Category: Entrepreneurs


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

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

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

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

Hands down, it has to be Phil Knight.

Happy Birthday #82, Uncle Phil.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giving Back To His Native State, Oregon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let the eternal Baby Boomer arguments continue.

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

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

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

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

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

What’s The Over/Under On The Stones?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Fees Today, Tomorrow, Forever

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

Guess America’s Armageddon was postponed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If Something Isn’t Broken, Why Fix It?

Are global markets, perfect? What is?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There Are Cases In Which Even Effective PR Cannot Help

How the mighty have fallen?

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

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

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

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

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

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

He is being persecuted by the Trump administration. Sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Almost DailyBrett’s super-smart tax accountant moved from California to … Nevada.

Wonder why?

How many other wise people did the math, followed in her footsteps, and made a move in their best lifestyle and financial interests?

Let’s see, the state income tax in California is the nation’s highest, maxing at 13.3 percent … for now. Yikes.

The state income tax in Nevada is … nada.

Hmmm … given a choice … what action will a clever tax accountant with disposable income make? Ditto for anyone else with a brain and a pulse.

Growing up, your author read countless accounts about people pulling up stakes in the rust belt and setting sights for the sun belt.

That trend continues unabated today except when it comes to one sun belt state in particular, California.

After the upcoming 2020 decennial Census, the Golden State is projected to lose a seat in Congress (and a corresponding electoral vote) for the first time in its 171-year history.

California Governor Gavin Newsom and his Sacramento disciples are desperately trying to ensure an accurate count to avoid the indignity under their watch associated with losing an electoral vote.

Let’s see, California with 12 percent of the nation’s population is the “home” to 22 percent of the nation’s homeless. Can California count those who don’t have a home — even newly arrived homeless — as residents? What about those who came across a Southern border … ? Count the names on the tombstones?

Oh heck, let’s just slap on a few more social engineering regulations (e.g., rent control, solar panel installation requirements) and raise taxes again and again … and pretend what’s happening is not happening.

Which State Gains From California’s Diaspora?

We know from CNBC’s Robert Frank that population outflows are costing New York $10 billion in revenues (largest hit in the nation), and Florida is gaining $16 billion in increased revenues as a result of in-migration.

The same report indicated that California is losing $8 billion in state revenues. Those lost souls are no longer in the gravitational pull of the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and Golden State regulatory social engineers.

California and Alabama (two peas in a pod?) appear to be the only sun belt states slated to lose congressional seats after the next Census.

Conversely, there are nine states in the union with zero state income taxes, and none of them will lose a congressional seat. In fact, Texas is set to gain three congressional seats from 36 to 39, and Florida is expected to add two more from 27 to 29. These two red states are getting politically stronger.

Should we assume that no state income tax Texas or Florida will benefit from California’s lost congressional seat?

Considering that California lost 700,000 residents in 2018 alone, and 86,000 of this number moved to Tejas … the red Lone Star State could be the beneficiary of the blue Golden State’s electoral college loss.

Late last year, retail investment pioneer Charles Schwab announced it will move its corporate headquarters from San Francisco to Dallas. Can you blame them?

Let’s see, the corporate tax in San Francisco is 8.84 percent, Dallas, 0.75 percent. San Francisco also imposes a 0.38 percent payroll tax, and a 0.6 percent gross receipts tax. Typical monthly rents in The City are $3,870 and only $1,200 in Big D.

Looking North, Looking East …

Keep in mind that no sales tax Oregon is expected to gain one congressional seat, raising its number of electoral votes from seven to eight for the 2024 general election. The Grand Canyon State anticipates adding another seat to its congressional delegation, increasing Arizona’s electoral votes from 11 to 12.

To be fair, this Almost DailyBrett analysis needs to acknowledge that California with its gorgeous weather and picturesque coastline, not to mention Silicon Valley, will still have the largest electoral count just with 54 votes, instead of 55.

As a press secretary for former California Governor George Deukmejian (two terms, 1983-1991), your author noted the Golden State’s Electoral College count was 45 in 1980, 47 in 1984 and 1988, and 54 in 1992. California’s electoral college number jumped nine congressional seats in those heady days, when the state was not raising taxes and not burdening it’s citizens and businesses with onerous regulations and social engineering schemes.

