Who to Believe? – News Sources – The Most-Biased and the Least-Biased – Part 1

Posted by Mack W. Borgen July 26th, 2021

Blog No 134
July 27, 2021
READING TIME: 12 Minutes
By Mack W. Borgen
Author, The Writings of a Lifetime (2021); Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America (Three Volumes) (2018-2019); and The Relevance of Reason – The Hard Facts and Real Data about the State of Current America (2 Volumes) (2013). As Advertised in The New York Review of Books and Recipient of Eight National Book Awards
For a “cleaner,” non-email presentation of this and my other blogs, go to  https://www.mackwborgen.com/  and click the “Blogs” tab.

SOMETHING WELL SAID

“COVID-19 is now a vaccine preventable disease. Previous generations stepped up to control viruses such as polio, smallpox, chicken pox, and measles.

Now it is our turn to roll up our sleeves.”

Dr. Dan Brennan, MD, Noozhawk, Santa Barbara, CA, July 19, 2021.

QUICK FACTS

ALLOCATIONS OF WEALTH IN AMERICA 

THE TOP 1% OF AMERICANS  

NOW HAVE 16 TIMES MORE WEALTH  

THAN

THE BOTTOM 50% OF AMERICANS.

1%………………………………………………………………………………50%50%50%50%50%50%50%50%50%0%50%

Personal Note: Many years ago, I wrote my law school thesis on the possible advisability of a wealth tax. The basis for this proposal was that both personal and corporate income (and the income taxation thereon) can be easily deferred, re-characterized, and avoided. As a society, we can think about this for a couple more decades — or we can just ask Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates or examine the corporate tax returns of Amazon or a couple of thousand other wealthy individuals and highly profitable, non-tax-paying corporations.  It should also be noted that (except for the end of the 19th Century), there is now more wealth disparity than EVER before. In fact, the wealth disparity in America between the rich and the middle and lower income families has been increasing every year since the early 1980s.     

  • CORPORATE TAXES

In the 1950s, the corporate share of federal tax revenues was 35%

Today, it is 7%.

Globalism, political influence, and beneficial tax legislation work.

For some.

 NATIONAL COMMUNITY, MEDIA BIAS, AND WHO TO BELIEVE

Part I
Most Americans accept themselves as members of some community. Hopefully, most Americans also still view themselves as a member of society itself. Usually without loud objection, we accept – even if we don’t always embrace — the theory of “social contract” which was espoused centuries ago by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Under the theory of social contract, we implicitly agree with each other to cooperate and participate for the betterment and protection of society.
I have written often before about the concepts of society and the need for community. Partly, a sense of community is necessary merely because there is no realistic alternative. For example, try as one may, wealthy Americans cannot hide forever behind their gates or escape to the Hamptons. Even though Bezos and Branson can travel up to space for a few moments, they then have to come back. And I recognize that it is at least theoretically possible to go “off the grid.” In fact, there are a number of people in my home state of Montana who try to do so. But few of them succeed. Most remain “off the grid” for only about a year – or, more precisely, for only one winter. Deep snow, boring food, no Internet, and the long cold nights have a way of bringing people “home.” But that is a story for another time.
Thus, ideally, it would be best if we, at least partly, view ourselves as “Americans” — members of our national community. However, it seems that more Americans are narrowing their definition of community. More Americans view “their community” to include only those who live nearby; those who lead a similar lifestyle; those who are members of a group or organization; or those who hold similar political or religious beliefs or have similar religious, racial or ethnic identities, or gender orientations. More and more, it is the divisions amongst us which seem to prevail. More and more, it is the divisions which drive our lives — and blur our vision.

Because of this splintering of our national community, the very definition of “American society” is becoming more elusive. It is obvious that this author believes in – and openly promotes when given the opportunity – both the advisability and the necessity of our national community. Our highways connect us. Our economies are intertwined. Our futures are shared. Our “national” defense is relied upon by all of us. And neither guns, decency, commerce, Covid, nor climate change recognize state lines or the other supposed boundaries of our divided nation.
Thus, it is suggested that our national community be recognized and that some semblance of social contract be maintained. And although America has not (yet) adopted any form of mandatory public service, it would be desirable for Americans to recognize — even amidst the tugs and pulls of our daily lives – some of the obligations of our social contract. One of those obligations is to at least try to keep informed. 
But that has become horrendously difficult in Modern America. Even the definition of “media” is elusive. The boundaries between “news,” “opinion,” and “commentary” are hard to find. Too often, words are driven by agenda. Stories are aired, posted, or printed for a purpose. And in the hustle and scuttle, “truth” gets buried or lost — oftentimes, intentionally so.
It is both tragic and consequential that the “he said / she said” dramas of television now dominate our news cycles. Too often, “says who” is the dismissive response to even the above-the-fold headlines of our newspapers. But why should good and decent Americans have to be buried under de facto propaganda? Why are we left to fight off clickbait headlines? Why is it our job to decipher the subtle non-difference between “misinformation” and “disinformation?”
And so, in the forthcoming Part II of this blog, this author is going to try to list — once and for all – the most responsible and truthful news sources. I also will identify the “Most Biased” and “Least Biased” news sources – Internet, television, newspapers, and magazines. My summary will be based upon numerous and cited studies, sources, and writers. Give me luck. I will try.

