Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama from Sidney J. Gluck

Professor Sidney J Gluck

Honorary Director and Advisor
Professor Emeritus
New School for Social Research

US-China People's Friendship Association

Sholom Aleichem Memorial Foundation

Dear Colleagues,

Attached is an open letter to President Barack Obama.

I don't know whether you agree with my point of view or not; but I am functioning out of the feeling that the negative aspects of capitalism are becoming obvious to people all around the world regardless of class positions, that understanding its avaricious nature brings them closer to Marx's analysis of the system which all of you can read his seminal word on "Capital." Chapter 26 which deals with the law of capitalist accumulation will give you the prototype of which the USA's capitalism is the arch example of its worst (together with the British who started out but are following along with the USA).

Globalization is a mess and everyone knows that the USA has created more poverty with its capital investments than existed before the global expansion. We know that formal colonial countries are seeing through this domination and are moving in directions which reject the control of foreign capital in their own developments. WE ARE LIVING IN A CENTURY OF EPOCHAL CHANGE. Our hope is that the change which is now developing in the form of a bipolar economic structure will continue to redevelop economies technologically and sustainably. We hope too that the ultimate resolution of differences between the double-structured world economic system will not be resolved by warfare. That is the most important struggle we must be involved with. A peaceful acceptance of epochal change and the survival of all in a better world.


Sidney J. Gluck

Dear President Obama,

The world economic crisis sparked by the financial sector of our country has put the capitalist system on a defensive more openly than any other time in history. I am one of many who strongly supported your candidacy based on your vocalization of much of what we felt had to be changed in our country to make it more livable for those of us who produce the wealth and intellectual atmosphere.

You are facing the sharpest attack from the ranks of the Republican Party. We all admire your diplomatic ability to deal with those who disagree with you; but, the time has come when you must take an ideological position in order to clarify the issues involved in building a new type of economic structure in the country. This means that the dominance of the financial institutions in the political decisions affecting the majority must be defended openly against misrepresentations and manipulations which we all now know come from the unsupported defense of government that gives primacy to capital accumulation whether it be finance capital or industrial capital.

You do not have to embrace socialism. That is not the ideological position that put you in power. You were put in the White House with a promise to govern in the name of the working majority. True, you would like to have support from all sections of political and economic forces, but YOU WILL NOT GET IT.

If you continue to move along supporting the program of the financial circles in our country, your presidency is DOOMED. Listen to the needs of the majority and cater to it.

You can announce openly that you are not for socialism but you are for correcting the ills of the capitalist system and to relinquish domination of other countries allowing them to move independently as their people desire.

The Republican Party is pressing for the continuation of the kind of economic distortions that has dragged the world down. Openly facing this fact will help you reshape our country’s goals.

We are in an epoch of change. We must remove barriers and encourage each nation to resolve their day to day problems created by greed and distorted wealth accumulation. It does not make you a socialist to talk for Main Street but they need a spokesman in high places that will act for them.

You are in an enviable yet complicated position. Exposing the negative effect of unregulated finance capital which dominates humanity today would memorialize you for the next thousand years. The Bush Administration preempted the first move to deal with the economic crisis by bailing out the perpetrators who squandered every cent in bonuses and bashes. You are now faced with additional steps to bail out the industrial capitalists who have the responsibility of reshaping these enterprises into a new technological and green economy whose purpose is to raise the living standards of all.

The fulfillment of your promises requires that you take an ideological position. You will go down in history as having broken the racial barrier but it will end at that if you continue to be consumed by the economic crisis. OUR SYSTEM NEEDS CHANGE. Do what you can within that system. This means openly opposing the Republican Party’s program already on the road to capturing the presidency and congress in 2010 before they bring us further down. Don’t let them bully you with the “socialist” label.

The ball is in your court to change the situation. In your most diplomatic way you must take an ideological position to correct the problems of the system as you promised and restore true democracy which favors the needs of the majority.


Sidney J. Gluck

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Philippine Extra-Judicial Killings Continue, Obama's Response In Question

Guest Blog

Brian McAfee
2838 Mason Blvd.
Muskegon Heights, MI 49444

Tel: (231) 737-8726



Philippine Extra-Judicial Killings Continue, Obama's Response In Question

by Brian McAfee

On March 23rd, Sabina Ariola, the leader of "Citizens for Excellence, Progress, Peace towards the Country's Great Future," was gunned down. She is the 992nd civilian to be killed in the ongoing spree of extra-judicial killings that have been occurring since 2001, when Gloria Macapagal Arroyo assumed the presidency. Another particularly despicable killing that occurred in March was that of Rebelyn Pitao, a 20 year old teacher in Davao, southern Philippines. She was tortured, raped, strangled and stabbed according to Alan Davis of the Philippine Human Rights Recording Project.

The apparent reason was "guilt" by association as her father is Leoncio Pitao, a leader in the local New Peoples Army contingent in Mindanao. All of these murders demand justice, but the Rebelyn Pitao case screams it. At the same time, Kaeapatan, the Philippines leading human rights organization, reports that politically motivated killings are up during the first three months of this year. Two in January, seven in February and seven more in March have occurred.

Aside from the 992 extra-judicial killings, there are 193 people who have disappeared under the Arroyo administration. In observing and following news out of the Philippines, one cannot help but be reminded of Pinochet's Chile due to the overall situation.

Amongst the targets for the slaughter, journalists and media people have been a constant target, along with clergy people, labor leaders, advocates for the poor, those challenging foreign ownership and control of Philippine mines, farmers and fishermen. Under the Arroyo administration (since 2001), a number of children have also been killed, as well as 64 journalists or media people, both men and women.

This noted, the Committee to Protect Journalists, A New York based advocate organization, ranks the Philippines 6th amongst the 14 most dangerous countries for journalists. (The rankings are 1-Iraq, 2-Sierra Leone, 3-Somalia, 4-Sri Lanka, 5-Columbia ,6-Philippines, 7-Afghanistan, 8-Nepal, 9-Russia ,10-Pakistan, 11-Mexico ,12-Bangladesh, 13-Brazil and 14-India.)

Meanwhile, the U.S. has controlled Philippine politics, its military and most of its resources since Theodore Roosevelt's presidency. At the same time, many of the individuals targeted for assassination, disappearance or harassment have been victimized solely for openly speaking out against colonialism and exploitation.

Moreover, the U.S. has indirect influence and a significant amount of control over Filipino affairs through its funding, arming and training of the Philippine military and its national police. Indeed, the U.S. has been training the Philippine military (AFP) for decades through its International Military Education and Training program or IMET and its Joint Combined Exchange Training program or JCET.

These programs have been used with some success in the "war on terror." Yet as I wrote in a report a couple of years ago [1], the U.S. war on terror in the Philippines has become a war of terror against the Philippine people. On account, I encourage Americans, Filipinos and all others of good will to voice their opinions and concerns about this grave matter. Similarly, I recommend that they demand a cessation of all military aid, training and funding by the U.S. government until Philippine and U.S. government representatives, along with independent human rights observers, can verify that Philippine civilians, all of them, are safe, free to pursue their dreams and have justice without the sorts of outrageous assaults that they, currently, confront.

Please contact:

1. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005

2. President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20500
electronic comments http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/


[1] "The Philippines: Where the "War on Terror" has become the War of Terror" at http://www.politicalaffairs.net/article/articleview/5230/.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Obama seeks input of bank CEOs on recovery plans

Today the headlines are:

Obama seeks input of bank CEOs on recovery plans...

...But when is Obama going to seek input from working people who are suffering the brunt of this depression?

What is needed is a massive and comprehensive "people's bailout" based on the legislation drafted by a small group of progressive Minnesota State Legislators which must become the template for national legislation.

Wall Street bankers and coupon clippers are the ones who profit from this rotten capitalist system... a system in which economic depressions are an inherent feature which cannot be avoided.

The capitalist system is a dog-eat-dog system where those at the top get richer and richer as the meanest dogs grab the most and horde the wealth created by the working class leaving us with their shit to clean up.

Big-business and the bankers created this entire mess and now the politicians they have purchased are using our tax-dollars to clean up the mess so working people are getting royally shafted with a rough, un-greased telephone pole full of slivers over and over again.

Obama says the "country 'can't afford to demonize' every profit-seeking investor or entrepreneur because that is what fuels prosperity, and is what will get banks lending and the economy moving again."

Wrong. Dead wrong. And this is why everything Obama and the Democrats are doing will make life more miserable for working people.

