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“This is a terrible fact for journalism. Its lost the trust of the American people. It’s been on a 40-year decline and it’s been bouncing around its near lows, historic lows about the people who trust journalists to tell us the news fully fairly and accurately.” — Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

Since I began my career in Washington on Capitol Hill in ’83, what the press then was liberal but they tried to do the job and be down the middle. They were mostly liberal. They really did try be fair. And now I would say they’re liberal, they’re cultural and they’re activists.” — Ari Fleischer responding to questions Sunday from long-time media critic Howard Kurtz on “Media Buzz”

Has activism replaced objectivity as the gold standard for elite journalism?

Almost DailyBrett winced when NBC News anchor Lester Holt stated: “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.”

Did the worthy successor of Chet Huntley, David Brinkley and Tom Brokaw just bury the quaint concepts of objectivity and fair play?

Besides the continuous uninterrupted decline in public trust for the profession, activist reporters, producers and even chyron writers attempt to fit a narrative into reality with at times absurd results.

Almost DailyBrett must stop here and ask: On what planet are “peaceful protests” accompanied by burning buildings? Did the peaceful protesters with flowers in their hair ignite these structures? Let’s spread the free love.

And what are the personal gains that comes with being an unabashed privileged journalist activist besides having the opportunities to interpret, pontificate and bloviate the true gospel to grateful masses?

“They’re actually rewarded in terms of Twitter followers and getting booked on MSNBC for being activist reporters and journalism schools are increasingly graduating students, who object to objectivity and think subjectivity matters more.” — Ari Fleischer

Besides a pay check, being fair and being satisfied with a professional job well done, today’s Millennial journalistic activists (guess that term is no longer an oxymoron) are seeking social media praise and being one of the many reporters/correspondents being interviewed by elite CNN or MSNBC reporters/correspondents.

Too Late to Save Journalism?

“Journalism is in a crisis and it needs to fix itself.” — Ari Fleischer

“Totally. It’s in a very serious credibility crisis, I would just say I don’t think every single journalist necessarily fits that description.” — Howard Kurtz

Acknowledgement is the first step toward recovery.

Ari Fleischer is correct to point at today’s university Journalism schools as the source for the credibility crisis. Journalism, Advertising, Marketing, Corporate Communications, Investor Relations are all professions. Do the doctorates in the ivory tower faculty lounges see their respective fiefdoms as professional schools?

If the answer is ‘no,’ then what are today’s university journalism schools? Are they activist training centers? If so, maybe they should be located in the desert?

Are objectivity and fairness forever passe’?

Both Almost DailyBrett and Fleischer as former Republican press secretaries (one for a mere state, California, and other at the White House) know that GOP public relations practitioners have to work twice as hard. In the past, the liberal journalists for the most part played tough devil’s advocates but their copy and broadcasts were for the most part, fair.

Today Republican press secretaries are engaged in day-to-day mortal combat with reporters/correspondents in drag, who in reality are illiberal activists with zero interest in the Marketplace of Ideas. In effect, they cut out the middle man. They are the intolerant publicity wing of the Democratic National Committee, and will not participate in any discussion in which they regard as blasphemy.

Your author yearns desperately for a restoration of Journalism professionalism. Young children appreciate the value of fair play. After flipping a coin, both sides should have an opportunity to move the ball and win the game.

Almost DailyBrett believes strongly the only way to gradually restore public trust in conventional and digital media is a renewed commitment to professionalism — objectivity and fairness — and the subordination of personal political philosophy. The personal points of view of elite privileged journalists should always be irrelevant.

That was the standard in the days of venerated CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite, and it should be the same today and more importantly, tomorrow.

Walter Cronkite? Who’s that?

“I think you could do that. It should be a very long-term because you don’t want the judge who’s holding that term the start thinking about his next job. But it would make life easier for me.” — U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer

The Roberts Court, April 23, 2021 Seated from left to right: Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor Standing from left to right: Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett. Photograph by Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

Almost DailyBrett took note that a nearly three-decade liberal associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court favors term limits for the high court, and opposes court packing.

Your author will never forget the 1986 November election, when California voters ousted three members of the California Supreme Court upon the expiration of their respective 12-year terms.

Your author’s boss at the time California Governor George Deukmejian was required to nominate three new justices, make that four justices for the Golden State’s highest court.

