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Great Debate

What the hell is going on?

Miami, Fla (May31, 2020)

Stealing, burning and shooting have nothing to do with the murder of a poor civilian!

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa

(Washington DC, May 31, 2020) There’s hardly a need for another rant about the need for law and order to fight the chaos America has seen the last few nights. So, I will ask another question,

Where were the police?

In city after city, the rioters are being allowed to ravage whole neighborhoods with not a cop in sight. Even though most cities have access to their National Guard, none were used even to limit, let alone stop the mayhem. Here in Washington DC, the Secret Service were out in force to protect the White House – which they did — so the crowd was moved on to wreak havoc elsewhere.

Other cities do not have a Secret Service, but they do have other outside resources including the State Police and the National Guard. Minnesota actually called in the State Police, as presumably other states did also. So, where were they when the trouble started? Are we facing a national revolt by police departments in addition to all our other problems? If so, they aren’t telling anyone. Keep Reading

What a mess!

Recovery in parisan crosshairs; New conspiracy evidence; China fighting back!

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa

(Washington DC, May 24, 2020) – As if quarantine and recovery were not enough to worry about, Americans have other headlines competing for our attention. Most tiresome is the conflict between those who want to resume economic activity as much as possible and those who don’t. At issue is the frustration experienced by everybody at the lifestyle we have been forced to adopt because of the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic – everybody staying home while their jobs and earnings dwindle away.

Recovery in partisan crosshairs

A vocal minority has rebelled openly against the closed-door policies of many jurisdictions which have been slow to authorize the back-to-work recommendations of the President. Some are claiming that these restrictive mandates violate the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Others are desperate for an income, still others are just tired of the inactivity. None of this is too surprising given the circumstances.

The surprising part comes when many leading Democrats began advocating the stay-at-home crowd, claiming that the plague is still too widespread to admit the proximity of daily life encounters in businesses and churches. They blame President Trump for sloppy management of the national response, apparently because he has instituted a “go-local” approach economic recovery. Keep Reading

Will America 2.0 see a revaluation of labor?

Has COVID-19 softened Labor/Management relations?

By Dr. Larry Fedewa        Washington DC, April 26, 2020

Entrepreneur extraordinaire Mark Cuban has coined the term, “America 2.0” to designate the new realities Americans will face as a result of the COVID-19 quarantine. One of those realities has been the highlighting of the interdependence of labor and management required to attain a successful business. In case after case, we have heard employers and business owners discuss the extreme measures they have undertaken to reduce the burdens on their employees as they face loss of wages and even employment. Their pleas for help have finally penetrated even the hallowed halls of Congress and the Federal Reserve.

Many are learning the lessons that John Mackey discusses in his account of the time when his Whole Foods store would have failed if not saved by the efforts of his loyal employees, suppliers and customers. (Conscious Capitalism, 2013) He discovered that the fate of his business was really in the hands of all those whom he had served so diligently. They had repaid his loyalty to them by proving they were also stakeholders in his company.

This is the prism through which we are looking at the topic of this discussion. Clearly, there are external factors as well. Before the pandemic, we were very close to a labor shortage. We were hearing pleas from recruiters to retirees and other pools of unattached workers to rejoin the workforce. Hiring and retaining a competent workforce was becoming a high priority in some industries, and critical in others. The usual effect of such a situation is an increase of the enticements to candidates or employees to hire or retain their services, including bonuses, higher wages, and enhanced benefits.  Keep Reading

Republican activist agenda for 2020 elections

 

Republicans have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to become the majority party!

Washington DC. April 11, 2020 by Dr. Larry Fedewa) For Republican activists who would like to a plan of action for the summer and fall, I would suggest that they work to increase the Republican Party’s base. There are three constituencies which the Republicans need to capture if they wish to return to majority party status:  black voters, Hispanics, and suburban women.

Black voters

Background

Remember that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in 1863 and black Republicans were the first elected officials of their race during Reconstruction. This phase ended when the Democrats struck back with the Ku Klux Klan and began a reign of terror against southern blacks which lasted until Republican Dwight Eisenhower signed the Voting Rights Bill of 1957, the first victory of the civil rights movement. Keep Reading

How do we end this?

