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...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

SC politician's welfare comments called `immoral'

 Here is what this elected public official said:

"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed! You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that."

 And here is the conclusion most politicians are drawing from the anger from people in response to this remark:

"choose our words more carefully."

First of all, does anyone really believe S.C. Lt. Gov.Andre Bauer didn't intentionally choose these words to rally his racist, anti-worker supporters known for their poor-bashing?   

Second, why isn't the video part of the distribution of this story so we get the full force and meaning of the hate embodied in these words?

Third, is this a matter of politicians choosing their words more carefully or politicians who do choose their words carefully while implementing this kind of thinking through administrative mandates and legislation?

The failure of the Obama Administration, the Democrats, Minnesota legislators and Bemidji City officials--- public and appointed--- to fully implement and enforce affirmative action in the planning, construction, staffing, maintaining and operation of the Bemidji Regional Event Center in Bemidji, Minnesota is a case in point.

A racist Bemidji City Planner, Rita Albrecht, who watched the poor, the unemployed, the homeless line up across the street from the Bemidji City Hall on a daily basis at the Beltrami County Food Shelf seeking food, demonstrated her concern for every minute detail involved in this largest public works project to come down the pike in years in northern Minnesota--- except seeing to it that Bemidji's25% Native American Indian population experiencing over 60% unemployment and 80% living in poverty, received the jobs they are entitled to by law through the strict enforcement of affirmative action policies which are legislatively required on such a public works project like this one-hundred million dollar tax-payer financed boon-doggle which public officials intend to turn over to a private firm, VenuWorks, to profit from.

Bemidji City Planner Rita Albrecht, on her FaceBook page describes herself and her views exactly as South Carolina Lt. Governor--- and candidate for Governor--- describes his views: Progressive. It seems no politician or public official has any kind of credibility in this country anymore without in some way describing themselves as "progressive" no matter how racist, twisted and perverted their thinking AND actions are.

Bemidji City officials and Bemidji City Planner Rita Albrecht, in fact--- De facto--- did intentionally and with malice aforethought, refused to implement and enforce affirmative action policies knowing full well that failure to implement and enforce affirmative action policies because they are all fully aware that the City of Bemidji has been designated as the most racist city in North America because of its long-standing institutionalized racism that has become a part of the "culture" of this community ever since Native American Indians were driven from their lands by the greedy lumber and mining barons in quest of profits.  

There are four surrounding Indian Reservations nearby experiencing unemployment rates in excess of 60% and poverty rates as high as 85%.

The racist Bemidji City Manager, John Chattin, is now claiming in an affidavit filed in District Court in response to a law suit filed by the Native American Indian Labor Union #12 and its Business Manager Gregory W. Paquin, union pipefitter by trade and a member of the Pipefitters Union--- who is also running for State Senate District 4, who, if successful would be the only Native American Indian sitting in the Minnesota State Legislature; Bemidji City Manager John Chattin in explaining why he didn't act on Gregory W. Paquin's concerns that affirmative action in hiring policies were neither being implemented nor enforced, is now claiming that he "didn't know who Gregory W. Paquin was." Bemidji City Manager John Chattin, long known for the exact same kind of comments as those made by the South Carolina Lt. Governor so many people are finding disgusting; Chattin told Gregory W. Paquin to go take up the issues of affirmative action with the general contractor Kraus-Anderson's manager, himself; as if Gregory W. Paquin was responsible for implementing and enforcing an affirmative action policy. Bemidji City Attorney Al Felix is now claiming no responsibility in the matter because Paquin "only talked to me about affirmative action for about fifteen minutes."

All of these Bemidji City officials and many others not named saw fit to bring in Native American Indians to dance and drum at the "ground-breaking ceremonies" for the Bemidji Regional Event Center that was attended by elected and appointed public officials like Minnesota State Senator Mary Olson who is supposed to be representing all of the people of Senate District 4 but she only notices Native Americans exist when she wants campaign contributions derived from Indian Gaming and doled out by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association which views equality in employment opportunities as a threat to the cheap labor pool they want to maintain for the lucrative casinos. Not one tribal politician, not one local or state public official has raised their voices in a call for enforcement of affirmative action policies being implemented in all phases of the Bemidji Regional Event Center. 

Even as these arrogant and racist public officials, the City of Bemidji, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and Kraus-Anderson are in court being sued for violating the civil and human rights of long-suffering--- by intentional design--- Native American Indians for whom equality has been a victim to institutionalized racism... these elected and appointed public officials continue to ignore their responsibility in implementing an affirmative action policy for hiring Native American Indians to manage, staff and maintain the Bemidji Regional Event Center as they look out the windows of their city offices to view long lines of people--- many Native American Indians--- standing in the freezing cold with temperatures ranging down to minus thirty degrees at the Beltrami County Food Shelf.

