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...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Lily pads and the Spratlys

Lily pads and the Spratlys
·         Written by  Ken Fuller 
·         Tuesday, 07 February 2017 00:00
·         Daily Tribune
Anyone who wants to view the South China Sea controversy in a wholly new context could do worse than watch “The Coming War on China,” written, produced and directed by John Pilger, released in theaters last year and now available on DVD.
Pilger’s wholly convincing thesis is that the USA has for several years been assembling a huge war machine directed at China and that unless ordinary people in the Asia-Pacific and the USA take a firm stand against it, it will sooner or later be used, with potentially terminal consequences for the planet.
The film, almost two hours in length, begins with a comprehensive look at the US nuclear testing program in the Marshall Islands, which suffered the equivalent of a bomb of Hiroshima magnitude every day for12 years. (According to a November 2015 Washington Post piece, 67 tests between 1946 and 1958 resulted in an average of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs per day).
Just as ghastly as the tests was US treatment of the islanders. Residents of Rongelap atoll were relocated in 1954, two days after a huge detonation, a thousand times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, on Bikini atoll. In 1957, they were told that Rongelap was now safe and were allowed to return.
The US authorities not only knew that it was not safe, but planned to use these returnees (referred to as “savages” in at least one US newsreel) as guinea-pigs for the study of the effects of radiation on humans. 
These were, of course, predictable: a host of cancers, burnt skin and birth defects in the next generation. One is reminded of the medical experiments conducted by the Nazis on “lesser peoples.”
After a review of the history of US-China relations, Pilger takes a look at today’s China. “The truth” he says, “is that China has matched the United States at its own great game of capitalism. And that is unforgivable.” China’s goals, says social scientist Eric Li, are very modest: it doesn’t want to dominate the world, or even the Asia-Pacific, but it does want to prevent the US from lording it over the region and preventing China from occupying its proper place in the world.
In Okinawa, the USA has 32 military installations and some 25,000 troops (around half of those in the whole of Japan). Ten years after World War II, the US’s “bulldozer and bayonets” campaign seized “prime agricultural land, burned farmhouses and killed livestock.” Small wonder, then, that a vibrant opposition to the military occupation exists to this day.
In December 2014, a new Okinawa governor was overwhelmingly elected on a pledge to stop the construction of a new base, but the Tokyo government is resisting this challenge to its authority. 
On Okinawa, there have been 44 accidents involving US aircraft, and prostitution and sexual crimes are a problem. In 1970, the latter gave rise to a major riot during which US personnel were dragged from their cars, which were then burned. Recent opposition to the military occupation has been spurred by the rape and murder of a young woman for which, in June 2016, a US contractor, a former Marine, was charged.
Okinawa also provides an example of the more serious dangers that come with the military bases. In the Cold War, nuclear weapons were secretly installed, and during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis the order was given to launch the missiles, most of which were targeted on China (which was not a party to the Cuban crisis). 
Thankfully, a sane duty officer queried the order, ordering that anyone attempting to launch should be shot. The major who had issued the launch order was discretely dismissed from the service.
The Korean island of Jeju, despite being declared an “island of world peace,” hosts “one of the most provocative military bases in the world, less than 400 miles from Shanghai.” 
Every day for a decade, a Catholic mass has blocked the gates to the base. Father Mun Jeong-hyeon has no doubts about the purpose of the new base: to aid US domination of the Pacific and to isolate China.
Outside of the USA, Washington has 1,000 bases across all continents. Lately, these have taken the form of “lily pads,” where US installations operate, often secretly, from bases of the host country. This has resulted, says Pilger, in the USA having “a secret army in 147 countries.”
There exists a “noose of bases right around China…a provocation to war.” Asks University of Missouri’s Stephen Starr: “What’s the purpose? When are we going to stop this process before it starts a war? And then, if the war starts, where does that end?” Starr says that scientists concerned about the effects of nuclear war, which could end human life on this planet, made several requests to discuss these concerns with the Obama administration, only to be turned away.
Anyone who thinks those scientists might have better luck with Trump should probably not be reading this column. Trump has talked of better relations with Russia (although, given some of his appointments, even this might be in doubt), but on China he seems likely to add to the chorus of saber-rattling.
And, of course, the Philippines will soon have its own US “lily pads,” courtesy of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement signed by former President Aquino. Despite President Duterte’s earlier objections to the presence of US troops, Defense Secretary Lorenzana recently told a news conference that “EDCA is still on.”
Pilger suggests that Chinese activity in the South China Sea must be viewed in the context of the “noose of bases” with which it is surrounded. The corollary of this, of course, is that the presence of “lily pads” in the Philippines is hardly likely to contribute to a resolution of the Spratlys problem.

Trump looks to stabilize health insurance market

In response to this article in the Austin American-Statesman:


I submitted this Letter-to-the Editor:

"Trump looks to stabilize health insurance market" is the headline (Austin American-Statesman A-2; 2/9/17).

So, the "health"--- read profits--- of the health insurance industry supersedes the human right of people to health care?

Left out of the discussion is the real solution to this health care mess which would eliminate the health insurance industry: National Public Health Care based on the public education model:

Publicly financed.

Publicly administered.

Publicly delivered.

It makes more sense to finance a network of publicly funded neighborhood and community health care centers across the country dispensing free health care for everyone instead of squandering the precious wealth of our Nation maintaining over 800 military bases dotting the globe protecting Wall Street's interests and wasting trillions of dollars on these dirty wars from which only the Wall Street merchants of death and destruction profit.

A National Public Health Care System would create some twelve-million good-paying jobs.

