Category: Entrepreneurs


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/

Almost DailyBrett has always fretted about the plight of the “boat people” of Monaco.

After all, who can blame them for seeking a better life?

They always seem to be able to guide their respective yachts into the right slip.

There each of them floats, reminding one of a can of expensive sardines.

Who has the biggest yacht? The most expensive bubbly? The cutest “niece?” The best view of the F1 Monaco Grand Prix?

Never was terribly concerned about ultra-cool Brit Lewis Hamilton and his Formula 1 Mercedes.

This past Sunday, Hamilton was always in the lead right in front of Holland’s frustrated-for-78-laps Max Verstappen of the Red Bull team.

Hamilton, the reigning five-time Formula 1 (F1) champion, always appears to have everything under control.

He even told Ellen that he never “goes” in his racing suit during the course of a two-hour race.

Consider that it only takes two-seconds for his 22-member Mercedes crew to change his four tires.

During the one-and-only caution this past Sunday on lap 11 in Monaco, Lewis’ team affixed four medium compound “tyres” (as the Brits spell it) to his super high-tech Mercedes.

Soon it became apparent that Hamilton was driving on the wrong “tyres,” and it seemed like an eternity to the checkered flag.

During this tense, nerve-wracking endurance contest around the 19-turn, two-mile through-the-streets course, Mr. Hamilton was not amused.

The Wrong Tyres; The Right Driver

“Bono … he’s right on my arse. Can you not see, that? ” – Lewis Hamilton on the radio to Mercedes race engineer, Peter Bonnington

Talk about the infamous British stiff upper lip, quivering just a tad.

The closest it ever seemed for Lewis Hamilton “losing it” was his complaining to “Bono” (not the U2 singer) about Verstappen’s tailgating while racing lap-after-lap on the wrong tires.

Who would win the dispute? The driver asking to come into the pits to change tyres or the Mercedes team reassuring him – hope against hope – that his obviously failing medium compounds would make it to the checked flag.

Back in 2015 under similar conditions, Hamilton came into the Monaco pits to change tires. He lost the race.

Not this time.

Somehow, someway Hamilton fought off Verstappen … even through their respective tires actually came in contract (it was indeed that close) during one of the last laps. In the end, Hamilton was the one accepting the Monaco Grand Prix award from Prince Albert II and his bride, Princess Charlene.

Considering that Mercedes devotes an estimated $300 million annually and employs 1,300 talented souls to assemble, maintain and steady improve two high-precision cars (e.g., Hamilton and Valteri Bottas of Finland), one can easily conclude that F1 is not a sport of the people.

But for Hamilton, it has not always been this way.

“Cool Runnings”

Even though he lives in tony Monaco, Hamilton directly relates to the Disney movie about Jamaica’s 1988 Olympics bobsled team.

Hamilton was the first black to drive on the 21-race Formula 1 circuit. He said his arrival triggered a similar “Cool Runnings” reaction that eventually ended with acceptance.

He was born into very modest circumstances in England, living in Stevenage, Hertfordshire just north of London. Very early, Lewis demonstrated his superb hand-eye coordination and started go-cart racing.

His father, Anthony, worked as many as four jobs to provide enough funds for Hamilton to pursue his hobby and his passion. His younger brother, Nicolas, was born with cerebral palsy and yet he exhibits no jealousy to his famous brother.

One reason is the two brothers are very close.

Almost DailyBrett has always been a huge fan of rags-to-riches stories. Lewis Hamilton is reportedly worth $285 million. And yet, it has not always been that way.

From a Cool Runnings start to an amazing Monaco on severely worn tyres, Lewis Hamilton has risen from humble beginnings to become without any doubt: The Coolest Cat on the Track, and the best Formula 1 driver in the world.

http://www.espn.com/f1/story/_/id/26825854/lewis-hamilton-flustered-monaco-grand-prix-radio-messages-full

http://www.espn.com/f1/story/_/id/26832734/the-story-hamilton-monaco-masterclass

https://www.formula1.com/en/drivers/lewis-hamilton.html

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZREYYxEcfx4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ei4uWo5B_9U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZVMTuSsEX4

https://www.formula1.com/

https://www.palais.mc/en/princely-family/h-s-h-prince-albert-ii/biography-1-5.html

 

“Liberals believe America is not good enough for the world; conservatives believe the world is not good enough for America.” – Washington Post Columnist Charles Krauthammer

“I do think that America was born with a birth defect; it was slavery.” – Stanford Provost Condoleezza Rice

After losing two world wars and killing 6 million Jews during the Holocaust, Germany has been struggling from Zero Hour 1945 to the present with its horrendous history. The Germans have a special word for it – die Vergangenheitsbewältigung — or dealing with this past.

