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“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” — Attributed or misattributed to genius Albert Einstein

Is Seattle dying?

Can we also contend that Portland is on life support?

We know that is the case with San Francisco. And let’s not forget LA.

Almost DailyBrett was watching Seattle’s KOMO News ABC News affiliate’s documentary about the Emerald City’s homeless epidemic and realized it was produced two-years ago. Nothing has changed, other than the acute problem has become worse.

Some may dismiss the documentary simply because the conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group manages KOMO Channel 7. If they do, are they shooting the messenger and ignoring the vile reality?

The homeless are on the street, the needles are piling up, the garbage is still there and the crime rate is rising. Sounds like The Third World, but instead Seattle is America’s second-place Silicon Valley.

Seattle government types tell angry people to simply call 9-1-1. The police come. The same homeless are arrested. Within 24 hours they are back on the street, waiting to repeat the endless cycle.

What’s the answer?

California Governor Gavin Newsom is advocating releasing 76,000 violent criminals onto to these same homeless streets, while way too many of their local governments are proposing to defund the police. Does this proposition sound like the answer to rising homelessness, drugs, filth and crime?

The KOMO documentary pointed about that Seattle from all sources is pouring more than $1 billion annually into fixing the homeless problem, and yet nothing happens.

Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles are all doing the same thing, rationalizing the homeless, drug addiction, trash, feces and crime and when all else fails — throwing even more money at the problem. Wash and repeat.

Civic leaders in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles and the governors of these respective states of California, Oregon and Washington (i.e., Newsom, Kate Brown, Jay Inslee) always have ready sanctimonious answers, but none of them lead to a solution.

And the band plays on.

Demonstrate Courageous Leadership, Enforce The Law

Many complain about the monopoly power of entrepreneurs who developed the best search engine, the preeminent digital retail site, the No. 1 social media platform, but what about affording the same hegemony to law enforcement?

In the wake of the George Floyd murder, it’s increasingly tough to make this argument right now. How else are the streets of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles going to be reclaimed?

California needs to apologize for getting it wrong in the mid-1960s. The state Legislature passed The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, which opened up the state’s mental institutions — ending warehousing — sending literally thousands who had zero chance of taking care of themselves onto the streets.

Some went to community care. Some took their pills. Others were left on the streets. They did not take their pills. The homeless problem immediately mushroomed and spread from sea-to-shining-sea, particularly in permissive venues.

Almost DailyBrett believes these people need to be “warehoused” again. They are safer under state mental health care. Communities are reclaimed. The streets are cleaned. A major source of crime is alleviated. Cities are safer.

Homeless advocates will go bat-excrement. They need to be told to pound sand. We need new sheriffs in towns up-and-down the Left Coast.

Crowd seen during a town hall meeting with Seattle City Council at Trinity United Methodist church in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, May 2, 2018.

Blaming conservative media, pointing to rising housing prices, paying homage to homeless special interests, and most of all throwing money at the problem have all not worked. It’s obvious for anyone to see.

We need those who courage to become unpopular and solve the problem, not those who want to win a Nobel Prize for being nice.

“It’s way past time we put an end to the era of shareholder capitalism.” — President Joe Biden, July 9, 2020

Does $9 million Joe Biden invest in even one share of any publicly traded company?

If not, how can he understand markets let alone their importance to the dreams of more than 180 million Americans?

Did Joe Biden just declare a $6 trillion war on the 55 percent of Americans, who invest in shares and/or stock-based mutual funds?

Considering that more than one-half of all Americans of all income and wealth levels invest in their futures by means of buying shares or stock-based mutual funds, shouldn’t we be concerned when the leader of the free world wants to end shareholder capitalism?

Sounds like the punitive redistribution playbook devised by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. And Biden is a moderate? Right CNN?

Biden The Moderate wants to hike of the corporate tax from 21-28 percent and has proposed the near doubling of the federal capital gains taxes from 23 percent to 44 percent. Oh, the latter only applies to those making more than $1 million. What will be the cumulative impact of these two initial punitive redistributive tax increases on every investor large or small? FUD.

That is Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Wall Street investors detest and loathe FUD.

Surely these increased revenues will be used to pay down the nation’s record $28.23 trillion cumulative debt or $84,785 per every American woman, man and child? This staggering amount is an unprecedented 127.7 percent of the nation’s world-leading $22.10 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It’s the country’s fourth largest expenditure at $398 billion.

The answer is not a penny.

