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...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Are you fed up?

I sent out this e-mail to several hundred people this morning in response to an e-mail I received about aggressive moves by Obama towards Venezuela:

Subject: RE: US Military Aggression against Venezuela escalating... we need a Declaration of Independence from the warmonger in the White House...

I think this is very credible that Obama plans military action against Venezuela.

Obama is a demonstrated warmonger in every sense of the word; his objective from day one has been to seamlessly assure that the United States government will not deviate from Wall Street’s imperialist agenda which is very unpopular among the American people who have yet to figure out how to stop this increasing drive towards expanding and escalating the existing wars and preventing new wars from starting as their standard of living rapidly declines as a result.

Complicating this further is the economic mess with capitalism on the road to oblivion putting us all on the bumpy, curvy, deep-rutted, and dangerous road to perdition without any stop-over in purgatory as Wall Street continues to try to profit by charging us an exorbitant price for this ride to hell while making us think we are on some kind of luxurious excursion offered by Carnival Cruises.

In my opinion, the only way we are going to halt these wars and prevent new wars is if we issue a Declaration of Independence from both the Democratic and Republican parties… especially the Democratic Party since Bush and Cheney already did a pretty good job of discrediting the Republican Party.

The only way we are going to have enough power to turn this country around is if progressives are willing to “bundle” their issues in much the same way Democrats and Republicans now bundle their campaign contributions.

We can’t afford the luxury of all these different movements for peace and social and economic justice, for civil rights and civil liberties, for protection of our living environment and halting global warming to be separate and divided and often at odds with one another.

We need to craft a progressive agenda we can all unite behind and issue a Declaration of Independence from the Democrats and Republicans and make it very clear to them and the country that we understand the direct relationship between Wall Street’s military-financial-industrial complex getting whatever it wants from their well groomed and financed politicians and the suffering and misery of the people.

What kind of rotten government keeps pumping money into wars and military bases all over the world and then denies its own people health care?

And what kind of government goes to Copenhagen and lies about global warming to the entire world and doesn’t have the honesty or decency to acknowledge that the largest carbon footprint of all has been created by this military-financial-industrial complex? Apparently most in the peace and environmental movements haven’t even taken the time to figure out just how huge is the carbon foot-print of the military-financial-industrial complex because they are still so mesmerized with Al Gore’s “inconvenient truth” urging them to change out their incandescent light bulbs.

I don’t understand it… where are outfits like the Union of Concerned Scientists when it comes to explaining the “carbon footprint” of the military-financial-industrial complex?

Barack Obama and the Democrats working the Century Foundation have turned have stripped all the mass organizations of their power and relegated these organizations--- from the labor unions to civil liberties and civil rights organizations to environmental, peace and health care organizations to little more than the conveners of press conferences making noises about doing something when they know full well that when these press conferences end there will be no ongoing organizing or actions.

The Republicans haven’t offered the American people anything except misery from the day Lincoln was assassinated… the Democrats have never come forward with any needed social changes unless the country was on the verge of mass upheaval heading towards revolution--- the 1930’s and the 1960’s are the examples.

The organization, Progressives for Obama, has become such an oxymoron they have had to change their name as most of those among their members are now “jumping ship” because they have lost all credibility by associating themselves with Barack Obama… one of the few clinging to Obama is Carl Davidson who previously destroyed this country’s best independent progressive newspaper--- The National Guardian--- and defended the mass murderer Pol Pot and his side-kick Tom Hayden who was the “poster boy” for the Israeli pogroms against the Palestinian people who Barack Obama rehabilitated to do his dirty work in progressive circles.

Barack Obama is by far the biggest hoax ever perpetrated upon the American people--- bar none.

We need a Declaration of Independence from the Democrats and Republicans---

No more phone-banking.

No more contributions or fundraising.

No more leafleting the neighborhoods, mines, mills or factories.

We need to serve notice on Barack Obama and the Democrats the same way the sheriffs continue serving eviction notices after home foreclosures:

No peace; no votes.

No progressive health care reform; no votes.

This is about accountability; the most basic and fundamental aspect of democracy that has been evaded behind this facade and fallacy of voting for "the lesser-evil."

By declaring our independence from the Democrats and Republicans and formulating a real progressive agenda for peace and social & economic justice we can begin to run our own candidates for public office… until this is done, we can only anticipate and expect more wars while the needs of the people go unmet.

First step:

We need a new Declaration of Independence that includes appending the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights to our Bill of Rights--- this should be high on our progressive agenda… say good-bye to the right-wing Tea-baggers and Barack Obama and the Democrats whose agendas are actually very similar to one another and that of the Republicans… no one should find this surprising since they all serve the same Wall Street interests putting corporate profits before the human needs of people when any sane, sensible and civilized government and economic system would put people and peace before profits.

We need a new organization to push forward a new Declaration of Independence…

It wouldn't  hurt to have a new progressive political party, either.

How about making the name very simple:

We Are Fed Up!

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


Monday, December 21, 2009

We need a new Declaration of Independence...

From the Democratic and Republican parties.

We need a new Declaration of Independence from the Democratic and Republican parties because we need peace in order to achieve real health care reform and many other reforms beneficial to working people that we just aren't going to get from either of these two big-business controlled political parties.

We ned to begin declaring our independence by telling the Democrats and Republicans:

No peace; no votes.

No real progressive health care reform; no votes.

In the tradition of the American Revolution of 1776 we need to insist upon "accountability" from all politicians because accountability is the fundamental basis of all democracies.

Voting out of fear for the "lesser of two-evils" destroys accountability

We need to tell the Democrats and Republicans they will get:

No campaign contributions.

No phone banking.

No working the neighborhoods and mines, mills and factories.

We need to make it very clear:

We are fed up!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Stephen Hemsley home demonstration for single-payer universal healthcare

This important notice was posted to David Shove's "Progressive Calendar:"


Roger Cuthbertson


Hemsley home demo 12.19 10am

This Saturday morning (tomorrow) at 10AM there will be a protest on the
ice of Lake Minnetonka in front of the $7.8 million stone mansion of
Stephen Hemsley.

Featured speakers will be Elizabeth Frost, MD, and Joel Albers,
. Please come. Dress warmly. Plan to hike .7 mi to the mansion
and .7 mi back on the ice. Don't worry. The ice is 6" thick. We will
walk pretty close to shore. People are out on the ice fishing already.

Stephen Hemsley is the CEO of the largest health insurance company in the
United States, United Health Group, headquartered in Minnesota.

Hemsley (I am not going to say, earned) was paid a salary of $3.2 million in 2007,
which is nothing to sneeze at. But his estimated $3/4 billion in stock
options in United Health Group nearly rivals the stunning figure of $1.6
billion of Hemsley's predecessor, William McGuire. McGuire left in scandal
after it was found out many of his stock options were improperly back
dated. Now we find that Hemsley might have had something to do with back
dated stock options, too.

No wonder United Health Group's premiums are so high! No wonder so many
people in this country cannot afford health insurance. Who profits? Who
dies? Help us hold our 5 large banners that say, "DOWN WITH HEALTH
HUMAN RIGHT!", and "HOME OF INS. BANDIT, S. HEMSLEY!" Or, bring your own
sign or banner.

By 10AM we will be parked on Ferndale Road, West at the junction with
Shoreline Drive in Orono, just west of Wayzata, MN. For those who would
prefer an escort to this spot, some of us will meet at the Wayzata Beach
parking area, just a short block west of the depot in Downtown Wayzata at
9:45 and caravan to the Ferndale Rd/Shoreline Drive meeting place.

