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...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Another Vice-President enters the "Drop-Kick" controversy

I got a phone call from Vice-President Walter Mondale concerning my blog posting:

Joe Biden and the "drop kick"

Yes, the Senator from Minnesota, who in his feeble condition, came out of his cave long enough to encourage George Bush to bomb North Korea, is now on a crusade to make sure I properly hyphenate words.

The Vice-President (Mondale) told me that he is a stickler for details and that if I am going to pretend to be in the big leagues and write about football I should at least learn to hyphenate the words properly.

Okee-dokee Mr. Vice-President... I stand corrected:

I should not have written "drop kick;" I should have written "drop-kick."

My apologies to Mr. Mondale.

Then I got another call from Minnesota Republican State Representative Tony Cornish one of the more inteeligent and astooot members of the Minnesota State Legislature...

Tony said, "Maki, I got you this time. You are dead wrong. You don't know what you are talking about. Wayne Gretzky is not the home-run-king; Wayne Gretzky is a hockey player. If you don't know a hockey player from a baseball player you can't know much about anything else. I listened to many a hockey games in my day while hiding in the bushes trying to catch poachers."

Thank you Representative Cornish for catching my important mistakes; at least I didn't call Alan Greenspan an economist. Stay on the job. Minnesotans continue to appreciate your wisdom and hard work. I must say though, you didn't catch the missing "-" that Walter picked up.

Then there was this comment from Mrs. Barbara Distasio--- friend of the distinguished health care writer Kip Sullivan and former Attorney General Mike Hatch; Barbara claims to be the wealthy capitalist heiress to her family's fortune...

"Maki, you are a pervert."

I guess I won't be on the list of this wealthy philanthropist to receive her tax-deductible contributions from.

One writer, Pamela Johnson, from Iowa, wrote:

"Maki, I don't believe Vice-president Biden ever said anything about a drop kick. You made this all up to embarrass the President."

Actually, hundreds of people wrote asking me for a link to the story I was writing about so they could read for themselves what Biden said about the "drop kick;" or as Vice-President Mondale has pointed out, "drop (with a hyphen) kick."

A lot of people requested the link to the news story I used where Joe Biden made reference to the "drop-kick." Actually I read a few... here is one, there are many others... just do "a google" on... < Joe Biden and Drop-Kick >:


This is the actual story at the link above:

Biden: Stimulus to 'drop-kick' US out of recession

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the Obama administration's stimulus program is designed to "drop-kick" the economy out of its deep recession, declaring he is determined to ensure the $787 billion "gets out the door quickly and wisely."

Meeting with top members of President Barack Obama's Cabinet, Biden warned that he plans to use "the moral approbation of this office" to make sure the huge fund of stimulus money is put to use creating jobs and rebuilding American infrastructure.

Peter Orszag, the president's budget director, sitting to Biden's right in the White House Roosevelt room on Wednesday, said he intends to insure that Americans know how the money is being spent through the recovery. gov Web site, which he said already is receiving some 3,000 hits each second.

And Earl Devaney, the newly named chairman of stimulus plan accountability board, disclosed he will push each of the 50 states to name a watchdog to oversee spending.

I did get a kick out of the e-mail I received from Robert Schultz of Pittsburgh who had this to say about Earl Devaney, the guy who exposed the sex for oil scandal in the Department of Interior who is now supposed to keep an eye on the bankers. Apparently Devaney was with Biden when he let loose with the "drop-kick"... Mr. Schultz had this comment...

"The sex for oil scandal went on long enough. Devaney must have waited until his Viagra prescription ran out."

Then there was this e-mail from Sean Brown in my box this morning:

-----Original Message-----
From: Sean Brown [mailto:seanmcbrown@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2009 3:28 AM
To: Alan Maki
Subject: Re: Joe Biden and the "drop kick"

Maki, you're a moron. And this thing you sent out really underscores it all. Do you think you're helping? You've got some good points, but they get lost in the gibberish.

till next time,

My response to Mr. Brown:

First, Mr. Brown, allow me to apologize to you and all middle class readers of my blog for putting you through such an ordeal.

All I can say in response to Sean Brown is "I am truly sorry."

I apologize to Mr. Brown for complicating President Barack Obama's "stimulus package."

I hope I haven't broken the President's concentration in trying to get his foot on the ball as he continues to drop-kick in scoring that big point.

Perhaps Mr. Brown is correct; I included way too much "gibberish."

I should have just come right out and told it the way it is:

President Barack Obama's "stimulus package" doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of helping the economy recover because military spending torpedoed any chance of success.

Now the question is...

Will the American people give Obama another chance to "drop-kick"... should I be doing a poll?

And, as far as all the "gibberish" Sean Brown complains about; I assume he like many other people didn't know what a "drop-kick" is anymore than I didn't know Wayne Gretzky was a hockey player not a slugger. (Gees, does anyone catch that pun?)

Anyways... for those wanting to work their way through the "gibberish" as Sean Brown did in the e-mails I sent out here you go... here is where all the controversy around Vice-president Joe Biden's remark using a complex hyphenated word--- Drop-Kick--- all began with this one e-mail:

On Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 8:36 PM, Alan Maki wrote:

--- On Wed, 2/25/09, Alan Maki wrote:

From: Alan Maki

Subject: Joe Biden and the "drop kick" ... oh, oh, did someone flub up the play?

To: rep.al.juhnke@house.mn, rep.bill.hilty@house.mn, rep.dave.olin@house.mn, rep.tom.anzelc@house.mn, rep.tom.Rukavina@house.mn, rep.tony.sertich@house.mn, rgettel@uaw.net, sdaniels@usw.org, sen.david.tomassoni@senate.mn

Date: Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Senator Tomassoni, could there be a "drop kick" in hockey I am not aware of?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Joe Biden and the "drop kick"

Joe Biden said that Barack Obama's stimulus package was intended to be a "drop kick" intended to stimulate the economy and get us on the road to recovery.

However, Biden didn't mention the possibility or odds of success for a "drop kick."

Someone might want to check out the odds; Obama and Biden are gambling with our money.

Has anyone seen a smiling bookie lurking around the White House grounds?

I wonder when the Minnesota Vikings last accomplished a successful "drop kick."


Could it be Obama and Biden intended to punt and the quarterback got his signals crossed?

Alan L. Maki

--- On Thu, 2/26/09, Alan Maki wrote:

From: Alan Maki

Subject: Re: More on: Joe Biden and the "drop kick" ... oh, oh, did someone flub up the play?

To: Out_Of_The_Frying_Pan@yahoogroups.com, 'blehto@mnaflcio.org', amy_berglund@levin.senate.gov, "tim carpenter" , eliot.seide@afscmemn.org, jscannel@aflcio.org, medea@globalexchange.org, mnaflcio@mnaflcio.org, mzweig@notes.cc.sunysb.edu, "Ted Pearson" , peter.makowski@mail.house.gov, rep.al.juhnke@house.mn, rep.bill.hilty@house.mn, rep.dave.olin@house.mn, rep.tom.anzelc@house.mn, rep.tom.Rukavina@house.mn, rep.tony.sertich@house.mn, rgettel@uaw.net, sdaniels@usw.org, sen.david.tomassoni@senate.mn, "Rabbi Arthur Waskow" , william.pitt@truthout.org

Date: Thursday, February 26, 2009, 9:49 PM

More on: Joe Biden and the "drop kick" ... oh, oh, did someone flub up the play?

I have received so many e-mails since my posts to many list serves with my Biden and his "drop kick" comment yesterday I cannot ever hope to respond to each one individually even though I have tried... they just keep pouring in... some people liked my analogy, some thought I was being too hard on Biden and Obama, many who don't care about football didn't know the difference between a "drop kick" and a "punt" so my analogy was lost on them.

Below is my explanation of the "drop kick" highlighted in yellow for those who want to know what a "drop kick" is... those who know can proceed beyond the yellow highlight:

Anyways... my football analogies.

I couldn't resist... most of the e-mails I sent out went to people who I know like football and would understand.. . but I got such a chuckle out of what I wrote I figured I would send it out more widely and see if many people caught on. Most others didn't. I don't really care for football myself but when I read this really stupid remark Biden made, my playing football as a kid just came back to me and I thought it was funny.

Ok, here goes...

A "drop kick" is probably about the most risky play in football and the play with the least chance of having any success for scoring a point.

The person with the ball has to let the ball drop and hit the ground one time and when it bounces up he has to kick it though the goal posts.

It is such a difficult play it has only been successfully accomplished once in professional football history here in the United States (as far as I know; I haven't followed football for years--- if I am wrong I am sure someone will correct me)... I think it was successfully accomplished back in the 1940's or 1950's; if I would have saved my old football cards I could tell you for sure.

I think most people (and probably Biden) thought he was referring to a "punt;" where you just drop the ball and kick it before it hits the ground.... its a very common play.

Biden must have figured "drop kick" was better for a sound bite.

So, here you have the Vice-president of the United States who traveled all over the country talking football for small talk "with the boys" now comparing the chance of success for stimulating the economy with a play so rare, with so little chance of success, most any bookie would be delighted to take any bet without hesitation feeling pretty confident the play will fail..

I just found it hilarious that Biden would choose a play with such little chance of success to compare their "stimulus package" to.

Wouldn't you expect Biden to at least use a well known winning play? Or, maybe he was sending out a subliminal message? Maybe he is even chuckling to himself over the analogy and is just so arrogant he figured no one would catch his own joke? Could he and Obama be laughing at us suckers?

It was just my humor in saying I think Obama's "stimulus plan" will fail.

Hopefully Biden knows a little more about economics than football... but that is probably a long shot, too, that any bookie would be happy to take a bet on.

What it all boils down to for working people is you probably have a better chance buying a lottery ticket to solve your financial problems than waiting for Obama's "stimulus package" to kick in because I really doubt this "drop kick" is going to be a success.

Could it be Biden and Obama already know their "drop kick" has failed?

The more I think about it the funnier it is... my grandson has his football here and I was looking at it remembering as kids playing football out in the field behind our house how we always tried the "drop kick" hoping we would be successful in doing what no professional football player had ever done except one time.

Now I look at that football with its odd shape and wonder how the heck would anyone ever think they can "drop" a ball shaped like that on the ground one time and expect to accurately kick it through the goal posts... gees, after the ball hits the ground most of the time you never know which direction it will bounce in... combine that with pulling your leg back far enough to have the power to kick the ball between the goal posts... you have to be lucky just to get your foot in contact with the bouncing football.

Gees, I should see if some cartoonist will buy my idea... a cartoon with Biden and Obama trying to "drop kick" their "stimulus package" in the form of a football might be the best cartoon from the Obama years.

I'll get off the football analogy as far as politics and economics because I really don't know much about football... I just played it for fun when I was a kid... I just couldn't resist the "drop kick" comment by Joe Biden... for all I know he was talking about some other sport I know nothing about, either. I just figured since he always talked football "with the guys" on the campaign trail I just couldn't let that one get by.

It just left me laughing... I maybe shouldn't have joked about such a serious problem.

I detest George Bush and the Republicans and everything they stand for as much, possibly more, than most people... and I certainly agree that it is a relief that Bush/Cheney and PART OF THEIR GANG is gone.

However, I think it is quite dishonest to claim that most people voted "FOR" Barack Obama and Joe Biden when in fact most people I talk to can't stand looking at either one of them any more; any more than they could stand looking at George Bush.

People voted for Obama and Biden and the Democrats to end eight long, dreadful years of Republican rule... had Snoopy been the Democratic candidate he would have defeated John McCain... for sure my loveable, amiable dog Fred could have trounced McCain.

The sad fact of life though, and I need make no analogies here, is that the Democrats--- including Joe Biden and Barack Obama--- were part of the problem, too; right along with Bush and Cheney just about every step of the way.