Defeated were Chief Justice Rose Bird and Associate Justices Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin. Deukmejian elevated California associate justice Malcolm Lucas (e.g., “Maximum Mal”) to succeed Bird, and then nominated Appellate Court Justices to John Arguelles, David Eagleson, and Marcus Kaufman to fill the remaining three positions.

Some purists complained about the shocking concept of the people of California actually deciding after 12 years whether to retain or excuse sitting members of the court. Isn’t that exercise: “Politicizing the court?”

These modern-day Pharisees are behaving as if the court has never been politicized. Breyer, 83, is under considerable liberal pressure to retire while Joe Biden is in the White House and the Democrats control both houses of Congress. He indicated his plans to retire at a time of his choosing as opposed to dying in office (e.g., Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg).

In his new book, The Authority of the Court and the Perils of Politics, Breyer quotes Alexander Hamilton in asserting that among America’s three branches of government, the judiciary is most dependent on public acceptance. Breyer then proposed term limits as a reform as opposed to the present practice of lifelong appointments as a means to maintain and build public trust.

Should federal Big Court term limits follow the California precedent of 12 years or should they be longer, such as 16-years? If the latter, a sitting justice would always come up for re-nomination by a new president and presumably a new Senate.

Reminds Almost DailyBrett of the upcoming 2022 re-nomination questions for Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Will Biden opt for another four years of Powell or will he make his own appointment to the independent Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)?

Term limits work.

Packing The Court?

“I shall oppose it (court packing) with all the strength that remains to me, but I don’t imagine for a minute it’ll do any good. Why? If the president (FDR) asked Congress to commit suicide tomorrow, they’d do it.” — U.S. Senator Carter Glass (D-Virginia)

“Well, if one party could do it, I guess another party could do it. On the surface, it seems to me you start changing all these things around and people will lose trust in the court.” — Stephen Breyer announcing his opposition to court packing

The U.S. Senate did not commit suicide in unison. They voted against FDR’s court-packing proposal, even though the Democrats held a healthy majority in the upper house.

President Joe Biden and others have proposed expanding from nine-to-15 justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, providing him with six immediate nominations to wipe out the 6-3 conservative edge on the big court.

Where have we heard that before?

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the wake of Supreme Court decisions against his precious New Deal, made the same legislative call to increase the justices — you guessed it — from nine-to-15 justices.

As Pulitzer Prize winning historian David McCullough wrote in his best-seller, “Truman”: “The president was wrong in his approach. The whole attempt to influence the decisions of the court by increasing its size was a blunder, damaging to Roosevelt and to the Senate.”

Court packing then is court packing today. One would think Biden would learn from FDR’s sorry experience.

If Biden is really interested in reforming the court while maintaining its public acceptance, maybe the answer is term limits with reasonable tenures on the court?

What’s good for the presidential goose should be good for the high court gander.

“It (Portland State University) has transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a Social Justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender, and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division.” — Ten-year Portland State University Professor of Philosophy Peter Boghossian in his resignation letter

“The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither.” — Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006)

Is Almost DailyBrett running the risk of offending those in ivory towers, who yearn to be offended?

As a former tenure-track at Central Washington University, your author voted ‘no’ on the proposed university-wide general education curriculum because it included a “social justice pathway.” There were gasps at our faculty meeting. Somebody blasphemed. Somebody was a heretic. Somebody was leaving anyway.

Why are any political subjects allowed for any so-called freshman pathway? How about a Pro-Life pathway? Maybe a Second Amendment pathway with target practice provided free of charge?

Do we need to go there? Don’t think so.

As a past professor of public relations, corporate communications, advertising, marketing and advertising, Almost DailyBrett believes that universities should be teaching-oriented professional schools preparing students to prosper in salaried positions with full benefits.

The best anti-poverty program on the planet are well-paying private positions with employer provided medical, dental and vision plans, plus stock purchase and option programs at publicly traded companies. Buy Low Sell High? Right on.

Fortunately, your author retired after a four-year combat tour in academia at a time and place of his choosing. Not every academic has that luxury.

Take the example of suspended — and reinstated — UCLA professor Gordon Klein, whose crime was refusing to move the date of the final for his “Principles of Taxation” class to accommodate George Floyd student protests. He is back on campus, but the charges of “racism” still sting and they are eternal in terms of his good name, career and reputation.

Our colleges and universities are not teaching, let alone serving as professional schools. The purpose now is illiberal indoctrination. For example when it comes to today’s journalism graduates, neutral objectivity has been replaced with moral clarity.

