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...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chickens Home to Roost

This is my response to Leo Gerard's:

Chickens Home to Roost


By Leo Gerard, President, USW

October 7th, 2008 - 10:12am ET

While the recently passed bailout bill may or may not help to stabilize the credit markets (and on Monday it looked as if it may have in fact made it worse) it is absolutely clear that it does nothing to address the fundamental cause of this crisis – declining home prices and eight years of stagnant wages for the overwhelming majority of working families.

George W. Bush’s chickens have come home to roost, and they’re not pretty.

With the full support of Arizona Sen. John McCain, who voted with him 90 percent of the time, eight years of the Bush-McCain philosophy have left us in a terrible mess:

138 trade deals – every single one enthusiastically supported by McCain – have contributed to a loss of 3.9 million manufacturing jobs and the growth of our current account balance by $4.4 trillion.

A federal budget, which was running a $236 billion surplus in 2000, will balloon to an estimated deficit of $407 billion in fiscal 2008, and perhaps $500 billion in 2009.

And last week we learned that another 159,000 jobs were lost last month, many more than expected and the worst job losses in five years.

We have mortgaged not just our homes but our entire future to foreign governments that have made clear in recent days that they care not one wit for the concerns of America’s working families. The people with the leverage are now the Chinese, the Russians and the oil-producing countries, each of whom will want assurances that the debt they hold now and the new debt they will soon be buying are worth something.

If anything good can come out of this awful mess, we must begin by clearly and unequivocally recognizing the absolute bankruptcy of the Bush-McCain approach.

Congress and the next president, together with all those who care about America, need to come together and develop concrete plans for supporting real productive activity in this country and making meaningful public investments in our economy. We must create real wealth in our economy, and value-added manufacturing is the best answer.

Over and above creating millions of jobs and preserving countless more, investments in the “real economy” also offer the greatest opportunity to get something back on the hundreds of billions of bad loans which our government is about to acquire from Wall Street on behalf of the American people who live on Main Street. Just as we cannot consume our way to financial health, neither can we “swap” enough paper to re-create a vibrant economy.

Government must take the lead in revitalizing the economy that Wall Street speculators have almost destroyed. To create jobs, we need to invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure – our roads, schools and bridges. We need to rebuild our outdated electricity grid and build new broadband lines to connect all of America. And we need to create the jobs of the future by transforming our energy economy, tapping our natural gas reserves, investing in clean coal, and finding ways to safely harness nuclear power.

We must also invest in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power, solar power and the next generation of biofuels, investments that will lead to new industries and millions of new jobs that pay well and can’t be offshored.

We need to once and for all bury the philosophy that worships only business, free markets, deregulation and free trade, and replace it with an economic program that restores the balance of power between workers and business, rebuilds the middle class and curbs corporate excesses.

My response:

Chickens Home to Roost

By Alan Maki | October 7th, 2008 - 4:27pm GMT

Mr. Gerard,

You and Carl Pope of the Sierra Club visited the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant here in Minnesota pledging your support to saving two-thousand good-paying union jobs by keeping the plant and the hydro dam providing power to the plant together as an industrial manufacturing unit... you walked away from this struggle after grand-standing, never to return.

Now, here you are talking about reforms aimed at saving capitalism... the very system that has created this mess.

Saving this plant through public ownership could provide an example of what will be required to get us out of this economic mess.

A solution you don't mention to this entire economic mess is one of nationalization and public ownership of closing mines, mills and plants resulting in job loss.

You support reforms and regulation being used to save a system which is responsible for Wall Street coupon clippers stealing the wealth created by American workers which is now invested in cheap labor "markets" overseas... thus creating this crisis of over-production... American workers are now so poor they can't buy back what is being produced.

What kind of "balance" do you want to "restore between workers and business"? The "balance" that existed during the first half of the Twentieth Century on Minnesota's Iron Range?

Or, the "balance" that turned working people into beggars from 1948 to present where unions became mere "pawns" without any power in the neo-liberal agenda because union "leaders" feared standing up to capital out of fear of being called "reds?"

Yes, the chickens really are coming home to roost, haven't they? I think this is called "class collaboration" trade unionism.

Capitalism has failed and is on the skids to oblivion dragging working class families into the morass of economic depression and your union, the AFL-CIO and other progressive organizations are pumping millions of dollars into Barack Obama's campaign when it is now obvious Obama is owned by Wall Street.

