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, May 31, 2011

Repeal the "Affordable Care Act"

There is nothing "affordable" with Obama's "Affordable Care Act" which in reality should have been named the "Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical Industry Bailout And Profit Maximization Act of 2010." What we need is a working class based peoples' party to enact a National Public Health Care System--- everyone in/nobody out financed by a peace dividend, taxing the rich and a payroll tax.

Thursday, May 26, 2011



Governor Dayton,

First of all I want to say that I agree with the above comment about saving the wild rice because by saving the wild rice from destruction we are protecting human health and saving ourselves, too. Plus, you and the DFL talk a lot about "jobs, jobs, jobs" and "business, business, business;" yet, in the wild rice there are many jobs being created through environmentally friendly real "green" businesses. I think it is deplorable you have not publicly scolded DFL State Senator Tom Bakk for tacking on this racist, anti-jobs, anti-small business environmentally irresponsible rider to this legislation that is part and parcel of a long-standing campaign of genocide against First Nations Peoples. You call yourself a liberal, Governor Dayton. Do what a good liberal would do and show some leadership in standing up to racism, for jobs and for a "green" economy. 


Run this by the tax-cutting, anti-tax, "fiscally responsible" Republicans, the DFL business caucus and the DFL Summit Hill Club:

When people are unemployed they shouldn't have to pay any taxes--- income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes. A government that can't organize a full-employment economy while there is so much needed to be done doesn't deserve the support of unemployed workers.

Tell the Republicans to forgo their legislative salaries and become "volunteers."

Get on the phone to Obama and tell him to end these dirty wars and send the money to Minnesota.

Tax the casinos to resolve the state's debt.

Come on, man, stand up for your liberal ideals. Get a back-bone.

These budget battles are a reflection of our true priorities.

End the wars; don't just tax-the-rich--- tax-the-hell out of the rich.

Stop playing games with these Republicans and business Democrats from the DFL Business Caucus and the Summit Hill Club.

Gather together a "People's Lobby" in support of a "People's Budget."

Get the Minnesota AFL-CIO to get people on buses from every county... bring in liberal, progressive and left-minded Minnesotans to deck these Republicans and the wealthy elite of the Democratic Party.

Stand up and fight for your liberal beliefs; no compromises with these greedy pigs who want to feed at the public trough and then cry about "fiscal responsibility."

There is only one way Minnesotans are going to get jobs and that is when you turn the State of Minnesota into the employer of first choice putting the unemployed to work solving the pressing problems of the people.

You also might consider joining with those of us looking for a working class based peoples party as an alternative to the thoroughly rotten and corrupt Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party.

By the way; why was Ken Martin, the head of the Minnesota DFL, in Iowa campaigning against Tim Pawlenty when he should have been right here in Minnesota standing at your side mobilizing to defeat the filthy rich?

You are now traveling across Minnesota talking with Minnesotans. Great! This is what Jeffersonian democracy is supposed to be all about. 

Let me suggest that you ask each and every Minnesotan a very basic and fundamental question which you can convey their answers to your buddy, Barack Obama:

How is Barack Obama's Wall Street war economy working for you?

If you get as far north as Warroad, stop on in; the coffee is always on and there are some chocolate chip cookies my grand-kids made to munch on.

Maybe over coffee and cookies we can discuss why you have reneged on our agreement; we supported you, and you haven't fulfilled your end of the deal--- we need to know why; it's all about accountability. Between a "red" Finn and a good liberal I'm sure you understand what I am getting at.

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

Friday, May 20, 2011

Richard Trumka sure opened the door for one hell of a discussion... we should all engage

Some thoughts on Richard Trumka's heavily publicized speech to the National Press Club

by Alan L. Maki on Friday, May 20, 2011
A lot of people are ecstatic over Richard Trumka's speech to the National Press Club today. I have been following Trumka's speech, and his comments afterwards, very closely.

Some thoughts...

I would note something Trumka stated later, after his presentation, which I think needs to be stressed because it demonstrates just how two-faced and hypocritical he is. He has only repackaged and re-worded the longstanding positions of the AFL-CIO going back many decades to its conception and further back to when it was the AFL--- for about a decade or so the CIO had a real pro-worker stance on elections, supporting candidates and voting, and even running worker candidates.

