Latest Entries »

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” — US General George C. Patton (1885-1945)

“The Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him (her Presbyterian minister father) to vote. The Republicans did.” — Former U.S. Secretary of State and present Stanford provost Condoleezza Rice

“I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.” — President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

Some have suggested that we have never been so divided; some seem to be skipping over the Civil War.

Having made this necessary clarification, your author is reminded of a quote from an Auburn football fan about the annual Iron Bowl.

“In Alabama, it’s either ‘Roll Tide’ or ‘War Eagle,’ and once you choose, you are branded for life.”

‘You are either for me or you are against me.’ How many times have we heard that quote?

In reality, life is not that simple. It’s not always black and white. As citizens — not subjects — with free will, we don’t have “own” everything that goes along with political orthodoxy. In fact, we don’t need to forever embrace a particular political philosophy.

Having grown up in a Roman Catholic Democratic household in which John F. Kennedy was our family patron saint and Nixon’s first name was “damn,” it seemed that Almost DailyBrett would be relegated to lifelong subordination to the Democratic Party.

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates.” – President John F. Kennedy, Economic Club of New York, December 1962.

Kennedy’s quote and his strong military “quarantine” against Soviet missiles in Cuba, not the advocacy of a never-ending shutdown of the American economy serves as a perfect example of the difference between the Democratic party then and the Democratic party now.

No Lightening Bolt Out Of The Sky

“Democrats, when they’re feeling alarmed or mischievous, will often say that Ronald Reagan would not recognize the current Republican Party. I usually respond that John F. Kennedy would not recognize the current Democratic Party, and would never succeed in it.” – Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan

Ronald Reagan didn’t transform your author into a “Reagan Democrat,” but instead a “Reagan Republican.” The Gipper’s celebrated epiphany occurred in 1962. For your author it was 20 years later. With time, Almost DailyBrett has grown to be even more neo-liberal and libertarian.

Buy Low Sell High.

There is a 100 percent correlation with your author leaving the ranks of those an eternal vow of poverty (e.g., political press corps) and joining the ranks of the well-compensated “dark side” (e.g., public relations … press director for the Deukmejian Campaign Committee). As George C. Scott in “Patton” said, “I love it. I love it, so.”

As an aforementioned Catholic your author expected a lightening bolt to strike me out of the sky, falling off the horse on the road to Damascus, and voting for Reagan that first time. As James Brown celebrated, “I Feel Good, So Good … “

Becoming a proud Reagan/Deukmejian Republican does not mean, yours truly buys into each and every policy position on the right side of the aisle. To this very day, Almost DailyBrett can state ex-cathedra, he doesn’t like guns, never did, never will. Bad people with guns, even those playing violent video games, are not good things.

Assault weapons are the worst. George Deukmejian said he saw absolutely no reason why anyone needed an assault weapon. We banned assault weapons in California. The NRA went fruit cake. Almost DailyBrett as press secretary strenuously defended that position; and supports that stance now.

There is no reason to be … predictable.

Voted Against The Clinton Restoration

Four years your author voted against the specter of a Clinton Restoration in the White House. Some believe in their hearts today they cast a good vote on behalf of a now increasingly bitter Hillary. There was zero chance of your author making that choice.

At the same, Almost DailyBrett was deeply troubled by Donald Trump’s decided lack of Reagan/Deukmejian political discipline. There was never any doubt about the philosophical direction of Ronald Reagan and George Deukmejian. You could agree with them or not agree with them, but there was no doubt where they stood.

As Reagan said in his last Republican Convention speech in 1992: “Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts.”

Reagan and Deukmejian were eternal optimists, not utopian and decidedly not dystopian.

Your author did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016 (writing in former Speaker Paul Ryan), the first time since the 1980s not supporting the GOP nominee.

Fast forward, Donald Trump is not any more politically disciplined now compared to four years ago (see TMI on Hydroxychloroquine), another self-inflicted public relations damage control fire drill.

Having said that, there is the president’s record including tax and regulatory relief, standing up to China, strengthened border controls, strict constructionalist judicial nominees, increasing military preparedness and no new wars. And let’s not forget the Covid-19 response and the reopening of America’s economy.

Alas, the Democrats have settled on Joe Biden. Not being the hated Trump apparently is good enough for them. Deep down, they really want New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Democrats can’t get what they want. Republicans are getting what they need.

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1894529_1894528_1894518,00.html

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1894529_1894528_1894522,00.html

https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/library/convention/chome/nreagan.html

 

 

“This is someone (President of the United States) whose grasp of science is at the third-grade level.” – New York Times science and health “beat” reporter Donald McNeil, Jr. during his May 12 CNN interview. He also called on the CDC’s Dr. Robert Redfield to resign.

“Donald McNeil went too far in expressing his personal views . His editors have discussed the issue with him to reiterate that his job is to report the facts and to not offer his own opinions.” — New York Times management rebuking McNeil

Reporters should not be part of the story, let alone be the story.

