Archive for February, 2020


“I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940. And the (French) general calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says, ‘How can it be?’ “You got the greatest army in Europe.’ ‘How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over.'” — MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews analyzing the impact of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders overwhelming win of the Nevada Democratic Caucus

“Never thought part of my job would be pleading with a national news network to stop likening the campaign of a Jewish presidential candidate whose family was wiped out by the Nazis to the Third Reich, but here we are.” — Tweet from Sanders campaign spokesman, Mike Casca

Historical comparisons to Adolf Hitler, the Nazis and the Holocaust with today’s American politics are inevitably inaccurate and worse, they come across as trivializing the genocide against 6 million Jews.

The reaction to these clumsy analogies will always be sharp, misunderstood and hurtful, especially candidates who are indeed, Jewish (e.g., Bernie Sanders). Matthews responded correctly to the outcry and calls for his resignation by apologizing and saluting Sanders for his victory.

As a longtime political counselor and message developer, Almost DailyBrett will always advise when it comes to bringing up images of the Third Reich … don’t go there.

Agree, Chris Matthews?

Watching and re-watching the host of MSNBC’s Hardball  commentary about Bernie’s electoral surge with colleague, Brian Willams, Matthews inexplicably compared Sanders win in the Nevada Caucuses with Hitler’s Panzers conquering France in 1940.

Why … oh why … oh why.

Almost DailyBrett is a huge fan of Matthews’ 2013 book, “Tip and The Gipper, When Politics Worked,” a wonderful reminder of the 1980s when civility actually reigned in Washington, D.C. and divided government — Ronald Reagan as president and Tip O’Neill as the house speaker — actually produced compromises and meaningful legislation.

Even though Almost DailyBrett does not concur with Matthews’ philosophy or the politics espoused daily by MSNBC, he deserves a second chance. Matthews made a mistake. Who hasn’t?

It’s time to move on.

Social Media Concentration Camp/Holocaust Comparisons

Everyone left and right should stay away from Nazi analogies..” — Long time Washington Post, CNN, Fox News media commentator Howard Kurtz

Starting in 2015, your author noted repeated social media associations, comparing the worst man whoever walked the planet, Adolf Hitler, with Donald Trump. And now, memories of Nazi Blitzkrieg is being brought into the public arena in the context of … Bernie Sanders.

Wonder if any of these digital rocket scientists have ever read William L. Shirer’s Pulitizer Prize winning book, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?” Doubt it.

Fast forward to today, Almost DailyBrett is doubting whether these social media historians actually know the difference between die Wehrmacht and die Bundeswehr.

The unfortunate images of cages at the U.S. border are not the same as Auschwitz. Please, don’t even try to make these inappropriate comparisons. These sorry references say more about the state of mind of the sender than it does the political target. Digital is eternal.

The revulsion against Adolf Hitler has actually increased with time, not receded. If you are going to make any type of comparison to Hitler, his Bunker cronies, Nazi Germany’s armed forces, please understand these references are becoming more — not less — radioactive with the passage of time.

Rightfully, Jewish organizations and those who lost ancestors to the Holocaust (e.g., Sanders’ family) will never equate today’s politics in a stable democracy with the hateful actions of the worst dictatorship in the history of the world.

After a lengthy summation of the impact of Bernie Sanders’ Nevada victory on the state of affairs of the Democratic Party, Matthews inexplicably weaved his reading about the 1940 Nazi conquest of France into the televised discussion.

Why his red lights in his own mind didn’t flash, putting the mental brakes on inserting Nazi Germany into the analysis, is a question that does not have a ready answer.

Instead, this unfortunate case should be a lesson to all of us.

Regardless of conventional or digital format, none of us should raise the specter of Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany, Blitzkrieg and the images of the Holocaust into any and all discussions about American Politics.

Just say nein!

Verstehen Sie?

https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/chris-matthews-bernie-sanders-022024087.html

https://nypost.com/2020/02/24/chris-matthews-apologizes-for-comparing-bernie-sanders-win-to-nazi-invasion-of-france/

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6135518724001#sp=show-clips

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/already-comparing-america-to-nazi-germany/

Muhammad Ali was the self-proclaimed, ‘Greatest of All Time.’

And then Joe Frazier walloped him with a massive left hook, sending Ali and his pretty red tassels sprawling on the canvas.

The lesson: Be careful about labeling someone, anyone — particularly anointing yourself — as the ‘Greatest.’

