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There is good news and not-so-good news for Edward Snowden.

First, the good news: A weak morning sun came up over Russia’s Eastern horizon this morning, revealing the legendary frozen tundra steppes.

Maybe Snowden has a comrade he can keep warm or maybe not.snowdenbook

Snowden is being provided tender-loving care under the KGB’s successor, the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Snowden can check in anytime he likes, but can he ever leave?

Second, the not-so-good news: Despite the all-out PR campaign, epitomized by Oliver Stone’s epic movie and a massive media pardon effort, former President Barack Obama boarded a helicopter Friday and left Snowden Back In The (former) USSR.

Sorry Edward, Donald Trump is now president.

What are the chances of a pardon from The Donald? How about none and less than that.

Similar to Napoleon’s Grand Armee and Hitler’s Panzers, Snowden is stranded in Russia in winter.russianwinter

What’s whistle-blower/traitor to do?

The Legacy of Marc Rich

Almost DailyBrett has to categorically state this blog was wrong, thankfully wrong.

Last February, this post predicted that Snowden’s name would be a last-minute add to the pardon list, as a new president was being inaugurated and all of the attention would be on the incoming administration.

To his credit President Barack Obama did not pardon Snowden, despite intense pressure to give the high-school drop-out, a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Bet ya, Obama remembered Bill Clinton’s last day in office 2001 pardon of the late Marc Rich.marcrich

Über-wealthy Rich was wanted for more than 50 counts wire fraud, racketeering, massive income tax evasion and trading oil with Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran, Khadafy’s Libya, Milosevic’s Yugoslavia, Kim Il Sung’s North Korea and Apartheid South Africa. He even renounced his U.S. citizenship.

Clinton pardoned him, triggering a firestorm of criticism from both sides of the aisle, and leaving the memory of his last act in office as an enduring chapter in his legacy.

Undoubtedly, Obama did not want pardoning Snowden to among his last actions as president. He was smart to take a pass, leaving Edward to the tender mercies of Putin’s Federal Security Service.

Snowden on the Chess Board?

“Chess is the gymnasium of the mind.” – Blaise Pascal, mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and philosopher (1623-1662)

There appears to be a standoff.

Snowden faces up to 30-years in the slam Back in the USSA for at least two violations of the Espionage Act of 1917.

He is now working on his fourth year in the Rodina as a “guest” of the Russian government.

There is a ton of speculation about the coming relationship/non-relationship between two of the largest egos on the planet: President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin.trumpputin

Will they get along? Almost DailyBrett will take the “over.”

Will they wheel-and-deal? Didn’t Trump write a 1987 book titled, Trump: The Art of the Deal?

And if there is going to be a deal or deals, what about the 32 pieces on a chess board? The Kings are obvious, The Donald and Vladimir. And then there are the vital pieces: queen, bishops, knights and rooks … which brings us to the lowly pawns.

If Donald Trump wants Snowden back in the custody of the United States of America, wouldn’t one think that Putin would trade a pawn (e.g., Snowden) for another piece or pieces on the board?

Think of it this way, Snowden remains in Russia at the unpredictable pleasure of Vladimir Putin. If trading away Snowden pawn fits into the strategic plans of the 11-time zone nation, wouldn’t one surmise that Putin would do just that in a nanosecond?

There is the possibility that Snowden becomes a permanent Russian citizen. He is 33-years-young, giving him plenty of time to learn the Cyrillic alphabet and to take side trips to Siberia.

He could also wait until 2021 to determine if a new incoming president of the United States would pardon him – assuming there is no second term of Donald Trump. The question remains would a new president among his or her first acts in office want to pardon Snowden?

What if Snowden-the-pawn is simply part of a Trump-Putin deal? Or maybe Snowden reads the writing on the wall, and voluntarily (assuming he can) asks to be returned to the United States?

Conceivably, there could be a C-130 waiting for him at Sheremetyevo Airport. The destination could be the United States or …

Is Guantanamo still in business?

https://www.yahoo.com/news/russia-says-snowden-stay-two-more-years-081707423.html?.tsrc=fauxdal

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/world/europe/edward-snowden-asylum-russia.html?_r=0

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/was-snowden-hero-or-traitor-perhaps-a-little-of-both/2017/01/19/a2b8592e-c6f0-11e6-bf4b-2c064d32a4bf_story.html?utm_term=.76f7eb553ea8&wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21714318-damning-account-devastating-intelligence-breach-how-edward-snowden-changed

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/the-coming-presidential-pardon-of-edward-snowden/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/pr-advice-for-edward-snowden/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/is-snark-ever-smart/

https://fas.org/irp/world/russia/fsb/

 

 

 

 

“It’s a great photo that demonstrates genuine bipartisanship. At one time they were political enemies, but they came together for a good cause. In the midst of a nasty election season, people are hungry for anything that can unify us.” — Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics

A great photo can be worth a 1,000 words, and can go viral too.michellebush

The best part about First Lady Michelle Obama hugging former President George W. Bush is what it says about what could be as opposed to what is today’s reality.

Last September was the opening ceremony for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Bush signed the legislation creating the museum. Obama was there to formally open its doors to the public for the first time.

