Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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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...

Monday, April 21, 2008

More on "Doing Elections" A reply to Carl Davidson and "Progressives for Obama"

-----Original Message-----

From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]

Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 9:49 AM

To: 'carld717@aol.com'

Cc: 'Carolyn Laine'

Subject: RE: Are Democrats about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Three Views... a reply to Carl Davidson; another response to Carl Davidson's reply

Okay, Carl…

Let’s take it point by point regarding your response:

-----Original Message-----

From: Carl Davidson [mailto:carld717@aol.com]

Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 7:06 AM

To: 'Alan Maki'

Cc: 'Carolyn Laine'

Subject: RE: Are Democrats about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Three Views... a reply to Carl Davidson

Read a little closer, Alan

We don't even endorse Obama; we say he's 'the best option' of the three.

I don’t understand the difference; seems to me a play with words.

We don't call him a progressive, either. We say he's taking a centrist position in a left-center coalition that needs a progressive poll to curb rightward drift.

There is no left-center coalition; there is a coalition of sorts of the center, right, and those--- among the majority of Obama’s enthusiastic supporters, who have coalesced around a meaningless phrase of “hope.”

We're independent of his campaign, and don't have to defend every word he ever uttered--and don't.

“Independent?” No way. The name, “Progressives for Obama” says it all. The word “for” means a little something, eh?

Plant closings? I've already posted on that topic here. We've probably got more closed plants around here than Minnesota has plants, period. We've pushed him to come out for the Apollo Alliance as an antidote, and recently he has.

The “Apollo Alliance” is a front for the class-collaborationist labor “leaders” and pseudo “environmentalists working, as class-collaborationist do, with corporate managements and Wall Street coupon clippers looking to make their next big bucks in the “greening of America;” the only “green” they care about is “money green.” Where could you find phonier leaders of either group than Carl Pope, Leo Gerard, David Foster and Maurice Strong. One day Carl Pope and Leo Girard are standing in front of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant saying “Save the plant and two-thousand jobs;” the next day they are working in league with, and part of a “coalition” including, the Ford Motor Company’s land development division, the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, the Summit Hill Club and, oh yes… all the Democrats who are supporting Obama.

Carl, we both know where Obama will stand on this issue of the closing of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, the sale of the hydro dam that has powered Ford’s manufacturing operations to a foreign corporation; and, most importantly, the loss of two-thousand union jobs. Are you going to come to Minnesota next and make sure all workers who might gain employment in the model “green” yuppie community of cute little boutiques and racially segregated upscale housing and research and development centers receive wages and benefits in line with what Ford workers had (minus the two-tier wages) before the Plant is demolished and their incomes will be secure until these workers are rehired? Obama could come to St. Paul and walk the strip of Ford Parkway up the hill from the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and assure the thousands of workers now employed in this area at mostly minimum wages, or slightly higher up to about nine dollars an hour, without any benefits?

The IAM's honcho is attacking Obama from the right, with a red-baiting, terrorist-baiting smear. I wouldn't associate myself with it , if I were you.

I associate myself with Buffenbarger’s remarks to the extent he has articulated “why” he is not supporting Obama. As to Buffenbargar coming from the “right” with a “red-baiting,” “terrorist-baiting” smear, I would appreciate you providing me with the evidence of all three since the weakness I heard in his speech was that he did the same thing you are doing… only urging support for Hillary Clinton. If we are talking about Buffebargar’s speech which became the speech so widely referred to and characterized “as a vicious attack on Obama,” I heard none of what you refer to as “right,” “red-baiting,” and “terrorist-baiting smear.”

You can watch and listen to Buffenbargar’s complete speech from my past blog, in which you will find my criticism of his speech, too; however, either Obama did what Buffenbargar said, or he didn’t--- to date, I have heard no refutation from Obama of Buffenbargar’s remarks. Check out his speech for yourself:


In PA at the moment, I'd guess a majority of the young workers are for Obama, while those over 30 split evenly between Obama, Clinton and McCain. Those in the working class here willing to break with both racism and war are, in their majority, for Obama. However you want to slice it, he has a base of support in the working class here. But it's very tight, the Clintons and McCain are using all sorts of crap, and we'll see tomorrow. Clinton was ahead by 18 points going into this; we'll see if it shrinks.

