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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.

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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

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Broadband: The discussion not taking place

With the upcoming "National Civic Summit" to take place in Minneapolis this week this exchange becomes very important. This posting was made on the Minnesota Forum of e-democracy which I responded to. (My response follows):

-----Original Message-----
From: Ann Treacy [mailto:atreacy@treacyinfo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 6:56 AM
To: mnvoices@forums.e-democracy.org
Subject: Re: [MNVoices] MVO message for broadband task force

Sorry for the funky code in the last email. I sent it thru the MVO web site. I'm trying again thru email.

Thanks! Ann

Hi guys,

I’m following up on last week’s email on a plan to get a message to the Broadband Task Force. I hadn’t heard from anyone so I took that silence to be a resounding – we want to hear more!

Here’s a quick take on what I’ve observed with the Broadband Task Force. I thought that sharing these notes might help set the stage as to what they’re ready to hear form folks like us. I know others on this list have been following too so please feel free to chime in, flesh out or correct any of my notes.

My readers’ digest version is that folks are thinking about speeds, role of government, broadband as a utility and costs depending on how much the TF feels like they need to address costs.

This month they are looking at http://tinyurl.com/lf9vw5:

* How to approach aspirational speed goal – the conflict seems to be setting a goal that is fast enough to inspire but slow enough to be accessible

* Symmetry – everybody seems to love it on paper but when they talk about speeds – asymmetrical speeds are still used

* Role of Government – this is a *hot topic*. Everyone loves to see government as a purchaser, loads of people would like to see the role end there. (In other words no regulation.)

* Recommendations – subgroups will report on the following:

* Policies and actions necessary to achieve ubiquitous broadband – sub-group report

* Opportunities for public and private sectors to cooperate to achieve goal

* Evaluation of strategies, financing, financial incentives used in other states/countries to support broadband development

* Cost estimate

* Evaluation and recommendation of security, vulnerability, and redundancy actions necessary to ensure reliability

Here’s the last iteration I have of their recommendations: http://tinyurl.com/n8joa6 I think we’ll see a lot of changes after these subgroups report in – but this is a good start if you want to see which way the wind is blowing for folks.

List member (and Task Force board member) Mike O’Connor wrote a great article over the weekend about the future of the TF report: http://tinyurl.com/n8joa6 - or kind of like the 3 ghosts in A Christmas Carol, Mike is telling us what could happen. If this is a topic we care about we need to get involved before, during and after. Starting the conversation here is a start.

Thanks! Ann

Ann Treacy
Treacy Information Services
1841 Fairmount Ave
St Paul MN 55105

My response:

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

Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 9:53 AM

To: 'mnvoices@forums.e-democracy.org'