At 10 AM we will begin our hike. Not far from the cars there is a place
where we can get on the lake where we will not be trespassing. The
mansion will be easy to locate. It is on Ferndale Road West, 6 houses
west of the outlet of Peavy Lake, which is just west of Lookout point on
the North Shore of Lake Minnetonka in Wayzata, near the border with Orono.
The total time for this protest will be 2 hours, including hiking time.

We hope you can join us. This event is sponsored by UHCAN-MN.ORG . For
more information, call Roger Cuthbertson, 952-474-2476, or Elizabeth Frost
at 612-724-3995 or UHCAN-MN.ORG at 612-384-0973

More about this event from Elizabeth Frost:

Dear all:

I think most people can now see that health care reform has been hijacked
by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to further their own agenda
- meaning profit. In the past year the industry has spent something like
600,000 dollars per day in Washington, lobbying for their interests. This
is not OK.

This evening I was feeling depressed and dejected by all the bad new
coming out of the senate regarding health care reform (although I can't
say I am surprised by anything) until I got a phone call from activist
Roger Cuthbertson. He is taking matters into his own hands and protesting
the health care reform fiasco across the Twin Cities, including banner
dropping over highways.

This Saturday I plan to join him in trip to Lake Minnetonka to protest by
the mansion of America's greatest crook - United Health Group CEO Stephen
Hemsley. We plan to bring banners and walk out onto the ice and spend an
our our two showing him how we feel about health care reform.

Please join us! We will have banners available. It will be from
approximately 10am-12pm. Please let me know if you are interested! I
plan to bring snacks and hot chocolate to help make it a good time. There
are ice fishermen on the ice already, and we plan to keep a legal
distance. If not, please keep an eye on the evening news.

Questions? Call me at (612) 724-3995
Elizabeth Frost

This is a very important demonstration and I would encourage the broadest possible participation. More demonstrations of this kind are needed.

In Minnesota a number of phony healthcare schemes are coming out of the State Legislature all aimed to bolster the political fortunes of the Republican and Democratic candidates running for governor--- none of these proposals would solve this healthcare mess.

What we need in this country is a no-fee/no-premium, comprehensive, all-inclusive universal healthcare system which incorporates a single-payer universal healthcare system based upon the Canadian healthcare system together with a vastly expanded national public healthcare system combining the best features of VA, the Indian Health Service together with a vastly expanded Public Health Service. The single-payer system would be publicly funded through an employer/employee payroll tax just like Social Security, publicly administered with continued private delivery of healthcare services until a fully public health care system could be phased in. The public healthcare system would complement the single-payer system but would immediately make free healthcare available to the forty-five million Americans presently without health insurance because they can't afford the high price of healthcare insurance or without adequate access to healthcare... this National Public Healthcare would be publicly financed, publicly administered and publicly delivered just like the Indian Health Service and the National Public Health Service.

Any country that can afford to fight wars in three countries, maintain over 800 military bases dotting the globe in over 150 countries can afford to provide healthcare for its own people.

We need to serve notice on Barack Obama and the Democrats:

No peace; no votes.

No real progressive healthcare reform; no votes.

This is about accountability which is fundamental to democracy and the American people have spoken in one very clear voice over and over again:

We want healthcare not imperialist wars.

A little dope on Stephen Hemsley from Forbes:


Stephen J. Hemsley

Director, President and Chief Executive Officer
UnitedHealth Group, Inc.
Minnetonka , MN
Sector: HEALTHCARE / Health Care Plans
Officer since January 1997
56 Years Old
Mr. Hemsley is President and Chief Executive Officer of UnitedHealth Group and has served in that capacity since November 2006. He has been a member of the Board of Directors since February 2000. Mr. Hemsley joined the Company in 1997 as Senior Executive Vice President. He became Chief Operating Officer in 1998, was named President in 1999, and served as President and Chief Operating Officer from 1999 to November 2006.
Forbes Rankings
269th on the Forbes Executive Pay in 2009
UnitedHealth Group - 104th on the Forbes Global 2000 in 2009
346th on the Forbes Executive Pay in 2008
UnitedHealth Group Forbes 400 Best Big Companies in 2008
UnitedHealth Group - 111st on the Forbes Global 2000 in 2008
See All Rankings >
Compensation for 2008
Salary $1,300,000.00
Bonus $0.00
Restricted stock awards $0.00
All other compensation $119,023.00
Option awards $ $0.00
Non-equity incentive plan compensation $1,822,019.00
Change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings $0.00
Total Compensation $3,241,042.00
Options Granted
Date All other stock awards (# of shares of stocks or units) Number of securities underlying options Exercise
or base
price Percent of total options granted in fiscal year Grant date fair value of stock and option awards See More
01/31/2006 - - $59.42 0% $3,054,000.00
05/02/2005 - 250,000 $47.34 1% $ -

Expiration date 05/02/2015
Value of options potential value 5% $7,442,968.00
Value of options potential value 10% $18,861,942.00

Another story:

UnitedHealth Group's Stephen Hemsley - CEO Compensation
May 14, 2009 — 4:11pm ET | By Dan Bowman

Stephen Hemsley
CEO compensation
UnitedHealth Group
Stephen Hemsley - UnitedHealth Group

Total Compensation: $3,241,042

Details: An $895 million class-action lawsuit over stock-option back dating aside, Hemsley still manages to make the cut for this list at No. 10. The UHG CEO's base salary was $1.3 million in 2008, to go along with a non-equity incentive plan compensation worth just over $1.8 million and "other compensation" amounting to slightly more than $119,000.

Hemsley's other compensation was a combination of the company matching his contributions under the 401(k) plan and the company matching contributions under his executive savings plan. According to the SEC, "in May 2006, the amount of Hemsley's supplemental retirement benefit was frozen based on his current age and average base salary and converted into a lump sum of $10,703,229." Because of this, "there was no increase in the benefit payable to Mr. Hemsley under his supplemental retirement benefit" in 2008.

Read more: http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/unitedhealth-groups-stephen-hemsley-ceo-compensation/2009-05-14#ixzz0a9AVhdF7

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Some thoughts about Copenhagen and global warming...

I'm curious; is there any industry that contributes more to global warming than Wall Street's military-financial-industrial complex as it profits from preparation for wars and wars?

If so, which ones?

I find it interesting environmentalists do not even mention militarization and the preparation for wars and fighting wars as a contributor towards global warming during this climate change debate even though this militarization consumes huge amounts of power, huge amounts of natural resources and requires an unbelievable amount of production from the very industries that are the primary contributors to global warming.

All those bombs "bursting in air" and exploding killing people must contribute some to global warming, too.

If we can't stop wars because they kill people and other living things; perhaps we should consider stopping wars because they contribute to global warming.

Maybe we should compare the benefits of peace to changing light bulbs and dotting our shorelines with windmills? How is it neither Barack Obama or Al Gore talk about the role of militarization and wars while talking about global warming and climate change?

Obama will join the leaders of these other countries in a final push for a remedy to global warming in keeping with his Wall Street views on health care "reform;" I hear he intends to go from this Copenhagen Conference to rally support for his escalation of the war in Afghanistan...

I never heard anyone talk about this before... perhaps someone would like to nominate me for some kind of Nobel Prize... of course, not the Nobel Peace Prize; that is now awarded to a warmonger who is escalating the war in Afghanistan which environmentalists don't want to figure out how much such a war contributes to global warming.