As the Obama presidency comes to a close with disparate interpretations of the 44th president’s legacy, and Donald Trump prepares to take the Oath of Office Friday, the nastiness of the partisan divide has seemingly never been greater.

Some would argue that Aaron Burr outdueling Alexander Hamilton was worse, but only by a smidge.burrhamilton

What should be seen as a celebration of our enduring democracy (inaugural of #45) – the peaceful transfer of power – is degenerating into a cavalcade of boycotts by politicians/entertainers and demonstrations – some of which will almost-certainty, turn violent.

For a prelude, just take a stroll through the digital world of social media. For some reason so many of us are compelled to inflame Facebook and other sites with partisan broadsides … even though most are already fully aware of the sender’s political predilections.

Almost DailyBrett has already rhetorically asked why we choose to fire off these salvos on a social media platform intended to our family and friends. Is this the way we treat our family and friends, when we see them face-to-face?

If so, do you still have any family and friends? Guess, mumsy will always love you.

“Forgive Your Enemies, But Never Forget Their Names” – John F. Kennedy

A great read is “The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity” by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.

The 2012 book tells the story about how presidents and former presidents from Truman to Obama were able to repeatedly work together (e.g., Bush 41 and Clinton 42 on Tsunami relief), putting aside the proverbial political hatchet for the greater good.

The repeated examples catalogued in this book do not suggest that everything is forgotten, but many real-and-perceived transgressions are eventually forgiven.

Does this mean that Bush 43 and Obama 44 see eye-to-eye on the body politic? Absolutely not.

Having said that, can they set aside differences, work together and actually develop a real friendship? Michelle’s sincere embrace of George W., and his very real expression of gratitude, serve as a great symbol for the country.

With this example in mind, could incoming President Donald J. Trump give his Twitter handle a rest? Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly been exposed to the Big Apple world of insults and never apologizing, but are we going to endure daily Twitter broadsides for the next four-to-eight years?trump-twitter

Whatever happened to the notion of being a statesman, someone who can literally reach across ponds to represent America as an exceptional nation?

Whatever happened to political discipline, having the strength and courage to fight off coarse instincts and emotions, and to stick to the script on behalf of a presidency, but more importantly for our Republic?

Whatever happened to never forgetting the names of your enemies, but eventually forgiving them instead of trying to even the score?

The viral hug between First Lady Michelle Obama and former President George W. Bush produces 2.6 million results on Google and more than 4,000 videos on YouTube. That’s relevant.

What have we learned here? Almost DailyBrett will offer that the nation understands advocating and defending our principles, but civility still matters. If the 100 million-plus political animals in this country could pull one punch this week … that would be 100 million instances of less political invective on blogs, social media or verbally.

What a beautiful thought.

Maybe a great photo is indeed worth a million words.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp2JZH1sfiM

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/michelle-obama-embraces-george-w-bush-why-photo-was-so-n654451

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/theoval/2016/09/26/first-lady-michelle-obama-displays-genuine-affection-george-w-bush/91124646/

http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/24/politics/michelle-obama-george-w-bush-friendship/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-lewis-feud-could-be-harbinger-of-new-round-of-hyper-partisanship/2017/01/14/f72db5a2-da8d-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?utm_term=.9c86ee86bb59&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/why-even-discuss-politics-on-facebook/

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn103659.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/books/the-presidents-club-by-nancy-gibbs-and-michael-duffy.html

 

Leave it to Lane Kiffin to be fired from a job (Alabama offensive coordinator) that he already quit.

That’s Lame … Kiffin.kiffinsaban

As a result, Kiffin won’t be on the sideline tomorrow for the biggest college football game in America as the Crimson Tide defends its national title in a rematch with Clemson in the “Natty.” His failed USC successor Steve “Moonshine” Sarkisian will be calling the plays for Alabama.

Who will ESECPN’s Kirk Herbstreit gush about for three-plus hours without Kiffin huddling behind his little laminated card? If you took a gulp of beer every time Herbstreit heaped fawning praise on Kiffin during last year’s Natty, you would have been smashed by the second quarter.

It seems as if a little dark rain cloud follows Lane’s every step of his rocky career. With Kiffin, there is an abundance of football talent, and yet a gaping deficit in personal public relations.firelanekiffin

Consider that Kiffin was shown the door by the Oakland Raiders, publicly called a liar by the late Al Davis. He skipped out on the Tennessee Volunteers after one season, leaving the school, team and coach staff in the lurch. He was fired in the LAX parking lot at 2:30 am by then-USC Athletic Director Pat Haden when too much became too much.

And now by “mutual” consent with legendary Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, Kiffin will not be the offensive coordinator for the best team in the land in the biggest game of the year.

If you are keeping score at home, here are the raw numbers for Kiffin’s another-chance-after-another-chance career: Oakland, 5-15; Tennessee, 7-6; USC, 28-15 for a grand total of 40 wins and 36 losses. Give Kiffin credit: He has turned mediocrity into a lucrative (read millions) art form.

And now he is the incoming head coach of the … (drum roll) … Florida Atlantic University Owls (2016: 3-9) of Conference USA. You have to wonder if the administration at FAU is so desperate that it would reach out to such a tarnished commodity behind a laminated clipboard. How long will it take before Kiffin embarrasses FAU? Three years? Almost DailyBrett will take the “under.”

