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...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I signed U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison's MoveOn.org petition to increase the Minimum Wage with addinng this message...

#93627Alan MakiDec 3, 2013Warroad, MN
There is only one way to assure the Minimum Wage becomes a real living--- non-poverty--- wage; this can be accomplished by legislatively tying the Minimum Wage to all the cost of living factors as monitored by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics indexed for inflation and increased periodically to provide an increased standard-of-living.

Along with this we need a guaranteed annual income for all Americans that would correspond to a living Minimum Wage.

All of this should become part of a package extending the New Deal reforms which must include making the President and Congress legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining Full Employment. What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would include all of this and real job creation programs.

Kathleen Blake of TakeActionMinnesota has stated: "The wages of low- and middle-income working Minnesotans continue to stagnate, while the cost of housing, utilities, food, childcare, transportation and health care continue to increase. It costs a family of three (one adult and two children) approximately $46,000 a year to meet basic needs" If this reflects the actual and true cost-of-living then this is what the Minimum Wage should be based on.

Besides, what is with you politicians talking about everything under the sun except for two things: "cost-of-living" and "standard of living?"

You politicians should be willing to make whatever you establish the Minimum Wage at as your own pay... and most people in this country are so fed up with the whole darn bunch of you that they probably think this would be far too generous.

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

Kathleen Blake of Take Action Minnesota responds... I ask another question.

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 10:22 AM, Kathleen Blake <kathleen@takeactionminnesota.org> wrote:
Alan,
 
We recognize that $9.50 is not enough for an individual, let alone a parent supporting a couple kids, to live on.  But it's a start for 2014 and we support the current House bill which would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.50.  We agree with the Governor that we would "settle" for $9.50 in 2014 as a way to move the wage floor up for working families but much more needs to be done -- including ensuring predictable hours every week that a worker can count on, paid sick days and indexing this wage annually for inflation.
Kathleen O'Halloran Blake
Economy Organizer
TakeAction Minnesota
kathleen@takeactionminnesota.org
218-398-2271
 


My response:

Kathleen Blake and Take Action Minnesota,

You haven't answered my questions but I appreciate the response.

It seems I have heard the exact same response in relation to Obamacare from you Democrats.

Can you project, after this initial step, when we can anticipate that the Minimum Wage will become a real living--- non-poverty--- wage?

Kathleen; Is $9.50 a poverty wage or not?

Here is the bottom line and of all the questions I have posed to you; this is the only one I would really appreciate a response to:

Why blame Wal-mart, Target, McDonald's, Burger King or any other employer for paying poverty wages when you are working hand-in-hand with politicians to assure employers can legally pay their employees poverty wages?

Please answer this question.

You say you agree with the Governor; but, have you approached the Governor with you figures about what a real living--- non-poverty--- Minimum Wage would be? If so; what was his excuse for not going after a real living Minimum Wage?

You see, Kathleen; it is not up to you to make deals and compromises with the Governor. Each and everyone of the unions backing your organization has been engaged in bargaining away the rights and livelihoods of the workers they represent.

I don't recall any workers receiving these poverty wages having given you or these unions the right to bargain away their livelihoods with Governor Dayton.

Kathleen; Is $9.50 a poverty wage or not?

Here is the bottom line and of all the questions I have posed to you; this is the only one I would really appreciate a response to:

Why blame Wal-mart, Target, McDonald's, Burger King or any other employer for paying poverty wages when you are working hand-in-hand with politicians to assure employers can legally pay their employees poverty wages?

Please answer this question.

Everyone I talk to about this issue agrees with me, not you or the Governor, that the Minimum Wage should be legislatively tied to all the cost-of-living factors monitored by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, indexed to inflation with periodic increases to improve the standard of living of working people.

Now, like with Obamacare and single-payer, in steps your organization--- backed and funded by unions and a bunch of foundations--- and you are speaking on behalf of people who never asked you to speak for them.

AFSCME circulated petitions at the Minnesota State Fair along with members of your organization, Take Action Minnesota, calling for workers to be paid $9.50 an hour.

Kathleen; Is $9.50 a poverty wage or not?

Here is the bottom line and of all the questions I have posed to you; this is the only one I would really appreciate a response to:

Why blame Wal-mart, Target, McDonald's, Burger King or any other employer for paying poverty wages when you are working hand-in-hand with politicians to assure employers can legally pay their employees poverty wages?