You know, it must take quite a little bit of industrial production rebuilding after the devastation of wars, also; is there any reason this wouldn't be a contributor to global warming, too?

Several professors tell me that somewhere between 30% to 50% of all industrial production in the United States is related to militarization and wars... related to this are huge amounts of mining, chemical production, power generation, etc.

I realize I'm no mathematician and no physicist... but, common sense tells me you are overlooking a major factor in global warming--- among all you environmentalist that have left wars out of your equations, you might want to go back to Al Gore and see what he has to say...

Might there be an "inconvenient truth" to what I have to say about preparation for wars and wars being a major contributor to global warming?

Marx might have had it right when he said when a nation spends its resources on preparation for wars and fighting wars it is like dumping those resources into the ocean... I wonder how Karl Marx would have viewed the contribution of militarism and wars to global warming?

You know, Wall Street might really be ours and the environment's main enemy.

Maybe we can't even solve this problem of global warming under capitalism with its wars especially if Barack Obama is going to be escalating these imperialist wars.

I'm wondering; Can Capitalism Be Green? Or, do we need a "red" socialist economy to become "green?"

Oh, well; what's missing a few minor questions that might embarrass our Number One health insurance salesman.

Just thought I would give you a little something to think about.

Give this some thought... we might be best off giving peace a chance before we change out all our light bulbs.

Alan L. Maki

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Obama pressures peace movement through dirty e-mailing campaign to soften its resistance to his escalation of the war in Afghanistan

The Obama administration is stooping to the exact same dirty tricks used by Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon in trying to undermine the efforts of the peace movement... from circulation of letters like the one below I have responded to, to getting outfits like the Huffington Post and Campaign for America's Future to censor and silence critics through deleting comments being made to postings.

This "Letter from the road #38" by Rabia Elizabeth Roberts has been making its rounds through a variety of peace organizations... this particular one comes to me from members of the West Michigan Justice and Peace Coalition.

In my opinion, while this "letter" tells us a lot about what the Afghans require, it is quite dishonest in that it, like most of the information, coming out of peace organizations these days which are dominated by pro-Obama "leaders" usually employed by the organizations as staff whose salaries are paid for through "philanthropic" foundation grants, intentionally ignores the past history of Afghanistan, especially the history of the last thirty to forty years and the role of the CIA and other U.S. government agencies and the U.S. military operations.

Not once have I read or heard any discussion about the only democratically and fairly elected governments of Afghanistan... the last of which came to an end with the President, Najibullah, a Marxist, having his head severed, impaled on a pole with his penis cut off and left hanging from his mouth which was ordered by the C.I.A. so as to "remind" the people of Afghanistan what they would get should they continue to seek democracy and freedom through socialism.

For some strange reason it is difficult to find a photo of Najibullah's head impaled on a pole with his penis hanging from his mouth... a very important part of Afghanistan's history... and our own history since the United States government ordered and managed this grotesque and gory dirty deed which for some strange reason they don't want the American people to see.

This is my response to this "letter" now being circulated trying to get the peace movement to soften up its opposition to Barack Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan... one more dirty imperialist war with the objective of control, manipulation, domination and occupation.

Let us be honest here; the only good, honest government the Afghan people have ever experienced was while the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan was in power. Previous to this were the feudal lords; what followed were the corrupt dope-dealing governments maintained in power by the C.I.A. and the U.S. military in the name of "free markets." Dr. Najibullah's popularly elected democratic government of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan provided the Afghan people the chance to democratically govern themselves for the first time in hundreds of years.

The grisly, gory and brutal murder of D. Najibullah was not unlike the grisly, gory and brutal murder of Ernesto Che Guevara... another of a long line of murders carried out by the U.S. C.I.A. on every continent, often with the help of the AFL-CIO with silence from the same elements who now are trying to get the peace movement to "soften" its present struggle to stop Barack Obama's savage and bestial escalation of this dirty imperialist war in Afghanistan which is directly targeting the same progressive forces which were headed up by Dr. Najibullah before he was so brutally murdered.

Now, since my original response to this "letter" from Rabia Elizabeth Roberts went out, I have been inundated with e-mails and phone calls asking me why I have been so obscene and vulgar in the way I described the execution of Dr. Najibullah.

I find this very interesting since these people who are accusing me of being obscene and vulgar have nothing to say about the barbaric, grisly murder of Dr. Najibullah carried out upon the orders, directions, supervision and direct participation of the American C.I.A. and military intelligence by the very drug-pushing sadistic killers who Barack Obama hugs today.

Now, if someone can explain to me how any government installed by a bunch of thugs employed by the C.I.A. who commits such horrendous crimes against its political opposition can ever have any kind of "legitimacy" I would like to hear the explanation.

Thursday, December 10th marks the 61st Anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights... on the occasion of this important date, peace activists might want to display photos of Dr. Najibullah with his severed head impaled on a pole with his penis hanging from his mouth.

By the way... these blood-thirsty, deranged butchers cut off Dr. Najibullah's penis prior to dragging him naked, still alive, through the streets until they severed his head while he was still alive and jammed his penis into his mouth as they they begin the intentionally very slow process of severing his head before impaling it on a pole where Dr. Najibullah's head was displayed like this for weeks.

If anything is gross and obscene it is what passes for "U.S. foreign policy"--- the policies of U.S. imperialism which, under Barack Obama have not changed.

In fact, from the tone and tenor of the e-mails and phone calls I have been receiving, it seems some Obama supporters would like to do the same to me.

In fact, just moments ago as I was writing this blog post, I got a phone call from a woman who said her name was Michelle Harris calling from phone number 866-932-6801; who stated: "...Maki, someone should cut off your dick and shove it in your mouth before they chop off your fingers so you can't write before they cut off your head. I voted for Barack Obama and I'm proud of it... just shut the fuck up about Barack Obama."

Nothing like the good old U.S.A.

I did send my e-mail below to Rabia Elizabeth Roberts to get her response; I even had to go through her ritual of having to prove I wasn't "spamming" her--- which I did. Should she respond I will publish her response here... in the interest of fairness and democracy.

Anyways, read the "letter" below and my response here:


I think this perspective being put forward by Rabia Elizabeth Roberts is exactly the message Barack Obama and the Democrats want to have coming out of the peace movement in order to justify their position which is an open imperialist position designed to make the occupation of Afghanistan palatable to the American people.

First, this is an imperialist war. No imperialist war is ever just.

Second, the war is being conducted in a way that is setting the country up for very long-term occupation.

Third, the United States had not one iota of business seeking to defend its “national interests” in Afghanistan because it has no legitimate national, or any other, interests in Afghanistan.

Fourth, the Soviets were working with the progressive Afghan government that had the support of the majority of the Afghan people. Everything this writer (Rabia Elizabeth Roberts) says is being done by good people helping the Afghan people on a very small scale right now was being done on a huge, gigantic scale by the Soviets.

I have pictures around someplace of Mohammad Najibullah (not sure of spelling) with his head impaled on a pole by the very corrupt, dope-peddling present government the CIA brought to power that Americans are dying for and paying to protect.

Thousands of progressive Afghans were murdered in the same grisly manner as Najibullah; this is why it is so difficult to get a good, honest government in Afghanistan today--- good, decent people don’t want to have their heads impaled on a pole with their penis cut off left dangling from their mouth.