For all of us, it is (high) time we know where to look and whom to believe.

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Best Song Lyrics and Movie Lines – Some Quick Facts and A New Fancypants Word

Posted by Mack W. Borgen July 12th, 2021

Blog No 133 
July 13, 2021
READING TIME: 9 Minutes
By Mack W. Borgen
Author, The Writings of a Lifetime (2021); Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America (Three Volumes) (2018-2019); and The Relevance of Reason – The Hard Facts and Real Data about the State of Current America (2 Volumes) (2013). As Advertised in The New York Review of Books and Recipient of Eight National Book Awards
For a “cleaner,” non-email presentation of this and my other blogs, go to  https://www.mackwborgen.com/  and click the “Blogs” tab.

Dear Readers and Friends: The author greatly welcomes opportunities to meet and speak with groups, associations, and political organizations and with educational, charitable, civic, or non-profit organizations. 

In all instances, the author will try to accommodate your group’s timing, format, and budget, and he will address his subjects without political bias and with a certain lightness and humor. Please contact Brody & Schmitt Publishers or the author directly at mwborgen@live.com to schedule any speaking engagement, book signing, or other event.

(Today’s) Quick Facts 

As of the early 2000’s “the average family does 20 more weeks of paid labor (every year!) than it did in 1975, … (and) this added labor more than anything else … explains why many Americans can afford more….”

This is a complicated subject, and there are many circumstances which necessitate such additional work. However, one writer has correctly noted that a substantial part of this “added labor” results from the standardizing of the two-income family income model in America. But, this “added labor comes at a price”  which is paid by children “who get 800 fewer hours of parenting a year.”

This is serious. This is consequential. Run the math. 12,000 hours less “parenting” in the child’s first 15 years of life!

We must respect the inevitable need sometimes for a single parent or for both parents to work. However, 12,000 hours less parenting usually has consequences. It is here suggested that the “added work” resulting from the two-income family model oftentimes — albeit definitely not always — has many serious and adverse effects upon the tone, style, ethics, morals, and attitudes of America’s younger generations. Sadly, maybe that too is oftentimes inevitable.    

Based upon and data excerpted from the brilliant, New York Times Bestseller, Perfectly Legal, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Cay Johnston. (2003) p. 24. 

Best Song Lyrics – Part 20 

Song lyrics are the real poetry of Modern America. The lyrics of our favorite songs roll around in our heads for decades. Almost unconsciously, every day we honor the words of America’s songwriters who said something in that perfect, poetic, or clever way.

Here is Part 20 of my assembled list — done over the last nine years in conjunction with my research for my last series of books, Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America.  To order copies of my books, just go to http://mackwborgen.com/shop/ .  Just clock “Book Ordering” – quick, safe, and easy – and Summer Special Prices. (Or, as always, on Amazon — but please remember to leave a review. Thank you!).

But now, … The Best Lyrics of Modern America

– From 1957 through 2015 –

Enjoy. 

Fortunate Son (1969) (Credence Clearwater Revival) (Years Active: 1959-1972) (Including John and Tom Fogarty, Stu Clark, and Doug Clifford).

           “Some folks are born made to wave the flag, 

            Ooh, they’re red, white, and blue,

            And when the band plays ‘Hail to the Chief’

           Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord.

                                             – – 

            It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son,…

            It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one…

                                           . . .                                          

           It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son, 

           It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one.

                                             …

           Some folks inherit star-spangled eyes

           Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,

           And when you ask them ‘How much should we give?’

          Ooh, they only answer ‘More! More! More!’”

 In the Air Tonight (1981) (Phil Collins) (B: 1951, Middlesex, England).

            “Well, if you told me you were drowning,

             I would not lend a hand

            I’ve seen your face before my friend

            But I don’t know if you know who I am

           Well, I was there and I saw what you did

           I saw it with my own two eyes

           So, you can wipe off that grin,

           I know where you’ve been

           It’s all been a pack of lies”

 Gloria (1982) (Laura Branigan) (B: 1952, Brewster, NY – D: 2004 El Quogue, NY) (Age 52).

          “Gloria, you’re always on the run now

          Running after somebody, you gotta get him somehow

          I think you’ve got to slow down before you start to blow it

          I think you’re headed for a breakdown. So, be careful not to show it.

                        …

          Gloria (Gloria), I think they got your number (Gloria)

           I think they got the alias (Gloria) that you’ve been living under (Gloria)

          But you really don’t remember, was it something that they said?

          Are the voices in your head calling? (Gloria)”

 Sweet Child O’ Mine (1987) (Guns N’ Roses) (Years Active: 1985 – Present) (Including Axl Rose and Slash).