"Profit-seeking" does not fuel prosperity. This "profit-seeking" creates problems for working people as it robs society of the wealth needed to provide a quality life for all.

Labor creates all wealth with some very significant help from Mother Nature.

Priorities in this country under the capitalist system are all screwed up.

Obama talks about "profit-seeking" as if it is some noble endeavor; it is nothing of the kind; it is thievery plain and simple.

Any school child understands that labor cannot be continually robbed of the wealth it creates as we stand by and watch Mother Nature get raped over and over again without some very serious problems developing.

It is this insatiable greedy drive for maximum profits by these same "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" who Obama places on a pedestal to worship that are the underlying source of each and every problem we are experiencing.

What we need to do as a people is move on to stage two.

Stage one was dumping the Republicans.

Stage two... we need to move on to consolidating the movement which drove the Republicans out to driving these "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" from power.

Obviously, Obama and the Democrats are seeking to protect these "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" who are not entitled to any such protection from government.

These are very greedy people who would deny hungry school children free meals.

These are the "merchants of death and destruction" who profit from wars.

These are the greedy who profit from health care.

These "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" are the very ones who have driven the auto industry into the ground.

These "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" are the ones who want to turn every single human endeavor into a source of greater profits... they will even destroy our public school system in quest of profits if given the opportunity.

These "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" are the military-financial-industrial complex which has spun this web of state-monopoly capitalism that is nothing more than a scheme to extract maximum super-profits.

These "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" have demonized themselves.

The time has come to bring the working class to power in this country, this is long overdue.

We need to completely reorder the priorities of this country so we get off this track that the drive for profits is the be all and end all of everything. We need to get our country off this insane war binge that is bleeding our country dry and begin directing the resources of our country toward meeting human needs--- Profits before people must be replaced with People before profits.

Barack Obama is part of the problem of what is wrong with this country. This pompous, arrogant, self-promoting, self-serving, flim-flam man and con-artist has risen to power under the guise of claiming to be for "change" without ever being forced to say what kind of change he had in mind.

Did anyone ever want or even anticipate the kind of "change" we see in this country today? No.

These problems did not develop overnight.

The capitalist sooth-Sayers tried to keep the economic problems hidden from the people until the floor fell out from under them. And now they come along with this crap, don't demonize "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs."

If "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" are not responsible for the dire economic straits we are in today; who is?

Obama might have tricked some people but most of those who voted for him did so because he was the only alternative to John McCain. The election results were no mandate for this Wall Street profit orgy, nor were the election results a mandate to ramp up the drive to more wars.

If there are any two things the American people wanted from the election it was:

1. An end to these insane imperialist wars.

2. A no-fee/no-premium, not-for-profit comprehensive public health care system.

Where is the democracy? We are getting neither peace nor health care.

What Barack Obama has done is help Wall Street bankers and coupon clippers to consolidate their power and the strangle-hold they had on our country at a time when the rising anger of working people was prying loose their grip, and they now are using this economic mess as a chance to re-gain a better, firmer grip around our necks--- squeezing even harder.

These "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" of Wall Street won't be satisfied until they have squeezed the last drop of blood from our veins.

We have a choice: the undertaker can bury these "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" along with their decaying capitalist system now nothing more than a parasitic, cannibalistic beast preying on anything in its path; or, the undertaker will bury us.

The time has come for the working class to carry out its historic task of burying this rotten capitalist system.

A cooperative socialist system free from these parasitical "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" is the only remedy.

Capitalism is on the skids to oblivion placing us on the road to perdition... the time has come to take the first left turn off this dangerous road.

This is not about "business practices" as Barack Obama and the Democrats would like us to believe... this is about a system based upon profits derived from the exploitation of labor and the rape of Mother Nature.

No matter how you view the problem, the capitalist system comes out the culprit.

We can do better... with socialism.

The real trick here is to build the kind of movement which can get back the wealth these "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" have already stolen, prevent them from stealing even more and put that wealth towards universal social programs designed to improve the standard of living for everyone.

The foreclosures and evictions must be halted.

All student debts should be forgiven--- this will release immense purchasing power for people to begin buying what they need putting people back to work.

Massive public works programs must be undertaken to get people back to work at jobs paying real living wages creating programs of lasting value for the American people. We can do this by closing down the more than 800 U.S. foreign military bases which only serve to keep people in other countries under the thumbs of "profit-seeking investors and entrepreneurs" and redirect the resources towards creating 800 public health care centers spread out across this country to keep people healthy and get them well when sick--- no fees, no premiums.

We can bring the failing steel and auto industries under public ownership through democratic nationalization and put people to work creating what we need for an environmentally friendly and green socialist economy.

As Minnesota State Senator David J. Tomassoni has so astutely observed as he brought forward the "Minnesota People's Bailout:"
We need to work our way out of his economic mess not try to buy or spend our way out.

Very good advice for getting our country on the high road to a bright socialist future as the dark grey clouds of capitalism threaten to plunge our country--- and the world--- into deathly darkness.

It is now obvious that if working people do not act quickly there are some very powerful, extreme right-wing forces in this country just eagerly waiting to make their play for power and if they are allowed to make this grab for power we will not recognize our country the day after.

This is class war.

Working people are going to have to engage in some very quick self-educating to get up to speed on what is going down... the bankers and the bosses have been doing our thinking for us for far too long making all the decisions behind the closed doors of corporate boardrooms, and that is a big part of our problems today.

There are those who would twist the present circumstances to mean that we have some kind of duty to support Barack Obama and all these schemes he is bringing forward at Wall Street's behest in the guise of "economic stimulus" and even a perverted concept of peace that we are supposed to support that is nothing more then an acceptance of a successful imperialist occupation of another country to rob a sovereign nation and a people of their oil; nothing could be further from the truth... this is a perverted view of what democracy and government is supposed to be about.

The politicians are supposed to work for us, not the other way around.

If ever there has been a time in history for working people to take to the streets to reclaim our country and our democracy behind the calls of "power to the people," that time is now!

Alan L. Maki

Obama seeks input of bank CEOs on recovery plans


Mar 27, 7:50 AM (ET)


WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama wants to hear from the chief executives of some of the country's biggest banks as he caps a week in which he clarified his overall plan for stabilizing the financial system.

The president was set to take the temperature of the bank CEOs on Friday at the White House. The session will be the latest in a series of such meetings Obama has had with financial industry representatives and business executives since taking office amid the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

The meeting follows a period marked by Obama's sharp language, and public outrage, over Wall Street excesses and $165 million in employee bonuses by American International Group, the large but troubled insurance company that has taken more than $170 billion in federal bailout funds.

It also comes days before Obama attends his first international summit, a meeting in London next week of the world's 20 major and developing economies, all struggling with the global recession.

This week, the administration unveiled its program to help banks clear their balance sheets of so-called "toxic assets," bad investments that are tying up capital and making it difficult for them to lend money. The administration also outlined its proposals to impose tighter regulations on the financial sector in an effort to avoid a repeat of the industry meltdown that contributed to the recession.

Obama in recent days has dialed down his rhetoric against AIG and Wall Street. The administration needs the industry's cooperation for its financial stability and financial regulation plans to work.

White House officials said Obama likes to hear directly from those who will be affected by his decisions.

"Our future is inextricably linked to these financial institutions, and their future is linked to the economic health of the country," said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama looked forward to getting an update from the bankers on the activity they are seeing in real estate and commercial loans. They also are likely to discuss "stuff that's been in the news" in the past few weeks, including executive compensation, bonuses and "the notion that ... we have to change the culture of the way Wall Street works," he said.

Asked whether Obama would deliver as tough a message in private as he has in public, Gibbs replied, "Yes."

"The president isn't going to say one thing out here and a different thing in there," he said. "We're not going to get out of this financial crisis and we're not going to stabilize our financial system without healthy banks. That's part of what he hopes to talk to them about."

Larry Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser, said the meeting will focus on a broad approach to restoring the economy.

This week, the administration announced a plan to partner with private investors, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to take over up to $1 trillion in sour mortgage securities from banks. The goal is to help jump-start lending.

The administration also has proposed tighter regulation of the financial system, including giving the government broad power to take over major financial institutions that are not banks, such as insurance companies, like AIG, and hedge funds teetering on the brink of collapse.

Last week, Obama assailed AIG for "recklessness and greed" in its business practices.

He softened his tone a bit during a nationally televised news conference Tuesday night, saying the country "can't afford to demonize" every profit-seeking investor or entrepreneur because that is what fuels prosperity, and is what will get banks lending and the economy moving again.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The United States has 800 military bases on foreign soil...