There are no other alternatives to good and honest government than those who were working with Najibullah.

Mikhail Gorbachev can be thanked for this mess as much as the U.S. CIA… Soviet troops never should have pulled out of Afghanistan. Bin Laden would have been taken care of long ago and the World Trade Center would still be standing today had Soviet troops been allowed to complete their mission and there isn’t a single person who can say that the government of Najibullah was anything other than a decent, honest humanitarian government--- his “crime” was having been a “Marxist” … anyone is free to examine the accomplishments of the Najibullah government that, with Soviet assistance, was helping one of the poorest countries on this planet achieve decent livelihoods for the Afghan people… this fact is ignored by the letter writer below as it is ignored by most of the peace movement… in fact, I don’t know of anyone except myself who has even stated as much. But, the facts are there for anyone to see if they want to look.

The only thing the United States has to do now is pull all of its troops and contractor/mercenaries out of Afghanistan and the Afghan people will get the help they need from their friends in the region and around the world… in addition to pulling out the United States needs to agree to write the checks for rebuilding in the wake of the destruction and havoc it has created over the last three decades in Afghanistan… there is no replacing human life--- how does anyone ever apologize to the wife and children of Najibullah who Barack Obama should be hugging--- instead his hugs and kisses go to a dope-dealer pumping our children’s veins full of this poison.

In our small local newspaper that usually isn’t worth a darn… the lead Opinion/Editorial written for the Roseau Times-Region’s Jeff Olson states, now remember, this is no communist newspaper. The Roseau Times-Region is the largest circulation newspaper in northern Minnesota--- I quote, word for word, from the Saturday, December 5, 2009 Roseau Times-Region Editorial Page, page 4:

“Always, the Republicans have backed the rich the vested business interests, and not given a sweet damn about the poor.

You can see that in the national health care debate, which is becoming a debacle.

But forget about health care reform, which even Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon favored. It all came to naught. As will this opportunity.

But we’ve got bigger concerns: Fighting two wars.

On Tuesday, President Obama called for an additional 30,000 American troops to be sent to Afghanistan.

That’s in addition to the 20,000 American troops he ordered deployed to Afghanistan last March.

Mr. Obama should forget about the Nobel Peace Prize. He should also forget about showing up in Stockholm to receive it.

He’s a war president, not a peace-maker.

And this from a guy who voted for him.”

This commentary should be in a Communist newspaper; unfortunately it isn’t.

And, then, Jeff Olson goes on for another half page saying the “Congress deserves a good swift kick in the rump” for allowing this war to go on.

There is only one way to end these dirty wars and that is if the American people to send a strong, clear message to Barack Obama and the Democrats:

No Peace; No Votes.

And the peace movement should be gearing up to take this campaign to the American people so the Democrats feel the heat going into the 2010 Election. No one in the peace movement should be making any apologies or trying to skew the issues or confuse the issues with the intent of protecting Barack Obama and the Democrats.

We don’t owe the Democrats a darn thing… they owe us peace for putting them in full control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency.

The Democrats are responsible for their actions and in a democracy the voters are entitled to enforce accountability… no one voted for Barack Obama wanting more war… the entire reason for dumping the Republicans was because the American people were fed up with these wars and wanted real health care reform instead of war--- single-payer, to be exact.

How can Barack Obama and the Democrats bring democracy to Afghanistan when they don’t even respect the peace sentiments of the overwhelming majority who voted for them?

If the Democrats suffer a resounding defeat at the polls they deserve the trouncing. And no matter what; no leader of any peace organization should ever again be allowed by the members of the organizations to give their support to Barack Obama… he is nothing but a liar and a killer. Obama lied to the American people to get elected; Obama lies about the nature of this war now… who in their right mind uses over one-hundred thousand troops trying to chase down less than 100 criminals. Maybe if the FBI would stop tapping my phone and following me around they could catch Osama bin Laden… although they haven’t had much luck stopping organized crime in this country because half their F.B.I. “special” agents are “on the take” accepting bribes from drug lords while the other half of the F.B.I. is busy tapping our telephones and looking through our e-mails and monitoring our blog postings for signs of anti-imperialist peace sentiments.

I am sure the rest of the world will pitch in and help the people of Afghanistan just like they help so many other victims of war and natural disasters--- there is no need for any U.S. presence in Afghanistan… the people will get along just fine without the United States.

Barack Obama is a bigger liar than Richard Nixon… and that takes some doing.

I would rather lose an election supporting a real peace-loving candidate like George McGovern than win an election with a lying warmonger like Barack Obama and it sickens me to see someone suggest, while making a pretense of being for peace, when all they are doing is providing cover and deflecting criticism for Barack Obama as Rabia Elizabeth Roberts is doing here.

I would also point out that this bunch of corrupt, drug-dealing American puppets controlling the Afghan government right now destroyed the houses, schools and hospitals built with Soviet assistance because they wanted to eradicate any and all vestiges of what a progressive, anti-imperialist, socialist oriented government can do for the people. The grisly and barbaric murder of Mohammad Najibullah with his head impaled on a pole with his penis dangling from his mouth was meant to instill fear into a proud people who only want the right to live in peace with a standard of living befitting human beings.

Think about it… the Najibullah government was no different than the socialist oriented government in power in the Province of Manitoba right now whose former leader is now the U.S. Ambassador to the United States… Manitoba New Democratic Party leader Gary Doer.

I would be willing to bet that the writer of this letter will not be supporting the political friends of Najibullah coming back to power; and, I doubt she will join in calling for:

No peace; no votes because she supports Barack Obama.

I would like to hear what Rabia Elizabeth Roberts has to say in response to me on all counts.

It boggles my mind that the socialist oriented government of Najibullah was anathema to the United States, but Barack Obama can hug and kiss a bunch of murdering heroin dealers and this is acceptable.

By the way, I find it equally of interest that the “Progressives for Obama” is headed up by a guy named Carl Davidson who supported another butcher while he was conducting his killing spree--- Pol Pot; and he now adamantly refuses to disassociate himself from another killer, Barack Obama, by supporting: No peace; no votes. Stop the killing, U.S. out of Afghanistan now!

We need to dump Barack Obama the same way we dumped that warmonger Lyndon Johnson. Barack Obama should be forced to resign in shame just as Richard Nixon did… a killer is a killer and a liar is a liar; there is no reason why the American people should have to continue to put up with this killing in our name with our tax-dollars paying for this dirty war instead of real progressive health care reform right here in our own country. How dare any politician in this country squawk about the price-tag for real health care reform when they don’t bat an eyelash over funding this kind of dirty war.

Offer a trillion dollar reward to anyone who brings Osama bin Laden’s head impaled on a pole with his penis hanging from his mouth to Barack Obama and this will solve the matter and it will be a whole lot cheaper.

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



More from Peace Activist who was in Afghanistan

--- On Fri, 11/6/09, Rabia Elizabeth Roberts wrote
Letter from the Road #38
Rabia Elizabeth Roberts
November, 2009
Voices from Kabul

So ring the bells that still can ring
forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
- Leonard Cohen

I recently returned from the Middle East and Afghanistan, and am surrounded by my journals, magazine articles, blog snippets, position statements from peace groups, everything written in the New York Times about Afghanistan, and copies of some of the more than 200 emails I received in response to my last Letter from the Road: Confessions of a Peace Activist. It looks like my old dorm room at term paper time.

