Category: PR Train Wrecks


“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” — UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)

If a private sector position with full benefits isn’t the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised … what on earth is?

In order to avoid saying she will raise taxes on the middle class for “Medicare For All,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) is proposing federal confiscation of all pretax employer paid Medicare health care benefits for literally millions of working achievers.

Her plan will eliminate private health insurance for 150 million Americans or more, and nationalize the $530 billion private health insurance industry.

Isn’t the termination of $8.8 trillion in cherished pretax employer-paid health care benefits for millions of employees, the equivalent of a middle class tax increase on steroids? Keep in mind, the annual federal budget is only … $4.45 trillion.

Instead of Starbucks paying $20,000 for this benefit to each of its 291,000 employees for private insurance (e.g., Blue Cross, Kaiser …), the legendary coffee roaster would be compelled to turn-over a similar amount to the federal government. In turn, these employees would lose their Starbucks offered pretax Medicare benefits and choice of private health insurer, only to forced into government paid … and only government paid … DMV-style insurance.

The Bernie Sanders “Medicare for All” bill (which Warren supports) calls for a 4 percent federal income tax increase for middle class workers. In order to avoid saying she is raising middle class taxes, Warren proposes instead federal confiscation of pretax employer paid health care benefits.

“In practice this (redirection of employer-paid health benefits to the government) would be a tax on employment, which seems likely to hurt middle-class Americans.” — The Economist, November 9, 2019

Deciding which plan (Sanders or Warren) is worse is just as difficult as deducing which is better.

How about keeping and retaining private health insurance, and our ability to choose our own doctors, dentists and optometrists?

Almost DailyBrett has always exhibited a libertarian streak. If we empower our $4 trillion behemoth federal government to confiscate pretax employer-paid health insurance, and eliminate private health insurance for 150-million-plus souls, the obvious question is:

What’s next?

Tax On Billionaires

” … if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us?” — Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg commenting on the spectre of a Warren presidency to the company’s 35,000 employees.

The public relations spin by Bernie and Elizabeth has focused squarely on the likes of Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jamie Dimon and Leon Cooperman, including Warren mocking the latter for his tearful concern about the future of our country.

Consider the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given $36 billion to fight third-world poverty. Does no good deed go unpunished?

The centerpiece of the billionaire vilification campaign is a 2 percent wealth tax on those with assets exceeding $50 million (how many folks in blue states California, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts … are included in this tax?), and 6 percent for those with $1 billion or more. We are not just talking about giving “two cents” (on each dollar) more.

How would the federal government determine the amount of wealth to be taxed and confiscated? When would it be paid? How much stock will needed (needlessly?) be sold (maybe even at loss) and how much will be immediately bought back? What’s the algorithmic multi-billion dollar impact on the 52 percent of the country investing in stocks and stock-based mutual funds for their retirement or children’s education?

Is this tax, constitutional? Are we talking about double taxation? More to the point, do we want as a nation to empower … there’s that verb again … our massive government to punitively confiscate wealth and with it, achievement? How about a tax on lower upper class wealth? Ditto for a levy on upper middle class wealth? And how about … ? The possibilities are limitless.

Three European nations still impose wealth taxes: Norway, Spain and Switzerland. How’s Spain doing?

Eleven European nations have rescinded their wealth taxes: Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Sweden.

That’s right, wealth taxes didn’t work in Denmark and Sweden, why should it fly in Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin?

According to the stately The Economist, Warren’s all-government all-the-time programs include requiring Amazon, Facebook and Google to be regulated as platform utilities (before or after their breakups?), 40 percent of all board seats held by “public reps” (read, unions), bans on nuclear power and fracking, 75 percent lobbying taxes, 37 percent taxes on capital gains, and the imposition of taxes on unsold stocks (employing Enron-style mark-to-market accounting or MTM) … and the list goes on and on and on.

Warren supporters caution America’s Investor Class (52 percent of the entire nation) not to worry; her plan will eventually be watered down or not approved. If so … what’s the point?

Are Warrenites and Sandernistas supporting Republican control of at least one house to serve as a check and a balance to radicalism? Didn’t think so.

Some see Warren as a Socialist champion against Capitalism or buy low sell high.

Instead, Almost DailyBrett sees Bernie and Elizabeth as two peas in the same pod.

They are threatening our economic freedom. They will dip into our wallets, and deny us benefits and physician choices we already enjoy. The only winner? Big government.

Instead of wisely controlling the size and scope of government, some will be cool with a greatly empowered … there’s that verb again … carnivorous federal bureaucracy with even more power over our individual abilities to chart our own financial futures.

Be afraid … be very, very afraid.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/03/elizabeth-warren-wealth-tax-european-nations/

https://slate.com/business/2019/11/elizabeth-warrens-health-care-medicare-for-all-single-payer-unfair.html

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2019/10/24/elizabeth-warrens-many-plans-would-reshape-american-capitalism

https://www.economist.com/united-states/2019/11/07/how-would-elizabeth-warren-pay-for-her-health-policy

https://slate.com/technology/2019/10/mark-zuckerberg-said-elizabeth-warrens-presidency-would-suck-for-us.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/how-blue-cross-saved-my-bacon/

Hell knows no fury like a Hillary scorned.

