Category: Sex Drugs Rock n’ Roll


Comparing one year to another in a different era is always an inexact science.

It’s easy to poke holes in any comparison and thus attempt to render the point meaningless, but this author will not go down easily.

The “perfect storm” of volatile factors in 2020 reminds Almost DailyBrett of a terrible year … 1968.

Certainly, there are no direct equivalents of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy (and let’s keep it that way).

Neither is there a similarity to the eye-opening Tet Offensive nor directly related deaths of US soldiers, which exposed that America was systematically misled and deceived about the Vietnam War.

Consider that 2020 and 1968 will always be remembered as election years with flash-point incumbents.

Americans have been cooped up indoors for months, way too many losing their livelihoods in a provoked recession, and then the weather grew hotter and George Floyd was senselessly murdered by a Minneapolis criminal cop.

And similar to 1968 (e.g., Chicago riot), legitimate protesters had their voices and actions drowned out by organized anarchists (sounds like an oxymoron, but sadly it’s not) who want to hurt people, steal, burn and create havoc. If one Googles “Antifa Portland,” 619,000 results pour back in 0.33 of a second.

Reflecting back on 1968 — your author was 13-years-very-young — it literally took another decade-plus until America settled down again in the 1980s. Will it take that long after what is setting up to be a rotten, 2020?

There were more than a few, who detested the violence on university campuses and in the streets back in 1968. They became a political force of their own: “The Silent Majority.”

Is it deja vu all over again?

The Rebirth of the Silent Majority?

What about the overwhelming majority of Americans, who are sickened by what happened to defenseless George Floyd … begging for the right to breathe on Memorial Day? They want the officers responsible, particularly one in particular, to face severe music. Justice must be done.

Having said that, the preponderance of Americans are staying away from the streets. They are incredulous by what they’re seeing on television and social media.

Didn’t the overwhelming number of voters elect and re-elect the first-ever African-American president, Barack Obama, in 2008 and 2012? We were internationally celebrated for being open and fair-minded. Are Obama’s historic elections now irrelevant?

The George Floyd murder comes across as an exploited opportunity by many who just want to destroy communities. They are looters, stealing from expensive stores. There are trigger-happy Yahoos with assault weapons — allegedly protecting places of business — just looking for any excuse to open fire.

Cable television and the Internet in 2020 are delivering these horrific videos and placing them in our collective faces. Didn’t television in 1968 bring the carnage of Vietnam into our living rooms on a nightly basis? At the time, the U.S. military drafted literally thousands to fight in rice paddies in a war, which was never explained, much less declared.

Then-candidate Richard Milhous Nixon called for a restoration of “law and order” on the 1968 campaign trail. Do we want another officer putting his knee on the neck of an unarmed man? The answer is an easy, ‘no.’ This abominable practice must stop now and forever.

At the same time, a riot usurping a protest is still a riot.

Can we conclude that a 21st Century equivalent of the 1960s Silent Majority detests and loathes rioters breaking windows, looting stores, burning vehicles, assaulting police officers, fire fighters, security personnel, chasing and intimidating reporters, and destroying Starbucks … just because it’s corporate Starbucks?

The Silent Majority wants to turn down the sound, cancel out the noise and return to some sense of normalcy.

Almost DailyBrett will be the first to admit making the wrong call in the 2016 election. This year started with rising markets, the best economy in one-half century, a positive atmosphere for any disciplined incumbent … assuming the incumbent is capable of political discipline.

Oh what a strange trip it has been: The Covid-19 outbreak, the unprecedented lock down, the forced recession, masked people fighting unmasked people, and then and now … the George Floyd murder and out-of-control chaos.

What’s next? There will be more. It’s not Morning in America, more like Midnight on the Streets.

Just as a turn of events spiraled out of control in 1968, the same seems to be true in 2020.

Who benefits and who does not — we need to be honest — no one knows.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/what-happened-to-the-exceptional-nation-that-twice-elected-barack-obama/

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Check out pressure washer George, he knows-all the chords; Mind, it’s strictly noise, he just wants to make it spray and waste.

“And leaf blower Paul doesn’t mind, if he ruins the neighborhood; He’s got a daytime job, screw everyone else.

“And then the chain-saw man he steps right up to starter rope; And says ‘at last’ just as the tree rings zing.

The motto of Eugene’s “Symphony” Orchestra: “Climate Change For Thee, Not For Me.”

