Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

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

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


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

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

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Labor Day 2012: State of the Unions, or Can Labor Recover from Rightwing Assaults?

(Note: this is a guest blog published at writers request.)

By Pancho Valdez

"When the working class unites, there will a lot of jobless labor leaders"
-Eugene Debs, 1905

Eugene Debs a founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World, socialist and presidential candidate knew from experience the betrayal of business unionism. Business unionism is supported by labor "leaders" who are paid six figured incomes, who mistakenly believe that the interests of capitalism and labor are identical and who go out of their way to to avoid doing anything controversial like speak out against war, giving workers a true voice in their unions or who support the idea of a general strike, like what was needed last year in Wisconsin. 
As a result of business unionism, the percentage of  private sector union members is at an anemic 6.5 - 7%. Public sector worker unions represent 30-35% of public sector jobs and will soon have less if labor doesn't do a quick about face and get into fighting mode. By that I mean ending the fatal dependency on the Democratic Party, use of the NLRB, the electoral system and judicial system. Our history began in the streets and on the work sites, but it is on it's way to end in the elections/political patronage, administrative hearings and in the courts. Such practices and places are alien to us just as land is alien to fish!`These practices/places are good only when we have workers in control of the electoral process, the administrative process and the court systems.This can only come about through viable people's political parties.

To clarify what I am saying let's look at the recent situation in Wisconsin. Last year many public workers such as nurses, firefighters, school teachers, librarians, and others were pushing for a general strike in opposition to Governor Scott Walker's blatantly anti-labor legislation and his corrupt ties to the fascist minded Koch brothers, Charles G. and David H. Instead of utilizing the general strike, public worker union leaders defused the situation and began the ill fated recall campaign against Walker. While they were successful in obtaining more than enough signatures for the recall, workers depended on the Democratic Party for support and learned the hard way of why depending on politicians and corporate funded political parties is not a wise decision. The Democrats went through the motion of running Tom Barrett against Walker. Critics in Wisconsin cite the poor participation of the democratic leadership and the failure of President  Obama to travel to Wisconsin and lend support to the recall campaign.  The moral of the story is is NEVER trust politicians to fight our battles. There support can be good, usually when forced to do it. To put all our eggs in one basket proved disastrous.
On the local labor scene UNITE HERE continues it's organizing of hotel and restaurant workers on the Riverwalk. While the struggle has been long, both union staff and rank & file members feel confident that victory is inevitable. At present a campaign has begun at the Grand Hyatt as hotel bosses are resorting to stealing tips earned and intended for wait staff, kitchen and  housekeeping staff. One example is when the Dallas Cowboy, NFL team stayed at the Grand Hyatt, they were charged a 22% "service charge." The players were under the impression that the $3,000 on the bill was going to the housekeepers who kept their rooms immaculate and tidy. (Football players are not the neatest people)

Instead Hyatt management pocketed the money and not one single rank & file workers received not even a dime from that tip! UNITE HERE will be pressing the San Antonio City Council to enact and enforce a local city ordinance to address this ugly version of wage theft.
At the C.H. Guenther aka Pioneer Flour Mill, members of Teamsters Local 657 go into their 19th month of strike. While the strikers persist, there appears to be a lack of community and other moral support . There also appears to be no plan to end this bitter  struggle without significantly losing the strike. Attempts to secure much needed international labor support does not appear to have succeeded as production continues uninterrupted by scabs, thus the company is not feeling much if any economic pressure to return to the bargaining table. I will say that I  wholeheartedly respect the gallant effort and persistence of these dedicated men and women  and I will request from my Creator intervention and guidance to successfully end this battle.

Closely connected to the organzing campaign of hospitality workers is the effort of local taxi drivers, pedicab drivers, riverbarge and horse carriage drivers to organize as well. What makes this drive unique is that some in this targeted areas are considered to be independent contractors while others are considered to be traditional employees. Whether or not a significant number are willing to unite and fight for better pay and working conditions, remains to be seen.
Nationally organized labor is in a serious crisis as it continues to be attacked and weakend by the right. In Indiana the reactionaries succeded in securing so called right to work legislation. Similar legislation has been introduced but not passed in Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio. Desspite these vicous attacks far too many labor leaders remain of the mindset that labor's interests are the same as the corporation's interests. In my humble opinion based on 40 plus years of labor activism, the American labor movement must move left to go forward. This means revitalizing the use of the strike, boycotts and if needed civil disobedience, civil disobedience is a useful weapon against the increasing use of lock outs that employers find convenient to us. When union officials know about an upcoming lockout, workers must be prepared to occupy the factory, hotel, etc and do the old sit in. Current labor laws are set up to control and hinder us, not help us.

One important factor to be considered; had the minimum wage kept up with the pay that CEOs receive, we would have a national minimum wage of around $23 per hour! The current $7.25 per hour is a very low amount given today's outrageously expensive cost of living.
While some are excited about the so called Affordable Healthcare Act, the fact is most of the provisions don't go into effect until 2014. The only saving factor of this legislation was the prohibition of denying consumers coverage for pre-existing conditions. We need Medicare for All/Single Payer Healthcare something over 400 U.S. labor organizations petitioned for and were conveniently ignored by both Richard Trumka and Barack Obama.
Labor must also get serious and join in a nationwide effort to organize and build a genuine people's party free of corporate influence. Reforming the Democrataic Party is futile and foolish as evidenced by more that 75 years of attempting to do so. 
Prior to any revival of  old and needed labor values, trade unionists must demand that their leadership cease and desist with all ties to the The American Center for Labor Solidarity, a front of the CIA. Until this  occurs our labor movement will remain weak, continue to lose ground and never explore viable political alternatives. much less oppose current and future wars of imperialism and or cease relations with the pro-zionist AIPAC.We must all come to realize that the role of the ACLS is a dirty one and has severely hampered growth of the American labor movement.

-Pancho Valdez is a veteran of 47 years of civil rights, labor and peace activism. He can be reached at 210-422-8000 or

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Obama was to face a massive protest in Detroit at the Labor Day rally so he chickened out.

Obama chickened out of going to Detroit for Labor Day after he got wind people would be demonstrating against his Wall Street agenda.

I was invited to post on the Detroit Labor Day FaceBook page. Immediately upon posting, I was told to "jump in the lake" and "get a life."

This was my response:

Obviously Obama knew he was going to be facing protests against his Wall Street policies if he ventured into Detroit, again, for Labor Day so he chose not to attend.

Obama is Wall Street's president not the president of working people.

To support Obama is to support the policies of Wall Street and all big business.

Supporting Obama is strengthening the hand of our class enemies.

I don't know how anyone could even pretend to care about people and then turn around and support this warmonger Obama. Is there no shame in supporting a president who sits in indifference as the Israeli killing machine slaughters Palestinians and who orders drone attacks against "enemies" which kill innocent children in the process?

Obama refused to push the Employee Free Choice Act through as promised; home foreclosures continue creating massive misery and suffering for working class families; Obama has reinforced Wall Street's racist agenda in refusing to enforce Affirmative Action; and, Obama has refused to raise the minimum wage as promised. Obama can do a lot of this through executive order but he CHOOSES not to. Obama has maintained that it will be private industry and especially small private business which solves the problem of unemployment when anyone and everyone knows it will take massive government programs like WPA and CCC to put people back to work.