What does the Bidenesque end of shareholder capitalism mean for public employees and state teachers and their pension funds? How about seniors nursing their nest IRA eggs? What about parents investing in their 401k’s for their children’s education? What about Millennials becoming retail investors for the first time via Robinhood and other trading platforms?

Ever hear of Charles Schwab, Joe? Tax him too.

Keep in mind $1 million is a lot of money, but note what it was five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago before inflation.

Under the Biden plan a seven-figure California-based overachiever would be confronted with a 39.6 percent federal capital gains tax, a 13.3 percent state capital gains tax, and a 3.8 percent Obamacare investment income tax or a cumulative 56.7 percent levy on any gain coming from the invest of discretionary funds.

Ready to invest even more, when governments take nearly 60 percent? A Californian could reduce this amount by 13.3 percent by moving to Texas, Washington or Nevada. Oh — they are already doing that.

What about the impact on investors and the economy of the 28 percent corporate tax?

Will companies once again ex-patriate their overseas gains? Yes as they have before.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is asking her foreign colleagues to pass a corporate minimum tax. Reminds Almost DailyBrett of a doctor prescribing a second pill to counteract the side effects of the first pill.

The Joys Of Other People’s Money

“Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich. We did that. God forbid the rich leave.” — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” — Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) projected 1 million job losses based on the Biden Tax Plan.

And what about the impact of rising taxes and escalating federal spending? Will a return of 18 percent Jimmy Carteresque inflation be in the offing?

And don’t you know that soaking the rich ends up with a corresponding dynamic response? Cuomo lamented about New Yorkers moving to zero state income tax Florida. Heck, even the Rolling Stones left the 98 percent effective tax rate — not a typo — Britain for France in the early 1970s.

Should we be concerned about raising taxes and exploding spending? It just seems so easy because it is. As Almost DailyBrett has concluded before, it takes zero brains to raise a tax.

And don’t we all know, it will never be enough. The government will have reach down lower into income levels to find even more money it wants to spend.

As Winston said: “It is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

The mean streets of Portland are filled with Antifa. The once-happy stands at Autzen are empty.

In aging-hippie Governor Kate Brown’s Oregon, the Portland riots continue night-after-night, month-after-month and still no sign of the National Guard.

In Eugene, the stands at Autzen will be devoid of peaceful mask-wearing, socially distanced fans this Saturday for the Oregon spring game. Ditto for those who have already received two Covid-19 vaccinations.

Will these same stands be empty just four months away (e.g., Sept.4) for the fall season? Almost DailyBrett will take the “over.”

Let’s read the tea leaves. smell the coffee and confront the bitter truth: There is no better than a 50-50 chance that fans — any fans — can watch the Ducks live this fall. In fact, 50-50 is way too optimistic.

As your author approaches season #32 as an Oregon season ticket holder, will 2021 be the second in succession not being allowed to sit 15 rows behind the opponent’s bench on the 30-yard-line?

Will that scary prospect also be the case for 2022, let alone 2023? If so, what’s the point of purchasing season tickets and the obligatory contribution to the Duck Athletic Fund?

One thing is for certain, the UO Alumni Association will still be calling.

Are Oregon fans supposed to continue forking out for season tickets for games they can’t attend?

If the Ducks play a game at Autzen and no one was there to see it, was there an actual game? Sure, on virtually worthless Pac-12 Networks.

Speaking about TV, Duck fans can watch lively games with partially or full stadiums in Austin, College Station, Norman, and Tuscaloosa or desultory empty venues in Palo Alto, Los Angeles and Eugene.

What about responsible citizens who received two jabs from either Pfizer or Moderna? If one is totally Covid-19 immunized, why can’t that season ticket holder root for the Ducks in person with other fully vaccinated people?

Can’t the prospect of live Oregon football be employed as an incentive to overcome the vile venom of anti-vaxxers?

Wonder if the idea of an incentive — a carrot — has ever crossed the brain of Oregon’s 39 percent approval, 59 percent disapproval Governor Kate. Heck, even a sizeable amount of Democrats have a negative impression of Oregon’s chief executive. She is below the Mendoza Line with Independents. Forget Republicans.

Dress Up As Antifa And Go To The Game?

What if … what if … Oregon fans dressed up as peaceful protester Antifa anarchists and threatened to burn down Autzen, would they let us go the game? We know two things: The Oregon National Guard will not be deployed and police departments will be defunded.

Right Portland?

Maybe Governor Kate can save The Country Fair. She reportedly loves festivals. The Country Fair and other counterculture gatherings constitute her political base.

