Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


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...


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, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day I think it is now very obvious that the Democrats are in full complicity with Bush and the Republicans in supporting this dirty war in Iraq for oil and regional domination.

The Democrats are only against Bush and want to have a Democratic President along with House and Senate majorities for the purpose of continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and, maybe even get us into wars with Iran and North Korea.

Had Democrats really wanted this war to end it would have ended the first day that the United States Congress reconvened after the November Election.

Here in Minnesota the leadership of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party, along with the majority of DFL State Central Committee, and the majority of DFL elected officials support the war... they hide their support for the war by stating:

1. We can't end funding because we need to support the troops;

2. Calamity and chaos will result in Iraq if U.S. troops are withdrawn.

The leadership of the Minnesota DFL continues down the road of supporting imperialist aggression in keeping with the policies of Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale.

As a result, by next Memorial Day we will be seeing many more filled body bags and flag draped coffins.

We had better decide that we will look for a real political alternative if we are serious about peace.

To continue to vote for Democrats and Republicans is like a dog chasing its tail... more bloodshed, carnage, mayhem, and chaos is the result of continuing to participate in the present political process rigged against the people and for more war.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Freedom to Breathe Act: Two Views of the Minnesota Smoking Ban

Timber Jay Newspaper

Saturday, May 26, 2001907 Volume 18, Issue 20

Mixed views on the impact of smoking ban
By Tom Klein

Bob Howe estimates that 95 percent of his customers at Orr’s municipal liquor store smoke.

That will change Oct. 1 when a statewide smoking ban, approved over the weekend by the state Legislature, takes effect. The ban prohibits smoking in nearly every public place — including bars, restaurants, VFW and American Legion clubs — with a few minor exceptions. Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed the bill on Wednesday.

Howe expects to see a drop in business, at least initially when the ban begins, and so do others.

“Absolutely it will hurt business,” said Tracy Luecken, owner of the Old Muni in Cook. “Over 75 percent of our clientele smoke. Business will go down once the ban goes into effect and it will take awhile to get the business back.”

Randy Semo, who owns The Good Ol’ Days bar and grill in Tower, said he conducted a survey of his customers. Of the 280 who participated, about 40 percent said they would still visit the bar as much as they currently do, but 22-25 percent said they would come in less often if smoking is banned. Semo said he hopes to offset potential losses by attracting more non-smokers but is uncertain how much additional trade he can expect.

Under the Freedom to Breathe Act, customers violating the ban would face misdemeanor charges. Proprietors will be expected to enforce the ban by asking customers who light up to stop. If they refuse, the proprietor will be required to ask them to leave and, if necessary, “handle the situation consistent with lawful methods for handling other persons acting in a disorderly manner or as a trespasser.”

The ban also applies to public transportation including buses, trains, taxis, limousines and transit stops and terminals.

Smoking still would be allowed in:

‰Private homes and vehicles.

‰Private rooms in hotels, motels, nursing homes and other residential facilities.

‰Scientific studies, Indian ceremonies, tobacco shops, truck cabs, farm vehicles, buildings on family farms and on stage for actors performing in plays.

Range opposition

State Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, said he and other Range lawmakers voted against the ban. Dill thought there should be an exemption for bars and fears that it could drive some smaller taverns out of business.

He’s especially worried about the impact on those businesses on the east end of Vermilion and close to the Fortune Bay Casino. Casinos located on Indian reservations are not affected by the ban. “It creates an uneven playing field,” said Dill, who predicted that smokers may gravitate at the casino.

Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia,was one of the most vehement opponents of the total ban. He had offered an alternative measure which would have allowed smoking rooms in bars. Rukavina said polls showed Minnesotans were less concerned about smoking in bars than they were in restaurants. “This is going to hurt many bars,” he said. “They’ve already been hit hard with all the new DWI laws, now they’re going to have to shoulder this burden.”

Supporters promoted the ban as protection for employees exposed to secondhand smoke. Main sponsor Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, said it should help reduce the 580 yearly deaths from secondhand smoke.

But non-smoker Ron Setter, who tends bar at the Log Cabin Tavern & Cafe in Angora, sees the ban as an interference from a metro crowd that doesn’t even patronize the bar where he works. “Pretty soon they’ll tell you you can’t smoke in your own house,” said Setter.

Others say the ban was inevitable. St. Louis County has been considering a smoking ban modeled after Duluth’s city ordinance, but contemplating the possibility of a more comprehensive ban. The county is expected to withdraw its proposed ordinance as a result of the statewide ban.

Soudan resident Zoe Planton, who testified at public hearings in support of a countywide smoking ban, said she loved to go dancing, but her asthma kept her home from bars and clubs where smoking was permitted. She said others with respiratory problems would be more apt to go out once the ban takes effect.

“This is a plus for all of us who have been excluded due to the smoke,” she said, adding that she was also happy for the workers who would be protected from secondhand smoke.

Veteran Dewey Katzenberger said he thinks the ban may draw more people to the Cook VFW for bingo nights and Norm Cote, a former smoker and past commander, said he doesn’t anticipate any change in business at the American Legion in Orr.

The bill does include provisions for alleviating any economic fallout from the ban. Bar, restaurant and charitable gambling workers driven out of their jobs by the smoking ban in the first two years could get job training and other dislocated worker aid.

In addition, lawmakers asked for a study of the impact on pull-tabs, bingo and other forms of charitable gambling.


My Response:

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2007 3:55 PM
To: editor@timberjay.com
Cc: 'Alan Maki'; mnaflcio@qwest.net
Subject: Letter to the editor; smoking ban, submitted for publication.

Over twenty thousand Minnesotans go to work in smoke-filled casinos everyday. State legislators don’t care about casino workers; or, casino patrons who are the same people they say they are protecting from second-hand smoke everyplace else with the new “Freedom to Breath” legislation.

If state legislators would show some concern for these 20,000 casino workers employed in an industry making money hand over fist which subjects casino workers not only to the health hazards of second-hand smoke, but leaves them completely at the mercy of managements that have no respect for working people and their right to be employed in a healthy and safe workplace to begin with, Representatives Dill and Rukavina would not have to be complaining of an “uneven playing field.”

People sit in bars by choice; people work in these casinos because they need a job. There is a big difference; both Dill and Rukavina should be able to understand this.

Workers have a right to expect that state legislators will not throw them into situations where they have no rights under state or federal labor laws and now without the protection of “Freedom To Breathe” legislation, something state legislators have done with casino workers.

Who has allowed such an “uneven playing field” to develop in the first place? These legislators should look in the mirror.

It is up to Dill and Rukavina to stop crying about this smoking ban and the “uneven playing field” they created in the first place and continue to tolerate… their concern should be for the health of all workers, including casino workers, and Dill and Rukavina should take the appropriate measures to “level the playing field” by making sure all workers, including casino workers, have the right to be employed in safe and healthy work environments protected by the same state and federal labor laws that protect all other workers.

I have a great deal of respect for Representative Tom Rukavina and support just about everything he does as a State Legislator--- Rukavina is the best state legislator in Minnesota when it comes to being an advocate for the rights of working people; but, on this issue, he is wrong. Representative Rukavina is concerned about a few bar owners when he should be concerned about the people working in these bars for eight, ten, and twelve hours who breathe in this second-hand smoke.

I am quite sure I speak for all of organized labor in what I have stated; I know I speak for most working people who want to be employed in a healthy and safe working environment; this includes a smoke-free work environment.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing
Red Lake Casino, Hotel, and Restaurant Employees’ Union Organizing Committee


Member, MN DFL State Central Committee, Roseau County

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


A Note on my previous blog:

United States Senator Amy "Republican Lite" Klobuchar and United States Congressman Walz both voted to give Bush the money to continue this dirty war in Iraq... even former DFL'er turned Republican Norm Coleman had the common sense to go into hiding for this vote knowing a "yes" vote would have been political suicide. I am waiting to hear the "spin" the officers of the Minnesota DFL put on this. My position is that Klobuchar and Walz should go fight the war they have funded along with Bush and the rest of this pack of rats that voted "yes."

Here is the Senate and House roll call:

Senate Roll Call on Iraq Spending
The Associated Press

Thursday 24 May 2007

The 80-14 roll call Thursday by which the Senate passed an Iraq war spending bill.

A "yes" vote is a vote to pass the bill.

Voting "yes" were 37 Democrats, 42 Republicans and 1 independent.

Voting "no" were 10 Democrats, 3 Republicans and 1 independent.

Alabama Sessions (R) Yes; Shelby (R) Yes.

Alaska Murkowski (R) Yes; Stevens (R) Yes.

Arizona Kyl (R) Yes; McCain (R) Yes.

Arkansas Lincoln (D) Yes; Pryor (D) Yes.

California Boxer (D) No; Feinstein (D) Yes.

Colorado Allard (R) Yes; Salazar (D) Yes.

Connecticut Dodd (D) No; Lieberman (I) Yes.

Delaware Biden (D) Yes; Carper (D) Yes.

Florida Martinez (R) Yes; Nelson (D) Yes.

Georgia Chambliss (R) Yes; Isakson (R) Yes.

Hawaii Akaka (D) Yes; Inouye (D) Yes.

Idaho Craig (R) Yes; Crapo (R) Yes.

Illinois Durbin (D) Yes; Obama (D) No.

Indiana Bayh (D) Yes; Lugar (R) Yes.

Iowa Grassley (R) Yes; Harkin (D) Yes.

Kansas Brownback (R) Not Voting; Roberts (R) Yes.

Kentucky Bunning (R) Yes; McConnell (R) Yes.

Louisiana Landrieu (D) Yes; Vitter (R) Yes.

Maine Collins (R) Yes; Snowe (R) Yes.

Maryland Cardin (D) Yes; Mikulski (D) Yes.

Massachusetts Kennedy (D) No; Kerry (D) No.

Michigan Levin (D) Yes; Stabenow (D) Yes.

Minnesota Coleman (R) Not Voting; Klobuchar (D) Yes.

Mississippi Cochran (R) Yes; Lott (R) Yes.

Missouri Bond (R) Yes; McCaskill (D) Yes.

Montana Baucus (D) Yes; Tester (D) Yes.

