Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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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...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008 and The Freeman Forum

April 22, 2008

Earth Day

-----Original Message-----

From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]

Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 9:36 PM

To: 'Denise Pfeifer'; 'peter.makowski@mail.house.gov';'Jody Beaulieu'; 'carl.pope@sierraclub.org'

Cc:'mmiron@bemidjipioneer.com'; 'bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com'; 'editor@orionsociety.org'; 'editor@outdoornews.com'; 'Laurel'; 'William McAuliffe'

Subject: RE: Freeman Forum Lecture Follow Up

Ms. Pfeifer,

Thank you for inviting me to the Freeman Forum; it was a great learning experience in so many ways.

I am looking forward to next year’s Freeman Forum… what will the topic be?

Also, you might want to pass on the link to my blog about my experiences at the 2008 Freeman Forum:


You might also be interested in circulating this blog:


I am wondering how I can obtain the recording of the question period following Congressman Jim Oberstar’s lecture.

Also, I asked for a receipt for the twenty dollars I paid for the luncheon as I get reimbursed provided I have a receipt; I was told the receipt would be e-mailed to me; it was not. Would you please provide me with the receipt?

On a final note, do you think on behalf of the Freeman Forum, you could ask United States Congressman James Oberstar to make a written and public apology to me for calling me a “liar?” I am sure you understand the seriousness of this kind of slanderous remark. As you are aware, James Oberstar did in fact “orchestrate a racist, back-room deal” regarding peat mining in the Pine Island State Forest located at the center of the Big Bog, our most important freshwater aquifer now that Congressman Oberstar has allowed the mining companies to pollute Lake Superior. As you are aware, truth is the only defense against a lawsuit for libel and slander; I hope I will not have to proceed with a lawsuit to defend my good name from the untruthful, vicious and vile statements Congressman Oberstar made about me. Congressman Oberstar was well aware that his remarks were being brought to a much wider audience, and Congressman Oberstar was fully aware that he lied in denying any knowledge of the peat mining permit in the Big Bog. Further, Congressman Oberstar was fully aware the Red Lake Nation is in complete and full opposition to this peat mining. I think we need an explanation from Congressman Oberstar why he lied about his involvement in this dirty deal. Needless to say, an apology to me is in order.

I stand by my remarks that Congressman Oberstar’s lecture on “Water” was the “most self-serving and hypocritical speech I have ever heard from a politician.” As you are aware, I am entitled to my opinion; as Congressman Oberstar is entitled to his opinion. His response that he was “offended” by my characterization of his speech is very legitimate. On the other hand, calling me a “liar” as Congressman Oberstar did is an outright slander prohibited under state and federal statutes… you may consult with Mr. Freeman who is an attorney of sorts from what I hear.

Again, you may read the statement which was posted for many years on the Minnesota Environmental Partnership’s web site concerning Congressman Oberstar’s involvement in obtaining the permit for a Canadian multi-national corporation to mine peat in the Big Bog. I have posted this statement in its entirety on this blog:


Perhaps you and the facilitators of the Freeman Forum might want request an explanation of Congressman Oberstar about his role in all of this… I assume the Freeman Forum had a sincere desire to want to provide information enabling people to act to protect our freshwater aquifers as required; anything else would be seen as hypocrisy by the public.

One other concern I have. I noticed the extremely high level of involvement on the part of numerous public officials including the Secretary of State and a former State Governor as well as Mr. Gene Merriam and current members of the MN DNR along with numerous organizations and foundations very prominent in the public eye; on the other hand I noted that the audience and ALL panelists were white. I assume the facilitators of the Freeman Forum attempted to involve people of color? What went wrong? Is there some underlying institutionalized racism involved? I note this event took place at the Humphrey Center, which is part of the University of Minnesota. I am sure you must have noted that people of color were not represented at all as panelists or as audience. I find this very strange and something which should not be tolerated by those concerned with civil and human rights. Was there a fear that to include people of color might have resulted in accusations of racism regarding how the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party resolves issues involving “water?” Might not you have invited the head of the Red Lake Nation’s Department of Natural Resources to have been a panelist if you were truly interested in hearing from all concerned? I am suggesting that the American Civil Liberties Union’s Task Force On Race Relations look into this. Perhaps the Minnesota Department of Human Rights should be requested to look into this, also.

I think it is important to note, and you must be aware, that none other than the United Nations has pointed out that the destruction of ecosystems and the pollution and contamination of fresh water aquifers is often found to be related to racism and genocide. I would assume that organizations like the Sierra Club would be very concerned to find out that people of color were excluded from the Freeman Forum’s 2008 “Water, Water Everywhere?” In a situation like this perception really is everything.

I thank you in advance for your attention to these matters.

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


-----Original Message-----

From: Denise Pfeifer [mailto:info@minnesotaruralpartners.org]

Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 7:59 PM

To: amaki000@centurytel.net

Subject: Freeman Forum Lecture Follow Up

Freeman Forum Attendees,

Thank you for attending the 2008 Freeman Forum.

As a follow up to the event I wanted to share with you Deb Swackhamer's summary along with a link to an audio of the Freeman Forum lectures from April 8th, 2008.
Attached is Deb Swackhamer's summary paper of the Water lecture program is a spectacular piece of work that underscores the stature of the lecture program series in a way that we've never been able to do before. It also illustrates the value of the work that all of us involved in putting together these programs can see in a tangible form. Freeman Forum Synthesis Swackhamer 041708.pdf

The audio from all the Freeman Forum lectures on April 8, 2008, is now available on the Humphrey Institute podcast. You can find this at http://blog.lib.umn.edu/hhhevent/news/. Please feel free to share with your colleagues.

Thanks for your attendance. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Best, Denise

Denise Pfeifer
Minnesota Rural Partners