Instead of real health care reform, from Obama we got the "Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical Industry Bailout and Profit Maximization Act of 2010."

There is a group of women around Detroit who focus on women's rights as if only the right to choose matters and they are completely indifferent to the mothers who are losing sons and daughters in Obama's dirty imperialist wars from which these Wall Street merchants of death and destruction profit.

To those of you who selfishly continue to support Obama because you are so uncaring and confused--- you go jump in the lake.

And Hank Johnson--- it is too bad you have no way to bring back the lives of those who have died and continue to die in Obama's wars.

No two-bit, half-assed shills from the Democratic Party and pork-chop union officials supporting this warmonger Obama are going to silence me.

You can kiss my ass and go to hell.

Labor Day is supposed to be a day unity, solidarity and struggle where the working class serves notice on the employers and their politicians that working people are demanding real change not becoming complicit and acquiescing without struggle to voting for the boss' candidates on Election Day.

I would suggest that you take a look across the Detroit River to see that organized labor in Canada has it own political party, the socialist New Democratic Party.

Instead of pissing away the funds from workers on the boss' party and candidates take up a collection from the thousands of people who will fill the streets on Labor Day to start a working class political party in this country.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

All the corrupt crooks stick together in life and in death.

All the corrupt crooks stick together in life and in death... a statement of half-truths and outright lies without one iota of consideration for the pain and suffering Stanley Crooks and his pack of thieves have created for Indian people comes from Red Lake Nation Chairman Floyd Jourdain:


Lie upon lie... the insinuation here is that Stanley Crooks made these projects possible when it was tax-payer funds providing most of the money and Stanley Crooks only invested money in order to exponentially profit from these projects as he laundered money from the illegal operations associated with casinos that come with his "loans:" prostitution, drug dealing, money laundering, tax-evasion schemes, loan-sharking, passing counterfeit money, the illegal sports betting.

Floyd Jourdain has a lot of gall talking about how Stanley Crooks "breathed life" into anything when through casino operations he and his mobster friends deprive thousands of casino workers forced to work in their smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages their very right to breath clean fresh air in their places of employment.

As for "restoring" Red Lake fisheries; what Stanley Crooks provided was more poverty wages while his mobster friends now operating Red Lake Fisheries profit. Why doesn't Chairman Jourdain tell us about the miserly poverty wages and horrendous working conditions and all the workplace related injuries the employees of Red Lake Fisheries receive for their hard work?

Yes, for Stanley Crooks and his mobster friends this is "what it is all about:" Pretending to be a friend while profiting from the misery created.

If Stanley Crooks funded all these projects then what happened to the hundreds of millions of dollars tax-payers thought they were putting into these projects?

Interesting how once Stanley Crooks made his "charitable investments" in a project tax-payer funds disappear without a trace and without any accountability.

Why doesn't Chairman Jourdain provide an accounting for how much money Stanley Crooks and his mobster friends have taken away from the Red Lake Nation and its people in return for these "philanthropic contributions and investments?"

Tax-payer dollars subsidized it all and Stanley Crooks made off with the profits.

I would like to know why Chairman Jourdain doesn't pay similar homage to the U.S. tax-payers which includes the people of the Red Lake Nation who have been ripped of by these mobsters scheming to profit from the poverty of the people who never get the good jobs in any of these projects unless they are willing to assist the exploitation of their own people who work in these smoke-filled casinos and cut their fingers to the bone processing fish for poverty wages and without any rights so a bunch of rich white mobsters can profit and live outlandishly lavish life-styles?

And why doesn't Chairman Jourdain tell us how much it has taken to bribe Minnesota politicians to turn a blind eye to all of this corruption which breeds greater poverty than what the racist United States government imposes in the first place on Indian people?

The question of all questions:

How can any people be the objects of such overwhelming charity from government and mobsters alike be the poorest people in the United States?

Come on, Chairman Floyd "Buck" Jourdain--- answer this question:

Why are so many people living a poverty existence on the Red Lake Indian Reservation alongside such massive wealth?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mobster Stanley Crooks dies in Minnesota.

Politicians and the media are mourning the death of mobster Stanley Crooks who forced 5,000 casino workers employed in the huge Mystic Lake Casino operations to work in this loud, noisy, smoke-filled casino at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws. Stanley Crooks spent hundreds of millions of dollars in "campaign contributions" bribing politicians to create this hideous situation.

Rest In Peace Stanley Crooks as casino workers will die and live in poverty as a result of the casino empire you built on their backs, and the crooked and corrupt political process you and your sidekick, the racist, crooked and corrupt, John McCarthy brought to Minnesota.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Don't we all have the right to participate in the budget process?

Why did Bill Moyers, like the National Priorities Project and all the other foundation-funded outfits, leave out the suggestions of the alternative parties like the Greens, the Justice Party, the Socialist Party and the Peace and Freedom Party in his chart explaining the positions of the Democrats and Republicans when it comes to budget priorities and suggestions?

Local, state and federal budgets are very important. People have a right to have a say in these budgets because, as my good friend in Michigan, Virg Bernero, constantly points out:

"Budgets are a reflection of our true priorities."

When I posted these suggestions for consideration by the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Kieth Ellison's FaceBook page he became irate and blocked me:


A program for real change...

* Peace--- end the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and shutdown the 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil.

* A National Public Health Care System - ten million new jobs.

* A National Public Child Care System - three to five million new jobs.

* Works Progress Administration - three million new jobs.

* Civilian Conservation Corps - two million new jobs.

* Tax the hell out of the rich and cut the military budget by ending the wars to pay for it all which will create full employment.

* Enforce Affirmative Action; end discrimination.

* Raise the minimum wage to a real living wage

* What tax-payers subsidize in the way of businesses, tax-payers should own and reap the profits from.

* Moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions.

* Defend democracy by defending workers' rights including the right to collective bargaining for improving the lives and livelihoods of working people.

* Roll-back and freeze the price of food, electricity, gas and heating fuels; not wages, benefits or pensions.

* Defend and expand Social Security.

* Wall Street is our enemy

- How is Barack Obama's Wall Street war economy working for you?

- Let's talk about the politics and economics of livelihood for a real change.

Here is a link to what Bill Moyers has posted. Why has Bill Moyers joined the rest of the MainStreamMedia and the foundation-funded outfits in blocking the suggestions of the alternative parties when it comes to proposals for the federal budget when these budgets are so important and we should all be included in the budget process simply because this is what democracy requires?


I find it particularly interesting that it is the alternative political parties who are using the data and research from outfits like the New Priorities Project, center on Budget and Priorities Project and all these other "think-tanks"--- and who are even the ones circulating Bill Moyers' own programs and website postings--- only to be omitted when it comes time to have these public discussions, dialogs and debates during these crucial days leading up to Election Day.

Don't voters have the right to know what some of the alternatives to Wall Street's agenda are by having them placed side-by-side with the budget proposals and suggestions brought forward by the two Wall Street parties--- the Democrats and Republicans?