But here is the most important point Trumka made TODAY which was not included in his remarks--- he had to be pressed knowing this was not going to be popular among working people after delivering a militant sounding speech:

"Later, Trumka said that President Obama was working for workers and that the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor group, would continue to support the president."
Link to statement- http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/20/news/economy/afl_cio_washington/?section=money_latest

Here are some other links to the National Press Club Luncheon:




Here is a link to the official AFL-CIO website:


I would note that Richard Trumka does understand what working people want: political independence. But, when pressed as to whom the AFL-CIO will endorse for president Trumka says: Barack Obama--- this is not political independence from Wall Street in any way, shape or form. Nor has Barack Obama done a damn thing for working people justifying this endorsement; quite to the contrary, Obama has hurt working people and his wars are making us all poor.

Trumka has failed to grasp the very simple and basic understanding of these budget battles as articulated by my friend, Virg Bernero in Michigan: "Budgets are a reflection of our true priorities."

Trumka, at this late date, refuses to recognize what both liberal Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has articulated along with Virg Bernero: We can't continue to squander our Nation's resources on wars and expect to have the resources to take care of the needs of the people. Again, a recognition of this Wall Street government's priorities when it comes to these budget battles. Why does Trumka refuse to ask the all important question of the working women and men whose dues pay has big, fat salary: How is Obama's Wall Street war economy working for you?

Check out Richard Trumka's complete speech. We need to ask: How is it that Trumka can make a speech like this and not one single mention of these dirty imperialist wars killing working people abroad and our own youth while working people and being forced into funding these wars abroad through austerity measures here at home as Wall Street coupon clippers fatten their bank accounts from profits derived from these wars as well as profiting directly from the austerity measures being imposed creating so much poverty resulting in untold misery; we need answers from Trumka as to why he is not properly formulating a response and call to action.

Also, I am sharing with all of you a website for what might be the beginnings of a national movement for a progressive political movement that has the potential to help us free ourselves from the two-party trap set for us by our Wall Street enemies.

I would encourage all of you to consider getting involved in any way you can. Please feel free to contact Anthony Noel--- his email is next to Mike's in the "To" line. Here is the link to the website: http://newprogs.org/

Also, I would like to make you aware of what is the most important book on progressive politics that you could possibly read--- bar none. The book is, "Keep True, a life in politics" by Howard Pawley who was elected and re-elected for almost twenty years to the Manitoba Provincial Legislature, having served about ten of those years as Manitoba's Premier (kind of like a state governor). The New Democratic Party government of Howard Pawley (during the 1980's) remains an example of the most progressive government in North America--- of course, with the exception of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party socialist governments of governors Floyd Olson and Elmer Benson. All joking aside, Pawley's government was a majority government a distinction the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party governments never quite achieved since capturing majority control of the Senate was never achieved.

Here is a link to ordering Pawley's book: http://msupress.msu.edu/bookTemplate.php?bookID=4250

All too often U.S. progressives think there is nothing to learn from our northern neighbors. I can assure you we have much to learn from our northern neighbors when it comes to politics and if you read this book by Howard Pawley you will quickly find out a lot of what we have missed. Personally, I lived in Manitoba as the Pawley government fell because of a traitor inside of the NDP and I saw and experienced the sharp contrast in quality of life going from the most progressive government in North America to what was most definitely one of the most reactionary governments in North America. What we do in politics most definitely determines the quality of life working people have. Please, do yourself a favor and those you are politically engaged with a favor, by reading this most important book, "Keep True." For any political activist the purchase of this book will be the best money you have ever spent.

I also want to share with you an alternative to Obama's Wall Street agenda. This comes from my meetings and conversations with working people across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan--- dozens of discussions in union halls, hundreds of meeting around kitchen tables and in living rooms and from conversations I have had with people after speaking at demonstrations, vigils and on picket-lines and at various protests...

The most important question, in my opinion, that we need to be asking people is:

"How is Barack Obama's Wall Street war economy working for you?"

After asking this question, we need to offer up some real alternatives like this:

A program for real change...

* Peace--- end the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and shutdown the 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil.

* A National Public Health Care System - ten million new jobs.

* A National Public Child Care System - three to five million new jobs.

* WPA - three million new jobs.

* CCC - two million new jobs.

* Tax the hell out of the rich and cut the military budget by ending the wars to pay for it all which will create full employment.

* Enforce Affirmative Action; end discrimination.

* Raise the minimum wage to a real living wage

* What tax-payers subsidize in the way of businesses, tax-payers should own and reap the profits from.

* Moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions.

* Defend democracy by defending workers' rights including the right to collective bargaining for improving the lives and livelihoods of working people.

* Roll-back and freeze the price of food, electricity, gas and heating fuels; not wages, benefits or pensions.

* Wall Street is our enemy.

Let's talk about the politics and economics of livelihood for a real change.

Don't forget, Cindy Sheehan talks in the Twin Cities this weekend (tomorrow) and there is a Fighting Bob festival in Wisconsin.

Yours in solidarity and struggle,

Alan L. Maki
(contact info at very bottom)

On Fri, May 20, 2011 at 6:45 PM, greenpartymike wrote:
President of the AFL-CIO warns Democrats, says workers want a more ‘independent’ labor movement
May 20th, 2011 · No Comments
From the Hill (H/T to Third Party and Independent Daily):
   AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Friday that workers want an “independent” labor movement designed to help the working class, not a specific party or candidate…
   “Our role is not to build the power of a political party or a candidate. It’s to improve the lives of working families and strengthen our economy, our country…”
   In a question-and-answer session after his speech, the labor leader elaborated on how unions plan to change their political operations for the 2012 election cycle.
   “We are actually redoing our entire political program and the way we do things,” Trumka said. “We will change the way we spend … the way we function in a way that creates power for workers.”
   The AFL-CIO, which spends most of its funds on member education and get-out-the-vote efforts, wants to better coordinate with their affiliated unions that tend to make direct campaign contributions to candidates. In addition, the labor federation wants to mobilize its members year-round to campaign on issues dear to labor, instead of dismantling its political program after every election, which makes it harder to motivate workers when the next election comes around in two years, Trumka said.
   Asked if labor will campaign against Democrats, Trumka responded, “Ask Blanche Lincoln.”

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Minnesota Democrats and Republicans working together to kill people and wild rice

by Alan L. Maki on Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Minnesota Democrats are working with Republicans to push legislation resulting in more pollution from sulfide mining. Everything that hurts or harms people and the environment is hidden behind "jobs, jobs, jobs."

With all the talk by politicians about about how everything they do is about creating jobs, I wonder why there is so much unemployment and poverty in Minnesota?

And with the few jobs that are actually created, Affirmative Action isn't even enforced.

Over one-hundred years of mining has left us with poverty, pits and pollution... the wealth leaves with the outside owners of the mining operations who stuff their pockets and couldn't care less what kind of environmental, health, social and economic mess they leave behind. Once again, a few profit and everyone else suffers.

Racist Democratic Minnesota State Senator Tom Bakk whose campaigns are bankrolled by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association and the mining companies is the ring-leader of this push to introduce destructive sulfide mining in Minnesota. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Physician Panel Prescribes the Fees Paid by Medicare


October 26, 2010
Secrets of the System

Physician Panel Prescribes the Fees Paid by Medicare

Three times a year, 29 doctors gather around a table in a hotel meeting room. Their job is an unusual one: divvying up billions of Medicare dollars.

The group, convened by the American Medical Association, has no official government standing. Members are mostly selected by medical-specialty trade groups. Anyone who attends its meetings must sign a confidentiality agreement.
Yet the influence of the secretive panel, known as the Relative Value Scale Update Committee, is enormous. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversee Medicare, typically follow at least 90% of its recommendations in figuring out how much to pay doctors for their work. Medicare spends over $60 billion a year on doctors and other practitioners. Many private insurers and Medicaid programs also use the federal system in creating their own fee schedules.

The RUC, as it is known, has stoked a debate over whether doctors have too much control over the flow of taxpayer dollars in the $500 billion Medicare program. Its critics fault the committee for contributing to a system that spends too much money on sophisticated procedures, while shorting the type of nuts-and-bolts primary care that could keep patients healthier from the start—and save money.
"It's indefensible," says Tom Scully, a former administrator of the Medicare and Medicaid agency who is now a lawyer in private practice. "It's not healthy to have the interested party essentially driving the decision-making process."

Plenty of factors contribute to the spiraling costs of Medicare, which rose nearly 9% in 2009. Sheer demographics will add millions of new beneficiaries each year as the baby boomers begin turning 65. Other areas of Medicare—including the prescription-drug benefit and nursing-home expenses—are growing faster than payments to doctors.
Moreover, the RUC's recommendations in theory affect only how doctors' piece of the Medicare pie is divided, not how big it is. RUC chairwoman Barbara Levy says the panel is moving aggressively to correct evaluations that lead to higher-than-appropriate payments for some services. By the start of November, the Medicare agency is due to come out with its doctor fees for next year, likely incorporating the RUC's most recent recommendations.