As rotten and corrupt as Bush and Cheney are it simply is not true that Obama and Biden inherited this mess as if they were not major players in creating it along with most of those Obama has chosen to keep around him. There are those who may not like hearing this but it is true none-the-less.

In their better moments the Democrats acquiesced and went along with the Republicans... in their worst moments they supported Bush and the Republicans; I think the list of their dirty needs need not be listed because they are well known... if you request me to do so, I will.

Like you, I support the few good things that Obama has done.

But, these good things are very few and far between--- I think we have been made aware of them all... a three fingered man could easily list them... four fingers for sure would do.

The bad things Obama has done, already, are numerous. In his short time in office he has taken our country and our people (and the rest of the world) where no human society should ever have ventured to go... our country has been sold out--- lock stock and barrel, to Wall Street's bankers and coupon clippers when we could have bought out the entire works for much less using their own stock market to accomplish this and owned the whole kitten and caboodle to boot.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden began their journey in shame--- silence, as the Israeli killing machine both Democrats and Republicans have funded, in an act of bi-partisan unity, for years; this Israeli killing machine went into Gaza Strip and butchered and slaughtered the Palestinian people who are only trying to survive under the most racist and intentionally imposed poverty-stricken and deplorable conditions--- many have no access to drinking water, sewers running beneath their feet, no electricity and only the fuel which could be smuggled in through deep and dangerous tunnels as wars for oil are being fought--- a ghetto or reservation, intentionally created just like any Indian reservation in the United States or the Warsaw Ghetto--- and, for the same reasons.

But, it is worse than the silence.

All the facts point to Obama and Biden knowing the pogrom would take place and what it would consist of--- in Biden’s case as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations he was most certainly in on the planning of this most cowardly and despicable, murderous rampage; and Obama probably was, too; fully complicit with Israel and Bush and Cheney in these heinous crimes against humanity--- there were no war crimes... this was a slaughter of defenseless people--- children were actually pre-planned to be among the intended targets and victims.

Now Obama sends Hillary Clinton forth with an offer of 900 million dollars supposedly aimed at rebuilding the Gaza Strip--- well, think about this... it cost over 650 million dollars to build the first phase of the Mall of America here in Bloomington, Minnesota--- back in the early 1990's... I do not have to travel to Gaza Strip to know that that figure is an insult to any thinking person--- to the Palestinian people it is like rubbing salt into their many wounds.

I would venture to guess that it cost U.S. tax-payers many times more than 900 million dollars to fund this dirty deed--- a twenty-two day pogrom--- carried out by the Israeli killing machine. If any American politician thinks I am wrong, let's have the details... or, are these acts of dirty deeds falling into the same category as not requiring oversight and accountability like in the mortgage banking industry... completely unregulated with no accounting required?

And, by the way, the figure for the Mall of America did not include the cost of public infrastructure--- roads, SEWERS or ELECTRICITY... but, like in Gaza Strip the price of a bottle of water at the Mall of America is about equal to the cost of oil. Like in Gaza Strip, in the Mall of America, there is no free drinking water... at least not fit to drink.

So Barack Obama and Joe Biden don't enter our discussion with such clean hands, in my opinion, when it comes to human rights issues... needless to say, there were many Democrats who sat in silence as the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto were being slaughtered by the Nazis in a similar manner. And Roosevelt even led the opposition to supporting hundreds of young Americans--- over fifteen hundred--- who died fighting Hitler's fascist friend, Franco, in Spain--- they died because they ran out of bullets to fight back. I notice no one is suggesting arming the Palestinians to fight for their freedom against the Israeli killing machine... but neither are we tying the hands of these Israeli butchers behind their backs as should be done to these criminals and carted off to trial for crimes against humanity.

Even though I have worked inside the Democratic Party for over thirty years, including serving as Chairs of several County committees and very recently as an elected member of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party's State Central Committee, I have never been thrilled or proud of the Democratic Party... I work in it as I work in any other mass organization or labor union or civil rights, peace or environmental organization for the purpose of pushing forward things that will make life better for working people. And my position has always been to fight for each and every reform that makes life better for the working class in any little way... in my opinion, anything that contributes towards making our world a better place to live in for us all should be encouraged and fought for.

On the other hand, I also believe that anything aimed at making life worse, and more miserable, misery which others profit from should be fought against with the same tenacity and without any excuses.

Again, I see the issue of school lunches raising its ugly head... children--- who can't afford a hot lunch--- are fed cheese sandwiches like common criminals incarcerated in the county jails.

I am willing to push Obama and Biden to do what is right by the people; but, just because they do a few things right does not give them a license to do many wrongs, nor should it give them some kind of free pass to do things wrong and remain silent in the face of injustice... again, the Israeli killing spree and pogrom carried out against the Palestinian people while Obama stuck his nose in the air passing demonstrators asking him to speak out on the way to get his daughter an ice cream cone.

I would point out that George Bush and Dick Cheney never promised us anything other than wars and misery for the many as the wealthy few they represented got even richer. If they didn't say it this bluntly, their actions made it obvious.

Now here we have Obama who campaigned on a theme of "hope" and "change" and "yes we can" making people think we could look forward to a new and more progressive vision for America. Most people never believed his hype; like Obama used them to climb his way to the top, the American people by and large used him to get rid of the Republicans without any illusions Wall Street's strangle-hold on our country would end... even if many liberals, progressives and leftists from the middle class suffered from such illusions and delusions; as many still do--- although their numbers are quickly shrinking to only the few who work for organizations whose funding comes from the great philanthropists who derived their wealth from exploiting the rest of us. There names are numerous--- from Tom Hayden to Linda Burnham.

To be sure Barack Obama has his cheerleaders in great numbers--- those who will fawn and dote over his every word as he sticks his nose in the air and shakes his finger. There are those who will purchase Obama paraphernalia of every sort and kind from baseball hats to t-shirts and even condoms... the same way they do with their favorite football, basketball, baseball, hockey or soccer team.

People can get into Barack Obama rallies for free--- provided they leave their "single-payer" and "end the wars now" signs outside; well I got news for all these Obama fans among whom are these middle class intellectuals who tried to provide Obama with the cover of being liberal, progressive, left and even socialists and in some cases they compared him to Che Guevara even though nothing can be further from the truth.

The news I have for these middle class people is that the working class along with real liberals, real progressives, real leftists, real socialists and real communists had a candidate at one time who not only filled football stadiums and Madison Square Gardens to the brim... he even charged for admission to fund a real progressive people's campaign. His name was Henry Wallace who was intent on carrying through the real New Deal reforms on a platform of peace and social justice--- many of the CIO unions rallied to his side. Because of the price these people paid, today Barack Obama can laugh off charges of being called a socialist, Marxist and communist by the likes of Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh.

What do working people get now in return for their having voted for Barack Obama?

A few bones tossed our way to appease us in an attempt to keep us quiet while Obama gives away our entire country for generations to come; a give-away to Wall Street bankers and coupon clippers while we are facing the worst economic nightmare in human history and everything that poverty entails.

I think I have a right to ask, "Where is '"The People's Bailout'?" "The People's Bailout" should have come before the bailout of any banks or corporations... certainly before funding the Israeli killing machine, the frauds and crooks of the home mortgage industry who took advantage of people who only dreamed of having a place called: home. An auto industry which has taken the wealth created by its North American labor force and invested in huge, modern plants in Brazil, China, Thailand and Korea and now the robots and the slave labor cannot purchase back what has been produced.

Let me remind you, it was Democrats in both the Senate and the House who shamefully voted to approve the brutal, murderous carnage of the Israeli killing machine as they saw for themselves--- with their very own eyes--- the atrocities being committed as they voted unanimously and overwhelmingly to support this most grotesque pogrom against the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip while not one single Democrat in the House or Senate has brought forward legislation for "The People's Bailout."

Here in Minnesota a handful of state legislators now have "The People's Bailout" moving through legislative channels... but where is their major opposition coming from? Republicans? No. The opposition is coming from Democrats!

You may read the legislation here:


Obama should have brought forward legislation for a full and complete moratorium on foreclosures and evictions as his very first act in confronting this economic mess--- not just a moratorium for the middle class few, but for everyone. It would have been so simple (it still is)... he only needs to look into the television cameras and wiggle that big index finger of his, cock his head to the side with his nose in the air and say, "I'm not going to stand by as people lose their homes when we know of the widespread corruption that has taken place in the mortgage and banking industry; until we sort through what has taken place and we get this money which has been fraudulently stolen from home buyers back and the crooks have been prosecuted and these mortgages renegotiated; people are going to stay put in their homes and those who were evicted should return to their homes if their homes are still vacant. These foreclosures and evictions are going to stop this very day." And his handlers bring to the representatives and senators this legislation for their approval. Simple as that. Roosevelt did it before. It has been done. No big problem, why has Obama refused and reneged?

Obama has appealed to the "middle class" for his support. Some people thought he was talking about the working class... we now know this was not the case.

Everything he has done has been done with an eye towards satisfying the "middle class" in a way that will shut them up as he turns the country over to Wall Street. Politically there is a reason for this. In spite of its relatively small size in this country, the middle class has among it the most educated liberal elements.

I do not want to insult anyone here; but, to most middle class intellectuals--- many involved deeply in liberal, progressive and even left causes--- the problems of working people are something to write about while they do not have to live the problems they write about. This is very important to note because for these middle class intellectuals there is no URGENCY in solving the problems of the working class. I have noted this time and time again. In struggle after struggle.

I will give you a very recent example from just this week.

A nice middle class woman who lives near me and is active with me in the Democratic Party came to me and said, "That hog barn down the road from me smells terrible. Will you help us work up a resolution for the upcoming precinct caucuses banning hog barns in residential areas?"

This is a woman who for over eight years I have been asking her to support our efforts to organize casino workers who are forced to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights in the Indian Gaming Industry... mind you, an industry created by the Democratic Party through "Compacts."

At the last state convention I asked her to "second" my motion for discussion on this issue... she told me, "Alan, give it a rest; your time will come. We have more important things before us at this convention." I did not argue with her... after I pushed a resolution supporting single payer universal health care through the convention which Amy Klobuchar proceeded to walk out of the convention seeking the nearest reporter from Minnesota Public Radio to tell them in no way, shape or form did she support this single-payer resolution and wouldn't be bound by it... I got up and left the convention, too.

But now, here comes this nice liberal-minded middle class lady (who by the way refused to second my motion for an immediate end to the war in Iraq because she was afraid her son over there might become the target of officers in retaliation for her action) comes asking me to support a resolution controlling family farming through imposing restrictions on "smells" from hog barns.

So I politely asked her, "Who was there first: you or the farmer?" She got up from my kitchen table where we had been having coffee and left. I had insulted her.

She did not care about the livelihood of the farmer down the road from her any more than she cared about the two-million casino workers in this country, many of whom are women of child-bearing age, who are forced to work their shifts in smoke-filled casinos eight, ten, fourteen hours a day. But now, it becomes urgent that I help her get a resolution through the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party because the smells from hogs interfere with her pristine country life as her husband teaches horticulture at the local college.

I have had similar experiences over and over and over again with middle class people... as long as their problems are being addressed by politicians every thing is alright... the heck with working people.

Well, working people in this country now have some very urgent and pressing problems--- joblessness, home foreclosures and evictions, they can't afford health care and no longer have access to health care, the water they drink is contaminated, the air they breath in the workplace and in the communities where they live is unfit to sustain human life without creating health problems, illnesses and disease, their children are being shipped to war to kill workers in other lands instead of being sent to college, the right to organize unions has been restricted to the point where workers fear signing a union card and more states than not have "at-will hiring, at will firing" legislation so even if "card check" passes this Congress and is signed by Obama it will mean nothing for working people in twenty-eight states including Minnesota and even Michigan.

