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From a public relations and mass communications standpoint, we need to leave the past — most of all recriminations — to the mass media. Let them focus on the fact that we again slept at dawn.

Hint: They were sleeping as well.

We need to envision and more importantly, credibly and practically project better times in the future. We need to balance our justified health concerns with our economic hopes.

Will we have a national resurrection by Easter Sunday, April 12? Maybe? Most likely, not?

If not, the media will happily tell us how our loving optimist-in-chief somehow failed in the face of continued darkness.

And yet his approval rating continues to rise, and his score for handling the corona virus reaches 60 percent thumbs up against 38 percent thumbs down.

As Teddy Roosevelt (pardon the paraphrase from heaven, POTUS #26) told us in his famous 1910 speech to the students at Paris’ Sorbonne, it’s not Gloomy Gus or Negative Nancy who counts, or how the strong man or woman stumbles or how she or he could have done better.

The credit belongs to those who are in the arena.

We need more of those, who dare to suggest with credibility that yes life will get better. We are not eternally condemned to the boredom of our living rooms.

Some day we will standing in line for the barista, waiting for our beer or wine, actually ordering our food to a table in a restaurant … our hearts thumping with thousands of others, anticipating the first guitar riff or standing up for the kickoff.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News “virtual town hall” event on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with members of the coronavirus task force in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

It takes courage to stand up in front of this wall of negativity and suggest that life may be better sooner … much sooner … as opposed to later.

It takes moxy to purchase shares of best-in-breed stocks (i.e., Apple, Microsoft, Nike, NVIDIA, McDonalds, Starbucks …) as the markets refuse for weeks to stretch two or more positive trading days in a row. Volatility will eventually be tamed, most likely not now.

It takes compassion to swipe our credit card at our local coffee place, order books online from our regional bookseller, call for take out at our favorite Italian place. With our economic freedom maintained, we can choose who and how much to support.

They have been there for us. Isn’t time for us to be there for them?

It’s so easy to hunker down and to shut down for the “common good.” It’s harder to dream again, and to express hope.

We Need Good News

“Hope is believing good will come, even in bad times. 

“Hope is knowing that this too shall pass.

“Hope is knowing no matter how afraid we are, our higher power will be with us.

“Hope is knowing that we never have to be alone again. It’s knowing that “Time Is On Our Side.’

“Hope is giving up control. Hope is knowing we didn’t have control in the first place.” — Rolling Stones lead guitarist Ronnie Wood.

Almost DailyBrett believes there are more than a few, who have major problems with the United States and its world’s largest gross domestic product (GDP) at $21.99 trillion (prior to the impact of the Corona virus, COVID-19).

To them the USA needs to redistribute the pie, not expand it to offer more pieces for everyone.

The word “balance” seemingly does not exist in ivory towers on campuses, the deep state or in some media empires.

Until recently, climate change dominated. “How dare” anyone suggest thoughtful consideration of those who work and thrive in our world-best economy?

And now the little corona virus bugger has replaced the planet — at least for now — as the single most priority. Forget about producing products we use or compensating our employees. Allocating $25 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in DC is just so vital to beating this global epidemic.

As we debate looking for the positive versus being Gloomy Gus or Debbie Downer, we know two things for certain:

Teddy Roosevelt is forever enshrined on Mt. Rushmore.

No one will ever build statues to critics, including Negative Nancy.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/id-love-to-have-it-open-by-easter-trump-hopeful-economy-will-be-revived-in-coming-weeks/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=breaking&utm_campaign=newstrack&utm_term=19820067

http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html

https://news.gallup.com/poll/298313/president-trump-job-approval-rating.aspx

 

“Every individual counts. We are not condemned to accept the spread of this virus as an inevitable fact of life. We have the means to fight it. “ — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s televised address to the nation, March 18, 2020

Germany is not known for televised speeches by its heads of state. And yet no one questioned the extraordinary step taken this past Wednesday by the Vaterlands first-ever Kanzlerin for the past 15 years, Angela Merkel.