The orchestra — pressure washers, leaf blowers, chain saws, wood chippers, grass edgers, lawn mowers — anything and everything that uses gas-powered internal combustion engines to waste gallons of water, emit dangerous pollutants into the air, and inflict noise pollution outdoors and indoors — is on tour this summer.

And best of all, the orchestra plays in your neighborhood with special all-day performances starting before 7 am on Sundays and holidays … or until the pressure washer, leaf blower, chain saw … is returned to the rental dude.

For Memorial Day, the Eugene Symphony Orchestra (ESO) submitted the following set list:

Come On, Hear The Noise

Mowers On The Storm

Leaf Blowing In The Wind

We’re Not Going To Rake It

Pressure Washer Blues

Think Globally, Forget Locally

Down The Drain

Screw The Polar Bears

Never Heard Of A Broom

What’s Your Problem?

Climate Change Hypocrites

Before 7 am, We’re Going To Let It All Hang Down

What The … ?

You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave

2020 Overture With Wood Chipper

Encore

Behind Red Eyes

You Got Fooled Again

One would think that a city (e.g., Eugene), which prides itself for its green consciousness (for everyone else), would take a stand against environmental degradation.

You would be wrong.

In Eugene … The “Band” Plays On … and on … and on.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/California-s-latest-pollution-push-Banning-14951305.php

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/pressure-washers-wood-chippers-leaf-blowers-oh-my/

California Cities and State Regulators Are Coming for Your Gas-Powered Leaf Blower

 

 

 

 

 

In your author’s teenage years, there was only one item on the bucket list: See the Rolling Stones live before buying the ranch.

Last week, Almost DailyBrett was digging down/smashing the piggy bank (choose whatever metaphor works best) to purchase two precious pieces of card-board with the quintessential QR (quick response) bar code for the band’s upcoming “No Filter” tour.

If you are scoring at home, the May 12 Vancouver, BC show (e.g., BC Place) will be your author’s seventh time getting satisfaction, once again checking off my bucket list, the “Greatest Rock n’ Roll Band in the World.” And for the first time, seeing the Stones outside the friendly confines of the United States.

Who says you can’t always get what you want? Sometimes you even get what you need.

Growing up in the 1960s, the raggedy Stones featured an edge and a rhythm and blues sound the Beatles did not possess. Some contend the Beatles were the best ever. Others opt for the Stones. Macht nichts!

Let the eternal Baby Boomer arguments continue.

Approaching six decades on the road, the Stones are touring here and now. Incredibly pricey tickets are available for 15 stadium shows from San Diego to Pittsburgh and from Austin to Atlanta.

There is a certain risk that comes from seeing the Stones here and now, and its not because this tour could be the Last Time.

From a public relations standpoint, it’s wise to not announce a farewell tour because any aging performer/band (e.g., Michael Jordan, Katarina Witt) can change their minds. There is always a danger when a way-too-mature band can no longer bring it and still charges top dollar (e.g., see Almost DailyBrett’s B.B. King post).

This tour may indeed be the last simply because of the sands of time (i.e., Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood turn 78 and 73 respectively in June, Mick Jagger is 77 in July and Keith Richards is 77 as well in December). As long as the Stones can still perform their magic, particularly with an energetic Mick Jagger prancing the stage to the riffs of Sympathy for the Devil, whatever price they charge is … more than fair.

A prime example is the incredible Blu-Ray of the Stones Havana Moon concert March 25, 2016. Just as the Stones were finally given permission to play Shanghai, the Cuban government allowed the band to play a free concert that drew anywhere between 200,000 to 1 million souls (no turn styles … no problem).

What’s The Over/Under On The Stones?

“I love the man 99 percent of the time.” — Keith Richards on Mick Jagger

Almost DailyBrett is not objective when it comes to the legacy, the legend, and the earned place in history of the ‘Greatest Rock n’ Roll Band in the World.’ After six live concerts, at least 12 DVDs of performances/documentaries and more than 20 CDs spread over five decades, it’s impossible for your author to be fair and unbiased when it comes to assessing the Stones.

With this consumer warning in mind, your author contends the Rolling Stones are a huge net positive when it comes to their historical impact on global society.

Certainly there were well-documented legal troubles in the 1960s, including the highly publicized drug busts. Your author earlier  wrote about the public relations disaster associated with the December 1969 “free” concert at Altamont, when someone, anyone in authority needed to simply say ‘no,’ … but didn’t.