In fact, there are issues both you and I agree on that Obama has done good; the fact of the matter is in all these cases Democrats had the power to say "No" to Bush and Cheney and they did not.

And Bill Clinton was responsible for more deregulation and freeing these money grubbers to ply their trade without oversight than any Republicans ever did. Bill Clinton gave rise to the mortgage scandal and he increased military spending beyond the military-financial-industrial complex' wildest dreams. His support for the Israeli killing machine was second to none, and he still defends it as does Hillary.

The health insurance industry supported Bill Clinton to the hilt... one only has to look at where his campaign contributions came from... its a matter of public record.

I would agree that Obama has leveled the playing field for the real middle class... but, for the working class that playing field has more holes, bumps and pitfalls than ever before--- compliments of Barack Obama and his "drop kicker" Joe Biden.

Nothing short of Obama supporting a federal people's bailout modeled on "The Minnesota People's Bailout" will convince me that Obama intends to get us off this road to perdition that is becoming a living hell for so many people... and no matter what Obama does for working people in this country will not give him a license to wage wars against the working people in other countries nor fight wars for oil, poppies or regional domination.

The "game plan" is to create a peaceful and prosperous world we can all live together in cooperation in... I am probably playing a different game, that has different rules... or do those in power just change the rules as they go along so that they always win, and we always lose?

Anyways, I don't know much about any sports except baseball and I can't even tell you how many home runs Wayne Gretzky hit last season. So, just forget about Joe Biden's recent political "fumble" it probably meant nothing.

--- On Wed, 2/25/09, Alan Maki wrote:

From: Alan Maki maki_alan@yahoo. com

Subject: Joe Biden and the "drop kick" ... oh, oh, did someone flub up the play?

Date: Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The "game" has gone on for years now.

We are just about done playing.

Capitalism is all played out.

I see no chance of "success" for Obama's recovery plan because it is a plan designed to allow Wall Street to profit from our problems right to the end of the game.

What we need to do is have a People's Bailout to hold us over until we can choose a different game.

Personally I think the socialist solution is the way to go but I know there are many other anti-capitalist ideas out there.

We have allowed the same people to call all of the plays for so long allowing them to think for us and look at the mess they have gotten us into; we need to start doing our own thinking based upon what is good for all of us not just a wealthy few... and we had better start this dialogue quickly because I think this road to perdition might be shorter than it appears.

Alan L. Maki

--- On Wed, 2/25/09, Alan Maki wrote:
From: Alan Maki
Subject: Joe Biden and the "drop kick" ... oh, oh, did someome flub up the play?

To: rep.al.juhnke@ house.mn, rep.bill.hilty@ house.mn, rep.dave.olin@ house.mn, rep..tom.anzelc@ house.mn, rep.tom.Rukavina@ house.mn, rep.tony.sertich@ house.mn, rgettel@uaw. net, sdaniels@usw. org, sen.david.tomassoni @senate.mn
Date: Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Senator Tomassoni, could there be a "drop kick" in hockey I am not aware of?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Joe Biden and the "drop kick"
Joe Biden said that Barack Obama's stimulus package was intended to be a "drop kick" intended to stimulate the economy and get us on the road to recovery.

However, Biden didn't mention the possibility or odds of success for a "drop kick."

Someone might want to check out the odds; Obama and Biden are gambling with our money.

Has anyone seen a smiling bookie lurking around the White House grounds?

I wonder when the Minnesota Vikings last accomplished a successful "drop kick."


Could it be Obama and Biden intended to punt and the quarterback got his signals crossed?

Posted by Alan L. Maki

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Joe Biden and the "drop kick"

Joe Biden said that Barack Obama's stimulus package was intended to be a "drop kick" intended to stimulate the economy and get us on the road to recovery.

However, Biden didn't mention the possibility or odds of success for a "drop kick."

Someone might want to check out the odds; Obama and Biden are gambling with our money.

Has anyone seen a smiling bookie lurking around the White House grounds?

I wonder when the Minnesota Vikings last accomplished a successful "drop kick."


Could it be Obama and Biden intended to punt and the quarterback got his signals crossed?

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Radical Vision for Today's Labor Movement

"A Radical Vision for Today's Labor Movement" by David Bacon is an interesting analysis with a lot of good points.

However, one important point is missing:

The role of the Communist Party.

It wasn't just "radicals" who gave impetus to the progressive rank-and-file initiated struggles which have been immortalized by progressives and radicals in the labor movement today and those middle-class intellectuals who would like us to think of working class history as a history without the role of the Communist Party USA included... and, unfortunately, David Bacon falls into these traps.

We on the left better learn about the importance of a communist party as being the spark igniting the progressive spirit and resistance to capital in the labor movement if we want to take advantage of this very narrow window of opportunity David Bacon points out that working people have opened up by voting for Obama as the way to end eight, long, dreadful years of Republican dominance over our country.

Right-wing dominance of our country is far from broken as some on the left would lead us to believe and Bacon has quite an ambiguous position on this.

Communists Earl Browder, William Z. Foster, James Ford, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, John Bernard, Phil Raymond and Wyndham Mortimer were the architects of building the popular front and its powerful "People's Lobby" which won the New Deal reforms in the process of building powerful industrial unions... the type of unions David Bacon is obviously referring to.

These Communists had important "friends" working together with them like Minnesota's socialist Governor Elmer Benson and the many other leftists the "popular front" elected to public office.

We don't just have to pressure the present union leaderships to change as Bacon is suggesting... we need to replace them... they are part of the problem... they have bought fully into class collaboration and "the politics of pragmatism" which is the ideology of imperialism.

Just take a look: Obama and both John Sweeney and Andy Stern remained silent as the Israeli killing machine went into action with its pre-planned pogrom against the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip... the only labor federations in the world to remain shamefully silent. Whether the AFL-CIO and Change To Win remained shamefully silent as the carnage went on for days because they support the Israeli killing machine or because they were afraid to step forward as they should have done and called on Barack Obama to end his shameful silence isn't all that important--- although it was probably for both reasons.

Whether or not having a strong Communist Party USA as was the case in the 1930's and 1940's is required at least needs to be explored because no one can write out of history the important role of the Communist Party USA in creating the kind of labor movement David Bacon says we need today--- which I heartily agree with--- but, if David Bacon has an idea how this can be accomplished without a strong Communist Party USA, I would like to hear his thinking on this because it was the powerful national network of Communist Party clubs that became working class think tanks and action centers which contributed the union and community organizers and built the powerful "popular front" and "people's lobby"... taking grassroots and rank-and-file organizing to new levels in the United States.

Joe McCarthy didn't smash it all... there is still a firm progressive base that endures... the trick, in my opinion, will be to re-build the Communist Party USA from its present sorry circumstances as we move quickly to push forward with a real progressive agenda to counter what the Wall Street coupon clippers have in mind.

Whether or not Obama is what David Bacon makes him out to be or is the flam-flam man and con-artist willingly manipulated by Wall Street puppeteers is not all that important either... if an aristocrat like Franklin Roosevelt could be pushed by a powerful popular front movement, a much less powerful and influential self-serving politician like Obama can be moved too. I'm certain Obama will go the way the most powerful winds carry him.

Here in Minnesota, State Senator David Tomassoni has introduced "The People's Bailout" now working its way through the legislative process.

Senator Tomassoni has made it very clear that he doesn't think we can buy or spend our way out of this economic mess... that we will need to work our way out... which means putting the millions of unemployed in this country and the tens of thousands of unemployed Minnesotans to work as quickly as possible.

We need a similar "People's Bailout" at the federal level.

Working class activists might want to brush up on the politics and tactics used to create the historic "popular front" and the "people's lobby" because "The People's Bailout" is facing some very formidable opposition in Minnesota right now--- not only from Republicans; but many of the very same Democrats who supported Barack Obama.

David Bacon mentions the Cold War but he doesn't explain why members of the Communist Party USA and its friends were the primary targets of Cold War repression here at home--- because the U.S. ruling class needs a very complicit working class easily manipulated and controlled which will not oppose capitalism or the imperialist beast it has turned into. And of course a strong Communist Party USA countering the military madness and corporate agenda of Wall Street with a progressive agenda placing people before profits was not acceptable at all.

An entire army of well-paid capitalist sooth-Sayers has been hard at work shaping American thinking for over sixty years... now with capitalism on the skids to oblivion taking all of us down the bumpy road to perdition we are living in a "Marxist moment"... we are all socialists now... what better time than now to re-build the Communist Party USA into a powerful, fighting working class organization.

If there isn't a Communist Party USA club in your neighborhood or place of employment--- think about starting one.

Check out what David Bacon has to say; there is a lot of good stuff here contributing to the discussion dialog and debate working people will have to engage in if we are going to get a handle on this mess--- a mess created by the Wall Street coupon clippers in quest of profits; a mess the working class is being forced to pay to clean up.

We don't need a labor movement where we need to constantly be trying to influence the leadership of unions as if these "leaders" were some kind of capitalist politicians--- we don't need this kind of crap... the left-led unions of the 1930's and 1940's were not left-led by accident... their leaderships were chosen by left-thinking members of the rank-and-file... both rank-and-file and leadership were educated and influenced during union organizing drives and the struggles for the New Deal by the Communist Party USA whose members and leaders came from the working class... no better examples of these Communists can be found than in workers like Phil Raymond, Nadia Barkan and Wyndham Mortimer who were true working class leaders.

The "red" Finns of the Iron Ranges of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan were such outstanding Communists and trade unionists that you couldn't tell the leaders from the rank-and-file and you didn't know who in the Finnish community was a Communist Party member or not one. This is the way it should be in the working class movement... we don't need high-paid leaders--- labor leaders or communist leaders--- sitting in towering glass offices giving orders to those below... especially when those orders run counter to everything the working class movement should be opposed to: the injustices of capitalism.

A Radical Vision for Today's Labor Movement

by: David Bacon, Monthly Review

February 2009 Issue

The importance of internationalism and civil rights.

During the Cold War, many people with a radical vision of the world were driven out of our labor movement. Today, as unions search for answers about how to begin growing again and regain the power workers need to defend themselves, the question of social vision has become very important. What is our vision in labor? What are the issues that we confront today that form a more radical vision for our era?

The labor movement worked hard to elect Barack Obama president and a new Democratic majority in Congress, creating new possibilities for gaining labor law reform, universal healthcare, immigration reform and ending the Iraq war. But to win even these reforms, promised by the Obama campaign, unions will have to do more than simply support the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Labor's ability to move forward depends on finding a new and deeper relationship with its own members, and their willingness to fight for even a limited set of demands. Our history tells us that when workers have been inspired by a vision of real social change, the labor movement grows in numbers, bargaining strength and political power.

At the heart of any radical vision for our era is globalization - the way unions approach the operation of capitalism on an international scale. In the discussion that led to creation of the Change to Win federation, the Service Employees made a proposal about how unions should conduct their international relationships. It called on unions to find partners in other countries, even to organize those unions, in order to face common employers. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka said the same thing in New York ten years earlier, when the Sweeney administration was elected. At the time, it represented a big change from the Cold War - that unions would cooperate with anyone willing to fight against our common employers. It rejected by implication the anticommunist ideology that put us on the side of employers and US foreign policy and shamed us before the world.

This idea is an example of pragmatic solidarity, and a good first step out of that Cold War past. But it is no longer radical enough to confront the new challenges of globalization - the huge displacement and migration of millions of people, the enormous gulf in the standard of living dividing developed from developing countries, and the wars fought to impose this system of global economic inequality. What's missing is a response from the labor movement to US foreign policy. International solidarity involves more than multinational corporations. Corporate globalization and military intervention are intertwined, and in the labor movement there's hardly any discussion of their relationship. In the aftermath of 9/11, this led some unions into support for the "war on terror," and eventually even into support for the Iraq invasion. Unless unions can begin to see military intervention and corporate globalization as part of the same system, many will support the war in Afghanistan as a new and popular Democratic president calls for increased intervention.

