Please note I have a new phone number...

512-517-2708

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...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


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...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Alan Maki, Warroad, Minn. letters: U.S. needs a Full Employment Act

http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/259722/




Published in the Grand Forks Herald.

Published March 25, 2013, 05:15 AM

Alan Maki, Warroad, Minn. letters: U.S. needs a Full Employment Act

Alan Maki of Warroad Minnesota writes in about employment

WARROAD, Minnesota — If just one job was created every time a politician opened his or her mouth and started talking about “jobs, jobs, jobs,” we wouldn’t have any unemployment and everyone who wanted to work would have a decent, living wage job.


So, what is the main obstacle to full employment? Accountability from the very politicians who mouth the words “jobs, jobs, jobs.”
What we need in this country is a real “Full Employment Act” which mandates — by legislation and law — that the president and the Congress must maintain full employment with jobs at real living wages based on all cost-of-living factors as part of their responsibility to the American people.

A job and a decent standard of living is the most basic and fundamental human right for any worker. Workers without living wage jobs are going to be poor. What good is a government that gets us into war after war but can’t even assure full employment for the very people it taxes to pay for these dirty wars?

Wars cause government debt and deficits; peace and full employment eliminate debts and deficits.

We need the re-establishment of the Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps and Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, not these dirty wars. Re-open under public ownership the thousands of mines, mills and factories abandoned by Wall Street “investors” who sought greater profits in the lower wages found overseas.

Alan Maki

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Marx’s Revenge: How Class Struggle Is Shaping the World


"...With the global economy in a protracted crisis, and workers around the world burdened by joblessness, debt and stagnant incomes, Marx’s biting critique of capitalism — that the system is inherently unjust and self-destructive — cannot be so easily dismissed. Marx theorized that the capitalist system would inevitably impoverish the masses as the world’s wealth became concentrated in the hands of a greedy few, causing economic crises and heightened conflict between the rich and working classes. “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole,” Marx wrote."



Conclusion...


"That leaves open a scary possibility: that Marx not only diagnosed capitalism’s flaws but also the outcome of those flaws. If policymakers don’t discover new methods of ensuring fair economic opportunity, the workers of the world may just unite. Marx may yet have his revenge."






ADAM BERRY / GETTY IMAGES
The grave of German philosopher and economic theorist Karl Marx, remembered as the founder of modern socialism and communism, in Highgate Cemetery in London










http://business.time.com/2013/03/25/marxs-revenge-how-class-struggle-is-shaping-the-world/


