack Obama have not considered this.

Why not nationalize any corporation that doesn’t meet Gore’s proposed guidelines?

Alan Greenspan is laughing like heck over all the dates set way into the future at which point these industries will have to come into compliance with carbon emission and pollution standards… Greenspan figures by these far distant dates established for compliance by these dirty industries, they will have been replaced with new technologies paid for compliments of U.S. tax-payers and the impoverishment of the working class in North America.

We could force 100% compliance with carbon emission and pollution standards in five years, instead of fifty, if these industries were threatened with nationalization for lack of compliance with clean air and water standards.

Again, transferring funding for Social Security from its present base of "wealth" to deriving revenue from a "carbon tax" is not the way to go.

Barack Obama and Al Gore propose that tax-payers fund this "new green economy" creating an entirely new industry and subsidizing corporations to the hilt... to the tune of trillions upon trillions of dollars; what tax-payers finance, tax-payers must own... including a share of the profits the equivalent of tax-payer funding. We must introduce this new kind of thinking into the political process right at the initial beginning stage.

Al Gore talks about tax-payers subsidizing the auto industry for the production of electric cars... fine, but tax-payers need to become joint owners of these subsidized corporations.

Al Gore talks about solving the problems of poverty... bottom line: Poverty cannot be ended as long as workers are paid poverty wages.

Modern state-monopoly capitalism has concocted these neoliberal schemes to confuse working people while standards of living are driven down through such schemes; before workers know what has hit them the damage is done. Workers create all wealth... the working class' standard of living must rise along with this "new clean, green industry."

The time has come for working people to assert themselves into the decision making process in a very vocal and decisive manner. Keeping quiet until after Election Day is not the answer. Speak up now.

Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore have finally come to the conclusion that the last eight years of the Bush Administration have been a complete failure. Well, we know from experience Democrats have not done any better so we better get busy and participate in this discussion, dialogue and debate.

Al Gore talks about "bold solutions" to our problems... Al Gore and Barack Obama need to be coerced to consider the bold solutions suggested here.

Al Gore is right in talking about how the war in Iraq is related to the problems related to global warming... however, Al Gore fails to understand that this drive to war is part and parcel of the imperialism's drive for maximum profits--- this insane drive for maximum profits is the source of our problems.

The capitalist system is on the skids to oblivion... do you want to stand by and see your families and your country dragged down with this rotten system as it crashes? Make no mistake, the system is crashing and we are the victims.

Gore has come up with a cute little rhyme: "We should tax what we burn; not what we earn." This is a simple minded perverse logic excluding corporate profits from the scheme of things. Al Gore conveniently ignores the fact that all wealth is created by labor; he also ignores the little fact that capitalists steal this wealth created by labor.

Al Gore would have us confuse this corporate wealth with what we "earn" in the form of our pay-checks. Wealth should be taxed... in addition to what the capitalists burn... most of us don't burn much of anything except a few paper bags and old newspapers.

We had this consumer society forced upon us; we had no part in the decision making process and we had better learn the lesson real quick that we shouldn't allow Al Gore and Barack Obama to allow a bunch of capitalists to do our thinking for us because humanity might not get another chance to collectively think these problems through if Al Gore's prognosis is correct, which I think it is... for delivering the warning Al Gore deserves a lot of credit... however, this doesn't give him and Barack Obama the right to force solutions on us without our participation.

Something to think about while sitting around the dinner table.

Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


Below is the New York Times coverage of Al Gore's speech which is followed by the speech itself.

New York Times coverage of Al Gore's speech:

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/18/washington/18gorecnd.html

Gore Calls for Carbon-Free Electric Power

Published: July 18, 2008

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Al Gore said on Thursday that Americans must abandon electricity generated by fossil fuels within a decade and rely on the sun, the winds and other environmentally friendly sources of power, or risk losing their national security as well as their creature comforts.

Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times
Al Gore spoke about energy policy in Washington on Thursday.