The above question implies that Kiffin will actually spend three years at FAU. Considering Kiffin’s track record, three years is most likely a stretch.kiffinbillboard

How does Lane Kiffin keeping failing only to be given new life time-and-time again? It’s akin to giving Anthony Weiner access to Twitter once again. The result is not going to be pretty.

It would be hard for Almost DailyBrett to make up all of these transgressions: Airport parking lot termination, locker room fights, banned reporters, deflated footballs, missed dinners, departed team buses, jersey changing incidents, recruiting decommits, the hoodie, the sun glasses, even the petty precluding of visiting teams merely walking through the LA Mausoleum before games.kiffinshades

When the Crimson Tide’s Nick Saban hired Kiffin as his offensive coordinator three years ago, didn’t you know the Great State of Alabama was not big enough to hold both of their legendary egos and related arrogance at the same time?

The public explanation for Kiffin’s latest dismissal is that he was not devoting the time and effort necessary for a team preparing for the Natty. Kiffin was also hiring his FAU staff and recruiting players for the Boca Raton-based school.kiffinhoodie

Something tells Almost DailyBrett that Kiffin was garnering way too much attention (i.e., Herbstreit on ESECPN, Gary Danielson on CBS) and taking too much credit away from Saban. If Alabama wins Monday, he will tie the immortal Paul “Bear” Bryant with a record six national championships.

Somebody needed to go, and it was the one who was already going.

What’s curious is after one former failed USC coach being dismissed as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, Saban is now relaying on another former failed USC coach.

If Steve Sarkisian learned anything from the legendary mistakes of Lane Kiffin, it’s good to humble and to allow the boss to receive the lion’s share of the Crimson Tide glory.

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/01/kiffin_is_as_kiffin_does.html

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/lane-kiffin-just-cant-stop-sabotaging-010217

http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/01/02/

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/lane-kiffin-florida-atlantic-fau-alabama-salary-contract-head-coach-hired-where-is-roster-recruiting-121216

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Atlantic_Owls_football

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/sec/2017/01/02/lane-kiffin-abruptly-out-alabamas-oc-steve-sarkisian-take-over/96081884/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/media-vultures-circling-over-kiffin/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/a-ball-inflation-needle-in-kiffins-coffin/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/uscs-vietnam/

 

“You are now starting to chip away at the very basis of sports. If you tell me that they (Penn State) beat you (Ohio State) and it doesn’t matter … you’re starting to worry me.” – ESECPN Football Analyst Joey Galloway

Now that everyone has extracted their knickers-out-of-a-once-in-a-decade twist about the Electoral College, it’s time to focus on what is totally catawampus about the College Football Playoff.

Today, we will be treated on ESECPN to #1 seed SEC-Champion Alabama (13-0) vs. #4 seed Pac-12-Champion Washington (12-1) in the Peach Bowl

That playoff game will be followed by #2 seed ACC-Champion Clemson (12-1) vs. #3 seed Big-10 Champion-wanna-be Ohio State (11-1).

And there lies the problem.

Ohio State did not have the chestnuts to play in its conference championship game, let alone win it.ohiostatefan

So the team that collectively sat on their derrieres at home on the first Saturday of December is playing for our national championship. Almost DailyBrett has a major bone to pick with that, but who cares about those folks living in rural college towns across the fruited plain?

Their opinions don’t really matter, do they?

If you listened to the biased talking heads at America’s most political sports network, ESECPN, safely located east of the Hudson River, you would learn from the likes of Kirk “Kiffin” Herbstreit (e.g., Ohio State, 1989-1993) and Joey Galloway (e.g., Ohio State, 1991-1994), the real issue was … Washington’s non-league schedule.

Almost DailyBrett will never be accused of being in the tank for the hated Huskies, but Washington played and beat the Famous Potatoes Bowl champion Idaho (8-4), Portland State (3-8) and Big-10 member, Rutgers (2-10).

Nonetheless, the Dawgs won the Pac-12 conference with a dominating 41-10 win over Colorado. Washington played and won a major conference championship game, and deserves to be one of the final four.

Ohio State, which played one less game than the other three contenders did indeed play and beat Oklahoma on the road in non-league. The Buckeyes also triumphed over the aforementioned Rutgers as well, but lost to Penn State on the road in a series of special teams’ brain farts.

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 22: Grant Haley #15 of the Penn State Nittany Lions returns a field goal block 60 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on October 22, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

STATE COLLEGE, PA – OCTOBER 22: Grant Haley #15 of the Penn State Nittany Lions returns a field goal block 60 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on October 22, 2016. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Penn State went on to play and beat Wisconsin 38-31 to win the Big-10 outright. And now the Nittany Lions are getting ready to play in … the Rose Bowl.

Wait.

Penn State beat Ohio State. Penn State played in the Big-10 championship game Dec. 2 at Lucas Oil Can Stadium. Penn State won that game and won the conference championship.

And yet Urban Meyer (what parents in their right mind would ever-name their kid, “Urban”?) and the big, bad Buckeyes are in the playoff.

This seems fine for Ohio State homer and apologist Herbstreit, but even Buckeye Galloway had some momentary problems with this scenario.

kirkherbstreitbrutus

Was the “controversy” about Washington’s non-league schedule a smoke-screen to deflect attention from the inarguable fact that Ohio State was simply not good enough to play for its own conference championship … and that should extend to the national championship?

