For All of Us – Major New Project – Order Your Personal Data Book Now

Posted by Mack W. Borgen January 24th, 2022

Blog No 139

January 25, 2022

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 All of Us

… Embarking on a Major New Project …

Personal Introduction

Many years ago, I headed east to go to law school. I was young. My life was simple. Everything I owned fit into my 1968 Karmann Ghia. I had one suitcase, a box of papers, and a couple of jackets for the Boston winters.

But things change. Over the years our families grow and our lives become, well, more complicated. We gather both assets and liabilities. We order multiple types of insurance and place our money in a wide array of investments. Tax and estate planning become more critical and articulating our gift and personal bequest desires becomes more important. None of this is bad, but it demands our attention.

Possibly worse of all, we all like to think that we are organized; that we have thought of everything; that everything is “in order.” But too often this is not the case — and there is no one to really help us. Our estate planning and tax attorneys don’t do it. Our doctors don’t do it. It is not the type of thing you bother your friends with — they have their own organizing to do. This is up to each of us.

WE ALL NEED A “WHITE BINDER”  

I am a business and real estate attorney, but in the last year I have been retained in multiple instances to assist persons and families in assuring (a) that their personal and business data are assembled; and (b) that their bequest desires are carefully memorialized. In some cases, I have been retained to coordinate with and oversee their estate and tax planning attorneys.

In trying to assist my clients, I was astounded by the absence of good organizing books. Many organizations had their little AARP-type to-do checklists. But such “checklist” books are not nearly enough. Also, organizing documents and the assemblage of details are far beyond the focus of estate planning and tax attorneys. That is just not what they do. I found a few “planner books” out there, but — without exception — they are dangerously inadequate for the level of detail we need. All of these planner books had conspicuous (and dangerous) omissions that could lead to lost assets, to a failure to minimize one’s estate liabilities, and – without exception — to a long road of cumbersome, paperwork nightmares for your spouse, brother or sister, or other representative.

If you are 50 years of age, and unless you are incarcerated, homeless, or entering your 7th marriage (in which case, I can’t help you, Sundance), you need to prepare a White Binder book. Also, we are all getting older, guys. That’s o.k. We’ve earned every year. But it is time for all of us to do our once-and-for-all organizing.  Let’s do our proverbial “loved ones” a favor. It is not that hard, and it is that important. Place all of your illness, disability, asset, liability, and passing information into one well-organized book. Memorialize your information and your desires. Updates will be required, but once the basic book is done — the updates will be easy.

For all of these reasons, I have written a comprehensive personal data assemblage and organization book for use by my clients. It is entitled The White Binder. It is detailed — about 125-150 pages to be filled in. It is in an 8 1/2 X 11 binder format so that additional pages can be inserted. Each of our completion times will vary, but normally it will take from about 6-20 hours to complete depending on the complexity of your estate and your current level of organization.

It is being offered to you now. While, the step-by-step instructions are very clear, completion and document questions will arise. Thus, for the next 6-8 months (in addition to my regular law/business consulting practice), I humbly offer my services to you in confidentially assisting you in the completion of your White Binder. For this project, I will be offering a 35% discount off my normal hourly rate (i.e. $345.00 per hour rather than my normal $545.00 per hour). While I strongly recommend you and your spouse (and adult grown kids too) each get a copy of this book, that and my involvement is entirely up to you.

When you have completed your White Binder, EVERYTHING WILL BE DONE. Semi-annual updates are recommended, but other than that — everything will (finally) be in one place — – names, residences, family structure, godparents, and closest living friends; primary third-party contacts; religious affiliations and military; assets (personal, real, and intellectual property), commercial and business investments; necessary post-disability/death terminations, cancellations, and closures; email, social media, and password matters; quick reference cash flow schedule; insurance; liabilities and litigation; taxes, tax returns, and filings; desired special bequests (e.g. letters, artwork, jewelry, collections); pets; burial and cremation instructions … and on and on  — Everything will be organized, presented, and done.

