Category: Second Career


“Not my circus, not my monkeys.” — Famous Polish proverb

“Families are overrated.” — Anonymous blogger

Someone else’s drama does not have to be your drama.

If Covid-19 has taught us anything: It’s that we can be happy, safe and sound in our own domicile.

Almost DailyBrett knows that we are all little specs in the universe, and as Martha would say: ‘It’s a “good thing.'”

We don’t have to wear a mask at home.

We should be polite to everyone, but we should not expect reciprocation.

We can invest; we don’t have to protest.

We have the freedom as the Silent Majority to keep our thoughts to ourselves.

We don’t have to pull down statues of Pioneer Mothers in order to make history sterile and antiseptic.

We can hug our respective spouses, our felines, our canines.

We can indeed marry the individual, but not the whole family.

Heck we have our own family issues to contend with, isn’t that enough?

Your author has been repeatedly writing about how we can restore civility to our imperfect divided society. There was a better time four decades ago, when it was “Morning in America.”

We can do it again.

Are Families Indeed, Overrated?

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you …” — Rudyard Kipling, “If”

The notion that families are overrated may offend those, who are just so easy to offend. The family fight scene — “Up Your Ass” and“Eat shit!” — in “Knives Out,” brought a smile and more to point, a knowing nod of recognition from your author.

No one does inconvenient embarrassing memories better than … families. The villain (played by Chris Evans), losing his entire inheritance is celebrated by the rest of the family. No more BMW. No more country club fees. No more designer drugs. No mas. No more.

Schadenfreude was on graphic display until they found out they were all … cut out of the will with the exception of the nurse from Ecuador … or was it Paraguay? No it was Uruguay. Sorry it was Brazil. No one in the family knew for sure, more to the point, no one really took the time to find out.

And yet, she won … and the family lost.

Almost DailyBrett knows the best way to keep one’s blood pressure under control is avoid other people’s drama. In fact, just take tension and drama out of your life. Love your wonderful spouse. You married her (in my particular case) and no one else.

“With 60 seconds worth of distance run” (actually longer), your author contemplated the old adage of that you ‘just don’t marry the individual, you marry the family.’

Au contraire! 

Let their drama be their drama.

Life can and should be Gemütlichkeit, today and everyday.

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it. And — which is more — you’ll be a Man my son.”

Is Kipling politically correct?

https://verilymag.com/2018/01/you-marry-the-family-love-marriage-quotes-happy-married-life-advice-messages

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46473/if—

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/02/04/not-my-circus-not-my-monkeys/

 

 

“I would like to get my reputation restored, and I will engage in all lawful means from our legal system to ensure that occurs. It is the height of ludicrosity for anyone to suggest that a single bone in my body is racist.” — UCLA Accounting and Law Professor Gordon Klein

“There is no way in hell that black lives matter to you. You are one of, if not, THE most racist human that I have ever encountered in a professional setting.” — Former student Whitney Woods tweet about incoming ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication dean Sonya Forte Duhe.

Not incoming anymore. Duhe was accused of racism and microagressions.

“Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical of academia.” — First Daughter Ivanka Trump upon the cancellation of her Wichita State University commencement address.

Ivanka was just the latest woman to follow in the university speaker cancellation footsteps of European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and Stanford Provost Condoleezza Rice.

After 39 years of teaching at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and School of Law, Professor Gordon Klein and his family are receiving threats of violence and are protected round-the-clock. His career at UCLA is over.

Instead of earning praise for a job well done, Klein is being ridiculed because he insisted that his students take their finals (the entire grade for his class) in Principles of Taxation on time.

If there is a day set aside for finals in the course syllabus, that is the prescribed day for each-and-every student. The purpose of a syllabus is to prescribe a level playing field and a reasonable set of expectations for all students.

As a USC graduate, Almost DailyBrett is not always predisposed to the other school in Los Angeles. One also suspects that Baby Boomer Klein was very close to retirement; he was an easy lamb to sacrifice by the junior campus of the University of California.

Who Runs Our Universities?

“In seeking truth, you have to get both sides of a story.” — Legendary CBS anchor Walter Cronkite (1916-2009)

“Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” — Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

Do you think Dr. Kissinger would be allowed to speak on a college campus? Forget about it.

Six years ago, your author was faced with an intriguing choice: Pursue a Ph.D with a fellowship at the aforementioned ASU Cronkite School or accept an offer as a tenure track Assistant Professor in Public Relations at Central Washington University. Big town/hot summers vs. small town/cold winters. Almost DailyBrett chose the latter.

The dream of teaching public relations, corporate communications and investor relations as a professor came true. The first inclination was to teach until the 70th birthday arrived. Whether tenure was achieved or not was secondary.