Who decides what is moral and what is clarity? The answer is university-indoctrinated young Turks in digital newsrooms are driving public respect for journalism further into the ground, if that is still possible.

Let’s celebrate the academic and career achievements of Asian-Americans. We can’t do that? We can only dwell on the victims of our institutional racist society.

The 1619 Project teaches that America was founded that year, when the first slave came to shore, not in 1776. The American Revolution was fought over slavery.

Wasn’t that the Civil War?

Social justice factories insist on the use of the term Latinx, even though only 4 percent of Hispanics prefer the term.

“Diversity Statements” To Achieve Tenure?

“University politics make me long for the simplicity of the Middle East.” — Former Harvard University Department of Government Professor Henry Kissinger

“Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal. Fuck outta here with your nice words.” – Fresno State English Professor Randa Jarrar in a tweet upon the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush

UCLA (and presumably many other social justice factories) now require all professors to prepare diversity statements in order to achieve sacred tenure. Is there a template?

Can one select from a sanctioned list of words, phrases, sentiments, emotions (e.g., systemic racism) to satisfy those who only approve papers that mimic the officially prescribed orthodoxy? As a long-time journalist, Almost DailyBrett can write whatever you want, there is no need to believe it.

What about academic freedom? What academic freedom?

Almost DailyBrett provided commentary about Fresno State Professor Jarrar’s academic freedom comments upon the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush. Would academic freedom protect the same professor, if she offered the exact sentiments about former First Lady Michelle Obama?

She would be out the door, no questions asked. So much for academic freedom.

The fact that America’s colleges and universities are overwhelmingly liberal is not news. What is new is how our universities have become illiberal.

And that even applies to uninviting an accomplished woman (e.g., President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde) or an overachieving woman of color (e.g., former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice). And when it comes the ultimate symbol of misogyny and violence against the University of Oregon’s Pioneer Woman, let the sledge hammers be raised.

No one seems to care. There are no responsible adults to be found. The sledge hammers won. Social Justice prevailed. She is gone, presumably forever.

Illiberalism seized the day. Traditional liberal, let alone moderate or conservative thoughts are not welcome. The Marketplace of Ideas ist kaputt.

What is worse is when college educated graduates leave campus and spread illiberalism throughout society. The brown shirts … err black shirts of Antifa serve as the thought enforcers (e.g., Portland).

Should we be afraid, or very afraid?

“The main explanation is the madness of California’s direct democracy. The Golden State holds so many such ‘propositions’ as well as referendums and recall that its voters in effect represent a fourth branch of government.” — Lexington, The Economist, August 28, 2021

“‘We the People’ tell the Government what to do, it doesn’t tell us. ‘We the People’ are the driver. The Government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which ‘We the People’ tell the Government what it is allowed to do. ‘We the People’ are free.” — President Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address, January 11, 1989

FILE – In this Oct. 5, 2003, file photo, Republican candidate for California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger walks up the steps to the state Capitol surrounded by children and waving to supporters during a campaign rally in Sacramento, Calif. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing a possible recall election as the nation’s most populous state struggles to emerge from the coronavirus crisis. The prospect of the election is reviving memories of California’s circus-like 2003 recall, in which voters installed Schwarzenegger as governor after deposing the unpopular Democrat Gray Davis. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater, File)

There goes California’s people again.

As a young cub reporter, Almost DailyBrett cut his teeth in 1978 covering California’s Proposition 13 tax revolt initiative. The fourth branch of government — those pesky voters — sent an unmistakable message to kicking-and-screaming arrogant Sacramento.

A generation later the people of the Golden State recalled Governor Gray Davis and replaced him with the Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s was just so exciting. California finally had a chief executive with size, shape, proportion and seem-a-tree.

Now California’s direct democracy voters are weighing whether to recall their second floundering chief executive in the last two decades, Governor Gavin Newsom. The status quo in Sacramento with their veto-proof majorities don’t even want to envision California as a pluralistic state. One illiberal philosophy is enough.

Almost DailyBrett appreciates the legacy of reformist Republican California Governor Hiram Warren Johnson more than ever. Upon being elected governor in 1910, it was no secret that Southern Pacific and other railroads controlled Sacramento.