Employers must be part of the re-open strategy

By Dr. Larry Fedewa

(Washington DC — April 6, 2020) Two weeks ago, we discussed “Trump’s huge gamble”, namely, his decision to follow the action plan prescribed by the public health experts rather than attempt to mitigate the effects of coronavirus with less drastic means. To date, that strategy seems to be effective in reducing the spread of the disease to more or less manageable dimensions. The prevalence of cases seems increasingly limited to densely populated urban areas, most notably, New York City.

The economic cost, however, is already beyond any recession in recent memory, with the possibility of becoming catastrophic. The entire sequence of events is unique in American history. Never before has the country simply stopped in place 75% of the economy. The closest parallel may be the 14th century Black Death which is estimated to have reduced the population of Europe by 50% after returning several times over a span of two generations. But the resulting drastic effects on the medieval economy were not voluntary like this one. Plus, it was so long ago that few lessons can be drawn to benefit our current decisions. Keep Reading

Sanders’ Socialism

 Everybody gets a free ride!

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (March 16, 2020)

Recent polls show that a large plurality of Americans prefer socialism over capitalism. On its surface, such a preference is shocking. Digging beneath the surface, however, we find a somewhat less alarming reality. So, let’s dig a little.

The first question is, what do most of those Americans think “socialism” means? To many of our fellow Americans, “socialism” has been defined by Bernie Sanders, the socialist Senator from Vermont. He describes socialism in terms of an expansion of “human rights” into services, notably health care, higher education, and income parity, if not equality. He advocates free delivery of these services to every American. He also believes that the USA should have open borders, inviting anyone who wishes to become an American citizen to come at will.

Then there is the other side of his views. He also believes that Americans’ access to gun ownership should be severely restricted. He says that climate change is “an existential threat” to the world and adopts the “green agenda”. That agenda includes the elimination of fossil fuels, and the substitution of renewable forms of energy (even though no such energy sources exist) and the re-entry of America into the Paris Accord, which obligates the USA to pay the bill for converting the major polluters of the world (China and India) to renewables. These are samples of the price we would pay under a Sanders idealized world-view for all the “free” services. Keep Reading

Dr. Howell’s best books on reforming the USA’s health industry

Health care reform is already under way in the private sector

By Terry Howell, Ed.D. (February 18, 2020)

Did you realize healthcare costs went up 250% over the last 20 years while everything else went up only 50% on average? Do you know why?  What can be done? Plenty!  For anyone who is interested, and all of us should be, here are some excellent resources detailing what is going on in healthcare and why it needs to be disrupted (i.e. reformed) in a big way.

I especially like Dave Chase’s book and Ted Talk about how it is being disrupted by self-insured employers (see below). And then, of course, there is always our book, Healthcare is Killing US: The Power of Disruptive Innovation to Create a System that Cares More and Costs Less (Aaron Fausz, PhD and Terry Howell, EdD)  https://www.healthcareiskillingus.com/ 

The Good News – there are already MANY industry insiders who have figured out how to play The New Game, and they’re all willing to collaborate with you to help you win.  If you read or scan one book on how The Game is being played by the current players, make it this one:  Unaccountable:  What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Healthcare.  By Dr. Marty Makary, MD.

Other very useful resources include:

Overtreated:  Why too much medicine is making us Sicker and Poorer.  By Shannon Brownlee.  Ms. Brownlee, a founder of The Right Care Alliance, dismantles the myths surrounding our current model that result in us spending far too much and getting way too little.  She also offers practical ways to reduce overtreatment and redirect those resources to better health.

Is Healthcare is already fixed?  It is!  Check it out at The Health Rosetta by Dave Chase.  Includes a good summary TEDx Talk and the eBook The CEO’s Guide to Restoring the American Dream:  How to Deliver World-Class Healthcare to Your Employees at Half the Cost.  There Dave demonstrates how self-insured employers can change the fundamental economics to the benefit of their employees’ quality of life and pocketbooks.

This one was distilled into the longest article ever published in Newsweek.  For good reason.  America’s Bitter Pill:  Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix our Broken Healthcare System.  By Steven Brill.   It highlights the rampant abuses and profiteering in America’s largest and most dysfunctional sector of the economy.

