Please note I have a new phone number...

512-517-2708

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...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


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


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

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What needs to be done to break free from this two-party trap?

I think the left has confused "a labor based" party with a labor "leadership" party so I use the term "working class" based people's party.

Working people need not wait for these labor "leaders" to initiate this struggle to break free from this two-party trap.

Left wing and progressive working class grassroots and rank-and-file activists must become the initiating leaders of the movement to break free from this two-party trap.

As with any attempt to improve the lives, livelihoods and standard of living of working people, it is the left which is going to have to be the catalyst initiating this new party which simultaneously is building a movement that reflects the idea that we need a labor movement acting responsibly in taking up the problems and needs of the entire working class--- insisting on a government responsible for full employment is the place to start both a political party and a movement.

If we look at the executive council of the AFL-CIO there are maybe four members who might join efforts once WELL underway to create a progressive working class based people's party similar to the socialist New Democratic Party in Canada:

http://www.aflcio.org/About/Leadership/Executive-Council-Members

There is a basis for the left to become a catalyst to launch a working class based people's party working around this:

"There is no way to fund what we must do as a nation without bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The militarization of our foreign policy has proven to be a costly mistake. It is time to invest at home."

AFL-CIO Executive Council
August 3, 2011

And this:

"The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.

Bob Herbert, Columnist New York Times

We need to be very honest here--- there is no one left wing party in this country that could have led the organizing drives of the industrial unions; there was never any one left wing group which, on its own, could have led the civil rights or anti-Vietnam War movements; why would anyone think that there is any one left wing party or organization today that could lead the struggle to take on Wall Street?

If we pool our little resources and look at where we each have local and regional strengths we form a network capable of running slates of candidates while putting the most important issue on the national agenda:

Full employment based on peace putting people to work solving the problems working people are experiencing.

Maybe we should be thinking of convening some kind of national conference where we can meet face-to-face to kick this kind of thinking around to see if we can't reach some kind of "meeting of the minds?"

This article could be the basis and foundation of a new working class based people's party and a movement for peace, jobs and needed reforms:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/26/opinion/26herbert.html?_r=0

Quite frankly, I don't think there is a more revolutionary socialist initiative and activity we could undertake right now.

Yes; we all have our differences but lets agree not to set aside our differences but to air our differences in a very transparent way through roundtable discussions and debates as we let the working class see that we can work together when it really counts around issues and concerns that really matter.

Again, check out the blog on full employment I have created... it is open for any of you to comment:

http://fullemploymentnow.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 28, 2013


Complaint filed in support of Affirmative Action and for honest and open government... please share widely:

January 28, 2013

James Nobel, Legislative Auditor
Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor
Room 140
658 Cedar Street
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
MSFA-MINNESOTA SPORTS FACILITIES AUTHORITY - Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority

Re: Complaint and evaluation requested of the following individuals and their organizations as it pertains to the procedures and following of legislation for Minnesota public works project named the “People Stadium,” (Minnesota Vikings Stadium):

• Minnesota Sports Authority Facility (MSFA-MINNESOTA SPORTS FACILITIES AUTHORITY) Michele Kelm-Helgen and communications director Jennifer Hathaway;
• Met Council and it’s employees Wanda Kirkpatrick and Adam Koski;
• Velma Korbel in her capacity as Director of Minneapolis Department Civil Rights and Michael McHugh in his capacity as Contract Compliance director for the city of Minneapolis;
• Minnesota Department of Human Rights and Commissioner Kevin Lindsey


Complainants: Ronald A. Edwards and Donald Allen on behalf of Minnesota’s Our Black News Networks (www.ourblacknews.com).

On Thursday, January 24, 2013 a meeting was held at the Metrodome (Halsey Hall Room) Vikings Stadium Equity Plan - Public Comment Session. Met Council's Wanda Kirkpatrick and Minneapolis' civil rights director Velma Korbel were in attendance along with legal council for the MSFA and an assistant to Wanda Kirkpatrick.

Minnesota Human Rights commissioner Kevin Lindsey was also in attendance, as were another 23 people.

The following is prima facie evidence and all of the essential facts in this complaint to open an investigation:

• A) Stadium officials, MSFA-MINNESOTA SPORTS FACILITIES AUTHORITY have scheduled a number of meetings over the last three months. Some meetings are deemed “public meetings” – but the “public” is not being notified of said meetings. In the case of the meeting on 1/24/13, there was no press release sent out from the MSFA-MINNESOTA SPORTS FACILITIES AUTHORITY per its communications director Jennifer Hathaway who we have been in contact with since October 26, 2012. Complaints claim probable cause, which might be in violations of the federal RICO Act by the MSFA-MINNESOTA SPORTS FACILITIES AUTHORITY, and it’s officials. If there is no public messaging sent out to the public for a “public meeting,” MSFA-MINNESOTA SPORTS FACILITIES AUTHORITY officials must be hand-picking people who they want in the room to hear information in an effort to assist those people in obtaining information to successfully engage the MSFA-MINNESOTA SPORTS FACILITIES AUTHORITY. This could be considered racketeering in one of its many meanings, in this case: “Obstruction of justice in furtherance of illegal business activities.”
• B) Veterans Preference on Vikings Stadium Workforce: In the meeting on 1/24/13 Met Council employee Wanda Kirkpatrick and Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights director Velma Korbel stated the state legislators did not have any workforce goals for veterans or veterans preference. As we know, the Veterans Preference in Minnesota Public Employment states, “The Minnesota Veterans Preference Act (VPA) grants most veterans a limited preference over non-veterans in hiring and promotion for most Minnesota public employment positions, as granted in Minnesota Statutes 197.48, 43A.11, and 197.455. These statues may apply to certain spouses of veterans. The Minnesota VPA Statutes apply to Minnesota public employment, civil service laws, charter provisions, ordinances, rules or regulations of a county, city, town, school district, or other municipality or political subdivision of this state." Complainants feel both Korbel and Kirkpatrick were uninformed and rude in their discussion about Minnesota’s veterans working on the people’s stadium. (Please see the video of conversation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFgew4L8b90).
• C) Good Faith Efforts: MSFA-MINNESOTA SPORTS FACILITIES AUTHORITY officials could not explain how the enforcement of Good Faith Efforts will be handled other than to say the MSFA-MINNESOTA SPORTS FACILITIES AUTHORITY board will handle enforcement. This information has not been clearly made available for the MFSA nor the Met Council or the Minnesota Department of Transportation. See video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFgew4L8b90
• D) We request an investigation on contracts between Met Council’s Wanda Kirkpatrick and Aaron Koski, (September 14, 2012 meeting).
• E) Request for information on equitable hiring inside of MSFA as it pertains to women and people of color. Also we would request a copy of the MSFA-MINNESOTA SPORTS FACILITIES AUTHORITY’s Affirmative Action Plan.
Summary Complaint:
Both Mr. Edwards and Mr. Allen feel the MSFA has been less than cordial and diplomatic in delivering information in real time to local and statewide community members. The number of private, “public meetings” held is a heinous reflection on the MSFA and how they do business.
We request full remedies in each of these situations including public meeting held to review each complaint.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 612.986.0010 (Allen) or 763.228.1748 (Edwards).
Best in success,

Ronald A. Edwards and Donald Allen
RAE/da

War


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Is capitalism working?



[Please note: I added the links to the original leaflet in order to make this a study guide for workers and a guide for promoting cross-border understanding between workers and joint working class action & solidarity. I hope you find this information useful. Feel free to copy, use and distribute... yours in struggle and solidarity, Alan L. Maki]

Our northern working class friends across the border say:

Capitalism is Not Working

As delegates to the British Columbia Federation of Labour convention you will be aware that there is a continuing economic crisis in the developed capitalist countries.  This is a crisis brought on by the greed of the 1%. The origins of this greed are not abstract; they are rooted inextricably in the capitalist system.

Since the 1970s capital was faced with falling rates of profit from manufacturing, so capital sought out new and higher sources of profit.  In general terms, this meant a shift of capital from the manufacturing to the financial sectors of the economy.

A second attempt to spur profits was to close plants in the U.S. etc and to open branch plants of new plants in the Maquiladora zone or in the “free economic” zones in China, Vietnam or wherever labour was cheap.  This had the desired effect on profits but contributed to unemployment at home.  Unemployment meant competition for jobs and a harder negotiating climate for unions and eventually declining real wages.

The right wing pundits called for tax reductions in order to stimulate spending to boost their economies.  Significant tax reductions were carried out for both the wealthy and for corporations.  Working people got small cuts,but user fees seem to have absorbed these.  The long term effect of tax reductions is that national governments had deficits and reduced transfer payments (education, health) to regions, provinces, and states.  The regional governments having also reduced taxes then found themselves in deficit positions and passed on many expenses to cities and municipalities who pass them on to us.  In the end the infrastructure suffers because there are limits to property taxes that people will accept.

In Europe the solution to the crisis has varied but it always seems that it is the working class that suffers.  In Greece, bond-holders lost a significant portion of the “value” held but the government also had to reduce wages for the public sector and had to lay off many workers in order to get the financial relief needed to keep the country going.  In Spain as in the U.S., there have been large transfers of money to the banks so that they do not default.  This money does not seem to be stimulating either economy - just the banks’ profits and their managers’ bonuses.  The situations in Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and Cyprus seem to be facing the same problems.  However, there always seems to be enough money for the military - F35's, warships, but not for First Nations housing. Of course there is also corporate welfare; “And in Canada, between 1994 and 2007, governments spent $202 billion on all types of subsidies to multiple corporations in all sort of industries.” (Vancouver Sun 2012/09/26) but not for marine safety. 

