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...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign the petition on-line here:


Petition endorsed by the following organizations: 

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

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sudbury, Ontario nickel miners prepare for long cold winter; picket lines hold strong at Vale Inco as struggle goes international

Support Local 6500

An Open Letter from USW:

United Steelworkers Local 6500:

Miners Dig In: Steelworkers Ready Nickel Strike for Long Canadian Winter

With the Canadian winter already set in and four long months already on picket lines, 3,000 striking members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 6500 in Sudbury, Ontario, remain upbeat. Their fight to retain living standards and working conditions opposite an interloping landlord, Vale of Brazil, has turned into a test of wills between a profitable multinational and working-class Canadians.

This match-up pits Vale, intent on taking much more than just rich nickel reserves from Canadian soil, against miners and metalworkers, who together with their families see now experience unique fusion through their union in protecting their livelihoods.

Strikers here, as well as 500 other striking steelworkers at Port Colborne, Ontario, and Goose Bay and Voiseys Bay, Labrador, know now their walkouts will last through the long Canadian winter. They know by Vale’s reticence to return to bargaining, by the firm’s secretive and intimidating posture to resume production, and by the fact that global nickel prices have not risen – following the collapse – to levels that will further maximize Vale’s profits.

So they’ve prepared for a long winter without pay checks. While teams of strikers fan out across the world to spread a message of corporate greed, Local 6500 President John Fera remains in Sudbury and tends to what is necessary – nurturing unity and fraternity, and waging the fight against Vale on the local front, a relentless task considering company assaults on picket lines and in courtrooms.

“Everyone here knows what this fight is about,” Fera told the ICEM. “Every worker on strike is fully engaged and every family member knows what is at stake for this community. And that is a credit to the Steelworkers union.”

He then ticks off an ever-expanding list of local actions, activities, and self-help programmes that USW Local 6500 is engaged in through its newly-built union hall. Strikers receive C$200-a-week in strike benefits from the international union. That is supplemented by a big food bank, a special-needs fund, as well as social service professionals on duty – all operated out of a union hall that was rebuilt from a costly fire 14 months ago.

Local 6500 continues to launch activities on a weekly basis, including a “coats-for-kids” drive, in which donations from unions, organizations, and individuals will fund new winter wear. A recent “Family Day” on picket lines underscores what Fera speaks of. The union also will sponsor several Christmas events to forge even greater cohesion.

As testament to this unity is that not one striker has crossed picket lines to return to work since the strike began on 13 July.

While dozens of striking steelworkers have taken the strike to Vale worksites and Vale showcase events on four continents, hundreds other Sudbury activists have been just as active at home. They have protested at Vale offices in Toronto, at provincial offices, and against a national Tory government that has turned a deaf ear to the Investment Canada Act, a law that is meant to protect Canadian jobs and resources when non-Canadian enterprises take over.

Sudbury strikers have also taken the fight to Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement, a Conservative who at the outset of the strike said the Sudbury region would be a “valley of death” had it not been for Vale buying Canadian-based Inco in 2006.

Now, as a fading day’s light turns rapidly to another winter night, the only semblance of death is on picket lines with Vale’s black-suited security guards trying to prod strikers into violent acts for the sake of cameras and the courtroom. Since early October, the company has feigned start-up of production. But there has been no real output, only Vale’s false tricks to psychologically intimidate workers.

The company has manipulated unionised administrative and technical workers, who remain on the job with a working labour agreement, to begin training for production. Fera says maybe 50 out of 450 such workers might be doing Local 6500 work, adding that three of the six mines might have limited activity. Workers and non-union personnel are also active in a nickel refinery, but there is no activity inside the huge, 100,000-metric-tonne-per-year smelter.

“The company wants us to believe that one shipment has gone out from the Clarabelle refinery, but our sources in transportation say this is not true,” Fera said.
Meanwhile, trade union activity across the world continues. Last month, the International Metalworkers Federation (IMF) joined the campaign to press Vale for a fair collective agreement in Canada. Today, in Seoul, Korea, the ICEM and IMF facilitated two Canadian strikers in a public “head-shaving” protest in front of Vale offices in Seoul.

The protest today was also brought before Korea Zinc, a company whose subsidiary – Korea Nickel Corp. – is 25% owned by Vale. In a letter to CEO and Chairman Chang Keun Choi, USW President Leo Gerard, ICEM General Secretary Manfred Warda, and IMF General Secretary Jyrki Raina, said: We request “that you contact Vale and demand that they treat workers fairly around the globe, including by returning to the bargaining table in Canada and ceasing to use replacement workers.”

The letter requested that Korea Zinc “refrain from the purchase, receipt, or processing of nickel and nickel products produced in Canadian facilities where members of the USW are on strike.”

Thirty Korean activists turned out today for the manifestation outside of the office tower housing Vale, including all three ICEM Korean trade union affiliates, and eight of their officers.

The same team of Canadian strikers now in Korea – Nick Larochelle, Tim Kiley, along with the USW’s Doug Olthuis, and Brazilian CNM-CUT Metalworkers’ General Secretary Sergio Guerra – accompanied the ICEM and Indonesia Chemicals, Energy, Gas, and Mining affiliate, FSP-KEP, and its President D. Patombong Sjaiful, to Vale’s remote PT Indonesia Nickel Corp. at Soarako, Sulawesi. The delegation attempted to meet with miners there, themselves victimized by Vale’s corporate policies.

The unions produced a joint statement. It can be seen here.

In Brazil, a team of strikers from Canada, including those from both Ontario and Newfoundland/Labrador, were inside during a Vale investors meeting in Rio de Janeiro, raising questions related to the company’s social responsibilities. They also are meeting with politicians, civil society groups, and will address worker delegate assemblies of trade unions representing Vale miners and metalworkers, who are themselves considering ratification of tentative collective agreements with Vale in Brazil.

A week ago in the UK, a team of USW members joined top leaders of Unite the Union in a protest in front of Deutsche Bank in the City of London, while Vale was inside giving a report on its performance in global metals market.

In addition, LabourStart, the trade union activists’ portal to the global union movement, began an on-line protest against Vale two weeks ago. To lodge a protest with Vale in Brazil on its maltreatment of Canadian workers and there families, click here.

And back in Sudbury, all the latest strike activity by Local 6500, and Local 6200 in Port Colborne and Local 9508 in the Canadian maritime province, can be accessed by visiting the union’s excellent website, here.


Read the views of one of Sudbury's great working class leaders:  

Son of a Working Man by Jim Tester

also check out the book: Red Bait! by Al King 

For continued coverage of the Sudbury strike... check out 

The People's Voice 


(The following article is from the October 1-15, 2009, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St., Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

The Ontario Committee of the Communist Party of Canada, meeting in Toronto on Sept. 20, condemned the Vale corporation for its hostility to Canadian workers and labour laws, and the threat it poses to the Sudbury community with its decision to use scabs in a provocative and dangerous effort to break the strike.

  "We call on the Federal government to nationalize the Canadian operations of this multinational corporation without further delay, repealing the 2006 agreement which allowed Vale to purchase the Canadian owned Inco," said the Ontario Committee.

     "Vale's purchase of the mines and operations in Sudbury, Port Colborne and Voisey's Bay should not have been permitted in the first place, as the Sudbury mines are now wholly owned by foreign interests, at the expense of Canada's sovereignty.

     "Vale is a vicious multinational employer bent on cutting the wages, pensions, benefits and working conditions of workers employed in one of the most dangerous occupations in the world.   Their aim is to inflate bloated profits, and use the current downturn in nickel prices to undermine free collective bargaining and slash the living standards and quality of life of Inco workers.       

"Vale is demonstrating its sheer greed, and is in complete contravention of the rights of workers in Canada, and the public interest.

     "Federal and provincial governments must take immediate action to protect workers, instead of protecting the companies that are exploiting them, and the resources that properly belong to all the people of Canada.

     "The Communist Party stands in full support of the members of Local 6500 USWA in their just struggle to defend their livelihoods, their families, and their community. An injury to one is an injury to all!"

An interesting blog with some good thoughts and information about the struggle for justice in Sudbury:

My Cat May Be A Socialist

A Canadian political rant with a bias towards Organized Labour...