Think drug prices are high because they’re investing so much to research miraculous new cures?  Ah, no.  Think again.  The Truth about Drug Companies:  How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It.  By Dr. Marcia Angell, MD.  Dr. Angell has unique insights after ~20yrs at the New England Journal of Medicine and had a ringside seat as drug companies gained nearly limitless influence over medical research, education and how doctors prescribe.  Hint – their behaviors were not primarily driven by what’s best for patients.

© 2020 Richfield Press. All rights reserved.

The author can be reached at:

Terry-howell@sbcglobal.net

https://www.linkedin.com/in/w-terry-howell-ed-d/

 

State of the Union: A Shakespearean drama

The President answers his white-shirted enemies

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (February 5, 2020)

The 2020 State of the Union address had all the elements of a Shakespearean drama. The setting was filled with tension and made for television. The primary picture showed the hero flanked on his right by his loyal acolyte, Vice President Mike Pence, and on the left by his archenemy, the little old lady of the Left, Nancy Pelosi, as he eloquently, at times even poetically, told America what he had accomplished with the responsibility the voters had given him while his enemies had been trying to destroy his presidency. Keep Reading

Notes from Senate Impeachment Trial – #2

Speeches over; questions next

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (January 28,2020)

Some impressions as the trial completes phase one and prepares for phase two:

  1. The first take-away is the comparison between the two presentations. The House speakers were on a mission and they showed it. They were obviously playing to the television audience more than the senators. Their rhetoric was graphic, at times crude (particularly Mr. Naylor). Their tone was passionate, sometimes angry. Their body language was tense. The exception was Mr. Schiff, who proved himself an effective and articulate advocate, who appeared convinced and convincing, especially in his opening summary. In his final speech, however, some of the earlier polish seemed to have worn off as he spoke of the President in personal and insulting terms, dripping with hatred.
  2. The President’s team overall was much cooler in manner, with the exception of Mr. Sekulow, who supplied the passion, sometimes slipping into anger. White House Counsel Patrick Capilione was quietly and rationally effective, in the sharpest contrast to the House team. I found his manner more effective than Sekulow’s. Anger in the Senate chamber seemed a bit out of place.

In terms of the arguments on their merits, I, like many others, found the House case full of assumptions, presumptions and very weak. Of course, I had the same reaction to the original testimony, so my reaction was not surprising that I reacted to the trial presentation which was derived from and actually re-used large portions of the House footage.

The basic issue was the definition of “crime”. The House wants to call such terms as “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” crimes meeting the standard of the Constitution. That standard is admittedly brief – “treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors”. However, the application of common sense to this description, as pointed out by the founders’ commentary, demands that “crimes” must be specific and provable. Otherwise, the charge is simply a matter of opinion and therefore indefensible. Such are the terms of the current articles approved by partisan House.

The President’s team had their moments. Particularly damning was the recitation of the case against Joseph and Hunter Biden. Three lawyers split the presentation into Overview (Sekulow), Facts (Pam Bondi) and Conclusions (Eric Herschmann). It is hard to believe that the elder Mr. Biden can continue to attract support for his presidential bid after such a graphic, detailed and public recitation of the case against him.

Also notable was the presentation of Alan Dershowitz, who spoke to the constitutional standard of impeachment. His explanation was replete with citations and quotations and delivered in such a rapid-fire style that it was like trying to get a drink from a fire hose. The prominence of the speaker, however, added a certain level of authority to the argument. In view of his status as a lifelong Democrat, it is doubtful that his performance swayed any Democrats.

Today’s defense of the President ended with a plea to the Senators from Mr. Capilione to preserve for the American people the right to vote for their president, and to vote “for what in your heart you know is right”. As one of the commentators observed, however, politicians rarely vote what is in their hearts, preferring to vote for their best political advantage – a cynical remark which is unfortunately all too often true.

The overall impression of this entire exercise appears to be a gigantic waste of time and resources because the entire body of the Senate knew the outcome before the whole drama began. Namely, they will almost all vote the party line, and nothing said in this whole charade will change more than a few votes.

The only true exceptions to this outcome will be those politicians who believe that they cannot be re-elected if they vote with the party or have already decided not to run again. This whole business has to be changed to accurately reflect the momentous responsibility involved in an impeachment vote for both the immediate present and future American generations. I don’t know how that can be accomplished, but it is imperative that this process not be allowed to destroy America’s electoral process.

 

© 2020 Richfield Press. All rights reserved.