Nebraska Hagel (R) Yes; Nelson (D) Yes.

Nevada Ensign (R) Yes; Reid (D) Yes.

New Hampshire Gregg (R) Yes; Sununu (R) Yes.

New Jersey Lautenberg (D) Yes; Menendez (D) Yes.

New Mexico Bingaman (D) Yes; Domenici (R) Yes.

New York Clinton (D) No; Schumer (D) Not Voting.

North Carolina Burr (R) No; Dole (R) Yes.

North Dakota Conrad (D) Yes; Dorgan (D) Yes.

Ohio Brown (D) Yes; Voinovich (R) Yes.

Oklahoma Coburn (R) No; Inhofe (R) Yes.

Oregon Smith (R) Yes; Wyden (D) No.

Pennsylvania Casey (D) Yes; Specter (R) Yes.

Rhode Island Reed (D) Yes; Whitehouse (D) No.

South Carolina DeMint (R) Yes; Graham (R) Yes.

South Dakota Johnson (D) Not Voting; Thune (R) Yes.

Tennessee Alexander (R) Yes; Corker (R) Yes.

Texas Cornyn (R) Yes; Hutchison (R) Yes.

Utah Bennett (R) Yes; Hatch (R) Not Voting.

Vermont Leahy (D) No; Sanders (I) No.

VirginiaWarner (R) Yes; Webb (D) Yes.

WashingtonCantwell (D) Yes; Murray (D) Yes.

West VirginiaByrd (D) Yes; Rockefeller (D) Yes.

Wisconsin Feingold (D) No; Kohl (D) Yes.

Wyoming Enzi (R) No; Thomas (R) Not Voting.


House Roll Call on War Spending Bill
The Associated Press

Thursday 24 May 2007

The 280-142 roll call Thursday by which the House passed an Iraq war spending bill.

A yes vote is a vote to pass the bill.

Voting yes were 86 Democrats and 194 Republicans.

Voting no were 140 Democrats and two Republicans.

X denotes those not voting.

There are two vacancies in the 435-member House.


Democrats - Cramer, Y; Davis, N.

Republicans - Aderholt, Y; Bachus, Y; Bonner, Y; Everett, Y; Rogers, Y.


Republicans - Young, Y.


Democrats - Giffords, Y; Grijalva, N; Mitchell, Y; Pastor, N.

Republicans - Flake, Y; Franks, Y; Renzi, Y; Shadegg, Y.


Democrats - Berry, Y; Ross, Y; Snyder, Y.

Republicans - Boozman, Y.


Democrats - Baca, Y; Becerra, N; Berman, X; Capps, N; Cardoza, Y; Costa, Y; Davis, Y; Eshoo, N; Farr, N; Filner, N; Harman, N; Honda, N; Lantos, N; Lee, N; Lofgren, Zoe, N; Matsui, N; McNerney, N; Miller, George, N; Napolitano, N; Pelosi, N; Roybal-Allard, N; Sanchez, Linda T., N; Sanchez, Loretta, N; Schiff, N; Sherman, N; Solis, N; Stark, N; Tauscher, N; Thompson, N; Waters, N; Watson, N; Waxman, N; Woolsey, N.

Republicans - Bilbray, Y; Bono, Y; Calvert, Y; Campbell, X; Doolittle, Y; Dreier, Y; Gallegly, Y; Herger, Y; Hunter, Y; Issa, Y; Lewis, Y; Lungren, Daniel E., Y; McCarthy, Y; McKeon, Y; Miller, Gary, Y; Nunes, Y; Radanovich, Y; Rohrabacher, Y; Royce, Y.


Democrats - DeGette, X; Perlmutter, N; Salazar, Y; Udall, Y.

Republicans - Lamborn, Y; Musgrave, Y; Tancredo, Y.


Democrats - Courtney, N; DeLauro, N; Larson, N; Murphy, N.

Republicans - Shays, Y.


Republicans - Castle, Y.


Democrats - Boyd, Y; Brown, Corrine, N; Castor, N; Hastings, N; Klein, N; Mahoney, Y; Meek, Y; Wasserman Schultz, Y; Wexler, N.

Republicans - Bilirakis, Y; Brown-Waite, Ginny, Y; Buchanan, Y; Crenshaw, Y; Diaz-Balart, L., Y; Diaz-Balart, M., Y; Feeney, Y; Keller, Y; Mack, Y; Mica, Y; Miller, Y; Putnam, Y; Ros-Lehtinen, Y; Stearns, Y; Weldon, Y; Young, Y.


Democrats - Barrow, Y; Bishop, Y; Johnson, N; Lewis, X; Marshall, Y; Scott, Y.

Republicans - Deal, Y; Gingrey, Y; Kingston, Y; Linder, Y; Price, Y; Westmoreland, Y.


Democrats - Abercrombie, N; Hirono, N.


Republicans - Sali, Y; Simpson, Y.


Democrats - Bean, Y; Costello, N; Davis, N; Emanuel, Y; Gutierrez, N; Hare, N; Jackson, N; Lipinski, Y; Rush, N; Schakowsky, N.

Republicans - Biggert, Y; Hastert, Y; Johnson, Y; Kirk, Y; LaHood, Y; Manzullo, Y; Roskam, Y; Shimkus, Y; Weller, X.


Democrats - Carson, N; Donnelly, Y; Ellsworth, Y; Hill, Y; Visclosky, Y.

Republicans - Burton, Y; Buyer, Y; Pence, Y; Souder, Y.


Democrats - Boswell, Y; Braley, N; Loebsack, N.

Republicans - King, Y; Latham, Y.


Democrats - Boyda, Y; Moore, Y.

Republicans - Moran, Y; Tiahrt, Y.


Democrats - Chandler, Y; Yarmuth, N.

Republicans - Davis, Y; Lewis, Y; Rogers, Y; Whitfield, Y.


Democrats - Jefferson, N; Melancon, Y.

Republicans - Alexander, Y; Baker, Y; Boustany, Y; Jindal, Y; McCrery, Y.


Democrats - Allen, N; Michaud, N.


Democrats - Cummings, N; Hoyer, Y; Ruppersberger, Y; Sarbanes, N; Van Hollen, N; Wynn, N.

Republicans - Bartlett, Y; Gilchrest, Y.


Democrats - Capuano, N; Delahunt, N; Frank, N; Lynch, N; Markey, N; McGovern, N; Meehan, N; Neal, N; Olver, N; Tierney, N.


Democrats - Conyers, N; Dingell, Y; Kildee, Y; Kilpatrick, N; Levin, Y; Stupak, Y.

Republicans - Camp, Y; Ehlers, Y; Hoekstra, Y; Knollenberg, Y; McCotter, Y; Miller, Y; Rogers, Y; Upton, Y; Walberg, Y.


Democrats - Ellison, N; McCollum, N; Oberstar, X; Peterson, Y; Walz, Y.

Republicans - Bachmann, Y; Kline, Y; Ramstad, Y.


Democrats - Taylor, Y; Thompson, Y.

Republicans - Pickering, Y; Wicker, Y.


Democrats - Carnahan, N; Clay, N; Cleaver, N; Skelton, Y.

Republicans - Akin, Y; Blunt, Y; Emerson, X; Graves, Y; Hulshof, Y.


Republicans - Rehberg, Y.


Republicans - Fortenberry, Y; Smith, Y; Terry, Y.


Democrats - Berkley, Y.

Republicans - Heller, Y; Porter, Y.


Democrats - Hodes, N; Shea-Porter, N.


Democrats - Andrews, Y; Holt, N; Pallone, N; Pascrell, N; Payne, N; Rothman, N; Sires, N.

Republicans - Ferguson, Y; Frelinghuysen, Y; Garrett, Y; LoBiondo, Y; Saxton, Y; Smith, Y.


Democrats - Udall, N.

Republicans - Pearce, Y; Wilson, Y.


Democrats - Ackerman, N; Arcuri, N; Bishop, N; Clarke, N; Crowley, N; Engel, X; Gillibrand, Y; Hall, N; Higgins, N; Hinchey, N; Israel, N; Lowey, N; Maloney, N; McCarthy, N; McNulty, N; Meeks, N; Nadler, N; Rangel, N; Serrano, N; Slaughter, N; Towns, N; Velazquez, N; Weiner, N.

Republicans - Fossella, Y; King, Y; Kuhl, Y; McHugh, Y; Reynolds, Y; Walsh, Y.


Democrats - Butterfield, Y; Etheridge, Y; McIntyre, Y; Miller, N; Price, N; Shuler, Y; Watt, N.

Republicans - Coble, Y; Foxx, Y; Hayes, Y; Jones, Y; McHenry, Y; Myrick, Y.


Democrats - Pomeroy, Y.


Democrats - Jones, X; Kaptur, N; Kucinich, N; Ryan, N; Space, Y; Sutton, N; Wilson, Y.

Republicans - Boehner, Y; Chabot, Y; Gillmor, Y; Hobson, Y; Jordan, Y; LaTourette, Y; Pryce, Y; Regula, Y; Schmidt, Y; Tiberi, Y; Turner, Y.


Democrats - Boren, Y.

Republicans - Cole, Y; Fallin, Y; Lucas, Y; Sullivan, Y.


Democrats - Blumenauer, N; DeFazio, N; Hooley, N; Wu, N.

Republicans - Walden, Y.


Democrats - Altmire, Y; Brady, N; Carney, Y; Doyle, N; Fattah, N; Holden, Y; Kanjorski, Y; Murphy, Patrick, N; Murtha, Y; Schwartz, Y; Sestak, Y.

Republicans - Dent, Y; English, Y; Gerlach, Y; Murphy, Tim, Y; Peterson, Y; Pitts, Y; Platts, Y; Shuster, Y.


Democrats - Kennedy, N; Langevin, N.


Democrats - Clyburn, Y; Spratt, Y.

Republicans - Barrett, Y; Brown, Y; Inglis, Y; Wilson, Y.


Democrats - Herseth Sandlin, Y.


Democrats - Cohen, N; Cooper, Y; Davis, Lincoln, Y; Gordon, Y; Tanner, Y.

Republicans - Blackburn, Y; Davis, David, Y; Duncan, N; Wamp, Y.