Three years ago, Almost DailyBrett decided the fourth academic year on campus would be the last. With F-U money invested and owning a nice comfortable house free and clear with wife Jeanne in Eugene, the decision to come home was made. Looking back, there are absolutely no regrets.

Your author left professional life at a time and place of his own choosing.

Would that have been the case, if your author was completing his tenure year — this past academic year — in his 65th year on the planet? Otherwise was there a rainy pasture in his future?

Even though CWU is located in relatively conservative Ellensburg, the seat of the State of Washington’s Kittitas County, Almost DailyBrett must personally question his own survival prospects on campus … any campus.

Before every COM 476 Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, students chanted: “Buy Low Sell High!”

Is “Buy Low Sell High” a microaggression comprised by the adjective “micro” and the noun it modifies, “aggression?” If a term of speech is micro, is it an aggression? Does it matter on today’s campuses? Does anything matter other than being affixed with the “racist” label?

Almost DailyBrett suspects his career as a Republican gubernatorial press secretary, corporate public relations director, international public relations agency senior VP and a director for a technology trade association … every position … each would serve as a potential strike against him.

Ivanka was denied an opportunity to speak.

Professor Sonya Duhe was denied an opportunity to serve.

Professor Gordon Klein was denied the opportunity to cap a great career and leave on his own terms.

Almost DailyBrett departed at a time and place of his own choosing. There is a satisfaction that comes from making the right choice.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/ucla-professor-no-racism-in-refusing-to-cancel-final/2020/06/10/f5e6410e-ab82-11ea-a43b-be9f6494a87d_story.html

https://www.foxnews.com/us/ucla-professor-suspended-under-police-protection-after-threats

https://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty-and-research/accounting/faculty/klein

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2020/06/06/cronkite-faculty-letter-incoming-dean-sonya-duhe-accused-racism-harm-schools-reputation/3166596001/

https://www.foxnews.com/us/asu-journalism-dean-out-microaggressions-police-good-tweet

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/coming-home/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/the-other-american-dream-f-u-money/

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

https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article243436826.html

 

As the mallard flies, Autzen Stadium is less than five miles away … but it seems like millions of light years right now.

The Ducks last flew triumphantly in Pasadena just three months ago, and yet there are so many questions about when they will be airborne again.

We were all packed into the Rose Bowl as Justin Herbert repeatedly gave the “Heisman” to Wisconsin would-be tacklers, scoring a hat-trick of stand-up touchdowns.

And now we are required to give the Heisman to everyone, including those who are normally packed into Autzen with us.

Almost DailyBrett certainly respects and shares the global concern about the unbelievable power and threat posed by a ten-thousandth of a millimeter in diameter COVID-19 virus. We must do what we must do.

At some point, we will be done. We must be done.

The dreams of Autzen remain, and they’re not trivial. We may have taken “Autzen” for granted. Never again.

The next time walking into the stadium with nearly 60,000 of our most intimate friends means that we have fought and won the war against the Corona virus. We literally saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Being at Autzen where it “never rains,” standing up proudly as the Oregon Marching Band plays the national anthem, will be a celebration of the American spirit. The mere act of standing en masse signifies what we can do, if absolutely necessary. In unprecedented fashion, America closed the planet’s largest ever economy and more importantly for our safety, health and prosperity … opened it back up for business.

As America begins a guided by science, phased-in, step-by-step, state-by-state recovery, it seems that sporting events (football is indeed our pastime) may be near the end of the line in terms of priorities. Keep in mind that our sports inspire us, build our character, make us happy and urge us to persevere (e.g., Miracle on Ice in 1980).

Your author is still looking forward to consecutive season #31 as a season ticket holder at Autzen, 15 rows behind the opponent’s bench near the 30-yard line. In many ways, the south side of Autzen has been a home-away-from-home for more than three decades. Yours truly and fellow fans have been high fiving each other … without ever thinking about infection … after every Oregon touchdown.

The 2020 home schedule is particularly attractive with the Ohio State Buckeyes making their first-ever trip to Oregon. Washington, Stanford and USC were all slated to visit the not-so-friendly confines of Autzen this fall. The key word now is … “were.”

Some have suggested playing the games in empty bowls with zero Oregon fans, including zero season ticket holders, students, bands … Translated: Ohio State would play Oregon in a quiet, deserted stadium. Autzen’s intensity, passion and its legendary cauldron of noise would be absent, allowing the Buckeyes to easily run their offense.

Conceivably, Oregon would play Ohio State a year later in the 104,000-seat “Horseshoe” with all the crazies from Akron, Canton and Toledo, let alone Columbus, yelling for their fighting chestnuts.

How is that fair? Life is not fair.

Given the uneasy choice between antiseptic made-for-television football with confiscatory ESPN advertising rates, played in sterile stadiums in 2020 or waiting for the return to intensity of Autzen in 2021, Almost DailyBrett would reluctantly choose the latter. The caveat would be, the 2020 schedule becomes the 2021 slate of games.

Considering the re-opening of America will be decided by the nation’s 50 state governors, will red state governors (e.g., Greg Abbott of Texas) opt for the early resumption of football? Will blue state governors (e.g., Andrew Cuomo of New York) essentially cancel football until 2021 or beyond?

Will there be football states and non-football states?

Hopefully, Autzen is located in a football state.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexreimer/2020/03/30/espns-kirk-herbstreit-is-telling-sports-fans-hard-truth-about-how-coronavirus-could-cancel-football-season/#3c365077319d

Donald Trump Says Major Sports Could Resume As “Made For Television” Events — Without Fans — Under New White House Plan

We are all being reminded daily about how small we really are, and the tenuous nature of our lives.

And yet there are good reasons to celebrate, and emulate fortitude and stamina.

Mumsy Marjorie is celebrating birthday #101 today.

Best of all, she remains as sharp as a tack. She is fully aware of her world around her, and seemingly has forgotten … absolutely nothing.

And what a century-plus it has been. The Corona-virus (COVID-19) is just the latest challenge.

Heck, she was born right smack in the middle of the Spanish flu pandemic (January 1918-December 2020), which reportedly took 50 million with it.

In March 2019 the extended family celebrated Marjorie’s coming attainment of the hallowed centenarian distinction, including a recitation of what she has seen and experienced during her lifetime (i.e., Roaring 20s, Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, VE/VJ Days, Ike, Kennedys, Watergate, Berlin Wall rise and fall, hem lines up and down … ).

She is so incredibly talented, graduating from college in the 1940s when so very few women reached that pinnacle. Classical music pianist, Francophile, global traveler, sports fan, newshound, and did Almost DailyBrett mention … mother of three relatively well-adjusted children, and five stubborn yet lovable, Beagles?

My favorite sister, Claudia, deserves credit for dubbing mom — all five-foot, one inch of her — as “Mighty Mouse.” Yes, mumsy hits harder than her size. She would be a lousy poker player, you can read her expressions and temperament in two nanoseconds … make that one nanosecond.

Diplomacy is not mother’s strong suit.

Will always remember mumsy giving the business in no uncertain terms to a tough-as-nails Italian bail bondsman living across the street (long story), and turning him and his spouse into … wonderful friends.

She grew up Western Pennsylvania tough, demanding with limited patience but always fair. She has always been a good listener, even to your author’s periodic forays into and expressions of bovine excrement.

Having said all that, she has even forgiven Almost DailyBrett’s philosophical transformation and related career in Reaganite politics. Mumsy even tolerated as a former Julliard student with a Steinway and musical taste, your author’s lifelong love of classic … rock.

As Carly Simon sort of sang, this “song is not about … me,” but mumsy Marjorie. Some are amazed she is still rocking her world into her second year of trois figures. Your author is not surprised. She is embracing each-and-every day as the gift it is for her and should be for everyone else.

She is not just marking time, but wisely rejoicing in every minute.

She wants to be happy. That’s a wonderful goal, particularly with viral storm clouds spreading around the globe.

If happiness is being a lark … early to bed, early to rise … that’s mumsy.

If happiness is tending to her garden, and making it bloom year-in, year out …

If happiness is reading in Anglais et Francais … Que Sera, Que Sera … 

If happiness is a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, even in Bavarian wine glasses …

If happiness is soaking up the legendary Southern California sun for yet another day …

Then more power to you mumsy Marjorie. This is your time. You earned it.

You practiced tough love. We are all better people because of you.

As George C. Scott said playing, “Patton.” (Pardon the paraphrase)

‘I love you. I love you so.’

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/04/04/every-century-is-precious/

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not This “Particular Woman”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Fees Today, Tomorrow, Forever

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

Guess America’s Armageddon was postponed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If Something Isn’t Broken, Why Fix It?

Are global markets, perfect? What is?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wonder why?

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

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

The state income tax in Nevada is … nada.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which State Gains From California’s Diaspora?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking North, Looking East …

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

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

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

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

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

Nice curb appeal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

California’s inept central planners

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

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

Barney at the White House.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Nation Under Dogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presidential Poop Scooping?

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

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

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

Just ask former President George W. Bush.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

The consumer bought high, and is paying even higher.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And we are wondering what is happening to our money?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Only one way to find out.

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

Ever meet Negative Nancy, Debbie Downer or Gloomy Gus?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advantage women … particularly young, clever and ambitious women.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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