The acceleration of the decline in public esteem in elite media is not solely attributable to the Fourth Estate’s collective hatred of the president, and ensuing pack mentality that ensures that any reporter, correspondent, anchor can never be seen as being even a tiny bit sympathetic to Donald Trump.

It was the same pack mentality that unofficially declared any positive discussion of Trump’s 2016 electoral chances (exception: FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten) was strictly verboten in print, digital format and broadcast. In effect, the media became a major part of the story and may have unintentionally suppressed Hillary Clinton’s GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts, thus aiding and abetting Donald Trump’s narrow upset victory.

Almost DailyBrett noticed a disturbing trend years ago, even before Trump’s Apprentice days: Reporters interviewing reporters.

Wait. Aren’t reporters supposed to be covering news makers, the important achievers in our society? As a member of the great unwashed, your author wants to hear from Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx when it comes to virology, not Donald McNeil, Jr., who graduated summa cum laude from Cal Berkeley with an undergraduate degree in …  rhetoric.

And yet instead of a credentialed medical expert, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour was interviewing McNeil about the Covid-19 outbreak and America’s response.

On what basis of fact does McNeil conclude that President Trump’s grasp of science is at the “third grade level,” “sycophant” Vice President Mike Pence should not be serving as the chair of the Corona Virus Task Force, and CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield (MD, Georgetown University, 1977) should resign.

Should we all be wearing masks even outdoors, Dr. McNeil?

It’s a rare day when Almost DailyBrett totally agrees with the editors at the New York Times, but McNeil expressed his obviously biased political views and did not even attempt for even a nanosecond to report any facts. The rebuke from the New York Times was essentially a slap on the wrist.

Your author believes that if McNeil was to appear on one of the many ubiquitous reporters interviewing reporters shows, he should stick to his coverage based upon facts learned. Now that he has called for Redfield to resign from his leadership at the Centers for Disease Control, how can McNeil cover the agency fairly?

McNeil is now jaded and exposed. He needs to be taken off the beat. He is not impartial. All of his subsequent copy is now and forever suspect. The fault is McNeil’s, and McNeil’s alone.

The next time McNeil editorializing occurs (Almost DailyBrett is taking the “over”), the blame will be directed to the management of the New York Times.

Taking A Vow Of Poverty

“It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.” — CBS Anchor Walter Cronkite, Feb. 27, 1968

Your author remembers J-School back in the Stone Age (1975-1978).

We learned how to gather facts and report the news professionally, fairly and objectively with the views of both sides represented regardless of our personal expression.

As we all took a vow of poverty, our opinions were irrelevant and most of all … should not enter into our copy or scripts.

What mattered were the ex-cathedra statements and fallacies of our elected leaders. We were there to cover them … not to preach, pontificate or bloviate. Right, Jim Acosta of CNN?

And there it is, Washington Week In Review on PBS with panelists enlisted from more than 100 reporters (curiously none from cable market leader, Fox News). Each Friday night, if you didn’t have anything better to do, reporters kibbutz and provide you with their hallowed personal opinions. The “interpretation” disease is now widespread and mutating.

One commenter pointed to Almost DailyBrett’s admiration of the professionalism and demand for both sides of any story to be covered by revered former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite. It was the very same Cronkite, who based upon years of coverage including on the ground in Southeast Asia declared the Vietnam War as a “stalemate.

Wasn’t Cronkite offering his opinion?

He was making a conclusion based on the on-the-ground facts immediately following the Tet Offensive, which made it clear the Communists had grabbed the upper hand in Vietnam. Declaring the Vietnam War as a “stalemate” was actually a mild description. America lost the war. The end came with helicopters on the roof of the collapsing American embassy in Saigon in 1975.

Isn’t Cronkite’s Vietnam declaration the same as McNeil’s opinion making?

Incorporating Cronkite and McNeil in the same sentence, besmirches the good name of 1972’s “Most Trusted Man In America.”

https://www.cnn.com/videos/health/2020/05/12/donald-g-mcneil-jr-senate-hearing-coronavirus-sot-amanpour-vpx.cnn

https://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/panelists

https://www.usnews.com/news/ken-walshs-washington/articles/2018-02-27/50-years-ago-walter-cronkite-changed-a-nation

“Yes, most likely.” — Boeing President and CEO David L. Calhoun asked if one of his airline customers will go out of business

Three little devastating words.

What is one of the Golden Rules of Public Relations? Don’t answer hypotheticals.

“What happens if the sun slams into the earth?

You can think we would all fry and die and the markets would close early, but you have the right to keep your thoughts to yourself and to deliver a boring response to a reporter, anchor or correspondent.

Today’s Savannah Guthrie asked Calhoun if an airline (e.g., one of Boeing’s customer) could go under, and he uttered those three little words starting with “Yes.”

Guess what? The entire airline sector took a dive (pardon the poor Almost DailyBrett pun) as well as one of their chief suppliers … that would be … Boeing. The company’s PR department reportedly tried to “walk back” Calhoun’s gaffe, but as they say … ‘You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.”

