Category: Germany


“I believe this weapon prevented the United States and allied forces from invading Japan. And because of the prevention of such an invasion, I’m sure that we’ve saved many, many lives. I couldn’t hazard a guess to how many, but I think it brought a quick end to the war.” — Colonel Paul Tibbets, mission commander of the B-29 strike force against Hiroshima

Colonel Paul Tibbets did not want a memorial service or a headstone.

He always feared his service would be interrupted and/or his marker would be desecrated.

Was Tibbets (1915-2007) prescient about how American history would be treated in the 21st Century by those with no sense of decency?

Instead, the B-29 mission commander asked for his ashes to be spread over the English Channel, ensuring his eternal peace. The geographic choice reflects the countless bombing sorties he and his crew mates made against Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany before being transferred to the Pacific.

Almost DailyBrett recognizes we are now exactly one month to the date of the 75th anniversary — Thursday, August 6 (Japan time) — of the dropping of the atomic bomb, ending World War II with a brilliant-and-horrific flash of light, heat and radiation.

Longtime Fox News correspondent Chris Wallace and AP investigative journalist Mitch Weiss co-wrote, “Countdown 1945, The Extraordinary Story Of The Atomic Bomb And The 116 Days That Changed The World.” 

The crux of the book, which reads similar to a page-turning novel, is the Mother of All Decisions made by a newly minted American president, Harry S. Truman.  After the passing of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) on April 12, 1945, Truman was inaugurated as America’s 33rd president. He quickly found out he had been deliberately kept in the dark about America’s greatest secret, the “Manhattan Project,” to produce a World War II game-changer: The atomic bomb.

All of the arguments and counter-arguments at the time and the present-day second-guessing are fully presented in Countdown 1945. For example, bomb use opponent Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower argued: Japan was already defeated, America would be known as the country that dropped the uranium bomb, and inviting the USSR to enter into the war against Japan was a colossal mistake.

Stating that America would be stigmatized as the nation that dropped the bomb was/is self-evident. The invitation to Stalin to invade Manchuria led directly to present day headaches North Korea, Communist China and Vietnam. The notion that Japan was defeated in early 1945 is debatable today as it was then.

Truman knew that an invasion of Japan beginning with Operation Olympic (invasion of Kyushu) in November, 1945 and the following Operation Coronet (invasion of Honshu) would last approximately 18 months with a projected loss of 250,000 American lives/500,000 wounded and 1 million Japanese killed or wounded.

Was there another option to the prospect of at least 18 more months of war and a quarter-of-million American casualties or heaven forbid, even more?

The alternative was the bomb, first at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and Nagasaki three days later. VJ Day, celebrating the surrender of Japan, was proclaimed nine days later on August 15. The choice turned out to be nine more days vs. 18 months. Truman made the call. His approval rating at the end of World War II stood at 87 percent.

Even to this day, the majority of Americans — no lower than 53 percent at any time since 1945 — approve Truman’s decision to drop the bomb on military-industrial sites to end the war — but the collateral damage to innocent civilians was still horrific. Dropping the bomb was both a difficult decision (e.g., thousands of civilian deaths) for Truman and an easy call (e.g., saving American lives, early end of World War II) all wrapped in one.

Any Remorse?

“I have often been asked if I had any remorse for what we did in 1945. I assure you that I have no remorse whatsoever and I will never apologize for what we did to end World War II. Humane warfare is an oxymoron. War by definition is barbaric. To try and distinguish between an acceptable method of killing and an unacceptable method is ludicrous.” — The only crew member (radar specialist) to fly both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki missions, Jacob Beser

There is zero doubt the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan ushered in the nuclear age, and with it the specter of nuclear annihilation on a savage global scale. According to the Arms Control Association (ACA), there were an estimated 14,000 nuclear warheads on the planet at the end of 2019, the majority held by Russia (6,490) and the United States (6,185). The concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) has kept these warheads in their silos, even when relations between the Americans and Russians became downright frosty.

