economy, free-market ideology, healthcare, video-movies-podcasts
March 18, 2019
In our continuing effort to find varied sources to illustrate the power of marketing and the costs of unregulated capitalism we return to John Stewart’s show Last Week Tonight for his segment on sugar in food. The food industry continues to put sugar in nearly every processed food and fights efforts to reveal how much of this dangerous additive is in each bite.
March 14, 2019
If one is interested in helping people develop new understandings of how their society works the question of how adults learn and engage is critical. Clearly standard pedagogical approaches are inappropriate because our readers are adults not the ages typical for K-12 and college instruction. Further, standard pedagogy is top-down and largely devoted to supporting current cultural, political and economic regimes. So, I have been digging into adult learning models. Beginning with Knowles 1970s and —>> read more –>>
- Knowles, M. (1975) Self-directed learning: A guide for learners and teachers, New York: Cambridge Books. p.18
- O'Sullivan, E. (1999) Transformative Learning: Educational vision for the 21st century. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press Inc.
- Transformative Learning in Practice: Insights from Community, Workplace and Education, Jossey-Bass Inc 2009
March 8, 2019
Discrimination Against Women Continues – Lots of Outright Oppression Too In the NYTimes today is an article, “Why International Women’s Day Isn’t Going Away – For all the progress women have made, they are still a long way from true equality.” by Iliana Magra. Here are a few data points from the article: 200 million That’s the minimum number of women and girls on the planet who have undergone female genital mutilation, the United Nations says. —>> read more –>>
economy, free-market ideology, video-movies-podcasts
March 7, 2019
We have written earlier (for example our article The Monopolization of America) about the increasing concentration of market power In the hands of just a few corporations. This is a phenomenon occurring throughout the US economy (really more broadly across the globe). Here is an 11 minute review of the history and current state of monopolies in our economy.
February 19, 2019
AmericanDelusions does not generally comment on the day-to-day political scene. But, the behavior of the Republican Party in recent years has become so toxic to our country that we pause to take note.
February 15, 2019
Louisiana provides a grievous example of unequal access to equal justice. According to a study by the American Bar Association Louisiana has only 363 legal aid attorneys where the case load requires 1,461.
education, healthcare, inequality, politics
February 14, 2019
Roosevelt’s 1944 State of the Union called for a second bill of rights, an economic bill of rights, that resonates loudly today.
inequality, justice/jails, recently noted
January 26, 2019
It is not often that one can make a judgement that is nearly absolute in its accuracy. Most things in life are complicated, complicated by circumstance, money, class, family, just plain errors in judgement, execution, and on… But, when it comes to the American justice system you come face to face with a system that is a gigantic fraud. This is as close to an absolute truth as one is ever likely find in our —>> read more –>>
January 15, 2019
Recent conversations about AmericanDelusions (AD) has brought me around to new thinking about the organizing principles of AD and how to make the content more useful and accessible. What are the underlying ideas of American life? So, exactly what do I mean by referring to “delusions”? As noted in the introductory essay “American Delusions“: Every society creates delusions, myths and stories to explain where it came from and how it works. These are so engrained —>> read more –>>
political system, politics, video-movies-podcasts
January 15, 2019
There has been focus on wealth and income inequality for years. It is a pressing problem for more than 80% of the US population. But there is an other inequality, political inequality, that is at the heart of the more talked about inequality. In 2013 Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig provided us with a delightful introduction to how political inequality works – We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim (length 18’14”) in which he —>> read more –>>
- Gilens, Martin, and Benjamin I Page. “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.” Perspect. Polit. Perspectives on Politics 12, no. 03 (2014): 564–81.
education, free-market ideology
December 24, 2018
Adjunct teachers are paid so poorly that many qualify for food stamps. Meanwhile students across the country are underwriting ever higher tuition through debt.
December 18, 2018
“Women are almost half of the workforce. They are the sole or co-breadwinner in half of American families with children. They receive more college and graduate degrees than men. Yet, on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men. In 2017, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent.”