           “She’s got a smile that it seems to me

           Reminds me of childhood melodies

          Where everything was a fresh as the bright blue sky

          Now and then when I see her face

         She takes me away to that special place

        And if I stared too long, I’d probably break down and cry.

                     . . .

         Whoa-ah-oh! Sweet child o’ mine 

          Whoa, oh-oh-oh! Sweet love of mine.”

 Best (or At Least Most Memorable) Movie Lines of All Time

“Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round

So that we would not see too far down the road.”

Meryl Streep, speaking to Robert Redford in Sydney Pollack’s touching romantic drama, Out of Africa. The movie, based roughly upon the 1937 autobiography of Danish writer Karen Blixen about her time living in Kenya, received seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Excerpted from Mack W. Borgen’s Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America (Vol II) (1976-1993) (Published 2019), p. 201.

Fancypants Word of the Day

Spoonerism (Noun): 1) The transposition of the initial letters of two words, 2) Any error in speech that swaps two syllables between two words.

Examples of uses in sentences:

Serious Example: “He was so nervous to give his speech that he started out with a spoonerism, ‘Welcome, fear dends.” 

More Humorous Example: “Every time these politicians speak these days, they ramble so much that they stumble over their words as they utter intellectual spoonerisms.”  

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A (Much) Better Way to Vote – Fixing America – Idea 23

Posted by Mack W. Borgen June 28th, 2021

Blog No. 132
June 29, 2021 

Fixing America – Idea 23 

Reading Time: 10 Minutes
By Mack W. Borgen
University of California at Berkeley (Honors, Economics); Harvard Law School; National Award-Winning Author, The Relevance of Reason (Volumes I and II) (2013) and Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America (Volumes I, II, and III) (2018-2019); and The Writings of a Lifetime (2021).
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Introduction

Over the last two and a half years, I have presented a wide-ranging set of ideas for “resetting” and “fixing” America. This blog presents Idea 23 in this his “Fixing America” series of articles. 

A (Much) Better Way to Vote   

     

Background: When I was back in high school in Chicago — a couple of lifetimes ago, the joking refrain about voting was “to vote early and often.” But since then Americans have become sour, dour, litigious, and angry. About voting. Heck, about everything. There are debates now raging about many aspects of voting — voter identification, the use of mail-in ballots, ballot locations and hours, the use of drop-boxes, and on and on. But as important as these matters are and as important as it is to defeat all forms of voter suppression, there is one simple reform which may be better and far more impactful. However, due primarily to the over-bearing dominance of our two major national political parties, this idea is not being discussed enough. This must change.

The idea could constructively reform the way Americans vote. It could

1- Better assure that candidates who are elected more precisely reflect the proverbial “will of the people;”

2- Elevate the impact of third-party candidates and votes cast for lesser-known candidates;

4- Avoid the necessity of costly runoff elections; and

5- Possibly most importantly, in the opinion of this author, lessen the domination of American life by the two major political parties.

To start, it must be recognized that there are multiple variants of the idea. These variants go by a wide array of names – ranked voting, preferential voting, ranked-choice voting, instant-runoff voting, contingent voting, and single transferable voting. In most instances in this article, I address ranked-choice voting (“RCV”). Unver a RCV system, voters ranked candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first -preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. A possibly preferable variant is “approval voting” (“AV”) whereby voters can choose any number of candidates, and the candidate chosen the most wins.  One advantage of AV is that it may be the most expressive of the will of the people, and it would eliminate vote-splitting almost entirely, thereby virtually eliminating spoilers.

But all variants of RCV seek to achieve the same purpose. They seek to better assure that one’s vote is more than the current all-or-nothing, vote-for-one-candidate system which is now used in nearly all U.S. elections.

A side benefit of RCV is, curiously, rarely discussed. That benefit is that RCV would lessen the waste-your-vote consequence currently associated with all voting for third-party or lesser known candidates. This is ever more critical since too many Americans have for decades had to accept the “lesser-of-two-evil” candidates. In such instances, Americans are de facto forced to vote for either the Democrat or Republican candidate. Otherwise, their vote would not be “wasted.” With RCV, a voter can never get a “worse” result by voting for one’s favorite candidate.

Reflecting even upon relatively recent elections, RCV could have had significant impacts. To cite two obvious examples, if RCV had been in place, it is likely that Bush Sr. would have defeated Clinton who many feel acceded to the White House merely because of the impact of the “third-party candidacy” of Ross Perot. Similarly, Al Gore would have defeated George W. Bush rather than losing due to the wasted-vote “third-party” candidacy of Ralph Nader.

Thus, where there are such close elections between the candidates of the major national parties, preferential voting elections could swing elections. And that, over time, is a good thing because the outcomes would swing both by and in the direction of the will of the American people. Potentially more impactful, it could enhance the voice and influence of candidates and minor political parties who, for whatever (numerous) reasons reject the monetary and structural entrenchment of the current two political parties.