In direct response, Governor Johnson marshalled support to amend California’s Constitution in 1911 to provide for direct initiative to the ballot, recall of public officials, referendum of onerous legislation and the granting of voting rights to women — eight years before the federal government followed suit.

Johnson’s landmark breakthrough for direct democracy (i.e., initiative, recall and referendum) very quietly remained ensconced in the California Constitution. That all changed when the aforementioned Proposition 13 by tax crusaders Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann permanently changed the game in the Golden State.

The governor and state Legislature had numerous opportunities to reform skyrocketing inflation property tax rates, but deliberately failed to do so. Some considered Jarvis and Gann to be two nagging gadflies. Almost DailyBrett believes to this day, if it wasn’t for Jarvis-Gann it would have been someone else.

Hiram Johnson must be looking down from heaven, pleased that his direct democracy reforms are doing exactly what he envisioned: threatening and occasionally winning against entrenched uncaring political monopoly power.

The French Laundry For Me, But Not For Thee

“Mr. Newsom’s career — much like that of his fellow San Franciscan Kamala Harris — whose presidential ambitions he is assumed to share — has been an exercise in calculatedly wooing all Democratic factions, and offending none, than solving big problems.” –Lexington, Total recall

Having served for seven years in best-seen-in-your-rear-view-mirror Sacramento, Almost DailyBrett knows the political class firmly believes the people of California are not paying attention. Heck, Keeping Up With The Kardashians (KUWTK) ruled the airwaves in Frisco and LaLaLand for two decades.

If Governor Newsom wants to take part in an all-expenses paid lavish six course dinner with lobbyists with direct business with Sacramento (e.g., conflict of interest) while mandating mortal families to stay away from each for the holidays, well he’s pretty boy Gavin and everyone else isn’t.

God only knows how much legal tender California has thrown at drug addiction, mental illness and homelessness only to see the failures of these programs manifested in the form discarded needles, human excretion, piles of trash and the Golden State with 10 percent of the nation’s population serving as the home for 22 percent of the nation’s homeless.

And who can now live in California — Almost DailyBrett’s home for 26 years — the ultra rich, the desperate poor and those who have resided in the same residence for decades (Proposition 13 keeps their property tax rates reasonable as long as they don’t sell and move). Are they prisoners of their residences?

It’s Hasta La Vista for the California Diaspora.

There are those in Sacramento who want the public constitutional right to the initiative, recall and referendum to simply go away. That way its so much easier to serve special interest donors.

Does that mean California will go full circle with the special interests regaining complete control of Sacramento?

“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” — Otto von Bismarck, first Chancellor of Unified Germany

“We are coming to terms and looking to lift our hearts in gratitude. We are grateful for the tranquil backdrop these beautiful trees provided us.”  — Sarver Winery home page

Was Almost DailyBrett thrown off his horse on the way to Damascus (Oregon)?

Couldn’t believe the Pinot Noir influenced late summer beauty from the terrace of Eugene’s Sarver Winery last Friday night. The setting was perfect, the company was superb (e.g., Jeanne), the music splendid (e.g., Peter Giri on the guitar) and the brilliant sunny weather exhibited a wee touch of fall in the air.

What could ever interrupt this image of first-world Nirvana (not the band)?

Your author walked back to the little green chariot (e.g., Mazda Miata), only to discover a massive clear-cut right up to Sarver’s property line. There’s 260 acres of utter desolation.

Similar to sausage, the production of wood for our houses is not pretty. But does it have to be right next to a beautiful, idyllic winery?

From 1990-to-1993, your author was a media strategist and message developer for the timber industry in the Western United States, mainly soft woods (e.g., Oregon Douglas Fir) for building materials.

The biggest PR mistakes the industry made prior and after your author’s arrival was not necessarily clear cuts themselves (reportedly replanted trees need sunlight), but where?

Venue and timing are everything in the crisis communications business. The notorious worst offender was Seattle’s Plum Creek Timber Company, clearcutting right to edge of Interstate-90 in Washington’s Snoqualmie Pass.

Every motorist heading along the interstate to and from Seattle every day, month and year experienced first hand this visual blight, soil erosion, mudslides and environmental carnage.

Did the rocket scientists of Plum Creek ever hear of a buffer?

How do you explain their collective idiocy? You don’t rationalize, you don’t defend the untenable. The political position of the timber industry during your author’s tenure was the strongest on the first day on the job. It only grew worse.

