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...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hillary Clinton accepts support from one of the worst human rights abusers in the world--- Melanie Benjamin

On November 10, 2005, United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton sent a letter to George Bush urging him to take up the question of human rights with Chinese government officials.

The conclusion of this letter reads:

"...Finally, regarding worker’s rights, eighteen months after rejecting the AFL-CIO's Section 301 petition alleging China's repression of workers' rights was an unfair trade practice, the Bush Administration has yet to progress in raising the issue with China. The Chinese government has failed to make any significant reforms, either in its labor laws or enforcement practices. As the bilateral trade deficit with China soars, and American workers lose manufacturing jobs, employers take advantage of Chinese workers who cannot exercise their right to form independent unions and bargain. Unfortunately, the only concrete outcome of the high-profile visit by Secretary Chao to China in the summer of 2004 was a series of letters pledging more seminars, high-level visits, and dialogues on workplace issues. But this dialogue has yielded few, if any, tangible results, on issues of crucial importance, both to Chinese and American workers. U.S. concerns over worker’s rights should be re-emphasized during this summit.

I strongly support continuing efforts to improve the relationship on all levels between our country and China. It is to our mutual benefit to work together to address the range of challenges facing both of us. However, economic and social advances will be lasting only if they are built on a foundation of respect for human rights.

This letter from Hillary Clinton to George Bush is very interesting because in 2007, the same Hillary Clinton accepted a huge financial contribution and endorsement for her presidential aspirations from Melanie Benjamin--- one of the worst violators of workers' rights; and, one of the worst human rights abusers in the world.

Given that Senator Clinton, now a Democratic Party candidate for President of the United States is boasting Melanie Benjamin as one of her leading Minnesota supporters, one has to wonder if her concerns for human rights are more for political posturing (and financial contributions) than out of genuine concern.

Using Hillary Clinton's own measuring stick, Melanie Benjamin is one of the worst human rights abusers in the world; she heads up the Mille Lacs Band's casino operations which includes restaurant and hotel ventures employing thousands of workers employed in these smoke-filled casinos, all receiving poverty wages without any rights under state, federal, international, or tribal labor laws.

Hillary Clinton's own Party, the Democratic Party, has not whimpered a peep of protest as more than 2,000,000 casino workers all across the United States are employed under similar circumstances.

In over fifteen years, the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party which welcomes the likes Melanie Benjamin who is responsible for the worst human rights abuses and violates workers' rights routinely on a daily basis, has remained silent... with the exception of one lone DFL County Unit... the Roseau County DFL which took a principled stand at its most recent County Convention calling for casino workers in Minnesota to enjoy the protection of the rights all other workers in Minnesota are protected by. Although, leaders of the Minnesota DFL have not been able to locate this resolution.

Hillary Clinton has taken the financial contributions of Melanie Benjamin and the casino managements but can't bring herself to condemn the human rights abuses twenty thousand Minnesotans are forced to endure daily...

So much for Hillary Clinton and human rights.

It is noteworthy that one of Hillary Clinton's big boosters, in addition to Melanie Benjamin, is the AFL-CIO which has not once protested the Draconian conditions under which so many Minnesotans and workers all across this country are employed in the casino industry.

It is also noteworthy that Melanie Benjamin has hired some of the most brutal thugs to harass, intimidate, and beat-up casino workers attempting to organize; thugs from the Blackwater Agency whose dirty deeds are overseen by USIS--- the premier union busting company of choice for some of the largest corporations in the world.

I wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton for dog catcher.

I would point out as far as China and workers' rights are concerned... every worker in China has rights. Right now there are several Chinese officials awaiting having their sentences carried out for abusing workers' rights to a much lesser extent than casino workers' rights have been violated on a daily basis for the last seventeen years here in Minnesota without a single Democratic Party politician or a single leader of any AFL-CIO affiliated union taking any initiative to halt this intentional continuing abuse of working people.