Allied intelligence knew that Hitler was working on an atomic bomb (confirmed by armaments minister Albert Speer in his two books about the war). The Wallace/Weiss Countdown 1945 states that industrial espionage about the Manhattan Project was provided to Stalin by theoretical physicist and Soviet spy, Klaus Fuchs.

At some point in time other nations were going to inevitably discover the secrets of the atomic bomb, and potentially use them. The United States has that single distinction of twice employing nuclear weapons.

The intense debate over the use of the atomic bomb will undoubtedly resurrect itself with the coming 75th anniversary of Hiroshima. In this super politically charged environment, the strife over Hiroshima and Nagasaki has the potential to further divide us … if that is even possible.

Almost DailyBrett acknowledges that upwards to 226,000 were killed in the two atomic bomb attacks. Your author also knows that a quarter of million of Americans would have succumbed if the war continued for another 18 months (or longer) with the two planned invasions of Japan’s home islands.

We should also keep in mind that without Pearl Harbor, the names Hiroshima and Nagasaki would not be etched in history.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/stories-of-those-who-built-the-bomb-those-who-used-it-and-those-who-survived-it/2020/06/11/45ca237e-a5e4-11ea-b619-3f9133bbb482_story.html

https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/06/28/mob-rules-misogyny-reigns/

 

Back in the 1980s and into 1990s, Almost DailyBrett drove a sleek and sexy BMW 635csi.

She was beautiful. She was well-designed. She was high maintenance. It cost a fortune to take her out to dinner.

That was then, this is now.

Today Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) at $185 billion and counting has a higher market cap — stock price x number of shares — than the three legendary German auto designers/manufacturers combined (i.e., BMW. Daimler AG, Volkswagen) at $151 billion.

How can that be?

The time-tested names Bayerische Motoren Werke (1916),  Daimler (1926), and Volkswagen (1937) are legendary and enduring symbols of German engineering. Having acknowledged this undeniable fact and provided the totally justified praise, one still must ask: Do these companies and their respective stock prices point to the past or to the future?

After all a company’s stock price is a forward — rather than a — lagging indicator. Right?

Visiting the BMW Museum and BMW World in München in 2017, your author was impressed by the company’s century-long achievements when it came to the design of internal combustion engine automobiles and motorcycles. Having said that, the story fell off — literally the wheels came off — when it comes to electric vehicles (EV). The BMW offering is an ugly duckling.

Is this Bavarian econo-box with an electric charger, “The Ultimate Driving Machine?” Seriously?

Do you think that Elon Musk is quivering in his boots? The BMW i3 EV box looks like … a Chevy Volt or a Nissan Leaf. Are those auto also-rans now competitors to BMW?

Considering that BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen — let alone long-time American and Japanese competitors — have been making gas powered vehicles for decades, do they really want to cannibalize their existing businesses? Are their collective hearts really into no gasoline, no emission, clean and environmentally responsible EVs?

The answer may be found in their ugly EVs. Can you see the difference between the sleek lines of the 20th Century BMW 635 csi and the boxy contours of the 21st Century BMW i3 EV? Did the same company design these vehicles?

What happened? Why is BMW going backward?

Tesla Is A Pure Play

Before going further, Almost DailyBrett must provide a consumer warning after buying and selling Tesla stock five times before, making a nice profit four times. Your author owns a handful of TSLA shares now as he writes this submission.

Musk will never be hampered with the concern about competing against his own business. Tesla designs and manufactures EVs, ion lithium batteries and related software. Does the South Africa Wunderkind have a singleness of purpose? Of course not, he also guides privately held SpaceX in his spare time as the company propelled Americans into space for the first time since 1998.

As $400 million net worth Mr. Wonderful investor Kevin O’Leary recently said, Tesla is the way that investors can participate in the SpaceX story. Tesla is four figures expensive and has an astronomical 89 times forward earnings P/E ratio (stock price/forward annualized earnings per share). Shareholders need to watch this volatile stock carefully and take Maalox on the side.