There Should Be A Rule

“We come back to our protocol and that is identifying the four very best teams in college football. Conference championships [are] only piece, one metric of the conversation we have.” – CFP Committee Chairman Kirby Hocutt

The “protocol” needs to change.

Ohio State is the only non-conference champion to ever play for the national championship during the playoff era. The Buckeyes may hoist the trophy on January 9, but that fact still does not change the fact that Ohio State should be in the Rose Bowl playing USC … not the college football playoff.

Almost DailyBrett has previously argued that Rose Bowls are precious, and certainly playing in Pasadena is ample reward for an 11-1 Ohio State also-ran.

Some may point out the Big-12 conference with only 10 teams and thus no-championship game would be excluded from a new “protocol” in which a conference game winner must be the basis for consideration for the playoff.

Oklahoma (yes, which did lose to Ohio State) still won its conference with a 9-0 record, 10-2 overall. Ohio State did not win its conference. Period.

If Almost DailyBrett had its way, a team that did not win its conference, let alone play in its conference championship game (if applicable) should not be eligible for the national championship playoff.

The controversial team this year was Ohio State – not Washington. The team which was screwed out of the final four was Big-10 champion Penn State, the only team to beat Ohio State.

It doesn’t get any simpler than that unarguable point.

http://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/why-ohio-state-washington-made-college-football-playoff-over-penn-state-michigan/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirk_Herbstreit

https://www.landof10.com/ohio-state/kirk-herbstreit-and-joey-galloway-spar-over-penn-state-and-ohio-state

http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/joey-galloway-1.html

http://www.gohuskies.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=249

http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/sports/m-footbl/sched/osu-m-footbl-sched.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/rose-bowls-are-precious/

 

 

 

 

 

… Public universities have limited legal authority to unilaterally declare their campuses sanctuaries in defiance of federal law. Further, it is not clear how such defiance might affect receipt of federal funding (e.g., Pell, GEAR-UP, and Perkins), or what the repercussions might be for state funding.” – Central Washington University President James Gaudino

Four words: “defiance of federal law,” jump out at the author of Almost DailyBrett.gaudinomatthis

President James L. Guadino (left) with former Marine General, incoming Secretary of Defense and former CWU grad James N. Mattis.

These words and others in CWU President Gaudino’s well-written December 1 letter on “University Campus Sanctuary Status” pose a series of questions for both the adherents and the opponents of having Central Washington University (CWU) march down the same “sanctuary” path taken by public universities in California, Oregon and elsewhere.

Some of the questions which immediately come to mind are whether sanctuary university supporters still have not come to terms with the simple fact that Donald Trump is the president-elect of the United States.

Employing the Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross model of the Five Stages of Grief and Loss, many have reached acceptance mode. Some are still bargaining (e.g., asking this week for the Electoral College to invalidate Trump’s election). Some are angry (e.g., protesting on inaugural day) and some are still in the first stage, denial (e.g., campus sanctuaries).

Does anyone believe for a nanosecond that Trump is not serious about immigration reform including building a wall and safeguarding our borders? It would be surprising, if President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive order on Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is not rescinded by Trump in the first days, if not the first hours of his administration.

If that is indeed the case, and there is no reason to think it is not, then why would Central Washington and other universities “unilaterally declare” their campuses to be sanctuaries in direct “defiance of federal law”?

University of California students yell at chancellor Nicholas Dirks protesting proposed tuition hikes before a regents meeting, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

University of California students yell at chancellor Nicholas Dirks protesting proposed tuition hikes before a regents meeting, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

And what are the repercussions of deliberately violating federal law? President Gaudino mentions the possible loss of federal funding for student Pell grants, GEAR-UP and Perkins subventions, not to mention impact on state funds to the university. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, is the university risking, if CWU’s opts to become a “sanctuary” university?

How many students will be financially impacted by the loss of this funding? How will this negative reaction for deliberately defying the law — when it is not necessary — impact these students? Will they have to drop out of school? Have we even asked the question? Do we know? Do we care?

How will a campus sanctuary declaration impact the ability of CWU’s Advancement team in raising funds from alumni and friends? Should we consider that some existing and potential donors, if not a majority, would roll their eyes and close their check books if the university takes this action?

One of the reasons for sanctuary universities cited by proponents addresses protecting undocumented students, even though a litany of campus safeguards is already listed by President Gaudino in his letter.kate-steinle

Let’s take a second and ask another question: Has anyone on these campuses heard of the late Kate Steinle of your author’s former home town of Pleasanton, California? Her family is presently suing the “Sanctuary” City/County of San Francisco for defying federal immigration law, resulting in the violent death of their daughter.

If a CWU student is hurt, raped or murdered as a result of direct defiance of federal law by a sanctuary university, what is that university’s civil and/or criminal liability?

All this discussion should bring us back to the main point of contention: The systematic defiance of federal law. Almost DailyBrett does not equate sanctuary universities with the civil disobedience of the Civil Rights Era. Instead it’s a deliberate effort to flaunt existing law, which augers a predictable question:

What’s next when it comes to laws that fall out of favor with the sanctuary crowd? If we can pick and choose which laws to follow, and which to defy, how long will it take for society to collapse?

