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...

Monday, January 9, 2017

Something to thnk about: The miseducation of the Americano

The miseducation of the Americano

  • Written by   
  • Tuesday, 10 January 2017 00:00

We were having our usual Thursday afternoon drink at our favorite restaurant in this Visayan city. Attendance was down this week, and there were just four of us: two Americans, an Australian and a Brit, each of whom had achieved or exceeded the biblical span of three- score years and ten.

The Australian, having recently read Charles Pellegrino’s fascinating Return to Sodom and Gomorrah, was explaining to one of the Americans, a born-again Christian, that there was a perfectly rational, scientific explanation for Joshua’s claimed feat in bringing the walls of Jericho tumbling down. 

Feeling that this discussion could be lightened with some musical accompaniment, I contributed the first few lines of “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.”

“You know,” said Born Again, “it’s about 50 years since I heard that song.”

“How about this one?” I inquired, before giving them the first verse of “The Ballad of Joe Hill.”

Greeted with blank expressions, I asked the two Americans if they really expected me to believe that they had never heard of Joe Hill. No, they never had.

“Well, he was an organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World…”

At this first whiff of radicalism, Born Again pounced. “Ah, in your country!”

“No,” I replied, “in your country. He was a Swedish immigrant, real name Joseph Hillstrom, and the authorities in your country framed him for murder and had him shot. So are you saying you’ve never heard of the Wobblies either?”

“The whut?”

“Wobblies. It’s what the Industrial Workers of the World were commonly called.”

The second American, who, in the same forum, had once expressed the view that Obama was encouraging Muslim emigration to the USA so that they could eventually take over the country, now made his first contribution. “So this was, like, back in the 1880s?”

“No, Joe Hill was executed in 1915.”

“I guess this was back East.”

“No, out West.” Utah, in fact.

Both Americans shrugged. This was all news to them.

“Okay, here’s an easier one: what’s the link between the two songs, ‘Joshua Fit the Battle’ and ‘Joe Hill?’” 
Sensing that the tongues of the Americans were about to emerge from the corners of their mouths, and frowns of concentration descend upon their brows, I hastily added: “Look, one singer performed both songs. Just give me the name of the singer.”

The Americans were like two schoolboys who, having neglected to complete their homework, were about to flunk a class quiz.

“Alright, I’ll tell you: it was Paul Robeson.”

“Paul...?”

“Robeson. R-o-b-e-s-o-n.”

To make it easier, I had thought of throwing in “Ol’ Man River” as an additional clue, but I could see now that this would have made no difference, as it was obvious that these two Trump supporters had never in their three-score years and 10 heard of Paul Robeson (1898-1976).

“Singer. Actor. Performed before Welsh miners and concert goers throughout Europe. He once said one thing he liked about going to the Soviet Union was that no one called him nigger there.”

“Oh, he was a black guy?”

“Yes, and at one stage your mighty bastion of freedom and democracy refused to issue him a passport for fear that he would say nasty things about the USA — which, of course, we all love —while abroad.”

It is often said — and correctly so, unfortunately — that the average Filipino has little knowledge of the history of this archipelago. But the more I encounter Americans over here (and there are, thankfully, exceptions), the more I am convinced that the average specimen is just as ignorant of US history.

On one occasion, I utterly failed to convince an acquaintance that many other Americans — Brazilians, Argentinians, certainly Cubans and even Canadians — resent the way in which the USA has appropriated the appellation “America” as its exclusive property; and, having never heard of Amerigo Vespucci, he was completely in the dark as to the origins of the name.

There is, however, a crucial difference between Filipino ignorance and the US variety: the Filipino with little knowledge of his own history rarely if ever oversteps the bounds of modesty, while many a benighted Americano will not hesitate to proclaim that the land of which he knows so little has, being the greatest nation in the world, the God-given right to lord it over the rest of the planet (about which, of course, he usually knows even less).

It’s amazing how a Thursday afternoon drink can provide such insight into recent events in the USA.

Real health care reform is National Public Health Care

Mike Pence, Vice-president elect, says the American people voted for change and he tries to twist and pervert this to mean the majority of the American people want what the Republicans are trying to pass off as health care reform.

The very meaning of the word "reform" means to improve something and make something better.

The private for-profit health care the Republicans have in mind does not improve this health care mess. It takes us from the bad Obamacare to worse health care.

Why would anyone waste time defending Obamacare when what we need is a National Public Health Care System?

No one but a bunch of Democrats and Democratic Party hacks along with a few Republicans support Obamacare.

We need a health care system that is:

All inclusive from pre-natal through burial.

General health.

Eyes.

Ears.

Dental.

Mental health.

Everyone in; nobody out.

There is nothing controversial with this. National Public Health Care is based on the model of Public Education.

Employers don't want to pay.

No one wants to pay insurance companies.

For far less than we pay for militarization and these dirty imperialist wars we can receive free health care through a network of neighborhood and community health care centers.