As an on-and-off naturalized Oregonian since 1975, Almost DailyBrett believes it’s now safe to make the call about the state’s greatest-ever citizen.

Hands down, it has to be Phil Knight.

Happy Birthday #82, Uncle Phil.

Some may want to immediately contend that Knight is being named Oregon’s greatest simply because he the 16th wealthiest in the world with an estimated fortune of $35.9 billion (Forbes). Bernie Sanders says billionaires should not exist. Oregon should be proud that Phil Knight more than exists; he thrives and cares.

To be considered by Almost DailyBrett for this lofty honor, one has to be born in Oregon. Salem lists among its most influential: President Herbert Hoover, Governor Tom McCall, trail blazers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, but alas … none of them were born in Oregon.

Some worthy native Oregonian candidates for the ‘greatest’ designation include: Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman, Senator Mark Hatfield, author Ken Kesey, Senator Wayne Morse, runner Steve Prefontaine and democratic socialist John Reed.

Sorry being the only American to be buried in the Kremlin Wall (played by Warren Beatty in the interminable “Reds”) does not put Reed at the very top of the greatest Oregonians list.

Why is Phil Knight the greatest? Let’s Just Do It.

Never In Recorded History Have So Many Oregonians Owed So Much To One Man

If one Googles (21st century verb) the word, “entrepreneur,” the image of one Philip Hampson Knight should serve as the definition.

His best seller, “Shoe Dog,” tells the story of how he turned a $1,000 loan from his father and almost failing about nine times, he actually turned the proverbial corner with his athletic apparel company, Nike.

Today, Almost DailyBrett is a happy-camper-investor for many moons in the global athletic apparel market leader by far, Nike (NYSE: NKE).

The total amount invested in Nike stock is $156 billion (e.g., Feb. 21 market capitalization figure) with shares trading at 35 times multiple compared to the prior year’s earnings (P/E ratio).  Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike reported annual revenues of $39.1 billion in FY ’19. In total, 70,000  employees work for Nike globally, 8,000 of them in Oregon.

Without any doubt, Phil Knight’s Nike is the largest and most influential publicly traded company in the history of the State of Oregon. Think of Nike this way, great company, great products, great employer and great publicly traded company. How’s that for fiduciary responsibility?

Nike pioneered its much copied marketing campaigns celebrating The Athlete: Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, LeBron James,  Rafael Nadal, Kevin Durant, Rory McIlroy, Stephen Curry and many, many others.

Almost DailyBrett has not always agreed with Nike’s marketing decisions (e.g., Nike Takes A Knee), particularly designing and selling apparel associated with NFL persona non grata, Colin Kaepernick. Your author has never expected perfection with any individual or organization (impossible distinction to achieve, let alone maintain), and the same is true with Nike.

Giving Back To His Native State, Oregon

“And here at home in Oregon, we believe the potential to arm our talented young people with the skills and tools, they will need to have a lasting impact on the world and to pursue rewarding careers, make such (charitable) investments essential.” — Phil Knight upon making a $500 million pledge to the University of Oregon for a new science center

When discussing Uncle Phil’s financial impact you are reaching the end of the beginning of the Phil Knight story, not the beginning of the end. Knight’s legend particularly revolves on his giving back to his native Oregon and the world.

Preparations for the opening of the Knight Cancer Research Building, August 21, 2018. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Considering that Phil’s business strategies and his company focused on sports (e.g., track and field), it’s only natural to first emphasize his sports philanthropy, particularly for his alma mater, the University of Oregon (e.g., BA in Business Administration, 1959). He has given more than $300 million (and counting) to the school’s Athletic Department, including $100 million to the UO Athletics Legacy Fund.

Academically, he contributed the lion’s share to the $27 million renovation to the University of Oregon Knight Library. The name of his late father and 1932 Oregon Law grad, William W. Knight, adorns the 68,000-square foot UO law school.

He has also directed $500 million-plus to Oregon Health Sciences University’s (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute, and $125 million more to establish the OHSU Cardiovascular Institute.

Knight’s generosity is not limited to Oregon universities, as he gave $105 million to the Stanford Graduate School of Business (e.g., MBA, 1962). Recently, he pledged another $400 million to Stanford to establish an on-campus new graduate scholarship program.

With all due respect to the memories and accomplishments of Governor McCall and Senators Hatfield and Morse, Bowerman, Pre, Kesey and Kremlin Wall fixture, John Reed … none of them rose to the level of entrepreneurial and philanthropic success and impact on Oregon’s past, present and future than Phil Knight.