Almost DailyBrett must first ask: Why “Today”?  Why now?

Even before Covid-19 sell-off, the company was responsible for two Boeing 737 Max-8 failure airplane crashes. As a former shareholder, your author knows the airline passenger market is on its back. Boeing turned into a ‘sell.’ It’s still a ‘sell.’

What’s the “great” news to bestow to the aeronautics rocket scientists at Today. Considering that Boeing is the ultimate B2B (business-to-business) is Today’s audience, your audience? Wouldn’t CNBC, Fox Business, Wall Street Journal or even Aviation Week be more appropriate media for Boeing?

Your Mother Always Told You To Tell The Truth

So did Immanuel Kant.

A former Silicon Valley colleague made a valid point that Boeing boss Calhoun should be given credit for telling the truth, and nothing but the truth.

True, but Calhoun went too far. Questions about the financial health of each and everyone of Boeing’s airline customers should be left to the … carriers themselves.

What was the alternative (besides declining the Today interview request)? How about not responding to the question, simply acknowledge the interrogative, say you can’t speak for individual airlines and pivot the discussion back to Boeing. The technique is known as Acknowledge-Bridge-SOCO (Strategic Operating Communications Objective).

SOCO is the answer, which coincides with predetermined before the Today interview Boeing’s agenda, not the wishes of Mizz Guthrie.

As a former press secretary for former California Governor George Deukmejian, your author and our press office staff parried each and every hypothetical question. It was our rule. It was our political discipline.

Consider one of the many questions that we received about legislation pending in the state Legislature, and whether the governor would sign or veto a bill? Unless it was one of the rare cases in which the governor deliberately wanted to send a discouraging message in advance — the bill would be DOA — we implemented our sacrosanct rule about not responding to hypotheticals.

Reporters would often voice their displeasure, but our answer made sense … bills are often amended. They are shelved in committee. They fail on the floor of one or the other house. You can’t make a judgment on a bill if and until it reaches the governor in its final form.

In governance, it’s sound public policy to plan for the future — California 2010 project in 1987. The Golden State foresaw the equivalent of the population of the State of Illinois moving to California. That prediction turned out to be true.

Having said that, there is zero upside with thinking out loud in the on-the-record presence of a reporter. Unless you have the internal green light from your management to float a trial balloon, the practice of speculating about the future is inherently dangerous.

And if you do venture into the hypothetical minefield, mind your own knitting (one metaphor following another),

Calhoun’s greatest sin in the eyes of Almost DailyBrett was conjecturing out loud about the business future of one of Boeing’s customers. That’s the carrier’s prerogative and responsibility, not Boeing, the B2B supplier.

Boeing’s PR department deserves more than its fair share of blame for this gaffe. Today was a bad choice at the worst time possible.

Calhoun was not adequately media trained, particularly when it comes to never answering hypotheticals.

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/coronavirus-pandemic-could-force-major-u-s-airline-out-business-n1205036

http://www.boeing.com/company/bios/david-l-calhoun.page

 

 

Which Californian would you rather have running your business: Tim Cook or Gavin Newsom?

Taking into account that Covid-19 indiscriminately hit both Apple and the State of California at the same time in the same place, which entity performed better under nearly identical circumstances?

Under Governor Gavin Newsom’s watch, California with the nation’s highest income taxes (13.3 percent at the apex) and an average sales tax of 8.66 percent recently reported its record $21 billion surplus is now an unprecedented $54.3 billion deficit … that’s a staggering $75.3 billion switch if you are scoring at home. Nonetheless, the state found $75 million in the form of a pander payment to California illegal aliens.

Will they be eligible to vote … some day?

As the chief executive officer of $260 billion Apple with $44 billion in cash reserves, Tim Cook just announced the reopening some of Apple’s national stores this week with many more to follow. The company achieved a 37.8 percent gross margin and 14.3 percent to the bottom line in FY 2019, returning quarterly dividends of $0.82 per share for its shareholders.

As a member of the growing California Diaspora and a best-in-breed investor, who would Almost DailyBrett choose as a responsible fiscal steward?

Hint: Apple shares are up 7.25 percent this year, despite the Corona virus. As CNBC’s Jim Cramer repeatedly has proclaimed, he is only interested in a stock’s future. Share prices are a leading … not trailing … indicator of future performance.

Apple is a leader. California is a laggard.

The same is true with other best-in-breed publicly traded companies including Salesforce.com, Gilead Sciences, Lululemon Athletica, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nike, NVIDIA and Starbucks. Is the present iteration of California anywhere close to … best in breed?

If California was publicly traded, would a responsible investor select the Golden State or no state income tax Texas and/or Florida?

As the former press secretary for the former Governor of California George Deukmejian (1928-2018), my love for the Golden State is true … your author loathes the present crew in Sacramento. Just ask Tesla boss Elon Musk.

Peddling A False Choice

The bull statue on Wall Street and the True Value hardware store on Main Street are not mutually exclusive.

