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...

Monday, February 28, 2011


Here in Minnesota, redistricting has become a major and important topic of discussion and concern. The Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party held a racist "Summit" for Congressional Districts 6, 7 and 8. The purpose of this "Summit" was to assure that a small group of anti-reform, anti-labor, racist white people maintain control of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party and these Congressional Districts along with the State House and Senate Districts in Congressional Districts 6, 7 and 8.

Previously, in a letter to the Editor of the Bemidji Pioneer Press, I suggested a northern Minnesota congressional district  created in order to provide Native American Indians--- the Ojibwe (Chippewa)--- a more equal opportunity to be elected to Congress and the Minnesota House and Senate Districts.

The Republican Bemidji Pioneer Press which represents the views of some the most powerful big-business interests in the State of Minnesota controlling valuable natural resources from big-agribusiness to forests and a huge freshwater aquifer not to mention mining--- in short, rich natural resources stolen from the Ojibwe (Chippewa) responded without haste to my proposal for ending racist redistricting.

Control and ownership of all this wealth was not really discussed when "Treaties" were "negotiated." Just as participation in state and federal government was not broached.

All working people should have the common sense to understand how these treaties were negotiated given how these same governments negotiate with workers--- the idea of "negotiation" by these governments has been clearly demonstrated by Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker.

I think most people would agree the idea of "negotiation" is more like dictatorially telling people what they will get: shit.  

Well, the United States and Minnesota governments "negotiated" Treaties with Indians in much the same dictatorial manner... of course these "negotiated" Treaties were always in favor of wealthy white people designed to take control everything from water to land and everything on top of, and under, the land's topsoil.

Of course, no one saw fit to negotiate anything related to the air we breathe--- nothing about restricting the movement of dangerous dioxins and mercury.

But, for some reason the more wealthy a few people became off the forests and iron ore, the more poverty stricken Indians became. Surprise, surprise; you don't suppose the Treaties were "negotiated" with this in mind; do you? No; such "honest" and "upright" citizens of the business community would never do something like this (hope everyone understands my sarcasm here although I am sure there will be those who will object and pretend to be offended by my sarcasm).

But, in these Treaties what was never "negotiated" was a voice for Indians in the political process; again, need we wonder why this is?

Why would someone use the process of "negotiating" Treaties---Treaties are not unlike collectively bargained agreements on rights for workers, eh?--- to provide those being stolen from a seat at the decision-making table because the obvious outcome would be the people would then use the political process to gain back what was stolen from them once they figured out they were "negotiated" out of their rights and wealth---natural resources--- and lost complete control over the land, water, air, plants and animals.

These big-business dominated governments fine-tuned and honed their "negotiating skills" on the Indians and today all workers are the victims of this same kind of "negotiating process."

I'm sorry; I have wondered away from the issue of redistricting, haven't I--- or have I?

In fact, the right to FULLY participate in the political process was NEVER negotiated as part of these "Treaties" enabling the stealing of tremendous wealth.

So, I am wondering how it is that the tribal governments have never attempted to reopen these Treaties based upon Indian people being intentionally excluded from a political process that has established tribal government for the sole purpose of controlling Indian people to make sure they stay on the reservations out of sight and out of mind in a way Indian peoples have no control over the poverty imposed through these "negotiated" Treaties? Come on, really; isn't this what we are talking about because if you steal the wealth of a Nation you KNOW you are imposing poverty on these Nations?

Some years later after "negotiating" these "Treaties" designed and intended to steal wealth, along came another form of "negotiations" intended to accomplish further theft from the Indian Nations... this time these white racist government officials were very careful not to say these "negotiated" agreements were called "Treaties" because someone might get the idea that swindled--- not only once--- through "Treaties" it might offer an opportunity to the victims to reopen these Treaties trying to obtain a fairer deal so they decided to call the new "negotiated" deals "Compacts;" call it "Treaty" or "Compact," it's really the same old SWINDLE.

And what a swindle the "Compacts" have provided.

Isn't it nice--- and a little more than coincidental--- that the profits from "Indian" gaming are going to racist white politicians TO THE COMPLETE AND TOTAL EXCLUSION of Native American Indians.


Surprise, surprise--- another "negotiated" agreement designed to make a small group of rich white people even richer while leaving Indians in deeper poverty all the while designed--- just like the previous "Treaties" (SWINDLES)--- to leave Indians without a seat at any of the real decision-making tables.

