Category: Crisis Communications


Walking along Berlin’s Tiergarten park trails, one must be wary of stepping in the Hundehaufen.

On virtually any street in the permissive sanctuary city San Francisco, one is hard pressed to avoid encountering Peoplehaufen as well as needles and refuse.

San Francisco has long been a donut with a hole in the middle. The multi-millionaires of Rincon Tower literally must negotiate homeless, druggies and poop droppings to enter and leave their trendy lofty pads. The middle class is nowhere to be found.

Has a stinking pile of human poop replaced the brown bear as California’s mascot?

Is the abandoned high-speed train from nowhere (e.g., Bakersfield) to nowhere (e.g., Merced) become another metaphor for a one-party autocratic state in which so much as gone so wrong, way too fast?

The Golden State with about 12 percent of the country’s population is the “home” to approximately 135,000 homeless or 22 percent of the nation’s total.

For the first time after the 2010 census, California did not gain a new congressional district (electoral vote). After the next census, the Golden State will contract by one congressional district, and actually lose an electoral vote.

Part of the reason is a serious undercount (unreporting undocumented folks) by the state’s population experts. The other reason is people are leaving (net 1 million outflow in 10 years ending in 2016), illustrating the growing California diaspora.

California will move from 55 to only 54 electoral votes – still the most in the nation – and yet the 40-million person state has less sway over the presidential general election winner.

The blue state is in the bag. Republicans can still raise money in California – The Mother’s Milk of Politics – only to spend it in states that matter (i.e., Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida).

California can still brag about its fantabulous weather, the software and hardware geeks of Silicon Valley, and how its $3 trillion GDP places California only behind the U.S., China, Japan and Germany in business productivity (not business climate).

The only problem with these assertions is they were all true back in the 1980s, when the author of Almost DailyBrett served for eight years as a chief message developer and spokesperson for California Governor George Deukmejian.

California was a “Great State” with a “Great Governor” back then. You can’t make that assertion today, not even close.

In the following decade, your author served in a similar capacity for Silicon Valley’s largest industry, the microcircuit designers and manufacturers.

Being modest, Almost DailyBrett knows a thing or two about California. Alas your author, similar to so many others is viewing California with great regret across state lines (e.g., no sales tax, lower cost Oregon).

Speaking ex-cathedra, the chances are slim and none – and “Slim” is out of town – that your author will ever again reside in über-congested California with its stratospheric property values, staggering high taxes of every sort imaginable, and intractable problems including rampant homelessness, acute Central Valley poverty, illegal immigration and yes, poop on the streets.

Want to purchase for $840,000 or more a 1,000-square feet fixer-upper 1905-era bungalow with an annual $9,000 property tax bill in God-awful San Jose? Undoubtedly, it is freeway close to your work in bucolic Milpitas five miles away. It will only take 45-minutes to get there.

No Checks. No Balances

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – John Dalberg-Acton, English politician, historian and writer

California is in dire need of an “Iron Duke.”

Alas, the Duke passed away and undoubtedly resides in heaven. What could he be thinking as he looks down at what was once the greatest state in the nation on his watch, only to see it easily passed by no-state income tax Texas and Florida?

Governor George Deukmejian refused to raise taxes to close a $1.5 billion deficit, a going away gift from his predecessor Jerry Brown. California’s vibrant economy with all Golden State geographies contributing, retired that staggering debt (1980s dollars) in less than one year without demanding taxpayers dig deeper into their wallets.

Next month, California will once again increase its highest gas taxes in the country (an excise tax of $0.473 on top of a $2.25 per gallon state sales tax). The state income tax regime ranges from 1 percent to 13.3 percent. The sales tax in Los Angeles County is (gasp), 10.5 percent.

Believe it or not, San Francisco City County is lower at 8.75 percent.

In 10 days, California with its record $21.5 billion surplus will surpass New Jersey as the state imposing the largest tax burden on its citizens. Something is not working in California. Will another tax, another entitlement, another social engineering scheme save the day?

Similar to other one-party “C” states (i.e., China, Cuba), California needs a loyal opposition, a few brave souls to demand that homo-sapien poop on the streets is not an acceptable representation of what once was, The Golden State.

Heroes are hard to find in Sacramento these days.

Oh heck, let’s just enjoy another California $15 six-pack with 10.5 percent sales tax and mandated deposit fee. Cheers.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/06/california-third-world-state-corruption-crime-infrastructure/

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-california-economy-gdp-20180504-story.html

https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-skelton-democrats-census-trump-2020-20180125-story.html

https://lao.ca.gov/laoecontax/article/detail/265

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/californias-rarefied-air-tax/

“In the darkness, we found the light. Introducing a new era of electronic driving.” – Volkswagen’s new advertising campaign tagline

“Hello, darkness, my old friend; I’ve come to talk to you again …” – Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel’s, “The Sounds of Silence”

Is the best defense a good offense?

Is the most effective present-day defense utilizing a Baby Boomer anthem and harkening back to the 1960s with its brightly colored Volkswagen Beetles and (Hippie) Microvans?

