Monday, March 23, 2009

The United States has 800 military bases on foreign soil...

What we need--- instead--- is 800 public health care centers spread out across the United States where people can universally access, for free, all their health care needs from pre-natal care, to general health care to eye, dental and mental care right through to burial.

Instead of moving in this progressive direction, President Barack Obama and the United States Congress are moving in a most reactionary direction towards establishing military bases in outer space as they seek to insure the profits of both the merchants of death and destruction and the profit-driven health care industries... talk about skewed priorities and your wacky ideas devoid of common sense.

In addition to these 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil, Barack Obama and the United States Congress continue funding--- with our tax-dollars--- the Israeli killing machine to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

A network of 800 public health care centers spread out across the United States would create over four-million good-paying, decent jobs--- talk about your "economic stimulus" package!

We would be planting the seeds of socialism while helping to eradicate poverty as we keep people healthy and get them well when sick.

Think about this kind of solution in relation to what Barack Obama, the U.S. Congress and the Wall Street bankers and coupon clippers are offering the American people, and the peoples of the world... just what is the reason for bailing out the banks and AIG and maintaining more than 800 expensive U.S. military bases of foreign soil?

The Mt. Carmel Clinic in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada offers us a glimpse at what militarization and wars continue to rob us of.

The problems created by Wall Street will not be solved as long as the military-financial-industrial complex is allowed to squander human and natural resources on militarism and wars... we might just as well be dumping these resources out into the ocean... at least no one would die in wars.

These merchants of death and destruction must be stopped if humanity is to survive in a livable world.

The time has come to talk about the working class Marxist politics and economics of livelihood... capitalism has failed humanity miserably and left us a real mess.

Something for working people to think about and discuss around the dinner table... the capitalist sooth-Sayers certainly are not going to broach such solutions to the problems of working people as they hide behind the skirt of Rosy Scenario as this global capitalist economic depression intensifies.

Alan Maki

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The big lie about AIG

The big lie about AIG:


U.S.News & World Report (see complete article following my comments)

What's Good, What's Bad About the AIG Bailout

“It's keeping AIG's insurance businesses stable. Here's something that's really startling: The entire problem at AIG was caused by one unit, the Financial Products division, whose employees constituted less than one percent of AIG's overall workforce. AIG's insurance units - the core of its business - essentially had nothing to do with the fiasco. But if AIG had been forced to liquidate, it could have affected the insurance units and millions of policyholders. With a more orderly process underway, the policyholders are now completely protected.”

This is the truth:

The entire problem at AIG was caused by one unit, the Financial Products division

But if AIG had been forced to liquidate, it could have affected the insurance units and millions of policyholders. With a more orderly process underway, the policyholders are now completely protected.


Who are these AIG “policyholders?”


These AIG “policyholders” are the largest multi-national corporations in the world… and include corporations from every industry, from media to banking/mortgage to auto and steel to toys.


What kind of insurance policies have the multi-national corporations purchased from AIG?


These “policyholders” have purchased insurance from AIG to protect their profits.


What kind of “claims” are they filing?


These multi-national policyholders are making claims based upon their loss of profits due to the recession/depression.


Our tax-dollars are paying on “claims” being filed by these multi-national corporations for losses in profits as the economy goes south.


While the disgraceful tens of millions of dollars in executive “bonuses” paid by AIG are now the justified topic of wide-spread discussion; these “bonuses” are being used a “Trojan Horse” of sorts by the media and politicians who don’t want to disclose to the American people where the hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars are going.


Make no mistake, the $170,000,000,000.00 (one-hundred seventy billion dollars) paid out to AIG is just the beginning… as the depression deepens these multi-national corporations will continue filing claims and AIG will have to honor the policies these corporations purchased to protect their profitability… our tax-dollars are going directly into the pockets of the Wall Street coupon clippers and the very mortgage company crooks who ripped off the American people.


For the American tax-payer, there is nothing “good” about the bailout of AIG… except to the stock and bondholders and bankers and mortgage companies and the big industrialists and investors who will continue to pocket profits at tax-payer expense, everything about the AIG “bailout” is bad.


The “bailout” of AIG with our tax-dollars is doing nothing but stabilizing Wall Street “profits.”

AIG’s insurance business is the business of protecting multi-national corporations against a loss in profits.

Once the tax-dollars stop flowing into the coffers of AIG and flooding out to the multi-national corporations, the world stock markets will collapse and we will be in the midst of the worst capitalist economic depression humanity has ever known--- complete with all the accompanying human misery and social strife one would expect--- now being widely predicted by many diverse voices.

On top of all of this, the American dollar will become worthless and we will be forced to purchase oil with Euros and Rubles… then what?

And if the Chinese aren’t dumb enough to buy into the American capitalist economic mess… then what?