We are not talking about the warped and perverted views of one demented politician seeking to become the Governor of South Carolina where his supporters whistle "Dixie" and drive around with bumper stickers extolling the "virtues" of the Confederacy...

We are talking about the policies of an entire government, from township up to the presidency and from the presidency down to the township that is so thoroughly corrupt, that S.C. Lt. Gov.Andre Bauer's words and thinking are, in fact--- De facto--- the ideas, even if not stated as such, the current policies of government at every level--- Barack Obama not withstanding. I find it of significant interest that Bemidji City Planner Rita Albrecht was an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama who, through his Administration, has signaled governments at every level not to enforce affirmative action in hiring, and this is why we see the vast racist discrepancies in communities of color when it comes to unemployment and its associated levels of disgraceful poverty that we have not seen in this country since before Lyndon Johnson ordered affirmative action to become the law of the land.

I also find it of great interest that Barack Obama has declared a state of silence as his response to the very racist and anti-poor bashing "articulated so eloquently" by South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer  with his ill chosen words.

But, isn't Barack Obama's silence as ill chosen as the words themselves?

Because, after all, it is this silence in the face of such bigotry that enables racist government officials like Bemidji City Planner Rita Albrecht, Bemidji City Manager John Chattin and Bemidji City Attorney Al Felix to get away with their dirty racist deeds in not hiring Native American Indians--- all according to plan; according to institutionalized racism.

It is not without reason that the City of Bemidji is recognized as: the most racist city in North America

Should S.C. Lt. Gov.Andre Bauer ever decide to run for president, no doubt he will begin his journey on the steps of the Bemidji Regional Event Center after walking from Bemidji City Hall having first met with like minded "public servants"... no doubt the Beltrami County Food Shelf will be closed on this day... and forever, if S.C. Lt. Gov.Andre Bauer has his way... in the very same way Bemidji City officials slammed the door closed to Native American Indians seeking employment and jobs working at the Bemidji Regional Event Center as their only way out of poverty--- with a job.

In closing, I should note that out of all the candidates running to become Minnesota's next governor, only one, after being prodded, has demonstrated any concern for implementation and enforcement of affirmative action--- former United States Senator Mark Dayton a well known liberal; yet, even he has refused to use his campaign as part of the struggle to implement and enforce affirmative action. To Mark Dayton's credit, after being firmly prodded by this writer and several others, while campaigning in Bemidji last week, he did note that state agencies were not enforcing affirmative action and noted this was a serious problem. But, it should have been on Mark Dayton's agenda to meet with Bemidji City officials to insist that they come up with a plan to hire Native American Indians for employment in management, staffing and maintenance of the Bemidji Regional Event Center.

One Democratic candidate for governor, Tom Bakk, has long been associated with Minnesota's notoriously racist building and construction trades unions... he has refused all comment on what he would do to enforce affirmative action... no doubt, the same thing the present Republican Governor and Barack Obama have done--- absolutely nothing... again, State Senator Tom Bakk, like Bemidji City Planner Rita Albrecht, hides his racism by saying he is "progressive" and supports Barack Obama and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association which just happens to support Tom Bakk, Rita Albrecht and Barack Obama... what a cozy little racist club this makes for.

Of course the nice little illegal sweetheart deals worked out between the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Unions and the casino managements and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association where union workers purchase their jobs as a condition of foregoing enforcement of union contracts with the unions agreeing not to support the struggles of casino workers for union recognition and their struggles for a safe and healthy work environment with real living wages goes ignored by the Minnesota Attorney General and all other elected public officials... this is the cheap labor pool that is protected for the benefit of the Indian Gaming Industry when affirmative action is not implemented or enforced.

The words of S.C. Lt. Gov.Andre Bauer  have real consequences beyond there utterances; this is in fact the ideology governing the implementation of public policy in our country today--- whether stated or unstated--- none-the-less, these words reflect public policies at all levels of government and these mean and cruel government policies are hurting tens of millions of people.

One only has to read the words written, but seldom discussed in public, by those responsible for government policies... people like Alan Greenspan who have the same kind of arrogant disdain for the poor as S.C. Lt. Gov.Andre Bauer.

This sick ideology permeating every level of government in our country today as articulated by S.C. Lt. Gov.Andre Bauer needs to be challenged and countered with action from the grassroots. We need to develop the ideology of people before profits... 

An ideology based upon the politics and economics of livelihood. 

In my opinion, working people need to take up the ideas of Minnesota's two socialist governors, Floyd B. Olson and Elmer Benson and their Communist colleague United States Congressman John Bernard. 