For the time being, TSLA is a trading stock not a long-term buy and hold.

Now that the requisite investor warning has been issued, it’s perfectly acceptable to be dazzled by the beauty of Tesla’s sexy cars. In an absolute marketing coup, Musk showed off Tesla’s truck, semi and most of all its sexy lineup of cars — Model S sedan, MSRP $74,990, Model 3 sedan, $37,990 and Model X SUV, $79,990 — to car aficionado former Tonight Show host/comedian Jay Leno.

“Jay Leno’s Garage” is a prime-time show, following “Shark Tank,” on Wall Street on steroids network, CNBC. One can only imagine the average wealth of “Garage” and “Tank” viewers. Heck, Musk and Leno even showed off the Tesla roadster, which will only set you back about $200,000.

Is it time for Almost DailyBrett to trade in his Miata roadster? Don’t think so.

When it comes to Tesla, the company is pointed toward a no-combustion engine, no gas-guzzling and no emissions-into-the-atmosphere future.

While other companies are kicking and screaming as they are being dragged along to the electric vehicle horizon, Tesla is the pioneer, best in breed and No. 1 EV and ion lithium battery innovator all rolled into one.

Is TSLA a cult stock, based upon the Steve Jobs-type innovation of Elon Musk? Yes.

Is that a good enough reason, not to buy the stock? Does sex sell?

https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/DAX:IND/members

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/every-electric-car-ev-range-audi-chevy-tesla/

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/wealth-management/112315/net-worth-shark-tank-cast.asp#2-kevin-oleary

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not This “Particular Woman”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940. And the (French) general calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says, ‘How can it be?’ “You got the greatest army in Europe.’ ‘How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over.'” — MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews analyzing the impact of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders overwhelming win of the Nevada Democratic Caucus

“Never thought part of my job would be pleading with a national news network to stop likening the campaign of a Jewish presidential candidate whose family was wiped out by the Nazis to the Third Reich, but here we are.” — Tweet from Sanders campaign spokesman, Mike Casca

Historical comparisons to Adolf Hitler, the Nazis and the Holocaust with today’s American politics are inevitably inaccurate and worse, they come across as trivializing the genocide against 6 million Jews.

The reaction to these clumsy analogies will always be sharp, misunderstood and hurtful, especially candidates who are indeed, Jewish (e.g., Bernie Sanders). Matthews responded correctly to the outcry and calls for his resignation by apologizing and saluting Sanders for his victory.

As a longtime political counselor and message developer, Almost DailyBrett will always advise when it comes to bringing up images of the Third Reich … don’t go there.

Agree, Chris Matthews?

Watching and re-watching the host of MSNBC’s Hardball  commentary about Bernie’s electoral surge with colleague, Brian Willams, Matthews inexplicably compared Sanders win in the Nevada Caucuses with Hitler’s Panzers conquering France in 1940.

Why … oh why … oh why.

Almost DailyBrett is a huge fan of Matthews’ 2013 book, “Tip and The Gipper, When Politics Worked,” a wonderful reminder of the 1980s when civility actually reigned in Washington, D.C. and divided government — Ronald Reagan as president and Tip O’Neill as the house speaker — actually produced compromises and meaningful legislation.

Even though Almost DailyBrett does not concur with Matthews’ philosophy or the politics espoused daily by MSNBC, he deserves a second chance. Matthews made a mistake. Who hasn’t?

It’s time to move on.

Social Media Concentration Camp/Holocaust Comparisons

Everyone left and right should stay away from Nazi analogies..” — Long time Washington Post, CNN, Fox News media commentator Howard Kurtz

Starting in 2015, your author noted repeated social media associations, comparing the worst man whoever walked the planet, Adolf Hitler, with Donald Trump. And now, memories of Nazi Blitzkrieg is being brought into the public arena in the context of … Bernie Sanders.