All of this material confirms my impression that the debate about whether to “bring the troops home now” or “surge” with more troops is misleading the national conversation. They are easy slogans but both sides of the debate tempt us to believe there is a quick resolution to our involvement in Afghanistan.

I believe it is time to stop thinking of Afghanistan either as a war to be won or abandoned. Our foreign policies there do not exist in a vacuum. Instead we need to acknowledge the responsibility the United States has for bringing about the current situation and recognize that our role is now to cultivate a long-term healing relationship with Afghanistan - for the good of the Afghan people, the stability of the region, and for the long-term interests of the United States and the world as a whole.

We cannot ignore the facts that over the past three decades the U.S. armed Afghanistan’s fundamentalist war lords, ignored the huge build-up of its drug trade, failed to help rebuild the country after its invasion in 2001, tolerated Pakistan’s continued support for Taliban terrorists, and bombed its villages for the past eight years. If the U.S. turns its back on the Afghan people now it will not only bring about more violence and injustice but also betray the principles we hold most dear. We helped to break it and now we must help to mend it.

How can we do this? Here are a few central issues that I heard from Afghans during my visit:

The Builders

For guidance we must start by listening to the non-governmental organization (NGO) workers – especially the Afghans - who have been working for years to re-build the country. They are part of the culture, and are trusted. They are under daily threat of kidnapping and death and yet fear is not diminishing their determination. Unfortunately, they are rarely consulted by policy makers or military commanders. These are the people working in child welfare, teacher training, women’s empowerment, capacity building, civic education, agriculture development, and peacemaking. They understand all the dimensions involved in “human security,” which includes a military presence but in service to long-term non-military goals such as justice, jobs, health, and education.

The Women

As a woman from the U.N. Fund for Women (who asked to remain unnamed) told us, “This conflict has been waged on the backs of women – it is about control of women.” This is not a side issue. A frequently mentioned concern of women is that the Taliban will set a pre-condition for any potential talks that no women be allowed to participate. When our peace delegation asked what we might do, she said, “Keep asking ‘Where are the women?’

There is a recurring proposal that comes before the Afghan government at the behest of Taliban supporters to set up a “department of virtue and vice.” There is also the much talked about “Shia Family Law,” which among scores of other repressive rules, says there is no such thing as marital rape, that a woman is required to obey her husband in all his needs, and that she cannot go outside the home without a male family member. This law, which is being strongly contested by women’s organizations, is being promoted by fundamentalist Shia religious groups in Iran.

The women we spoke with kept reminding us: there will be no democracy if it only involves men. When asked if we western women may be forcing something on the women of Afghanistan that they don’t want, a UNIFEM spokeswoman said, “There is no one who, when asked, does not want freedom.”

The international community has an important role to play here. All negotiations, public policies, and foreign aid must include the women of Afghanistan. President Obama should lead the way here by asking, “Where are the women?”

The Aid

Reconstruction and development have to be at the top of the list of U.S. policy initiatives in Afghanistan. At present, for every American dollar that goes to Afghanistan as aid, 60% comes back to the U.S. in corporate contracts and high salaries. This can of course be reduced by seeing that most aid money goes to Afghans. But that is easier said than done – USAID, for example, doesn’t give funds below $25 million. This limitation, plus overwhelming reporting requirements, means that only larger international corporations can make use of this money.

With the use of so many large foreign independent contractors and subcontractors the public interest needs of the Afghan people and culture can get lost. Furthermore, between the emphasis on large private contractors and the problems of government corruption there is little money available to build up the effectiveness of government agencies and provide adequate pay to Afghan personnel.

Afghanistan needs schools, hospitals, clinics, roads, sanitation systems, wells - these must be built as much as possible by Afghans, or with Afghans and used as a means of investing them in the reconstruction effort.

The problem here is that the Taliban are against all efforts of capacity building and consequently rural Afghans are often afraid to join in the work of reconstruction. To overcome this resistance, aid must be combined with protection, and involve Afghans in the process from the ground up. Perhaps a way forward here is to concentrate on certain key areas in which progress can then function as a model for other regions.

The Government

By all accounts the weak and corrupt Karzai government contributed significantly to the growth of the insurgency. By definition weak states cannot meet the basic needs of their population. They cannot consolidate authority over all their territory and they don’t have the resources to provide security.

After 30 years of war the Karzai government was too weak from the beginning to survive without international support. We didn’t provide that support after the invasion. As a result over the years people have lost faith in the government being able to provide the essentials of social functioning. Since they identify America with the current national government we also are no longer trusted.

Failure of governance is also a problem at the provincial level. Professor Aram Mir Ahzar, director of the Independent Commission for Peace and Reconciliation, told us that one of the problems with getting the Taliban to put down their guns and join the government is because “We can’t keep them safe.” When a Taliban fighter comes in (and reportedly 8300 have joined the peace commission so far), he is given $200 to return to his village and a card from the national government saying he should be given a piece of land and helped to find work. However the governor of the province may be a former Northern Alliance commander, a drug smuggler, or simply unsympathetic to this process and either kills the person or “disturbs their family” instead. Not surprisingly Taliban have stopped coming in.

Restoring civil politics in a multiethnic state shattered by war is difficult because the years of war destroyed the possibility of cooperation. Provincial people keep their relationship with the Taliban or the Northern Alliance for security and for fear they may come back into governmental power. As long as we threaten to withdraw or give a timetable for withdrawal without an adequate Afghan army or police this dynamic will continue to undermine a viable national government.

The U.S., NATO, and the U.N. cannot ignore the corruption and poor planning in the Karzai government. It is causing massive discouragement among Afghans and feeding distrust in American involvement and intention. The U.S., NATO, and the U.N. must, as a condition of all military or economic aid, make purging the most egregious corrupt officials and their militias from the government a priority. This will go a long way in renewing respect for America amon g Afghans.


Most public discussion in the U.S. at the moment focuses on the important role of military forces in Afghanistan, but according to some of my informal conversations, while military and paramilitary forces play a key role in maintaining safety for society, the police are perhaps the most critical force in peoples everyday lives. According to General Stanley McChristal’s counter-insurgency strategy, the Afghan and international military forces may be able to penetrate and protect an insurgent area, and if well sustained with adequate troops may reduce guerilla activity. But as history shows, once a local situation becomes untenable for insurgents, the Taliban simply transfer their activity to another area and the problem remains unsolved. A viable indigenous police force with a permanent presence in urban and rural areas is a critical component of counter-insurgency in the long term.

At Camp Eggars I spoke with two British soldiers with NATO forces whose job was to train the police force in Kabul. How was it going? Well, it is complicated by the fact that Afghan police have not received formal training for two decades. The job of training was turned over to private contractors like DynCorp who were not up to the job. A real governmental strategy for training police did not exist until 2007, and the fact is most Afghans can’t read. “How can I train a policeman if he can’t write a police report?” It will take a decade to do this. A long time - and yet it needs to be done if people are to be safe after the international forces leave.

Getting It Right

Based on the above challenges and Afghanistan’s history, the U.S., NATO, and the U.N. need to work at multiple levels simultaneously to achieve security:
• learn from and partner with NGO’s and local entities in development;
• involve women in all aspects of rebuilding;
• confront corruption and build capacity in good governance;
• train an Afghan army and national police force;
. stop the flow of drugs and drug money;
• work diplomatically with regional partners to undermine the Taliban and Al Qaeda sanctuary in Pakistan.