From Oregon to Burgundy

“Nowhere else does the level of quality seem so high, the perspectives so diverse or the experimentation so fierce as it is in Oregon right now. — New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov

Almost DailyBrett’s mantra is: “Buy Low, Sell High.”

Take Oregon’s wineries as an example. Trees were obviously harvested in order to clear acerage to plant white grape vines for Pinot Gris and red grapes for Pinot Noir (59 percent of Oregon’s total production) and other varietals. Trees are a crop. Grapes are a crop. That’s where the comparison ends.

Forestry matters. Oregon is blessed with tall trees, but sometimes these beauties need to be managed, particularly removing dangerous dead and dying trees. And yes, we have a demand for wood to provide housing for humanity.

In direct contrast to eye-sore clear cuts, Oregon’s white and red grapes are beautifully terraced and picturesque. Oregon’s first wineries were opened in 1971 (i.e., Adelsheim, Sokol Blosser), taking full advantage of a variable maritime climate and a terroir remarkably similar to France’s Burgundy region.

Today Oregon’s three American Viticultural Areas (AVA) produce 1 percent of the nation’s wine (and yet 7 percent of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines), just a fraction compared to wine colossus next door, California.

Oregon’s 908 wineries and 1,297 vineyards employ 40,000 and produce 84,590 tons of grapes and sell 4.6 million cases. Not bad, not bad at all.

How tough is it to find a bottle of Oregon’s legendary pinot noir for under $20? Difficult, but not as tough as defending a butt ugly clear cut.–record-2019-results/?sh=2919f0c13e16

Dear President Joe Biden:

Ever hear of the digital era word: viral?

When your head was sinking to the podium Thursday, the image went viral. Alas, it projected American weakness and defeat, becoming an instant metaphor for your flagging presidency.

Almost DailyBrett appreciates that last Thursday with 13 American troops killed was the toughest in a series of escalating bad days for you, your administration and the country. The Afghanistan debacle is the consummate story with legs.

From a media relations standpoint, you still need to hold your head up high and proclaim our resolve to get after ISIS-K for its premeditated suicide bombing of the Kabul Airport.

The disastrous pull out of the U.S. from God-awful Afghanistan has been extraordinarily difficult, but certainly it does not even come close to the epic where-were-you-when-you-heard-the-news for every American about 9/11.

One of the first viral images we all saw of former President George W. Bush was his site visit to the demolished World Trade Center in New York, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a brave fireman promising certain retribution against Al-Qaeda.

Almost DailyBrett has counseled and taught that effective crisis communications has two components: preventive and responsive. Besides death and taxes, there is another absolute of life: Every president will face down at least one dangerous crisis.

America’s departure from ungovernable Afghanistan was never going to be pretty, but how many are now stranded in that miserable country in which everyone is seemingly carrying an AK-47? Did your ambassador to Afghanistan (e.g., Ross Wilson) really need to blame the victims, those left to the tender mercies of the Taliban?

Before you think your author is only centering his attention on Democrats, ask yourself whether John F. Kennedy would ever be photographed with his head down? The young president starred down Russia’s Nikita Khrushchev, refusing to employ nuclear weapons or even blockade Cuba. Instead he bravely enforced a quarantine against Soviet ships bringing rocket launching equipment to Cuba.

Besides managing the always mercurial and astrological Nancy Reagan, White House deputy chief of staff Michael Deaver was a master in controlling the settings and messages for his boss, President Ronald Reagan. The Reagan Blue backdrops even made a man, who occasionally wore a brown suit (and got away with it), look good. Even better, Reagan always portrayed American optimism, confidence and resolve.

It was Morning in America again. Reagan earned the nickname, “The Great Communicator.” He dared call upon Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to open the gate to the Berlin Wall, better yet tear down die Berliner Mauer.

Would You Rather Be John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter?

“One picture is worth a thousand words.” — English illustrator Frederick Barnard, 1846-1896

Mr. President, at some point you will need to give attention to your legacy. You are the fifth president to govern in the Internet always-on era. It’s not just the still photographers and broadcast cameras of yesteryear and today, heck it’s anyone with a smart phone capturing digital images and recording video.

When former President James Earl Carter finally buys (not-the-Reagan) ranch, there will be so many nice words. You may even be required to deliver an eulogy for the departed POTUS #39. Everyone is so complimentary upon the passing of any prominent public official, particularly a president.