“The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk,” Mr. Gore said in a speech to an energy conference here. “The future of human civilization is at stake.”
Mr. Gore called for the kind of concerted national effort that enabled Americans to walk on the moon 39 years ago this month, just eight years after President John F. Kennedy famously embraced that goal. He said the goal of producing all of the nation’s electricity from “renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources” within 10 years is not some farfetched vision, although he said it would require fundamental changes in political thinking and personal expectations.

“This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative,” Mr. Gore said in his remarks at the conference. “It represents a challenge to all Americans, in every walk of life — to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.”

Although Mr. Gore has made global warming and energy conservation his signature issues, winning a Nobel Prize for his efforts, his speech on Thursday argued that the reasons for renouncing fossil fuels go far beyond concern for the climate.

In it, he cited military-intelligence studies warning of “dangerous national security implications” tied to climate change, including the possibility of “hundreds of millions of climate refugees” causing instability around the world, and said the United States is dangerously vulnerable because of its reliance on foreign oil.

Doubtless aware that his remarks would be met with skepticism, or even ridicule, in some quarters, Mr. Gore insisted in his speech that the goal of carbon-free power is not only achievable but practical, and that businesses would embrace it once they saw that it made fundamental economic sense.

Mr. Gore said the most important policy change in the transformation would be taxes on carbon dioxide production, with an accompanying reduction in payroll taxes. “We should tax what we burn, not what we earn,” he said.

The former vice president said in his speech that he could not recall a worse confluence of problems facing the country: higher gasoline prices, jobs being “outsourced,” the home mortgage industry in turmoil. “Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse,” he said.

By calling for new political leadership and speaking disdainfully of “defenders of the status quo,” Mr. Gore was hurling a dart at the man who defeated him for the presidency in 2000, George W. Bush. Critics of Mr. Bush say that his policies are too often colored by his background in the oil business.

A crucial shortcoming in the country’s political leadership is a failure to view interlocking problems as basically one problem that is “deeply ironic in its simplicity,” Mr. Gore said, namely “our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels.”

“We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet,” Mr. Gore said. “Every bit of that’s got to change.”

And it can change, he said, citing some scientists’ estimates that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth in 40 minutes to meet the world’s energy needs for a year, and that the winds that blow across the Midwest every day could meet the country’s daily electricity needs.

Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, immediately praised Mr. Gore’s speech. “For decades, Al Gore has challenged the skeptics in Washington on climate change and awakened the conscience of a nation to the urgency of this threat,” Mr. Obama said.

A shift away from fossil fuels would make the United States a leader instead of a sometime rebel on energy and conservation issues worldwide, Mr. Gore said. Nor, he said, would the hard work of people who toil on oil rigs and deep in the earth be for naught. “We should guarantee good jobs in the fresh air and sunshine for any coal miner displaced by impacts on the coal industry,” he said by way of example. “Every single one of them.”

“Of course, there are those who will tell us that this can’t be done,” he conceded. “But even those who reap the profits of the carbon age have to recognize the inevitability of its demise. As one OPEC oil minister observed, ‘The Stone Age didn’t end because of a shortage of stones.’ ”

The Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens said in a statement that Mr. Gore’s plan would still not address “the stranglehold that foreign oil has on our country.” Mr. Pickens has called for a blend of government leadership and private enterprise to harness the full potential of wind power to help break what he calls “our deadly addiction to foreign oil.”

This is Al Gore's actual speech

July 17, 2008

A Generational Challenge to Repower America (as prepared)

D.A.R. Constitution Hall

Washington, D.C.

Ladies and gentlemen:

There are times in the history of our nation when our very way of life depends upon dispelling illusions and awakening to the challenge of a present danger. In such moments, we are called upon to move quickly and boldly to shake off complacency, throw aside old habits and rise, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of big changes. Those who, for whatever reason, refuse to do their part must either be persuaded to join the effort or asked to step aside. This is such a moment. The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk. And even more – if more should be required – the future of human civilization is at stake.