Bitter Hillary was rejected by her own party in 2008, and eight years later she lost to (gasp) … Donald Trump.

And to top it off, her husband was less than semper pi. His name is … Bill.

What’s a Hillary to do? How about getting into a public spat with Tulsi?

Tulsi Who? “Favorite of the Russians”?

Are we talking about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) an after thought in the Democratic presidential nominating contest … until now? Her RealClear Politics average stands at 2.0 percent. That’s it.

Almost DailyBrett must pause here to ask:

Why is Hillary providing Tulsi (“holy basil” in Hindu) with manna from publicity heaven, an amazing public relations gift of a nationally covered food fight with a notorious and reviled party stalwart?

Considering that Hillary has a long-track record as the nation’s first lady, a U.S. Senator from New York, the nation’s secretary of state and the first woman presidential nominee in the country’s history, why isn’t she using her record to project herself as a senior stateswoman? She could be a modern-day Richard Nixon.

With all due respect, Tulsi should not be on Hillary’s personal radar. Baring a political miracle, Tulsi is not going to win the party’s nomination for president.

Somehow, someway Tulsi got under Hillary’s thin skin and triggered an inappropriate response. Why is Hillary providing Tulsi with a new platform? When you are seen as an enemy of Hillary that designation instantly attracts attention and new friends.

Worse yet Hillary believes the Russians are behind Tulsi’s campaign, maybe even as a third-party stalking horse. Another vodka, Madam Secretary?

It’s obvious that Hillary isn’t going away … quietly. Is this screed, Hillary’s definition of ethos? 

Tulsi’s 15 Minutes of Fame, And Then Some?

Almost DailyBrett counsels employing social media strategically, but not the above tweet, which goes far … way too far.

“Great! Thank you @Hillary Clinton” was probably all that was needed. Tulsi’s joyful and grateful response is more than appropriate.

As Michelle Obama once famously said: “When they go low, we go high.” There’s no reason for Tulsi to race Hillary to the bottom, just bask off the glow of windfall media attention, and fully exploit a fantabulous public relations opportunity.

Your author suspects there is more that inexplicably prompted Madam Secretary without any forewarning to go after a mere member of Congress of her own party.

Telegenic and fearless, the 38-years-young Tulsi is a fourth-term member of Congress (e.g., Hawaii’s 2nd District) and the nation’s first Samoan-American representative. She is an accomplished major in the Hawaii National Guard having served two tours in the Middle East: Iraq in 2004-2005 and Kuwait in 2008-2009.

As such she projects reasonable gravitas, her views on foreign policy should be respected.

Tulsi exhibits a strong anti-interventionist streak. opposing “regime-change wars” and wanting the U.S. out of Syria and Afghanistan. She is a moderate, putting her at political and maybe personal odds with Hillary.

Why Hillary chose to elevate Tulsi at this time, when the nomination is crystalizing around bumbling former Vice President Joe Biden and confiscatory Senator Elizabeth Warren, is inexplicably beyond the pay grade of Almost DailyBrett. 

Guess it must be time: Tulsi Time.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/10/24/what-feud-between-tulsi-gabbard-and-hillary-clinton-about/4082268002/

https://www.businessinsider.com/who-is-tulsi-gabbard-bio-age-family-key-positions-2019-4

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-hillary-clinton-tulsi-gabbard

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1101/holy-basil

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/president/us/2020_democratic_presidential_nomination-6730.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/11/13/the-new-nixon-and-the-newest-hillary/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/what-happened/

“When are we going to realize in this country that our wealth is work. We are workers. And by selling this idea, ‘Hey man, I’ll teach you how to be rich.’ How is that different than an infomerical?” — Jon Stewart to CNBC’s Mad Money host and former Goldman Sachs hedge fund manager, Jim Cramer

No truer words were ever spoken.

During the course of his 2009  infamous viral dressing down of CNBC’s “Mad Money” Jim Cramer, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart took direct aim at the notion of get-rich-quick, particularly in times of an economic meltdown.

Some acquaintances of Almost DailyBrett have inquired and even critiqued your author’s daily devotion to CNBC, the repeated clicks on Charles Schwab’s retirement IRA platform, and the checking of the value of the Eugene, Oregon residence on far-less-than-perfect, Zillow.

Yours truly is a dedicated capitalist, devoted to maintaining and growing wealth under the banner of Buy Low Sell High.

Buying low and selling high generates … profits. Yes, profits. Sorry Bernie and Elizabeth.

Some vehemently argue that nothing-is-guaranteed Wall Street is more or less, gambling.

Almost DailyBrett disagrees with this conclusion, but clearly recognizes that gamblers are energized and engaged. No one plays poker and puts their chips on the roulette table and cavalierly accepts the verdict. They play to win the game.

As Herm Edwards said: “You play to win the game. Hello? You play to win the game.”

And more times than naught, gamblers lose. The staggering accumulated wealth and gaudy palaces along the Las Vegas Strip are monuments to the … losers.