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trumka: Jobs Crisis—Fix It Now

Workers get more hot air... no action from union "leaders."

Consider who this is coming from... the very same "leaders" who helped Barack Obama and the Democrats kill single-payer universal health care.

Consider this in reading this AFL-CIO blog posting: Richard Trumka has not lifted his voice, even in a whimper, to insist that affirmative action goals and policies be adhered to and lived up to and enforced. Why didn't the leadership of the NAACP raise this important issue at this press conference knowing their members wanted this as one point in this program.

Previously these same "leaders" came together talking about how they were going to mobilize local communities to back an identical program; only to find them hiding out in their Washington offices sitting on the resources required to bring people into the kind of united, militant and massive struggles required to win as their high-paid staffs sit with their feet up on their desks playing computers games all day.

Take this press conference seriously and you are simply submitting to the working class getting stuck with the tab while Wall Street coupon clippers profit.

Richard Trumka and the AFL-CIO were no-shows when progressive Minnesota legislators initiated legislation aimed at saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant... again, this same bunch of labor-fakers who can't figure out if they are working class or middle class were no-shows when Minnesota State Senator David Tomassoni tried to introduce "The Minnesota People's Bailout" that could be used as a model for legislation on a national level incorporating this wholly inadequate "Five Point Program" even though Senator Tomassoni pointed out that the only way out of this economic crisis is to "work our way out" by putting people back to work at real living wages.

I also point out that in spite of all of Richard Trumka's talk against racism when it came to his support for this Wall Street con artist and health insurance salesman--- Barack Obama; Trumka's booming voice has been silent--- as has the voice of Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson--- concerning the institutionalized racism in hiring all across Minnesota and the rest of this country which is directly responsible for the massive unemployment and its associated poverty in communities of people of color as they have refused to join the struggle of local Native American Indian working class community activists in Bemidji, Minnesota who are challenging this institutionalized racism in hiring in the construction of the Bemidji Regional Event Center while state and federal funding and the use of "stimulus funds" are the primary funding sources.

Please check out my further comments at the end of this blog which I posted on another web site in response to this press conference... The AFL-CIO blog only allows "select" comments to be posted.

The two-million casino workers across this country employed in the Indian Gaming Industry forced to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws know full well that union "leaders" like Richard Trumka are more interested in electing Democrats than in solving the problems of working people. 

What is most interesting is that while the AFL-CIO ignores calls for help in fighting for full implementation of affirmative action hiring policies and goals; these same AFL-CIO union leaders work hand-in-hand with the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association raising funds for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party... in Bemidji, Minnesota, in the Beltrami County DFL, AFL-CIO union leaders  work hand-in-hand with John McCarthy the Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association--- not only to raise funds for a racist State Senator Mary Olson, but are working in cahoots trying to belittle the efforts for enforcement of affirmative action policies, goals and guidelines when it comes to constructing and staffing the Bemidji Regional Event Center as well as working in league with Enbridge to subvert affirmative action in hiring in building the massive pipeline from the Tar Sands of Alberta to the Great Lakes Region.

Not once has Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson so much as mentioned the fact that there is not one single Native American Indian sitting in the Minnesota State Legislature in spite of a huge Native American Indian population in Minnesota which causes any thinking person to wonder if the AFL-CIO is he least bit concerned about racism--- or, if the "concern" voiced by Trumka during the Election was not merely a gimmick used to bully working people into supporting Barack Obama who is not now, and never has been, a friend of working men and women in this country as he carries out Wall Street's anti-labor agenda... not only here in this country but across the globe.

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

Trumka: Jobs Crisis—Fix It Now

by Seth Michaels, Nov 17, 2009

Today at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other leaders joined together to call for urgent action to create jobs and rebuild the economy.

In a live webcast panel discussion, the consensus was clear: Without quick action, an entire generation could be mired in economic turmoil. The nation can, and must, put people back to work—while addressing critical needs for the future of our communities.

The scale of the jobs crisis is obvious: Since the beginning of the recession, more than 8 million jobs have been lost. The official unemployment rate is at 10.2 percent, with more than 26 million unemployed or underemployed. These figures are even more severe among African American and Latino communities. Young people are at risk of permanently stunted opportunity, and the jobs crisis is rebounding throughout the country with increased hunger and poverty, massive numbers of home foreclosures and diminished access to health care.

In addition to Trumka, participants in today’s discussion included NAACP President Benjamin Jealous; National Council of La Raza (NCLR) President Janet Murguia; Leadership Conference on Civil Rights President (LCCR) Wade Henderson; and Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change. EPI President Larry Mishel moderated the conversation, which Jealous called the beginning of a national human rights movement for economic opportunity.

Trumka laid out five critical points that must underlie a new jobs agenda:

1.Extend the lifeline for jobless workers.
2.Rebuild America’s schools, roads and energy systems.
3.Increase aid to state and local governments to maintain vital services.
4.Fund jobs in our communities.
5.Put TARP funds to work for Main Street.
Trumka said that the coalition will push the White House and Congress to act on these recommendations immediately, starting at President Barack Obama’s Dec. 3 Jobs Summit.

We can not afford to do nothing, Trumka said, and we can’t afford to go back to an economy built on stagnant wages, inequality and consumer debt. We need to create good jobs that support families and communities.

Henderson said the nation’s jobs crisis requires urgent attention—because it’s not just an economic imperative to put people to work, it’s a moral responsibility:

Make no mistake, for us this is the civil rights issue of the moment. Unless we resolve the national job crisis, it will make it hard to address all of our other priorities.

Murguia added that we need specific programs to make sure all communities, especially those that have been disadvantaged, get the opportunities, training and assistance they need.

There are people who need work in our communities and there is work to be done rebuilding the country, Bhargava said. By investing now, we can make real, needed improvements and we can give people the jobs they need. But to do that, Bhargava said, we need to break through the “shell of complacency” around too many legislators in Washington. We need to organize communities around an economic agenda that really helps them.

All of the leaders present affirmed their commitment to building grassroots pressure on Congress to act now on job creation. Families across the country know we need solutions that are at the scale of the serious problems we’re facing and, Trumka said, they will be looking to see whether lawmakers are listening to them or just acting on behalf of Wall Street. Trumka criticized the fact that small minorities in the Senate can hold America hostage by blocking much-needed change and promised that union members and Working America members would fight hard against elected officials who are obstructing progress.

The way things are is not the way they have to be, Trumka said. We need action now to create jobs, and we have the resources to do it.

My response:

•Sorry for the previous lengthy post.

I could have just said:

A lot of tough talk; no action.

Working people can expect to get from Wall Street's Barack Obama and these other Dumb Donkeys what the sparrows leave behind.

Posted by Alan Maki, 18/11/2009

•Maybe this story just missed a few things; but, was it discussed that:

Real living wages need to come along with the jobs?

Affirmative action policies and goals needed to be implemented, monitored and enforced for all jobs created?

Also missing is any mention of the need to cut the military budget and reorder the priorities of this country away from war and military spending towards meeting the needs of the people, and the need to tax the rich to begin the raggedy, complex and controversial process of redistributing the wealth created by workers but horded by capital in order to pay for all of this.

Also not mentioned is the need for single-payer universal health care since at present Obama and the Democrats are only working on insuring the profitability of health insurance companies and the main issue of access to quality health care by the majority of Americans who can not afford their monthly mortgage payments let alone with-stand another big insurance premium--- what are people supposed to do; pay for health insurance premiums on their credit cards?

Another thing not mentioned is the need for a moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions and the need to get all these people who have been swindled by mortgage companies and evicted back into homes and properly and adequately compensated for the injustices and indignities they have been subjected to with the culprits thrown behind bars where they belong.

This "five point program" being put forward here does not even begin--- if implemented--- to deliver on the change people were anticipating since Obama and his Administration in catering to Wall Streets every beck and call has caused this capitalist economic crisis to worsen creating havoc with the lives of most working people.

We really need to begin to consider more broad solutions that will benefit the entire working class...

For starters, working people require a real living minimum wage that is legislatively tied to actual cost-of-living factors and nothing less than single-payer universal health care with a vastly expanded public health care sector where very basic health care needs are met without charge on a universal basis.

