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, 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?