I don’t remember a time in our country when so many things seemed to be going so wrong simultaneously. Our economy is in terrible shape and getting worse, gasoline prices are increasing dramatically, and so are electricity rates. Jobs are being outsourced. Home mortgages are in trouble. Banks, automobile companies and other institutions we depend upon are under growing pressure. Distinguished senior business leaders are telling us that this is just the beginning unless we find the courage to make some major changes quickly.

The climate crisis, in particular, is getting a lot worse – much more quickly than predicted. Scientists with access to data from Navy submarines traversing underneath the North polar ice cap have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months. This will further increase the melting pressure on Greenland. According to experts, the Jakobshavn glacier, one of Greenland’s largest, is moving at a faster rate than ever before, losing 20 million tons of ice every day, equivalent to the amount of water used every year by the residents of New York City.

Two major studies from military intelligence experts have warned our leaders about the dangerous national security implications of the climate crisis, including the possibility of hundreds of millions of climate refugees destabilizing nations around the world.

Just two days ago, 27 senior statesmen and retired military leaders warned of the national security threat from an "energy tsunami" that would be triggered by a loss of our access to foreign oil. Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse.

And by the way, our weather sure is getting strange, isn’t it? There seem to be more tornadoes than in living memory, longer droughts, bigger downpours and record floods. Unprecedented fires are burning in California and elsewhere in the American West. Higher temperatures lead to drier vegetation that makes kindling for mega-fires of the kind that have been raging in Canada, Greece, Russia, China, South America, Australia and Africa. Scientists in the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science at Tel Aviv University tell us that for every one degree increase in temperature, lightning strikes will go up another 10 percent. And it is lightning, after all, that is principally responsible for igniting the conflagration in California today.

Like a lot of people, it seems to me that all these problems are bigger than any of the solutions that have thus far been proposed for them, and that’s been worrying me.

I’m convinced that one reason we’ve seemed paralyzed in the face of these crises is our tendency to offer old solutions to each crisis separately – without taking the others into account. And these outdated proposals have not only been ineffective – they almost always make the other crises even worse.

Yet when we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges – the economic, environmental and national security crises.

We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.

But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard, all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we’re holding the answer to all of them right in our hand.

The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels.

In my search for genuinely effective answers to the climate crisis, I have held a series of "solutions summits" with engineers, scientists, and CEOs. In those discussions, one thing has become abundantly clear: when you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices. Moreover, they are also the very same solutions we need to guarantee our national security without having to go to war in the Persian Gulf.

What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don't cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home?

We have such fuels. Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world’s energy needs for a full year. Tapping just a small portion of this solar energy could provide all of the electricity America uses.

And enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to also meet 100 percent of US electricity demand. Geothermal energy, similarly, is capable of providing enormous supplies of electricity for America.

The quickest, cheapest and best way to start using all this renewable energy is in the production of electricity. In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses.

But to make this exciting potential a reality, and truly solve our nation’s problems, we need a new start.

That’s why I’m proposing today a strategic initiative designed to free us from the crises that are holding us down and to regain control of our own destiny. It’s not the only thing we need to do. But this strategic challenge is the lynchpin of a bold new strategy needed to re-power America.

Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.

This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative. It represents a challenge to all Americans – in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.

A few years ago, it would not have been possible to issue such a challenge. But here’s what’s changed: the sharp cost reductions now beginning to take place in solar, wind, and geothermal power – coupled with the recent dramatic price increases for oil and coal – have radically changed the economics of energy.

When I first went to Congress 32 years ago, I listened to experts testify that if oil ever got to $35 a barrel, then renewable sources of energy would become competitive. Well, today, the price of oil is over $135 per barrel. And sure enough, billions of dollars of new investment are flowing into the development of concentrated solar thermal, photovoltaics, windmills, geothermal plants, and a variety of ingenious new ways to improve our efficiency and conserve presently wasted energy.