And here Indian people are languishing in poverty amidst such fantastic wealth with inadequate education, poor housing and children going hungry to inadequate schools and coming home and going to bed hungry as tens of millions of dollars are doled back out to the SWINDLERS in the form of campaign contributions while John McCarthy and his sidekick Stanley Crooks go around handing out philanthropic contributions everywhere while "loaning" the Indian Nations money to build them more casinos.

Anyone can drive out to John McCarthy's house to observe how well this set-up has worked for the SWINDLERS and then take a drive through the Red Lake, Leech Lake, Net Lake or White Earth reservations to see how well these "negotiations" have worked out for Indian people.

Ok, I have wondered off topic again; or have I?

Anyways, back to "redistricting."

Wouldn't it be a novel idea to designate just one Minnesota Congressional District and at least six State House seats and 3 State Senate Districts to the Ojibwe (Chippewa)  Nation as part of the redistricting process?  I wonder if a federal court would agree?

Let's find out what the Republican Bemidji Pioneer Press and all those nice white DFL advocates of  Affirmative Action who snicker and get their noses all bent and twisted out of shape when my name is mentioned, feel about giving the people--- Ojibwe (Chippewa)--- who they have SWINDLED out of everything--- except for a life of poverty--- a full voice in the decision-making process.

Is Jeffersonian democracy something legitimate; or, is it still just as hypocritical as when slaves and women were denied the right to vote? Oh, yes--- Indians were denied the right to vote, too, weren't they?

Let's also hear what the tribal governments owned by John McCarthy and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association have to say about my idea, too.

Gees, John McCarthy and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association own the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, don't they; now, isn't this a strange coincidence?

Maybe, on second thought, Indians already own and control too much and they don't need to have any seats at the decision-making tables in Congress or the State Capitol? After all, isn't this the argument we are going to hear from the racist Republicans like the Carlson's and Lehmann's--- or as MNDFL activist, Mike Simkin, who assures us he isn't a racist bigot even though he doesn't support Affirmative Action in hiring on public works projects as he says he is for Affirmative Action inside the DFL if only some qualified Indians could be found, likes to say: "Let the Indians work and live on their own reservations where they have their own government."

I find it interesting that all the racist bigots from the Blandin Foundation to the Bemidji Pioneer press to the Democrats and Republicans to the crooked and corrupt thieves like Floyd Jourdain to Archie LaRose and Mike Bongo attack me and my ideas when it comes to making sure Native American Indians have seats in places of power where decisions are made have yet to offer any ideas as to how this "Indian problem" is going to be solved---

--- maybe they think poverty will solve the "Indian problem".. after all, this would be a much more "benign" solution than Custer or Hitler had in mind.

Where are the voices for equality and democracy in Minnesota when it comes to redistricting?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I receive a brief, terse e-mail from Eliot Seide, AFSCME's leader or "main man"

I wake up on this cold, blustery, windy, snowy Sunday morning in northern Minnesota. Get dressed. Take my dog Fred for a walk. Come in and put the coffee on and grab a few cookies my grandkids baked for me. Pour a cup of coffee and turn my computer on to see what e-mail has come in.

I have about three hundred e-mails that have come into my box over night, and I look through the list and my eyes focus on an e-mail from Eliot Seide.

Eliot Seide is a very important person--- a V.I.P. if ever there was one.

Eliot describes himself this way on his own website (well, the web site is supposed to belong to the union but everything on it has to be approved by him)---  


Eliot Seide – St. Paul, Minnesota

Executive Director of AFSCME Council 5, which built power for its 43,000 members with the merger of three Minnesota councils. Seide has spent 28 years working for AFSCME members in Minnesota, New York and throughout nation as a Business Agent, Legislative Director and International Area Director. He serves on HealthPartners’ Board of Directors, the Minnesota AFL-CIO Executive Board, and was elected International Vice President in 2006.

It isn't everyday I get an e-mail from such a V.I.P. so I immediately click on his e-mail and open it.

I read the very short, brief, terse note with great disappointment and despair.

The lead voice of labor for trend sending concessions who couches his betrayal of workers to satisfy HealthPartners' (a not-for profit insurance company) profit orgy in militant sounding rhetoric supporting Wisconsin workers doesn't appreciate my views.