Variations of such preferential and instant runoff voting systems already exist around the world (Australia (since 1949!), parts of Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and Malta (since 1921)). More recently, it is also starting to be used in the United States (Maine (since 2018), Alaska (starting next year)), and in some state and local elections in fourteen states. Just last week, a variation of RCV was used for the first time in the New York City mayoral race.

Idea:      Adopt some form of ranked-choice or approval voting in all national and statewide elections. 

Implementation: Admittedly hard and challenging. Such change in the voting structure will be fought by both major parties. Very closely related, it will be fought by “bog money.” But, still, it must be done. Citizen action and candidate platforms will have to be used. It is encouraging that progress is already starting to be made. Possibly, the best mechanism for adoption of RCV is for more and more localities (states, counties, cities, and agencies) to adopt such RCV voting. As this becomes the “normal” way of voting for more Americans, the demand for such voting at the national and statewide levels may slowly grow. It is recommended that the “hook” arguments would be that ranked-choice voting  (a) would lessen the controlling dominance of the two major parties and (b) would assure that more people could vote for other candidates or parties (e.g. Reform, Green, Libertarian, whatever) without having to waste their vote in the process.  The secondary impact would be that especially in statewide and Congressional elections, “third-party” candidates could be given a chance without having to sell their soul and pledge their votes to the establishment parties who, at this time, are mired in mud, twisted by money, and the burdened by the demand of party allegiance.

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See Additional Previously Presented Ideas: 
Idea 1 –  Consolidated Interstate Database for Reports of License Suspension or Revocation (Blog 106, Oct. 14, 2019). 
Idea 2 – Term Limits (Blog 106, Oct. 14, 2019).
Idea 3 – The Media – Report Corporate Settlements, Awards and Fines as Percentage of Annual Net Profits (Blog 106, Oct. 14, 2019). 
Idea 4 – Award of Attorneys’ Fees to Winning Party (Blog 107, Oct. 28, 2019).
Idea 5 – Inclusion of Positive Aspects of American Society as a Distinct Part of U.S. History School Curricula (Blog 107, Oct. 28, 2019). 
Idea 6 – Office of International Comparisons (Blog 107, Oct. 28, 2019). 
Idea 7 – The Need for Climate Scientists to Retain Professions for the Development of an Educational Campaign (Blog 109, Nov. 26, 2019). 
Idea 8 – Redefining the Concept of “News” The Need for the Regular Infusion of Positive News (Blog 109, Nov. 26, 2019). 
Idea 9 – The Necessity of Mandatory Public Service (Blog 109, Nov 26, 2019). 
Idea 10 – Cap or Tie Congressional Pay Increases (Blog 110, Dec 7, 2019). 
Idea 11 – Scrutinize (and Possibly Eliminate) the Congressional Health Care System (Blog 110, Dec 7, 2019). 
Idea 12 – Eliminate the Congressional Retirement System (Blog 111, Dec 7, 2019). 
Idea 13 – Cease production and eliminate the use of the U.S. penny (Blog 112, Dec 7, 2019).
Idea 14 – Institutionalized Use of U.S. Military Units in Event of Natural Disasters (Blog 113, Feb 11, 2020) 
Idea 15 – Streamline the Federal and State Penal Codes and Address the Issue of Overcriminalization in American Society (Blog 1124, Feb. 25, 2020).
Idea 16 – It’s Time to Reset America (Blog 118, Jun 30, 2020).
Idea 17 – If They’re Good Enough for Our Capitalism, They’re Good Enough for Our Democracy – Monthly Bonus Payments for Excellence in Citizenship (Blog 119, Jul 15, 2020).
Idea 18 – Let Us Try – The Simple Utility of Remembering America’s “Good Celebrities” (Blog 120, Aug 2, 2020).
Idea 19 – – If We Get It Right – The Next “Greatest Generation” (Blog 121, Aug 18, 2020).
Idea 20 – -The Truth Problem – The Need for Rating Newspapers, Magazines, and Columnists and Television and Radio Stations, Shows and Commentators (Blog 123, Sep 22, 2020). 
Idea 21 – We Attorneys Are a (Big) Part of America’s Problems (Blog 125) (Dec 1, 2020 (Part 1) and Dec 3, 2020 (Part 2)).
Idea 22 – Ban Commercially-Driven Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Drug Advertising (Blog 131) (June 2, 2021) 
Idea 23 – A (Much) Better Way to Vote (Blog 133, June 29, 2021).
Copyright 2021 by Mack W. Borgen. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews, without prior written permission by the author.

 

Fixing America – Idea 22 – Ban Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Drug Advertising

Posted by Mack W. Borgen June 1st, 2021

 

Blog No. 131 
June 2, 2021

 Fixing America – Idea 22

 Reading Time: 8 Minutes
By Mack W. Borgen
University of California at Berkeley (Honors, Economics); Harvard Law School; National Award-Winning Author, The Relevance of Reason (Volumes I and II) (2013) and Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America (Volumes I, II, and III) (2018-2019); and The Writings of a Lifetime (2021).