Reading her 12-minute text in both English and German and watching her calm, measured and impressive performance, she assured Germany it will prevail against the Coronvavirus (COVID-19). She made it clear the absolutely necessary practice of social isolation will eventually slow the spread of the virus, buying time for the country’s prominent healthcare infrastructure to finally get ahead of the global pandemic.

Having traveled to Germany three times — up to three weeks each time — in the last five years alone, Almost DailyBrett has not seen or read sorry expressions of misogyny against Merkel or any other woman office holder. Merkel is a strong moderate-conservative leader (e.g., Christian Democrat or CDU) performing well under pressure.

And to drive home this point … Germany’s Chancellor just happens to be a woman.

Looking 400-miles-plus to the west, there is another accomplished CDU moderate-conservative woman — confidently speaking German, French and English — serving as the president of the European Commissioner (EU), former German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen.

One of the most vital tasks she has undertaken is to reduce the up-to-30-kilometer (18.6 miles) traffic jams at national borders within the EU, essentially gridlocking the delivery of medical equipment to hospitals and clinics, and likewise people returning to their homes. These well-intentioned security tie-ups have been greatly reduced under Ursula’s leadership without compromising the ability of the EU’s 27 nation states to fight the highly contagious virus.

And let there be no mistake the leader of the European Central Bank (ECB) is also another measured and confident woman, France’s Christine Lagarde. She was nominated to head the European version of America’s Federal Reserve by France’s moderate-conservative President Emmanuel Macron.

To date, the European Central Bank in Frankfurt has directed €870 billion ($936 billion) in needed liquidity to European banks and businesses. The ECB’s stance under Lagarde is, whatever it takes.

Having reviewed the leadership from these three tremendous women leaders — Angela, Ursula and Christine — Almost DailyBrett totally rejects the oft-mentioned premise that Americans will never elect a woman as President of the United States?

Not This “Particular Woman”

“I want a woman president soon, but I don’t want this particular woman (e.g., Hillary Clinton). — University of Virginia Political Science Professor Larry Sabato reflecting on a frequent refrain from many women — young and old — on the 2016 campaign trail.

Whenever American political scientists and media pundits refer to the gender gap, it’s always a one-way street … how women vote as opposed to men. Using this hallowed measurement Hillary won the gender gap over Donald Trump, 54-41 percent in 2016.

Employing a non-gender gap standard, alas Hillary did not prevail among men, losing 52-41 percent … a sure sign of misogyny. Right?

Using ethnicity demographics Hillary actually lost the white women vote 52-43 percent, and was clobbered among white men, 62-31 percent. Was it misogyny in both cases or was it … do we dare imply … the performance of a sub-par candidate in 2016?

Shifting forward to the present presidential election cycle, Almost DailyBrett carefully noted that when U.S. Senator Kamala Harris’ (D-California) campaign imploded last fall … there were zero pundit cries about misogyny.

Likewise when Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar suspended her campaign earlier this month, no one seized upon this widely anticipated action to question whether a woman could ever be elected president of the United States.

And yet when another Democratic Senator, Elizabeth Warren finally called it quits after winning zero states and coming in third in her home state of Massachusetts, yes indeed … misogyny was without doubt the culprit.

Almost DailyBrett is scratching his follicly challenged skull trying to deduce the difference between the decisions of two Democratic U.S. senators on one hand (no misogyny), and the presidential campaign suspension of an anointed Democratic U.S. Senator on the other hand (misogyny).

Are Europeans just better human beings than Americans? After all, the Finns are the happiest on the planet (World Economic Forum).

Or could it be differences in political philosophy, moderate-conservative women in Europe vs. liberal-progressive women in America? One has a track record of winning, the other does not.

Maybe, just maybe … moderate-conservative political philosophy can usurp misogyny in America just as it does in Europe.

https://www.bundeskanzlerin.de/bkin-en/news/statement-chancellor-1732302

https://www.bundeskanzlerin.de/bkin-de/aktuelles/fernsehansprache-von-bundeskanzlerin-angela-merkel-1732134

https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/health/coronavirus-response_en

https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/topnews/M-004595

https://www.ft.com/content/281d600c-69f8-11ea-a6ac-9122541af204

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/03/finland-is-the-world-s-happiest-country-again/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/09/08/are-europeans-better-than-us/

Even before the little bugger, Coronavirus  (COVID-19), started reeking its pandemic havoc, the nation was earlier appalled that Iowa couldn’t simply count the results of its Democratic caucus last February.

