by Alan L. Maki on Tuesday, July 26, 2011
First of all this statement and call to action by U.S. Labor Against the War is somewhat deceitful as and Rebuild the Dream along with their usual “coalition partners” did not mention ending the wars (Please see the “letter” sent out by Tim Carpenter of the Progressive Democrats of America and the “call to action” from Van Jones— which was referred to by Tim Carpenter):


MoveOn and Rebuild the Dream just put out a call for an emergency mobilization at local Congressional offices Tuesday at Noon.


The message: Increase the damn debt ceiling now and don’t touch Medicare, Medicaid, Pell, Social Security, etc. Make the billionaires and corporations pay their fair share instead of hurting the middle class, working people and folks who are struggling. End the wars and put the Pentagon on a diet.


We need as many people / groups / bloggers as possible to make a public outcry. The media has had zero visuals of people protesting. If we show up and wave signs, we might just have a chance to break into the news cycle –especially in local districts– and make an impact.


Tuesday at noon, show up at your Congress member’s local office. If they are committed to defend these core social safety net programs, bring signs to thank them and show your support.


If they are waffling or lining up to make cuts to these survival programs, let them know you will remember this betrayal next time you vote.


E-mail your Congressperson, or call Congress members directly at (202-224-3121) till 7:00 pm EST. Call the White House at (202) 456-1111.


Forward this communication immediately to friends and relatives using text message, e-mail, personal calls, leaflet, facebook and other social media.



Ending the wars should be at the top of the list followed by “tax the rich” with both being required to create jobs.


The debt ceiling should NOT be raised as raising the debt ceiling will require imposing further austerity measures on the working class to pay for this debt because we all know that under the Democrats and Republicans the wars are not going to end and the rich are not going to be taxed.


If anyone, including U.S. Labor Against the War, really thought the wars were going to end and the rich were going to be taxed there would be no reason at all to even consider raising the debt ceiling.


What the heck is going on here? Why is USLAW calling for raising the debt ceiling just like Richard Trumka and the AFL-CIO, MoveOn, Rebuild the Dream, Progressive Democrats of America, Campaign for America’s Future and the rest of these foundation funded outfits who derive their funding from the same “philanthropists” who are the same Wall Street coupon clippers who profit from these wars and are getting off with the wealth created through their exploitation of the working class not getting redistributed through a tax on the rich (them)?


I would like for any liberal, progressive or leftists to explain in very simple terms why the “debt ceiling” should be raised without first ending the wars and a program for taxing the rich to be in place?


Right now the United States in involved in funding the building of a huge NEW naval base in South Korea against the will (and opposition from) the people.


Funding for the continued occupation of the Philippines is being increased per request from Obama and the Democrats— how much has this one-hundred plus year occupation cost us already? Someone should suggest this bill be tabulated for the American people.


USLAW should be questioning the price (debt incurred) for Wall Street’s imperialist policies which have resulted in the creation of the most Draconian form of state-monopoly capitalism making it impossible for the American people to get access to the kind of information required to have an intelligent discussion of “debt” and why we have so much debt.


Fighting Wall Street’s dirty imperialist wars and further protecting Wall Street’s interests (cheap natural resources and cheap labor) with over 800 U.S. military bases around the globe— while more are being constructed— does not come cheap. The costs in terms of the human body count and the debt incurred to finance this parasitic, barbaric, cannibalistic carnage and sheer economic stupidity has to end.


What is required is a good ruckus in the streets not just protests by organizations who will turn right around and endorse Obama for re-election.


As one of the original founders of USLAW I find it insulting that USLAW would fail to put ending the wars at the top of the the list and then go right along with the official AFL-CIO policy which has not been deviated from since its birth in supporting Wall Street’s imperialist policies— one of which is increasing the debt ceiling as a way to saddle working people with paying for these dirty, rotten imperialist wars— this is the one and only reason for increasing the debt ceiling.


USLAW should be calling for breaking free from this two-party trap set for us by our Wall Street foes.


By all means, we must join in these protest actions.


But, joining these protests does not mean we must buy into this skewed thinking that is the creation of the well-paid Wall Street sooth-Sayers who are twisting and perverting the facts to continue hoodwinking the working class to support Wall Street’s imperialist and anti-working class agenda of wars abroad and austerity at home.


United States Labor Against the War should join in asking working people across the country and in these demonstrations and protests:


How is Barack Obama’s Wall Street war economy working for you?


Until this question is asked of working people— and answered— no working class organizations or unions have any business supporting these stupid, odious and deceitful calls issued by a liar like Obama to “raise the debt ceiling.”


We must also be aware that and Rebuild the Dream are engaged in a deceitful campaign to re-elect Barack Obama who should be defeated as part of the struggles to take power from the hands of these greedy Wall Street coupon clippers.