Unions in the rest of the world are not simply asking us whether we will stand with them against General Electric, General Motors or Mitsubishi. They want to know: What is your stand about aggressive wars, military intervention and coups d'etat? If we have nothing to say about these things, we will not have the trust and credibility we need to build new relationships of solidarity.

US corporations operating in countries such as Mexico and El Salvador are, in some ways, opportunistic. They take advantage of an existing economic system, and make it function to produce profits. They exploit the difference in wages from country to country, and require concessions from governments for setting up factories. But what causes the poverty in El Salvador that they exploit to their advantage? What drives a worker into a factory that, in the United States, we call a sweatshop? What role does US policy play in creating that system of poverty?

Unions need the kind of discussion in which workers try to answer these questions. Labor education is more than technical training in techniques for grievance handling and collective bargaining. It has to be about politics, in the broadest and most radical sense. When unions don't work with their members to develop a framework to answer these questions, they become ineffective in fighting about the issues of peace and war, globalization and their consequences, such as immigration.

When the AFL-CIO campaigned in Washington against the Central American Free Trade Agreement, labor lobbyists went up to Capitol Hill to mobilize pressure on Congress. Some unions went to their local affiliates and asked members to make phone calls and write letters. But what was missing was education at the base. Had unions educated and mobilized their members against the Contra war in Nicaragua, and the counterinsurgency wars in El Salvador and Guatemala (and certainly many activists tried to do that), US workers would have understood CAFTA much more clearly over a decade later. But because there's so little effort to create a conscious, educated union membership, it will be hard to get members to act when labor's Washington lobbyists need them to defeat new trade agreements, in the upcoming battles over the Colombian and South Korean FTAs.

The root of this problem is a kind of American pragmatism that disparages education. We need to demand more from those who make the decisions and control the purse strings in our unions.

Since grinding poverty in much of the world is an incentive for moving production, defending the standard of living of workers around the world is as necessary as defending our own. The logic of inclusion in a global labor movement must apply as much to a worker in Iraq as it does to the nonunion worker down the street. The debate over the Iraq war at the AFL-CIO convention in 2005 highlighted more than the effects of the war at home. It proposed that even in the face of US military intervention, US and Iraqi workers belong to the same global labor movement, and have to find common ground in opposing those policies that brought the war about.

The generation of antiwar, solidarity activists who were young marchers and war veterans during Vietnam, and rank-and-file militants during the Central American interventions, today is leading unions. Some of them may have forgotten those roots, but many have not. They're tired of seeing their movement remain quiet when the US military is used to prop up an economic system they're fighting at home. The labor movement may be awash in internal dissention, but it has grown surprisingly united in opposition to the Iraq war. US Labor Against the War, which started as a collection of small groups in a handful of unions, has today become a coalition of unions representing over a million members, and represents the thinking of an overwhelming majority. Its resolutions, passed in convention after convention, are the product of grassroots action at the bottom of the US labor movement, not a directive from the top.

Iraqis themselves provided US workers with a new way of looking at the occupation. Iraqi unemployment has been at 70 percent since it started. Order 30, issued by occupation czar Paul Bremer in September 2003 (and still in force), lowered the base wage in public enterprises, where most permanently employed Iraqis work, to $35 a month and ended subsidies for food and housing. Law 150, issued by Saddam Hussein in 1987 to prohibit unions and collective bargaining in the public sector, was continued under the occupation. The current Iraqi government still forbids the Oil Ministry to formally recognize the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU), seizes union bank accounts and won't allow unions to function normally.

Iraqi unions see these moves as a way to soften up workers to ensure they don't resist the privatization of the country's economy, particularly its oil. Iraqi unions, especially the IFOU, are the backbone of the country's popular movement against oil privatization, without which the multinational oil giants would have taken control of the industry long ago. In Iraq, as in most developing countries, privatization defies the tradition of social solidarity. Iraq needs its oil revenues to rebuild the country, creating a public sector that can put people to work and ensure a self-sustaining national economy.

So US labor's call for rapid withdrawal should mean more than just bringing US soldiers home. It should put American workers on the side of Iraqis, as they resist the transformation of their country for the benefit of a wealthy global elite. This is a transformation happening in country after country. Iraq is a place where US workers can see it clearly, if the labor movement would give them the information and material they need. They certainly won't get it from the mainstream press, but they could get this education from their unions.

That education would help workers understand the political and economic objectives of war and intervention. It would help them understand the huge displacement of people caused by the effort to maintain this unjust system. And that, in turn, would help them understand why we see waves of those displaced people moving around the world, including coming to the US.

Opposing the war means fighting for the self-interest of our members, and being able to identify that self-interest with the interest of workers in Iraq. The same money that pays for the corrupt contracts with KBR and Blackwater is money that doesn't get spent on schools here at home. We won't have the money for a New Deal-style economic recovery under President Obama, much less a full-employment economy, without peace. It's that simple. And to imagine that we can produce millions of jobs at home, and keep people in their foreclosed homes, while fighting yet another war in Afghanistan, is a dangerous illusion.

Union members are not ignorant. They think about the issues of war and jobs all the time. They are becoming more sophisticated and better at understanding the way global issues from war to trade affect the lives of people in the streets of US cities. A more radical program of labor education would not be swimming against the tide, but with it.

At the same time, however, educating union members alone is not enough. A radical vision should address workers far beyond the formal ranks of organized labor. The percentage of union members is declining, and the organization union members need to put their understanding into practice is getting smaller. Deeper political awareness alone will not create a larger labor movement.

Just after the Second World War, unions represented 35 percent of US workers. It's no coincidence that the McCarthy era, when the Cold War came to dominate the politics of unions, was the beginning of the decline. By 1975, after the Vietnam War, union membership had dropped to 26 percent. Today only 12 percent of all workers, and eight percent in the private sector, are union members. Declining numbers translate into a decline in political power and economic leverage. California (with one-sixth of all union members), Hawaii and New York have higher union density than any other states. But even here, labor is facing a war for political survival.

While the percentage of organized workers has declined, unions have made important progress in finding alternative strategic ideas to the old business unionism. If these ideas are developed and extended, they provide an important base for making unions stronger and embedding them more deeply in working-class communities. But it's a huge job. Raising the percentage of organized workers in the United States from just 12 to 13 percent means organizing over a million people, and our goal should be to double that percentage. Only a social movement can organize people on this scale.

Gaining a fairer process for winning union recognition and collective bargaining agreements, and real penalties on employers for anti-union firings, puts the Employee Free Choice Act deservedly at the center of labor's political agenda. But a legal process alone will not create strong unions. Only a movement among workers themselves, in which rank-and-file members play a much more active role, can build unions that will survive an employer offensive, and that can fight effectively for social reforms, from single-payer health care to true legalization and equality for immigrants.

In addition to labor law reform and structural reforms to make unions more effective, the labor movement needs a program that will inspire people to organize on their own. Unions need to lose their fear of radical demands, and reject the constant argument that any proposal that can't get through Congress next year is not worth fighting for. One big part of that program is peace. Another is reordering economic priorities.

Today working-class people have to fight just to keep their homes. For the last several decades, many were driven out of cities to lower-cost suburbs, often disproportionately workers of color. Now the families forced into unpayable loans in order to buy houses are losing them to the banks. This certainly calls for a return to the direct action of an earlier era. If we don't mobilize to keep our members in their homes, what good are we? But beyond direct action, unions and central labor councils need to have a concrete program for economic development, housing and jobs. That would start to give us something we lack: a compelling vision and a militant movement in the streets demanding action.

That's where millions of people have been for three May Days in a row now, in the largest street outpourings since the 1930's. To its credit, the labor movement helped raise the expectations of immigrants when the AFL-CIO passed a resolution in Los Angeles in 1999, putting forward a radical new program - amnesty for the undocumented, ending employer sanctions, reunification of families, and protecting the rights of all people, especially the right to organize. The marches and movements of immigrant workers of the last decade demonstrate convincingly the power of this radical political vision.

Congress, however, moved in a different direction, criminalizing work and migration, and proposing huge guest worker programs. While the congressional bills failed, states passed laws that were even worse. Mississippi made it a state felony for an undocumented worker to hold a job, with prison terms of up to five years. And the Bush administration simply began implementing by executive order the enforcement and guest worker measures it couldn't get through Congress. In the wave of raids that followed, hundreds of workers, including union members, have gone to federal prison on bogus criminal charges of identity theft, for inventing a Social Security number. And when nonunion workers have stood up for a union or a higher wage, raids have been used to terrorize them.

It is time for the labor movement to fight to stop this wave of anti-worker repression, and propose a freedom agenda for immigrants that will give people rights and an equal status with other workers on the job, and with their neighbors in their own communities. Instead of holding its finger to the political wind, labor has to convince a new administration that passing that program is not only politically possible, but also politically necessary to hold and expand Obama's own electoral base.

Instead of an alliance with employers based on Washington political calculations, winning immigrant rights requires an alliance between unions, immigrants and other communities of color. The common ground for building that alliance is linking immigrant rights to a real jobs program and a full-employment economy, with affirmative action that can come to grips with the devastation in communities of color, especially African-American communities. And without challenging the war, the resources for building that alliance will be lost on guns and more intervention.

The labor movement must inspire people with a broader vision of what is possible. Workers' standard of living is declining, and they often have to choose between paying their rent or mortgage or going to the doctor. There's something fundamentally wrong with the priorities of this society. Workers know it, and unions have to be courageous enough to say it.

Working families need a decent wage, but they also need the promise of a better world. For as long as we've had unions, workers have shown they'll struggle for the future of their children and their communities, even when their own future seems in doubt. But it takes a radical social vision to inspire that wave of commitment, idealism and activity.

It's happened before. The 1920's were filled with company unions, violence, strikebreakers and the open shop. A decade later, those obstacles were swept away. An upsurge of millions in the 1930's, radicalized by the Depression and left-wing politics, forced corporate acceptance of the labor movement for the first time in the country's history. Changes taking place in our unions and communities today can be the beginning of something just as large and profound. With more radicalism and imagination, the obstacles we face can become historical relics as quickly as did those of that earlier era.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Iron Range loses 590 jobs at Minntac

The headlines aren't getting any better... unemployment and poverty continue to grow as the depression sets in.

There is no end in sight.

Capitalism is rotten to the core and on the skids to oblivion; we are headed down the road to perdition... straight to hell with no stops in purgatory.

All the while politicians twiddle their thumbs.

Minnesota State Senator David Tomassoni has brought forward "The People's Bailout." So far he has gotten about as far with his colleagues as he did with legislation to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and two-thousand jobs.

Senator Tomassoni is going to need some help getting "The People's Bailout" passed.

Maybe we should consider organizing some kind of "People's Lobby" based upon the tactics used in building the "People's Front" during the 1930's Depression.

The "People's Lobby" was part of the broad based campaign which won the New Deal reforms.

Any thoughts?

Alan L. Maki

Iron Range loses 590 jobs at Minntac

by Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio

February 19, 2009

U.S. Steel is laying off almost 600 workers at a plant in Mountain Iron on Minnesota's Iron Range. Despite record sales and profits last year, company officials say the economic downturn has hit the company hard, leaving them no choice but to cut jobs at the Minntac Mine.

Mountain Iron, Minn. — The layoffs at Minntac amount to almost half the workforce. 500 union and 90 management workers are being idled as US Steel shuts down two production lines at the mine.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Steel declined to speak on tape, but she said the layoffs are temporary. Workers will be brought back if the market improves, but orders for steel are down and she says it's impossible to know when that could happen.