Does this 25-letter-jaw-breaking-compound-noun also apply to the nearly 250-year history of the United States of America?

After listening to so many Baby Boomer colleagues and friends complain about “this country” for years-and-years, who could blame Almost DailyBrett or any other American with a sense of patriotism for thinking that we have to deal with our past? The question is, how?

The sun never set on the British Empire and Britannia indeed ruled the waves. Look at the mess they left to dozens of these former colonies, and yet English is the world’s Lingua Franca. The scoresheet for the United Kingdom over the years is … mixed with a positive lean.

Have Americans ever been perfect? Are we perfect? Will we ever be perfect?

The responses to all three of these questions are the same, and obvious. The answers are, “no.”

Perfection is an impossible standard for any nation to achieve, including the USA.

Is the answer to these fallibilities – slavery, expulsion of Native Americans, Japanese internment camps – to truncate the teaching of American History? Is revisionist history to the downside inevitable?

There is an ongoing – and maybe never ending fight over whether and how Advanced Placement (AP U.S. History) should be taught, and more to the point: The level and extent of negative reinterpretation of American history.

For example, McGraw Hill stepped in deep doo doo when its history books described a migratory path of millions of “workers” from Africa. Err … they were slaves.

A related question has been raised among the 21+ would-be Democratic presidential nominees (i.e., Harris, Booker, Warren, Castro): Should we pay reparations (particularly slavery) to those who were wronged by America?

If so, where do we start? What precedent are we setting? More importantly where do we end? Can we end? Which descendants of those wronged should we pay? How much should we pay?

Should we apologize for being … Americans? Should we stop embracing any and all red, white and blue patriotism?

The Vietnam War Is Over; Get Over It

The helicopters took off from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in South Vietnam on April 30, 1975 or more than 44 years ago, if you are keeping score at home.

There are those who cannot or will not get this unfortunate period of American history out of their systems.

Almost DailyBrett has noted that way too many of these tortured Baby Boomer souls do not like their country, and take issue with America being labeled as an exceptional country.

They point to socialism in Denmark, Norway, Sweden – all monarchies – as “happy little countries,” suggesting America should do the same.

Some of these people actually teach at American universities and schools and harbor reservations (putting it mildly) about the positive side of American history. But wasn’t the first act in U.S. history a rebellion against authority, telling what England’s King George III what he could do with his royal scepter?

Didn’t America fight a bloody Civil War from 1861-1865 to eliminate slavery? Didn’t Abraham Lincoln’s 13th Amendment end slavery once and for all?

And wasn’t it America that played a monumental roll in terms of blood and treasure to end Nazi and Fascist tyranny in Europe and the Pacific?

The United States was the first and to this date the only country to put a man on the moon. It was America, which gave the world Silicon Valley and with its pioneering entrepreneurs with break-through innovations that made the conveniences of our digital world possible.

And let’s not forget that America defeated Communism and made our imperfect world, safer.

Almost DailyBrett championed a bi-partisan action – one can dream – to add Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (won World War II) and Republican Ronald Wilson Reagan’s (beat Communism) busts on Mt. Rushmore.

With all due respect, what has Denmark given to the world? Hans Christian Andersen and The Little Mermaid.

If the royalists in Norway, Sweden and Denmark wish to examine their collective navels in the sauna, who are we to stop them? It’s their humble collection of socialist monarchies (not an oxymoron).

Those who don’t like America and never will, have the freedom of movement. Almost DailyBrett will happily visit them in Scandinavia … in the summer.

America can learn from its past. When it comes to America’s over/under, your author will take the “over” in a nanosecond.