Does not democracy require all ideas regarding suggestions and proposals for shaping the federal budget be brought forward into the proverbial "public square" for discussion, dialog and debate?

Bill Moyers should be taken to task by people insisting he includes the budget suggestions and priorities of the alternative parties right alongside those of the Democrats and Republicans who are nothing but shills for Wall Street's financial interests.

The struggle to defend and expand democracy requires that we fight our way into having our views included by those like Bill Moyers and the National Priorities Project; after all, when our Nation's wealth is squandered on militarism and wars we can't provide the kind of universal social programs required to solve our serious social and economic problems like racist inequality and poverty by raising the standard of living for everyone. These dirty imperialist wars are making us all poor except for the few greedy and parasitical Wall Street merchants of death and destruction who profit from these wars who we need about as much as my dog Fred needs ticks and fleas.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Stop the robbery at the pumps.

The robbery at the pumps continues.

And the reason politicians haven't put an end to this robbery at the pumps is because they are all getting campaign contributions from the big oil companies.

Many people have had to quit their poverty wage jobs simply because they can't afford to drive to work anymore.

Up here in northern Minnesota it is not uncommon to find people who have been driving over

80 or 90 miles to work (round trip that is 160 to 180 miles a day).

This robbery at the pumps has to end.

Just imagine what the cost of home heating fuels are going to be this winter.

Already the price of home heating fuel oil for furnaces is over $3.80 a gallon.

I asked the owner of one of the fuel companies up here what the reason was for the rising gas prices and he looked at me like I was some kind of terrorist. And then he said: "You are just a trouble maker."

No one is supposed to question anything.

We are all just supposed to go along with this crap and it gets worse from day-to-day creating a crisis of everyday living for many people who can no longer make ends meet.

We are having poverty imposed on us while the rich get richer swindling us.

What the heck must it be costing just in fuel prices for our navy and air force to be keeping the world safe for democracy?" And there are over 800 U.S. bases dotting the globe. I asked my Congressman Collin Peterson how much the fuel bill is for these mobile military units which are part of this "lily pad" concept where Obama has troops mobile ready to strike anywhere. He said he would get back to me. That was three months ago--- no answer.

We aren't supposed to know anything. Just go along and vote for more of this insanity coming from Wall Street's two bribed parties.

Everyone knows this robbery at the pumps is one big swindle and not one single one of these oil company executives is sitting behind bars.

If you or I or any other ordinary citizen carried out a swindle of this magnitude we would be tossed in prison and the keys would be thrown away.

And then these same politicians carry out wars for the purpose of stealing from other peoples their oil so they can rip us off like this. To think that people have to die in these dirty wars for oil makes me sick.

This is complete insanity.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The National Priorities Project denies my accusation they are fronting for Obama.

The National Priorities Project has taken issue with me saying that they are fronting for Obama.

Very routinely the National Priorities Project works with many independent peace and social justice organizations who they know full well have members who will be voting for alternative candidates like Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, Stewart Alexander or Roseanne Barr.

So; why did the National Priorities Project only compare Obama's and Romney's positions relating to budgets for militarism and war and not include these other alternative candidates?

In fact, this foundation-funded outfit is fronting for Obama in the most cowardly and deceitful manner by not showing the American people that there are alternatives to these two warmongers representing the Wall Street merchants of death and destruction.

Routinely the National Priorities Project tells us what we could have if our Nation's wealth was not being squandered on militarism and wars but when it comes to politics the National Priorities Project refuses to provide the programs of the candidates whose programs and platforms ARE an alternative to Wall Street's militarism and wars.

Instead, the National Priorities Projects plays this little game with us saying, "We aren't fronting for Obama; we are just providing the positions of Obama and Romney."

It is not like the board and staff of the National Priorities Project is unaware of these alternative candidates and their campaigns which focus on putting an end to militarism and war and being fully conscious that these candidates and their campaigns are more often than not using their own research and data to back up their programs and platforms.

On the other hand, does Obama use the data derived from the research done by the National Priorities Project in establishing his annual budgets? No way.

I accused the National Priorities Project of being dishonest in how they stood Obama's positions side-by-side with Romney's positions regarding budgeting for militarism and defense and I stand by my accusation that the National Priorities Project is just one more of the foundation-funded outfits fronting for Obama in the most insidious and deceitful manner.

And after responding directly to my accusation the National Priorities Project blocked this response to them.

Again, typical of how these foundation-funded outfits are fronting for Obama through censorship instead of helping us defend democracy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Raise the minimum wage to a real living wage

I just posted this on Congressman Keith Ellison's FaceBook page after he called for a miserly increase in the minimum wage:

The minimum wage should be a real living--- non-poverty--- wage legislatively tied to the real cost of living index as monitored by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and recalculated quarterly with the minimum wage indexed to inflation, too.

What gives any employer the right to pay a man or woman they hire the right to pay people any less than a living wage for a job required to be done?

If employers don't want to pay working people they hire real living wages let them do the work themselves or hire their spouses and children to do their jobs.

And, yes, Elizabeth, there are numerous universal social programs that can be put in place that would provide what wages don't and price controls could be used to roll-back prices on everything from gas to groceries to electricity and home heating fuels... BUT, small business almost always clamor the loudest against these kinds of reforms just as small business cries every time there is any mention of raising the minimum wage to a real living wage.

I would be interested in what Congressman Ellison who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus thinks of my views.

This playing around with nickles and dimes at election time is a bunch of crap.

Let the politicians live on the minimum wage they establish and it will be increased to a real living wage real quick.

Racist and discriminatory employment practices also serve to drive all wages, including the minimum wage, down as huge pools of unemployed people act like a policeman's billy club over the heads of all working people beating our standard of living down.

Raise the minimum wage and enforce Affirmative Action and we pretty much eradicate poverty because as any school child understands, paying people a poverty wage assures workers remain mired in poverty.

We hear a lot of talk about "jobs, jobs, jobs" but it seems no one wants to talk about real living wage jobs.

You can put everyone to work at the miserly poverty minimum wage and not a single problem has been solved.

Over one-hundred million people--- almost all people with jobs--- are now enrolled in some kind of anti-poverty program. What does this mean?

It means tax-payers are subsidizing these poverty wage jobs which greedy employers profit from.

Democrats have refused to consider that over 15-million people could be put to work at real living wage jobs if we ended these dirty wars and used the resulting "peace dividends" to fund a National Public Health Care Program and a National Public Child Care Program making both public services available for free to the American people.

These wars are making us all poor and the resulting reactionary politics they spawn result in reactionary legislation intended to reduce our standard of living instead of improving our lives and livelihoods.

Here in Minnesota, thanks to the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party over 44,000 jobs have been created over the last 25 odd years in the hideous Indian Gaming Industry where 44,000 Minnesotans are now employed in loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages and without any rights under state or federal labor laws while everyone profits--- especially the politicians; everyone that is except Native Americans stuck with the poverty-causing debt.

A new, huge Menard's store just began doing business on the iron Range with complaints of racist hiring practices and sexual abuse before the grand opening even took place with almost 200 mostly part-time employees and all employees paid between $7.49 and $8.50 an hour--- more poverty wage jobs compliments of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party carrying out the Republican's agenda.