Taxes and rising expenses/burdens are not the only reasons for the flight of California’s Growing Diaspora. Congestion is becoming unbearable with 2 million more joining the commuting ranks since … 2010.

Housing costs are prohibitive, not to mention the property taxes that go along with these rising market values. The sweet two-bed, one-bath 960-square foot Oakland fixer-upper (see photo above) is on the market right now for … $988,000.

Nice curb appeal.

Some may want to sweep the lost congressional seat under the proverbial rug and recite tired stats about California being one of the largest economies in the world. Almost DailyBrett sees the loss of an electoral vote as the canary in the mine.

People are voting with their feet, and California is the loser … Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon are the winners.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-31/la-me-ln-california-apportionment-2020-census

California likely to lose congressional seat for first time in history after 2020 Census

https://www.dallasnews.com/business/real-estate/2019/12/10/almost-700000-californians-moved-out-of-state-last-year/

https://www.wsj.com/articles/schwab-leaves-san-francisco-for-texas-11574900348

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/06/20/californias-growing-diaspora/

California’s inept central planners

So if you win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, and your God and fuck off. OK?” — Comedian Ricky Gervais Golden Globes opening monologue

“You (Hollywood) know nothing about the real world.” There were cheers across the fruited plain for that one.

We are just so divided.

There are boujees, and there are bolshies.

There are demographic divisions (e.g., knuckle draggers vs. fairer sex).

There are psychographic splits (i.e., income, education, creed, politics …).

And then, there is the seemingly eternal class struggle between the Boujees and the Bolshies.

Almost DailyBrett always embraces the motto, “Buy Low Sell High,” definitely comes down squarely on one side of this divide.

But what happens when a group of Boujees gather together, and they are Bolshies as well?

Are they Boujee Bolshies? Are they Bolshie Boujees? Are they boozy Boujee Bolshies … ?

Take the reaction of Tom Hanks to Gervais’ “You know nothing …” lecture. You could have fried an egg on Forrest Gump’s face.

Did Anybody In Hollywood Vet Gervais’ Monologue?

Gervais was right. Sunday night was the last time he will ever host the Golden Globes or any other celebrity award show.

He took dead aim at the Hollywood Industrial Complex, and scored a direct hit to the collective gasping in the room and to the delight of those who have to make a real living in the fly-over states.

The great unwashed were laughing at Hollywood’s Gathering Storm of suppressed anger, and enjoying a sense of Schadenfreude at their expense.

From a public relations standpoint, Almost DailyBrett must ask: Were Gervais’ remarks reviewed and approved?

Maybe? Maybe not?

How many times has the nation endured their acceptance speeches, complete with personal commentaries about the rotten-and-evil United States of America?

Many have been thinking for eons exactly what Gervais had the temerity to say out loud … ‘You recited your lines beautifully. You went to a great acting school. So what? What do you know?”

The Hollywood majority embrace the concept of government dictated social equality and likewise they relish in a Bourgeoisie lifestyle, but please don’t take aerial photos of Bolshie Barbra’s Boujee mansion by the sea.

Dictatorship of the Proletariat is for other people. You do know who originally promulgated that phase, Hollywood?

Or do you really know … nothing?

Limousine Liberals

How many bolshie Hollwooders showed up for the Golden Globes in boujee limousines.

Were they sipping lattes in their vehicles or something stronger?

Are they the most equal of the equals, using their celebrity platforms to spank the leader of the Free World and this country as well.

Bless his Limey heart: Gervais spoke in jest and told the bold truth. We really don’t care about Tom Hanks’ bolshie political opinions or any other of his boujee comrades.

Will the industry follow the Gervais’ advice for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Tonys, Espys and all of the other awards shows the nation will collectively endure later this year, considering that 2020 is indeed an election year?

Don’t count on it. A boujee bolshie/bolshie boujee must be heard.