I notice that Trumka and the others involved in this press conference failed to point out that the only expanding industries in this country are Goodwill Industries where John Sweeney's book, "America Needs A Raise" can be purchased for spare change.

In fact, as "modest" as this Five Point Program is and as lacking as it is; no resources on a scale required have been designated for seeing this project through to fulfillment by activating and organizing the kind of grassroots and rank-and-file movements required to bring the kind of pressure to bear on this corporate bribed Congress of Democrats and Republicans to see things through to implementation.

This is just one more glitzy press conference intended to make people think that they will be called upon to act when the only thing these "leaders" really intend is to convince voters to go to the polls and vote these Dumb Donkeys into office again in 2010 without any kind of accountability.

In fact, we must remember that it has been these very same cast of characters who helped Obama and the Democrats kill off single-payer universal health care in spite of all of their memberships continuing to support it.

Something to think about.

Posted by Alan Maki, 18/11/2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

While Obama lectures the Chinese about Internet "censorship"...

My Internet Service Provider--- CenturyTel/CenturyLink--- who charges me a ridiculously high fee has admittedly bowed to the FBI censoring me by blocking my communications promoting peace and nuclear disarmament.

Here is the proof:

From: System Administrator

Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 9:18 PM

To: Alan L. Maki

Subject: Undeliverable: You might want to add your name to this petition to end the nuclear arms race

Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients.

Subject: FW: You might want to add your name to this petition to end the nuclear arms race
Sent: 11/17/2009 9:18 PM

The following recipient(s) could not be reached:

'XXXXXXXXX' on 11/17/2009 9:18 PM
450 4.0.0 ... Your IP address has been restricted due to improper content of e-mails as ordered by the United States Department of Justice and Homeland Security..

So much for the great democracy of "free enterprise" and the world's greatest bastion of democracy... more hypocrisy from the great health insurance salesman claiming to be the President of the United States when all he is, is a mouthpiece for his Wall Street backers.

If you are looking for a telephone company or Internet Service Provider (ISP) I would urge and encourage you to look elsewhere beyond CenturyTel/CenturyLink.

CenturyTel/CenturyLink has now acknowledged working hand in hand with Homeland Security, the FBI and the United States Department of Justice to harass me for the political content of the materials I send out that is protected speech under the United States Bill of Rights.

It is the epitome of arrogance and hypocrisy for Barack Obama to lecture the Chinese government about human rights and democracy when one of his largest campaign contributors is a CEO with CenturyTel/CenturyLink.

The CenturyTel/CenturyLink Vice-president of Operations personally approved singling my e-mail account out for harassment--- admittedly at the request of the FBI and Homeland Security who were instigated by supporters of Barack Obama.

The CenturyTel/CenturyLink operations where all of these dirty deeds take place is located in the KKK controlled town of San Marcos, Texas where the company orchestrates a vicious union busting campaign against its employees being paid less than $8.00 an hour while they charge hundreds of thousands of customers over $80.00 a month to have our telephones tapped, our e-mails monitored and our service shut down when it is deemed the improper political messages are being sent out--- which means anything critical of Wall Street and Barack Obama.

When I politely insisted that my e-mail service be restored, Supervisor Thomas (Employee Identification # 21326) said, "Listen bud; when the FBI tells us to shut down an e-mail account we do what the United States government tells us to do not what you want."

Several days ago I began having "problems" with my e-mail service and CenturyTel/CenturyLink customer service and technical service insisted the problem was in my computer equipment. I spent days and dozens of hours trying to troubleshoot the problem only to find there was no problem with my equipment and that this was actually a problem of government and corporation working together to stymie and thwart my democratic rights.

CenturyTel and CenturyLink recently joined operations to combine into an even larger corporation to steal from the people.

Alan L. Maki

The American people "get it"... Obama and the Democrats don't: Tax the hell out of the rich to pay for health care reform!

The majority of the American people understand, according to this Associated Press POLL: Tax the rich to pay for health bill, that the wealth they have created, they have not been able to share in by way of benefiting from socially necessary and universal social programs like health care--- and this has got to change.

This is called redistributing the wealth through progressive taxation.

I find it interesting that the worthless, high-paid union leaders who have been taking the dues of the members and living high-on-the-hog as part of a very well-heeled middle class are crying about the intent to tax health care benefits of their members but in the end will do nothing as Congress and Obama do just that.

Their talk-tough, scream bloody murder, give-in, do-nothing, non-struggle approach to "defending" the gains made through difficult struggles spanning several decades is all being taken away and eroded incrementally by the very Democratic politicians they used the dues and funds contributed by their members to elect--- a bunch of Dumb Donkeys who suck up to Wall Street lobbyists offering bribes.

In the very same way they have sold out their dues-paying members--- John Sweeney, Richard Trumka, Leo Gerard, Ron Gettelfinger and their underlings like David Foster, Bob King, Bruce Bostick, Ray Waldron, Shar Knudson and Mark Froemke--- they have sold out the entire working class in helping Barack Obama and the Democrats kill off single-payer universal health care, which, not coincidentally, has the same majority support as TAXING THE HELL OUT OF THE RICH.

And, again, not coincidentally, the same majority support is for ending---immediately--- these dirty imperialist wars for Wall Street's oil and Wall Street's regional domination and control over the Middle East.

And, once again, not coincidentally, the very same majority of the American people want an end to the nuclear arms race and they insist on a policy of "beating swords into plowshares" meaning that they want the military budget--- not incrementally "reduced" (which Obama calls an incrementally increased military budget)--- they insist in an overwhelming majority on the reordering of this country's priorities away from military spending towards meeting the needs of the people.

These pollsters were shocked at the results of their last honest poll asking people what they thought about capitalism and socialism; now they have become too timid as a result of those answers so they are not asking the American people the real ^4 million dollar question:

Are you for vastly expanding socialized health care in the United States so that everyone will have the kind of health care system offered by the popular socialized health care programs like VA, the Indian Health Service and the National Public Health Service and many of the small and limited county health care services and very limited but successful and popular government funded hospitals and nursing home care?

One has to wonder what all these so-called "progressives" supporting Obama are thinking when they follow behind these union "leaders" who continue to provide their services to the Democrats and their Wall Street partners by refusing to free up resources needed to launch a massive "people's lobby" pushing a real progressive, working class agenda in this country in opposition to Wall Street's thoroughly reactionary agenda of making the working class pay through the nose for the problems created by the rich.

The time has come to launch the building of a "people's lobby" by starting out holding Barack Obama and the Democrats accountable.

Accountability is the foundation upon which democracies are built.

If working class voters give up their right to demand accountability from those they cast their votes for, democracy becomes a sham and a farce.

Accountability can only be attained by working people insisting they have a right to get something in return for their votes.

What working class Americans want is:

Single-payer universal health care based upon Canadian-style health care COMBINED with a vastly expanded public health care that can be explained as---

No-fees/no-premiums, comprehensive, all-inclusive, universal health care; publicly financed, publicly administered and mostly publicly delivered.

Which means:

Tax the hell out of the rich to pay for progressive health care reform and tell the profit gouging doctors and the American Medical Association to go to hell because we can replace them easier than Ronald Reagan replaced the air-traffic controllers when they went out on strike.

What is it that Obama and these Dumb Donkeys don't understand about the messages coming from these polls?

Obama and these Dumb Donkeys will get the message real quick if we organize by way of a "people's lobby" and tell them we want something in return for our votes:

No peace; no votes.

No real health care reform; no votes.

Tax the rich to do what needs to be done; or no votes.

The time has come for the American people to organize to back up their votes.

Minnesota's socialist United States Senator who went on to become Minnesota's socialist Governor--- Elmer Benson--- had it right when he said to Minnesotans: "I can't do anything without your help and support. These rich son-of-a-bitches still control our State Senate; the only way you are going to get what you elected me to do is 'join my Minnesota People's Lobby and pack the state capitol.'"

Workers and Farmers did what Elmer Benson asked them to do to back up their votes for the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party.

The "Minnesota People's Lobby" worked in 1937 and it it will work if organized across the United States today.

I don't think anyone doubts that we need a powerful "People's Lobby" to counter the corporate lobbyists who are bribing the politicians today when it comes to health care reform.