After being rightfully bashed and bloodied starting in the autumn of 2015 for deploying defeat software to deceive anti-pollution testing of its vehicles (Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche), heads rightfully started to roll at Volkswagen AG corporate headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

On the line with “Dieselgate” was Volkswagen’s brand, but also the reputation of Germany’s legendary designers and engineers. Consider, there is probably no nation on earth that prides itself more than Germany for its commitment to the environment (note the recent electoral successes of die Grünen).

The Volkswagen cheating scandal was akin to catching a falling knife. Using another well-worn metaphor, the shocking story has legs and has been running unabated for nearly four years.

The scandal started in September, 2015 when the U.S. EPA charged Volkswagen with using illegal (air quality testing) manipulation devices. A related Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation was launched. Volkswagen’s chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn was fired.

A continuous chorus of charges, fines, lawsuits, increased governmental regulation, falling stock prices and recalls mounted against Volkswagen and its Audi and Porsche subsidiaries. Last year, German authorities indicted Winterkorn on aggravated fraud charges.

Almost DailyBrett noted that Volkswagen did not follow to the letter the four basic tenets of Crisis Communications: Tell The Truth, Tell It All, Tell It Fast and Move On. In many ways Volkswagen management was just hoping this mess would simply subside.

Volkswagen management, employees, shareholders and even Kanzlerin Merkel and the German government had to confront the metaphorical Scheisse-Sandwich … you don’t nibble.

Back To The Drawing Board

At some point, the world’s largest automobile designer/manufacturer would have to go back on offense.

In doing so, Volkswagen realized it could not assume a business-as-usual approach.

Ultimately, Volkswagen appreciated that it has to acknowledge its wrongdoing, beg for forgiveness, and somehow, someway commence the hard work of rebranding … essentially moving on.

Volkswagen of America hired New York’s Johannes Leonardo advertising agency, and secured the rights to “The Sounds of Silence.”

The question posed to VW management: Can a major ad buy (part of a reported $2 billion campaign) for its 1:45 second spot featuring a Baby Boomer/Yuppie anthem make everything right in the world for Volkswagen?

In and of itself, the answer is obviously: no.

Almost DailyBrett has always believed that Volkswagen is engaged in a marathon, not a sprint. Volkswagen’s story, which began in 1937, deserves another chapter.

Americans are credited for being an understanding people. They will not forget, but are they willing to forgive and give … even a corporate entity … another chance?

The Johannes Leonardo creative, which debuted with the NBA Finals and the NHL’s Stanley Cup last week, is edgy as it literally starts in the darkness with a news announcer directly referencing the Volkswagen scandal.

One suspects that securing VW’s management approval for an open acknowledgement of moral failure was easier said than done. As Chairman Mao found out, the long-march back starts with the first step.

In our world of advertising bombast and overkill, it’s the extremely clever advertisement that stops the viewer in his or her tracks and commands attention.

The dark Sounds of Silence images convey going back to the drawing board. The result is the coming resurrection of the VW microvan … a concept vehicle for now … with the message the company’s environmentally friendly electric vehicle does not contribute to climate change. Volkswagen envisions 22 EVs (electric vehicles) by 2028, and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Volkswagen has stumbled for nearly four torturous years. The questions are with its new ad campaign and beyond: Has the company finally learned its lesson, and are we as consumers willing to forgive, while certainly not forgetting?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEvNL6oEr0U

https://www.fastcompany.com/90359361/volkswagen-aims-for-feel-good-redemption-in-new-major-ad-campaign

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a27784322/vw-hello-light-commercial-column/

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/dieselgate-timeline-germanys-car-emissions-fraud-scandal

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/15/business/winterkorn-volkswagen-emissions-scandal.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkiley5/2019/06/06/vw-goes-back-to-the-future-in-new-ad-campaign-to-put-dieselgate-in-rear-view/#1026a00d3aa5

https://www.vw.com/

http://johannesleonardo.com/

“A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah.” – Ronald Reagan

There are no trigger warnings at the front door.

Arguably there are more aging hippies per square inch in Eugene, Oregon than any other town in America. Berkeley may have a free-range beef against this claim. So be it.

And yet, there is a framed “Reagan Country” 1980 campaign poster in the living room of Almost DailyBrett’s Eugene residence.

Sometimes an aging hippie or wanna-be hippie will be enjoying one of Oregon’s craft beers or a glass of one of the Willamette Valley’s now legendary – and expensive – Pinot Noirs right under the smiling portrait of The Gipper.

Maybe out of politeness, guests neither mention the image of America’s 40th president nor ask to be moved to another venue in the house. Are they just being polite or have they somehow, someway reached the acceptance stage of Reagan’s legacy?

Either stance is just fine with your author.

As Nancy once said about her husband: “Ronnie appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears.”

Making no aspersions either for or against the present leader of the free world, Almost DailyBrett would bring back Ronnie from the grave in a nanosecond. Alas, only one reportedly has risen from the dead.

“The man who beat communism”

Some historical revisionists have debated with your author about the roles that Harry Truman, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pope John Paul II and maybe others played in ushering in the downfall of the Soviet Union and the end of Communism.