If you don’t believe Almost DailyBrett, just ask them.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/transcript-ricky-gervais-golden-globes-2020-opening-monologue-1266516

https://www.usatoday.com/story/college/2017/06/30/what-youre-really-saying-when-you-call-something-bougie/37433439/

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Boujee

https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Bolshies

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/tom-hanks-ricky-gervais-golden-globes-face-viral

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7857415/PIERS-MORGAN-Ricky-Gervais-delivered-glorious-kick-Hollywoods-virtue-signalling-hypocrites.html

https://www.rickygervais.com/

“The mayor (Pete Buttigieg) just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave, full of crystals and served $900-a-bottle wine. Think about who comes to that? … Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States.” — $12 million net worth Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren

“According to Forbes Magazine, I’m literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or a billionaire … This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass.” — South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg

Guess Almost DailyBrett has been drinking cerveza way too long.

The term beer cave projects the image of a bunch of guys downing bottles, tapping a keg, and binge watching football.

Some may simply envision and label the grunting, belching and scratching venue as a … ‘man cave.’

The very notion of a Napa Valley wine cave connotes a more upper-crust distinction.

A $900 bottle of Hall Winery fine cab (actually $185) on the house? S’il vous plait!

Always excitable Warren took issue with the image of people enjoying expensive vino in a plush wine cave in California’s Napa Valley. More to the point, she particularly doesn’t condone wealthy individuals attending a fundraiser on behalf of a pesky political rival, Mayor Pete.

Isn’t this the same Democrat senator who owns a $3 million home in Cambridge, MA. and a $800,000 DC condo?

Her political soul mate, $2.5 million net worth Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, even purchased the web domain name: peteswinecave. Sanders may presently lead Warren in the polls (Real Clear Politics average), but he trails her nearly five-to-one in net income.

Should latte sipping senators living in glass condos throw rocks?

Where was the invitation for Almost DailyBrett?

Guess one has to be a limousine liberal to be invited to a trendy wine cave to sip super-expensive cabernet sauvignon in crystal goblets on onyx tables.

Reminds your author of the infamous joke of USSR party leader Leonid Brezhnev inviting his mommy to drink Moskovskaya vodka in the Kremlin, cruise around in his Zil limo, and consume caviar in his private dacha.

Mother Russia proudly looked at her most equal of the equals son and said: ‘What happens when the Reds come back?”

A quote more apropos for this discussion is the infamous one by former California Speaker of the Assembly Jess Unruh’s (1922-1987): “Money is the Mother’s Milk of Politics.”

Your author’s boss first Attorney General/later California Governor George Deukmejian (1928-2018) raised $8.3 million in 1982 to be elected to the corner office in Sacramento. The Duke was outspent in the primary and the general election, and still won the governorship.

That amount is almost quaint by today’s standards, and downright puny in comparison to the $125 million Donald Trump’s re-election campaign raised in the last three months.

In some respects, Trump’s fundraising prowess is just the tip of his earned (media interviews/coverage), paid (advertising) and owned media (Twitter) communications juggernaut.

Revisiting An Ancient Argument 

Warren suggesting out loud that Mayor Pete is somehow being bought by billionaires sipping pricey cab in a wine cave is the latest twist on an age-old assertion.

Are the billionaires buying your fidelity? Did you sell out? Did they buy in?

Here are more germane questions: Are you going to award an ambassadorship to the Court of St. James or the Vatican for the federal campaign contribution maximum, $2,800?

How do you propose funding your campaign at 2019-2020 advertising rates, if you don’t raise dough from wealthy people … unless you are already a billionaire (i.e., Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer)?

Billionaire celebrity Trump was outspent and out-organized three-plus years ago, and overcame this deficiency by absolutely dominating earned media, thus sucking the air away from every other candidacy including Hillary Clinton’s.

Even though the knives are out for #45, he still rules every utensil and appliance in the mass communications kitchen.

He is not invulnerable. The time between now and November 3 is a political lifetime. No one, including Almost DailyBrett, predicted his election.

Do presidential incumbents have an advantage? Not always (i.e., Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush in rotten economies).

Presidential elections are not referendums, they are choices.

Both the incumbent and his inevitable challenger are going to need green manna from heaven to ensure their respective messages get to the electorate, particularly in swing fly-over states. Campaigns are expensive.