How about investing some of this money and union resources in developing a grassroots/rank-and-file struggle to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant?

When are you going to have the courage to stand up and say what the problem really is: capitalism.

The solution is a cooperative system of socialism.

Maybe you should spend some time explaining to working people in the United States why their sisters and brothers north of the border have their own labour party--- the socialist New Democratic Party.

Who is this "we" who must invest in your "new green economy?"

I assume you are referring to the American tax-payer.

If so, then it is time to say, "What tax-payers finance, tax-payers should own."

We don't need labor leaders advocating "rebuilding the middle class;" let the middle class speak for itself... labor leaders are supposed to speak for the working class and fight for the elimination of poverty.

What we need is labor leaders leading the struggle fighting against the impoverishment of the working class.

Workers create all wealth; wealth that Wall Street coupon clippers have been stealing for years because this is how capitalism operates and this is what causes the present economic problem.

We need to get rid of this rotten capitalist system which breeds war, racism, poverty and economic depressions and recessions causing working people to suffer; not try to "reform" and "regulate" its continued existence so it can continue breeding more misery.

The capitalist system is weak and on the ropes... now is the time for the working class to deliver a knockout punch.

Over 70% of all working people in this country make less than a living income; paid less than a living wage for the jobs they are employed to do.

What unions can't win at the bargaining table must be won for all workers through social programs like socialized health care and a real living minimum wage.

This is the only country in the world where union leaders continue to tell the working class that capitalism is worth saving when what is required is creating a socialist economic system based upon producing for human needs not corporate profits.

In working to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, the hydro dam powering the operation and saving two-thousand jobs we can find real solutions to the problems you articulate.

Consider this: If you save two-thousand jobs in the Twin Cities, this is two-thousand jobs you can knock from your statistics... and saving these two-thousand jobs saves hundreds of jobs on the Iron Range and in the "Rust Belt."

Wall Street has turned to socialism to solve its problems; what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

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


What they don't want to talk about


There is plenty that Barack Obama does not want to talk about, too.

As far as the “Savings and Loan crisis” mentioned in the Obama campaign piece at the very bottom… Democrats--- like in the present Wall Street bailout--- were mired up to their eyeballs in this corrupt mess along with John McCain.

There are those in the Obama camp who want to stamp out and destroy any progressive voice under the guise that if you don’t support Barack Obama you must support John McCain… along with this we get Obama’s appeal to the “middle class” which is his attempt to escape all accountability… and then we get the charge of “racism” which is a very cheap trick on the part of the Obama campaign to silence those who insist on getting something of substance from an Obama administration while, quite ironically, this trillion dollar Wall Street bailout which Barack Obama has not only supported, but been a principal advocate for, is one of the most racist measures ever brought forward in the annals of American history--- bar none--- since this bailout will force the United States government to wipe out just about all social advances made in this country since the Civil War under the guise of “belt-tightening” and the need to “cut fat” from the federal budget in order to pay down this “bailout.” Wall Street’s bailout is our suffering.

This is all meant to intimidate progressive voices into silence.

For those who would deny this attempt to bully people into intimidation, here is just one of many similar things I have received via e-mail, mail and phone calls from ardent Obama supporters:

HEY DIPSTICK. Your an idiot and I'm embarrassed to see that you would try to use a title as though you are part of the labor movement. All you are is an embarrassment to those of us who actually fight for working people each and every day. Rather than always having a negative attitude and complaining, why don't you have some sort of meaningful ideas that will actually help people. My personal feeling is the real agenda here is to try and make the labor movement look idiotic. Get a life! Maybe you should come out of your shack once in a while and visit the real world.

Once again stop sending me your commie bull shit!

Erik Skoog

Teamsters Local 320

Special Projects Director

While Mr. Skoog seems to be unhappy that I come out of “my shack” too often to voice my views and spend more time on the road talking to people than in “my shack,” the real intent and motive behind this kind of pernicious, viral hate campaign is very clear. We get a very good idea what kind of “Special Projects” Erik Skoog is hired to work on for Barack Obama.

I call on Barack Obama and all those involved in his campaign to disown and disavow themselves from this vicious campaign of hate articulated so “eloquently” by Erik Skoog.