In spite of what the highest-paid capitalist sooth-Sayers are telling us, capitalism as an economic system is finished… it is time to explore a socialist solution where production takes place to solve human needs rather than for profit… there is no other solution.

The multi-national corporations purchased insurance policies to protect their profits against recession/depression incurred losses from AIG, a private--- for profit--- insurance company, which assumed the risk in underwriting such policies.

The multi-national corporations did not purchase insurance policies from the United States government; so why should tax-payers be the ones paying out on these claims?

This is the biggest corporate swindle in history… in comparison, Bernie Madoff is a piker… we are being played for suckers.

We need a national “people’s bailout” based on the “Minnesota People’s bailout.”

The time has come to take a “left turn” to get us off this road to perdition as the capitalist system collapses.

Big-business created this economic mess as they reaped the profits while leaving working people with ALL the problems.

Alan L. Maki

U.S.News & World Report
What's Good, What's Bad About the AIG Bailout

Tuesday March 17, 1:52 pm ET
By Rick Newman

"There are times when one would like to hang the whole human race, and finish the farce."

The latest surreal twists in the AIG bailout bring to mind Mark Twain, who could spot folly as if he were hunting for it with a spyglass. Had Twain had AIG to work with as raw material, we'd probably have another couple dozen enduring epigrams skewering the greedy and the foolish.

Many Americans would like to finish the farce and simply cut AIG off, especially now that the company has paid $165 million in bonuses to executives at the very unit that nearly caused the firm's downfall and triggered an unprecedented taxpayer bailout that now totals $170 billion. To almost everybody, it seems self-evident that traders shouldn't be rewarded for wrecking their company and then burning through vast amounts of public funds. Yet AIG insists it is legally obligated to pay the bonuses, because of contracts signed before the damage occurred and taxpayers got involved. There have also been suggestions that the rascals who devised these complex derivatives deals may be the only ones who know how to unwind them, so AIG has no choice but to keep them around - and pay for the privilege of their company. In other words, the bonuses amount to extortion.

Okay. Breathe deep. Think calming thoughts. Find your center. Amidst this outrage, it's worth keeping in mind that the AIG bailout is actually doing some good. It's also a kind of learn-as-you-go experiment that's never really been done before. Here's a rough scorecard of what's working and what's not:

What's working

The AIG bailout has helped stabilize the financial markets. Take a moment to revisit September 2008. That's when Lehman Brothers failed, Merrill Lynch almost did, and AIG would have been forced into a chaotic bankruptcy if the feds didn't arrange an emergency $85 billion loan. With a bit of hindsight, it's starting to seem that AIG, which brokered more than $2.5 trillion worth of derivatives known as credit-default swaps held by many of the world's biggest banks, was the death star of that troubled troika.

We've survived the Lehman bankruptcy, after all, and Merrill found a buyer. "The real surprise wasn't Lehman Brothers, it was AIG," Frederic Mishkin, a Columbia Business School professor and former member of the Federal Reserve Board, said in a recent speech. "Who would have thought that an insurance company would have been affected by all this? When that happened, all bets were off."

All that federal money has helped AIG redeem some of those derivatives contracts, getting them off its books and out of the system. The financial markets still aren't back to normal, but they're heading in that direction. Forestalling another industrial-strength financial failure, and the chain reaction it would have triggered if AIG had collapsed, has certainly helped.

It's also helping AIG unwind itself. AIG's problems snowballed in September when suddenly it had to produce billions of dollars worth of collateral to back up those credit-default swaps. The collateral call was triggered by an unexpected drop in AIG's credit rating, along with the plunge in value of mortage-backed securities around the world. AIG didn't have the cash, and to come up with it, the only option would have been to sell off illiquid assets like its highly profitable insurance divisions or its aircraft leasing company. Try doing that in a week.

Had AIG been forced to liquidate those assets, it would have had to accept fire-sale prices, which would have led to a sudden collapse in the prices of other similar assets and companies throughout the world. AIG would have gotten pennies on the dollar for valuable assets and many other businesses would suddenly have been devalued, too.

AIG is still in the process of selling off assets, to pay off the government loans that effectively served as its collateral. But it's doing that in a more orderly way, seeking the highest bidders and the best terms. That's generally good for everybody, and it's also the best way for taxpayers to get most or all of their money back.

It's keeping AIG's insurance businesses stable. Here's something that's really startling: The entire problem at AIG was caused by one unit, the Financial Products division, whose employees constituted less than one percent of AIG's overall workforce. AIG's insurance units - the core of its business - essentially had nothing to do with the fiasco. But if AIG had been forced to liquidate, it could have affected the insurance units and millions of policyholders. With a more orderly process underway, the policyholders are now completely protected.

