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...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Only in America... tears of joy over the election of a con-artist and flim-flam man...

... while there are no tears of sorrow from Obama's merry-makers for the children of Gaza being slaughtered by Israeli butchers as Barack Obama remains shamefully silent and the United States Congress encourages and cheers this Israeli genocidal killing spree in Gaza on.

We really are on the road to perdition with capitalism on the skids to oblivion... the only question now remaining is how long will the American working class allow this barbarity to continue.

Like Obama, his supporters in organized labor have been shamefully silent, too, as they think their silence is a requirement for securing the Employee Free Choice Act.

It will take much more than organizing more unions with class collaborationist union leaders like John Sweeney and Andy Stearn to turn this country around as they seek to manipulate and control the unions to be in complicity and support for this imperialist barbarity.

All of this takes place under the guise of the "politics of pragmatism" which turns its ugly head in indifference to human suffering in places like Gaza hoping to get a little "piece of the action"... this is a one-way, dead-end alley for working people.

The merchants of death and destruction have spun a powerful web of corruption and destruction... as the military-financial-industrial complex amasses great profits from war, misery and poverty.

The time has come for working people to bury this rotten system; not the children of Gaza... capitalism has become a cannibalistic, barbaric imperialist beast through which the Wall Street coupon clippers survive and thrive... no other face can be put to the problem other than that of the dead children of Gaza no matter how hard the capitalist soothsayers try.

Instead of cheering Obama on he should be met with the most militant outcry of protests when he is inaugurated.

Throw your shoes at Bush as he finally leaves office...

... shove pictures of the dead and wounded children of Gaza in Obama's face to let him see that while he arrogantly stuck his nose in the air as people plead with him to vigorously speak up and speak out along with the rest of the world in condemnation of this bestial and barbaric Israeli killing spree the children of Gaza died largely as a result of his disgraceful and shameful silence as he continues to embrace these Israeli butchers.

Alan L. Maki

Shame on Obama; shame on those who will celebrate his election with tears of joy as the children of Gaza die...


Across U.S., parties, viewings set for inauguration

(Reuters) – Cincinnati is hosting a viewing party in the city's central square, Kansas City will open its civic center and churches across America have chartered buses so supporters can watch the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in person.

In towns and cities far from Washington, Americans are gearing up to watch the swearing-in on Tuesday of the first black U.S. president at events both public and private, eager to mark the historic moment with more than the usual fanfare.

"I remember when the first man walked on the moon, watching it on television, and this is like that," said Caren Burger, a Cincinnati business owner. "I'll be glued to the TV."

While Burger plans to watch the event at home -- she said she'll be crying in joy at the inauguration of Democrat Obama and shunned by Republican friends -- others said they want to share the moment.

In Mission, Kansas, Lucky Brewgrille restaurant owner Greg Fuciu said he expected a packed house on inauguration day and planned to have several televisions showing the events.

"I think it is change we need," said Fuciu, who does not consider himself a Democrat but did vote for Obama. "The last eight years I don't think the Republican Party has led us in a great direction."

Newspapers are filled with reports of viewing parties at Starbucks shops, movie theaters, black churches, sports bars, schools and museums.

The official swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the Capitol will be followed by a parade to the White House and numerous inaugural balls -- amounting to hours of television coverage.


Barbara Ikerd is helping organize an inauguration party at a civic center in downtown Kansas City, where at least 1,000 people were expected to turn out on Tuesday.

"We worked hard during the campaign and now it is time to celebrate," said 57-year-old Ikerd. Ikerd, who was laid off from General Motors, said she has high hopes the Obama can repair the economy.

"I'm unemployed, I have family that have been laid off, jobs are just disappearing," she said. "So I'm in tune to that message of hope."

In Texas, Sharon Johnson is organizing a bus trip from Houston to Washington so 55 people can join the crowds in the nation's capital for the inauguration. Johnson, 52, said the event had special resonance for her because she is the great-granddaughter of a slave.

"He still managed to send all of his grandchildren to college. So for us we had to get an education and vote," she told Reuters by phone, her voice cracking with emotion. She expects the bus trip to take about 26 hours.

Others will watch the events in private.

"I'm looking forward to it," retiree Karen von Herrmann told Reuters while walking her dog in a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas. "I'm interested in seeing how different it is from the last one, to see if there are any protesters."


Across the country, schools, churches, radio stations and congressional offices have launched contests to distribute coveted tickets to the inauguration, and overflow crowds are expected in Washington for the ceremony and parade.

Organizers of a special inauguration rail excursion from Chicago to Washington said they sold out and could have filled a second train if they had the cars to do it. Forty-four people paid $2,599 each for the trip in three 1950s-era restored sleeper cars and a vintage diner.

"We've turned a lot of people away and we're still getting calls," said Frank Corley, marketing manager for American Rail Excursions in Dearborn, Mich.

Others in Chicago, Obama's adopted hometown, said they may miss viewing the event on Tuesday because they have to work, but expect the city to stand still to mark the moment.

"I have a feeling when it happens I'm going to stop in my tracks -- the existential moment, is that what they call it?" said Gershon Mayer, 68, who operates a car service out of Hyde Park, Obama's home neighborhood.

In San Francisco, Filipina immigrant Vicky Refurzo said she will tune in to watch history.

"I'm just so excited -- I want to watch. I live here 48 years, 49. I arrived when it was President Kennedy -- it might be similar," said Refurzo, 79.

For many black Americans, the inauguration of Obama, the son of a white mother and a black Kenyan father, holds particular resonance.