Don’t investors want to win too? There are no guarantees on Wall Street. Invested money is placed at risk. Doesn’t that make Wall Street the greatest casino of them all?

Achieving the spread between buying at a lower price and eventually selling at a higher price is more … much more … than simply investing in a 401k or IRA and forgetting about it. ‘Ahh … just let the pension fund chiefs or the mutual fund managers worry about it.’ Don’t worry.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are talking about your nest egg. Growing, caring and nurturing your tomorrow is a business. In effect, it is the ultimate business.

You want to ensure that you live a long and happy life, and that you expire before your money runs out.

The Wall Street crash of 2007-2010 is still fresh for most of us. Ten years later, we are enjoying the fruits of the longest bull market in American history with a record low, full-employment Department of Labor unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.

Time to put up our feet? Hell, no.

Manage Rather Than Be Managed

“Stewart had no special Wall Street knowledge, as he was the first to admit. What he had was a nose for a scam, and an uncanny ability to articulate what the rest of us were feeling.” — New York Times columnist, Joe Nocera

Recognizing that Jon Stewart is a comedian, not a stock market analyst or technician, he is nonetheless still right: “Our wealth is work.”

Part of the task before us is to understand completely a very simple question: How does a company makes money?

Please allow Almost DailyBrett to speak ex-cathedra: If you do not understand how a publicly traded company makes mula (e.g., McDonald’s makes hamburgers and feeds 1 percent of the planet each day), then you are gambling on a stock, not investing.

Remember posing this question to my classes about Bitcoin.

Some students volunteered that Bitcoin is a crypto-currency … whatever that means. “It’s been going up” (and down). Currencies are associated with countries (i.e., greenback, USA; Euro, EU; Pound Sterling, UK). What country backs Bitcoin?

Nada.

Therefore in your author’s portfolio, there is no place for Bitcoin or any other Ponzi Scheme.

Stewart publicly undressed Cramer because the former believed the latter’s network (e.g., CNBC) was not doing enough to protect retail investors, particularly those who were experiencing the daily assault on their portfolios between 2007-2010.

Most of us wish to forget that time, and yet we took the steps to manage our accounts and protect our nest eggs. We chose to manage instead of being managed.

Maintaining and building wealth requires us all to work, to stay alert, and have a healthy batting average when it comes to making our financial decisions.

Stay alert. Stay engaged. Stay the course.

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/iinzrx/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-jim-cramer-pt–2

http://money.com/money/3982267/jon-stewart-5-best-money-moments/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/how-blue-cross-saved-my-bacon/

“People who love to drive, love the car. Enthusiasts love the car. Automotive media love the car. Miata owners have an almost motorcycle-gang loyalty, with dozens of Miata clubs all over North America.” — Robert Duffer, Chicago Tribune, “Why Is The Mazda Miata So Beloved”

Talk about the ultimate first-world crisis.

Mazda quietly dropped the legendary “Miata” brand for MX-5.

MX-What?

Never in recorded history has a sports car touched the lives of so many people as the Mazda Miata introduction in 1989.

Thirty years later, the best selling roadster of all time (Guinness Book of World Records), Miata has stood the test of time with its reasonable price, 181 horses, 26 city and 35 highway fuel efficiency …  and most of all … it’s a blast to drive.

How do you spell fun in the sun? M-I-A-T-A.

For Almost DailyBrett, his little green chariot without pop-up headlights was purchased brand-spanking new in June 2004. It was love at first sight and the affair continues to this day. Some have suggested we need to get a room.

Can’t tell you how many times your author has garnered Miata envy from poor saps driving mini-vans with plenty of room for infant car seats.

Perhaps you should control your hormones?

Getting It Right The First Time

The Mazda Miata or MX-5 is going to be celebrating its 25th year of production. And there’s a reason for that. Very few times that you get something right, the first time, but this is a classic case of that.” — Jay Leno, “Jay Leno’s Garage,” February 2014

Jay Leno spoke in a glowing fashion about one of his two Mazda Miatas five years ago.  Fast forward to today.

Is nothing sacred? Is this Miata imprimatur disappearing act a sterling example of enlightened brand management?

As we wonder about the course of self-driving vehicles, Almost DailyBrett loves his Miata … it will always be his Miata … today, tomorrow and forever.

Can’t imagine a self-driving Miata. What would be the point?

Your author is not alone. There are 96 Miata clubs spread across America. The sports car keeps on selling, particularly in spring and summer.

Do you think there is a correlation between warmer temperatures and putting down the ultra-easy top?

The new MX-5 without any Miata branding looks like a sad Miata … a really sad Miata.

Remembering The New Coke Roll-Out Debacle

“Coke’s decided to make their formula sweeter; they’ve decided to mix it with Pepsi.” — Comedian David Letterman on the botched New Coke roll out

Coca-Cola came out with New Coke in 1985 without proper research about consumer reaction, and thus an unnecessary brand riot was born.

Mazda, can we see your quantitative and qualitative analysis, demonstrating that we wanted to bid adieu with the Miata name, and opt for MX-5?