The mayor of nearby Mountain Iron says it won't be soon enough. Gary Skalko said news of the layoffs have hit the town hard.

"We are a tough breed up here. The people will survive but it is devastating and we will stick together," Skalko said. "The biggest concern that I have is that the economy can or will turn around to get these people back to work for a long term basis."

Skalko said the layoffs will have a massive ripple effect because most of the other industry in the area is mining related.

In the final three months of last year, when the financial crisis hit, U.S. Steel's profit fell by two-thirds compared to the previous three months.

As the economy continued to weaken, U.S. Steel idled several plants and reduced operations at others around the country. The company laid off 3,500 workers late last year after idling production at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Keewatin Minnesota.

Officials with the United Steelworkers couldn't be reached for comment, but one told the Associated Press that this round of layoffs blindsided the union.

Skalko worries the laid off workers won't be able to find other jobs because the entire economy is suffering.

"We have got to get them back to work in a relatively short period of time," he said. "I don't even want to think of the alternative. I don't even want to think about that right now. It would be totally devastating."

The layoffs at Minntac are expected to take effect over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Muddle-headed, middle class, capitalist sooth-Sayers & Barack Obama

Barack Obama was the chosen presidential candidate by Wall Street bankers, financiers & industrialists; they even chose a ringer in John McCain to parade as Obama's "opposition" in order to make their circus act complete.

The Wall Street coupon clippers figured they got away with their scam in getting Obama elected; now the capitalist sooth-Sayers are hard at work doing the same thing with Obama's legislation--- from the bailout of the banksters to the "economic stimulus" package to Obama's "solution" to the mortgage crisis to his feigned and fake environmental concerns which will see Canadians expanding their nuclear power industry at a dangerously fast pace so the United States can reap the cheap power with all the problems and possible catastrophes absorbed by Canadians. And, of course, we really need to discuss Obama's three wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan along with Obama's continued support and subsidization of the Israeli killing machine.

Obama and the Wall Street crowd are banking on an American economic recovery fueled by cheap energy from Canada.

To be kind, one can only describe those who find anything liberal, progressive or left in Obama's schemes; we need to refer to them as muddle-headed.

I am sure, these muddle-headed middle class intellectuals would find me rude if I were to describe their support--- under the guise of progressivism--- for Obama and his programs and policies bordering on being crazy.

These muddle-headed middle class intellectuals, content that they helped elect Obama and now have his ear would do well to think about the fact that Obama and the Canadian ruling class pushed the socialist oriented New Democratic Party right out of the picture during Obama's visit to Canada where he met with Stephen Harper before meeting with Michael Ignatieff the head of Canada's Liberal Party--- the preferred party of Canadian and American big business.

That CBC, in service to their capitalist masters, failed even a mention of the New Democratic Party--- the Party of Canada's working class and real opposition to both capitalist parties, will be to their everlasting shame as Canadian discuss how pathetically skewed the coverage of Obama was as if it was the job of the media to hoodwink the public.

Obama left Canada to adoring crowds and great applause; with the adoring throngs thrilled to get a wave from the "great one." The shaft is on the way and the smiles of Canadians will no doubt turn to frowns as people realize their Canada has finally been sold out completely to the U.S.A.

The real threat today, comes not from right-wing ideologues since Wall Street only keeps these clowns around for distraction between the acts; the real threat now comes from muddle-headed, middle class intellectuals who bend and bow and clap and hoot and holler and fawn over Obama's every word no matter how much they have to twist Obama's words to conform to what is in their minds; middle class intellectuals who refuse to acknowledge the urgency of solving the myriad of problems millions of working people now find themselves suffering from in now in the most dire circumstances in need of a "People's Bailout."

These middle class intellectuals have always been arrogant beyond belief in thinking they have been ordained to do thinking for the working class. The assigned role of these muddle-headed middle class intellectuals is to confuse and disorient working people into thinking they need not bother looking for socialist solutions to their problems.

These muddle-headed middle class intellectuals have been assigned the task of making us think there will be an end to this economic mess even though the real economists are saying that if there is going to be a recovery, it will be of very short duration and most people are unlikely to even be aware the "recovery" has taken place... their words: the recovery is likely to be very mild and subdued.

We need emergency measures that will protect working people from the time of loss of employment and severely reduced incomes until their lives are restored to normal.

What is the problem here?

If anyone really believes there is ever going to be a "recovery" from this economic mess with capitalism being on the skids to oblivion, there should be no problem in passing emergency measures consisting of a "People's Bailout."

Obama is pushing these "stimulus packages" and now his "mortgage package" through Congress so fast people have not had the opportunity to even grasp what is taking place.

We completely defeat the right-wing by bringing forward legislation aimed at solving the problems of the working class, not the middle class, and the two are not one and the same by any stretch of one's imagination.

A requirement of saving one's home from foreclosure, and one's family from eviction, under the Obama proposal is that a job with real living wage or salary is required to begin to even be considered for a "bailout"... what about the millions of unemployed? Where is their bailout?

We have been told what unemployed working people are getting from Obama in his "stimulus package:"

"The stimulus plan will mean thousands of dollars in tax breaks for first-time home buyers and people buying new cars. Lower- and middle-income taxpayers will get an extra $13 a week in their paychecks this year, and about $8 a week next year. Unemployment checks will go up $25 a week, and keep coming longer. Food stamp benefits for 30 million Americans will rise. Short-term health insurance will become more affordable for many losing their jobs."

We have also been told how we will be able to monitor the effectiveness of Obama's "stimulus package:"

"The success of the stimulus package may be measured less by visible achievements than by what does not happen — the home that is not foreclosed, the family that doesn't slip into poverty, the disease that does not go undiagnosed."

This is no substitute for a "People's Bailout" by any stretch of one's imagination; Obama and the Democrats should hang their heads in shame for having the audacity to try to pass this off on us and expect us to be thankful to boot; but, they don't even know the meaning of the word "shame" because they have been so subservient to the Wall Street coupon clippers and merchants of death and destruction for so long.

It would be nice if the muddle-headed middle class intellectuals would try thinking about the real circumstances of those less well off than themselves before they begin giving their support to Obama's schemes.

Working people would do well to scrutinize any and all words by those who fawn over Barack Obama like these muddle-headed middle class intellectuals who are nothing but well-paid capitalist sooth-Sayers--- who if they told the truth about capitalism being on the skids to oblivion and warned us that we are on the road to perdition--- would find themselves out of jobs.

I received this from someone in Muskegon, Michigan who has decided it was time to take a good hard look at "Capital" by Karl Marx---

Hi Alan,

This comes from the 1886 preface to the English edition, the 1st English one, to Capital...

"While the productive power increases in a geometric, the extension of markets proceeds at best in an arithmetic ratio. The decennial cycle of stagnation, prosperity, over-production and crisis, ever recurrent from 1825 to 1867, seems indeed to have run its course; but only to land us in the slough of despond of a permanent and chronic depression. The sighed for period of prosperity will not come; as often as we seem to perceive its heralding symptoms, so often do they again vanish into air. Meanwhile, each succeeding winter brings up afresh the great question, “what to do with the unemployed"; but while the number of the unemployed keeps swelling from year to year, there is nobody to answer that question; and we can almost calculate the moment when the unemployed losing patience will take their own fate into their own hands."

It's this Chronic depression that's the bottom of the huge contraction of productive capacity now taking place. Some capitalist economists think that it'll stop after about a year at a loss of 10%. That's huge! China has already lost 20 million jobs that had gone to make stuff for the world's Wal-marts, etc.

Hope you can use this.

You can watch and listen to Professor David Harvey reading and discussing "Capital" here:


From another friend who decided to start reading and studying the Marxist classics (after all, even Newsweek magazine says, "We are all socialists now") I received this:

From: Frederick Engels's--- Socialism: Utopian and Scientific/ (part of his /Anti-Dühring/), is a description of the crisis of capitalism that seems uncannily appropriate to today.

* * *

Commerce is at a standstill, the markets are glutted, products accumulate, as multitudinous as they are unsaleable, hard cash disappears, credit vanishes, factories are closed, the mass of the workers are in want of the means of subsistence, because they have produced too much of the means of subsistence; bankruptcy follows upon bankruptcy, execution upon execution. The stagnation lasts for years; productive forces and products are wasted and destroyed wholesale, until the accumulated mass of commodities finally filter off, more or less depreciated in value, until production and exchange gradually begin to move again. Little by little the pace quickens. It becomes a trot. The industrial trot breaks into a canter, the canter in turn grows into the headlong gallop of a perfect steeplechase of industry, commercial credit and speculation, which finally, after breakneck leaps, ends where it began--in the ditch of a crisis. And so over and over again. We have now, since the year 1825, gone through this five times, and at the present moment (1877) we are going through it for the sixth time.... The fact that the socialised organisation of production within the factory has developed so far that it has become incompatible with the anarchy of production in society, which exists side by side with and dominates it, is brought home to the capitalists themselves by the violent concentration of capital that occurs during crises, through the ruin of many large, and a still greater number of small, capitalists. The whole mechanism of the capitalist mode of production breaks down under the pressure of the productive forces, its own creations. It is no longer able to turn all this mass of means of production into capital. They lie fallow, and for that very reason the industrial reserve army must also lie fallow. Means of production, means of subsistence, available labourers, all the elements of production and of general wealth, are present in abundance. But "abundance becomes the source of distress and want" (Fourier), because it is the very thing that prevents the transformation of the means of production and subsistence into capital. For in capitalistic society the means of production can only function when they have undergone a preliminary transformation into capital, into the means of exploiting human labour power.

Frederick Engels's---
Socialism: Utopian and Scientific/
part of his...
Anti Dühring/
New York: International Publishers, 1935, pages 64-65

You can read Socialism: Utopian and Scientific here:


Many people have written me suggesting reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine;" it is a fantastic book.

We need to consider that as working people we need to get up to speed quickly on what is going on because the greedy, money grubbing Wall Street coupon clippers are wasting no time.

We also need to understand that capitalism really is on the skids to oblivion, we are in the midst of a very, very serious economic depression, and we really are on the road to perdition... as such, working people are going to have to develop a means to fight for the kind of social programs where our current problems get resolved as we take the appropriate action to get rid of this rotten system... the capitalist system which is thoroughly rotten to its very core... its time to chuck the system as we protect our families... just as we would chuck an apple rotten to the core... one bite from a rotten apple is enough to know not to take another bite from the same rotten apple.

We need a "People's Bailout" now.

No one, least of all the muddle-headed middle class intellectuals are going to fight for us... we need to develop the kind of organizations which bring us together to fight for ourselves--- for the interests of the working class.

Here in Minnesota a few forward thinking progressive state legislators have come up with "The People's Bailout;" their Democratic colleagues are hard at work trying to figure out how they will wriggle and worm their way out of this in evading our issues.

Here is "The Minnesota People's Bailout" along with the letter I sent to State Senator David Tomassoni supporting this important piece of legislation he has courageously brought forward knowing that many of his own Democratic colleagues will heap scorn on him as they try to derail "The People's Bailout-Senate File 542:"


We also need a solution to this health care mess--- the open window of opportunity for reform is closing as quickly as Obama is moving forward with his "stimulus packages" loaded with "pork" for Wall Street; the "pork" of corporate profits no one wants to talk about but so many of these muddle-headed middle class intellectuals expect us--- our children, grand children and great grand children--- to pay for.

Tell Barack Obama and Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff to takes their dirty imperialist wars and shove them where the sun don't shine--- let them know working people insist on financing "The People's Bailout" instead.

Fund health care not the monstrous Israeli killing machine.

Canadian and U.S. workers might want to think about whether there is a cure for "Obama fever."