I have little pull with Obama's speaking schedule, but I've read his speeches at other sites of plant closings, including some back in Illinois years ago. They're very good; and he doesn't shy away from the issue at all. Talk to the Dem Farm-Labor people in your state. You may get your wish .

As a matter of fact, the MN DFL’ers leading the drive for support of Obama, are among the most corrupt politicians in Minnesota. Anti-communism, red-baiting and smearing people in every conceivable way is their stock in trade in trying to avoid any real issues of importance to working people.

It matters to us whether McCain is in the White House. If it matters to you, do something about it.

As you are well aware, it does matter to me that McCain does not sit in the White House. That is why I wonder why any “progressives” would bother wasting their time with a “Progressives for Obama” campaign… I would suggest that you would be better off spending your time and resources organizing around the real issues of importance to working people… if Obama then wants these votes he can come ask for the votes by explaining what he will do if elected concerning solving the problems of working people. If you are telling me that Obama supports the Apollo Alliance as the basis for supporting him, this is all I need to know to tell me I shouldn’t bother wasting my time working to get him into the White House.

Carl, come to the Twin Cities to rally against the Republicans in September… bring along Obama and “The Boss” to join our picket line demanding passage of SF 607 and public ownership of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and the hydro dam so we can save two-thousand jobs and pave the way for similar struggles to protect the livelihoods of workers “Born in the USA.”

Yours in the struggle for peace and social & economic justice,

Alan L. Maki

Keep On Keepin' On!

Carl Davidson


From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]

Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 1:10 AM

To: carld717@aol.com; WCS-A@yahoogroups.com

Cc: 'Carolyn Laine'

Subject: RE: Are Democrats about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Three Views... a reply to Carl Davidson


If I had any influence with Springsteen I would certainly suggest he look a little closer at the real issues facing working people, as I would you, before endorsing Obama.

Let us get one thing straight, neither Clinton nor Obama are “progressive;” neither have a “progressive” position on any issue at all.

Isn’t it simply good enough to say: “Vote against McCain?”

I’m not making any more of a “backhandedly” attempt to help Clinton or McCain then what you “Progressives for Obama” have done with the issues of working people.

As far as I can see, and if the IAM’s Buffenbarger is telling the truth about Obama, there is no reason why progressives should be endorsing him or working for him. There was a time when the term “progressive” meant that one had to align themselves with being for peace and social and economic justice and demonstrate a clear concern for the rights and problems of working people.

Since no one ever asked my opinion of starting “Progressives for Obama” I’m not asking for anyone’s opinion or approval in what I have to say. I am merely voicing an opinion which isn’t getting attention even though I find many working people agreeing with me.

Maybe you should consider asking Obama to tour the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant telling the workers exactly what he intends to do regarding the plant and saving these two-thousand jobs?

Perhaps you could post the position of “Progressives for Obama” on the plant closing issue on your web site?

You might want to check out my blog below for further comments about all of this.

Quite frankly, Carl, this is one time I “hope” I am wrong but there is nothing to suggest that I am… Obama is every bit the equal of Hillary Clinton, and that does not bode well for the country or for the working class.

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


-----Original Message-----

From: Carl Davidson [mailto:carld717@aol.com]

Sent: Friday, April 18, 2008 12:28 PM

To: 'Alan Maki'; WCS-A@yahoogroups.com

Cc: 'Carolyn Laine'

Subject: RE: Are Democrats about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Three Views

I don't have to come to Minnesota to talk with workers losing their jobs, or who've already lost them. There's plenty right here in Beaver County, PA, where the 'Progressives for Obama' website is run from. And I'm talking with them every day.

I'm will to make a small wager, though. There's plenty of discontent here with elections generally, both parties, and all three candidates, some more than others. Even so, I'll bet more working-class votes turn out this time than any election in recent memory.