Apparently the greed of these casino capitalists in quest of ever greater profits which are financing the political campaigns of Democratic Party politicians like Hillary Rodham Clinton is acceptable.

Oh... the sentence awaiting the Chinese officials convicted of violating workers' rights in China? The death sentence...

... While human rights/workers' rights abuser Melanie Benjamin is a welcomed addition to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign... yes, it is all about money, money, money.

I haven't even addressed the health problems of these workers employed in casino operations... heart, lung, and cancers from having to work daily in these smoke-filled casinos.

Shame on Hillary Clinton; Hillary Clinton needs a good dictionary to help her define human rights and workers' rights... not our votes.

No one had better come to casino workers telling us: Look at the choices for president... Hillary or a Republican; I will tell them where to go.

At some point working people are going to have to look at the pattern that has developed towards working people by the Democratic Party hacks and elected officials...

A pattern as distinct as the cancer cluster on the Iron Range... the same Democratic Party elected officials who have looked the other way as casino workers have been employed under these most atrocious and unjust conditions turned their backs on saving over two thousand union jobs and the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant which could employ thousands more working people in the years to come...

... and, they have looked the other way as casino workers get heart and lung diseases and the associated cancers.

Democratic Party legislators and political hacks projected the same lethal silence as a huge cancer cluster has been allowed to develop on the Iron Range over many years--- only in this case they told everyone including United States District Court Judge Miles Lord to keep his mouth shut because at stake were "JOBS, JOBS, JOBS"... only raising their voices in the most pathetic and opportunist manner for political expediency; rather than out of concern for the lives and well-being of working people.

Those employed on the Iron Range at Giant's Ridge would probably tell us this is all just "par for the course."

"Jobs, jobs, jobs" or "Profits, profits, profits?"

If these politicians were the least concerned about jobs and the health and well-being of working people, and their rights, these DFL politicians would have voted to save the Ford Plant where workers have struggled for years to win good pay along with fundamental protections in the workplace and healthy and safe working conditions.

Instead, these politicians will encourage Ford workers to go to work in smoke-filled casinos without any rights for the likes of Melanie Benjamin. No doubt Ray Waldron, Mark Froemke and other AFL-CIO officials will join behind Melanie Benjamin in picking up "Hillary for President" signs, parade around the state DFL convention hall like high school cheerleaders--- chanting "Hillary, Hillary, Hillary;" and, urge the rest of us to vote for Hillary Clinton and her acquiescence to the continued abuse of casino workers.

Make no mistake... a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to continue the deplorable working conditions casino workers are forced to endure.

Let me be perfectly clear: Hillary Clinton should be advocating the same rights for Minnesota's casino workers which she advocated for Chinese workers in her letter to George Bush. Anything less is sheer hypocrisy.

In conclusion, I point out that in less than two years since Hillary Clinton sent the above letter to George Bush, the Chinese government has made tremendous strides according to all concerned, including the International Trade Union Confederation--- the largest labor organization in the world, in bringing forward legislation protecting workers' rights, and human rights. During this same time frame, Hillary Clinton and her "dumb donkeys" have done absolutely nothing to improve the plight of Minnesota's more than 20,000 casino workers--- many of these casino workers employed by Melanie Benjamin under the most Draconian working conditions, far worse than anything in China.


Minnesota Leaders Endorse Clinton

Not one of these so-called Minnesota "leaders" has ever condemned the daily abuse casino workers are subjected to. It is no wonder these "leaders" would not object to Melanie Benjamin being in their midst.

What kind of "leaders" sit in silence as 20,000 of their fellow Minnesotans are forced to go to work in smoke-filled casinos without any rights receiving poverty wages and without any voice at work.

Workers employed without any rights in the workplace have no rights in the communities where they live... I would encourage this well-heeled bunch of "leaders" to ponder this.

Mark Dayton sat next to Hillary Clinton all those years in the United States Senate and never informed her of the plight of his 20,000 fellow Minnesotans. Former Senator Mark Dayton wouldn't have taken his dog with him to work if smoking was allowed in Senate offices.

