Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

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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