Cc: 'gamingassoc@midco.net'; 'annamarie.hill@state.mn.us'; 'Aimee Cree Dunn'; 'rachleff@macalester.edu'; 'Rachel Maddow'; 'hq2600@gmail.com'; 'Al Juhnke'; 'rep.bill.hilty@house.mn'; 'rep.carlos.mariani@house.mn'; 'rep.carolyn.laine@house.mn'; 'rep.dave.olin@house.mn'; 'rep.frank.hornstein@house.mn'; 'rep.maryellen.otremba@house.mn'; 'rep.tom.anzelc@house.mn'; 'rep.tom.Rukavina@house.mn'; 'rep.tony.sertich@house.mn'; 'sen.david.tomassoni@senate.mn'; 'Sen.Jim Carlson'; 'sen.john.marty@senate.mn'; 'sen.linda.berglin@senate.mn'; 'sen.tony.lourey@senate.mn'; 'senator_levin@levin.senate.gov'; 'president@whitehouse.org'; 'hq2600@gmail.com'; 'jolynn.shopteese@state.mn.us'; 'pete.palma@state.mn.us'; 'diana.yerbich@state.mn.us'; 'jim.jones@state.mn.us'; 'kleecy@boisforte-nsn.gov'; 'sandidavis@fdlrez.com'; 'chairman.larose@llojibwe.com'; 'margea@millelacsojibwe.nsn.us'; 'ermav@whiteearth.com'; 'rjohnson@piic.org'; 'norman@grandportage.com'; 'jstacy@lowersioux.com'; 'floydjourdain2@hotmail.com'; 'kevinj@uppersiouxcommunity.org'; 'ollamhfaery@earthlink.net'; 'mplsgreen@yahoogroups.com'; '614grand@winternet.com'; 'dave@colorstudy.com'; 'dan@dandittmann.org'; 'maydaybookstore@gmail.com'; 'dave.garland@wizinfo.com'; 'marcus.harcus@gmail.com'; 'at0micgirl@yahoo.com'; 'mjayk24601@yahoo.com'; 'jkolstad@millcitymusic.com'; 'fredric.markus@gmail.com'; 'timnolan7@gmail.com'; 'zevorourke@hotmail.com'; 'david.obamamn@gmail.com'; 'sclickace1@aol.com'; 'h_58room@hotmail.com'; 'luvunkljoe@yahoo.com'; 'darcy.trunzo@gmail.com'; 'charleyunderwood@hotmail.com'; 'johnwilson@gmx.com'; 'mgresist@minn.net'; 'doriandter@aol.com'; 'jday@d.umn.edu'; 'Karen.Bedeau@dot.state.mn.us'; 'Bill.Ziegler@learth.org'; 'Bill.Carter@ci.minneapolis.mn.us'; 'Valerie.Larsen@state.mn.us'; 'jayruss2u@hotmail.com'; 'chris@spottedeagle.org'; 'sovrn@hotmail.com'; 'rep.brita.sailer@house.mn'; 'sen.mary.olson@senate.mn'; 'bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com'; 'mmiron@bemidjipioneer.com'; 'teresa_detrempe@klobuchar.senate.gov'; 'peter.makowski@mail.house.gov'; 'peter.erlinder@wmitchell.edu'; 'mnaflcio@mnaflcio.org'; 'hrhmbwise8@comcast.net'; 'riverlot@paulbunyan.net'; 'loneagle@paulbunyan.net'; 'brian.melendez@usa.net'; 'lwmpls@visi.com'; 'WCS-A@yahoogroups.com'; 'amistad.nai@rcn.com'; 'eliot.seide@afscmemn.org'; 'jo.pels@afscmemn.org'; 'john.westmoreland@afscmemn.org'; 'bob.hilliker@afscmemn.org'; 'jerry.serfling@afscmemn.org'; 'diane.johnston@afscmemn.org'; 'jim.niland@afscmemn.org'; 'eric.lehto@afscmemn.org'; 'michelle.stein@afscmemn.org'; 'lois.mcewen@afscmemn.org'; 'bart.andersen@afscmemn.org'; 'bob.buckingham@afscmemn.org'; 'tom.burke@afscmemn.org'; 'joyce.carlson@afscmemn.org'; 'chris.cowen@afscmemn.org'; 'sandra.curtis@afscmemn.org'; 'jeff.dains@afscmemn.org'; 'kurt.errickson@afscmemn.org'; 'diane.firkus@afscmemn.org'; 'Jeff.Fowler@afscmemn.org'; 'carole.gerst@afscmemn.org'; 'scott.grefe@afscmemn.org'; 'sid.helseth@afscmemn.org'; 'bruce.iverson@afscmemn.org'; 'linda.jackson@afscmemn.org'; 'laurie.johnson@afscmemn.org'; 'jill.kielblock@afscmemn.org'; 'al.lehrke@afscmemn.org'; 'ken.loefflerkemp@afscmemn.org'; 'nola.lynch@afscmemn.org'; 'steve.marincel@afscmemn.org'; 'chas.martin@afscmemn.org'; 'gladys.mckenzie@afscmemn.org'; 'loretta.meinke@afscmemn.org'; 'christi.nelson@afscmemn.org'; 'cindy.nelson@afscmemn.org'; 'matt.nelson@afscmemn.org'; 'lorita.powell@afscmemn.org'; 'amanda.prince@afscmemn.org'; 'barb.sasik@afscmemn.org'; 'marshall.stenersen@afscmemn.org'; 'ryan.welles@afscmemn.org'; 'jim.niland@afscmemn.org'; 'laura.askelin@afscmemn.org'; 'julie.bleyhl@afscmemn.org'; 'jon.grebner@afscmemn.org'; 'pam.lofquist@afscmemn.org'; 'mark.mcafee@afscmemn.org'; 'john.thorson@afscmemn.org'; 'mark.baker@afscmemn.org'; 'ryan.hanson@afscmemn.org'; 'marybeth.juetten@afscmemn.org'; 'adrienne.kern@afscmemn.org'; 'beth.neubert@afscmemn.org'; 'kevin.piatt@afscmemn.org'; 'Jeff.Sabin@afscmemn.org'; 'jessica.hayssen@afscmemn.org'; 'jennifer.munt@afscmemn.org'; 'judy.carlson@afscmemn.org'; 'rita.during@afscmemn.org'; 'leslie.evans@afscmemn.org'; 'amy.williams@afscmemn.org'; 'claudia.schufman@afscmemn.org'; 'cindy.pince@afscmemn.org'; 'jodi.ochocki@afscmemn.org'; 'kathy.mcginnis@afscmemn.org'; 'laureen.karnick@afscmemn.org'; 'laureen.karnick@afscmemn.org'; 'maya.hendricks@afscmemn.org'; 'amy.heitman@afscmemn.org'; 'mary.hamilton@afscmemn.org'; 'dixie.englund@afscmemn.org'; 'Christina.Domeier@afscmemn.org'; 'deb.cassidy@afscmemn.org'; 'maurine.barcus@afscmemn.org'; 'lisa.altendorfer@afscmemn.org'; 'sovrn@hotmail.com'

Subject: RE: [MNVoices] MVO message for broadband task force


You were right about the silence I think... people want to hear a little more. I know I do.