New Priorities Project fronts for warmonger Obama

I find it mind boggling that the National Priorities Project would front for Obama in such a dishonest way by claiming Obama intends to reduce the military budget by 2% in 2013 after we have seen increase after increase with no real accounting for what his wars are presently costing much less how much the prolonged occupations of these countries will cost and then they even have the nerve to point out that the military budget will increase after that using cute words to make it sound not so bad.

As far as I am concerned peace is the major issue of this campaign and for the Priorities Project to be used to front for a warmonger like Obama is a disgrace.

We are now seeing a "coalition" develop claiming to represent liberals and progressives supporting Obama all who are saying the exact same thing they told us in 2007--- elect Obama and we will hold his feet to the fire.

No movement to coerce Obama ever came about as a result of initiatives from these organizations to do this and they have no intent of doing it this time around though they tell us the same thing--- elect Obama and after the election we will take up these issues.

Any one with basic common sense and even the most limited and under-developed reasoning skills understands that the best time to get politicians to act is when they are facing re-election by threatening to withhold votes until you get what you want out of the politician/s.

Have any of these organizations brought our concerns about peace, social and economic justice into the Democratic Party through resolutions at precinct caucuses, county, state or the national convention? The obvious answer in "NO."

Their actions have been to sabotage any attempt to bring issues forward that would prove to go against Obama's neo-liberal Wall Street agenda.

In fact, ironically, there is no bigger booster for Wall Street's neo-liberal warmongering agenda than that of the AFL-CIO whose President, Richard Trumka, speaks in glowing terms about the Israeli killing machine at, of all places, AIPAC national conventions.

Other than insert two short sentences into a position paper that it didn't even try to circulate, the AFL-CIO has had no comment on Obama's wars and increased militarism.

Let's have an outline from these Obama supporters as to what kind of initiatives they intend to initiate AFTER the Election.

We saw what happened with the "One Nation Working Together." It drew in workers seeking to fight-back and struggle to advance their rights and standard of living by insisting on cashing in on "peace dividends" derived from ending these wars.

What was the response from the AFL-CIO and its coalition partners who have engaged in struggle by holding press conferences that get no media coverage? The AFL-CIO shut down the "One nation Working Together" which could have, and would have, been the catalyst needed to "hold Obama's feet to the fire."

These people are all talk, no action. They even call themselves "pragmatic progressives" which means they would rather cozy up to Obama and his neo-liberal Wall Street entourage instead of fighting for what is right and just.

Think about it: Obama will have to be fought if workers want to protect and gain their rights and defend and better their livelihoods because as we have seen, Obama is no friend of labor he couldn't even get something as simple and basic as the Employee Free Choice Act through a House and Senate dominated by Democrats.

And none of these Obama supporters want us to remember that it was none other than Barack Obama himself who resurrected Joe Lieberman's reactionary worthless political career with the full support of the AFL-CIO. It was bringing Lieberman back into Congress that gave the Republican Party new life as Obama's goal was "bi-partisanship." Obama used the Republicans to push politics and legislation towards Wall Street's interests at every turn... Obamacare or the "Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical Industry Bailout of 2010" being the best example of this.

And what did the AFL-CIO and all of these "new" coalition partners--- the leaders of these organizations who don't give a rat's ass about what their memberships want and expect from them do who are coming together under an umbrella to push Obama's re-election do? Did they continue the struggle for single-payer when we were so close to winning? No. They sabotaged the single-payer universal health care movement claiming they would fight for it another day. Ya, sure; you betcha.

These Obama supporters aren't even willing to participate in public forums and discussions with fellow liberals, progressives and activists about what kind of movement building is required with those who don't support Obama.

So, as a precondition for taking action, they eschew their own allies who more often than not turn out to be their organizations' own memberships.

Democrats had every chance to dump Obama during the Primary season. They knew full well the American people have had it with this Wall Street flim-flam man and con-artist. Yet they went right ahead and forced this vile warmonger on us again and now they tell us we are supposed to take responsibility to re-elect Obama so this terrible evil man Romney won't get in office where he would do what? The exact same thing Obama did--- follow the bush agenda because it was Wall Street's agenda and Romney if elected will follow the Obama agenda because Obama's agenda is the same Wall Street agenda.

Should we fear evil? Damn right we should fear evil--- Wall Street's evil. And we should fear any politician carrying out Wall Street's thoroughly reactionary agenda of wars abroad in pursuit of profits paid for through austerity measures shoved down our throats.

Richard Trumka isn't even as smart as my dog Fred. At least Fred knows to keep barking for his bone while a simple pat on his back from Obama stops Trumka from yapping and snarling discontent in the form of a few profanities at his press conferences.

Here in the Red River Valley over 1,300 workers employed by American Crystal Sugar have been locked out of their jobs for over a year... Trumka just got around to holding one of his famous press conferences voicing militancy but doing nothing.

"Doing nothing" is just what we can expect from these Obama supporters after the election no matter who wins--- this has been their pattern ever since 1948 why would they deviate now?

Monday, August 20, 2012

How capitalism works...

How capitalism works explained from a worker's perspective...

Abba Ramos, a veteran organizer in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union:

"If they can get a trained monkey to unload that boxcar tomorrow morning, rest assured, they'll have them over there and they'll have some bananas for lunch, and you'll be out on the street looking for work. Simple as that. You've got to remember, they follow only one rule of economic law, and that's that maximum production-minimum cost yields the greatest amount of profit. They don't deviate from that."
Share this with friends, post on bulletin boards.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The 2012 Elections Have Little To Do With Obama’s Record … Which Is Why We Are Voting For Him

I agree with Michael Munk's commentary below introducing this piece by William Greider from The Nation.

In fact, these "liberals," "progressives" and "leftists" rallying for Obama's re-election now tell us we shouldn't even care about Obama's record and others are telling us we can expect Obama to carry out a progressive agenda in his second term.

Michael Munk politely questions if these people are serious about movement building.

I will be more to the point and point out that these phony liberals, progressives and leftists who sold Obama the first time around as being "progressive" are trying to sell him as a "liberal" this time around.

Carl Davidson and Bill Fletcher, Jr. even try to pass Obama off as a "corporate liberal" meaning Obama represents what they call the enlightened "high road capitalists" as opposed to the "low road capitalists."

In fact, Barack Obama is as reactionary as hell--- a neo-liberal--- carrying out Wall Street's agenda of imperialist wars for profit and world domination abroad paid for through shoving austerity measures down our throats here at home.

We have seen very clearly what these "liberal," "progressive" and "leftist" Obama backers consider "mass movements" to be--- they hold a press conference threatening action but the action never materializes and if by chance signs of fightback and struggle for peace and reforms do begin to materialize as with the "One Nation Working Together" or the Single-payer Universal Health Care movement or the anti-war movement they sabotage these struggles "nipping them in the bud" so as not to cause any embarrassment or problems for Obama and the Democrats.

Actually, they aren't a whole lot better even with the Republicans in power but their yapping is a little more pronounced and somewhat louder.