Indeed, they all contributed and deserve their respective shares of the credit.

The Reagan deniers are entitled to their opinions, but deep down we all know the truth: Reagan played the pivotal and primary role in ending the Communist menace and bringing down the ghastly Berlin Wall … therefore Reagan hangs proudly on your author’s living room wall.

“By defeating communism, Ronald Reagan ended one of history’s most violent centuries and opened the door … (that) democracy might become available to more of the people who wanted it.” – The Economist, June 12, 2004

“Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union; he won the Cold War – not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.” – Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s eulogy for Ronald Reagan, June 11, 2004

An entire wing of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum on the Friedrichstrasse in Berlin is dedicated to Ronald Reagan with his infamous, “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall” speech on continuous loop. The ich bin ein Berliners know the truth.

Walking freely and without fear underneath the Brandenburg Gate, your author appreciates the impact of these monumental words delivered a few feet away when the gate was closed, seemingly forever by the so-called Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR).

The Tax Cuts Worked

“There were two great triumphs, two things that I’m proudest of. One is the economic recovery, in which the people of America created – and filled – 19 million new jobs. The other is the recovery of our morale: America is respected again in the world, and looked to for leadership.” – Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address, Jan. 12, 1989

Some have tried to convince Almost DailyBrett that tax cuts and tax reform (Reagan did both) simply did not, will not, and never will work. Sorry but your author must respectfully disagree.

The 19 million new jobs created  during Reagan’s presidency is a peacetime record in the history of the United States. Inflation plunged from 13.5 percent in 1980 to 5.1 percent two years later. Interest rates dropped from 21.5 percent in 1980 to 10 percent five years later.

As a campaign press director/gubernatorial press secretary for then-California Attorney General/later Governor George Deukmejian, we prevailed in the closest gubernatorial election in the history of the Golden State during a deep recession in 1982. Four years later during the Reagan economic boom, we won by the largest landslide in California’s history.

Yes, Governor George Deukmejian did a great job as the Golden State’s chief executive. We were also helped immensely by the success of Ronald Reagan’s economic policies.

Reagan was not perfect; perfection as always is in short supply.

The Gipper summed up best in his farewell address to the nation:

“All in all, not bad. Not bad at all.”

Not bad, not bad at all, Mr. Poster Man on the living room wall.

http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/reagan-tear-down.htm

https://www.reaganfoundation.org/ronald-reagan/reagan-quotes-speeches/farewell-address-to-the-nation-2/

https://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/12/news/transcript-of-reagan-s-farewell-address-to-american-people.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/when-reagan-walked-into-the-room/

Even men have standards …

Gov. Gavin Newsom wears a pair of safely glasses as he helped custodian Maria Arambula, right, with her janitorial work at American River College on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 in Sacramento.

Should a mayor sleep with his campaign manager’s wife, Rippey?

Should a mayor sleep with his chief of staff’s wife, Rippey?

Should a mayor sleep with his best friend’s wife, Rippey?

What if all of above – campaign manager, chief of staff, best friend – was one fellow male, Alex Tourk?

What kind of friend are you Mr. Mayor … Mr. Governor, anyway?

As adoring California media gush and write fluffers and puffers about former San Francisco Mayor, now Golden State Governor Gavin Newsom, do his antics 12 years ago matter … particularly and especially to men who time-and-time again do not vote Democratic?

Gavin won the governorship of California, even after violating the man code. Why should that little indiscretion stop him from becoming President #46 in 2024? You know he’s running … yes you do.

First Almost DailyBrett must ask: Will Gavin’s dalliance matter at all, to women?

Two of the last four presidents were/are champion cheaters, one grabbing them in private areas and as desperate defenders of the other always say: ‘It was just a blow…!’

Did either Messrs. Trump and Clinton ever make love to the wife of a best friend? As far as we know, the answer in both cases is negative.

Second, carnal knowledge behind the back of your best friend with his spouse is without doubt a direct violation of the Man Code.

C.W. Nevius of the San Francisco Chronicle in 2007 defined the code as “a set of rigid but unwritten boundaries over which no man may step. Break the Man Code, and you’re toast.”

Sorry C.W., Gavin is governor, not toast … at least not yet. Having said that, does that mean all is forgiven and forgotten with males of the species?

The Real Gender Gap

Donald Trump won the white male vote 62-31 percent … or two-to-one for you math whizzes … demonstrating that Democrats more than Republicans are confronting a gender gap.

Almost DailyBrett has real doubts Democrats can do enough to close this gap between now and 2020, let alone five years from now.

If Gavin wakes up one day and gazes into his golden mirror on the wall and sees, not just a governor, but a president (bet on it), how will men across the fruited plain view his 2007 violation of the Man Code?

You can be sure that opposition research will dredge up this tawdry caper, even in a Democratic primary for an open seat … let alone the general election.

Some will contend that your Almost DailyBrett author should slow down. Didn’t The Donald run against the first woman nominee, Hillary? Were oodles of (misogynist or not) men simply voting against a female standard bearer, particularly that woman?

There are few who as far to suggest that Hillary was not in a word … “likeable.” Really.