Wonder if any of these digital rocket scientists have ever read William L. Shirer’s Pulitizer Prize winning book, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?” Doubt it.

Fast forward to today, Almost DailyBrett is doubting whether these social media historians actually know the difference between die Wehrmacht and die Bundeswehr.

The unfortunate images of cages at the U.S. border are not the same as Auschwitz. Please, don’t even try to make these inappropriate comparisons. These sorry references say more about the state of mind of the sender than it does the political target. Digital is eternal.

The revulsion against Adolf Hitler has actually increased with time, not receded. If you are going to make any type of comparison to Hitler, his Bunker cronies, Nazi Germany’s armed forces, please understand these references are becoming more — not less — radioactive with the passage of time.

Rightfully, Jewish organizations and those who lost ancestors to the Holocaust (e.g., Sanders’ family) will never equate today’s politics in a stable democracy with the hateful actions of the worst dictatorship in the history of the world.

After a lengthy summation of the impact of Bernie Sanders’ Nevada victory on the state of affairs of the Democratic Party, Matthews inexplicably weaved his reading about the 1940 Nazi conquest of France into the televised discussion.

Why his red lights in his own mind didn’t flash, putting the mental brakes on inserting Nazi Germany into the analysis, is a question that does not have a ready answer.

Instead, this unfortunate case should be a lesson to all of us.

Regardless of conventional or digital format, none of us should raise the specter of Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany, Blitzkrieg and the images of the Holocaust into any and all discussions about American Politics.

Just say nein!

Verstehen Sie?

https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/chris-matthews-bernie-sanders-022024087.html

https://nypost.com/2020/02/24/chris-matthews-apologizes-for-comparing-bernie-sanders-win-to-nazi-invasion-of-france/

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6135518724001#sp=show-clips

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/already-comparing-america-to-nazi-germany/

“Bigger, tougher, stronger, faster and meaner than Barney.” — Vladimir Putin bragging about his female black lab, “Koni,” compared to George W. Bush’s Scottish terrier

“You’re lucky he (Putin) only showed you his dog.” — Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Barney at the White House.

What happens when you cross unrestrained pulsating testosterone with canine comparison, when it comes to global superpower leaders?

Are those fighting words? Can a thermonuclear exchange be far behind?

According to the old adage: ‘You can take Vladimir Putin out of the KGB, but you can’t take the KGB out of Putin.’

The same seems to be true when it comes to employing big powerful dogs as a metaphor for a present day Russia, once again flexing its muscles.

When it was time for a summit between Putin and German Kanzerlin Angela Merkel, Koni made an unscripted cameo appearance. It’s well known that she suffers from cynophobia or a serious fear of dogs. Putin pretended not to know and offered his “dearest” apologies, but Merkel wasn’t accepting his contrition or buying his explanation.

“I understand why he has to do this — to prove he’s a man. He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.” — Merkel responding to Koni’s entrance at their 2007 summit in Sochi, Russia.

Both Barney (2001-2013) and Koni (Кони) (1999-2014) achieved doggie immortality, serving as first pets to the heads of states of the United States of America and Russia respectively.

Almost DailyBrett must pause here and rhetorically ask: ‘Does size really matter?

One Nation Under Dogs

“If you need a friend in Washington, D.C.,  get a dog.” — Former President Harry S. Truman.

Every president gets pilloried every nanosecond by political enemies, questioned by the punditocracy, psycho-analyzed by the media, and made the butt of jokes by late-night TV comedians. Regardless of the thickness of skin there has to come a time for any chief executive, when too much is too much. That’s where Truman’s friend comes into play.

There was a particular time when former President Bill Clinton really needed a “Buddy,”an unquestioning through thick-and-thin chocolate lab. The thin came with an intern named … Monica … in 1998.

Sadly, Buddy was only a short-part of presidential or canine history, born in 1997 and buying the kennel in 2002.