December 6, 2018
The recent movie The Post (about the Washington Post newspaper and its involvement with the Pentagon Papers – see below) poses interesting reminders of the power of the US government to rain death on countries that fall under our imperial domain and simultaneously keep the American people in the dark or asleep. Iconic image of “pacification” campaign during Vietnam War In the case of the Vietnam War (1950 – 1975)1 it took Daniel Ellsberg’s theft —>> read more –>>
- American "advisors" joined the French in 1950. The US government paid for most of the French military effort until their ignominious defeat at Dien Bin Phu in 1953 led to their withdrawal and the Geneva Accords of 1954
December 3, 2018
“We therefore estimate that Medicare for All could reduce U.S. Health Consumption Expenditures by about 9.6 percent while also providing decent health care coverage for all U.S. residents” The Medicare for All movement gained some new support from a study released last week. The research report, “Economic Analysis of Medicare for All”,1 provides an analysis of the lower costs and improved healthcare outcomes to be expected from the implementation of Medicare for All. Here is —>> read more –>>
- Robert Pollin, James Heintz, Peter Arno, Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Michael Ash “PERI - Economic Analysis of Medicare for All.” 11/30/2018 page 1 - Accessed December 3, 2018. https://www.peri.umass.edu/component/k2/item/1127-economic-analysis-of-medicare-for-all.
economy, free-market ideology
Adam Smith discussed the harms caused by monopolies1 in the frequently, ritualistically cited book, The Wealth of Nations2. The progressive politics of the end of the 19th century and into the beginning of the 20th was marked by a deep reaction to the monopolistic practices of large companies then. This led to the ant-trust legislation that remains the cornerstone of the Federal government’s efforts to protect competition in the marketplace: Sherman Act of 1890, the —>> read more –>>
- A note about the term “monopoly”: Economists have long acknowledged that the literal meaning of monopoly, a company having exclusive control over a commodity or service, is not a useful representation of how capitalist economies actually work. In practice when a small number of firms, say 3 or 4, control roughly 50% or more of a market, they can and do act to control prices, restrain trade, and force weaker competitors out of the market. As John Oliver notes we can experience this by simply booking an airline flight. Southwest, Delta, United, and American control 69% of the domestic market. This concentration is amplified by the hub and spoke system that assures that in many localities there is no choice but a single provider of air services. This is precisely why we need to reinvigorate the existing anti-trust laws and protect consumers from the gouging and abuse we now experience every time we fly.
- Smith, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
- chart borrowed from: Leonhardt, David. “Opinion | The Monopolization of America.” The New York Times, November 26, 2018, sec. Opinion. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/25/opinion/monopolies-in-the-us.html.
justice/jails, recently noted, video-movies-podcasts
November 4, 2018
We have written earlier about the fact that effective legal representation and trial by jury is a rarity making one of our cultural icons a complete sham. As Jed Rakoff has noted: In actuality, our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors and with no judicial oversight. The outcome is very largely determined by the prosecutor alone. In 2013, while 8 percent of all federal criminal charges —>> read more –>>
- Why Innocent People Plead Guilty" by Jed Rakoff in New York Review of Books 11/20/2014 accessed 6/24/2017
justice/jails, recently noted
September 1, 2018
Hudson NY and Its SWAT Team State St Hudson NY 6/12/2018 – photo by Lance Wheeler for Columbia-Greene Media. Even here in our little city of Hudson NY (population ~ 7,000) we have a police SWAT team, benignly referred to officially as the Columbia County Shared Services Team. There has been plenty of concern over its use here in the last couple of years, most recently in June of this year. The website CityLab has published —>> read more –>>
- https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/08/militarization-of-local-police-isnt-making-anyone-safer/568900/ accessed 09012018
- http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2018/08/14/1805161115.full.pdf accessed 09012018
inequality, political system, politics
August 22, 2018
It is always useful to put a face to trends. The grotesque yawning extent of inequality is one of those trends that begs for the concrete. Knowing that a million seconds is 12 days while a billion seconds is 31 years gives some shape to the dimensions of inequality, it is still difficult to wrap one’s head around the scale of inequality that continues to surge. Today this message from Bernie Sanders arrived in —>> read more –>>
environment, free-market ideology, political system
August 20, 2018
The earth is burdened by the tsunami of plastic refuse that will never degrade. Government needs to protect us from capitalist enterprises delight in externalizing costs to our detriment and their short-term benefit.