Working Class Reaction?

In Europe there have been continuing massive demonstrations against these cut backs.  The reaction to these demonstrations has primarily been police and tear gas. Yet in many cases these governments are led by, or have large components of, social democrats (and in some cases socialists) who are going along with the European Union’s and European Central Bank’s insistence that major reforms be carried out in order to protect the integrity of the European Union itself. Their goal is only to improve and moderate capitalism and not to replace it with a better economic model. They fail to recognize that the interests of the bosses are opposed to those of workers and that capitalism can not be reformed to serve working peoples interests.

In the Arab countries we have seen what has been termed the “Arab Spring”, a democracy movement which was spurred by the neoliberal austerity measures of governments. In some cases these movements even had success in overturning reactionary governments.

But here in Canada the labour movement has reacted to austerity assault launched at the behest of the 1% by the Harper government largely like a deer in the headlights. The Quebec student movement have demonstrated the type of organizing and action that is required across the country if we are to defeat the neoliberal austerity agenda. The Occupy movement, and other movements, demonstrate that there is an appetite for change. The labour movement has a key role to play in making that change possible.

The NDP

            The NDP appears poised to take office here in BC in 2013. Given the level of support provided to the NDP by the labour movement, not to mention its historical origins, the issues of this Convention should be its top priority.

Yet we are concerned that important issues such as Labour Code reform i.e. card check, sectoral bargaining, and successorship rights for workers whose jobs are contracted out may be avoided as controversial during the election campaign, and rejected as inexpedient after the formation of the new government. The labour movement must be prepared to fight tooth and nail for the interests of working people, regardless of what government is in power.                            

At this convention delegates should bring pressure on the incoming leadership to develop labour’s independent programme - independent of all political parties. Such a programme could include the previous issues as well as the use of BC resources for BC jobs, and end to private public partnerships, stopping and reversing privatization, and more.

Included in such a programme is the need to pressure any and all political parties to enact such legislation as soon as possible - not when politically expedient.  This programme can not be limited to mere lobbying. Action is needed, from teach-ins to sit-ins, rallies, marches, pickets, and strikes.

We also need to ensure that the labour movement is a movement that represents, and fights for, the working class – not just those with union cards. It must be activist oriented, and rooted in solidarity and struggle, not business unionism.

Ultimately we also need to discard the mistaken belief that the interest of workers and bosses can be reconciled, and that the labour movement has a role in helping to better manage capitalism as if it is a system with the potential to serve workers interests.

What we need is the Socialism as defined by Marx and Engels in the 1800s; a society in which the value produced by labour is used by society rather than expropriated by corporations and sold for profit.  This of course means the public ownership of banks, major resources, and producers, and placing political and economic power in the hands of working people.

November 2012   

This leaflet is posted on my blog. 

Capitalism isn't working in Canada and it sure as heck isn't working here.

Rocky Anderson carries on... this is my response to his most recent insult to working people.

I awoke this morning to find another missive directed at me, working people, the working class and unions from Rocky Anderson in my e-mail:


On Sat, Jan 26, 2013 at 12:44 AM, Rocky Anderson <rockyanderson.justice@gmail.com> wrote:
Great! They can get a good sense of how  people like you, living off the dues of people who actually work, undermine the progressive movement. You are so destructive and crude. I pity you.




This was my response:


Rocky,


Interesting how you are using the term "progressive movement" now but what set off this entire spat was when I asked one very simple question:

Why isn't the word "progressive" used in the proposed Mission and Core Value Statement of the Justice Party?

And then this problem expanded and deepened after I asked you and every single member of the National Steering Committee along with your two trusted right-hand men to write an essay explaining your positions in relation to "full employment" so we would all know and understand the Justice Party was being led by "progressives" not afraid to wear the word "progressive" on a button or state the word "progressive" as part of its Mission and Core Value Statement and in its Program and Platform. Only three of us expressed this commitment to "progressivism" in writing; you Rocky, are still one of those who refuse to place your position on this very simple, basic and fundamental issue of "progressivism" in writing which means that even if you were to accomplish the unlikely--- getting elected again to any public office, there would be no way for "progressive" voters to get any kind of accountability from you; no different than any politician from the Democratic Party from whence you came carrying that opportunist--- not "progressive" baggage. 