Many are fixated on the prospect of Yuletide impeachment. Your author is more concerned with the fact that Donald Trump is the first president in more than a century without the companionship of … man’s best friend.

“How does the president not have a dog? He’s the first president in 120 years that does not have a dog in the White House.” — Presidential scholar Barbra Streisand

“I wouldn’t mind having one honestly, but I don’t have any time. How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?” — President Donald Trump

Your author contends that Putin would not give a shekel about Trump walking a dog on the White House lawn. Instead, he would zero-in with a laser-like focus on what canine breed was parading beside the leader of the free world. If the First Canine didn’t measure up, there would be predictable Putin judgment and scorn.

Presidential Poop Scooping?

For the record Putin has four dogs — Pasha, Verni, Yume, Buffy — presumably each a large canine strutting and projecting power and strength. Seems that a Scottie dog would not make the cut with the leader of the Rodina.

Maybe Trump does not want to engage in a doggy-dog fight with Putin?

And for all superpower leaders, there comes a time when the vestiges of power inevitably expire. What comes next?

Just ask former President George W. Bush.

“Shortly after we moved to Dallas, I took Barney for an early-morning walk around the neighborhood. I hadn’t done anything like that in more than a decade. … Barney spotted our neighbor’s lawn, where he promptly took care of his business. There I was, the former president of the United States, with a plastic bag on my hand, picking up that which I had been dodging for the past eight years.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/canine-corner/201302/the-passing-barney-bush-first-dog

https://www.economist.com/united-states/2019/11/23/americas-extreme-obsession-with-dogs-and-what-it-means

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/12/trump-first-president-century-with-no-dog-explains-why-i-dont-have-any-time/

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/putins-pooch-und-merkels-dog-o-phobia/

 

 

 

 

 

“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/

During the course of your author’s life there have been four seminal events, each prompting the question: ‘Where were you when you heard … ?’

For Baby Boomer Almost DailyBrett, these were the four history changing news stories of a lifetime: JFK’s assassination (1963), Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon (1969), the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the September 11 attacks (2001).

Ironically, it was a fatal PR mistake 30 years ago that triggered the final inevitable fall of the Wall, and with it the ultimate demise of Soviet Union-style Communism.

East Germany’s Günter Schabowski was tasked with announcing the planned travel policy easing of the so-called German Democratic Republic’s (Deutsche Demokratische Republik or DDR). When he was asked if the changes applied immediately … his assumed “as far as I know” response without reading the policy paper …  was affirmative.

Unintentionally he ignited the storming of the DDR’s borders, and most of all the toppling of the Berlin Wall.

Today ein Stück der Mauer prominently sits beside the elbow of your author, accompanying the futile search for the appropriate English words to recapture the global significance of this epochal event.

Tomorrow will mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the monstrous Berlin Wall (1961-1989), leading directly to the reunification of Germany and the end of the Communist menace in Russia and Eastern Europe. The world is a safer place as result of overjoyed Ossies walking and driving with their sputtering Trabants  across East Germany’s borders to freedom, one of them being a woman by the name of … Angela Merkel.

She started the evening consuming a beer in a sauna east of the wall, and ended the evening drinking a celebratory brew from a bottle with a label she had never seen before on the west side of the wall. Today, she is the Chancellor of the reunified (Wiedervereinigung) Federal Republic of Germany.

Giving Proper Credit For The End Of Communism

“Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” — President Ronald Reagan speaking before the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall

If you ever travel to Berlin to touch the remaining stretches of the Berlin Wall, be sure to take the time to check out The Checkpoint Charlie Museum. The visitor can stand without fear on the very spot on the Friedrichstrasse in which American and Soviet tanks went eyeball to eyeball with each other. A critical miscalculation could have triggered a nuclear World War III.

Former Wall Street Journal Berlin bureau chief Frederick Kempe’s “Berlin 1961, Kennedy, Khrushchev And The Most Dangerous Place On Earth” vividly recounts the tension of the superpower standoff. The museum also recounts these days, and the ingenious plots to escape East Germany and its hideous wall.