The Hells Angels were hired to provide “security” and they brought their pool cues to make sure no one touched their Harley Davidsons parked in front of the make-shift stage.

There was the infamous Mick-Keith feud in the 1980s, which almost tore the band apart … but thankfully, they kissed and kind of made up. Mick and Keith are smart enough to know they need each other, and the Stones’ passionate fans demand they stay together (Mick or Keith solo albums don’t sell).

When your author went online last Wednesday for the Rolling Stones presale at precisely 10 am PST, there were already 2,000 folks in the digital queue. ‘What the …. “. There is little doubt the Stones after five-plus decades on the road will fill to capacity all 15 stadiums on the upcoming tour. What other band is as relevant as ever and maintains staying power after more than five decades in the business?

Do the Stones need the money? Not really. Is their legacy secure. You bet ya. Why continue? They truly love what they do.

“I want to touch as many people as I can.” — Stones philosopher Keith Richards

The Stones have made millions of people night after night … “Happy,” to quote a song title. Upwards to 1 million will check out the continuation of the “No  Filter” tour this spring/summer.

Will the Stones finish each concert with a series of knockout songs that no mere mortals can match, such as for the last stop on the 2019 tour in Miami? The list: Miss You, Paint It Black, Midnight Rambler, Start Me Up, Brown Sugar, and encores Gimme Shelter and I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.

If they come anywhere close to this lineup of songs and play with their customary energy and sound, Almost DailyBrett and about 54,000 of his most intimate friends will be achieving Satisfaction, swirling in a rock n’ roll Crossfire Hurricane.

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/the-rolling-stones/2019/hard-rock-stadium-miami-gardens-fl-639f6e8f.html

https://nypost.com/2016/05/11/mick-jagger-and-keith-richards-cant-stand-each-other/

Keith Richards on his relationship with Mick Jagger: “I love the man 99% of the time”

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/gathering-moss-for-five-decades/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/satisfaction/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/you-cant-always-get-what-you-want/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/the-permanency-of-altamont/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/the-thrill-is-almost-gone/

 

 

 

“Many of the people living on Los Angeles’ streets lack health as well as homes. They were put there by social policy, legacies of the mid-1960s when California was a laboratory for reform–and they sit there as another reminder of reform gone awry.” — Sherry Bebitch-Jeffe, USC Institute of Politics and Government, March 22, 1987

California’s road to homeless hell was paved five decades ago with landmark legislation with good intentions.

According to repeated KNBC (Burbank) I-Team reports, the City of the Angels has become the City of Trash. The number of homeless on the streets of the City of Los Angeles today (does not include the remainder of the Southland) would fill a 36,000-seat stadium.

A similar count of homeless in San Francisco City-County jumped 30 percent year-over-year to 17,595 last year (does not include the balance of the Bay Area).

California with its 12 percent of the nation’s population is “home” to 22 percent of the country’s homeless.

And with these ever increasing numbers of homeless comes ubiquitous mounds of public excretion, piled-up garbage and epidemics of disease-carrying vermin (e.g., rats). The number of Los Angeles typhus cases reached 93 in 2019, the predictable result of homelessness, trash, filth and rats.

As a former gubernatorial press secretary (e.g., Governor George Deukmejian), Almost DailyBrett knows it wasn’t always this way in the Golden State. There was a wonderful time when California was a great state with a great governor. Alas, that era has passed.

There was a much earlier time when mentally distressed Californians received care in safe state hospitals.

They weren’t on the street. Now they are seemingly everywhere.

And if you try to reverse the tide you are a mean-spirited, insensitive bad person, who wants to “warehouse” the homeless. As a result, no one does anything except throw more money at the problem.

Los Angeles passed a surcharge on top of the county’s staggering 10.5 percent sales tax, and $1.2 billion in bonded indebtedness for temporary homeless shelters.

What’s next?

And yet there was a day in which California “warehoused” the homeless … another way of saying, the state took care of the safety of all of its citizens.

The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS)

As a cub reporter for the Glendale News-Press, your author covered the funeral of Assemblyman Frank Lanterman (1901-1981) at the Church of the Lighted Window in La Canada-Flintridge, California.