Our http://progressivesforobama.blogspot.com project is independent of the campaign, critical of Obama and pushes him on jobs and the war. So unless you want us to sit it out, or run our project to backhandedly help Clinto or McCain, I'm not sure of the reason behind your little dig at us. It's not like there aren't working class people invlved in it, as well as a few Hollywood folks lending their names. Or would you have Springsteen take back his endorsement?

Keep On Keepin' On!

Carl Davidson


From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]

Sent: Friday, April 18, 2008 1:06 PM

To: WCS-A@yahoogroups.com

Cc: 'Carl Davidson'; 'Carolyn Laine'

Subject: Are Democrats about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Three Views
Are Democrats about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

From Friday, April 18, 2008, New York Times Digest


Obama’s Decline

In Iowa, Barack Obama promised to be
something new — a leader who would confront
unpleasant truths, embrace novel policies and
unify the country. If he had knocked Hillary
Clinton out in New Hampshire and entered
general election mode early, this enormously
thoughtful man would have become that.

But he did not knock her out, and the aura
around Obama has changed. He sprinkled
his debate performance Wednesday with the
sorts of fibs, evasions and hypocrisies that
are the stuff of conventional politics. He also
made a pair of cynical promises.

He made a sweeping pledge never to raise
taxes on anybody making less than $200,000 to
$250,000 a year. That will make it impossible
to address entitlement reform. It will also
make it much harder to afford the vast array
of tax breaks, health care reforms and energy
projects that he promises to deliver.

Then he made an iron vow to get the troops
out of Iraq within 16 months. Neither Obama
nor anyone else has any clue what conditions
will be like when the next president takes office.
If Obama is elected, he will either go back
on this pledge, destroying his credibility, or he
will risk genocide in the region and a political
war at home.

Then there are the cultural issues. When
Obama goes to a church infused with liberation
theology, when he makes ill-informed
comments about working-class voters, when
he bowls a 37 for crying out loud, voters are
going to wonder if he’s one of them.

It was inevitable that the period of “Yes We
Can!” deification would come to an end. It was
not inevitable that Obama would now look so
vulnerable. He’ll win the nomination, but in a
matchup against John McCain, he is behind in
Florida, Missouri and Ohio, and merely tied
in must-win states like Michigan, Minnesota,
New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A generic
Democrat now beats a generic Republican by
13 points, but Obama is trailing his own party.
One in five Democrats say they would vote for
McCain over Obama.

General election voters are different from
primary voters. Among them, Obama is lagging
among seniors and men. Instead of winning
over white high school-educated voters
who are tired of Bush and conventional politics,
he does worse than previous nominees.

John Judis and Ruy Teixeira have estimated a
Democrat has to win 45 percent of such voters
to take the White House. I’ve asked several of
the most skillful Democratic politicians over
the past few weeks, and they all think that’s
going to be hard.

A few months ago, Obama was riding his
talents. Clinton has ground him down, and we
are now facing an interesting phenomenon.

Republicans have long assumed they would
lose because of the economy and the sad state
of their party. Now, Democrats are deeply
worried their nominee will lose in November.

Welcome to 2008. Everybody’s miserable.

From Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice


Thursday, April 17, 2008

For Peace, Jobs and Social Justice

The political pundits and think tanks continue to try to divide working class voters into liberals, progressives and conservatives; a new and shameful twist in trying to divide the working class along racial lines by political ideology as Democrats seek to explain their dwindling support in the polls in spite of massive working class rejection of the Republican Party.

It is almost like the Democrats are conceding defeat to the Republicans before the election is held as they attempt to affix blame for the defeat on working people rather than upon themselves.

But, this is nothing new, since the Democrats have been caving in to the Republicans for over thirty years now, and acquiescing to wars and driving down the standards of living of working people.

These same pundits and think-tank gurus continue to evade the problem of why so many working class people refuse to vote.

We think there is a reason why workers are not voting.

The reason is no one is bringing forward a progressive agenda based upon the needs of working people to solve pressing problems of rising food prices, home foreclosures and evictions along with high rents, poverty wages, plant closings, unemployment, the high cost of education, lack of access to health care, polluted & contaminated waters, land and air, the crisis of global warming and a dirty war for oil and regional domination in Iraq--- together with the robbery at the pumps... to name just a few of the problems, for starters, which the Democratic Party refuses to address.