The United States of America remains an exceptional nation. No amount of revisionist history can change that fact.

https://nypost.com/2017/01/22/why-schools-have-stopped-teaching-american-history/

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/10/the-history-class-dilemma/411601/

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/02/who-should-decide-how-students-learn-about-americas-past/385928/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/04/12/support-reparations-grow-so-does-pushback-some-black-americans/?utm_term=.427e54c28480

https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/charles-krauthammer/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4d651db9a0c6

https://thehill.com/homenews/news/332307-condoleezza-rice-says-america-was-born-with-a-birth-defect-slavery

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

”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

 

 

Oregon has long been a taxing problem for California.

Motoring south along Oregon 101 last March, your author noted the strategically located presence of “Stateline Cannabis” about 100 yards north of the California line … and 0.40 mile away the Golden State’s Smith River Agricultural Inspection Station.

Driving my Mazda Miata little green chariot with its Oregon “Pacific Wonderland” plates, your clean-cut Almost DailyBrett author and his wonderful spouse, Jeanne, were simply waved through the inspection station.

Had to think: ‘What’s the point of the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Smith River Agricultural Inspection Station, if they just send you on your merry way?’

The short answer is California is trying to protect its largest industry – agriculture — from dangerous pests. The question that immediately came to mind: What about Stateline Cannabis’ agricultural products?

Statewide Cannabis describes its business as a homeopathic pharmacy. Does the State of California agree?

Why should the Golden State care?

Oregon has zero sales tax.

In contrast, California has sales taxes up the wazoo, including an incomprehensible 10.5 percent in Los Angeles County.

Immediately germane to the Oregon 101 border region, California’s Del Norte County collects sales taxes of 7.5 percent and Humboldt County, 8.75 percent.

Oregon does charge a 17 percent tax on cannabis sales, including marijuana sold at Statewide Cannabis.

California in turn assesses the statewide sales tax, plus a given county’s portion of the sales tax, a 15 percent excise tax and a cannabis business tax. A $100 retail pot price results in a $124.20 total sales price.

Any which way you assess the question, cannabis is cheaper in Oregon than California.

More to the point, the export of cannabis from Oregon across state lines ist verboten, regardless of the fact that Mary Jane is also legal in Washington to the north and California to the south.

What if the Almost DailyBrett author was sporting a ratty beard and was driving a wreck on wheels with California plates … would he and his wonderful spouse, Jeanne, be merely waved through the Smith River Agricultural Inspection Station?

Don’t think so.

California Sales Tax + Interest for An Oregon Subaru?

Back in the 20th Century, your author purchased a new $16,000 Subaru Legacy as a lawful resident of Portland, Oregon. There were zero sales taxes charged or paid.

As Martha (Stewart) would say: “That’s a good thing.”

Two years later with a move to the Bay Area, there was the necessary evil in the form of an agonizing, mind-numbing and desultory visit to California DMV to register the Subaru and secure its plates and tags.

Houston we have a problem.

The State of California under the aegis of former Governor Pete Wilson’s Department of Motor Vehicles would not register Almost DailyBrett’s Subaru Legacy even though the car was bought legally two years prior in Portland, Oregon with no-sales-tax.

No amount of honey or vinegar was going to change a bureaucrat’s mind that day. It was pound sand all the way.

Pleasanton DMV flat-out refused to register the Subaru and provide the necessary plates and tags unless and until the applicable Alameda County sales tax was paid (presently 9.75 percent) applicable at the time of the sale (forget about depreciation) plus two years of compounding interest.

Your frosted author wrote a four-figure check on the spot in order to register the car. As the say in Avenue Q, it sucks to be me.

You can only imagine the surprise two years later when an unexpected envelope from California DMV arrived in your author’s mail box. California lost a lawsuit and was required to pay back the two years of improperly assessed sales tax, plus interest.

Thank you, Howard Jarvis Tax Association.

The Dynamic Effect of Tax Increases

“The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to procure the largest quantity of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing.” – France Minister of Finance Jean-Baptiste Colbert

“Tax the rich. Tax the rich. Tax the rich. We did. Now, God forbid, the rich leave.” — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Almost DailyBrett is not making any aspirations against the folks at Stateline Cannabis, who are making a living selling a once-taboo product.

