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...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Minnesota's Democratic super majority refused to end the growing impoveritization of the working class; why?

It would seem by now people would be catching on to the game being played by the Democrats where certain members of Congress are assigned the role of pretending to advocate for some reforms when the rest of the Democrats know their responsibility is to see these reforms defeated.

Here in Minnesota Democrats played this game out to the hilt with the Democratic Governor saying he wanted to see the minimum wage raised to one figure; the leader of the state House saying he wanted to see the minimum wage raised to another amount and the leader of the state Senate (a guy, Tom Bakk, who clings to fame claiming himself to have been a labor leader when the only thing he led was the racist struggle in opposition to the enforcement of Affirmative Action in the building trades) supported another amount that was lower than the Governor or the House agreed to--- so, in the end all the Democrats--- forming a super majority--- pretend to wring their hands saying they couldn't come to an agreement on how much the Minimum Wage should be raised so there will be no raise in the Minimum Wage in Minnesota which is now at a pathetic $6.25 an hour--- a dollar lower than Mississippi's miserly Minimum Wage.

Why didn't these same morons have any trouble and dissension raising their own pay?

And, why didn't the billionaire Governor stump the state advocating for a real living Minimum Wage that was based on all cost of living factors including the soaring costs of gas, home heating fuels, electricity, food and clothing?

The Minnesota AFL-CIO, with the Obama-loving Communist, Mark Froemke among its state leadership and fellow traveler Shar Knutson at the helm, made all kinds of excuses for the Democrats refusing to increase the Minimum Wage--- disgraceful given the fact Obama claims he is for an increase in the Minimum Wage (which was part of his 2008 campaign promise) but which he has never sought.

Talk about your three ring circus---

A Democratic Governor, billionaire Mark Dayton who received most of his campaign contributions from the Rockefellers.

A shit-ass, Democratic leader of the State House who is nothing but a worthless wimp who graduated with a Law degree from Harvard, Paul Thiessen.

A leader of the State Senate, Tom Bakk.

Leading a Democratic super-majority who refused to raise the Minimum Wage a nickle.

And then these Obama-loving clowns like Mark Froemke and Shar Knutson who can't "negotiate" anything other than concessions for their own members claiming to be "advocates" for increasing the Minimum Wage for workers who never asked for their "representation" distracting workers from the need for struggle.

There really needs to be a discussion about what it is going to take the working class to move forward in advancing the struggle to improve lives and living conditions because what happened here in Minnesota with something so fundamental and basic as the Minimum Wage clearly demonstrates labor's "leaders" led around by these worthless Democrats can't get the job done... really, none of them care two-shits about working people

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Do we need a "People's Lobby" as a first step towards creating a new political party?

A thought from Podunk:

We need to break free from this two-party trap by establishing a working class based progressive people's party for peace, social and economic justice in this country if we want any significant change.

Perhaps a good first step towards political independence would be if we united liberals, progressives and the left in some kind of "people's lobby" for peace, social and economic justice behind a program and platform for ending these dirty imperialist wars and using the resulting peace dividends to finance real health care reform where we would see single-payer as a first step towards a national public health care system which would create some three-million new jobs right off the bat with another ten-million jobs down the road, making full employment a legislative mandate, create a national child care system, defend and expand Social Security, protect and defend Mother Nature.

What do you think?

Do we need a Democratic Party version of Michele Bachmann or a clone of Congressman Collin Peterson?

Michele Bachmann has announced she will not be seeking re-election to Congress--- a bit of good news; but, the Democrat running is no better than Bachmann. The Democrat, Jim Graves, has made millions from exploiting workers forced to work in poverty wage jobs. Jim Graves talks about "middle class" and "living wage jobs" yet pays thousands of hotel/motel workers poverty wages.

Why would unions support a poverty wage paying employer who denies workers their rights like Jim Graves for public office?

Yet, here are the unions backing Jim Graves who is every bit as conservative as Michele Bachmann on most issues:
    AFSCME Council 5
    Education Minnesota
    Minnesota AFL-CIO
    National Education Association
    SEIU Minnesota State Council
    United Steelworkers

This makes about as much sense as the Michigan unions who backed the racist, corrupt and anti-labor supporter of right-to-work--- Roy Schmidt who won election as a Democrat but switched to being a Republican which he really was all along.

What good does it do working people to elect Jim Graves another Democrat like ultra-conservative Collin Peterson?

But, then, again; look at Education Minnesota which backed a worthless, ultra-right wing reactionary like Republican Tony Cornish for the Minnesota State House.

Working people are caught in this two-party trap with one jaw labeled Democrat and the other jaw labeled Republican and we need to be figuring out how to free ourselves from this dangerous two-party trap set for us by these Wall Street parasites.

Michele Bachmann was for maintaining a poverty minimum wage; Jim Graves pays thousands of his employees poverty wages.

A living wage is a wage based on all cost of living factors.

If Jim Graves supported a living wage as he claims he does he would be paying his employees a real living wage based on all cost of living factors but Jim Graves supports, and only for political expediency, the same pathetic and miserly minimum wage "championed" by the AFL-CIO and Democrats which, if workers are "lucky," would see the minimum wage increased by two-bits in the here and now... but, Jim Graves won't voluntarily increase the pay of his own poverty waged workers--- not even by two-bits.

Plus, Jim Graves supports the hideous Indian Gaming Industry which employs some 44,000 workers in loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos all of whom are receiving poverty wages enforced by no rights under state or federal labor laws in an industry in which a bunch of white mobsters own everything from the slot machines and table games to the hotels, motels, bars, restaurants, convention and entertainment centers and theme parks and resorts leaving Native Americans owning nothing but a great big pile of poverty-creating debt... and Jim Graves hypocritically talks about how he is for "human rights."

When 1,300 American Crystal Sugar Company workers were locked out of their jobs here in the Red River Valley where was Jim Graves? Did anyone see or hear of this Democrat Jim Graves advocating for anti-scab and anti-lockout legislation? No.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Masters of War by Bob Dylan 50 years ago today.

How pathetic that some people who used to march and demonstrate for peace while this song played now have ended up supporting a warmonger like Barack Obama.

On This Day 50 Years Ago, the record album, "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," with the song "Masters Of War," was released.
May 27, 1963: One For Our Side

Masters of War
By Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
Till I'm sure that you're dead

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj8hY8zR9eA

Those "liberals," "progressives" and "leftists" supporting Obama and the Democrats may want to reflect on their decisions while reading the words listening to this song.

The Little Blue Book















  1. The two-party trap.

    Notice: the jaws of the trap are never designated Democrat or Republican but one jaw of the trap is the Democrat and the other jaw of the trap is Republican.

    If Wall Street labeled these jaws the way they should be labeled we wouldn't get caught in this dangerous "two-party trap."

    Because so many people refuse to read what these Democrats are trying to suck us into people will keep getting caught in this two-party trap. One jaw of the trap is "Democrat" though never labelled as such and the other jaw of the trap is "Republican" even though it is never labelled as such. It is up to the unwary prey to understand how this two-party trap works. 

    By continuing down this rode playing this game that there is a "lesser evil" between the Democrats and Republicans we are still caught in the same two-party trap which is going to hurt us.


    Make no mistake this is a dangerous and strong trap hard to break free from once caught.

    If you want to know the strategy for keeping you from breaking free from this two-party trap I suggest you read for yourself what these despicable and dishonest Democrats posing as "progressives" have in mind for you.

    George Lakoff, Democratic Party hack, spells it all out in his recent book: "The Little Blue Book." It is fairly cheap and well worth reading if you want to know how these Democratic Party hacks like George Lakoff intend to keep you trapped:

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-little-blue-book-george-lakoff/1111364898?ean=9781476700014

    Anyone who believes that "thinking and talking Democratic" is the same as thinking and talking progressive is in for a rude awakening after reading this bit of "red bait."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Making political hay or telling the truth?

You know, some people have accused me of using tragedy to make political hay.

This is my response:

If a space capsule can be built to withstand what it does surely there are solutions to storm shelters for tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes.

Manufacturing such shelters would be relatively cheap if undertaken by a government owned manufacturing program using the best known scientific methods and technology.

The government financed a lot of nuclear war shelters now serving well as tornado and hurricane shelters.

It really is a question of governmental priorities. Will we have a government where the needs and requirements come before war and corporate greed.


Any government that can fund war after war for more than a hundred years without complaint certainly can find the funds to protect people from natural disasters.

Then the other problem is; there are some areas that never communities of people never should be allowed to live in... farms are one thing but converting that expansive farmland into residential communities when we know there will be hurricanes, floods and tornadoes is another thing... but, here again real estate developers and construction companies profit and politicians and their appointed public officials get campaign contributions and kick-backs to allow all of this to go on.

The idea though is to take the precautions necessary to minimize the threat and harm to human life. We have a political and economic system which values profits more than human life and that is where our problems begin.

I live in a "tornado alley" and a flood plain. When purchasing the property, because it is near a large lake and rivers and streams fairly close by, I sent written letters to both the realtor and the county asking if the property was in an area that ever flooded; both responded: NO. Well, it wasn't long before I found out the area flooded. But would any government agency do anything to this crooked and corrupt realtor, Scott Pahlen, that lied or the county official who no doubt received some kind of kick-back from the realtor--- and then there was the bank, Citizen's State Bank, which approved the mortgage which required all kinds of surveys, inspections, etc. but told me they didn't require anything about floods because the property was not in a "designated flood plain."

So, people can't even get straight and honest answers from anyone when there are profits to be made.

We all take the "risk" of being confronted with natural disasters of one kind or another... and many people have expensive insurance to to "protect" them... but, how often have you heard the heartbreaking story from the family who had to fight one of these insurance companies tooth and nail just to get the coverage they paid for?

During flooding up this way in the Red River Valley a few years back I happened into a restaurant where a bunch of insurance claims adjusters were gathered. They were laughing and joking about how they screwed people out of what they were entitled to because many people didn't know how to talk the legalese of their policies.

And then there are people who have experienced all kinds of hardship and death in mining country simply because the mining companies were allowed to get away with breaking the law by not properly caring for dams that have broke.

And just recently we saw the huge explosion in Texas--- more connivance between private corporations and government agencies who claim they weren't funded well enough to do their jobs--- but did you hear the heads of any of these government agencies warning people of the potential consequences of their inaction? No.

Makes me sick; the entire rotten system stinks. Why should we make up excuses for this governmental neglect be it "benign" or malevolent?

Oh, yes; and then these government officials and politicians always hide behind their favorite scam: "immunity."

Those making this accusation can kiss my ass and go to hell.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Take action to halt this injustice...

I just talked with Senator Amy Klobuchar's Administrative Director, Michael Hill, in her Washington D.C. Senate office. He said he had no knowledge one of Amy Klobuchar's constituents is sitting in a federal prison.

I sent him this e-mail at: michael_hill@klobuchar.senate.gov

I would encourage all of you to contact Mr. Hill so he doesn't forget this injustice. Out of sight is out of mind. Let's show that we have not forgotten how to get people involved and active. Make a call yourself to Mr. Hill and then pass this on to your FaceBook friends and your e-mail lists asking people to do the same.

Please post this to your blog.

We can't let these three fellow peace activists sit in prison because they acted on their beliefs and hurt no one or anything. They made a statement for peace and nuclear disarmament for us all.

Please pick up your phone right now and make the call to Mr. Hill.

Mr. Hill,

Here is the information you requested:

https://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/05/15-7

I will call you back at your direct number in 15 minutes at: 202-224-6763

As you can see, Mr. Obed is one of Senator Klobuchar's constituents... as am I.

Amy Klobuchar is a former prosecutor and I trust she can understand the injustice taking place here which must be halted in the interest of defending and protecting our Constitutional rights.

Alan
--
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/

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Minnesotans woke up today to find gas prices have risen from $3.89 a gallon to $4.19 a gallon! Thank you Democrats!

A thirty cent a gallon increase overnight... sheer robbery at the pumps.

Back in 1934, Minnesota's socialist governor, Floyd B. Olson, said that we would be sorry if we didn't nationalize the oil industry and place it under public ownership... we are now paying the price, quite literally, for not taking his advice.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tim Carpenter and Progressive Democrats of America announced they are going to "educate" 200 members of Congress? Get real!

Tim Carpenter needs to seek more than $5 and $10 donations if he intends to "educate" 200 members of Congress on health care reform who have already been "educated" with Wall Street's bribes.

On the other hand; it can't hurt to let 200 members of Congress know the American people are fed up, but to feed the illusion that these members of Congress are doing the wrong thing because of lack of knowledge and education on the issues--- well, maybe, it is Tim Carpenter and PDA who need a dose of education as to who is running this country and their goals and objectives?

The only thing besides bribes that will "educate" these members of Congress is when they begin to face stiff opposition--- at the ballot box, in the streets, on the campuses, in working class communities and at work--- from a united effort on the part of the historic coalition of liberals, progressives and leftists struggling to turn this country around.

The Democratic Party will never be reformed or taken over by "progressives;" this is an illusion and a trap Tim Carpenter and PDA keep leading liberals, progressives and leftists into.

In fact, it was Tim Carpenters hand-picked crony--- Joel Clemmer--- here in Minnesota who undermined the efforts to push single-payer by weakening the resolution for single-payer based on the Canadian model that was passed by over 72% of the delegates at the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party's State Convention by turning around and blind-siding us at the next convention by inserting "affordable" to make the resolution not be in conflict with Obama's "Affordable Care Act--- Obama Care."

In fact, it was none other than Tim Carpenter who personally pushed the phony "single-payer" legislation proposed by the opportunist Minnesota State Senator John Marty--- legislation that would have cost a family of four with an income of $30,000.00 a year over $800.00 a month for health care!

The only way to advance the struggle for real health care reform is by pushing for single-payer based on the Canadian model as the first step towards our real goal and objective: a National Public Health Care System--- no-fees/no premiums, comprehensive (pre-natal through burial)  all-inclusive (general health, eyes, ears, mental), universal (everyone in nobody out); publicly financed, publicly administered and publicly delivered.

HR 676 is dead and Tim Carpenter and all these other outfits know it. We need a new strategy to fight for health care reform which includes our main objective--- and the only way to do this is to build on the support for single-payer in combination with the goal of a National Public Health Care System which most people support when they are given this alternative.

The single-payer advocates are going to have to come to terms with the fact that they were used by John Conyers and his friends in Congress for many years but as we saw, when push came to shove the ENTIRE bunch of these wimps buckled under to a charlatan like Obama instead of standing and fighting on the side of the people resulting in Obama Care--- or, as it should be known as the "Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical Industry Bailout and Profit Maximization Act."

We need a new strategy if we are going to mobilize and unite the American people for real health care reform.

In fact, there is no universal social program that is cheaper than providing the American people with primary health care which should become the first step towards any health care reform--- primary health care is cheaper to provide people with than a public education so we should push for all other types of health care to be on the basis of single-payer with primary health care being the foundation from which the entire health care system is brought into a National Public Health Care System... want to talk about "pragmatic politics?" This is the epitome of a pragmatic politics even John Dewey should have been able to support.

Where will the money come from for all of this?

1. End these dirty wars and use the resulting "peace dividends" to finance health care.

2. Tax the rich, tax corporate profits and tax Wall Street transactions.

In lieu of either of these "radical" funding proposals--- do like the Canadians do and institute an additional payroll tax; a good hefty tax on employers and a minimal tax on workers. This is what Frances Perkins as Roosevelt's Secretary of Labor advocated to pay for both a National Public Health Care Program and a National Public Child Care Program.