Addressing these problems by bringing forward real solutions is not the same as acknowledging these problems which the Democrats are so eager to do as they continue to play political games with our lives and our futures.

Failure of the Democrats to address these issues with real solutions could lead to a defeat at the polls on Election Day. This would not be the first time Democrats have ignored the problems of working people only to snatch defeat from what should be a hands down, and overwhelming, victory.

In our opinion, the three key issues nationally, which should become the focus of the 2008 Election are:

• The need to end the war in Iraq

• The need for socialized health care

• The need for the minimum wage to be a legislated real living wage

We want to know why Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have not articulated a very clear and specific program on these very basic issues of importance to working people?

A national organization called "Progressives for Obama" has begun to campaign for Obama. We don't understand why these progressives have done so while allowing Obama to leave these three issues off of his agenda.

What happens if Obama is elected and turns on these young voters who have become mesmerized with his baseless and meaningless calls, devoid of any specifics, to vote for "hope?" Will these young people revolt and coalesce around a progressive agenda; or, will they retreat in despair and discouragement from further political activity?

Here in Minnesota the issues of the Ford Plant closing has gone without being addressed by the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party. The issue of the hydro dam which has powered this operation for over eighty years; and, most importantly, the jobs of two-thousand workers are at risk and in peril of vanishing forever.

As progressives, we ask: If the Democrats can not solve these very basic problems confronting working people, what problems can, or will, they solve?

As progressives, we believe both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama along with candidates for state legislative offices should fend for themselves until they can articulate very clearly what they intend to do towards finding solutions to these problems.

Here in Minnesota, we progressives don't believe any politician who refuses to publicly state support for S.F. 607--- legislation aimed at saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant together with the hydro dam and two-thousand jobs--- should be given any consideration by working class voters. If ever there was a "litmus test" for candidates to pass, it is on this very basic working class issue. To date, the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party has failed to pass this test.

Public ownership of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Plant and the hydro dam is the only solution... politicians have acknowledged all other alternatives have failed. It defies all reason and logic that these politicians would openly acknowledge and admit that saving this plant and the two-thousand jobs is what they want to do, but then cop out by failing to consider a very valid alternative to the plant closing: Public Ownership.

Failing to consider public ownership of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and Hydro Dam demonstrates a complete lack of confidence in anything other than private/corporate ownership.

This is dead wrong.

This lack of confidence in public institutions and public enterprises by elected public officials is what has created a breakdown in support for our public schools, public health care, public libraries and public infrastructure including the bridges, roads and highways.

Minnesotans understand public institutions, cooperatives and publicly owned enterprises are the key to human survival and an integral part of maintaining a quality life and high standard of living for working people. From food coops to support for a myriad of public institutions with a view towards the successful use of public ownership by our neighbors to the north in Manitoba whose government saved a huge bus manufacturing operation in Winnipeg, to the publicly owned Green Bay Packers owned by our neighbors to the east, to the long-standing successful example of the publicly owned bank of North Dakota, Minnesotans know and understand that public ownership is the solution to saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

Politicians should stop lying that they have tried every way to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant when they have not even explored the public ownership alternative; nor have they bothered to consider that some kind of joint venture with the Chinese might be the solution as it was on the Iron Range with the taconite industry.

The Chinese could teach us a great deal about the benefits of publicly owned industries.

There is no reason why the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and Hydro Dam cannot produce a better, more environmentally friendly product under public ownership while saving two-thousand jobs than what the Ford Motor Company has done over the years; all the while having their corporate profits subsidized to the hilt by tax-payers as we never heard any complaints from the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, the Summit Hill Club or the MN DFL Business Caucus.

But, as soon as it is suggested that tax-payers should own what they have invested in through their subsidizing the Ford Motor Company's St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant we hear a scream in unison from this business community which dominates both the Republican and Democratic Parties that they will not listen to the pleas of the people to save this Plant; nor, the pleas from Ford workers to save their jobs.

