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...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Social Justice and the capitalist market.

Our monthly Social Justice Book Club at the Lake Travis Community Public Library has been reading, "What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets" by Michael J. Sandel.

I initially made the comment I didn't care for the book because it brought forward no solutions. Another person responded suggesting we read a book by David Harvey as a next selection.

I just wanted to share an e-mail comment I made to the group:

I think reading David Harvey would be a great idea since Marxism remains the primary opposition to capitalism. All too often we only hear the voices of the anti-Marxists; and, like with the current book, we only get a critique of what is wrong with providing rationing for the well-being of people through the market-based system with no alternatives suggested... perhaps the biggest failing of the capitalist market-based for-profit system is in the area of health care and our failure to be able to bring the concept of a National Public Health Care System (socialized health care) into the proverbial public square even just for discussion because the two major parties are the guardians of this present health care system when in fact, a National Public Health Care System is no more controversial than public education which functions very well when properly funded and not controlled by an arrogant well-heeled intellectual elite although a much more progressive way of funding a National Public Health Care System would have to be considered since the reactionary and regressive property tax has provided a much better public education for the wealthy than for the working class.

I would hope our discussion of the current book would focus on market-based health care so we become voices for opening up a real dialog on something that really counts... for real change which social justice is all about.

Priorities also have to be questioned since Lyndon Johnson, in spite of his proclaiming we could fund a “Great Society” and wars at the same time has been proven wrong... apparently a conclusion he came to too late in life while endorsing George McGovern for president... an endorsement which took place right here in Texas Hill Country at Johnson’s ranch during a lengthy meeting and discussion between the two... the content of which is still being concealed from the public... and concealed by? A market-driven corporate media. Apparently “the market” can’t deliver information to us any better than it can deliver health care.

For more info on a National Public Health Care System check out my blog post and the links in it here: https://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/2017/11/one-of-my-blog-posts-hits-all-time-high.html

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The movie "LBJ;" what is missing?

The liberal Rob Reiner had the perfect opportunity to include this very important event in his movie, "LBJ," starring Woody Harrelson.

But, Rob Reiner being a very loyal Democrat dutifully ignored this historic event while portraying Johnson as a buffoon compared to the Kennedy's.

The Democrats just hate to talk about and acknowledge two politicians:

Lyndon Johnson and George McGovern.

George McGovern opposed Johnson's war in Vietnam and Johnson ended up endorsing George McGovern for president... a point Rob Reiner completely omitted from his movie even though this meeting would have made for a perfect conclusion to the movie.

In many ways Lyndon Johnson was both the best president ever and one of the worst; while George McGovern was the Democrat's best candidate ever... bar none.

One would think this meeting on its own would be worthy of study and discussion... even a movie or a play.

This is a photo of the Johnson-McGovern meeting at the Johnson Ranch in Texas Hill Country but the LBJ Library refuses to make the notes, audio and video recordings of the meeting public. Why? Because Johnson with his hair grown long acknowledged by supporting McGovern that we can not have war and a "Great Society" at the same time?

The Democrats just hate to talk about and acknowledge two politicians:

Lyndon Johnson and George McGovern.

George McGovern opposed Johnson's war in Vietnam and Johnson ended up endorsing George McGovern for president.

One would think this would be worthy of study and discussion... even a movie or a play.

This is a photo of the Johnson-McGovern meeting at the Johnson Ranch in Texas Hill Country but the LBJ Library refuses to make the notes, audio and video recordings of the meeting public. Why? Because Johnson with his hair grown long acknowledged by supporting McGovern that we can not have war and a "Great Society" at the same time?

Why is it no other researchers have insisted this material be made public?

Certainly Rob Reiner's researchers for the movie "LBJ" must have been aware of this important meeting?

According to the New York Times their meeting lasted over three hours. Certainly the American people are entitled to know the content of this discussion; aren't we?

Are we being denied what transpired at this meeting between Johnson and McGovern because of this ongoing debate?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

One of my blog posts hits an all time high for The Podunk Blog

My blog post on health care hit an all time high for my blog posts. People continue to read and share this post:

The hits on this post have reached 1,729,234.

This leads me to conclude there is tremendous interest in a National Public Health Care System... socialized health care.

So, why aren't more people talking about a National Public Health Care System as an alternative to the mess we have now with this for-profit health care system?

It seems people are afraid to venture beyond what is considered appropriate to talk about with-in Democratic Party circles... "affordable health care (Obamacare)," single-payer universal health care and Medicare for All... all of which leave the for-profit system of health care intact... and each leaves us with private delivery of health care intact.

I encourage more people to join me in speaking out for a National Public Health Care System... don't be bullied by the Democratic Party hacks.

