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A Whiny Ex-Bureaucrat’s Take on Clinton E-Mail Gate, Sunshine Laws, and Public Disclosure

sunsets08

The Sun Going Down, But Not on Government

Who can possibly be against Sunshine and Transparency in government?  Some Hillary detractors think she is.  Same is being said about Jeb Bush and Scott Walker who handled their e-mails about the same way Hillary did. They have all been burnt by the insatiable appetite for disclosure of everything a public official says or does, 24/7. Like all others in public life, they’ve been victims of a good thing, pushed too far by zealots on both the left and right who think no amount of Sunshine is enough to keep government in check. Like the words from the John Denver song, Sunshine makes the watchdogs happy and high.

No violins for the beleaguered bureaucrat class here, but a little light from a whiny ex-bureaucrat who saw from the inside what too much Sunshine has done to government. That perspective gets no airing, just like the version of SAD, which no one hears about, where too much sunshine, not too little, makes it hard to function.

The most harmful effects of ever greater Sunshine are not on the careers of politicians and public employees – no one cares about them anyway — but how it inhibits the flow of information inside government; the way it makes (good) deals between allies and rivals alike harder to achieve; and (constructive) compromise more difficult to attain.

In Honor of Sunshine Week

In Honor of Sunshine Week

Sunshine and Public Disclosure laws are of course generally good, very good. But they have side effects not clearly labeled on the kool-aid bottle; or on all the happy good government websites. (Here is one example).  In fact, we just had “Sunshine Week” (March 15-21) brought to you by Bloomberg, The Gridiron Club, and numerous press organizations. The “gridiron club”?

Sunshine and Public Disclosure laws, and their flag ship, The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and all the little FOIAs, have done their job. Public workers have been censured or fired for appalling abuses and negligence. The most heart rending are in programs like nursing home, mental health, and child protective services, where negligence, cover-ups, and under-funding are life and death matters. All manners of corruption, inefficiency, and egregious waste inside government have been disclosed and prosecuted using the FOIAs.

That said, here are some other things about Sunshine run amuck that you hear very little about:

Hacks in both major political parties, and the “non partisan” fanatics who get tax exemptions from the IRS for improving “social welfare,” bombard governments and agencies hourly with requests (legally supported “demands” under FOIAs), for paper documents, e-mails, text messages, phone records, notes scribbled on pads, recordings, reports, photographs, you name it, in search of real or imagined abuses. These items may disclose some terrible wrong doings in government, but they are also the raw materials for scandal mongering and the life blood of opposition “research.”

Too many requests (demands) for information are unabashed fishing expeditions. Some are efforts to harass public workers so they can’t get their work done; so that anti-government zealots can prove bureaucrats don’t get their work done

Then there are the cranks, trouble-makers and malcontents (working inside governments) who find the public disclosure laws highly accommodating when they want to make life miserable for a boss or a colleague they happen to despise. These include the trolls who make digging for dirt and “whiste-blowing” a hobby and fetish. (Along with those who do it for the right reasons).

These are not the worst side effects of (too much) Sunshine. The most damaging are the chilling effects on information sharing and collaboration inside government; not just across political aisles, but also among workers “on the same side,” or not on any “side,” of an issue, just seeking the right or best answer.

Too much sunshine impairs deliberation, political deals and compromise (in the best senses). It gets in the way of candor, the unfettered search for solutions, the sharing of important information up and down the chain of an organization, or laterally.  Once you fully realize that (just about) anything you put in an e-mail may wind up on the front page of the newspaper or on the nightly news, or in a law suit (with or without merit), the chilling effect is huge.

Some real and imagined anecdotes: A skittish staffer who shuns e-mail fails to tell his Boss that the draft health care bill is unclear about who’s eligible for subsidies. A signal from a political rival’s staffer looking to make a deal never get’s transmitted. A governor or mayor is unprepared for a high stakes tax negotiation because the writer of the policy brief didn’t trust her paper was non-discloseable.

Bureaucrats need some cover when they’re trying to be honest with their bosses about the risks of a proposed policy; or when they float a balloon to an adversary in a delicate negotiation.

Sunshine laws have of course been a great tool for open and good government.  But even Sunshine comes at a price. Like for some miracle medications, there are ways to mitigate the worst side-effects.  Sunshine cast on the Sunshine laws would be a good start.

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“It’s the Propaganda, Stupid”

Biologists say ostriches are really stupid

Biologists say ostriches are really stupid

It’s easy and tempting to brand the American voter as “stupid,” and getting dumber all the time.  But, the accusers miss the real point and ignore the real perpetrators. All of us are only as smart as the information we receive; and when voters in America are (more than ever) receiving “news” and political” information in the form of propaganda and unabashed lies, what do you expect? It’s not stupid voters, “It’s the Propaganda, Stupid!”

The money behind the propaganda is also a big factor,  and getting worse; but we’ve been operating with gross mis-information well before Citzens United.

Whether you are a Democrat who thinks there were too many stupid voters in 2014, or a Republican who has the same view of the 2012 electorate, you are focusing on symptoms rather than root causes, and blaming the victims. Solving the propaganda (and money) issues is so daunting, we are more comfortable with scolding average people for not being better informed.

Charges of “stupidity” have been in the news a lot lately, and from some people who ought to know better, especially the usually level headed Fareed Zakaria.  Zakaria featured a new international survey on his last Sunday morning program. It says the American electorate is the second most ignorant among the fourteen nations studied.  The USA trailed only Italy. (Manifestly non democratic systems, like North Korea, were of course not surveyed).

Zakaria’s commentary surprisingly lacked perspective. I think he knows the information lifeblood of our democracy has been terribly degraded. Maybe he meant the whole segment to be whimsical? It was admittedly amusing, on top of shocking, to learn that French voters think 31 percent of their population is Muslim. (Its really 8 percent).

Zakaria wasn’t the only one talking about “stupidity.”  While economist Paul Krugman didn’t use the “S” word to express dismay about the November 4th outcomes, you could feel him chomping at the bit, as he called the election results “so wrong about so much.”

Republicans of course aren’t calling the 2014 decisions of the electorate “stupid.”  But they are still saying that about voters in 2012; loudly and explicitly.  I found that out driving eight hours north from San Diego to Monterrey recently, through areas of California where all I could get on the radio was Limbaugh and Limbaugh clones. Four hundred miles of unabashed propaganda drowning out anything resembling real news; literally clogging the “public” airways.

For some time now, the political and economic information used by most Americans hasn’t been much better than what Pravda fed to the poor Soviet masses.  Is that extreme or alarmist?  I would understand if you thought so. But all of the recent (non partisan) studies of voter information sources, such as a series by Pew Research, show that Americans are receiving more and more of their political information from polarized, “non traditional” sources – ones not even trying to be objective or fact based.

I concede that voters share some of the blame for liberally using bad sources of information. But I’ll bet propaganda helped move them there in the first place. I can’t blame average people, overwhelmed by daily life, looking to tweets, bumper stickers, and conversations on the Wal Mart check-out line, for political intelligence.

In Escondido (near San Diego), where I live, good political and economic information is scarce. One daily newspaper with significant circulation survives, but its coverage of Escondido is rare and superficial. The paper’s stated mission (from its still relatively new owner), is to promote a particular ideology in the region, not just through its editorials, but also in its “hard news.”  He doesn’t understand (or care) how shocking that sort of statement would have been from a metropolitan area newspaper owner even just a few years ago. A few good on-line news sources and “free” print news papers have emerged in San Diego County, but their reach is still very limited.

Most of the “information” about the local candidates in Escondido came in the form of mailers. The candidate I supported (and who lost by a big margin) couldn’t afford to send out nearly as many as her opponent. The information she did provide, which was (relatively) nice, honest, and substantive by today’s standards, was overwhelmed by an avalanche of propaganda, made-up economic data, sheer lies, sprinkled with some dog-whistle hate lines, arriving in the mail on an almost daily basis.

Yes, “turnout” was low, which hurt the loser a lot more than the winner. By my rough estimate, the winner received the votes of about 10 percent of the voting age population in Escondido. That’s deplorable, regardless of which candidate won. But stupidity certainly was not the reason for either low turnout or the outcomes of the election in Escondido. “It’s the Propaganda, Stupid.”

Climate Change Activist Says: “The Right is Right,” Saving the Planet Means an End to Capitalism

Groping for Solutions to Global Warming

Groping for Solutions to Global Warming

In her new book, “This Changes Everything,” climate change activist and long time, passionate critic of capitalism, Naomi Klein, says the Right Wing in America has a better understanding than the Left of what the Liberal Agenda implies for capitalism.   Her first chapter is titled, “The Right is Right,” by which she means that, yes, dealing with climate change implies an end to capitalism as we know it, just like Fox News and the Right Wing think tanks have been saying all along.

Klein makes no bones about that!  Her book is already being touted as the climate companion to Thomas Picketty’s  “Capital In the 21st Century,” which deals with capitalism’s tendency to produce severe wealth inequalities, as he sees it. Klein’s related point is that capitalism tends to produce catastrophic global warming.  Just replace “severe and inevitable inequalities” in Picketty’s work with “severe and inevitable desecration of the planet,” and you pretty much have the gist of Klein’s book.  (Here is a left view and a right view of Klein’s work).

Klein was recently interviewed about her new book on MSNBC.   Chris Hayes offered this teaser to the MSNBC audience before breaking for a commercial:

HAYES:  “Now, in a very provocative and I might say excellent new book, one of the left`s most celebrated and influential authors across the world, Naomi Klein says, ‘Yes, that is right, conservative fears about what climate change means for the global economy are well founded’”

Some of Hayes’ few Right Wing viewers must have switched the channel at that point, having captured all the material they needed for the next blog. They took Hayes’ provocative, “boost the ratings and sell the book” intro, as admission that climate change is a hoax concocted by the Left to sink free markets and to take over what remains, after Obamacare is through exacting its pound of flesh from capitalism (as the Right sees it).

Of course, Klein didn’t mean it exactly this way. Hayes of course knew that. Here, in her words, is what she actually meant — and eventually said — in the MSNBC segment:

KLEIN: “Yes. I mean, it is not true that it is some sort of conspiracy designed to smuggle in, you know, socialism and just using, you know, climate change as a cover. The fact is if we are going to respond to this crisis, we need to break a whole bunch of the free market rules that these guys hold very dear. We need to regulate. We need to get in the way of the fossil fuel companies, who have made it clear that they are willing to dig up five times more carbon than our atmosphere can absorb and still stay below catastrophic warming. We need to invest heavily in the public sphere.  But, I can understand why from a hard core free market conservative perspective, if you live at the Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, this would feel like the end of the world. It is not the end of the world. It is the end of their world.” Here is the full interview from the MSNBC program.

Another way to convey what Klein is saying is with a title I first considered, but soon abandoned, for this blog post:  “If the global warming crisis is a socialist conspiracy to sink capitalism, then so was World War II.”  (Blog titles are supposed to be attention grabbing). What could I have possibly meant by that?  World War II was not only the mother of all economic stimulus packages  (which is of course not to say it was fought for that reason), but it also regulated the heck out of capitalism (which was necessary to fight the war), and ushered in thirty more years of activist government on the domestic side.

What Klein is saying is that if you believe man made global warming is as big a threat as the Axis Powers in the 1930s, there is no choice but to mobilize, aggressively regulate, and spend heavily in the public sphere, as we had to in WW II;  i.e., wage war against climate change.  We also accumulated debt in that era which makes our current sovereign debt problem seem manageable.

Of course, the Right would think comparing global warming to Hitler and Hirohito is absurd. But Klein thinks the threat to civilization is about as great; and that even “Green Capitalists,” like Virgin Airlines’ Richard Branson and former New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, are so blinded by the imperatives of growth and profit, that they miss the point.  She laments that it’s unrealistic to rely on business to find solutions to climate change.

One big point Klein misses is that developing industrial societies like China, though perhaps not worshiping profits, aren’t ready to compromise on Growth,  the other part of the capitalist imperative.    The Chinese government doesn’t seem ready to adopt Klein’s solutions to curbing carbon emissions.  They think (wish?) they can pollute their way to growth, but clean it up as they go along,  with Geo-engineering and fantastic weather changing technology.   Klein regards that thinking as subversive.

No Vacation Goes Unpunished

Vacation Togetherness

Vacation Togetherness

American workers don’t receive much paid vacation time compared with workers in most other industrial societies.  Even with vacation benefits,  many workers take time off grudgingly,  with guilt; and later with remorse.   While on vacation, we spend a good part of our time “away” staying in touch with the boss and colleagues.  This isn’t family friendly, unless, perhaps, your spouse does the same thing.

Forbes Magazine and Blog write about the phenomenon every year or two, treating it as a conundrum; i.e., “why don’t Americans take vacations.?”   Big puzzle!  Forbes took on the issue again recently as summer approached, but instead of trying to explain why Americans don’t vacate, they marshaled evidence on why it’s healthy and productive to take time off from work.   The new approach didn’t seem to get as much attention as the conundrum articles, but it’s worth a read.

The social-psychology of American (non) vacations has often been studied in surveys, where it’s very hard to probe the deeper reasons for the behavior.  This is precisely the kind of issue that needs conversational focus groups with lots of introspection. This blog article tries to fill the focus group void a bit,   But, alas, it’s based mostly on my experience as both a manager and employee in a large, high performing government organization.  (Ah, I bet you think that’s an oxymoron).

My organization dealt with a lot of high stakes budget and finance issues; thus colleagues and I hardly ever took vacations, but we did talk about it. Thus, any insights and anecdotes are not mine alone.   I will call the agency XYZ, though you can of course easily figure out what it is by reading my blog profile or checking me out on Facebook.

We used to say that “no vacation goes unpunished at XYZ.”   We had good reason to think so. Here are some of the punishments that were meted out.

At XYZ, you often got called (“paged,” in those days),  while watching Yellowstone’s old geyser or lounging on the beach in Belize, with a frantic plea to answer a question from a critical customer, devise a formula, find a document, or locate a file on your computer back at the office.  Some very important policy decisions, affecting many lives, were made with these kind of “deliberations,” while at least one of the parties was on his third Margarita, and barely audible on a Blackberry,

Yes, I know, “why wasn’t there someone else available to answer those questions?” Or, “why didn’t anyone else know where the computer file was located?”   Good questions. As the years passed, we actually made efforts to plan for these contingencies.  But too often they didn’t work.  Or top managers didn’t want to mess with them.  Just call Joe, even if he’s in the hot tub or riding with his children on a carousel in the park.  It’s a lot easier and more direct to get Joe on the line.  After I moved over to the dark side, as a manager, I confess doing the same thing to my staff.

When you returned from vacation, you were immediately faced with several “crises” that weren’t handled while you were gone.  For at least one of those fires, invariably, the “drop dead” date to deal with it happened to be the day you returned.  So forget about being briefed quickly on all the (other)  things you missed.  And scrap the carefully crafted “to-do” list for the first day back.  Yes, I know, “why weren’t the responsibilities to put out the fires delegated before vacation?”   Well, in many cases they were.  But there was always that outlier,  with no designated handler, or where the proxy dropped the hot potato, or didn’t want to mess with it at all.    “Wait for Joe to get back from the Grand Canyon.”

More Togetherness

More Togetherness

When you returned from vacation at XYZ, you sometimes found that one of your buddies had stolen a part of your job portfolio;  not just subbed for you while you were gone, but moved the job from your to his job description.   Cute maneuver. Usually, the perpetrator was someone looking for recognition or a quicker, upward path at XYZ.  It worked.  Getting back your lost portfolio was difficult, because you were the one who had to whine about losing turf. The perp didn’t have to say a word.   It would sound small and catty to complain, so, more often than not, you let it slide.

Then there are reasons why Americans don’t take all their vacation time which have nothing at all to do with the culture of work in America,  lack of family friendly work environments, worker policies, or the atmosphere at XYZ.   I call this the Clark Griswold factor.  You may recall, Clark was the guy portrayed by Chevy Chase in the “vacation movies.”  The lampoon vacations we watched for years were too close to the truth.

My experience with vacations. usually to the Catskills, or once a decade to Florida, growing up in a working class, New York Jewish household in the 1950s, was not altogether positive.  Someone always got sick; was allergic to something in the hotel room  (I mean bungalow); left medicine behind; or had the dog shit in the taxi cab on the ride to the airport.    One time, the family arriving at the hotel in Florida found it was still under construction.  Clark Grisold was a WASP, so I was at least relieved to learn that dreadful vacations weren’t unique to being Jewish or “growing up stupid in Brooklyn.” (Travolta).

OK, so why don’t the French or Swedes, who take lots of vacation time, seem to not have the same issues at their XYZ companies?  Or,  with the Clark Griswold effect?  I don’t really have a solid answer for that.  They don’t go to Florida? They don’t have the equivalent of the Catskills?  Or, perhaps, workers in France or Sweden, except (I hope) the ones monitoring all those French Nuclear Power Plants, don’t give a rats ass if something fails at XYZ while they’re skiing in the Alps?   I vote for the latter as the best explanation. But that doesn’t explain why French and Swedish worker productivity and GDP growth are (nonetheless) not all that bad, compared with the U.S.   Hmmm.

Is There a U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Revival? Four Reasons to Damp Down the Celebration

Get that degree in black-smithing

Get that degree in black-smithing

If you’ve been following the business pages and economic blogs closely for the past year,  you’ve seen stories like the recent one in the LA Times, which raise hopes about a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S.  If they’re not predicting a resurgence, they suggest the bleeding of well paying, full-time manufacturing jobs has stopped.  An earlier, Washington Post story in 2013, poured some needed cool water on this wishful thinking.

If you are an economics,  jobs, wage, or “inequality” debate junkie, both articles are worth a read.  Overall, I am on the skeptics’, or the “glass-is-half-empty,” side.  Here is why:

There are four perspectives to keep in mind when you hear anything about a reversal in the manufacturing jobs decline.  Bring them to bear whenever you encounter this subject:

1) The anecdotal data is just that, stories here and there, which raise hopes, but pale next to the aggregate data.

2) These are not your father’s manufacturing jobs. They are better than flipping burgers at “In ‘N Out,”  but they are not the same in terms of wages, benefits, and security.

3) International currency machinations, particularly by the Chinese,  play a huge role in determining where manufacturing companies expand or re-locate. That can change on a U.S. dime (or Chinese Renmimbi).

4) Large productivity gains in manufacturing have not stopped; and they won’t. Technology offsets any other factors that may be raising hopes about a manufacturing jobs revival.

If you pour over the manufacturing jobs data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – the BLS is still the authoritative source – it’s very hard to distinguish between a (possible) manufacturing comeback, and the long awaited recovery of a few of the six million manufacturing jobs lost in the Great Recession.

Anecdotes about Chinese firms opening manufacturing plants in the U.S., and U.S. manufacturers bringing back jobs from China, are water drops in the sea of macro data from the BLS.  Between January and April 2014, the number of manufacturing jobs has remained about the same. (Yes, that’s better than losing jobs).  At 12.1 million in April 2014, manufacturing employment is still about 2 million below the pre-recession number. You can view the data here.

Even if you think the anecdotes are the leading edge of a turnaround, the average wage of recently added manufacturing jobs is about 10 percent below the figure for the rest of U.S. manufacturing.  Indeed, one explanation for some of the good news on the manufacturing front, is that it’s been fueled by a decline in U.S. manufacturing wages in real (inflation adjusted) terms.  Meanwhile,  Chinese and other competitors’ wages have at least kept pace with inflation.  A Wall Street Journal analysis notes: “The celebrated revival of U.S. manufacturing employment has been accompanied by a less-lauded fact:  Wages for many manufacturing workers aren’t keeping up with inflation.”

This should not be surprising.  A large share of the new manufacturing jobs are in non-union companies, generally in states with right to work laws.  Even in states more friendly to collective bargaining, unions have made concessions on wages to prevent job losses. See previous posts on Boeing wage concessions in Washington State, here and here.

Part of the rise in Chinese manufacturing wages relative to the U.S., which makes it less attractive to locate abroad, has been a rise in the value of China’s currency; that increases labor costs in China relative to the U.S.  These changes have come in part as a result of pressure on China by the U.S. and other western industrial countries to adjust it’s over-valued currency.

That’s good news, but not necessarily a basis for a fundamental turn in U.S. manufacturing jobs. With a restless labor force demanding double digit job growth to keep pace with population growth, can China continue on this course?  On the other hand, that same restless labor force, also wants to be paid more.  We’ll see how these competing forces play out in China.

Looming over all of this, is a forty year trend in technology related productivity gains, which has enabled manufacturers to produce more with less workers. This trend is not going to abate; if anything, it will accelerate.  Since 1975, manufacturing output in the U.S. has more than doubled, while employment in the sector has decreased by 31%.

China is predicted to lead the world in small drone production in the decade ahead. Why isn’t the U.S. becoming the hot spot for manufacturing the millions of personal and commercial drones that will soon be in demand?    This looks like another case where the U.S. developed the technology,  but won’t likely be producing it.   That’s the more likely trend than a manufacturing revival in the U.S.

Oh, BTW, Crushing Student Debt is a Huge Drag on the Economy

The Long Road to Solvency

The Long Road to Solvency

The outstanding debt held in student loans, estimated at over one trillion dollars, is now the second largest class of debt held by consumers — second only to home mortgages. The dangers posed by this debt may not be as great as the mortgage debt and its role in the ensuing financial system crash of 2008. But it is consequential for the economy, not to mention it’s devastating personal effects.  You can read about the dimensions and find the relevant data here.

While this news isn’t “buried,” in the sense I’ve been using the term here in Page Seven, it does not receive the attention it deserves by economists or business writers as a major factor in the sluggish recovery, or in the prospects for long term growth. Nor is it prominent in the scripts and talking points of the two major ideological camps as they battle each day in the propagandist news.

Why not?

In the case of the economists and business writers, student debt is an old story, part of the economy’s ether. Even for the professional analysts, a factor needs to be new or in flux or at a turning point, for it to count in discourse. Yes, student debt, as a partial explanation for the slow recovery and predicted future doldrums, has received recent attention in Forbes Magazine, NPR, and by the Federal Reserve. That’s pretty hefty. But check out the analysis of the monthly job and GDP numbers, even in these three venues, and there’s hardly a mention of it. Its just there, in the background.

As one major news agency said, reporting on the April 2014 Federal Reserve study of student debt, “policy makers on the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate setting panel have for the first time [emphasis added] identified high student debt burdens as a risk to economic growth.

For the two parties and the feuding ideological camps, the answer is different. Not necessarily in order of importance, here are some of the reasons student debt is not receiving much attention in the daily media wars:

-There is plenty of blame to go around for the student debt crisis; both parties, in their own ways, have stressed upward mobility for all through education and have made it easy to obtain loans.

-It’s not clear how youth electoral turnout and voting would be affected by more attention to the problem; or how to blame the other side in a way that doesn’t backfire at the polls.

-“Education and training” is central to the core ideologies and opportunity scripts of both parties.

-The old higher education/post secondary establishment depends heavily on revenue from government backed student loans; they have plenty of clout in the states and in local congressional districts.

-The newer, private, for profit education institutions (many are diploma mills), which are even more dependent on easy loans, and amongst the most irresponsible in promoting debt, are off limits to criticism……at least by conservatives.  After all, these assembly line programs are privatizing education!  Genuflection goes here. By the way, most of this is “faux privatization” (see my earlier post), since the solvency of these education vendors relies on government financial aid and guaranteed loans.

Liberals sometimes also tread lightly on the new diploma mills, which make it easier for low income people (with ample loans) to acquire a credential online, at home, in the evenings, while still working to support a family. Something to be said for that. But at what price?

So, why is student debt such a large drag on the economy? The answers are not mysterious. If you have large debts to pay, as far as the eye can see, you are going to postpone getting married, having a family, buying a home, furnishing it, and adding the deck and sun room. Indeed, when your student debt is high, you won’t qualify for a home loan in the first place, even if you have a good and serious plan to pay off both.

What is worse and more damaging to the general economy in the longer run, is that you won’t be saving much, even if the high income promise of your degree is fulfilled. When the national savings rate is impaired, it has large consequences for interest rates, investment and economic growth.

By the way, almost all of the data you see showing that education levels have significant effects on lifetime income, fail to discount the gains by the amount of the crushing debt.

 

Dick Clark, American Bandstand, and News in America Today

Re-post to correct error.

Page Seven

SONY DSCHow do we decide what information is provided to the American public,  to help us be successful citizens?  We use the American Bandstand approach.  Whichever “news” agency gets the most applause from (the equivalent) of shrieking, hormone driven teenagers, like on American Bandstand, gets to “inform” the American public.  What a system!

This is the second post (see first here) in Page Seven addressing issues around free speech and the defunct (and quaint) Fairness Doctrine.  This is also the second piece (see the first one here)  to diagnose the gut wrenching schisms of our day and the role that bad information plays in fostering polarization.

In the previous article, I talked about the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and imagined what a day of radio might have sounded like way back in 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.   This exercise (perhaps also quaint) was prompted by Russia’s annexation of…

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