There will be even-more fundraisers in the coming months, hosted in a wine cave near you.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/21/about-that-wine-cave-dinner-i-was-there/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michelatindera/2019/08/20/how-elizabeth-warren-built-a-12-million-fortune/#2b85f493ab57

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chasewithorn/2019/04/12/how-bernie-sanders-the-socialist-senator-amassed-a-25-million-fortune/#1d4107fb36bf

https://nypost.com/2019/12/22/elizabeth-warrens-wine-cave-comments-spark-questions-about-her-donors/

 

“Maybe Tribalism is just in her DNA.” — Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs senior chairman, on Senator Elizabeth Warren

Who gets hurt if the federal government requires Warren Buffett to sell 6 percent (approximately $5 billion) of his $86 billion in wealth each year, every year?

A.) The “Sage of Omaha?”

B.) Middle-class investors attempting to grow their portfolios for retirement, their children’s education or that special vacation?

How about … both?

If Warren’s punitive wealth tax takes effect, Buffett will be selling his shares … lots of stock … not as a result of market conditions but because Washington D.C. redistributors mandate these stock trades in the name of the greater public good.

And who decides what is “the greater public good?

Warren’s punitive 6 percent wealth tax (unconstitutional?) exercise applies to all billionaires. There would also be a 1 percent levy for all Americans with wealth exceeding $50 million each.

Wonder how many in coastal blue states (i.e., Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, California, Washington … ) exceed that $50 million wealth figure? The vast majority of these households worked hard, invested wisely … and this is the thanks they receive?

How much money, which could be used for individual investment, would come out of our economy? How many shares will be forced sales in our public exchanges?

What are the unintended consequences of these arbitrary sales for those saving for retirement or their children’s education?

According to The Economist the cumulative impact of wealth taxes and many other planned hikes would constitute a cumulative 2 percent hit on our nation’s $21.4 trillion GDP.

Could a Warren Recession follow? Almost DailyBrett will take the “over.”

Selling Political Masochism In A Robust Economy

The debate that you have in America or Britain about taxing the super-rich just doesn’t exist here.” Janerik Larsson of Sweden’s Timbro

“Vilification of people as a member of a group may be good for her campaign, not the country.” — Blankfein on Warren

Almost DailyBrett has always contended that group masochism is a political loser.

Asking people to sacrifice their economic freedom, and to vote against their own personal and family best interests is a prescription for defeat.

The Economist reported this week that American retirees owned only 4 percent of all publicly traded shares in 1960.

Fast forward to 2015 and we find that retiree investments (i.e., IRAs, 401Ks, pensions) constituted 50 percent of all shares. Without doubt that figure sprinted even higher in the last four years considering the stunning continuation of the bull market.

Since November 8, 2016 (hmmm … what happened that day?), the Dow Jones has risen 52.8 percent from 18,332 to 28,015, the NASDAQ 66.6 percent from 5,193 to 8,656, and the benchmark S&P 500 47.0 percent from 2,139 to 3,145.

Should public policy compel American today’s and tomorrow’s retirees to sacrifice a significant slice of their financial future every year?

Shouldn’t we have the freedom to decide when to buy and when to sell? Does the government really understand the maxim: Buy Low Sell High?

Why should an ever-expanding  government go to war against achievers, and by doing so take direct aim at America’s Investor Class? Some see it as a socialistic assault on capitalism.

Let’s simplify the equation: Why should our government usurp our economic freedom?

Some will contend that we should all, chill out. Warren is floundering in the polls. She won’t win the Democratic nomination. Right?

Didn’t the experts say the same thing about Jimmy Carter? They were wrong, and years of economic malaise (i.e., double-digit inflation, unemployment, interest rates) and a crippling recession were the consequences.

Many in the political class point to Sweden as an socialist model for the U.S. to follow. And yet, Sweden has higher percentage of billionaires (e.g., founders of IKEA, H&M, Volvo and Spotify), and greater income disparity than the USA.

And yet Sweden abolished its inheritance tax in 2005 and its wealth tax two years later.