If anyone wants to look at the real reason why the Democrats could snatch defeat from what should be an overwhelming victory come Election Day, they need look no further than the abandonment, by the Democrats, of the working class here in Minnesota... thanks to State Senator James Metzen who abandoned Ford workers at the request of the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, the Ford Motor Company, the Wall Street coupon clippers and money grubbing real estate investors and bankers who are not yet done kicking working class families out of their homes and they are already well on their way to destroying the livelihoods of two-thousand Ford workers in quest of even greater profits, which once again will all be subsidized by tax-payers who, again will end up holding nothing but another bag of debt as they pay for upscale housing in a new "green" yuppie community with which they intend to replace the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

Maybe Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Danny Glover, Tom Hayden, Robert Borosage and these other progressives should make a trip to the Twin Cities and have a chat with Ford workers about to lose their jobs as a perfectly good plant is turned to rubble and the hydro dam turned over to a foreign corporation before jumping the gun to endorse Obama.

If Obama can call for the boycott of the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in China in support of a bunch of feudal monks who have been living off the blood and sweat of poor peasants for hundreds of years, he certainly can support efforts aimed at saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and the jobs of two-thousand workers if he is at all worthy of becoming the next President of the United States of America.

Minnesotans and all Americans have a right to discuss these issues and questions addressed here, and we have a right to expect those who are now campaigning for Obama and Clinton under the guise of "progressivism" to stop trying to sweep these issues and questions under the rug for the purposes of political expediency.

Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice
Posted by Progressives 2008 at 9:51 AM

Another perspective:

The working class...

By Alan Maki | April 12th, 2008 - 10:02pm GMT

Mr. Borosage,

I am glad to see you are finally using the term working class although you fail to mention that labor "leaders" and the Democrats have failed to advance one single specific program/solution to any pressing problems the entire working class is experiencing; thus creating divisions within the working class based upon sex, age; and, yes, race.

What I find is workers of all colors are fed up with the two-party system which they are coming to see more and more as a "trap" set to prevent the solutions to problems.
One solution which comes to mind is the minimum wage.

The time has come to redistribute the wealth in this country and by legislating a real living minimum wage which would be tied to the scientific calculations of the United States Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Standards using the real figures associated with what is required for a decent standard of living comprising a living--- non-poverty income--- wage... we could unite the entire working class; especially if unemployment compensation, welfare and Social Security were all based upon the same scientific calculations tied directly to legislation.

The wealthiest country in the world can afford to eliminate poverty and raise everyone who works to a decent and comfortable standard of living.

There is no reason that those who are forced into unemployment by a mean big-business driven corporate policy should not be living decent lives, either.

With programs and initiatives like this, real progressivism, we unite the entire working class.

I find most working people far more progressive than academics, who by the way, we are supposed to be able to rely upon to teach each generation the truth about what a rotten system capitalism is and the socialist solution. If working people are confused, it is because confusion is intentionally sown in the United States as one method of maintaining the status quo.

Your dividing the working class along racial lines according to "progressive" and "conservative" does not help matters any.

Start bringing forward real universal solutions to pressing problems and we will see the working class in its multiracial, multi-national, multi-ethnic make-up unite very quickly behind a progressive agenda.

Don't blame working people because after Roosevelt the Democratic Party lurched right-ward under the banner of anti-communism and abandoned the needs of working people in favor of corporate America as the capitalist sooth-sayers peddled a pro-war imperialist agenda that placed corporate profits before the needs of working people.
These capitalist sooth-sayers who remain at the helm of the Democratic Party , like the Republican Party, are responsible for the conservative, right-ward shift in American politics... not working people.

Even during this critical election where there is an urgent need to defeat the Republicans we find both well-heeled Democrats, Clinton and Obama, wallowing in the cesspool of neo-liberalism; i.e. conservatism... neither of whom have voiced anything remotely akin to a "progressive agenda" on any issue.

Give working people a truly progressive agenda and then let's see how conservative America's working class is; my hunch is that we will find the working class more progressive than most Democrats and the Wall Street coupon clippers would like.

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

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