The countless suggestions of a Berlin Wall type of divide between the two streets is a false choice. Even the stately The Economist fell into this trap.

The reason is simple, millions of investors who live on Main Street, the side streets and the suburbs. Gallup reported that 55 percent of Americans own stocks and/or stock based mutual funds … before Covid 19. America’s Investor Class certainly took a hit with the virus, but there are tangible results indicating without any doubt that investors are coming back, money is coming off the sidelines … heck the NASDAQ is up for the year.

Those who project the end of Capitalism may even be the same to predict the Republicans were the Whigs of the 21st Century, heading for extinction. Whatever happened to these rocket scientists?

Many in America’s investor class are fond of ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds and other versions of mutual funds. Your author is an investor in Fidelity’s Contrafund with $112 billion assets under management (AUM). The fund invests in large caps including Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Berkshire Hathaway (think Warren Buffett), Adobe, Google …

Cash needs to be a significant portion of any responsible portfolio, which should include a mutual fund or two.

Almost DailyBrett must pause and ask the investor class (anyone who would care to listen), how about being the manager of your own mutual fund (no fees or commissions)? Why not build a portfolio with your own selection of best-in-breed stocks (e.g., Apple)?

To some, this approach may be too risky. To others, do you really need a paid-by-you investment advisor to tell you that Nike is the number athletic apparel manufacturer in the world? Why not buy the stock when the next inevitable dip comes around?

Buy Low Sell High.

For the most part, America’s Investor Class radiates out from Main Street. To suggest that Wall Street needs to be reined in and economic freedom should be curtailed by those who determine the so-called Public Good is contrary to the best interests of millions investing for retirement, a child’s education, a dream house or a new business.

It takes a free market to raise a child.

Wall Street is Main Street.

P.S. Be careful about investing in The State of California.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/05/07/the-market-v-the-real-economy?

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/07/california-faces-a-staggering-54-billion-budget-deficit-due-to-economic-devastation-from-coronavirus.html

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/10/apple-reports-fourth-quarter-results/

State and Local Sales Tax Rates, 2020

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/15/california-to-give-cash-payments-to-immigrants-hurt-by-coronavirus.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/06/20/californias-growing-diaspora/

What Percent Of Americans Own Stocks?

State Individual Income Tax Rates and Brackets for 2020

“Mr. Biden’s word is insufficient to dispel the cloud. Any inventory should be strictly limited to information about Ms. Reade and conducted by an unbiased, apolitical panel, put together by the D.N.C. and chosen to foster as much trust in its findings as possible.” — New York Times editorial,  May 1, 2020

“I thought it was an ‘Onion’ headline, not a New York Times headline. They should be embarrassed for themselves for even suggesting that idea.” — Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders

The Democratic National Committee should be tasked with oversight of an “unbiased, apolitical” into sexual dalliances to restore “trust” in its presumptive nominee for President, Joe Biden?

Almost DailyBrett must stop right here and ask: How can anyone combine DNC — let alone the RNC — and the words, “unbiased” and “apolitical” in the same sentence? The national committees of the two respective parties are the most political beings on this planet.

That’s why they exist.

Take for example the self-described “abortion access” reporter for CBS News, Kate Smith. She’s on the front lines with Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and other abortion providers/advocates. CBS has to know that Smith is a fully committed advocate posing as reporter.  And yet the “Big Three” network tolerates this masquerade?

Why doesn’t Planned Parenthood simply hire Smith as its lead spokeswoman … and cut out the middle man?

Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks played the roles of Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee in the heralded movie, “The Post.” The plot line revolved around the decision of the Post management to publish “The Pentagon Papers,” a former Secretary of State Robert McNamara authorized study by Rand Corporation about the conditions on the ground in the Vietnam War.

It wasn’t pretty.

There were political threats. There was the prospect of a failed IPO for the Post on Wall Street. There were those who simply thought Katherine Graham couldn’t do the job. The Washington Post asserted its independence, and published the Rand Report.

CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America, went to Southeast Asia, and came back with the truth. The Vietnam War was indeed, a “stalemate.”

Mass Media, An Oxymoron?

I always say mass media is now an oxymoron, because there is no mass media, really. Everyone’s getting their information and their content from different places, often those that affirm their preexisting beliefs.”  — Veteran television host/anchor Katie Couric

Some apologists may be tempted blame the media’s obvious loss of cherished independence and corresponding decline in public trust and approval as simply a reflection of the national divide in the Age of Trump. Too easy.

Consider the media’s record when it comes to the linkage between political philosophy and zippers. Your author has always contended that once the zipper comes down … it will always come down.

In chronological order there was the media belief in Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas (1991); the “It was consensual” mantra (1998);  The Me Too pile-on against Brett Kavanaugh (2019) and now … the call for the Democratic National Committee to serve as the Praetorian Guard of the Biden-raided hen-house.

There is a obvious pattern here, and more importantly there is the loss of professed independence of the media. Sides have been taken, and the loser is the general public, which has a right to know.