It was their socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party which blazed the trail against racism and corruption when Governor Elmer Benson was forced to come, in person, to Bemidji to investigate the stealing of government funds by public officials tagged for creating jobs for Native American Indians in the midst of the other Great Depression; and Governor Benson clearly stated what he found in this racist community of Bemidji in no uncertain terms, "Every time we uncover corruption here in Bemidji we find racism; every time we find racism we find corruption." 

Years later, after being driven from his position as governor by the mining, forestry, banking and power generating industries and the huge agricultural cartels in what was dubiously the most racist, anti-worker election in U.S. history; Elmer Benson was to say, "If we could end corruption and racism this entire goddamn rotten capitalist system would collapse overnight."        
As retired labor leader Carl Finamore wrote just a few days ago... we need to put Marxism where it belongs... in the center of the struggles of working people fighting for justice... I agree.

I think it was Bertolt Brecht the great playwright and Marxist who said something like: 

"The rich create the poor but then can't stand to look at them."


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




SC politician's welfare comments called `immoral'

At a town hall meeting Thursday, Bauer, who is running for governor in his own right now that Sanford is term-limited, said: "My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed! You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that."

FILE - In a Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009 file photo, S.C. Lt. Gov.Andre Bauer AP – FILE - In a Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009 file photo, S.C. Lt. Gov.Andre Bauer gestures as he speaks before …
COLUMBIA, S.C. – When things looked their darkest for Gov. Mark Sanford — when he was in danger of being impeached for running off to Argentina to see his mistress — his best insurance policy may well have been South Carolina's lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer.

Lawmakers knew if they removed Sanford, they would end up with Bauer, a fiercely ambitious Republican with a reputation for reckless and immature behavior.

Now Bauer has folks shaking their heads again, after he likened government assistance to the poor to feeding stray animals.

At a town hall meeting Thursday, Bauer, who is running for governor in his own right now that Sanford is term-limited, said: "My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed! You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that."

Democrats and others railed at him.

"I am disgusted by these comments. They show an unbelievable lack of compassion toward the unemployed workers in our state who are hurting during these hard times," said state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, a Democrat who is also running for governor. "His comments were immoral and out of line."

South Carolina schools Superintendent Jim Rex, another Democratic candidate for governor, called Bauer's comments "reprehensible" and said he should apologize.

Bauer said Monday that he regrets his choice of words but that government should expect welfare recipients to try to better themselves. He wants to require them to take drug tests and attend parent-teacher conferences if they have children in school.

A child of divorce who benefited from free lunches himself, Bauer insisted he wasn't bad-mouthing people laid off from work in the recession or advocating taking food from children, but rather emphasizing the need to break the cycle of dependency.

"Do I wish I'd used a different metaphor? Of course I do," the 40-year-old said. "I didn't intend to offend anyone."

Bauer has long been a love-him-or-hate-him figure in South Carolina politics. A nonstop campaigner and self-described workaholic, he was the youngest elected lieutenant governor in the country when he first won the No. 2 spot in 2002 at age 33.

Before his 2006 re-election, he shattered his heel when the single-engine plane he was piloting ran into power lines, crashed and caught fire. Bauer's office said the maintenance company that overhauled the engine botched the job. Court records show that a federal administrative law judge in June fined the company for returning the plane with incorrect bolts.

During the campaign, it was also disclosed that Bauer had been stopped for speeding twice, but not ticketed, even though in one instance he was going 101 mph in a 70 mph zone. He said he didn't realize how fast he was going and never asked for preferential treatment.

Bauer twice ran on a separate ticket from Sanford and the two have never been chums. In 2006, Sanford's now-estranged wife, Jenny, supported Bauer's primary opponent.

Bauer almost ascended to the top office last summer, after Sanford disappeared from the state for five days to be with his mistress. But the Legislature stopped short of impeachment.

Politicians who had gubernatorial ambitions of their own, or were backing other candidates, knew that replacing Sanford with Bauer would have given the lieutenant governor a year-and-a-half tryout for the job and the benefit of running as an incumbent.

At least three other Republicans and five Democrats have said they are running for governor.

Neal Thigpen, a political scientist at Francis Marion University, said Bauer tends to speak so fast and enthusiastically ("It's almost like a Gatling gun") that he sometimes "gets his mouth in place quicker than his head." Thigpen said the lieutenant governor's latest remarks could hurt him in the general election in the fall by allowing Democrats to portray him as "insensitive and downright cruel."

But as for the June Republican primary, "don't count him out. The kid's got a fanatical following," Thigpen said. "They're going to forgive him almost anything and stick to him like glue."

Similarly, Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon said Bauer's words "came out as condescending and insulting," but his overall message about government dependency and personal responsibility will appeal to his evangelical Republican base.

State GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd, who is not taking sides in the race for the nomination, said the flap should be a lesson to everyone to "choose our words more carefully."