My Continuing Resolution for the Year: To write shorter blogs.

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Introduction

Over the last two and a half years, I have presented a wide-ranging set of ideas for “resetting” and “Fixing America.” This Blog presents Idea 22.

 Ban Commercially-Driven,

Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Drug Advertising 

         

Background: Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address was 272 words long. FDR’s 1941 “Day of Infamy” speech after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was just 511 words long. And it took JFK only 1,364 words to explain why we must “ask not what (our) country can do for (us), but (we) can do for our country.”

But none of these compare with the confusing verbosity of pharmaceutical companies in their constant direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs. Bristol Myers Squibb’s four-page (!) advertisement in a recent Time magazine for its new metastatic-non-small cell lung cancer medicines, Nivolumab and Ipilimumab, dribbled on for 1,590 words. Novo Nordisk took three pages and 1,534 words to “explain” why we should “ask our doctor” about liraglutide (Saxenda) to lose weight. (Note: Yes, I know it seems silly that I took the time to count the number of words in these ads, but it was a covid-year. I was annoyed, and I had time.)

For a multitude of reasons, these direct-to-consumer, “consult-your-physician” drug advertisements should be banned. And it should be noted that this is also the long-standing position of the American Medication Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the rest of the world. Of the 195 countries in the world, the United States and New Zealand are the only two nations in the world which allow such DTC advertising. Kaminski, Dr. J., The Morning Call, June 1, 2020. The significance of this will be discussed below. 

Three Very Separate Reasons for This Banning Proposal 

This proposed banning of DTC advertising is Idea No 22 in my Fixing America series of articles (See Full List below). However, this is a unique Fixing America blog because it is included for three very separate reasons.In 2016, more than 770,000 such ads were aired (David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times, April 18, 2018), and even ignoring magazine and other print advertising, Proctor & Gamble (with $718MM) was, by far, the single leading advertiser on broadcast network TV in the U.S. in 2019 (Guttman, A., Hadley-ward@statista.com).

Reason 1.   Harm of Consumers; Misinformation and Stimulation of Demand for Unsuitable or Unnecessary Treatments; Intrusion of Doctor-Patient Relationship; and Offensive Inclusion of Lawyering Disclaims and Cautions. These advertisements may be harmful to consumers, and they offer little or no medical assistance. First, the sheer number of such ads evidences their (corporate-serving) commercial success. On average, there are “80 pharmaceutical ads per hour on TV today, (and because of this alone) this is the most frequent form of health communication that the average American sees.”  In 2016, more than 770,000 such ads were aired (David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times, April 18, 2018). Even apart from magazine and other print advertising, Proctor & Gamble (with $718MM) was, by far, the single leading advertiser on broadcast network TV in the U.S. in 2019 (Guttman, A., Hadley-ward@statista.com). The fact that the pharmaceutical industry spent more than $6.46BB for such advertising annually (Year 2019, statistica.com, September 24, 2020) once again underscores that such advertising is commercially successful, but possibly such monies could be better spent in lowering drug prices or in promoting more R&D. Worse yet, such advertising “causes considerable public harm through misinformation and the stimulation of demand for unsuitable or unnecessary, costly treatment(s)….” (Britannica ProCn.org). It effectively and intentionally intrudes on the patient-prescriber relationship and (causes) increased healthcare costs….” Id. A Yale University study wisely reminded its readers that the purpose of DTC advertisements was to “sell products – not to inform.” Possibly that is why such DTC advertisements almost never talk about prices. The AMA has suggested that DTC advertising “fuels escalating drug prices…. (and) inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs.” Lastly, wholly apart from the near offensiveness of the bouncy, smiley actors in such ads, a large part of every DTC advertisement is obviously written by pharma’s in-house lawyers protecting their client from consumer litigation claims. This seems evident from the endless and obnoxious series of “tell-your-doctor,” “call-your-health-care-provider,” “side effects may include,” and “consult-your-physician” caveats which dominate each advertisement.

Reason 2.   Need for Prudent Self-Skepticism When America Is Operating in Manner Inconsistent with the Rest of the World. America is a sovereign nation. We have our own Constitution. We formulate our own laws. We have our own practices. However, the laws and practices of other nations are also worthy of examination. In those instances where America is acting in a manner wholly inconsistent with literally the rest of the world, it would be prudent for the law or practice to be very closely and periodically reviewed. (NOTE: See my Fixing America Idea No. 6 proposing the formation of an Office of International Comparisons, Blog 107, October 29, 2019). 