And as the demand for renewable energy grows, the costs will continue to fall. Let me give you one revealing example: the price of the specialized silicon used to make solar cells was recently as high as $300 per kilogram. But the newest contracts have prices as low as $50 a kilogram.

You know, the same thing happened with computer chips – also made out of silicon. The price paid for the same performance came down by 50 percent every 18 months – year after year, and that’s what’s happened for 40 years in a row.

To those who argue that we do not yet have the technology to accomplish these results with renewable energy: I ask them to come with me to meet the entrepreneurs who will drive this revolution. I’ve seen what they are doing and I have no doubt that we can meet this challenge.

To those who say the costs are still too high: I ask them to consider whether the costs of oil and coal will ever stop increasing if we keep relying on quickly depleting energy sources to feed a rapidly growing demand all around the world. When demand for oil and coal increases, their price goes up. When demand for solar cells increases, the price often comes down.

When we send money to foreign countries to buy nearly 70 percent of the oil we use every day, they build new skyscrapers and we lose jobs. When we spend that money building solar arrays and windmills, we build competitive industries and gain jobs here at home.

Of course there are those who will tell us this can't be done. Some of the voices we hear are the defenders of the status quo – the ones with a vested interest in perpetuating the current system, no matter how high a price the rest of us will have to pay. But even those who reap the profits of the carbon age have to recognize the inevitability of its demise. As one OPEC oil minister observed, "The Stone Age didn’t end because of a shortage of stones."

To those who say 10 years is not enough time, I respectfully ask them to consider what the world's scientists are telling us about the risks we face if we don’t act in 10 years. The leading experts predict that we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis. When the use of oil and coal goes up, pollution goes up. When the use of solar, wind and geothermal increases, pollution comes down.

To those who say the challenge is not politically viable: I suggest they go before the American people and try to defend the status quo. Then bear witness to the people's appetite for change.

I for one do not believe our country can withstand 10 more years of the status quo. Our families cannot stand 10 more years of gas price increases. Our workers cannot stand 10 more years of job losses and outsourcing of factories. Our economy cannot stand 10 more years of sending $2 billion every 24 hours to foreign countries for oil. And our soldiers and their families cannot take another 10 years of repeated troop deployments to dangerous regions that just happen to have large oil supplies.

What could we do instead for the next 10 years? What should we do during the next 10 years? Some of our greatest accomplishments as a nation have resulted from commitments to reach a goal that fell well beyond the next election: the Marshall Plan, Social Security, the interstate highway system. But a political promise to do something

40 years from now is universally ignored because everyone knows that it’s meaningless. Ten years is about the maximum time that we as a nation can hold a steady aim and hit our target.

When President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely in 10 years, many people doubted we could accomplish that goal. But 8 years and 2 months later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon.

To be sure, reaching the goal of 100 percent renewable and truly clean electricity within 10 years will require us to overcome many obstacles. At present, for example, we do not have a unified national grid that is sufficiently advanced to link the areas where the sun shines and the wind blows to the cities in the East and the West that need the electricity. Our national electric grid is critical infrastructure, as vital to the health and security of our economy as our highways and telecommunication networks. Today, our grids are antiquated, fragile, and vulnerable to cascading failure. Power outages and defects in the current grid system cost US businesses more than $120 billion dollars a year. It has to be upgraded anyway.

We could further increase the value and efficiency of a Unified National Grid by helping our struggling auto giants switch to the manufacture of plug-in electric cars. An electric vehicle fleet would sharply reduce the cost of driving a car, reduce pollution, and increase the flexibility of our electricity grid.

At the same time, of course, we need to greatly improve our commitment to efficiency and conservation. That’s the best investment we can make.

America's transition to renewable energy sources must also include adequate provisions to assist those Americans who would unfairly face hardship. For example, we must recognize those who have toiled in dangerous conditions to bring us our present energy supply. We should guarantee good jobs in the fresh air and sunshine for any coal miner displaced by impacts on the coal industry. Every single one of them.