Do we really want to know?

http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/higher-education-is-awash-with-hysteria-that-might-have-helped-elect-trump/2016/11/18/a589b14e-ace6-11e6-977a-1030f822fc35_story.html?utm_term=.fac990b5941f

http://www.npr.org/2016/12/05/504467169/university-of-california-pledges-to-fight-trump-on-immigration-policy

http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2016/11/university_of_oregon_psu_stand.html

http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/34999544-75/university-of-oregon-vows-to-provide-sanctuary-to-its-legal-limit.html.csp

http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/12/02/kate-steinle-lawsuit-federal-judge-probes-stolen-blm-gun-in-familys-suit-against-government/

Who do reporters, editors, correspondents and pundits respect the most?

The answer: Fellow reporters, editors, correspondents and pundits.

And seemingly all of them are thinking alike.

pattonthinking2

Especially during my tenure as a gubernatorial press secretary, the author of Almost DailyBrett was often flabbergasted by the theories developed out of thin air by the media about why A. occurred or why B. happened.

Keep in mind we are talking about the late 1980s, long before ubiquitous mobile devices and 140-character Twitter president-elect proclamations.

In Sacramento, many of these postulations and theories were developed at Frank Fat’s or some other watering hole. Seemingly, the more drinks consumed the closer the media bonded, and a consensus was eventually reached about a budding theory.

The reason this dubious habit is important, is that press secretaries need to be aware of what the media are saying to themselves, and what conclusions they are collectively making. There is better than a 50/50 chance these theories will be brought to your governor’s attention for a response in a news conference or media briefing.

Fast forward to the present day and the insular habit has not changed, but the way these theories and postulations are transmitted among the media has shifted radically … namely Twitter.

Yes, Donald Trump is not the only one using/misusing social media Twitter for 140-character-or-less pontifications and bloviations.

“If Everyone is Thinking Alike, Then Someone Isn’t Thinking.” – General George S. Patton

Gotta love General George.

The conventional thinking to date was that President Harry Truman’s come-from-behind victory over New York Governor Thomas Dewey in 1948 was the greatest upset in presidential campaign history.

Scratch that thought. Last month’s victory by Donald Trump over prohibitive favorite Hillary Clinton shocked the nation, and particularly confounded the-everyone-is-thinking-alike elite media/punditocracy.

Considering that most of them habitat a skinny island east of the Hudson River or are confined within the Beltway, it is easy to understand how prevailing sentiment and conventional wisdom becomes exactly that: prevailing sentiment and conventional wisdom.

As Otto von Bismarck was famously quoted, those who appreciate sausage and the law should see neither of them made. Maybe the same is true for how the elite media/punditocracy reaches consensus of their version of reality.

First: the political class virtually ignores digital democratization. For example, the second (town hall) debate between The Donald and Hillary drew a record 17 million tweets and 92.4 million Facebook likes, posts, comments and shares.

during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri. This is the second of three presidential debates scheduled prior to the November 8th election.

Town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri. This is the second of three presidential debates scheduled prior to the November 8th election.

Conceivably, the elite media had access to a treasure trove of digital input from the public. True not all of it is accurate and relevant, but turning it all aside is a manifestation of arrogance. In their defense, the elite media may ask: ‘Where do you start?’ Almost DailyBrett opines the media should not ignore the anxiety of John and Mary Q. Citizen from Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania. Angst Matters.

Second: The elite media/punditocracy engages in restricted collusion. Instead of using digital media to access outside sources, they instead employ Twitter and networked laptops and mobile devices to talk exclusively to each other. The most egregious case is when news aggregator Buzz Feed announced the winner of the first 2012 Obama vs. Romney debate, 45 minutes before the closing statements.

And once the debate was over, the media pile-on session ensued to the detriment of President Barack Obama.

Third: The digital democratization crowd contends that more public input via social, mobile and cloud will result in a continuous weakening of Agenda Setting Theory or the notion that elite media (i.e., New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, ABC, CBS, NBC …) not only frame the national agenda, but they actually provide intellectual guidance to a grateful nation.

As it turns out, the opposite was true. Media collusion via digital media actually strengthened, not weakened Agenda Setting Theory.

Fourth: And probably the most important point of all, the Real Clear Politics Right Track/Wrong Track barometer has been consistently below the Mendoza Line. You do not run a “Morning in America” stay-the-course campaign when 32.1 percent believe the country is on the right track and conversely 55.7 percent contend the country is on the wrong track.

Did the elite media really pay attention to the Right Track/Wrong Track barometer? Did they ask the real folks across the fruited plain why they are so disappointed, frustrated and downright angry? Did they question why Hillary Clinton ran a status-quo campaign in a change year?

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This is not the first time the author of Almost DailyBrett picked a fight with those who buy ink-by-the-barrel. Let’s face it, the elite media/punditocracy needed to open up their collective ears and listen to the chorus from the hinterland. Instead they mounted their ivory towers and proclaimed that Hillary was the candidate with all of the experience, all of the endorsements, most of the money, and the GOTV operation to win the presidency in a cakewalk.