Reason 3.   Fixing America Requires Addressing Both “Large” and “Small” Issues. Fixing America is going to require many reforms. In an age where the headlines are dominated by news of trillion-dollar infrastructure bills, multi-billion-dollar tax cuts, and political hot-button issues such as the formation of the January 6 Commission or the revamping of police practices, it is easy to forget that there are many “smaller” issues which can themselves, especially collectively, make a difference. Banning Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Marketing is one such example, although is not a new idea. The banning of DTC ads debate has been going on for decades. It started when pharmaceutical companies began running TV advertisements in the late 1980s, and it accelerated when these companies nearly doubled their advertising spending between 2014 and 2019. Unsurprisingly, it was noted about 15 years ago that “(t)he current US system of pharmaceutical company self-monitoring and FDA oversight (was) not working.” Stange, K., Annals of Family Medicine, March 7, 2007. The same article noted then, as is true today, that DTC ads “provide biased educational material and emotional appeals that promote drugs over healthy alternatives.” Thus, even a reform of this relatively small matter would be a start. Such a ban would, of itself, contribute towards “Fixing America.” As this author has emphasized before, the good news is that place to begin is everywhere. Joining the other, literally 99% of the countries of this world in such banning of DTC advertising would be one more place to start.

So let us begin. Again.

Idea: Ban all forms of print, television, mail, Internet, and other media direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.

Implementation: The federal government operating through the Food and Drug Administration has the clear power and authority to implement such advertising. There will be, almost inevitably, First Amendment claims of various forms, however these challenges have been well and frequently addressed before in the context, for example, in the banning of certain types of alcohol and tobacco products.

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See Additional Previously Presented Ideas 

Idea 1 –  Consolidated Interstate Database for Reports of License Suspension or Revocation (Blog 106, Oct. 14, 2019). 

Idea 2 – Term Limits (Blog 106, Oct. 14, 2019).

Idea 3 – The Media – Report Corporate Settlements, Awards and Fines as Percentage of Annual Net Profits (Blog 106, Oct. 14, 2019).

Idea 4 – Award of Attorneys’ Fees to Winning Party (Blog 107, Oct. 28, 2019).

Idea 5 – Inclusion of Positive Aspects of American Society as a Distinct Part of U.S. History School Curricula (Blog 107, Oct. 28, 2019).

Idea 6 – Office of International Comparisons (Blog 107, Oct. 28, 2019). 

Idea 7 – The Need for Climate Scientists to Retain Professions for the Development of an Educational Campaign (Blog 109, Nov. 26, 2019). 

Idea 8 – Redefining the Concept of “News” The Need for the Regular Infusion of Positive News (Blog 109, Nov. 26, 2019).  

Idea 9 – The Necessity of Mandatory Public Service (Blog 109, Nov 26, 2019). 

Idea 10 – Cap or Tie Congressional Pay Increases (Blog 110, Dec 7, 2019). 

Idea 11 – Scrutinize (and Possibly Eliminate) the Congressional Health Care System (Blog 110, Dec 7, 2019).

Idea 12 – Eliminate the Congressional Retirement System (Blog 111, Dec 7, 2019). 

Idea 13 – Cease production and eliminate the use of the U.S. penny (Blog 112, Dec 7, 2019).

Idea 14 – Institutionalized Use of U.S. Military Units in Event of Natural Disasters (Blog 113, Feb 11, 2020). 

Idea 15 – Streamline the Federal and State Penal Codes and Address the Issue of Overcriminalization in American Society (Blog 114, Feb 25, 2020).

Idea 16 – It’s Time to Reset America (Blog 118, Jun 30, 2020).

Idea 17 – If They’re Good Enough for Our Capitalism, They’re Good Enough for Our Democracy – Monthly Bonus Payments for Excellence in Citizenship (Blog 119, Jul 15, 2020).

Idea 18 – Let Us Try – The Simple Utility of Remembering America’s “Good Celebrities” (Blog 120, Aug 2, 2020).

Idea 19 – – If We Get It Right – The Next “Greatest Generation” (Blog 121, Aug 18, 2020).

Idea 20 – -The Truth Problem – The Need for Rating Newspapers, Magazines, Columnists, and Television and Radio Stations, Shows and Commentators (Blog 123, Sep 22, 2020).

 Idea 21 – We Attorneys Are a (Big) Part of America’s Problems (Blog 125, Dec 1, 2020 (Part 1) and Dec 3 (Part 2)).

Idea 22 – Ban Commercially-Driven, Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Drug Advertising (Blog 131, June 2, 2021)’

 Copyright 2021 by Mack W. Borgen. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews, without prior written permission by the author.

 

 

 

Quick Fact for the Day – Best Song Lyrics and Movie Lines – Fancypants Word

Posted by Mack W. Borgen May 24th, 2021

Blog No 130 
May 25, 2021
READING TIME: Just 6 Minutes
By Mack W. Borgen
Author, The Writings of a Lifetime (2021); Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America (3 Volumes) (2018-2019); and The Relevance of Reason – The Hard Facts and Real Data about the State of Current America (2 Volumes) (2013). As Advertised in The New York Review of Books and Recipient of Eight National Book Awards.
For a “cleaner,” non-email presentation of this and my other blogs, go to  https://www.mackwborgen.com/ .
-Starting Again Soon – My Blog Series “Fixing America”-

 (Today’s) Quick Fact 

 

A Short History of Corporate Tax Rates

Reagan                  34%

Clinton                   35%

Bush                       35%

Obama                   35%

                                           Trump                   21%   (Lowest since 1929)

Biden’s Original Plan:                        28%

Biden’s “compromise” plan:             25%

All-Time High:                    1968 – 52.8%

Average 1909-2021:          32.37%

See tradingeconomics.com; thebalance.com.

Best Song Lyrics – Part 19

 

Song lyrics are the real poetry of Modern America. The lyrics of our favorite songs roll around in our heads for decades. Almost unconsciously, every day we honor the words of America’s songwriters who said something in that perfect, poetic, or clever way.

Here is Part 19 of my assembled list — done over the last nine years in conjunction with my research for my last series of books, Dead Serious and Lighthearted.

To order copies of my books, just go to http://mackwborgen.com/shop/ . Great prices. Fast, simple, safe, and all books author-signed.

But now, … The Best Lyrics of Modern America

– From 1957 through 2015 – 

I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool (1981) (Barbara Mandrell) (B: 1948, Houston, TX).

                I took a lot of kiddin’; cause I never did fit in

Now look at everybody tryin’ to be what I was than

I was country when country wasn’t cool.”

 – – 

Po’ Folks (1961) (Bill Anderson) (B: 1937, Columbia, SC).

                There’s a whole lotta people lookin’ down their noses at me

                Cause I didn’t come from a wealthy family

                There was ten of us livin’ in a two-room shack

                On the banks of the river by the railroad track.

 Best (or At Least Most Memorable) Movie Lines of All Time

 “I don’t want to survive. I want to live.”

Chiwetel Ejiofor in his role as Solomon Northup in the film 12 Years a Slave. The movie was directed by Steve McQueen and was based upon Northrup’s 1853 slave narrative by the same name. The period drama, about a New York-born free African American who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, was a financial success and won three Academy Awards including Best Picture. Excerpted from Mack W. Borgen’s Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America (Vol III) (1994-2015), p. 331.

 Fancypants Word of the Day

Otiose (Adjective): 1) Having no real purpose; 2) Useless; pointless.

Examples of uses in sentences:

Serious Example: “With the invention of the iPod, my CD collection has been rendered otiose.”

More Humorous Example: “I listened to the news last night, but I turned it off again when I determined that – once again – it was otiose.”

Get Copies of My Books

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Best Nonfiction Book of the Year in Three Separate Categories! 

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My Most Recent Book (March, 2021)

The Writings of a Lifetime

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All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical without the prior written permission of the author.

 

FREE BOOKS FOR YOU – JUST WRITE A FEW REVIEW WORDS ABOUT MY LATEST BOOK

Posted by Mack W. Borgen May 16th, 2021

Blog No 129 – May 17, 2021

 FREE BOOK .. FOR YOU

Just write a quick review on Amazon

A Few Words … 1-2-3 Sentences

About my latest book, The Writings of a Lifetime.

Very easy… It takes about 3-4 Minutes

And I will send you a FREE COPY of my earlier book, The Relevance of Reason. 

Six Book Series

If you already have a copy of my book, The Writings of a Lifetime 

1. Just Go to Amazon.com.

2.  Type in “The Writings of a Lifetime”.

3. Click on my book.

4. Scroll (way) down to “Customer Reviews”.

5. Click on “Write a customer review.”

 NOTE: You do NOT have to have purchased my book on Amazon.

You only need to be an Amazon customer;

 and

 You do NOT have to post your name.

You can “sign” your review with your name or merely as an “Amazon Customer” or some abbreviation like “John F.” or “Nancy S.”

If you have NOT yet ordered a copy of my book, The Writings of a Lifetime,

1. Please just go a www.mackwborgen.com, click “Book Ordering.”

2. Order your hardback or paperback – your choice.

Special Sale Prices still in effect. 

Then, write a quick review, and once it is posted on Amazon,

I will forward to you

A FREE, SIGNED COPY

Of one of my prior national award-winning books

– The Relevance of Reason –

The Hard Facts and Real Data about the State of Current America.

BETTER YET – GET 2 FREE BOOKS!!! 

If BOTH you and your spouse post separate reviews, then I will forward to you

A FREE COPY OF BOTH VOLUMES I AND II OF THE RELEVANCE OF REASON.

 After you have posted your review sentence or words,

Please remember to email me your name and shipping address

Thank You So Much. 

A little explanation about book reviews and Jeff Bezos’ Algorithms: The publishing world is, for better or worse, largely owned and controlled by the algorithms of Amazon — and Amazon’s book promotion algorithms are controlled almost exclusively by the number of reviews a book has. I so much welcome reading your thoughts about my book, but Amazon’s promotion of my book focuses upon how many Customer Reviews a book has. Thus, I need “reviews” or even a few commentary/word descriptions of my book plus the star rating (1-5 stars).

And on a lighter note,

No pun intended,

 The Best Song Lyrics of Modern America- Part 18

– The Poetry of Our Time –

READING TIME: Just 10 Minutes
By Mack W. Borgen
Recipient of Eight National Book Awards.  For a “cleaner” / non-email presentation of this and my other blogs, essays, and articles, please go to my website at https://www.mackwborgen.com/

Introduction

                Song lyrics are the real poetry of Modern America. The lyrics of our favorite songs roll around in our heads for decades. Almost unconsciously, every day we honor the words of America’s songwriters who said something in that perfect, poetic, or clever way.

Here is Part 18 of my assembled list — done over the last eleven years in conjunction with my research for my last series of books, Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America.  For an explanation about the background of this Best Lyrics project, see below.

How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?

Michael Bolton (1990) (B: 1953, New Haven, Connecticut)

            “And how am I supposed to carry on?

           When all that I’ve been livin’ for is gone?”

Happy

Pharrell Williams (2014) (B:1973, Virginia Beach, VA)

            “(Because I’m Happy)

Clap along if you feel like a room without a room

              (Because I’m happy)

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth

              (Because I’m happy)

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you

              (Because I’m happy)

Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do.”

Best (or at least Most Memorable) Movie Lines of All Times

“Will you just watch the hair!

You know, I work on my hair a long time and you, you hit it.”

John Travolta, as the main character on John Badham’s American “”stayin’ alive” dance movie, Saturday Night Fever. The movie was set in Brooklyn and for many Americans it single-handedly — both with its music and its dancing — came to characterize the powerful, albeit short-lived Donna Summer-Bee Gees-Studio 54 disco age of the late 1970s and early 12980s. Excerpted from Mack W. Borgen’s Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America (Vol  II ) (1977-1993) (414 pp) (Released 2019).

 

 

 

ONLY 48 HOURS LEFT – Fixing America and Best Song Lyrics and Movies Lines of All Time

Posted by Mack W. Borgen March 22nd, 2021

March 23, 2021 

ONLY 48 HOURS LEFT

To Take Advantage of 40% Off Pre-Release Price

for Mack W. Borgen’s Latest Book

Book Sale Ends Tomorrow at Midnight, March 25, 2021

Order Now 

The Writings of a Lifetime 

(Hardback or Paperback) (286 pp) 

Just click here at www.mackwborgen.com

Then click “Book Ordering”

Simple – Fast – Safe – All Books Signed by Author 

NOTE: The book is also available on Amazon but the low Pre-Release Prices are only available through my website www.mackwborgen/com (“Book Ordering’).

ONE MORE REVIEW

“An incredible, insightful story that is personal, heartfelt, and honest.”

Reid Olson, Chicago, Illinois 

TWO READER’S FAVORITE LINES FROM A COUPLE OF MY STORIES 

“I sometime fear that I have taken from life more than I have given”

 And on a less serious note,

“However, with Lu Chee in mind, I have long believed – and maybe have here proved – that there may be a story to be found

at the bottom of every bottle of red wine.” 

Dear Readers,

 Having completed this last book, this writer is going to take a couple of months off and enjoy the sounds of spring and the breeze of some growing covid-freedom. After that time, I will be resuming and expanding my Fixing America series of writings and my presentation of The Best Songs Lyrics of Modern America – although I plan to extend this latter series to include also The Best Movie Lines of All Time as well.

If you wish to add any of your friends to my Free, Twice-a-Month Fixing America Blog, just send me their email addresses to mackwborgen.com.

 

2 More Reviews – Samples of Story Titles – Only 10 Days Left for Special Pre-Release Prices

Posted by Mack W. Borgen March 13th, 2021

March 14, 2021 

Mack W. Borgen’s New Book – The Writings of a Lifetime

Now Available on Amazon

For Discount Prices – 

Go to www.mackwborgen.com (Then Click “Book Ordering”) – Fast – Efficient – Author-Signed Copies. 

Short Excerpt 

“Many of the stories contain a degree of levity and humor. Partly, this is merely a matter of style. Partly, this is because the author believes that it is sometimes hard to learn from the thick and heavy books of philosophy, politics, and history.

There are times when the picky details of experts and the pushy words of pundits and scholars are needed.

But not always … And especially not now … Not today.”

 – –  

 Two More Reviews

“Passionate and inspirational”

Lisa Consani, Napa, California

A splendid autobiographical account of the evolution of a writer and commentary on the American condition …

In the spirit of Mark Twain and Will Rogers.

Dr. Roger Acheatel, Whitefish, Montana 

The Writings of a Lifetime 

Samples of Story/Essay Titles

 It Was Still I Early and I Was Still Young

I Knew My Day Would Come

And the Child Asked

It’s Not Where I Grew Old, But It’s Where I Grew Up

Heroic Goodness and the Power of Please

And 40 More Stories, Essays, and Poems

 – –  

Order Your Copies Today 

ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT for 40% Off Prices

Just go to  www.mackwborgen.com (Then Click “Book Ordering”) – Fast – Efficient – All Books Author-Signed

Order Now – Pre-Release Prices Expire March 25, 2021