Eliot Seide, a most important person who slobbers and grovels before every Democratic politician looking for a handout and votes; who obediently begs for meatless bones from state, county and city governments in exchange for concessions, tells me in his e-mail sent from his most expensive and impressive BlackBerry that is the envy of many CEO's:

Again take me off your list. I am not interested in your opinions. Do it now. Thank you.
Sent using BlackBerry

What has irked Eliot Seide to send me such a short response barking a command to me as if I was a grateful member of his staff?

This note I sent to Minnesota's very liberal Democratic Governor has really ticked Eliot Seide off---

Governor Mark Dayton;

You pledged not to attack public employees. You and I, and I am sure many public employees, must have a sightly different definition from you as to just what the word "attack" means.

You being very wealthy and never having had to rely on a job for survival like most working people have to do in order to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads, the hundreds of working people you intend to lay-off could very well consider this an "attack" on them; don't you think?

You are depriving hundreds of working people of their livelihoods; what greater "attack" on working people could there possibly be than depriving them of their jobs--- their livelihoods?

Next time you are out campaigning I shall have to carry a Webster's Dictionary with me; I'll give you my dictionary--- but I doubt you get my vote.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net
E-mail: alan.maki1951mn@gmail.com

Blog: http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/

Perhaps Eliot Seide is just a bit jealous I insisted on getting something in return for my endorsement and support after Mark Dayton came begging to me; unlike Eliot Seide who got his members hundreds of layoff's after begging on his knees from Mark Dayton for the opportunity to support him.

It would appear that Eliot Seide's anger stems from this e-mail I received yesterday from one of his dues-paying members who sent her brief thoughts to both Eliot and to me:


Shouldn't Alan Maki's name be on your pay-check? 

HealthPartners and the MNDFL should be paying your salary. You work for them not us.


Here is Eliot Seide's e-mail address if you would like to let him know what you think about him agreeing with our liberal Governor Mark Dayton attacking our state's public employees who are our front-line defenders of social programs we fought hard for:

"Eliot Seide" <Eliot.Seide@afscmemn.org

Actually, Eliot Seide's bark at me might better be turned into real growls from highly motivated union members--- all 43,000--- directed at our liberal Democratic Governor, a bunch of thoroughly reactionary Republicans, and a gaggle of "Republican Lite" Democrats whose toothless growls he helped to elect with money from AFSCME members--- the AFSCME's new chant would go like this echoing inside the Minnesota State Capitol building in St. Paul:

"Do it now! What do you want to do? Fight-back! No wage concessions, lay-offs or social program cut-backs! End these dirty wars to pay our wages, save our jobs and fund the social programs we deliver. Tax the Hell out of the rich. The people, united, will never be defeated. Power to the people--- Right On!"


Saturday, February 26, 2011

What about ethics and morality in goverment? This is from a FaceBook posting I made...

What about "ethics and morality" in government? 
Do these concepts mean anything anymore with Wall Street coupon clippers owning the politicians in this country? 
Wisconsin has an interesting state statute directly relating to "ethics" in government---

    • Alan L. Maki ‎"Has Governor Walker violated Wisconsin's strictest-in-the-nation ethics rules, which require elected officials to "maintain the faith and confidence of the people of the state" when it comes to their actions?"

      This question of "ethics" and even "morality" in government, I think, is very important because it goes right to the heart of what "Jeffersonian Democracy" is all about.

      Here we have politicians thwarting what is obviously a position taken by, if not the majority of the people, at least one heck of a good chunk of the population and Governor Walker is acting with the same kind of arrogance we got from Richard Nixon and that dirt-bag Spiro Agnew.

      Walker might just as well stand on the steps of the Wisconsin state Capitol and thumb his nose and give the finger to everyone. 

      We get the same kind of treatment from Barack Obama and the Democrats--- and even many union leaders--- who are opposed to having the funding for these dirty wars and Wall Street's militarism discussed as any part of the discussion of the budget crises facing the states when everyone with an ounce of common sense knows that we are talking about "slicing up the same pie," so-to-speak. If the wars are going to get a big slice of pie it only stands to reason our social programs are going to get smaller pieces of the pie. I could draw a picture but I don't think this is really required. 