"We've made tremendous change in the last few years," says Dr. Levy, a Seattle-area gynecologist. "The RUC is not a perfect process, it's just the best that's out there."

Still, the impact of the decisions made by the doctors on the RUC goes well beyond physician fees for cardiac surgery or back procedures. When Medicare pays more for something, doctors have an incentive to do more of that something—with all the associated costs for hospitals, lab tests and drugs.
"Overvalued codes can lead to spending growth," says Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

A Wall Street Journal analysis of Medicare and RUC data suggests that services were paid too generously in some cases because the fees were based on out-of-date assumptions about how the work is done. The analysis found more than 550 doctor services that, despite being mostly performed outpatient or in doctors' offices in 2008, still automatically include significant payments for hospital visits after the day of the procedure, which would typically be part of an inpatient stay.

For instance, one operation to treat male urinary incontinence wraps in payment for 118 minutes of hospital visit time after the day of surgery, though 2008 Medicare data show it is done around 80% of the time outpatient or in a doctor's office. Stephanie Stinchcomb, manager of reimbursement for the American Urological Association, says the surgery used to be largely inpatient; its payment was last updated based on a RUC evaluation in 2003. It's not clear if a new analysis will find doctors should now be paid less for it, she says.

The RUC's Dr. Levy says the committee is already recommending changes for services that have moved to an outpatient setting.

The AMA, along with groups representing doctor specialties, formed the RUC in 1991. That's when Medicare was moving to its current system of setting doctor fees, which bases estimates of the cost of a service on the physician work and related expenses involved, as well as a small amount for liability. The panel's main focus is to estimate how much work it takes a physician to perform a given task.
In sessions that can stretch 12 hours or longer each day, the committee walks through dozens of services. The discussions can be mind-numbing—a subcommittee once debated whether to factor tissues into the payment for a psychoanalysis session.

Committee leaders like Dr. Levy have long emphasized that members need to look beyond the interests of their specialties, and she distributed red baseball caps with "RUC" printed on them at the beginning of her term last year. Past efforts at bonding activities include a bowling night where the physicians were randomly assigned to teams. The breakdown of votes is kept secret, and it takes two-thirds of the 26 voting panelists to endorse a value for a service.

The stakes are heightened by Medicare law that says if services get a boost in their values, the money is supposed to come out of existing services' reimbursement. The Medicare agency makes such tweaks to attain so-called "budget neutrality" and also aims to hit overall spending goals set by law. However, its projections are often exceeded due largely to increases in the number of services performed. Congress has stepped in to authorize higher-than-targeted spending.
Matt Lutton for The Wall Street Journal
Dr. Barbara Levy, a Seattle-area gynecologist who heads the RUC.
"This system pitted specialty against specialty, surgeons against primary care," says Frank Opelka, a surgeon and former RUC alternate member who is vice chancellor at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

Primary-care groups have pushed for more representation on the committee, and their leaders have argued its results are weighted against their interests. (Please see accompanying article on WSJ.com/US.)

Dr. Levy says the committee is an expert panel, not meant to be representative, adding: "The outcomes are independent of who's sitting at the table from one specialty or another."

A recent analysis for the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, or MedPAC, a Congressional watchdog, calculated how much American doctors would make if all their work was paid at Medicare rates. It found that the primary-care category did the worst, at around $101 an hour. Surgeons did better, at $161. Specialists who did nonsurgical procedures, such as dermatologists, did the best, averaging $214, and $193 for radiologists.

The imbalance has stoked fears of a shortage of primary-care doctors, as well as a relative shortfall in the amount of primary-care services patients receive, compared to specialist procedures. "The fee schedule we use to pay physicians in Medicare leads to the wrong mix of services and the wrong mix of doctors," says Robert Berenson, vice chair of MedPAC and a researcher at the Urban Institute. "It produces increased spending for Medicare and for the rest of the system."

Out-of-whack Medicare doctor payments are supposed to be corrected in a required review every five years. MedPAC says in the three previous reviews, the RUC endorsed boosts for 1,050 services, and decreases for just 167. Many recommendations on which services to examine came from doctor societies. The upshot may be that payments don't keep up with medical realities when procedures become easier or faster, MedPAC said.

The Medicare payment for placing cardiac stents in a single blood vessel stems from a 1994 RUC analysis. Medicare paid doctors for 326,000 of those procedures in 2008, at a cost of around $205 million. Compared to the mid-1990s, cardiologists say, stenting today is more routine and may often be less stressful.

The example used to set the code's value is "way out of date," says David L. Brown, a cardiologist at SUNY-Stony Brook School of Medicine. "In those days, stents were used when you were having a catastrophic event or thought you might have a catastrophic event." Stents and the catheters used to thread them into arteries are now smaller and easier to use, he says. The time varies by patient, but Dr. Brown says he required around 45 minutes on average to perform a single-vessel stenting. The RUC's valuation suggests a two-hour procedure.

The American College of Cardiology feels the service is "fairly valued," says James Blankenship, who represents the society on the RUC and is director of cardiology at Geisinger Medical Center. He concedes that two hours is "probably a little bit too long," but argues that the procedure may be harder because cardiologists now take on challenging patients who might once have gotten bypass surgeries.
The RUC's Dr. Levy says that the RUC has reduced values for nearly 400 services in the past and it is now reviewing hundreds more.

Where the Money Goes

Medicare Spending, in billions 2009
In 2006, Medicare phased in a payment for applying a skin substitute that used a new RUC evaluation. The estimate of doctor work was built around an example of treating a teenager with an extensive burn, who's seen in an operating room. The procedure was estimated to take 25 minutes, and payment wrapped in the cost of four doctor visits, including one for hospital discharge.

By 2008, according to Medicare data, the code was being billed by podiatrists 74% of the time, and they were applying the skin substitute to ulcers, not burns. Moreover, 53% of the procedures were outpatient and 44% done in doctors' offices. Some podiatrists suggest 25 minutes is longer than the procedure typically takes, though this can vary. Lee Rogers, associate medical director of the amputation-prevention center at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles, says he requires seven minutes on average.

"I can't believe that's the vignette they based this code off of," he says.

At a national podiatric meeting in July, podiatrist James Stavosky showed slides highlighting that doctors who treated a stubborn foot ulcer with Dermagraft, a skin substitute used when billing that code, could make $3,137.54—substantially more than with rival products paid for under different codes. Dr. Stavosky says the slides were his idea and he wasn't paid for the talk by Advanced BioHealing Inc., the maker of Dermagraft. The company confirms that.

The Medicare agency has proposed lopping its reimbursement for the Dermagraft procedure, and the RUC has suggested that the AMA committee that creates billing codes review the matter. Medicare's Mr. Blum says the agency is becoming "much more prescriptive" in working with the committee, prodding the panel to detect, and suggest fixes for, payments based on out-of-date assumptions. He adds that the agency has already made payment changes to "correct historical biases against primary-care professionals" and plans more such moves.

The RUC relies heavily on surveys performed by doctor specialty groups, requiring as few as 30 responses. The surveyed doctors estimate the time, stress, skill and other factors based on a hypothetical case that's supposed to represent a typical patient. They compare services to other, similar ones to help figure out relative difficulty. A blank example provided to The Wall Street Journal noted that the survey "is important to you and other physicians because these values determine the rate at which Medicare and other payers reimburse for procedures."

William Hsiao, the Harvard professor who led the original physician-work research used to set Medicare fees, argues the approach is almost guaranteed to inflate the values used to calculate fees.
"You do not turn this over to the people who have a strong interest in the outcome," he says. "Every society only wants its specialty's value to go up…. You cannot avoid the potential conflict."

A study published this June in the journal Medical Care Research and Review found the procedure times used by the RUC to calculate values may sometimes be exaggerated. The mean times for several types of surgeries were substantially shorter in a database drawn from hospital surgical records.
For instance, the time used by the RUC for carpal tunnel surgery—which was performed 106,000 times on Medicare patients in 2008, at a cost of around $44 million in doctor fees—is 25 minutes. According to Sullivan Healthcare Consulting Inc., which maintains the hospital database, the median time among teaching hospitals in recent years, based on 2,602 cases, was about one-third shorter, at 17 minutes. The figure for community hospitals, with 4,093 cases, was 18 minutes.

According to documents provided by the RUC, the 25-minute figure is based on 39 surveys of surgeons, out of 150 sent out by groups representing hand surgeons, orthopedic surgeons and plastic surgeons.

Robert H. Haralson III, former medical director for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, says Medicare's payment isn't too high, because the surgery is a more intense procedure than the current value implies.

In a letter to the medical journal, RUC leaders said the article was "outdated" and questioned use of the surgical database, which classifies procedures in a different way than the RUC. Dr. Levy says the doctor surveys serve as "a beginning point" for the committee's experts.

Mr. Blum of the Medicare agency says that for now, "we are comfortable" with the RUC process. The federal health-care overhaul requires the government to insure that the doctor-fee values adopted by Medicare are accurate. "We're not going to rubber-stamp recommendations," he says.

Write to Anna Wilde Mathews at anna.mathews@wsj.com and Tom McGinty at tom.mcginty@wsj.com

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The lies surrounding casino gaming--- a rant with a slant

When Mark Dayton was campaigning for Governor he came to me begging for his support. I refused to support or endorse him. He stamped away like a small child throwing a tantrum after mother refused to buy a candy bar.

Dayton then returned and said, "Alan, what do I have to do to get your support and endorsement?"

All of this took place at the Native American Center at Bemidji State University in front of newspaper, radio and television reporters and in front of two-hundred people.

I told Mark Dayton what it would take to get my support:

1. His support for a state owned and state managed casino that would be smoke-free with casino workers employed under union contract;

2. His support to force existing casinos to go smoke-free and live up to all laws protecting all other workers in Minnesota;

3. His enforcement of Affirmative Action.

Mark Dayton, in front of everyone said, "Its a deal. You got it." To which I agreed that we would support him. And we did. Putting up hundreds of yard signs supporting him; many which we made. We distributed tens of thousands of leaflets supporting him from our special perspective.

Mark Dayton could not have won the Primary Election without our support. Anyone can check the numbers. We campaigned against Margaret Anderson-Kelliher and for Mark Dayton.

Dayton won a very close General Election because of the support he received from our Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council.

Now, with this scheme, Mark Dayton wants to place Minnesotans in the hands of the exact same corrupt casino management firms ripping off the Indian Nations with the exact same owners of the slot machines who will rob us all the same way they have been ripping off the Indian Nations.

Instead of enforcing Affirmative Action, Governor Mark Dayton appointed an opponent of Affirmative Action to head up DEED. Affirmative Action is going without being enforced in Minnesota because DEED and other state departments and agencies have created a scheme to evade Affirmative Action turns state funds over to cities, counties and school boards which aren't required by law to develop and enforce Affirmative Action. 

Without Affirmative Action being enforced, Native American Indians will not be able to get jobs outside of the Indian Gaming Industry.

One need only look at the employment records of the cities like Bemidji and the surrounding counties to see that these public bodies are engaged in carrying out racist hiring policies in an area with three large Indian Reservations where unemployment ranges from an official low of 65% to a high of 85%.

John McCarthy, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, claims he and MIGA are concerned about "jobs." What is meant is they want no competition that would force wages up and improved and healthier working conditions in the Indian casinos.

There is a lot not being discussed. But, keeping the facts from people is always a good way for politicians representing their unseen and unknown backers to gain support.

I invite Governor Dayton and John McCarthy to respond.

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

A response to John McCarthy, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA)

John McCarthy is a racist. John McCarthy is a rich white man whose wealth is derived directly from pushing Indian people into greater poverty in order to create a pool of cheap labor for an Industry that is misnamed: the Indian Gaming Industry.

With few exceptions, everyone EXCEPT Indians benefits from the Indian Gaming Industry.

McCarthy makes the absurd claim which he knows is an outright lie:

"It is simply wrong to claim that tribal casinos are untaxed. In fact, they are taxed at a rate of 100 percent.

That means that all of the proceeds from tribal casinos go directly to the tribal governments that operate them. In this they are like the Minnesota Lottery, which is operated by the state, with all proceeds after prizes going to the state.

In both cases, government gaming proceeds are used to provide for the needs of citizens in areas like health care, education, economic development, housing, elder services, law enforcement, emergency services and infrastructure maintenance."

In fact, with over 350 casinos across the country (18 here in Minnesota) employing some two-million workers, not one single Indian nor any tribal gaming enterprise owns one single slot machine.

The owners of these slot machines, every single one of them, are ALL white.

The owners of these slot machines take anywhere from 35% to 70% right off the top of every single penny collected by these "one-armed-bandits." 

Anyone who doesn't believe who owns these slot machines can just make a trip to the office of Minnesota's Commissioner of Public Safety who is required to keep records of who owns each slot machine and where they are placed. Each and every slot machine is registered by serial number just like an automobile.

John McCarthy is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association which doles out tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions to politicians who refuse to lift a finger to enforce Affirmative Action or focus on ending racist poverty created by racist unemployment.

Not one single Native American Indian sits among Minnesota's more than two-hundred legislators. Why aren't these campaign funds derived from the INDIAN Gaming Industry used to elect Native American Indians to public office?

41,000 casino workers, about 20% Native Americans, are employed in these loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state, federal or international labor laws and in complete violation of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights where workers are routinely fired for blogging about their problems in the workplace and discussing their problems on social networking site like here on FaceBook. Anyone can look at the records from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Department's Unemployment Division and find that over four-hundred casino workers in Minnesota have been fired followed with an attempt to deny these workers unemployment benefits as one more measure to punish them for exercising their basic human rights.

Now, John McCarthy brings up the brutal and savage hanging of the 38 Dakotas hung in a mass hanging for the "crime" of defending their families, their homes and their land. But, why doesn't John McCarthy tell us how many casino workers die and live in lingering pain no longer able to work as a result of being forced to work in smoke-filled casinos who suffer from heart and lung diseases and cancers.

Furthermore, John McCarthy who doles out these millions of dollars in campaign contributions with one hand; then takes these campaign contributions back through the business he owns--- Tony Doom Enterprises--- which profits from producing campaign materials, everything from pencils and pens to yard signs. 

There is a reason so many people call the Indian Gaming Industry a racist racket.

Take a drive out to John McCarthy's home and check out his two-million dollar estate at 8925 Cove Drive N.E. outside of Bemidji, bought and paid for through his own racist activities intended to push Native American Indians further into poverty because he and his chums profit from the human misery they create.

In fact, the Indian Gaming Industry is just one more component of the racist campaign of genocide that has continued without let up for many centuries designed to steal the wealth of the Indian Nations.

As Roger Jourdain, former long-time serving Red Lake Nation Chair, pointed out so often, the only way Indian people will ever benefit from Indian gaming is when two objectives are met:

1. Indians own the slot machines;

2. Casino workers are paid real living wages.

John McCarthy has woven a clever story here; but, like most of the stories associated with the history and plight of Indian people McCarthy uses some grains of truth to concoct one big lie intended to bamboozle and disorient people.

All other places of employment in Minnesota are smoke-free; why did John McCarthy's Minnesota Indian Gaming Association lobby to exempt an industry that employs 41,000 workers from the protection of their health all other workers enjoy if he is so concerned about the well-being of Native Americans. The Indian Health Service, Minnesota Heart and Lung Foundation and the American Cancer Society have all designated employment in these smoke-filled casinos as being the cause of heart and lung disease and cancers.

In fact, the Leech Lake Nation has placed huge billboards on Highways #2 in Cass Lake and #46 in Squaw Lake warning of the serious health hazards and consequences of second-hand smoke. 

John McCarthy and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association is responsible for destroying human health and depriving working people of their human rights to join together in unions to protect their rights.

In fact, millions of dollars from the INDIAN Gaming Industry is being paid out to a union busting outfit, Altegrity/USIS, to prevent casino workers from achieving their human rights.

It is common sense that people who have no rights or voices at work have no rights in the communities where they live.

If the multi-billion dollar Indian Gaming Industry was taxed like all other businesses by the State of Minnesota, the State would have no budget problems. Plus, Native American Indians would derive more of the benefits from an industry that only bears their name while someone else profits

In fact, what is needed are state own and state managed casinos which would provide casino workers a smoke-free working environment like Manitoba's Provincially owned casinos where casino profits really go to health care and public education.

Anyone can figure out that John McCarthy lies when he states profits derived from Indian gaming go to education, healthcare or infra-structure. In fact, the Indian tribes are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy because the Indian Nations are left holding a great big pile of debt incurred in constructing casinos while John McCarthy and his friends "skim the cream" right off the top.

Alan L. Maki 

Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

[Note: While the Minneapolis Star Tribune invited and welcomed other opinions on this Op/Ed piece by John McCarthy, the Executive Director of the Indian Gaming Industry, my opinion was not published. So much for democracy. Of course, the Minneapolis Star Tribune derives millions of dollars in profits from casino advertising.]   

Column put the 'race' in racino proposal

The April 29 commentary by Gary Larson ("Indian gaming lobby and the DFL it props up prefer status quo") is a perfect example. The column is nothing but misinformation and race-baiting.
It is simply wrong to claim that tribal casinos are untaxed. In fact, they are taxed at a rate of 100 percent.
That means that all of the proceeds from tribal casinos go directly to the tribal governments that operate them. In this they are like the Minnesota Lottery, which is operated by the state, with all proceeds after prizes going to the state.
In both cases, government gaming proceeds are used to provide for the needs of citizens in areas like health care, education, economic development, housing, elder services, law enforcement, emergency services and infrastructure maintenance.
Larson conveniently ignores the fact that federal law prohibits states from taxing Indian tribes.
As sovereign governments equal to states under the Constitution, tribes have no legal obligation to pay state taxes. They certainly have no moral obligation either, given the sad history of tribal-state relations in Minnesota.
Non-Indians may forget that this state was the site of the largest mass execution in American history -- the hanging of 38 Sioux warriors at Mankato by order of President Abraham Lincoln.
Some Minnesotans may not even know that it was a Minnesota governor, Alexander Ramsey, who called for the extermination of all Sioux people. He placed bounties on their scalps in an effort to promote an Indian genocide.
Racism against Native Americans is an ugly but indisputable part of the historical record in Minnesota.
And we wonder why Native nations have no interest in bailing out state government?
Larson seems to believe that tribal contributions to Democrats are the main reason why racino bills have failed in the past. He's wrong again.
The truth is that opposition to gambling expansion is strong in both parties.
If Democrats were the only ones who opposed expansion, the racino would be a slam-dunk in this Republican-controlled Legislature -- but it's not. In fact, the state Republican platform includes an anti-expansion provision.
What apparently sticks in Larson's craw the most is that the tribal-state gaming compacts are perpetual. Again, his ignorance is showing.
Compacts are treaties, and yes, they are perpetual. They were not "hatched" by the DFL; in fact, it was Gov. Arne Carlson, a Republican, who signed the blackjack compacts in 1990.
The claim that racinos will create jobs is patently bogus. Racinos atCanterbury Park and Running Aces could mean the loss of as many as 3,000 jobs from Mystic Lake, Treasure Island, and theGrand Casinos at Mille Lacs and Hinckley.
Even more jobs will be lost if a third racino is authorized in Hibbing.
In addition to these lost jobs and the resulting economic harm to the surrounding communities, the loss of tribal revenues will force cutbacks in tribal government services.
For communities just beginning to see daylight after more than a century of darkness, this would be a cruel and inhumane loss of ground.
For people like Gary Larson, it's a win-win when Indians lose. It is sad that some Minnesotans still think like Alexander Ramsey.
John McCarthy is executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Obama and Staff Watched “Operation Geronimo” Live--- the racism of U.S. imperialism; what's in the name of an "operation?"

President Obama and his team, assembled in the Situation Room,  watch live video of the attack on Osama bin Laden, filmed via cameras on the helmets of Navy SEALS involved in the operation.  (Vice-president Joe Biden sits to the left, next to the president. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with hand over her mouth, is seated on the right.)

Something is bothering Hillary Clinton; is this enough violence, bigotry and hate for Hollywood and Madison Avenue; will this video introduce Obama at the Democratic Party National Convention? 

Looking at Hillary I think we know why Obama doesn't want this to be viewed by the public; but, shouldn't the American people have to see what is being done in their name with their money?

Look at these sick bastards enjoying "the show;" the only one in the room with a conscience is Hillary Clinton--- the others are enjoying the mafia-style "hit."

First of all we have no proof it is Osama bin Laden being murdered. 

Second; we now know the person shot was unarmed. 

Third; it is disgusting they would call this "Operation Geronimo." Although, they did hunt him down just like Geronimo was hunted down; but, Geronimo was a heroic warrior fighting to defend his people and his home. 

Naming this "operation" Operation Geronimo is the epitome of racism, bigotry and hate but it shows us how these people think. 

Again we have Barack Obama and his Administration engaged in promoting:

* Ideological racism 
* Systemic racism.
* Institutional racism.
* Structural racism.