If the media ever regains its vaunted independence, it could go back to providing the nation and the world with news and information without stenographic interpretations. Will it cost a few shekels? Whattyathink CNN?

There were decades when CBS was fiercely independent when Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite held sway. Alas, next came disgraced anchor Dan Rather, who could not and would not suppress his partisan sympathies.

The rest is history. CBS and the vast majority of its brethren have changed their missions, seeing their new job to simply affirm preexisting viewpoints. And the result?

As General George C. Patton once said: “If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking.”

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/495989-sanders-mocks-ny-times-urging-dnc-to-investigate-biden-allegations-i-thought

https://www.foxnews.com/media/katie-couric-says-americans-watch-news-for-affirmation-not-information-seek-to-confirm-preexisting-beliefs

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/donald-trump-media-journalists-dont-bother-to-hide-partisanship/?

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/oppositional-journalism/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/dan-rather-father-of-affirmational-journalism/

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/planned-parenthoods-ambassador-to-cbs-news/?

 

Remember the opening scene of “Basic Instinct”?

The boiled bunny? Wrong movie.

Sharon Stone was the ultimate femme fatale in that movie and countless others, and drew an inordinate amount of attention from the male of the species in particular during her incredible career.

Judging from recent headlines and the cavalcade of Internet images, the queen-in-waiting of Democratic Socialism North Korea’s Royal Family is drawing more than her share of publicity. And who would have thought that was possible, when it comes to murderous North Korea?

It all started with Kim Yo Yong’s appearance at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang South Korea. North Korea’s charm offensive obviously worked (she is the head of North Korea’s propaganda) as the media was falling all over themselves trying to take one more still or record one more video of the leading lady of the so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The fact that Vice President Mike Pence gave her the cold shoulder, added a juicy element of conflict to the story. The fascination with Kim Jong Un’s sister intensified, transforming the snub into an international incident.

Almost DailyBrett will attempt to be charitable, her big brother is her mirror opposite. Chubby Kim Jong Un is a dork, extremely unpredictable and dangerous … but still a dork. And that hair cut? Who would cop to being his hair “stylist”?

A follicly challenged male in a glass house should not be throwing rocks, but your author cannot resist the temptation.

And yet even the intellectually stuffy magazine, Foreign Affairs, acknowledged what it describes as the prurient global interest in the Supreme Leader’s sibling. From a public relations standpoint, telegenic women have a proven track record of successfully softening a nation’s image. The ultimate challenge is moving the public relations dial when it comes to optics of he world’s most abrasive, repressive and desultory state, North Korea.

Just as the beautiful and mysterious, almost covered by her long hair siren Lorelei mythically led sailors on the Rhine to their deaths, a consumer warning should be attached to 32-years-young Kim Yo. Those who ruminate in their sleep about a first date with her in Pyongyang, should consider that encounter may be very quickly become the last date. North Korea does not stop being North Korea.

Besides, she’s married.

A Little Family Feud?

“She’d probably have to shoot a lot of people to assert her authority.” — Peter Ward, writer and researcher on North Korea, University of Vienna

Even Kim Yo Jong’s ascendancy to the red throne of North Korea, assuming the untimely potential passing of her stressed-out, hard drinking, heavy smoking “supreme leader” brother, reportedly she has other family members to fear (e.g., including her repeatedly passed over uncle). But let’s not jump ahead of ourselves.

Keep in mind even in ultra-macho North Korea, she is the grand daughter of communist state founder Kim Il Sung and the daughter of his first son, Kim Jong Il … and as mentioned the sister of Kim Jong Un. Reportedly, lineage matters in Korean culture, and it may even usurp … sexism.

Could North Korea crown a woman chief of state before the United States of America? There have been others (i.e. Britain’s Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Israel’s Golda Meir, Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto … ), but none triggers the intrigue and outright danger of Kim Yo Yang (think nuclear missiles and legendary paranoia).

Some have contended that men en masse have misgivings about strong assertive women. Okay. At the same time, many men were fond, if not transfixed with the risk and danger associated with the parts played by Sharon Stone. She came across as the ultimate babe in total control of herself.

Right, Michael Douglas?

Is Kim Yo Jong is control of herself? Would that be the case, if she wasn’t born into a particular family? Are her life prospects long or relatively short? What we don’t know about North Korea could fill volumes.

What we do know is, Kim Yo Jong has grabbed the attention of the world.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/01/why-we-shouldnt-rule-out-woman-north-koreas-next-leader/

https://www.businessinsider.com/kim-yo-jong-kim-jong-un-sister-life-bio-photos-2018-2#like-many-of-kims-family-members-kim-yo-jongs-exact-age-is-difficult-to-pin-down-but-shes-believed-to-be-in-her-early-30s-likely-born-in-1989-1

https://nypost.com/2020/04/29/kim-jong-uns-sister-has-been-gaining-power-in-north-korea-report/

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/statue-of-loreley

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/feminizing-the-fatherland/

The Internet Likes Kim Yo Jong a Little Too Much

“The surest way to undermine the credibility of the White House press corps is to behave like the political opposition. Don’t give speeches from the White House briefing room.” — ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl on his CNN colleague Jim Acosta, “Front Row At The Trump Show”

“Political opposition”?