The idea that the American people will not support this kind of initiative is false and an insult to the intelligence of the American people... when put to people along with all other alternatives for health care reform the majority of the American people, like people everywhere, will support a National Public Health Care System--- just like the majority of the American people continue to support Social Security and public education... and an additional payroll tax to finance making primary health care part of a plan to create a National Public Health Care System will be supported... just like the users of the VA and the Indian Health Services support these socialized health care systems.
The United States is the wealthiest country in the world and there is no reason we shouldn't have a world-class National Public Health Care System.

If these worthless Wall Street bribed politicians can spend trillions upon trillions of dollars on dirty imperialist war after imperialist war which now includes this murderous and barbaric drone warfare, they sure as hell can spend at least as much money of health care for the American people.

Something to think about: We are paying a very high price for these imperialist wars which are depriving us of real health care reform, quality public educations free through university, decent housing, low-cost mass transit and a solution to global warming and climate change.

A question: Did you know we are still paying for Wall Street's first imperialist war--- the Spanish American War, a "conflict" in 1898? And the war goes on in the Philippines with the Puerto Rican people still struggling to free themselves from U.S. domination that was the result of the Spanish-American War... imperialism is costly for the American people while the Wall Street merchants of death and destruction profit from these dirty imperialist wars.

The heavy price we pay for imperialism so Wall Street can profit:

There’s money to be made in manufacturing drones. The U.S. military spent about $3 billion on drone programs last year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Think we can't afford a National Public Health Care System?

Here are just twelve of the companies cashing in on drone warfare:

Boeing
Boeing has its hands in a lot of drone technology. In June, the company successfully completed a test flight of one of its drones that is meant to stay airborne for days, according to CBS News. 

Boeing, headed by CEO Jim McNerney, Jr., estimated that it took home $80.5 billion in revenue last year, according Reuters.


General Atomics
General Atomics, a defense contractor based in Southern California, is set to sell $197 million worth of drones to the United Arab Emirates, according to the Los Angeles Times. If the deal goes through, it would be the first such sale to a non-NATO country. 
General Atomics, run by CEO J. Neal Blue, took home $652,129,000 in 2012, according to Washington Technology.


Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin completed tests in July of a "Stalker" drone that stays airborne for 48 hours, according to Endgadget. The company came under fire after sponsoring a documentary on PBS about drones. 

Lockheed Martin, headed by CEO Marillyn Hewson, took home $47.2 billion in 2012.


Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman is helping to expand the drone business to the Asia-Pacific region. Late last year, the company sold $1.2 billion worth of drones to South Korea, according to Bloomberg. 

Northrop Grumman's profits rose 80 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. The company is headed by CEO Wes Bush. 




-- 








AeroVironment
AeroVironment is developing the "Hummingbird drone" for the Pentagon, according to Aol News. But don't let its cute name fool you; the device can hover and perch to watch your every move and aims to someday bolster surveillance capabilities in urban areas.

Despite the scary yet innovative technology, AeroVironment, which is run by CEO Timothy Conver, is projecting its revenue to drop to $230 million in the upcoming fiscal year, according to Forbes.


Prox Dynamics AS
This Norway-based company, founded by Petter Muran in December 2007, developed the Black Hornet Nano, a mini-handheld helicopter that helps soldiers survey an area swiftly by flying at top speeds for up to 30 minutes, according to Gizmag. The UK gave some soldiers the Black Hornet Nanos to use in Afghanistan earlier this month, according to the Associated Press. The Hornet was part of a $31 million contract.


Denel Dynamics
Denel Dynamics, which is part of South Africa's biggest maker of defense equipment, has seen its sales boom 20 percent in the last four years, according to Money News. Sello Ntsihlele, the company's executive manager for drone technology, called the current climate "the best time" for drones, because demand is increasing in the Middle East, East Asia and Africa. Denel Dyanmics Missiles took home $68,228,037 in 2012, which was down from 2011. Executives argued that Denel has historically posted losses because of onerous contracts.


SAIC
This company is helping the Pentagon develop underwater drones to defend against ultra-quiet submarines, according to Money Morning.
SAIC, who is run by Chairman John Jumper, took home $2.87 billion in revenue during the third quarter of last year, up 3 percent from the year before.





























Israeli Aerospace Industries
Israeli Aerospace Industries pioneered the technology used for drones in the 1970s, according to Agence France Presse. Tommy Silberring, the head of the company's drone division, said increased demand around the world is boosting the drone market, as more countries want to go to war without putting their soldiers at risk. The drone sector is poised to become an $11.3 billion industry over the next decade, according to the Teal Group.


Textron
The military's appetite for drones helped Textron's defense business score a year-over-year revenue jump of $61 million, according to Mass High Tech, even as the rest of its business struggled. The drones have been so successful that the company, run by CEO Ellen Lord, is developing technology for unmanned underwater vehicles.


General Dynamics
General Dynamics is one of the major donors to the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus (unofficially known as the drone caucus). Yes, that really does exist. 


DJI
Hong Kong-based DJI's Phantom, is one of the most complete drones on the market, according to Quartz. DJI's North America CEO Colin Guinn, as well as others in the drone industry, are putting resources into products like the Phantom.

















Always enough money for militarism and wars but no money for health care and other human needs.

Are you fed up?

A six point unity platform:

1. End these dirty wars and use the “peace dividends” to fund human needs.

2. Full employment; make the president and Congress legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment.
3. Real health care reform--- single-payer universal health care as a first step towards a National Public Health Care System.