Please answer this question.

Well; you know what? I might circulate a petition calling for everyone on the public payroll--- from politicians to state employees--- to be paid the same $9.50 an hour. I bet I can get a lot more signatures on this kind of petition.

And then you have the unmitigated gall to tell me you are willing to settle for $9.50 an hour in 2014 knowing this would not go into effect until 2015.

Kathleen; Is $9.50 a poverty wage or not?

Here is the bottom line and of all the questions I have posed to you; this is the only one I would really appreciate a response to:

Why blame Wal-mart, Target, McDonald's, Burger King or any other employer for paying poverty wages when you are working hand-in-hand with politicians to assure employers can legally pay their employees poverty wages?

Please answer this question. 

While working people have had to endure poverty as a result of the government forcing poverty wages on them for over two years as the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party with its super-majority did nothing in the way of raising the Minimum Wage, this enabled business interests to pocket billions of dollars in additional profits.

Minnesotans have a right to know exactly what the obstacle to a real living--- non-poverty--- Minimum Wage is.

What is this obstacle?

You are marching and demonstrating all over the state calling for a "living wage." Why do you lead people to think you are for a living wage when you are supporting a poverty wage?

The "increase" you are proposing won't even cover the increased cost of Obamacare let alone meet the increased prices of food, gas, and home heating fuels which people can't afford now.

Kathleen; Is $9.50 a poverty wage or not?

Here is the bottom line and of all the questions I have posed to you; this is the only one I would really appreciate a response to:

Why blame Wal-mart, Target, McDonald's, Burger King or any other employer for paying poverty wages when you are working hand-in-hand with politicians to assure employers can legally pay their employees poverty wages?

Please answer this question.

Your organization and the unions and foundations backing you refuse to talk in terms of "cost-of-living" and "standard-of-living" in relation to the Minimum Wage--- this is deceitful and dishonest. 

It is bad enough you are betraying working people on the issue of the Minimum Wage... what is just as bad is that you refuse to address the need for a guaranteed living income for everyone and you refuse to support making government responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment.

You Democrats have pushed over 40,000 Minnesotans into loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages and forced them to work without any rights under state or federal labor laws and you have turned your backs in indifference on these workers for three decades and you expect me to believe that you are ever going to stand up and demand a real living Minimum Wage for other Minnesota workers?

The fact is, you haven't even so much as suggested that the Minimum Wage should be legislatively tied to all "cost-of-living" factors.

Where does this $9.50 an hour figure come from? What is the basis of this $9.50 figure? Does it have anything to do with eradicating poverty?

Kathleen; Is $9.50 a poverty wage or not?

Here is the bottom line and of all the questions I have posed to you; this is the only one I would really appreciate a response to:

Why blame Wal-mart, Target, McDonald's, Burger King or any other employer for paying poverty wages when you are working hand-in-hand with politicians to assure employers can legally pay their employees poverty wages?

Please answer this question.

I do find it very interesting and significant that your organization, Take Action Minnesota, has never held a demonstration for living wages at any of the casino operations of the Indian Gaming Industry here in Minnesota. Do campaign contributions made to the Democrats have a bearing on this?

Alan L. Maki
 
 
 
This was my original letter:
 
From: Alan Maki [alan.maki1951mn@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2013 10:27 AM

To: Paul Marquart
Subject: Let's talk about "cost-of-living" and the Minimum Wage.

Please feel free to circulate widely; if Kathleen Blake responds I will provide her response on my blog.  Alan L. Maki
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Alan Maki <alan.maki1951mn@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Nov 30, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Subject: Re: Rally, March and Demonstration in Grand Rapids, Minnesota to increase the Minimum Wage
To: Kathleen Blake <kathleen@takeactionminnesota.org>

To:

Kathleen Blake, Take Action Minnesota; 
I am in receipt of this e-mail (see below) announcing your plans for a rally, march and demonstration supposedly intended to push to raise the Minimum Wage.

The problem is, you are advocating for a poverty Minimum Wage to come into effect in two years at which time, in terms of real money, the $9.50 an hour you are advocating will be a lower Minimum Wage than what it is today at $7.25 and hour.

