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...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

About springs wound too tight...

People always ask me what exactly are the things the Minimum Wage should be attached to.

This is from the site of the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has classified all expenditure items into more than 200 categories, arranged into eight major groups. Major groups and examples of categories in each are as follows:

    FOOD AND BEVERAGES (breakfast cereal, milk, coffee, chicken, wine, full service meals and snacks);
    HOUSING (rent of primary residence, owners' equivalent rent, fuel oil, bedroom furniture);
    APPAREL (men's shirts and sweaters, women's dresses, jewelry);
    TRANSPORTATION (new vehicles, airline fares, gasoline, motor vehicle insurance);
    MEDICAL CARE (prescription drugs and medical supplies, physicians' services, eyeglasses and eye care, hospital services);
    RECREATION (televisions, cable television, pets and pet products, sports equipment, admissions);
    EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION (college tuition, postage, telephone services, computer software and accessories);
    OTHER GOODS AND SERVICES (tobacco and smoking products, haircuts and other personal services, funeral expenses).

These things taken together are what I am referring to when I say "cost-of-living."

If anyone can tell me a better method in establishing what the Minimum Wage should be based on I would like to hear it.

I have asked Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and numerous state and federal elected officials what they are using to justify their proposed "increase" (their numbers vary from who you ask--- from $7.50 to $10.10--- but not one of these politicians will tell you where they get these figures from.

Why not?

Why would anyone expect a working man or working woman of any age to work for wages that won't allow them to purchase the basic necessities of life?

Any wage that doesn't allow the basic necessities of life to be purchased is not a "living wage" no matter what "spin" is placed on the explanation.

When anyone states they are for "living wages" this means something very specific. It means the necessities of life can be purchased. Again, there is no other way to "spin" this although Minnesota Democrats are trying very hard to tell us, after pounding us with the message they all support a "living wage" that "something is better than nothing."

And when we challenge them they get extremely angry.

I have been accused--- in writing--- by Minnesota State Senator, Kathy Sheran of "winding the spring too tight" in insisting that the Minimum Wage must correspond to a real living wage BASED ON ALL COST-OF-LIVING factors from the eight categories above.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has told his Democratic Party Caucus that "We need to get some kind of increased in the Minimum Wage passed real quick as soon as the legislative session opens because Maki is winding the spring so tight it is going to bust and break into pieces and hit us."

Working people want a real living wage and these politicians are only concerned about their political futures.

What they fear is that if they enact Minimum Wage Legislation assuring employers are forced to pay workers at least a real living non-poverty wage these employers will only lavish their campaign contributions on the Republicans.

Who is "winding the spring tight?"

Not me; it is the employers who reap huge super-profits by paying workers poverty wages.

As I travel across Minnesota the only thing I am pointing out is what a real living wage consists of.

Mark Dayton came to me in person begging for our support when he was trying to get the DFL nomination--- now he is stooping to blaming me because his credibility, and that of the Democratic Party, is at stake.

I am not the one who suggested Mark Dayton and these other politicians pull a Minimum Wage figure from a hat for self-serving political expediency--- they are the ones who did this all on their own.

Let these Democrats come up with a Minimum Wage based on scientific and empirical facts and data.

If they don't think the Bureau of Labor Statistics is doing their job properly in the way they compile these cost-of-living factors let them come forward with proof.

But, any working class family can easily figure out by a trip to the grocery store, being robbed at the gas pump, being stiffed when paying for home heating fuel and having to pay increasing rents or trying to keep up with mortgage payments that these Democrats are not providing a Minimum Wage that is a real living wage.

If these union leaders and foundation-funded groups fronting for the Democrats shamefully pushing these poverty wages down our throats can't understand this then they should not be pretending to represent working people who never asked them to intervene in the first place.

My messgae to Bernie Sanders...

I delivered this message to Bernie Sanders:

This is an interesting discussion about the Minimum Wage.

So you think the poverty Minimum Wage you join the Democrats in advocating is "better than nothing."

Essentially what is being said is that increased spending resulting in a miserly increase in the Minimum Wage for the poorest section of the working class is supposed to spur job growth for the non-poverty sections of the working class.

What kind of working class unity feeds into this trough of capitalist "consumerism" rather than insisting on all workers being paid a real living wage?

This is nothing but submission, and capitulation, to Wall Street brainwashing.

Here is the deal my friends.

How would those of you making real living wages like me to circulate a petition calling for you to live on $10.10 an hour?

I think that it is utterly pathetic that a socialist politician and a bunch of union "leaders" along with these foundation-funded outfits and think-tanks would be advocating for legislating a poverty minimum wage as they talk about how everyone is entitled to a living wage.

The word "hypocrisy" comes to mind.

What kind of people advocate legislating poverty? I would expect this kind of thinking from Republicans and Wall Street bribed politicians, not socialists and labor leaders.

"Better than nothing." I would expect this kind of talk from those who "negotiate" concession after concession in union contracts. It is a non-struggle position.

You know; Democrats in Wisconsin are using the exact same "logic" and "reasoning" as they propose raising the Minimum Wage in their state from $7.25 an hour to $7.60 an hour--- a whopping thirty-five cent "increase" is what they are advocating after all their grand talk about how everyone is entitled to a "living wage."