Of course, we could and should speed up this transition by insisting that the price of carbon-based energy include the costs of the environmental damage it causes. I have long supported a sharp reduction in payroll taxes with the difference made up in CO2 taxes. We should tax what we burn, not what we earn. This is the single most important policy change we can make.

In order to foster international cooperation, it is also essential that the United States rejoin the global community and lead efforts to secure an international treaty at Copenhagen in December of next year that includes a cap on CO2 emissions and a global partnership that recognizes the necessity of addressing the threats of extreme poverty and disease as part of the world’s agenda for solving the climate crisis.

Of course the greatest obstacle to meeting the challenge of 100 percent renewable electricity in 10 years may be the deep dysfunction of our politics and our self-governing system as it exists today. In recent years, our politics has tended toward incremental proposals made up of small policies designed to avoid offending special interests, alternating with occasional baby steps in the right direction. Our democracy has become sclerotic at a time when these crises require boldness.

It is only a truly dysfunctional system that would buy into the perverse logic that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is drilling for more oil ten years from now.

Am I the only one who finds it strange that our government so often adopts a so-called solution that has absolutely nothing to do with the problem it is supposed to address? When people rightly complain about higher gasoline prices, we propose to give more money to the oil companies and pretend that they’re going to bring gasoline prices down. It will do nothing of the sort, and everyone knows it. If we keep going back to the same policies that have never ever worked in the past and have served only to produce the highest gasoline prices in history alongside the greatest oil company profits in history, nobody should be surprised if we get the same result over and over again. But the Congress may be poised to move in that direction anyway because some of them are being stampeded by lobbyists for special interests that know how to make the system work for them instead of the American people.

If you want to know the truth about gasoline prices, here it is: the exploding demand for oil, especially in places like China, is overwhelming the rate of new discoveries by so much that oil prices are almost certain to continue upward over time no matter what the oil companies promise. And politicians cannot bring gasoline prices down in the short term.

However, there actually is one extremely effective way to bring the costs of driving a car way down within a few short years. The way to bring gas prices down is to end our dependence on oil and use the renewable sources that can give us the equivalent of $1 per gallon gasoline.

Many Americans have begun to wonder whether or not we’ve simply lost our appetite for bold policy solutions. And folks who claim to know how our system works these days have told us we might as well forget about our political system doing anything bold, especially if it is contrary to the wishes of special interests. And I’ve got to admit, that sure seems to be the way things have been going. But I’ve begun to hear different voices in this country from people who are not only tired of baby steps and special interest politics, but are hungry for a new, different and bold approach.

We are on the eve of a presidential election. We are in the midst of an international climate treaty process that will conclude its work before the end of the first year of the new president's term. It is a great error to say that the United States must wait for others to join us in this matter. In fact, we must move first, because that is the key to getting others to follow; and because moving first is in our own national interest.

So I ask you to join with me to call on every candidate, at every level, to accept this challenge – for America to be running on 100 percent zero-carbon electricity in 10 years. It's time for us to move beyond empty rhetoric. We need to act now.

This is a generational moment. A moment when we decide our own path and our collective fate. I'm asking you – each of you – to join me and build this future. Please join the WE campaign at wecansolveit.org. We need you. And we need you now. We're committed to changing not just light bulbs, but laws. And laws will only change with leadership.

On July 16, 1969, the United States of America was finally ready to meet President Kennedy’s challenge of landing Americans on the moon. I will never forget standing beside my father a few miles from the launch site, waiting for the giant Saturn 5 rocket to lift Apollo 11 into the sky. I was a young man, 21 years old, who had graduated from college a month before and was enlisting in the United States Army three weeks later.

I will never forget the inspiration of those minutes. The power and the vibration of the giant rocket’s engines shook my entire body. As I watched the rocket rise, slowly at first and then with great speed, the sound was deafening. We craned our necks to follow its path until we were looking straight up into the air. And then four days later, I watched along with hundreds of millions of others around the world as Neil Armstrong took one small step to the surface of the moon and changed the history of the human race.

