Category: Lifestyle


“We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.” – Chelsea Clinton responding to vile remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota)

“I’m so sorry that you feel that way. Certainly, it was never my intention. I do believe words matter. I believe we have to show solidarity.” – Chelsea Clinton apologizing to NYU students

There is a time-and-place for everything, including offering first-ever sympathy to a member of the privileged Clinton family.

There are some misguided souls who contend the First Daughter stepped in rhetorical excrement, when she dared to voice disapproval of Rep Omar’s anti-Semitic remarks.

When Chelsea subsequently went to a NYU commemoration service for the 50+ fatalities of the Christchurch mosque shootings, she was quickly disinvited by moral high-ground students.

These rocket scientists suggested that Chelsea with her condemnation of anti-Semitism actually aided-and-abetted the New Zealand mosque massacres by some crazy from Australia.

What?

Almost DailyBrett is missing the “logical” connection between Chelsea’s appropriate remarks against anti-Semitism and their supposed inducement of hate crimes directed at mosques on the other side of the planet. Maybe someone can explain the cause and effect … or maybe not.

Chelsea subsequently apologized for standing up for the long-oppressed-and-persecuted Jewish community, and having the courage to condemn Rep. Omar’s repeated anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile over at CNN, Democratic political strategist Paul Begala labeled President Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his converted-to-Judaism First Daughter, Ivanka, as “cockroaches.”

Reminds this author of Rev. Louis Farrakhan’s remarks, stating he was not anti-Semitic, but “anti-Termite.” Almost DailyBrett fully expects Begala to have both wrists slapped with a follow-up pat on the posterior by the anti-Trump hierarchy at CNN.

In direct contrast to Chelsea, Begala did not and most likely will never apologize for his cockroaches’ remark and will live to offend another day.

By defending Chelsea in this case Almost DailyBrett is proclaiming here and now, he is not going soft on the Clintons. Your author has a proud perfect record of voting against the Clintons: Bill in both 1992 and 1996, and Hillary in 2016.

If Chelsea runs for president as your author predicted in 2016, she will not want to be seen in any way, shape or form as being anti-Muslim by standing up against those who resort to anti-Semitism … thus the apology.

This blog has also taken issue with the outrageous $600,000 payments by Brian Williams’ NBC News for four “reports” produced by the First Daughter, even without the benefit of a Journalism degree or past experience in the field.

America’s “Cultural Revolution”?

“The air is full of accusation and humiliation. We have seen this spirit most famously on the campuses, where students protest harshly, sometimes violently, views they wish to suppress.” – WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan

Taking care not to be overly dramatic in her words, Noonan made comparisons to China’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960s/1970s in which Chairman Mao called upon China’s university students to weed out the nation’s intelligentsia, particularly those who were deemed to be not following the party line.

Is the same occurring on America’s college campuses, particularly those Hollywood-and-hedge fund manager types (e.g., Lori Loughlin of “Full House”) conspired to gain unjustified admission for their party-hard offspring?

Chairman Mao used students as the “Red Guards” to police and ultimately silence anybody not following the collectivist agenda.

In direct comparison, American universities have a record of disinviting accomplished women such as International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde (Smith College), former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (Rutgers University), and now Chelsea (NYU).

Are these students exhibiting misogyny and maybe in one case, demonstrating racism, or do social justice progressive principles negate any concerns that apply to sexism, racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism?

Do these students have any concerns about anti-Semitism?

CNN doesn’t seem to care, so why should these elite-university students?

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/video/cnns-paul-begala-criticized-for-comparing-ivanka-trump-jared-kushner-to-cockroaches/vp-BBUMrRn

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny-news-lori-loughlin-hires-ex-enron-prosecutor-20190318-story.html

http://www.peggynoonan.com/get-ready-for-the-struggle-session/

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/cnn-paul-begala-slammed-for-referring-to-ivanka-trump-jared-kushner-as-cockroaches

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/chelseas-nbc-600k-tv-gig-and-aspiring-journalists/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/chelseas-presidency/

“Viewed by some as a nation of square-jawed robots whose language sounds like something awful in the drains, whose cars outperform all others and whose football team seldom loses, the Germans seem unassailable.” – Xenophobe’s Guide to the Germans

How does Almost DailyBrett square the ingrained stereotype of the industrious unsmiling Germans with the idea of München with its famous umlaut being a romantic venue for newlyweds?