No peace; no votes.

No real health care reform; no votes.

Tax the rich to do what needs to be done; or no votes.

The time has come for the American people to organize to back up their votes.

The American people "get it"... Obama and the Democrats don't: Tax the hell out of the rich!

The time has come to organ!ze to make these Dumb Donkeys understand what job it is they have to do--- and to understand that they work for us, not the other way around... we need to serve notice on these Dumb Donkeys that we are not satisfied with what the sparrows leave behind.

It's all about "accountability." Getting something in return for our votes.


No peace; no vote.

No health care; no vote.

We are all fed up with politicians telling us there is never any money for the things we need like health care, education, housing, jobs at real living wages.

Tax the rich; slash the military budget and put an end to these senseless wars.

Democracy: use it or loose it.

Wall Street is our enemy.

We don't want the Wall Street coupon clippers to continue to profit from health care the way they profit from war.

Look around you in your community and in the mines, mills and factories where you work--- are you able to find the kind of leaders capable of leading the class struggle fighting for what is right and just? If not; it is up to you to become that leader.

We don't need "Tea Parties;" what we need is a citizens' initiative: "The People's Lobby."

Something to think about around the dinner table this evening as you ponder "accountability".

Alan L. Maki

AP POLL: Tax the rich to pay for health bill

Nov 17, 2009


WASHINGTON (AP) - When it comes to paying for a health care overhaul, Americans see just one way to go: Tax the rich.

That finding from a new Associated Press poll will be welcome news for House Democrats, who proposed doing just that in their sweeping remake of the U.S. medical system, which passed earlier this month and would extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

The poll found participants sour on other ways of paying for the health overhaul that is being considered in Congress, including taxing insurers on high-value coverage packages derided by President Barack Obama and Democrats as "Cadillac plans."

That approach is being weighed in the Senate. It is one of the few proposals in any congressional legislation that analysts say would help reduce the nation's health expenditures, but it has come under fire from organized labor and has little support in the House.

Lawmakers also are looking at levying new taxes on insurance companies, drug companies and medical device makers. But the only approach that got majority support in the AP poll was a tax on upper-income Americans.

The House bill would impose a 5.4 percent income tax surcharge on individuals making more than $500,000 a year and households making more than $1 million.

The poll tested views on an even more punitive taxation scheme that was under consideration earlier, when the tax would have hit people making more than $250,000 a year. Even at that level the poll showed majority support, with 57 percent in favor and 36 percent opposed.

"You know, I mean, why not? If they have that much money, it should be taxed," said Mary Pat Rondthaler, 60, of Menlo Park, Calif. "It isn't the same way that the guy making $21,000 is."

Not everyone agreed.

"They earn their money. And they shouldn't have to pay for somebody else. It doesn't seem fair," said Emerson Wilkins, 62, of Powder Springs, Ga.

The latest survey was conducted by Stanford University with the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Overall, the poll found the public split on Congress' health care plans. In response to some questions, participants said the current system needed to be changed, but they also voiced concerns about the potential impact on their own pocketbooks, preferring to push any new costs onto wealthier Americans.

For example, 77 percent said the cost of health care in the United States was higher than it should be, and 74 percent favored the broad goal of reducing the amount of money paid by patients and their insurers. But 49 percent said any changes made by the government probably would cause them to pay more for health care. Thirty-two percent said it wouldn't change what they pay, and just 12 percent said they would end up paying less.

With lawmakers searching for new revenue sources to pay for their overhaul legislation, upper-income taxes may be increasingly gaining favor.

Legislation passed by Senate committees did not go that route, but now Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has a free hand in merging two committee-passed bills, is considering raising the payroll tax that goes to Medicare on income above $250,000 a year, officials told The Associated Press last week. Current law sets the tax at 1.45 percent of income, an amount matched by employers.

The Senate Finance Committee bill would tax health insurance plans costing more than $8,000 annually for individuals and $21,000 for families, although those numbers could rise. Union members are lined up against that approach because they fear their benefits could be hurt, and the public doesn't like it either, the AP poll found. Fifty-six percent were opposed and only 29 percent in favor.

Other payment methods being contemplated on Capitol Hill also met with disapproval. Participants in the poll didn't support new taxes on medical device makers, drug companies or even insurers - even though they said in response to different questions that drug companies and insurance companies made too much money.

Forty-eight percent in the poll were opposed to new taxes on insurance companies, and 42 percent were in support. Fifty-one percent opposed raising taxes on drug and device makers, while 41 percent supported that approach.

But 72 percent of people polled said insurance companies made too much profit, compared with 23 percent who said they made about the right amount of profit. And 74 percent said drug companies made too much profit, versus 21 percent who said they made about the right amount of profit.

People who told pollsters they generally supported Congress' health care overhaul plan were also more receptive to new taxes to pay for it. Taxing health care companies, drug companies and equipment manufacturers eked out majority support from that group.

The payment approach that met with least approval by far in the poll was borrowing the money and increasing the federal debt, something Obama has repeatedly vowed not to do. Just 6 percent of people polled said they could support that approach, while 88 percent opposed it.

The poll was based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,502 adults from Oct. 29 to Nov. 8. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The interviews were conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media. Stanford University's participation was made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which conducts research on all facets of the health care system.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama to China: Uncensored society is healthy

There is no end to Barack Obama's hypocrisy.

Look at the headlines:

Obama: Secret Economic Report - You think the recession is over? What Obama is hiding

Obama is hiding economic data and facts from the American people and the rest of the world and he is lecturing the Chinese about "uncensored society" and open societies and how he detests censorship!

This article says:

President Barack Obama sat down with the Chinese leader Monday night, hours after he pointedly nudged his host country to stop censoring the Internet access, offering an animated defense of the tool that helped him win the White House - and suggested Beijing need not fear a little criticism.

We see what happens when Obama gets a little criticism... there is no end to American arrogance and hypocrisy.

Censorship and stifling democratic discussion, dialog and debate is one of the most salient and prominent features and a hallmark of what passes for "American democracy."

Democracy in the United States is for those who have the money to buy it... maybe Barack Obama has forgotten how much his Wall Street backers and Madison Avenue handlers spent electing a flim-flam man and insurance salesman to the White House.

Not to mention corporate bosses who don't take criticism very well from workers.

Barack Obama sticks his nose in the air when his handlers tell him not to look at demonstrators protesting the Israeli carnage in Gaza Strip and then he has the unmitigated gall to lecture the Chinese about being "open."

Barack Obama campaigned behind a call for change knowing he was going to do exactly the opposite of what his words led people to believe the change would be and then this worthless hypocrite goes lecture the Chinese about how they should run their country.

The Chinese should have given Obama the boot just like Obama did to his own minister who told a truth that was too much for Obama to take.

Barack Obama should spend a couple weeks going over the 40,000 page "red squad" file the FBI maintains on me because I write things like this and then he would have a better idea what kind of "personal freedoms" we have right here in this country after he looks at the records from taps on my telephones, intercepting my mail and e-mail and harassing me, my family and friends to no end simply because I speak my mind against racism, bigotry and injustices working people are subjected to routinely as a way this entire rotten and corrupt government functions on a daily basis as government agencies try to destroy dissent even while Obama hypocritically lectures the Chinese.

Judging from what is being written about Barack Obama during his China trip he isn't carrying with him photo albums of the rioting police at the Democratic or Republican Party conventions where the intent of the police was to prevent those who are upset with wars, racism and poverty of U.S, imperialism from being heard.

I can only assume Barack Obama isn't telling Chinese leaders how his "Organizers for America" demand as a price for omission to attending Barack Obama's road shows that people carrying "dangerous" signs advocating single-payer universal health care have to leave their signs at the door and how others wearing t-shirts calling for an end to the Israeli carnage of Palestinians are forced to turn their t-shirts inside out.

Alan L. Maki

Obama to China: Uncensored society is healthy


Nov 16


BEIJING (AP) - President Barack Obama sat down with the Chinese leader Monday night, hours after he pointedly nudged his host country to stop censoring the Internet access, offering an animated defense of the tool that helped him win the White House - and suggested Beijing need not fear a little criticism.