You acknowledge this:

The wages of low- and middle-income working Minnesotans continue to stagnate, while the cost of housing, utilities, food, childcare, transportation and health care continue to increase. It costs a family of three (one adult and two children) approximately $46,000 a year to meet basic needs.
And; yet, you and the Democrats who you front for, proceed to advocate for a $9.50 Minimum Wage; why would you advocate for a Minimum Wage that is not a real living wage based on all "cost-of-living" factors as determined by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics?

The Minimum Wage should be legislatively tied to all cost of living factors, re-calculated quarterly for inflation and periodically increased to improve the living standards of working people.

The Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party has a super-majority--- a Democratic governor, a Democratic majority in the State House and a majority in the Minnesota State Senate.

There is no reason why workers shouldn't have a real living Minimum Wage.
To betray working people for political expediency is the epitome of everything that is wrong with the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, union "leadership" in Minnesota and foundation-funded fronts for the MNDFL.

The Roseau County DFL's County Convention passed a resolution calling for the Minimum Wage to be legislatively tied to all "cost-of-living" factors provided by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and this is the one and only fair and just way of resolving the Minimum Wage issue.

Why would you push for a Minimum Wage that is so much lower than what you acknowledge the actual cost of living to be?
There is also the matter of long-term unemployment which is acknowledged by politicians and economists alike to be the "new normal." This will require two remedies:

First, and most urgent; unemployed people are entitled to real living incomes from the time of job loss until they become gainfully employed.
Second; we need a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would legislatively mandate and require the President and Congress to work together to attain and maintain full employment.
It is high time to make these politicians who campaign on promises of "jobs, jobs, jobs" to fulfill these campaign promises. 
Working people are entitled to something for their votes.
Working people without jobs are going to be poor.
Working people paid poverty wages far below what the cost of living is are going to be poor.
Stop playing games with the lives of working people and bring forward alternatives which are really required to put an end to poverty.

In addition; you are holding this rally, march and demonstration here in northern Minnesota that has the most atrocious, despicable racist poverty resulting from racist discrimination in employment of Native American people. Poverty and unemployment on the Indian Reservations is so terrible, politicians and the media are too embarrassed to even talk about this. And your organizations and the MNDFL refuse to insist on the enforcement of Affirmative Action. Why is this? 
The MN DFL has created over 40,000 jobs in the Indian Gaming Industry where workers are forced to work in loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages with constantly recurring wage theft and without any protections and rights under state or federal labor laws and your organizations remain silent and do nothing about this injustice in an industry where every single slot machine and table game along with all the other profitable enterprises comprising this hideous Indian Gaming Industry are owned by a bunch of racist, rich white mobsters for whom crooked and corrupt tribal councils are the fronts as the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association bribes Democrats to perpetuate this injustice.

Not a peep of protest from your organizations nor one single politician in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Select Committee on Living Wage Jobs has repeatedly refused to acknowledge these issues.
Not one single politician, union staff person nor the director of any of the foundation-funded outfits pushing this poverty wage under the guise increasing the Minimum Wage would work for the miserly wage of $9.50 an hour.

The whole bunch of you should be ashamed to engage in a campaign that uses the poverty of others for self-serving political expediency. 
It is pathetic that the MNDFL with its super-majority refused to raise the Minimum Wage during the last legislative session.
Even more appalling is the dirty work of Minnesota State Senator Tom Bakk who hails from the racist building trades unions who cries a sob story for the billionaires in the hospitality industry.

I would suggest that you add the following to your vocabulary:
* Cost-of-living.
* Standard-of-living.
From here we can have a discussion of what a fair and just Minimum Wage should be and how the Minimum Wage should be established so that it is a real living wage.
If employers don't like the idea of paying workers real living wages for the jobs they need to have done, let them do the work themselves.
And as far as small businesses who cry all the way to the bank? Just remove them from Minimum Wage legislation provided they hire their spouses and children to do the work.
Any public official bringing forward the idea workers should work for these poverty wages should be the first to accept such wages as their own pay--- and for most of these state legislators here in Minnesota this would be paying them far more than they are worth.