In contrast, Gavin will offer himself as a telegenic white privileged male with a socialist-oriented track record as Mayor of San Francisco and Governor of California.

How will the story of his sneaking behind his best friend’s back to bed his wife sound to literally millions of men from sea to shining sea? Is there a Statute of Limitations on this type of story?

Just ask Joe Biden and/or Brett Kavanaugh.

The Man Code is visceral. A man instinctively senses a deep-seeded … that is so wrong … type of wrong. Your best friend’s wife is out-of-bounds and will always be. There is no there, there. Don’t even think about it.

Are men horn-dogs? Does the sun rise in the morning and set in the evening? Hormonal hetero men (redundant?) have responded to women since Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis.

Women expect the worst when it comes to testosterone-laden men. We never fail to deliver. Men are their own worst enemies and our collective PR to use a sophisticated term … sucks.

Having said that, women are more willing based upon centuries of rolling-their-eyes experience to eventually accept and maybe even forgive men for being … men.

Men are different animals. A violation of the Man Code is serious and enduring. You were wrong Gavin. You know you were wrong. What felt so good should not give you pleasure now, Governor Gavin. The coast is not clear.

If you think men will forget in five-years-time (or any time), you are sadly mistaken.

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article229922079.html

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Unforgivable-breach-of-Man-Code-2652345.php

 

”I could say … that I ran a small grocery store on the corner (e.g., State of Arkansas), therefore I extrapolate that into the fact I can run Walmart. That`s not true.” – Ross Perot debating Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush

Perot labeled Clinton’s 12-year public sector experience as the chief executive of the “Natural State” as “irrelevant.”

The famous 1992 debate exchange reminds Almost DailyBrett of today’s deep-state/elite media practice of automatically and terminally disqualifying anyone aspiring or even holding the presidency – including the present office holder – who does not have public sector experience.

Public sector über alles?

Some have suggested that seven-year South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg, 37, is more qualified to run the nation than billionaire entrepreneurs, who build, create breakthrough products, employ thousands and manage global business enterprises.

Let’s see, Mayor Pete’s South Bend has a $368 million city budget, 1,285 employees and 101,168 residents including thousands of Notre Damers who need their garbage picked up and their streets swept.

Okay …

In contrast, the $9.5 billion, The Trump Organization LLC, is the 48th largest privately held company in the world. Trump and his family manage 500 affiliated property development and marketing companies with 22,450 employees operating in 25 countries.

According to the New York Times, Trump’s business has been required to take losses and declare bankruptcy from time to time. Phil Knight in his book, Shoe Dog, recounted how Nike almost went under … nine times.

How’s Trump doing today? How’s Nike doing today?

And then there is Starbucks founder and chairman (political villain) Howard Schultz.

Sorry Howard … you can’t play this (presidential) game either … even though you created and turned Starbucks into the largest coffee roaster in the world. Let’s see … the company reports $24.7 billion in annual revenues, manages than 27,000 stores and hires 277,000 baristas et al. around the globe.

Kathleen Sebelius vs. Jeff Bezos For CIO

All kidding and snickering aside, the political class seemingly would rather hire as its CIO Kathleen Sebelius with her infamous crashing Obamacare website with its pathetic non-working calculator.

Conceivably the alternative would be private sector Amazon with its track record of successfully and accurately processing 1 million digital transactions per hour.

The millionaire Bernie and Elizabeth types rail daily against billionaires (i.e., Trump, Schultz, Knight, Bezos …) and their privately held/publicly traded corporations (i.e., Starbucks, Nike, Amazon), seemingly as the sources of all that is wrong in the world. The Massachusetts senator even talked about breaking up the most successful and useful of these companies.

If digital retail pioneer Amazon was forced to breakup, wouldn’t the company in an aw shucks moment, simply spin-off Amazon Web Services (AWS)? Considering Amazon’s marketing for AWS’ cloud services capability, don’t you suspect Jeff Bezos and company are already thinking about AWS as a separate publicly traded company?

How about the prospect of (NYSE: AWS)? Victory for the government? Victory for investors? Whattyathink Elizabeth?

Wasn’t there a movie actor/union president, who with the exception of a stint in the military, never spent a nanosecond in the public sector and became the governor of the largest state in the union, California?

How did that experiment turn out?

Not only was Ronald Reagan wildly popular in blue state California, he was one of our greatest presidents and the only one to ever hold a union card while serving as the nation’s chief executive.

Which Is More Important: Public or Private?

For Almost DailyBrett, your author served 14 years in the public sector (i.e., California press secretary and Central Washington University assistant professor). The same four-decade career also included 25 years in the private sector (i.e., LSI Logic Corporation, Semiconductor Industry Association, Edelman Public Relations, newspapers).

Which sector was more important in the development of your author’s institutional knowledge base?