Marx’s Revenge: How Class Struggle Is Shaping the World


Karl Marx was supposed to be dead and buried. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and China’s Great Leap Forward into capitalism, communism faded into the quaint backdrop of James Bond movies or the deviant mantra of Kim Jong Un. The class conflict that Marx believed determined the course of history seemed to melt away in a prosperous era of free trade and free enterprise. The far-reaching power of globalization, linking the most remote corners of the planet in lucrative bonds of finance, outsourcing and “borderless” manufacturing, offered everybody from Silicon Valley tech gurus to Chinese farm girls ample opportunities to get rich. Asia in the latter decades of the 20th century witnessed perhaps the most remarkable record of poverty alleviation in human history — all thanks to the very capitalist tools of trade, entrepreneurship and foreign investment. Capitalism appeared to be fulfilling its promise — to uplift everyone to new heights of wealth and welfare.
Or so we thought. With the global economy in a protracted crisis, and workers around the world burdened by joblessness, debt and stagnant incomes, Marx’s biting critique of capitalism — that the system is inherently unjust and self-destructive — cannot be so easily dismissed. Marx theorized that the capitalist system would inevitably impoverish the masses as the world’s wealth became concentrated in the hands of a greedy few, causing economic crises and heightened conflict between the rich and working classes. “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole,” Marx wrote.
A growing dossier of evidence suggests that he may have been right. It is sadly all too easy to find statistics that show the rich are getting richer while the middle class and poor are not. A September study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington noted that the median annual earnings of a full-time, male worker in the U.S. in 2011, at $48,202, were smaller than in 1973. Between 1983 and 2010, 74% of the gains in wealth in the U.S. went to the richest 5%, while the bottom 60% suffered a decline, the EPI calculated. No wonder some have given the 19th century German philosopher a second look. In China, the Marxist country that turned its back on Marx, Yu Rongjun was inspired by world events to pen a musical based on Marx’s classic Das Kapital. “You can find reality matches what is described in the book,” says the playwright.
That’s not to say Marx was entirely correct. His “dictatorship of the proletariat” didn’t quite work out as planned. But the consequence of this widening inequality is just what Marx had predicted: class struggle is back. Workers of the world are growing angrier and demanding their fair share of the global economy. From the floor of the U.S. Congress to the streets of Athens to the assembly lines of southern China, political and economic events are being shaped by escalating tensions between capital and labor to a degree unseen since the communist revolutions of the 20th century. How this struggle plays out will influence the direction of global economic policy, the future of the welfare state, political stability in China, and who governs from Washington to Rome. What would Marx say today? “Some variation of: ‘I told you so,’” says Richard Wolff, a Marxist economist at the New School in New York. “The income gap is producing a level of tension that I have not seen in my lifetime.”
Tensions between economic classes in the U.S. are clearly on the rise. Society has been perceived as split between the “99%” (the regular folk, struggling to get by) and the “1%” (the connected and privileged superrich getting richer every day). In a Pew Research Center poll released last year, two-thirds of the respondents believed the U.S. suffered from “strong” or “very strong” conflict between rich and poor, a significant 19-percentage-point increase from 2009, ranking it as the No. 1 division in society.
The heightened conflict has dominated American politics. The partisan battle over how to fix the nation’s budget deficit has been, to a great degree, a class struggle. Whenever President Barack Obama talks of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans to close the budget gap, conservatives scream he is launching a “class war” against the affluent. Yet the Republicans are engaged in some class struggle of their own. The GOP’s plan for fiscal health effectively hoists the burden of adjustment onto the middle and poorer economic classes through cuts to social services. Obama based a big part of his re-election campaign on characterizing the Republicans as insensitive to the working classes. GOP nominee Mitt Romney, the President charged, had only a “one-point plan” for the U.S. economy — “to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules.”
Amid the rhetoric, though, there are signs that this new American classism has shifted the debate over the nation’s economic policy. Trickle-down economics, which insists that the success of the 1% will benefit the 99%, has come under heavy scrutiny. David Madland, a director at the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think tank, believes that the 2012 presidential campaign has brought about a renewed focus on rebuilding the middle class, and a search for a different economic agenda to achieve that goal. “The whole way of thinking about the economy is being turned on its head,” he says. “I sense a fundamental shift taking place.”
The ferocity of the new class struggle is even more pronounced in France. Last May, as the pain of the financial crisis and budget cuts made the rich-poor divide starker to many ordinary citizens, they voted in the Socialist Party’s François Hollande, who had once proclaimed: “I don’t like the rich.” He has proved true to his word. Key to his victory was a campaign pledge to extract more from the wealthy to maintain France’s welfare state. To avoid the drastic spending cuts other policymakers in Europe have instituted to close yawning budget deficits, Hollande planned to hike the income tax rate to as high as 75%. Though that idea got shot down by the country’s Constitutional Council, Hollande is scheming ways to introduce a similar measure. At the same time, Hollande has tilted government back toward the common man. He reversed an unpopular decision by his predecessor to increase France’s retirement age by lowering it back down to the original 60 for some workers. Many in France want Hollande to go even further. “Hollande’s tax proposal has to be the first step in the government acknowledging capitalism in its current form has become so unfair and dysfunctional it risks imploding without deep reform,” says Charlotte Boulanger, a development official for NGOs.
His tactics, however, are sparking a backlash from the capitalist class. Mao Zedong might have insisted that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun,” but in a world where das kapital is more and more mobile, the weapons of class struggle have changed. Rather than paying out to Hollande, some of France’s wealthy are moving out — taking badly needed jobs and investment with them. Jean-Émile Rosenblum, founder of online retailer Pixmania.com, is setting up both his life and new venture in the U.S., where he feels the climate is far more hospitable for businessmen. “Increased class conflict is a normal consequence of any economic crisis, but the political exploitation of that has been demagogic and discriminatory,” Rosenblum says. “Rather than relying on (entrepreneurs) to create the companies and jobs we need, France is hounding them away.”
The rich-poor divide is perhaps most volatile in China. Ironically, Obama and the newly installed President of Communist China, Xi Jinping, face the same challenge. Intensifying class struggle is not just a phenomenon of the slow-growth, debt-ridden industrialized world. Even in rapidly expanding emerging markets, tension between rich and poor is becoming a primary concern for policymakers. Contrary to what many disgruntled Americans and Europeans believe, China has not been a workers’ paradise. The “iron rice bowl” — the Mao-era practice of guaranteeing workers jobs for life — faded with Maoism, and during the reform era, workers have had few rights. Even though wage income in China’s cities is growing substantially, the rich-poor gap is extremely wide. Another Pew study revealed that nearly half of the Chinese surveyed consider the rich-poor divide a very big problem, while 8 out of 10 agreed with the proposition that the “rich just get richer while the poor get poorer” in China.
Resentment is reaching a boiling point in China’s factory towns. “People from the outside see our lives as very bountiful, but the real life in the factory is very different,” says factory worker Peng Ming in the southern industrial enclave of Shenzhen. Facing long hours, rising costs, indifferent managers and often late pay, workers are beginning to sound like true proletariat. “The way the rich get money is through exploiting the workers,” says Guan Guohau, another Shenzhen factory employee. “Communism is what we are looking forward to.” Unless the government takes greater action to improve their welfare, they say, the laborers will become more and more willing to take action themselves. “Workers will organize more,” Peng predicts. “All the workers should be united.”
That may already be happening. Tracking the level of labor unrest in China is difficult, but experts believe it has been on the rise. A new generation of factory workers — better informed than their parents, thanks to the Internet — has become more outspoken in its demands for better wages and working conditions. So far, the government’s response has been mixed. Policymakers have raised minimum wages to boost incomes, toughened up labor laws to give workers more protection, and in some cases, allowed them to strike. But the government still discourages independent worker activism, often with force. Such tactics have left China’s proletariat distrustful of their proletarian dictatorship. “The government thinks more about the companies than us,” says Guan. If Xi doesn’t reform the economy so the ordinary Chinese benefit more from the nation’s growth, he runs the risk of fueling social unrest.
Marx would have predicted just such an outcome. As the proletariat woke to their common class interests, they’d overthrow the unjust capitalist system and replace it with a new, socialist wonderland. Communists “openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions,” Marx wrote. “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.” There are signs that the world’s laborers are increasingly impatient with their feeble prospects. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets of cities like Madrid and Athens, protesting stratospheric unemployment and the austerity measures that are making matters even worse.
So far, though, Marx’s revolution has yet to materialize. Workers may have common problems, but they aren’t banding together to resolve them. Union membership in the U.S., for example, has continued to decline through the economic crisis, while the Occupy Wall Street movement fizzled. Protesters, says Jacques Rancière, an expert in Marxism at the University of Paris, aren’t aiming to replace capitalism, as Marx had forecast, but merely to reform it. “We’re not seeing protesting classes call for an overthrow or destruction of socioeconomic systems in place,” he explains. “What class conflict is producing today are calls to fix systems so they become more viable and sustainable for the long run by redistributing the wealth created.”
Despite such calls, however, current economic policy continues to fuel class tensions. In China, senior officials have paid lip service to narrowing the income gap but in practice have dodged the reforms (fighting corruption, liberalizing the finance sector) that could make that happen. Debt-burdened governments in Europe have slashed welfare programs even as joblessness has risen and growth sagged. In most cases, the solution chosen to repair capitalism has been more capitalism. Policymakers in Rome, Madrid and Athens are being pressured by bondholders to dismantle protection for workers and further deregulate domestic markets. Owen Jones, the British author of Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class, calls this “a class war from above.”
There are few to stand in the way. The emergence of a global labor market has defanged unions throughout the developed world. The political left, dragged rightward since the free-market onslaught of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, has not devised a credible alternative course. “Virtually all progressive or leftist parties contributed at some point to the rise and reach of financial markets, and rolling back of welfare systems in order to prove they were capable of reform,” Rancière notes. “I’d say the prospects of Labor or Socialists parties or governments anywhere significantly reconfiguring — much less turning over — current economic systems to be pretty faint.”
That leaves open a scary possibility: that Marx not only diagnosed capitalism’s flaws but also the outcome of those flaws. If policymakers don’t discover new methods of ensuring fair economic opportunity, the workers of the world may just unite. Marx may yet have his revenge.
— With reporting by Bruce Crumley / Paris; Chengcheng Jiang / Beijing; Shan-shan Wang / Shenzhen

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Forest Lake, Minnesota charging parents $2,500.00 a year to send children to Kindergarten.

Obama is talking about a pre-school program while parents in Forest Lake, Minnesota are forced to pay $2,500.00 a year to send their children to the public school Kindergarten.

Many people are accusing me of lying about this exorbitant $2,500.00 fee.

But, here is an article from the Forest Lake Times, the main local newspaper:

http://forestlaketimes.com/2013/03/20/dems-push-to-fund-all-day-kindergarten/

"Officials in the Forest Lake district are on the same page and have opted to fund the full-day program. The district officers an all-day program now at a cost of $2500 a year for parents. Lower costs are available for parents that qualify under free and reduced guidelines."