Yes indeed without any conceivable doubt, Phil Knight is the greatest Oregonian of all time.

https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/explore/notable/knight.aspx

https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/explore-oregonians.aspx

https://www.oregonlive.com/life-and-culture/erry-2018/07/227b06fbff2915/the-100-greatest-oregonians-ev.html

https://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/#39cd30857e2f

https://www.businessinsider.com/athletes-endorsements-nba-golf-tennis-2019-6

https://www.oregonlive.com/business/2016/10/phil_and_penny_knight_will_giv.html#incart_river_index

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/taxing-uncle-phil-to-death/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/09/04/nike-takes-a-knee/

“I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president.” — Speaker Nancy Pelosi responding to a question whether she hates Donald Trump.

“If Nancy Pelosi fears images of her ripping up the speech, perhaps she shouldn’t have ripped up the speech.” — Tim Murtaugh of President Trump’s re-election campaign

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

As a public relations counselor and message developer for eight years in gubernatorial and campaign politics, Almost DailyBrett would have advised Speaker Nancy Pelosi to maintain her high-ground advantage once President Trump refused to shake her hand prior to the Feb. 4 State of the Union Address.

The stories would be about Donald Trump, essentially walking over his own speech.

Instead Nancy stooped even lower, petulantly tearing up Trump’s speech before the President of the United States had even left the dais. She knew her actions — ripping up page after page — would be captured by the television cameras and by excited members of her own caucus, but they also wiped out her moral and image advantage over Trump for the evening.

Didn’t Michelle Obama once say: “When they (Republicans) go low, we (Democrats) go high”?

Worse yet is the ammunition Madam Speaker provided to the videographers and Meme-sters of Trump’s campaign and sympathetic political action committees. It’s amazing what talented people can do with Apple’s Final Cut Pro video editing or still frame software and a little time.

Sure enough a new video surfaced and was seen by 11 million+ with Trump’s gallery introductions of a black school child, a military wife being reunited with her stationed overseas husband, a surviving member of the Tuskegee Airmen … inter-spiced with images of Nancy … tearing up the speech.

Predictably Nancy’s political team went bat excrement, but the political damage was already done. The sequence was obviously altered, and the rightness and wrongness can be argued.

Here’s the main point: Why give political opposition manna from heaven?

Wouldn’t tucking the speech away and simply claiming victory in the form of moral superiority be a better course of action for Speaker Pelosi?

Do Nancy and Donald Hate Each Other?

“Are you (Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff) suggesting the president didn’t make those remarks or the speaker didn’t rip the speech?” — Andy Stone of Facebook

“What planet are you living on? This is deceptively altered. Take it down.” — Drew Hammill, speaker’s deputy chief of staff

The speaker’s office demanded that Facebook and Twitter pull the manipulated video. So far the two social media leaders have stuck to their internal policies and allowed the video to run its course.

Predictably Trump’s campaign is celebrating a made-for-television commercials windfall, which literally dropped in their collective laps. It easily beats Madam Speaker mocking the president in an earlier State of the Union address.

Before taking issue with Speaker Pelosi’s public relations counselors, Almost DailyBrett must ask whether she would even listen to prudent advice?

The same question can be posed for those who attempt to manage communications for Donald Trump.

With the advantage of political hindsight and looking back two weeks, Trump should have shaken the speaker’s hand, and Nancy should have simply put the state-of-union speech back into the presidential envelope.

Donald Trump won the evening because he delivered one of the best speeches of his career with CBS News reporting a 76 percent viewer approval of his prose.

What is the most important public relations of all? Personal public relations.

In a race to the bottom with Trump declining to shake hands and Pelosi ripping up the State-of-the Union address, Madam Speaker finished in first place.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nancy-pelosi-trump-video-state-of-the-union-turning-point-usa/

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/05/nancy-pelosi-lashes-out-at-reporter-who-asks-if-she-hates-trump.html

https://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/429148-president-trumps-approval-rating-rises-after-state-of-the-union

In your author’s teenage years, there was only one item on the bucket list: See the Rolling Stones live before buying the ranch.

Last week, Almost DailyBrett was digging down/smashing the piggy bank (choose whatever metaphor works best) to purchase two precious pieces of card-board with the quintessential QR (quick response) bar code for the band’s upcoming “No Filter” tour.