Obama-mania might have been in full force in Canada today... we will see how many Canadian auto workers will lose their jobs in Canada tomorrow.

Something to think about while sitting around the dinner table this evening as you are watching the throngs of adoring Obama loving Canadians on television.

Alan L. Maki

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I sure would like to go on a shopping spree with Barack Obama at the Mall of America

In nine minutes Barack Obama decided to increase his mortgage bailout by $25 Billion Dollars--- from $50 Billion dollars to $75 Billion dollars destined to the money-grubbing, crooked and corrupt mortgage lenders.

Crime really does pay... and it seems to pay pretty good. Only in America!

I guess Obama figured he needed to help out those 20,000 middle class auto workers who befriended him now headed for the streets who will find it difficult making payments on their homes... although as good as Obama's deal is... refinancing under Obama's plan while unemployed might present quite a little difficulty.

In fact, Obama's plan is going to be pretty darn good... damn good, in fact, for people making over $125,000.00 a year with $400,000.00 homes. Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson's old sidekick, should come out of this in good shape and be able to avoid homelessness.

Here is the heart of Obama's mortgage relief for his middle class base of supporters:

Headlining Obama's plan was a $75 billion Homeowner Stability Initiative, which would provide a set of incentives to lenders to cut monthly mortgage payments to sustainable levels. It defines this at no more than 31 percent of a homeowners income. Funding would come from the $700 billion financial industry bailout passed by Congress last fall.

Another key component: a new program aimed at helping homeowners said to be "under water" — with dwellings whose value have sunk below the principal still owing on their mortgages. Such mortgages have traditionally been almost impossible to refinance. But the White House said its program will help 4 to 5 million families do just that.

I wonder how this will affect a family living in their car?

No doubt Obama will be addressing the problems of those living under bridges and in cardboard boxes during his second term.

If Obama can do for world peace what he has done for Wall Street bankers, the auto industry and now homeowners we should be in for one heck of a war.

Obama unveils $75 billion mortgage relief plan


AP – President Barack Obama speaks at the Museum of Nature and Science in central Denver on Tuesday, Feb. … MESA, Ariz. – President Barack Obama says his $75 billion plan to tackle "a crisis unlike any we've ever known" in home foreclosures is necessary to help save the economy.

Obama unveiled the plan in Arizona, hard-hit by the housing crunch. More expensive than expected, it aims to keep 9 million people from losing their homes.

One part will ease refinancing for people who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth. Another provides incentives for mortgage lenders to help those on the verge of foreclosure.

Speaking at a high school outside Phoenix, Obama said the plan won't save every home but it will prevent "the worst consequences of this crisis from wreaking even greater havoc on the economy."

PHOENIX (AP) — President Barack Obama marshaled $75 billion on Wednesday to tackle the foreclosure crisis in an effort to prevent up to 9 million Americans from losing their homes.

In tandem, the Treasury Department said it would double the size of its lifeline to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The government, which seized the mortgage finance companies last fall, said it would absorb up to $200 billion in losses at each company.

The plan is more ambitious than initially expected — and more expensive. It aims to aid borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth, and borrowers who are on the verge of foreclosure.

The initiative is designed to help up to 5 million borrowers refinance — if their mortgages are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. It also provides incentive payments to mortgage lenders in an effort to convince them to help up to 4 million borrowers on the verge of foreclosure.

"All of us are paying a price for this home mortgage crisis," Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery at a ceremony announcing the program at a Phoenix area high school.

The housing industry has been devastated by the nation's recession. Construction of new homes and applications for future projects both plunged to record lows in January as all parts of the country showed big declines in building activity. Analysts hope that a boost from government programs, including the efforts to stem foreclosures, will help stop the slide.

Headlining Obama's plan was a $75 billion Homeowner Stability Initiative, which would provide a set of incentives to lenders to cut monthly mortgage payments to sustainable levels. It defines this at no more than 31 percent of a homeowners income. Funding would come from the $700 billion financial industry bailout passed by Congress last fall.

Another key component: a new program aimed at helping homeowners said to be "under water" — with dwellings whose value have sunk below the principal still owing on their mortgages. Such mortgages have traditionally been almost impossible to refinance. But the White House said its program will help 4 to 5 million families do just that.

Obama said this change would come at "roughly zero" cost to taxpayers.

Of the nearly 52 million U.S. homeowners with a mortgage, about 13.8 million, or nearly 27 percent, owe more on their mortgage than their house is now worth, according to Moody's Economy.com

Announcing his plan in a state hard hit by the housing crunch, Obama said that stemming the tide of foreclosures is key to turning around the recession-bound economy.

"In the end, all of us are paying a price for this home mortgage crisis. And all of us will pay an even steeper price if we allow this crisis to deepen," he said, according to the advance text.

The plan also seeks to bolster confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants effectively taken over by the government last year. The White House said the Treasury will be able to increase its funding commitment to the two by using money Congress set aside last year, and will continue purchasing mortgage-backed securities from them.

The Treasury said the increased support for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac didn't reflect projected losses at the two companies, which were seized by government regulators last September. The two companies are currently projected to need a combined government subsidy of about $66 billion, well short of the new promise of up to $400 billion.

But Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a statement that the support "will provide forward-looking confidence in the mortgage market and enable Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to carry out ambitious efforts to ensure mortgage affordability for responsible homeowners."

The biggest players in the mortgage industry already had halted foreclosures pending Obama's announcement.

The president's announcement was coming a day after he signed into law a $787 billion economic stimulus plan he hopes will spark an economic turnaround and create or save 3.5 million jobs.

At the same time, the administration was grappling with the darkening prospects for the U.S. auto industry.

Even as Detroit carmakers submitted restructuring plans to qualify for continued government loans, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC asked for another $14 billion in bailout cash.

Explaining the plan, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told reporters, ""This is necessary policy. It's smart economics. And it's just and fair."

Asked why the cost had jumped to $75 billion, Geithner said, "We think that's necessary to make a program like this work."

Asked about the doubling of the guarantees for Fannie and Freddie, he said: "This is not a judgment about the expected losses ahead. It underscores commitment, and that is very important to help keep mortgage rates low."

Geithner said most not all of the money would come the financial bailout fund.

And he said relief would be almost instantaneous, basically as soon as rules are published March 4. "You'll start to see the effects quite quickly", Geithner said.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said that previous efforts had largely flopped. "We've not attacked the problem at the core," she told reporters. "We are woefully behind the curve."

Added Geithner: "The cost of inaction has been very severe."

Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan stressed that homeowners don't need to be delinquent in order to get help.


Alan Zibel reported from Washington; Associated Press Writers Liz Sidoti and Martin Crutsinger also contributed to this report.

Obama to give away another $50 Billion to greedy, crooked and corrupt mortgage bankers

Obama is going to help out his creepy, selfish, middle class base of supporters by subsidizing their mortgages by giving away fifty-billion dollars in tax-payer funds to greedy, crooked and corrupt mortgage bankers instead of sending these mortgage bankers to jail where they belong.

Obama has the audacity to talk about "responsible" homeowners as if all working people aren't entitled to a home.

Typical of Obama's boondoggles and giveaways to the rich, this is one more example of how this flim-flam man and con-artist works for the Wall Street crowd.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Support S.F. 542 "The People's Bailout" by Minnesota DFL State Senator David Tomassoni

Support and follow this legislation:


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

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

Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2009 8:53 PM

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Subject: Re: People's Bailout (SF 542)

Re: SF 542; The People’s Bailout

Senator David Tomassoni;

First, let me commend you for having the courage to bring this legislation forward; I am sure the opposition will be enormous even from your DFL colleagues, not to mention from Republicans and Governor Pawlenty.

I hope you intend to call for roll call votes at each step of the process on (SF 542) The People’s Bailout so there is more accountability than we had on S.F. 607 to save the Ford Plant; legislation you so courageously brought forward in the Senate Committee on Business, Industry and Labor where your fellow DFL'ers so shamefully let you, and more importantly, Ford Workers and Minnesotans, down. We need to keep in mind in the struggle ahead over The People's Bailout--- S.F. 542, that it was in this same Senate Committee where you failed to get help from your DFL colleagues in moving S.F. 607 forward--- out of Committee and through the Minnesota State Legislature and onto the Governor's desk.

We need to keep in mind that Senator Jim Metzen, while being a DFL'er, is also a banker--- an officer with Key Community Bank known for its very dirty deeds against working people. It is up to you and the rest of us to push Senator Metzen to do his job as Chair of the all-important, heavily DFL dominated Committee on Business, Industry and Labor and twist the arms needing twisting to get The People's Bailout through the Committee... again, I stress the need for a roll call vote to assure Minnesotans have complete accountability--- unlike with S.F. 607 where you received no support from your DFL colleagues yet none of the other Democrats or Republicans would acknowledge their very dirty and shameful role in sending S.F. 607 down to defeat.

Why haven’t you included something along the lines of SF 607 to automatically apply to any business closing which has received any kind of local, state or federal subsidies, tax abatement or public assistance of any kind in your People’s Bailout? This would be particularly important in trying, again, to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

I am very leery that this is one more gimmick the DFL is using to make it appear the DFL is trying to do something when the intent is all show since the DFL did nothing to push SF 607 through the legislature; hopefully I am wrong about this since many, many Minnesotans will need such assistance.

Might I also suggest that you include rescinding “at-will hiring, at-will firing” legislation as part of The People’s Bailout since this would place Minnesota workers in line to benefit from the Employee Free Choice Act.

Also, might I suggest that you include a provision in this legislation that would establish the minimum wage in Minnesota to be in accordance with the calculations of the United States Department of Labor and its Bureau of Labor Statistics based upon the scientific facts pertaining to real cost of living factors and the minimum wage should be recalculated every time these cost of living factors are recalculated.

I agree with you that we can not spend our way out of this economic crisis and instead we need to work our way out of this mess which obviously requires all working people to be paid real living wages as a way to completely and thoroughly redistribute wealth in this country.

At the heart of this economic mess is the fact that wealth created by the working class has in fact been stolen in the form of huge profits by corporations not paying workers real living wages in accordance with cost of living factors; common sense tells us that depressions occur when working people cannot purchase back the goods they have produced which are required for human survival.

Common sense also dictates that we cannot allow the Ford Motor Company to start bringing Ford Rangers produced in Thailand into the United States instead of continuing production at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

Hopefully you will include something in this legislation protecting the rights of Minnesota’s 30,000 workers employed in the Indian Gaming Industry who are forced and compelled to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws… I am sure you understand with so many workers employed under these deplorable conditions these workers serve to drive down the standard of living of all workers in Minnesota. I am sure you are aware that casino workers, such as the thousands of workers employed at casinos like Mystic Lake Casino are forced to sign their names to statements that they know they will be terminated should they engage in union organizing. I think you should include something in this People’s Bailout directing the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development that casino workers fired for union organizing cannot be denied unemployment benefits as they presently are.

In order to protect the rights of all workers in Minnesota to unemployment compensation which you want to extend (and your proposal for such extension is not long enough in my opinion given the fact that this economic mess is going to be with us for many years--- perhaps you should include unemployment coverage from time of layoff/firing to time of re-employment); but, getting back to the rights of workers to receive unemployment benefits in the first place, you need to eliminate the right of employers to challenge a worker’s right to unemployment benefits without having to provide a reason for the challenge.

Combined with “at-will hiring, at-will firing” this places workers in a real bind… fired without reason and then subjecting workers to the further injustice of being denied unemployment compensation due to an employer’s challenge without that employer having to provide a reason… this process can drag on for many months leaving workers without any income or public assistance--- meager as public assistance is in Minnesota… not to mention leaving workers and their families without health care. But, it does little good to extend unemployment compensation if employers are allowed to challenge a worker’s right to compensation without reason or just cause.