Upon quiet reflection in the aftermath, these elite reporters and prominent pundits may want to drop the arrogance for a nanosecond or two, and consider the reason why each of them was given two ears and only one mouth.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/drinking-their-own-bath-water/

http://www.thewrap.com/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-presidential-debate-twitter-facebook/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-trending-on-twitter-groupthink/2012/10/23/130f6208-1d54-11e2-9cd5-b55c38388962_story.html

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/

“You can’t always get what you want; but if you try sometimes; well you just might find; you get what you need.” – Jagger, Richards

Great tune, but does it work as an uplifting campaign-theme song?

The author of Almost DailyBrett used to snicker at the thought of a blushing bride choosing this song for the first dance with her new groom: You can’t always get what you want (in grooms) … (but hopefully) you get what you need.trumpstones

For the same reason, one must wonder why the Donald Trump campaign chose “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as one of the musical closers of the quadrennial Republican National Convention last July in Cleveland?

The first song following The Donald’s dystopian acceptance speech was “All Right Now” by The Free, which makes sense. That is not the case with the next song, the Rolling Stones classic, “You Can’t Get What You Want.”

After dispatching 17 other Republican presidential aspirants in the primaries and caucuses was Donald Trump all the GOP needed?

The same applies to using the very same Rolling Stones song immediately following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory tour speech last week in Cincinnati.

Mick and Keith are not happy and have shared their displeasure with the Trump campaign and the media, only to be told that the Stones must accept not getting any satisfaction on this one.micktrump

The music has been purchased and is being played in a public place, so the Trump campaign does not owe the Stones one shekel for their song and is offering zero apologies.

Okay now that we have that dispute (un)settled, let’s access from a public relations standpoint how songs can or cannot serve as metaphors for advocacy.

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

Some campaigns have trouble coming up with consistent themes. If identifying an appropriate mantra is a problem (and that was the case for Hillary Clinton), then finding a related song which resonates with the public and the times is doubly tough.

One of the most successful efforts was the use of “Happy Days Are Here Again” by FDR at the Democratic convention during the height of the Depression in 1932.

Sixty years later, Arkansas Governor (and Hillary’s hubby) played Fleetwood Mac’s futuristic “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” to offer a dramatic contrast to President George H.W. Bush’s tired administration.billclintonsax

Eight years later, the campaign of Texas Governor George W. Bush employed Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” and The Who’s anthem “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in direct defiance to the Clinton-Gore machine.

The appropriateness of songs is not the most serious subject ever pondered by Almost DailyBrett, they still must be consistent with the overall thrust of a presidential campaign.

Even though this author scratches his follicly challenged scalp when contemplating Trump using a song that expresses the frustration of blowing an amplifier fuse, the real issue is whether Republicans are saying to the nation that you can’t get what you want, but Trump is what you need?

For some reason, the song is working at least among those in the hinterlands who have been searching for a champion and not finding her or him in Washington, D.C.

Can any of these “poorly educated” folks as Trump lovingly described them, name any of the four members of the Rolling Stones, much less identify with the lyrics of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”?

Does it matter?

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1840981_1840998_1840923,00.html

http://www.tmz.com/2016/07/22/donald-trump-you-cant-always-get-what-you-want/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2016/10/12/mick-jagger-on-trump-using-stones-songs-i-can-t-stop-him.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/victorious-donald-trump-mocks-rolling-9224213

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHU3oAhM4tU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siMFORx8uO8

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Right_Now

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TytGVo1O3_w

 

 

 

 

“The media was all in this narrative. Everyone was marching lock-step. Clinton is going to win. Clinton is going to win.” – “Morning Joe” Scarborough, MSNBC, November 9

“The press takes him (Trump) literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, not literally.” — Salena Zito, The Atlantic

hillaryloses

Public Relations pros – flacks or spin doctors, if you wish – have long been accused of way-too-many times of happily drinking their own bathwater. Translated: They believe their own take on reality and what they are told by their superiors, and sometimes they are flat-out wrong (see Enron debacle).

Could it be the Washington, D.C. crowd – journalists, editors, correspondents, anchors, pollsters, demographers, pundits and other forms of political proctologists – could be equally guilty of falling madly in love with their own cleverness and even the very sounds of their own voices?

If you don’t believe in their infinite wisdom and how they tower over the great unwashed, just ask them. They will gladly tell you.

Most of all, they use Twitter in particular and other Internet tools to silently collude with each other, virtually ignoring all other voices, particularly those poor souls outside the Beltway or west of the Hudson. Algorithms über alles.

The political class told us mere mortals repeatedly about the seemingly impregnable “Blue Wall,” which stood the test of time during the past six presidential elections (e.g., Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania serve as perfect examples). No one really mattered in these spots on the map, except for their electoral votes.

electoralcollege2016

Yes, these poor, uneducated sops are suffering. F-Them! Throw some money at them. And forget them … until the next election.

The media and political class defined the gender gap as to only mean the Democratic lead among women. And indeed according to exit polls Hillary Clinton won by 12 percent among the fairer gender (54-42 percent). What the media did not assess or discuss is the flip-side, the fact that Donald Trump won among men by an equivalent 12 percentage points (53-41 percent).

Ahhh … Is there really a “gender gap,” when only the fairer one matters?