A virtual who’s-who of California politics attended the service including then-Governor Jerry Brown and then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown among others. “Papa Frank” was revered as a compassionate man, who took a sincere interest in people most would rather put out their collective minds: the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled.

Unarguably, there was horrific unfairness with involuntary confinement to California’s mental hospitals (e.g., Camarillo). Lanterman wanted to address the specter of people being held without recourse for years, decades or even the rest of their natural lives.

Alas, the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act of 1967 cure (e.g., homelessness) proved over time to be worse than the disease (warehousing). Lanterman was an Assembly Republican. Nicholas Petris and Alan Short were state Senate Democrats. The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act was signed into law by then Governor Reagan in 1967. The legislation is a product of the days when California actually had two political parties.

The legislation came with predictable public relations alliteration as it was designed to end, “inappropriate, indefinite and involuntary commitment.”

The well-meaning deinstitutionalization bill was intended to save taxpayer dollars (e.g., Reagan interest) and end warehousing (e.g., Lanterman, Petris and Short legislative intent). The mentally ill (except for the most serious of cases) were released into the community with the notion of seeking community care.

Some homeless did just that, they went to their community providers and took their pills. Others … way too many others … ended up on the streets.

The evidence can be seen in a slow-motion Disney-style ride in a traffic jam plagued vehicle passing literally hundreds of tents lined up along California major and minor city streets.

Be Wary Of Social Engineering; Practice Tough Love

The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act is yet another example of best-intended social engineering with unfortunate unintended consequences, impacting two generations of humanity, those fortunate enough to live in homes and apartments, and those forced into hard-sleep hell.

Will there ever be those in positions of trust with the courage to say, ‘Enough is enough.’

Some may blame California’s crazy housing and rental prices as contributing to the problem. No doubt. But the evidence appears clear that California legislated the crisis by emptying the state hospitals, and the result is visible virtually everywhere, everyday … 24-7-365.

There are people on the streets (e.g., Union Square in San Francisco), who are a danger to themselves and others. They don’t need temporary shelter only to return to homeless squalor in short order. Instead, they need tough love. They need to be moved into safe and secure state mental hospitals to receive the care they so desperately need.

Almost DailyBrett believes the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act needs to be repealed, and replaced with legislation that does not return to inappropriate, indefinite and involuntary commitment.” 

Instead the state will have authority to remove mentally ill homeless from the streets and to acknowledge the outsourcing of care was an undeniable failure. The homeless mentally ill need to be cared in a stable and safe environment, benefiting them and Californians as a whole.

It just seems that courageous California public leaders are in short supply, and the homeless are everywhere.

https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/trash-rats-cover-homeless-encampments-in-la/2304741/

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1987-03-22-op-14759-story.html

https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/publications/understanding-the-lanterman-petris-short-lps-act

https://www.economist.com/united-states/2019/10/19/homelessness-is-declining-in-america

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_D._Lanterman

“There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison’s words.” — Doors’ drummer John Densmore on Ray Manzarek

Having trouble negotiating the Pere Lachaise cemetery maze in Paris?

No problem. Just join the steady stream of rock n’ roll pilgrims traipsing the footpaths to pay their respects to Jim Morrison.

As one of those recent pilgrims (last August), Almost DailyBrett will go out on a limb:

Never has a rock n’ roll front man cast such a long shadow over his fellow band mates than James Douglas Morrison, and that includes Mick Jagger.

Jagger and Keith Richards are forever joined at the hip as The Glimmer Twins of the Rolling Stones. The combo of Jagger-Richards wrote the songs that will stand the test of time. The public not only expects, but demands that Mick and Keith stay together.

The magnetism, stage presence and voice of the so-called “Lizard King,” Jim Morrison, easily eclipsed the combined impact of guitarist, Robby Krieger, drummer, John Densmore and Doors co-founder (with Morrison) keyboards-bassist, Ray Manzarek.

Morrison died, way too young in Paris at 27 in 1971. The French never performed an autopsy, but what we always suspected … was most likely the culprit. One other member of the Doors, keyboard and bass player, Ray Manzarek, also passed away, just six years ago courageously fighting rare cholangiocarcinoma —  bile duct cancer — in Rosenheim, Germany.

Morrison was the legend of The Doors.

His presence and his lasting power are uncontested. Each-and-every day, people from around the world come to Pere Lachaise to take a glimpse at his relatively mundane tombstone, shoved into a tight space against the backdrop of larger memorials for unknown people. Doesn’t the memory of Morrison deserve better? Maybe not the Lenin Mausoleum … but better?