What we need--- instead--- is 800 public health care centers spread out across the United States where people can universally access, for free, all their health care needs from pre-natal care, to general health care to eye, dental and mental care right through to burial.

Instead of moving in this progressive direction, President Barack Obama and the United States Congress are moving in a most reactionary direction towards establishing military bases in outer space as they seek to insure the profits of both the merchants of death and destruction and the profit-driven health care industries... talk about skewed priorities and your wacky ideas devoid of common sense.

In addition to these 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil, Barack Obama and the United States Congress continue funding--- with our tax-dollars--- the Israeli killing machine to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

A network of 800 public health care centers spread out across the United States would create over four-million good-paying, decent jobs--- talk about your "economic stimulus" package!

We would be planting the seeds of socialism while helping to eradicate poverty as we keep people healthy and get them well when sick.

Think about this kind of solution in relation to what Barack Obama, the U.S. Congress and the Wall Street bankers and coupon clippers are offering the American people, and the peoples of the world... just what is the reason for bailing out the banks and AIG and maintaining more than 800 expensive U.S. military bases of foreign soil?

The Mt. Carmel Clinic in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada offers us a glimpse at what militarization and wars continue to rob us of.

The problems created by Wall Street will not be solved as long as the military-financial-industrial complex is allowed to squander human and natural resources on militarism and wars... we might just as well be dumping these resources out into the ocean... at least no one would die in wars.

These merchants of death and destruction must be stopped if humanity is to survive in a livable world.

The time has come to talk about the working class Marxist politics and economics of livelihood... capitalism has failed humanity miserably and left us a real mess.

Something for working people to think about and discuss around the dinner table... the capitalist sooth-Sayers certainly are not going to broach such solutions to the problems of working people as they hide behind the skirt of Rosy Scenario as this global capitalist economic depression intensifies.

Alan Maki

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Deal struck in Windsor auto parts plant blockade

Deal struck in Windsor auto parts plant blockade


By Donald McArthur, Canwest News ServiceMarch 18, 2009 5:01 PM

WINDSOR, Ont. — Chrysler should soon be able to remove vital tooling from a pair of auto parts plants after a tentative deal was inked Wednesday with displaced workers, who had been maintaining blockades since the suppliers abruptly closed last week.

The deal was announced from the bed of a Dodge pickup truck by CAW President Ken Lewenza as he addressed a crowd of about 500 gathered for a workers’ rights rally outside Aradco.

“We just struck an agreement not less than two or three minutes ago that we have in writing that provides some support, not all the support, for the membership,” said Mr. Lewenza, eliciting cheers from the crowd.

“But at the end of the day, where we started on Monday and where we’re at today is 10 times further than we ever were and what we’d ever get.”

Workers with Aradco and its sister plant, Aramco, voted 64% Monday to reject an offer from Chrysler that would have provided them with $205,000 — the equivalent of about four weeks vacation pay. Details of the new offer will not be disclosed until they are presented to the workers Thursday morning.

Workers say they are owed about $1.7-million in back pay and vacation pay and severance and termination pay by U.S. based Catalina Precision Products, which owns Aradco and Aramco, but they fear they won’t be paid. The deal with Chrysler would end the blockade and allow the automaker to retrieve tooling from inside the plants, which closed last week when Chrysler cancelled their supply contracts.

About a dozen workers who stormed the shuttered Aradco plant Tuesday night were celebrated as courageous heroes by Mr. Lewenza and other speakers, including Windsor-Tecumseh NDP MP Joe Comartin.

The workers spent the night in the plant and emerged on the roof waving CAW flags as Mr. Lewenza addressed the crowd. One of them carried a cardboard placard reading “Fighting Back Makes A Difference.”

“These guys are heroes,” said Paul Miller, an NDP member of provincial parliament who has introduced a private member’s bill championing the rights of workers.

The workers who overnighted in the plant were relieved the ordeal was over and expressed hope that the publicity surrounding their stand would prompt legislative changes to guarantee workers severance payments in the event of sudden plant closures.

If it changes the law and protects the Canadian worker, it was well worth it,” said Mike Melo, the CAW plant chair for Aramco. “The law needs to be changed for the Canadian workers so they get paid before anyone else gets paid.”

Windsor Star

© Copyright (c) National Post

Workers to rally outside occupied Windsor plant

Workers to rally outside occupied Windsor plant


By Donald McArthur, The Windsor StarMarch 18, 2009

Canadian Auto Workers Union Local 195 President Gerry Farnham, left, and Windsor Police Sgt. Tony Garro converse as a large crowd of CAW supporters and employees block the main entrance of the Aradco Management Ltd. plant in Windsor, Ont. on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they continued to lobby the plants' owners for wages and benefits they claim are owed to them.Photograph by: Jason Kryk, Windosr StarWINDSOR, Ont. — A group of Aradco workers here continued to occupy a shuttered auto-parts plant Wednesday morning as union organizers geared up for an afternoon rally for workers' rights outside the plant.

Canadian Auto Workers President Ken Lewenza is scheduled to speak at the 3:30 p.m. rally.

The workers stormed the plant Tuesday night intent on stopping Chrysler from removing parts and tooling inside. The union was reluctant to divulge numbers, but said "more than a handful" of workers remained inside.

Gerry Farnham, president of CAW Local 195, said at the scene Wednesday the workers plan on occupying the plant until issues surrounding outstanding severance and termination pay are resolved.

"You have workers in there who have never been in trouble with the law. They're scared but they're willing to do this to get what they are entitled to," said Farnham. "They're not coming out until we can get this issue resolved. They are strong and they are resolved."

About 80 workers with Aradco and its sister plant, Aramco, were told not to report to work a week ago Monday after Chrysler terminated its contract with the two suppliers, effectively shuttering the plants.

A lawyer for the U.S.-based company that owns the two plants, Catalina Precision Products, said Chrysler accounted for about 99 per cent of their business.

Workers claim Catalina owes them about $1.7 million in vacation and back pay and severance and termination pay. Workers rejected an offer Monday from Chrysler that would have paid them about $205,000 in vacation and back pay, but no severance.

Acceptance of that deal would have ended the blockade outside Aradco that, according to a Chrysler spokesperson, is threatening production at multiple Chrysler plants in North America. Workers say the tooling inside the plant is their only leverage in the bid to secure their severance monies.

Chrysler obtained an injunction in a Toronto courtroom last week granting it permission to remove parts and tooling from inside the plant. A blockade of about 100 workers, including workers from Windsor's Chrysler Assembly Plant, turned a truck away Tuesday afternoon.

Workers entered the plant a few hours later.

Farnham said the workers are seeking more than the monies they are owed. They are also seeking legislative changes that would enhance unemployment benefits and ensure workers get their severance monies before banks and other creditors in the event of company bankruptcies.

"They feel as though the law isn't working for them," said Farnham. "They are prepared to fight that fight for all workers, union and non union."

Giving the money legally owed to workers would have a more beneficial impact on the local economy than giving the money to banks, added Farnham.

"If it goes to the workers, it will go back into the community and stimulate the local economy," he said.

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service

The big lie about AIG

The big lie about AIG:


U.S.News & World Report (see complete article following my comments)

What's Good, What's Bad About the AIG Bailout

“It's keeping AIG's insurance businesses stable. Here's something that's really startling: The entire problem at AIG was caused by one unit, the Financial Products division, whose employees constituted less than one percent of AIG's overall workforce. AIG's insurance units - the core of its business - essentially had nothing to do with the fiasco. But if AIG had been forced to liquidate, it could have affected the insurance units and millions of policyholders. With a more orderly process underway, the policyholders are now completely protected.”

This is the truth:

The entire problem at AIG was caused by one unit, the Financial Products division

But if AIG had been forced to liquidate, it could have affected the insurance units and millions of policyholders. With a more orderly process underway, the policyholders are now completely protected.


Who are these AIG “policyholders?”


These AIG “policyholders” are the largest multi-national corporations in the world… and include corporations from every industry, from media to banking/mortgage to auto and steel to toys.


What kind of insurance policies have the multi-national corporations purchased from AIG?


These “policyholders” have purchased insurance from AIG to protect their profits.


What kind of “claims” are they filing?


These multi-national policyholders are making claims based upon their loss of profits due to the recession/depression.


Our tax-dollars are paying on “claims” being filed by these multi-national corporations for losses in profits as the economy goes south.