If you are scoring at home, the May 12 Vancouver, BC show (e.g., BC Place) will be your author’s seventh time getting satisfaction, once again checking off my bucket list, the “Greatest Rock n’ Roll Band in the World.” And for the first time, seeing the Stones outside the friendly confines of the United States.

Who says you can’t always get what you want? Sometimes you even get what you need.

Growing up in the 1960s, the raggedy Stones featured an edge and a rhythm and blues sound the Beatles did not possess. Some contend the Beatles were the best ever. Others opt for the Stones. Macht nichts!

Let the eternal Baby Boomer arguments continue.

Approaching six decades on the road, the Stones are touring here and now. Incredibly pricey tickets are available for 15 stadium shows from San Diego to Pittsburgh and from Austin to Atlanta.

There is a certain risk that comes from seeing the Stones here and now, and its not because this tour could be the Last Time.

From a public relations standpoint, it’s wise to not announce a farewell tour because any aging performer/band (e.g., Michael Jordan, Katarina Witt) can change their minds. There is always a danger when a way-too-mature band can no longer bring it and still charges top dollar (e.g., see Almost DailyBrett’s B.B. King post).

This tour may indeed be the last simply because of the sands of time (i.e., Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood turn 78 and 73 respectively in June, Mick Jagger is 77 in July and Keith Richards is 77 as well in December). As long as the Stones can still perform their magic, particularly with an energetic Mick Jagger prancing the stage to the riffs of Sympathy for the Devil, whatever price they charge is … more than fair.

A prime example is the incredible Blu-Ray of the Stones Havana Moon concert March 25, 2016. Just as the Stones were finally given permission to play Shanghai, the Cuban government allowed the band to play a free concert that drew anywhere between 200,000 to 1 million souls (no turn styles … no problem).

What’s The Over/Under On The Stones?

“I love the man 99 percent of the time.” — Keith Richards on Mick Jagger

Almost DailyBrett is not objective when it comes to the legacy, the legend, and the earned place in history of the ‘Greatest Rock n’ Roll Band in the World.’ After six live concerts, at least 12 DVDs of performances/documentaries and more than 20 CDs spread over five decades, it’s impossible for your author to be fair and unbiased when it comes to assessing the Stones.

With this consumer warning in mind, your author contends the Rolling Stones are a huge net positive when it comes to their historical impact on global society.

Certainly there were well-documented legal troubles in the 1960s, including the highly publicized drug busts. Your author earlier  wrote about the public relations disaster associated with the December 1969 “free” concert at Altamont, when someone, anyone in authority needed to simply say ‘no,’ … but didn’t.

The Hells Angels were hired to provide “security” and they brought their pool cues to make sure no one touched their Harley Davidsons parked in front of the make-shift stage.

There was the infamous Mick-Keith feud in the 1980s, which almost tore the band apart … but thankfully, they kissed and kind of made up. Mick and Keith are smart enough to know they need each other, and the Stones’ passionate fans demand they stay together (Mick or Keith solo albums don’t sell).

When your author went online last Wednesday for the Rolling Stones presale at precisely 10 am PST, there were already 2,000 folks in the digital queue. ‘What the …. “. There is little doubt the Stones after five-plus decades on the road will fill to capacity all 15 stadiums on the upcoming tour. What other band is as relevant as ever and maintains staying power after more than five decades in the business?

Do the Stones need the money? Not really. Is their legacy secure. You bet ya. Why continue? They truly love what they do.

“I want to touch as many people as I can.” — Stones philosopher Keith Richards

The Stones have made millions of people night after night … “Happy,” to quote a song title. Upwards to 1 million will check out the continuation of the “No  Filter” tour this spring/summer.

Will the Stones finish each concert with a series of knockout songs that no mere mortals can match, such as for the last stop on the 2019 tour in Miami? The list: Miss You, Paint It Black, Midnight Rambler, Start Me Up, Brown Sugar, and encores Gimme Shelter and I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.

If they come anywhere close to this lineup of songs and play with their customary energy and sound, Almost DailyBrett and about 54,000 of his most intimate friends will be achieving Satisfaction, swirling in a rock n’ roll Crossfire Hurricane.