As in political opposition to President Trump and with it, the Republican Party?

How about … The Democratic National Committee, ACLU, NARAL, NOW, ADA, Planned Parenthood, Move On, … and on, and on … as tangible examples of political opposition?

If all of the above apply as political adversaries with prescribed agendas, what about opposition media?

Let’s ask: What’s the difference between opposition media and the NRA? Both are narrow special interests with defined agendas. The latter registers to lobby.

Almost DailyBrett has been outspoken in yearning for the return of professional, dispassionate and objective reporting of relevant news and information for the benefit of the American public … particularly in this time of crisis.

As measured by Gallup, The Edelman Trust Barometer and others, public esteem and corresponding trust in the media (e.g., White House press corps) without any doubt whatsoever has been plummeting.

If the credibility of the White House press corps has been undermined as Monsieur Karl suggests — and the Boys and Girls on the Bus are now the political opposition with a clear philosophical and policy agenda — shouldn’t they be required to register to lobby under the auspices of the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA)?

If the openly expressed goals of the vast majority of White House Press Corps and so many more in media citadels of New York, Washington DC, Atlanta … is the removal of President Trump from office and the thwarting of the Republican Senate Majority policy program, don’t these quests equate to lobbying executive and legislative branches of government?

Wouldn’t it not be sound public policy to require reporters, editors, correspondents, anchors — using their awesome communication powers to influence the electorate and change policy — to state for the public record what they have become … unregistered-to-date lobbyists with notepads and microphones?

“Hold On Mr. President!”

Almost DailyBrett can already hear the complaints about a “chilling effect” on our cherished First Amendment Right of Free Speech. Do other special interests sacrifice their constitutional rights (e.g., NPR) upon registering as lobbyists at the federal or state levels?

Why should today’s partisan media be held to a different standard? Don’t they believe in public accountability?

As a young press secretary, your author remembers venturing into the White House briefing room with Reagan deputy press secretary Larry Speakes at the podium. Helen Thomas (UPI), Leslie Stahl (CBS), Chris Wallace (NBC) and Sam Donaldson (ABC) were sitting in the first row.

In the history of the planet, never assembled was a better and more formidable group of skeptical Devil’s Advocates … but they were not opposition media.

They were tough (read Donaldson’s “Hold On Mr. President!”) but they were fair and did not resort to partisan grandstanding or pose hateful questions implying POTUS has “blood on his hands.”

Some may want to ask Almost DailyBrett whether the few conservative media outlets, such as Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, should be compelled to registered as lobbyists. Your author says ‘yes’ to the former and ‘no’ to the latter. The neoliberal Wall Street Journal editorial board offers its take on national policy and direction on its editorial pages … anyone can read them … but they do not lobby.

During the course of his lengthy career in communications stretching from cub reporter to tenure-track professor of public relations, Almost DailyBrett witnessed the sad transformation of media organizations from the responsible providers of news and information to crass disseminators of partisan vitriol to further divide the American public.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Your author doesn’t want to provide CNN’s Jim Acosta (referenced by Jonathan Karl in the quote above) any more attention.

Having said that, his demagogic behavior and obvious loathing of the president should serve as Exhibit A … as to how partisan media has mutated and why they should come clean … leaving absolutely no doubt about their partisan public policy agendas for the executive and legislative branches of government.

The Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) was approved for a reason. Opposition media should register just like any other special interest.

https://lobbyingdisclosure.house.gov/amended_lda_guide.html

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/planned-parenthoods-ambassador-to-cbs-news/?

https://www.foxnews.com/media/president-trump-media-hostility-coronavirus-briefings

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/oppositional-journalism/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/03/29/america-loses-trust-in-media-at-the-worst-time/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/01/12/has-all-media-become-partisan-media/

“Play the radio, make sure the television — the, excuse me — make sure you have the record player on at night … make sure the kids hear words.” — Former ice President Joe Biden, Democratic Presidential Debate, Sept. 12, 2019

Record player?

Every day Wall Street is assessing, “The Cuomo Effect.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily Covid-19 briefings on the impact of the Corona virus on the most densely populated metropolitan area in the country are moving markets … mostly upwards.

Not only is New York the most impacted state as a result of the spread of the virus, it also serves as the venue for the NYSE and NASDAQ and not-so-coincidentally the major networks.

Almost DailyBrett is still mystified the White House’s Corona Virus task force never adopted the idea of holding its briefings during market hours (e.g., 9:30 am to 4 pm EDT), particularly earlier when remarks from President Trump, Vice President Pence, Drs. Fauci and Birx would have greatest impact.

In turn Governor Cuomo has been Mr. Carpe Diem. Each morning has been his turn to preach the gospel of Covid-19 response. Is there any wonder, where he acquired his oratorical skills? His father, the late Governor Mario Cuomo (1932-2015), electrified the 1984 Democratic Convention with his keynote address.

