Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

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

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


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

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

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Violence and guns.

Judging by the conversations and discussions taking place about this tragedy of all these little kids being killed what I am going to write probably won't find too many people agreeing with me but I'm going to say what I have to say anyways.

Start taking the guns away from the police and the military and the biggest part of violence relating to guns is solved.

I notice no one is talking about ba
nning the manufacturing of assault rifles and handguns; how come?

The fact of the matter is if someone goes berserk and wants to kill a bunch of little kids they can use a baseball bat or a knife.

It's possible this guy just "cracked" but more likely he wasn't getting the help he needed even though quite a few people knew he needed help but no one cared enough to get help to him.

I work with a lot of women in the casino industry who are really violently abused by management people who try to use their positions of authority to "get what they want" any way they want and I am surprised none of these women end up dead.

Almost every single day some woman will tell me about a problem of violence with a spouse or boyfriend and more often than not the children are getting the crap beat out of them, too.

It is just about impossible to get any government agency to intervene from the position of helping short of having the guy arrested.

In my opinion, politicians have sucked us into focusing on this or that really horrible act of violence as a way to evade discussing the real causes of violence and, more importantly, escape having to fund the kind of programs that really help people in a way that prevents the violence against people in the first place.

Of course we have a system that is devoid of morality which treats human suffering as "collateral damage."

If we were to ban the sale of hand-guns and assault rifles while continuing to allow their manufacture the only thing you do is the same as what has happened with drugs: you force up the price of obtaining these guns and the criminals are going to profit selling them as the manufacturers profit the most.

In my opinion, what this terrible and tragic killing really shows that we need in this country is a National Public Health Care System with neighborhood and community health care centers spread out across this country instead of military bases dotting the globe; health care centers providing free health care that would include mental health care in addition to general health care--- publicly financed, publicly administered and publicly delivered.

The left shouldn't be sucked in by making this strictly a "ban hand-guns and assault rifle" debate.

People in this country are indoctrinated with a culture of violence from the very beginning of life and then we think when something terrible and tragic like this happens there is some kind of quick CHEAP fix to the problem.

In one way or another, capitalism is an extremely violent system.

Anyone want to join me in calling for a ban on manufacturing assault rifles and hand guns? Ya; see how fast these politicians run away from talking about protecting kids when they have to concern themselves with protecting corporate profits; corporate profits which go to pay lobbyists who make huge campaign contributions.

I find it interesting our great free media hasn't talked much about what company manufactured the guns and how much that company contributed to the campaigns of which politicians.

"Austerity - At Whose Cost?"

From: Becky Dunlop <dunlop@binghamton.edu>
Date: Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 7:29 PM
Subject: Immanuel Wallerstein's Commentary No. 343
To: COMMENT@listserv.binghamton.edu

Please do not reply to the listserv. To correspond with the author, write immanuel.wallerstein@yale.edu. To correspond with us about your email address on the listserv, write dunlop@binghamton.edu. Thank you.

Commentary No. 343, Dec. 15, 2012
"Austerity - At Whose Cost?"

Everywhere, austerity is the demand of the day. To be sure, there are seeming exceptions for the moment in a few countries - China, Brazil, the Gulf states, and possibly a few others. But these are exceptions to a demand that pervades the world-system today. In part, this demand is absolutely phony. In part, it reflects a real economic problem. What are the issues?

On the one hand, the incredible wastefulness of a capitalist system has indeed led to a situation in which the world-system is threatened by its real inability to continue to consume globally at the level at which the world has been doing it, especially since the absolute level of consumption is constantly increasing. We are indeed exhausting basic elements for human survival, given the consumerism that has been the basis of our productive and speculative activities.

On the other hand, we know that global consumption has been highly unequal, both among countries and within countries. Furthermore, the gap between the current beneficiaries and the current losers has been persistently growing. These divergences constitute the fundamental polarization of our world-system, not only economically, but politically and culturally.
This is no longer much of a secret to the world's populations. Climate change and its consequences, food and water shortages and their consequences are visible to more and more people, many of whom are beginning to call for a shift in civilizational values - away from consumerism.

The political consequences are indeed quite worrisome to some of the biggest capitalist producers, who are realizing that they no longer have a tenable political position, and therefore they face the inevitable shutdown of their ability to command resources and wealth. The current demand for austerity is a sort of last-ditch effort to hold back the tide of the structural crisis of the world-system.

The austerity that is being practiced is an austerity imposed on the economically weaker parts of the world populations. Governments are seeking to save themselves from the prospect of bankruptcies and to shield mega-corporations (especially but not only mega-banks) from paying the price (lost revenue) of their egregious follies and self-inflicted wounds. The way they are trying to do this is essentially by cutting back (if not eliminating altogether) the safety nets that were historically erected to save individuals from the consequences of unemployment, serious illness, housing foreclosures, and all the other concrete problems that people and their families regularly face.

Those who seek short-term advantage continue to play the stock market in constant and fast trading. But this is a game that is dependent in the middle run upon the ability to find purchasers for the products on sale. And effective demand is steadily disappearing, both precisely because of these cutbacks in safety nets and because of the massive fear that there are still more cutbacks coming.
The proponents of austerity have been regularly assuring us that we are turning the corner or will soon do so, and that a revived general prosperity will return. However, we have not in fact been turning this mythical corner, and the promises of revival are becoming ever more modest and projected to take ever longer.

There are also those who think that a social-democratic solution is available. Instead of austerity, we should augment government spending and tax the wealthier segments of the population. Even if this were politically realizable, would it do the trick? The proponents of austerity have one plausible argument. There aren't enough world resources to sustain the level of consumption everyone wants as more and more individuals demand politically to be among the higher consumers.

This is where the exceptions to which I referred come in. They are at the moment expanding the numbers of high consumers, not merely shifting the geographic location of high consumers. The countries that have been “exceptions” are thereby increasing the economic dilemmas, not resolving them. There are only two ways out of the real dilemma involved in this structural crisis. One is to establish a non-capitalist authoritarian world-system which will use force and deception rather than the "market" to permit and augment the inegalitarian world distribution of basic consumption. The other is to change our civilizational values.
In order to realize a relatively democratic and relatively egalitarian historical system in which to live, we do not need "growth" but what is being called in Latin America buen vivir. What this means is engaging in continued rational discussion about how the whole world can allocate the world's resources such that we all not only have what we really need to survive but also preserve the possibility for future generations to do the same.

For some parts of the world's populations, it means their children will "consume" less; for others, they will "consume" more. But in such a system, we can all have the "safety net" of a life guaranteed by the social solidarity that such a system makes possible.

The next twenty to forty years will see an enormous political battle, not about the survival of capitalism (which has exhausted its possibilities as a system) but about what kind of system we shall collectively "choose" to replace it - an authoritarian model that imposes continued (and expanded) polarization or one that is relatively democratic and relatively egalitarian.
by Immanuel Wallerstein

Becky Dunlop
Secretary, Fernand Braudel Center
Binghamton University
PO Box 6000
Binghamton NY 13902