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/the-rolling-stones/2019/hard-rock-stadium-miami-gardens-fl-639f6e8f.html

https://nypost.com/2016/05/11/mick-jagger-and-keith-richards-cant-stand-each-other/

Keith Richards on his relationship with Mick Jagger: “I love the man 99% of the time”

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/gathering-moss-for-five-decades/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/satisfaction/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/you-cant-always-get-what-you-want/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/the-permanency-of-altamont/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/the-thrill-is-almost-gone/

 

 

 

“Many of the people living on Los Angeles’ streets lack health as well as homes. They were put there by social policy, legacies of the mid-1960s when California was a laboratory for reform–and they sit there as another reminder of reform gone awry.” — Sherry Bebitch-Jeffe, USC Institute of Politics and Government, March 22, 1987

California’s road to homeless hell was paved five decades ago with landmark legislation with good intentions.

According to repeated KNBC (Burbank) I-Team reports, the City of the Angels has become the City of Trash. The number of homeless on the streets of the City of Los Angeles today (does not include the remainder of the Southland) would fill a 36,000-seat stadium.

A similar count of homeless in San Francisco City-County jumped 30 percent year-over-year to 17,595 last year (does not include the balance of the Bay Area).

California with its 12 percent of the nation’s population is “home” to 22 percent of the country’s homeless.

And with these ever increasing numbers of homeless comes ubiquitous mounds of public excretion, piled-up garbage and epidemics of disease-carrying vermin (e.g., rats). The number of Los Angeles typhus cases reached 93 in 2019, the predictable result of homelessness, trash, filth and rats.

As a former gubernatorial press secretary (e.g., Governor George Deukmejian), Almost DailyBrett knows it wasn’t always this way in the Golden State. There was a wonderful time when California was a great state with a great governor. Alas, that era has passed.

There was a much earlier time when mentally distressed Californians received care in safe state hospitals.

They weren’t on the street. Now they are seemingly everywhere.

And if you try to reverse the tide you are a mean-spirited, insensitive bad person, who wants to “warehouse” the homeless. As a result, no one does anything except throw more money at the problem.

Los Angeles passed a surcharge on top of the county’s staggering 10.5 percent sales tax, and $1.2 billion in bonded indebtedness for temporary homeless shelters.

What’s next?

And yet there was a day in which California “warehoused” the homeless … another way of saying, the state took care of the safety of all of its citizens.

The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS)

As a cub reporter for the Glendale News-Press, your author covered the funeral of Assemblyman Frank Lanterman (1901-1981) at the Church of the Lighted Window in La Canada-Flintridge, California.

A virtual who’s-who of California politics attended the service including then-Governor Jerry Brown and then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown among others. “Papa Frank” was revered as a compassionate man, who took a sincere interest in people most would rather put out their collective minds: the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled.

Unarguably, there was horrific unfairness with involuntary confinement to California’s mental hospitals (e.g., Camarillo). Lanterman wanted to address the specter of people being held without recourse for years, decades or even the rest of their natural lives.

Alas, the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act of 1967 cure (e.g., homelessness) proved over time to be worse than the disease (warehousing). Lanterman was an Assembly Republican. Nicholas Petris and Alan Short were state Senate Democrats. The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act was signed into law by then Governor Reagan in 1967. The legislation is a product of the days when California actually had two political parties.

The legislation came with predictable public relations alliteration as it was designed to end, “inappropriate, indefinite and involuntary commitment.”

The well-meaning deinstitutionalization bill was intended to save taxpayer dollars (e.g., Reagan interest) and end warehousing (e.g., Lanterman, Petris and Short legislative intent). The mentally ill (except for the most serious of cases) were released into the community with the notion of seeking community care.

Some homeless did just that, they went to their community providers and took their pills. Others … way too many others … ended up on the streets.

The evidence can be seen in a slow-motion Disney-style ride in a traffic jam plagued vehicle passing literally hundreds of tents lined up along California major and minor city streets.

Be Wary Of Social Engineering; Practice Tough Love

The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act is yet another example of best-intended social engineering with unfortunate unintended consequences, impacting two generations of humanity, those fortunate enough to live in homes and apartments, and those forced into hard-sleep hell.

Will there ever be those in positions of trust with the courage to say, ‘Enough is enough.’

Some may blame California’s crazy housing and rental prices as contributing to the problem. No doubt. But the evidence appears clear that California legislated the crisis by emptying the state hospitals, and the result is visible virtually everywhere, everyday … 24-7-365.

There are people on the streets (e.g., Union Square in San Francisco), who are a danger to themselves and others. They don’t need temporary shelter only to return to homeless squalor in short order. Instead, they need tough love. They need to be moved into safe and secure state mental hospitals to receive the care they so desperately need.

Almost DailyBrett believes the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act needs to be repealed, and replaced with legislation that does not return to inappropriate, indefinite and involuntary commitment.” 