The inevitable issue is that many Californians will one way or another react and respond to ever-increasing taxes – call it the dynamic effect.

If a short drive over the California-Oregon border will result in paying less … plenty less … for homeopathic pharmaceutical products, don’t you suppose more than a few folks will be naughty rather than nice?

Something tells Almost DailyBrett the Smith River Agricultural Inspection Station is looking for more than hitch-hiking insects.

https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/2018/12/31/oregon-pot-marijuana-exporting-weed-out-state/2415786002/

https://www.wweek.com/news/2018/04/18/oregon-grew-more-cannabis-than-customers-can-smoke-now-shops-and-farmers-are-left-with-mountains-of-unwanted-bud/

https://www.currypilot.com/csp/mediapool/sites/CurryPilot/News/story.csp?cid=4264302&sid=919&fid=151

https://www.salestaxhandbook.com/california/rates

https://www.oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana/Pages/FAQs-Taxes.aspx

https://lumatax.com/blog/california-cannabis-sales-tax-everything-you-need-to-know/

https://mjbizdaily.com/legal-hurdles-interstate-cannabis-exports-oregon/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/07/23/mary-jane-supply-and-demand/

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

 

 “Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” – CNN anchor Bernard Shaw’s opening debate question to 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis

“No, I don’t Bernard. And I think you know I opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don’t see any evidence that’s it’s a deterrent and I think there are more effective ways to deal with violent crime …” — Dukakis’ answer to Shaw’s question.

How could Shaw have asked that question? More astonishingly, how could Dukakis have failed to explode at it?” – Jack Germond and Jules Witcover, “Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars”

The unthinkable and startling image of the first lady of Massachusetts being raped and murdered was offered up by a respected CNN anchor, Bernard Shaw, from your father’s CNN of 1988 … obviously not the hyper-partisan CNN of today.

Some reportedly accused Shaw of throwing a fast-ball right down the plate for Dukakis to angrily hit the ball out of the ballpark. Shaw emphatically denied this assertion.

Dukakis didn’t even swing. His wonkish answer without showing any vitriol or emotion about Shaw raising the spectre of a raped and murdered Kitty Dukakis, effectively ended the campaign of the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

The author of Almost DailyBrett distinctly remembers settling into his seat for the October 13, 1988 second presidential debate at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, when Shaw serving as moderator opened the proceedings with his provocative (understatement) question.

To most in the audience and millions more at home, Shaw’s question was shocking, one-sided as it did not apply to both candidates … Vice President George H.W. Bush and Dukakis.

Having said that, Dukakis and his campaign team had to know that a death penalty question was coming. Looking back, the Shaw question was a great opportunity for the Massachusetts governor to express outrage, thus firing up his supporters and maybe even the electorate.

Can you imagine one of today’s CNN anchor/correspondent asking that kind of question to a Democratic standard bearer in Donald Trump’s America?

Whattyathink Anderson Cooper? Don Lemon? Jim Acosta? Chris Cuomo? Jake Tapper?

Are There Any Objective Reporters Left To Moderate Presidential Debates?

“News people are no longer trained that they have to bury their personal views and bend over backwards to be fair. That concept went out the window a long time ago.” — Edwin J. Salzman, former Sacramento Bee Capital Bureau Chief

“ … If you have a son in the Marine Corps, and that you don’t trust the commander-in-chief (Trump)” – ABC Martha Raddatz, crying on 2016 election night.

Do you think Raddatz will ever be asked again to serve as a fair, objective and dispassionate presidential debate moderator?

How about noted-for-his-personal-integrity, Brian Williams of MSNBC?

More to the point, is there anyone at Jeff Zucker’s  CNN, who could be trusted to fill this critical role?

Almost DailyBrett has asked this question before and will pose it again: Where is this generation’s Walter Cronkite?

More to the point: Where is modern day equivalent of Bernard Shaw?

“Never laugh at Ted Turner too early …”

There was a time when America supposedly needed only three networks: ABC, CBS and NBC.

CNN (Cable News Network) was Ted Turner’s dream, which after initial scoffing and snickering became the first all-news, all-the-time network.