Does the Lewis & Clark graduate care about the University of Oregon, let alone its fans?

Based upon her behavior to date, the answer is painfully obvious.

Almost DailyBrett Note: Your author hopes he is wrong on his forecast. For the meantime, Almost DailyBrett has to call ’em as he sees ’em.

There are carrots. There are sticks.

There was a vaccine supply challenge. Now there is a vaccine demand problem.

There are next-to-zero incentives. We need to tie vaccines to a return to normalcy.

We need to reject the message from Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Vaccines are a “holocaust”? Wonder if the Jewish community would agree?

You could see it coming with pious pontifications and callous bloviations of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other notorious anti-vaxxers. The late senator’s privileged son from America’s Royal Family told the world that he would implore his 93-years-young mother, Ethel, to not receive two life-saving vaccine doses.

How is that responsible, particularly for someone at such a vulnerable age? Almost DailyBrett dares to ask: ‘Doesn’t RFK Jr. love his mother?’

Ethel Kennedy Birthday Robert F. Kennedy Jr./Instagram

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine suspension in both the United States and European Union didn’t help.

The CDC reported that 8 percent are not showing up for their second jab.

That’s right. These rocket scientists have already been vaccinated once, but they are passing on the all-important second vaccine. Why? Anti-vaxxer nonsense?

Almost DailyBrett anticipated the novelty of the 95 percent effective Covid-19 Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would eventually wear off. Think of it this way, there was an acute Beanie Baby shortage until there wasn’t.

Warp Speed worked. The first jab was administered last December 8. The demand went through the roof. The supply hit the wall and there are no skid marks. Now there is an acute demand problem. How can it be solved?

Effective PR.

Return To Normalcy?

“They (Biden administration) got to have a new message rather than take the vaccine, but don’t go anywhere, don’t do anything, wear a mask over your face, keep the face diaper on for the next 10 years.” — former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Life is short. Free people want their lives back.

If good solid citizens ignore the likes of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and get their jabs, shouldn’t they be rewarded with a path back to normalcy?

Urging all people to go out and receive two vaccinations provided by great American publicly traded companies — Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) — and then Big Science (e.g., Big Government) tells them they still have to wear a mask, they still have to social distance, they still can’t go to the game, they still can’t travel, they still can’t, can’t, can’t.

Would you blame anyone who rhetorically asks: ‘What’s the point?’

We are told we need to achieve herd immunity. How long is that? Who decides?

Do we wait until science is totally satisfied? Who is science? Do we need consensus approval or unanimity? Good luck on the latter.

What happens to government when they no longer have the same control over our lives? Another stimulus check? Universal Basic Income (UBI)?

If anti-vaxxers succeed in driving down demand for the effective vaccine will we ever reach herd immunity? Will we ever return to normalcy?

In order to raise vaccine demand to reach herd immunity, there needs to be the prospect of a happy ending. We need to be able to hug family members. We need to be able to get on the airplane and run on the beach. We need to go to the stadium or arena and cheer on our teams.

The CDC’s announcement today that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask outdoors in a public park or a trail is good tentative step, but it still does not provide us with a return to normalcy.

We don’t need more of the same orders from the high and mighty of governments. We need and want to get our freedom back.

The sooner, the better.

Almost DailyBrett made the decision to sell Big Macs and buy sexy $100 yoga pants.

Not literally. Your author took a profit in McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) and plowed the proceeds into LuLuLemon Athletica (NASDAQ: LULU).

McDonald’s operates 40,000 stores around the globe and feeds 1 percent of the planet’s population every day. What other fast-food firm can make that claim? Absolutely no one. Sounds like a great investment.

The reason for selling MCD was simple: It was time. McDonald’s made a solid run during the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was time to ring the register. That doesn’t mean the stock will not once again overachieve. It will. For your author, it was time to take a nice profit.

To borrow some overused Wall Street metaphors: “There are bulls and there bears and pigs get slaughtered.” And “Never apologize for taking a profit.”

More importantly, “Buy Low Sell High.” Where have you heard that one before?

The decision was made: Sell Big Macs higher and buy high-margin yoga pants lower. Shouldn’t that recipe always be the plan?

LULU took a dive right after reporting solid fourth quarter/annual earnings (e.g., buy on rumor, sell on news). Even through your author already owned shares of Nike (NYSE: NKE), the decision was still made to invest in another athletic apparel provider, one that had a particular appeal to the fairer gender.