By your own words you are still nothing but a Democrat; you expect labor to do your "heavy lifting," as you call it; but, you don't want workers to have a say in the decision-making process.

You disagree and if you don't get your way, you threaten to withdraw the "star power of Rocky Anderson." Rocky; let me tell you, you are no star; if anything you more like a comet burning up hurtling towards earth becoming mere particles of dust.

You have now openly pandered to Dale Latty, the head of the Georgia Justice Party, who openly called on everyone to "expunge all socialists and Communists from the Justice Party, and you now state you stand by this guy--- really, Rocky; you call this the commitment of a "progressive?"

I want you to remember something, Rocky; it was you and the Justice Party that came BEGGING to me to help you... not the other way around. 

And when the fledgling Justice Party came begging, at that time I insisted in seeing something in writing proving to me and other working people that what was being built was a truly "progressive" political party where we would be able to fully participate in a way that gave us voice in bringing forward "progressive" solutions to our problems rather than properly framed progressive sounding policy directives workers have been getting from the Democratic Party.

I voluntarily got involved with the Justice Party extremely reluctantly thinking if enough "progressives" got involved we could build a "progressive" party finding someone like you with a a little star power image useful even though everyone knows you are very weak-minded and less than "progressive" by your own admission.

As I stated publicly over and over again, I much preferred the star power of activists like Cindy Sheehan or Cynthia McKinney and even the liberals like Richard Trumka.

To think that one simple question posed by me setting you off in this manner in which you have wasted the time of so many people because you have been an obstructionist in having this question answered is the epitome of the kind of person you are:

Why isn't the word "progressive" used in the proposed Mission and Core Value Statement of the Justice Party?

Rocky, for a fellow who has said in his opening communications no less than 37 times that you didn't intend to "spend one more minute on this nonsense" you sure keep coming back for more.

Anytime you want to stop communicating your nonsense to me this will end. Believe me when I say this Rocky, I have had more than my fill of you and the bigots you work with now the majority of the Justice Party's National Steering Committee.

I wish the newly formed minority well, "the progressive tendency of the Justice Party;" and I wish them luck--- they are going to need all the luck they can get trying to work with opportunists like you, Rocky, and bigots you defend like Dale Latty who want them to be "expunged." I guess they will have to "wish upon a falling star."

A worker representing workers who want a voice at work and in any political party we get involved in, 

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

Cc:

Patti Bird, President, Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
Sonya Melbye, Secretary-Treasurer, Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

Tara Margolin , "Jonathan M. Ruga" , "Dave Jette" , "Devon Nola" , "Jonathan M. Ruga" , "Laura Bonham" , "Lenny Brody" , "Linda Boyd" , "Luis Rodriguez" , "Michael Ballentine" , "Michael McGee" , "Michael Telesca" , "Sally Soriano" , "Sue Gunn"





On Sat, Jan 26, 2013 at 12:44 AM, Rocky Anderson <rockyanderson.justice@gmail.com> wrote:
Great! They can get a good sense of how  people like you, living off the dues of people who actually work, undermine the progressive movement. You are so destructive and crude. I pity you. 




On Jan 25, 2013 9:02 PM, "Alan Maki" <alan.maki1951mn@gmail.com> wrote:
Rocky,

I reversed the Bcc and the Cc so you sent your stupid shit to every major newspaper in the country... lol!

-- 
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

Friday, January 25, 2013

Rocky Anderson writes me a letter and I respond.

I just received an e-mail from Rocky Anderson that I would like to share along with my response:


On Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:56 AM, Rocky Anderson wrote:

Alan - I really don't want to spend one more minute on all the nonsense of the past couple weeks.  However a couple things are really bothering me and I'd appreciate your response:

1.  Casino workers are apparenly paying dues to the union that employs you.  Do you work full-time for that union?  If so, was participation on the NSC part of your job?  Were you really spending all those hours maligning several good people who have been supportive of the Justice Party while you're supposed to be working on behalf of those who actually work for a living and pay their union dues?  Or is this sort of "political activism" part of your job?

2. What basis do you have for claiming that I was so "dirty" the Democratic Party threw me out? Or that I was so "dirty" I couldn’t run for re-election as mayor.  Or that I took bribes?  Or that I was involved in a shady real estate deal?  What union people in SLC did you speak with about me?  And what do you know about Jonathan Ruga that led you to call him a "shyster," "fraud," "schemer," and such?  Or do you just make such sweeping insults without having any facts to support them?

******
Rocky Anderson
418 South Douglas Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84102
801.557-9007
rockyanderson.justice@gmail.com


My response:


Yes, Rocky; everything I do is part of my job. I work 24/7 365 days a year for the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council. I am responsible and accountable to the casino workers I represent.

When you answer the question I posed to you first about your stand on the "government being responsible for full employment" I will be happy to respond to each and every question you have posed here.