Manzarek was the sound of The Doors.

His keyboards ignited “Light My Fire,” amped up “Back Door Man,” propelled “Back Door Man” and powered “LA Woman.”  Manzarek’s keyboard solo on “Riders On The Storm”was arguably his best work. He happily described the writing and recording the haunting, yet beautiful song, in a recent YouTube video (see below).

The Doors Philosopher

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.” — Poet William Blake’s quote that reportedly inspired philosopher Aldous Huxley’s book “The Doors of Perception,” and thus the name of the band.

“You don’t make music for immortality; you make music for the moment, capturing the sheer joy of being alive on Planet Earth.” — Ray Manzarek

If you were seeking out a perfect commentator to interpret the Doors’ phenomenon (100 million records sold globally from eight albums during eight years, 1965-1973), you couldn’t do better than Manzarek. Time-and-time again he nailed it, when it came to describing the Weltanschauung of the band.

Manzarek was outspoken without coming across as outspoken. His quote above brings a smile to your author, who has neither time nor patience for Oliver Stone’s 1960s fantasies and fairy tales.

Some immediately dismiss all psychedelic era rock n’ rollers as little more than drugged-out skeletons. Manzarek with his glasses and era sideburns contributed to this image. Yet there was more, much more with Manzarek.

Almost DailyBrett is not suggesting the Doors were angels (e.g., Morrison’s well-chronicled drinking habit), but the complexity of Manzarek should be admired and appreciated. Besides his undergraduate degree in economics from DePaul, Manzarek earned a M.F.A from UCLA. He married Dorothy Aiko Fujikama in 1967, the couple raised one son Pablo, and had three grandchildren.

The couple left Los Angeles behind, buying and renovating a wine country farm house in Vichy Springs (e.g., Napa Valley) in 2004. Manzarek’s incredible talent spanned music, writing and maybe a little architectural design as well.

Manzarek will never be a household name, let alone a legend. There are almost zero pilgrimages to pay final respects (reportedly, Manzarek was creamated). No one should doubt his contribution to the band he co-founded, his incredible talent and his thoughtfulness.

Manzarek was indeed … the sound of the Doors.

Home

https://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Rock-n-roll-retreat-The-Doors-Ray-Manzarek-2798037.php

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy high and sell low?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” – St. Augustine on one of “The Seven Deadly Sins”

How many hard-working women have become “mommies” without giving birth?

They have become mommies to way-too-many men, who have literally accomplished absolutely nothing since their high-school graduations.

No one will label these women as gold diggers because they are prospecting in the wrong mine.

Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly come into contact with these underachieving men who only overachieve when it comes to blowing away tens, hundreds, thousands with their virtual assault weapons.

Wonder how many they “killed” today during their latest binge video game session? How can society keep these poor souls away from snacks, smokes, booze, drugs and especially … real weapons?

Oops, too late.

Many of these men are narcissistic. Some are hypochondriacs. Even more are depressed.

They become “stressed” at the prospect of real work. They require their “me” time.

Most of all, they need a “mommy.”

And who are their mommies? The women, who support them.

The women, who pay for their “dates.” The women, who care for them. The women, who work their derrieres off to put food on their tables.

Whatever happened to the sinful “proud” man?

Instead of humble angels or proud devils, they are … biding time in their own personal purgatory.

If Universal Basic Income (UBI) ever became the law of the land, these “men” would briefly become energized, standing first in line for their eternal hand-outs and demanding even more.

‘When will my check be deposited into my account?’ Original content and video games are expensive.

These “men” sleep, breathe, eat and excrete. Therefore, they are entitled as a human right to the fruits of the labor of others, including their co-habitation, “mommies.”

Pathetic. Truly pathetic.

How Did We Get Here?

There are no jobs for these males. They are stuck in a 2008 economic recession time warp. There are “Help Wanted” signs everywhere, but alas all of these jobs are beneath these underachievers.

Ahhh … 2008 was 11 years ago.

Almost DailyBrett has commented before on the research by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), concluding that one-third of all employment age males (20-54 years-young) are voluntarily not working. The record low 3.6 percent unemployment rate understates the nationwide labor shortage because these men are not counted in the workforce.