The network was there to cover live virtually any significant event regardless of its origin around the world … This was Bernard Shaw’s CNN. He served as the network’s lead anchor from 1980-2001.

When the San Francisco Bay Area was struck by the 6.9 Richter Scale Loma Prieta Earthquake on October 17, 1989, my boss California Governor George Deukmejian was sleeping in an airport hotel in Frankfurt, Germany.

By the means of a continuously open line from our office to the governor’s hotel room, and just as important through the reporting of CNN, Governor Deukmejian was able to direct the state’s response to the earthquake from nine-time zones away.

California’s Lt. Gov. Leo McCarthy was in San Francisco, when Loma Prieta struck with no phone connections, zero television (including CNN) and literally no way to communicate.

This may seem like a stretch, but Almost DailyBrett appreciated at the time that Bernard Shaw’s CNN had become America’s go-to-network for news and information.

Alas, a shift to über-partisan journalism accelerated with the creation of MSNBC, serving the left, and Fox News, oriented to the right, both in 1996.

CNN continued with its emphasis on breaking news stories, but some concluded it was Melba toast, thus suffering in the Nielsen Ratings, compared to MSNBC and Fox News.

Today, CNN has morphed into the second coming of MSNBC with a 24-7-365 stream of angry talking-heads’ invective directed against a hated president. The country already has a MSNBC, it doesn’t need another one.

Does any CNN anchor today exhibit the professionalism, integrity and objectivity to dispassionately moderate a 2020 general election debate?

During Bernard Shaw’s era, the answer was an emphatic, “yes.”

Today the answer is “no,” … “hell no.”

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/lists/debatemoments/bernieshaw.html

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1844704_1844706_1844712,00.html

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/31/raddatz-media-watching-each-other-a-little-more-after-missteps-reporting-on-trump-378739

https://www.thewrap.com/donald-trump-president-martha-raddatz-tears-up-abc-news/

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/

 

 

 

Governor Newsom Calls for Nation’s First Air Tax On California’s Wealthiest

Proceeds To Fund New Air Quality And Climate Change Programs

April 15 To Become A State Holiday 

SACRAMENTO – Following up on his proposed “digital dividend” levy on data usage, California Governor Gavin Newsom today called upon the state Legislature to approve the nation’s first surcharge on the consumption of air by the Golden State’s wealthiest households.

Privileged Californians with assets (i.e., homes, cars, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, savings accounts, furniture … ) exceeding $500,000 will be assessed an annual surcharge of 1 percent of their total gross wealth. The yearly progressive surcharge will escalate to 2 percent for those with more than $1 million in total assets, eventually capping at 10 percent for those with accumulated wealth exceeding $1 billion or more.

“California’s new Rarefied Air Tax (RAT) is initially projected to raise approximately $3 billion in additional revenues to enhance air quality, combat climate change, and to establish a complementary agency to the California Air Resources Board (CARB),” said Newsom.

“The Golden State is the recognized leader in the usage of progressive revenue schemes to extract and redistribute literally billions from California’s achievers by means of income, sales, property, gas, vehicle, water, corporate, payroll, liquor, and weed taxes and soon a surcharge for those who choose to consume O2.  If the wealthy wish to avoid the Rarefied Air Tax, they can simply opt out of oxygen usage,” Newsom said.

According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, California has fallen from the top to second in total taxation among states. New Jersey is now #1, California #2 and New York #3.

“We intend to restore our rightful place as the number one state in terms of progressive redistributive taxation,” said Newsom. “The appropriate annual total assets surcharge for O2  usage by those with wealth reaching and exceeding six-seven-eight figures is recognition of their moral obligation to pay their fair share for the rarefied California air they breathe and consume.”

To recognize and celebrate California’s nationwide leadership in taxation, Newsom signed a proclamation declaring that each April 15 (or following Monday if tax day falls on a weekend) as a paid public holiday for all Golden State public employees. Newsom urged the federal government and all other states to follow suit.

Fully anticipating constitutional challenges by mean-spirited, hateful, racist, sexist, homophobic and unpleasant non-profit tax foundations, Newsom called upon the state Department of Justice to prepare a vigorous defense against expected questions about the legality of RAT total asset surcharges for California’s wealthiest … those with assets exceeding $500,000 in riches.