Don’t know. Inclined to conclude that both are nice to have, and each is equally important.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1992-10-20-9204050015-story.html

https://money.cnn.com/2016/12/15/investing/trump-organization-48th-largest-private-company/

https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=344985

http://www.city-data.com/city/South-Bend-Indiana.html

https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/13/politics/bernie-sanders-millionaire-book-sales-tax-returns/index.html

 

 

“Not only had @realDonaldTrump become a mass-media juggernaut, but Twitter had for the first time become a primary outlet for the views of a major American politician. With Trump’s election, the transformation was complete: The social network had become the new public square.” – Nicholas Carr, POLITICO

Without a shred of doubt, nothing on this planet drives the media crazier than Twitter use by one Donald John Trump.

Within the friendly confines of 280 characters coupled with the always-on powerful bully pulpit of the presidency, Trump can set the agenda and be a part of any breaking story regardless of subject.

Wait.

Under Agenda Setting Theory, the big masthead media (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post) supposedly establish the agenda about what grateful everyday Americans should be thinking about.

As they say in political circles the big mastheads have been, preempted.

The very dragon they are attempting to slay, is spewing counter-punching fire right back at them any time, all the time.

“Beware of the overnight tweet.” — CNBC NYSE reporter Bob Pisani

Most of the Trump Tweets are … provocative (outrageous?) and thus are newsworthy. The ensuing conversation is about Trump, always about Trump.

Does the sun ever set on Donald Trump’s Twitter account?

With the Müller Report destined to be a non-factor by the end of this year – let alone next year – the media/entertainment elites in Manhattan, within the confines of the Beltway and Hollywood are facing the prospect of a re-elected Twittering Trump.

Columbia Journalism Review worries about whether journalists are correcting all of Trump’s tweets and statements.

Will they eventually interrupt Trump during the State of Union, the same way MSNBC’s Brian Williams cut off Senator Lindsey Graham?

When it comes to always telling the truth, nobody does it better than Brian Williams.

Will the media at some point — kicking and screaming — be forced to stop pretending the no-further indictments/actions Müller Report is the death knell of a president they detest (putting it mildly)?

Even though they torched Joe Biden’s last days as a non-candidate, will they line up behind him if he somehow captures the Democratic nomination?

Whoever emerges as the Demo nominee, will be their standard bearer.

The Never-Ending, Always-On News Cycle

Campaigns are not happy places.

Familiarity always breeds more than contempt.

Sleep is a precious commodity, and there is never enough to go around.

There was a time when there was only one news cycle per day.

As Almost DailyBrett commented two years ago, White House “death watch” is not what it used to be. Translated: Reporters stationed in the White House briefing room while the president sleeps were Journalism’s answer to graveyard shift. No more.

Trump’s nocturnal tweets (does he ever sleep?) have changed the game. Just ask Wall Street.

Every campaign in the 2020 cycle will have to compete effectively in a digital-is-eternal atmosphere with a minimum of sleep. With digital social media – particularly Twitter – every campaign and every media outlet is an always-on, 24-7-365 wire service.

Trump tweeted (fill in the blank). Respond within the fewest nanoseconds possible.

Biden tweeted (fill in the blank). Democratic rivals answer within the fewest nanoseconds possible.

Bernie tweeted what? Man or Woman the Twitter barricades!

Almost DailyBrett remembers the days when wise pundits (oxymoron?) lamented about how policy debates were being reduced to 30-second bites.

How about 280-character tweets? Used to be 140 characters.

With more than 20+ would be Democratic nominees, how many pithy responses will immediately jump from their keyboards. More to the point how many mistakes, which can’t be recalled, will emerge from these Twitter accounts?

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” – Vince Lombardi

Even though early Baby Boomer Trump is 72-years-young, he seems to have the energy and stamina to keep the Twitter stream coming, even accelerating and intensifying the flow. There are no signs of fatigue.

Will the next president (or the same president) be the one who best utilizes the Twitter characters? Should social media be the penultimate factor in determining who will be the leader of the free world?

Let the Twitter debate commence.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/26/donald-trump-twitter-addiction-216530

https://www.cjr.org/covering_trump/twitter-media-trump.php

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/death-watch-aint-what-it-used-to-be/

It’s been 15 years – three presidential cycles – since the Democratic Party selected an old white privileged male as its standard bearer.

Seems like eons ago since patrician Senator John Kerry “reported for duty” at the 2004 quadrennial convention of the Democratic Party in Boston. His VP choice was another old white privileged guy, former Senator John Edwards.

Whatever happened to John Edwards?

As former Vice President Joe Biden, 76, joins Senator Bernie Sanders, 77, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg – the Killer B’s — as front runners to secure the party’s crown, will there be a sense of diversity regression if the culture of “toxic” white masculinity once again controls the party?

Will it be déjà vu all over again?

Consider that 44 of the first 45 presidents have been old white privileged males, some clean-shaven, some with mustaches, some with beards and one follicly impaired (e.g., Ike)

The April 19 edition of the New York Times brought this troubling spectre to the forefront when it openly questioned whether an old white privileged man could actually be the 2020 face of the Democratic Party.

Will the celebratory progressive trend toward minority and women candidates slam into a moral- high-ground brick wall, if the party ultimately succumbs and selects an old white privileged male nominee to run against the GOP’s old white privileged male president?