Now is the time to meet with your members of Congress--- Democrats or Republicans--- to let them know we are for health care based on the model of Public Education.

There is no reason we can't win this with a united effort.

We should not be wasting time supporting Obamacare because no one wanted it from the beginning and we should be hollering and screaming that we want Obamacare repealed and an open and democratic discussion before the Republicans shove another worthless system down our throats that nobody wants.

Democrats and Republicans will work together to try to prevent a democratic dialog, discussion and debate just as they have in the past because they are beholden to the insurance and pharmaceutical companies and the American Medical Association.

For once the American people have a right to be heard and these Democrats and Republicans who thwart our desire for a National Public Health Care System by denying our voices being heard should be forced to pay the penalty at the polls.

Book a meeting with your member of Congress now and insist our voices be heard... democracy requires no less.

Health care is a human right.

Health care for people not for profit.

And, quite frankly, even single-payer with its large private administration and private delivery is not what we need unless it is used as a very brief transition period a couple years) to a full National Health Care System.

A popular movement can win because what both the Republicans and Democrats are doing is counter to what everyone knows we need.

In fact, the Democrats are no more on our side than are the Republicans. A popular movement of the people could win a National Public Health Care System the same way a massive popular movement forced reactionary politicians who were opposed to public education to enact it... people, united in a movement for the kind of change the majority of the people want, can win the change they want.

We can't win this health care struggle if we allow these Wall Street bribed Democrats and Republicans to set the terms of this debate and our first step must be to publicly insist that a National Public Health Care System becomes part of this debate.

We can't be meek and soft spoken--- we must be militant in a way our voices are heard and shared.

Lets see if Republicans and Democrats can hold to the American Medical Association dictated private for-profit health care can stand up to the popular people's demands for National Public Health Care based on the model of public education. Lets see if these Wall Street bribed politicians dare to defy the democratic demand of the popular will of the majority of the American people.

A viewpoint by Alan Maki




A viewpoint by Alan Maki, a union, peace, environmental and civil rights activist;  retired member of UNITE-HERE Local 17.

I offer this for discussion about Peace, Equality, Full Employment, Universal Health Care and Protection of the Environment.



This is my response to the invitation extended by the AFL-CIO to all people and organizations to comment on its White Paper, “Prosperity Economics, Building An Economy For All” by Jacob S. Hacker and Nate Loewentheil, intended to create discussion about the direction of organized labor and the kind of country we all want to live in where peace, social and economic justice for working people prevail.
Democracy--- as well as social, economic and environmental justice--- require no less than a full and broad discussion of these important concerns and issues.


I agree with the concept of “prosperity economics” by “building an economy that works for everyone.” There are several very basic facts left out of this “White Paper” and it is very hazy, vague and nebulous as to what our concrete and specific goals and objectives are to be and what kind of movement and struggle it will take for the working class--- organized and unorganized together--- to create a prosperity economics for us all.

The “White Paper” does not clearly articulate our main enemy: Wall Street. The “White Paper” doesn’t reflect the fact that we, as working people, are engaged in a social, political and economic struggle for power with the intent to replace Wall Street’s dominance over every aspect of our lives--- in our schools, at work and in our communities.

Let’s state right up front workers create all wealth but workers have had no say in how this wealth is distributed and used. This needs to change. Democracy requires no less.
Let’s also put it right out there before the American people that militarism and wars are squandering the wealth of our Nation to such a large extent we don’t have the resources to solve our many domestic problems. These dirty imperialist wars are killing our jobs and our standard of living just like they kill people.

Militarism and wars are a major contributing factor to the world-wide collapsing capitalist economy. No nation can continue to endlessly use the wealth of its nation to prepare for wars and to fight wars. This is sheer insanity.
Wall Street’s greedy drive for profits results in wars which exacerbates our problems.
Detroit goes broke; the rest of our cities are sure to follow as Wall Street wallows in profits.

Working people go without adequate health care; insurance and pharmaceutical companies get fabulously wealthy. Earlier retirement and shorter workweeks/longer vacations with no cut in pay create jobs and would keep us healthier, too.

Our public institutions like public education fall apart, crumble and collapse just like our roads, highways and bridges because we are constantly feeding a war machine intended to fight never-ending wars waged to protect Wall Street’s assets and profits.
We don’t need, and can’t afford, 800 foreign military bases dotting the globe.
Prosperity for all begins with the recognition peace is required to achieve full employment.

Full employment is about the government seeing to it that jobs are created for all at real living wages. It is about putting people to work by creating massive universal social programs like National Public Health Care, not job destroying legislation like Obama-care as detrimental to our health and jobs as wars without providing real health care reform while pushing the price of health care up instead of its stated intent to push prices down.

Eliminating militarism and wars eliminates the largest carbon footprint contributing to global warming and climate change as the Military Industrial Complex wastes our precious resources in a huge, monstrous complex that ruins our environment--- power generation, mining, manufacturing, the resources like oil and gas required to fight wars. Preparation for war, and war itself, creates a mammoth sized carbon footprint destroying our living environment while creating massive joblessness and poverty and ill health for our people as our air, water and land gets polluted.