While the disgraceful tens of millions of dollars in executive “bonuses” paid by AIG are now the justified topic of wide-spread discussion; these “bonuses” are being used a “Trojan Horse” of sorts by the media and politicians who don’t want to disclose to the American people where the hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars are going.


Make no mistake, the $170,000,000,000.00 (one-hundred seventy billion dollars) paid out to AIG is just the beginning… as the depression deepens these multi-national corporations will continue filing claims and AIG will have to honor the policies these corporations purchased to protect their profitability… our tax-dollars are going directly into the pockets of the Wall Street coupon clippers and the very mortgage company crooks who ripped off the American people.


For the American tax-payer, there is nothing “good” about the bailout of AIG… except to the stock and bondholders and bankers and mortgage companies and the big industrialists and investors who will continue to pocket profits at tax-payer expense, everything about the AIG “bailout” is bad.


The “bailout” of AIG with our tax-dollars is doing nothing but stabilizing Wall Street “profits.”

AIG’s insurance business is the business of protecting multi-national corporations against a loss in profits.

Once the tax-dollars stop flowing into the coffers of AIG and flooding out to the multi-national corporations, the world stock markets will collapse and we will be in the midst of the worst capitalist economic depression humanity has ever known--- complete with all the accompanying human misery and social strife one would expect--- now being widely predicted by many diverse voices.

On top of all of this, the American dollar will become worthless and we will be forced to purchase oil with Euros and Rubles… then what?

And if the Chinese aren’t dumb enough to buy into the American capitalist economic mess… then what?

In spite of what the highest-paid capitalist sooth-Sayers are telling us, capitalism as an economic system is finished… it is time to explore a socialist solution where production takes place to solve human needs rather than for profit… there is no other solution.

The multi-national corporations purchased insurance policies to protect their profits against recession/depression incurred losses from AIG, a private--- for profit--- insurance company, which assumed the risk in underwriting such policies.

The multi-national corporations did not purchase insurance policies from the United States government; so why should tax-payers be the ones paying out on these claims?

This is the biggest corporate swindle in history… in comparison, Bernie Madoff is a piker… we are being played for suckers.

We need a national “people’s bailout” based on the “Minnesota People’s bailout.”

The time has come to take a “left turn” to get us off this road to perdition as the capitalist system collapses.

Big-business created this economic mess as they reaped the profits while leaving working people with ALL the problems.

Alan L. Maki

U.S.News & World Report
What's Good, What's Bad About the AIG Bailout


Tuesday March 17, 1:52 pm ET
By Rick Newman

"There are times when one would like to hang the whole human race, and finish the farce."

The latest surreal twists in the AIG bailout bring to mind Mark Twain, who could spot folly as if he were hunting for it with a spyglass. Had Twain had AIG to work with as raw material, we'd probably have another couple dozen enduring epigrams skewering the greedy and the foolish.

Many Americans would like to finish the farce and simply cut AIG off, especially now that the company has paid $165 million in bonuses to executives at the very unit that nearly caused the firm's downfall and triggered an unprecedented taxpayer bailout that now totals $170 billion. To almost everybody, it seems self-evident that traders shouldn't be rewarded for wrecking their company and then burning through vast amounts of public funds. Yet AIG insists it is legally obligated to pay the bonuses, because of contracts signed before the damage occurred and taxpayers got involved. There have also been suggestions that the rascals who devised these complex derivatives deals may be the only ones who know how to unwind them, so AIG has no choice but to keep them around - and pay for the privilege of their company. In other words, the bonuses amount to extortion.

Okay. Breathe deep. Think calming thoughts. Find your center. Amidst this outrage, it's worth keeping in mind that the AIG bailout is actually doing some good. It's also a kind of learn-as-you-go experiment that's never really been done before. Here's a rough scorecard of what's working and what's not:

What's working

The AIG bailout has helped stabilize the financial markets. Take a moment to revisit September 2008. That's when Lehman Brothers failed, Merrill Lynch almost did, and AIG would have been forced into a chaotic bankruptcy if the feds didn't arrange an emergency $85 billion loan. With a bit of hindsight, it's starting to seem that AIG, which brokered more than $2.5 trillion worth of derivatives known as credit-default swaps held by many of the world's biggest banks, was the death star of that troubled troika.

We've survived the Lehman bankruptcy, after all, and Merrill found a buyer. "The real surprise wasn't Lehman Brothers, it was AIG," Frederic Mishkin, a Columbia Business School professor and former member of the Federal Reserve Board, said in a recent speech. "Who would have thought that an insurance company would have been affected by all this? When that happened, all bets were off."

All that federal money has helped AIG redeem some of those derivatives contracts, getting them off its books and out of the system. The financial markets still aren't back to normal, but they're heading in that direction. Forestalling another industrial-strength financial failure, and the chain reaction it would have triggered if AIG had collapsed, has certainly helped.

It's also helping AIG unwind itself. AIG's problems snowballed in September when suddenly it had to produce billions of dollars worth of collateral to back up those credit-default swaps. The collateral call was triggered by an unexpected drop in AIG's credit rating, along with the plunge in value of mortage-backed securities around the world. AIG didn't have the cash, and to come up with it, the only option would have been to sell off illiquid assets like its highly profitable insurance divisions or its aircraft leasing company. Try doing that in a week.

Had AIG been forced to liquidate those assets, it would have had to accept fire-sale prices, which would have led to a sudden collapse in the prices of other similar assets and companies throughout the world. AIG would have gotten pennies on the dollar for valuable assets and many other businesses would suddenly have been devalued, too.

AIG is still in the process of selling off assets, to pay off the government loans that effectively served as its collateral. But it's doing that in a more orderly way, seeking the highest bidders and the best terms. That's generally good for everybody, and it's also the best way for taxpayers to get most or all of their money back.

It's keeping AIG's insurance businesses stable. Here's something that's really startling: The entire problem at AIG was caused by one unit, the Financial Products division, whose employees constituted less than one percent of AIG's overall workforce. AIG's insurance units - the core of its business - essentially had nothing to do with the fiasco. But if AIG had been forced to liquidate, it could have affected the insurance units and millions of policyholders. With a more orderly process underway, the policyholders are now completely protected.

What's not working

Revolting bonuses. It simply goes without saying that giving bonuses to the people who brought down AIG is a perversion of justice. Officials at the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Dept. should have put terms into the original bailout agreement that prevented this. They didn't. It was a chaotic time, and legitimate worries about a global financial collapse obviously clouded thoughts about rules to prevent rapacious traders from holding the government hostage. If it's any consolation, the $165 million bonus pool is relatively small. Still, it grates.

Counterparty payouts. AIG has used much of the $170 billion in government aid to basically refund money to big banks and other "counterparties," to cash out some of those credit-default swaps and reduce AIG's massive liabilities. That's sensible, and it's basically the original idea behind the "Troubled Assets Relief Program," which was intended to get the worst derivatives and other securities off the market.

The problem is that the government has apparently agreed to $105 billion worth of payouts - at the full face value of the securities. That means that banks like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Societe General and Deutsche Bank - among the world's most sophisticated investors - are taking no loss at all on securities that had a market value of half their face value or less when AIG redeemed them in full. It's like house prices falling in your neighborhood by 50 percent, and somebody coming in and buying one house for what it was worth at the market peak a couple years ago. And using a government loan to finance it.

Regulators at the Fed, Treasury, and other departments still haven't explained why the counterparties got all their money back. They're certainly going to be asked at upcoming Congressional hearings. But in a situation where just about everybody is taking a loss - taxpayers and consumers especially - it will be tough to make a case that the world's richest banks deserve full redemption.

Secrecy. We keep learning the terms of the AIG bailout well after the fact. Obviously there are times when the feds need to move quickly and can't have a 60-day comment period. But it's not the same crisis atmosphere as last fall. In general, we should learn the details of the bailout as they occur.

AIG strongly resisted releasing the list of counterparties that have been paid back with bailout money, for instance. As recently as March 5, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Donald Kohn defended that secrecy, saying that firms might be reluctant to deal with AIG in the future if they knew their dealings could become public.

Then a week later, under mounting pressure, AIG released a list of counterparties. The world didn't end. AIG is also refusing to release the names of individuals in the Financial Products division who are getting bonuses. They may lose that battle too, since New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has asked for the names and started an investigation, much as he has with Merrill Lynch. Information is going to come out one way or the other, and AIG and its regulators should stop trying to protect the failing company any more than they already are. When AIG pays back that $170 billion in taxpayer money, they can keep all the secrets they want. In fact, once we've got our money back, the less we hear about AIG the better.

Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


Monday, March 16, 2009

St. Paul labor federation backs 'People's Bailout'

St. Paul labor federation backs 'People's Bailout'


15 March 2009

ST. PAUL - The St. Paul Regional Labor Federation added its voice to the chorus of labor and community organizations calling on lawmakers to pass the so-called Minnesota People’s Bailout, a bill making its way through the Legislature that would strengthen – not cut – public services during these tough economic times.

“No one in Minnesota should be cold, hungry or homeless as a result of this economic crisis,” said Phyllis Walker, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3800, a member of the Minnesota People’s Bailout Coalition.

Other coalition members include the Welfare Rights Committee, a group of low-income people fighting for public services that benefit the poor, and the Minnesota Tenants Union, an advocacy and organizing group for low-income renters.

Together, the groups are pushing legislation sponsored by two DFLers, Sen. David Tomassoni of Chisholm and Rep. David Bly of Northfield, who introduced the bill Feb. 9.

The People’s Bailout has three main goals:

• Protecting low-income and working Minnesotans from the worst effects of the deepening global economic crisis. The People’s Bailout would extend Minnesota Family Investment Program benefits for current enrollees, and it would expand access to the program, which provides cash and food assistance to low-income families with children. The bill also would extend unemployment compensation for out-of-work Minnesotans and put a temporary hold on the five-year limit for public assistance.

• Keeping families in their homes. The bill would put a moratorium on housing foreclosures and require banks and mortgage companies that have foreclosed on rental properties to honor existing tenants’ leases. Mick Kelly of the Minnesota People’s Bailout Coalition said thousands of tenants statewide have been left homeless by no fault of their own. Oftentimes, Kelly said, when a landlord is foreclosed upon, the bank or mortgage company ends tenants’ leases when reclaiming the building.

“Many of the foreclosed properties in Minneapolis and St. Paul had supplied affordable rents to low-income Minnesotans,” Kelly said. “These units must be kept open and available.

“Banks and mortgage companies that give loans to buyers of these rental properties must accept the responsibility of those landlords. Tenants should not be victimized, first by financially failing landlords and then by the banks and mortgage companies that initiate foreclosures.”

• Creating and protecting jobs. The People’s Bailout calls for a vigorous new public works program and would prohibit layoffs of state employees, including University of Minnesota workers, during the economic crisis.

Walker, whose union represents workers at the University of Minnesota, called a bailout for working families a matter of fairness.

“The banks and corporations are getting billions of dollars to survive the economic crisis,” she said. “Meanwhile, working people are being laid off in massive numbers. The Legislature must show that it represents the people of this state by passing this act and taking other concrete steps to protect Minnesotans from the worst effects of this crisis.”

The St. Paul Regional Labor Federation passed a resolution in support of the Minnesota People’s Bailout at its Feb. 11 meeting, pledging to “commit its resources to seeking solutions that restore the safety net for those in need.”

Reprinted from the St. Paul Union Advocate.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Summers: 'Excess of fear' must be broken

This is interesting coming from a man appointed by Obama who is so respected by Alan Greenspan; the two of whom are most responsible for letting this crisis get out of hand.

As if there has ever been a time under capitalism where "excess greed" has not been a factor.

Insatiable greed is the primary motivating under capitalism... in fact, there is no other motivation other than maximizing profits.

And then we have this concluding statement:

"... Obama defended his plans for pulling the economy out of a downward spiral, saying that his long-term view gives him reason to maintain optimism despite an uptick in unemployment and falling economic indicators."

Obama may hold to an optimistic long-term view; but, working people have to live with the problems--- be these problems short-term or long-term--- and Barack Obama and the Democrats are not doing one single thing to alleviate the problems working people are experiencing as so many people face a crisis in everyday living just trying to scrounge to get by as they are forced to live in heat-less foreclosed homes from which they are about to be evicted because they have lost their jobs... unable to gain access to health care unable to afford food as the food shelves in local churches and community centers go bare.

Now here is a comforting thought as you read about Larry Summers talking about our need to be more optimistic about the country's economic future...

Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers and Paul Volker don't seem to eager to talk about their close friendship and working relationship with Bernie Madoff these days in spite of the fact Madoff often advised both of them on how to handle the economy; including the need to remove oversight of the financial markets.

Oh, and it was Paul Volker who first brought Rosie Scenario into the White House... the Reagan White House.

While Obama and his economic advisers maintain that the "excess of fear" must be overcome, working people are experiencing many problems here and now requiring solutions.

Many solutions to these problems are embodied in "The Minnesota People's Bailout" legislation introduced into the Minnesota State Legislature by Senator David Tomassoni which should become a template for a national "People's Bailout."

Apparently, in spite of claims that the people now have a friend, advocate and ally in the White House in the person of Barack Obama... Obama has yet to take up the "People's Bailout."

Is this a case where power will concede nothing without demands?

Working people cannot feed their families on Barack Obama's "optimism" and it doesn't look like Rosie Scenario is apt to be cooking many school lunches.

Here is a little something to think about as Barack Obama continues to feed us the line that with the economy in a mess we will have to wait for real health care reform:

The United States maintains over 800 military bases on foreign soil around the world. This, in and of itself may not be a very interesting figure. After all, we seldom see this figure cited in our local newspapers.

But here is something to think about and discuss around the dinner table with your family---

Wouldn't we be better off with 800 public health care centers spread out across our country?

That would be 16 health care centers per state.

Certainly if the United States can maintain 800 foreign military bases there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to dispense free health care from 800 public health care centers across the country... yes, comprehensive, all-inclusive, publicly financed and publicly administered socialized health care for all.

Establishing 800 health care centers across the United States would bring some real optimism to people by solving our health care mess while creating over four-million real living wage jobs... now that is what I would call turning swords into plow-shares while providing a real peace dividend through an economic stimulus while breaking the back of imperialism... we get health care, the economy gets a big boost and the rest of the world gets relief.

Right now, military madness as reflected by these 800 foreign military bases are torpedoing any chance of economic recovery and any chance we have to solve our problems.

And, if the United States government would take all the wealth away from the rich like Bernie Madoff did, just think of what kind of country we could build.

It seems to me that Larry Summers is focusing on only one aspect of the "fears" Franklin Roosevelt spoke about.

The fear of being unemployed, the fear of being hungry and homeless, the fear of not having access to health care, the fear of being deprived of higher education... these are very real fears that only government organizing society in such a way to solve these problems can overcome.

The "fears" people have are very real and no amount of talking about "optimism" is going to overcome these "fears" unless very specific government actions are taken to solve the problems of working people.

Alan L. Maki

Summers: 'Excess of fear' must be broken


WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's top economic adviser said Friday the nation's economic crisis has led to an "excess of fear" among Americans that must be broken to reverse the downturn.

"Fear begets fear," Lawrence Summers, the president's director of the National Economic Council, told a forum.

"It is this transition from an excess of greed to an excess of fear that President Roosevelt had in mind when he famously observed that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself," Summers said. "It is this transition that has happened in the United States today."

Summers spoke amid new signs of a deepening recession. The U.S. trade deficit plunged in January to the lowest level in six years as the economic downturn cut America's demand for imported goods, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The economic adviser, who was treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton, said it's still too early to gauge the broad impact of the administration's recovery program.

"But it is modestly encouraging that since it began to take shape, consumer spending in the U.S., which was collapsing during the holiday season, appears, according to a number of indicators, to have stabilized," Summers told the Brookings Institution, a think tank.

Summers was asked by a member of the audience what the nation's business community could do to help speed the recovery.

"What we need today is more optimism and more confidence," Summers said.

"Those who have sound long-term strategy, who have investments that they want to make, who see productive opportunities, are going to find this a very good moment to make those investments," he said. "There are a very large number of things that are on sale today. Think about the cost of doing construction today, versus the cost of doing construction two years ago.

"My advice to business leaders is not to foreshorten the horizon at a moment like this."

On Wall Streets, stocks were down a bit at midday after three straight days of gains.

The government said the U.S. trade imbalance dropped to $36 billion in January, the lowest level since October 2002.

However, while America's deficit with many of its trading partners declined sharply, the politically sensitive shortfall with China bucked the trend, rising by 3.5 percent to $20.6 billion.

U.S. manufacturing companies, battered by what they view as unfair competition from China, said that the continued high deficit with that nation pointed to a need for the Obama administration to take a tougher line on trade rules with the Chinese.

