Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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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, 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