Without massive mobilization of members from the unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO and Change To Win this legislation has no chance of passing as you fully know and understand.

Have you heard from labor’s registered lobbyists concerning this legislation?

What have you heard from the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations representing employers and the business community regarding this legislation?

When will the first reading of this People’s Bailout take place? I can’t find anything on the legislature’s on-line calendar.

Please keep me informed of any hearings on this legislation as I would like to testify in support of this legislation.

Don’t forget; request there be recorded roll call vote at each step in the process so Minnesotans have full accountability; this not only assures accountability, but will cause those business oriented DFL’ers in the Summit Hill Club to think twice should they decide they want to join with their Republican colleagues in opposing this legislation.

Might I suggest you develop a newsletter--- printed in hard copy and e-mail format--- pertaining solely to SF 542 (The People’s Bailout) to keep its supporters in and out of the legislature fully and completely informed; a newsletter which requests supporters to do specific tasks in bringing the full weight of Minnesota’s working class--- organized and unorganized--- into support for this important piece of legislation… we certainly don’t want a repeat of only a handful of proponents showing up like what happened with SF 607. We should do everything possible to make sure that Minnesota’s working class “owns” this legislation and that we work together to mobilizes huge turn outs of working people supporting this legislation at each and every stage in the legislative process.

In my opinion, we should be looking at organizing Minnesota’s workers to mobilize fully in support of this important piece of legislation, S.F. 542 The People's Bailout, you are bringing forward.

You are most certainly aware that your legislation can serve as a model in winning new needed reforms comprising an extension of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal; just as the struggles for Roosevelt’s New Deal received powerful, decisive support from Minnesota’s socialist Governors Floyd Olson, Elmer Benson and John Bernard and other Farmer-Labor Party elected officials along with Minnesota’s working class--- especially the “red” Finns of the Iron Range. Let “The People’s Bailout” become a rallying point for the working class movement, and become a model for Barack Obama and the United States Congress along with other states to emulate and follow through on.

I assume you have spoken with Congressman Jim Oberstar and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar about developing similar legislation in Congress.

Might I suggest you request an appearance on Amy Goodman’s television program--- “Democracy Now!” to promote national working class unity in support of The People's Bailout.

I hope you will suggest to the Minnesota AFL-CIO and Change To Win they bring all their affiliated unions into support for this legislation and these unions in turn fully mobilize their memberships to every extent possible.

Your final item regarding state employees is very weak given the intent of leading Republicans to push for things like using the powers of state government to abrogate union contracts. As you know, Barack Obama and Congress are already doing the same thing with autoworkers; whereas, in France the government is prohibiting the abrogation of union contracts and requiring those businesses receiving government bailouts not to cut employment. You might want to take a look at what the French government is doing to protect the rights and jobs of working people.

I would encourage you to look at what action can be taken to make the Minnesota government the employer of choice for road building, bridge repair and maintenance so more jobs are created rather than contractors and engineering firms reaping huge profits, keeping in mind the reason for New Deal make work projects being so successful was that the government was the employer--- not private industry and corporations… again, common sense dictates that when you cut out profits more can be paid out in wages for more workers thus, as you say, and I agree, we work our way out of this mess rather than trying to spend our way out of this most severe crisis.

In conclusion, I would encourage you to consider some type of resolution calling on President Obama to discontinue his wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as cutting all funding for Israel since it makes little sense to pump three-quarters of a trillion dollars into economic “stimulus” while continuing to squander the exact same amount on wars and militarization, which is like taking our human and natural resources and tossing them into one of those polluted, water-filled, abandoned mining pits on the Iron Range or into U.S. Steel’s “Clear Water Reservoir” in Mountain Iron.

Also, as much as I am for road-building and repair to create jobs… I can’t see spending millions of dollars building a road from Minnesota Highway 71 out into the Big Bog for a Canadian peat mining operation to truck away the profits… you might want to mention to Congressman Oberstar that Franklin Roosevelt spent hundreds of thousands of dollars putting the Civilian Conservation Corps to work trying to protect this very sensitive ecosystem; it just destroys our credibility advocating for public works programs when Oberstar has spent millions destroying the good work the CCC did in trying to protect and save the Big Bog. I find it rather ironic this peat mining boon-doggle is taking place right at the site of the Civilian Conservation Corps camp site in the Pine Island State Forest in the Big Bog.

S.F. No. 542, as introduced - 86th Legislative Session (2009-2010) Posted on Feb 06, 2009
1.1A bill for an act
1.2relating to economic development; extending MFIP assistance; modifying
1.3unemployment compensation; augmenting foreclosure provisions; establishing a
1.4jobs creation program; limiting certain layoffs; appropriating money;amending
1.5Minnesota Statutes 2008, sections 256J.42, by adding a subdivision; 268.035,
1.6subdivisions 4, 21a; 268.07, subdivision 1; 268.085, subdivision 15; 504B.151;
1.7proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 582.

1.9 Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 256J.42, is amended by adding a
1.10subdivision to read:
1.11 Subd. 1a. Temporary 60-month time limit extension. For assistance units that
1.12have reached the 60-month time limit under subdivision 1 or assistance units that will
1.13reach the 60-month time limit under subdivision 1 before the sunset of this subdivision,
1.14MFIP benefits are extended to eligible assistance units until the sunset of this subdivision.
1.15This subdivision sunsets July 1, 2011.

1.16 Sec. 2. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.035, subdivision 4, is amended to read:
1.17 Subd. 4. Base period. (a) "Base period," unless otherwise provided in this
1.18subdivision, means the last four completed calendar quarters before the effective date of
1.19an applicant's application for unemployment benefits if the application has an effective
1.20date occurring after the month following the last completed calendar quarter. The base
1.21period under this paragraph is as follows:
1.24 If the application for unemployment
benefits is effective on or between these
dates: The base period is the prior:
1.25 February 1 - March 31 January 1 - December 31
2.1 May 1 - June 30 April 1 - March 31
2.2 August 1 - September 30 July 1 - June 30
2.3 November 1 - December 31 October 1 - September 30
2.4 (1) (b) If an application for unemployment benefits has an effective date that is
2.5during the month following the last completed calendar quarter, then the base period is
2.6the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the effective date of an
2.7applicant's application for unemployment benefits. The base period under this paragraph
2.8is as set forth below follows:
2.11 If the application for unemployment
benefits is effective on or between these
dates: The base period is the prior:
2.12 January 1 - March January 31 October 1 - September 30
2.13 April 1 - June April 30 January 1 - December 31
2.14 July 1 - September 30 July 31 April 1 - March 31
2.15 October 1 - December October 31 July 1 - June 30
2.16 (2) (c) If the applicant has insufficient wage credits to establish a benefit account
2.17under clauses (1) and (3), and paragraph (a) or (b), but during the base period under
2.18clause (1) paragraph (a) or (b) an applicant received workers' compensation for temporary
2.19disability under chapter 176 or a similar federal law or similar law of another state, or
2.20if an applicant whose own serious illness caused a loss of work for which the applicant
2.21received compensation for loss of wages from some other source, the applicant may
2.22request an extended base period as follows:
2.23 (i) (1) if an applicant was compensated for a loss of work of seven to 13 weeks, the
2.24base period is the first four of the last six completed calendar quarters before the effective
2.25date of the application for unemployment benefits;
2.26 (ii) (2) if an applicant was compensated for a loss of work of 14 to 26 weeks, the
2.27base period is the first four of the last seven completed calendar quarters before the
2.28effective date of the application for unemployment benefits;
2.29 (iii) (3) if an applicant was compensated for a loss of work of 27 to 39 weeks,
2.30the base period is the first four of the last eight completed calendar quarters before the
2.31effective date of the application for unemployment benefits; and
2.32 (iv) (4) if an applicant was compensated for a loss of work of 40 to 52 weeks, the
2.33base period is the first four of the last nine completed calendar quarters before the effective
2.34date of the application for unemployment benefits;.
2.35 (3) if the applicant has insufficient wage credits to establish a benefit account under
2.36clause (1), an alternate base period of the last four completed calendar quarters before the
2.37date the applicant's application for unemployment benefits is effective will be used. This
3.1base period can be used only 30 calendar days or more after the end of the last completed
3.2quarter, when a wage detail report has been, or should have been, filed for that quarter
3.3under section 268.044; and
3.4 (4) (d) No base period under clause (1), (2), or (3) paragraph (a), (b), or (c) may
3.5include wage credits upon which a prior benefit account was established.
3.6(e) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the base period calculated under paragraph (b)
3.7using the first four of the last five complete calendar quarters before the effective date of
3.8the applicant's application for unemployment benefits must be used for an applicant if the
3.9applicant has more wage credits under that base period than under the base period in
3.10paragraph (a).
3.11EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective for applications for unemployment
3.12benefits filed effective on or after July 1, 2009.

3.13 Sec. 3. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.035, subdivision 21a, is amended to read:
3.14 Subd. 21a. Reemployment assistance training. (a) An applicant is in
3.15"reemployment assistance training" when:
3.16 (1) a reasonable and opportunity for suitable employment for the applicant does not
3.17exist in the labor market area and it is necessary that the applicant receive additional
3.18training in order to obtain will assist the applicant in obtaining suitable employment;
3.19 (2) the curriculum, facilities, staff, and other essentials are adequate to achieve the
3.20training objective;
3.21 (3) the training is vocational in nature or short term academic training vocationally
3.22directed to an occupation or skill for which there are reasonable that will substantially
3.23enhance the employment opportunities available to the applicant in the applicant's labor
3.24market area;
3.25 (4) the training course is considered full time by the training provider; and
3.26 (5) the applicant is making satisfactory progress in the training.
3.27 (b) Full-time training provided through the dislocated worker program, the Trade
3.28Act of 1974, as amended, or the North American Free Trade Agreement is considered
3.29"reemployment assistance training," if that training course is in accordance with the
3.30requirements of that program.
3.31 (c) Apprenticeship training provided in order to meet the requirements of an
3.32apprenticeship program under chapter 178 is considered "reemployment assistance
3.34(d) An applicant is considered in reemployment assistance training only if the
3.35training course has actually started or is scheduled to start within 30 calendar days.
4.1EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective for determinations and appeal
4.2decisions issued on or after the day following final enactment.

4.3 Sec. 4. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.07, subdivision 1, is amended to read:
4.4 Subdivision 1. Application for unemployment benefits; determination of benefit
4.5account. (a) An application for unemployment benefits may be filed in person, by mail,
4.6or by electronic transmission as the commissioner may require. The applicant must be
4.7unemployed at the time the application is filed and must provide all requested information
4.8in the manner required. The commissioner shall accept a valid individual taxpayer
4.9identification number from an applicant who is applying for benefits. If the applicant is
4.10not unemployed at the time of the application or fails to provide all requested information,
4.11the communication is not considered an application for unemployment benefits.
4.12 (b) The commissioner shall examine each application for unemployment benefits to
4.13determine the base period and the benefit year, and based upon all the covered employment
4.14in the base period the commissioner shall determine the weekly unemployment benefit
4.15amount available, if any, and the maximum amount of unemployment benefits available, if
4.16any. The determination is known as the determination of benefit account. A determination
4.17of benefit account must be sent to the applicant and all base period employers, by mail or
4.18electronic transmission.
4.19 (c) If a base period employer did not provide wage information for the applicant as
4.20provided for in section 268.044, or provided erroneous information, the commissioner
4.21may accept an applicant certification as to wage credits, based upon the applicant's records,
4.22and issue a determination of benefit account.
4.23 (d) The commissioner may, at any time within 24 months from the establishment of
4.24a benefit account, reconsider any determination of benefit account and make an amended
4.25determination if the commissioner finds that the determination was incorrect for any
4.26reason. An amended determination must be promptly sent to the applicant and all base
4.27period employers, by mail or electronic transmission.
4.28 (e) If an amended determination of benefit account reduces the weekly
4.29unemployment benefit amount or maximum amount of unemployment benefits available,
4.30any unemployment benefits that have been paid greater than the applicant was entitled
4.31is considered an overpayment of unemployment benefits. A determination or amended
4.32determination issued under this section that results in an overpayment of unemployment
4.33benefits must set out the amount of the overpayment and the requirement under section
4.34268.18, subdivision 1 , that the overpaid unemployment benefits must be repaid.