Privacy and Confidentiality 

In many cases, my clients are also my close friends. Thus, I wish to maintain a considerable level of your confidentiality. I do NOT need or want to know what you have, what you owe, or to whom you want to deliver X, Y or Z. But assisting you in organizing these matters is another thing. That we can do. Together.

Tax and Estate Planning Matters – My Coordination with Greg Tolleson of Bryars, Tolleson, Spires and Whitton

If tax planning matters arise, I would work with your tax advisor or, if you have none, with Mr. Greg Tolleson of Bryars, Tolleson, Spires and Whitton LP of Mission Viejo, CA. I have worked with Mr. Tolleson for more than four decades. He is one of the best, most thoughtful, and most creative tax planning accountants I have ever worked with. With respect to estate planning matters (will, trusts, etc), I would work with your counsel. If you do not yet have one, I would assist you in locating such counsel and thereafter would coordinate and supervise their work.

DO YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES A FAVOR

Order Your Copy (or Copies) of The White Binder

Just $49.95 per copy

I recommend separate WHITE BINDERS for you and your spouse/significant other etc., but that is up to you. Tax, shipping and handling – $6.95. Free shipping with 3 or more copies. No payment necessary until after the book(s) have been shipped.

HOW TO ORDER  

Just call or text me at 805-450-2602 or email me at mwborgen@live.com.

(Number of copies plus your shipping address) 

QUESTIONS

Please call me at 805-450-2602

LET’S GET ONCE-AND-FOR-ALL ORGANIZED

CALL OR EMAIL YOUR ORDER  

TODAY

Call or text 805-450-2602 or email at mwborgen@live.com

The Please and Pleas for Our New Year – A Few Days Late

Posted by Mack W. Borgen January 7th, 2022

Blog No 138

January 8, 2022

READING TIME: 8 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.

NOTE TO MY READERS: This Blog was to be posted on New Year’s Eve. However, God intervened where I live — with record-breaking snow; thousands of downed, drought-dry trees; and the loss of all power and Internet for nearly two weeks. As I now post this, with the power (and heat) finally restored to my office, it is tempting to digress into a diatribe about our need to address climate change. But, I think I will stay with my original writing — The Please and Pleas for Our New Year. 

The Please and 10 Pleas for America’s New Year

It is a New Year. And that is a good thing.

I confess, both with some sorrow and some trepidation, that I am not a deeply religious person – at least in the traditional sense. Thus, I am not competent – and it certainly is not my place – to offer up a prayer for 2022, our New Year.

Possibly like you, I also confess that I have more ideas than answers. But it is hoped that what is offered below might help us all a bit – as a people and as a nation.

This list of my Please and Pleas for Our Country’s New Year is offered humbly. But possibly, these ideas and modest suggestions may help make this year better; may make things a little easier; and may make us all a bit happier.

Again, these are just ideas; modest suggestions. They are my offered Please and Pleas for our new year.

1. When in doubt, let us try to do the right thing. It’s sometimes hard. It’s sometimes costly. But it is always better. No more cutting in line. No more rounding the truth. No more cheating, dodging, denying, and ducking.

2. Let us start rejecting the dangerous ethos spoken by Michael Douglas’ Wall Street that “greed is good” – for in both the short and the long run, greed is not good. The world need not be viewed as a zero-sum game and sharing is almost always better.

3. Let us recognize, sadly but without fear, that our country is in a bad place. Our anger has grown so thick that reason is not breaking through. This must change.

4. Let us try to start our sentences withPlease” and end them with Thank You.” Words do matter, and even the minor kindnesses of “please” and “thank you” can echo in our ears all day long.