The Democrats have no intention of delivering single-payer or Medicare for All. They have been using both to get votes and then once elected, these Dumb Donkeys capitulate to the health care industry which includes a bunch of greedy insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment manufacturers, hospitals and nursing homes, credit card companies and doctors.

There are those who peddle the lie that socialist Tommy Douglas fought for single-payer universal health care in Canada... this is another great big fat lie. Canadians won single-payer as a compromise while fighting for socialized health care and even after winning the single-payer reform, Tommy Douglas urged Canadians to continue the struggle for socialized health care because he realized the short-comings of allowing the for-profit crowd to feed at this huge public trough and leaving health care delivery in the hands of greedy doctors seeking to make their fortunes from people who are sick.

I appreciate you continuing to share my blog post on National Public Health Care... I encourage you to pick up your pen and write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper today. The letter need not be long. Just hit on the main points as I did in this letter to the editor:

Real health-care reform

Health-care reform discussion is being manipulated with the choices — Ryancare versus Obamacare — being dictated to us just like the candidates placed before us in the last election. We are supposed to select the lesser evil and be happy.

What we need is a national public health-care system based on the model of public education. Publicly financed. Publicly administered. And publicly delivered.

Alan Maki, Lakeway

Or, if you want to get further into it, something like this letter which I wrote that was published previously in the Austin American-Statesman:

I do not understand how it is that people who call themselves socialists and revolutionaries can be bullied, badgered and intimidated into allowing Democratic Party hacks and politicians to manipulate and control this health care debate when the whole idea behind the need for socialism is solving the problems of working people... problems like health care.

It would seem to me advocating socialized health care would be the best way to show people WHY we need socialism... I don't understand how you explain the need for socialism by advocating capitalist "solutions" to our problems... and make no mistake--- "affordable health care," single-payer universal health care and Medicare for All are capitalist "solutions" to this health care mess... all of which only alleviate part of the problem/s for very short periods of time before very severe problems inherent in the for-profit health care system arise.

Compare the speech by Xi Jinping to Trump’s “America First” speech delivered in Vietnam

Compare this speech by Xi Jinping to Trump’s “America First” speech delivered in Vietnam:



Two speeches; two different political and economic systems.

What do you make of these speeches?

Have the American people been invited to participate in this discussion?

Do you have a say in the economic decision-making process?

How do we as working people have a say?

What has been the role of Wall Street and its junior partners in all of this?

Do we understand the nature of imperialism, the most advanced stage of capitalism?

Do we understand socialism?

How do these two views fit in with the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the anti-imperialist struggles and the struggle for socialism?

Must we wait, like Immanuel Wallerstein the anti-globalization intellectual says, to analyze what is taking place in China before we draw conclusions?

Do we as working people understand politics and economics from an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist pro-socialist perspective in a way which enables us to work towards solutions to our own pressing problems which includes ending militarism and these dirty imperialist wars so we can implement legislation for real health care reform, to defend the integrity and future of public education, to win full-employment and a real living Minimum Wage, to break the back of racist discrimination by implementing and enforcing Affirmative Action, for decent and affordable housing for all, for affordable transportation, for a public banking system, in defense of Social Security and expanding benefits to include real living incomes, for a Basic Income Guarantee that assures everyone a real living income, for protection of our living environment and combating global warming?

Do we understand Wall Street and its international junior partners including Bay Street, the Square Mile and the money bags of Germany and Japan are our common enemies?

Do we as working people understand who are friends and enemies are?

Do we understand we can’t have an economy which works for all of us as long as Wall Street drags us into never-ending costly war after war?

Do we as working people have a common understanding these wars are making us all poor?

No matter what one thinks of China’s Xi Jinping... there is no doubt China is determined to better its own country through peace while both the Democrats and Republicans Working for Wall Street push us towards World War III.

I am wondering why the Chinese and Vietnamese did not insist on the right of North Korea to participate in this Asia-Pacific Conference that was key-noted by Xi Jinping and Donald Trump since North Korea is part of this community?

In my opinion, it is way past time for the working class to weigh in on all of these concerns because billionaires like Trump should not be allowed to do our thinking for us let alone speak for us.

The time is now to bring our Working class voices into the public square through leaflets, petitions, statements, forums, letters to the editor, protests and demonstrations...

And what is with this timid labor leadership of the AFL-CIO which lacks the ability to initiate and lead working class struggles to improve our lives at a time when Wall Street profits are at an all time high while pissing away millions of dollars supporting a bunch of Dumb Donkeys? Where is the accountability?

Why would any union leader join Trump in attacking China? Yet Trumka and Leo Gerard and James Hoffa do just this... they align themselves with our class enemies instead of our friends.