If you have a problem with the way I do my job, file a complaint.

I do find it interesting this is the very first time you have ever mentioned casino workers.

Perhaps if you would have spent as much time campaigning for President as what you are spending time attacking me you might have actually received a respectable number of votes.

I will also answer each and everyone of your questions very publicly.

Looking forward to receiving your answer to my question,

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

CC:
Patti Bird, President, Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
Sonya Melbye, Secretary-Treasurer, Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council



--
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
E-mail: alan.maki1951mn@gmail.com

Blog: http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/

The controversy surrounding my being "expunged" from the National Steering Committee of the Justice Party.


  • Who were the three "left wing" cowards who joined with the right wing reactionaries to "expunge" me from the Justice Party's National Steering Committee in the name of becoming a party "beyond progressive" open to John Birchers and Social Credit in the name of "populism?"

    There were three left wingers who joined the right wingers:

    Lenny Brody from Chicago.
    Dave Jette from the State of Washington
    Luis Rodriguez from California

    Some people are attempting to organize "the progressive tendency in the Justice Party;" I seriously doubt they can be successful unless they can get rid of these right wingers Rocky Anderson was so sneaky about bringing in.

    Of course, the Justice Party doesn't need Rocky Anderson and his "star power;" we could have run Charlie Brown and Lucy carrying signs for peace, against racism and for full employment and received more votes than Rocky ever could.


    As progressives we are looking for votes along with building a progressive movement so why would we want to bring into a party a bunch of right-wing racist and anti-Semitic reactionaries who are also anti-labor?

    I don't believe how some people, including even some very confused leftists, argue this is a matter of "freedom of speech and belief" that these John Birchers and Social Credit be allowed into a party that is supposed to be "progressive."

    Political parties are built by people who share common ideas, goals and objectives--- this has nothing to do with "freedom of speech and belief;" these bigots have the right to organize their own political party centered around their racist and anti-working class views, goals and objectives.

    There is a very sharp battle of ideas underway in our country and around the world. Political parties reflect this battle.
    The initial calls to "expunge" me for my declared left wing views by the Georgia and Texas Justice parties was joined by Rocky Anderson.

    So, on the one hand these people are hypocritically insisting they have a right to take over a small "progressive party" turning it into some kind of perverted "populist party" claiming this is the only way to get votes because a declared "progressive party" limits the number of votes while out of the other side of their mouths they talk about "expunging" those they disagree with.

    Have these people forgotten who the backers of Joe McCarthy were, and remain?

    The John Birch Society has been the base for the continuation of McCarthyism.

    I called for each and every member of the National Steering Committee to submit something in writing concerning the government being responsible for full employment as a way to assure accountability to progressive views.

    How do you build a "progressive party" when those working with you are actually against what progressivism stands for?


    And wow! Did these people, including Rocky Anderson, go into a tizzy. But, what better way to maintain accountability than to have something in writing--- especially when you see these people posting articles from John Birch Society publications and stating they are supporters of Social Credit and then when challenged they claim the magazine "The New American" is the voice of "real progressives."

    I have never come across such sleazy bastards.
    These "left wingers" who defend this as "freedom of speech and beliefs" definitely have no place in leadership in any progressive national organization or political party which makes me wonder why the organizations which they belong to pay so little attention to what these people are doing?
     I would also point out that fascist movements have only always made headway and come to power by wrapping themselves in the pretense of progressivism and leftism because if they peddle their racist and reactionary ideas straight up very few people will buy into their hateful message. Although there are exceptions--- here in North America, Social Credit came to power in the Province of Alberta in Canada and plunged that province into darkness for around three decades until courageous labor leaders like Dave Werlin, who was President of the Alberta Federation of Labour, took these dirty bastards on.

    Canada's very racist and anti-labor Prime Minister, Steven Harper who hails from Alberta, is the embodiment of what these Social Credit movements create.

There Will Be No Peace Dividend After Afghanistan

The price we pay for Wall Street's imperialism...

There Will Be No Peace Dividend After Afghanistan

Financial Times
January 24, 2013
Pg. 11


By Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes

Nearly 12 years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan began, a war-weary America is getting ready to leave. But there will be little in the way of a peace dividend for the US economy once the fighting stops.

The direct costs of the war are already $700bn. The original mission was to root out al-Qaeda and the Taliban. But in 2003, the US shifted nearly all of its attention and resources to Iraq. The Taliban regrouped and strengthened in Afghanistan, making the conflict far more expensive. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda shifted operations into Pakistan, Yemen and Mali, where France this month sent troops.