4. A National Public Child Care System--- nothing is more important than properly caring for our children and grandchildren.

5. Defend and expand Social Security.

6. Protect Mother Nature--- take concrete steps to protect our ecosystems and end global warming.

Educate your family, friends, neighbors and fellow workers to take action at the ballot box and in the streets. We need to replace these Wall Street bribed politicians with people's politicians from a working class based progressive people's party.

Wall Street with bribes handed out by the 
Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus has already "educated" Democratic and Republican members of Congress.


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

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Did you learn about the history of Mother's Day in school?

History of Mother's Day

    Given the following possibilities, how many of us could pick the right answer?

    Mother's Day began:

    In 1858, when Anna Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker, organized "Mother's Work Days" to improve the sanitation and avert deaths from disease-bearing insects and seepage of polluted water.

    In 1872, when Boston poet, pacifist and women's suffragist Julia Ward Howe established a special day for mothers --and for peace-- not long after the bloody Franco-Prussian War.

    In 1905, when Anna Jarvis died. Her daughter, also named Anna, decided to memorialize her mother's lifelong activism, and began a campaign that culminated in 1914 when Congress passed a Mother's Day resolution.

    The correct answer: All of the above. Each woman and all of these events have contributed to the present occasion now celebrated on the second Sunday in May.
     
The cause of world peace was the impetus for Julia Ward Howe's establishment, over a century ago, of a special day for mothers. Following unsuccessful efforts to pull together an international pacifist conference after the Franco-Prussian War, Howe began to think of a global appeal to women.

"While the war was still in progress," she wrote, she keenly felt the "cruel and unnecessary character of the contest." She believed, as any woman might, that it could have been settled without bloodshed. And, she wondered, "Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone bear and know the cost?"

Howe's version of Mother's Day, which served as an occasion for advocating peace, was held successfully in Boston and elsewhere for several years, but eventually lost popularity and disappeared from public notice in the years preceding World War I.

For Anna Jarvis, also known as "Mother Jarvis," community improvement by mothers was only a beginning. Throughout the Civil War she organized women's brigades, asking her workers to do all they could without regard for which side their men had chosen. And, in 1868, she took the initiative to heal the bitter rifts between her Confederate and Union neighbors.

The younger Anna Jarvis was only twelve years old in 1878 when she listened to her mother teach a Sunday school lesson on mothers in the Bible. "I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother's day," the senior Jarvis said. "There are many days for men, but none for mothers."

Following her mother's death, Anna Jarvis embarked on a remarkable campaign. She poured out a constant stream of letters to men of prominence -- President William Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt among them -- and enlisted considerable help from Philadelphia merchant John Wannamaker.

By May of 1907, a Mother's Day service had been arranged on the second Sunday in May at the Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, where Mother Jarvis had taught. That same day a special service was held at the Wannamaker Auditorium in Philadelphia, which could seat no more than a third of the 15,000 people who showed up.

The custom spread to churches in 45 states and in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Mexico and Canada. The Governor of West Virginia proclaimed Mother's Day in 1912; Pennsylvania's governor in 1913 did the same. The following year saw the Congressional Resolution, which was promptly signed by President Woodrow Wilson.

Mother's Day has endured. It serves now, as it originally did, to recognize the contributions of women. Mother's Day, like the job of "mothering," is varied and diverse. Perhaps that's only appropriate for a day honoring the multiple ways women find to nurture their families, and the ways in which so many have nurtured their communities, their countries, and the larger world.

Friday, May 10, 2013

What is Manitoba's New Democratic Party thinking in raising the regressive Provincial Sales Tax?

One has to wonder what the Manitoba NDP is thinking in proposing to raise the most regressive tax of all... the Provincial Sales Tax.

The NDP's decision to increase the provincial sales tax from 7 per cent to 8 per cent will have a particularly negative impact on those on low incomes, on students and on seniors.

What is needed are added stumpage fees on the foreign forestry companies and a very high tax on tonnage for foreign mining companies.

A big increase in the Minimum Wage would add more to revenues than an increase in the sales tax ever would because working people would be able to purchase more; thus increasing revenues which would make it possible to decrease the existing Provincial Sales Tax.

But what is really needed is a huge tax increase on the wealthy which one would expect the NDP to implement on the rich instead of hurting working people.

When will grassroots and rank-and-file activists in the NDP take a stand and begin pushing back against these completely wrong-headed policies of the NDP which jeopardizes their chance to become Canada's major political party? If working people in Manitoba lose confidence in the Manitoba NDP the NDP can kiss their chance for national political power good-bye.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dane Smith of Growth & Justice responds...

An exchange of views with the head of the foundation funded outfit bringing Van Jones to Minnesota:

I initially sent out this e-mail which made the rounds resulting in over 300 responses:

From: Alan Maki [mailto:alan.maki1951mn@gmail.com]

Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2013 12:23 PM

To: Jane Hamsher; editor@tcdailyplanet.net; Editor Southsidepride.com

Subject: Van Jones is coming to Minnesota--- a former protester converted to the politics of pragmatism touted by Barack Obama and his Wall Street circle of friends

Van Jones is coming to Minnesota.

In the publicity building up his talk it is stated that van Jones has turned from being a protester to a political pragmatist.

Is Van Jones going to be suggesting to Minnesotans that protesting is no longer needed if one becomes a pragmatic politician?

Or, is it the case that if one turns away from protesting making the claim to being a pragmatic politician that the foundation funds will come pouring in in return for leading people away from protesting?

More than ever we need large numbers of people out in the street's protesting and more than ever we need a new political party which joins protests in the streets with the struggle to take political and economic power away from Wall Street to make government serve the requirements and needs of working people.

I wonder; will Van Jones be supporting Governor Mark Dayton's call to raise the salaries of Minnesota Legislators for their part-time jobs to $54,000.00 a year as the poor are handed a "ladder out of poverty" from which all the lower rungs are missing or broken?

Does Van Jones' new found "pragmatism" allow him to make these kinds of observations? If so, does Van Jones' "pragmatism" extend to calling for a new political party like the old socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party or Canada's socialist New Democratic Party?

Does Van Jones' new found "pragmatism" include being able to state that he is fed up with capitalism and these dirty imperialist wars killing our jobs and living standards while preventing solving the problem of poverty lest he loses his foundation funding?

Van Jones is coming to Minnesota--- a former protester converted to the politics of pragmatism touted by Barack Obama and his Wall Street circle of friends--- the very same "philanthropists" from whom Van Jones is receiving his foundation funding.

--
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/


Dane Smith, the President of Growth & Justice, the foundation-funded Democratic Party front group in Minnesota, the organization bringing Van Jones to Minnesota responded...

On Wed, May 8, 2013 at 6:58 AM, Dane Smith wrote:
Dear Alan

Obviously Growth & Justice is not a good fit at all for your philosophy and ideology, and although I think you occasionally make some valid points in your frequent e-mails to me and blasts to  others, we at Growth & Justice simply  disagree with your larger world view, especially your harsh dismissal of any value at all to  free markets and capitalism.

You too have made it abundantly clear that you think our  policy preferences and philosophy  are completely inadequate and just plain wrong, and  I can assure you that  we are not going to change to accommodate your views.   I don’t see any value in taking any more  time to answer these rhetorical questions and these harsh criticisms  of our president and of people like Van Jones.   If you’d like to be removed from our databank and send list, I’d be happy to do that.   If you still want to receive our information, that’s fine, and you can send me your stuff.    But I’m just not going to be able to respond to your criticisms. 


Respectfully

Dane Smith | President
Tel: 651.251.0728 | Mobile: 651.675.6360

Growth & Justice
2324 University Ave. West, Suite 120A
Saint Paul, MN 55114
www.growthandjustice.org
__________________________

Keep up to date with Growth & Justice:
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I have responded...

Dane Smith, President, Growth & Justice;

I appreciate you stating my views are at odds with you and the foundation-funded group you head, and you stating your frank and candid support for a system based on the private ownership of the mines, mills and factories resulting in the exploitation of workers who create all wealth with no small amount of help from Mother Nature. It is this capitalist system of exploitation so opposed by the former socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota Governors Floyd Olson, Elmer Benson and United States Congressman John Bernard which breeds war, racism, political repression as poverty. As you point out, I have no use for the "free enterprise" system of capitalism; but, I still appreciate reading your frequent e-mails and the views you express in your newsletter and newspapers.

I do find it interesting that the newspapers seem to like publishing your views which reflect most of the Democrats holding public office in Minnesota today who consider they have a right to part-time jobs paying a salary of $54,000.00 a year for doing nothing more than defending the interests of the Indian Gaming Industry which employs over 44,000 casino workers in loud, noisy, smoke-filled workplaces at poverty wages and without any rights under state or federal labor laws just as they protect the interests of the mining companies, the forestry, power generating, big-agribusiness and the banking industry. Just as your views in support of a crumbling capitalist system wreaking so much havoc with the lives of working people are shared by most "leaders" of organized labor who, like you, fail to recognize the continuing class struggle.

And I am sure you and Growth & Justice reflect the views of many in the civil rights organizations who have given up thinking in terms of grassroots movements struggling against racist discrimination in employment, in housing, in public education and for full equality in lieu of the foundation funding they seek to help the few instead of the many. I have noted that you and Growth & Justice support "equity" INSTEAD OF full equality as i do.

No doubt you also represent most of the environmental organizations who define their activism by how many envelopes they stuff with appeals for financial contributions and the amount of money they get back from these efforts.

I don't see anything wrong with people having different views. In a democracy we share, discuss and debate our differences of opinion.

I appreciate receiving your frequent e-mails because I find out from your publications exactly what direction Minnesota Democrats are heading--- almost always pro-corporate and in line with what Wall Street requires to continue its reactionary agenda of making money from wars abroad while profiting again from the austerity measures shoved down our throats to pay for these dirty imperialist wars which deprive us of the funds we need for human needs... universal social programs which have the potential of solving our many social problems while providing for human needs.

I do find many of the reforms you and Growth & Justice advocate to be worthwhile and deserving of support since I am always for anything that improves the lives, living conditions and standard of living of working people as we try to keep up with the constantly rising cost of living propelled, in the first place, by militarism and wars along with the monopoly domination of the economy and a thoroughly corrupt political system. While most of the reforms you advocate are far too little and way too late--- something is better than nothing and late is better than never.

I am glad you take the time to read my advocacy of more universal and comprehensive reforms intended to help working people cope with the problems capitalism creates for them as we struggle to take power out of the hands of Wall Street and place power where the founders of this country intended--- in the hands of the people even though thoughts of workers in power may have made some of them--- like you--- quite squeamish.

Needless to say, you are quite content being represented by the present Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party and Obama's Wall Street Democrats of which many people are increasingly becoming contemptuous as they feel betrayed and sold out.

I do hope you will share my concerns with Van Jones so he might be able to better address Minnesotans from a more informed point of view in the interest of sparking a much wider discussion and debate.

Perhaps sometimes you would like to have a debate with me concerning these issues or participate in some kind of round-table discussion where we could more publicly share our views and concerns. In this way we could find out more from people from all walks of life with many different views how we might work together to make Minnesota free from poverty and racism? Let me know if you are interested.

Sincerely appreciative of your many liberal and sometimes progressive reform efforts, but not a supporter of any of your pro-capitalist views,

Alan L. Maki



And Dane Smith responds...

Glad to have this respectful response Alan, and as I said, your critiques of private-sector failures have value.   I’m very much a history buff, understand very well the origins of the Farmer-Labor Party and social justice crusades of the left, and understand how those movements helped steer us in the right direction.   As a Unitarian Universalist, I belong to a faith tradition that has been radical since the early 1800s on all manner of human rights and civil rights and environmental movements (although many of these folks were successful capitalists!).   Let’s do keep the communication open and it might indeed be possible to have some sort of public discussion or debate some day.


Dane Smith | President
Tel: 651.251.0728 | Mobile: 651.675.6360

Growth & Justice
2324 University Ave. West, Suite 120A
Saint Paul, MN 55114
__________________________

Keep up to date with Growth & Justice:





My response back to Dane Smith...

Dane,

Below you will find Elmer Benson's obituary which includes a quote from him about him and his wealth which pertains to your statement:

"As a Unitarian Universalist, I belong to a faith tradition that has been radical since the early 1800s on all manner of human rights and civil rights and environmental movements (although many of these folks were successful capitalists!). 

My argument doesn't have the intent to attack capitalists as people but the role of capitalists in society. There were, in fact, a number of capitalist supporters of the socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party but most of these capitalists were farsighted enough to understand that the capitalist system had to go. In fact, society needs capitalism and capitalists about as much as my dog Fred needs ticks and fleas. Here is Elmer Benson's obituary:

http://articles.latimes.com/1985-03-16/business/fi-27186_1_minnesota-politics 

The obituary journalist wrote:

After leaving politics, Benson grew wealthy in banking. A television reporter once asked him how his wealth squared with his critical views of capitalism.

"It worked for me," he shot back. "But look at all the thousands of people it hasn't worked for."

Elmer Benson and his fellow socialists and Communists never argued for capitalism as a solution to problems being experienced by workers, farmers, professionals and small business people. Benson and his fellow socialists argued for reforms to assist those suffering and to improve the lives of people as they struggle to replace capitalism with socialism continued. I am not sure how many of Benson's fellow socialists and Communists became "successful capitalists" but we can say that what Elmer Benson declared in his response to the reporter that for every person who attains success (great wealth) additional thousands of people suffer--- because of capitalism.

Here is Benson's obituary as published in the LA Times:

Socialist Elmer Benson Dies at 89 : Radical Played a Prominent Role in Minnesota Politics

March 16, 1985|

MINNEAPOLIS — Elmer A. Benson, an unreconstructed leftist radical who served one stormy term as governor of Minnesota and helped create the Democratic-Farmer-Labor coalition that continues to dominate Minnesota politics, died Wednesday night. He was 89.


Benson, who had been in ill health in recent years, died at Mount Sinai Hospital.


Benson had been state banking commissioner under Gov. Floyd B. Olson, who appointed him in 1935 to serve the 1 1/2 years remaining in the U.S. Senate term of Thomas D. Schall, who died in a car accident.
Then Benson came home to run for governor and won a landslide victory in 1936, only to be turned out by Republican Harold Stassen in 1938.


Although the 1937 Legislature had given Benson--an early Socialist sympathizer--little of what he sought, many of his proposals became law during the 40 years that followed--property tax relief for homesteads; higher income tax rates for high-income individuals and corporations; mandatory workers' compensation coverage for employees; a state Civil Service system; expanded state aid for schools, financed by income taxes; party designation for legislators.


In an interview two years ago, Benson remained an ardent foe of capitalism and called Hubert H. Humphrey "a war criminal." He even had a good word for Josef Stalin.


"Communists are decent people, too. We don't have a monopoly on decency," he said. "Stalin did some things that were pretty rough. But maybe, just maybe, if he hadn't done it, maybe the nation would have been taken over by the worst enemies of mankind--the Nazis."


The policies of President Reagan also brought a feisty response.


"The tax program the federal government passed last year?" he said then. "Why, it's exactly what they said it was--taking from the poor and giving to the rich."


Benson also said he never forgave himself for agreeing to the 1944 merger of the Farmer-Labor and Democratic parties into the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, the dominant force in Minnesota politics since then.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked for the merger and Humphrey helped bring it about.


"I think it was a mistake because the party became part of a larger party that's been taken over by political hacks," Benson said.


Benson split with Humphrey by backing Henry A. Wallace as the Progressive candidate for President in 1948. However, it was Humphrey's support of the Vietnam War that most upset Benson.


"Humphrey was a war criminal," he said. "He was the chief ballyhoo artist for the war. I remember him saying, 'This is America's greatest moment and I'm sure glad to be part of it.' "


After leaving politics, Benson grew wealthy in banking. A television reporter once asked him how his wealth squared with his critical views of capitalism.

"It worked for me," he shot back. "But look at all the thousands of people it hasn't worked for."


Alan L. Maki

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Van Jones is on his way to Minnesota thanks to the foundations.


Van Jones is coming to Minnesota--- a former protester converted to the politics of pragmatism touted by Barack Obama and his Wall Street circle of friends

Van Jones is coming to Minnesota.

In the publicity building up his talk it is stated by the foundation-funded outfit bringing him that Van Jones has turned from being a protester to a political pragmatist.

Is Van Jones going to be suggesting to Minnesotans that protesting is no longer needed if one becomes a pragmatic politician?

Or, is it the case that if one turns away from protesting making the claim to being a pragmatic politician that the foundation funds will come pouring in in return for leading people away from protesting?

More than ever we need large numbers of people out in the street's protesting and more than ever we need a new political party which joins protests in the streets with the struggle to take political and economic power away from Wall Street to make government serve the requirements and needs of working people.

I wonder; will Van Jones be supporting Governor Mark Dayton's call to raise the salaries of Minnesota Legislators for their part-time jobs to $54,000.00 a year as the poor are handed a "ladder out of poverty" from which all the lower rungs are missing or broken?

Does Van Jones' new found "pragmatism" allow him to make these kinds of observations? If so, does Van Jones' "pragmatism" extend to calling for a new political party like the old socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party or Canada's socialist New Democratic Party?

Does Van Jones' new found "pragmatism" include being able to state that he is fed up with capitalism and these dirty imperialist wars killing our jobs and living standards while preventing solving the problem of poverty lest he loses his foundation funding?

Van Jones is coming to Minnesota--- a former protester converted to the politics of pragmatism touted by Barack Obama and his Wall Street circle of friends--- the very same "philanthropists" from whom Van Jones is receiving his foundation funding.

Obama's advice to students...

Obama advises students to patiently work in silence as Wall Street profits from wars and the rest of our problems...

President Barack Obama gave the commencement address to the graduating class of the Ohio State University at Ohio Stadium on May 5, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.

"I dare you, Class of 2013, to do better. I dare you to do better," Obama said.

Obama also urged the students to "reject these voices" that warn of the evils of government, saying:

"Still, you'll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that's the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can't be trusted.

"We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems, nor do we want it to. But we don't think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government...

The cynics may be the loudest voices—but they accomplish the least. It's the silent disruptors—those who do the long, hard, committed work of change—that gradually push this country in the right direction, and make the most lasting difference."

Yes; those in power like Obama want everything to be out of sight and out of mind.

Obama and these politicians just love those foundation-funded flowers who pull people into thinking the process of change must take a long, long time.

Wall Street gets what it wants when it wants it but the rest of us must be patient and work in silence for change that will come in some distant future.

Just follow Obama's lead and everything will be okay--- ya; sure, you betcha. War after war; hit lists for drone attacks; growing joblessness and rising poverty; the fiasco of Obamacare instead of real health care reform; rising food prices; soaring gas prices; heating bills you need to put on your credit card; electric rates increase by leaps and bounds as you cut your usage; immigrant workers from Mexico treated as criminals by a bunch of anti-Latino racists and bigots which include members of the U.S. Congress...

And all of this calls for working in silence?

What kind of "community organizer" was Barack Obama?

Really? People are just supposed to "bite the bullet" and put up with all this crap no matter how much they are hurting in spite of the fact we working people who create all wealth?

Tell Barack Obama to tell his Wall Street merchants of death and destruction who profit from wars to patiently wait for their next war because the needs of the people for jobs, a quality public education, decent housing, an end to racist discrimination and inequality, the right to breath fresh air and drink clean water are more pressing than any of these dirty imperialist wars.

We have seen how Barack Obama works by the way he has pushed forward with this Trans-Pacific Partnership--- Wall Street works quickly in secrecy and silence behind our backs and without any participation from the American people and Obama thinks we are so stupid to believe that we will not rise up and loudly resist this corporate corruption of our government and Wall Street's arrogance in hogging the wealth like a bunch of greedy pigs feeding at the public trough with their bribed politicians like Obama and the rest of these Democrats and Republicans who never object to spending for wars but ALWAYS object to spending for human needs.

The entire scenario makes me sick and it's time to tell these Wall Street politicians, "We are fed up!"

And we need to tell them "we are fed up" in a loud, boisterous, militant and united way in which political and economic power is taken away from Wall Street and placed in the hands of "we the people."

Obama would just love it if all of us would sit in silence as he works from his "hit list" on the desk in the Oval Office murdering innocent people--- most of whom are children and their mothers.

Obama's advice to these graduating university students is worth about as the high-priced diplomas they received for which they will end up never paying off their student loans for the rest of their lives as they find jobs at poverty wages at Wal-mart, Target, Burger King or some loud, noisy, smoke-filled casino of the Indian Gaming Industry at poverty wages and without any rights under state or federal labor laws.

Just keep your mouth shut and endure the pain and suffering--- just the kind of advice one would expect from anyone carrying out Wall Street's reactionary imperialist agenda.