Instead the state will have authority to remove mentally ill homeless from the streets and to acknowledge the outsourcing of care was an undeniable failure. The homeless mentally ill need to be cared in a stable and safe environment, benefiting them and Californians as a whole.

It just seems that courageous California public leaders are in short supply, and the homeless are everywhere.

https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/trash-rats-cover-homeless-encampments-in-la/2304741/

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1987-03-22-op-14759-story.html

https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/publications/understanding-the-lanterman-petris-short-lps-act

https://www.economist.com/united-states/2019/10/19/homelessness-is-declining-in-america

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_D._Lanterman

“It (Trump acquittal celebration) was dark because he’s made clear that his mind is dark. This is somebody in deep psychological distress right now. Self-pitying, insecure, angry. He doesn’t accept abstract concepts like right or wrong, like morality or immorality, like true or false. He recognizes what is good for him in the moment.” — New CNN White House correspondent John Harwood

Right or wrong? Morality or immorality? True or false? Does this dispassionate interpretation say more about Donald Trump or John Harwood?

To his credit, Harwood earned his bachelor’s degree in history and economics from a good school, Duke University. Alas, he did not earn a bachelor’s or better yet … an advanced degree in psychology (e.g., study of mind and behavior) or psychiatry (e.g., study of the treatment of mental illness).

With that undeniable information in mind, Almost DailyBrett must ask: On what basis is Harwood able to appear on elite national television and “diagnose” the president as being “in deep psychological distress?”

The day after President Trump’s oh-so-predictable-for-months easy acquittal by the U.S. Senate, POTUS #45 was last seen happily displaying the front page of the Washington Post, conjuring images of Harry Truman holding up the 1948 Chicago Tribune headline: “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

No reporter, editor, anchor, correspondent ever questioned Truman’s psychological fitness, so why is it open season on the present incumbent?

“I have asked this question a number of times in (the media) describing the president’s state of mind, he’s angry, he’s unhinged and all of these negative attributes, prescribed by the arm-chair psychologists in the media.” — Long-time media analyst for the Washington Post, CNN and Fox News Howard Kurtz

As far as Almost DailyBrett knows, the only elite media commentator with any academic credentials to credibly analyze a public figure’s state of mind is the late Washington Post columnist, Charles Krauthammer. He earned his M.D. in Psychiatry from Harvard University in 1975.

“Trump is right. It (elite liberal media) is the opposition party. Indeed, furiously so, often indulging in appalling overkill. It’s sometimes embarrassing to read the front pages of major newspapers, festooned as they are with anti-Trump editorializing, masquerading as news.” — Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018)

And they are self-anointed psychological and psychiatric analysts as well.

Never Took A Psychology Class In College

Almost DailyBrett holds two academic degrees, a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting journalism from the University of Southern California in 1978, and a master’s degree in communication and society from the University of Oregon in 2012.

Your author went on to become a political reporter, a gubernatorial press secretary, a semiconductor industry communicator and a university professor in public relations, corporate communications and investor relations. Having said all of that, there was never even one class in psychology or psychiatry, much less a degree in either subject.

Unlike Charles Krauthammer, we know Harwood does not have a degree in either of these subjects along with certainly dozens and dozens of elite media practitioners.

If that is indeed the case, why do they believe they are qualified to publicly diagnose — without violating the medical privacy HIPAA — psychological impairment of a certain offending politician?

And with this precedent established will they (reporters, correspondents) make similar mental fitness conclusions for others in the future, who are not part of the their political party?

Could this practice be based upon simple unbridled arrogance as well?

Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly analyzed the empirically demonstrated loss of public esteem for the elite media during the course of the last four decades-plus as demonstrated by the Gallup Organization.

Are elite media adding to the political division in our country?

With only 41 percent nationally approving of their performance (less than Trump’s approval rating), including only 36 percent of independents and 15 percent of Republicans, the answer is obvious.

And when a White House “correspondent” and other elites goes way beyond their pay grades and training to question the sanity of a “vulgar” and “vindictive” president, is there any wonder why the esteem of the media has taken such a nose dive in our center right country (e.g., median voter)?

You don’t need an advanced degree in psychology or psychiatry to understand why.

 

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/12/19/not-pretending-to-be-fair-anymore/

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

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/01/21/is-msnbc-less-fair-than-cnn/

“Since my election, United States stock markets have soared 70 percent, adding more than $12 trillion to our Nation’s wealth, transcending anything anyone believed was possible — this, as other countries are not doing well.” — President Donald Trump, 2020 State of the Union

In our tribalized society, we are obsessed with dumping groups of people into buckets.