Hmmm … maybe we should look to Sweden for guidance.

https://www.forbes.com/billionaires/#b93a39d251c7

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/11/28/inequality-could-be-lower-than-you-think

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2019/11/28/in-sweden-billionaires-are-surprisingly-popular

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/14/lloyd-blankfein-mocks-elizabeth-warren-maybe-tribalism-is-just-in-her-dna.html

“You control the debt; you control everything. You find this upsetting, yes? But this is the very essence of the banking industry, to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt.” – Actor Luca Giorgio Barbareschi as arms producer, Umberto Calvini, The International.

In the days of ole, one could buy a treadmill or an exercise bike and work out or employ it as a glorified laundry rack.

Now we have the recent Peloton IPO — (NASDAQ: PTON) — selling its bikes for $1,995 and treadmills for $4,000.

The key differentiator is streaming content (bike or aerobic instructor videos) for a recurring monthly charge of $39 or more. Peloton didn’t just sell a pricey bike and/or treadmill, they more importantly marketed a monthly obligation to a growing subscriber base … and that very well could include you.

The consumer bought high, and is paying even higher.

The stately The Economist reported the news and entertainment industry (i.e., Disney, Fox, ESPN, HBO …) along with major tech players (i.e., Apple, Amazon, Netflix) collectively spent $650 billion in the last five years on acquisitions and content, a sum greater than America’s oil industry.

For example the Mickey Mouse gang just unveiled Disney+ for only $6.99 per month (how long will that price last?), allowing binge watching of the Star Wars catalog to one heart’s content. The downside is another sliver of your financial independence given away for yet another monthly fee.

Sooner or later, the price of each kernel of streaming popcorn is going to add up.

They Have The Gravy, And You’re On The Train

During his Silicon Valley days, Almost DailyBrett was consumed by a litany of recurring payments (i.e., mortgage, utilities, taxes, insurance, car payments, credit card usage, mobile phones, cable, house cleaner, gym membership, pool maintenance, gardener …). In toto, all of these outstretched hands each month represented a seemingly out-of-control first-world dilemma on steroids.

Money was coming in, and going out just as quick each month. Similar to the IRS, each of the growing list of providers never forgot to remind your author of his annual/monthly obligations.

Even more than ever, our consumer-oriented economy (70 percent of the total) is predicated on enticing even more Americans to shell out an escalating amount of capital on a monthly basis, ensuring a consistent flow of money in one direction.

Hint: Someone is getting rich and it’s not the average Jane or Joe.

Some can avoid being “slaves to debt” to the bank (e.g., pay off your credit cards each month), but it’s way more difficult to avoid recurring annual (e.g., Amazon Prime or Costco memberships) and worse, monthly payments.

Let’s face it, some monthly outlays are unavoidable (e.g., utility payments). Most have mortgages or rent to pay every 30 days. Many have car payments. Even if you pay your total credit card bill religiously (which you should), it’s still a monthly obligation.

Almost DailyBrett doesn’t want to sound like a parent, but still must pose this question: How many of these recurring payments are absolutely necessary?

Shelter, food, power and water are essential to life. Most likely all or at least some of the above are financed/amortized through monthly payments.

Your author must ask, do we need a Netflix subscription on top of the cable bundle? We are already paying up the Wazzoo for up to and beyond 300 channels, the vast of majority we do not watch … and then we add on Disney+, ESPN+, Netflix and God knows what else.

And we are wondering what is happening to our money?

No Longer Driving The Top Line, How About The Bottom Line?

Follicly challenged Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) and others of the species are retiring … and Gen Xers (hatched 1965-1979) are not far behind.

Let’s face it, for most Boomers their peak earnings days are behind them.

If you can’t grow the top line, then reducing the bottom line is a great idea. Can one seriously reduce costs and still live a comfortable happy life?

Do you still require a mortgage? Can you downsize? Can you rent instead? Can you move to a lower-cost state or community?

Is good weather (e.g., California) worth the mounting hassles, congestion, rising costs and always higher taxes?

Can you avoid car payments? How about fixing up your ride?

And most of all, can you build a stone wall preventing new monthly payments from wrecking your budget?

If you must binge watch, is there a free way to enjoy the same content without the monthly ball and chain?