Their “mommies” are included since they are better equipped and suited for our digital service-oriented society. They have replaced parasitic men when it comes to bringing home the bacon.

Women have supplanted and surpassed men when it comes to university enrollments and participation in the labor force. There are still masculine enclaves (e.g., technology innovation and development), but ever more women are replacing men at once-before masculine workplaces (e.g., hardware stores).

Almost DailyBrett must ask, why do “mommies” put up with these loser men? More to the point, why don’t these men have more respect for themselves and yes … a little sinful pride?

Do we foresee a future in which the majority of men are not just overweight, but obese? Will we see them moving around in their motorized wheel chairs? Who is next at the kidney dialysis clinic? Will they be popping “just one more” happy pill (pain killer)?

The subject of “maternal instinct” is way above the pay grade of your author.

Is there such a thing as “mommy instinct” for men, who refuse to leave their high chairs?

http://www.deadlysins.com/pride

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/unwilling-to-work/

Walking along Berlin’s Tiergarten park trails, one must be wary of stepping in the Hundehaufen.

On virtually any street in the permissive sanctuary city San Francisco, one is hard pressed to avoid encountering Peoplehaufen as well as needles and refuse.

San Francisco has long been a donut with a hole in the middle. The multi-millionaires of Rincon Tower literally must negotiate homeless, druggies and poop droppings to enter and leave their trendy lofty pads. The middle class is nowhere to be found.

Has a stinking pile of human poop replaced the brown bear as California’s mascot?

Is the abandoned high-speed train from nowhere (e.g., Bakersfield) to nowhere (e.g., Merced) become another metaphor for a one-party autocratic state in which so much as gone so wrong, way too fast?

The Golden State with about 12 percent of the country’s population is the “home” to approximately 135,000 homeless or 22 percent of the nation’s total.

For the first time after the 2010 census, California did not gain a new congressional district (electoral vote). After the next census, the Golden State will contract by one congressional district, and actually lose an electoral vote.

Part of the reason is a serious undercount (unreporting undocumented folks) by the state’s population experts. The other reason is people are leaving (net 1 million or 2.5 percent of California’s American resident population outflow in 10 years ending in 2016), accelerating the growing Golden State diaspora.

California will move from 55 to only 54 electoral votes – still the most in the nation – and yet the 40-million person state has less sway over the presidential general election winner.

The blue state is in the bag. Republicans can still raise money in California – The Mother’s Milk of Politics – only to spend it in states that matter (i.e., Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida).

California can still brag about its fantabulous weather, the software and hardware geeks of Silicon Valley, and how its $3 trillion GDP places California only behind the U.S., China, Japan and Germany in business productivity (not business climate).

The only problem with these assertions is they were all true back in the 1980s, when the author of Almost DailyBrett served for eight years as a chief message developer and spokesperson for California Governor George Deukmejian.

California was a “Great State” with a “Great Governor” back then. You can’t make that assertion today, not even close.

In the following decade, your author served in a similar capacity for Silicon Valley’s largest industry, the microcircuit designers and manufacturers.

Being modest, Almost DailyBrett knows a thing or two about California. Alas your author, similar to so many others is viewing California with great regret across state lines (e.g., no sales tax, lower cost Oregon).

Speaking ex-cathedra, the chances are slim and none – and “Slim” is out of town – that your author will ever again reside in über-congested California with its stratospheric property values, staggering high taxes of every sort imaginable, and intractable problems including rampant homelessness, acute Central Valley poverty, illegal immigration and yes, poop on the streets.

Want to purchase for $840,000 or more a 1,000-square feet fixer-upper 1905-era bungalow with an annual $9,000 property tax bill in God-awful San Jose? Undoubtedly, it is freeway close to your work in bucolic Milpitas five miles away. It will only take 45-minutes to get there.

No Checks. No Balances

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – John Dalberg-Acton, English politician, historian and writer

California is in dire need of an “Iron Duke.”

Alas, the Duke passed away and undoubtedly resides in heaven. What could he be thinking as he looks down at what was once the greatest state in the nation on his watch, only to see it easily passed by no-state income tax Texas and Florida?

Governor George Deukmejian refused to raise taxes to close a $1.5 billion deficit, a going away gift from his predecessor Jerry Brown. California’s vibrant economy with all Golden State geographies contributing, retired that staggering debt (1980s dollars) in less than one year without demanding taxpayers dig deeper into their wallets.