Democrats - Cuellar, Y; Doggett, N; Edwards, Y; Gonzalez, Y; Green, Al, N; Green, Gene, Y; Hinojosa, Y; Jackson-Lee, N; Johnson, E. B., N; Lampson, Y; Ortiz, Y; Reyes, Y; Rodriguez, Y.

Republicans - Barton, Y; Brady, Y; Burgess, Y; Carter, Y; Conaway, Y; Culberson, Y; Gohmert, Y; Granger, Y; Hall, Y; Hensarling, Y; Johnson, Sam, Y; Marchant, Y; McCaul, Y; Neugebauer, Y; Paul, N; Poe, Y; Sessions, Y; Smith, Y; Thornberry, Y.


Democrats - Matheson, Y.

Republicans - Bishop, Y; Cannon, Y.


Democrats - Welch, N.


Democrats - Boucher, Y; Moran, N; Scott, N.

Republicans - Cantor, Y; Davis, Jo Ann, X; Davis, Tom, Y; Drake, Y; Forbes, Y; Goode, Y; Goodlatte, Y; Wolf, Y.


Democrats - Baird, Y; Dicks, Y; Inslee, N; Larsen, Y; McDermott, N; Smith, N.

Republicans - Hastings, Y; McMorris Rodgers, X; Reichert, Y.


Democrats - Mollohan, Y; Rahall, Y.

Republicans - Capito, Y.


Democrats - Baldwin, N; Kagen, Y; Kind, Y; Moore, N; Obey, N.

Republicans - Petri, Y; Ryan, Y; Sensenbrenner, Y.


Republicans - Cubin, Y.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party Challenges REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES TO TAKE A STAND ON IRAQ

The leadership of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (DFL)sent out this self-serving hypocritical letter. The time has come for the Minnesota DFL leadership to take its own advice and take a stand for how to end this dirty war in Iraq. My response follows this letter... both printed in their entirety below:



Friday, May 23, 2007

Contact: Andrew O’Leary

(651) 251-6312



(ST. PAUL) 5/23/07 –On Wednesday, Minnesota DFL Chair Brian Melendez called on the Republican candidates for Minnesota's first congressional district, represented by Tim Walz, to take a stand on the Iraq War. From the moment that Representative Walz began campaigning for Congress in 2005, he took a clear and consistent stand against the Bush administration' s Iraq policy. In contrast, Representative Walz's four Republican challengers have yet to take a public stand on Iraq , ducking questions on the most important issue of the day.

"From the moment that he began his campaign, Representative Tim Walz offered thoughtful answers to questions from voters and from the media on a range of issues facing our community, our state, and our nation -- especially on the war in Iraq ."

"Candidates for Congress owe it to our troops, to their families, and to all Americans to make their positions on Iraq known. None of the Republican candidates running against Representative Walz have made their views known on the war in Iraq . They owe Minnesotans answers on what their stand is on the Iraq war -- especially whether they support President Bush's open-ended commitment in Iraq or whether they support benchmarks for troop withdrawal." ###

My response to this letter:

From: Alan Maki

To: Andrew O'Leary



Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 12:38:59 PM


To members of the DFL State Central Committee and Minnesotans;

I hope this e-mail will be forwarded widely in order to encourage vigorous dialogue and debate as the Minnesota DFL refuses to post my thoughts on these matters.

To me, on its face, this letter seems quite hypocritical... Actually, this letter from the DFL Chair Brian Melendez which has been circulated by Andrew O'Leary is not only hypocritical but very offensive to those who have loved ones being sent off to fight and die in this dirty war as the Chair has refused to tolerate any discussion concerning what steps need to be taken to end this war in Iraq. Obviously, both Melendez and O'Leary would be happy to see this war continue indefinitely in order to use it as fodder against their political opponents... and this is shameful as this same leadership manipulated and maneuvered against my motions at the last two state conventions to prevent discussion on what should be the position of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party in ending this war.

As a member of the MN DFL State Central Committee I challenge the MN DFL to take a stand articulating what will be required to end this dirty war for oil and regional domination.

The MN DFL has yet to take a clear stand on ending this dirty war in Iraq while many DFL legislators and Party leaders are urging new wars be started... notably in Iran and North Korea with an expansion of the war in Iraq. This is hardly a peaceful progressive policy directive let alone a solution to international problems. Other Democrats have called for a huge expansion of the war in Afghanistan at a time when Canadians are wisely telling their government to get their troops out of the country.

Furthermore, the MN DFL has refused to tolerate any discussion on the role of Israel in the Middle East. Israel's imperialist, aggressive, expansionist, warmongering, murderous, and genocidal policy towards the Palestinian people is a major factor in the war in Iraq. Israel's murderous campaign of carnage and destruction in Lebanon has contributed to increasing animosities in the Middle East. Both U.S. and Israeli foreign policy includes using exacerbating ethnic tensions and animosities as integral functions of foreign policy; this is behavior that is completely unacceptable to the civilized world... yet, the MN DFL remains fearful of discussing any of this.

In fact, the DFL has not even tolerated a full scale debate on this issue at the state conventions.

George McGovern has made a very significant proposal... the only proposal to date as far as I am aware... to end the war in Iraq. The MN DFL State Central Committee has yet to discuss McGovern's proposal: A Blueprint to End the War in Iraq. McGovern's proposal can be read via my blog: http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/

Rumor, from military sources reported in the media, has it that Bush intends to double the number of U.S. troops in Iraq by Christmas 2007. Obviously Bush could not do this without support from the Democrats, just as Democrats allowed Bush to start this war that has turned into a no-end-in-sight nightmare that could go on for over ten years unless the American people find a creative way to bring this government under control or the Iraqis kick the United States out of their country... and with each troop expansion this could end up being one hell of a bloody mess.

I think it is good that a letter critical of Republicans on the war has been disseminated... however, why the fear of addressing the issue of how to end the war in Iraq? After all... if one is only critical of those who support the war without putting forward any idea of how to end the war, this really is no contribution at all.

As a member of the MN DFL State Central Committee I feel very strongly that the MN DFL owes it to Minnesotans to clearly articulate a position on what it will take to end this war and not simply play political games critical of Republicans in order to try to score brownie points with voters.

So far, Congressman Waltz has not matched the anti-war Iraq rhetoric which got him elected with any concrete deeds in the United States Congress... as such, he leaves himself very vulnerable to questions from Republicans asking: What is your solution to ending the war in Iraq?

This letter is one more example of a dangerous game the MN DFL is playing using the war in Iraq... dangerous from the perspective that the killing of Iraqis and U.S. soldiers and the destruction of Iraq which accompanies the killing... and dangerous from the perspective that Minnesota voters will just stay home on Election Day; disgusted that as human beings are dying, politicians and political hacks turn the war into a game.

At a time when voters all over the world and here in Minnesota are looking for, and searching out, politicians and political parties that offer real solutions to real problems the only thing the Minnesota DFL--- its leaders and elected state and federal legislators--- continue to offer Minnesotans is progressive sounding rhetoric carefully framed like this letter has been in order to avoid offering any real solutions to anything... from ending the war in Iraq to the health care mess to financing public education to the pot-holes in our roads we get the same framed progressive sounding rhetoric not backed by any concrete actions that provide real solutions to these very real problems.

A state-wide smoking ban is the only thing thing that the MN DFL has to tout from the last legislative session; and, even this ban leaves millions of casino patrons and over twenty thousand casino workers vulnerable to illnesses and diseases which we know are conclusively linked by scientists and medical researchers to the hazards of second-hand smoke. To suggest that these people will be protected in other areas of our state from second-hand smoke and then shove these same people into smoke-filled casinos makes little sense to anyone. Again, a political gimmick has been employed that plays Minnesotans for fools... just like this meaningless letter concerning Republicans and the war in Iraq... and the Minnesota DFL has yet to even acknowledge that this war is a war for oil and regional domination... a sheer imperialist, parasitic, and barbaric throw-back to the days of colonialism and plunder.

In this letter, there is no indication of what "clear and consistent stand" Congressman Walz has taken on the war in Iraq; no mention of what it will take to end the war in Iraq.

Since this is a public letter that has been posted on the MN DFL State Central Committee list serve, I am forwarding this e-mail widely without permission from anyone.

Make the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights a living reality for all people: End the war in Iraq; Single-payer Universal Health care; increase the minimum wage to a real living wage; defend and expand Social Security; end At will hiring, At will firing; save the Big Bog from capitalist globalization.

Yours in the struggle,

Alan L. Maki
[Roseau County member of the State Central Committee, MN DFL]

58891 County Road 13
Warroad, MN 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432

Twenty-thousand Minnesotans go to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under Minnesota or Federal labor laws.

Please note: with the present casino expansions presently underway in Minnesota this figure of workers employed in the casino industry will rise to over 50,000 in the next four years. These are your fellow Minnesotans employed without any rights under the most atrocious working conditions.

Please check out my daily blog:


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

NDP wins majority

Our great "free media" here in the United States has refused to cover the Manitoba Election.

Today, for a third consecutive time, Gary Doer--- a worker, a socialist, a peace advocate, a human rights activist, and a trade unionist--- was re-elected as Premier of Manitoba Canada.

Over the years Manitobans have consistently elected, and re-elected, socialists and communists to public office.

American big-business and banking conducted an expensive campaign trying to defeat Doer and the NDP, but to no avail... workers know a good government when they experience steady improvements in their lives.

Progressives here in the United States could learn a great deal from Gary Doer and the socialist New Democratic Party of Manitoba.

This is the way the Winnipeg Free Press covered the NDP victory.

NDP wins majority

Winnipeg Free Press
Tue May 22 2007
By Bartley Kives, Mary Agnes Welch, Mia Rabson and David Kuxhaus

It’s a threepeat for Gary Doer and the New Democratic Party, who’ve become the first government to win three straight majorities since the Duff Roblin-led Progressive Conservatives in the 1960s.

Less than an hour after the polls closed, the NDP are leading or elected in 35 seats, with the Tories and Liberals trailing behind with 16 and two, respectively.

NDP headquarters just went crazy as the party's two biggest hopes for election -- Sharon Blady in Kirkfield Park and Erin Selby in Southdale -- were both declared elected.