Considering that Barack Obama won the nomination in 2008 and 2012 (and the presidency as well) and Hillary Clinton captured the nod in 2016, would the party be stepping back in its fight for diversity if a white hombre – regardless of qualifications and electability – emerges from the primary/caucus gauntlet to mount the podium in July 2020 as the nominee in Milwaukee?

Almost DailyBrett wonders whether progressives would sit out the campaign, mount their own third-party candidate or simply hold their noses and stand behind the old white privileged male party nominee because the re-election of Donald Trump is simply unfathomable.

The large field of would-be presidents includes prominent women (i.e., Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand), minority candidates (i.e., Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro) and a worldly candidate who speaks seven languages (e.g., Mayor Pete Buttigieg).

“Circular Firing Squad”?

 “One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States is the kind of rigidity where we say, ‘Ah, I’m sorry, this is how it’s gonna be.’ And then we start sometimes creating what’s called a circular firing squad where you start shooting at your allies because one of them is straying from purity on the issues. And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens”  — former President Barack Obama

Does the openly progressive New York Times on its news and editorial pages (redundant?) fear the party is swaying away from its portfolio of women and minority candidates? Wonder if the shocking revelations of Biden smelling the hair and kissing the heads of multiple females of the species has anything to do with the unchangeable and undeniable fact … he is at his core, an old white privileged male?

Was he too rough with Anita Hill 28 years ago? Is it time — past time — for his nationally televised apology?

Guess it’s time for opposition research. Wonder what other “oppo” is in store for Messrs. Biden and Sanders in particular? The knives are out.

Would Biden as the reluctant party’s nominee have to avoid college campuses in the fall 2020 campaign because his toxic white masculinity would generate microagressions, necessitate trigger warnings, and the reinforce the need for safe spaces?

Would his nomination be seen as an institutional form of “racism” and “sexism?”

Let’s imagine that either Biden or Bernie secure the nomination. Would the victor be required to select a woman and/or minority (Kamala Harris represents a two-for) in order to partially placate Justice Democrats … if that is indeed possible?

There is one other issue … and Almost DailyBrett will tread lightly on this subject: What about old white privileged males? Your author is one of these poor saps.

Charges of sexism or racism do not apply to them. There is no old white privileged male equivalent of misogyny. Fire away with impunity any invective or slur that comes to mind.

Never in 21st Century history has so much vitriol been leveled against one group of people with so little individual consequences.

No one cares. No one feels sorry.

One thing is certain: This particular demographic time-and-time-again wipes the mud out of their collective eyes, and votes.

They are motivated. They are high-propensity. And they represented 34 percent of the electorate in 2016, casting 62 percent of their votes for Donald Trump and only 31 percent for Hillary Clinton … two-to-one … Game, Set and Match.

If Democrats are actually interested in beating another old white privileged male, Donald Trump, they may want to consider fighting fire with fire … or maybe not.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/20/us/politics/democrats-2020-white-male.html

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/new-york-times-says-white-maleness-may-be-a-2020-albatross

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/culture-of-toxic-masculinity/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/what-happened-to-the-exceptional-nation-that-twice-elected-barack-obama/

 

A “memorable” $211,703 Porsche or Land Rover?

A “visible” $86,423 Rolex?

And let’s not forget the applicable taxes on these two giveaways: $179,977 and $38,005 respectively.

For those scoring at home, Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) provided $516,108 in goodies to one man: newly minted co-CEO Keith Block, 57.

The Salesforce.com Compensation Committee justified the corporate largesse in its proxy statement filing:

“In this case, the committee approved this award because it believed that recognizing Mr. Block’s leadership and success in achieving company goals was warranted, and that doing so in a memorable and visible way would be motivational not only for the executive, but for other employees who observe exceptional performance being rewarded in exceptional ways consistent with the company’s philosophy of paying for performance.”

Paying for exceptional performance?

Does Block walk on water? Does he change water into wine? Does he dole out loaves and fishes to feed the hungry?

Before being named co-CEO last August, Block was already earning $2.3 million annually in salary and bonuses (not including stock option exercises) as the company’s vice chairman, president and chief operating officer.

Almost DailyBrett extensively researched and taught the relationship between fiduciary responsibility (doing well) and corporate social responsibility (doing good) as a master’s student at University of Oregon and later as a PR professor at Central Washington University.

Your author also served as the director of Corporate Public Relations for LSI Logic (NYSE: LSI) for a decade including preparing 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K news releases and regulatory filings for financial media and the SEC.

More to the point, Almost DailyBrett is a long-time Republican, free-enterprise supporter, and up-to-now a more than satisfied shareholder of Salesforce.com founded by fellow USC alum Marc Benioff.

Let’s state here and now: giving away a cool car and groovy watch (plus paying related income taxes for these two goodies) is inconsistent with Salesforce’s fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders … including not trying to be SaaS-see,  yours truly.

God help the company’s corporate PR department.

Ready to make chicken salad out of chicken feces?

How do you defend the indefensible? How do you stand-up on behalf of the untenable? Did the Compensation Committee discuss its decision with the PR types before giving away a Porsche and a Rolex to Monsieur Block?

And where is Salesforce.com located? San Francisco.

Do you think Bernie, Kamala or Elizabeth supporters residing in the Sodom and Gomorrah by the Bay are going to seize about this outrageous caper as an example about everything wrong with corporate America?

Occupy Salesforce?

Publicly traded corporations (e.g., Salesforce) provide the products we need (e.g., enterprise software), employ millions (e.g., CRM, 29,000) and provide a return on capital to millions investing in their retirement, health care or children’s education.

Buy-side (i.e., mutual funds, retirement systems) and sell-side (i.e. Goldman, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley) institutions hold 82 percent of Salesforce’s 774 million shares outstanding.

In contrast, Almost DailyBrett is a lowly Charles Schwab retail investor with 300 shares.

If your author threatened to sell all of his shares because he is upset by the Keith Block giveaways, would company even notice, let alone care?

Heck, your author’s holding is a friggin’ corporate rounding error.

Salesforce has demonstrated by its regulatory filing temerity, it really doesn’t take fiscal stewardship and fiduciary responsibility seriously.

Actions speak louder than words. The perception and reality both stink.

No carefully massaged explanation and no amount of corporate social responsibility (CSR) – including calling for local tax increases to take care of the homeless – are going to change the undeniable fact that giving away a luxury car, a costly watch and paying the related taxes for one lousy executive … is wrong.

Dead wrong to be precise.

Almost DailyBrett editor’s note: According to Business Insider, the company did not disclose the exact make or model of Keith Block’s new car and watch. However, an educated guesstimate was made by the digital publication based upon the disclosed sales prices and related tax payments for the two luxury items. If the company actually bought Block a Lamborghini instead of a Porsche, your author will accept personal responsibility for the egregious mistake.

https://www.businessinsider.com/salesforce-ceo-keith-block-car-watch-2019-4

https://www1.salary.com/Keith-Block-Salary-Bonus-Stock-Options-for-SALESFORCE-COM-INC.html

https://www.salesforce.com/company/leadership/bios/bio-block/

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

 

 

 

“This was not a hockey play. Instead, it’s a player retaliating against his opponent, using his stick as a weapon for forceful and direct head contact.” — NHL Department of Player Safety

One is a penalty. The other is a felony.

As is often said about hockey: They play with knives on their feet and clubs in their hands.

And Saturday night on national television that club was delivered with a vengeance to the head of an opponent.

The cross-check blow with a hockey stick by Toronto’s notorious Nazem Kadri to the skull of Boston’s tough Jake DeBrusk was evil and premeditated with the undisputed intent to seriously, if not permanently injure DeBrusk.

The play was not reflective of a tough collision sport. Instead it’s a felony in any other segment in our society … but not in the NHL.

As former New York Rangers forward Sean Avery said: “The only problem with Kadri’s hit was that he didn’t take the top f****** row of DeBrusk’s teeth.”

That quote, which cannot be quickly dismissed as merely anecdotal, reflects the vicious mind set of the NHL and its teams. And you wonder why hockey is the number four of America’s big four sports: Football, Basketball, Baseball … and Hockey.

The NHL’s oxymoronic Department of Player Safety held a hearing with Kadri Monday and suspended him for the remainder of Toronto’s first-round Stanley Cup series with Boston. NBC commentators Keith Jones and Eddie Olczyk went further in their post-game analysis, strongly recommending that Kadri be banned for at least 10 games.

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 13: Nazem Kadri #43 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts after a fight with Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 13, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Almost DailyBrett is asking the obvious question: If one deliberately and systemically commits assault and battery in order injure and maim an enemy, wouldn’t that action constitute a felony worthy of significant prison time?

Why shouldn’t the same standard apply to the NHL? Kadri’s hit on DeBrusk was not hockey, it was criminal.

When Will Someone Be Murdered On The Ice?

What will it take to put an end to the ugliness?

Whether hockey is reflective of the increasing violent nature of our society, your author will leave that question to those with higher pay grades.

Some will conclude that Almost DailyBrett is being overly dramatic … or maybe a little soft.

Your author has been a hockey fan since 1967 when the NHL expanded beyond the original six (Boston, New York, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Detroit) to the second six, including two favorites the Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Hockey is a simply fantabulous game as vividly illustrated by Al Michaels’ famous, “Do you believe in miracles? …Yes!” The Disney movie “Miracle” beautifully brings back that magic 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics game between the young USA and the machine from the USSR.

And let’s not forget the US women prevailing in a gripping overtime shootout against Canada in last year’s Olympics in Korea … South Korea.

The NFL after congressional hearings and lawsuits has finally started taking helmet-to-helmet concussions seriously. College football has gone further with the institution of replay-reviewable targeting fouls with offenders being thrown out of the game.

The Kadri blow against DeBrusk last night deserves more than remainder of the first playoff series suspension (three-to-five games), it warrants the attention of one or all of the above: The Suffolk County District Attorney, The Massachusetts Department of Justice; The U.S. Department of Justice: The U.S. Congress (subpoena power).