5. Let us find comfort in knowing that we have many friends – some, maybe even most, of whom we have not met yet.

6. Let us, as voters, demand decency and honesty as threshold requirements for election to public office. Many of us have spent years interviewing and employing people. We always demanded decency and honesty as prerequisites to even their most basic consideration. We have also, almost always, expected fair, but firm, accountability. It is time that these standards be made a part of our political system as well.

7. Let us breathe more deeply and lighten up more often. Sometimes, let us remember e.e. cummings’ famous admonition to laugh at everything but the circus.” For what it is worth, I think he also said that we should “eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow there’s more.” 

8. Let us have the courage to speak up with courteous resolve when we hear silly speak or see cruel actions. One of reasons for this is because in America lately, the sidelines have become too crowded; dangerously too crowded.

9. If you have time, please read (or re-read, as the case may be) my Blog No. 99. It was written more than two years ago. It is entitled “A Beg for Humility and The Phrase That Could Save America.” Just go to my website at www.mackwborgen.com . Then just hit “Blog Archive” and scroll down to May 2019.

10. Lastly, let us work hard and laugh often — for there is both much to do and much to enjoy. Sometimes that may not be true. I know that. But a close friend of mine recently reminded me of the power of choosing. Thus, as often as we are able, maybe we should sometimes just choose to believe — even the choosing of enjoyment alone can sometimes help us through tough times.

Bonus Idea (or should I call it, a Booster Idea?)

Next year, let there be no more covid variants. I promise that I am not complaining, but enough now. Science and medicine have gotten my attention, but we are ready to move on.

And so, as Walter Cronkite used to say a couple of generations ago,

“And that’s the way it is.”

Thank you, my friends and my readers.

And as for next year?

Well, let us first see how we do this year.

My Best Wishes and Happy New Year to All!

Books authored by Mack BorgenOrder Copies of National Award-Winning Books

Eight National Awards Including Best Nonfiction Book of the Year in Three Separate Categories!

— U.S. History, Current Events, and Reference —

Best prices. Fast shipping. Just go to http://mackwborgen.com/shop/ (Just Click “Book Ordering” tab). Also available on Amazon.

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Reader’s Brilliant Addendum to “My (Mis)Use of Litigation Article” – New Fancypants Word

Posted by Mack W. Borgen December 13th, 2021

Blog No 137
December 14, 2021
READING TIME: 8 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.

A Reader’s Brilliant Addendum Comment To My Blog Article

“The (Mis)Use of Litigation

and

The Heightened Needs for Contract Precision and Inclusion of ‘Boilerplate Terms’ ”

Last week, I posted my blog article (Blog 136) entitled “The (Mis)Use of Litigation and the Heightened Needs for Contract Precision and Inclusion of ‘Boilerplate Terms’.” One of my readers brilliantly pointed out that there was another relevant matter which contributes greatly to the over-abundance of litigation – the “thicket of substantive and procedural laws” which are so complex that they have “a net effect of incentivizing litigation.”

The sheer volume, complexity and even inconsistency of these laws and case precedents – and the sometimes wild-card involvement and rulings of the presiding judge — create a sense of unpredictability with respect to the outcome of any litigation. This unpredictability can make it nearly impossible for any party, even the “innocent” or “right” party, to be assured of any outcome. Sadly and conversely, this same unpredictability can de facto encourage parties to roll the dice and file lawsuits even if they are “guilty” or “wrong” with respect to the subject dispute.

Very bluntly, it would be an overwhelmingly challenging task, but the simplification and enhanced consistency of our laws could diminish thousands of let-the-dice-roll filings which wrongly subject “innocent” parties to the cost and burdens of litigation. I have written before that it would also be useful for courts to more aggressively punish “vexatious” litigants who day-after-day and week-after-week file lawsuits with respect to every perceived wrong. I would go even further. Although I am in the minority amongst my fellow attorneys on this matter, I believe that attorneys and law firms which repeatedly file spurious claims should be identified and heavily fined so that they too share in the cost burden of requiring our courts to adjudicate their endless filings of what are oftentimes baseless or wildly exaggerated claims.