No one asked Almost DailyBrett. 

If Miata owners wanted to drive a Mazda, we would drive a Mazda … let alone a Mazda MX-5.

If Corvette owners wanted to drive a Chevy, they would drive a Chevy.

A Miata is a Miata. A ‘Vette is a ‘Vette.

Simple, real simple. It’s the brand, stupid.

Miata owners love their Miatas. Competitors came out with the Honda S2000, Toyota M2, the BMW Z3 and the Pontiac POS (e.g., Fiero).

No dice on any of them.

Mazda management in Japan needs to understand that Miata parents control the brand.

As Robert Duffer in the Chicago Tribune, Miata owners/enthusiasts “love” the car. There are more than 100 Miata clubs in the United States and Canada combined. We are talking about the ultimate in “L” words.

Why get in the way of our public romance from sea-to-shining sea, across the fruited plain?

Mazda needs to understand the old, time-tested adage:

If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/mazda-mx5-miata-history/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/autos/chi-why-is-the-mazda-miata-so-beloved-20140905-story.html

https://mossmiata.com/miata-car-clubs

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Selling My 2004 Mazda MX-5 Miata Was Remarkably Difficult, and Also Remarkably Easy

“Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: ‘We the People.’”

“We did it. We weren’t just marking time, we made a difference. We made the (shining) city (on the hill) stronger – we made the city freer – and we left her in good hands.  All in all, not bad. Not bad at all.” — President Ronald Reagan Farewell Address, January 11, 1989

President Ronald Reagan was not a first-person singular leader: I, Me, Myself.

Even though he was completing one of the most successful presidencies in American history and was justifiably entitled to take a bow, he still for the most part gravitated toward first-person plural even in his farewell address: We, Us, Our.

These vital pronouns salute the team that makes it happen, the linemen who protect the quarterback, the pit crew changing the tires in less than three-seconds, the people who write the emails, send the letters and form the coalition that makes a politician and a movement successful.

Donald Trump is an über first person singular type of guy, and that is his greatest weakness. He could learn from Heisman Trophy Winner Marcus Mariota, Five-Time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, and most of all from Ronald Reagan.

Almost DailyBrett was privileged to devote two decades of his career, directly serving two first-person plural leaders: Former California Governor George Deukmejian and LSI Logic founder, chairman and chief executive officer Wilf Corrigan.

Did both of these overachievers have healthy opinions of themselves? Of course.

Did they have big egos based upon their proven records of self-made success? Naturally.

One was the most popular governor of California in the modern era; the other was a successful entrepreneur immigrant worth, $432 million.

But when push came to shove, it was about the people around them, the citizens and customers they served, the investors and their shares … we, us and our.

“I Have Returned”

Did you note MacArthur’s first-person singular is his most remembered quote, and his follow-up in first-person plural is forgotten?

Didn’t the collective strength of the U.S. Army and Navy facilitate MacArthur’s return to the Philippines?

MacArthur was later fired by President Harry S. Truman. Surprised?

Will Donald Trump be fired by the American people in 13 months time, despite a robust economy, no new military involvements in the Middle East (or elsewhere) and way too-far-to-the-socialist-left potential opponents? It can happen, but will it?

Under similar circumstances Reagan crushed Walter Mondale in 1984. Reagan won 49 states worth 525 electoral votes, capturing 58.8 percent of the vote. Mondale recorded his home state of Minnesota and DC for a total of 13 electoral votes, 40.6 percent of the vote.

Almost DailyBrett can state with impunity that incumbent presidents have decided advantages heading into re-election years (i.e., Obama, George W., Clinton, Reagan), but not certainty (i.e., Carter, H.W. Bush). Recent presidents with the tailwind of economic prosperity … “It’s the economy, stupid” … all were re-elected.

Your Enemies Will Always Be Your Enemies; Your Friends … ?

Having said that, Trump is his own worst enemy, and that is magnified by his first-person singular devotion on steroids.

Why couldn’t his own campaign quietly conduct opposition research when it comes to Hunter Biden being selected for the board of directors for Ukraine’s natural gas supplier – Burisma Holdings — while his father, Joe Biden, was vice president of the United States? This question is particularly magnified considering Hunter’s well-chronicled repeated problems with cocaine, and zero experience in energy.

For some reason, Trump decides that he … and only he … can conduct this oppo research directly with the leader of Ukraine … and as a result an impeachment proceeding was born. Will he join the ranks of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton as impeached presidents, but not convicted in the Senate (if it goes that far)?

The larger question is whether he pulls defeat out of the jaws of victory when his friends (e.g., high propensity Republican fidelity) are still his friends? Will his personal embrace of first-person singular (I, Me, Myself) trigger mistake-after-mistake, and his friends stop being his … friends?

Maybe a little more Reaganesque first-person plural … we, us, our … and some good old fashioned humility would do the trick.

Don’t count on it with this president.

https://www.azquotes.com/quote/551270

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/the-governor-who-changed-my-life/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/farewell-lsi-logic/

A lot of truth is often spoken in jest.