But, the stock in trade of these phony "liberals," progressives" and "leftists" is always and every where to do nothing but talk a good talk about the battles they intend to wage but never provide the resources to to get off the ground much less follow through to the conclusion which would mean winning real reforms which improve the lives, living conditions and standard of living of the entire working class while raising the majority of people of color, women and the handicapped out of poverty.

Peace and poverty should be the over-riding focus of the 2012 Elections and the struggles need to be initiated now, not later, so people can see where these politicians like Obama really stand--- with Wall Street not the working class. 

Never in my life have I ever heard of such utter stupidity and betrayal as embodied in this other article by Carl Davidson and Bill Fletcher--- the title alone is enough to make any reasonably intelligent and honest working woman or man puke:

What to Do in November, and Beyond
August 14th, 2012  
The 2012 Elections Have Little To Do With Obama’s Record … Which Is Why We Are Voting For Him

Whoever heard of voting for any politician with total and complete disregard for their record while in office? Only complete morons would advocate such stupidity.

But, aside from the stupidity of these "liberals," "progressives" and "leftists" call for Obama's re-election there is the very basic question of strategy and tactics involved with supporting this Wall Street warmonger who under the guise of "seeking bi-partisan legislation" he strengthens the hands of those like Mitt Romney and none other than this very evil man Paul Ryan and in return supporting Obama further strengthens our enemy: Wall Street.

Whoever heard of anyone saying they were going to mobilize a fightback and struggle for progress being engaged in strengthening the hand of the very enemy one is going to have to turn around to fight and struggle against for peace, social and economic justice.

And if this betrayal isn't enough, they turn around and try to pump up Obama as being some kind of symbol of a victorious struggle against racism when Obama and his Administration have intentionally set out to destroy the most important civil and human rights achievement: Affirmative Action.

Do these muddle-headed middle class "intellectuals" not understand that people without jobs are going to be poor and that these massive pools of unemployed are sources of extra cheap labor pressuring all wages down and that Obama, just like Republicans, because he is Wall Street's president is using the misery caused by massive unemployment to drive all wages down and to be used as a club over the heads of workers trying to win decent contracts and the unorganized trying to organize?

From these "liberals," "progressives" and "leftists" continuing to back this warmongering anti-labor Obama pushing Wall Street's racist agenda we are supposed to believe these deceitful, lying, two-faced hypocrites who refused to stand up to Obama's biggest backers, the Crown family of Wall Street as they closed plant after plant moving production of Maytag and Whirlpool off-shore leaving thousands out of work and now we have the Communication Workers of America supporting Obama's re-election blaming the Republicans for moving call centers overseas when it was Obama and the Democrats working in bi-partisanship with the Republicans who helped Xerox Corporation set up one of the largest call centers in the Bahama's--- ACS (Affiliated Computer Services) to collect on student loans; instead of the banks profiting from student loans now Xerox is raking in billions in profits as the United States government pays them "collection fees" of over 60% in many cases.

Student loans--- one more operation like the home mortgage scandal Obama has done nothing to resolve as millions of working class families are forced to go through the misery and suffering associated with losing the family home.  

There are many reasons why these dishonest shysters fronting for Obama's re-election bid are trying to paint Obama as a "liberal" wanting us to ignore his record in office expecting us to fall for their "line" that they will launch a struggle AFTER the Election; but, the number one reason these shysters do this is because this is how they perpetuate the hype that they need to surround themselves with in order to continue their very lucrative careers which are based on them creating mass confusion that prevents united mass action by the working class for a world at peace where the wealth created by the working class is used for the betterment of all working people.

These people, these pathetic excuses for human beings who pretend to be liberals, progressives and leftists yet earn their livings by deceiving and confusing and betraying working people defend the rights of the Wall Street venture capitalist (Democrats) and vulture capitalists (Republican) to reap huge dividends from imperialist wars and exploitation of the working class yet the one dividend these pathetic, cowardly and dishonest Obama backers are unwilling to talk about is the "peace dividend" that would result in ending (and stopping from beginning) Obama's dirty imperialist wars.

When have you ever heard these phony "liberals," "progressives" and "leftistists" come out and tell the truth: Wall Street is our enemy

These phony "liberals," "progressives" and "leftists" couldn't even get their "friend" Barack Obama to push the Employee Free Choice Act through Congress. They won't even lift a finger to see to it that the Family Leave Act is enforced and they refuse to call on their Democratic Party "friends" to repeal "At-will hiring; at-will firing" the major impediment and obstacle to union organizing--- when was the last time you saw any of these phony "liberals," "progressives" or "leftists" submit a resolution to any body of the Democratic Party from the precinct caucus to the state or national convention calling for the repeal of "At-will?" Never. We are dealing with cowards who at every opportunity if not by words then by inaction betray working class struggles and these are the morons calling on us to vote for Obama's re-election. 

And when they can't get us to go along with their moronically stupid calls to elect Obama in spite of his record as warmonger and pusher of austerity measures these shills for Obama and the Democrats begin to try to bully and badger us to toe their "line."

These Obama sock-puppets stop at nothing to try to force and coerce us to toe their line.

No lie is too big. 

No excuse too stupid.

Until we grasp that these people are paid big money to trick and deceive us we will be their victims just as we are Wall Street's victims.

Do you think for a moment any of these well-heeled muddle-headed liberals would qualify for anything other than a poverty wage job if they did not use their communication skills to deceive and confuse working people in a way preventing us from challenging Wall Street for political and economic power?

We will never get the kind of movements required to win the peace and reforms and challenge Wall Street for political and economic power until we establish grassroots and rank-and-file organizations free from foundation-funding and free from the control and manipulation of these shills for Obama and the Democratic Party who are always going to fightback AFTER elections.

But this time they have reached an unprecedented new low in telling us we shouldn't be concerned with Obama's dismal record while in office. This is a new low even for these shysters who have always held up their phony "legislative report cards" trying to convince us to vote against our own self-interest by voting for the candidates selected by our employers.

Imagine that--- Carl Davidson and Bill Fletcher, Jr. don't even think we should be concerned with Obama's record in office.

And William Greider, the guy who helped destroy the Single-payer Universal Health Care movement and who has never lifted a finger to organize anything except a way to get payment for his writings and speaking engagements and book sales wants us to believe that he will roll up his sleeves and help us build a movement for peace and reforms AFTER the Election after saying the exact same thing before the last election and the election before that and the election before that.

William Greider might "participate" in one of Richard Trumka's famous "fightback" press conferences talking about how he is going to organize a movement to fightback. But, he and Greider have been holding these press conferences as their gimmicks to avoid and evade struggles for years.

At these press conference fightbacks we get a good display of Trumka's "anger" (all theatrics) and Greider's oh so sophisticated charts and footnotes "explaining" Trumka's staged "anger."

Tell the Democrats and Republicans to go to hell.

Tell these moronic shills for Obama posing as "liberals," "progressives" and "leftists" to go to hell.

Get a few friends and co-workers together and start a grassroots or rank-and-file organization capable of thinking all this through and initiating struggles because William Greider, Carl Davidson, Bill Fletcher, Jr. and Richard Trumka sure as hell aren't going to get beyond fightback and struggle via press conferences--- their "struggles" will always be coming AFTER the next election.