In all events, my thanks to my great reader who encouraged me to note the additional issue of the volume, complexity, and even inconsistency amongst ours too-many laws as another reason for the too frequent and costly (mis)use of the litigation process as a means of resolving contractual disagreements or as a means of bullying negotiation and coercion.

And, Now, On a Slightly Lighter, End-of-the-Year Note

Fancypants Word of the Day

Ensurient (Adjective): 1) Hungry, 2) Greedy.

Examples of uses in sentences:

Serious Example: “He skipped breakfast, so by lunch he was positively ensurient.”

More Humorous Example: “Think how Michael Douglas’ famous “greed-is-good” line from the 1986 film Wall Street would have been long forgotten if he had stated that “To be ensurient is good.” I am sure that we are all happy that the script editors were not too ensurient to use the word “ensurient.”

O.K. That’s Enough for 2021.

My Best Wishes and Happy New Year to All!

MY LATEST BOOK

(April, 2021)

The Writings of a Lifetime

Get Copies of All of My Books

Recipient of Eight National Book Awards

Best Nonfiction Book of the Year in Three Separate Categories!

— U.S. History, Current Events, and Reference —

Best prices. Fast shipping. Just go to http://mackwborgen.com/shop/ (Just Click “Book Ordering” tab). All books signed by author and shipped within five business days. Also available on Amazon.

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.

The (Mis)Use of Litigation – 210,000 Civil Lawsuits Every Year in California – And Quick Facts

Posted by Mack W. Borgen December 8th, 2021

Blog No 136

December 10, 2021

READING TIME: 10 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.

A GREAT AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU 

 

QUICK FACTS FOR THE DAY

Just a Strange Fact

At this time, a majority of the current nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, who are appointed for life and whose average age is now a mere 53 years old,

were put there by U.S. Presidents who lost the popular vote.

And An Admittedly Personal Bias

The United States military budget of $780BB is larger than the aggregate military budgets of the next twelve nations combined. But still, America remains the only Western industrialized nation which somehow cannot “afford” to provide paid leave for families. My humble suggestion – possibly we, quietly as a nation, should reconsider this.

The (Mis)Use of Litigation,

The Heightened Importance of Contract Precision,

and

The Need for the Close Review of “Boilerplate Terms”

Over especially the last several decades, the volume and regularity of use of business litigation has risen. Each year in California alone, there are more than 210,000 civil lawsuits filed. Over a five-year period that is about one for every 37 people in the state — and this number does not include the millions of criminal proceedings, family and juvenile matters, and probate appeals etc. (Court Statistics Report published annually by the Judicial Council of California).

This is regrettable. This is costly both to individuals and to businesses. To a certain degree, it is merely another dimension of our country’s increasingly hostile, caveat emptor (“buyer beware”) world. Litigation is now oftentimes seen merely as another cost of doing business; another line item for which to budget. However, the fact that this is regrettable and costly does not diminish it as our current reality for which we must prepare.

Certainly, litigation is necessary at times. Honest, legitimate business disputes arise. They do need independent, third-party, judicial resolution. However, some individuals now view the threat or use of litigation (collectively referred to herein as “litigation”) as a routine method of negotiation; a manner of flexing and intimidation, and a de facto tool of coercion. It is beyond the scope of this article, but this misuse of litigation is parallels the manner in which some individuals now pathetically view bankruptcy merely as a “business tool” as opposed to a matter of last resort; a matter of disappointment and sometimes even shame.

I have written on various aspects of this subject before such as in my article “Dangerous Neglect” which was published in The San Francisco Daily Journal and The Los Angeles Daily Journal a number of years ago. However, because this trend – this too common misuse of litigation – has continued, I suggest again that contracts must be drafted even tighter than ever.