US forces have struggled in Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain, where getting supplies and munitions has been a complex logistical exercise. Then came the ill-fated “surge” strategy, which put 30,000 more US troops on the ground with little if any military gain. There were 3,000 attacks on US and allied forces in 2012 – a figure little changed from 2009, when President Barack Obama’s administration decided on the change in strategy.

The surge itself was expensive. But the way we conducted the war unnecessarily increased its costs. For instance, the closure of the land route through Pakistan for eight months in reprisal for a US drone attack in November 2011 that inadvertently killed 24 Pakistani soldiers added billions to the transport bill. Another $90bn has been devoted to “reconstruction” aid in Afghanistan – the largest amount spent by the US since the Marshall plan, with little to show for it. Endemic corruption among local contractors and officials has drained money from the budget.

Much of this red ink will dry up once Nato troops withdraw. But the true cost of the war is only just beginning. Indeed, the costs after withdrawal may exceed those during the war. Choices made in the past decade mean high costs for years to come – and will constrain other national security spending.

In 2008, when we wrote The Three Trillion Dollar War, our book on the costs of the Iraq war, we predicted that costs of disability and healthcare benefits for recent war veterans would grow enormously. With nearly one in two returning troops suffering some form of disability – ranging from depression to multiple amputation – the reality far exceeds our estimates. The number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans receiving government medical care has grown to more than 800,000, and most have applied for permanent disability benefits. Yielding to political pressure, the White House and Congress have boosted veteran’s benefits, invested in additional staff and technology, expanded mental health treatments and made it easier to qualify for disability pay. But the number of claims keeps climbing. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs struggles to cope with its backlog.

The VA’s budget is likely to hit $140bn this year from $50bn in 2001. In previous wars, the bill for benefits came due decades later – the peak year for paying second world war benefits was 1969. Now, with much higher survival rates, more generous benefits, and new, expensive treatments, the eventual costs of caring for veterans of the Afghanistan war will exceed $1tn. To put these numbers into perspective, the debate surrounding the fiscal cliff has centred on expenditure cuts over 10 years of $1tn-$2tn.

There are other costly legacies. To recruit volunteers to fight in highly unpopular wars, the military adopted higher pay scales and enhanced healthcare benefits both for those serving and their families and for those who retired. Even though the Pentagon – watching its personnel costs soar – is asking Congress to roll back some of these benefits, they are politically untouchable. The result is that total personnel costs will soon reach one-third of the total defence budget. Spending on Tricare, the healthcare programme for the US military and their families, is likely to reach $56bn this year. Tricare is growing even faster than Medicare or Medicaid, and will soon consume 10 per cent of the defence budget.

Meanwhile, there is a huge price tag for replacing ordinary equipment that has been consumed during the wars – not least because of our policy of outsourcing maintenance to sometimes dodgy local contractors. There is also the US pledge to help prop up the Afghan police and army for the next decade – expected to run to $5bn-$8bn a year. The legacy of expensive commitments will force the Pentagon to make difficult choices – for example, reducing the size of the army and investing in more unmanned robotic weapons.

The US has already borrowed $2tn to finance the Afghanistan and Iraq wars – a major component of the $9tn debt accrued since 2001, along with those arising from the financial crisis and the tax cuts implemented by President George W. Bush. Today, as the country considers how to improve its balance sheet, it could have been hoped that the ending of the wars would provide a large peace dividend, such as the one resulting from the end of the cold war that helped us to invest more in butter and less in guns. Instead, the legacy of poor decision-making from the expensive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will live on in a continued drain on our economy – long after the last troop returns to American soil.

The writers are respectively a recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics, and a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.

"Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" is all the talk but where are the jobs?



Please note: Send me your questions at: amaki000@centurytel.net
Bookmark this blog post because I will be answering your questions often.

"Jobs, jobs, jobs" is all the talk coming out of Washington and from the State Houses as well as being all the hype from the over-paid "economists" and media pundits.

There isn't a single politician running for office who doesn't promise "jobs, jobs, jobs;" but, what happened to the idea the United States government is responsible for maintaining "full employment?"
 


Question:


How come the words "full employment" never appear in what Robert Reich is writing? (See below: Why jobs must be our goal now)

Question:

Do you hear Barack Obama talk about his responsibility for "full employment?"


Check this out; seems to me Robert Reich's beloved Obama could do at least as good as Wright Patman:

This on-line book (Full Employment Act of 1945) available for downloading for free may be of interest to you:

http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015081304209;seq=10;view=1up

(Note: If the above link does not work you will have to copy and paste the link into your browser. I can not emphasize enough how important it is for anyone concerned about jobs and unemployment to read this transcript of the hearing--- which includes the Act itself--- the "Full Employment Act of 1945")

This link above is to the entire transcript of the Congressional Hearing on the original Full Employment Act of 1945 which includes the actual Act brought forward by liberal populist, Wright Patman---

 

Wright Patman was a U.S. Congressman from Texas in Texas's 1st congressional district and chair of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency. 