Since when do liberals, progressives and leftists advocate maintaining poverty under the guise that it is "better than nothing?"

You know; I have heard the exact same thing from managements who say: "Take it or leave it; this is our final offer. It's better than nothing."

I think union "leaders" are afraid this mass campaign by rank-and-file workers and grassroots working class activists for a real living wage will lead to a better standard-of-living than what they have "negotiated" in concessionary contracts for their members paying dues. They resent the fact that workers who are fed up with poverty haven't turned to them for help.

Unorganized workers are taking the lead in demanding what politicians and labor leaders have refused to fight for: a decent standard-of-living for everyone. And now these politicians and labor "leaders" come along and try to push a poverty wage down our throats at the peak of a struggle for "living wages." I am sure Wall Street appreciates their efforts in disrupting this movement to achieve a universal real living wage being established through Minimum Wage legislation.

The huge super-profits Wall Street derives from poverty wages are enormous. Most people forced to live on poverty wages would consider this "better than nothing" approach as nothing but betrayal.

We have the opportunity to win a real living wage in this country right now.

We need to tell these Democrats: "No living Minimum Wage; no votes."

And I don't want to hear this crap about, "The Republicans won't let us."

Here in Minnesota the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party has a super-majority that the Republicans can't even challenge. All the Republicans can do is sit back and cry. We have a Democratic Governor, Mark Dayton; a Democratic majority in the State House, and a solid Democratic majority in the State Senate.

What have these Democrats here in Minnesota with their super-majority done in their first super-majority legislative session on the Minimum Wage?

Nothing!

They wouldn't even use their unchallenged power to raise the Minimum Wage a plug nickle and Minnesota has one of the lowest Minimum Wages in all of North America--- $6.15 an hour! Lower than Mississippi!!!

Now, I would suggest to all of you that you contact the Democratic Party and tell them to tell Minnesota Democrats to establish the standard for how the Minimum Wage should be established in this country.

There is only one way to establish a just and living Minimum Wage.

We do this by legislatively tying the Minimum Wage to ALL "cost-of-living" factors as tracked by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics; index this to inflation and periodically provide an increase to improve the overall "standard-of-living."

Bernie Sanders should come into Minnesota while we are in the midst of this struggle for a "living wage."

I don't hear one single politician calling for a "poverty wage" yet they are all wiling to legislate a poverty wage. How is this reconciled with talk about a living wage. It can't be reconciled except through hypocrisy.

We have a chance to force this Democratic super-majority in Minnesota to pass Minimum Wage legislation that can be a model for every state, the Nation and the rest of the world; and here sits Bernie Sanders twiddling away this opportunity and tailing the Democrats.

If Bernie Sanders can't come into Minnesota now as a socialist advocating for a real living--- non-poverty--- Minimum Wage, don't bring him and his campaign to Minnesota running for president, either.

Am I making myself clear, Bernie?

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

Israel and Gaza. What part of the disaster is from natural causes and what part of this unfolding disaster is man-made?

This is how the mainstream media is covering it:


And then there is this:


And this is kind of a "strange" statement being reported widely:

"Once the storm is over, "the world community needs to bring effective pressure to end the blockade of Gaza," said Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the main U.N aid agency in the territory. Gaza residents "must be freed from these man-made constraints to deal with the impact of a natural calamity such as this," he added."

Why "after" the storm is over and not right now?

I find it interesting how "crisis" is used to spur immediate action when it is of benefit to imperialism but we are supposed to wait for "crisis" to pass when the outcome of immediate action will be not what is advantageous to imperialism even though it is the immediate action right now which will save lives.

Wars can be unleashed with "urgency" for "humanitarian" reasons but when real humanitarian assistance is required it can be put off until another time--- and how long has this blockade been in place, already? 

Manipulation of "shock doctrine?"

Obama wanted war with Syria "right now" and didn't want to wait for any facts; but, here, look at what is happening in Gaza and the world is being called upon to "wait" until the crisis passes. These people know it will be much more difficult to develop pressure to end the blockade once this weather crisis passes. Once again the urgency and immediacy for action is being pushed aside... and this, coming from the United Nations. Despicable. Sickening.
 
These mainstream media news reports would lead people to believe both Israelis and Palestinians are suffering the consequences of a natural disaster but it doesn't get thoroughly or accurately explained why the Palestinians suffer the most dire consequences because of the barbarity of the blockade. 

It would be interesting to have a comparison of the financial, equipment, relief efforts (food, shelter) and human resources used to combat this storm in Israel as compared Gaza coming from both the United States and other countries, relief organizations, etc.

Are dams being opened by Israel to alleviate damage and harm in Israel by turning this water loose on a trapped people as if they are nothing but rats trapped in a sewer? 

This is a serious question the mainstream media doesn't want to ponder, nor do our AIPAC bribed and supporting politicians--- every single one of them in the United States Senate and not a peep from this so-called Congressional Progressive Caucus. Not a mention of this man-made (imperialist made) human tragedy; why not?

I would also note that with all the media attention focused on Nelson Mandela's passing not a word is being said about his support and solidarity with the Palestinian people:

"Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children."    Nelson Mandela

-- 
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