The NDP have never won in either riding. Kirkfield Park has been held by prominent Tories, including most recently former Tory leader Stuart Murray.

Jack Reimer, defeated in Southdale, has been the MLA for that riding since 1990.
Cheers also went up from the NDP crowd when six cabinet ministers were declared re-elected, including five in potential swing ridings such as Seine River and Gimli.

Campaign advisor Donne Flanagan said there was guarded optimism about both ridings.
“We're really happy,” he said.

Premier Gary Doer was handily re-elected in Concordia and the NDP are even leading in the west Winnipeg riding of Kirkfield Park, a former Tory stronghold.

Flanagan said while some pundits had heavyweghts such as Health Minister Theresa Oswald in Seine River and Peter Bjornson on the list of ridings to watch, the party always felt they would be fine.

He said the strength of those campaigns and those candidates allowed the party to focus its energies elsewhere.

“It gave us the ability to focus on ridings we could pick up like Kirkfield Park and Southdale,” said Flanagan.

At PC headquarters, the mood was subdued as it became clear that the Tories had failed to break through the NDP's grip on the province.

All eyeballs were jumping between two network newscasts blown up on big screens.
But surprise is greeting the horse race in Interlake, where Tory Garry Wasylowski is nipping at the NDP incumbent’s heels.

Wellington incumbent Conrad Santos — an independent candidate — is currently in fifth and final place in a field of five.

He and Joe Chan, another independent, were disallowed from running for the NDP, paving the way for Flor Marcellino to hold on to the seat for the NDP.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Two Viewpoints: This isn't what the voters asked for in November

Two Viewpoints: This isn't what the voters asked for in November

View One:

By State Rep. Bernie Lieder, DFL-Crookston
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2007 1:19 PM CDT
Crookston Times; Crookston Minnesota

When session started back in January, the focus was on the three issues that dominated last fall's campaign - education, health care and rising property taxes. As the 2007 session grinds into its final week, the focus remains on those three issues.

Everyone involved in the budget debate in St. Paul agrees providing great schools for our kids and affordable health care for working families should be a priority of the state. There's also widespread agreement that something needs to be done about rising property taxes across the state.

What's left to decide, however, is how we pay for these things. Since the February forecast, the Governor and members of his party have been saying we need to live within our means and pass a budget using existing revenues.

This is essentially the same argument we've been hearing for the past five years. We've been making due with the revenue available since the Governor took over and look where it's gotten us - our kids' schools have struggled financially, thousands of Minnesotans have lost their health care coverage and college tuition soared. We also neglected important investments in things like our roads and bridges.

On top of that, property taxes have risen by close to $2 billion as the more and more of the responsibility for paying things like good schools, affordable health care and adequate roads and bridges has been shifted onto local property taxes.

Unless a different approach to the budget is taken this year, we can all expect more the same. Earlier this year, non-partisan House Research issued a report that said that if the Governor's budget proposal would pass, property taxes would increase by approximately $500 million across the state.

The majorities in the House and Senate have change course by passing a bill that addresses rising property taxes across the state and restores some fairness in our tax system. The bill creates a new Homestead Credit State Refund that provides over $223 million in direct property relief to Minnesotans. It pays for it by creating a new fourth tier in state income tax on income over $400,000 (after deductions.) Every dollar of the new income tax will go to property tax relief.

The Governor has vowed to veto the bill because it raises taxes, but he still hasn't offered an alternative to the rise in property taxes if his budget becomes law.

Hopefully, a compromise can be worked out over the next few days that doesn't sacrifice the priorities we all share. However, that's going to mean that the Governor has to be willing to compromise, something he hasn't done yet.

I've said this frequently over the past few years that when it comes to state government, we get what we pay for. If we want things like great schools, a health system that works or adequate roads and bridges, we need to pay for them. The lesson of the past five years is that if we don't make the investment at the state level - where I would argue the investment should made - we end up either paying for them with our property taxes.

Voters asked for a different approach this year. Let's hope the Governor listened.

The Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party has refused to allow a discussion on these issues--- in fact, my views have been censored with-in the MN DFL; choosing instead to allow the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party “Business Caucus” and the wealthy elites of the “Summit Hill Club” to “frame” issues around “progressive sounding policy directives” which excludes any discussion of specific solutions aimed at resolving specific problems confronting working people as “bi-partisan unity” is sought with Republicans to give working people the shaft.
The corrupt leadership of the Minnesota AFL-CIO continues to “go along to get along” with the leadership of the Minnesota DFL which has defined its reactionary international, national, and state policies as “progressive” when in fact the policies are very reactionary.

View Two:

My response to Representative Lieder:

Representative Lieder rightly states that voters have not received what they voted for. However, as one of the Democrats that boasts of his own conservative convictions that rival the reactionary views of even the most die-hard, right-wing Republicans, Lieder is part of the problem in St. Paul and the nation.

Representative Lieder is right: the Republican Governor has not listened to voters; but, neither have Representative Bernie Lieder nor his conservative colleagues who comprise the majority of the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party Caucus of the State Legislature listened to voters.

In fact, Representative Lieder has pushed for a gas tax increase rather than take action to stop the robbery taking place at the pumps.

Voters were very clear last November: they want a change in priorities. Minnesotans support a progressive alternative to the conservative agenda being advanced by both conservative DFL’ers and Republicans.

While most Minnesotans are clearly articulating support for a comprehensive, no-fee, single-payer, universal health care system, Representative Lieder continues to mouth the falsehoods and slanders of the American Medical Association, the Hospitals and HMO CEO's, and insurance industry profiteers who choose to speak in ambiguities about some kind of “affordable” health care when in fact health care will never be “affordable” as long as the profiteers have their fingers in the till and a penchant for feeding at the public trough by taking advantage of the sick and the elderly.

Not once has Representative Lieder broached the subject that every bomb that drops in Iraq and every bullet fired--- murdering and maiming innocent Iraqi civilians including many small children and pregnant women, the billions being squandered in this imperialist boon-doggle for control of the Middle East oil fields and regional domination would be better spent financing our own public schools; creating a world-class single-payer, universal health care system; and maintaining our roads and infrastructure rather than leaving Iraq riddled with craters resulting from bombing raids.

The time has come to begin framing issues based upon reality. That reality is one of misery, pain, and suffering for the majority of Minnesotans and the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world. Representative Lieder has attempted to frame these issues in a very demagogic manner completely ignoring his own role in creating the problems he pretends to be concerned about.

It is interesting that Representative Lieder is among the Democrats who rushed to scuttle all talk of single-payer, universal health care while refusing to articulate what he means by “affordable” health care; and then rushed to voice his support for the war in Iraq. What is “affordable” for Representative Lieder probably is not “affordable” to most Minnesotans; and this is where the real problem begins because it is this kind of thinking that muddies all honest dialogue and debate on the many issues and problems people are experiencing whether it is health care, property taxes, infrastructure and roads, or the war in Iraq which Representative Lieder has not had the moral or political courage to oppose, let alone put forward real solutions.

Representative Lieder and his conservative and reactionary DFL colleagues continue to ignore the plight of more than 20,000 Minnesotans who go to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state, federal, or tribal labor laws as they hypocritically enact a “state-wide” ban on smoking that leaves not only casino workers, but, casino patrons vulnerable to the ill affects of second-hand smoke.

Representative Lieder and his conservative and reactionary colleagues have refused any assistance in trying to save the St. Paul Ford Assembly Plant while pushing increases in the gas tax aimed at maintaining the status quo instead of creating a cheap mass transit system comparable to what they have in Toronto, Ontario, but on a larger state-wide basis that connects all communities in our entire state… this would create thousands of jobs; and if the work is done through a public works project can be done fairly inexpensively utilizing the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

Representative Lieder and his conservative counterparts take the side of the bankers, the casino managements, the insurance companies, the mining and forestry industry, the HMO’s, and the contractors profiting off road construction at each and every opportunity.

Representative Lieder and his conservative DFL colleagues in the legislature have spent millions of dollars building an elaborate roadway into the Pine Island State Forest’s Big Bog so that a Canadian multi-national corporation can come in and truck off the profits as it mines peat in the Big Bog for horticultural and bio-mass electric generation while destroying our primary freshwater aquifer in the process.

This same bunch, again with Representative Lieder in the lead, shoved ethanol production down the throats of Minnesotans with huge subsidies to this most wasteful industry that grows corn to fuel gas guzzling vehicles instead of feeding hungry people while evading the need for clean, green, mass transit.

I will be looking to support candidates inside, and outside, of the Democratic Party who have the conviction and the courage to stand up for working people and their needs. The time has come to establish a real progressive alternative to the likes of Bernie Lieder and those who front for big-business while pretending to be progressive.

It is interesting to note that Representative Lieder refuses to focus on reordering the priorities in our state and the nation. Representative Lieder has refused to craft real tax relief for working people; in fact, the proposed tax package that Representative Lieder supports will plunge our economy towards recession. Real progressive tax reform needs to be coupled with establishing a state bank to fund higher education and low and moderate income home owners.

Representative Lieder has refused to consider legislation that would criminalize predatory lending just as he refuses to consider legislation that would criminalize the profit gouging orgy taking place at the gas pumps.

Tax the hell out of the bankers. Substantially increase the taconite tax as suggested by Rudy Perpich, and increase stumpage fees on the forestry industry.

As for our roads... end profiteering by construction firms and contractors who are getting a free lunch courtesy of Minnesota tax-payers... why should the gas tax be increased just so these money grubbing parasites can be in league with the health insurance, mining, casino, and banking industries by raising their fees.

Because so many Minnesotans can no longer distinguish any differences between Democrats and Republicans lots of people no longer even show up at the polls on Election Day.

Alan L. Maki
Member State Central Committee, Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Iraq: Why No "Exit Strategy"?

Democrats have demagogically used the lame excuse of "No Exit Strategy" to criticize Bush's handling of the war in Iraq.

The fact is, both Democrats and Republicans have always been aware that there would never be any "exit" from Iraq as long as there is oil in the Middle East; to access that oil requires domination of the region.