Born: August 6, 1893, Hughes Springs, Texas
Died: March 7, 1976, Bethesda
Party: Democratic Party

We have to ask why Obama's supporters aren't pushing for the enactment of this "Full Employment" legislation today?
  


All we get from Wall Street's politicians in the Democratic and Republican parties is "talk, talk, talk" instead of "jobs, jobs, jobs."

The working class needs its own political party just like labor in Canada has the New Democratic Party. 

Without a strong, vibrant and active Communist Party made up of grass roots activists and rank-and-file workers defending the interests of the working class in the streets and in the electoral and legislative arenas; a Communist Party providing the catalyst for real change with movement building while pushing for the broadest possible working class and all people's united action we will not be able to win full employment here in the United States.

Consider organizing a Communist Club in your neighborhood, where you work or go to school.    
It will be up to left wing working class rank-and-file activists together with liberals, progressives and leftists finding common ground and a "meeting of the minds" to bring forward and advance "Full Employment" legislation; no political party or organization is going to do this unless pushed even though the American people expect this from their government.

Wall Street reactionaries from the Chamber of Commerce to the National Association of Manufacturers united to defeat the "Full Employment Act of 1945" as the United States government was carrying out political repression against working class activist as Republicans and Democrats acted in collusion bringing forward the most reactionary and anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act intended to criminalize and destroy the Communist Party USA.

Common sense tells us working people without jobs are going to be poor; this is so basic it shouldn't have to be stated.

"Jobs, Jobs, Jobs;" but what happened to the idea embodied in the defeated "Full Employment act of 1945" that the United States government is responsible for maintaining "full employment?"

This is from the Wall Street Journal:
Prospects for a stronger upturn, at least in the first half of 2013, remain slim. Many economists worry about losing even more ground, especially as lawmakers launch a potentially risky political battle this winter over raising the federal debt ceiling. The U.S. economy grew at an average annual rate of 3.6% from 1950 through 1999 but has since slowed to less than 2% ... Since the recession ended 3½ years ago, economists have been divided over long-run growth prospects after the downturn pushed millions of Americans out of the labor force. Looking forward five to 10 years, the argument goes, annual U.S. growth may reach a ceiling of 3% and unemployment could settle at a rate above the 5.7% annual average recorded during the last half of the 20th century. 

--Wall Street Journal, Jan 4, 2013
  
Without the United States government becoming responsible for "full employment" in this country where does this leave working people? In poverty.

Robert Reich and his fellow Democratic Party economists--- among them: Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, Dean Baker and their "linguist" George Lakoff--- are wrong to focus solely on "jobs" without bringing forward the need for the United States government to be responsible for "full employment;" our goal, the goal of the working class movement, must be to get the United States government to assume its responsibility to the American people for maintaining a "full employment economy" just like the immensely popular liberal populist United States Congressman from Texas, Wright Patman, proposed.

Check out what Robert Reich has written below at the very time the Wall Street Journal made the dire prediction above.

Does anyone really believe we can solve the problem of unemployment in this country unless the United States government assumes its responsibility to the American people for "full employment?"

The United States government is going to have to create millions of jobs by re-establishing proven government programs like WPA, CCC and C.E.T.A.

How we pay to create these jobs is an equally important question which people have the right to have answers to:

1. End the wars and occupations which will yield huge "peace dividends."

2. Tax the rich; tax corporate profits; tax Wall Street transactions.

Another huge benefit derived from "full employment" is Social Security will be placed on a solid financial footing; as long as everyone pays in, everyone will get from Social Security what they are entitled to receive in benefits--- plus, we can reduce the age at which people can retire while increasing the benefits to provide pensioners with real living incomes... this, too, will create more jobs as aging workers retire, young workers find a place in the workforce.

We will derive numerous other benefits from "full employment" which include reducing crime and pushing all wages up instead of having this huge pool of unemployed people dragging wages down. Workers will have maximum power in their places of employment which will assure the protection of rights and a decent standard of living for everyone.

The best union-busting and strike-breaking weapon Wall Street has is this huge pool of unemployed labor.

Check out the budget priorities of Obama and the Democrats. These budget priorities are not conducive to creating "full employment;" in fact, such priorities squandering the wealth of our nation on militarism and wars can only lead to making most Americans poor because wars kill jobs just like they kill people:


No; as Robert Reich is suggesting, the American people should not have to pay an increase in Social Security taxes; but, more importantly--- and the point Robert Reich refuses to bring forward--- is that the American people should not have to pay these "war taxes" for militarism and wars most people in this country don't even want. What happened to democracy of "We, the People?"