According to the old joke, Richard Nixon dressed in his presidential windbreaker gathered the Washington Press Corps at his presidential retreat on the beach in San Clemente, California.

After chastising the ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate for not covering him fairly and accurately during his political career including his presidency, he gave them one more chance.

Nixon miraculously walked out onto the Pacific Ocean and back without getting his wing tips wet.

“Now, you can finally cover me fairly and accurately!”

The New York Times front page headline the following morning: “Nixon Can’t Swim.”

The liberal elite media could not and would not cover Nixon fairly back in the 1970s. The negative coverage trend toward Republican office holders has only intensified with time. There is zero benefit of the doubt when it comes to Republicans, only to Democrats.

Almost DailyBrett knows this undeniable fact based upon eight years of hard-earned experience as a campaign media director and press secretary for California Republican Governor George Deukmejian.

“Rebuilding Trust Requires Embracing Bias”

“A more partisan media is the last thing America needs. Those who doubt that should consider that it would be squarely in Mr. Trump’s interest. The president’s attempt to gin up his supporters by depicting the media as biased is one of his most powerful lines. Why vindicate it for him?” — Lexington, USA columnist for The Economist

“We don’t want to change all of our structures and rules so much that we can’t put them back together. We don’t want to be oppositional to Donald Trump.” — Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times

Almost DailyBrett is begging for mercy.

The New York Times along with CNN (Clinton News Network) and MSNBC lead the oppositional journalism pack against Donald Trump. They detest the man (understatement), wanting unlimited license to label him as a “racist” regardless of context. After four-plus years, we know for a fact the liberal media will take everything and anything he does or says and add a negative spin to employ a PR word.

Hiring foreign affairs hawk John Bolton with his goofy mustache (Liberal media: ‘Trump added a dangerous war monger to his team’) and later firing him (Liberal media: ‘Trump can’t retain anyone on his staff’) is vivid proof that any Trump action triggers an automatic negative take. The media always wants it both ways.

Liberal columnist Nathan Robinson (see quote above) suggested out loud that elite media should openly express a bias and affinity to left-wing causes in order to rebuild public trust. Why shouldn’t the liberal media come out of the closet? Let the world know, what it already knows: Liberal media outlets are just another special interest group, similar to Planned Parenthood, ACLU and NPR.

Bias leads to trust?

There are hundreds of always excitable journalism professors, who will be more than happy to intensify their “guidance” of impressionable students toward socialist justice, encouraging them to express their bias digitally, in print and across the airwaves. These academics will declare … wrongly … that objectivity never existed and never will in America’s newsrooms.

Robinson is essentially arguing the media should simply come clean and openly side with Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren Democratic Socialism, lauding those who drink the Kool Aid and chastising any and all who dare to dissent. Lexington counters that a gallant admission of oppositional journalism by the major mastheads and networks will aid and abet Trump’s talking points about the media losing its way, abandoning any pretext of being fair and accurate.

Didn’t St. Louis Post-Dispatch executive editor Joseph Pulitzer once say the three most important words in journalism are: “accuracy, accuracy and accuracy”? He made this famous assertion even though he was a staunch Democrat, actually serving in Congress, and crusading against business and corruption.

If a reporter. correspondent, anchor or media outlet sacrifices personal and/or institutional integrity on the low-altar of abandoning fairness and objectivity, any and all of these lost souls should not even sniff the prestigious journalism award that bears Joseph Pulitzer’s name.

https://www.economist.com/united-states/2019/09/12/a-full-court-press

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/10/media-bias-is-ok-if-its-honest

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/03/26/oppositional-journalisms-victory/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/profs-should-not-force-political-opinions-on-students/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/07/24/is-the-word-racist-becoming-cliche/

 

 

 

 

 

“I’ve actually never met anybody who likes their health insurance company.” — Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)
“And while Bernie (Sanders) wrote the bill, I read the bill. And on page eight — on page eight of the bill, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it. And that means that 149 million Americans will no longer be able to have their current insurance.” — Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)

If your author didn’t have bad luck 15 years ago, he wouldn’t have any luck at all.

In chronological order: there was the diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2004, my first wife died of stomach cancer nine months later, and to top it off … the brutal arrival of incurable (but today manageable) Valley Fever (e.g., fungus) came in 2006.

Fortunately, Almost DailyBrett was always covered by some flavor of Blue Cross … and that is true today.

At the expense of shedding any semblance of modesty your author earned his health insurance, waking before dawn for mind-numbing commutes and waiting hours for evening flights and confronting countless challenges in between.

The rapid fire series of bad medical luck with a new installment every year, each diagnosis had the potential to devastate your author financially … and yet there was thankfully health insurance, private-sector health insurance.

Any public discussion about eliminating my hard-earned Regence Blue Cross, particularly in the onset of my retirement years, is an absolute non-starter for yours truly. Your author will categorically state that he will not entertain even for a nanosecond, voting for any candidate who advocates taking away my Blue Cross.

Aren’t Democrats labeled by detractors as the “give-away” party, never as the “take-away” party?