If you want to forget that Barack Obama promised peace, jobs and single-payer universal health care to get the nomination the first time around that is up to you.

But, if you want to take a look at his record in office, Obama is a warmonger who delivered the Republican's "Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical Industry Bailout and Profit Maximization Act of 2010" while enabling thousands of jobs to go overseas including a collection agency/call center he subsidized Xerox to establish in the Bahamas with tax-payer dollars where workers are being paid fifteen cents an hour while American students without jobs have to pay-back loans from which Xerox (ACS) profits. This is the Obama these morons want us to re-elect.

No wonder Obama's supporters don't want us to consider his record in office and start throwing tantrums and fits when we bring forward Obama's record while in office.

Alan L. Maki

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, Aug 9, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Subject: [national] Progressives to salvage Obama's policies--after the election
To: amaki000@centurytel.net

In his Nation piece, “How to Launch a Mass Movement for Economic Justice,”  William Greider writes that a labor/liberal coalition has proposed policies intended to head off more compromises with the far right that have guided Obama and the Dems in his first four years.
According to Greider, “neither the president nor the Democratic Party much wants to talk about solutions that sound suspiciously liberal. Mitt Romney is mocked for not having a coherent plan for economic recovery, but Obama doesn't have much of one either. "Fairness" is not a governing strategy. Frequent factory visits are not going to bring back manufacturing jobs.”
So several “progressive” organization, including the AFL-CIO executive council, the SEIU, the Center for Community Change, the Economic Policy Institute, the National Council of La Raza, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights have endorsed  a document called "Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All" that is intended as a “shadow platform” for the Dems to stand on but only after the campaign.
Any chance the liberals and labor will be taken seriously by the “Reelect Obama and the Dems”movement? Greider admits that they “are trying to walk a delicate line. On the one hand,they intend to push these comprehensive reform proposals aggressively on Congress and the White House, no matter who wins in November. On the other hand, they are committed to Obama’s  re-election and anxious to avoid making problems for him.”
So the liberals will continue to shut up until after the election-when, he says without much confidence, they’ll start “to play hardball.”
If they weren’t ready to play for the past years, I’m skeptical they will suddenly find religion after election day. Such is the nature of US politics and its mantra of the lesser evil.


Visit my website www.michaelmunk.com

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell: 651-587-5541

Primary E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rush Limbaugh's lies about welfare

A lot is being made of Obama trying to buy votes by ending "work for welfare."

Racist right-wing talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh have seized on this issue claiming more than 100-million people are on some kind of welfare which IS the truth.

However, the truth that isn't being told by anyone is the dirtiest little secret behind this huge number of people receiving government assistance in order to survive.

Most of these 100-million people are working at poverty wage jobs--- thus, it is these employers who are reaping huge profits as tax-payers subsidize the labor for their great "free enterprises."

In addition, those receiving these miserly welfare payments of one kind or another who are not working at all serve as a huge pool of cheap labor dragging and driving all wages down. Another favor to employers compliments of U.S. tax-payers.

Welfare, unemployment compensation and Social Security should all be raised to a level comparable to what a real living wage would be and so should the minimum wage.

A real living wage must include all cost of living factors and be indexed to inflation.

Once employers pay their employees a real living wage and we create a full-employment economy, Rush Limbaugh and his racist, anti-worker cohorts will be able to stop complaining about the "lazy bums who lie in bed all day."

I would note that here in Minnesota the only jobs Democrats have created is poverty wage jobs, too--- 44,000 poverty wage jobs in the Indian Gaming Industry. And Democrats just created some 200 poverty wage jobs for people employed at Menard's in Virginia, Minnesota on the Iron Range where workers (mostly part-time) are paid between $7.49 and $8.50 an hour--- all of whom receive some kind of welfare because of their poverty wages.

So, while Rush Limbaugh and his fellow bigots decry Obama ending "welfare for work;" the fact of the matter is that Obama and the Democrats are putting people to work at poverty wage jobs and all the while people apparently don't see through all this confusion in order to demand all jobs pay real living wages.

Poverty is the real issue of the 2012 Elections--- yet we don't find Obama or Romney nor Biden nor Ryan addressing this issue of poverty.

Make no mistake, a poverty wage job is no solution to poverty. As any school child understands paying workers poverty wages is going to result in poverty.

it is bad enough the politicians talk about "jobs, jobs, jobs" and few jobs get created but even when jobs are created the real crime is that they are all poverty wage jobs being created.

Of course, low wages mean bigger profits for the employing class--- which Rush Limbaugh will very conveniently never mention.

And of course all these phony liberals, progressives and leftists backing Obama will never talk about the fact that if we ended Obama's dirty imperialist wars we could put tens of millions of welfare recipients to work providing us all with free health care and free child care. And what about getting WPA, CCC and C.E.T.A. programs up and running with real living wage jobs?

The American people understand the benefits of "peace dividends" even if the Democrats and Republicans and the Rush Limbaugh's of the world do not.

We need to change the direction of conversation in this country away from all the lies fabricated on racist bigotry and hate with a focus on equality, peace, social and economic justice.

We need to openly question and vigorously challenge these Wall Street politicians--- Democrats and Republicans--- in the public square.

For working class families, a poverty wage job is no better than no job. This is something the well-heeled, muddle-headed, middle class intellectuals backing Obama as "the lesser evil" will never understand. Just like these uncaring mental midgets will never understand that Obama's wars are just as bad as Bush's wars.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Remembering the Other Weapon of Mass Destruction

Remembering the Other Weapon of Mass Destruction

By Bruce Gagnon

Global Network

Aug 6, 2012

I first wrote this blog entry in 2006 after reading an amazing book called “A Plague Upon Humanity” by Daniel Barenblatt. It tells the story of the hidden history of Japan’s biological warfare program before and during WW II. Since we are remembering the atomic bombing of

Hiroshima and Nagasaki this week I thought we also should remember the origins of another weapon of mass destruction - biological weapons.

Barenblatt begins by revealing how Japan created a phony pretext in order to start the Manchurian war. In September 1931 Japanese army engineers secretly blew up the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railway near Shenyang. The Japanese government then immediately blamed the explosion upon Chinese soldiers garrisoned nearby. Japan then attacked the Chinese troops, sleeping in their barracks at the time. A war was underway.

Early on Japan set up a biological warfare (BW) unit led by Shiro Ishii. BW units were established throughout Manchuria and China in Japanese army occupied territory. At these locations Chinese freedom fighters and civilians were used as lab rats and were given lethal doses of bubonic plague, cholera, smallpox, typhus and typhoid. Bodies of infected prisoners were cut open, often while people still lived, to study the effects of the biological contamination. Japan’s BW program used infected rats and fleas, dropped from airplanes, to spread the deadly diseases killing entire Chinese villages. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Chinese civilians were killed by Japan.

As WW II widened throughout the Pacific, Japan took their BW campaign to Japanese occupied islands. Japan also sent disease laden animals into Russia in hopes of spreading disease into that country. American prisoners of war were experimented on in Japanese labs as well.