We have a government working for Wall Street instead of a government working for the American people.

What more proof do we need of this than the wrong-headed budget priorities combined with the fact this government with Democrats and Republicans at the helm shirk their responsibility to the American people in refusing to maintain "full employment."

These politicians want our votes; shouldn't working people at least get jobs in return for our votes?

"Full employment" is all about governmental accountability to the people.

"Full employment" is all about peace and democracy.


"Full employment" is all about the most fundamental human right of all--- the right to a job at a real living wage.



Alan L. Maki
Co-Chair,
Lake-of-the-Woods Communist Club

 
 


Why Jobs Must Be Our Goal Now


By Robert Reich
blog
January 3, 2013

http://robertreich.org/post/39656182596

The news today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
is that the U.S. job market is treading water. The
number of new jobs created in December (155,000),
and percent unemployment (7.8), were the same as
the revised numbers for November.

Also, about the same number of people are looking
for work (12.2 million), with additional millions too
discouraged even to look.

Put simply, we're a very long way from the job
growth we need to get out of the gravitational pull of
the Great Recession. That would be at least 300,000
new jobs per month.

All of which means job growth and wage growth
should be the central focus of economic policy, not
deficit reduction.

Yet all we're hearing from Washington -- and all
we're likely to hear as Republicans and Democrats
negotiate over raising the debt ceiling -- is how to
cut the deficit.

The typical American worker's paycheck will drop
this week because his or her Social Security tax will
rise, from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent. That's
nonsensical.

We need to put more money into the pockets of
average workers, not less. The first $25,000 of
income should be exempt from Social Security taxes
altogether, and we should make up the difference by
eliminating the ceiling on income subject to Social
Security taxes.
__________

Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public
Policy at the University of California at Berkeley,
was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton
administration.

__________________
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 

E-mail: 
alan.maki1951mn@gmail.com 

Blog: http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rocky Anderson is moving the Justice Party to the right.

Busy night tonight; phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from people wanting to know what happened at this evening's National Steering Committee of the Justice Party meeting... same old crap working people are always subjected to by these well-heeled politicians. This is my post which explains things. I got all kinds of calls like this one which I posted my response to in the Justice Party forums:

Wow! that was quick. Just got a call from Sally Robbins in Superior, Wisconsin who has, like a lot of people, been following this discussion.

http://justiceparty.websitetoolbox.com/post/Full-Employment-requires-more-than-repeating-the-words-quotJobs-Jobs-Jobs.quot-6149484

Sally is asking me why I am no longer a member of the Justice Party and its National Steering Committee.

Another good question.

Let's just say me and Rocky Anderson don't see eye-to-eye on where he wants to take the Justice Party and the controversy centers around the progressive ideas I have been posting and commenting on here.

Rocky Anderson for quite some time has been peddling this thinking that the Minimum Wage figures can just be pulled from a hat for political expediency without considering cost of living factors and apparently he doesn't have the stomach or the moral and political courage to take on our Wall Street enemies who reap super profits from paying workers poverty wages.

Rocky can post the contents of our e-mail exchanges on this issue if he so chooses. I think it would make for some pretty good transparency.

Rocky thinks it is appropriate we should all be working for poverty wages. He has proposed the Minimum Wage should be a miserly poverty wage of $10.00 an hour without any connection to cost of living factors--- although he does agree with me that the Minimum Wage should be indexed to inflation; but, most importantly, he is opposed to making the government legislatively responsible for maintaining full employment.

So, this evening we had this argument out at the meeting of the National Steering Committee--- and, wouldn't you know what happened? Us progressives lost the battle.

I don't want to place words in Rocky Anderson's mouth so he is welcome to come on here and explain his position in his own words lest he accuses me of distorting his position.

If I am wrong regarding his position on full employment and the minimum wage at least people can read for themselves his own views--- after all, it isn't me running for public office. If we have his position here in writing then we have some accountability should he ever again be elected to public office.

Fair enough?

How about it Rocky?

You have been reading this post and the comments and responses very closely... like they say: Rocky Anderson, come on downnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!

And if Rocky Anderson wants to deal with any other problems he has with me I would suggest he start another forum topic about any of that and I will be happy to respond to his post/s.

But, let's try to stay on topic here under this post--- full employment, the Minimum Wage, cost of living and standard of living and how these dirty imperialist wars--- including one of the very dirtiest imperialist wars Rocky supported... that savage U.S. led N.A.T.O. war against the people of Yugoslavia--- which, like all these dirty imperialist wars killed people while killing our jobs.
__________________
Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

Notice: I am no longer a member of the Justice Party or the Justice Party's National Steering Committee

58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net