Your author fondly remembers reading Mario Cuomo’s 1982 diaries about his New York gubernatorial campaign. That was the same year my boss, George Deukmejian (another New York native), ran and won the governorship of California. The Duke also read Mario’s diaries. The same is true for former California governor Jerry Brown.

As a former public relations professor, your author is particularly impressed with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s presence, persona, pacing, command of the language and skillful use of PowerPoint. Almost DailyBrett has been waiting … literally for years … for politicians to skillfully employ PowerPoint, which has long been de rigueur for technology and academic presentations.

“You Know” Four Times In One Sentence?

“Um, you know, there’s a, uh, during World War II, uh, you know, where Roosevelt came up with a thing, uh, that, uh, you know, was totally different than a- than the- it’s called, he called it, the, you know, the World War II, he had the war- the the War Production Board.” — Joe Biden COVID-19 comments Friday, April 17 on CNN

During World War II, President Roosevelt established the War Production Board.

Eleven words. How tough was that?

The hyperventilating “WhatAboutism” crowd is already getting their collective knickers in a twist to identify comparable Bidenesque rhetorical wrestling matches with President Trump. The president is confident when he speaks … maybe too confident … while Biden struggles and struggle and struggles.

Your author would stop a student reaching for his … it was always a male … fourth “you know” crutch word in the same sentence. The Millennial was obviously nervous and maybe a little ashamed in front of fellow students. The job was to slow him down and help him concentrate on delivering a succinct understandable message.

That is the essence of communication.

The real question for today is could Joe Biden serve as Governor of New York, let alone President of the United States, and rally us in days of crisis? Yes Joe is from Del-a-where not New York, but we are putting this obvious point aside for the sake of discussion.

Joe … ‘I knew Mario Cuomo. Mario Cuomo was a friend of mine … and you are no Mario Cuomo’ … make that no Andrew Cuomo as well.

Could Joe Biden present Andrew Cuomo’s corona virus response briefings each day with anything close to the same presence and command? As mentioned Andrew is a skilled orator, but he will not be the Democratic nominee for the presidency.

The answer should be obvious. Joe Biden is not Andrew Cuomo … not even close.

Would the majority of Democrats opt to re-run the presidential primary season, if they could? You bet ya.

Some may point to Joe Biden’s adolescent stuttering. Some may remember Almost DailyBrett’s youthful stammering issue. These problems can be overcome with deliberation, preparation and confidence. The former is running for the presidency. Can he ever inspire or will he always struggle to find the next word.

You know?

https://www.businessinsider.com/joe-biden-record-player-democratic-debate-abc-houston-2019-9

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/what-about-whataboutism/

“One taboo after another has been broken. Not just the threat of fines or prison for ordinary people doing ordinary things, but also in the size and scope of the government’s role in the economy. — The Economist, The state in the time of covid-19, March 26, 2020

“Coming next is likely to be contact tracing, an effort track people exposed to the virus that could invade the privacy of all Americans.” — Dan Balz, Washington Post, Government is everywhere now. Where does it go next. April 20, 2020

“Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” — President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address, 1981

The California beach City of San Clemente filled its popular skate park with sand because it was being used by … (gasp!) … skateboarders.

The State of Michigan banned nurseries and garden shops because mandated shelter-in-place folks actually wanted to plant their home gardens … believe it or not … with seeds.

It’s spring. Pollen is in the air. The flowers are blooming. The birds are chirping.

In these growing cases of governmental overreach, are these punitive actions public relations victories … or failures?

“For believers in limited government and open markets, covid-19 poses a problem. The state must act decisively. But history suggests that after crises the state does not give up all the ground it has taken. — The neoliberal Economist

The Economist proclaimed today’s global state of affairs after more than one month combating the Corona virus as the “most dramatic expansion of state power since the second world war.”

Reminds one of the Red Army “liberating” Eastern Europe at the end of the same war.

Almost DailyBrett maintains a healthy libertarian streak preferring carrots (e.g., effective public outreach) than stones (thou shalt not … ). In the overwhelming number of cases, Americans accepted wise counsel from doctors and scientists, and closeted themselves at home for weeks on end.

At the same time, pay checks and investment portfolios vanished in the face of the unprecedented shutdown of the world’s largest ($21.44 trillion GDP) free-market economy.

Now the storm clouds are showing signs of receding, people are ready to go back to work, particular those who are unemployed. They do not want to wait … and will not sit at home … until 2021 or (gasp 2022 ), calmly waiting for final FDA approval and widespread distribution of a covid-19 vaccine.

The “Highest Priority” Of Government

“The highest priority of government is the protection and safety of its citizens.” — Former California Governor George Deukmejian

“Government also has changed personal behavior, recommending and in some cases ordering people to stay home, practice social distancing and wear masks outdoors, in some places under the threats of fines and penalties.” — Dan Balz, Washington Post

It will come as no surprise that your author, who earlier served as a Governor Deukmejian press secretary, concurs with controlling the size and scope of government.