Much of the peace movement would rather not talk about the term "exit strategy" because to explain why there is no "exit strategy" means having to learn about, and then explain to the American people, what imperialism is all about... imperialism is the final and most advanced stage of capitalism... as we can see from what is taking place in Iraq, imperialism is very barbaric, parasitic, and cannibalistic; it is a completely inhumane system in which wars for plunder and profit are the rule, rather than, the exception.

If we are going to end this war in Iraq from within our own country as is our responsibility to the people of Iraq and the rest of the world, this will require that the American people be educated to the fact that what is taking place in Iraq is an imperialist adventure to dominate and control Iraq for oil and regional domination.

The Rockefeller's outlined this strategy of U.S. imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, long, long ago in stating: "Own nothing and control everything."

This has been the guiding world outlook of the American capitalist class for well over a century with working people and the rest of society along with the peoples' of the world, and the general well being of our planet and its ecosystems paying a terrible price for tolerating this line of thinking as it has been extended to permeate every area of life and subverting and warping the politics of our country.

Whether stealing the land from the First Peoples, to pits of the Iron Range in Minnesota, or the coal fields of West Virginia, or the oil fields of the Middle East, the objectives of the capitalists have been to rape Mother Nature in the process of exploiting human labor in order to rake in the profits for this small group of people.

Why would anyone even think in terms of an "exit strategy" with the intent being to control the oil fields of the Middle East through regional domination?

Who is naive enough to believe all of the lies and deceit Bush and the military-financial-industrial complex concocted in order to justify the war in Iraq?

The first lie: retaliation for the World Trade Center. No one in their right mind plunges a nation into war with another nation for the actions of a few individuals. What kind of perverted logic and demented mind would send more people to their deaths to avenge the deaths of those killed? This is the height of insanity. Well over 3,000 Americans have returned in body bags from Iraq. As we know, the lives of Iraqis do not matter; no one has bothered to count.

The second lie: Weapons of Mass Destruction. There never were any such weapons.

The third lie: To get rid of Saddam Hussein. He has been hung.

The fourth lie: the "exit strategy." There is none because you don't plan to exit when your intent is to stay to steal the oil.

The fifth lie: This is not an imperialist adventure for oil and regional domination. If not, then what is it?

The sixth lie: We can "win" this war in Iraq. If the war is not about oil and regional domination, what is there to win? John McCain intends to base his Presidential aspirations shamefully and pathetically claiming he has the leadership ability to win this war. Hitler told the German people the same thing until he got to Stalingrad.

Why would there now be an "exit strategy" when the goal from day one has been to secure the oil; with the overall objective being dominating the politics and economics of the Middle East?

If the American people do not put an end to this war in Iraq they will pay a terrible price for allowing this carnage to continue.

So far, the only plan to get the U.S. troops out of Iraq is the "Blueprint to end the War in Iraq" put forward by former United States Senator George McGovern and the man who should have been president instead of that creepy, crooked, warmonger Richard Nixon.

I think it is unconscionable that anyone claiming to be for peace and for an end to this dirty war in Iraq would even consider anything less than what George McGovern has put forward because to make a compromise with Bush is just allowing the military-financial-industrial complex room to maneuver and manipulate as they try to "secure the population" of Iraq in quest of oil profits and regional domination of the Middle East.

Anyone proposing any kind of "compromise" with these merchants of death and destruction should at least be the first ones to step forward to replace those young people over there right now who do not want to be in Iraq. And I don't see anyone stepping forward to do this.

This is the very first time that I have ever seen segments of a "peace movement" urge a "compromise" involving the continuation of a war. Again, unless people like Robert Borosage and Keith Ellison along with his last remaining supporter from the peace movement--- a frail, gaunt, sickly old professor who has spent his entire life hiding in the ivory towers of academia are willing to step forward and volunteer to replace Minnesotans who only joined National Guard in order to get a little fresh air on weekends and make a few extra bucks because they couldn't feed their families on the poverty wages paid by casino operators and Holiday Gas Stations; or to get a college education.

There isn't a single member of the Minnesota Legislature, the United States House of Representatives or the United States Senate that could not be replacing any member of the Minnesota Army Reserves or the National Guard over in Iraq... and they could have as many tours of "duty" as they want over there as Bush has planned for a permanent American occupation.

Anyways, there is no "exit strategy" from Iraq because Bush never intended to leave. And, he still doesn't; because this idiot sitting in the White House and strutting around the globe is a mere puppet on a string; the strings are being pulled, however clumsily, by the merchants of death and destruction who make up the military-financial-industrial complex. Hitler had such a powerful complex, too; once his generals reached Stalingrad there was quite a surprise for this imperialist butcher of Lidice; and Nixon had the same kind of awakening in Vietnam.

In both the Soviet Union and Vietnam the invading armies met their match but a terrible price was paid by humanity in each case.

Does it really take having 55,000 body bags returning from Iraq with the American military on the verge of being defeated by the popular resistance of the Iraqi people for this imperialist war and its carnage and destruction to come to an end?

The only alternative is for the American people to step forward and take the appropriate collective action to end it... if this means impeachment of Bush and Cheney and their war crimes trial... so be it; or massive numbers of the American people taking to the streets and raising so much hell the government can no longer function; or work stoppages... or a combination of these actions and other methods of resistance to this dirty, illegal, immoral, and unjust war, so be it... but let's stop this war right now because the present politicians will never develop an "exit strategy" because they have known that the strategy, from day one, has been to occupy the oil fields of the Middle East... this is their goal and primary objective.

Had the Democrats thought an "exit strategy" appropriate why didn't they ask the details before they voted for this dirty war; after all... the majority of the United States Congress in both the House and the Senate who voted to give Bush the right to go to war are still in the United States House and Senate... and many of them have sat in their seats through other wars... it is not like they are so stupid that they did not think of asking Bush for his "exit strategy;" or are they so stupid? Christopher Dodd, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden... how pathetic. And this opportunist Barack Obama. None of them have the courage to say that the United States went to Iraq to stay, therefore, neither they nor Bush had the need to consider an "exit strategy."

In my opinion all peace activity should be tied to supporting George McGovern's very humanistic, anti-imperialist, liberal and progressive "Blueprint for ending the war in Iraq."

The Roseau County, Minnesota DFL Convention passed a resolution calling for "setting a date to end the war in Iraq that was based upon lies and deceit." It is my belief, as the elected member of the State Central Committee elected by the Roseau County Convention to bring forward the resolutions that we passed, including this one, that McGovern's "Blueprint for ending the war in Iraq" is the only proposal in keeping with our resolution; there were no resolutions supporting keeping the war going of continuing to fund this war in any way, shape, or form. As such, I am encouraging the State Central Committee to convene a special session for the purpose of discussing McGovern's proposal and I encourage all of those for peace including Charley Underwood and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer and the DFL Progressive Caucus, Peace First, and Peace in the Precincts to join me in supporting such an initiative. More than 130 delegates to the last state convention who are members of Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice have asked me to suggest to Co-Chairs Brian Melendez, Donna Cassutt, and Executive Director Andrew O'Leary that a special meeting of the MN DFL State Central Committee be convened for the sole purpose of discussing, and debating George McGovern's "Blueprint for ending the war in Iraq" with the intent of endorsing it as the position we expect our elected officials to pursue. After such a meeting Minnesotans will then have a clear idea where the Minnesota DFL stands in relation to ending the war in Iraq.

Class Consciousness & Politics

Former Attorney General and the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party candidate for governor Mike Hatch is now gone from his $100,000.00 a year job to which he was appointed by his cloned successor Lori Swanson. Mike Hatch is gone from state government; good riddance. But the politics he represented remain

The real question that now needs to be asked, and answered, is, "How did such a self-centered, self-serving, opportunist politician who has stood for absolutely nothing ever get nominated, then elected in the first place?"

Mike Hatch used issues of importance to working people to grand-stand; rather than getting problems solved. On the national political scene John McCain is a master of this tactic; as were fascists Hitler, Franco and Mussolini.

Mike Hatch was well trained by those who put forth the idea that what is needed to win in elections was "progressive sounding policy directions" without providing progressive solutions.

Two issues that readily come to mind where Hatch did this are predatory lending and health care. Both issues of enormous importance and consequences to working-class families.

The real solution to predatory lending is the establishment of a state bank to loan money to anyone who wants a home with payments in line with income. There is no reason why a working class family shouldn't have a modest home to live in just because some banker says "no" to a loan.

Hatch used the old, "Help me win and I will take care of you after the election" technique. He used this one real well with the United Automobile Workers leadership regarding the closing of the Ford Plant; Gettelfinger and Williams just sucked this right up and told local UAW leaders, "Get Hatch elected and your problems are good as solved." Now that the going is getting rough, Gettelfinger and Williams are no place to be seen; they don't want to hear about the closing of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant; nor do they want to participate in a discussion of the only way to save the Ford Plant: Public Ownership.

This says a great deal about the role of money, corruption, manipulation, and
control in Minnesota politics generally, and in the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party specifically.

Too many workers have bought into all the bullshit from Gettelfinger, Williams and Ray Waldron about workers being "middle-class."

Workers are working-class.

The well-heeled of the "Summit Hill Club," the DFL Business Caucus, the CEO's of Ford Motor Company, the casino managements, the CEO's of the insurance, HMO's, pharmaceutical, mining, forestry, power generating, and banking industries... these are the capitalist class. The spokespersons for this capitalist class include the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce and the American Medical Association among other lobbying groups who are employed by this capitalist class which lives off the labor of the working class.

The lack of class consciousness in politics is what allows opportunist politicians like Mike Hatch, Amy Klobuchar, and Keith Ellison, together with the majority of the State DFL legislative caucus to continue to get away with offering up nice sounding progressive policy directions at election time without offering forth a single solution once elected because they are fully aware that those who are funding their campaigns would have to pay for real solutions to the problems working people are experiencing; this is what class struggle is all about... if workers were to be paid real living wages this would come out of the corporate bottom line... profits would suffer; wouldn't that be the pits?

The United States is not immune from the class struggle as apologists for the capitalist system turned political science instructors turned politicians like State Senator Leroy Stumpf tells his students; but the again, Leroy Stumpf is the only DFL'er ever to get campaign contributions from the Marvin family, owners of Marvin Windows and Doors where the family got rich paying poverty wages and beating up union organizers... and laughing and boasting about the beatings to boot.