"I honestly never thought I'd see that day that this would happen," said Ron Busby, the president of the Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce. Busby said he considered going to Washington to see the event for himself, but has instead arranged an after-work party at a downtown sports bar.

"We are going to celebrate with a happy-hour party," Busby said. "I'll be elated."

(Additional reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Ed Stoddard in Fort Worth, Tim Gaynor in Phoenix, Peter Henderson in San Francisco, Mike Conlon and Andrew Stern in Chicago; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Here we go again with a bunch of liberal do-gooders telling working people what the Minimum Wage should be...

These "faith leaders" should be commended for grappling with the minimum wage issue...

However, here we go again with a bunch of well-heeled do-gooders telling working people what the minimum wage should be.

The time has come for the wealthiest country in the world to establish the Minimum Wage based upon the scientific calculations of the United States Department of Labor and its Bureau of Labor Statistics based upon real cost of living factors.

Any school child understand what these "leaders of faith" do not comprehend; and that is that you cannot eliminate poverty while paying people poverty wages.

Not one of these preachers would live on $10.00 an hour... nor, could they provide for their families on $10.00 an hour based salaries so why would they expect any working class family to have to try scraping buy on such a pittance?

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

National Faith Leaders Call for Lifting Economy by
Raising Minimum Wage

Living Wage events link MLK Dream to ending poverty

From: Let Justice Roll

January 9, 2009


Washington, DC

The leaders of 11 denominations and national faith
organizations are among the inaugural signers of Let
Justice Roll's letter in support of a $10 federal
minimum wage in 2010. Nearly 400 faith leaders from all
50 states have already endorsed $10 in 2010 and more
are signing on every day.

Let Justice Roll, a national coalition of faith,
community, labor and business organizations, will hold
Living Wage events this weekend and on the Martin
Luther King holiday weekend as part of the "$10 in
2010" campaign and in support of state and local living
wage campaigns.

"Well before the recession, growing numbers of employed
men and women sought help at food banks and homeless
shelters because they could not live on poverty wages,"
said Rev. Steve Copley, chair of Let Justice Roll. When
the federal minimum wage increased to $6.55 an hour
last July, it still left workers with less buying power
than they had in 1997, at the start of the longest
period without a raise since the minimum wage was
enacted in1938.

"Our economy wouldn't be in such a mess if wages had
not fallen so far behind the cost of living and income
inequality had not grown to levels last seen on the eve
of the Great Depression," said Holly Sklar, senior
policy adviser for Let Justice Roll and co-author of A
Just Minimum Wage: Good for Workers, Business and Our
Future. "As we are seeing so painfully, an economy
fueled by rising debt rather than rising wages is a
house of cards."

It would take about $10 to match the buying power of
the 1968 minimum wage. "It is immoral that the minimum
wage is worth less now than it was in 1968, the year
Dr. Martin Luther King was killed while fighting for
living wages for sanitation workers," said Rev. Copley.
"It's also bad for the economy. Minimum wage dollars go
right back to local business through spending on food,
healthcare and other necessities."

Most of the 27 states with minimum wages higher than
the federal level have unemployment rates that are
lower than the federal level.

Congregations and organizations in states such as
Tennessee, Georgia, New Hampshire, New Jersey,
Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California
and Colorado will hold Living Wage services and events
this month. For example:

- In Nashville, TN, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and
Unitarian services will be part of a campaign for a
citywide living wage ordinance, and the interfaith
coalition will march in the annual Martin Luther King
Day parade with signs that say "Living Wage Was Part of
His Dream" and "Let Justice Roll."

- In Nashua, NH, the president of the Unitarian
Universalist Association, Rev. William G. Sinkford,
will preach at a Living Wage service.

In addition to federal work, Let Justice Roll is
currently organizing to raise state and local minimum
wages in Georgia, Kansas, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma
and Tennessee. Recently, Let Justice Roll helped
workers in Kansas City, KS, more than double their pay
from the lowest-in-the-US state minimum of $2.65 an
hour. And Let Justice Roll is looking ahead to new
campaigns in the South, where so many workers suffer
the hardship of poverty wages.

Most of the ten occupations projected by the Bureau of
Labor Statistics to have the largest employment growth
during 2006-2016, such as retail salespersons, fast
food workers, home health aides and janitors, have
disproportionate numbers of minimum wage workers.

"A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in
it," said Holly Sklar. "The minimum wage sets the wage
floor, and we cannot build a strong economy on
downwardly mobile wages and rising poverty, inequality
and insecurity. As President Roosevelt understood, we
have to raise the floor to lift the economy."

Inaugural "$10 in 2010" faith leader signers include:

Rev. Steve Copley, Chair of the Board, Let Justice
Roll; Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary, National
Council of Churches USA; Dr. Sharon Watkins, General
Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of
Christ) in US & Canada; Rev. John H. Thomas, General
Minister and President, United Church of Christ; Rev.
Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly,
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Rev. William G. Sinkford,
President, Unitarian Universalist Association; Rabbi
David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of
Reform Judaism; Mary Ellen McNish, General Secretary,
American Friends Service Committee; Sister Simone
Campbell, Exec. Director, NETWORK: A National Catholic
Social Justice Lobby; James Winkler, General Secretary,
United Methodist General Board of Church & Society;
Rev. Alexander Sharp, Exec. Director, Protestants for
the Common Good; Rev. Kim Bobo, Exec. Director,
Interfaith Worker Justice.

For the full text of the $10 in 2010 letter,

as well as information on signing, please visit


or call Rev. Steve Copley at 501-626-9220.