My beautiful Fraulein Jeanne — now lovely Frau Jeanne — was more than curious, if not downright skeptical — when she first heard your author’s suggestion about beginning our August 2015 honeymoon in München or how the Yanks spell it, Munich.

Besides the romance of summertime beer gardens, wine bars, outdoor markets, jaw-dropping churches, great shopping and Medieval cobble-stone streets, München is perfectly located in the geographical center of Europe.

Why is that important? Jeanne also wanted to visit artistic Florence, Italy for a week as part of our honeymoon. Kein Problem.

Germany is indeed das Land in der Mitte (or the country in the middle of Europe), and München is a great place to have a Wunderbare time in Germany.

Consider the difference between fun-loving Bavarians in the south, and the image of goose-stepping, monocle-sporting Prussians to the north.

Bavaria with its story-book fairy-tale towns (e.g., Rothenburg ob der Tauber), its snow-capped majestic Alps, Mad King Ludwig’s castles and traditional folk in lederhosen and dirndls is very familiar to most Americans.

There was also the lure of Neuschwanstein (Disneyphiles instinctively know this castle), which was a must see for our Honeymoon. Mad King Ludwig’s most famous of his four castles belongs on anyone’s Bucket List.

The Best European Point of Entry

There are very few words in the English language more frightening than … Heathrow.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

London Heathrow airport code (LHR) ranks up there with Chicago’s O’Hare (ORD) or New York’s Kennedy (JFK) as the most desultory, frustrating and disorganized airports in the world.

When you land at Heathrow, nine times out of 10 there is no jetway. Instead, you walk down the stairs to a waiting bus to take you across the tarmac to the terminal … and then up another flight of stairs to baggage reclaim, customs and the transit hall.

Travelers to Europe have alternatives for the continent’s initial point of entry: Frankfurt (FRA) or Paris (CDG) with their own individual horror stories.

Just as important, if one pulls out a map of Europe, München lies right smack dab in the middle.

Instead of flying to jammed Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle or Frankfurt, ultra-modern Munich (MUC) offers immediate air transfer or high-speed rail connections to all points on the continent, and quick and efficient subway ties to downtown München.

One can arrive at the MUC airport and literallybe  drinking beer at the Augustiner Keller (founded by the Augustinian monks in 1328) in downtown München one hour later. Trust Almost DailyBrett: It can be much Wurst, arriving and enduring other airports.

An American traveler may be inclined to make the obvious observation that English is spoken at London’s Heathrow or Gatwick. The argument: Why not start a honeymoon or any vacation in Europe at a venue that speaks your own language, English, the world’s Lingua Franca?

Many make this choice, and who can blame them? Almost DailyBrett, an admitted Germanophile with nearly 10 visits (lost count) to München for business and holiday, urges travelers to live a little and experience different cultures and languages. Even though English and German are related Germanic languages with about 25 percent of their combined vocabularies serving as cognates, Deutsch is totally different and distinct with its own (cringe) difficult grammar rules.

Keep in mind that English is compulsory in the German schools. With few exceptions they can speak your language, but can you speak any German? Knowing a few German words and even trying to speak their language — before asking them if they speak English — is more times than naught appreciated in München and other towns in Germany.

Will you make mistakes with the language? Natürlich.

For Jeanne and yours truly our honeymoon consisted of two languages and cultures: Bavarian dialect German (e.g., Grüss Gott instead of Guten Tag for the standard greeting) and Italian in Firenze.

We learned when it was time to ask for the check at a restaurant, it was die Rechnung bitte in Germany and il Konto prego in Italy.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with honeymooning in traditional tropical venues such as Hawaii, Mexico or the Caribbean.

However, if a loving newlywed couple is seeking a non-traditional venue to celebrate a marriage and to explore the best of storybook Europe, München is a great launching (and ending) point.

Almost DailyBrett note: Jeanne and your author are heading off for our fourth trip to Europe as a couple this summer including Paris and Salzburg. And our point of entry to the continent: München!

 

“For the American generation which has grown up since the downfall of the USSR, socialism is no longer the boo word it once was.” The Economist, Feb. 16, 2019

The youngest of all Millennials were gestating in 1980.

Reagan called upon Gorbachev to “Tear Down This Wall” in 1987.

The Berlin Wall came tumbling down in 1989.

The Soviet Union collapsed under its sheer weight in 1991.

The last of the Millennials arrived in the millennial year, 2000.

The largely overlooked question: How many Millennials personally remember the USSR?

Alas, the answer is very, very few.