We must now lift our nation to reach another goal that will change history. Our entire civilization depends upon us now embarking on a new journey of exploration and discovery. Our success depends on our willingness as a people to undertake this journey and to complete it within 10 years. Once again, we have an opportunity to take a giant leap for humankind.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I join you in wishing Nelson Mandela a 90th Happy Birthday


Your Happy Birthday wishes to Nelson Mandela and comments about poverty are right on the mark.

I join you and millions of people around the world wishing Nelson Mandela a Happy 90th Birthday.

I would add one thing; Nelson Mandela is one heck of a man to have endured so many years of repression and he still has the humanity to suggest to the multi-national corporations they need to return the wealth they have stolen from the people of South Africa because as anyone can see the workers of South Africa are organizing to take what rightfully belongs to them.

Those greedy people who have become filthy rich by creating so much misery for so many people are once again ignoring the warnings Mandela is giving to them by suggesting they should use their wealth to fight poverty.

No doubt these greedy capitalists are going to push South African workers to take what they are entitled to.

In my opinion, the struggle against apartheid was just a dress rehearsal for the struggle to come.

I have been to South Africa a number of times and I could just feel the revolution that is brewing.

Mandela has given these greedy capitalists fair warning; just as he warned that racist apartheid oppression would be eliminated by the struggle of the people. They didn't listen to Mandela's plea for justice then and they won't now.

Brianna Walters
Member, NAACP

Happy 90th Birthday Nelson Mandela!

People struggling against racism & repression, for peace, freedom, social & economic justice, against capitalism & imperialism and for socialism are joining together to wish Nelson Mandela, the heroic South African freedom fighter, a happy 90th birthday.

I join in wishing Nelson Mandela a happy 90th birthday!

Mandela, in news interviews, has called on the rich to share their wealth with the poor.

People are poor and impoverished because the rich have stolen the wealth working people have created. The rich are not going to voluntarily give up any of their wealth to help the poor.

Included among the "news" reports coming from the main stream media is the false idea that Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for almost three decades for the very struggle he led for which today he is recognized as a great hero, is the totally erroneous and fabricated misinformation that Mandela was, "released in 1990 to lead negotiations that ended decades of racist white rule."

Nothing could be further from the truth; it took a very powerful international movement to free Mandela and his comrades and end the racist system of apartheid which had been kept in place by the largest multinational corporations--- from the Ford Motor Company to General Motors and international mining corporations.

South Africans are plagued by poverty today, like impoverished people everywhere, because these corporations, quite literally, "robbed them blind."

As Mandela is aware, and the main stream media refuses to report, a more powerful, more militant, more united international working class movement will be required to eradicate poverty than the movement which was required to free Mandela and put an end to apartheid.

Very powerful social and working class movements will be required in order to wrest the wealth from the rich.

We are not simply speaking of relieving the rich of their wealth and distributing this wealth to the impoverished of the world.

What we are talking about is placing the mines, mills and factories presently under the ownership of powerful Wall Street coupon clippers, bankers and investors under public ownership so what is produced is owned by society and distributed according to need.

This is the only way to end poverty; to replace capitalism with socialism.

A socialist revolution is needed... workers rising in revolution to put an end to exploitation and poverty in every land would be a fitting present for Nelson Mandela on his next birthday.

Happy birthday Nelson Mandela... we appreciate your example of courage in the struggle... we share your thoughts of socialist revolution on your 90th birthday!

Happy 90th Birthday, Nelson Mandela!

Mandela on 90th birthday: Rich should help poor


Jul 18, 6:22 AM (ET)


QUNU, South Africa (AP) - Nelson Mandela celebrated his 90th birthday Friday by calling on the wealthy to share with the less fortunate and wishing that he had been able to spend more time with his family during the anti-apartheid struggle.

In an interview at his home in rural southeastern South Africa, the anti-apartheid icon was asked if he had a message for the world.