Deep down you know the truth: You do not want to be compared in way shape or form to the president, who delivered the malaise “Crisis of Confidence” speech in July, 1979.

Everything was the fault of the American people, even the Iranian hostage crisis. From that point forward, it only got worse with unimaginable gas lines, stratospheric interest rates, surging unemployment, out-of-control inflation and — 52 American hostages trapped in Iran for 444 days.

To President Carter’s credit, he tried to rescue the hostages — but there was the enduring image — another metaphor of a broken administration that endures in history.

There is good news Mr. President. Your presidency is still young. There is a political lifetime between now and 2024.

Hopefully, the middle of your administration will not turn into a digital metaphor.

And God forbid for the end of your presidency being eternally captured by a Marine helicopter and an infamous send-off.

“It was not about taking a picture to look nice and to show off what I can do. It was about getting our hands dirty, and we picked up the stuff and cleared two grandstands in three-and-a-half hours, and made sure that it went to the right place.” — Four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel

“It’s easy to look at the professionally taken and carefully filtered photos of Vettel in the grandstands and assume it was a photo-op; a PR opportunity to improve the image of a multi-millionaire who’s made his money in a gas-guzzling global sport. But Vettel isn’t your average sports star.” — Laurence Edmondson, ESPN F1 editor

Ever hear the term: ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’?

Rarely does a day go by when Almost DailyBrett doesn’t see garbage on a running/hiking trail, which needs to be recycled or properly disposed.

You’re not responsible for the trash. Why not just leave it there? Not your circus, not your monkeys. Right?

No one will notice if you bypass the garbage. No one will care if you pick it up or not. Why do it?

Almost DailyBrett will never be confused with a tree-hugging enviro, and yet Alles ist nicht in Ordung. Your author has become a serial trash collector and recycler, but has not sought applause. It’s just the right thing to do.

The same at a much larger scale applies to $100 million net worth Sebastian Vettel of Germany. Some scoffed at the suggestion that Vettel’s picking up trash after racing in the July 18 British Grand Prix in Silverstone (he finished 12th in his Aston Martin) was not a PR stunt.

These doubters obviously do not know Sebastian Vettel.

Can Formula One Do Better? Can We All Do Better?

“It’s quite sad if you don’t think you can make a difference because you think you are too small, but if eight billion people decide they can make a difference then it’s the biggest difference that can be made. So, basically, I’m just pushing that message.” — Sebastian Vettel on environmental responsibility

“If Formula One gets so much credit for being so fast and having the fastest cars and technology, then we should do that [in terms of improving sustainability] and act fast and not just talk fast. So I think we can do a lot more than what we are doing.” — Aston Martin F1 Driver Sebastian Vettel

Considering Vettel’s celebrity and the global ubiquitous of smart phone cameras/recorders, it did not take long for Vettel’s good deeds to go viral (even though he is the only F1 driver without a Facebook account, let alone his own page). The publicity he did not seek is what transpired.

Vettel, 34, in many ways reflects Germany’s soft power, including its world leading environmental consciousness. Even though Deutschland resists adding speed limits to long stretches of its legendary autobahns, the nation is exiting from nuclear power and setting a definitive date (e.g., 2038) for its Ausstieg from brown coal.

Germany is proud of its pedestrian-only zones in its cities (i.e., München, Heidelberg) and bike lanes virtually everywhere. It should not surprise anyone that Vettel reflects this mindset as he quietly rides his bike to the race track.

Even though he dominated Formula 1 with four straight world championships from 2010-2013, he is regarded as everyone’s friend and one of the good guys in the sport. He married his Heppenheim, Germany childhood sweetheart, Hanna Prater, two years ago.

The private couple raise their children in Switzerland. And when Vettel is not pushing the Formula 1 limit on his Pirelli tires, you may find him in the stands cleaning up after the race.

There will be zero publicity release.

“Isn’t there an old adage that ‘if you die a rich person, you’ve failed‘?” — 007 Daniel Craig

“Leave the children enough so that they can do anything, but not enough that they can do nothing.” — Sage of Omaha Warren Buffett letter to shareholders

Almost DailyBrett can’t tell you how many times he’s seen bumper stickers — usually on slow-moving motor homes — proudly declaring: “We’re spending our children’s inheritance.”

Wasn’t Craig’s last movie, “Knives Out,” all about a greedy family of parasites, who really didn’t deserve a nickel of inheritance from an overachieving wealthy patriarch?