Only the oldest Millennials may have any memory of the Wall coming down when they were nine or the Soviet Union imploding without a shot being fired when they were 11.

For the vast majority of Millennials including all of the younger members of the Y-Generation, none of them remember the USSR and most of all, its authoritarian brand (being charitable) of socialism/communism.

To top it off, they are thus easily impressionable for exploitation by politicians, entertainers and academics who absolutely adore all things Karl Marx including some wearing red star hats and sporting Che Guevara t-shirts and posters.

Instead of “We the people” and liberty, it’s “Dictatorship of the Proletariat.”

When someone says government can provide a whole cavalcade of goodies – government-paid health insurance, college, jobs — for free, including Universal Basic Income (UBI) for those “unwilling” to work … don’t you just know there will be Big Brother Orwellian strings attached?

Back From The USSR

“I’m back in the U.S.S.R.
You don’t know how lucky you are boy
Back in the U.S.S.R. (Yeah)”
– Lennon (Not Lenin) & McCartney

For Almost DailyBrett, a 1981 two-week trip to Leonid Brezhnev’s “Evil Empire” was an eye-opening, life-changing journey.

Kevin in Moscow – 1981

The flood-lit Wunder of Red Square (Красная площадь) in Moscow, the Swan Lake performance of the Bolshoi, the splendor of the Czar’s winter and summer palaces in St. Petersburg (Leningrad at the time) are all must see for any student of history and politics, let alone art.

Your author has placed a return-venture to modern-day Russia on his Bucket List, particularly what has changed and unfortunately what has remained the same (tyranny).

It’s safe to say that Russia has transformed itself after attempted Glasnost and Perestroika into an authoritarian oligarchical capitalist state with widespread corruption.

You can take the Vladimir Putin out of the KGB, but you can’t the KGB out of Vladimir Putin.

Looking back to your author’s trip to the Soviet Union, there were the wonders of Russia. There was also the socialist/communist police state reality of the USSR.

There were the jammed horrible motor coaches,

There were the lines for food and the basics of life.

There were well-stocked Beriozka or “little birch” stores, which accepted all currencies except for Russian rubles. It must suck to be you, Ivan and Tanya.

There were the tiny little cars with lawn-mower engines for the fortunate few (10 years wait), while Zil limousines carried Communist big shots to their exclusive dachas.

The Most Equal Of The Equals

“In an ideal socialist society, “the people” own the means of production. Everyone’s basic needs are met. Leaders are elected democratically. When implemented, however, human nature intervenes. Powerful elites take charge.” – Alex Berezow. USA Today Board of Contributors

Bummer.

There is so much discussion about the haves and the have-nots of American society.

There are cries for social justice: Translated some all-powerful state entity must level the playing field.

The question, which remains: Did socialist/communist USSR really even the score for everyone?

Whattya think AOC? How’s Venezuela working out? Is history repeating itself?

Even more to the point: Do Millennials in their lack of deep direct knowledge/remembrance of the USSR appreciate the stark dark truth of government provided socialism?

Karl Marx may be turning over in his grave but sorry to say, his idea did not work, and will not work regardless of the nation. Too many people want to achieve, and to do better for themselves and their families.

And yet there is hope for Millennials, and proof that many have not consumed the red cool aid.

It’s called Buy Low Sell High, and that beautifully simple concept applies to Millennials too.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/02/14/millennial-socialism

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2019/02/14/millennial-socialists-want-to-shake-up-the-economy-and-save-the-climate

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/02/21/cnn-thinks-socialism-cool-my-grandparents-ussr-would-disagree/349830002/

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/millennials-communism-sounds-pretty-chill-2017-11-01

“As for the future in Russia and what will happen there, I can’t say I’m safe. I don’t know.” – Edward Snowden, speaking via internet video last year to a crowd in Austria.

Reportedly, Snowden’s asylum status in Russia is assured until 2020, and then …?

Almost DailyBrett earlier conjectured whether Snowden would be a lowly pawn on Vladimir Putin’s chess board, ready to be traded back to the United States.

The question now must be rhetorically asked … does the US really want him back?

Given the choice of nationally televised show trial or a desultory life in exile, which is the best public relations course of action for the United States when it comes to “whistle blower” Edward Snowden?

Snowden has been Vladimir Putin’s guest since June 24, 2013, or 2,070 Moscow days and nights, if you are scoring at home. Snowden faces up to 30 years in the slam back here for two violations of the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917 … assuming he can be convicted in a court of law.