"There are many people in South Africa who are rich and who can share those riches with those not so fortunate who have not been able to conquer poverty," Mandela said.

Sitting with his wife Graca Machel in a lounge of the large home he built in Qunu, Mandela said he was fortunate to have reached 90, but in the countryside and in the towns "poverty has gripped our people.

"If you are poor, you are not likely to live long," he said.

At one point, a granddaughter brought a bowl of flowers into the room and gave Mandela a birthday kiss. He was asked if he wished he had had more time with his family during a life spent fighting apartheid and then leading South Africa.

"I am sure for many people that is their wish," he said. "I also have that wish that I spent more time (with my family). But I don't regret it."

Mandela was imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against apartheid.

He was released in 1990 to lead negotiations that ended decades of racist white rule. He was elected president in South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994. He now campaigns against poverty, illiteracy and AIDS in Africa.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Steve Tobocman and Michigan AFL-CIO leaders are in a tizzy; they don't appreciate my advice to adjuncts living in poverty

AFL-CIO and Michigan Democratic Party leaders in Michigan are hopping mad that I gave a group of Northern Michigan University adjuncts the following advice.

State Representative Steve Tobocman, the Democratic House Floor Leader cried, "How much longer are we going to allow Maki to operate in Michigan; he isn't even a bonafide labor leader, he has no affiliation with the AFL-CIO or Change to Win."

Anyways, all this commotion just because I gave some adjuncts living in poverty in Michigan's Upper Peninsula employed at Northern Michigan University in Marquette this advice:

Check this out… This is what I was talking about how the Election can really be used by you to push for your demands:

McCain got ambushed real good by a teacher at the NAACP National Convention…

During a question-and-answer session, McCain also sought to assuage a frustrated Head Start teacher who complained that her salary from the federal program simply isn't enough.

The woman, wearing a union T-shirt, said she was making $17,000 a year and cannot afford housing, gas, food, or health care for her children. "We cannot continue this way," she said.

Full article below my comments…

You can learn from this. This teacher put Head Start teachers on the radar of every politician in this country. You can do the same.

Now, if this kind of activity is combined with an unrelenting campaign showing a couple of your families and detailing what it costs you to live, together with how much you presently make… you have a very powerful message… do what the Democrats don’t want you to do… focus on the Democrats by insisting they solve your problems by making sure you have a real living income.

[I think this Head Start teacher was wrong for focusing on McCain instead of Obama--- obviously her union was doing Obama a favor he has not earned. Lots of workers are making this mistake because the business union mentality of most “labor leaders” doesn’t allow them to “think outside the box. Democrats are going to be in power after Election Day so, what sense does it make to take your problems to McCain? More misleadership. More lack of clear thinking. And yet these same “leaders” will say Obama will be a labor President… Ya, sure, like Jennifer Granholm is Michigan’s “labor governor” and leaves you in poverty. Don’t allow a bunch of do-nothing labor leaders and do-nothing politicians to tell you to keep your mouths shut until after the Election because this will hurt Democrats--- these Democrats have not demonstrated one iota of concern for you or you wouldn’t be living in poverty right now.]

The Democrats are happy the teachers are focusing on McCain and are staying off their back. Do just the opposite and insist the Democrats fix your problem if they expect you to consider giving them your vote… you can always tell them: Solve our problem before the Election or we are telling people why we are staying home on Election Day. You better believe the Democrats don’t want a bunch of university adjuncts pushing this kind of message to the public.

Make the point: If Democrats can’t even provide 200 adjuncts at Northern Michigan University with a living income; how can we expect Democrats to solve the problems associated with poverty afflicting the entire nation?

You have a lot of power right now as this election heats up… an opportunity like this doesn’t come along very often.

Labor Day is coming up; I am sure there would be much embarrassment if you start bombarding the letters to the editors all over the UP and all the newspapers with the message: We want a living income by Labor Day or we aren’t voting.

Just say you expect a real living income in return for your vote… the corporations get plenty for their campaign contributions and all you want is a living income from these politicians.