A few weeks later California couldn’t tally its votes until literally one month after its March 3 Super Tuesday primary. The final results are mandated no later than … April 3 and certified by April 10 … maybe.

How many times have courts around the country extended voting hours (e.g., Illinois yesterday) because of lines of people, who could have, should have, but didn’t vote early?

And let’s not forget the infamous 2000 hanging chads of Florida.

Finally, did Almost DailyBrett readers note how quickly the State of Washington completed its March 10 primary count?

Wonder why?

Every voter in the Evergreen State has been voting by mail for nearly a decade, including last week’s State of Washington primary. Yep, everyone in the Pacific Northwest is an absentee voter.

Voting by mail works. Federalism works. Local control works. Can we learn from these Western state success stories?

Oregon Sets The Pace For The Nation

Oregon set the pace for the nation opting for all state’s elections to be — vote by mail — starting with the commencement of the new millennium in 2000.

Ballot Measure 60 was placed before Oregon’s electorate in 1998 calling for exclusive voting by mail in all of the state’s 36 counties, winning by a landslide 69.4 percent to 30.6 percent.

The chances of fraud are greatly reduced as the Oregon Secretary of State needs to be concerned only with polling locations in 36 counties with a main server in Salem, and a redundant system in Baker City.

Here is a key differentiator: All Oregon ballots must be received — not just postmarked — by the official close of voting, typically 8 pm local time on election day. If your ballot is received after that time … oh well.

California’s permissive practice, allowing for ballots to be postmarked as late as election night and received during the next three days, only delays results and frustrates the ease of voting, which Oregon’s vote-by-mail system pioneered.

Some argue romantically about voting in the neighbor’s garage, the school gymnasium, the church hall, wishing for the return of a time that has passed.

Ohio officially postponed its Tuesday Democratic primary because its polling places brought people together, exactly the wrong practice at this pandemic point of time.

Others say voting by mail negatively impacts the economically disadvantaged. Why’s that?

Each Oregon county has designated secure voting drop-offs, a stamp is not required. One can even vote on a non-mail delivery day (i.e., holidays or Sundays). Just drop your signed ballot into the secure ballot box before the magic closing hour on election day.

What about changing your mind? You can revise your ballot right up until the close of voting at 8 pm. What’s the difference between mail-in voting or standing in line at polling places with the deadline being … the deadline? Zero.

Voting By Mail Makes Us Better Voters

In Oregon, the voting pamphlet from the county registrar-recorder arrives about five weeks before election day. The ballot comes about a week later.

In reality, voting starts about four weeks before election day. Campaigns need to calibrate this change and get their messages out to the voters earlier to coincide with the commencement of mail-in voting.

And who tends to vote early? High propensity voters (e.g., senior citizens).

Almost DailyBrett is convinced that voting by mail fosters more intelligent voting. The reason, the voter has the time to read the pamphlet and secure more information about down ballot races (i.e., initiatives, bond issues, city councils, boards of supervisors,  school boards, judges etc.,).

In practice, voting by mail is far more relaxed as opposed to fighting traffic after work in foul November weather to reach a crowded polling place before the voting time elapses.

Instead, the mail-in voter has done her or his civic duty and can head on home to watch the electoral results all within a few hours of the time for the final submittal of mail-in votes (e.g., Washington Democratic Primary, March 10).

There are no hanging chads in Oregon, and never will be.

There are zero lines at polling places simply because … there are no polling places.

All the ballots are submitted by the time the election closes; results are quicker.

There are zero apps to hack.

The county registrar-recorder offices safeguard the sanctity of voting.

And if the backside of the ballot is not signed by the voter, the vote is simply not counted.

As a libertarian, Almost DailyBrett prefers for each individual state to decide whether or not to follow Oregon’s lead as is usually the case with the State of Washington.

If a critical mass of states opt for vote by mail, maybe the nation as a whole can vote by mail with a uniform poll closing time?

What’s not to like when it comes to Oregon’s pioneering voting by mail?

https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2020/02/oregon-vote-by-mail-draws-increasing-interest-from-other-states.html

https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/all-mail-elections.aspx

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/03/10/mail-voting-coronavirus-bill/

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article240828386.html

https://electionresults.sos.ca.gov/returns/president/party/democratic

 

Can you imagine college students being denied their hard-earned final grades for … three months or more?

The reason: privileged graduate teaching fellows (GTFs) decided to hurt their students to line their own pockets.

Guess Lord John Dahlberg-Acton’s saying is still true: “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Aren’t these students — waiting week-after-week for their final grades — essentially the paying “customers” of major universities, including the University of California at Santa Cruz?

Many are going into debt to pay way-too-high 6 percent interest for their tuition. Others are waiting tables and taking any job they can find to fund their college. Some are fortunate enough to have their parents dig deep for them.

Regardless of how the money is raised, they expect a return on their investment (ROI).

And yet the result of their years of hard work, including hours of studying, researching, drafting papers and presentations, is being denied to them by … striking graduate students.

These graduate teaching fellows (GTFs) are being provided free master’s or doctoral degrees from a UC System university. They are demanding $1,412 more per month for their stipend to live in a desirable, but expensive Pacific Ocean fronting locale.

Did anyone hold a gun to their heads demanding they accept this wonderful opportunity to research and teach in Santa Cruz?

Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly asked in earlier blogs: ‘Where are the university presidents?’

In most cases they are cowering and quivering under their desks, living in mortal fear of their easily excitable and always demanding unionized faculty.

At least in the case of the courageous leadership of UC Santa Cruz,  54 graduate students were dismissed this past Friday for denying students, what they had legitimately earned three months ago … their final grades.

Worse, they are asking their victims (e.g., their students) to support their unionized militancy.

Hate To Admit It …

This is yet another example of ‘What are they thinking,’ unionized graduate student research fellows, receiving a free master’s degree or Ph.D plus valuable teaching experience and a stipend, not a salary. … What a deal!

Your author is ashamed to acknowledge that he was once a member of the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation (GTFF) at the University of Oregon from fall 2010 to spring 2012.

The unsuccessful angry strike of hundreds of bright, but not smart, GTFs at the University of Oregon during Fall 2014 dead week — only punished students — not the university.

And now graduate students at the bucolic, near-the-ocean University of California at Santa Cruz wrongly withheld the grades of their students as a bargaining chip for three months. Similar petty actions by petulant and selfish graduate teachers are planned at University of California at Santa Barbara (e.g., full strike) and the University of California at Davis (e.g., withholding winter term grades).

Terminating 54 arrogant banana slug graduate teaching fellows at UCSC reminds your author of President Ronald Reagan courageously firing striking federal air traffic controllers in August 1981, who were flaunting federal law designed to safeguard the lives of passengers.

Will UCSC continue to exhibit old-fashioned Reaganesque guts to deliver final grades after three months to students — who have been hurt by this silly strike — or will they cave? These students and their parents should not required to wait one minute more for what they are justifiably due.

“Total Douche-o-Rama”

When Almost DailyBrett dared to offend the University of Oregon graduate teaching fellow union six years ago, the responses — intended to stifle dissent — were vicious.

Some of the nicer salvos including the non sequitur, “This person is an idiot … Perfect for Ph.D candidacy.” And … “This whole blog is an audition for a commentator position at Fox News.” (Thank you).

And finally, “I’m puking in my mouth.” Hopefully, Listerine came to the rescue.

As a retired tenure track professor in public relations at Central Washington University (CWU) for four academic years, there were zero teaching assistants. The task of educating, mentoring, and providing final grades on time was my responsibility and mine alone.

Yours truly was never going on strike, but instead concentrated on the job at hand.

Maybe the University of Oregon, the University of California Santa Cruz and others should make do without spoiled graduate teaching fellows?

Think of it this way: Without graduate teaching fellows, there are no strikes.

And without strikes, students … our customers … secure a better education and their final grades as well.