Even more to the point, we microanalyze targeted demographic groups (i.e.., women, men, black, white …).

We also record, register and analyze responses by psychographic groups (i.e., income, education, creed … ).

Almost DailyBrett must stop here and ask: Are we spending enough time considering America’s growing Investor Class?

“All of those millions of people with 401(k)s and pensions are doing far better than they have ever done before with increases of 60, 70, 80, 90, and even 100 percent.” And IRAs too, Mr. President.

Who are these people? Are they just the “filthy rich?” Are they just the 1 percent?

Or are they mommies and daddies, brides and grooms, anybody and everybody investing in their retirements, college tuition for their children, dream vacations or to start a new business?

In 1960, only four percent of all shares traded were directly tied to retirements. Today that retirement figure is 50 percent of all the stocks traded daily on the NYSE and NASDAQ.

Almost DailyBrett will once again pose the question: Who are these people? And are we as a society giving them the love they deserve?

According to a 2019 Gallup quantitative survey of more than 1,000 Americans, 55 percent own individual stocks or stock-based mutual funds for their investment portfolios including retirement oriented IRAs and 401ks … and even the few who still have pensions.

Yes stock ownership took a hit during the 2007-2010 financial meltdown, but the trend has stabilized with the tailwinds of a record bull market.

No Fees Today, Tomorrow, Forever

“Under any circumstances, putting an irresponsible, ignorant man who takes his advice from all the wrong people in charge of the nation with the world’s most important economy would be very bad news.” — Paul Krugman of the New York Times upon Trump’s 2016 election

Guess America’s Armageddon was postponed.

Since November 2016, the NYSE has advanced from 18,332 to 29,290, up 59 percent, the NASDAQ has increased from 5,193 to 9,508, up 83 percent, and the S&P 500 from 2,139 to 3,334, up 52 percent.

And how are markets behaving now with a dovish Federal Reserve, Impeachment done, Brexit over, corporate earnings better than expected, robust consumer confidence, full employment and the American economy demonstrating its best performance in five decades?

Even though there always the risk of the Dow Jones Effect (e.g., what goes up at some point will come down), we are talking about a calculated risk … less so by the members of America’s Investor Class, who pay daily attention to the markets and more precisely their portfolios.

The major retail investment firms (i.e., Charles Schwab, Edward Jones, E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, Robinhood … ) have all waived their trading fees, making it even easier for investors of all income levels to participate.

And for investors concerned about the environment, society and corporate governance, there are specific ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) funds.

Publicly traded companies have learned they must not only be concerned about fiduciary responsibility, but corporate social responsibility (CSR) as well. It is more than driving the top-and-bottom lines and projecting a reasonable future expectations (Doing Well), but it’s also being genuinely mindful of a company’s caring for its employees, participating in communities and safeguarding the environment (Doing Good).

To top it off, America’s Investor Class is served by reasonable regulation of publicly traded companies by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), which mandates fair disclosure. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), guarding against false advertising. And there is the Department of Justice, which prosecutes corporate crime (e.g., Enron bankruptcy).

And finally don’t these publicly traded companies make our products and services, employ millions and make our society more efficient? Apple puts a computer in our hands with its clever smart phones. Google is an instant encyclopedia of knowledge. Amazon is global shopping platform. Facebook allows us to keep track of friends and families.

If Something Isn’t Broken, Why Fix It?

Are global markets, perfect? What is?

Are the NYSE and/or NASDAQ playing fields 100 percent level? What are?

Is America’s Investor Class thriving and directly driving our consumer-based service economy? You bet ya.

Then why are there those who want to punitively impose federal taxes on each and every stock and mutual fund trade (i.e., Bernie and Elizabeth)? Who are they trying to punish? The real answer are the mommies and daddies of America’s Investor Class.

Yes, many of these investors are part of the upper class, and even the lower upper. The honorable senators need to appreciate the composition of America’s investor class also includes the upper middle, the lower middle … and each and every person who engages in dollar-cost averaging or continuous investing in both bull and bear markets.

America’s Investor Class puts its discretionary income into the nation’s best-of-breed publicly traded companies to pursue their dreams of happy retirements, highly educated children and/or bucket list vacations.