A separate wing of the museum is devoted to Reagan, his Tear Down This Wall speech on continuous loop, and his pivotal role in ending the Cold War.

And yet there is a debate to this day about who should take the lion’s share of the credit for putting together the plan, which led to the demise of the wall and the end of Communism.

The names in alphabetical order of Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, Pope Paul II and Margaret Thatcher all played a role in this transformation, and each should take a bow.

For Almost DailyBrett and those who despise historical revisionism for purely political purposes, Ronald Reagan will always take center stage in the eyes of history. He rejected detente or merely accepting Communist domination from Berlin to Vladivostok. Instead his policy was simple: “We win, they lose.”

The USSR lost.

Another winner was Chancellor Helmut Kohl (1930-2017), who skillfully linked and achieved feared German reunification with the success of the European Union.  “German and European Unification are two sides of the same coin.” („Deutsche und europäische Einigung sind zwei Seiten einer Medaille.“)

Today, Germany along with France are the de-facto leaders of Europe … regardless of when Britain leaves the EU. Germany has acknowledged, addressed and atoned its dark past (Vergangenheitsbewältigung), particularly the 12 horrid years of Hitler, the Nazis and the Holocaust.

“The thought that a great nation (Germany) that had run amok should repent its crimes to the world. What other country has ever done such as thing?” — The character “Ed” quoting himself in John le Carré’s Agent Running in the Field

And “Ed” speaking about yesterday leading to today:

“Germany was the cat’s whiskers. It’s citizens were simply the best Europeans ever. No other nation holds a candle to Germans, not when it comes to understanding what the European union is all about.”

Naturally, the point of emphasis is made by literary master John le Carré.

And it all started The Night The Wall Came Tumbling Down.

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

https://www.forbes.com/profile/angela-merkel/#71bd54c022dd

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/morning-in-germany/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/cool-calm-and-collected-germany/

“To liberals, the US is not good enough for the world. To conservatives, the world is not good enough for the US.” — Pulitzer Winning Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018)

My dear wife Jeanne and your author walked 125 miles, an average of 6.8 miles per day, during the course of 20 August vacation days, spanning three European nations: Austria, France and Germany.

We even dared visit  Paris in Verboten August, and were greeted by beautiful weather, easy access to restaurants and virtually no lines for Versailles and The Louvre. Wasn’t anything and everything supposed to be closed for vacation?

One never missed the living Renoir-style impressionism of the sidewalk cafes in France and the beer gardens in Austria and Germany, and could easily come away with the conclusion that all Europeans are happy, content and satisfied.

Touring the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, visitors are easily impressed with the union of 28 countries, speaking 24 separate languages, and serving as the home of 512 million people working together — sometimes in harmony — as members of the European Union (EU). Europe for the most part recorded almost 75 years of sustained peace since the establishment of the EU, rather than being at each other’s collective throats.

And yet there are storm clouds that won’t go away easily, namely Brexit.

A plethora of higher moral ground activists point to Denmark, Norway and Sweden as “happy little” royal countries. They rhetorically pose: ‘Why couldn’t the US be more like them?’ Almost DailyBrett must reply: We rebelled against monarchy (telling King George III where to put his royal scepter), so why wouldn’t we automatically reject monarchy, even constitutional monarchy?

If the expressed goal is true socialist justice, then how can one accept all the state-sponsored extravagance being bestowed upon the ultimate winners of a biological lottery, those born into a royal family? Versailles in France and Neuschwanstein in Germany are vivid examples of monarchial excesses, which ended with the King Louis XVI being guillotined and Mad King Ludwig II mysteriously drowning.

And yet dynastic monarchy is still being practiced in the three aforementioned Scandinavian countries, plus Belgium, Netherlands, Spain and of course, the United Kingdom. If the social justice types complain bitterly about the top 1 percent in America, how can they tolerate the birth-right exclusive … 0.000000000001 percent … in Europe?

Certainly, America has its own issues particularly when it comes to personal health, namely obesity, Diabetes, Opioids and more. Does that mean the vast majority of Europeans are better when it comes to waistlines and personal health? For the most part the answer is, yes.

However, the collective European commitment to the environment and public health abruptly ends with smoking. The deadly habit and its directly related second-hand smoke is right beside you in Europe, literally everywhere.

The warnings on packs of smokes are not mushy as is custom in the states. Even a non-German speaker can easily understand Rauchen kann ist tödlich sein (e.g., Smoking can be deadly), and still one can easily conclude the filthy practice is alive and dead on the European continent (some reportedly inhale to stay skinny). Most likely, they will have beautiful corpses.

Visiting Strasbourg in Alsace Lorraine in France and Baden-Baden in Germany’s Baden Württemberg, it’s easy to reflect on how many times these French-German towns have traded management teams at the point of the bayonet, particularly the former. The Germans took control in 1871, the French took it back in 1918, the Germans again in 1940 and then the French in 1944.

Is there any place in America that has been the subject of that many repeated wars in the 150 years? The answer is an obvious, no.

Let’s face it, a huge reason why Europe has remained peaceful for the past three generations has been the continued placement of U.S. troops and weapons systems in Western Europe during and after the Cold War. Europeans should write thank you notes to US taxpayers. Time for Europe to pay up in the form of their required 2 percent annual GDP equivalents to fund the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, otherwise known by the acronym, NATO

The French in particular were notorious (read: Charles De Gaulle) for not acknowledging our leadership in the liberation of France. Thankfully, French President Emmanuel Macron, gladly speaking English, has pointed to the countless U.S. GI graves in Normandy and recognized our role.

Sorry to say, Denmark did not liberate France and end Nazi and Communist tyranny in Europe. It was the United States in the forefront … of course.

Some complain about the presence of US corporate logos all over Europe, particularly Starbucks, McDonald’s, Apple, KFC, Amazon, Nike etc. The same concentration of European brands is not seen (exception: legendary German cars … BMW, Daimler, Audi, Porsche) other than French cosmetics and Spain’s Zara.

Let’s face it, there is no Silicon Valley in Europe and the entrepreneurial venture capital culture is not the same, maybe with the exception of Germany’s business software provider, SAP or Systemen, Anwedungen und Programmen (Systems, Applications and Programs).

According to The Economist, America’s top five companies in market capitalization (stock prices x number of shares) are technology firms with an abundant focus on services provided. Together, they average 30-years of age, generate $4.3 trillion investor capital and trade at 35 times last year’s earnings.

Conversely, Europe’s top firms are goods-oriented were founded a century ago (i.e., Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever). Collectively, they are worth less than $1 trillion (Microsoft alone is larger) and trade at 23 times last year bottom lines. When it comes to “unicorns” or innovative privately held start-ups, think USA not Europe.

In terms of market performance you can’t beat America’s NYSE and the NASDAQ … sorry Britain’s “Footsie,”France’s CAC-40 and Germany’s DAX. And if you want to tie up your disposable investment income for 10 years in government bonds, which guarantee a certain loss … Europe (e.g., 10-year BUND) is at your beckon call.

Buy high and sell low?

Having traveled to Europe four times in the last five years for holiday, and many times before for business and pleasure (no one goes to Brussels for kicks), Almost DailyBrett qualifies as a spirited Europhile. Having said that, your author is a proud American.

Denmark may be happy. Good for the Danes and their lovely harbor mermaid.

When it comes to changing the world for the better, there is no contest. Europe en-masse cannot compete against the U.S. when it comes to being truly exceptional. This reality may drive certain elitists crazy, but your author has to call ’em as he sees ’em.

https://beta.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/charles-krauthammer-pulitzer-prize-winning-columnist-and-intellectual-provocateur-dies-at-68/2018/06/21/b71ee41a-759e-11e8-b4b7-308400242c2e_story.html

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/g12797004/current-monarchy-countries-in-the-world-list/

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/travel-guide/g19733989/happiest-countries-in-the-world-2018/

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2019/09/12/the-economic-policy-at-the-heart-of-europe-is-creaking

 

 

 

Has the global image of Germany changed for the better?