Couldn’t Almost DailyBrett simply invest in a discretionary consumer mutual fund that holds both McDonald’s and LuLu? Sure, but where’s the fun in that?

Besides who wants to pay commissions?

Your Own Personal Mutual Fund?

“Put your money in 401ks. Put your money in pensions and just leave it there. Don’t worry about it. It’s all doing fine.When are we going to realize in this country that our wealth is work? We are workers.” — Jon Stewart to CNBC’s Mad Money host and former Goldman Sachs hedge fund manager, Jim Cramer

In this fleeting era of commission-free trading before Biden doubles the capital gains tax on investments: Why not be your own mutual fund manager?

There are no commissions in the Almost DailyBrett mutual fund. Sometimes mutual fund managers win and sometimes they don’t, and they still charge you. Your author may win or maybe not, but sometimes there are dividends and zero commissions.

For way too many mutual fund buy side analysts, it’s not their money. Instead it’s impersonal AUM or assets under management. When it comes to personal assets, your author wants to be the investment manager.

Don’t get Almost DailyBrett wrong. There are mutual funds in your author’s portfolio (e.g., Fidelity Contrafund), but the majority of assets including cash are win or lose under his management. As a retiree, your author will not put all of his golden eggs in one basket and will diversify — to a point.

The most important consideration is a question always posed to your author’s university Corporate Communications/Investor Relations students: “How does a company make money?”

Almost DailyBrett has no clue how speculative Bitcoin makes money, it’s a Ponzi Scheme. No one knew how Enron made money, and as it turned out the celebrated energy trader lost its derriere year-in, year out and lied about it.

Keeping in mind that one-half of all the companies on the Year 2000 Fortune 500 list are now kaput, your author only invests in established well-managed companies with great track records and totally understandable business models. Better yet your author invests in company shares in which he uses the products (e.g., wearing Nikes to Starbucks and paying for lattes with an Apple smartphone).

Another key is to invest in best-of-breed market leading companies run by great chief executive officers, who care deeply about both Fiduciary Responsibility (Doing Well) and Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR (Doing Good). The absence of empathy about shareholders and employees or about a company’s impact on the environment and the community is always a warning sign for investors.

It doesn’t hurt in your author’s eyes that is run by fellow USC alum Marc Benioff or NVIDIA was founded by former LSI Logic colleague Jen-Hsun Huang. One is a pioneer in enterprise software, the other is the undisputed leaders in graphics semiconductors.

A mutual fund manager retiree should always invest, not trade. Watch CNBC. Check your Charles Schwab account daily. Keep track of personal wealth.

Somedays you are making money, and other days you are not. Don’t get giddy, don’t get depressed.

Most importantly, don’t pay commissions to someone else. Pay yourself.

“Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the civil rights movement. I myself think we should take our lead from the (George Floyd) family. They’ve handled this with great dignity, and no ambiguity or lack of—misinterpretation by the other side. No, I don’t think she should apologize.” — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

“We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.” — Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) speaking in Brooklyn Center Minnesota last Saturday night on the precipice of the Derek Chauvin decision

“More confrontational”?

Why is the honorable congresswoman from LaLaLand spending a tense Saturday night in the Land of 10,000 Lakes? Isn’t Minnesota 1,900 miles from her Los Angeles congressional district, and 1,100 miles from Washington, D.C. where she serves as the chair of the House Financial Services Committee?

Why was she in Minneapolis when the city is prepping for a state of siege?

If the jury trial decision comes back with anything less than a 100 percent conviction of Chauvin on all three counts, is Maxine responsible for inciting rioting in Minneapolis which resembles more of a military stronghold than a thriving city?

Almost DailyBrett looked up sedition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and the following is the definition: “Incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority.”

Didn’t Donald Trump incite the storming of the U.S. Capitol with his words on January 6? Yes.

Isn’t Maxine do the same — just for different venues — upon an upcoming jury trial decision? Yes.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 21: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), C, speaks as U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) , (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

It seems the bi-coastal elites from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, CNN anchor Don Lemon and many others are taking up the mantra that Maxine was just being, Maxine. If so then wasn’t The Donald just being, The Donald?

We are supposed to believe that Maxine really wasn’t trying to incite arson, looting, rioting and violence in a city torn apart by not one horrific police shooting (e.g., George Floyd), but two (e.g., Daunte Wright).

Certainly Maxine has the constitutional right to travel where and when she wants and enjoys freedom of speech, except the much cited prohibition against yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

Your author must ask: What about calling for “more confrontational” behavior in city streets that are ready to explode? Are her “we mean business” words limited to Minnesota? Were they also heard in Antifa-dominated Portland, permissive Seattle, explosive Oakland and other powder-keg cities?