      I think people overall have become so accustomed to just thinking that all politicians are a bunch of corrupt creeps bought off by corporate Wall Street interests that concepts of "ethics and morality" in government just don't get talked about anymore and this is a real shame.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Letter to the Editor, Bemidji Pioneer Press

Minnesota is fortunate to have the most liberal governor in the Nation with Mark Dayton who narrowly won election--- no thanks to John McCarthy and his Minnesota Indian Gaming Association; however, Dayton has to contend with Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate because the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party is controlled and manipulated by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association which has caused a complete loss of credibility for the MNDFL with Minnesota voters. Also costing the MNDFL loss of credibility is its continued support for Barack Obama and his wars which are robbing the states of needed revenues.

I found it interesting John McCarthy of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association would extol the virtues of former MNDFL State Senator Mary Olson on the basis of her support for environmental issues, seniors and worker rights when Mary Olson, working in opposition to Minnesota workers worked for Minnesota Indian Gaming Association's position of denying rights extended to all other workers to Minnesota's 41,000 casino workers; "represented" a district with the worst poverty among seniors in the state on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation; refused to oppose peat mining in the Big Bog as well as her support for the environmentally destructive Enbridge Pipeline which most Minnesotans opposed along with her support for health-threatening power lines.

But, in the end it was Mary Olson's refusal to back Affirmative Action regarding the planning, construction and staffing of the Bemidji Regional Event Center that did her in which should be seen as a warning to the MNDFL that anti-labor racism doesn't win elections especially when everyone knows Mary Olson opposed Affirmative Action because she was working for the agenda of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association led by her campaign manager, John McCarthy, who supports a casino industry requiring a huge pool of cheap labor to depress wages.

The Minnesota DFL could quickly regain its credibility and its majorities in the House and Senate by placing toll booths on all roads in and out of the casinos which are getting off tax-free and thereby solving Minnesota's budget woes.

Does the Minnesota DFL want the campaign contributions from the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association or the votes of Minnesotans? The DFL will not get both.

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

Friday, February 18, 2011

Workers' Rights Here and Abroad

This article, Workers' Rights Here and Abroad--- being published all over the place to confuse and intimidate and manipulate and control workers--- clearly articulates the official ideology of the U.S. labor movement throughout its long history except for a period from around 1930 to 1947 when the CIO was a powerful influence led by the "left," most notably the Communist Party USA which weilded substantial influence among working people with rank-and-file activists rising to become important leaders in leading union positions, including, Harry Bridges, Wyndham Mortimer, Phil Raymond and leaders of the CPUSA like William Z. Foster, James W. Ford, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Earl Browder and writers like Frank Marshall Davis... to name just a few. 

Note: This article appeared in newspapers all over the United States; it was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Feb. 17, 2011. http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentary/116361909.html

Also, note: Spending on the wars is never mentioned as a major contributing factor to the budget crisis every state faces or is already experiencing. No mention of money for people; not for war.

Another note: check out the good dose of "red baiting" for extra measure--- "It's a throwback to 19th-century America, when strikes were suppressed by force of arms. Or, come to think of it, to Mubarak's Egypt or communist Poland and East Germany."

A most important note, the real issue to Harold Meyerson:
"Newly elected Republican governors, however, may reach the same conclusion Walker did and use the recession-induced fiscal crisis to achieve a partisan political objective: removing unions, the most potent force in the Democrats' electoral operation, from the landscape. "If we just stop and cure the pension problem, we have not gone far enough," Steve Malanga of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal said at the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend."

The Democratic Party gets its money from Wall Street and its "foot soldiers" and votes from organized labor along with very substantial funding which drains union coffers to assure labor doesn't use its formidable financial resources and organizational strength to start its own political party like organized labor has in Canada with the socialist New Democratic Party.

My comment:

This dangerous ideology of "pragmatism" posing as liberalism inthis artiicle enables Wall Street through the Democratic Party to manipulate and control labor---

What kind of crap is this? The Democrats can cut wages and benefits better than Republicans?

"Democratic governors such as California's Jerry Brown and New York's Andrew Cuomo have proposed scaling back public services, pay, and benefits without going after workers' fundamental rights to bargain. The right to bargain is clearly a separate question."

"Liberalism" and "pragmatism" are not one and the same thing; though they can be, and often are.

It must be noted that Obama and the Democrats have prepared the soil for this attack--- by both Republicans and Democrats--- on the working class, not only in Wisconsin but all across the United States by:

1. Spending on wars instead of human needs and universal social programs.

2. Pushing through the "Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical Industry Bailout and Profit Maximization Act of 2010" instead of single-payer universal health care or the more comprehensive and better alternative a National Public Health Care System leaving health care to remain a "bone of contention" in labor management disputes.

3. By Obama's freezing of federal government employees' wages.

4. By refusing to enact the Employee Free Choice Act which would have given labor the opportunity to push its agenda more agressively from a position of strength. In fact, it was the refusal of Obama and the Democrats to implement--- with acquiescence and passivity and approval in the form of making up excuses for Obama from the AFL-CIO leadership that the defeat of EFCA has led now to labor being vulnerable to these attacks across the country, and let us make no mistake in understanding that if these attacks on teachers and other public sector employees and their unions are a success, all working people will suffer and the attacks on private sector unions will increase to untold proportions--- and the pressure is at a high level as it is right now.

5. Through attacks on Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Not to mention attacks on the anti-poverty programs like the Community Action Programs which are an integral part of what little remains of the "war on poverty."

It is unfortunate the left and progressive movement lacks a real independent publication like the Daily Worker or the National Guardian as we face these difficult dangers and problems ahead; but, since we don't have these kinds of publications it means that each of us has to take the responsibility of thinking these these kinds of things through and sharing our ideas to stimulate the broadest discussions possible in order to counter these most reactionary ideas like in this aricle being pushed in the name of liberalism, progressivism and even leftism.

What is most urgently required is a good strong dose of anti-imperialist education in the working class movement explaining the relationship between wars and the capitalist economic crisis, the crisis of every-day-living working people are now forced to endure in order to try to survive and the austerity measures being forced on us by Wall Street and it various political surrogates from Obama and the Democrats to the Republicans, the Tea Party crowd and the Birchites and their racist, fascist ilk like Ron and Rand Paul who hide behind "libertarianism."

Here is the article meant to poison the minds of working people which requires a swift response from the left (the Communist Party USA is not up to the task, unfortunately; a problem we are trying to correct)---

Workers' Rights Here and Abroad

Workers toppled a dictator in Egypt, but might be silenced in Wisconsin.

Harold Meyerson | February 17, 2011 | web only

Wisconsin teachers protest budget cuts at the state capitol. (Flickr/markonf1re)

In Egypt, workers are having a revolutionary February. In the United States, by contrast, February is shaping up as the cruelest month workers have known in decades.

The coup de grace that toppled Hosni Mubarak came after tens of thousands of Egyptian workers went on strike beginning last Tuesday. By Friday, when Egypt's military leaders apparently decided that unrest had reached the point where Mubarak had to go, the Egyptians who operate the Suez Canal and their fellow workers in steel, textile, and bottling factories; in hospitals, museums and schools; and those who drive buses and trains had left their jobs to protest their conditions of employment and governance. As Jim Hoagland noted in The Washington Post, Egypt was barreling down the path that Poland, East Germany, and the Philippines had taken, the path where workers join student protesters in the streets and jointly sweep away an authoritarian regime.

But even as workers were helping topple the regime in Cairo, one state government in particular was moving to topple workers' organizations here in the United States. Last Friday, Scott Walker, Wisconsin's new Republican governor, proposed taking away most collective bargaining rights of public employees. Under his legislation, which has moved so swiftly through the newly Republican state legislature that it might come to a vote Thursday, the unions representing teachers, sanitation workers, doctors and nurses at public hospitals, and a host of other public employees, would lose the right to bargain over health coverage, pensions, and other benefits. (To make his proposal more politically palatable, the governor exempted from his hit list the unions representing firefighters and police.) The only thing all other public-sector workers could bargain over would be their base wages, and given the fiscal restraints plaguing the states, that's hardly anything to bargain over at all.

You might think that Walker came to this extreme measure after negotiations with public-sector unions had reached an impasse. In fact, he hasn't held such discussions. "I don't have anything to negotiate," Walker told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week. To underscore just how accompli he considered his fait, he vowed to call in the National Guard if protesting workers walked off the job or disrupted state services.

It's a throwback to 19th-century America, when strikes were suppressed by force of arms. Or, come to think of it, to Mubarak's Egypt or communist Poland and East Germany.

Now, it's not as if our states don't have fiscal crises to address, and Walker insists that it's Wisconsin's empty till that has driven him to curtail workers' rights. But there are other options.

Democratic governors such as California's Jerry Brown and New York's Andrew Cuomo have proposed scaling back public services, pay, and benefits without going after workers' fundamental rights to bargain. The right to bargain is clearly a separate question.

Newly elected Republican governors, however, may reach the same conclusion Walker did and use the recession-induced fiscal crisis to achieve a partisan political objective: removing unions, the most potent force in the Democrats' electoral operation, from the landscape. "If we just stop and cure the pension problem, we have not gone far enough," Steve Malanga of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal said at the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend.

The real goal of the American right is to reduce public employee unions to the level of private-sector unions, which now represent fewer than 7 percent of American workers. Walker's proposal not only confines public-sector unions to annual bargaining over wage increases but restricts the increases for state employees to raises in the consumer price index and compels every such union to hold an annual membership vote to determine whether the union can continue to represent workers. It clearly intends to smash these unions altogether.

Which would yield what? Our unions have already been decimated in the private sector; the results are plain. Corporate profits are soaring, while domestic investment, wages, and benefits (particularly at nonunion companies) are flat-lining at best. With nobody to bargain for workers, America increasingly is an economically stagnant, plutocratic utopia. Is everybody happy?

American conservatives often profess admiration for foreign workers' bravery in protesting and undermining authoritarian regimes. Letting workers exercise their rights at home, however, threatens to undermine some of our own regimes (the Republican ones particularly) and shouldn't be permitted. Now that Wisconsin's governor has given the Guard its marching orders, we can discern a new pattern of global repressive solidarity emerging -- from the chastened pharaoh of the Middle East to the cheese-head pharaoh of the Middle West.

Harold Meyerson's Washington Post column runs on Wednesdays. This one originally ran here.

Harold Meyerson is the editor-at-large at The American Prospect and a columnist for The Washington Post. Click here to read more about him.

Comment by Alan Maki:

The labor movement has been "led" by those adhering to the imperialist ideology of "pragmatism" since 1947 making it very easy for employers and the government as well as the Democrats to manipulate and control labor. This particular article is a very dangerous article and needs to be refuted; especially this idea:

"Democratic governors such as California's Jerry Brown and New York's Andrew Cuomo have proposed scaling back public services, pay, and benefits without going after workers' fundamental rights to bargain. The right to bargain is clearly a separate question."

This comes from one of the AFL-CIO's "partners," American Prospect.

Look what they say about themselves in their "mission statement:"


"At the same time, we take seriously our role as a forum for constructive debate and civil argument about ideas across a wide range of the center-left political spectrum. We don't have a party line, because we believe that robust, challenging internal debate, as well as honest and respectful engagement with philosophical conservatism, will strengthen our ideas, resolve weaknesses, and find the basis for compromise that leads to change."

"...honest and respectful engagement with philosophical conservatism, will strengthen our ideas, resolve weaknesses, and find the basis for compromise that leads to change."

From Wikipedia:

The American Prospect is a monthly American political magazine dedicated to liberalism. It bills itself as a journal "of liberal ideas, committed to a just society, an enriched democracy, and effective liberal politics"[1] which focuses on U.S. politics and public policy. Politically, the magazine is in support of modern American liberalism, similar to The New Republic and The Nation, which likewise target an intellectual audience.

The magazine was founded in 1990 by Robert Kuttner, Robert Reich, and Paul Starr as a response to the perceived intellectual ascendancy of conservatism in the 1980s. Originally it published quarterly, then bimonthly. In 2000, thanks to a grant from the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, it became biweekly.[2] Financial and logistical difficulties ensued, and the magazine moved to its present monthly format in spring 2003. Kuttner and Starr share the title of Editor with Mark Schmitt, who is also the magazine's executive editor. The online version of the magazine includes an active blog, as well as blogs by Dean Baker and Adam Serwer.

In 2010, The American Prospect was the recipient of Utne Reader magazine's Utne Independent Press Award for Political Coverage.[3]
The magazine's alumni include Jonathan Chait, Jonathan Cohn, Joshua Green, Joshua Micah Marshall, Jedediah Purdy, Chris Mooney, Matthew Yglesias, Michael Massing, Joe Conason, Michael Tomasky, Ezra Klein, and Scott Stossel.
Recent executive editors have included (from oldest to latest) Michael Tomasky, Harold Meyerson, and Mark Schmitt.
In March 2010, "The American Prospect" entered into a publishing partnership with Demos, a public policy research and advocacy center.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council


Lake-of-the-Woods Communist Club (Minnesota-Manitoba-Ontario)

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:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Letter to the Editor, Madison Times


Letter to the Editor submitted for publication;

We need to be asking why all the states and the federal government are embroiled in all this budget turmoil.

Billions of our tax-dollars are being squandered in two wars while supporting 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil yet politicians act like this is not even connected to these budget problems.

Why doesn't Obama have the courage to ask the American people: How is my war economy working for you?

These wars are making us all poor.

These wars are killing jobs the same way they kill people.

Health care is a major issue in the struggle now underway in Wisconsin.

You mean to tell me the wealthiest country in the world can't provide its people with a National Public Health Care System which would create ten-million new jobs but we have the money to waste on wars?

Obama and the Democrats are just as responsible for this budget mess as are Scott Walker and the Republicans. Obama, like Walker, is nothing but Wall Street's surrogate. Take the profits out of war and we will have peace and money to solve our problems.

Trying to "balance the budget" on the backs of working people trying to make ends meet is just as criminal an endeavor as these wars.

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

Check out my Blog:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ken Martin, the new Chair of the Minnesota DFL is orchestrating a campaign against our organizing efforts...

The leadership of the Minnesota DFL has launched a vicious racist anti-union attack against our casino worker organizing efforts. Every worker in Minnesota should be concerned because every worker has become a target.

This is my response to one of these attacks by DFL'er Dave Butcher whose comments are posted in full at the bottom:

Members of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party have launched into a vicious attack against our casino worker organizing efforts, and me personally, after we asked that this MNDFL conference, Greater MN DFL Summit, hosted by C D 6, 7 & 8, not be held at Northern Lights Casino.

Read on; the attacks take on a very vicious racist and anti-union character---

Two-million workers in the Indian Gaming Industry in the United States--- 41,000 in Minnesota--- are excluded from ALL labor laws. All these casino workers are forced to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws while Democratic Party politicians take in millions of dollars in campaign contributions.

These casino operations include huge hotels/motels, restaurants, theme parks/golf courses.

Most of the casino operations pay no taxes. Minnesota derives NO revenue from these casino operations yet tax-payers subsidize and pay for all infrastructure while corrupt tribal officials have diverted federal and state funds ear-marked for health care and education into building these casinos.

All the slot machines and table games are owned by the Lansky operation with the Kansas City Mob tending the "skimming" operations.

The main lawfirm/lobbyists of choice for the industry is Brownstein/Hyatt/Farber/Schreck.

Barack Obama and almost every single Democratic Party politician gets huge campaign contributions in return for Democrats having created the "Compacts" which brought this industry to life. In Minnesota not one single Native American Indian sits in the state legislature.

The National Indian Gaming Association has hired Altegrity/USIS a union-busting outfit that uses the tactics of the Pinkertons and Knuckles along with inventing many dirty tricks of its own.

Here is a typical Democratic response, posted just today, to our organizing efforts--- the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council--- after I asked the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party to not hold meetings, conferences and conventions in these casino facilities. Here is one of the diatribes against our efforts that concludes with an attack on all unions. Interesting how the attacks are all anonymous with these cowardly liars not daring to attach their names to what they have to say:

Dave Butcher is the person who posted this on FaceBook:

Here are a few of the comments when I broached the issue to others:

"I have a friend who works in one of those establishments and thinks he has the greatest benefits of all. Also, this is a separate country with a separate judicial system different from our own, so there is a judicial remedy that actually works better than ours. Each tribe has a different setup."

"ask him to back up the allegation with specifics. he's wrong"

"I support unions so I like that but I think the approach on attacking the tribes is not going to get the people organized to really form a union - jursidictionally - I am not sure how unions would hold power to do anything on the tribal level. The tribes are another nation within a nation."

"Alan Maki is like the mean dog barking on the block and I have learned to just cross the street and keep on walking to avoid an unnecessary bite."

"Hmm. When I was in the union, i was laid off three times (losing my health insurance each time), had my sick time negotiated away into an annuity that I can't touch for five years (but they can take $100 a year out of for administrative cos...ts), and nearly got thrown out of the apprenticeship program and the union because I missed a class when my daughter was in the ER.

I actually stood up in front of hundreds of union members at a contract meeting and asked our union president and the negotiating committee what benefit being in a union offered me. Not a single one could give me an answer.

So I'm sorry, but until the unions start actually taking care of the workers at the bottom of the pile, I don't really give a damn what they think about where we hold our meetings."

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

Sunday, February 13, 2011

When Democracy Weakens



When Democracy Weakens

As the throngs celebrated in Cairo, I couldn’t help wondering about what is happening to democracy here in the United States. I think it’s on the ropes. We’re in serious danger of becoming a democracy in name only.
Damon Winter/The New York Times
Bob Herbert

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While millions of ordinary Americans are struggling with unemployment and declining standards of living, the levers of real power have been all but completely commandeered by the financial and corporate elite. It doesn’t really matter what ordinary people want. The wealthy call the tune, and the politicians dance.
So what we get in this democracy of ours are astounding and increasingly obscene tax breaks and other windfall benefits for the wealthiest, while the bought-and-paid-for politicians hack away at essential public services and the social safety net, saying we can’t afford them. One state after another is reporting that it cannot pay its bills. Public employees across the country are walking the plank by the tens of thousands. Camden, N.J., a stricken city with a serious crime problem, laid off nearly half of its police force. Medicaid, the program that provides health benefits to the poor, is under savage assault from nearly all quarters.
The poor, who are suffering from an all-out depression, are never heard from. In terms of their clout, they might as well not exist. The Obama forces reportedly want to raise a billion dollars or more for the president’s re-election bid. Politicians in search of that kind of cash won’t be talking much about the wants and needs of the poor. They’ll be genuflecting before the very rich.
In an Op-Ed article in The Times at the end of January, Senator John Kerry said that the Egyptian people “have made clear they will settle for nothing less than greater democracy and more economic opportunities.” Americans are being asked to swallow exactly the opposite. In the mad rush to privatization over the past few decades, democracy itself was put up for sale, and the rich were the only ones who could afford it.
The corporate and financial elites threw astounding sums of money into campaign contributions and high-priced lobbyists and think tanks and media buys and anything else they could think of. They wined and dined powerful leaders of both parties. They flew them on private jets and wooed them with golf outings and lavish vacations and gave them high-paying jobs as lobbyists the moment they left the government. All that money was well spent. The investments paid off big time.
As Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson wrote in their book, “Winner-Take-All Politics”: “Step by step and debate by debate, America’s public officials have rewritten the rules of American politics and the American economy in ways that have benefited the few at the expense of the many.”
As if the corporate stranglehold on American democracy were not tight enough, the Supreme Court strengthened it immeasurably with its Citizens United decision, which greatly enhanced the already overwhelming power of corporate money in politics. Ordinary Americans have no real access to the corridors of power, but you can bet your last Lotto ticket that your elected officials are listening when the corporate money speaks.
When the game is rigged in your favor, you win. So despite the worst economic downturn since the Depression, the big corporations are sitting on mountains of cash, the stock markets are up and all is well among the plutocrats. The endlessly egregious Koch brothers, David and Charles, are worth an estimated $35 billion. Yet they seem to feel as though society has treated them unfairly.
As Jane Mayer pointed out in her celebrated New Yorker article, “The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry — especially environmental regulation.” (A good hard look at their air-pollution record would make you sick.)
It’s a perversion of democracy, indeed, when individuals like the Kochs have so much clout while the many millions of ordinary Americans have so little. What the Kochs want is coming to pass. Extend the tax cuts for the rich? No problem. Cut services to the poor, the sick, the young and the disabled? Check. Can we get you anything else, gentlemen?
The Egyptians want to establish a viable democracy, and that’s a long, hard road. Americans are in the mind-bogglingly self-destructive process of letting a real democracy slip away.
I had lunch with the historian Howard Zinn just a few weeks before he died in January 2010. He was chagrined about the state of affairs in the U.S. but not at all daunted. “If there is going to be change,” he said, “real change, it will have to work its way from the bottom up, from the people themselves.”
I thought of that as I watched the coverage of the ecstatic celebrations in the streets of Cairo.