During the "Shock and Awe" bombing and invasion of Iraq dozens of schools were bombed, hundreds of school children killed and maimed at a cost of billions of dollars while it would only cost $40,000,000.00 to provide every child in Minnesota with all-day Kindergarten... one more cost of imperialism... in so many ways people pay a terrible price for Wall Street's dirty imperialist wars.

I would note that the Democratic super majority here in Minnesota has refused to even address any of this in a resolution to Obama and Congress calling for the re-ordering of this country's priorities away from war and militarism towards satisfying and meeting human needs--- like Kindergarten.

I would also note that in the same issue of the Forest Lake Times there are seven solid pages of home foreclosure notices from this one small community.

There are 11 "help wanted" adds in the same newspaper.

The government is printing 85 billion dollars a month to pay for wars--- death and destruction; but where are the promised jobs, why do people have to pay for their children to go to Kindergarten and why are the home foreclosures continuing over 5 years after Obama assumed office?

Budgets are a reflection of our true priorities--- and the priorities of this Wall Street bribed government are all out of whack.

Cyprus election results.

PartiesVotes%+/–Seats+/–
Democratic Rally(Conservative-Christian)138,68234.28%+3.76%20+2
Progressive Party of Working People(Communist party)132,17132.67%+1.36%19+1
Democratic Party (Social Democratic)63,76315.76%−2.22%9−2
Movement for Social Democracy (Social Democratic)36,1138.93%−0.03%5±0
European Party (Centrist)15,7113.88%−1.91%2−1
Ecological and Environmental Movement (Greens)8,9602.21%+0.25%1±0

Had this terrible explosion not happened the Communist Party (AKEL) would have won the election:

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/12/woa-fg-cyprus-rld/lexplosion-20110712


Cyprus munitions explosion kills 12

The munitions, seized in 2009 from an Iranian shipment to Syria, apparently exploded when a wildfire reached a military base. The explosion leads to the resignations of Cyprus' defense minister and the commander of the Greek Cypriot National Guard.

July 12, 2011|By Roula Hajjar, Los Angeles Times

Monday, March 25, 2013

The reactionary nature of Keynesian economics.

I had a lengthy discussion with a very liberal Minnesota State Senator this morning about my stating that there is nothing progressive about Keynesian economics. His position is that any government initiative which creates jobs should be considered progressive.

It is impossible to ague that the creation of any number of jobs with so many millions of people unemployed is not good. But, because the creation of any jobs may be good does not make Keynesian economics progressive.

No matter how hard anyone tries, there is no getting around the fact that Keynesian economics is all about using public capital and social capital (many people use the term "public funds" which is an okay definition but there is a difference between public capital and social capital which combined we can consider "public funds") during times of economic recession and depression in order to stimulate just enough spending get the capitalist consumer market going in order to increase production in the private sphere.

Keynesians prefer to spend public and social capital putting people to work on public projects managed by privately owned corporations but will agree to limited public works projects as a last resort--- hence what they do in the public sphere is always too little, too late even though the money workers employed on these public works projects ends up in the coffers of the extremely wealthy.

Keynesians view production as being the prerogative--- the exclusive right--- of private sector of the economy. They can make all the exaggerated claims they want about helping "small business" but anyone who looks can see they are really about helping only the largest Wall Street monopolies and multi-national corporations.

Does anyone really believe the Congressional Progressive Caucus would be able to create 7 million new jobs through subsidizing small business? The government doesn't even hire small businesses to pick up the garbage or fill small pot-holes in the roads and when public infrastructure like water and sewer is privatized, how often do you see the work turned over to small businesses?

The first insight we have that Keynesian economics is not progressive is that it's primary concern is the stimulation of the capitalist consumer market. The second is that the Keynesians take the position production is the exclusive right of private industry.

Progressives take the position that production should take place for social well-being so everyone can have the basic needs met.

Most people in this country, or any other country, spend what income they have on meeting their basic human needs so it is not any kind of far out left thinking to assert this basic fact of life--- and economics.

Progressives take the position that production in a public sector should occur--- especially when private production fails. A progressive position would be one in which it is advocated to bring all these closed mines, mills and factories back into production under public ownership using public capital and social capital--- just imagine what we could do with the trillions of dollars from the Social Security Trust Fund in order to start up production to meet social and human needs. Keynesians want no part of public ownership of the mines, mills and factories or power generating, communications, transportation or retail industry (distribution of goods produced through cooperatives).

Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that for the Keynesians the economy can "bounce back" to what is considered a "recovery" with the "new norm" for unemployment remaining for years at 7% to 8.5%--- the president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Board stated this.

The Keynesians in fact believe, but won't publicly state, that this obscene level of unemployment is good because it depresses all wages. In fact, they will couch their approval by talking about how they use various levers to manage the economy so we don't get hyper inflation from spending on militarism and wars--- huge "public works projects" though the Keynesians don't like to admit how much they love militarism and wars--- hence the Congressional Progressive Caucus makes no bones they are for huge military expenditures while claiming they are for making "modest reductions" while using tax-dollars in a most frugal way only to "modernize" the war machine--- but, you notice when they speak of "modernization" they avoid all talk of what they really mean--- making the killing machine more efficient and effective... thus they deliver drone warfare, etc. as they evade ever talking about the imperialist nature of these wars.

I pointed out to the Senator that he had done nothing to keep the St. Paul Ford Plant in production under public ownership even though he repeatedly voted to spend public funds (social capital) to subsidize Ford's operation and then he compounded his "errors" when he enabled the Ford hydro-electric generating dam--- compliments of local, state and federal tax-dollars--- to be sold by the Ford Motor Company to a Canadian multi-national at a profit so obscene no one will state the amount and then the public gets screwed again because the electricity is sold to a monopoly to rip-off consumers when this hydro-electric generating plant could have been brought under public ownership and operated to bring free electricity to our public schools, to power street lights and other public buildings saving the very tax-payers who built this hydro-electric generating plant millions upon millions of dollars just like it saved the Ford Motor Company for some 85 years.

Would anyone call allowing Ford to sell a plant it never owned "progressive?" These Keynesians want to evade all talk about specifics because every time there is a discussion they end up exposing themselves for the reactionaries they are while pretending they are progressives.

The Keynesians like to pass themselves off as progressive job creators but they don't like to talk about the two-thousand jobs they flushed down the sewers into the Mississippi River when they allowed Ford Motor Company to close the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and they don't want to talk in public about how much the public is losing as water going through the Ford Dam generates 18 megawatts of electricity at a loss to tax-payers and the public for which the public once again subsidizes the electricity these Keynesians don't give a second thought to.