In fact, it has become darn near impossible for anyone to raise concerns and criticisms of Barack Obama and for a progressive people’s agenda without being pounced on… this is not healthy for democracy.

Because of my positions which I voice very openly, the Obama forces in Minnesota and Michigan have targeted me for a campaign of hate… if they would have spent half the time attacking this trillion dollar Wall Street bailout as they are spending attacking me, we would not have to worry about McCain being elected nor would we be worrying about the consequences and impact from this Wall Street bailout for which we will be paying in so many ways for years to come.

I think it is great that John McCain is being exposed for the right-wing, reactionary that he is… and Sarah Palin is even a bigger warmonger, moron, Neanderthal and foe of democracy than McCain himself--- possibly more pro-corporate and corrupt than Dick Cheney if such is possible; however, to cheer on Obama without questioning his own very reactionary Wall Street policies and politics, I believe, is equally as wrong as letting John McCain off the hook. Barack Obama is, himself, very reactionary as far as advancing the rights and defending the standard of living of working people is concerned.

Make no mistake: Any policies which advance the interests of Wall Street are always reactionary when viewed through the eyes of working people.

While it may be true that the election of Barack Obama will provide some relief from Republican rule, there is nothing to suggest that in an Obama Administration we will be relieved from the strangle-hold big-business has on our country… I challenge anyone to dispute my assertion… Obama speaks in platitudes lacking any substance just as Sarah Palin “talks in tongues” expecting people to understand what the heck she is talking about.

Will an Obama Administration provide us some “wriggle room?” Possibly; however, without a very strong progressive, working class movement we will never realize any advances away from the reactionary policies of big-business Wall Street interests, and allowing Barack Obama to “lead” rather than this growing progressive grassroots network which includes many rank-and-file working class activists will get us no further ahead under an Obama Administration than one of John McCain.

The progressive movement must not acquiesce to Obama, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Goldman Sachs like the Democrats have been doing for the Republicans for eight long years.

I find it very interesting that Barack Obama wants to attack John McCain because of his involvement with the savings and loan scandal when this trillion dollar bailout is an even bigger scandal which Obama could have led the people in opposition to; and Obama did not… giving us our first concrete clue that we will have to struggle tooth and nail for the rights and advancement of a progressive working class agenda.
I don’t believe it is enough to pass along Barack Obama’s campaign material without creating the kind of discussion, dialogue and debate needed to create a base of support for the kind of all-people’s united front for peace and social and economic justice which will be required to wrest our country from the control of the military-financial-industrial complex once and Obama Administration is in power.

The most wealthy men in the world--- Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, along with Goldman-Sachs--- the biggest Wall Street investment and financial house, do not support Barack Obama by investing huge sums of money in his campaign for nothing; these Wall Street coupon clippers and parasites demand and insist in getting their money’s worth out of any politician they endorse and support… and you can be sure that our interests--- the working class’ interest--- is not ever the same as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Goldman-Sachs who are looking out for their own selfish interests.

I hope you will read my latest posting on my blog on the official Barack Obama website which includes a very important letter to Barack Obama from one of his original supporters concerning Obama’s stand on this trillion dollar bailout which is the most corrupt fiasco in American history for which the American working class will pay a horrific price.

Here is the link to my blog:


And below is what I posted on my regular blog… the term “middle class” is being used by Barack Obama as a means and a way to escape his own accountability, and progressives and working class activists--- those who support Obama, along with those who support other candidates, and the great number of people who will not be voting at all because they are so fed up--- should not allow Obama to ever escape accountability for his actions.

To the extent that there really is a “middle class” in our country, this “middle class” is very small and politically insignificant… this “middle class” will advance right along with any gains made by the working class while the same cannot be said for any advances solving the problems of this very small “middle class” when considering the problems associated with poverty from a working class position.

We must be very clear in understanding this, Barack Obama could have, and should have, led the opposition to this trillion dollar bail out; and he did not… and no one should close their eyes to this while assuming Obama will correct the problem once elected because Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Goldman Sachs enrich themselves through this most crooked and corrupt deal… when they profit, we lose. Any progressive gains we make will be at their expense.

Barack Obama and his campaign are doing a pretty darn good job of turning this debate away from the real issues at every opportunity, too… it is our job, as progressives--- no matter what candidates we support--- to try to keep the debate and discussion focused on the real issues so that no matter who wins this election, the progressive all-people’s united movement for real change comes out as strong as possible in a position to turn our country away from this very dangerous road to perdition which we are on…

Monday, October 6, 2008

Middle class bail out or working class bail out?