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman listens as he meets with reporters after a meeting with team owners, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 in New York. The current collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players expires Saturday at midnight. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman needs to move away from the assumed liability mentality of the league. Yes, the players are playing an exciting fast-paced violent sport. There will be inevitable injuries as a result.

Having said that, no one should put his or her life on the line to play what should be a great sport. It’s been long past time for the NHL to clean up its gratuitous violence  on behalf of the players, fans and the image of the game.

If the NHL cannot or will not take serious enough action against the Nazem Kadris on the ice, maybe it will be time for county, state and/or federal authorities to put these thugs on ice … maybe even for years to come.

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

https://www.boston.com/sports/boston-bruins/2019/04/14/sean-avery-shares-expletive-filled-rant-about-bruins-winger-jake-debrusk

http://www.sportingnews.com/us/nhl/news/nhl-playoffs-2019-maple-leafs-nazem-kadri-could-get-suspended-in-postseason-again-for-high-hit/1ug8vla0m5n0e1gywn4t1d8tl3

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2019/04/13/playoffs-nazem-kadri-hit-jake-debrusk-bruins-leafs/3463040002/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/this-is-your-time/

“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.” – Walter Cronkite, CBS anchor from 1962-1981

“Walter Cronkite could not get a job in the media today.” – Harvard Law Professor Alan Derschowitz

 “As a former journalist and former press secretary, you should know there has never been ‘objective journalism.’” – Professor teaching digital journalism to college students

“Never” leaves absolutely no room for nuance, much less retreat.

According to my dear faculty colleague and friend (and presumably many more kindred spirits), objective journalism “never” existed even at times (e.g., 1960s and 1970s) when Walter Cronkite was widely regarded as “The Most Trusted Man in America.”

If you don’t believe the ex-cathedra summation by a Ph.D in Journalism, just visit your nearest modern-day college journalism/communication (indoctrination) classroom.

Or how about famous correspondents crying on national television when political results do not match their impeccably high moral standards (e.g., ABC’s Martha Raddatz on 2016 election night or MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow upon the 2019 release of the Müller Report conclusions).

As a cub reporter covering politics on a daily basis way back in the stone-age 1970s, there were times when your Almost DailyBrett author nodded his head, rolled his eyes or told a cynical joke … as skeptical reporters are prone to do.

We all harbored our own personal opinions, just like everyone else.

The real question is whether our opinions unprofessionally showed up in our copy and/or broadcasts? Were we truly open-minded, professional and yes, objective in carrying out our responsibilities to readers and/or viewers?

The best reporters/correspondents covered both sides of a given issue (e.g., California’s Proposition 13 tax revolt), and most importantly did not allow their personal analysis and interpretation to corrupt and pollute their stories.

As a former press secretary to a Republican governor, Almost DailyBrett knew for a fact the vast majority of reporters, editors, and correspondents were philosophically aligned to the left side of the great political divide.

Having acknowledged the obvious, virtually every reporter played a great devil’s advocate to elicit the strongest (and most newsworthy) response from yours truly. In almost all cases our point of view was fairly represented in the resulting copy or broadcast.

There were times when your author detected a bias in the questioning toward a predetermined narrative. In these cases, all responses that corresponded to the story line were seized upon and all those that didn’t fit were ignored.

Your author called out these unprofessional reporters for exhibiting a preset philosophical bias, resulting in an unpleasant conversation.

These unfortunate instances were the exception then; they are the norm today.

What Are Future Journalists Being Taught In Today’s Universities And Colleges?

Instead of actually covering the news for a grateful public, are future reporters, editors and correspondents being groomed by doctrinaire university professors to be the next wave of social justice warriors with notepads, microphones and cameras?

Is their mission to take the side, to advance the cause, to silence the opposition and ultimately bring down a president?

Rather than reporting the news, will they use their journalistic licenses to fashion stories, which are really poorly disguised or denuded editorials, interpretation and analysis that conform to the narrative?

If the prescribed goal is an ever-present, all-powerful taxing, redistributive, gift-giving socialist society, will tomorrow’s “journalists” be only favorable in their coverage to facts that conform to the orthodoxy? Likewise, will they be cynical, dismissive and downright hostile to any statements that do not pass social justice litmus tests?

Maybe that explains journalistic mutations in the forms of Jim Acosta, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon and Rachel Maddow?

It was widely known that Walter Cronkite was liberal in his political orientation. Having said that, he always insisted upon fairness – yes objectivity – in the coverage of Democrats and even Republicans.

Some will claim the media’s collective decline in public esteem is directly attributable to their new-found designation as “the enemy of the people.” They will place 100 percent of the blame at the feet of the 45th POTUS.

Almost DailyBrett believes the media elite needs to collectively reassess the unfortunate trend toward oppositional journalism, interpretation, analysis and editorializing, and once again embrace professionalism in the form of true objectivity.

Let’s hope objectivity can once again rise from the ashes.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/05/opinion/brinkley-walter-cronkite/index.html

https://cronkite.asu.edu/about/walter-cronkite-and-asu/walter-cronkite-biography

https://brandingforresults.com/walter-cronkite/

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

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

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