In fact, there isn't a single problem where the class struggle is not apparent... from the Ford Plant closing issue to single-payer, universal health care. Working people want to keep the Ford Plant open; the business community wants this plant demolished and out of site, out of mind as quickly as possible because this plant represents this class struggle; a struggle between the bosses and the workers; the workers have struggled for almost a century to get wages up and to make working conditions better... we can't have this example of the determined struggle of working people for a better life serving as an example to all those other workers employed in the area getting poverty wages, can we? We all know the issue: The higher the wages paid, the less profits for business. This is the capitalist system when everything else is stripped aside.

Seventy-two percent of the DFL convention delegates voted for single-payer,
universal health care as a result of a very prolonged grass-roots organizing
effort; in fact, this struggle for single-payer, universal health care has been going on as long as the Ford Plant has been around. Legislation supporting single-payer has not been forthcoming from the DFL caucus in the Senate or the House. We need to know why because this gets us down to the nitty-gritty: the DFL Business Caucus and the well-heeled are firmly in control of the Minnesota DFL and they have blocked any attempt by working-class Minnesotans to have their health care problems resolved through legislation. This is a battle between working people and the HMO's and the insurance industry; again, what is good for working people is seen as bad for the capitalists. Again, class struggle... which makes it imperative that working people develop a class conscious outlook towards problems; otherwise, these problems in health care will never be solved.

Not only in the areas of health care and the Ford Plant closing is this lack of class consciousness on the part of working people an obstacle to solving problems; but also on a number of other issues of importance to working people: the lack of rights for over 20,000 casino workers employed in this state at poverty wages who go to work in smoke-filled casinos as workers wearing union jackets and buttons plunk their hard earned money into slot machines without any consideration for their fellow workers who don't even have the basic package of rights all other workers enjoy; Minnesota's "At-will hiring, At-will firing" legislation, the major impediment to union organizing that not even "card check" will solve has yet to be repealed to reflect real human rights in our modern world; Minnesota's unemployment Compensation laws are among the most backwards in the United States--- giving employers the right to appeal decisions without providing any reason... talk about a class issue! Enabling, through legislation, the right of the employers, without reason, to challenge the claim of a worker to the miserly little bit provided by unemployment compensation... this is the very clear example of just how class based politics really is.

The real irony in all of this is that the leadership of the Minnesota AFL-CIO
and other unions dumped so much money from members' dues along with other union
resources into supporting both Hatch and his clone, Lori Swanson... and what do
they get in return? A kick in the butt; because the trade union movement, for the most part, lacks class consciousness; and, the rank-and-file members have not established any kind of rank-and-file organizations in order to keep the leadership accountable for fostering a progressive working class agenda as an alternative to the capitalist agenda put forward by the big-business community.

This should send a message to rank-and-file union members to get involved in
their unions and do some house cleaning, too.

Had the rank-and-file members of the UAW Ford Local 879 been organized independently of the administrative caucus of Gettelfinger and Williams, they would be in a much better position today to fight to save the plant and their jobs. Here again, you have this union leadership of Gettelfinger that pursues the same line of thinking as the leadership of the Minnesota DFL... posture for the membership and their local elected leaders with nice sounding progressive policy statements... and once the wrecking ball hits come out fighting mad... but by then it is too late.

It takes class consciousness to figure this all out.

No wonder Humphrey and Mondale threw Elmer Benson and the Red Finns out of the Minnesota DFL; and Reuther threw the Reds out of the UAW... its all about class consciousness.

The sooner working people start thinking about life and their problems as being part of the working class, rather than the middle class, the quicker we can get on with establishing a political agenda that sets for itself the task of solving real problems with real solutions. Until then, I'm afraid we can kiss the Ford Plant good-bye, and forget about single-payer, universal health care.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,
Red Lake, Casino, Hotel, and Restaurant Employees' Union Organizing Committee


Member of the MN DFL State Central Committee, Roseau County

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Benchmarks for progress in Iraq

Bush is pushing his new line called "benchmarks for progress in Iraq."

Hundreds of Minnesotans have been notified they will be called up for another tour of duty in Iraq. We have a Governor, Pawlenty, who has been a cheerleader for this dirty war even before it started. Presently, Pawlenty has hitched his cart to the fascist-minded, anti-labor, warmongering Republican John McCain.

Conservative Democrats, aligned with the Hubert Humphrey/Walter Mondale group of well-heeled, high-rollers presently dominate the Minnesota state legislature and the congressional delegation.

There really is no difference between Pawlenty's Republicans and this dominant group of Minnesota Democrats led by the likes of Rep. Thomas Huntley, Bernie Leider, and Leroy Stumpf in the Minnesota legislature and Amy "Republican Lite" Klobuchar and Collin Peterson in Washington.

The real progressives in the Minnesota legislature can be counted on two hands; and of those who will not bend to corporate pressure, they can be counted on one hand if a couple fingers are missing from that hand.

When we look at the rest of the country the situation is, generally, even worse than in Minnesota.

Here we have the overwhelming majority of the American people completely at odds with the best representatives that corporate money can purchase in the world's greatest democracy.

Now this group of politicians is going to reach an agreement with Bush to set "benchmarks for progress in Iraq" while they have no concept of "benchmarks" established by voters last November 7 on Election Day as hundreds of Minnesotans will join thousands of others from across this country who will join the 4,000 additional troops that have just arrived in Iraq to fight a war that was based upon lies and deceit. Many of these troops will be coming home in body bags. The more troops Bush and his Democratic "compromisers" send to Iraq the bigger the target they create; the side of the barn gets bigger, so to speak.

It is time for the American people to become active participants in the struggle to end this dirty war. Every voter who cast a ballot in opposition to this war will have to be brought into the struggle for peace in Iraq and the entire Middle East.

This will only be accomplished if a united anti-war organization is established and the stupid bickering between a couple factions in the anti-war movement comes to an end. The top leaderships of A.N.S.W.E.R and United for Peace and Justice should be removed from their positions and a conference called to merge these two peace organizations on a program that supports George McGovern's proposal while advancing a domestic agenda that includes single-payer, universal health care; an end to predatory lending by making the government the direct lender to homeowners; establishing a no-interest student subsidies while free higher education is being put in place; unemployment compensation from the time of lay-off until a job is secured. These are the kind of "benchmarks" the American people want to hear about... not pious pronouncements about the "first 100 hours." And, the American people are intelligent enough to know you can't just stand out on street corners waving signs saying, "Out Now!" as legitimate as this call is, and it must remain prominent... however, there will never be an end to this war unless those for peace get behind a proposal like George McGovern has put forward.

The common sense approach would be to take up the proposal of George McGovern to bring an end to this dirty war. We all know that George McGovern was right in 1972 in putting forward a very similar proposal to end the war in Vietnam. McGovern's proposal is anti-imperialist and considers the war in its totality as being a war to occupy Iraq with all the inhumanity such an imperialist debacle implies, while this dirty war robs our own country of social programs and real human progress here at home.

McGovern's proposal does not call for "benchmarks" or "re-deployment of troops." It is a proposal to get U.S. troops out of Iraq and out of harms way as quickly as boats and planes can get them out.

If the American people can not create an anti-war movement up to the task, the only other alternative will be for a united secular movement in Iraq to develop capable of leading a united armed struggle against these invaders of their country. No doubt there will be such a development; and, no doubt that development is in the making as we recently saw tens of thousands of Iraqis turn out for huge Communist Party rallies all over the country of people wanting an end to the sectarian violence and wanting the United States out of their country.

We should understand though, if this is going to be the solution to ending this dirty war, that tremendous bloodshed is going to occur and many Americans will be coming home in body bags.

Commanding General, David Petraeus, in true Hitlerite fashion, has already made it very clear that the United States intends to stay in Iraq for a very long time; his is the voice of the military-financial-industrial complex. Petraeus is not concerned in the least with "benchmarks" or any kind of political compromises between Bush and the Democrats... to Patraeus these political maneuvers are mere shenanigans that give him the cover to "stay the course." That "course" has always been to conquer the oil fields of Iraq while establishing a permanent U.S. regional domination of the Middle East.

To end this war will require that the American people be educated as to the true nature of U.S. imperialism--- and this education can take place very rapidly if this peace movement sets for itself some concrete goals and objectives with "benchmarks" of its own; and, be brought into the anti-imperialist struggle in alliance with the rest of the peoples of the world. This can not be accomplished with the two at present largest anti-war organizations at logger-heads. For the peace movement to "stay the course" means we accept the proposition that this war will only come to an end when the Iraqi people and the people of that region can muster the force themselves to end this occupation of their country.

I don't see that tall, skinny, old man that stood up to support Keith Ellison's vote to continue this dirty war buying his ticket, and a ticket for Keith Ellison, to go over to Iraq to fight until the funds Ellison and his Democratic colleagues got sucked into voting for run out. Because I travel a lot, I do hear from many concerned parents, grand parents, brothers and sisters who are quite literally crying because they are afraid their loved ones are going to be returning in body bags... and let us be perfectly clear, these filled body bags will continue returning, and there will be more and more the longer this dirty imperialist war for oil and regional domination continues.

Many people will recall, as I traveled across Minnesota urging that Bush not be allowed to start this war in the first place--- I was attacked and called every dirty name in the book, and a few I had never even heard before--- by the leaders of the American Legion and the warmongers... they all said that I was not telling the truth to people when I stated that this would be a very long, drawn out war and we would see thousands of Americans returning home in body bags; they said, "We are the strongest Nation on earth, this will be very short, a few weeks, perhaps a month or two." Those attending the debate in International Falls at Rainy River Community College will remember this exchange I am sure as the war was just getting underway.