Keynesian economics is not only reactionary, it fosters the most crooked and corrupt kind of government seeing as how Brookfield Asset Management really spread around the campaign contributions to secure this secretive deal with the Ford Dam.

It makes me sick to hear these Keynesians try to hide their reactionary economics under the guise of being progressive.

And then when they find they can't defend their reactionary economics they claim we are too stupid to understand the complexities of economics.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Sequester Hits the Reservation by cutting funding to the already severely underfunded Indian Health Service

Always money for wars; but, never enough money for people...


While the New York Times blames the Republicans for the austerity driven sequester, the fact of the matter is, the sequester is a creation of Barack Obama and the Democrats who intentionally tossed the Republicans this raw meat knowing they would grab it.


Why haven't we seen tribal politicians stand up denouncing these racist cuts?

Why haven't we heard the Democrats speaking out against this continued genocide?

Why haven't we heard the foundation-funded outfits raising hell about this injustice?

Where are the churches which for centuries have been the instigators and purveyors of racist genocide who now claim they have changed their racist ways but keep their mouths shut?

Why hasn't the Democratic super majority in Minnesota passed a resolution condemning this racist injustice?

But, why hasn't the Indian Health Service raised its own voice in defense of cuts preventing its own Agency--- headed up by a Democrat--- from carrying out its mandate?

And why hasn't the head of the Department of Health and Human Services been raising awareness of these racist cuts?

And once again we see where there are no grassroots organizations responding to any of this; why not? Probably for the same reason we don't see anyone taking on the injustice of allowing smoking to continue to the detriment of workers' health in the Indian Gaming Industry... How much does allowing smoking in the Indian Gaming Industry cost the Indian Health Service as it sickens and kills workers?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/21/opinion/the-sequester-hits-the-indian-health-service.html?_r=1&

Editorial

The Sequester Hits the Reservation

By 
The Congressional Republicans who brought us the mindless budget cuts known as the sequester have shown remarkable indifference to life-sustaining government services, American jobs and other programs. So what do they make of the country’s commitments to American Indians, its longstanding obligations to tribal governments under the Constitution and treaties dating back centuries?
Opinion Twitter Logo.
Very little, it seems. The sequester will impose cuts of 5 percent across the Indian Health Service, the modestly financed agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides basic health care to two million American Indians and native Alaskans. It is underfinanced for its mission and cannot tolerate more deprivation.

Here lies a little-noticed example of moral abdication. The biggest federal health and safety-net programs — Social Security, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, and veterans’ compensation and health benefits — are all exempt from sequestration. But the Indian Health Service is not.

The agency was supposed to be spared the worst of the automatic cuts; at least that is what its officials believed. Under a 1985 law that served as the model for the current sequester, annual cuts to appropriations for the Indian Health Service could not exceed 2 percent.

Even a cut of that amount is very bad news for the main health care provider for some of the poorest and sickest Americans, living in some of the most remote and medically underserved parts of the country. Like care for veterans, Indian health was supposed to be one area in which duty and compassion trumped cheapness.
The agency’s officials were braced for that level of cuts, but they were mistaken. The Office of Management and Budget interpreted the sequestration law to mean that the 2 percent cap did not apply to most of the Indian Health Service financing.

The agency’s director, Yvette Roubideaux, had to warn tribal leaders last September to plan for a much bigger, $220 million cut, which it expects will lead to 3,000 fewer inpatient admissions and 804,000 fewer outpatient visits each year.

The Indian Health Service operates 320 health centers, 45 hospitals, 115 health stations and 4 school health centers across the country. The vast majority of these are on reservations, where poverty, disease, substance abuse, suicide and other public health challenges are severe.

The government has been increasing its support for the service in the last decade; at a hearing on Tuesday of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, the chairman, Mike Simpson, an Idaho Republican, noted that between 2000 and 2012, financing rose to $4.4 billion from $2.4 billion.

This has allowed some improvement and stability in services. But Dr. Roubideaux told Mr. Simpson that the agency’s catastrophic health emergency fund, which reimburses providers for trauma care and major surgeries, would still run out of money before the end of the year.
The federal government cannot use its budget nihilism to avoid its moral and legal obligations.
A version of this editorial appeared in print on March 21, 2013, on page A26 of the New York edition with the headline: The Sequester Hits the Reservation.


-- 
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

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Repeal "At-will hiring; At-will firing."

I hope this article gets a lot of attention and creates a lot of discussion with the intent to build a real grassroots and rank-and-file movement. "At-Will Hiring and At-Will Firing" have hobbled the working class movement in this country for many decades--- denying people of color, women, the handicapped, youth and left wing activists employment in the hiring process and led to millions of unjust firings of workers as they took on union organizing at their places of employment and in the communities where they live. I have always believed this is one of the most important issues all working people and organized labor must take on. I have introduced resolutions for its repeal while working in Michigan, Virginia and Wisconsin at the local union level, in county labor councils and at precinct, county and state conventions of the Democratic Party. I have written "letters to the editor," blogged, leafleted about this issue and in speaking to groups of people in conjunction with the discussions about the Bill of Rights and the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights I have brought this issue forward.

As soon as the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party was handed its super majority I suggested they repeal and rescind this reactionary legislation--- not one single politician in Minnesota would even consider bringing forward legislation to repeal and rescind this legislation while bringing forward in its place "Just Cause" legislation.

This issue should become a top priority for any groups considering organizing a working class based progressive people's party because until this happens the issue probably isn't going to get the attention it deserves... here in Minnesota, over 300 Democratic precinct caucuses approved a resolution for repealing this legislation and replacing it with "Just Cause" and it was the then president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, Ray Waldron, who led the effort at the state convention to defeat the resolution.

As far as I know, only the Kent County Labor Council in Michigan has passed a resolution for its repeal... back in 1969. We need a lot more activity and movement at the local level if this is going to become a movement.

Please read and circulate widely---



Is It Time For Just Cause?

by RAND WILSON and STEVE EARLY

“It’s time for unions to stop being clever about excuses for why membership is declining and it’s time to figure out how to devise appeals to the workers out there. Workers should be looking to unions because of job insecurity and stagnant wages, but they are not.”

–Clark University Professor Gary N. Chaison as quoted in The New York Times on Jan. 24, 2013 about union density reaching a 97-year low.

The annual release of bad news about union membership levels always provides labor-oriented academics with an opportunity to pontificate.  Professor Gary Chaison is one well-known chider of unions, for their various shortcomings and mistakes. Regularly quoted in The Times, he often dispenses tidbits of advice more critical than instructive.  However, in the case of his comment above, attention must be paid.