Maxine Waters is not calling for violence. Everyone knows that (Really?). She makes a lot of people uncomfortable, especially a lot of men and quite frankly, especially a lot of White men because she puts them in her place. She tells you, ‘Shut up!’ … and she gives it to you like it is!” — CNN Anchor Don Lemon

What do pale males have to do with it? Did they excuse evil Derek Chauvin for suffocating George Floyd? Don’t think so.

That Was Then, This Is Now

We don’t want anybody killed. We don’t believe in violence.” — Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) upon hearing the 1992 verdict in the Rodney King case

“There are those who would like for me and others and all of us to tell people to go inside, to be peaceful, that they have to accept the verdict. I accept the responsibility of asking people not to endanger their lives. I am not asking people not to be angry.” — Waters trying to calm tensions if her congressional district in South Central Los Angeles

Obviously Rep. Waters at 82-years-young remembers the name, Rodney King. When the LAPD officers, who were caught on aerial video violently beat King were acquitted in 1992, the rioting started immediately. Maxine was responsible then, acknowledging an understanding for the reason so many were so angry, but imploring her constituents to stay home and not resort to violence.

What’s changed in the last three decades?

Wasn’t Barack Obama elected and re-elected President of the United States? Doesn’t Maxine’s party control the White House and both houses of Congress? Maxine should be happy, but her angry behavior and words belie happiness.

Is the political establishment, including our increasingly partisan media, giving her carte blanche license to incite riots to destroy Minneapolis-St. Paul and other urban environments? One would think Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Tim Walz has enough problems without Waters flying to her state and calling upon already angry people to be more confrontational.

Almost DailyBrett sensed fear from former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown and other Democratic leaders when she was an assemblywoman in Sacramento from 1976-1990.

It seemed she could defy parliamentary decorum, once labeling a fellow assemblyman (Phil Wyman) as a “lying sack of shit,” and no one would even blinked an eye. She grabbed everyone’s attention with a voice, which triggered the same reaction as someone running their fingernails down a chalkboard.

Maxine was just being Maxine. Should we accept the same excuse on the verge of a major conflagration in Minnesota and inevitably many other urban venues? Isn’t there someone — anyone — willing to stand up to Maxine?

She used to be responsible. Why can’t she be responsible now?

If Almost DailyBrett went to Central Casting searching for someone to play the role of a cool European green party leader and they sent a 72-years-young Winfried Kretschmann, your author would naturally think the talent agency is losing its grip on reality.

And yet Kretschmann of die Grünen was just overwhelmingly re-elected March as the Minister President of wealthy and prosperous Baden-Württemberg, famous for its Black Forest in Southwest Germany. His coalition partner are the pro-business center-right Christian Democrats (CDU).

A moderate-conservative party is teaming with the environmental greens, and it’s working.

It would be easy to dismiss Kretschmann’s re-election success as simply prevailing again in a regional election in an European nation, albeit the continent’s largest with the world’s 4th largest GDP at $4.31 trillion.

What’s important to note is the 40-year Civil War in Germany’s Green Party — die Grünen — is over: The Realists beat The (radical) tree-hugging Fundamentalists. Now the question: Can die Grünen be trusted in the national German government similar to Kretschmann in Baden-Württemberg?

This coming September 26 will be Germany’s first national election in two decades in which CDU Chancellor Angela Merkel is not on the ballot. In fact, it will be the first election since the Federal Republic of Germany’s founding in 1949 in which a sitting chancellor is not on the ballot.

The Union will soon decide who will be its chancellor candidate this fall either Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder (photo right) or Nordrhein-Westphalia Minister President Armin Laschet (photo left).

The conventional wisdom suggests the winner of the Laschet-Söder duel will most likely be the ninth Kanzler of modern-day Germany. And yet the conventional wisdom can be wrong, see American politics. Germany’s nasty third-wave of Covid-19 is bringing into question governmental competency, opening the door for upstarts. The most prominent of these outliers: The Greens.

Since 1949, first West Germany and now reunified Germany has been governed for 52 years by coalitions led by the Christian Democrats or the black as Germans are fond of giving their parties a color. The Union is favored to win again this fall, but who will be its coalition partner?

Either way the once-unthinkable could become reality: A Black-Green coalition or maybe even — a Green-Black coalition?