Donald Trump declared his love affair for the “poorly educated” and instantly drew the scorn of what Wall Street Journal columnist and former presidential speech writer Peggy Noonan once described as the “Harvard Heads.” Looking back, it may have been one the politically smartest things he said during the campaign – albeit we did not know it at the time.

A Choice Not a Referendum

“So you’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people, who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.” former President Bill Clinton, October 3, 2016

According to the political class, only Hillary Clinton had a path to the presidency. Donald Trump was unsuitable. The “Blue Wall” (similar to die Berliner Mauer) was impregnable, until it wasn’t. For the first time in 32 years, the GOP nominee won Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania or a grand total of 52 electoral votes. Suddenly, it was Hillary who was up a deep creek without a paddle.

Why did the media, the pundits and the experts miss this political earthquake so badly?

  1. They treated the election as a “referendum” on Trump, not a choice between Hillary (e.g., status quo) and Trump (e.g., change, in a change year).
  2. The email issue had “legs” – a subject that simply would not go away for the Clinton campaign, even before FBI director James Comey became a household name.
  3. The “Deplorables” came back to bite Hillary. As Almost DailyBrett stated earlier, it is never a good idea to insult in one swoop literally millions of Americans with “fightin’ words.” Ask “47 percent” Mitt to verify.
  4. Hillary’s fidelity to “The craziest thing in the world” and average Obamacare 20 percent increases in premiums and deductibles two weeks before the election, signified that America would not change under her stewardship.
  5. Hillary did not have a message about the future (e.g., New Frontiers, Shining City on the Hill). Her rhetoric was all about The Donald as if Americans were participating in a referendum on his misconduct. In reality, a presidential election is once-and-for all, a choice.

The real question: Will the media and the highly educated political class wipe the egg off their collective faces and actually learn something from this humbling experience?

msnbcelection

Something tells Almost DailyBrett that arrogance will soon return and will once again reign supreme by those who provide their Agenda Setting judgments and interpretations to a grateful nation.

Almost DailyBrett note: Proper credit for the term, “Political Proctologists,” needs to be afforded to the late Mike Royko of the Chicago Sun-Times. May he rest in peace.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/take-trump-seriously-and-literally/2016/11/16/cbdcf2c8-ac25-11e6-8b45-f8e493f06fcd_story.html?utm_term=.92bd5ef68e0e

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/09/podcasts/election-analysis-run-up.html?_r=0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP6Ym806J18

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgYphOJ7qiw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-8EPmM8Ijk

http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-11-06/how-the-media-blew-the-2016-campaign

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/watch-trump-brag-about-uneducated-voters-the-hispanics-20160224

http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-brexit-austria-french-presidential-election-national-front-525281

http://www.270towin.com/historical-presidential-elections/

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/04/politics/bill-clinton-obamacare-craziest-thing/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/the-revenge-of-the-deplorables/

 

“There’s a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation. I’m not sure what else one would do. That’s what I think would happen.” – Tesla and SpaceX Founder Elon Musk

“It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.” – Benjamin Franklin

“To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.” — Buddharobots2

As a small-time shareholder in Tesla, the author of Almost DailyBrett is reconsidering his investment.

Have I’ve been foolish?

Should I be more diligent to be wise?

Don’t get this blog wrong. These posts have always supported and admired entrepreneurs (e.g., Musk) as job creators, dreamers of great new products, and economic forces for good (e.g., reducing dependence on fossil fuels).

Nonetheless it’s shocking to note that Musk’s (i.e. PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX) answer to the prospect of increased robotics/automated services (i.e., check-out machines, ATMs, robotic assembly lines) is too simply put all of these future displaced employees – maybe even millions of workers – on a politically acceptable dole (at least to some): Universal Basic Income or UBI.

Elon Musk, CEO of US automotive and energy storage company Tesla, presents his outlook on climate change at the Paris-Sorbonne University in Paris on December 2, 2015. / AFP / ERIC PIERMONT (Photo credit should read ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

Elon Musk, CEO of US automotive and energy storage company Tesla, presents his outlook on climate change at the Paris-Sorbonne University in Paris on December 2, 2015. / AFP / ERIC PIERMONT (Photo credit should read ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

Let’s face it: The shrinking middle class during the past 30 years is a major cause of serious political disruptions with populist causes taking hold on both sides of the Pond.

Pew Research revealed that 62 percent of Americans were categorized as middle class in 1970, falling to 43 percent in 2014.

Conversely, 29 percent of Americans were upper class in 1970, rising to 49 percent in 2014.

Lower class was essentially flat from 10 percent to 9 percent during these 44 years.

Almost DailyBrett is concerned that aggressive moves toward ever higher minimum wages may entice even more potential employers to seriously explore using even more machines, which don’t require the payment of benefits (e.g., medical, vision and dental), and don’t demand days off.robots1

And who would be most impacted by displacement by machines and robots? The middle class? The lower class? Both?

Under the failed Universal Basic Income (UBI) plebiscite in Switzerland earlier this year, displaced workers would have received an annual salary of $30,660 for a single, $61,320 for a couple and $76,728 for a family of four … placing them in the higher echelons of middle-income America … but without exerting any effort.

How does UBI square with the Protestant Work Ethic?