The president's message during a town hall-style meeting with university students in Shanghai, China's commercial hub, focused on one of the trickiest issues separating China's communist government and the United States - human rights.

In a delicately balanced message, Obama couched his admonitions with words calling for cooperation, heavy with praise and American humility.

"I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable," Obama told students during his first-ever trip to China. "They can begin to think for themselves."

The first-term U.S. president and his delegation later arrived at the Forbidden City for Obama's third meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, where trade and economic issues were expected to dominate. The two leaders then sat down for what was expected to be a lavish dinner behind the walls surrounding the ancient city that was once home to Chinese emperors. They were scheduled to meet again Tuesday.

Obama's message, aside from his proddings on human rights, was clear: few global challenges can be solved unless the world's only superpower and its rising competitor work together. He and his advisers have insisted in virtually all public utterances since he arrived in Japan on Friday: "We do not seek to contain China's rise."

During Obama's opening statement to university students in Shanghai, he spoke bluntly about the benefits of individual freedoms in a country known for limiting them.

"We do not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation," Obama said. Then he added that freedom of expression and worship, unfettered access to information and unrestricted political participation are not principles held by the United States; instead, he called them "universal rights."

The line offered echoes of Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, who often talked of the "universality of freedom." Obama talked at length about the Internet, which he said helped him win the presidency because it allowed for the mobilization of young people like those in his audience in Shanghai.

"I'm a big supporter of non-censorship," Obama said. "I recognize that different countries have different traditions. I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have free Internet - or unrestricted Internet access is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged."

Given where Obama was speaking, such a comment carried strong implications. And he appeared to be talking directly to China's leaders when he said that he believes free discussion, including criticism that he sometimes finds annoying, makes him "a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that I don't want to hear."

China has more than 250 million Internet users and employs some of the world's tightest controls over what they see. The country is often criticized for having the so-called "Great Firewall of China," which refers to technology designed to prevent unwanted traffic from entering or leaving a network.

Obama's town hall was not broadcast live across China on television. It was shown on local Shanghai TV and streamed online on two big national Internet portals, but the quality was choppy and hard to hear.

Obama is in the midst of a weeklong Asia trip. He came with a vast agenda of security, economic and environmental concerns, although always looming was how he would deal with human rights while in China.

His China visit features the only sightseeing of his journey. He will visit the Forbidden City, home of former emperors in Beijing, and the centuries-old Great Wall outside of the city. Aides have learned that finding some tourist time calms and energize their boss amid the grueling schedule of an international trip.

U.S. ambassador Jon Huntsman called Obama's event the first ever town-hall meeting held by a U.S. president in China. Yet former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also spoke to students and took questions from them during stops in China.

China is a huge and lucrative market for American goods and services, and yet it has a giant trade surplus with the U.S. that, like a raft of other economic issues, is a bone of contention between the two governments. The two militaries have increased their contacts, but clashes still happen and the United States remains worried about a dramatic buildup in what is already the largest standing army in the world.

Amid all that, Obama has adopted a pragmatic approach that stresses the positive, sometimes earning him criticism for being too soft on Beijing - particularly in the area of human rights abuses and what the United States regards as an undervalued Chinese currency that disadvantages U.S. products.

The two nations are working together more than ever on battling global warming, but they still differ deeply over hard targets for reductions in the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause it. China has supported sterner sanctions to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons program, but it still balks at getting more aggressive about reining in Iran's uranium enrichment.

Obama recognizes that a rising China, as the world's third-largest economy - on its way to becoming the second - and the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, has shifted the dynamic more toward one of equals. For instance, Chinese questions about how Washington spending policies will affect the already soaring U.S. deficit and the safety of Chinese investments now must be answered by Washington.

The White House hoped Monday's town hall meeting with Chinese university students would allow Obama to telegraph U.S. values - through its successes and failures - to the widest Chinese audience possible.

But those hopes had their limits in communist-ruled China.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Subject: A response to Tim Carpenter and PDA: Next Steps Following our Week from Hell

Subject: A response to Tim Carpenter and PDA: Next Steps Following our Week from Hell

No doubt this position taken by Tim Carpenter (see letter--- Next Steps Following our Week from Hell at very bottom) is going to be that of all those supporting Barack Obama…

Tim Carpenter states, in this letter to me, one of the biggest myths, fallacies and hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people for so long… this very serious delusion that:

“We're building a movement here, and we don't just discard leaders within the movement because they were unable to force our issue through. We force out the opposition, the Rahm Emanuels, Joe Liebermans and Max Baucuses of the world, and replace them with progressive candidates. Once we have a Democratic progressive majority, then we can discuss firing the leaders who fail to represent our values, at the ballot box.”

Question: Is Barack Obama a “leader within the movement?” Leaders have names; let’s have the names of these “leaders” in Congress.

“Once we have a Democratic progressive majority, then we can discuss firing the leaders who fail to represent our values, at the ballot box.”

This is not just about “values.” For crying out loud; we are talking about solving very urgent problems people are experiencing from not having access to health care to people dying in wars and people being forced to live in poverty and all that entails. We are talking about institutionalized racism and the failure of the Obama Administration to enforce affirmative action in hiring.

Progressive politics at its very core is about the politics and economics of livelihood… working class politics. About solving the problems working people are experiencing in the day-to-day struggles for survival. Our “values” are doing things that solve these problems not protecting those who are making problems worse or do nothing. This question of progressive “values” is a question of the most fundamental and basic questions of ethics and morality in politics which requires accountability.

Do I detect that Tim Carpenter is responding to my suggestion that we withhold our votes to coerce “accountability” from these Democrats?

In fact, it is not possible to ever build a Democratic majority that is “progressive” in the United States House or Senate--- a progressive Democrat here and there, yes; but, no progressive Democratic majority like Tim Carpenter and PDA keep telling us about. This has never, ever been accomplished any place in the United States at a state level, let alone a national level; and, it has never even been accomplished at any local level unless one is willing to twist, distort and pervert the meaning of the word “progressive;” as apparently Tim Carpenter and others are willing to do.

There is a reason why workers in other countries have always had to go outside of the corporate controlled parties in order to bring forward a “progressive” agenda to win real progressive reforms.

Make no mistake, the term “progressive” in politics, today, implies:

Peace; peace is not “successful” occupation of another country.

A public health care system.

Pro-labor; a real living minimum wage.


Anti-racist, pro-affirmative action.



Even many labor parties dominated by right-social democrats are not “progressive” while most are a mixed bag containing a great deal of liberal and some progressive to left thinking in their programs and legislation when they successfully come to power... none have ever achieved political AND economic power.

Even under the very best circumstances, as in the 1930’s with huge mass movements demanding progressive reforms (and for sure during the struggles against the Vietnam War) there never has been a “progressive” majority of Democrats in power in any state; not at the national level, either.

In fact, not even Democratic liberals, never mind Democratic progressives, have ever dominated the United States House; for sure not the U.S. Senate.

In Minnesota, where socialists--- and make no mistake, socialists are progressives--- achieved political power through the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party, progressive Democrats had to join with the Farmer-Labor Party because progressives in the Minnesota Democratic Party were a very tiny miniscule minority among what was otherwise a thoroughly corrupt, anti-people political party--- which the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party has become today with its politicians completely ignoring the mandate of the people on just about every single issue. 72% of the State Convention delegates voted for a resolution for single-payer universal health care. With the exception of one member of Congress; all the rest rejected single-payer before the last delegate cleared the Convention floor.

In fact, one could make the case that Barack Obama has the best Congress in American history to work with right now; for sure as “good” as it will ever get with Democrats and Republicans in the majority.

In fact, if there wasn’t one single Republican left sitting in the U.S. House or Senate things would be no better for the working class; because the Democratic Party is controlled politicians bribed by big-business to look out for their interests--- want to try working with big-business? Good-luck.

Many labor-based political parties such as the New Democratic Party in Canada from time to time take wrong positions on issues; but, not because these politicians have been bribed by big-business to do so--- the wrong positions are a result of disagreements, primarily in the house of labor or views held by middle-class intellectuals who don’t think working people have the ability to think, reason and act upon problems and they need someone to do their thinking for them. These problems usually work their way out to the satisfaction of all concerned.

In fact, when I asked Minnesota’s U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone if he was a “liberal” or a “progressive;” he told me that he was “a liberal with some progressive ideas.”

And there hasn’t been as good of a liberal as Paul Wellstone in either the House or Senate for many years… one would have to look back at George McGovern, Claude Pepper, Vito Marcantonio, John Bernard and Elmer Benson… the problem is, Vito Marcantonio, John Bernard and Elmer Benson were not Democrats!

And George McGovern got his start in politics in the Progressive Party of Henry Wallace. And Claude “Red” Pepper; he got his start in politics right out of Earl Browder’s “People’s Front.”

In the Obama Administration there isn’t one single progressive--- not if we hold them up to Frances Perkins who was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor. The Obama Administration has a liberal or two, maybe three at the most--- but no progressives.

We need to note that Tim Carpenter does not EVER talk about electing “progressives” who are not Democrats; yet, where are those “progressive” Democrats? They don’t exist with only a few very notable exceptions. And Tim Carpenter would never consider supporting a non-Democrat “progressive” running against a Democrat.

Let’s be clear.

“Progressives” do not take bribes. Tim Carpenter considers John Conyers a “progressive.” He used to be a “progressive;” not any more since taking corporate bribes for votes and to make policy and to do favors. No progressive would have had Cindy Sheehan arrested for what she was doing: went to talk to Conyers about impeaching Bush and Cheney and she went and tried to talk to Conyers the way any good progressive community activist would do, she “brought along a crowd.” Cindy Sheehan got arrested; but, so far, neither the bribed nor those doing the bribery have been dragged off in hand-cuffs.

And, what kind of progressives allow a politician who has been bribed by corporations to lead their struggles for health care reform with the millions of dollars a day insurance company lobbyists are passing out to these politicians like suckers to children at a bank.

Why doesn’t Tim Carpenter provide us with a list of all of those he considers “progressives” in the House and Senate he is referring to? I have repeatedly asked him for a list; he ignores this request and goes on talking about “progressive Democrats.” Carpenter says that we need to “elect more progressive Democrats like our progressive friends in Congress.” If one has “progressive” friends in Congress, one should be able to name those friends. Friends usually have names.

In fact, most of the time when you find progressives running in nominating conventions and primary elections challenging these Democrats who are opposed to health care reform they are for war, too; these progressive challengers will tell you that they don’t even consider themselves Democrats!

Tim Carpenter and the Progressive Democrats of America along with most of the labor leaders at the national and state levels who are gung-ho backers of the Democrats have some pretty screwed up priorities if you ask me because they are more concerned about Democrats winning elections than what those Democrats do once they win.

When was the last time any of these labor leaders ever talked about flexing labor’s muscle to assure “accountability?” In other words, “we want something for our votes.”

Accountability is something so fundamental and basic to democracy we often forget to talk about it. Of course, there are a whole lot of very powerful people making big profits who are very comfortable that “accountability” hasn’t become part of the political and democratic process and the mainstream media owned by huge corporations isn’t going to broach the issue of accountability.

The fact that Tim Carpenter and this entire bunch who refer to themselves in one way or another as “progressives for Obama” prove they are opposed to accountability in politics by refusing to criticize and demand anything from Obama out of fear Obama will kick them aside--- Obama only needs them so long as they “go along to get along” with Wall Street and this entire corrupt and rotten system Wall Street has spun into this web where most of humanity is its prey; anything for a buck.

Tim Carpenter has people like me in mind when he says:

“While anger motivates many people to action, it is too easy to over-react when angry—we need to cool down and assess the situation. This is just the first act in a three-act play…”

In other words, if you read what Tim Carpenter is saying, he won’t engage in demanding accountability from even those elected public officials he less than dubiously claims are “progressive” by telling them:

No Peace; no votes.

No single-payer universal health care (Canadian style); no votes.

No jobs at living wages; no votes.

In a P.S. at the end of his letter, Tim Carpenter writes:

P.S. Read John Nichols latest article, Six Smart Progressive Complaints About House Health Bill.

There is a problem in reading what has been written here by John Nichols because it implies real progressives are willing to support Obama’s health insurance reform package “if it isn’t too bad.”

None of those quoted suggest “accountability:”

“No single-payer; no votes.” This is “accountability.”

All, including Kucinich, are prepared to “go along to get along” because to do otherwise implies that the solution requires working people to free themselves from this “two-party trap.”

Since when did progressives ever say they were for health insurance reform?

As I recall, progressives have always been for health care reform; perhaps Tim Carpenter will correct me if I am wrong.

And, the only health care reform anyone has ever proposed in great detail is single-payer universal health care, which they go on to describe, when asked, as being “like they have in Canada.”

There we have it, the Canada Health Act. Legislators need only get a copy of the Canada Health Act… delete the word “Canada” and replace it with “United States;” very simple… any dumb donkey should be able to figure it out.

Tim Carpenter wants us all to take a big, deep cleansing breath; or, as he puts it, “inhale and exhale.” In other words, don’t let your anger at this Democratic Party sellout on health care lead you to look for solutions beyond and outside of the Democratic Party…

… Carpenter thus spits upon democracy by refusing to demand “accountability.”

Now is the time to serve notice on Obama and these other Dumb Donkeys:

No peace; no votes.

No Canadian style health care reform; no votes.

Single-payer universal health care, yes; but, with a vastly expanded public health care system which includes:



All inclusive


Publicly administered

Publicly Funded

Publicly delivered

Tim, now take a big, deep breath--- inhale and exhale; this is what the American people want in the way of health care reform--- nothing less; the wealthiest country in the world should be able to provide the workers who created the wealth with a whole lot more.

Any country that can squander trillions of dollars on military spending and wars, finance a global network of more than 800 U.S. military bases dotting the globe protecting Wall Street’s interests and fund the Israeli killing machine sure as hell can afford to provide its own people with health care--- a basic and fundamental human right.

Tim, here is something for you and all the so-called “progressives” for Obama to think about. Take another big, deep breath and read what most Americans are thinking right now:

From the Boston Globe...

“It’s beyond belief to me,’’ said Robert Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. While Obama and Congress inherited “a big mess’’ from Bush, Haynes said, “there aren’t any excuses anymore. If you can’t deliver health care, and you can’t deliver jobs, and if you can’t deliver [card check legislation] , and you can’t figure out how to take care of the working people of this great city and country, you don’t deserve to stay in office.’’

Tim; are you still with us? Are you still breathing?

Next step… A-C-C-O-U-N-T-A-B-I-L-T-Y

The time is long over-due for grassroots and rank-and-file action to teach these dirty birds a lesson.

If Obama and the Democrats don’t know the meaning of this word, give them a dictionary; not your vote.

Yours in the struggle,

Alan L. Maki

P.S.- Tim Carpenter and all you “progressives” for Obama.

So far Barack Obama has brought us nine-trillion dollars of long-term debt bailing out Wall Street banks and manufacturers, expanded the wars and now pushes very expensive mandated health insurance premiums down our throats… got any idea what his “green economy/green jobs” legislation will bring?

Oh, and the home foreclosures and evictions continue.

“Expressions of frustration?” Come on Tim, enough with the excuses… this anger results because people did not get the “change” they voted for.

P.P.S.- As far as those who keep telling me that demanding “accountability” is some kind of a far out, radical demand I suggest they check out some American history… perhaps by reading Howard Fast’s, “Citizen Tom Paine.”

P.P.P.S- Either you can elect a majority of progressive Democrats to the U.S. House and Senate or you can’t. Why hasn’t it ever been accomplished?

Letter I received from Tim Carpenter and the Progressive Democrats of America…

Next Steps Following our Week from Hell

Dear Alan,

Rest assured, we certainly would have done things differently if it had been up to us; yet the events of last week are instructive, albeit incredibly disappointing. That said, Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Eric Massa need to hear from us for their brave stand against the corporatocracy when they voted against HR 3962 for the right reasons.

We’ve heard from many of you--particularly over the cancellation of the Weiner amendment vote. The PDA community is angry and rightfully so. Your national team is upset and angry, too. Most responses were an expression of frustration--some called upon us to excoriate members of the CPC or run candidates against them.

We will not always agree with what progressive members of Congress do, but we do not face the immense pressure exerted on them by a centrist White House beholden to special interests.

We're building a movement here, and we don't just discard leaders within the movement because they were unable to force our issue through. We force out the opposition, the Rahm Emanuels, Joe Liebermans and Max Baucuses of the world, and replace them with progressive candidates. Once we have a Democratic progressive majority, then we can discuss firing the leaders who fail to represent our values, at the ballot box.

While anger motivates many people to action, it is too easy to over-react when angry—we need to cool down and assess the situation. This is just the first act in a three-act play:

Next, the Senate passes a bill. We need to get ready to support Bernie Sanders in his single-payer fight in the Senate.

Third is the reconciliation process. We need to get the Kucinich amendment inserted in the bill, and we need our progressive Congress members to make this happen. Details are forthcoming.

The reason we're active is because we recognize the system is working against the people--our democracy is broken. Our opposition is not within the progressive movement but the corporations who control our elected officials. We need to go after the cause--not the effect.

At this point, we should focus on electing candidates who are not beholden to corporate interests and are running against the Blue Dogs, not replacing incumbent progressive members of Congress.

We all need to work for candidates like Marcy Winograd and Mike Capuano and wherever else they may be, in the upcoming election--true progressive candidates. We need to get out the vote, or we could lose our majority. While having the majority has proved to be frustrating for us, it's still better than the alternative--imagine a few more Michele Bachmanns getting elected in the midterms.

Mostly we need to stay focused on the prize and get single-payer established in the states. This will do more to move our progressive candidates and us forward than focusing our ire on Congressional single-payer advocates who voted for the bill.

Later this week, look for an email in which we’ll be announcing the Brown Bag Vigils as part of the Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign.

Until then, inhale and exhale.

In solidarity,

Tim Carpenter for the PDA National Team

P.S. Read John Nichols latest article, Six Smart Progressive Complaints About House Health Bill.

This is a digital leaflet distributed in the American tradition of Tom Paine’s “broadsides” posted in opposition to British tyranny.

Feel free to read it, print it, discuss it, delete it, post it or pass it on.

I would be interested in hearing what you think.
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


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can capitalism be green?

Barack Obama and the Democrats will now be trying to shove Wall Street's version of "green" down our throats the same way they have done with their phony health insurance "reforms" they tried to pass off as health care reform.

Think about what this mural on the wall in Cloquet, Minnesota is all about.

Think about if we and Mother Earth can survive another 100 years of capitalism.

Can capitalism be green? Organize forums, discussion and study groups, debates...

Ask this question about Obama's plans to "green" our economy with huge tax-payer subsidies:

Will people and Mother Earth be better off; or, will Wall Street profit?

Another question:

Does it make any difference who owns the industries, the mines, mills and factories?

Alan L. Maki

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

UN recognizes April 22 as Mother Earth Day

The United Nations has recognized April 22 as Mother Earth Day.

Karl Marx pointed out long ago, as have many others, before and since, that all wealth has labor as its father and Nature as its mother... hence, most of humanity has a great deal of respect for Mother Earth--- Nature.

Capitalists are the one exception to viewing Mother Nature with respect--- these capitalists have even less respect for labor.

The capitalist system provides the means for exploiting labor and raping Mother Nature in quest of ever greater profits--- hardly a system and way of doing things that can be considered "green."

As Mother Earth Day approaches, and our country now heads into a discussion about "greening the economy" on the heels of this sellout by Barack Obama and the Democrats to the Wall Street insurance industry; we would all do well to ponder, discuss and debate the question:

Can capitalism be "green?"

April 22--- Mother Earth Day--- should be turned into a struggle against capitalism to save Mother Earth from destruction.

The time has come to consider the socialist alternative to capitalism where production will take place for meeting the needs of the people in a way that is in harmony with Nature.

Wall Street's imperialist wars are responsible for the greatest destruction of Mother Nature and us all.

Wars and preparation for wars are the leading threat to Mother Nature and a complete waste of our precious resources Mother Nature will never be able to replenish in millions of years.

Let us have the moral and political courage, as a Nation, to ask the question:

Can capitalism be "green?"

The future of Mother Earth depends on the answer.

Barack Obama and the Democrats, along with a bunch of middle class professors and labor "leaders" working with Wall Street coupon clippers want to suck us all into believing that capitalism can be green as they spend our tax-dollars.

Other than the color of money; is there anything "green" about capitalism?

Let's not let Barack Obama and these Democrats suck us into bankrupting our country so Wall Street can profit under the illusion that capitalism can be "green."

Capitalism can't be "green" any more than insurance company profits contribute to curing diseases or the military-financial-industrial complex contributes toward creating a world at peace.

Something to think about and discuss around the kitchen table... if working people don't discuss these things, no one else will... Mother Earth's future lies in the hands--- and the struggles--- of the working class fighting for a better future.

If working people don't take the lead on climate change and defending and protecting Mother Earth, no one else will... unless of course, Wall Street coupon clippers see a profit to be made.

Alan L. Maki

Monday, November 9, 2009


Money for jobs; not for war... unemployed workers shouldn't have to pay any taxes.

Make the minimum wage a real living wage based upon all the cost-of-living factors as scientifically calculated by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and then legislatively tie the minimum wage to cost-of-living increases.

Tell Barack Obama to use stimulus funds to create jobs in the U.S.A. not in China.

A National Conference to Create Living-Wage Jobs,
Meet Human Needs and Sustain the Environment

November 13-14, 2009

New York, NY

The Problem: Even before the onset of our current, deep recession, we faced chronic unemployment, low and stagnant wages, myriad unmet needs and unprecedented environmental degradation.

Today’s rapidly escalating unemployment has put job creation back on the public agenda for the first time in recent history. Nearly 15 million workers were officially unemployed in June 2009, and hidden unemployment brings total joblessness up to almost 30 million with nearly 12 seekers for every available job. If it is possible to ignore the chronic unemployment that besets millions of people in normal times, it is much harder to ignore this current, mass unemployment and its staggering social and economic costs.

 What should progressive activists concerned about economic justice, labor, the religious community and other concerned people do about mass unemployment?
 What long-term goals should we have for the economy?
 How can we build a strong, effective unified movement to achieve full employment and living wage jobs for all?

A strong economic stimulus is imperative to meet the current emergency. Yet, even if the current stimulus package that achieves its intended goal of creating 4 million jobs, it would only reduce official unemployment by a third!

Nor is it good enough to return to official unemployment of 5 million women and men and millions more working poor even in the “best” of recent times, or to be satisfied with the host of unmet needs with which this recession began. In the words of FDR, “We cannot be content, no matter how high the general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people … is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.”

The Challenge: Crises present opportunities for progressive change. This is the time for Progressives people of good will to mobilize and to develop goals and strategies for an economy that provides living wage jobs for all, sustains the environment, and repairs our social and physical infrastructure and begins the transition to a more stable, productive economy that provides for shared prosperity.

Conference Goals and Intended Outcomes:

1. Expand public debate and action on the future of the U.S. economy
2. Increase public awareness of chronic unemployment and underemployment and its human and economic toll, even in better times
3. Build on Increase public awareness of current mass unemployment, its dire consequences for human beings and its waste of potential economic output;
4. Raise public awareness of our current economic dead-end—high personal and foreign debt, inequality, wage lag, environmental degradation, military overreach….
5. Steer public debate and action toward:
• Government promotion and creation of living-wage jobs, strengthening of the safety net and supportive fiscal, monetary and trade policies;
• Government promotion and creation of jobs that improve the physical and social infrastructure (repair of bridges, upgrading public transportation, building affordable housing, improving and expanding public education and child, health and elder care).
• Government promotion and creation of jobs that further the goal of a sustainable economy and begin to restructure it.
6. Develop plans to pay for this program of reconstruction through more progressive taxes and confinement of military spending to genuine defense needs

7. Initiate a movement for living-wage jobs for all and develop strategies for achieving this permanent economic reform-- including similar conferences in cities across the country and a mass mobilization in Washington on behalf of economic reconstruction.