There is also the possibility of a Jamaica Coalition comprising the aforementioned Black-Green tie-up with the additional of the Yellow neo-liberal Free Democrats. Jamaica’s flag is, you guessed it Black, Yellow and Green.

One way or another, The Greens appear headed for the first time ever for national government.

Not Your Angry Greta Thunberg Greens

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you! — Greta Thunberg to the United Nations Climate Action Summit, September 2019

To suggest that Greta Thunberg is mad is a double entendre.

Almost DailyBrett has always counseled from a public relations standpoint against angry masochism. ‘How Dare You’ scolding to global leaders, who can make a major difference, is a sure-fire political loser. And for years — even before 16-year-very-young Greta was born — many Greens were coming across as simply hostile with no compunction to reason and compromise.

Maybe Herr Kretschmann knows something and has learned wisdom that always mad Greta does not. He is more than aware that Daimler-Benz, Porsche, SAP and other major publicly traded companies make their home in Baden-Württemberg,

There is also a growing environmental consciousness throughout Germany about forests including Kretschmann’s home region Schwarzwald, climate change, nuclear power and the continued use of brown coal. Kretschmann knows that building Germany’s legendary automobiles, including the EVs, requires energy. It has to come from somewhere.

Kretschmann will not be the Chancellor candidate for the Greens this fall. The party will choose from its two leaders, Robert Habeck, 51, or Annalena Baerbock, 40. Habeck holds his doctorate from the University of Hamburg and has been a writer of six books. Baerbock, a former trampolinist, holds her master’s degree in public international law from the London School of Economics.

Could the Vaterland have its second woman Kanzlerin in succession?

Kretschmann, Habeck and Baerbock as Greens send a startling different message to the world, one that makes progress in protecting the earth, but is open to the compromise and even working with business. Can other nations learn from Germany’s greens without being so … tribalistic?

As they say in business, even green business: Hire the smile, teach the skill.

“The community is sick and tired of people engaging in acts of criminal destruction and violence.” — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, March 2021

How sick? How tired?

Heaven forbid evil Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is acquitted.

Portland will inevitably burn, not just downtown near the Mark Hatfield Courthouse, but on the eastside, the north and even the trendy gentrified Pearl District.

The permissive city on the Willamette may burn Beirut-style night-after-night even if Chauvin is convicted on all counts. Don’t think so? Let the 100 consecutive nights of rioting last summer serve as Exhibit A.

Former Portland resident Almost DailyBrett was hoping the streets of Oregon’s largest city would eventually calm down, and may even return to a semblance of normal with the change of administration in Washington, D.C.

Scratch that idea.

Since Jan. 1, there have been 25 homicides, 288 shooting incidents and 91 people injured by gunfire in Portland. After setting a 26-year high for murders in 2020, the city is on pace this year for 100 homicides which would shatter the high mark of 70 set in 1987.

In wake of the rising tide of murders, arson, violence and gun fire, Portland has defunded its Police Bureau by $15 million, eliminated 84 beat officers and reduced its department from 1,001 to 818, an 18 percent decrease.

Wait. The city is directing $6 million more to community groups and will hire 24 unarmed park rangers, but slashing police officers as the city sets new records from crime and violence. Does this make any sense?

Don’t worry Oregon’s aging hippie Governor Kate Brown will send in the National Guard to combat Antifa and other domestic terrorists in the streets of Portland. Right Kate?


Is There A Counterculture To The Counterculture?

“You aren’t sweeping the streets, needles are all over the place, garbage cans are broken and left open, glass from car windows that have been broken out is all over the streets, parks are strewn with litter. You are willfully neglecting your duties as elected officials to keep our city safe and clean.” –Greg Goodman, Downtown Development Group co-president, letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

“I was shocked and outraged yesterday by the (Baltimore) mayor’s crazy comments about his desire to defund the police and to slash their budget and shrink them for the next five years. That is the worst possible thing we could do to stop the violent crime in Baltimore City.” — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on plans to defund police in crime infested Baltimore

Your author remembers those during the Iraq War, who piously proclaimed: “Dissent is patriotic.”

How about some good ole fashioned patriotic dissent in Portland, Oregon? How about the city’s own version of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani? The same Mayor Giuliani, who was named Time’s Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2001.

At some point, Portland needs a leader who has the courage to be unpopular and endure unkind and unpleasant remarks and threats. After the failure of New York Mayor David Dinkins, former US Attorney Giuliani took the abuse as he cleaned up the city.

