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, June 6, 2013

Letter to the Editor submitted for publication to the Brainerd Dispatch

(Note: Please see links at very bottom.)


Letter to the Editor submitted for publication to the Brainerd Dispatch

mike.orourke@brainerddispatch.com

The title of your article, "Protest Leads to Abbreviated Little Falls Council Meeting" June 6, 2013) is highly misleading on several counts.

First of all; it was, according to your story, members of the audience who started the disruption and trouble, not Robin Hensel.

I have been to city council meetings all over Minnesota and in many other states where people frequently display signs setting forth their views and grievances--- people living in a democracy kind of expect to have these kinds of rights, eh?

Second; in addition to the very clear constitutional issue of the right to freedom of speech, there are the issues involved with this government spending trillions of dollars for wars killing people--- as the signs depicted, and no one is claiming the pictures are not what Robin Hensel claims them to be: the barbaric result of what happens in wars; children suffer and die.

Third; national priorities are linked to state and local priorities in that the more our government spends on wars the less is available for state and local governments.

Have we not all heard local officials complain their funding for this or that project has been cut? 

We pay for wars with the result being our public schools are severely under-funded. 

We fund barbaric drone warfare so there is no money for a fully funded Food Stamp program. Both of Minnesota's two U.S. Senators shamefully voted not to restore cuts for Food Stamps. I heard no complaints about this injustice of punishing the poor to pay for wars from the Brainerd Mayor, City Council members or these "concerned citizens" whose only "concern" extends to trying to silence Robin Hensel.

That any public body would exert so much time, resources and tax-payer dollars towards trying to silence a citizen who is hurting no one as she expresses her opinions is a disgrace and makes a mockery of democracy.

It is not Robin Hensel with the mental problems as some are slandering her; it is a government that wastes money trying to prevent a citizen from participating in the decision-making process and squanders our tax dollars on these barbaric drone wars and kills thousands of innocent children in these dirty wars while labeling their deaths as "collateral damage" which reflects the epitome of insanity.

I am thankful we have people like Robin Hensel who refuse to be bullied into silence. Anyone who doesn't like what she has to say, what she writes or what she places on her signs just like Ben Franklin and Tom Paine did have the right to ignore her pleas for peace, social and economic justice.

In a democratic and civilized society people who disagree engage one another in discussion, dialog and debate they don't try to intimidate and bully others with views differing from their own into silence--- Joe McCarthy tried such tactics--- our society still suffers the consequences as the actions of these bullies badgering Robin Hensel attest to.

Robin Hensel shares her views and opinions using her own name; more than can be said of those who are engaged in a smear campaign against her who cowardly hide behind monikers and anonymity.

-- 
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

Does openness have anything to do with democracy?

Re: Peat Mining northern Minnesota in the Big Bog's Pine Island State Forest.

Attention Minnesota State Legislators and Governor Dayton and the Commissioner of Natural Resources;

I think the people of Minnesota have the right to know from our public elected and duly appointed public officials what the status of this peat mining project is. Please provide such an update because we shouldn't have to expect someone who doesn't know anything about anything who has walked a few feet into this area obviously being developed for peat mining to proclaim the state of this project as was done in this e-mail I am forwarding on to you.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has approved the permit along with other government agencies for this project.

Millions of tax-payers dollars--- local, state and federal--- have already been spent on this project including developing, upgrading and maintaining roads to, in and out of this peat mining site in addition to very substantial ditching and land clearing.

The head of the Little Fork DNR Office has told me the peat mining is still proceeding.

Former Congressman James Oberstar reported to his constituents through numerous media that this hideous project was underway which create so many new jobs.

At this time, I am insisting that details and an update of this peat mining project for which Berger Peat from Quebec, Canada was issued a very long-term permit be forthcoming.

I have taken the liberty of BCC'ing a number of other people concerned about protecting and defending Mother Nature, global warming and climate change.

I am sure that I speak for all of these people, including the three individuals who issued their unfounded proclamation after only walking a few feet into this more than one-square mile site and the hundreds of square miles being drained as a stage of this project to make way for for the actual peat mining.

If this hideous project wasn't proceeding according to the permit, I have two other questions requiring an answer:

1. Why hasn't the permit been withdrawn?

2. Why is this draining of the Big Bog taking place since the drainage waters are carrying dangerous mercury contamination into our streams, rivers and lakes including the international Lake of the Woods which we share with our Canadian neighbors to the north?

I have also sent this e-mail to Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson since it is my opinion she has a clear responsibility to see to it that an open and transparent process is taking place which includes keeping all Minnesotans properly informed of this project.

I assume Laurel Beager, the Editor of the International Falls Daily Journal shares my concern that we receive an update on this project from the appropriate public official/s--- appointed and elected.

I would further note, that previously, my own State Representative Dan Fabian promised I would be provided a full accounting and update on this peat mining project and that was NEVER forthcoming. So much for constituent concerns from this Republican who pretends to be concerned about how tax dollars are spent and used.

I expect a full accounting from the party/s responsible for providing this information to Minnesotans in a forthright, open and honest manner. We should not have to have this information come from uninformed people who have no governmental responsibility for this peat mining project which ALL science opposes--- please see the scientific publication edited by Wright, "The Patterned Peatlands of Minnesota" which includes the thoughts of Roger Jourdain, the former long-time Chair of the Red Lake Nation who during his lifetime fought to protect this pristine bog as, "... the lifeblood of my people and my Nation (the Red Lake Indian Nation)." 

From the beginning this hideous peat mining project has been shrouded in misinformation, lies, rumors and withholding information from the public. Even former Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Gene Merriam, stated to me, in public, that he never approved of this permit to mine peat in the Big Bog even though the head of Mines and Minerals claimed he signed the permit with Merriam's consent.

This peat mining project--- a boondoggle from the beginning--- has been one of the most hideous, racist and destructive projects ever undertaken in the State of Minnesota. We need facts from public officials; not rumors and misinformation.

Where does this peat mining project really stand? The answer to this question shouldn't have to come to us "blowing in the wind."

Alan L. Maki
For Save Our Bog