Heads of state from both the United States and China will be among leaders of the Group of 20 advanced and developing nations meeting in London in early April to try to chart a coordinated international approach to taming the global recession.

Summers acknowledged that huge sums are being borrowed by the U.S. government to support recovery efforts. And while things should get better under Obama's programs, things could also get worse "if deflation sets in, if GDP (gross domestic product) collapses further," Summers said.

"If that happens, the magnitude of the federal borrowing, as large as it is, will be dwarfed. It will be far, far larger."

He also said there was a need to dial back the stimulus once the economy is clearly out of the ditch so that the nation "does not exchange a painful recession for another unsustainable expansion."

For crisis spending by the government to continue after the crisis "would be a very risky thing," he said.

He sidestepped a question on what the U.S. economy would look like in 10 years, saying he would follow the advice often given to economists who enter the government: "Name a number or name a date, but never name both."

Summers said he did not believe contentious legislation to make union organizing easier would make the recession worse, as some business groups have argued.

"At this moment, demand is the crucial priority in thinking about employment," Summers said.

He was asked about the so-called card check bill, which would dramatically overhaul labor laws by allowing workers to form unions by simply signing a card or petition, removing an employer's right to demand a secret ballot vote. It also would impose stronger penalties on employers who violate labor laws and allow for arbitration to settle contract disputes.

Business groups oppose the measure, and labor groups consider it their top priority.

Obama is embracing a mantle of "confidence builder in chief." Whether he is meeting with his own economic advisers or worried business leaders, he has sought to be calm and reassuring — even in the face of more bad economic news.

He was also meeting Friday with Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman who now guides the president's economic recovery advisory board. Volcker was preparing to brief Obama and his economic team on how the $787 billion stimulus package is working.

Speaking to a gathering of the nation's CEOs on Thursday, Obama defended his plans for pulling the economy out of a downward spiral, saying that his long-term view gives him reason to maintain optimism despite an uptick in unemployment and falling economic indicators.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Workers clobbered by relentless layoffs

This news from the Associated Press (see article below) begins to describe what is really taking place in this country and around the world... employers are using this depression (newspapers, Rosy Scenario and the capitalist sooth-Sayers are still calling this a "recession with no end in sight").

Employers are using this recession/depression to drive down the standard of living for the entire working class by driving down wages and making people work harder and longer hours as they throw more people into the unemployment lines.

It is all about "profits."

It's about profits derived from the exploitation of labor. And its about profits derived from wars... which severely exacerbate this economic upheaval. And profits derived from housing. And profits derived from health care. And profits derived from food, oil and even water. You get the picture I'm sure.

So, what's new?

Employers always take advantage of bad economic times to attack the working class in an attempt to attain greater profits.

First we heard from the head of the Fed, "This is not your garden variety economic recession."

Now, we read this from the article below:

"We're still in the teeth of this recession and the bite has not let up at all."

I suppose the next thing we are going to hear from these capitalist sooth-Sayers is another bit of wisdom like, "Don't worry, every dog eventually barks... and when the dog barks he will let up on his bite."

This is a very frank story coming from the country's mainstream media... however, it is still far from the truth even if Rush Limbaugh is likely to surmise the journalist is a Marxist. And who knows, if the writer attended a public school she just might be a Marxist according to Sarah Palin.

The truth:

Capitalism is on the skids to oblivion and we are all on the short, bumpy road to perdition.

There is a solution:
We need to take the first exit to the "left."

If we aren't all socialists now, for our own survival we better get up to speed on this remedy.

Alan Greenspan wrote an entire 500 page book, "The Age of Turbulence, Adventures in a New World," explaining to us that what is happening now, really can't happen.

"The Age of Turbulence, Adventures in a New World" was published in 2007.

A couple months after this book was published while Alan Greenspan was doing the book tour thing... the bottom begin to fall out from under us.

How does Alan Greenspan, the capitalist world's most brilliant economist, explain that this is happening now, a year after this monumental five-hundred plus page book, "The Age of Turbulence, Adventures in a New World," was published?

Greenspan writes his lack of vision and insight off as "this is something that only happens every hundred years or so."

Just a "small" point Alan Greenspan, the world's foremost capitalist sooth-Sayer, forgot to tell us... just like he forgot to tell us what life would be like for working people should this depression happen... but, then, again, Alan Greenspan and his capitalist brethren will not be without jobs, unable to feed their families, do not have to worry about being foreclosed on and evicted, worry about health care or figuring out how to get dental care for their children, or how they will pay the college tuition or have to go begging for second-hand clothes for their children to wear to go to school; nor will these Wall Street bankers and coupon clippers have to think about making a decision at the grocery store of whether they will purchase milk or bread... chances are, for many working class families cookies and butter are no longer on the weekly shopping list.

Many people can't even afford to pay to heat their homes this winter and are shivering in the cold.

Think about this:

Alan Greenspan says that people he has complete confidence in, like Barack Obama's choice to head up the Federal Reserve Board and the rest of his economic advisers, are competent to see us through this mess.

Now, if the article below doesn't give you something to talk about around the dinner table tonight... and reading books about economics puts you to sleep in boredom, Barack Obama appointing those who Alan Greenspan has complete confidence in should give you incentive to make you inclined to discuss where we are headed... but, if that still won't stimulate conversation around the dinner table this evening... read the brief quote I have posted below this article by Frederick Engels, Karl Marx' friend and colleague.

We really do need a "people's bailout," call or write your state representative and senator... time is running out with a very short road to perdition as this capitalist system continues to crumble... and, oh yes, there is one other little thing that Alan Greenspan and his other capitalist sooth-Sayer friends forgot to mention about these little "only one-hundred year occurrences"... each one gets worse than the one before.

Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself because these people who have enlisted the help of Alan Greenspan's secret lover, Rosy Scenario, aren't going to tell you anything other than "recovery is down the road."

Actually, Rosy Scenario is not just Alan Greenspan's secret lover; Rosy Scenario is more like a White House groupie.

Workers should keep in mind that "economic recovery" means one thing to the likes of Alan Greenspan and this never ending entourage of well-paid capitalist sooth-Sayers who can't find a real job while "economic recovery" means quite another thing to working people.

Barack Obama has brought Rosy Scenario back into the White House... it is not only Michelle who should watch out!

This sure is turning into "the age of turbulence;" but I'm really not into the kind of adventures Rosy Scenario has in mind... Are you?

You probably noticed I haven't mentioned "the middle class." Well, apparently these Barack Obama enthusiasts are doing just fine... Obama is going to see that they don't get evicted from their $700,000.00 homes up along the North Shore and in Edina. Their shopping sprees in Bloomington at the Mall of America are secure.

Barack Obama's favorite class, the middle class, will keep their vacations, and state employees can look forward to their days off, too, as their union contracts are shredded while their union leaders tout the Employee Free Choice Act.

From the Associated Press...

"The pace of layoffs is fast and furious," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. "We're still in the teeth of this recession and the bite has not let up at all."

Mar 6, 7:10 AM (ET)

Workers clobbered by relentless layoffs


WASHINGTON (AP) - Cost-cutting employers are resorting to even bigger layoffs as they scramble to survive the recession, feeding insecurities among those who still have jobs and those who desperately want them.

The Labor Department on Friday is slated to release a report expected to show that February was an especially cruel month for America's workers.

Employers likely slashed a net total of 648,000 jobs last month, according to economists' forecasts. If they are right, it would mark the worst month of job losses since the recession started in December 2007. It also would represent the single biggest month of job reductions since October 1949, when the country was just pulling out of a painful recession, although the labor force has grown significantly since then.

"The pace of layoffs is fast and furious," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. "We're still in the teeth of this recession and the bite has not let up at all."

With employers slashing payrolls, the nation's unemployment rate is expected to jump to 7.9 percent, from 7.6 percent in January. If that happens, it would mark the highest jobless rate since reaching 8 percent in January 1984, a time when the unemployment rate was still slowly moving down after having topped 10 percent during the early 1980s recession.

Employers are shrinking their work forces at alarming clip and are turning to other ways to slash costs - including trimming workers' hours, freezing wages or cutting pay - because the recession has eaten into their sales and profits. Customers at home and abroad are cutting back as other countries cope with their own economic problems.

A new wave of layoffs hit this week.