The Wall Street selected politicians talk about “jobs, jobs, jobs” when their hidden agenda is really “profits, profits, profits” and “war, war, and more war.”
The time has come to make politicians legislatively responsible for full employment and peace because prosperity economics requires: peace and full employment--- a healthy people and a healthy environment.

Therefore, I propose that a central goal of the American labor and working class movement needs to be the building of an economy for all that is inseparably linked to peace and full employment which must include:

A Minimum Wage tied to all cost of living factors indexed to inflation. Jobs or a living income for all.

National Public Health Care. Protect, defend and expand Social Security programs.
Legislation prohibiting lockouts and scabbing. Repeal of “At-Will Employment” legislation--- the primary obstacle to worker empowerment and union organizing. End racism... Enforcement of Affirmative Action.

Price controls are needed for food, gas, home heating fuels and electricity.
A healthy economy means a healthy living environment and a healthy planet. We need a quality of life index.

The two-party system is a trap for working people. We must free ourselves from the Democrats and Republicans. A working class based people’s party is required if we are going to have a prosperity economics that works for all of us. We can learn a thing or two about health care and politics from our Canadian Brothers and Sisters.
We are now at a crossroads.

We will have an economy that serves Wall Street or we will have an economy that works for the rest of us--- we can’t have both just like we can’t have both war and full employment.


I encourage the use of the proposed Full Employment Act of 1945 pushed by the CIO unions and authored by liberal Texas Congressman Wright Patman and the associated hearing testimonies to broaden this discussion:

I also call to your attention the excellent Op-Ed piece by Bob Herbert, “Losing Our Way,” his last piece in the New York Times (March 25, 2011), which declares:

“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.”

I ask: What ever happened to William Winpisinger’s “Rebuild America Act” and the “peace dividend?” The AFL-CIO should bring back to life its Committee on Conversion--- from military production to producing for human needs; swords into plowshares is what was advocated by the late International Association of Machinist’s President, William Winpisinger. Where is this advocacy for peace and reordering our Nation’s priorities now?
Thank you for allowing me to share with you my critique of the AFL-CIO’s “White Paper.”

In solidarity and struggle.

For peace, equality, full employment, universal health care, ending racism and protection of the environment.

Alan L. Maki

Check out my blog:
Thoughts From Podunk
http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/
E-mail: red_finn@live.com        
Phone: 651-587-5541                                                                               (end)

Campaign for a “21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity”



Campaign for a “21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity”

We are fed up with politicians campaigning on promises of “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” and then failing to make themselves legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment.

We are fed up with our tax dollars being squandered on militarism and wars instead of being used to create jobs by solving the problems of the people and defending our living environment… its time to beat swords into ploughshares. Put people to work solving the problems of the people.

A National Public Health Care System would create over twelve-million new jobs paying real living wages providing people with free health care---  general medical, eyes, ears, dental and mental health--- through a network of neighborhood and community health care centers; this is a better use of our tax-dollars than wasting our human and financial resources on a far flung empire of over 800 U.S. military bases around the world. Or, it could be financed the same way Social Security is financed. Public funding. Public administration. Public delivery… nothing controversial; just like public education.

A National Public Child Care System would create over three-million new jobs providing working class families with free child care.

We need to restore WPA and CCC.

We insist Congress and the president enact full employment legislation which makes them legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment; assure everyone who wants a job employment at real living wages in line with the actual cost-of-living.

Full employment would provide stability for Social Security; everyone paying in; everyone getting something out.


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Let’s talk about the politics and economics of livelihood.

Return to: Alan L. Maki, 58891 CR 13, Warroad, MN 56763    phone: 651-587-5541



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Petition to the President of the United States and the U.S. Congress…

To defend Social Security and for the protection of all worker pensions

We insist there be no cuts to Social Security and Social Security be increased to a real living income for all.

We also call for reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act to prevent banks from engaging in the investment business. Far too many workers are losing their entire pension funds to crooked and corrupt bankers who are currently in the investment business. This must end.

All pension fund investment and management fund companies must disclose to clients their ownership in stocks and bonds which they are investing pension fund monies into.

More stringent oversight of pension fund investment firms and management companies is required.

The Social Security Administration must implement more stringent oversight of employers to make sure employers who deduct for Social Security are actually paying that money into Social Security. Thousands of workers have been under the impression money employers are deducting for Social Security is being turned over to Social Security only to find out upon retirement the money was pocketed by these unscrupulous employers.

Millions of workers are losing the pensions they paid into because of corporate bankruptcies and other corporate schemes; it is up to the government to make sure these pension funds remain solvent.

There should be a special curriculum developed made mandatory for all high school students and available to workers to teach them about Social Security, pension funds and all pension programs.

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Petition initiated by the Campaign for a “21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity”
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