Even though Millennials (e.g., born between 1980-2000) are super pissed about their Baby Boomer parents (1946-1964), they are still set to inherit a record cumulative amount of $22 trillion. The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $22.8 trillion.

Many Millennials are justifiably upset about the record $28.6 trillion debt (e.g., $3 trillion deficit so far this first Biden year) and nose bleed housing prices. Don’t you think — if they reportedly don’t want the china and silverware — they still covet the house? How about the Charles Schwab bull market investment portfolio?

And way too many want Universal Basic Income (UBI) to stimulate them in their quest to do — nothing. Playing video games and binge watching qualifies as doing nada.

Are Baby Boomers just plain greedy, if they do not leave every dime to the offspring? Just because one wins the biological lottery, are the two sons and daughter of Warren Buffett automatically due his $100-plus billion investment fortune?

To whom much is given, much is required?” — Luke 12:48

Don’t Baby Boomers — The Worst Generation — have an obligation to give back to society without government nagging and/or forced punitive redistribution?

Even though they gave the world — Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll — and not much else, Baby Boomers still managed to accumulate unprecedented wealth, a good portion through American bull markets and stratospheric real estate.

The question now — considering you can’t take your income to the grave — is what to do with the hard-earned largesse?

Do Millennial sons and daughters deserve an inheritance solely based on the fact they are flesh-and-blood offspring? What else do they have to offer to the world?

How many children are estranged by their own choosing from their parents? Overall, Scientific American reported that 12 percent of adults surveyed answered in the affirmative. Considering the difficulty of this emotional subject, Almost DailyBrett believes this number is actually higher.

Each case has to be judged by its own individual merits. The decision shouldn’t be to automatically award an inheritance to Millennial children. There are oodles of worthwhile charities, who historically have done wonerful things for good people.

Are they more worthy? Are your children more of long-term liability than an asset?

These and many more are the questions.

“I don’t have to watch this snot nose entitled kid from Kentucky.” — CNN analyst and former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart on Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann

“Those awful kids and their fetid smirking harassing that elderly man on the Mall: Go fuck yourselves.” — Kara Swisher, co-founder and editor in chief of Recode

CNN brought down the full force of its corporate power, influence, and wealth on Nicholas (Sandmann) by falsely attacking, vilifying, and bullying him despite the fact that he was a minor child.” –– The family of student Nicholas Sandmann $275 million defamation lawsuit against CNN

“What started in 1964 with a decision to tolerate the occasional falsehood to ensure robust reporting by a comparative handful of print and broadcast outlets has evolved into an ironclad subsidy for the publication of falsehoods by means and on a scale previously unimaginable.” — US Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch

Is an 17-year-old quietly standing Catholic school student a “public figure?”

In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in New York Times v. Sullivan that definitive proof of “actual malice” had to be established before a media organization became liable for civil damages. The decision applied directly to public officials (e.g., Montgomery, Alabama Police Commissioner L.B. Sullivan).

Subsequent judicial interpretations extended these media libel and slander protections to potential civil judgments by public figures.

Could the courts in the 1960s envision the professional media standards exemplified by Walter Cronkite would degenerate into the shameless out-of-control partisan media of today, including CNN’s arrogant all-male lineup of “anchors?”

Even though Sandmann said and did nothing during his visit to Washington, D.C. on that infamous day — January 18, 2019 — he was wearing a red MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat. Almost DailyBrett contends that heinous act is akin to waving a red cape in front of a bull, in this case CNN.

CNN settled with the Sandmann family, but the ultra-liberal network still got away with its malicious treatment of a minor, who was not in any way shape or form, a public figure. Before writing a fat check to stop an unpredictable judicial rendering, CNN didn’t seem to care about what they said about anyone and everyone they didn’t like.

Should New York Times v Sullivan Be Overturned?

“In extending Sullivan, the court increasingly lost contact with the case’s premises and principles.” — Associate Justice Elena Kagan, 1993 contributed article to the University of Chicago School of Law

Even though Almost DailyBrett took required undergraduate and post-graduate courses in Journalism Law and taught the subject as a tenure-track professor, your author must state here and now he is not an attorney.

Let’s first address political reality. Any judicial attempt — even by the United States Supreme Court — to address the modern-day obvious flaws with Sullivan will be immediately interpreted as having a chilling impact on the First Amendment. But we all know our sacred right to free speech has limits (e.g., not being allowed to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater).