5.1 Sec. 5. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.085, subdivision 15, is amended to read:
5.2 Subd. 15. Available for suitable employment defined. (a) "Available for suitable
5.3employment" means an applicant is ready and willing to accept suitable employment in
5.4the labor market area. The attachment to the work force must be genuine. An applicant
5.5may restrict availability to suitable employment, but there must be no other restrictions,
5.6either self-imposed or created by circumstances, temporary or permanent, that prevent
5.7accepting suitable employment.
5.8(b) Unless the applicant is in reemployment assistance training, to be considered
5.9"available for suitable employment," a student who has regularly scheduled classes must
5.10be willing to quit school discontinue classes to accept suitable employment when:
5.11(1) class attendance restricts the applicant from accepting suitable employment; and
5.12(2) the applicant is unable to change the scheduled class or make other arrangements
5.13that excuse the applicant from attending class.
5.14(c) An applicant who is absent from the labor market area for personal reasons, other
5.15than to search for work, is not "available for suitable employment."
5.16(d) An applicant who has restrictions on the hours of the day or days of the week
5.17that the applicant can or will work, that are not normal for the applicant's usual occupation
5.18or other suitable employment, is not "available for suitable employment." An applicant
5.19must be available for daytime employment, if suitable employment is performed during
5.20the daytime, even though the applicant previously worked the night shift.
5.21(e) An applicant must have transportation throughout the labor market area to be
5.22considered "available for suitable employment."
5.23EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective for determinations and appeal
5.24decisions issued on or after the day following final enactment.

5.25 Sec. 6. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 504B.151, is amended to read:
5.29 Subdivision 1. Limitation on lease and notice to tenant. (a) Once a landlord
5.30has received notice of a contract for deed cancellation under section 559.21 or notice of
5.31a mortgage foreclosure sale under chapter 580 or 582, the landlord may only enter into
5.32(i) a periodic residential lease agreement with a term of not more than two months or
5.33the time remaining in the contract cancellation period or the mortgagor's redemption
6.1period, whichever is less or (ii) a fixed term residential tenancy not extending beyond the
6.2cancellation period or the landlord's period of redemption until:
6.3(1) the contract for deed has been reinstated or paid in full;
6.4(2) the mortgage default has been cured and the mortgage reinstated;
6.5(3) the mortgage has been satisfied;
6.6(4) the property has been redeemed from a foreclosure sale; or
6.7(5) a receiver has been appointed.
6.8(b) Before entering into a lease under this section and accepting any rent or security
6.9deposit from a tenant, the landlord must notify the prospective tenant in writing that the
6.10landlord has received notice of a contract for deed cancellation or notice of a mortgage
6.11foreclosure sale as appropriate, and the date on which the contract cancellation period or
6.12the mortgagor's redemption period ends. The landlord must also inform the prospective
6.13tenant of the tenant's right to continued utility services if the landlord defaults on utility
6.14payments during the foreclosure process.
6.15(c) This section does not apply to a manufactured home park as defined in section
6.16327C.01, subdivision 5 .
6.17 Subd. 2. Exception allowing a longer term lease. This section Subdivision 1
6.18does not apply if:
6.19(1) the holder or the mortgagee agrees not to terminate the tenant's lease other than
6.20for lease violations for at least one year from the commencement of the tenancy; and
6.21(2) the lease does not require the tenant to prepay rent for any month commencing
6.22after the end of the cancellation or redemption period, so that the rent payment would be
6.23due prior to the end of the cancellation or redemption period.
6.24For the purposes of this section, a holder means a contract for deed vendor or a
6.25holder of the sheriff's certificate of sale or any assignee of the contract for deed vendor or
6.26of the holder of the sheriff's certificate of sale.
6.27 Subd. 3. Transfer of tenancy by operation of law. (a) A tenant who enters into a
6.28lease under subdivision 2 is:
6.29(1) deemed by operation of law to become the tenant of the holder immediately upon
6.30the holder succeeding to the interest of the landlord under the lease; and
6.31(2) bound to the holder under all the provisions of the lease for either the balance of
6.32the lease term or for one year after the start of the tenancy, whichever occurs first.
6.33(b) A tenant who becomes the tenant of the holder under this subdivision is not
6.34obligated to pay rent to the holder until the holder mails, by first class mail to the tenant at
6.35the property address, written notice that the holder has succeeded to the interest of the
7.1landlord. A letter from the holder to the tenant to that effect is prima facie evidence that
7.2the holder has succeeded to the interest of the landlord.
7.3 Subd. 4. Holder not bound by certain acts. A holder succeeding to an interest in
7.4a lease lawfully entered into under subdivision 2 is not:
7.5(1) liable for any act or omission of any prior landlord;
7.6(2) subject to any offset or defense which the tenant had against any prior landlord; or
7.7(3) bound by any modification of the lease entered into under subdivision 2, unless
7.8the modification is made with the holder's consent.
7.9 Subd. 5. Rights of tenant of foreclosed property. (a) When a holder takes over a
7.10rental property as the result of a foreclosure:
7.11(1) a tenant is deemed by operation of law to become the tenant of the holder; and
7.12(2) all leases, verbal or written, and all terms and conditions of those agreements
7.13shall be transferred to the holder.
7.14(b) A holder shall:
7.15(1) maintain as rental property, property that was used as rental property by the
7.17(2) offer renewal leases to tenants of the foreclosed property; and
7.18(3) keep affordable rent levels in place.
7.19 Subd. 6. Eviction. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a holder must not
7.20begin an eviction action against a tenant without cause.
7.21 Subd. 7. Termination of tenancy. Except for lease violations, a holder must not
7.22terminate the tenancy of a tenant of foreclosed property without cause.
7.23 Subd. 8. Periodic leases. A holder must offer a fixed-term lease option to a tenant
7.24with a periodic lease in place at the time the tenant becomes a tenant of the holder.
7.25 Subd. 9. Applicability. The provisions of subdivisions 5 to 8 apply to all tenants
7.26regardless of when a tenant entered into a rental agreement with the property owner or at
7.27what stage the foreclosure process was in when the rental agreement was entered.

7.28 Sec. 7. [582.33] FORECLOSURE MORATORIUM.
7.29 Subdivision 1. Emergency declared to exist. The legislature of the state of
7.30Minnesota declares that a public economic emergency exists in the state of Minnesota
7.31due to the increase in foreclosure rates. The legislature declares that these conditions
7.32have created a housing emergency that justifies legislation creating a moratorium on
7.33mortgage foreclosures.
7.34 Subd. 2. Court stay. In an action to foreclose a mortgage upon residential property
7.35under chapter 580 or 581, in which a judgment of foreclosure has not been entered by the
8.1effective date of this section, the district court having jurisdiction over the matter, upon
8.2motion of a defendant, shall order the action stayed for two years after the entry of the
8.3stay. The court may order that certain conditions relating to the property are met during
8.4the stay, including, but not limited to, possession of the property, payments by the person
8.5in possession, and preservation of the property.
8.6 Subd. 3. Application. This section applies only to mortgages executed before
8.7the effective date of this section.
8.8EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

8.11 Subdivision 1. Purpose. Federal law currently provides for a federally funded
8.12extension of unemployment insurance benefits for applicants who have exhausted
8.13entitlement to regular Minnesota unemployment insurance benefits. But, because federal
8.14law contains a special requirement that an applicant has earned a certain amount of base
8.15period insured wages, a significant group of applicants who exhausted their regular
8.16Minnesota unemployment insurance benefits do not qualify for the federally funded
8.17extension. The purpose of this section is to provide a state-funded extension to that group.
8.18 Subd. 2. Eligibility. (a) Special state emergency unemployment insurance benefits
8.19are payable to an applicant who does not qualify for a federally funded extension
8.20of unemployment insurance benefits solely because the applicant does not meet the
8.21requirement under section 4001(d)(2)(a) of the federal Supplemental Appropriations
8.22Act of 2008 that an applicant have wage credits of not less than 40 times the applicant's
8.23weekly benefit amount.
8.24(b) Except as provided in paragraph (a), all requirements for federally funded
8.25extended unemployment benefits and all requirements of Minnesota Statutes, chapter
8.26268, must be met in order for the applicant to be eligible for special state emergency
8.27unemployment insurance benefits.
8.28(c) Special state emergency unemployment insurance benefits are payable in the
8.29same amounts, the same duration, and for the same time period as provided for under the
8.30federal Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2008, and any later amendments, but shall
8.31be no less than 13 times the applicant's weekly special state emergency unemployment
8.32insurance benefit amount.
8.33 Subd. 3. Payment from trust fund. Special state emergency unemployment
8.34insurance benefits are payable from the Minnesota unemployment insurance trust fund.
8.35Special state emergency unemployment insurance benefits will not be used in computing
9.1the future unemployment insurance tax rate of a taxpaying employer nor will they be
9.2charged to the reimbursing account of government or nonprofit employers.
9.3 Subd. 4. Expiration. This section expires on June 30, 2010, and no benefits shall be
9.4paid under this section for a week beginning after that date.
9.5EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the Sunday following final enactment
9.6and applies only to weeks of unemployment after that date.

9.8 Subdivision 1. Establishment. The commissioner of employment and economic
9.9development shall develop and implement a jobs creation grant program to make grants
9.10available to cities and towns for public and private projects that will generate new jobs
9.11and produce a stronger state economy.
9.12 Subd. 2. Fund distribution. In distributing funds, the commissioner shall give
9.13priority consideration to projects that are available to begin immediately and to projects
9.14that promote environmental sustainability and a green economy.
9.15 Subd. 3. Funding. To the extent that the commissioner receives funds for this
9.16purpose in fiscal year 2009, funding for the jobs creation grant program shall be done
9.17through federal stimulus dollars. If federal stimulus dollars are not available, funds shall
9.18come from state sources.
9.19 Subd. 4. Appropriation. $....... is appropriated from the general fund to the
9.20commissioner of employment and economic development to develop and implement
9.21a jobs creation grant program. This appropriation is only available if federal stimulus
9.22dollars are not available. This appropriation is available until expended.
9.23EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

9.25For the 2010 and 2011 biennium, in order to prevent increased unemployment and to
9.26protect jobs, the legislature shall not mandate layoffs of state employees, including, but
9.27not limited to, employees of the University of Minnesota.
9.28EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Please direct all comments concerning issues or legislation
to your House Member or State Senator.
For Legislative Staff or for directions to the Capitol, visit the Contact Us page.
General questions or comments.
last updated: 01/30/2009

Again, thanking you for having the moral and political courage in standing up and fighting for the rights and livelihoods of Minnesota's working class, and for having the common sense and intelligence to know that we cannot spend our way out of this economic crisis; rather, understanding and explaining that for working people and the working class the way out of this crisis, and the way to a better future, will be found in working our way out of this crisis.

In full support of your leadership in bringing forward The People's Bailout--- Senate File 542...

For a living wage job, justice and equality along with a voice at work for each and every worker in Minnesota...

On behalf of Minnesota's 30,000 workers in the Indian Gaming Industry organizing and struggling to survive while employed in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages, without any rights under state or federal labor laws...


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