California telegenic governor will hold a news conference in Room 1190 of the State Capitol today at 1 pm PDT to provide more details about the RAT tax. Tax-free air will be provided to all media attending the event.

Following the news conference, Governor Newsom will be available for photographs and to autograph full, medium and wallet-size glossy images of himself for adoring reporters and correspondents.

https://taxfoundation.org/individual-income-taxes-2019-state-business-tax-climate-index/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/golden-state-handcuffs/

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/california-goes-tax-wild-eyes-levies-on-everything-from-water-to-tires

 

 

“(The intent of the Tax Wall Street Act is to) drive leeches that are front running the market out of business.” – Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) on CNBC

Is the Eugene, Oregon-based author of Almost DailyBrett, a lecherous leech?

Your author builds a career. Your author works all of his life. Your author pays his fair share of taxes. Your author chooses the time (2018) and place for his retirement (Eugene).

Sounds good, but …

My congressman, Mr. DeFazio, wants to double tax everyone’s retirement with a 0.1 percent tax on every stock or mutual fund trade we will ever make as long-term investors, conceivably until it’s time to meet our respective makers.

Ostensibly, DeFazio’s tax targets high-frequency/high-velocity investors, many disguised as algorithms. The only problem is his sweeping tax also applies to millions of real middle-class people … including retail investors residing in Oregon’s 4th Congressional District.

All they want to do is invest their already taxed discretionary income to fund their retirement, pay for their children’s education (e.g., University of Oregon) and maybe to pursue their dreams. Alas, Rep. DeFazio has introduced the “Tax Wall Street Act of 2019” with its punitive stock and mutual fund trade tax.

Mr. Congressman, my family is not Wall Street in Manhattan. We are East of Willamette Street in Eugene.

The honorable congressman thinks he is punishing Wall Street, when he instead is taking dead aim at America’s investor class or the 52 percent of Americans (approximately 170 million), who invest in individual stocks or mutual funds.

Many of these mutual fund investment trades are made by pension managers and by individual employee managed 401Ks at work (e.g., public employees, including school teachers). Almost DailyBrett maintains a humble retail account with Charles Schwab. Sorry, no Goldman Sachs for me.

Why are you (DeFazio) sticking a Wall Street tax on all investors who live in your district, and any other investor in every congressional district across the fruited plain?

DeFazio’s Dithering Performance on CNBC

CNBC’s Kelly Evans asked you point blank on “The Exchange” last week why you didn’t “target” high-velocity algorithmic day traders instead of proposing a sweeping tax, which applies to every middle-class investor in the country.

You dithered, Congressman DeFazio. You know, you did.

When Evans inquired about the use of the projected $777 billion in additional revenues, you suggested restoring some of the expanding deficit triggered by tax reform. Congressman DeFazio didn’t know where and how the money will be spent. He only wanted to sock-it to Wall Street and with it, middle-class investors.

Maybe, you should Occupy Wall Street? How did that movement work out?

Fortunately, there are enough adults in the House of Representatives and certainly in the U.S. Senate to ensure this bill goes absolutely nowhere.

Having made this point, the coast is not clear. The mindset of my congressman and his partner in crime, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and without a doubt many others in positions of immense power, indicates an antipathy to all publicly traded companies (none of which are headquartered in Oregon’s 4th Congressional District).

Every issue large and small seemingly requires the same remedy: a new tax.

Congressman DeFazio, you need to understand that middle-class retirees in your district have already been taxed on their nest eggs. Under your plan, each-and-every-one of your investing constituents will pay an additional tax just for the right to continue to invest their hard-earned money on their futures.

You know you are wrong, but you will piously insist you are right … err correct.

Almost DailyBrett has never been a “high-velocity” trader and never will be.

Just hoping to keep up my velocity for years to come.

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2019/03/08/rep-peter-defazio-on-the-tax-wall-street-act.html

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/03/wall-street-tax-act-financial-illiteracy-in-congress/

https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/its-premature-to-start-freaking-out-over-the-wall-street-tax-act-liz-ann-sonders

http://investsnips.com/publicly-traded-companies-in-oregon/

 

 

 

 

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