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...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Cancer toll for Iron Range miners grows; so does need for single-payer, universal health care...

As the cancer toll for Iron Range miners grows; the need for single-payer, universal health care becomes a more urgent issue.

What I don't understand about this entire story on cancer on the Iron Range is why the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party was not on top of this situation long ago. Why would the DFL have needed Pawlenty to tell them about this problem?

Has there been no communication between the medical community and unions? No communication between research centers and unions? What gives here? Certainly, someone in labor was responsible for touching base with the medical and research communities. Are we to believe so many people have been asleep at the switch so to speak; or quite frankly just don’t care about doing their jobs in a conscientious manner? It has to be one or the other. There is no way a problem of this magnitude which has been so devastating to so many individuals and their families could not have been widely known.

The people who should have cared and been concerned didn’t care; this is the bottom line. This is what we get when politics becomes a mere game rather than a means to an end in making life better for working people.

James Oberstar has represented this area for over thirty years and is well known for his excellent constituency outreach services which he claims is the best in the nation; and, his constituency assistant Peter Makowski is a former miner and union official.

How could it be that Mr. Bratulich the International Rep. for United Steel Workers Union with his office right smack dab in the center of the Iron Range in downtown Eveleth, Minnesota where retirees meet could have been unaware of all of this... what about the United Steel Workers Health and Safety people... what kind of relationship do any of these people really have with the rank and file workers and the people living on the Iron Range that they were not on top of this situation already?

Mr. Bratulich sat in his Eveleth office playing computer games as a single-mom fought to save her home after the death of her father--- a life long miner and USWA member--- died from cancer and left the family with a horrendous medical bill and the greedy medical establishment took their family home in payment. Congressman Oberstar was asked to help and he did just what Mr. Bratulich asked him to do: nothing. Peter Makowski sat in his office in Chisholm… never budged.

We know what to expect from a viciously anti-labor Pawlenty administration.

But, these are people who are supposed to know what is going on with the families in their communities... one would think they would know to keep alert to health issues of this magnitude.

One of the big problems with Iron Range politics is James Oberstar. He lives in Washington D.C. toodling around town on his high-priced bicycle in an affluent neighborhood and comes back to his district to walk in Fourth of July Parades to wave to people and shake hands and throw a few pieces of candy to the kids… this is the extent of his connection to the 8th Congressional District. He sets the “example” for Iron Range politics. He is backed by union leaders who apparently don’t have much more enthusiasm to get out and find out what is going on any more than their trophy politician Oberstar does.

It is kind of far fetched for me to believe these people are as ignorant of the situation as they claim to be.

Has not one of these families with a loved one suffering from this painful and deadly cancer ever sought assistance from the union, their Congressman, or State Legislators... come on people, wake up; we relied on these people to be on top of all of this because we all know Pawlenty and his administration only have one concern... that concern is for the profits of the mining industry which has subsidized their campaign... but, union members also have paid dues and contributed very heavily to the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party.

The entire mess is just sickening.

Working people pay with their labor and their health; the mining companies profit, as the circus in the Cities continues and people still are buying tickets to see the same old show.

I seriously believe that the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party isn’t going to accomplish anything until they get some good stiff competition that isn’t afraid to stand up for what is right instead of playing these stupid and senseless political games which leave people dying in the pits and in Iraq with our tax dollars subsidizing this whole rotten mess when we should at least be getting single-payer, universal health care… until the competition arrives on the political scene and rank and file organization takes shape in the unions, we can expect to see a lot more game playing on the nightly news while working people pay the ultimate price with their lives.

The Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party now calls for funding more research into cancers on the Iron Range when the DFL should be calling for a fully funded, comprehensive, all-inclusive, single-payer, universal health care system.

It is completely irresponsible for the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party’s Legislative Caucus to continue holding off in calling for real single-payer, universal health care in response to this present horrendous health care mess.

The time has come for us to take thirty thousand Minnesotans to go talk to Legislators and the Governor.