McCain at NAACP pledges more education options

By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer

CINCINNATI - John McCain told the NAACP and some skeptical black voters Wednesday that he will expand education opportunities, partly through vouchers for low-income children to attend private school.

The likely Republican presidential nominee addressed the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the nation's oldest civil rights organization.

In greeting the group, McCain praised Democrat Barack Obama's historic campaign, but said the Illinois senator is wrong to oppose school vouchers for students in failing public schools. It is time, McCain said, to use vouchers and other tools like merit pay for teachers to break from conventional thinking on educational policy.

Obama, he said, has dismissed support for private school vouchers for low-income Americans.

"All of that went over well with the teachers union, but where does it leave families and their children who are stuck in failing schools?" the Arizona senator asked. "No entrenched bureaucracy or union should deny parents that choice and children that opportunity."

In fact, Obama has spoken in favor of performance-based merit pay for individual public school teachers, even telling the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union, in a speech last year that the idea should be considered.

McCain received mostly polite applause in a room with some empty seats, two days after Obama's enthusiastic reception from a standing-room only audience hoping to see him become the first black president.

In his speech, McCain lauded Martin Luther King, Jr., as a leader who "loved and honored his country even when the feeling was unreturned, and counseled others to do the same."

In praising King to the NAACP, McCain used language similar to his mea culpa in April on the 40th anniversary of the civil rights leader's assassination, saying he had been wrong to vote against a federal holiday honoring King.

The NAACP gathering on Monday heard from Obama, who said he would push the government to provide more education and economic assistance, but he also drew big cheers when he urged blacks to demand more of themselves.

"Whatever the outcome in November," McCain told the crowd Wednesday, "Senator Obama has achieved a great thing, for himself and for his country, and I thank him for it. ... Don't tell him I said this, but he is an impressive fellow in many ways."

During a question-and-answer session, McCain also sought to assuage a frustrated Head Start teacher who complained that her salary from the federal program simply isn't enough.

The woman, wearing a union T-shirt, said she was making $17,000 a year and cannot afford housing, gas, food, or health care for her children. "We cannot continue this way," she said.

McCain said the point of his education platform was to boost pay for "a great and outstanding teacher like you" and other educators who are passionate about their work.

"I want to reward good teachers," said McCain.

Members of the audience said afterward they were glad to have heard from McCain, even if it didn't change their minds.

"Winning votes, I'm not so sure, but friends, yes," the Rev. Ronald Terry, pastor of New Friendship Baptist Church in Macon, Ga., said of McCain's appearance.

Marjory Shields, a Penn State extension nutritionist from Croydon, Pa., said McCain said nothing to make her waver from her support of Obama.

"I gave him the courtesy of listening to his platform. I thought that in order for me to make an informed vote this November I really need to hear what all the candidates have to say," Shields said.

"As far as my opinion on his speech, I feel he did not address certain key issues I wish he would have elaborated on," such as more specifics on education funding, she said.

McCain said vouchers and merit pay for teachers whose students perform well are two important ways to help kids in failing schools.

"After decades of hearing the same big promises from the public education establishment, and seeing the same poor results, it is surely time to shake off old ways and to demand new reforms," he said. "That isn't just my opinion. It is the conviction of parents in poor neighborhoods across this nation who want better lives for their children."

Both the merit pay and voucher proposals have met stiff opposition from teachers unions. Obama has indicated he would support some kind of merit pay system for teachers, if teachers help craft it.

Later Wednesday, McCain traveled to Omaha, Neb., where he toured Werner Enterprises, a trucking company, and promoted his plan for a summer suspension of the federal gas tax to help drivers cope with surging fuel prices.

Werner executives said a yearlong gas tax holiday would save them about $40 million, which could be spent on making their trucks more efficient.

Asked what individuals could do to lower the price of gas, McCain said they "can practice conservation" and pressure Congress to allow more offshore drilling for oil.


Associated Press writer Terry Kinney contributed to this report.

Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

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