Retirement experts preach avoiding second (or more) homes, subsidizing adult children and overspending.

At some point, that one more monthly expense may prove to be A Bridge Too Far.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/11/14/who-will-win-the-media-wars

“Official statistics no longer countered this (Ossies) group — who were disproportionately young, clever, female and ambitious — as East Germans.” — The Economist’s “Thirty years after the Wall fell, ” November 2, 2019

“From adversity comes opportunity.” — Former Notre Dame Head Coach Lou Holtz

When the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in 1989, more than 1 million Ossies took advantage of their newfound freedom from Communism, immediately heading to West Germany and for the most part … thriving. More than one-quarter of East Germans aged 18-30 moved to the west, two-thirds of them … women.

They recognized there were two paths to go by, but in the long run, there was still time to change the road they were on … especially young, clever, ambitious females.

For those 16 million-plus souls adversely trapped for 28 years behind the borders of stultifying-oppressive-surveillance state East Germany, there finally was an opportunity to leave, begin a new life and build a lucrative career. Many took this new road to affluent Bavaria, Baden Württemberg, Hamburg … and never looked back.

Is moving to a more promising venue, the catalyst for success and building wealth?

Only one way to find out.

“I’m in Favor of Progress; It’s Change I Don’t Like” — Mark Twain

Ever meet Negative Nancy, Debbie Downer or Gloomy Gus?

Their cups are always half empty. They impress upon you what they can’t do rather then what they can do. Their little rain clouds follow them wherever they go … and in the most cases … they don’t go anywhere.

They settle for status quo mediocrity or worse. And soon it will be late … too late in their lives to make a change for the better.

They will choose neither path, and the road will soon be closed for good.

Almost DailyBrett was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The former steel town is a great place to be … from.

Fortunately your author’s family was afforded the opportunity to move to Southern California. For Almost DailyBrett, Sacramento, CA, Portland, OR, Pleasanton, CA Ellensburg, WA and now Eugene, OR followed.

With each move came a change of scenery, variables, superiors, colleagues, subordinates, issues to confront and problems to solve. There were always vexing adversities and intriguing opportunities, and most of all challenges to overcome.

In their coverage of the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall earlier this month, most of the newsies focused on the disparity of those who reside and succeed in former West Germany, and those who remain mired in chronic poverty in former East Germany. For many, they could have moved to seek a better life, but for one reason or another … they didn’t.

Yes, there is income disparity even in a model European nation.

The story also needs to reflect the shift away from an agrarian economy, which is largely cosigned to the Stone Age. The following industrial revolution of Johnstown, PA is kaput. The world is now consumer dominated (e.g., 70 percent of the United States economy), digitized and service oriented.

Advantage women … particularly young, clever and ambitious women.

The service oriented consumer economy is right in their sweet spot. Public relations, marketing, advertising, event planning, local government, law, real estate, health care, hospitality … heck, even hardware stores … are dominated by the fairer gender or at a minimum … heading in that direction.

Can men, who once dominated the agrarian and industrial economies with their brute strength, ignorance and testosterone, succeed in this new service economy? Yes for some, but will they en masse? The evidence is not promising.

Not only have women passed men in terms of labor force participation, the same X-curve apply to women vs. men college graduates with a bachelor’s degree or above. And in the vast majority of cases, one must or want to move away from home to go to college. Universities and colleges should be a one-way ticket to independence, not back to mom and/or dad.

Graduates react after being recognized for their degree during the University of Wisconsin-Madison spring commencement ceremony ceremony at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

If professional women were a publicly traded stock compared to an equity for professional men, Almost DailyBrett would not hesitate to invest in the growth potential of the fairer gender. As your author has always noted, stocks are a forward rather than a lagging indicator … women are leading, men are behind and the gap is growing.

The wind is clearly in the sails of professional women, particularly those who are brave and smart enough to recognize there’s still time to change the road they are on.

And when their ship comes in they will be ready to board and set sail.

Alas way too many men will be killing time, playing video games at the airport.

https://www.economist.com/europe/2019/10/31/germans-still-dont-agree-on-what-reunification-meant

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/11/08/the-night-the-wall-came-tumbling-down/

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