Prosecutor Gaertner wants to become the next governor of Minnesota but remains silent as twenty thousand of her fellow Minnesotans are forced to endure the most devastating working conditions causing health problems, including cancers, destroying working class families as she pontificates on radio and television her visions for Minnesota as she, too, ignores the plight of casino workers.

Yes, I am sure Hillary Clinton is grateful for the support she has received from this well-heeled bunch of uncaring politicians and political hacks who have begun to pander for favors...


Minnesota Leaders Endorse Clinton

Hillary Clinton received the endorsements of more than 40 leading Minnesota officials and community leaders today.

"I sat next to Senator Clinton for six years in the Senate Chamber and I saw her experience, dedication and tremendous ability at work for all Americans," said former Senator Mark Dayton. "I know that she will be our party’s best nominee and our country’s best President."

Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner said Hillary has the focus and resiliency needed to be President. "Americans are ready for change, and Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with the experience to do the job from her first day in office."

"I am grateful for the overwhelming support I’ve received in Minnesota," Clinton said. "With the help of these local leaders, we’ll take our message of change across the state and this nation."

Leading Minnesotans Endorsing Hillary Today:

* Mark Dayton, Former US Senator
* Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney
* Sandy Pappas, State Senator
* Nora Slawik, State Representative
* Sandra Peterson, State Representative
* Barbara Johnson, President, Minneapolis City Council
* Gary Schiff, Minneapolis City Council Member
* Lisa Goodman, Minneapolis City Council Member
* Dave Thune, St. Paul City Council Member, and Susan Thune, RN
* Colleen Landkamer, President, National Association of Counties; Blue Earth County Commissioner
* Ann Wynia, Former House Majority Leader
* Matt Entenza, Former House Democratic Leader
* Ember Reichgott Junge, Former Senate Assistant Majority Leader
* Joan Anderson Growe, Former Minnesota Secretary of State
* Emily Anne Staples Tuttle, Former State Senator
* Carol Flynn, Former State Senator
* Gordon O. Voss, Former State Representative
* Al Patton, Former State Representative
* Koryne Horbal, Former Ambassador to U.N.
* Betty Folliard, Co-owner Strategy Partners; Former MN State Representative
* Tom Foley, Former Ramsey and Washington County Attorney
* Joan Niemiec, Former Minneapolis City Council Member
* Vance Opperman, President, Key Investments
* Lois Quam, Business Leader
* Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
* Mohamed Jibrell, Somali Community Leader
* Hubert "Buck" Humphrey
* Jackie Stevenson, DNC Member
* Rick Stafford, DNC Member, Chair of the DNC's LGBT Caucus
* Elsa Leven, MN DFL Latino Caucus
* Mari Urness Pokornowski, Co-Chair DFL State Platform Commission
* Lynn Wilson, Chair, Olmsted County DFL
* Tammy Tesky, Vice President, DFL Feminist Caucus
* Megan Thomas, Former Chair, Stonewall DFL
* Cheryl Poling, DFL Party Activist
* Ruth Usem, Community Activist
* M. Kathleen Murphy, Women's Rights Activist
* Bill Pohlad, Film Producer & Michelle Grabanski Pohlad, Social Activist
* Susan Burns, Attorney
* Paul Cassidy, Minneapolis
* Jill Sletten, Public Policy Consultant
* Andrew Luger, Attorney; Former Candidate, Hennepin County Attorney and Ellen Goldberg Luger
* Sarah Youngerman, Minneapolis
* Rebecca Yanisch, Former MN Commissioner of Trade and Economic Development
* Lori L. Jacobwith, Consultant
* Patsy Green, Robbinsdale Area School Board Director
* Amy K. Rotenberg, Communications Consultant, and Mark B. Rotenberg, University General Counsel
* Paula Maccabee, Former St. Paul City Council Member, and Paul Maccabee, President, The Maccabee Group