General Dynamics Corp. (GD) said Thursday it will lay off 1,200 workers due partly to plummeting sales of business and personal jets that forced it to cut production. Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC), and Tyco Electronics Ltd. (TEL), which makes electronic components, undersea telecommunications systems and wireless equipment, also are trimming payrolls.

"This is basically cleaning house for a lot of firms," said John Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia. "They are using the first quarter to cut back employment and figure out what they want."

Disappearing jobs and evaporating wealth from tanking home values, 401(k)s and other investments have forced consumers to retrench, driving companies to lay off workers. It's a vicious cycle in which all the economy's negative problems feed on each other, worsening the downward spiral.

"The economy is in a tailspin. Businesses are jettisoning jobs at an unprecedented pace," said Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research.

Some 3.6 million jobs have disappeared so far in a deepening recession, which is shaping up as the biggest job killer in the post-World War II period.

The country is getting bloodied by fallout from the housing, credit and financial crises- the worst since the 1930s. And there's no easy fix for a quick turnaround, economists said.

President Barack Obama is counting on a multipronged assault to lift the country out of recession: a $787 billion stimulus package of increased federal spending and tax cuts; a revamped, multibillion-dollar bailout program for the nation's troubled banks; and a $75 billion effort to stem home foreclosures.

Even in the best-case scenario that the relief efforts work and the recession ends later in 2009, the unemployment rate is expected to keep climbing, hitting 9 percent or higher this year. In fact, the Federal Reserve thinks the unemployment rate will stay elevated into 2011. Economists say the job market may not get back to normal - meaning a 5 percent unemployment rate - until 2013.

Businesses won't be inclined to ramp up hiring until they are sure any economic recovery has staying power.

The economy contracted at a staggering 6.2 percent in the final three months of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century, and it will probably continue to shrink during the first six months of this year.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress earlier this week that recent economic barometers "show little sign of improvement" and suggest that "labor market conditions may have worsened further in recent weeks."

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

Please pass this blog posting on to a friend.

Yours in struggle,

Alan L. Maki

Thoughts From Podunk


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

And this is the good news...

Fed survey: economy deteriorated in Jan., Feb.


AP Economics Writer Jeannine Aversa

Reuters – People search for jobs on computers at the California Employment Development Department in San Francisco, … WASHINGTON – After a dismal start to 2009, business people see more pain ahead, expecting no improvement in economic conditions till late this year at the earliest.

Their pessimism was evident in the Federal Reserve's latest snapshot of business activity nationwide. It showed sharp cutbacks affecting both blue-collar jobs that once churned out construction equipment and white-collar professionals like business consultants and accountants.

From factories in Cleveland to high-tech firms in Texas and California, the Fed's beige book reported widespread production declines.

"National economic conditions deteriorated further," the Fed's survey concluded. "The deterioration was broadbased, with only a few sectors such as basic food production and pharmaceuticals appearing to be exceptions."

Looking ahead, business people rated the prospects "for near-term improvement in economic conditions as poor, with a significant pickup not expected before late 2009 or early 2010."

The survey summarizes information from businesses and others supplied to the Fed's 12 regional banks. The information — most of it anecdotal — was collected on or before Feb. 23. It's used by the Fed to get a better idea of what's occurring at the ground level of the economy and will figure into discussions among Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues when they meet next on March 17-18.

The Fed is widely expected to hold its key interest rate at a record low at that meeting as well as through the rest of this year to help revive the economy, which has been stuck in a recession since December 2007. The Fed also has said it will consider expanding existing relief programs or come up with new ones to extinguish the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.

Still, most economists believe the recession will drag on for most of this year even after the enactment of President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus package of boosted federal spending and tax cuts designed to revive limp consumer spending and boost factory production. Bernanke told Congress Tuesday that the impact of the stimulus package is subject to "considerable uncertainty" given the current economic climate.

The nation's unemployment rate in January jumped to 7.6 percent, the highest in more than 16 years, and the number of newly laid-off people signing up for unemployment benefits has been climbing in recent weeks. The government will release February jobs data on Friday and many economists expect the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent while employers cut nearly 650,000 jobs.

The economy also has been battered by a collapse in the housing market and a lockup in lending that has made it difficult, and more expensive, for people to secure financing for homes, cars and household appliances.

The Fed survey said there were "steep declines" in manufacturing activity in some sectors, and "pronounced declines overall."

Hardest hit were factories that make goods related to the housing industry. Construction-related equipment and materials, such as primary metals, wood products and electrical equipment, saw especially steep drops in production. So did makers of furniture and cars, the report said.

Factories are getting hit by slower demand at home as well as overseas, where foreign customers are coping with their own economic troubles.

In the Cleveland region, overall factory production dropped about 25 percent compared with a year earlier.

Makers of computers, semiconductors and other information technology products saw further declines in production and orders in the Dallas and San Francisco regions.

A few bright spots: makers of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology products saw production gains. The Boston region reported sales growing at a double-digit pace for biopharmaceutical firms. The Chicago region reported strong demand for pharmaceuticals and the Richmond region noted temporary hiring at pharmaceutical companies.

Food processors and makers of certain chemicals also saw pickups in the San Francisco and Philadelphia regions. And airplane makers in the St. Louis region are planning to expand existing production, according to the Fed survey.

White-collar businesses felt the recession, too.

Demand continued to fall for professional services, such as business consultants, accountants and legal services. The Boston region reported "dismal" business for temporary staffing firms. A New York company noted that activity by a major employment agency "virtually ground to a halt."

And even health care services — one of the few parts of the economy that has been adding jobs during the recession — felt fallout from the downturn in the Richmond, Minneapolis and San Francisco regions. Providers of health care services reported falling patient volumes, which were partly attributed to a drop in elective procedures, those regions reported.

Against that backdrop, consumer spending remained "very weak," the Fed survey said.

That's not news to Mark Steinke, the owner of Revival, a 6-year-old antiques and home decor store in Chicago. Sales are down about 20 percent this year in his store as shoppers gravitate more toward cheaper purchases, or items that are unique and hard to replicate. And as sales fall, so does Steinke's steady paycheck.

"I think in today's environment, the consistency is just not there, which is the most unsettling part," he said. "The first thing out of people's mouth is 'How are you doing, are you going to survive?' Everyone is waiting for another shoe to drop, which is not good."

Sales of luxury goods, including jewelry, electronic equipment and other big-ticket items were especially slow in the Philadelphia, Richmond and Chicago regions. Demand for furniture, appliances and other manufactured goods remained "quite depressed," according to the Kansas City and San Francisco regions.

While sales of new cars and trucks stayed "exceptionally sluggish," used-car sales fared better, the Fed said.

Recession-battered consumers and companies cut back on travel, while some regions — notably Kansas City and San Francisco — noted a substantial drop in businesses at restaurants.


AP Retail Writer Ashley M. Heher in Chicago contributed to this report.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Back to Joe Biden's "drop-kick"

Joe Biden might be better off describing the way the stock market is bouncing around like a football after it is "dropped" to the ground and comes bouncing off the ground for the kick... seems like not even the usual capitalist sooth-Sayers can get their foot on this "ball"... perhaps Biden should become a soccer fan... the ball might be a little easier to control with his feet and he wouldn't have to worry about taking his foot out of his mouth.

Hey, Joe, when do you think the stock market will bounce up high enough for you to make that successful "drop-kick."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Barack Obama Exposed

Really; is this what people have in mind for change? Single-payer universal health care advocates are locked out; but the doors are swung open wide to the health care profiteers!

Call The White House: Let Single Payer In

On Thursday, March 5, 2009, the White House will host a summit on how to reform the health care system.

The 120 invited guests include lobbyists for various interest groups including the private-for-profit insurance industry (AHIP), some members of Congress including Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus who has already ruled single payer “off the table,” and various others concerned with health care.

No single payer advocates have been invited to attend.

Please urge President Obama to fulfill his promise for transparency and openness in government

Call The White House (202) 456-1414 or (202) 456-1111.

Tell them to let single payer into the White House Summit on health care.

Distributed by:

All Unions Committee For Single Payer Health Care--HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551
Email: nursenpo@aol.com



Obama's First Full Month Significant And Telling

A guest blog

By: Brian McAfee

2838 Mason Blvd.
Muskegon Heights, MI 49444

(231) 737-8726


President Barack Obama's first full month as president will be marked as historically significant for its shift away from the fraudulent "trickle down" economic model begun by Ronald Reagan almost 30 years ago. The first significant policy vote was to approve and increase the State Children's Health Insurance Program or SCHIP. This program provides health coverage for children of working parents who are not eligible for Medicaid and whose parent's employers do not provide health insurance. The shift in SCHIP eligibility provides health insurance for 4 million more children then the old system. The Republicans en masse voted agaist SCHIP with West Michigan congressman Pete Hoekstra using the specter of children of "illegal immigrants" possibly being eligible as part of his opposition to the bill. Hoekstra's no vote was duplicated by most of the rest of the Republicans in the House the final vote being 289 yes 139 no.

