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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...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Is Obama Screwing His Base with Rahm Emanuel Selection?

My progressive friends and my friends on the left,

This little essay, below, by Steven Zunes is making the rounds; I have received it now from over one-hundred people.

Other than using the "left" to create an image for himself... there is no evidence that Obama "listens," or did listen, to anyone on the left; nor is there any evidence that Obama ever thought as any kind of liberal.

I have researched his speeches in the Illinois Senate and in the U.S. Senate; I have also researched what I could find of his "community organizer" activities--- and the only thing I can find is his pictures with his name standing or sitting with "prominent" people. And then, at every instance when he has been attacked by anyone for being associated with someone or some organization, he denounces them and distances himself from them as he chooses to associate himself with those who can help him advance his own career.

This guy never was liberal, he never was left; he never was anything other than an opportunist and a flim-flam man.

Personally, I think he must have studied Elmer Gantry very closely.

Don't believe me, try communicating with Barack Obama and see what kind of answers you get; I will publish your letters to him and his responses back to you on this blog... each and every one... prove me wrong... here is his e-mail address:


I cannot believe anyone on the left, let alone the leadership of our Communist Party, has fallen for any of this.

That Obama has chosen to associate himself with a shitbag like Antonio Villaraigosa (Mayor, City of Los Angeles) is all telling... you do some research and you will find out what a dirtbag this guy is.

Even Paul Volcker, no friend of the left, but a very consistent ruling class economist--- pulled out his hankie and blew his nose during Obama's first national press conference--- I think Volcker was sending a not so subtle message that he was already knee deep in bullshit.

I cannot believe Zunes' conclusion:

However, this does not necessarily mean that Obama as president will pursue
nothing better than a Clintonesque center-right agenda. Someone with Obama's
intelligence, knowledge and leadership qualities need not be unduly
restricted by the influence of his chief of staff as less able presidents
have. At the same time, this shocking appointment of Emanuel is illustrative
of the need for the progressive base that brought him to power to not
celebrate too long and to refocus our energies into pushing hard to ensure
that the change Obama promised is something we really can believe in.

Where is there any evidence that a "progressive base" brought Obama to power; some "progressive intellectuals" might think they contributed to bringing Obama to power because it gives them something to write about in books they will peddle... after all, if Obama has been brought to power by design, by a ruling class with a very reactionary, ultra-right, neoliberal agenda, do you now expect those like Zunes to be saying they were mere suckers who took the bait and got caught in the net carefully crafted just to hold them?

Zunes suggests that Obama can be reasoned with and that we maybe shouldn’t judge the man by the company he keeps.

Now, it is true that Franklin Roosevelt had more than his share of shitheads, shitbags and dirtbags in his administration--- General Hershey was one--- who were his “liaisons” with big-business; Elmer Benson told me he had such people working for him while governor of Minnesota for the same reason because of the reality that big-business owned and controlled the mines, mills and factories; for the same reason that workers sit at a table and negotiate with their bosses; HOWEVER, Roosevelt also had Henry Wallace, Harry Hopkins, Admiral Leahy, Frances Perkins--- and perhaps, most important, he had Eleanor Roosevelt out among the people who was his eyes and his ears and a very kind, caring, considerate, compassionate and passionate partisan of justice and democracy even though somewhat limited by her blindness to “class,” but ALWAYS willing to meet with local, state and national leaders and members of the Communist Party USA and those getting hurt and she wasn’t shy about doing this; and, quite literally, scores of others on Roosevelt's staff--- less well known--- who had open and complete access to him with complete two-way communication--- people who were true progressives, some more left than others; but at least they were honest liberals and quite intelligent conservatives with common sense.

For anyone who takes the time to read the autobiographies and biographies of any of Franklin Roosevelt’s cabinet, there is no escaping the fact that the CPUSA was, in all reality, Roosevelt’s most loyal and trusted ally no matter how much he personally may have lamented and loathed this unusual “alliance.” This was the case from day one; even when Foster, Ford and Browder were his most severe and unrelenting critics as Roosevelt campaigned for the presidency, sometimes using humor, but always in the most honest way taking into consideration their very different points of view--- often chiding and admonishing them by name. In fact, Roosevelt openly debated their criticisms--- if not by name, then by referencing their ideas in a way that everyone knew who he was talking about; but always in a respectful way and vice-versa--- something those dishonest people on the left want to try to turn into some kind of CPUSA sellout and collaboration with capital.

Today, there are any number of honest liberals, progressives and leftists that Obama could have chosen to associate himself with that the American people would have found perfectly acceptable--- But, EVEN JIMMY CARTER was jettisoned and sandbagged by Obama!!!

It is one thing to want to end Republican control so bad one holds to the “lesser evil” point of view; but, it is quite another thing to delude oneself into having to justify this “lesser evil” position by then turning around and creating an image of Obama which is not true and in complete contradiction of the truth just to assuage oneself--- but, then, to go out among the working class and the people and peddle these erroneous and wrong-headed convictions and assessments in a way that disarms the working class and progressives just is not right; and this is what has been done by Zune and so many others who called themselves “progressives for Obama.”

Now, we all know that those like Tom Hayden, Carl Davidson, Bill Fletcher and Barbara Ehrenreich used some downright dirty methods and tactics to twist arms, and behind the scenes they were aided and abetted by some of the most disgusting anti-Communists and red-baiters whose dishonesty and traitorous dirty tactics is well-known.

In fact, Tom Hayden and Carl Davidson are already calling Obama’s election the “beginning of the new New Left.” In other words, we are going to be introduced to another round of very vicious anti-Communist Party USA slanders. Only this time, the Communist Party USA is led by complete revisionists and opportunists who will not fight back and engage in struggle with these leftist impostors and phonies who are fronts for a bunch of Dumb Donkeys.

Even the Communist Part USA "leadership," as confused and in disarray as it is, added confusion rather than facts... one day Jarvis Tyner was saying that Obama is a "progressive;" the next day Sam Webb said Obama was not progressive but never said what he was... one day Sam Webb is encouraging people to go all out to work for Obama and even to contribute money to his campaign, the next day Sam Webb is saying the Communist Party endorses no one. Does anyone call this leadership?" And then the Party publications were nothing but advertisements for Obama offering no analysis or criticism of any kind... just: rah, rah, rah... go Obama... onward to victory. Some Communists even compared the Obama campaign to the Cuban neighborhood committees in defense of the revolution! One has to ask, wouldn't it have been enough for these Communist Party leaders to simply have said, "The hell with it, we don't want McCain and Obama is no prize, just vote for him as we work to bring the working class into united opposition to whatever he tosses our way?" But to lavish praise and uncritical support upon such a self-serving opportunist ruling class politician... this is something unheard of from the leadership of the CPUSA... never before; hopefully, never again.

Just as the old “New Left” did not influence the working class except to retard its political development, we are going to be introduced to more of the same.

Check it out, here are their names… the “blogroll” of “Progressives for Obama.” Have you seen anything coming from any of these people other than to confuse the peoples’ movements with anti-Communism in one form or another as they pick and chose their relationship to organized labor, not on the basis of fighting for what is right and just, but on the basis of who will bankroll them in sustaining their “think-tanks” and publishing… and I am sure Tom Hayden, Carl Davidson, Bill Fletcher and Barbara Ehrenreich will do very well selling their books and newspaper columns; as will those associated with the likes of this shitbag Antonio Villaraigosa.

To be sure, many of these people have simply been sucked in; but, many others are known for their opportunism and outright betrayal of the struggles of the working class and peoples' movements. Not one of these people has ever raised their voice nor put their pen to paper in protest against the racist, anti-labor "Compacts" which have created the Indian Gaming Industry in this country in spite of the fact that more than two-million workers--- many women and people of color and elderly workers--- go to work in loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws completely at the mercy of a bunch of mobsters which causes me to doubt their sincerity when they say they are going to mount any kind of opposition to Obama and his thoroughly reactionary and neoliberal policies designed, not to help people who are the victims of capitalism and imperialism, nor to oppose the power of state-monopoly capitalism in building the anti-monopoly coalition which will put us on the road to socialism; but, policies designed to strengthen the hand of the Wall Street bankers and coupon clippers so that they can profit from the problems of the people:

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

Human Rights Activist

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

Add Professor Zune to this list.

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: Saturday, November 08, 2008

To: amaki000@centurytel.net


Is Obama Screwing His Base with Rahm Emanuel Selection?

By Stephen Zunes, AlterNet.

November 7, 2008.


Conservative Clinton vet Rahm Emanuel is Obama's chief of staff -- it's not
a good sign for progressives.

I had really wanted to celebrate Barack Obama's remarkable victory for a day
or so before becoming cynical again. I really did.

And yet, less than 24 hours after the first polls closed, the
president-elect chose as his chief of staff -- perhaps the most powerful
single position in any administration -- Rahm Emanuel, one of the most
conservative Democratic members of Congress.

The chief of staff essentially acts as the president's gatekeeper,
determining with whom he has access for advice and analysis. Obama is known
as a good listener who has been open to hearing from and considering the
perspectives of those on the Left as well as those with a more centrist to
conservative perspective. How much access he will actually have as president
to more progressive voices, however, is now seriously in question.

Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel is a member of the so-called New Democrat
Coalition (NDC), of group of center-right pro-business Congressional
Democrats affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Conference, which is
dedicated to moving the Democratic Party away from its more liberal and
progressive base. Numbering only 58 members out of 236 Democrats in the
current House of Representatives, the NDC has worked closely with its
Republican colleagues in pushing through and passing such legislation as
those providing President Bush with "fast-track" trade authority in order to
bypass efforts by labor, environmentalists and other public interest groups
to promote fairer trade policy.

Emanuel began his political career as a senior adviser and chief fundraiser
for the successful 1989 Chicago mayoral campaign of Richard M. Daley to
seize back City Hall from reformists who had challenged the corrupt
political machine of this father, Richard J. Daley. Emanuel later became a
senior adviser to Bill Clinton at the White House from 1993 to 1998, serving
as Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then Senior Advisor
to the President for Policy and Strategy, and was credited with playing a
major role in shifting the Clinton administration's foreign and domestic
policy agenda to the right. Emanuel was the single most important official
involved in pushing through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),
the bill ending Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), and
Clinton's draconian crime bill, among other legislation.

Leaving the administration in 1998, Emanuel worked as an investment banker
in Chicago, where he amassed an $18 million fortune in less than three years
prior to being elected to Congress.

As head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee since 2004,
Emanuel has promoted pro-war and pro-business center-right candidates
against anti-war and pro-labor candidates in the primaries, pouring millions
of dollars of donations from Democrats across the country into the campaigns
of his favored conservative minions to defeat more progressive challengers.

Emanuel was a major supporter of the Iraq War resolution that authorized the
invasion of Iraq. Indeed, he was the only one of nine Democratic members of
Congress from Illinois who backed granting Bush this unprecedented authority
to invade a country on the far side of the world that was no threat to the
United States at the time. Even more disturbingly, when asked by Tim Russert
on "Meet the Press" whether he would have voted to authorize the invasion
"knowing that there are no weapons of mass destruction," Emanuel answered
that he indeed would have done so, effectively acknowledging that his
support for the war was not about national security, but about oil and
empire. Not surprisingly, he has also voted with the Republicans in support
of unconditional funding to continue the Iraq War and has consistently
opposed efforts by other Democrats to set a timetable for the withdrawal of
U.S. occupation forces from that country and related Congressional efforts
to end the war.

At a time of record budget deficits, Emanuel has been a passionate supporter
of increased spending for the Pentagon and has resisted efforts by fellow
Democrats to trim excesses in the Bush administration's bloated military
budget. For example, he has repeatedly voted against amendments to cut
funding for Bush's dangerously destabilizing missile defense and even voted
against an amendment to identify unnecessary Pentagon spending by examining
the need, relevance and cost of Cold War weapons systems designed to fight
the former Soviet Union.

A major hawk regarding Iran, Emanuel has also voted against Democratic
efforts to prevent the Bush administration from launching military action
against that country and has joined the administration in exaggerated claims
about Iran's alleged nuclear threat. He is not opposed to nuclear
proliferation if it involves U.S. allies, however. Emanuel has consistently
voted against a series of Democratic amendments that would have strengthened
safeguards in the Bush administration's nuclear cooperation agreement with
India to prevent U.S. assistance from supporting India's nuclear weapons

Emanuel is also a prominent hawk regarding Israel, attacking the Bush
administration from the right for criticizing Israel's assassination
policies and other human rights abuses. He was also a prominent supporter of
Israel's 2006 attacks on Lebanon, even challenging the credibility of
Amnesty International and other human rights groups that reported Israeli
violations of international humanitarian law. Emanuel's father had emigrated
from Israel in the 1950s, where he had been a member of the terrorist group
Irgun, which had been responsible for a series of terrorist attacks against
Palestinian and British civilians in mandatory Palestine during the 1940s.
Emanuel himself served in a civilian capacity as a volunteer for the Israeli
army in the early 1990s.

It is unclear how serious of a blow Obama's selection of Emanuel is to those
who hoped that Obama might actually steer the country in a more progressive
direction. It's easy to see it as nothing less than a slap in the face of
the progressive anti-war elements of the party to whom Obama owes his
election, particularly following his selection of Sen. Joe Biden as vice
president. (See my articles "Biden's Foreign Policy 'Experience'" and
"Biden, Iraq, and Obama's Betrayal.")

However, this does not necessarily mean that Obama as president will pursue
nothing better than a Clintonesque center-right agenda. Someone with Obama's
intelligence, knowledge and leadership qualities need not be unduly
restricted by the influence of his chief of staff as less able presidents
have. At the same time, this shocking appointment of Emanuel is illustrative
of the need for the progressive base that brought him to power to not
celebrate too long and to refocus our energies into pushing hard to ensure
that the change Obama promised is something we really can believe in.

Stephen Zunes is a professor of politics and Chair of Middle Eastern Studies
at the University of San Francisco and serves as a senior policy analyst for
Foreign Policy in Focus.