Ted Cruz mocked the British National Health Service... but---

In the health care debate with Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz mocked and berated health care in Great Britain... however, Betsy DeVos' father in-law, multi-billionaire Amway pyramid scheme scam artist Richard Devos, went to Great Britain for a heart transplant using a hospital that is part of the socialized National Health Service:


Devos Gets A New Heart

Magic Owner Rich Devos Was Listed In Stable Condition Following His Heart Transplant Surgery In London.

June 4, 1997|By George Diaz of The Sentinel Staff
Following a five-month wait, Orlando Magic owner Richard DeVos finally has a healthy heart. He now faces a critical and difficult recuperation.
DeVos, 71, was in stable condition at Harefield Hospital in London after heart transplant surgery Tuesday morning. DeVos should expect an extended hospital stay of at least two or three weeks, followed by three to four months living near the hospital for monitoring.

I find it interesting, but not surprising, the Democrats chose Bernie Sanders to articulate their position in a health care debate with Republican Ted Cruz

Bernie Sanders is definitely being an apologist for the Democrats as he touts the reactionary and regressive Obamacare as he is shilling for the American Medical Association; as all of his schemes leave the doctors setting the prices for the private, for-profit health care services they deliver.

Doctors setting the prices they charge for Medicare and Medicaid is one of the things destroying these two programs and causing higher co-pays... bankrupting the systems just like the co-pays are bankrupting so many working class families.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law way back in 1965... he envisioned Medicare as being one of the foundation cornerstones of The Great Society with it being extended to everyone--- a single-payer Medicare for All system--- without any co-pays and strict government control over all health care costs from the fees charged by the doctors to how much the pharmaceutical companies charge for medications and he envisioned "Medicare for All" becoming a National Public Health Care System--- socialized health care as advocated by Frances Perkins, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Secretary of Labor.

Almost since Johnson first signed Medicare into law, reactionary politicians began chopping it to pieces rather than extending its coverage until it covered everyone until, today, often the co-pays cause tens of thousands of working class families to have to seek medical bankruptcies every year--- anyone who doesn't believe this just has to sit in a Bankruptcy Court for a day.

We have to ask why Bernie Sanders keeps talking about this vague "Medicare for All" without clearly stating what LBJ intended it to be and his vision of what it should have become.

In fact, Bernie Sanders does not share the vision that "Medicare for All" means a National Public Health Care System based of the model of public education: publicly funded, publicly administer and publicly delivered--- which, as a matter of fact, LBJ who had been a committed public school teacher always explained his idea of health care as being comparable to.I find it interesting how the Democrats are content to let Bernie Sanders who is not a Democrat speak for them when it comes to health care.

I guess these Democrats don't want to be asked why they have failed to deliver on their promises of real health care reform--- instead choosing to stick with the same system of health care the Republicans are for: private, for-profit health care where the profits of the pharmaceutical companies, the hospitals and doctors are more important than keeping us healthy and getting us well when sick.

It is very convenient for the Democrats to have a self-proclaimed "independent loyal Democratic Socialist" shilling for them so as to leave them untouched and unscathed for the next election in which they will continue to say they, and they alone, are for health care reform without having to declare what they mean by "health care reform."

Bernie Sanders, and not a Democrat, defended the reactionary and regressive Obamacare that most people are fed up with just like they are fed up with wars.

"The white working class"... a racist Wall Street trap.

First the Wall Street pundits and professors wanted us to believe the lie that there was only a "middle class" and there is no "working class."

Now these same over-paid Wall Street pundits and professors want us to believe there is a "white working class."

This is what happens when the working class left--- socialists and Communists--- are weak; the Wall Street bosses hire people to do our thinking for us. This leaves the over-paid Wall Street pundits and professors to define what the working class is... hence we get all this talk about "the white working class" which is really nothing but a very vile form of racism elevated to an "intellectual" level as if it is credible when it is totally and completely deceitful and dishonest because our working class is multi-racial, multi-ethnic, men and women, young and old and a diversity of religious and non-religious with many cultures and no monolithic ideology even though if we had a much stronger and larger current of working class Marxist ideas and thinking in this country these over-paid pundits and professors would not be able to twist and distort everything to conform to Wall Street dictate which includes these racist definitions of what constitutes the working class.

The obvious intent in keeping on talking about "the white working class" is to sow discord and divisions among the working class.

The New Deal reforms were won by uniting the working class under the banner of "Black and white, unite and fight" and this should be our strategy today in the struggle for peace and re-ordering the priorities away from militarism and these dirty wars in order to pay for what we the people require to live decent lives--- quality integrated public schools, a National Public Health Care System based on the model of public education, a National Public Child Care System and jobs for all who want to work at real living wages with the Minimum Wage and Social Security based on the actual cost-of-living as calculated by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

All these politicians who talk about "jobs, jobs, jobs" to ghet elected should be legislatively forced to attain and maintain full-employment.

What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would put all of this together.

Think about this:

All of the above are very hot topics which concern working people:

Isn't it just plain common sense that we put people to work at good paying jobs providing the American people with free health care and free child care thus creating full employment which will keep Social Security solvent with everyone who pays in getting a living retirement income out--- provided we stop these crooked and corrupt politicians from stealing the Social Security Trust Fund blind to pay for their boon-doggles, the biggest of which are militarism and wars?

Together--- our class, working class of all races united in the struggle for peace, jobs and justice, we can eliminate racism and create a decent life and standard of living for everyone.

There has been a lot of talk about the "working class."

Yet, in spite of all this talk about the "working class;" the point has yet to be made that it is the collective labor of our diverse working class which creates all wealth... the wealth which is horded by the Wall Street parasites who are further enriched beyond the wealth they accumulate from exploiting us as our taxes are squandered on militarism and wars. Of course, the over-paid Wall Street pundits and professors escape talking about all of this when they hawk these racist ideas about "the white working class."