Funding A New Leisure Class

“People will have time to do other things and more complex things, more interesting things. [They will] certainly have more leisure time.” – Elon Musk

“Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” – President John F. Kennedy

“Given the crisis that we are in and the hardships that so many people are going through, we can’t allow any idle hands. Everybody has to get involved, everybody has to pitch in and I think the American people are ready to do that” – President Barack Obama

Earlier, Almost DailyBrett wrote about the record number of working-age men (e.g., 20-54), who are voluntarily not seeking a job … any job. Instead, they are averaging 5.5 hours per day playing video games, accessing streaming video and watching HDTV. That’s a shocking loss of brainpower and manpower, the type that President Kennedy said could be in service to the country.

Would UBI exacerbate this unacceptable trend, essentially making it politically acceptable to displace able workers with even smarter machines? The net result would be even more wards of the state with little or nothing to do. Idle hands will indeed rule.

The question still persists: Should millions of able-bodied people be paid to do nothing? Will they earn their paychecks? How will UBI be funded, if America becomes a donut with a huge whole in the middle — little or zero middle class?

Will the majority of these recipients ultimately become miserable on the certain road to death?

If all one is doing is running out the clock (e.g., playing video games and checking out social media) until that inevitable day arrives, then what is the purpose of life?

Maybe UBI is not so smart after all? Whattyathink Mr. Musk?

http://mashable.com/2016/11/05/elon-musk-universal-basic-income/#dmtbn21mkmq8

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/universal-right-to-a-paycheck/

http://www.voanews.com/a/a-13-2009-01-20-voa6-68822097/413577.html

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/idle.html

http://fortune.com/video/2016/11/07/elon-musk-wants-universal-basic-income/

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/12/09/the-american-middle-class-is-losing-ground/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/11/07/millions-of-active-women-supporting-millions-of-idle-men/

 

 

 

 

 

“ … You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘Basket of Deplorables’. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.” – Hillary Clinton, Speaking at a Democratic-oriented fundraiser, Sept. 9, 2016hillarydeplorables

“ … “There are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it … And so my job is not to worry about those people.” – Mitt Romney, Speaking at a Republican-oriented fundraiser, Sept. 18, 2012

A gaffe is a gaffe is a gaffe … You name it! … Uttered by two electoral losers and separated by four years, plus a week or two.

It is never a good idea to insult literally millions of potential voters with a series of unfortunate and intemperate fighting words. So why engage in name calling just because the immediate audience is friendly and having a great time at the expense of others?

As Nancy Reagan would say: “Just say no.”

In our digital age, the microphones are more sensitive and effective than ever. The tiny cameras and video recorders are disguised as smart phones, and they’re first rate. They are always ‘on,’ which means the candidates too must be always ‘on.’

Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly and consistently counseled that it is always wise to be offensive without being offensive. Advance and advocate your point of view, but always be respectful of all voters. They are more than mere demographics to be hunted down with search engines guided by algorithms.

There are many shaking their heads and washing their hands wondering why Hillary Clinton is not forming an administration today. The same was true, questioning why Mitt Romney was not preparing his inaugural address four years ago.romney47

The simple answer is both were seriously flawed candidates, who twice embarked upon a presidential campaign odyssey (Hillary, 2008 and 2016; Mitt, 2008 and 2012) and came up short.

Breaking the Blue Wall

“Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard-working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!” – President-elect Donald Trump Tweet about Hillary’s ‘Basket of Deplorables’ comment

There were so many political experts who wondered out loud for weeks whether The Donald had a realistic Electoral College road-map to the Presidency. They used Poker analogies to suggest that Trump had to run an unlikely, inside-straight to win.

Pundit thinking and conventional wisdom revolved around the conjecture that all of the Barack Obama states from 2008 and 2012 were safely tucked away behind the Blue (State) Wall (e.g., Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa).bluewall

As it turned out, Trump did not have a perfect poker hand as he lost Virginia and Colorado, but did manage to hold Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. The real damage occurred as die blaue Mauer crumbled, overturning the Keystone, Wolverine, Dairy and Hawkeye States and their collective 52 electoral votes and placing them into Trump’s red column.

As the ballots are still being counted, Trump won more than 60 million votes. How many of these people were offended about being pigeonholed as racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic Deplorables? The fundraising audience laughed at her description and answered affirmatively to Hillary’s question, “Right?”

To be fair, Almost DailyBrett must point out that Hillary subsequently apologized for this unfortunate stereotype, but the toothpaste was already out of the tube, the bell had already been wrung, the bullet was already out of the chamber …

Was the ‘Deplorables’ remark the only reason that Hillary lost the presidency to a seriously flawed alternative? The answer is obviously negative, and all of the post-mortems will point to a litany of reasons, some valid, some not.

This blog on several occasions (e.g., Outrageous Al Smith Memorial Dinner remarks) scored Trump for time-after-time failing to demonstrate political discipline.

As it turns out he was not the only one, who strayed off script and may have caused a wall to crumble and for a new era to begin.

One must wonder whether Hillary is waking up in the middle of the night and thinking: ‘What could have been …?’

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/09/09/clinton-half-of-trumps-supporters-fit-in-basket-of-deplorables/

https://newrepublic.com/article/138615/deplorables-got-last-laugh

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/full-transcript-mitt-romney-secret-video

 

 

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