We citizens have one small chit in our Democracy--the vote. But without a robust and truly free news media, our vote is worth nothing.  Knowledge is power, and in an age of moneyed interests--interests that control the media itself--it is the only power, as exercised through our vote, we citizens have a hope of possessing.  Advance The Dialog is a tool for the public.  It asks the media to follow common sense Rules designed to elicit factual data, Calls Them Out when they do not, and holds them accountable in the performance of their duty as The Fourth Pillar of Democracy.

So Welcome to ATD.  I hope you will join me by adding Your Input to this site.  Vote on the issues.  Comment on my blogs.  And Call Them Out when they break The Rules!

Advance The Dialog Challenge! (right) Featured Video! (bottom): Trump, Clinton, on Terrorism

Over the past year, debate over raising the minimum wage has converged on 3 points:

    o its effect on employment  (particularly, on teens)
    o its effect on consumer prices
    o whether the Earned Income Credit (EIC) is a better solution for the poor

The non-partisan CBO’s February 2014 report, which analyzes the impact of raising the MW to $10.10 by 2016, paints a clear picture on the first point- employment, or jobs lost.

The CBO report states:

    . 16.5 million people (10% of total employment) will get a raise*
    . revenue will increase by $31 billion
    . 19% of … read more »


With the media’s focus on cancelled plans, higher premiums and the website launch, ATQ Poll turns its attention to other ACA issues:  Medicaid expansion, access to doctors and hospitals, and employer sponsored plans.

What benefits and costs (coverage, financial) do states weigh when deciding whether to opt in vs. out of ACA Medicaid expansion?

The goal of this question is to expose the decision making process that states use in determining whether to opt-in or out of Medicaid expansion, and to do so in clear, monetary/human, cost/benefit terms.

At last update, 27 states have opted-in for MC expansion, 21- out, … read more »


“Insanity is repeating the same mistake over and over, and expecting a different result.” That saying is often used in reference to politics, but maybe in the current political climate, the converse is true.  Maybe Republicans are applying a proven strategy- repeating an untruth over and over- and, via a feckless press, expecting, …and getting, the same result: appearing to be in the right on ‘willingness to negotiate’, thereby prolonging the debate on debt reduction, their goal. In other words, ‘insanity’, as in, ‘crazy like a fox’.

(30 second ad, 2 minute video; if no video below, click here.)… read more »


This one really got my attention. Lavabit, a small encrypted email service, was shutdown a few weeks ago by its owner, Ladar Levison, because… well, he can’t actually say why. The post on his company’s website hints at the reason, expressing his wish to not be “complicit in crimes against the American people”, and stating he cannot “legally share … the events that led to [his] decision” even though “the first amendment is supposed to guarantee the freedom to speak out in situations like this.”

Another ISP provider, Silent Circle, also shut down abruptly. Its CEO said “There was no … read more »


The PBS News Hour and CNN’s The Situation Room debates on recent changes to NC’s voting law, offer a study in contrast on Rules adherence and debate integrity.  While both were illuminated by facts that supported strong arguments, CNN had more Rule breaks and became mired in False Argument with too much crosstalk because a few basic Questions were not Asked early on.

The change to North Carolina’s law, which takes affect in 2016, has 4 components:
(1) government photo ID is required
(2) early voting period is shortened from 17 days to 10 days
(3) same-day registration no longer … read more »