I made these statements from International Falls to Mankato, from Duluth to Thief River Falls. I traveled to over 90 communities in Minnesota as we built up Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice among people in the "podunks" throughout Minnesota. Many of those "podunks" now have regular vigils. Many people in these "podunks" have been writing letters to public officials and to their local newspapers; whatever they do, they do whenever they can do it, they are trying to end this dirty war--- and such activities are taking place in communities, large and small, all across this country; but as we can see, this is not enough. We organized over 130 delegates from these 90 "podunks" to go to the State Conventions of the Minnesota DFL as delegates in order to get a full debate on this issue and we were never joined in our calls for a debate by Keith Ellison or the Kucinich delegates or Peace in the Precincts or Peace First or the DFL Progressive Caucus... instead, these so-called peace candidates and peace organizations worked behind the scenes to "compromise" for political expediency and in order to curry favor with those who support this dirty war like Amy "Republican Lite" Klobuchar and Walter Mondale in order to silence our voices in the same way the Minnesota DFL Executive Committee has tried to silence me as, with few exceptions, the DFL State Central Committee--- the money-bags--- have successfully stifled and prevented a democratic debate on this issue of the war in Iraq. Not one single member of the State Central Committee has joined my call for a discussion of the merits of George McGovern's proposal to end this dirty war.

A lot of dirty work has taken place by political opportunists who claim they are for peace and say they are "winning respect" and "credibility" through compromises with these opportunists politicians who talk peace as they vote for more war. To be for peace is what gives one respect and credibility--- it is the warmongers, the merchants of death and destruction, the military-financial-industrial complex of U.S. imperialism which is losing credibility and respect and to submit to those who support war in seeking "credibility" and "respect" only helps to give these capitalist vultures looking to make profits in the oil fields of Iraq a semblance of respect and credibility; when what they really deserve is scorn, and to be impeached and tried as the war criminals they are.

I am sure we will see Minnesota Congress persons and Senators call for supporting "benchmarks for progress in Iraq." I would not be surprised to see the entire DFL caucus end up unanimously supporting these "benchmarks for progress in Iraq." The only problem is, they are not the ones on the streets of Baghdad and driving and walking over mines in the desert.

I hope peace activists now begin to discuss what initiatives can be taken to begin to involve each and every American who went to the polls on November 7 (and those who didn't bother to vote because they are fed up with not having any real choices) to become an active participant in struggle to end this dirty war in Iraq... voting was a first step, but it will take a lot more because those who were elected didn't get the message. That message is: cut the funding for this dirty war now and get the troops on boats and planes back home as quickly as possible... that means a full mobilization of boats and planes working on 24/seven schedules. This is what the American people want; this is what Americans voted for on Election Day. This is what the Iraqis want. This is what the rest of the world wants.

The leader of Canada's increasingly popular socialist New Democratic Party, Jack Layton, has put forward a proposal to get Canada out of Afghanistan; his proposal is based on George McGovern's proposal to end this dirty war in Iraq. This proposal has gained wide acceptance among the Canadian people. George McGovern's proposal to end this dirty war will gain wide acceptance among the American people if brought forward by the peace movement.

I think we need to have an explanation from the leaders of A.N.S.W.E.R and United for Peace and Justice why they have ignored George McGovern's "Blueprint" to end the war in Iraq. We need some accountability. So far, no one has suggested anything better; except to "compromise" to keep the war going.

This war was begun by George Bush at the behest of the military-financial-industrial complex with the intent of taking over the oil fields of Iraq and for regional domination. The American people, not the Iraqis, have a responsibility of bring an end to this war. In the process of bringing an end to this war we should throw this whole damn bunch of crooked and corrupt self-serving, warmongering politicians out on their asses.

It is time for the peace movement to begin establishing some real "benchmarks" of its own in the struggle to end this war in Iraq. It is time for every American who is opposed to this dirty war in Iraq to begin giving some time to thinking about what this war is really all about and what they can do to help bring it to an end.

You can access George McGovern's "Blueprint" to end the war through a link on my blog to the right under the photo of McGovern. I can't help but wonder why Walter Mondale, Keith Ellison, the DFL Progressive Caucus, Peace First, and Peace in the Precincts and people like Charley Underwood and Jack Nelson-Palmeyer continue to scuttle discussion of McGovern's "Blueprint." Please take the time to read it and circulate it widely so we can get this war ended as quickly as possible in order to turn the call of "Out Now!" from the realm of fairytale to reality; from despicable "compromises" and "benchmarks" to real peace.

Once again, I will be raising my voice on the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Central Committee for this discussion to take place; thanks to each and every one of you who stood up and made your voices heard in some way that Minnesotans will not tolerate a small group of well-heeled money-bags having the only voice on the MN DFL State Central Committee along with an even smaller group of "go along to get along" compromisers as other Minnesotans get shipped off to Iraq and many of those return either in body bags or crippled and maimed; while others enter into a world where they can not cope with daily living any more and the lives of Iraqis are not even of any concern.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Minnesota Politics: Money, Money, Money… it’s all about Oil Money drenched in blood

An Open Letter to Minnesotans and the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party

I was elected to the State Central Committee (SCC) from Roseau County in the very same manner as all other members have been elected to the MN DFL SCC; unlike any other member of the SCC I have been banned and prohibited from participating in the work of the SCC by a few well-heeled manipulators who control the MN DFL.

If a few well-heeled individuals can get away with silencing me, they can silence anyone--- and the attempt is being made to silence many people right now; very reminiscent of what has happened in the past--- again the “Summit Hill group,” together with the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, the DFL Business Caucus, and remaining right-wing elements in the labor movement are behind this attempt to squelch freedom of expression; it’s all about money.

This cabal is for the right-wing, warmongering, expansionist Israeli government; it is for taking the wrecking-ball to the Ford Plant; it is against single-payer, universal health care; and it opposed to casino workers employed in smoke-filled casinos having any rights... this same group is opposed to repealing "at-will hiring; at-will firing" legislation, which is the greatest obstacle to union organizing that even the proposed "card check" legislation will not be able to surmount and over-come.

I would urge you to read the correspondence below to familiarize yourself with this issue.

Susan Rego took the initial action to ban me from participation in the MN DFL SCC list. Together with Brian Melendez, Donna Cassutt, Andrew O’Leary and the big money bag people who pull their strings; Susan Rego did the actual dirty work… the others on the SCC remained silent.

One needs only to look at the actions of Keith Ellison who knew how his constituents wanted him to vote on legislation concerning the war in Iraq to figure out what is going down.

Instead of consulting his constituents and the peace community that got behind him from the very beginning and got out the vote that first got him nominated, and than put him in Congress, Keith Ellison turned to the individual holding and controlling the purse strings--- Walter Mondale--- for advice on how he should vote while knowing full well his constituents want the troops brought home immediately by ship or by plane as quickly as they were sent into this quagmire turned abyss we call the war in Iraq based upon lies and deceit--- and, his constituents want all funding for this dirty war to end now; not in one year, not in two years, not in ten years… but, now.

As far as I am concerned Keith Ellison and every single other member of Congress that voted to continue funding this dirty war can hop on the first boat or plane for Iraq and go fight their own damn war; they want to vote for Bush’s dirty war for oil… let them go fight over there.

Why would anyone sacrifice one more life if they truly intend for this dirty war to end in a year from now? How dare these politicians waste another human life, or squander one more dollar on this imperialist debacle.

The members of these so-called “peace organizations” who supported this legislation to continue funding this war can go with them to the front lines. Let Keith Ellison take that old goat who stood up and supported his vote go with him, too, along with Walter Mondale who advised him to vote to continue this war based upon lies and deceit.

Mondale should have been over in Vietnam fighting instead of hiding in the Senate supporting that dirty war… its time for him to go where he belongs… straight to the streets of Baghdad and car bombs; or, crawl back into his cave.

These elements have manipulated and maneuvered in every conceivable dirty way to continue their tight controlling grip on the MN DFL… they have prevented a full debate on the issue of the war in Iraq on the state convention floors, first in 2004, then again in 2006. Ironically, it was a “peace organization,” Peace in the Precincts, that helped the Mondale forces prevent the debate on the convention floor in 2004. And now they cry the war continues… dah.

At the 2006 State DFL Convention as I was speaking from the floor in opposition to this dirty war in Iraq making a motion to suspend the rules of the convention to debate this important issue, Mike Hatch was walking past me and I offered him the microphone to tell the delegates his stance on the war... this self-serving little creep that tried to pass himself off as gubernatorial material turned beat red and ran away.

When state convention delegates finally mustered the strength to get a resolution supporting single-payer, universal health care passed by a 72% margin, this small little well-heeled group working at the behest of the DFL Business Caucus through legislators like Bernie Leider and Thomas Huntley went to work to derail and sabotage the single-payer movement at the behest of the American Medical Association, the HMO’s, and insurance industry. Again, with the help of an organization claiming to be for single-payer, universal health care.

We could look at environmental issues, and again, there is an “environmental organization," “Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy,” right there ready to sabotage the work of the rest of us in trying to stop peat mining in the Big Bog and preventing MinnTac from contaminating our waters.

These same money-bags have refused to notify me of DFL SCC meetings.

I want Minnesotans to know that not one single member of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Central Committee ever responded to any of my ideas in a respectful manner; instead, this small circle heaped the most vicious abuse upon me including calling me the most despicable names, and even threatening me with physical violence.

Many of these members of the State Central Committee list serve did these dirty deeds behind monikers and screen names, not even having the courage to use their real names in carrying out their dirty deeds while I have spoken out forthrightly and signed my name to everything I ever wrote.

One of the most disgusting, hurtful and hateful e-mails I received from a “fellow member” of the SCC said, “You must be fucking an Arab.”

I sent the following e-mail to Susan Rego, the State Secretary for the Minnesota DFL. Because I have received no response I am making this posting on my blog---

Susan Rego;

In your e-mail to me, banning me from the DFL SCC list serve, you stated:


The owners of the DFL State Central Committee discussion group have
decided to remove your access to the list serve. Your two most recent
posts to the group demonstrate your unwillingness to use this communication
tool for the purpose it was intended - not as a blunt
instrument to beat everyone over the head with your views, but as a
format for real discussion about how to help our endorsed candidates
win in November.

Susan Rego

Speaking of a “blunt instrument,” it seems to me you have taken a sledgehammer and pulverized democracy.

Well, the “November” elections have come and gone. The people of Minnesota beat up on Mike Hatch in the voting booths more than I ever could--- he just wasn’t gubernatorial material; I told you so. Many other DFL’ers are now more unhappy with Amy Klobuchar than I ever was.