There are many, varied dimensions to this problem. For example, large corporations carefully select their jurisdictions – Delaware for a variety of reasons such as its firm protections of corporate officers and directors and, more recently, Virginia because of its prohibition of class actions. Also, there is the ever-thickening terms and provisions used in our “Click/I Agree” society. One good example, if not, confirmation of the heightened lawyering of large American businesses was noted over a decade ago in an article which noted that in 1980, the typical credit card contract was about 400 words long. Today, many are 20,000 words.” (Siegel, A., Etzkorn, I., “When Simplicity Is the Solution,” The Wall Street Journal, March 30-31, 2013).

For smaller and mid-sized businesses, sometimes one of their best defenses is the careful, consistent inclusion of what are dismissively referred to as “boilerplate terms.” These terms are normally at the end of any thoughtful contract or are attached as an Exhibit thereto. Too often, they are not read until litigation is threatened, but they can be critically important. In certain circumstances and if well-drafted, they can shut down the misuse of litigation by a customer or other contracting party.

For numerous reasons — including the ever-changing dimensions of our electronic tools of drafting, communication and contracting, close and even periodic review of standardized contracts and their boilerplate provisions should be conducted by all businesses — even experienced businesspersons using such “standardized” contracts.

Some of such “boilerplate” terms which would normally be included address such (temptingly boring) matters as the following:

  1. Power and Authority
  2. Entire Agreement; Amendments
  3. Attorneys’ Fees
  4. Notices
  5. Governing Law and Venue
  6. Binding Nature
  7. Survivability; Partial Invalidity
  8. Construction; Counterparts
  9. Arbitration (Sometimes Included)
  10. Cooperation and Further Documents
  11. Right and Exercise of Independent Reviews.

Allow me to underscore the importance of these types of provisions by the following two examples:

                                             Entire Agreement; Amendments. Because in our new business world emails are quickly written and casually sent, it is critical to expressly define what must be done to actually “amend” an agreement. Otherwise, parties may claim via concepts of email “amendments” or claims of detrimental reliance that the terms were changed and that an agreement was “amended” via an email or other casual communication.

                                             Attorneys’ Fees. Litigation of any form is an exhaustive and inherently expensive process. In many instances in California and other jurisdictions, unless there is an express, written provision that the “prevailing party” is entitled to attorneys’ fees, then each party – regardless of the outline – will be responsible for its own attorneys’ fees. Because of this and unless there is a  attorneys’ fees clause, then either party can threaten the other party with having to incur burdensome attorneys’ fees costs regardless of even the obvious correctness of the “innocent” parties’ position.

CLOSING

                Even in the context of contracts, there is a bottom line. In our sadly increasingly hostile business environment, to avoid disagreement amongst the parties, and to minimize the risks of costly litigation, written contractual language is more important than ever. Even the previously boring “boilerplate provisions” must be carefully drafted.

 Get Copies of My Books

The Writings of a Lifetime

Recipient of Eight National Book Awards

Best Nonfiction Book of the Year in Three Separate Categories!

— U.S. History, Current Events, and Reference — 

Books authored by Mack Borgen

Best prices. Fast shipping. Just go to http://mackwborgen.com/shop/ (Just Click “Book Ordering” tab). All books will be signed by the author and shipped within five business days. Also available on Amazon.

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 permission of the author.

Announcement – Returning to My Law Practice

Posted by Mack W. Borgen September 13th, 2021

Announcement

Returning to My Law Practice

 Dear Friends,

 For the last several years, I have focused upon writing. I have published six books in nine years, and I was honored to receive some national book awards for my The Relevance of Reason and Dead Serious and Lighthearted series. My last book, The Writings of a Lifetime, was a much more personal collection of writings. In addition, I have written more than 135 blog articles and a variety of other materials.

But now, it is time to return to my law practice. I want to do this.

Reasons. My energy and enthusiasm levels are high. My tolerance for editors (you know, even the well-meaning ones) is a little waning, and my son has another year in high school and then four years in college. Thus, for these reasons, it is time for me to get back to the practice of law.