What's not working

Revolting bonuses. It simply goes without saying that giving bonuses to the people who brought down AIG is a perversion of justice. Officials at the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Dept. should have put terms into the original bailout agreement that prevented this. They didn't. It was a chaotic time, and legitimate worries about a global financial collapse obviously clouded thoughts about rules to prevent rapacious traders from holding the government hostage. If it's any consolation, the $165 million bonus pool is relatively small. Still, it grates.

Counterparty payouts. AIG has used much of the $170 billion in government aid to basically refund money to big banks and other "counterparties," to cash out some of those credit-default swaps and reduce AIG's massive liabilities. That's sensible, and it's basically the original idea behind the "Troubled Assets Relief Program," which was intended to get the worst derivatives and other securities off the market.

The problem is that the government has apparently agreed to $105 billion worth of payouts - at the full face value of the securities. That means that banks like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Societe General and Deutsche Bank - among the world's most sophisticated investors - are taking no loss at all on securities that had a market value of half their face value or less when AIG redeemed them in full. It's like house prices falling in your neighborhood by 50 percent, and somebody coming in and buying one house for what it was worth at the market peak a couple years ago. And using a government loan to finance it.

Regulators at the Fed, Treasury, and other departments still haven't explained why the counterparties got all their money back. They're certainly going to be asked at upcoming Congressional hearings. But in a situation where just about everybody is taking a loss - taxpayers and consumers especially - it will be tough to make a case that the world's richest banks deserve full redemption.

Secrecy. We keep learning the terms of the AIG bailout well after the fact. Obviously there are times when the feds need to move quickly and can't have a 60-day comment period. But it's not the same crisis atmosphere as last fall. In general, we should learn the details of the bailout as they occur.

AIG strongly resisted releasing the list of counterparties that have been paid back with bailout money, for instance. As recently as March 5, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Donald Kohn defended that secrecy, saying that firms might be reluctant to deal with AIG in the future if they knew their dealings could become public.

Then a week later, under mounting pressure, AIG released a list of counterparties. The world didn't end. AIG is also refusing to release the names of individuals in the Financial Products division who are getting bonuses. They may lose that battle too, since New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has asked for the names and started an investigation, much as he has with Merrill Lynch. Information is going to come out one way or the other, and AIG and its regulators should stop trying to protect the failing company any more than they already are. When AIG pays back that $170 billion in taxpayer money, they can keep all the secrets they want. In fact, once we've got our money back, the less we hear about AIG the better.

Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541


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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Maki: Just say no to imperialist wars

I have a question of my own for Mr. Hayden:

How much longer can we expect that these wars will continue? Until the oil runs out?

What gives with your article? You talk like it is just fine and dandy the United States bombs its way into a country killing who knows how many people and when the occupation is complete and the resistance to the occupation has been defeated the peace movement can declare its support for Obama ending the war?


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Alan Maki responds to Tom Hayden

By Alan L. Maki

This article (see below)--- A Victory for the Peace Movement--- was written by Tom Hayden of the group Progressives for Obama.

Tom Hayden, until recently, was--- admittedly-- - a "poster boy" for Israel's killing machine.

Conveniently Tom Hayden emerged from his dark, dank cave about the same time Walter Mondale came out of his; just in time to give Obama a boost... two phony liberals trying to pose as progressives, joined by a few more rotten peas in the same moldy pod.

Hayden would like us to ignore the fact that American tax-payers have shelled out billions of dollars building permanent military bases in Iraq which Barack Obama has conveniently refused to discuss what is in store to be done with these bases in the future... perhaps they will be turned into shopping centers or industrial parks?

Of course, neither Hayden nor Obama mention the little issue of oil, either..

Nor do Tom Hayden or Obama mention the issue of U.S. regional domination in the Middle East --- apparently Hayden's new New Left philosophy omits any consideration that there is such a thing as U.S. imperialism.

Is there anyone except Tom Hayden and Barack Obama who actually believe oil and regional domination were not the primary reasons for the invasion of Iraq to begin with?

What will be the consequences should the U.S. peace movement buy into Hayden's and Obama's "peace" in Iraq?

The military-financial- industrial complex will think we are a bunch of chumps who have bought into Obama's new "politics of pragmatism;" nothing more than the same old ideology of U.S. imperialism packaged a little differently by Madison Avenue adding a Hollywood twist to keep the Wall Street bankers and coupon clippers rolling in the dough.

One prominent leader of the left with newly remodeled, million dollar glass offices towering over the city of New York who went all out to support Barack Obama has already said "we can disagree with President Obama without being disagreeable. "

Yes, and Tom Hayden shows how this is done... in the days of the "old" left when the people's movements had some real clout capable of winning the New Deal, neither the leaders of the "People's Front" nor the "People's Lobby" ever capitulated to the capitalist sooth-Sayers or their Wall Street masters... sell-out and capitulation seem to go hand-in-hand with the new New Left... does anyone really want any part of Obama's "new" New Deal?