You Are Invited to Be a Conference Convenor/Co-Sponsor: We seek broad participation and sponsorship for this National Conference, especially organizations with a primary focus on the quality and quantity of jobs, economic justice, social security, the safety net and poverty prevention. Other critical participants will be organizations not primarily concerned with employment, but whose goals for union rights, health care, education, child care, elder care, disability rights, housing, economic restructuring, public transportation, environmental sustainability, and the arts would be furthered by job creation in their areas of interest. The hope is to gain their ongoing commitment to conquering unemployment and low wages-- even after the crisis subsides. This would build on a plans of the National Jobs for All Coalition and the Chicago Political Economy Group to simultaneously create living wage jobs for all and, through a renewed public sector, to repair our deeply deficient social and physical infrastructure.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

And, now, as Paul Harvey used to say... "the rest of the story..."

Tom Robertson has conveniently left out of this story (below) a few "minor details."

For instance; both Enbridge--- putting in this pipeline no one really wants, and Kraus-Anderson Construction Company, the contractor building the Bemidji Regional Event Center (BREC), are both being accused of racist hiring practices by Native Americans who are suffering the worst brunt of unemployment and the resulting horrific poverty in and around Bemidji.

Perhaps the Native American Indian Labor Union #12 making these allegations of racist hiring practices does not make big enough financial contributions to Minnesota Public Radio for this aspect of the story to merit Mr. Tom Robertson's attention... I would note that both Enbridge and Kraus-Anderson make huge contributions to Minnesota Public Radio.

Anyone interested in the rest of the story Tom Robertson conveniently hasn't told would be advised to check out the Bemidji Pioneer Press dated November 2, 2009 on the front page.

I find it very interesting how Tom Robertson has used the issue of sky-rocketing unemployment to cover up the issue of the racist hiring practices of MPR's largest contributors.

No doubt the outside management firm hired by public officials knowing the poverty created by unemployment locally will be bringing along employees from outside of the area and this company will also be making very substantial "contributions" to Minnesota Public Radio.

With all this talk about education in this story by Tom Robertson, one does have to wonder why the Bemidji City planners find it necessary to hire from outside the region the Bemidji Regional Event Center will be serving. Is this some kind of commentary on the quality of education being provided by Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College that local management can not be found?

Perhaps Rita Albrecht the Bemidji community planner who told Kraus-Anderson they could forget about affirmative action in doing their hiring could explain all of this.

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


This was featured on the Yahoo News Service:

Bemidji, Minn.:

A tale of 2 economies

By TOM ROBERTSON / Minnesota Public Radio | Posted: Saturday, November 7, 2009 10:55 am | No Comments Posted

BEMIDJI, Minn. - Bemidji is the Minnesota city with the third-highest peak in unemployment, at more than 17 percent.

Getting a read on Bemidji's economy depends on where you look these days. You can find both ongoing struggle and, believe it or not, boom times. It's a tale of two economies.

There have been a few large, high-profile factory layoffs in the Bemidji area. But the city's jobless rate soared because of smaller layoffs as well, where businesses cut jobs just one or two at a time.

It wasn't news when Mike Mohler lost his job as a radio advertising salesman back in May 2008. Since then, Mohler has filled out applications at close to 100 businesses. Sitting at his home computer, Mohler reads from his latest rejection letter.
``'You were not selected. Good luck in future endeavors.' And then the publisher signed off on it,'' he said. ``I've got a stack of those kinds of responses.''
Mohler is 56 years old. He and his wife have lost their health insurance. His unemployment benefits come to an end in December, unless there's an extension. Mohler says despite a degree from Bemidji State University and years of sales experience, no one will hire him.

``I grew up here. I have so many business contacts and personal contacts. And I just can't crack the ice, I just can't get through to anybody. It's frustrating,'' said Mohler.

Many of the area's small-scale layoffs have been in the construction industry, one of the state's hardest hit sectors. New home construction in the Bemidji area has withered to less than half of what it was in 2006.

Howie Zetah owns a mid-size construction company that a few years ago employed close to 25 people. Now, it's about half that.

``We're tightening our belt,'' said Zetah. ``I've had to lay some people off. I've got very good people, and it hurts to lay someone off, because you're dealing with families here.''

In good times, Zetah's company would build half a dozen custom homes a year. Now, Zetah and other contractors are taking smaller jobs like remodeling and even minor carpentry repair jobs, just to keep busy. Zetah says people are scared to spend money.

``I think people have the ability to spend money, and to build and to do things that they wanted to do. They're just unsure, and their confidence in our economy and where we're going to be a year from now isn't there,'' said Zetah.

But there may be signs that's changing. Zetah just found out a homebuilding project that had been cancelled is back on again.

While Zetah wonders if that's the start of a turnaround, other businesses are booming.

At a neighborhood bar and grill on Bemidji's south side, waitress Laurie Thomas is making a lot more money in tips these days. Thomas says business has nearly doubled since oil pipeline workers started showing up.

``It has been a tremendous change. Once they came to town, it's just been packed here every night,'' said Thomas. ``They'll buy rounds for everyone and not really worry about the money at all.''

Late this summer, Enbridge Energy began building a crude oil pipeline from Canada, across northern Minnesota to Superior, Wis. The Bemidji area alone saw an influx of close to 800 well-paid pipeline workers. Some were hired locally, and some come from other parts of the country.

The pipeliners have gobbled up rental housing and motel rooms. John Billingsley is a welder who came all the way from Texarkana, Ark. He says pipeline workers are buying everything from big screen TVs to cookware.

Pipeline workers will spend millions of dollars in the Bemidji area over the next eight to 10 months.

And there's another project stimulating the local economy. The city is building a $33 million facility that includes a hockey arena for Bemidji State University. By winter, the project will put 250 people to work. Some of those workers say without it, they'd probably be unemployed.

Bemidji's jobless rate has fallen dramatically since it peaked in February. It's now around 11 percent, but that's still way above normal.

The problem is, Bemidji's boom in commercial construction hasn't spread to other parts of the area's economy.

Northern Minnesota's important timber industry is still on its knees because of the bust in new home construction. Late last year, Ainsworth Lumber Co. permanently shut down its plant in Bemidji and laid off 140 workers. That, in turn, put some loggers and haulers in the region out of business.

Economists say the shutdown took $90 million out of the region's economy.
But it doesn't end there. Factories producing machine parts, electrical wiring and drapery fabrics have cut hundreds of jobs, too.

Even as the recession appears to be over, first-time claims for jobless benefits in September jumped 18 percent over the same period last year.

The jobless rate in the overall Bemidji region is lower than in the city itself, but for both areas, unemployment remains well above average for this time of year.

``I don't think the pain is done yet,'' said Dave Hengel, who heads economic development at the Headwaters Regional Development Commission in Bemidji.

``Is there light at the end of the tunnel? I sure hope so, and I think so. But at this point, it's the most difficult economy I've been in in the 22 years I've been here.''

Some economic experts say this recession is likely to reshape the area's economy. The timber industry, for example, has been devastated, but some lumber mills survived by reducing costs and finding new niches for wood products. That includes a growing interest in tapping timber for green energy biofuels.

Another sign of that transformation is that unemployed workers are heading back to school. Post-secondary schools in Bemidji saw some of the highest enrollment increases in the state. At Northwest Technical College, for example, enrollment has jumped by nearly 17 percent.

One of those new students is Chris Kuzel, 51. She was part of the 100 layoffs earlier this year at a wiring manufacturer in Bemidji, where she had worked for 15 years.

``When I got laid off, I had no education or anything to fall back on,'' said Kuzel. ``Here I am, going back to school to get that education that I should have gotten years ago.''

Kuzel qualifies for the state's dislocated worker program, which pays for up to two years of school. She's hoping to get into health care, one of the state's most stable industries. Kuzel is studying to be a pharmaceutical technician.

``School is hard after being out for 30 years. It's been tough. I'm doing it because I have to. But it's not the easy way out,'' said Kuzel. ``It would be a lot easier going after and taking a lesser-paying job. But I decided after 15 years I was going to come out of this with something to fall back on next time.''

Right now, the question is whether there will be enough of a recovery to create jobs for Kuzel and others getting retrained when they graduate. So far, the signs are mixed at best.

Posted in State-and-regional, Mn on Saturday, November 7, 2009 10:55 am

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

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