Without getting inflamed by all the political finger pointing and retributions associated with the containment of the Corona virus, your author believes there is zero doubt we will ultimately beat this little bugger, the evidence is already there. We have prioritized protection and safety.

The Deukmejian administration contended that government was indeed necessary, but we questioned automatic expansions and costs of government which make little or no sense (e.g., today’s high speed train proposal from god-awful Bakersfield to no-where Merced).

But when is too much government, too much? Why can’t citizens … not subjects … be treated as adults rather than children?

Almost DailyBrett concurs with stay-at-home and social-distancing gospels as long as they are absolutely necessary … on a state-by-state basis. Where your author gets out of the government über alles boat is when the orders are arbitrary and capricious, and become an excuse for arrogant petty tyranny.

There is a major difference between the word, “encourage,” and “prohibit.” The latter means Verboten.

Your author remembers vividly University of Oregon graduate school classmates openly stressing about the prospect of the federal government keeping tabs of their … library book checkouts because of the Patriot Act to fight terrorism.

Why would government … care?

What would they think about digital virus contact tracing by Big Brother?

The Mother of All civil liberties battles?

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/03/26/the-state-in-the-time-of-covid-19

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/2020/04/20/government_is_bigger_than_ever_what_comes_next_508525.html

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/coronavirus-authoritarianism-is-getting-out-of-hand/?

As the mallard flies, Autzen Stadium is less than five miles away … but it seems like millions of light years right now.

The Ducks last flew triumphantly in Pasadena just three months ago, and yet there are so many questions about when they will be airborne again.

We were all packed into the Rose Bowl as Justin Herbert repeatedly gave the “Heisman” to Wisconsin would-be tacklers, scoring a hat-trick of stand-up touchdowns.

And now we are required to give the Heisman to everyone, including those who are normally packed into Autzen with us.

Almost DailyBrett certainly respects and shares the global concern about the unbelievable power and threat posed by a ten-thousandth of a millimeter in diameter COVID-19 virus. We must do what we must do.

At some point, we will be done. We must be done.

The dreams of Autzen remain, and they’re not trivial. We may have taken “Autzen” for granted. Never again.

The next time walking into the stadium with nearly 60,000 of our most intimate friends means that we have fought and won the war against the Corona virus. We literally saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Being at Autzen where it “never rains,” standing up proudly as the Oregon Marching Band plays the national anthem, will be a celebration of the American spirit. The mere act of standing en masse signifies what we can do, if absolutely necessary. In unprecedented fashion, America closed the planet’s largest ever economy and more importantly for our safety, health and prosperity … opened it back up for business.

As America begins a guided by science, phased-in, step-by-step, state-by-state recovery, it seems that sporting events (football is indeed our pastime) may be near the end of the line in terms of priorities. Keep in mind that our sports inspire us, build our character, make us happy and urge us to persevere (e.g., Miracle on Ice in 1980).

Your author is still looking forward to consecutive season #31 as a season ticket holder at Autzen, 15 rows behind the opponent’s bench near the 30-yard line. In many ways, the south side of Autzen has been a home-away-from-home for more than three decades. Yours truly and fellow fans have been high fiving each other … without ever thinking about infection … after every Oregon touchdown.

The 2020 home schedule is particularly attractive with the Ohio State Buckeyes making their first-ever trip to Oregon. Washington, Stanford and USC were all slated to visit the not-so-friendly confines of Autzen this fall. The key word now is … “were.”

Some have suggested playing the games in empty bowls with zero Oregon fans, including zero season ticket holders, students, bands … Translated: Ohio State would play Oregon in a quiet, deserted stadium. Autzen’s intensity, passion and its legendary cauldron of noise would be absent, allowing the Buckeyes to easily run their offense.

Conceivably, Oregon would play Ohio State a year later in the 104,000-seat “Horseshoe” with all the crazies from Akron, Canton and Toledo, let alone Columbus, yelling for their fighting chestnuts.

How is that fair? Life is not fair.

Given the uneasy choice between antiseptic made-for-television football with confiscatory ESPN advertising rates, played in sterile stadiums in 2020 or waiting for the return to intensity of Autzen in 2021, Almost DailyBrett would reluctantly choose the latter. The caveat would be, the 2020 schedule becomes the 2021 slate of games.

Considering the re-opening of America will be decided by the nation’s 50 state governors, will red state governors (e.g., Greg Abbott of Texas) opt for the early resumption of football? Will blue state governors (e.g., Andrew Cuomo of New York) essentially cancel football until 2021 or beyond?

Will there be football states and non-football states?

Hopefully, Autzen is located in a football state.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexreimer/2020/03/30/espns-kirk-herbstreit-is-telling-sports-fans-hard-truth-about-how-coronavirus-could-cancel-football-season/#3c365077319d

Donald Trump Says Major Sports Could Resume As “Made For Television” Events — Without Fans — Under New White House Plan

%d bloggers like this: