Category: Civility


Ever wonder how Venezuela became … Venezuela?

Almost DailyBrett at one time expected that Amazon would announce Austin, Texas as the recipient of HQ2 with its estimated $50 billion total investment and upwards to 50,000 technology positions with full benefits.

As a major technology hub, Austin offers a well-trained workforce, the capital of a right-to-work state, no state income taxes, and politicians’ favorably predisposed to corporate capitalism. In addition, Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7 billion, which is based in … Austin.

Instead, Amazon selected Northern Virginia with it well-educated workforce and proximity to the infinite wisdom emanating within the Beltway. The other choice, which raised more than a few eyebrows, was heavily unionized and über-taxed Long Island.

The original thinking was Amazon would be welcomed with the prospect of providing 40,000 real positions with annual salaries averaging $150,000 and full benefits – not strip mall jobs – and $27.5 billion in new tax revenues during the course of 10 years. Yes, there were $3 billion in tax incentives from the State of New and New York City and these are always controversial.

Let’s see $3 billion in exchange for $27.5 billion in new revenues and 40,000 direct high-paying positions, not counting all the indirect economic activity supporting Amazon HQ2 in terms of suppliers, vendors and utilities.

Buy Low, Sell High?

Alas the United States is a divided nation, not just Democrats vs Republicans … but more to the point: Socialism vs. Capitalism.

Some wish to punish Amazon and its wealthiest dude on the planet boss, Jeff Bezos, for pioneering digital retail, employing 613,300, generating $232 billion in annual revenues, and stimulating $798 billion in investor market capitalization.

Amazon was greeted to Gotham by a buzz-saw of those who disdain capitalism in favor of command-and-control socialism.

As a former gubernatorial press secretary, the author of Almost DailyBrett imagined what it would be like to be relaying really bad news to the boss – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – and answering the flood of media calls.

The alternative of a root canal is looking real attractive right now.

Ever hear the one about banging your head against the wall?

It only feels good, when you … stop.

Is Amazon Serious?

Is Amazon just firing a shot across the bow?

“It (loss of Amazon investment) would certainly undermine confidence in governance. You can’t empower anti-capitalist ideologues and expect the capitalists to embrace them. I still think they will work this out, because the embarrassment would be severe.” – Joel Kotkin, Chapman University professor of Urban Studies

“You have to be tough to make it in New York City. We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.” – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

“Threw away” constitutes fighting words.

These provocative words make it more difficult for the City of New York and Amazon to “work this out.” Why did da Mayor challenge Bezos’ manhood (we know it exists) in the first sentence of his prepared statement, and then charge the company with throwing away an opportunity in the concluding sentence.

Hey Mr. Mayor ever heard of the words … “disappointed”? … “concerned? … “let’s talk”?

If New York bids adieu to 25,000-to-40,000 Amazon positions and $27.5 billion in tax revenues in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ congressional district, will those who are cheering today be demanding social justice from New York state and city tomorrow?

Even China with its brand of authoritarian capitalism figured out that buying low and selling high is the best way to provide prosperity for its people.

New York had the prospect of becoming a lucrative technology hub … but it “threw away” that opportunity.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/nyregion/amazon-hq2-queens.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2019/02/13/leaving-long-island-city-what-losing-amazon-hq2-would-mean-for-nycs-future/#18d48f01127c

https://nypost.com/2019/02/14/de-blasio-amazon-threw-away-great-opportunity-in-nyc/

 

 

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” – President John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, 1961

“Economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.” – FAQ for the “Green New Deal,” 2019

“Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been.” – Grateful Dead, Truckin,’ 1970

Almost DailyBrett remembers those who said same-sex marriage would never happen.

There were those who said that recreational marijuana would never be legal, let alone pot shops on virtually every street corner.

And that states (i.e., Virginia, New York, Vermont) would never adopt up-to-the-nanosecond-of-birth (and beyond), abortion.

They are all now reality.

Will the next breakthrough come in the form of Universal Basic Income (UBI), or income redistribution from those who achieve to those … who voluntarily do … nothing?

Call it the ultimate in cradle-to-grave dependency: The government taxes entrepreneurs/job creators up the wazoo to pay living-breathing recipients for the privilege to sleep-in-to-noon, play video games, binge watch, smoke dope, drink beer and repeat the cycle the following day.

Seems a long way from the days of JFK, once a Democratic senator from Massachusetts, calling for nationwide patriotism to Ed Markey, a present-day Democratic senator from … you guessed it … Massachusetts, advocating taxpayer payments to those “unwilling” to work.

To be fair, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Markey and other Green New Dealers, claimed it was a “mistake” for the plan’s FAQ to be distributed to the media … who in turn reported the details of the proposed give-away to those who just don’t want to work.

How did the word “unwilling” end up on a draft FAQ, if Universal Basic Income isn’t a part of the thinking of the Green New Dealers?

Talk about a public relations disaster.

Announced Democratic presidential aspirant and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, has actually dug into his own pocket to pay one family in New Hampshire and another in Iowa $1,000 per month to demonstrate the benefits of UBI.

The vast majority will rightfully ask ‘Andrew Who?’ but give him credit for having the courage to introduce Universal Basic Income into the Democratic presidential primary season social justice debate.

Will UBI be part of the party platform at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Your author will take the “under” … for now.

If there are millions of people voluntarily not working (e.g., approximately 32 percent of working age males, source American Enterprise Institute), maybe the government can give them a hand as the face the repetitive boredom associated with doing and accomplishing … nothing.

Paying People To Do Nothing?

Almost DailyBrett never thought he would be compelled to ask: Is it moral for the government to take money from hard-working taxpayers to give it to those … who decide on their own to do nothing, achieve nada, and give zero back to society?

The debate about whether or not to establish a “safety net” for those adversely impacted by deep economic cycle downswings has long been decided. The questions remain about the extent, costs and durations of these assistance programs.

UBI is the ultimate public assistance cocaine dressed up as a basic right. The recipients are forever hooked to the green drug. The government is now obligated to forever keep providing this largesse to those who unwilling to work.

The pressure will always be present to increase UBI payments to keep pace or even exceed inflation, regardless of the consequences to the annual deficit or the rapidly accumulating national debt. The insatiable demand for more redistribution tax dollars for the do-nothings will accelerate.

Any efforts to curtail or reduce Universal Basic Income will trigger a cold-turkey effect (see “Yellow Vests” or gilets jaunes on the streets of Paris). The “program,” once launched will be eternal and unreformable.

Eventually, who is going to say “no” to free money from the government? Isn’t it in the recipients’ “best interest” to stay on the government gravy train? Don’t they as Americans have a right to not work … and get paid for it too?

Despite the obvious moral questions, the public policy fight over Universal Basic Income is closer to the beginning rather than the end. Those who worry out loud about the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – a good example is Elon Musk – have already pointed UBI as another tool in the safety net.

Universal Basic Income is not a safety net, but that doesn’t mean it won’t.

UBI is a shameful governmental give-away pure and simple.

Strong Almost DailyBrett opinion to follow.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/07/ocasio-cortezs-green-new-deal-offers-economic-security-for-those-unwilling-to-work.html

https://www.businessinsider.com/right-wing-media-attacking-alexandria-ocasio-cortezs-green-new-deal-2019-2

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/the-green-new-deal-and-a-universal-basic-income/

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/10/andrew-yang-universal-basic-income-to-protect-jobs-from-automation.html

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/deadbeat-boyfriends/

 

 

 

“I can understand wanting to have millions of dollars, there’s a certain freedom, meaningful freedom that comes with that. But once you get much beyond that, I have to tell you, it’s the same hamburger.” – Bill Gates speaking to university students

There are 25.7 million Google results of an image of a middle-aged dude standing all alone with his hands in his pockets.

He is patiently waiting in line for his cheeseburger, fries and a coke.

The maroon pullover guy is patronizing the original Dick’s (1954), which unofficially serves as a gateway to the upper class Wallingford neighborhood in Seattle.

Is the pale dude (gasp) … privileged?

What gave him the right to buy a “Deluxe,” fries and a coke in Wallingford?

Did his parents dote on him? Where did he go to school? Where did he go to college?

Did he ever invent anything of value to society? Did ever provide a living to people?

Did he ever give back to make our world a better place?

And if the answers to these questions do not meet communal approval – Privilege? Family? College? Inventions? Philanthropy? – should we as a collective society even the score in the name of social justice?

It may seem silly to some to have this public good discussion, and yet 25.7 million Google results are triggered in 0.28 of one second, when one inquires about the guy in the sweater standing all alone in line at Dick’s.

Our Obsession With Wealth?

How many billionaires — members of the three comma club — would stand-in line all alone for a burger and fries?

And yet there was Microsoft founder Bill Gates, 63, waiting in line at Dick’s on Sunday evening, January 13.

In our always-on digital imaging world, it did not take long for the celebrity dude doing normal things to go viral, generating stories and impressions about Gates and his love of hamburgers.

The latest estimates place his net worth at $96.5 billion. Couldn’t Gates simply buy Dick’s as opposed to standing in line for a burger? Where was his entourage? Couldn’t he feed the homeless with Dick’s burgers?

And how did he make that money? Did he take full advantage of his privilege? Did he inherit the money?

As many Almost DailyBrett readers know, Gates and the recently departed Paul Allen founded Microsoft in 1975. Their entrepreneurial spirit and those that followed (i.e., Steve Ballmer and Satya Nadella)  resulted in the ubiquitous Windows operating system, X-Box gaming console, Microsoft Surface PC, Microsoft Cloud and so much more.

Microsoft is one of the three largest competing companies in market capitalization (share price x number of shares) at $814.5 billion, generating $96.5 billion in total revenues and employing 134,944 around the world.

After departing the daily operations of Microsoft, the guy in the maroon sweater with his spouse established The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The charitable organization bearing their names has given a reported $36 billion to date to alleviate third world poverty and suffering. They are without any doubt the most generous philanthropists in America.

And yet …

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” – Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

In her quest to become the 46th President of the United States, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed a 2 percent surcharge on net assets – not annual income – exceeding $50 million, and another 1 percent on billionaires.  Is Warren’s  “wealth tax” really confiscation in disguise?

There are questions about whether a confiscatory surcharge of assets – not an income tax – is permissible under the U.S. Constitution. This legal question is above the pay grade of Almost DailyBrett.

Having said that, your author must ask: Why do so many Washington elites want to punish achievement, service and philanthropy?

Some rationalize this obsession with wealth as a quest to reach some far-reaching social justice nirvana when the solution is the same-old tired remedy: wealth redistribution targeting those who provide great products, create jobs and give back to the less fortunate.

The answer always comes down to new and more burdensome taxes, but in Senator Warren’s case she calls for outright confiscation of assets. One thing is certain is the redistribution does not stop there. There will also be increases in tax rates, most of all the top rate from 39.6 percent, hiking it to 70 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent or beyond.

Once you have raised taxes and confiscated assets is that the end … or worse … is that just the beginning?

What’s next? Fees on stock and mutual fund transactions? Surcharges on bank accounts? Is the sky the limit?

How about a wealth tax/surcharge on Bill Gates’ hamburger?

https://www.geekwire.com/2019/billions-served-bill-gates-photographed-standing-line-burger-dicks-drive-seattle/

https://www.ddir.com/

https://www.seattlepi.com/seattlenews/article/Billions-served-Bill-Gates-photographed-standing-13539669.php

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/01/24/senator-warrens-plan-tax-ultrawealthy-is-smart-idea-whose-time-has-come/?utm_term=.251e17e49629

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Investor/earnings/FY-2018-Q4/press-release-webcast

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/three-comma-club/

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

https://www.businessinsider.com/biggest-projects-of-generous-philanthropists-bill-and-melinda-gates-2018-8

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/138248-the-problem-with-socialism-is-that-you-eventually-run-out

 

“Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you (ministers) — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.” – Catholic Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kennedy speaking to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, Sept. 12, 1960

Kennedy was the second of three Catholics to be nominated for the presidency, and the only one to be elected. Joe Biden was the one-and-only Catholic to be elected as vice president.

To its credit, the Democratic Party nominated all three Catholics for president: Al Smith (1928), JFK (1960) and John Kerry (2004).

That was then, this is now.

The difference in the electoral climate in 1960 compared to today is not only a political lifetime, it’s an eternity.

Kennedy assuaged through his words to the ministers in Houston and through his sincere behavior that he would never take direction from Rome. Instead he would to the best of his ability, “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. … So help me, God.”

Based upon his enduring legacy and his ability to reach across party lines … similar to Ronald Reagan in the other political direction … Kennedy tempered the spoken and unspoken concern in many quarters about “Papists.”

Today as the Party of Kennedy launches its primary campaign for president, there are tangible signs that being a Catholic may actually be a negative … even a big time game changer.

Has Catholicism remained the same? How much has the Democratic Party changed?

The mere fact that Catholics supported Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton 50-46 percent in 2016 exit polls has not been overlooked by party brass. Keep in mind Hillary lost Protestants by a larger margin, 59-36 percent. She won in a landslide with agnostics/atheists, 67-25 percent.

Secularism über alles?

It’s one thing to preach tolerance and diversity; it’s another to politely disagree and coexist those who dare go against ingrained party orthodoxy (e.g., up-to-the-nanosecond-of-birth abortion … see Cuomo, Andrew).

And here comes the rub, the party abortion litmus test vs. the long-term teachings of the church. Pope Francis may be cool, but the party’s position on the Mother of All Issues has intensified.

Anti-Catholicism Raising Its Ugly Head … Again?

“I’m thinking of finding every one of these shitty kids and giving them a large piece of my mind.” – Recode editor Kara Swisher tweeting about the students at Covington (KY) Catholic High School

“When online mobs attack unknown kids, we’ve got a problem.” – Howard Kurtz, Fox News Media Buzz anchor

Almost DailyBrett does not attach much significance to anecdotes … except when they accumulate and become a discernible pattern.

When it comes to the revival of anti-Catholic bias/bigotry as a result of a litany (no religious pun intended) of anecdotes, every practicing and even non-practicing Catholic needs to take note.

The same is true with those of the Jewish persuasion, when so many Women’s March organizers openly refused to condemn Louis Farrakhan and his vile anti-Semitic views.

Whatyathink Kamala?

 “Since 1993, you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society composed primarily of Catholic men … Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?” – Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris to Federal District Court nominee Brian Buescher

What should be done with these “all-male societies” of “Catholic men,” including one that has existed for a mere 136 years with 2 million members? Wonder if another Catholic charity, The St. Vincent de Paul Society, has the same view on Roe v. Wade?

And what was the instinctive political elite reaction to a group of chaperoned Catholic school boys (e.g., Covington Catholic High School), who visited Washington, D.C. and wore MAGA hats and calmly observed a Native American pounding a drum in their collective faces? They fired off their tweets first and asked questions of themselves later.

NBC Today Show reporter Savannah Guthrie demanded an apology of Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann (see photo above) for the mere act of living and breathing. He was accused of … smirking.

Death threats were made. Their school was closed. Must suck to be young, male and worst of all, Catholic in the eyes of the political intelligentsia?

And let’s not forget another Catholic male, now Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. One of his favorite pass-times is coaching his daughter’s Catholic Youth Organization basketball team. Could he coach any longer once he was accused of high-school sexual misconduct, none of which was ever corroborated to this very day?

Justice Kavanaugh endured weeks of living hell, part of the reason is the simple fact that his faith collides with those advocate for abortion under any circumstances including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who happens to be also … Catholic.

Will there be even more anti-Catholic anecdotes in the run-up to 2020. Almost DailyBrett will take that bet.

Will it be necessary for a Democratic nominee to be both anti-Semitic on Israel and anti-Catholic on abortion in order to win over the secular crowd to secure the nomination?

Catholics Kerry, Biden and Cuomo are all vying to be the titular head of the party. Do any of them realistically have a chance in this hostile intra-party political climate?

Will the Democratic orthodoxy ex-communicate one or all three of these gents before they have the opportunity to compete to wear the golden ring and drink from the chalice as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States?

Don’t be surprised if all three are out of the race by the time the votes are counted in New Hampshire.

Almost DailyBrett note: Your author is a product of 12-years of Catholic School. Even though the personal halo has shifted downward from time-to-time, The Baltimore Catechism is still in the bloodstream.

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16920600

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/dec/30/kamala-harris-mazie-hirono-target-brian-buescher-k/

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/kamala-harris-knights-of-columbus-religious-test/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2018/10/05/brett-kavanaughs-nomination-fight-is-dividing-his-dc-catholic-church/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/01/18/appeasing-farrakhan-then-appeasing-farrakhan-now/

https://usatodayhss.com/2018/is-brett-kavanaugh-right-that-he-can-no-longer-coach-girls-basketball

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/media-must-learn-covington-catholic-story/581035/

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/covington-students-journalists-mired-in-twitters-toxic-stew

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bobcook/2018/09/05/one-thing-we-know-about-brett-kavanaugh-hes-a-girls-basketball-coach/#1aff8d393946

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

 

 

 

 

 

“Did the (Dodge Ram) company really just use Dr. King’s words about the value of service to sell trucks?”New York Times, February 5, 2017

The unfortunate answer was … “Yes.”

Did somebody … anybody … at Chrysler suggest that its Super Bowl LII advertisement shown to 103.4 million viewers (Nielsen Ratings) may not be the best idea? One would hope the executive management at Chrysler is not exclusively composed of yes men and yes women.

If a viewer watching next Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII advertisements takes a sip of tequila every time a cause marketing spot comes across the screen, would that person be smashed by half time?

Based upon last year’s Super Bowl and the trend so far this year, Almost DailyBrett will take the over.

Even weighing Chrysler’s public relations/marketing disaster last February, it seems the trend toward questionable cause-marketing advertising is growing, not subsiding.

Razor Blades and #MeToo?

“Razor blade commercials aren’t supposed to make national headlines, but these aren’t ordinary times. Last week’s Gillette commercial playing on the #MeToo movement became the latest piece of corporate messaging to berate and belittle men.” – Karol Markowicz, New York Post

For Almost DailyBrett, it seems the growing use of cause-marketing advertising with predictable somber music and societal images are mostly lame corporate attempts to attach product brands to a public policy push or cultural icon.

The question remains: Are cause marketing advertising practitioners, who recommend paying $5.1-$5.3 million per 30-second Super Bowl LIII spots to their corporate clients, playing with fire works in the forest with a company’s hard-earned reputation and brand?

Consider Nike’s cause marketing folly of tying its “Swoosh” athletic apparel to Colin Kaepernick, who in many quarters is persona non grata for taking a knee on the flag, the Star Spangled Banner and America.

Is Colin playing in the Super Bowl next week? Will he ever play again? Almost DailyBrett will take the under.

We all know that Chrysler was burned big time for attempting to link the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King’s sermons to the sale of Dodge Ram trucks.

Who thought this poor taste linkage was a good idea?

Ditto for Gillette tying razor blades to the #MeToo movement or Nike taking a knee on Old Glory.

Almost DailyBrett must ask: Were the ads submitted to focus groups (qualitative research)? What was the input of in-depth interviews from African-American respondents (Dodge), women (Gillette) and veterans and their families (Nike)? Was any random quantitative research conducted to validate or contradict the focus group reactions?

Tying the sale of muscle trucks by a publicly traded company to the words, works and deeds of a renowned assassinated civil rights leader/legend sounds risky at best.

The national response to boorish men continues to this day. Is Gillette taking a stand against the #MeToo movement? Hope not.

Does Nike management have a problem with the Star Spangled Banner?

Infamous Or Notorious Brand?

Defenders of dubious cause marketing ads, which draw justified rebukes, will predictably respond that millions of viewers now identify with the (tarnished) brand/product. They will piously state that nothing is worse than spending $5 million-plus for a 30-second spot and the viewers don’t remember the sponsor of the advertisement. Okay, but …

Your author is not carte blanche taking aim against all cause marketing ads.

For example, Verizon cleverly tied its wireless services to first responders running toward the flood, the fire, the earthquake … ensuring they receive the urgent call for their life-and-depth services.

What are Almost DailyBrett’s rules for cause marketing spots, whether or not they are intended for the Super Bowl of Advertising?

  • Appreciate that tribalism is rampant in America, and the warring camps simply do not care, let alone in many cases tolerate each other. Avoid taking sides (e.g., Nike). The predominant views in your locale (e.g., Beaverton, Oregon) are most likely not a reflection of the country as a whole.
  • Contemplate that movements are based upon redressing grievances. They have leaders. They have organizations. They have a determined cause. Don’t try to hijack a movement to sell your products (e.g., Gillette).
  • Invest in qualitative (i.e., focus groups, in-depth interviews) and random quantitative research (e.g. surveys). Don’t prejudge the results. If the respondents essentially question or even revolt against the proposed ad … don’t argue, don’t rationalize … drop it (e.g., Dodge Ram).
  • Embrace honesty with company management about the possible repercussions in terms of reputation, brand, sales, stock price, market capitalization, P/E ratio.
  • Consider that viewers are smarter than you think. They may not respond kindly to clumsy ads that attempt to sell trucks with the words of a slain civil rights leader. How about using puppies or horses to sell beer (just as long as no animals were injured making the ad)?
  • Know that cause marketing is overdone, and is almost becoming cliché. That statement does not preclude cleverly tying a relevant product (wireless communication) to first-responders (e.g., Verizon).

And most of all, follow the Almost DailyBrett Golden Rule: When in doubt, throw it out.

https://www.boston.com/sports/super-bowl/2019/01/24/super-bowl-ad-prices

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

.http://superbowl-ads.com/cost-of-super-bowl-advertising-breakdown-by-year/

https://adage.com/article/super-bowl/2019-superbowl-liii-ad-chart/315605/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/05/business/media/mlk-commercial-ram-dodge.html

https://nypost.com/2018/02/04/dodge-ram-under-fire-for-using-mlk-speech-in-super-bowl-ad/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2018/02/05/its-been-a-tough-year-america-these-7-super-bowl-commercials-tried-to-give-us-hope/?utm_term=.3dc3a75c7cc3

I’m not anti-Semite. I’m anti-termite.” – Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

“The persistence of anti-Semitism, that most ancient of poisons, is one of history’s great mysteries. Even the shame of the Holocaust proved no antidote. It provided but a temporary respite. Anti-Semitism is back.” – Washington Post Columnist Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018)

“I am dismayed. I can’t understand any reluctance, black or white, to respond to someone like Louis Farrakhan. He has shown the world that he is an international ambassador of hate.” – Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center

Rabbi Hier expressed his puzzlement about the lack of sustained outrage against Farrakhan to the Washington Post in … 1985.

Fast forward more than three decades and we find:

Anti-Semitism is back. The caring, caressing and cuddling of Louis Farrakhan is still with us.

The list of public officials and leaders rationalizing and apologizing for Farrakhan mirrors his long list of anti-Semitic and homophobic statements.

The litany of anti-Semitic remarks made by the 85-year-old Farrakhan stretches back for decades, including Judaism is a “gutter religion,” Hitler was “wickedly great,” the world is “infected” by “Satanic Jews,” and Israelis had advance knowledge of September 11.

Why is Almost DailyBrett bringing up this seemingly old news, now?

Some  — not all — of the organizers of Saturday’s Women’s March in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere steadfastly refuse to publicly condemn the continuous, never-ending stream of vile, anti-Semitic remarks emanating from Farrakhan.

At least one organizer goes as far as awarding a new acronym for Farrakhan … Greatest of All Time or GOAT.

Even as Farrakhan grows older, his gruesome act continues to be tolerated with a long list of excuses, rationalizations and “what-aboutisms” to deflect attention away Farrakhan’s message of hate.

Disinviting Farrakhan To California

Can you imagine the governor calling me a bigot? Mr. Deukmejian, I hope you are not as ill-informed about state matters as you are about me. We need a new governor, maybe Tom Bradley.” – Louis Farrakhan

Reading about Farrakhan’s undeniable impact on the Women’s March, Almost DailyBrett was brought back in time to the Nation of Islam leader’s speech at the “Fabulous Forum” in Los Angeles, Saturday, September 14, 1985.

My boss and California’s Governor George Deukmejian with a demonstrated strong record on human rights publicly disinvited Farrakhan on behalf of the people of the Golden State, and called upon others to do the same.

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley dithered. Did he not want to upset African Americans? He certainly drew the ire of the Westside Los Angeles Jewish community. Ostensibly, the mayor was working “behind the scenes” to moderate Farrakhan’s message.

Nice try.

After his angry speech, Farrakhan asked why Deukmejian was criticizing him instead of worrying about the problems of a state “filled with homosexuals and degenerates.”

Appeasing Farrakhan Then and Now

What is it with decades-long appeasement of Farrakhan?

Here’s the lead of Judith Cummings New York Times coverage of Farrakhan’s 1985 speech:

“The cars parked at the Forum sports arena, Chevrolets and Toyotas, Mercedes-Benzes and BMW’s, family sedans and clunkers, represented the whole spectrum of southern California incomes and lifestyles. They were driven by people who turned out Saturday night to hear a speech by Louis Farrakhan, the leader of a Black Muslim sect.”

The types of cars parked in the Forum parking lot earned … top billing? Seriously? Farrakhan’s previous denunciation of Judaism appeared in paragraph six.

Just this week, Women’s March co-founder Tamika Mallory repeatedly refused to condemn Farrakhan’s message under repeated pressure from Meghan McCain on The View.

Looking back, Almost DailyBrett is proud of Governor George Deukmejian for having the courage to disinvite Farrakhan to California, and yes condemn his message.

The question still remains to this day: Why are way too many in the public arena appeasing Farrakhan, and refusing to condemn his anti-Semitic and homophobic message of hate?

Will we ever learn?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/will-jewish-women-attend-the-womens-march-amid-allegations-of-anti-semitism/2019/01/15/54bd5ee0-15c7-11e9-b6ad-

https://insider.foxnews.com/2019/01/16/democrats-louis-farrakhan-problem-anti-semitic-preacher-hugs-maxine-waters-five-reacts

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/the-view-grills-womens-march-co-founder-tamika-mallory-over-ties-to-louis-farrakhan-why-call-him-the-greatest-of-all-time

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/minister-louis-farrakhan-in-his-own-words

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/chelsea-clinton-slams-farrakhan-for-comparing-jews-to-termites-1.6572123

https://www.nytimes.com/1984/06/29/us/tape-contradicts-disavowalof-gutter-religion-attack.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1984/04/12/second-farrakhan-controversy-caused-by-calling-hitler-great/b3b4ed46-8263-4875-a793-5789a29f74ab/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6c69819dc1bf

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1985/09/15/Mayor-Tom-Bradley-Sunday-condemned-a-speech-by-Black/3161495604800/

http://articles.latimes.com/1985-09-13/local/me-22471_1_local-black-leaders

http://articles.latimes.com/1985-09-17/local/me-20160_1_black-people

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1985/09/11/planned-speech-by-farrakhan-proves-divisive-in-los-angeles/33280835-992b-4bed-8db4-5b1e69a14e83/?utm_term=.aa920528fe67

https://www.nytimes.com/1985/09/16/us/diverse-crowd-hears-farrakhan-in-los-angeles.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00J1kJE2M6g

 

Tired of screaming talking heads?

Are you just done … with polemics?

Want real news that is more than 24-7-365 bashing of Donald Trump?

How about real-time information, which is 100 percent relevant to at least 54 percent of Americans who constitute the nation’s “investor class”?

Digging deeper one finds that 73 percent of those with bachelor’s degrees and above, and 83 percent of master’s degrees and above, own publicly traded company shares or stock-based mutual funds … many in employer 401K plans or IRAs.

Buy Low, Sell High!

With all of these stats in mind, Almost DailyBrett welcomes you to the best network on television: CNBC.

What ever happened to critics who proclaimed that around-the-clock Wall Street market coverage would never work?

They are the same naysayers who proclaimed that 24/7/365 sports wouldn’t fly when ESPN was launched in 1979.

How did either of these forecasts work out?

Just as ESPN’s proven business model fostered a plethora of imitators (i.e., Fox Sports, CBS Sports, NBC Sports Network), the same is true with CNBC, born in 1989.

Two years later, CNBC’s parent acquired Financial New Network. There was obviously moola to be made from those who care about global markets, particularly their NYSE and NASDAQ investments.

Never-shy-about-about-exploiting-an-opportunity, Rupert Murdoch, debuted CNBC’s major competitor Fox Business in 2007, including raiding CNBC for proven on-air talent (i.e., Maria “The Money Honey” Bartiromo, Neil Cavuto, Liz Claman …).

Fox Business now leads in the Nielsen Ratings for cable business networks, just as Fox News is on top for cable news channels.

Almost DailyBrett believes that competition makes everyone better, and contends that CNBC can take full advantage of the opportunity that comes from adversity.

Can’t Quantify PR?

Working for the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in the mid-1990s, your author as director of communications was interviewed each month on the chip industry’s book-to-bill ratio … or what is the relationship between the booked orders and the already billed orders.

One always wanted the former to be higher than the latter.

As a director of Corporate Public Relations for LSI Logic, Almost DailyBrett booked our CEO Wilf Corrigan on CNBC whenever we had good news to report, provided the markets were open and trading.

One particular time our stock was trading at $86 per share when the interview began. Three-or-more minutes later (an eternity on television), LSI Logic shares had jumped to $89 per share or x-millions more in market capitalization (number of shares x stock price)

And who says, you cannot quantify effective public relations?

The direction of a company’s shares can head to the north, but to the south as well, thus resulting in the term for a stock being a volatile, “Dow Joneser.”

Recently saw a sell-side analyst explaining on CNBC why he downgraded Nike from a buy to a hold with a lower sales target … the stock sold off during the interview. That is the awesome power of an analyst being interviewed on a financial news network.

Almost DailyBrett contends from years as a loyal viewer that CNBC covers real news: What’s happening with global markets, consumer spending, newest gadgets and gizmos, trade wars, Brexit, Federal Reserve rate hikes or cuts/quantitative tightening or quantitative easing ….

Is CNBC perfect? Far from it. Yours truly rolls his eyes whenever yet another report focuses on East Coast dino-tech legends General Electric (GE) or Itty Bitty Machines (IBM). The former is Sears in drag, and the latter is just a few steps further back on the same bridge to nowhere.

Having said that, there is a healthy consistency that comes from Bob Pisani from the floor of the NYSE and Bertha Coombs from the NASDAQ.

Who can avoid smiling when Jim Cramer is throwing bulls and bears on “Mad Money?” David Faber (a.k.a. “The Brain) is always solid with his reporting.

Carl Quintanilla, Morgan Brennan and John Fortt are especially credible with the coverage of technology to start the day. Wilfred Frost and Sara Eisen put a capper on the trading day by hosting “Closing Bell” with Michael Santoli providing analysis of the just competed trading day.

If you want wall-to-wall about what is wrong with the relationship between Donald and Nancy, there are networks, which can provide you with all the gory details on a 24/7/365 basis. Go for it.

And if you can’t wait for another update on the no talent Kardashian family, CNBC is not your cup of tea … and never will be. Thank the good Lord.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/211052/stock-ownership-down-among-older-higher-income.aspx

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-amount-of-americans-not-saving-for-retirement-is-even-worse-than-you-thought-2017-02-21

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/business/economy/stocks-economy.html

https://www.cnbc.com/

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

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markjoyella/2018/10/02/lou-dobbs-maria-bartiromo-lead-fox-business-to-big-ratings-win/#4e449fd924bf

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/12/20/how-fox-news-keeps-on-winning-the-ratings-war/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Been dazed and confused about walls for so long it’s not true
Wanted a border barrier, never bargained for you
Lots of people talk and few of them know
Soul of the Berlin Wall was created below” –
With Apologies to Robert Plant and Jimmy Page

There’s a whole lotta of confusion about walls.

Not just a brick in the wall, but the whole wall.

Many seem to equate the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall or barrier (if you wish) with the toppled Berlin Wall (1961-1989).

There are some who contend the proposed wall from Texas to California is “immoral.”

Does that mean they believed the Berlin Wall was “moral”?

Hope not.

Having twice visited Berlin and consumed oodles of history books and novels about the Cold War and the Berlin Wall, Almost DailyBrett may be able to throw some light on this subject, not a Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) floodlight.

The basic premise is that not all walls are created the same.

The Berlin Wall along with the western and southern borders of the German Democratic Republic was strictly intended to keep its citizens within the not-so-friendly confines of the Soviet satellite state.

For movie buffs, Sir Richard Burton (Alec Leamas) was shot at the base of the Berlin Wall in John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came In From The Cold.  Tom Hanks watched in terror from a subway train as brave souls were being mowed down at the wall in Bridge of Spies … they were trying to get out, not in.

The Berlin Wall and the entire elaborate border fencing system between West and East Germany was the only place on earth in which two nations’ border guards faced the same direction.

The Berlin Wall symbolized the Cold War division to between Freedom in the west and Communism in the east.

President John F. Kennedy delivered his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in 1963. President Ronald Reagan called upon Soviet boss Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” 24 years later. The both spoke at approximately the same spot in front of the Brandenburg Gate with die Mauer in the background.

For Almost DailyBrett a piece of the DDR’s “Antifascistischer Schutzwall” sits next to the PC composing this hopefully helpful blog.

Most of all, when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in 1989. There was a global celebration as the Cold War came to an end.

The Intended Purpose of Most Border Walls

In contrast to the Berlin Wall, the intended purpose of most barriers throughout the course of civilization is border security.

Starting in the 221 BC, China built the first pieces of the 5,000-mile (or even longer) Great Wall with “border controls” to keep out unpleasant neighbors.

Ditto for Roman emperor Hadrian’s Wall, designating for 300 years the northern border of the empire, in present day Britain.

Closer to the present time, Israel has been concerned about its existence since its birth in 1948. Starting in 2000, Israel built a wall/fencing along the “Green Line” separating the Jewish state and unfriendly neighbors.

Could this successful wall be a model for the United States’ proposed barrier between itself and Mexico?

What do the Great Wall, Hadrian’s Wall, Israel’s Wall and the planned American wall/barrier all have in common: They were/are all intended to protect citizens and provide security against illegal entry, particularly those with nefarious intents.

The America-Wall is not meant to keep citizens in, but to keep non-citizens and related contraband out.

To be quite frank, Almost DailyBrett is dazed and confused why so many so very intelligent people for whatever reason are making historically ill-informed comparisons between the Berlin Wall and the U.S.-Mexico border barrier.

Repeat: the former was to keep people in, the latter to keep people out.

Some have made the leap to suggest that since the Berlin Wall ultimately failed, therefore the U.S.-Mexico border wall will not prevail. The Berlin Wall was breached because East Germany collapsed under its own weight. In contrast, the United States is preparing for its 250th anniversary as an exceptional nation.

When the Berlin Wall came down, thousands were dancing, chiseling the wall, taking pieces of the despised wall as historical souvenirs.

If the U.S.-Mexico is ultimately constructed and properly enforced, Almost DailyBrett suspects that not everyone will celebrate in our divided country.

Nonetheless, your author is hopeful that everyone will some day at least comprehend the major differences between the Berlin Wall and the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/04/28/penning-his-25th-novel-at-86-years-young/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2017/09/20/build-trump-border-wall-learn-israel-first/678600001/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/12/26/brandenburg-gate-revisionist-history/

 

 

“Republicans and Democrats have come to view the other as threatening their way of life. They are increasingly unlikely to marry, work or socialize with each other.” — James Astill of The Economist

“Evidence abounds that Democrats and Republicans really do not like each other. Researchers have found that they avoid dating one another, desire not to live near one another and disapprove of the idea that their offspring would marry someone outside their party.” – Eitan Hersch, FiveThirtyEight

Could a Democrat with a clear sound mind, actually marry a Republican with a framed Ronald Reagan campaign poster on the living room wall?

And ditto for a Republican tying the knot with an admitted Hillary voting Democrat, particularly in these divisive times?

What would the in-laws think?

What about property values?

And think of the children being raised in split-registration homes?

Talk about a house divided.

Almost DailyBrett has noted that seemingly anything and everything of import around the world eventually is transformed into a heated discussion about one, Donald Joseph Trump.

Hold a funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush, and the resulting media commentary is less about the deceased #41, but instead more about the mere presence of a living, breathing #45 … even as he patiently sat in the first row of the funeral service in a House of God, and never uttered a word.

As America arguably faces the greatest division since immediately prior to the Civil War, the Red-State vs. Blue-State split has impacted the way we view each other.

Happily, the author of Almost DailyBrett has engaged in more than five years of marital bliss to my dear Democratic wife, Jeanne. We co-existed through two presidential elections and two mid-terms since we patriotically met each other on our one and only Match.com date on July 4, 2012.

There were no political fireworks at our first-ever Starbucks meeting.

Our respective politics did not stop us from falling love, living in sin and eventually marrying. Now, if one of us did not love felines (i.e., Kevin came with Percy; Jeanne came with Isaac) that would have been a deal breaker.

Believe it or not, there is more to life than politics.

Canceling Out Each Other’s Vote

I knew Mary was nuts a long time ago. But I loved her in spite of it, and probably because of it.” – Longtime Democratic Strategist James Carville

“I would not deny we were, and remain, off beat creatures.” – Longtime Republican Strategist Mary Matalin

Even though they may have political debates over dinner, James and Mary have demonstrated to the nation that mixed political marriages can actually survive, thrive and produce two daughters for a generation and counting,

Democrat-Liberal James Carville and Republican-Libertarian Mary Matalin have been married for 25 years … tying the proverbial knot on Thanksgiving Day, 1993.

Not bad, not bad at all when it comes to years in the Institution … The Institution of Marriage.

“I’d rather stay happily married than pick a fight with my wife over politics,” said Carville.

There is wisdom in this sentiment, even though it originated from an über Democrat.

Even though we can almost reach a crescendo of political passion, Jeanne and yours instinctively know when it’s time to take … a time out. Sometimes you need to appreciate that if a topic is not your circus, and likewise the results are not your monkeys.

Let’s get back to the pivotal question:

Should a staunch Democrat marry a committed Republican or vice versa?

And let’s have Almost DailyBrett offer an insight into this interrogative.

If party affiliation is a real breaking point about whether a couple pursues the blessed sacrament of Matrimony, then you obviously don’t love each other.

If politics do indeed Trump marriage, then it’s a good thing (as Martha would say) that a given couple is not tying the knot.

Single women have a high propensity for being Democrats, married women less so. Single and married men are more likely to be Republicans. Mixed political marriages are a distinct possibility, and they can indeed survive, thrive and endure.

Politics are increasingly contentious in this divided country, but they shouldn’t be that important.

Love should trump politics, and Donald Trump too.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/07/01/the-interesting-thing-that-happens-when-a-republican-marries-a-democrat/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.29fc54e20fc4

https://www.politico.com/story/2013/12/james-carville-mary-matalin-recall-finding-love-101333

https://www.dallasobserver.com/arts/james-carville-and-mary-matalin-will-show-us-how-right-and-left-can-get-along-9115438

https://www.pbs.org/video/one-one-mary-matalin-and-james-carville/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/02/04/not-my-circus-not-my-monkeys/

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-many-republicans-marry-democrats/

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday is the National Day of Mourning in America for President George H.W. Bush.

Tomorrow will be the day we celebrate the life of an exemplary American, who maintained and enhanced a sense of dignity to the greatest executive office on the globe: The Presidency.

It will also be a time to reflect on a time when it was truly “Morning in America” as exemplified by the most admired positive political advertisement that ever crossed the nation’s broadcast airwaves.

As Time Magazine reflected on the 1984, 60-second Reagan-Bush ad, Morning in America, the spot was “simple, patriotic and inspirational.”

For Almost DailyBrett, the passing of President Bush – 14 years after the loss of one of our best presidents, Ronald Reagan – officially brings to a close the greatest decade in American history, The 1980s.

Your author as many of the readers of this blog already know was serving as the campaign press director and later press secretary for another former California Governor George Deukmejian, when President Reagan and Vice President Bush were transforming America.

It was indeed: Morning in America.

Even though this level of praise may be seem to be overgenerous to some, your author fondly remembers the Reagan-Bush years (1980-1993) as a simply wonderful time to be an American.

Were the 1980s, perfect? That toughest of all standards is unachievable for any decade. Having acknowledged the obvious, when was the last time that America elected, re-elected and then elected again a president-vice presidential team as it did when Bush became president in 1988?

The answer was four decades before when Harry S. Truman followed another renowned president, FDR.

An integral building block of Ronald Reagan’s legacy is the undeniable fact that Americans overwhelmingly elected George H.W. Bush as his successor, continuing the successful path set by his administration. The greatest peactime economic expansion in American history ensued under Reagan’s watch with the creation of 19 million new jobs.

Some pundits predicted with certainty during the desultory 1970s that America would never again elect a two-term president, let alone three terms of the same party, the same philosophical-political direction.

Whatever happened to these Brady Bunch rocket scientists?

Among the many achievements of Bush’s presidency, today’s pundits are pointing to his discipline to literally not dance on the collapsed Berlin Wall in 1989. That heavily criticized decision played a huge role in the Cold War ending without a shot being fired two years later.

Can We Say Today: “It’s Morning Again In America … “?

“It’s morning again in America. Today more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country’s history.” – Reagan-Bush 1984 television campaign spot

“In today’s fractured media universe, it is unlikely that a single paid TV spot (Morning in America) will again approach that kind of influence.” – Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss

As we approach the upcoming and expected vicious 2020 presidential cycle, can any campaign credibly champion the notion of a happy dawn across America’s fruited plain? “Make America Great Again” with its implied criticism is catchy, but it is not the universally positive, “Morning in America.”

Even more to the point, will the most remembered campaign ads in the two years actually be positive in nature? Almost DailyBrett will take the “under.” Expect reptilian spots to dominate the airwaves/social media until they mercifully come to an end on November 3, 2020.

In the meantime, it is “Mourning in America.”

It is also a great time to reflect on a much better era — The 1980s — when it was truly “Morning in America.”

“It’s morning again in America

Today, more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country’s history

With interest rates at about half the record highs of 1980

Nearly 2,000 families today will buy new homes

More than at any time in the past four years

This afternoon 6,500 young men and women will be married

And with inflation at less than half what it was just four years ago

They can look forward with confidence to the future

It’s morning again in America

And under the leadership of President Reagan

Our country is prouder, and stronger, and better

Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?” 

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/business/the-ad-that-helped-reagan-sell-good-times-to-an-uncertain-nation.html

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1842516_1842514_1842575,00.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/back-to-the-1980s/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/roosevelt-and-reagan-for-rushmore/

 

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