Perhaps we are better off struggling to defend and protect, building on and expanding the real New Deal.

In fact, the builders of the "People's Front" who were the real architects of the New Deal reforms did a pretty good job of building the "People's Lobby" which was a key component, along with the Communist Party USA, of the "People's Front;" these pioneers built a very firm progressive foundation upon which we can build our struggles for peace, social & economic justice--- which includes the struggle against U.S. imperialism, and not the kind of capitulation to U.S. imperialism that Tom "poster boy for Israel" Hayden envisions as "a victory for the peace movement."

I have news for Tom Hayden: The war in Iraq is part and parcel of "the long wars ahead;" the Middle East today can only be described as sitting upon a keg of powder getting ready to blow... it doesn't take a blaster from the Iron Range to understand the consequences.

The day the Israeli killing machine launched its murderous pogrom on the Palestinian people forced to live like dogs in Gaza Strip the fuse was lit... this fuse is not as long as the short, bumpy, tortuous road to perdition we are already on.

Fortunately, there are very few people other than a bunch of muddle-headed middle class intellectuals who write books and articles from million dollar glass offices who join Tom Hayden in proclaiming Barack Obama to be "the first peace president;" a very weird moniker for an imperialist warmonger employed by the Wall Street merchants of death and destruction who would sit in silence and watch as the Israeli butchers did their dirty deeds in Gaza Strip, and then turn around and lie about calling removing part of the troops in Iraq to maintain U.S. military bases built for something other than housing for troops to rest and relax on playing a little golf and shooting pool, while taking a break from fighting wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan... Obama calls this making good on his campaign pledge of "ending the war in Iraq?"

How much was Tom Hayden paid to write this? Who paid him?

Sellout and betrayal don't even begin to describe this article: "A Victory for the Peace Movement."

Hayden concludes his article:

"This is a clear victory for those in the peace movement who supported Obama as the first anti-war candidate with a chance to become president."

Yes, this probably is a "clear victory for those in the peace movement who supported Obama as the first anti-war candidate with a chance to become president;" unfortunately, Obama was no peace candidate and Obama is no anti-war President... sadder still, for the thousands of people who will continue to suffer and die in the war in Iraq and the associated imperialist wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this is no victory for peace.

This group Tom Hayden helped to found is definitely for Obama just as definitely, they are not Progressives. Like Obama, they are progressive impostors.

Obama's "peace in Iraq" is as phony as his "stimulus package" these imperialist wars for oil and regional domination torpedoed before ever approved by Congress... both designed to line the pockets of the Wall Street crowd.

That the group "Progressives for Obama" has refused to support the "Minnesota People's Bailout" as a model for the Nation for the way out of this economic mess and as the way out of these imperialist wars by transferring money from military spending to meeting human needs says it all.

Yours in the struggle for peace and justice,

Alan L. Maki

Founder, Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice

A Victory for the
Peace Movement

Now Prepare for
the Long Wars Ahead

By Tom Hayden
Progressives for Obama

After years of frustrating ambiguity, President Obama has clearly committed to a complete withdrawal of all US troops in less than three years.

Speaking to the Marines in North Carolina, Obama finally clarified that the proposed “residual force” of 50,000 or more will be a “transitional” one, departing one year after combat operations end on August 31, 2010. That position is consistent with the terms negotiated by the Iraqi government in the final days of the Bush Administration, in what the Iraqi side notably called the “withdrawal agreement.”

Even Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were left confused by the initial announcement, questioning whether leaving 50,000 residual troops was really a withdrawal. Obama cleared that up with Friday’s speech.

In perspective, the Iraq war was wrong and illegitimate every day it was fought, and should have ended sooner. Some wanted “out now”, some wanted twelve months, some eighteen. The generals in Iraq may still want to stay indefinitely.

But a phased withdrawal is tolerable – and there’s not much a movement can do about it - if combat casualties steadily decline and all troops are heading for the exit. By agreeing to the Iraqi pact with Bush, Obama found a basis for rapidly removing the transitional troops as well. Before Friday, he remained deliberately unclear on the subject, leaving the spectre of a long counterinsurgency war like those in Central America.

This is a clear victory for those in the peace movement who supported Obama as the first anti-war candidate with a chance to become president.

The media will not acknowledge the role of the peace movement, nor will some on the Left. It will have to be explained as part of the legacy of our times. It will have to be defended against the hawks, because things can go wrong in Iraq in a hurry.

And it’s a lesson that should fortify many as they take on the long wars ahead.