As the new open shop movement spreads across the Midwest, it has undermined public and private sector bargaining units in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. The impact on overall union membership is now apparent in the latest national statistics. As Times reporter Steven Greenhouse reported on Jan. 24, “the percentage of workers in unions fell to 11.3 percent last year” and “that brought unionization to its lowest level since 1916, when it was 11.2 percent.”  In the private sector, the loss of 400,000 members of all kinds reduced union density to 6.6 percent in 2012. Another expert quoted in this story cited a public sector membership drop of 50,000 in Wisconsin alone.

In these new open shop environments,  unions certainly need to function differently to avoid precipitous membership losses after being stripped of collective bargaining rights and/or automatic dues check off. But the larger challenge issued by Chaison still needs to be met, and not just in states where organized labor is already on the defensive. Organized labor needs to go on the offensive, with a systematic campaign for new workplace protection that would address the widespread job insecurity cited by Chaison, and the erosion of job rights caused by de-unionization. As outlined below, this advocacy effort would increase the public appeal of unions and help lay the groundwork for a revival of collective bargaining as a tool for reversing long-term wage stagnation.

What legislative goal might inspire all workers—union and non-union alike? Due process rights at work could be the answer. The United States is alone among industrialized countries in allowing at-will employees (i.e. most of the 88.7 % without a union contract) to be terminated for arbitrary reasons. As a result of past labor movement lobbying, Germany, France, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and South Africa all require employers to demonstrate they have “just cause” to dismiss non-probationary employees.  Workers who believe they have been fired unfairly have the opportunity to contest their dismissals, and pursue money damages, before various types of industrial tribunals. In the U.S., such recourse is only available to public employees with civil service protection and/or union-represented workers with access to a negotiated grievance/arbitration procedure.

The concept of just cause appeals to basic fairness, just as due process does in our criminal justice system.  At-will employees have no job security: they can be fired for a minor mistake, a disagreement with a supervisor, a biased performance evaluation, an individual complaint about pay or working conditions, or unapproved off-duty behavior–like supporting political causes or candidates disliked by the employer (an increasing election year concern at firms owned by proselytizing Republicans). Hundreds of thousands of workers are sent packing every year under such circumstances.

One state has passed such a law, curbing wrongful dismissals (and statutes in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands also prohibit termination without “good cause”).  Enacted in 1987, the Montana Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act applies to non-union non-probationary employees and prohibits discharges without good cause. It permits aggrieved workers to sue for up to four years worth of back pay, and provides a method for recovery of the necessary legal fees. Business opponents tried to kill the legislation by claiming it would scare business away. Twenty-six years later, Montana’s economic growth doesn’t seem to have suffered.

State level campaigns for similar just cause legislation would serve two purposes, one narrower (because it’s related to union organizing) and the other broader, because all workers, pro- or anti-union would benefit. If just cause campaigns succeed, workers will gain another layer of legal protection in organizing drives. Montana’s unionization rate reflects its mix of industries and history of militant struggles, but it’s hard not to notice that the state, at 14.6 percent, has a much healthier percentage of union members than the national average. Neighboring Idaho has less than half the rate of unionized workers.

“Just cause” protection is helpful because one of the main reasons private sector workers shy away from organizing is their fear of being fired. As any labor organizer knows, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) remedies for retaliatory dismissals are wholly insufficient. Discharge cases can drag on for years, before reinstatement is ordered, if the fired worker is fortunate enough to win. Interim earnings (including unemployment benefits) are deducted from back pay awards. This leaves anti-union employers with little financial incentive not to commit this most serious of unfair labor practices. In addition, few employers come right out and say they’re firing someone for being pro-union, during an organizing campaign. There’s always an official cover story–and too often the Labor Board accepts this employer pretext, rather than finding discriminatory intent and a connection to union activity.

Just cause statutes could give fired union supporters a second bite at the apple, in a different venue, just as many workers now win unemployment benefit cases based on the same set of facts that the NLRB manages to mishandle. Among the broader population of non-union workers who might challenge a dismissal unconnected to organizing, there would also be an important new union role: providing representation, advice, and information to help workers win their “just cause” cases. In workplaces where unions are trying to build employee organizations, like OUR Walmart–that function like unions but without formal recognition or bargaining rights–the ability to represent individual workers in termination proceedings would become an important selling point for signing up new members.

As longtime UE organizer and national executive board member Peter Knowlton points out:

“In most countries, except the US, if the boss wants to fire you, they can — but they have to pay you severance. The payment is normally based on a combination of pay and service time. When you make the employer pay severance for firing a worker (for reasons not having to do with discrimination based on age, race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, union activity or religion), then they will likely not do it so readily. For workers, knowing you’ll get severance eases the fear, somewhat, of speaking up to confront injustice. So there’s an economic “safeguard” for workers and a dis-incentive for employers. Plus, at least by law, it puts workers versus employers on a more equal footing.”

Winning “just cause” legislation will certainly not be easy. But building a movement on a scale similar to the push for the organizing-oriented Employee Free Choice Act, circa 2007 – 2009, would offer union activists an opportunity to champion a cause directly affecting far more workers.  Throughout the last century, organized labor led or assisted lots of uphill legislative fights for new protective legislation applying to the workplace. Some campaigns took many years but, state-by-state, labor won job injury insurance, minimum wage and overtime requirements, health and safety regulations, child labor laws, and prohibitions against employment discrimination. Every worker benefited from these regulatory initiatives, whether they had a union card or not. And whenever the labor movement was on the offensive fighting for all workers, union membership grew.

A “just cause” campaign could potentially engage working people at multiple levels. While agitating for state legislative action, local unions, central labor councils, and worker centers could promote the concept through community-based workers’ rights boards and public pressure. Community leaders and labor activists could declare certain areas “Just Cause Zones” and fight to enforce just cause as a new community standard—like living wage laws, but potentially much wider.  Unions and their allies could use the proposed legislation as a political “litmus test” for candidates. Workers fired unfairly could be enlisted to lobby and testify, along with their families, before state legislatures considering due process protection.

Even if campaigns for just cause do not succeed, millions of non-union workers will learn about the concept, especially if enactment is also pursued through popular referenda, where those are permitted under state law. By popularizing the just cause concept and raising expectations, more workers may respond by thinking, “If we can’t get this protection through legislation, let’s get it by forming a union!”

Rand Wilson has worked as a union organizer and labor communicator for more than twenty-five years and is currently on staff at SEIU Local 888 in Boston. Wilson was the founding director of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice. 

Steve Early has been active as a labor journalist, lawyer, organizer, or union representative since 1972. He is the author of Embedded With Organized Labor (Monthly Review Press, 2009) and The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor (2011). They can be reached at: rand.wilson@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Two parties, Democrats and Republicans; same racist agenda.

Notice: This is not a Republican initiated piece of legislation; this comes from the Minnesota Democrats with a super majority.