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-02-28/uc-santa-cruz-fires-54-graduate-student-workers-wildcat-strike

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/university-of-california-grad-students-striking-for-a-livable-income/

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wxe45b/graduate-student-strikes-are-spreading-in-california

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/are-striking-uo-graduate-teaching-fellows-certifiable/

UCSC cancels classes, shutters services as demonstrators block roadways

Fired UCSC grad students speak out, campus prepares for impacts

“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/

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

“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

The same creepy New York maximum solidarity cell, which housed Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, later where sex offender Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide, now serves as the jail for incarcerated porn-star lawyer and media hound, Michael Avenatti.

El Chapo was convicted in 2019 for his notorious leadership of the dangerous Sinaloa drug cartel. He is now serving a life sentence in the “Alcatraz of the Rockies,” a federal supermax correctional facility in Colorado. Guzman was housed the same Gotham jail cell, while awaiting his trial and life conviction.

Epstein was pondering his own sex trafficking trial, when he was found dead (from suicidal hanging) in the same infamous cell last August. A predictable media storm broke out about what went so horribly wrong with the prisoner oversight at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC). Conspiracy theories abounded since then, and still do to this day.

Avenatti once dreamed of running for president of the United States.

He sued the president of the United States on behalf of his porn star client, Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford). He was the darling of the major news networks … until he wasn’t.

Many Americans including Almost DailyBrett, have repeatedly wondered: When will white-color criminals actually serve jail time?

To describe Avenatti as a fraud is way too kind. He is charged with trying to extort Nike of $25 million, presumably to pay off his reported $10 million in accumulated debt.

And today, we read about Avenatti suffering in jail. He needs three blankets in order to sleep in his cold cell hell. He is having difficulties preparing for his upcoming Nike extortion trial.

Avenatti is being kept in solidarity confinement — a Special Housing Unit (SHU) — for “his own safety.” Guess mixing him with the jail population would not be a good idea. Considering his notoriety, other inmates may not take too kindly to having a big-shot attorney in their midst and may engage in attitude adjustment.

There Are Cases In Which Even Effective PR Cannot Help

How the mighty have fallen?

Avenatti was going to take out POTUS #45. He was cat nip for elite media (e.g., CNN, NBC … ).

Avenatti was a much sought after media star, now he is an inmate.

Almost DailyBrett recognizes there are particular cases when the die is cast, and effective and talented public relations counsel simply will not and cannot work … any longer.

Even if only half of the charges against him are true, Avenatti would still draw predictable questions about how he can live with himself. Does he even care?

Besides attempting to extort $20 million, swindling his client Daniels out of $300,000 in royalties for her book (“Full Disclosure”), and using a portion for his Ferrari lease, Avenatti has racked up $10 million in debts to his second wife, the State of Washington among others.

Avenatti faces a 36-count indictment in California for stealing client funds, tax crimes, bank fraud, false testimony, and aggravated identity fraud. For each and other charge from Nike to Stormy from fraud to theft, his answer is the same … “not guilty.”

He is being persecuted by the Trump administration. Sure.

Almost DailyBrett will plead guilty today (and maybe earlier as well) for harboring a healthy sense of the German compound noun, Schadenfreude. The word translates to being happy when someone else is sad … or in this case, sad, angry and incarcerated.

Harvard Constitutional and Criminal Law Professor Alan Dershowitz told the story about how he was once cancelled as a guest for one of CNN’s talking heads’ prime-time liberal opinion shows. The breathless CNN guest booker informed Dershowitz that he was being cancelled because of the availability of … you guessed it … MIchael Avenatti.

Wonder if CNN has any second thoughts about that decision, assuming CNN is actually capable of having any regrets?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/michael-avenatti-jailed-in-isolated-unit-that-held-el-chapo-its-for-his-own-safety-warden-says/2020/01/21/e8525e82-3c8e-11ea-8872-5df698785a4e_story.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/21/judge-orders-michael-avenatti-prosecutors-to-explain-jail-conditions.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51201138

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/28/michael-avenatti-pleads-not-guilty-to-ripping-off-stormy-daniels.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/michael-avenatti-faces-36-count-indictment-california-n993391

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-media-elevated-michael-avenatti-to-stardom-his-felony-conviction-reflects-on-them

 

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