I would note there isn’t even any mention of the need to create a National Public Health Care System and National Public Child Care System (or WPA/CCC) as a way to create jobs funded with a peace dividend.


I would also note that there has been no clear rebuttal as to why Social Security has been included in the austerity package along with the “debt ceiling increase.” What gives here? Has the Social Security Trust Fund been raided by the U.S. Congress to pay for these dirty wars, too, and now the fund is broke with no intent to pay it back? This pack of Wall Street thieves must be stopped not acquiesced to, again as the Democrats always do.


Minnesota State Representative Bill Hilty and a colleague wrote this Op/Ed piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune published yesterday (July 25, 2011) which should be distributed at all of these protests and posted to all blogs and web sites:


From the Minneapolis Star Tribune—


Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Bill Hilty: The nation’s wars are a heavy burden on the state

  • Updated: July 25, 2011 – 7:02 PM


Budget gap could have been easily closed with the money we send away.



Citizens in Minnesota are being encouraged to see scarcity as the new normal. If you are an elected official at any level of government, your job has been reduced to managing austerity.


It doesn’t have to be this way — if we address the elephant lurking in the budget deficit hall. That would be the high costs of militarization and war.


Technically, the military budget is a federal issue, distinct from state, county and city budgets. However, we can no longer maintain the fiction that distorted federal spending that prioritizes war and militarism is disconnected from state and local budget crises and is eroding living standards.


According to the nonpartisan National Priorities Project, Congress devotes 58 cents of every dollar of federal discretionary spending to war-related purposes. To better understand the impact on Minnesota of privileging military spending priorities, consider this: We have just experienced a painful government shutdown over how to deal with a two-year $5 billion shortfall. Yet Minnesota taxpayers over the same two-year period will spend $8.4 billion just for our share of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.


This will bring Minnesotans’ total contribution to those wars to about $36 billion. Additionally over the next two years, Minnesotans will pay $26 billion for our share of the nation’s base military budget, a budget that has doubled since the collapse of the Soviet Union.


Every Minnesota citizen and every layer of government is impacted negatively by current war-related priorities. Faced with pressing local needs, taxpayers in Fergus Falls will pay $17 million for their share of counterproductive Iraq/Afghan wars over the next two years; Minneapolis taxpayers will contribute $255 million.


We believe it is time for Minnesotans to communicate clearly to our members of Congress and to President Obama that federal funding priorities must shift from unnecessary wars to meeting essential needs. A new citizen-driven effort, the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MNasap), is a vehicle for doing so.


We have crafted a simple resolution that can be adapted and enacted by individuals, community groups, library boards, city councils and other elected bodies throughout the state. It reads in part: “Whereas our nation desperately needs to better balance its approach to security to go beyond military defense and include the economic, social, and environmental needs of our communities, state, and nation … Therefore [we] call on Senators Klobuchar and Franken, and Representatives Walz, Kline, Paulsen, McCollum, Ellison, Bachmann, Peterson and Cravaack as well as President Barack Obama, to shift federal funding priorities from war and the interests of the few, to meeting the essential needs of us all.”


The state government shutdown has ended, but the pain will be ongoing for many Minnesotans. As a recent Star Tribune editorial (“New budget rests on shaky structure,” July 20) states, borrowing against future state revenues and delaying school payments will have serious consequences, and the budget “inflicts too much pain. The hurt will be felt most keenly on college campuses and among those who serve low-income disabled and elderly people.”


Imagine what we can accomplish if we stop squandering wealth and talents on militarization and counterproductive wars. Schools could reduce class sizes and have adequate supplies. Bridges could be repaired. Food shelves could be adequately stocked but rarely needed. We could take steps to make homelessness rare and temporary. Cities and states could adequately provide essential services, including meeting their authentic security needs. Critical investments could be made in infrastructure and green technologies. Public libraries could expand hours and programming. Urban and national rail systems could be built. The country could address climate change and end child poverty. All Americans could have access to quality, affordable health care.


This sounds like a fantasy only because current choices keep us on the dead-end road of militarization. It is a realistic possibility once we demilitarize priorities, realistically assess security needs and refocus governing on serving the common good.


Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is associate professor of justice and peace studies at the University of St. Thomas. Bill Hilty, DFL-Finlayson, is a member of the Minnesota House. For information on the resolution campaign, contact


Yours in the struggle for peace, social and economic justice,


Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,

Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council


In Minnesota over 44,000 casino workers are employed in the Indian Gaming Industry in loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws through the racist “Compacts” created by the Democrats to enrich a few mobsters who own all the slot machines and table games leaving the Indian Nations hold nothing but debt and increased unemployment and poverty.


Alan Maki

Alan Maki

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