Anyone not reading this proposed legislation does so at their own risk:

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/status_result.php?body=Senate&search=basic&session=0882013&location=Senate&bill=1417&bill_type=bill&rev_number&submit_bill=GO&keyword_type=all&keyword&keyword_field_text=1&titleword

I wonder which lobbyists are behind this little "gem?"

Perhaps Occupy Wall Street and Idle No More should consider a joint action to occupy the Minnesota State Legislature?

Is some kind of "Summit" bringing together people of color, women and the handicapped along with all those for fairness and justice in order?

Here is the description of this legislation:

Bill Name: SF1417
Requiring the commissioner of transportation (DOT) to submit a waiver request to
the United States department of transportation, federal highway administration,
from the requirements of the federal disadvantaged business enterprise
program.

Here is the proposed legislation:

1.1A bill for an act
1.2relating to transportation; requiring a waiver request concerning the federal
1.3Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program.
1.4BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

1.5 Section 1. WAIVER; DISADVANTAGED BUSINESS ENTERPRISE PROGRAM.
1.6(a) By October 1, 2013, the commissioner of transportation shall submit to the United
1.7States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, a request under
1.8Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, section 26.15, for a waiver from the requirements
1.9of the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. The waiver request must
1.10seek establishment of separate participation goals for disadvantaged business enterprises
1.11at least 51 percent owned by the following socially and economically disadvantaged
1.12individuals: (1) women; and (2) all other individuals meeting the definition.
1.13(b) For purposes of this section, "socially and economically disadvantaged
1.14individual" has the meaning given in Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, section 26.5.
1.15EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Note: Instead of enforcing Affirmative Action we get a request for a "waiver" from the Democrats with their super majority who previously attributed such racist behavior to the Republicans--- two parties, same racist agenda.
--
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/

Monday, March 18, 2013

Democratic super majorities taking a stand; Where?

My response to another article in In These Times suggesting Democratic super majorities are the way forward:


Link: http://inthesetimes.com/article/14715/taking_a_stand/

There is nothing "progressive" about this "Congressional Progressive Caucus"other than how the Democrat's head hack, George Lakoff, has used linguistics to pervert and bastardize the word "progressive" to mean creating "progressive sounding policy directives" framed in a way to make people think something "progressive" is going to be done when Lakoff explicitly warns Democrats not to bring forward specific progressive solutions to any problems. (Lakoff, "Don't think of an Elephant.")

In his follow-up book ("Blueprint"); Lakoff goes on to red-bait, in typical Hubert Humphrey (author of the Communist Control Act) fashion, real progressive solutions to the problems working people and the working class are experiencing.

When it comes to "jobs;" Keith Ellison, Raul Gijava, John Conyers and Bernie Sanders play this card to the hilt--- never missing an opportunity to talk about "jobs, jobs, jobs."

Along comes Conyers with something he calls a "full employment act" when this proposed legislation has nothing what-so-ever to do with full employment other than creating some jobs, in the larger scheme of things only a few jobs, when the unemployed working people of this Nation need over fifteen-million new jobs at real living wages to achieve real full employment.

(See my suggestions in the header of my blog for what it will take to get America to work.)

Why hasn't the "Congressional Progressive Caucus" brought forward a real "Full Employment Act" which would require and mandate the President and Congress to attain and maintain full employment along the lines of the Wright Patman proposed, labor pushed--- U.S. Senate passed--- and Wall Street opposed, House defeated, "Full Employment Act of 1945" when Wall Street drew the line-in-the-sand and said, "enough!" as massive repression was initiated against the labor movement under the guise of an anti-Communist driven which-hunt creating mass national hysteria followed up with Taft-Hartley and Hubert Humphrey's "Communist Control Act?"

None of the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have the moral and political courage of a Wright Patman, the populist liberal Democrat from Texas; nor do any of today's labor "leaders" have the class consciousness required to mobilize the working class for such a battle.

The only thing we get from the so-called "progressive" Democrats is talk, talk, talk instead of "jobs, jobs, jobs."

If just one job was created every-time one of these politicians uttered the words, "jobs, jobs, jobs" we wouldn't have any unemployed people in this country but the dirty imperialist wars--- as Mark Twain properly called them--- which these members of the "Congressional Progressive Caucus" haven't mustered the courage nor attempted to fully mobilize the American people in opposition to, are killing jobs the same way these barbaric wars are killing people... not to mention that the wealth of our Nation needed to solve all these social and economic problems might as well be tossed into the deepest depths of the oceans rather than funding this insanity of militarism and war after war.

Is the solution to be found in electing a Democratic super majority as this article and the members of the "Congressional Progressive Caucus" are suggesting?

Well, we gave Obama a Democratic super majority which bailed out Wall Street instead of Main Street.

And look at Keith Ellison's home state of Minnesota where I live--- a huge Democratic super majority with a Democratic governor, a Democratic majority in the State House and a Democratic majority in the Minnesota State Senate and we can't even get the attention of these Democrats to repeal and rescind "At-will Employment" and replace it with "Just Employment."

This Democratic super majority refuses to pass anti-scab legislation and anti-lockout legislation.

This Democratic super majority refuses to pass Minimum Wage legislation that makes the Minimum Wage a real living wage instead of a miserly poverty wage; these Democrats don't seem to understand what my 8 year old granddaughter understands that poverty wages cause poverty.

All of these things--- real reforms--- are what politicians like to call "revenue neutral;" they cost tax-payers nothing.

But, don't we all know that massive unemployment drives all wages down and corporate profits up? Wall Street loves massive unemployment. Massive unemployment enables employer lockouts and makes the recruiting and hiring of "replacement workers" (scabs) easy.

This Democratic super majority sees an employer lockout here in the Red River Valley going on well over a year at American Crystal Sugar--- a tax-payer subsidized business/industry where scabs are working as the workers who voted these Democrats into office are suffering the consequences... this employer lockout is not "revenue neutral" it is tax-payer subsidized to the hilt.

Anyone who thinks electing more Democrats is a solution to the mess this country is in is living in some kind of "la-la land" of the make-believe; not a Nation where Wall Street dominates with a strangle-hold the social, political and economic life of this country through the creation of this two-party trap.

What is required if we are to move progressive politics forward--- the politics and economics of livelihood--- is the creation of a working class based progressive people's party with the patience, stamina and courage to challenge Wall Street for power--- Democrats will never be up to this task, they never have been. It is utterly foolish to even think that a party which is owned lock, stock and barrel by Wall Street, and beholden to Wall Street, is going to turn and defeat Wall Street's thoroughly reactionary agenda of imperialist wars abroad paid for with austerity measures here at home.