Is the Feminization of the Fatherland, complete?

Has the nation’s brand been revitalized through softening?

And is Germany’s image stronger as a result?

Consider the remarkable optics of new Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer sitting with incoming European Union President Ursula von der Leyen and Kanzlerin Angela Merkel. The modern image of Deutschland above may indeed constitute the pinnacle of Germany’s 1945-2019 Public Relations Miracle (Öffentlichkeitsarbeirtswunder). 

These three Frauen hail from Germany’s moderate-conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) with its strong emphasis on free market capitalism and memberships in the European Union (EU) and NATO.

Compare the perception of these women, leading today’s Germany with three muscular populists in America, Britain and Russia with Messrs. Boris, Donald and Vladimir.

Which image inspires stability, confidence and security and which precipitates concern and worry?

Is Almost DailyBrett openly suggesting that a nation’s brand is benefited by simply putting women in charge?

Your author mentioned on more than one occasion that he is proud that his lifelong voting record is and will always be Clinton-free, both Bill and Hillary.

America’s Mother in Law Hillary will never be favorably compared with Germany’s “Mutti” (Angela Merkel).

Britain’s “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher certainly did not soften the U.K.’s brand in the 1970s/1980s, but she was the right woman at the right time.

Thatcher was not warm and fuzzy, and certainly recorded low scores on the “likeable” scale. The “likeable” question was posed with Hillary candidacies, and now with Elizabeth Warren. Drinking a beer on a poorly shot video probably will not solve this issue.

In contrast Angela Merkel in her portrayal as a solid reassuring leader, ran a re-election campaign based upon the concept of Germany safely in “Mutti’s” hands.

Does Image Softening Lead To Brand Weakening?

Some may be tempted to equate feminization and softening with brand weakness. Almost DailyBrett couldn’t disagree more.

Angela Merkel has learned and demonstrated her ability to parry the rhetorical thrusts of über competitive males, particularly Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and soon Brexiteer Boris Johnson. Far friendlier are her relations with France’s ambitious Emmanuel Macron, who is attempting to pull France even with Germany when it comes to the European Union’s governing duopoly.

Is there a nation on this planet that has placed its national defense of not just one talented woman, but two? Before leaving for her new post as president of the European Union, Ursula von der Leyen served as Germany’s Verteidigungsministerin (defense minister). Her successor? The aforementioned CDU party leader and heir-apparent to Angela Merkel as Chancellor, Annegret Karrenbauer-Kramp.

The images of these two women reviewing a military honor guard are striking, coupled with the knowledge that Germany’s Sicherheit is as certain as ever.

As discussed by Almost DailyBrett, a nation can demonstrate “hard power” by the traditional means of its economy and military. Germany’s 4th largest GDP of $4.14 trillion and its greatly reduced military for obvious reasons, still matter.

Germany’s “soft power” represents the projection of a country’s culture, language and elements in demand by all countries (e.g., image, success, brand names). For Germany, these elements include its engineering prowess, four World Cup wins in Fussball, and legendary names such as Daimler Benz, BMW, Siemens and Bayer.

Can the Feminization of the Fatherland also be included in the elements of Germany’s soft power? There is zero doubt the presence of confident, measured, competent and talented women at the helm of its leadership represents a new way to approach the German brand and image.

What can other nations learn from Germany’s softening and strengthened global brand?

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/feminizing-the-fatherland/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/morning-in-germany/

https://countryeconomy.com/gdp/germany

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/does-the-usa-need-its-own-soft-power-goethe-institut/

 

 

 

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 or 2.5 percent of California’s American resident population outflow in 10 years ending in 2016), accelerating the growing Golden State 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/

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