And if Snowden is actually convicted, what would be the cost in terms on the reputation and image of the United States of America? There are some who see Snowden as some kind of champion … their hero … who will openly root against the U.S. Department of Justice.

Can you think of any celebrity lawyers, who would eagerly defend Snowden in an upcoming epic made-for-television-and-social media trial under the glare of the television lights, cameras and boom microphones?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ringo H W Chiu/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9691996n)

After representing porn star Stormy Daniels, the ubiquitous Michael Avenatti … and other reptilian lawyer types just like him … presumably would have zero compunction defending leaker Snowden, maybe even on a pro bono basis.

The question, which would predictably and eventually ensue: Is Snowden on trial or the National Security Agency (NSA)?

A preview of coming attractions would be the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial in which the guilty football stud was acquitted in a court of law, and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was convicted (in the courtroom of public opinion).

Even though parallels are never perfect, the flight of another traitor to Russia, Kim Philby, brings into the discussion whether it is best of leave the housing, feeding, caring and nurturing of Snowden to warm and fuzzy Vladimir Putin?

Kim Philby Died in Russia. What Will Happen to Snowden?

“How sleepless must be Kim Philby’s nights in Moscow? … How profound he and others like him must be aware that the people they betrayed are going to be the victors in the end.” – President Ronald Reagan

British spy novelist Ben Macintyre in his 2014 best-selling “A Spy Among Friends,” provides nearly exhaustive detail of Philby’s treachery and betrayal of Mother England as he labored as a mole for Russia’s KGB for three decades … at a cost of hundreds of allied agents.

When Kilby finally confessed in his Beirut apartment in 1963, and his words were recorded by Britain’s counterespionage MI6, it seemed relatively easy for the Brits to simply arrest Philby and transport him back to London for the Mother of All Trials … and yet he was able to easily defect to Russia.

Was MI6 lame in carrying out its responsibilities or was it better … for Philby to simply escape into the outstretched arms of the KGB? Philby lived out the rest of his days — even though he once tried to slash his wrists — in numbing exile in Communist Russia until he passed away in 1988 at the age of 76.

Did the Brits suspect that transferring Philby back to London would result in embarrassing courtroom proceedings in which MI6 would also be on trial? Maybe it would be less painful, if the Soviet Union used Philby for propaganda purposes, which is actually what transpired.

Snowden, 35, will celebrate his sixth anniversary in Russia on June 24. If the American whistle-blower reaches Philby’s final birthday at 76-years-young, the year will be 2060.

What will Snowden say on his 47th anniversary as presumably a citizen of Russia? Will he have anything new to offer? Will he deep down inside miss the opportunity of another Oliver Stone Hollywood epic, complete with his show trial?

Would Alec Baldwin play Snowden?

Maybe he could be buried in the Kremlin Wall with traitor John Reed as played by Warren Beatty in “Reds?”

Or Snowden could join Kim Philby in Moscow’s Kuntsevo Cemetery?

Most of all … will we care?

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/oct/19/edward-snowden-nsa-leaker-says-hes-not-safe-russia/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/has-edward-snowden-become-putins-pawn/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/the-coming-presidential-pardon-of-edward-snowden/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/pr-advice-for-edward-snowden/

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/profits-and-losses-of-treachery-victims-of-kim-philbys-betrayals-are-staking-a-claim-to-the-cash-1447065.html

 

 

 

 

 

Ever wonder how Venezuela became … Venezuela?

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Low, Sell High?

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

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

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

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

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

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

It only feels good, when you … stop.

Is Amazon Serious?

Is Amazon just firing a shot across the bow?

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

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

“Threw away” constitutes fighting words.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

They are all now reality.

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

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

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

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

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

Talk about a public relations disaster.

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

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

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

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

Paying People To Do Nothing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strong Almost DailyBrett opinion to follow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

Is the pale dude (gasp) … privileged?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Obsession With Wealth?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yet …

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.ddir.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

That was then, this is now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Secularism über alles?

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

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

Anti-Catholicism Raising Its Ugly Head … Again?

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

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

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

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

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

Whatyathink Kamala?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

The unfortunate answer was … “Yes.”

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

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

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

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

Razor Blades and #MeToo?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who thought this poor taste linkage was a good idea?

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

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

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

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

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

Infamous Or Notorious Brand?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fast forward more than three decades and we find:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disinviting Farrakhan To California

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

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

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

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

Nice try.

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

Appeasing Farrakhan Then and Now

What is it with decades-long appeasement of Farrakhan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will we ever learn?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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