In typical George Lakoff instructed fashion, these so-called "progressive" Democrats propose a "defiant anti-austerity budget" which boils down to no specific solutions to the problems being experienced by the working class. It is mere nice-sounding words and political hyperbole without any organized fight back; a gimmick to once again hoodwink workers into thinking Democrats with super majorities are going to solve our problems when time and time again we have seen these Democratic super majorities refuse to bring forward even the most minute reforms intended to initiate the road to massive reforms required to tide the working class over as this rotten capitalist system goes through its death throws and convulsions of economic collapse before our very eyes.

Make no mistake about this: capitalism now in its highest stage of imperialism which has grown barbaric and cannibalistic is on the skids to oblivion placing us on a dangerous road leading straight to hell with no stops for a breather in purgatory.

By-the-way; I have seen first hand here in Minnesota how Congressman Keith Ellison is just one more Humphrey-Mondale knock-off playing the working class for chumps and suckers.

Minnesota's more than 40,000 casino workers workers forced to work in this hideous Indian Gaming Industry in loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws as the wealthy white mobsters run off with all the profits leaving behind greater poverty as they make huge campaign contributions to Ellison and his Minnesota Democratic super majority as a payoff for these worthless politicians to turn their backs on injustice--- if anyone thinks these Democrats are going to stand up and fight for worker's rights or the livelihoods of workers ask a worker employed at one of the more than three-hundred casinos now comprising this hideous Indian Gaming Industry which Keith Ellison, Raul Grijava, John Conyers, Bernie Sanders and those "progressives" like Senator Ben Cardin helped to create--- the very kind of workforce Scott Walker and Rick Snyder drool over and dream about for all workers.

Have we already forgotten that each and every member of this so-called "Congressional Progressive Caucus" bailed on single-payer universal health care and have backed the Israeli killing machine to the hilt with Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison being a no-show.

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

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The "housing question" and "unemployment" continue to dog the capitalist economy over one-hundred and fifty years after Karl Marx said capitalists couldn't solve these basic and fundamental problems.



Something to think about:


A new study has revealed that a minimum waged worker would have to work 89 hours a week when only a few other cost of living factors are figured in to pay for an average apartment renting for $836.00 a month in Minneapolis.

The same bankers who have foreclosed on and evicted families from their homes are banking on those they have evicted from their homes will have to rent apartments or turn to condo living--- but, this might end up a bust, too, because of poverty wages:

http://finance-commerce.com/2012/12/hot-twin-cities-apartment-market-shows-signs-of-cooling-off/

The banking crowd, ever attuned to quick short-term profits, is oblivious to the pain and suffering experienced by working class families trying to keep a roof over their heads--- it's all about profits.

Which brings us to another problem Karl Marx said the capitalists could not overcome: the problem of workers not being able to purchase what they produce.

And Karl Marx pointed out that when workers can't purchase what they have produced because their wages are too low economic depressions which begin as recessions occur.

Capitalism is having difficulties with:

  • Housing.
  • Unemployment.
  • Wages.
  • Economic collapse.

And did I mention: WAR?

What about: PRICES?

Was Karl Marx really wrong?

Our much celebrated Keynesian economists advising Obama base their economic theories for a properly functioning economy on a smooth flow and interaction between investments and consumption. Nothing seems to be working out for these fellows no matter what they try and no matter how much they tinker--- and, of course, as Alan Greenspan has now acknowledged, the free market left on its own didn't fair too well, either... remember the beginning of the Depression of 2008 which just won't end?

And as liberal economist, John Kenneth Galbraith pointed out: "we can't have guns and butter at the same time"--- no doubt if Galbraith were alive today he would frame his "guns v butter" declaration somewhat differently:

Wars kill jobs the same way they kill people.

Karl Marx pointed out that when Nations spend their wealth on militarism and wars this is tantamount to dumping the Nation's wealth into the deepest depths of the oceans. (True or False?)

It seems no matter how hard Wall Street's over-paid economists and pundits try, they can't manage to win in the battle of ideas against a long dead Karl Marx.

Pretty bad when an entire intellectual Wall Street financed establishment of economists and intellectuals dedicated to saving capitalism can't figure out what to do to get us out of this economic mess... and can't even win a debate with a dead man.


http://www.graphicwitness.org/contemp/marxtitle.htm



  Perhaps this guy needs a "Forever Stamp?"





Mille Lacs Band buys Crowne Plaza, DoubleTree hotels in St. Paul

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe purchases hotels with wealth derived from paying casino workers poverty wages


Of course the issue and question becomes: 

Who is really purchasing these hotels with the wealth derived by paying casino workers poverty wages?

The answer to this question is very simple:

The same mobsters who own the slot machines and every aspect of Mille Lacs' casinos/hotels/restaurant/bar/entertainment/resort business.

St. Paul politicians have a long history of being bribed by these same mobsters so this is nothing new for them; it will just mean more campaign contributions for the thoroughly corrupt and racist Democratic Party now headed up by a pill-popping billionaire governor.

The undemocratic, red-baiting Nancy Goldman of Unite-HERE will now have a new vicious anti-labor management to deal with... and, quite possibly, a lockout and scabs are in store with the next contract down the road... no doubt her St. Paul Democratic Party buddies so thrilled with this deal will provide the same support they did to the 2,000 St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant workers and the 1,300 currently locked out American Crystal Sugar workers.

Interesting how such a "poverty stricken" casino management who complain they can't afford to pay its casino workers real living wages manages to come up with the tens of millions of dollars for what is nothing but a slick money-laundering deal and scheme.

Alan L. Maki



http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/196898791.html?refer=y


Mille Lacs Band buys Crowne Plaza, DoubleTree hotels in St. Paul

  • Article by: KEVIN DUCHSCHERE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 11, 2013 - 11:45 PM
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe announced the purchase of two downtown St. Paul hotels on Monday.

Rarely is an announcement about a hotel deal accompanied by an invocation in Ojibwe and ceremonial drum music, but then, the Mille Lacs Band is not a typical hotel owner. At least not yet.

On Monday, tribal leaders formally announced they had closed on the purchase of two of downtown St. Paul’s largest hotels, the Crowne Plaza Riverfront and the DoubleTree by Hilton, for an undisclosed amount of money. The band took charge of the hotels Thursday.

“Hello, St. Paul!” said Joseph Nayquonabe Jr., CEO and chairman of the board for the band’s economic development corporation, making the announcement at the Crowne Plaza’s Great River Ballroom.

“The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is checking into downtown, and we plan on being here for a while.”

He said that St. Paul was just the first step in a long-term strategy to diversify the band’s investments beyond gambling, the industry the band has pursued with success since building the first Grand Casino on Lake Mille Lacs near Garrison 22 years ago.

That’s why, he said, there are no plans now or in the future to build a casino in connection with the St. Paul hotels.

“We’re really excited about creating new revenue streams for the band, so that’s really what this investment is all about,” he said.

