Category Archives: American Politics
Finding Alternative Media
What exactly is the “mainstream media” (aka MSM)? According to that paragon of media sensibility, Keith Baldrey, the MSM is the mass information apparatus that upholds standards and supports democracy. It apparently does not include bloggers and “citizen journalists”, who are part of an emerging trend called “alternative media”: Without so/called “mainstream media” Democracy would be […]
A Review of Tom Bennett’s Teacher Proof
[D]on’t let the fashions crush you. And so many of them are so, so very bad. The thrill of innovation, the desire for simple answers, and the mistaken belief that educational research will shine a guiding light to a smarter, more efficient system, has proven the undoing of us, and will undermine us further if […]
David Stockman on Crony Capitalism
If anyone knows about “crony capitalism”, it’s David Stockman. Stockman was a Republican stalwart and budget director for Ronald Reagan who helped shape Reagan’s failed campaign of supply-side (or trickle-down) economics. In the following interview with Bill Moyers, Stockman discusses the fundamental corruption of the American politico-economic system. His assumptions are still quintessentially capitalist, but […]
The Shock Doctrine Documentary
Though it’s been out for a few years, the documentary on Naomi Klein’s The Schock Doctrine remains a powerful and illuminating summary of her ideas. I thought I’d post it again. Klein has faced some criticism by those you might consider to be her natural allies on the progressive left. Perhaps it’s because she is an […]
Is online education cheaper?
One of the major debates in modern education is whether or not online/distance/distributed learning (DL) is cheaper and more efficient than traditional “brick and mortar” education. If it is cheaper, then obviously it becomes a useful option in a neo-liberal world where public education expenditures are shrinking. [In BC, for example, “the proportion of the […]
Equality of Opportunity?
a The following is a quick letter I contributed to the online forum of the Globe and Mail: ____________ One of the great challenges to North America’s dominant political narrative is that it doesn’t actually believe in “equality of opportunity“. If one doubts my contention, simply review the attempts here in Canada to introduce a […]
Cornel West Speaks Truth to Power
Though the current status of “public intellectuals” is somewhat unclear, there is no doubt that Cornel West – a Christian, a socialist and an African-American human rights activist – is one of the best in America. He is pugnacious, complex and passionate. The following provides a taste of what this articulate academic has to offer.
Morris Berman: “Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline”
One of the most influential and inspirational teachers I’ve ever known is the cultural historian, Morris Berman, who taught at the University of Victoria back in the 1980’s. Morris’s view of the world is not for the faint of heart – it’s uncompromising and pessimistic. Nevertheless, he defends his thesis of America’s “negative identity” with […]
Some thoughts on consumer debt, inequality and taxes
A recent report from Transunion, a Canadian credit agency, shows that consumers in B.C. carry the largest debt load in Canada. This debt includes credit card debt, but not mortgage debt. Given the real estate prices of urban British Columbia, it’s doubtful that adding mortgage debt would improve B.C.’s debtor status. This status, of course, […]
Power and History: Essential Readings for Tonight
If you have a free hour tonight, may I suggest two excellent articles? 1. “When the rich and powerful overplay their hand” – The Canadian writer James Laxer provides a brief but thought-provoking history of the French Revolution, and the parallels it might have for modern American politics. Before the revolution of 1789, Laxer explains […]