They matter. They vote. And they deserve our support … not dissing from always angry members of America’s political class.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/266807/percentage-americans-owns-stock.aspx

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/02/04/state-union-read-text-president-donald-trumps-speech/4655363002/

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/opinion/election-night-2016/paul-krugman-the-economic-fallout

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

For a dwindling number of aging Baby Boomers, the announcement of pitchers and catchers reporting to training camps next week is a harbinger of spring.

Everyone else knows better, particularly those with advanced interests: Football replaced baseball as the nation’s pastime decades ago.

Almost DailyBrett used to be a baseball fan, now he doesn’t care about the World Series, much less spring training and the interminable season that follows.

Many complain about income inequality. There is no part of US society that is more inequitable than … baseball.

Some celebrated Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball” about General Manager Billy Beane and his Oakland Athletics trying to compete in an unfair game.

Now the game is just unfair, and still boring and desultory. Where are the socialist justice warriors when you need them?

Everyone in Washington D.C. has been on pins and needles. Impeachment? No Stephen Strasburg’s salary.

The Nationals’ pitcher turned down the remainder of his $100 million over four years contract. The club ponied up $245 million for the next seven years.

Instead of $25 million per year to throw a baseball, Strasburg will receive $35 million per year to throw a baseball.

Best of all, he will stay in DC. Whew … that was close!

MLB Payrolls Bigger Than Entire Country Budgets?

Almost DailyBrett has never been a fan of socialism. Having said that, a reasonably controlled market (e.g., salary caps) has worked extremely well for NFL and NHL competition. In stunning contrast, the unfettered baseball free agent market has resulted in usually the same low-payroll teams being completely out of the running by June, virtually each-and-every year.

Let’s compare the budgets of sovereign countries in comparison to the baseball team payrolls for … 25 players.

Samoa in the South Pacific provides essential services for its 196,000 citizens with an annual budget of $233 billion. The New York Yankees put food on the table for its 25 studs with $217 million ($8.68 million per player).

Caribbean islands St. Kitts and Nevis serves its 55,345 residents with $233 billion. The sign-stealing cheating Houston Astros allocate $206 million for its 25 heroes ($8.24 million each).

Gambia in West Africa maintains a $230 million budget for its 2.10 million citizens. Conversely, the Boston Red Sox make do with $200 million for its family of 25 ($8.00 million per player).

The average salary for MLB’s 988 players, who mostly stand around for hours in the infield and outfield, is down two consecutive years. In 2019, the average was $4.051 million (1.1 percent less), 2018, $4.095 million, and 2017, $4.097 million.

Should we hold bake sales for these starving players?

Black and Gold Futility Beside the Monongahela

Considering that your author was born in Western Pennsylvania, he has a soft spot in his heart for the black and gold of the Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB, five World Series titles), the Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL, six Super Bowls) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL, five Stanley Cups).

Pittsburgh with its 301,000 residents and 2.36 million in the metropolitan area is considered a small-market sports city. The differentiator for the three teams is the Steelers and Penquins compete under the terms of respective NFL and NHL salary caps. The Pirates ($41 million, $1.64 per player average) fend for themselves in an unfair sport dominated by the most militant of unions (e.g., MLBPA) and greedy sports agents (e.g., Scott Boras for Stephen Strasburg).

Consider that the Penguins won their second consecutive Stanley Cup in 2017. The Steelers hoisted their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2009.

The We Are Family Pirates last won the World Series 40 years ago in 1979 (Carter was president). Since that time. the Pirates have been a non-factor because they simply cannot compete against the big market teams. Will 2020 be any different? Don’t think so.

For a Pirates fan, the obvious question comes immediately to mind: ‘Why bother with baseball?’ Why bother, indeed.

Some have suggested that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in all of sports. What? Literally hundreds of humans past and present, alive and deceased have hit major league pitching.

How many can carry the ball from the five-yard line (red zone) in an NFL game? How many can hold LeBron to 40 points in an NBA game? How many can stop a Alexander Olevchkin slap shot in an NHL contest?

Let’s face it, baseball is an increasingly unfair and fraudulent (i.e., steroid kings, stolen signs) game, which at best represents America’s sporting past (i.e., Barry Bonds, “Shoeless Joe” Jackson). Traditionalists may still get their collective knickers in a twist in February, but the younger ask the more salient question:

When do college football training camps open?

https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/payroll/

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28320193/stephen-strasburg-returns-nationals-hopes-never-leaves

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28341983/average-mlb-salary-drops-second-straight-year

2020 Spring Training Reporting Dates

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