Reading over these notes I admit the whole situation can discourage me at times. It is an interlocking puzzle of dysfunctional systems. So why not let the Taliban have the country? Or let the warlords “cut it up” as Thomas Friedman recommended in a recent New York Times article?

For me, these suggestions ignore the human costs involved. I can’t stop seeing the faces and hearing the stories of the people I met in Kabul. The “let them work it out” scenarios promise only more war, personal violence, and refugee displacement which could easily be worse than what is happening now. If the past is any guide this violence could go on for a very long time, further destabilizing the whole region, including the Pakistan-India stand off.

The people I met in Afghanistan do not want another civil war, a narco-state, or a repressive women-hating regime. Nor do they want a long-term foreign occupation - but they do want help in rebuilding a secure, functional country.

Walking away from Afghanistan now perpetuates the idea, to both U.S. citizens and the rest of the world, that all we are willing, and able, to do in a country is to destroy and kill, achieve our limited idea of “mission accomplished” and walk away. As we know this only increases recruitment for the growing global terrorist network. Reconstruction, education, jobs and development are our most powerful anti-terrorism tools. And Afghanistan is a place to demonstrate our commitment to these goals.

I continue to believe that international troops have a roll to play in protecting civilians and development efforts, securing roads, training an Afghan army and national police, and securing the border with Pakistan. It is hard for me to see how Afghanistan can achieve these goals without military support at this time.

I bow to my good friends in the peace movement who tell me our government is incapable of living up to our values and engaging in nation-building in a positive way. They have some history behind them and may prove to be right. However, I believe that everything outlined above is possible with long-term commitment and care. I hope my government and its allies are up to it for the sake of the Afghan people and the world.

This message was sent from Rabia Elizabeth Roberts to katrussell@att. net. It was sent from: The Boulder Institute for Nature and the Human Spirit, 2434 Mapleton Avenue, Boulder, CO 80304.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Criticizing or Accountability... what do Obama and the Democrats need when it comes to escalating the war in Afghanistan?

I have been trying to drum up a discussion to include as part of the peace movement "accountability" which goes like this:

No peace; no vote.

Peace now!

This was a post I made on a list serve after I was attacked for "being a Democrat" as a letter signed by 100 or so peace activists calling for a demonstration in Washington D.C.--- which I support--- was being discussed, take it for whatever you think it is worth--- the Huffington Post and the Campaign for America's Future and some other Century Foundation funded organizations have been censoring my comments by deleting them:

I think there is confusion here.

The source of the confusion has to do with not understanding the difference between "criticizing" the Democrats and holding the Democrats "accountable."

There is a big difference even though on the surface this might seem like splitting hairs.

Criticism is used to "convince" someone to do things differently.

"Accountability" is used to "coerce" some action.

I don't think the peace movement understands the distinction between "criticism" and "accountability."

No amount of "criticism" is going to "convince" Barack Obama and the Democrats to halt the escalation of the war and killing in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq.

Does anyone really believe Obama, Congress people and Senators will be swayed by "criticism?"

No way.

They are going to have to be "coerced" through "accountability."

Pesonally, I think the peace movement has the exact same problem the labor movement has even though most people--- including peace activists--- do not want to acknowledge the problem.

The "leaders" of the peace movement are tied in one way or another to the Democratic Party or at least they are convinced their "credibility" is tied to not doing anything that offends Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Calling for using "accountability" to enforce and coerce Democratic Party politicians to act for peace instead of expanding and escalating wars is definitely considered a "no, no" because what is it you have to do to enforce "accountability?"

You have to pledge not to vote for Obama and these Democrats who vote for these wars in various ways.

Out of the more than "100 leading peace activists" calling for these mobilizations against the war... not one single one of them have called for the kind of "accountability" along the lines of:

No peace; no votes.

They do not have to "criticize" Obama or any Democrats in an offensive manner.

But, why would they not simply be urging the tens of millions of people who are fed up with these wars to actively do something anyone 18 or over can do to oppose these wars.

We all know that very few people take the plunge from thinking these wars are wrong to marching through the streets... their activity level is someplace between their thinking process and taking to the streets.

In my opinion there is a direct correlation between more and more people thinking these dirty wars are wrong, and fewer and fewer people willing to take to the streets and this is because these "leaders" of the peace movement have not suggested that those presently in the streets go back into their communities in a way that convinces their friends and neighbors to become involved in the struggles for peace by helping people take a step forward in becoming involved... people will not take a flying leap from thinking to doing.

We are missing a step... the anti-Vietnam war movement was very successful in bringing more and more people out into the streets because the call for accountability at the ballot box was always a part of the peace movement. First you get people to take the easiest step--- associated with the ballot box, then they learn they need to reinforce that step by stepping into the streets.

Now, for some reason "leaders" of the peace movement have refused to place accountability on the table--- and I believe the reason is the foundation money financing peace organizations are connected to the Democratic Party and the leaders of these peace organizations understand very thoroughly where their pay-checks come from. So if they begin calling for "accountability" at the ballot box by saying:

No peace; no votes... they will not have their jobs for long. Often this is enforced through tax-exempt status which prohibits partisan political activity.

Calling on people not to vote for specified candidates because they promote war--- like Barack Obama--- is deemed partisan political activity... we saw the trouble Julian Bond got the NAACP into when he called for members to exercise accountability when it came to Bush and the Republicans.

Now, I think most grassroots and rank-and-file peace activists in communities and places of employment-- - except those believing they have some kind of "responsibility" to protect Democrats--- will agree with me that "accountability" is a needed and required tactic especially as we move towards the 2010 elections where we can serve notice on any Democrat who votes to escalate and continue these dirty wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq that in accordance with our strategy aimed at bringing about "Peace Now!" we are going to include in our tactics, "No peace, no votes," in the same way we encourage people to demonstrate in the streets or write a letter to the President or their Senator or member of Congress.

We need to be asking these "leaders" of the peace movement why they urge people to do everything and anything for peace except use their vote as a means to coerce these politicians to do what is right and just.

I think the vast majority of the people in this country understand that they have a right to get peace rather than stupid, dirty, imperialist wars for domination and occupation in return for their votes; and politicians, in a democracy, are supposed to be accountable to the people, not the other way around.

Barack Obama and the Democrats making these wars have no one but themselves to blame should they lose elections because they escalated the war in Afghanistan rather than stopping it.

Leaders of the peace movement also need to be held "accountable;" their job is to mobilize people to the maximum so we can stop these wars, not to protect Barack Obama's or any other Democrat's worthless political butt... and, let's be clear, when any politician acts in any way to promote war instead of peace, no matter Democrat, Republican, Green, Independent, Socialist or Communist they are worthless politicians and no matter what their stand on any other issue they should get the boot by voters holding them accountable.

We have a worthless labor "leadership" in this country which has learned to pander and grovel to the Democrats for piddly jobs at poverty wages by learning to keep their mouths shut when it comes to these dirty wars... not once have I heard any "leader" of the AFL-CIO or Change To Win tell Obama and the Democrats that their warmongering policies are killing American jobs and further depressing the economy causing the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs... common sense, not a Harvard business degree, tells us the government can't spend trillions of dollars to fight wars with the objective of occupying countries which will cost trillions more and still expect the government to create jobs here at home. Yet, every major labor "leader" in this country--- including Anna Berger, Richard Trumka and Leo Gerard--- was face-to-face with Obama this past week and not a one of them stated any opposition to his announcement of escalating the war in Afghanistan--- if any did, I haven't heard it... of course, like the leaders of the peace movement who are following in the path of these labor leaders... no one told Obama that he was going to be losing the labor vote because of his wars.