Following Japanese surrender at the end of WW II one would have thought that these crimes against humanity would have been exposed and punished, similar to Nazi war crimes at the Nuremberg trials. But this was not the case. General Douglas MacArthur made a deal with Japan’s chief BW expert, Shiro Ishii, protecting him from prosecution by literally covering up the entire BW story. Ishii and his BW team gave their expertise to the U.S. According to Barenblatt, “Not only did they escape war crimes proceedings and public scrutiny by virtue of their cooperation with the U.S. occupation authorities, they also became prominent public health officials and respected academic figures in Japanese university and government circles. A few became quite wealthy as executives of pharmaceutical companies.”

The Soviet Union knew about Japan’s BW program and in late 1949 called for Ishii to be apprehended and tried by the U.S. occupation forces in Japan as the ringleader of the secret Japanese program. In response, Gen. MacArthur’s office in Tokyo denounced the Soviet charges of Japanese biological warfare and a U.S. cover-up as evidence of communist propaganda.

In fact on March 13, 1948 the U.S. War Department cabled instructions to Gen. MacArthur in Japan to give “immunity” to Japanese BW operatives. “Information retained from Ishii and associates may be retained in intelligence channels,” the instructions concluded.

There were war crimes trials in Japan after WW II. B.V.A. Roling, the last surviving judge from the Tokyo trials, who represented the Netherlands on the international tribunal, learned of this American deception many years later. “As one of the judges in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, it is a bitter experience for me to be informed now that centrally ordered Japanese war criminality of the most disgusting kind was kept secret from the Court by the U.S. government,” Roling wrote. The U.S. should be “ashamed because of the fact they withheld information from the Court with respect to the biological experiments of the Japanese in Manchuria on Chinese and American prisoners of war,” he said.

In the 1950’s Ishii was secretly taken to the U.S. to lecture at Fort Detrick, MD on how to best conduct germ warfare. And as the Korean War heated up, Ishii was used by the U.S. to advise on how to spread deadly disease in that war against North Korean and Chinese forces. North Korea, China and the Soviet Union all claimed in 1951-52 that the U.S. Pentagon was using germ warfare on a large scale in the Korean War.

The Chinese showed footage and photographs of metallic U.S. shells that snapped open upon hitting the ground, releasing a swarming cargo of insects that unleashed bubonic plague, smallpox, and anthrax. This method of delivery had been a favorite of Japan’s BW program.

Barenblatt notes that an international scientific investigating team, headed by a highly noted British biochemist from Cambridge University, did research in Korea and issued a report saying that sudden appearances of insects and spiders, of species not normally known in the region, in winter, and in association with the dropping of strange containers and objects by U.S. military planes were evidence of bio-warfare. Lab tests performed on fleas discovered in such unusual circumstances, positively showed the presence of bubonic plague bacteria.

In some cases, U.S. military jets, usually F-86 fighters, had flown over Korea dropping masses of fowl feathers tainted with anthrax.

In 1956 American journalist John Powell was charged with 13 counts of sedition for trying to expose the U.S. BW campaign in Korea. In 1953 former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover brought Powell before congressional committees charging him with “un-American activities.” Years later, in the 1980’s, Powell’s story was finally aired in an article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

So as we today hear China warning about the re-arming of Japan, with full support and encouragement of the U.S., can we not see some historical precedent for their worry? Both Japan and the U.S. have shown, since WW II, that they will use extreme measures to subdue Korea and China in the quest for control and domination of the Asia-Pacific. As the U.S. today doubles its military presence in the Asian-Pacific region, can there be any doubt that China and Korea have not forgotten the stories of the past? Stories that to most Americans are unknown and long covered up.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502

The Ascendancy of a Criminal Financial Elite The Two Faces of a Police State: Sheltering Tax Evaders, Financial Swindlers and Money Launderers while Policing the Citizens

This article just begins to scratch the surface of wealth that is being "hidden" in this country in that it only includes "legal" means of obtaining wealth.

It also doesn't include the Indian Gaming Industry now encompassing over 350 casinos string out across the country along with a myriad of other associated businesses from hotels/motels, theme parks and golf courses, restaurants and convenience stores and gas stations, etc.--- none of which are accountable to anyone let alone the Internal Revenue Service and which include the illegal operations ranging from prostitution, drug dealing, illegal betting to loan-sharking and selling stolen merchandise. All of this is untaxed wealth which should be going to finance everything from education, child care and health care to roads. These same casino managements now in control of this Indian Gaming Industry are ripping off U.S. tax-payers as they swindle and embezzle funds designated for Reservation infrastructure and social programs creating a further worsening of the already despicable racist poverty fueled by racist unemployment, under-employment and poverty wages. The mobsters who own the slot machines pay no taxes, either.

As this article points out, the rich and powerful are allowed to rob us blind with impunity and then their politicians tell us there are no funds for what society needs as our great "free media" sweeps all of this under the rug.

Here in Minnesota, Archie LaRose used his position of Leech Lake Tribal Chair to steal from the people of Leech Lake, state and federal taxpayers as an "accountant" he employed had a husband who is a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio who should have been exposing this most horrendous theft but was a party to covering it up. There is no end to this. Again, where was the FBI and local police and prosecutors while all of this was going on? They were targeting civil rights activists like Gregory Paquin for the most disgusting campaign of harassment, his only "crime" demanding the enforcement of Affirmative Action and T.E.R.O.--- providing jobs for Indian people who are victims of racist discrimination in both the public and private sectors.

Think about it--- even Alan Greenspan's wife, Andrea Mitchell, is a big muckety-muck in the news media who should be reporting on all of this but is covering up the theft of the wealth created by working people as her husband was enabling massive theft of this wealth.

Check this article out:

The Ascendancy of a Criminal Financial Elite
The Two Faces of a Police State: Sheltering Tax Evaders, Financial Swindlers and Money Launderers while Policing the Citizens

By Prof. James Petras

Global Research, August 5, 2012

“The rotten heart of finance” The Economist

“There is a degree of cynicism and greed which is really quite shocking” Lord Turner Bank of England , Financial Service Authority


Never in the history of the United States have we witnessed crimes committed on the scale and scope of the present day by both private and state elites.

An economist of impeccable credentials, James Henry, former chief economist at the prestigious consulting firm McKinsey & Company, has researched and documented tax evasion. He found that the super-wealthy and their families have as much as $32 trillion (USD) of hidden assets in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenue! This study excluded such non-financial assets as real estate, precious metals, jewels, yachts, race horses, luxury vehicles and so on. Of the $32 trillion in hidden assets, $23 trillion is held by the super-rich of North America and Europe .

A recent report by a United Nations Special Committee on Money Laundering found that US and European banks laundered over $300 billion a year, including $30 billion just from the Mexican drug cartels.

New reports on the multi-billion dollar financial swindles involving the major banks in the US and Europe are published each week. England ’s leading banks, including Barclay’s and a host of others, have been identified as having rigged the LIBOR, or inter-bank lending rate, for years in order to maximize profits. The Bank of New York, JP Morgan, HSBC, Wachovia and Citibank are among scores of banks, which have been charged with laundering drug money and other illicit funds according to investigations from the US Senate Banking Committees. Multi-national corporations receive federal bailout funds and tax exemptions and then, in violation of publicized agreements with the government, relocate plants and jobs in Asia and Mexico .