Re-Activation of California Law License. I am re-activating my California law license[1] and will be again joining both the California Business Law and Real Estate Law Sections. As I did for several decades, I will work closely with clients and other consultants and law and accounting firms throughout California. I expect to travel often, as needed and as you direct, to Southern California (Orange County, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara) and the Bay Area.

Scope of Legal Practice. My legal practice will encompass most aspects of business and real estate law including, the following:

Business Law (Planning, Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, Employment-Related Matters (including NDAs, Confidentiality, Employment, and Severance Agreements), and Corporate-Related Matters (including Formations, Dissolutions, Dispositions, and, in certain circumstances, Dispute Resolution and Litigation Supervision);

Contract Law (All types and forms excepting intellectual property and international agreements); and

Real Estate Law (Acquisitions, Dispositions, Development, and Commercial Leasing).

Business and Personal  Planning, Asset Management, and Disposition Planning. Over the last several years, I also have received a number of inquiries about general business planning, personal asset management and disposition planning, and even book publishing and distribution. Thus, the scope of my practice will include these matters, but in most instances these matters will be handled only on a business consultancy, rather than a legal representation, basis.

Legal Matters Updates. I do not expect to draft regular Client Newsletters as I did before, but I will from time to time prepare and circulate legal updates relating to significant judicial decisions, legislative enactments, and administrative rulings.

Will Use Old Billing Rates. In most instances, I will only be working with pre-existing clients, good friends, and client referrals. Therefore, I have decided not to increase my old billing rates. Instead, I normally will maintain the same special, lower billing rates that I established nearly six years ago now.

If you have any questions, please just give me a call (805-450-2602) or email (mwborgen@live.com).

I look forward to hearing from you. I look forward to working with you. And I will try to be at your service.

My best regards,  Mack W. Borgen

 

[1]  At this time, I do not expect to re-activate my Montana law license.

Who to Believe? – The Worst and the Best News Sources in America – Ranked and Rated – Part 2

Posted by Mack W. Borgen August 9th, 2021

Blog No 135
August 10, 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 (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/  and click the “Blogs” tab.

National Community, Media Bias, and Who to Believe – Part 2

Two weeks ago, in Part 1 of this article, this author described what commonly has been referred to as Americans’ “social contract” with one another. I also sought to underscore the need for Americans to re-embrace a sense of community – at both a national and local level. The word “re-embrace” is used because many Americans have so tightened their definition of community. More and more Americans view “their community” as including only family members or those who live nearby; only those who lead a similar style of life or are members of a shared group or organization; or only those who hold similar political or religious beliefs or have similar religious, racial or ethnic identities, or gender orientations. The divisions amongst us now prevail. They drive our lives.

Much of this divisiveness is attributable to the politicization of our society and its media and our responsive cynicism about the accuracy of the news which we receive.

It is beyond the scope of this article to identify the many reasons for this politicization and cynicism other than to sadly confirm that it is real. In a few short decades, this country has gone from Walter Cronkite’s earnest “and-that’s-the-way-it-is” closing to his CBS Evening News to Rush Limbaugh’s deriding reference starting in July 1988 to the “drive-by media.” It was not long thereafter that the Drudge Report was launched (1995). Then “fair and balanced” Fox News and MSNBC joined the airwaves in 1996. They were followed by Newsmax (1998), Alex Jones’ Infowars “news website” (1999), Breitbart News (2007), and One America News (OAN) (2013). There are hundreds more people, stations, and news sources which collectively comprise the echo chambers of our country. These are just some.

NOTE: This author recognizes that some people rely upon Facebook and Twitter as their primary news sources. That truth is by itself serious and frightening, but this reality is far beyond the scope of this article.

The parlance of the news industry has changed over the years. “Drive-by media” was soon expanded to “mainstream media.” More and more, network owners sought to select, tailor, and spin the “news” through the use of commentators and opinionators. Cynically, this was done to first develop and then target audiences in order to assure a steady increase in market share and profitability. Very bluntly, the Fourth Estate has, to as large degree, been monetized. The independence of network media news departments largely evaporated with this monetization of the news cycles.

And so now we are here — a world of “alternative facts,” “fake news,” “hoaxes,” too many conspiracies to count, and then, of course, “The Big Lie.” Even photoshopping has put that which we see in question (think drunken Pelosi, sleepy Joe, and on and on). The very words “alternative facts” can be a sobering reminder how far we have stumbled.

Now, it is for us to figure out who we can trust for accuracy whether the news is good and bad. Americans love excitement, exaggeration for emphasis, rumors, gossip, and snarky lines. And, for some, tracking conspiracies has come a beloved (albeit dangerous) national pastime.

However, many Americans merely want and need to know what is true and who to believe. It is understandable that bias and inaccuracy are viewed similarly by the American people — but it is truth that we need. And as best we can, it is truth which we must demand.

In search of such “truth,” many sources have been here reviewed. In many instances, the methodologies of these analysts vary. But that is good because the purpose of this article is to merely chart two simple lists of news sources – The Most Dangerous and Biased News Sources and The Most Accurate and Honest News Sources. No distinction is made between “Politically Right” bias” or “Politically Left” bias. Basically, a lie is a lie – whether or not it is a “left-leaning” or a “right-leaning” lie. All we want is truth. Then, we will take it from there.

Before the list is presented, some allowances, however, have to be made. It should be remembered that almost definitionally news reporting is merely the first draft of history. News reporters make mistakes – especially as they clamor over themselves with their Breaking News stories. And not all mistakes are rooted in evil, sloppiness, bias, or laziness. However, the other types of inaccuracy are more danger – the bias which seeps from tone, slant, topic and guest selection, intentional inaccuracy, material omissions and incompleteness, and what I refer to as “baseless equalities.”

The concept of “baseless equalities” needs to be explained. Let us use one example. Most people believe the world is round. There is pretty wide acceptance of this “fact.” However, there are a few folks up in the NE corner of each state who believe the earth is flat. Maybe some of them just took too literally the title to Thomas Friedman’s fine 2005 book about globalization – The World Is Flat. But most flat-earthers have just been drinking too much moonshine. The “baseless equalities” problem results when newscasters feel a need – whether it be honorable or deceptive – to report “both sides of the story.” Such presentations, by themselves, can create a sense of unwarranted equality between two versions, theories, or opinions. However, some stories do NOT deserve to have all sides presented; all rumors aired. The fact that something has been heard “though the grapevine” is not a supporting news source. There is the truth. Then there are the floundering mutterers.

And, so where do we best find The Truth? Based upon a revenue of a number of sources, who are “The Most Dangerous and Biased News Sources” and “The Most Accurate and Honest News Sources.” Not included in this list are many forms of media such as talk radio, conspicuously opinionator/commentator shows such as Tucker Carlson Tonight, and entertainment shows such as The Daily Show.

On a personal note, some of the below listings and rankings surprised me. Others disappointed me. Possibly you will have a similar reaction.

Only one commentary/observation is here made — and that is because of the market share dominance of Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. That observation is that in all studies Fox News’ numeric bias ratings were substantially higher (i.e. worse) than the bias ratings of MSNBC — and even more so when compared to CNN. The right-leaning and left-leaning reputations of these networks were noted in each study, but the extent of Fox News’ bias and news inaccuracy was found, noted, measured, and underscored in every study.

The Most Dangerous and Biased News Sources

(Presented Alphabetically / Major News Sources in Bold or Color)

— THE WORST —

AS EVALUATED BY WIDE ARRAY OF INDEPENDENT REVIEWING SOURCES

           American Greatness         
        American Thinker         
         Bipartisan Reports         
Breitbart News
          Buzzfeed News         
   CBN         
        Conservative Review           
Crooks and Liars
         Current Affairs           
     Daily Beast         
    Daily Kos         
Daily Wire 
Drudge Report
      InfoWars         
  Fox News  
      Gateway Pundit          
      Jacobian         
Judicial Watch
       MSNBC           
     Mother Jones         
   Nation         
       National Inquirer         
National Review
      New Yorker         
                        Newsmax                             
                              OAN                                      
    Occupy Democrats          
                Palmer Report                     
                  Share Report                       
The American Spectator   
  The Blaze           
            The Federalist                      
       The New Yorker                 
The New York Times Opinion Page
            The Progressive                   
                      The Wall Street Journal Opinion Page                           
The Washington Times
                        Wonkette                               
World Truth

SOMETIMES INACCURATE OR BIASED NEWS – USE CAUTION

AlterNet          Buzzfeed        CNN        Daily Caller

Epoch Times       HuffPost          Life News            Praeger

Slate      The Atlantic       The Real News Network       Vox

The Most Accurate and Honest News Sources

(Presented alphabetically / Major News Sources in Bold or Color)

— THE BEST —

AP

  BBC

`     Bloomberg News

 CBS

 CNBC

Christian Science Monitor

 Forbes

  Fortune

  Market Watch

 NBC

 News Nation

 Newsy

NPR

 PBS News Hour

 Real Clear Politics

Reuters

Stars and Stripes

The Hill

UPI

USA Today

US News and World Report

Wall Street Journal News

CONSISTENTLY  RATED GOOD NEW SOURCES – USE SOME CAUTION

                                  ABC                                     

                             Al Jazeera                                

Axios

Daily Mail

 NPR Opinion

PBS

Politico

  ProPublica

  The Dispatch

   The Economist

   The Guardian

    The New York Times

Time

The Washington Post

Closing

I respect that people may have differing opinions about the quality and accuracy of various news sources. However, the above lists are compiled based upon respected studies using standards of public perception, news balance, and information accuracy. Hopefully, these lists may assist us as we navigate through the muddied waters of American journalism.

Thanks to My Readers’ Comments Relating to Part 1 of This Article

I very much appreciated the fine and thoughtful comments which I received from some of my readers regarding Part 1 of this article. It is beyond the scope of this article, but I, too, am concerned about the news industry’s monetization of the truth. Indeed, if we are to rely upon independent journalism, the Fourth Estate of our nation, its members must follow defined standards of ethics, responsibility, and honesty. I recognize that they are employees of newspapers, magazine, and news networks, but adherence to truth is critical. This is especially true since readership and market share are great measures of profitability. However, they can be very poor measures of truth.

Sources: Ralph, P. and Relman, E., “These Are the Most and Least Biased News Outlets in the US, businessinsider.com, According to Americans,” Sept 2, 2018. Baig, A., “15 Most Unbiased News Sources 2021, techpresident.com; Pryor, KJ.J., “Who Is the Least Biased News Source?,” Sep 9, 2020, towardsdatascience.com; AllSides Media Bas Chart, Prior, J.J., “Who Is the Least Biased News Source? Simplifying the New Boas Chart, Sep 9, 2020, allsides.com, Dickenson, K., Media Bias Chart, April 3, 2020, Ad Fontes Media Corp, McArdle, E., “Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave,” Harvard Law Bulletin, Summer, 2021.

The Writings of a Lifetime

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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.

PLEASE –  ORDER COPIES OF MY BOOKS

Eight National Book Awards

Best Nonfiction Books of the Year in Three Separate Categories! 

— U.S. History, Current Events, and Reference —  

Best prices. Fast shipping. Just go to http://mackwborgen.com/shop/ (Just Click “Book Ordering” tab). All books will be signed by the author and shipped within five business days. Also available on Amazon. 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.

 

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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— U.S. History, Current Events, and Reference —  

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