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...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Why haven't we learned lessons from LBJ and his disastorous escalation and continuation of the Vietnam War?

Yesterday I visited the President Lyndon B. Johnson museum in Johnson City, Texas.

The tour guide explained how Johnson got his "left economic populism" from his father.

This is one of the most honest displays of a politician's life I have ever seen.

It is explained to people how the Vietnam War caused havoc with all of Johnson's important social and civil rights programs and people learn how the massive protests against the Vietnam War, which Johnson expanded instead of stopping, led to him not running for re-election. This connection between war and poverty is something politicians have not learned.

A few of the displays on civil rights and poverty allow for citizen interaction with people being allowed to post their thoughts on index cards which are posted for everyone to see.

The real lesson to be learned from visiting the Johnson Museum and History center none of these pundits and "populist" economists like Paul Krugman, Robert Reich or even Bernie Sanders seem to understand is that wars create poverty, along with great human misery, and make it impossible to end poverty or even improve the lives and livelihoods of all the people.

Lyndon Johnson lamented the fact that "capitalism created vast wealth" but "a way had not been found to bring the millions in poverty better lives...;" another lesson we need to learn and force these politicians and over-paid pundits to confront.

Lyndon B. Johnson's political career began by fighting the banks, big-agriculture and the oil men and fighting for the New Deal Reforms.

Just imagine what kind of health care, education and jobs programs we could have had in this country had as much effort and resources been expended on building Lyndon B. Johnson's vision of a "Great Society" if so much of our national wealth had not been squandered on war after war the last 50 years... something to think about.

Looking across the "hill country of Texas," which Johnson called "home" one can see the massive poverty.

The facts of what wars are doing to us was made very clear in the graph at the Johnson museum which showed a very brief period of time when real headway was made in the fight against poverty through Johnson's many social and economic reforms and these graphs very lucidly depict how the fight against poverty came to an abrupt end with the rapid, costly escalation of the Vietnam War.

The other thing that is very clear from the Johnson exhibits is that organized, militant and massive public intervention on issues ranging from war and peace to wealth and poverty and in defense of public education and equality for all can really influence the direction of the country in very tangible ways that improve the lives of the majority of the people... one can easily imagine just what kind of country we could be living in if we were to be successful in coming together to take power out of the hands of the greedy Wall Street parasites which include the merchants of death and destruction.

Johnson made a horrible blunder in allowing Wall Street's Military-Industrial Complex to lead him into escalating the Vietnam War... one has to wonder if Johnson's conscience didn't bother him since he died of a massive heart attack at the young age of 64 shortly after deciding not to seek a second term.

Upon Johnson's invitation, he met with George McGovern at his very modest Texas ranch, the Texas White House, shortly before his death and no one seems to know exactly what they discussed. No doubt McGovern, another "left economic populist," but one who understood that war and solving the problems of the people are mutually exclusive, attempted to explain to Johnson that this is where he screwed up.

Hillary Clinton will now attempt a shot at the presidency using this failed "left economic populist" rhetoric devoid of any mention of how these dirty wars are making us all poor and all these Obama supporters will attempt to tell us we need to vote for Hillary because she is the lesser of two evils as compared to Jeb Bush or Scott Walker but history, and economics, prove that any talk based on "economic populism" that is devoid of integrating the need to end war with a just transition to a peace based economy where we beat swords into plowshares is as sure to end up in expanded misery for the majority of the people.

I do find it of interest that all these Democratic Party politicians run from acknowledging Lyndon B. Johnson's victories--- and defeats; especially when there are such important lessons to be learned.

I would also point out that Lyndon B. Johnson supported George McGovern for president from which one can draw the conclusion that Johnson understood, at least in his own mind and in his heart, that he had been wrong in expanding the war in Vietnam... perhaps had Johnson had the courage to take on the Wall Street crowd as he did with the oil barons, big agri-business, the bankers and in his defense of the New Deal we would be living in a much different country today where people come before profits.

I remember many on the left calling for going "part of the way with LBJ;" but life has proven we can not have jobs and a decent standard of living alongside wars... something present day so-called "economic populist" pundits and economists alike do not understand or, more than likely, don't want to understand because they fear offending the Wall Street hand which feeds them.

Isn't it time to begin talking about the politics and economics of livelihood? Ending poverty and wars.