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...

Monday, July 14, 2008

From war to war with Obama... part way out of Iraq and further into Afghanistan... this is unacceptable

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

From: WCS-A@yahoogroups.com [mailto:WCS-A@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Alan Maki

Sent: Monday, July 14, 2008 12:49 PM

To: WCS-A@yahoogroups.com; CarlD717@aol.com

Cc: 'David Shove'; 'Charles Underwood'; 'Randy Furst'; Shall@kaxe.org

Subject: From war to war with Obama... part way out of Iraq and further into Afghanistan... this is unacceptable

Does anyone really find going from one war to another war “progressive”?

Well, read Obama’s Opinion Piece in the New York Times which I have reprinted at the bottom of this e-mail.

Is this going from one imperialist war to the next acceptable to liberals and progressives?

Where is the outcry from the organization “Progressives for Obama” and others who have endorsed Obama without criticism or any kind of requirements?

The 2008 Elections are proving to be very confusing… we have some tremendous opportunities opening up before us with so many people so overwhelmingly disgusted with Bush and the Republicans; will we, as liberals and progressives, be able to get maximum gain from the opening before us?

Here is the way I look at the problem.

What I would like to try to figure out is how we build a bridge of liberals/progressives/leftists to the Obama Administration in a way where the needs of people for peace and social & economic justice take precedence over the warmongering, anti-labor, big-business interests now influencing Obama in a way that has put him completely out of touch, and out of reach, from ordinary people.

At the same time, we have vicious reactionaries who would like to sow confusion among people who are fed up--- fed up with the robbery at the pumps; fed up with wars, fed up with declining standards of living; fed up with our democratic rights being trampled on; fed up with global warming. In short, people are just plain fed up with just about everything.

The ultra-right is sowing confusion using racism and anti-communism… just as they have always done.

Many people, after getting their pay checks and paying some of their bills and trying to buy groceries, don’t even have enough money left over from their pay-checks to get them back to work; they have no savings in the bank nor under their mattresses. There is now a crisis of everyday living for many working people--- this is no exaggeration and we all know it. In fact, for people experiencing problems like trying to meet their mortgage payments and trying to pay their family’s health care bills they will probably tell you I am not adequately conveying their concerns and anger.

I thought this election was supposed to be about shifting the decision-making process away from corporate America while bringing the people into the decision-making process of government.

“Solutions,” and notice I put this word in quotes; but, solutions which create greater financial burdens and stress on working people already hurting are unacceptable--- “solutions” like health care reforms which entail so-called “affordable” premiums; no premiums are acceptable--- or affordable… remember, people aren’t even considering winter heating bills for the upcoming cold months… these bills are going to be real shockers and home heating assistance has already been cut as costs for home heating fuels will skyrocket before the cold arrives.

In my opinion, the longer we delay and procrastinate in organizing rank-and-file and grassroots activity among working people, the greater the gap becomes between Barack Obama and the people… unless we begin closing this gap now, we are going to have a huge chasm to bridge after the election; no matter how huge the landslide.

It seems to me that since Barack Obama, in his own book, has indicated a great deal of respect for the thinking of Frank Marshal Davis, we should be organizing study groups around Frank Marshall Davis’ two books, “Livin’ the Blues; Memoirs of a Black Journalist and Poet” and “The Writings of Frank Marshall Davis; A Voice of the Black Press.” This will help create a common ground for us to reach out to Barack Obama and the Obama Administration… it is quite apparent Obama is way out of reach of ordinary citizens right now.

A few “labor leaders” may have his ear… but, they are as out of touch with the reality of the lives of most working people as any corporate CEO.
As Lynn Williams, the former President of the United Steel Workers union has observed; rank and file initiatives are going to be the only way out of this mess.

Perhaps if we take Obama at his word, and accept his invitation, that he would like us to participate in the Democratic Party’s “Platform” creation by holding local get togethers in our neighborhoods, where we work and go to school; we can develop resolutions in keeping with the thinking of Frank Marshall Davis, and Barack Obama will be more receptive to our concerns because we will be speaking to him on common ground.

Here is what is posted on the Huffington Post:


WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee and Barack Obama's presidential campaign will hold meetings in all 50 states to get voters more involved in developing the party platform.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano will chair the Platform Drafting Committee, the DNC and the Obama campaign were scheduled to announce Tuesday. The committee will invite members of the public to attend meetings around the country, with policy experts and other Democratic officials on hand to answer questions.

Both political parties produce a platform, or statement of its principles, each presidential election year. In the past, the DNC has held a limited number of public meetings around the country to seek input on the document, generally from advocacy organizations or research groups.

Voters can go to Obama's campaign Web site, to sign up to host one of the meetings, which will take place July 19-27. The drafting committee will receive a report with input from the meetings Aug. 1 before assembling a draft platform in Cleveland on Aug. 2-3. http://www.barackobama.com

The draft will serve as a working document for the full Platform Committee, which will meet Aug. 9 in Pittsburgh to consider and vote on the document. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, former New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid and former Discovery Communications President and CEO Judith McHale are co-chairs of the committee.

The disclosure that the DNC and Obama's campaign would seek broad voter input on the platform came on the heels of the announcement that Obama would accept the Democratic nomination at Denver's Invesco Field at Mile High, a 76,000-seat, open-air stadium that is home to the Denver Broncos, instead of at the smaller Pepsi Center, official site for the party's national convention Aug. 25-28.

"Barack Obama believes that every American should be able to contribute to the Democratic platform, just as record numbers have participated in this campaign," deputy campaign manager Steve Hildebrand said.

We are all “experts” on the problems we are experiencing… the time has come to put the faces of living, breathing human beings to the facts and statistics in a way that Obama will not be able to ignore.

Read this article below and if you are still hesitating and procrastinating in getting involved in rank-and-file and grassroots organizing, I suggest you read this article from the New York Times because I don’t think most of us want to exchange the war in Iraq for an even more costly, more destructive and more deadly war in Afghanistan.

The “Frank Marshall Davis Roundtable for Change” will be distributing sample resolutions on many issues in keeping with the request for our involvement being made, above, by Barack Obama in the Huffington Post.



My Plan for Iraq


Published: July 14, 2008

CHICAGO — The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.

But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.

The good news is that Iraq’s leaders want to take responsibility for their country by negotiating a timetable for the removal of American troops. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, the American officer in charge of training Iraq’s security forces, estimates that the Iraqi Army and police will be ready to assume responsibility for security in 2009.

Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.

But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war.

As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.

In carrying out this strategy, we would inevitably need to make tactical adjustments. As I have often said, I would consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government to ensure that our troops were redeployed safely, and our interests protected. We would move them from secure areas first and volatile areas later. We would pursue a diplomatic offensive with every nation in the region on behalf of Iraq’s stability, and commit $2 billion to a new international effort to support Iraq’s refugees.

Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.

It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.

Barack Obama, a United States senator from Illinois, is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Again, I don’t think most of us want to exchange the war in Iraq for an even more costly, more destructive and more deadly war in Afghanistan.

As I stated, the “Frank Marshall Davis Roundtable for Change” will be distributing sample resolutions on many issues in keeping with the request for involvement being made by Barack Obama in the Huffington Post.

For the Frank Marshall Davis Roundtable for Change;

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