We need these Wall Street parasites and their bribed politicians about as much as our dogs and cats need ticks and fleas.

President Xi Jinping delivered a speech titled Working Together for a New Chapter of Win-Win Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific here Saturday at the first session of the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting.

Monday, November 6, 2017

It is almost impossible for most people to understand people actually sit around figuring these things out.

You have to read this to believe it:


North Korea: Trump condems "strategic patience;" Jimmy Carter offers to negotiate the peace. Others calculate the costs of war.

Here we go, again, with Trump's attacks--- from threatening war to sanctioning the people to death--- on North Korea claiming "strategic patience" is a "failed policy."

What right does Trump have to dictate anything to North Korea when he won't even sit down and have face to face talks with the North Koreans--- in spite of his often stated campaign promises to do just that?

Where is Trump's response to Jimmy Carter who publicly made an offer to help resolve this situation by going to North Korea?

"Jimmy Carter offers to talk peace with North Korea's Kim, says academic"...


And this from Carter himself:

"Guest editorial: What I've learned from North Korea's leaders"...


Trump has a lot of unmitigated arrogant gall disdaining "strategic patience" when the only alternative may be war and nuclear annihilation.

Obviously there are those imbeciles and morons in the United States government hard at work calculating the costs of war:


Sanctions against North Korea intended to cause the people of North Korea extreme hardships are acts of war.

Make sure you check this out at the link above...

Guest editorial by Jimmy Carter: What I've learned from North Korea's leaders

Friday, November 3, 2017

"What about China?"

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 fbcofc@binghamton.edu. Thank you.   
Commentary No. 460, November 1, 2017
"What about China?"

Very often, when I write about the structural crisis of the modern world-system, and therefore of capitalism as an historical system, I receive objections saying that I have neglected the strength of Chinese economic growth and its ability to serve as an economic replacement for the clearly waning strength of the United States plus western Europe, the so-called North.

This is a perfectly reasonable argument, but one that misses the fundamental difficulties of the existing historical system. In addition, it paints a far rosier picture of China's realities than is justified by a closer look. Let me address this question then in two parts - one, the historical development of the world-system as a whole, and two, the empirical situation of China at the present time.

The analysis of what I call the structural crisis of the modern world-system is one that I have made many times, in these commentaries and in my other writings. It is nonetheless worth repeating in condensed form. This is all the more necessary in that even persons who say that they are very sympathetic to the concept of structural crisis nonetheless seem in practice resistant to accept the idea of a demise of capitalism, however strong the case.

There are a number of elements of the argument to put together. One is the assertion that all systems (whatever their scope and without exception) have lives and cannot be eternal. The explanation of this eventual demise of any system is that systems operate with both cyclical rhythms and secular trends.

Cyclical rhythms refer to the constant swings away from and back to moving equilibria, a perfectly normal reality. When however various phenomena expand according to their systemic rules and then contract, they do not return after contracting exactly to where they were before the upward cyclical shift. They return instead to a somewhat higher point. This is the result of resistance to the loss of gains achieved in the upward phase.

It follows that their curve over the long run is upward. This is what we mean by a secular trend. If one measures this activity on the abscissa, or y-axis of the graph, one sees that over time they approach an asymptote of 100 percent, which cannot be crossed. It seems that when important factors reach an earlier point of about 80% on the abscissa, they begin to waver erratically.

When cyclical curves arrive at this point, they cease utilizing the so-called normal means of resolving the constant strains in the functioning of the system and enter, therefore, into a structural crisis of the system.

A structural crisis is chaotic. This means that instead of the normal standard set of combinations or alliances that were previously used to maintain the stability of the system, they constantly shift these alliances in search of short-term gains. This only makes the situation worse. We notice here a paradox - the certainty of the end of the existing system and the intrinsic uncertainty of what will eventually replace it and create thereby a new system (or new systems) to stabilize realities.

During the longish period of structural crisis, we observe a bifurcation between two alternative modes of resolving the crisis - one by replacing it with a different system that somehow preserves the essential elements of the dying system and one that transforms it radically.

Concretely, in our present capitalist system, there are those who seek to found a non-capitalist system that nonetheless maintains capitalism's worst features: hierarchy, exploitation, and polarization. And there are those who wish to establish a system that is relatively democratic and egalitarian, a type of historical system that has never existed before. We are in the midst of this political battle.

Now, let us look at China's role in what is going on. In terms of the present system, China seems to be gaining much advantage. To argue that this means the continuing functioning of capitalism as a system is basically to (re)assert the invalid point that systems are eternal and that China is replacing the United States in the same way as the United States replaced Great Britain as the hegemonic power. Were this true, in another 20-30 years China (or perhaps northeast Asia) would be able to set its rules for the capitalist world-system.