We need more concrete proposals from Barack Obama on how he intends to save "Main Street"... As anyone can see, people are expecting much more than what is in your typical newspaper story about "middle class bail out."

We especially need to end this talk about "middle class bail out;" we need to be talking about solving the problems of the "working class."

Solving the problems of the working class means talking about specific solutions aimed at eradicating poverty, which at a minimum, requires a massive redistribution of wealth in this country.

People want, and expect, Barack Obama to get specific. How are we going to bail working class people out of poverty?

Wall Street received its "bail out," now the working class is entitled to its bail out... a working class "bail out" requires two legislative acts--- 1.) make the minimum wage a real living wage; and, 2.) socialized health care.

All this talk about "the middle class" which has become so popular in the politicians' vocabulary is nothing more than an excuse for evading what really is required and needs to be done to eliminate poverty.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense, compassion and empathy for human beings understand that what is required is a detailed program and plan of action to eradicate poverty.

October 17 is the International Day of Action for the Eradication of Poverty yet we haven't heard a mention of this by Barack Obama or his campaign.

December 10, 2008 marks the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights--- Barack Obama and his campaign have ignored this important document which clearly enunciates and articulates the rights all human beings are entitled to by birth.

As long as our country's resources are squandered on weapons of war and militarism and the interests of the Wall Street coupon clippers remains of paramount importance in the United States, poverty will remain and our basic and fundamental rights articulated in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights will not be attainable for the vast majority of the working class, of which many working people are impoverished; most working class people know nothing about a "middle class" life.

The Wall Street bail out will lead to further impoverishment of the working class.

Posted by Alan L. Maki at 8:08 PM

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,

Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

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-----
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 11:35 PM
Subject: Fw: What they don't want to talk about

Please open the link below "watch a Preview right now and share it with your friends.

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



Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 11:26 PM

Subject: Fw: What they don't want to talk about

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

From: David Plouffe, BarackObama.com


Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 2:10 AM

Subject: What they don't want to talk about

Over the weekend, John McCain's top adviser announced their plan to stop engaging in a debate over the economy and "turn the page" to more direct, personal attacks on Barack Obama.

In the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, they want to change the subject from the central question of this election. Perhaps because the policies McCain supported these past eight years and wants to continue are pretty hard to defend.

But it's not just McCain's role in the current crisis that they're avoiding. The backward economic philosophy and culture of corruption that helped create the current crisis are looking more and more like the other major financial crisis of our time.

During the savings and loan crisis of the late '80s and early '90s, McCain's political favors and aggressive support for deregulation put him at the center of the fall of Lincoln Savings and Loan, one of the largest in the country. More than 23,000 investors lost their savings. Overall, the savings and loan crisis required the federal government to bail out the savings of hundreds of thousands of families and ultimately cost American taxpayers $124 billion.

Sound familiar?

In that crisis, John McCain and his political patron, Charles Keating, played central roles that ultimately landed Keating in jail for fraud and McCain in front of the Senate Ethics Committee. The McCain campaign has tried to avoid talking about the scandal, but with so many parallels to the current crisis, McCain's Keating history is relevant and voters deserve to know the facts -- and see for themselves the pattern of poor judgment by John McCain.

So at noon Eastern on Monday, October 6th, we're releasing a 13-minute documentary about the scandal called "Keating Economics: John McCain and the Making of a Financial Crisis" -- it will be available at KeatingEconomics.com, along with background information that every voter should know.

Watch a preview right now and share it with your friends.

The point of the film and the web site is that John McCain still hasn't learned his lesson.

And this time, McCain's bankrupt economic philosophy has put our economy at the brink of collapse and put millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes.

Watch the video to see why John McCain's failed philosophy and poor judgment is a recipe for deepening the crisis:


It's no wonder John McCain would rather spend the last month of this election smearing Barack's character instead of talking about the top priority issue for voters.

But if we work together, we can make sure the focus stays on the economy -- and how to fix it.

Please forward this email to everyone you know.



David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

P.S. -- The documentary will be live at noon Eastern at www.KeatingEconomics.com.

Paid for by Obama for America

This email was sent to: hemlock5042@msn.com