Like all other issues, Barack Obama and the Democrats apparently intend on ramming broadband through without any input from the people or widespread dialog, discussion and debate even though one of their primary stated objectives is to use broadband to expand democracy and citizen participation... although I don't hear it stated as such, I assume that the citizen participation is intended to further empower people to become fuller participants in the decision-making processes.

I would note that you missed one important point that Obama and the Democrats repeatedly have brought forward concerning their support for this broadband initiative--- job creation, and you have left out one important item that very few except for us socialists have brought up which I believe requires discussion far beyond the political left which is that broadband should be a complete "public enterprise;" what taxpayers finance, taxpayers should fully own and control... like the CCC and WPA projects of yester-year's Great Depression, this should be a public works project in the full sense of the word so public funds are not diverted to corporate and business profits to the extent this is at all possible in our country today where the focus has been on privatization of just about everything from water to health care.

In addition, in spite of a lot of discussion about how broadband will be worked on to serve presently underserved areas at present, there has been no specific discussion of how this broadband system will be undertaken in a way that will serve Native American communities and Indian Reservations. Some may argue that such special consideration is unneeded and unnecessary, however, these are the same political forces who have argued the same thing when it comes to the electoral arena which is supposedly the centerpiece of our "great bastion of democracy;" and, yet, not one single Native American presently is sitting in the Minnesota State Legislature nor a member of our Congressional delegation in the House or Senate... and as far as I know, this has been the case since Statehood (perhaps I am wrong on this point and someone will correct me if I am wrong); but, none-the-less I don't think any of us can cite one single Native American serving in the Minnesota State Legislature in recent years for sure and this is a very real problem--- the state's original inhabitants and presently the largest minority have no rights of participation in the political process so somewhere, somehow words do not live up to deeds and we must make certain this exclusion does not repeat itself with broadband.

I would note that there is at present at least 50% unemployment rates in Native American communities and on Indian Reservations in Minnesota. Anyone can drive through any Indian Reservation and see non-Natives are the primary workers employed by the power companies and private firms like Paul Bunyan Telephone to do the work; ditto for roadwork, natural gas and fuels, cable companies, etc. So, in addition to assuring access to the broadband is the issue of assuring that Native Americans will be assured a percentage based upon full implementation of affirmative action of the jobs associated with broadband throughout the entire system including installation and maintenance on and off the Reservations.

You stated:

"I hadn’t heard from anyone so I took that silence to be a resounding – we want to hear more!"

Last week Gregory Paquin from Bemidji posted a letter concerning Native Americans not having representation in the Minnesota State legislature and I was surprised there was so little discussion on such an important issue. So I take "that silence to be a resounding – we want to hear more!"

In the past there has been some discussion about how the mainstream media and its reporters are under-serving us... I can't help but wonder why both the mainstream media and alternatives like e-democracy seem to be evading this important issue of Native Americans having no representation in the Minnesota State Legislature; this should be an issue of concern to us all because democracy can only be as strong as its weakest link... and Native Americans being left out of the electoral process, the mainstream media, the alternative media and jobs, not to mention the problems involved with education, housing and health care while being used as a base for cheap labor in the smoke-filled casinos working for poverty wages without any rights serves to suppress democracy and the standard of living for all of us.

Are we going to allow and tolerate racism to taint broadband like it has everything else in our state and our country?

I find it very interesting that the same tribal governments which have pumped so much money through their Minnesota Indian Gaming Association to elect racist and non-Native politicians to public office without putting any money into electing Native Americans, are now backing Obama's broadband proposals without insisting on full equality through affirmative action programs when it comes to jobs involved in broadband... apparently this is part of the process of maintaining a cheap labor pool for the casino industry... otherwise, how do these same tribal governments explain outfits like Paul Bunyan refusing to fully implement affirmative action hiring programs on and off the Reservations? I can see no reason why this intolerable racist situation should be allowed to take hold at the very outset of this broadband initiative of Obama's and the Democrats lest they deliver our society into one more racist quagmire excluding Native Americans like Native Americans not being represented in the Minnesota State Legislature... if anyone thinks this cannot happen with exclusion of Native Americans in this broadband initiative, perhaps we need a discussion of why this deplorable, racist situation exists where Native Americans have no representation in the Minnesota State Legislature as we are well into the 21st Century where we are all supposedly so attuned to human rights.

I would also note that this entire discussion surrounding this broadband initiative is taking place as Minnesota State employees are having their pay checks reduced. Which makes me wonder just what kind of poverty wage jobs will be involved in this broadband initiative if we can't even live up to the collectively negotiated agreements for present government employees. Members of MAPE and AFSCME might want to comment about this broadband initiative, too.

Which leads me to ask, why are the union voices as silent on this broadband initiative as they have been when it comes to ending racism in the electoral process and for enforcement of affirmative action programs in hiring? Where are the union voices on e-democracy?

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

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

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