Major investment houses, like Goldman Sachs, have conned investors for years to invest in ‘garbage’ equities while the brokers pumped and dumped the worthless stocks. Jon Corzine, CEO of MF Global (as well as a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, former US Senator and Governor of New Jersey) claimed that he “cannot account” for $1.6 billion in lost client investors funds from the collapse of MF Global in 2011.

Despite the growth of an enormous police state apparatus, the proliferation of investigatory agencies, Congressional hearings and over 400,000 employees at the Department of Homeland Security, not a single banker has gone to jail. In the most egregious cases, a bank like Barclay’s will pay a minor fine for having facilitated tax evasion and engaging in speculative swindles. At the same time, the principle ‘miscreant’ in the LIBOR swindle, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Barclay’s Bank, Jerry Del Missier, will receive a severance payout of $13 million dollars.

In contrast to the ‘lax’ law enforcement practiced by the burgeoning police state with regard to the swindles of the banking, corporate and billionaire elites, it has intensified political repression of citizens and immigrants who have not committed any crime against public safety and order.

Millions of immigrants have been seized from their homes and work-places, jailed, beaten and deported. Hundreds of Hispanic and Afro-American neighborhoods have been the target of police raids, shootouts and killings. In such neighborhoods, the local and federal police operate with impunity – as was illustrated by shocking videos of the police shootings and brutality against unarmed civilians in Anaheim , California . Muslims, South Asians, Arabs, Iranians and others are racially profiled, arbitrarily arrested and prosecuted for participating in charities and humanitarian foundations or simply for attending religious institutions. Over 40 million Americans engaged in lawful political activity are currently under surveillance, spied upon and frequently harassed.

The Two Faces of the US Government: Impunity and Repression

Overwhelming documentation supports the notion that the US police and judicial system has totally broken down when it comes to enforcing the law of the land regarding crimes among the financial, banking, corporate elite.

Trillion-dollar tax-evaders, billionaire financial swindlers and multi-billionaire money launderers are almost never sent to jail. While some may pay a fine, none have their illicit earnings seized even though many are repeat criminals. Recidivism among financial criminals is rife because the penalties are so light, the profit are so high and the investigations are infrequent, superficial and inconsequential. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that $1.6 trillion was laundered, mostly in Western banks, in 2009, one fifth coming directly from the drug trade. The bulk of income from the cocaine trade was generated in North America ($35 billion), two-thirds of which were laundered in North American banks. The failure to prosecute bankers engaged in a critical link of the drug trade is not due to ‘lack of information’, nor is it due to the ‘laxness’ on the part of regulators and law enforcement. The reason is that the banks are too big to prosecute and the bankers are too rich to jail. Effective law-enforcement would lead to the prosecution of all the leading banks and bankers, which would sharply reduce profits. Jailing the top bankers would close the ‘revolving door’, the golden portal through which government regulators secure their own wealth and fortune by joining private investment houses after leaving ‘public’ service. The assets of the ten biggest banks in the US form a sizeable share of the US economy. The boards of directors of the biggest banks inter-lock with all major corporate sectors. The top and middle financial officials and their counterparts in the corporate sector, as well as their principle stockholders and bondholders, are among the country’s biggest tax evaders.

While the Security and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department and the Senate Banking Committee all make a public pretense of investigating high financial crimes, their real function is to protect these institutions from any efforts to transform their structure, operations and role in the US economy. The fines, which were recently levied, are high by previous standards but still only amount to, at most, a couple of weeks’ profits.

The lack of ‘judicial will’, the breakdown of the entire regulatory system and the flaunting of financial power is manifested in the ‘golden parachutes’ routinely awarded to criminal CEOs following their exposure and ‘resignation’. This is due to the enormous political power the financial elite exercise over the state, judiciary and the economy.

Political Power and the Demise of ‘Law and Order’

With regard to financial crimes, the doctrine guiding state policy is ‘too rich for jail, too big to fail’ , which translates into multi-trillion dollar treasury bailouts of bankrupt kleptocratic financial institutions and a high level of state tolerance for billionaire tax-evaders, swindlers and money launderers. Because of the total breakdown of law enforcement toward financial crimes, there are high levels of repeat offenders in what one British financial official describes as ‘cynical (and cyclical) greed’.

The current ‘banner’ under which the financial elite have seized total control over the state, the budget and the economy has been ‘change’. This refers to the deregulation of the financial system, the massive expansion of tax loopholes, the free flight of profits to overseas tax havens and the dramatic shift of ‘law enforcement’ from prosecuting the banks laundering the illicit earnings of drug and criminal cartels to pursuing so-called ‘terrorist states’. The ‘state of law’ has become a lawless state. Financial ‘changes’ have permitted and even promoted repeated swindles, which have defrauded millions and impoverished hundreds of millions. There are 20 million mortgage holders who have lost their homes or have been unable to maintain payments; tens of millions of middle class and working class taxpayers who were forced to pay higher taxes and lose vital social services because of upper class and corporate tax evasion. The laundering of billions of dollars in drug cartel and criminal wealth by the biggest banks has led to the deterioration of neighborhoods and rising crime, which has destabilized middle and working class family life.


The ascendancy of a criminal financial elite and its complicit, accommodating state has led to the breakdown of law and order, the degradation and discrediting of the entire regulatory network and judicial system. This has led to a national system of ‘unequal injustice’ where critical citizens are prosecuted for exercising their constitutional rights while criminal elites operate with impunity. The harshest enforcement of police state fiats are applied against hundreds of thousands of immigrants, Muslims and human rights activists, while financial swindlers are courted at Presidential campaign fund raisers.

It is not surprising today that many workers and middle class citizens consider themselves to be ‘conservative’ and ‘against change’. Indeed, the majority wants to ‘conserve’ Social Security, pubic education, pensions, job stability, and federal medical plans, such as MEDICARE and MEDICAID against ‘radical’ elite advocates of ‘change’ who want to privatize Social Security and education, end MEDICARE, and slash MEDICAID. Workers and the middle class demand stability of jobs and neighborhoods and stable prices against run-away inflation of medical care and education. Wage and salaried citizens support law and order, especially when it means the prosecution of billionaire tax evaders, criminal money-launderering bankers and swindlers, who, at most, pay a minor fine, issue an excuse or ‘apology’ and then proceed to repeat their swindles.

The radical ‘changes’ promoted by the elite, have devastated life for millions of Americans in every region, occupation and age group. They have destabilized family life by undermining job security while undermining neighborhoods by laundering drug profits. Above all they have totally perverted the entire system of justice where the ‘criminals are made respectable and the respectable treated as criminals’.

The first defense of the majority is to resist ‘elite change’ and to conserve the remnants of the welfare state. The goal of ‘conservative’ resistance will be to transform the entire corrupt legal system of ‘functional criminality’ into a system of ‘equality before the law’. That will require a fundamental shift in political power, at the local and regional level, from the bankers’ boardrooms to neighborhood and workplace councils, from compliant elite-appointed judges and regulators to real representatives elected by the majority groaning under our current system of injustice.