I would note that the billionaire Democratic Governor of Minnesota inherited his wealth which was derived from paying workers employed at Dayton-Hudson/Target Stores poverty wages.
I would call to your attention this Op-ed piece from the New York Times: 
I will close by noting the sharp racist and sexist edge there is to tolerating a Minimum Wage that is a poverty wage by simply pointing out the fact that it is people of color--- and women--- who are more often than not employed in the lowest wage jobs because we lack a "level playing field" in the area of employment in this country; which Affirmative Action is supposed to be helping to overcome but is no longer being enforced. Young workers also suffer--- more so if they are youth of color or women. Young women of color suffer the most from the Minimum Wage remaining a poverty wage; just walk into any of the Indian Gaming operations and this fact is readily apparent for anyone who looks to see.
In solidarity and struggle for a real living--- non-poverty--- Minimum Wage,
Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
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"Getting America Back To Work"



From: Kathleen Blake a href="mailto:kathleen@takeactionminnesota.org" target="_blank" style="color: #1155cc;">kathleen@takeactionminnesota.org>
Date: Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 4:06 PM
Subject: GR Rally to End Poverty Wages Sat Dec 7
To: Kathleen Blake a href="mailto:kathleen@takeactionminnesota.org" target="_blank" style="color: #1155cc;">kathleen@takeactionminnesota.org>


Congressman Nolan and area legislators will join residents as we demand an end to poverty-level wages, Sat. Dec 7 at 5:30 PM.  See flyer for additional details.
 
Itasca Working Families Alliance and TakeAction Minnesota will hold a Rally to End Poverty Wages in Minnesota Sat. December 7 at 6 PMin Grand Rapids.  The Rally will be preceded by a March from the Angel of Hope Park at 5:30 pm, across the Pokegama Ave Bridge and on to the Big Red Chair (corner of Hwy 169 and Hwy 2), before moving inside to Brewed Awakenings Coffee House at 6 PM.
An area resident will give the perspective of trying to survive on minimum wage.  Other speakers will include US Representative Rick Nolan, Senator Tom Saxhaug, Representative Tom Anzelc and other area elected officials. 
As we gather across from the Christmas lights on the grounds of Old Central School, marchers will acknowledge the hard working men and women who make the holidays happen, despite being paid poverty level wages with few benefits.  A big fire will warm the marchers, in solidarity with the workers of McDonald’s corporation who are advised, on the company website’s budget for struggling workers, to allocate $0 for heat.
The wages of low- and middle-income working Minnesotans continue to stagnate, while the cost of housing, utilities, food, childcare, transportation and health care continue to increase. It costs a family of three (one adult and two children) approximately $46,000 a year to meet basic needs. Yet, a parent working full-time earning the federal minimum wage ($7.25) has a gross income of only $15,080, leaving a family of three at only 78% of the federal poverty level. Worse yet, workers covered only by Minnesota’s minimum wage law ($6.15) earn $13,000 a year – an income that leaves a family of three at 68% of the federal poverty level.
Economic Security is critical to the health of our children, families and communities.  End Poverty Wages in Minnesota.      
Kathleen O'Halloran Blake
Economy Organizer
TakeAction Minnesota
kathleen@takeactionminnesota.org
218-398-2271
-- 
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




 

Sleepless nights...

A few weeks back when I called the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to inquire about the two crooks that had been hired to work at the Dresden nuclear power plant ( http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2013/13-039.iii.pdf ) I got into a discussion about another issue which has stuck in my head and I can't get it out. I even wake up early in the morning thinking about it.

Here is what has been troubling me...

Somehow I got away from the main issue I called about and we started talking about Fukushima and "accidents."

I have been assured by the woman I talked to at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Victoria Mitlyng that nuclear power plants are safe; that Fukushima is a rare occurrence--- she explained it as a rare "accident."

And then in the next breath she told me there are no guarantees in life against accidents.

Well, I was forced to concur; we all know this.

I asked her if she knew of any other industry where accidents could result in such catastrophic harm and destruction.

She told me I didn't think logically because the nuclear power industry has had so few accidents.

So, I said, "As long as there are no accidents the nuclear power industry is a very safe industry." She responded, "Yes."

I responded by saying, "It is very comforting to know that the nuclear power industry knows how to deal with everything except accidents.

She replied, "How can we ever prevent accidents?"

I said, "My point exactly."

She responded, "That is your spin Mr. Maki."

Now that I have pulled this thought out of my head and written it down I hope this thought about nuclear power and accidents doesn't bother and torment anyone else.