As summer rolls around, Minnesotans, by and large, are not exactly what you would call “happy campers” with DFL state legislators, either, who have been unwilling to bring forward single-payer, universal health care; or repeal the anti-labor, anti-union "at-will hiring; at-will firing" legislation.

As far as the candidates being too thin-skinned for what I have to say; maybe we need a little tougher breed of candidates that have the courage to stand up to the well-heeled, big money interests in the DFL and the pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

As a member of the SCC I have the right to fully participate like all other members.

I have several suggestions I would like to run by SCC members regarding the war in Iraq, single-payer, and the Ford Plant closing. I also have a few ideas about the rights of casino workers.

In general, I think we need a good discussion about democracy in the MN DFL.

If you are not going to put me back on this SCC list I would like to know why and be informed of the appeals procedure. In lieu of this, I am requesting that this issue be placed on the agenda for the next SCC meeting… by the way, could you tell me when that will be since I was never notified of the last one, or the one before that. Please send me the minutes from these meetings.

I have been urged to defend my right to participate on the SCC list in order to defend the integrity of the democratic process. Apparently others are feeling pressured to curtail their views and they don’t like this going on, for obvious reasons.

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


These are the communications as they took place after I called for a far ranging dialogue around these issues on the part of MN DFL SCC:

1. The Israeli carnage in Lebanon,

2. A discussion of the need to get DFL candidates to support single-payer, universal health care during the election campaign as convention delegates called for.

Rego Family wrote:

Please note: Since I have been re-instated to the MN DFL list serve by Susan Rego and the DFL State Executive Committee as of late this morning; at Susan's request I have removed the e-mail that was in this space because she didn't think it reflected her intent. Should Susan Rego or any other members of the MN DFL State executive committee or their representatives ever care to completely explain exactly why I was removed from the DFL SCC list serve my blog will always be open to their explanation. Alan L. Maki Tuesday, May 1, 2007; 1:33p.m.

Dear Ms. Rego, MN DFL Secretary,

I do not agree there has been a problem with number 4 ["Do not use this list to attack DFL-endorsed candidates or each other"] regarding any of my posts, and I think it is extremely rude and arrogant of you to assume as much... If you want to suggest this as your opinion, then state it that way; but do not ever suggest that I in any way have given my right to think for myself up to you... you are free to check the archives of this list serve, and you will find that my initial posts dealt with issues and concepts and displayed no animosity towards either individuals on this list, or towards any candidates... in fact, I only addressed the news postings of Representative Al Junhke which initiated the discussion, and what was already in the media, or in the public domain.

Please cite the specific examples that you have where there are problems.

I have dealt with concepts and ideas.

As you can see, I have not even been posting of late and there has been a bitter exchange between others over my postings... I would suggest that you seek to reign in those people... and again, I would urge you to tell people on this list not to send me e-mails outside of the list; and to refrain from calling me on the telephone with their filthy and disgusting accusations.

It seems you want to control and limit discussion on every topic and then turn around and say I am bashing the candidates. In fact, I do more than many people on this list to go out and support DFL candidates by bringing forward issues of importance to working people: ending this dirty war in Iraq, for single-payer universal health care, for the rights of casino workers, on environmental issues like peat mining in the Big Bog and MinnTac’s contamination of our streams, rivers, and lakes. I have taken issue with the positions of three candidates (please count them), and one, Matt Entenza--- resigned, just as I suggested he do in order to spare us further embarrassment. The rest of you considered my suggestion to be an "attack on the endorsed candidate." However, it was he, and not me, that was responsible for his actions that ultimately led to his departure from the top of the DFL ticket. I was right in making my suggestion that Matt Entenza resign, and all the rest of you were wrong in condemning me for making the suggestion, and you were wrong for insisting he stay on the ticket... life has now demonstrated that I was correct... just as I believe life will demonstrate that I am correct in stating that Mike Hatch should resign; and, Amy Klobuchar should also resign.

I have the same questions that many Minnesota voters have concerning Mike Hatch and Amy Klobuchar so how can such discussion be "off limits" to the body that has been established for the very purpose of having the responsibility to protect the integrity of the Minnesota DFL? Please explain this.

But that is ok; I will just read the discussions, and not post on your list. There are many other places for me to take my concerns.

I was asked by a number of SCC members and several state legislators to join this list and put my ideas forward... I was hesitant to do so because I was fully aware of the control that the big money high-rollers have on the SCC. This list serve is their property and what they say goes, just like they tell their stable of candidates what to say and do... I think the reports in the media that all DFL candidates in the 5th Congressional District support the Israeli campaign of murder and mayhem, which includes intentionally killing United Nations personnel from China, Canada, and Finland, clearly demonstrates what I say. Perhaps the Kaplans could explain their position on this present violence in the Middle East and then we will have a much better understanding on how things work in the Minnesota DFL. I, for one, would like to know if they would raise funds for any candidate who would have had the courage to vote "No" on the U.S. House Resolution supporting Israel's campaign of carnage and destruction?

I might call to your attention something that you and the state exec continue to ignore... the Minnesota DFL exists in large part to empower those who would otherwise have no voice... not for large law firms and public relations corporation CEO's and party hacks to enrich themselves and purchase Cadillacs while the rest of us cannot even afford health care.

So, unless you have objections to me reading these posts, your problem should be eliminated... if you have a problem with me reading these posts, then simply remove me from the SCC list serve and inform the Roseau County DFL why you are not allowing me to participate, but have chosen to continue to allow bigots, racists, and warmongers to continue participating.

I will forward this exchange on to the Roseau County DFL to let them know that any discussion, on my part, on the issues of importance to them has been banned... the War in Iraq, single-payer, universal health care, saving the Big Bog and preventing the contamination of our streams, rivers, and lakes up here in northern Minnesota by United States Steel, allowing a private company to steal the water from Lake of the Woods to water golf courses in North Dakota, at-will hiring, at will firing, and protecting the rights of 20,000 Minnesotans who go to work in smoke-filled casinos for poverty wages without any rights in the casinos.

As far as getting out your leaflets and yard signs for Mike Hatch and Amy Klobuchar, I suggest you contact the Chair of the Roseau County DFL. I will not be involved in their campaigns in any way, shape, or form.

In the mean time, please watch for my postings elsewhere on the Internet, letters to the editors, and check out the leaflet I will be circulating at the State Fair. Our Union Organizing Committee does a monthly distribution throughout northern Minnesota and these issues will be discussed with our fellow workers, friends, and neighbors. Plus I travel the three-state region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan extensively, meeting with many small groups of people, talking with the media, etc. There is an old saying in the advertising world that makes the charlatans and Elmer Gantry's shudder, "When I am satisfied I tell everyone, and when I am not satisfied I tell everyone, too."

I did not support Mike Hatch or Amy Klobuchar--- before the convention, at the convention--- nor do I support them now. I have a moral and political obligation to tell people my reasoning; and, I do.

Should the SCC or the Exec deem it appropriate to call for my removal from the State Central Committee as several bigots and supporters of this shameful murderous Israeli conduct have suggested... I look forward to very publicly defending my actions... at which point I will have no choice but to release to the public via means available to me the hateful and disgusting e-mails I have received from certain members of the SCC.

I also expect a complete accounting of the resolutions sent in from the Roseau County DFL convention... reading the same documents that you refer to I see there are certain required procedures that have not been followed regarding the processing of these resolutions. Please read your own documents more thoroughly, and provide a full accounting for these resolutions.

As for "respect and civility," let me assure you I treat people with the same "respect and civility" they show towards me. There has obviously been a very well coordinated campaign on the part of a small clique on the SCC to silence my views, that are to a great extent based upon the resolutions from our County Convention, so that the reactionary views of those who travel the path of the Clintons’ DLC might prevail here in Minnesota.

Please make sure my name, or references towards me, never appear in any more postings on this list. I don't think I need to remind you of the laws concerning libel, defamation, and slander; nor of my right to respond and take appropriate action to defend my own democratic rights to voice my opinions without being subjected to a campaign of intimidation and hate.

That not one other member of this list, NOT ONE, has had the moral courage or the political integrity to address the issue of the present violence in the Middle East speaks volumes for the Minnesota DFL... and I feel sorry for you if you do not see this. I do not mean to "attack" here, but I am wondering if the entire DFL SCC are not dupes for the murderous, right-wing government now in power in Israel... David Ben Gurion, Meir Vilner, and Albert Einstein must be resting very uneasy in their graves at this moment. I am sure they would join me in saying, "Shame on Israel; shame on the silence coming from the Minnesota DFL; shame on those Democratic Party legislators who went along with U.S. House Resolution 921 supporting the Israeli carnage in Lebanon.”

Please do not take this communication from me to mean that I will no longer communicate my ideas and opinions on these matters, only that I have chosen to articulate the concerns that I have to a much wider public audience since it is a complete waste of my time to try to discuss any problems or concerns that liberal and progressive Minnesotans have regarding issues and problems with the members of the SCC who you have managed to coerce liberals and progressives into silence under the guise of "having to support the endorsed candidates." The next time I see any members of this State Central Committee wearing "Peace First" t-shirts and talking about "Peace Pledges," I will remind them of their hypocrisy in remaining silent concerning the murderous Israeli campaign of carnage now in progress against Lebanon and the people living there.

It is increasingly becoming evident to me why so many liberal and progressive minded Minnesotans have made the decision to abandon the Minnesota DFL.... the Minnesota DFL has completely abandoned them, together with abandoning peace and social justice. I think that it is quite apparent that liberals and progressives will have to take the initiative to organize outside of the DFL if we are going to make any headway towards retaining and expanding the historic liberal and progressive political traditions Minnesotans are proudly known for. I have a clearer understanding why Rudy Perpich was increasingly coming to the conclusion that the DFL was turning into a dead-end street for liberals and progressives.

Alan L. Maki
Elected Member
DFL State Central Committee
Roseau County, Minnesota


The owners of the DFL State Central Committee discussion group have
decided to remove your access to the list serve. Your two most recent
posts to the group demonstrate your unwillingness to use this
communication tool for the purpose it was intended - not as a blunt
instrument to beat everyone over the head with your views, but as a
format for real discussion about how to help our endorsed candidates
win in November.

Susan Rego