Obama's Stimulus Package outcome has been almost a duplicate (vote wise) of the SCHIP vote. In the House the Stimulus Package passed with a straight party line vote. The Republicans again voting en masse against Obama's Stimulus Package. The Republican's no vote has become routine, a knee jerk reaction. What terrible things are in the Stimulus that the Republicans are opposed to? Tax cuts for 95% of Americans? $634 billion for health care? Taxing big oil? Reducing income inequality? Increasing taxes on people who make over $250 million a year? Probably a bingo of the last three. The suggestion, or insistence, by the Right that Obama is a socialist is completely ludicrous. Because he wants to remedy some tax and income and other inequalities does not in any way indicate that he is not a capitalist, just that he is less survival of the fittest and social Darwinist oriented then Republicans.

There are humanitarian qualities that seem evident in Obama's domestic endeavors that would increase the degree of civility in the country that has been absent since the time of FDR. A move back to that sort of decency would be a welcome shift.

Probably the most important and problematic area for Obama and the World is his apparent willingness to escalate a warfare setting in South Asia. We should be engaged in Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. encouraging and in some ways and cases enforcing the protection of women and girls in education and civil rights. Any militarism should be should primarily a tool to protect humanitarian endeavors. The all too frequent civilian losses and casualties in Afghanistan and most recently in drone missile attacks in Pakistan must be ended and humanitarian missions such as protecting girls schools, roads, water and agricultural projects should be our primary endeavor and concern.

We are entering a new era with Obama, hopefully a more representative Congress and an active populace. How will things evolve? Predictions?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Victory for the Peace Movement, by Tom Hayden

This article (see below)--- A Victory for the Peace Movement--- was written by Tom Hayden of the group Progressives for Obama.

Tom Hayden, until recently, was--- admittedly--- a "poster boy" for Israel's killing machine.

Conveniently Tom Hayden emerged from his dark, dank cave about the same time Walter Mondale came out of his; just in time to give Obama a boost... two phony liberals trying to pose as progressives, joined by a few more rotten peas in the same moldy pod.

Hayden would like us to ignore the fact that American tax-payers have shelled out billions of dollars building permanent military bases in Iraq which Barack Obama has conveniently refused to discuss what is in store to be done with these bases in the future... perhaps they will be turned into shopping centers or industrial parks?

Of course, neither Hayden nor Obama mention the little issue of oil, either.

Nor do Tom Hayden or Obama mention the issue of U.S. regional domination in the Middle East --- apparently Hayden's new New Left philosophy omits any consideration that there is such a thing as U.S. imperialism.

Is there anyone except Tom Hayden and Barack Obama who actually believe oil and regional domination were not the primary reasons for the invasion of Iraq to begin with?

What will be the consequences should the U.S. peace movement buy into Hayden's and Obama's "peace" in Iraq?

The military-financial-industrial complex will think we are a bunch of chumps who have bought into Obama's new "politics of pragmatism;" nothing more than the same old ideology of U.S. imperialism packaged a little differently by Madison Avenue adding a Hollywood twist to keep the Wall Street bankers and coupon clippers rolling in the dough.

One prominent leader of the left with newly remodeled, million dollar glass offices towering over the city of New York who went all out to support Barack Obama has already said "we can disagree with President Obama without being disagreeable."

Yes, and Tom Hayden shows how this is done... in the days of the "old" left when the people's movements had some real clout capable of winning the New Deal, neither the leaders of the "People's Front" nor the "People's Lobby" ever capitulated to the capitalist sooth-Sayers or their Wall Street masters... sell-out and capitulation seem to go hand-in-hand with the new New Left... does anyone really want any part of Obama's "new" New Deal?

Perhaps we are better off struggling to defend and protect, building on and expanding the real New Deal.

In fact, the builders of the "People's Front" who were the real architects of the New Deal reforms did a pretty good job of building the "People's Lobby" which was a key component, along with the Communist Party USA, of the "People's Front;" these pioneers built a very firm progressive foundation upon which we can build our struggles for peace, social & economic justice--- which includes the struggle against U.S. imperialism, and not the kind of capitulation to U.S. imperialism that Tom "poster boy for Israel" Hayden envisions as "a victory for the peace movement."

I have news for Tom Hayden: The war in Iraq is part and parcel of "the long wars ahead;" the Middle East today can only be described as sitting upon a keg of powder getting ready to blow... it doesn't take a blaster from the Iron Range to understand the consequences.

The day the Israeli killing machine launched its murderous pogrom on the Palestinian people forced to live like dogs in Gaza Strip the fuse was lit... this fuse is not as long as the short, bumpy, tortuous road to perdition we are already on.

Fortunately, there are very few people other than a bunch of muddle-headed middle class intellectuals who write books and articles from million dollar glass offices who join Tom Hayden in proclaiming Barack Obama to be "the first peace president;" a very weird moniker for an imperialist warmonger employed by the Wall Street merchants of death and destruction who would sit in silence and watch as the Israeli butchers did their dirty deeds in Gaza Strip, and then turn around and lie about calling removing part of the troops in Iraq to maintain U.S. military bases built for something other than housing for troops to rest and relax on playing a little golf and shooting pool, while taking a break from fighting wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan... Obama calls this making good on his campaign pledge of "ending the war in Iraq?"

How much was Tom Hayden paid to write this? Who paid him?

Sellout and betrayal don't even begin to describe this article: "A Victory for the Peace Movement."

Hayden concludes his article:

"This is a clear victory for those in the peace movement who supported Obama as the first anti-war candidate with a chance to become president."

Yes, this probably is a "clear victory for those in the peace movement who supported Obama as the first anti-war candidate with a chance to become president;" unfortunately, Obama was no peace candidate and Obama is no anti-war President... sadder still, for the thousands of people who will continue to suffer and die in the war in Iraq and the associated imperialist wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this is no victory for peace.

This group Tom Hayden helped to found is definitely for Obama just as definitely, they are not Progressives. Like Obama, they are progressive impostors.

Obama's "peace in Iraq" is as phony as his "stimulus package" these imperialist wars for oil and regional domination torpedoed before ever approved by Congress... both designed to line the pockets of the Wall Street crowd.

That the group "Progressives for Obama" has refused to support the "Minnesota People's Bailout" as a model for the Nation for the way out of this economic mess and as the way out of these imperialist wars by transferring money from military spending to meeting human needs says it all.

Yours in the struggle for peace and justice,

Alan L. Maki

Founder, Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice

A Victory for the
Peace Movement

Now Prepare for
the Long Wars Ahead

By Tom Hayden
Progressives for Obama

After years of frustrating ambiguity, President Obama has clearly committed to a complete withdrawal of all US troops in less than three years.

Speaking to the Marines in North Carolina, Obama finally clarified that the proposed “residual force” of 50,000 or more will be a “transitional” one, departing one year after combat operations end on August 31, 2010. That position is consistent with the terms negotiated by the Iraqi government in the final days of the Bush Administration, in what the Iraqi side notably called the “withdrawal agreement.”

Even Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were left confused by the initial announcement, questioning whether leaving 50,000 residual troops was really a withdrawal. Obama cleared that up with Friday’s speech.

In perspective, the Iraq war was wrong and illegitimate every day it was fought, and should have ended sooner. Some wanted “out now”, some wanted twelve months, some eighteen. The generals in Iraq may still want to stay indefinitely.

But a phased withdrawal is tolerable – and there’s not much a movement can do about it - if combat casualties steadily decline and all troops are heading for the exit. By agreeing to the Iraqi pact with Bush, Obama found a basis for rapidly removing the transitional troops as well. Before Friday, he remained deliberately unclear on the subject, leaving the spectre of a long counterinsurgency war like those in Central America.

This is a clear victory for those in the peace movement who supported Obama as the first anti-war candidate with a chance to become president.

The media will not acknowledge the role of the peace movement, nor will some on the Left. It will have to be explained as part of the legacy of our times. It will have to be defended against the hawks, because things can go wrong in Iraq in a hurry.

And it’s a lesson that should fortify many as they take on the long wars ahead.