Parents could once again take their children to Times Square. Many make fun all you want of the Rudy Giuliani today and much of the scorn is earned, but he cleaned up New York and directed the city’s heroic response to 9/11.

Isn’t there someone who is willing to make the tough calls and be embraced by Portland’s silent majority? Mayor Wheeler and Governor Brown need not apply. Antifa doesn’t respect authority, let alone the governor or the mayor. In a way, Portland is getting the government it voted for.

Mayor Wheeler attempted to make friends with the peaceful protesters last summer and was tear-gassed as a result while they cheered. Being nice is not the answer.

The burning, looting and defacing of Portland last summer was the not the beginning of the end, but as Winston Churchill would say, “The end of the beginning.”

Almost DailyBrett lived for five-plus years in Portland’s SW quadrant near the World Forestry Center, Portland Zoo and Japanese Garden. Your author made the short commute to downtown to an office building very close to violence Ground Zero, the federal Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse.

Unlike other cities in which the sidewalks curl up at 5 pm, downtown Portland was the place to be. It was a people place with great shops including the world’s largest bookstore (Powell’s), restaurants and countless microbrew-beer pubs and wine bars.

Your author was a reliable patron of Banana Republic, strategically located across the street from Portland’s Pioneer Square. The store is gone. Was Covid-19 a factor in the decision? One would think so, but having the best commercial real estate location very quickly turned into the worst venue.

Instead of happy people having a wonderful time, violent and dirty Portland on the Willamette now features combat helmets, hammers, sling shots, assault weapons, guns and even hand grenades. Wonder how many of these weapons of war were found in the real Beirut?

“There’s this bastard, who’s set up factories and brothels in Japan, and even deigned to report the date of the German attack as 22 June. Are you suggesting I should believe him?” — Joseph Stalin refusing to accept the correct intelligence of his master agent Richard Sorge, who pinpointed almost to the hour the 1941 German invasion of Russia.

“You often need an agent on the spot, who is going to deliver the piece of paper, the code number, the simple clue to it all.” — David Cornwell (a.k.a., John le Carré) to Steve Croft of “60 Minutes,” 2017

Shaken, not stirred.” — Martini preference of Ian Fleming’s James Bond

Almost DailyBrett is a child of the Cold War.

Your author devoured virtually every spy book and movie on Cold War espionage from Ian Fleming’s James Bond to John le Carré’s George Smiley. Sean Connery was the best playing 007. Alec Guinness has no peer when it comes to assuming the role of The Circus’ lead Cold Warrior, George Smiley.

Almost DailyBrett has made two trips to Berlin where Sir Richard Burton playing Alec Leamas was shot at the base of the Berlin Wall while Smiley waited on the other side in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. Tom Hanks played an American lawyer negotiating a Cold War spy trade at the city’s Bridge of Spies, the Glienicke Bridge.

It was the same Glienicke Bridge in which George Smiley’s Moscow Center adversary Karla defected, prompting a deadpan Alec Guinness in Smiley’s People to reply when asked if he won the exchange: ““Did I? Yes, yes well I suppose I did.”

Sometimes reality is just as good as fiction. Owen Matthew’s An Impeccable Spy about Richard Sorge and Ben Macintyre’s A Spy Among Friends focused on British spy traitor Kim Philby (The Russian mole) are fantabulous reads. Near the top of the list of fantastic books is Macintyre’s The Spy and the Traitor telling the thrilling story about spiriting Russian double agent Oleg Gordievsky out of the USSR, right under the nose of KGB head — Vladimir Putin.

No agent had ever before been successfully extracted from the Soviet Union.

As history has proven, you can take Putin out of the KGB, but you can’t take the KGB out of Putin.

Cornwell contends the Cold War still exists in a different form. Russia is still Russia. Our world has been transformed by digital ones-and-zeroes making it harder to keep secrets, but intelligence is needed more than ever.

Intelligence Failures Draw More Attention Than Espionage Successes

“I think today’s spooks (spies) working on the Russian Front would tell you it’s just as bad as it was in the Cold War.” — David Cornwell upon the publication of his 2017 bestseller, “A Legacy of Spies”

How could the Japanese Navy successfully carry out a 1941 sneak attack against Pearl Harbor? Indeed At Dawn We Slept.

How could Kim Philby and Aldrich Ames sell out for years their respective countries — the UK and the USA — to the Soviet Union? How many died horrible deaths because of their treachery?

Why did we miss September 11? Where were the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) in Iraq?