Aren’t Democrats the “pro-choice” party, rather than the “no-choice” party?

Sorry Bernie and Elizabeth, Almost DailyBrett is one of the estimated 150-to-180 million Americans who would lose his or her private insurance with the onset of the “Medicare For All” elimination of private insurance scheme.

Think of it in terms of Monte Hall’s Let’s Make A Deal: On one stage is tried-and-true Blue Cross health insurance — the one that has served your author and his family since the 1980s — and on the other stage is … the door. What’s behind this scary door?

What we know for sure is that Blue Cross Blue Shield will be out of business. Private insurance will be nationalized. There will be zero “public option.” There will be only one option, the government, the same government that provides us with DMV, the US Postal Service (USPS) and Amtrak.

Sorry, you author does not want federally mandated Amtrak train wreck health care.

Insurance: A Necessary Evil

Even though insurance by its very nature is a negative product (you pay for it, but you really don’t want to use it), Almost DailyBrett actually likes his private sector insurance company, and wants to keep it. Sorry Elizabeth, this author does not concur with your sweeping ex cathedra pronouncement.

Bernie loves to point out that drug and insurance companies generated a cumulative evil profit of $100 billion (e.g., denominator). Question: What is the numerator? How many companies are we talking about?

Keep in mind that each of these publicly traded health companies has a federally mandated fiduciary responsibility to drive the top, and yes … bottom lines. Are we including bio-tech companies, researching cures for cancer, heart disease and other ailments? Are all of these companies actually making money?

The $100 billion number sounds just a little too perfect … to be real.

Bernie and Elizabeth want to give everyone federal health insurance, and only federal health insurance. No issue divides the Democratic Party more than the question of taking away private health insurance from the one-half of the nation, the 150 million-plus who earned and rely upon their private health insurance.

Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a new “Third Rail of Politics,” and Bernie and Elizabeth are shocking the nation with their draconian plan.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/13/transcript-third-democratic-debate/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/prostate-cancer-a-piece-of-cake-compared-to-valley-fever/

 

On any given autumn Saturday there are seemingly 27 different college football games on nearly a dozen networks, all available in HD with exceptional video and sound.

And let’s not forget the HDTV games on Thursday and Friday nights as well.

For the addictive channel surfing male of species in particular, there are so many games to choose. There are cold microbrews in the fridge, snacks on the table, and an always available WC down the hall, all provided free of charge in HVAC comfort.

Contrast this climate controlled football nirvana with sphincters yelling in your ear, blocking your view, $10 making-love-in-a-canoe beers, lines for the commode, and endless commercial and instant replay reviews on days/nights which can be blistering or freezing and wet.

As a 30-year and counting Autzen Stadium season ticket holder, Almost DailyBrett has been tempted on more than occasion to leave the overpriced tickets (includes the required Duck Athletic Fund donation) on the coffee table, and watch the game in high-definition comfort at home. Wonder how many Oregon fans will take this option this weekend considering that Pac-12 Networks has decided the game against Montana will start … at 7:45 pm PDT, 10:45 pm EDT.

Seriously, how many folks in the Eastern and Central time zones are going to be watching Pac-12 Networks at midnight, when literally millions in the Pacific time zone cannot even access the network because of contractual issues? If the conference can’t be marketed east of the Rockies, then what’s the point of the late kickoff?

We know from the reporting of the Los Angeles Times that way too many UCLA fans are showing up dressed as empty seats at the 80,616 capacity Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Consider the optics last Saturday as an “announced” crowd of 36,000 attended UCLA’s latest loss, this time against juggernaut San Diego State.

Was the Rose Bowl half full or half empty?

Thankfully, this season will be the last in which the Pac-12 “Championship” game will be played in the nearly vacant Levi’s Stadium in gridlocked Santa Clara on a Friday night (December 6). The announced attendance last year was 35,114. How many freebies were given out to pad the crowd?

Do you know Pac-12 Commissioner, Larry Scott?

The only winner was Fox Sports, providing the network with Friday night “programming.” The losers were the Pac-12 teams, the conference and of course, the fans.

The Networks Don’t Care About The Fans

Alabama is playing its September 21 home game against Southern Miss at 11 am local time.

Does anyone at the sports networks have any appreciation for the expected temps in Tuscaloosa, Alabama when the humid sun is nearing its zenith point for the day? Nick Saban is fried about it (pardon the pun), but he and the Alabama administration seem to be powerless to stop the madness.

Alabama is a perpetual national champion from God’s anointed conference, the SEC, and the school can’t convince the networks to find a  broadcast “window” that works for its fans, friends and supporters?

The networks and the universities want the optics and the revenue that comes from packed stadiums, but are seemingly indifferent to the potential of heat stroke/frost bite by fans. And what’s a fan to do?

How about watching the same cupcake, body-bagger game (e.g., Alabama vs. New Mexico State) in air conditioned comfort in High-Def for free?

Almost DailyBrett initially could not believe when one of my USC fraternity brothers announced that he would not be hosting his long-time tailgate parties at the LA Coliseum this fall. Instead, he said he would “Stub Hub” a game or two, and watch the rest of the games in HDTV.