Should New York Times v. Sullivan be overturned? That’s a tough hill to climb.

Should the interpretation of New York Times v. Sullivan be amended to define who is and who is not a public figure? Yes. Seventeen-year-old kids on a Washington, D.C. field trip are not “public figures.”

More importantly, character assassination by malicious media of innocent Americans should be outlawed. CNN, which has been leading partisan media in a race to the bottom, knew it would lose a jury trail in which big box partisan media was on one side and an innocent minor high school student and his family was on the other.

Almost DailyBrett is certain that Goliath would have been defeated. There was evidence of actual malice directed a quiet minor standing in the National Mall. CNN lawyers without any doubt recommended the diabolical network to punt in the form of a sizable out-of-court settlement.

New York Times v. Sullivan was never intended to be a “get out of jail” card for malicious partisan media. Nicholas Sandmann is and was not a public figure, let alone a public official, ready to be savaged by the awesome media power of CNN.

Heck he was a 17-year-old kid at that time. We must safeguard children, who are not public figures.

In fact, the United States Supreme Court needs to reform New York Times v. Sullivan to only apply to “public officials.” If malodorous CNN and other partisan preying media want to go after minors on a field trip, let them do so but at their own legal peril.

The First Amendment will be just fine.

It was Zero Dark Thirty on May 1, 2011.

For U.S. Navy Seals it was 12:30 am Pakistan time on May 2 when they set off on their mission to eliminate America’s Public Enemy No. 1, Al-Qaeda’s mastermind Osama bin Laden.

In this May 1, 2011 photo, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden. (AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza, File)

Looking back one decade in time, Almost DailyBrett can conclude through Monday morning quarterbacking, the bin-Laden raid was a Strategic Inflection Point (SIP) for U.S. military deployment in Afghanistan.

The hunt for bin Laden was over. It was time right then and there to adopt the time-tested political axiom: “When in doubt, declare victory.”

In strategic public relations parlance, timing is everything.

That where-were-you-when-you-heard-the-news event, provided former President Barack Obama with the tailor-made opportunity to simply, declare ‘Victory’ and for America to leave ungovernable Afghanistan. We know without any doubt now, it was an opportunity missed.

Ten years later, who is paying the political price? President Joe Biden.

More importantly, how much blood and treasure was lost during the past decade? How many men and women never came home? How many are permanently injured and maimed for life?

The original mission was an old-fashioned payback for Al-Qaeda’s 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

“Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.” — President George W. Bush, September 20, 2001.

The vote to commence counterterrorism in Afghanistan with the full weight of the U.S. military was 98-0 in the U.S. Senate and 420-1 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

We were uncharacteristically united as a nation.

Despite the best efforts of President Bush, it was on Obama’s watch 10 years later that Osama bin Laden said his last prayer to Allah. The Navy Seals did their job. It was time, then and there to go home.

What Would Have Happened To Afghanistan In 2011?

Almost DailyBrett will take a stab at that rhetorical question. The same, just a decade earlier.

The Afghanis would have put up a matador defense against the Taliban then and they have now. Their rifles would have been sold on eBay 10-years ago: “Never fired, dropped only once.”

Would 2012 GOP nominee (former Massachusetts Governor) Mitt Romney have brought up the fall of Afghanistan, comparing it with the 1975 collapse of South Vietnam in his campaign against Obama? At his own peril.

The political rebuttal would not be difficult.

‘We eliminated Osama bin Laden from the face of the earth, governor. Our mission is over. Besides how many more years should America remain in Afghanistan? How many more, governor? Our retribution targeted Al-Qaeda, not the Taliban. It’s time to bring our troops home.’

The hawks in the chattering classes would not concur then, just as they are not agreeing now. Donald Trump staged a peace conference between the Afghan government and the Taliban as a prelude to bringing American forces back home. Regardless of whether Trump was re-elected or not, America was leaving Afghanistan.

The dead dog was ultimately left on Biden’s porch. The swiftness of Afghanistan’s collapse was the only surprise. In reality, it was never a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’ The pictures are tough to consume. When is war ever humane, much less pretty?

We need to move on. This issue is not a winner for the Republicans then and now. It could have been a huge win for Obama 10 years ago. Today some are charging that America “lost” in Afghanistan. It didn’t have to be this way.

All that was needed was to ‘Declare Victory’ in 2011, and go home.

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