We need to put "accountability" in front of the American people--- with or without the "leaders" who should be leading on this issue, but aren't:

No peace; no votes.

There is no weapon in our arsenal of tactics more powerful than enforcing "accountability" at the ballot box and it is the one tactic as part of a strategy for winning peace that is missing. I don't think it is missing by oversight or by accident.

I would suggest that if you want new leaders in the peace movement you look around... but, start by looking in the mirror if you think "accountability" is a tactic that has been overlooked.

Maybe as your first step as a leader you could consider writing a letter to the editor explaining why Barack Obama will never again get your vote.

I would rather have a peace-loving George McGovern lose an election than get stuck with a warmongering Barack Obama.

I don't think this country has ever had a more dishonest president than Barack Obama considering what he led people to believe he stood for to get elected and what he actually is doing to win Wall Street's confidence in him.

Of course, the other side of the coin comes from those in the peace movement who have refused to raise the issue of "accountability" through "No peace; no vote;" they are the ultra-leftists who are so super-revolutionary they think participating in elections is selling out.

This is not about "criticism;" it is about "accountability." The two usually go together and Barack Obama and the Democrats are deserving of both... especially accountability.

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Check out my blog:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Huffington Post censored my post on Afghanistan

I posted the following comment in response to an article by a Nation Magazine editor and the moderators of the Huffington Post eliminated it a brief period after it was posted.

This is the link to the article by Cristian Parenti and the article is posted below in its entirety:

For Obama the Road to Reelection Runs Through Kabul - Or So He Thinks


My post on the Huffington Post in response to an article by Christian Parenti which I am sure Barack Obama's hacks will read:

I disagree with you on the reasons for this war--- but this disagreement is neither here nor there; the killing has to stop.

Obama is carrying out the McCain/Palin agenda of endless wars creating untold death, destruction and misery for large sections of humanity while as a result of funding these dirty wars for whatever reasons: oil, gas, regional domination, political popularity--- the needs of the American people go unmet--- our right to real health care reform that includes a public health care system providing free, comprehensive, all-inclusive, pre-natal to grave health care, publicly funded, publicly administered and publicly delivered; decent housing; good schools providing quality education; and jobs at real living wages--- all remain ellusive as trillions of dollars are squandered on killing abroad so the Wall Street merchants of death and destruction can profit while maintaing the military-financial-i­ndustrial complex of which maximum corporate profits is the only goal.

The only way Barack Obama's killing spree in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq will be brought to an end is when the American people send this con-artist and flim-flam man turned health insurance salesman who hypocritically manipulated and hoodwinked the American people into electing him president with his lies of "change" and "hope"--- is when the American people deliver Obama a very clear message:

No peace; no votes!

End the killing now!

Agreed: Whatever the outcome, Obama has made it clear: he is willing to kill to get reelected.


For Obama the Road to Reelection Runs Through Kabul - Or So He Thinks

The real goals of the Afghanistan escalation are domestic and electoral. Like Lyndon Johnson who escalated in Vietnam, Obama lives in mortal fear of being called a wimp by Republicans.

To cover his flank and look tough in the next US elections, Obama is expanding the war in Afghanistan. To look strong in front of swing voters he will sacrifice the lives of hundreds of US soldiers; allow many more to be horribly maimed; waste a minimum of $30 billion in public money; and in the process kill many thousands of Afghan civilians.

It is political theater, nothing else. What are the other possible explanations for Obama's escalation? And why has he pledged to start drawling down the new deployment after only a year of fighting?

Is it to get the job done? To rebuild Afghanistan? To kill Osama Bin Laden and crush Al Qaeda? No, all those goals are nearly impossible. And Al Qaeda is too small and internationally defused to destroy.

Some say that Afghanistan is about a pipeline to export gas from Central Asia. Nonsense -- only a maniac would invest large sums of money in building a pipeline there. In the late 1990s the Argentine firm Bridas and the US firm Unocal jockeyed for the right to build such a pipeline. But that dream, always tentative, has evaporated. Afghanistan will never be stable enough for such a project.

Others say the Afghan war is about establishing US military bases to menace China, Russia and Iran. Indeed, the US now has bases on either side of Iran due to its occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. And small bases in Central Asia. But these do not require this new escalation.

The real purpose of these 300,000 soldiers is to make Obama look tough as he heads toward the next US presidential election.

As a landlocked, underdeveloped, fragmented buffer state with few resources, Afghanistan has long served as a means to get at other issues. Consider the history of how the US has used Afghanistan.

First, during the Cold War, Carter then Regan used it as the Soviet "bear trap." Then George W Bush used it to trampoline into Iraq. The Bush administration discussed régime change in Iraq at one of its first cabinet meetings. Among other things, they wanted direct economic control, and indirect geostrategic control, over Iraq's vast oil wealth. That has been partially accomplished, as witnessed by the recent Exxon and Shell deals there.

The only credible way into Iraq was via Afghanistan. On October 12, 2001 Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Paul Wolfowitz, actually suggested that the US skip an invasion of Afghanistan and go directly to Iraq. But that would have made coalition building impossible. After all, Al Qaeda was in the Taliban's Afghanistan.

So, the Afghan invasion was done - but on the cheap, fast and light. And then for eight years Afghanistan festered as the forgotten other war.

Then came the US presidential elections of 2008. Obama promised to end the Iraq war. But living in fear of being called a wimp, he too used Afghanistan. It became a rhetorical charm, a political mojo in his masculine war dance: He promised to lose Iraq (withdrawal or redeploy if you prefer), but do so while salvaging our national honor by winning the "necessary" war in Afghanistan. In short - he used Afghanistan to show that we was not the soft, meek, scared, pussified, little Democrat portrayed in GOP spin.

Wait, you say, most Americans want out of Afghanistan! So what.

US Presidential Elections are not decided by the majority of voters but rather by swing voters, in swing states. By "Reagan Democrats" and "Clinton Conservatives." By a sliver of older, whiter, middle and working-class men and (less so) women, in rural and suburban Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Tennessee, Michigan, etc.

This demographic has a strong sense of national honor, a fondness for the military, a traditional sense of masculinity and the role of violence in ordering the world, and perhaps a too simple view of international politics. Obama feels he must go to the polls able to tell them he was not afraid to fight, that he made a good effort in Afghanistan.

Never mind the reality of the war. What matter is what it will it look like. Nay, what it will feel like to swing voters. Will they believe the young Black President with the funny Muslim name cut and run?

There is nothing else to Obama's Afghan strategy. The war is a lost cause, but a useful story. Victory in Afghanistan is re-election in 2012.

But the ghost of LBJ's re-election surrender in 1968 stalks the young president. The irony is that if Obama cannot claim progress and begin drawing down in time, his Afghanistan gamble may backfire and cost him a second term in the White House.

Whatever the outcome, Obama has made it clear: he is willing to kill to get reelected.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Afghans say: Obama builds occupation

This article deserves the widest circulation possible…

Afghans say: Obama builds occupation

Kabul money changer Ehsanullah wondered why U.S. forces had managed to find former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, but had yet to locate Al Qaeda head Osama bin Laden or Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, who both fled U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2001.

"This is part of America's further occupation of Afghanistan," he said. "America is using the issue of insecurity here in order to send more troops."



Wed Dec 2, 2009

Afghans unimpressed by Obama's troops surge


By Sayed Salahuddin 
KABUL (Reuters) – Thirty thousand more U.S. troops for Afghanistan? Esmatullah only shrugged.

"Even if they bring the whole of America, they won't be able to stabilize Afghanistan," said the young construction worker out on a Kabul street corner on Wednesday morning. "Only Afghans understand our traditions, geography and way of life."

U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement of a massive new escalation of the eight-year-old war seemed to have impressed nobody in the Afghan capital, where few watched the speech on TV before dawn and fewer seemed to think new troops would help.

Obama said his goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat" al Qaeda in Afghanistan and "reverse theTaliban's momentum."

The extra U.S. forces, and at least 5,000 expected from other NATO allies, would join 110,000 Western troops already in the country in an effort to reverse gains made by the Islamist militants, at their strongest since being ousted in 2001.

Shopkeeper Ahmad Fawad, 25, said it would not help.

"The troops will be stationed in populated areas where the Taliban will somehow infiltrate and then may attack the troops," he said. "Instead of pouring in more soldiers, they need to focus on equipping and raising Afghan forces, which is cheap and easy."

For many, the prospect of more troops meant one thing: more civilian deaths.

"More troops will mean more targets for the Taliban and the troops are bound to fight, and fighting certainly will cause civilian casualties," Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, a former Afghan prime minister, told Reuters.

"The civilian casualties will be further a blow to the U.S. image and cause more indignation among Afghans."


By late morning, the Afghan government had yet to issue an official response to Obama's statement.President Hamid Karzai has in the past said he favors additional Western troops, although he wants Afghan forces to take over security for the country within five years.

Although Obama pointedly addressed Afghans, telling them the United States was not interested in occupying their country, parliamentarian Shukriya Barakzai said she was disappointed because the speech contained little talk of civilian aid.

"It was a very wonderful speech for America ... but when it comes to strategy in Afghanistan there was nothing really new which was disappointing," she told Reuters from her home.

"It seems to me that President Obama is very far away from the reality and truth in Afghanistan. His strategy was to pay lip-service, and did not focus on civilians, nation-building, democracy and human rights."

Other Afghans, hardened by decades of war and wary of foreign forces whom have for years fought proxy battles in Afghanistan, were skeptical of the United States' intentions.

Kabul money changer Ehsanullah wondered why U.S. forces had managed to find former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, but had yet to locate Al Qaeda head Osama bin Laden or Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, who both fled U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2001.

"This is part of America's further occupation of Afghanistan," he said. "America is using the issue of insecurity here in order to send more troops."

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An open letter to peace activists who supported Barack Obama

Peter Lems and Mary Zerkel, American Friends Service Committee;

Here is a President many of you “leaders” of peace organizations supported knowing that Obama’s stated intent was to expand the war in Afghanistan… now he has fulfilled this campaign promise and you pretend to be surprised.

There is no shortage of funding... for wars from the president and Democrats you supported but there is a lack of funds for socialized health care or single-payer. I have to ask a question here: What is going on; will all these organizations go out into the streets and carry signs saying the escalation is a bad idea and then turn around and campaign and vote for the Democrats and Barack Obama in 2010 and 2012?

I hear all kinds of “mass activities” being planned to oppose this escalation of the war; but, why is there no ADDITIONAL suggestion that in retaliation for escalating this dirty imperialist war the Democrats will suffer repercussions at the polls… This is called “accountability.”

Accountability” is something basic and fundamental to democracy.

Accountability” goes like this…

No peace; no votes.

Yet, I haven’t heard either of you or one single one of these “leaders” of the peace movement talk about holding Barack Obama and the rest of these warmongering Dumb Donkeys “accountable” at the polls.

What gives?

Go out and hold a little peace parade and then turn around and tell these war mongers you are going to be supporting them in the next election?

Of course, if you aren’t going to be supporting warmongering Democrats in the next Election; that kind of begs another question… do we challenge these warmongers and Dumb Donkeys in their own primaries and continue on as independents in the general election or should progressives begin to consider organizing an alternative to this two-party trap set for us by Wall Street. Could we do both?

Something to think about:


If politicians don’t know the meaning of the word, give them a dictionary… but not your vote.

No peace; no votes.

Should there be an organized movement demanding “accountability” from Obama and the Democrats as a means to end these wars?

Should peace organizations be leading this effort for “accountability” at the polls?

I am having a very difficult time understanding how it is that I should protest the escalation of this war with you if you are then going to go right back and urge people to vote for the Democrats and Obama. 

We heard a lot of talk from liberals, progressives and those on the left as they enthusiastically supported Obama often telling us that this support would provide our peace and other progressive movements with clout.

From the same people eager to sell us on Obama we were assured they would be initiating and leading movements  for real change as a means of "holding Obama's feet to the fire" but so far we have only seen these people sitting on resources required to mobilize people in defense of their rights and interests, and holding an occasional press conference where they made all kinds of fantastic claims to be "organizing" on our behalf but no movements have developed as these foundation funded organizations walk away from the required struggles.

One has to ask how you get any kind of accountability from Barack Obama and these Democrats if promises are made to campaign and vote for them the next time around?

No peace; no votes.

Something to think about around the dinner table as Barack Obama sends off another 30,000 troops to fight and kill in an unjust, illegal and unconstitutional war in Afghanistan.

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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Thoughts From Podunk


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sign the Petition for Nuclear Disarmament to: Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, United Nations

We wish to add our voices to the global campaign for an end to nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. We believe that the world needs to take urgent action to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and to make the world free of nuclear weapons, as part of the overall drive for worldwide peace and the transfer of military spending to socially-useful ends. The international treaties concerning nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear weapons test-ban and fissile material cut-off are essential to achieving this goal.

In May 2010 the United Nations will meet to review the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Trade unionists from around the world are urging that meeting to make a clear path towards abolition of nuclear weapons in the shortest possible time. We ask that:

  • those countries which have not joined the NPT do so, and for all countries to comply with it in full; 
  • the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty enter into force as soon as possible;
  • there be an immediate start to and rapid progress on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty; and
  • we ask for international agreements to support nuclear-weapon-free zones.

We support the actions of the “Mayors for Peace”, headed by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in calling for abolition of all nuclear weapons by 2020.

Production and maintenance of nuclear weapons, and military expenditure overall, cost more than one trillion dollars each year. We call for major reductions in military expenditure, to allow this money to be spent on social and economic development and fighting poverty.

We further ask that this transformation from military to peaceful expenditure be done in a way which protects the livelihoods of those who would be affected by it.

Sign the petition on-line here:


Petition endorsed by the following organizations: 

  • Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice 
  • Concerned L.O.W.-Roseau County MNDFL Caucus 
  • Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
  • Lake-of-the-Woods Communist Club
  • Iron Range Club, CPUSA
  • Duluth-Superior Club, CPUSA
  • Pine County Socialist Club
  • Jacobson Community Club, CPUSA
  • Hardwood Creek Trail Club, CPUSA
  • Thief River Falls Political Affairs Discussion Club
  • Barron Club, CPUSA
  • Rusk County Neighbors for Peace
  • Rhinelander Marxist Reading Circle
  • Bayview Progressive Farmers & Homesteaders
  • U.P. Club, CPUSA
  • Crystal Falls Marxist Reader's Circle
  • Republic Club, CPUSA
  • Westside Club-Grand Rapids, CPUSA
  • Detroit Marxist Study Circle
  • Great Lakes Area Watermelons for Peace