“We also abstained from buying tickets, so, while we may attend a game or two, will be watching most of them at home.”

One may be tempted to dismiss the above story as simply anecdotal. What is not anecdotal is that college football attendance is down for the major conferences, save the ACC.

“What A Better Way To Spend An Autumn Afternoon” — ABC’s Chris Schenkel (1923-2005)

Almost DailyBrett remembers the days when there was exactly one college football game broadcast on Saturday afternoons by ABC.

The supply of the sport was obviously way under the demand, considering the literally millions of Americans who want to follow their alma maters and favorite teams.

Athletic departments needed additional revenues to fund a wide-variety of sports, the majority of which run in the red.

The networks came to the rescue, but predictably there are no free lunches. The “strings” that came with the deal was the loss of total control, particularly when it came to scheduling and kick off times. The universities, their alumni departments, and most of all their fans couldn’t engage in advance planning with game times being announced only six days before.

Almost DailyBrett is heartened by the complaints coming from Nick Saban and others. The universities want alumni and fans on campus. They want them to sing the fight song, hang out at the tailgate parties, buy the expensive jerseys, have a wonderful time and most of all … write checks.

To this date in recorded history, an empty seat or bench has never written a check to a university.

Doubt this empirical fact of life will ever change.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/ucla/story/2019-09-05/ucla-football-attendance-issues-crowded-sports-field

https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/27581049/alabama-not-happy-start-due-heat

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/09/10/alabama-football-is-sick-tired-day-games-would-rather-beat-its-cupcake-opponents-night/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/6-a-m-tailgate-parties/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/01/02/the-conference-of-champions/

 

 

As we prepare our collective bowels for the uproar of the coming arrival of the serious — not silly — presidential election season, we need contemplate the Golden Rules of Politics.

These rules are proven. They are time-tested. They do not change. They are inviolate.

Without further adieu, here are Almost DailyBrett’s listed in alphabetical order pathways to the Promised Land whether it be a statehouse, halls of Congress or even 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

Good Government Is Good Politics

“Govern wisely and as little as possible.” — Republic of Texas President Sam Houston

“Hold me accountable for the debacle. I’m responsible.” — Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services

“I’m going to try and download every movie ever made, and you’re going to try to sign up for Obamacare (Sebelius), and we’ll see which happens first” — Comedian Jon Stewart

Almost DailyBrett fondly remember’s Monte Hall’s “Let’s Make A Deal” game show. There was the stage with a VW bug, and there was the … “Door.”

For 180 million Americans, their private health insurance plans are on the stage. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris are offering America the door with the “promise” of single-payer government health insurance, and the elimination of all private-sector offerings.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Remember the online Obamacare rollout “debacle?” The website calculator didn’t work, let alone the system repeatedly crashed.

Do we want to deliver DMV-style health care for 329 million Americans, managed by Larry, Moe and Curly?

Good Government is indeed, good politics. Taking away private insurance is not good politics.

“It’s Not (Always) What You Say, But How You Say It”

Remember what mumsy told you?

She said that it was not what you say, but how you say it. She could detect in mere nanoseconds a sassy unmeaning, “thank you.”

Are you pleasant and reassuring? Or are you shrill, strident, angry and out of control?

Does it make sense for Democratic contenders for the White House to be angrily attacking the last Democratic president Barack Obama, who enjoys a 95 percent approval rating with … Democrats?

Didn’t Obama terminate Osama bin Laden, appoint Janet Yellen as the head of the Federal Reserve, see the NYSE and NASDAQ double in market value in his eight years, and deport more than 2.5 million? Why are fellow Democrats carping in the most unpleasant ways possible?

Is it simply because they don’t want front-runner former Vice President Joe Biden to justifiably play the Obama card?

Run As If You Are Running Behind

Whether or not you are holding a commanding lead and your media allies have your back or not, Yogi was right: “It ain’t over until it’s over.” 

Hillary was on auto-pilot heading for her media elite preordained 2016 victory, and then her campaign crashed and burned on election night.

The top two George Deukmejian Laws of Politics both are directly related to each other.

Even when he was cruising to victory in 1986 or overcoming a 22 point deficit with three weeks to go to win the closest-ever California gubernatorial election in 1982, the Duke assumed the underdog role.

He ran effective campaigns, (e.g., distributing 2 million absentee ballots to high-propensity voters) keeping his opponent in his sights or constantly looking over his shoulder.

The point is to sprint through the tape and leave absolutely no fuel in the gas tank. Don’t mind the metaphors.

Take Nothing For Granted

Every electoral vote counts.

Remember President Thomas Dewey? Hillary was literally building her administration, and measuring the drapes in the Oval Office.

And then … and then … and then.

She didn’t visit “Blue Wall” state, Wisconsin, during the general election campaign against Donald Trump. She canceled a joint appearance with President Obama in Green Bay. Big, big mistake.

Wisconsin turned red; the blue wall was broken. Michigan and Pennsylvania also flipped into the red column.

Game, set and match.