But is this really happening? First of all, China's economic edge, while still greater than that of the North, has been declining significantly. And this decline may well amplify soon, as political resistance to China's attempts to control neighboring countries and entice (that is, buy) the support of faraway countries grows, which seems to be occurring.

Can China then depend on widening internal demand to maintain its global edge? There are two reasons why not. The present authorities worry that a widening middle stratum could jeopardize their political control and seek to limit it.

The second reason, more important, is that much of the internal demand is the result of reckless borrowing by regional banks, which are facing an inability to sustain their investments. If they collapse, even partially, this could end the entire economic edge of China.

In addition, there have been, and will continue to be, wild swings in geopolitical alliances. In a sense, the key zones are not in the North, but in areas such as Russia, India, Iran, Turkey, and southeastern Europe, all of them pursuing their own roles by a game of swiftly and repeatedly changing sides. The bottom line is that, though China plays a very big role in the short run, it is not as big a role as China would wish and that some in the rest of the world-system fear. It is not possible for China to stop the disintegration of the capitalist system. It can only try to secure its place in a future world-system.

by Immanuel Wallerstein

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Trump taps Jerome Powell, a Wall Street investment banker and Bush/Obama appointee, to head up the Federal Reserve... its a rocky, dangerous road ahead for you and me.

At a time when we are on the verge of a major recession as capitalism remains on a rocky road to oblivion.

Powell is tasked with the job of keeping Wall Street a bull market which is causing a bigger gap between the rich and the poor with the rich getting richer because the poor are getting poorer.

Powell is also tasked with the impossible task of trying to stabilize a sick capitalist economy plagued with increased spending on militarization and never-ending wars instead of creating social programs intended to solve the problems of the people.

It is not ironic Powell was first tapped by George H.W. Bush since they are both partners in crime with Powell having been a partner in the Carlyle Group: https://www.carlyle.com/

It is those like Jerome Powell that Wall Street uses to make sure there is continuity between Democratic and Republican administrations.

Not surprising, Powell will oppose funding human needs which is the best job creator.

Hold on... with Jerome Powell heading up the Federal Reserve--- get ready for a roller coaster ride that will surely derail placing us on the road hell.

We can expect interest rates to rise on everything from home mortgages to credit cards and health care costs to soar as health insurance premiums rise with a huge increase in everything from food to rents and electric bills as college tuition climbs... and wages get dragged down by the increased cost of living.

One has to wonder how it is that organized labor has not demanded a bigger slice of the pie while we have been subjected to Wall Street's profit orgy the direct result of the working class creating this massive wealth.

Its time for the working class to trade the ideology of pragmatism for a Marxist analysis of where we have been and where we are going and what needs to be done.

Something to think about:

A National Public Health Care System based on the model of public education would create over twelve-million new jobs in this country and cost much less than these dirty imperialist wars our Nation's wealth is presently being squandered on... only such socialist solutions to our many problems can get us out of the mess we are mired in.

Publicly Financed.

Publicly Administered.

Publicly Delivered.

Instead of over 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil dotting the globe involved in armed interventions and wars in over fifty countries... put public health care centers in every neighborhood and community in this country providing everyone living in this country with free health care.

The working class needs a new political party to bring forward real solutions to our problems... an anti-monopoly/anti-imperialist/anti-capitalist party not afraid to challenge Wall Street for political and economic power and bring forward the socialist alternative while fighting for major reforms required to solve our most pressing immediate problems.

Any fool can understand and see that the solution to creating an economy based on prosperity for all begins with ending this insane militarism and all of these never-ending dirty imperialist wars making us all poor... peace and disarmament needs to be at the top of our working class agenda. We never could afford a guns-and-butter economy and we certainly can't afford it now... we don't need the likes of a Wall Street investment banker like Jerome Powell who doesn't understand this making the economic decisions for our country as we head into a major recession which will further shift wealth from the working class to our Wall Street employers.

At some point working people are going to have to come to a common understanding that capitalism is Wall Street's system and socialism is the worker's system--- the sooner we come to this common understanding the more likely it will be we save ourselves from what is in store fore us... more wars, more unemployment, lower wages--- in general a sharply lower standard of living while these greedy Wall Street parasites live high on the hog.

We need these Wall Street parasites like Trump and Jerome Powell running our country and dictating to the world about as much as our dogs need ticks and fleas.

Don't let any of these so-called economists and over-paid pundits tell you everything is rosy with this capitalist economy simply because Wall Street is doing so well right now... it is precisely because Wall Street is doing so well now that economic danger lies ahead in the immediate future simply because this is the nature of the capitalist economic cycle which can never be escaped... the big bust is coming.