The Crowne Plaza and the DoubleTree, which together have more than 700 rooms — nearly half the hotel rooms in the city — will be managed by Graves Hospitality Corp., the Minneapolis-based company that operates the Graves 601 in downtown Minneapolis and is run by Ben Graves, son of hotel magnate Jim Graves.
Both hotels will get makeovers that include new “destination dining experiences” that cater to locals as well as visitors, they said.

The DoubleTree will get a new entrance on Minnesota Street, and the Crowne Plaze will be “transform[ed] … both from the room side and from the public spaces,” Nayquonabe said. He didn’t put a price tag on the renovation work.

The band also is looking at possibly rebranding the hotels to drive more convention business to St. Paul, he said.

Melanie Benjamin, the band’s chief executive, said the band had been looking for a business that could build on its experience running its two Grand Casinos, their affiliated hotels and other businesses that include a lake resort.

“We intend to be good business people, good neighbors and good citizens. … Together we hope to create jobs, tax revenue for the city, and most importantly for us, two truly great hotels,” she said.

The purchase won’t take the hotels off the tax rolls. The band formed two limited-liability corporations to buy the hotels and will pay property taxes like any other business owner. Tribal officials said there were no plans to apply for tax-exempt trust status.

City leaders hailed the deal as a sign of revived interest in downtown investment building on upcoming attractions, such as the light-rail line and the Lowertown ballpark.

In a statement, Mayor Chris Coleman (who was out of town) said he was “thrilled” by the news.
“The band is looking for new, unique investment opportunities throughout the country and they chose to invest in St. Paul first. … I look forward to what is to come with both properties,” he said.

Matt Kramer, president and CEO of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, said the fact that the hotels were purchased by “fellow Minnesotans who know the market, know this area” was “incredibly good news for St. Paul.”
Kirby Payne, president of HVS Motel Management consultants, said the upgraded hotels will help the city compete for convention business.

“The change of ownership, in itself, will not generate additional demand in St. Paul for room nights,” Payne said. “However, their remodeling and improving of the hotels, along with the other things going on that are positive in St. Paul, will certainly generate additional interest.”

Nayquonabe said that the band is looking at other possible properties in New York, Washington, San Antonio and Los Angeles, as well as in Minneapolis and the Bloomington strip near the Mall of America.
“We’re thinking big, and that’s really what drives us every day,” he said.

Kevin Duchschere • 651-222-2732
Email: kduchschere@startribune.com

-- 
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

Cc'ed:

To: rep.phyllis.kahn@house.mn, rep.tom.anzelc@house.mn, sen.bev.scalze@senate.mn, sen.bill.ingebrigtsen@senate.mn, sen.bobby.champion@senate.mn, sen.carla.nelson@senate.mn, sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn, sen.dan.sparks@senate.mn, sen.dave.thompson@senate.mn, sen.david.tomassoni@senate.mn, sen.foung.hawj@senate.mn, sen.greg.clausen@senate.mn, sen.jeff.hayden@senate.mn, sen.jim.carlson@senate.mn, sen.jim.metzen@senate.mn, sen.john.hoffman@senate.mn, sen.kathy.sheran@senate.mn, sen.katie.sieben@senate.mn, sen.kent.eken@senate.mn, sen.kevin.dahle@senate.mn, sen.lyle.koenen@senate.mn, sen.matt.schmit@senate.mn, sen.melisa.franzen@senate.mn, sen.melissa.wiklund@senate.mn, sen.michelle.benson@senate.mn, sen.rod.skoe@senate.mn, sen.roger.chamberlain@senate.mn, sen.roger.reinert@senate.mn, sen.scott.dibble@senate.mn, sen.terri.bonoff@senate.mn, sen.tony.lourey@senate.mn, sen.vicki.jensen@senate.mn, sen.warren.limmer@senate.mn, Alice Hausman , Andrea Kieffer , Andrew Falk , Anna Wills , Barb Yarusso , Ben Lien , Bob Barrett , Bob Dettmer , Bob Gunther , Brian Johnson , Bud Nornes , Carlos Mariani , Carly Melin , Carolyn Laine , Chris Swedzinski , Cindy Pugh , Connie Bernardy , Dan Schoen , David Bly , David Dill , David FitzSimmons , Dean Urdahl , Debra Hilstrom , Debra Kiel , Denny McNamara , Diane Loeffler , Duane Quam , Erik Simonson , Erin Murphy , Ernie Leidiger , Frank Hornstein , Gene Pelowski , Glenn Gruenhagen , Greg Davids , Jason Isaacson , Jason Metsa , Jay McNamar , Jean Wagenius , Jeanne Poppe , Jeff Howe , Jenifer Loon , Jerry Hertaus , Jerry Newton , Jim Abeler , Jim Davnie , Jim Newberger , JoAnn Ward , Joe Atkins , Joe Hoppe , Joe McDonald , Joe Radinovich , Joe Schomacker , John Benson , John Lesch , John Persell , John Petersburg , John Ward , Joyce Peppin , Karen Clark , Kathy Brynaert , Kathy Lohmer , Kelby Woodard , Kim Norton , Kurt Daudt , Kurt Zellers , Laurie Halverson , Leon Lillie , Linda Runbeck , Linda Slocum , Lyndon Carlson , Marion Oneill , Mark Anderson , Mark Uglem , Mary Franson , Mary Murphy , Mary Sawatzky , MaryLiz Holberg , Matt Dean , Melissa Hortman , Michael Nelson , Michael Paymar , Mike Beard , Mike Benson , Mike Freiberg , Mike Sundin , Nick Zerwas , Pam Myhra , Pat Garofalo , Paul Anderson , Paul Marquart , Paul Rosenthal , Paul Thissen , Paul Torkelson , Peggy Scott , Peter Fischer , Raymond Dehn , Rena Moran , "rep.ann.lenczewski@house.mn" , "rep.dan.fabian@house.mn" , "rep.joe.mullery@house.mn" , "rep.patti.fritz@house.mn" , Rick Hansen , Rod Hamilton , Roger Erickson , Ron Erhardt , Ron Kresha , Ryan Winkler , Sandra Masin , Sarah Anderson , Shannon Savick , Sheldon Johnson , Sondra Erickson , Steve Drazkowski , Steve Green , Steve Simon , Susan Allen , Tara Mack , Tim Faust , Tim Kelly , Tim Mahoney , Tim ODriscoll , Tim Sanders , Tina Liebling , Tom Hackbarth , Tom Huntley , Tony Albright , Tony Cornish , Will Morgan , Yvonne Selcer , Zachary Dorholt , ZZZ Ellison Keith , Karen Monahan , ddjohnson@startribune.com, dtice@startribune.com, jfriedmann@startribune.com, jmoore@startribune.com, nstanthony@startribune.com, sgillespie@startribune.com, sknutson@mnaflcio.org