The Golden Rules of Politics live on. They must be respected. They are eternal.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obamas-deportation-policy-numbers/story?id=41715661

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/the-bradley-effect-blindside/

Healthcare.gov Hurt Obamacare More Than Liberals Are Willing to Admit

“Anytime. Any Place. Any Conditions.” — Former Oregon basketball coach Dick Harter discussing 4 am practices.

“I’d kick off at 6 a.m. When you wake up — if you’re a college football player or coach, you want to wake up and you want to play football.” — UCLA Football Coach Chip Kelly.

Does the “Anytime” motto really apply to long-suffering Pac-12 fans, including the select oh-so-few who chose to show up for the conference “championship” game last December?

Does anybody actually care about the good folks who make generous athletic department contributions and buy football season tickets?

For Almost DailyBrett, this fall will mark his 30th as an Oregon season ticket holder. Your author is therefore entitled to ask:

When is Oregon playing Stanford? To-Be-Determined, TBD.

When is Oregon playing Washington? TBD.

When is Oregon playing USC? TBD.

When is the kickoff for the Civil War game between Oregon and Oregon State? TBD

And who is doing the To-Be-Determining?

Are we waiting for the 12 university presidents and athletic directors to set the times for these games and hundreds more? Fat chance.

The universities have absolutely no say when it comes to answering the week-by-week TBD questions. Pac-12 universities in particular prostitute themselves to the sports networks.

The $5.3 million paid yearly Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott is now exploring 9 am PDT/PST kickoffs in order to ensure conference teams make the football highlight shows in God’s anointed Eastern and Central time zones. Highlight shows?

What? Larry, you just received a $500,000 annual pay raise for that “outside the box” thinking?

Bloody Mary breakfast tailgates as the sun rises over the stadium parking lot? Middle of the night drives home?

Anybody consider the safety of the fans?

“We Don’t Control Our Schedule And When We Kick Off” 

(Washington Coach Chris Petersen) “should be thanking ESPN for actually having a relationship.” – ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit.

“The hardest thing with Saturdays is when you wake up and then you’ve got to wait until 7 at night. But we’re also big on we don’t control our schedule and when we kick off. So tell us where it is and when we’re kicking off, and we’ll be there.” — Chip Kelly

Who runs the Pac-12 universities? ESPN and Fox or the university presidents?

As a proud capitalist Almost DailyBrett understands that cash is king, and that obviously applies to contract broadcast fees.

Bur isn’t the money donated by alumni (e.g., Phil Knight), just as green? How about university athletic fund members and season ticket holders?

We know the university presidents and athletic directors are in bed with the networks, but what about the fans who fill up the stadiums and buy over-priced beer, snacks and trinkets?

Oregon’s first two-games against Auburn and Nevada are set for 4:30 pm(PDT) kickoffs. Sounds good.

Oregon’s next game against Montana is scheduled for a 7:45 pm start or 10:45 pm in the EDT and 9:45 pm CDT. What’s the point for such a late kickoff when virtually no one in the Eastern and Central time zones will watch the game?

Pac-12 (programming) After-Dark?

More importantly, why should Oregon fans wait until every other football game is played that day (September 14), and then be faced with a midnight drive back home. Heck, isn’t it easier to simply watch the game at home in high-definition comfort?

Maybe that is the point for the networks. Why not play these games in sterile studios instead of near-empty stadiums and forget about the fans?

Making The Pac-12 Great Again?

Don’t university administrators want to bring alumni back to campus for some school spirit, social inebriation, and some check writing too?

How about the energy that comes from the student section?

Why can’t the Pac-12 presidents huddle with overpaid and overrated conference commissioner Larry Scott and declare:

Our football games are going to be played between 12:30 pm PDT/PST and 5 pm PDT/PST, which are the best times for our fans whether they are attending in person or watching on television. We provide great content to ESPN, Fox, Pac-12 Network and others. They are welcome to cover our games.”

Undoubtedly Harvard-Head lawyer Scott will point to existing television contracts and the fact that every Pac-12 game is televised. Keep in mind that contracts expire. They are typically renewed. Let’s get better terms.

Almost DailyBrett has noted those  poor souls, who were born in the Pacific and Mountain time zones, lost the biological lottery. We are two-or-three hours behind the rest of the nation. That’s a fact of life, but not an excuse.

Why don’t we concentrate on Making The Pac-12 Great Again?

Let’s schedule our football games, particularly homecoming contests, at times and places, which are convenient for the vast majority of our fans, alumni and students.  If the East of the Hudson types want to believe we all exist in Baskets of Deplorables, we can only conclude that mindset says more about them than us.

The Pac-12 universities, their respective presidents and athletic directors need to declare their independence — or at least co-existence for the good people who matter — alumni, students and friends, those who actually go to the games.

https://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/2019/05/canzano-pac-12s-biggest-news-commissioner-larry-scott-got-a-raise-to-5300000-a-year.html

https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/27259246/pac-12-commish-exploring-idea-9-games

https://goducks.com/schedule.aspx?path=football

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/pac-12-after-midnight/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/01/02/the-conference-of-champions/

 

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