What happened here? What did we miss there? It’s just so easy to criticize intelligence agencies and question the patience, vigilance, expense and extraordinary personal risk of espionage. And yet the world remains a very dangerous place and not just, Russia.

Almost DailyBrett was only seven-years-very-young still living in Pennsylvania for the infamous 13-days of October, 1962. Our Lockheed U-2 high-altitude surveillance planes discovered the Soviet Union was installing nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba just 90 miles away from Miami.

John F. Kennedy acted upon that correct intelligence, announcing a naval “quarantine” of Cuba. We went eyeball-to-eyeball with the Soviet Union and the “other guy just blinked.”

Zero Dark Thirty delivered a less-than-pretty picture about how US intelligence found Public Enemy No. 1 Osama Bin Laden not in caves in the mountains but in downtown Islamabad, Pakistan. After relying on the intelligence and finding the courage to send US Special Forces into our ally Pakistan’s sovereign capital city, Osama said his last prayer to Allah.

Some may be wondering why the CIA didn’t identify the pandemic threat of Covid-19 before it was too late? Your author must ask whether the discovery of bacterial epidemics is really under the auspices of our intelligence agencies?

Intelligence is for the most part an obviously a thankless occupation, and maybe it is more difficult than ever with cyberwars and computer hacking. And yet there is still a need, a vital need.

It’s not just Russia. It’s China. It’s North Korea. It’s the cartels. It’s the terrorists. Most of all it’s Xenophobic Russia looking to restore its glory with even a warm water port on the Indian Ocean. Some things change, others …

Espionage still matters. Shaken, not stirred.

“I think it’s become clear that fairness is overrated … the idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in.” — NBC Anchor Lester Holt, receiving an award at the 45th Murrow Symposium

“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.” – Walter Cronkite, CBS anchor from 1962-1981

Even an elementary school age girl or boy would frown or even start crying upon hearing that fairness is overrated.

One of the first acts of rebellion for any daughter or son is to simply state: “That’s not fair!”

Did Walter Cronkite just turn over in his grave? Would Edward R. Murrow agree that fairness and objectivity are overrated?

Wonder what the two CBS legends would think about the present state of American Journalism, let alone Holt’s iconic predecessors NBC anchors Chet Huntley and David Brinkley?

Holt’s left-of-center colleague to also sit in the NBC News anchor chair, Brian Williams, would no doubt agree with his sentiments that liberal journalists do not have any obligation whatsoever to be fair, balanced, objective and professional to both Democrats and Republicans.

Considering that Republicans have greater appeal to the working-stiff, rank-and-file in the fly-over states and Democrats have become the party of bigger more obtrusive government and coastal elites, are liberal media now serving as the Praetorian Guard of the “Common Good” as the term is defined?

Almost DailyBrett knows that public trust in this era of pontificating and bloviating “interpretive” and “analytical” media is flowing downward to the right. Is Lester Holt suggesting more of the same just as long as Nielsen ratings entice advertisers?

Whatever happened to fair play?

Is Holt sending a message to working “journalists” and university communication schools that using a left-learning political weather vane to decide whether to lightly cover or totally ignore the latest Andrew Cuomo or Hunter Biden outrage/dalliance is acceptable professional practice?

The Sun Is A Fact, Not A Story

“That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention. Decisions to not give unsupported arguments equal time are not a dereliction of journalistic responsibility or some kind of agenda, in fact, it’s just the opposite.” — Holt justifying his “fairness is overrated” dog whistle to fellow left-wing journalists

Please stop insulting our collective intelligence. Enough with the arrogance.

The sun rising in the east and setting in the west is a fact, not a story. There are no sides. Journalism is not required.

Joe Biden’s call to raise corporate taxes to 28 percent, triggering the offshoring of overseas profits, is a legitimate public policy story. There are indeed two sides and they deserve equal-and-fair coverage. There are those who always resort to tax increases because that’s their automatic answer for any and all issues. There are those who favor free enterprise, fair trade and open markets.

At the expense of dating your author, Almost DailyBrett is certain that Walter Cronkite would demand of the CBS Evening News team that fair shots be afforded to both sides of the tax-and-spend dispute. The network would not simply take the side with those who just want more punitive taxation income redistribution to fund even more government with no regards to the $28 trillion in escalating public debt.

Yes, Donald Trump’s behavior was/is embarrassing to Republicans. The same is true with Gavin Newsom, Hunter Biden and Andrew Cuomo to Democrats. Is it fair to intensely cover the former and ignore the latter?

Sorry Lester, fairness will never be overrated. Even elementary school children know that.

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