Next month, California will once again increase its highest gas taxes in the country (an excise tax of $0.473 on top of a $2.25 per gallon state sales tax). The state income tax regime ranges from 1 percent to 13.3 percent. The sales tax in Los Angeles County is (gasp), 10.5 percent.

Believe it or not, San Francisco City County is lower at 8.75 percent.

In 10 days, California with its record $21.5 billion surplus will surpass New Jersey as the state imposing the largest tax burden on its citizens. Something is not working in California. Will another tax, another entitlement, another social engineering scheme save the day?

Similar to other one-party “C” states (i.e., China, Cuba), California needs a loyal opposition, a few brave souls to demand that homo-sapien poop on the streets is not an acceptable representation of what once was, The Golden State.

Heroes are hard to find in Sacramento these days.

Oh heck, let’s just enjoy another California $15 six-pack with 10.5 percent sales tax and mandated deposit fee. Cheers.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/06/california-third-world-state-corruption-crime-infrastructure/

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-california-economy-gdp-20180504-story.html

https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-skelton-democrats-census-trump-2020-20180125-story.html

https://lao.ca.gov/laoecontax/article/detail/265

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

“A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah.” – Ronald Reagan

There are no trigger warnings at the front door.

Arguably there are more aging hippies per square inch in Eugene, Oregon than any other town in America. Berkeley may have a free-range beef against this claim. So be it.

And yet, there is a framed “Reagan Country” 1980 campaign poster in the living room of Almost DailyBrett’s Eugene residence.

Sometimes an aging hippie or wanna-be hippie will be enjoying one of Oregon’s craft beers or a glass of one of the Willamette Valley’s now legendary – and expensive – Pinot Noirs right under the smiling portrait of The Gipper.

Maybe out of politeness, guests neither mention the image of America’s 40th president nor ask to be moved to another venue in the house. Are they just being polite or have they somehow, someway reached the acceptance stage of Reagan’s legacy?

Either stance is just fine with your author.

As Nancy once said about her husband: “Ronnie appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears.”

Making no aspersions either for or against the present leader of the free world, Almost DailyBrett would bring back Ronnie from the grave in a nanosecond. Alas, only one reportedly has risen from the dead.

“The man who beat communism”

Some historical revisionists have debated with your author about the roles that Harry Truman, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pope John Paul II and maybe others played in ushering in the downfall of the Soviet Union and the end of Communism.

Indeed, they all contributed and deserve their respective shares of the credit.

The Reagan deniers are entitled to their opinions, but deep down we all know the truth: Reagan played the pivotal and primary role in ending the Communist menace and bringing down the ghastly Berlin Wall … therefore Reagan hangs proudly on your author’s living room wall.

“By defeating communism, Ronald Reagan ended one of history’s most violent centuries and opened the door … (that) democracy might become available to more of the people who wanted it.” – The Economist, June 12, 2004

“Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union; he won the Cold War – not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.” – Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s eulogy for Ronald Reagan, June 11, 2004

An entire wing of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum on the Friedrichstrasse in Berlin is dedicated to Ronald Reagan with his infamous, “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall” speech on continuous loop. The ich bin ein Berliners know the truth.

Walking freely and without fear underneath the Brandenburg Gate, your author appreciates the impact of these monumental words delivered a few feet away when the gate was closed, seemingly forever by the so-called Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR).

The Tax Cuts Worked

“There were two great triumphs, two things that I’m proudest of. One is the economic recovery, in which the people of America created – and filled – 19 million new jobs. The other is the recovery of our morale: America is respected again in the world, and looked to for leadership.” – Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address, Jan. 12, 1989

Some have tried to convince Almost DailyBrett that tax cuts and tax reform (Reagan did both) simply did not, will not, and never will work. Sorry but your author must respectfully disagree.

The 19 million new jobs created  during Reagan’s presidency is a peacetime record in the history of the United States. Inflation plunged from 13.5 percent in 1980 to 5.1 percent two years later. Interest rates dropped from 21.5 percent in 1980 to 10 percent five years later.

As a campaign press director/gubernatorial press secretary for then-California Attorney General/later Governor George Deukmejian, we prevailed in the closest gubernatorial election in the history of the Golden State during a deep recession in 1982. Four years later during the Reagan economic boom, we won by the largest landslide in California’s history.

Yes, Governor George Deukmejian did a great job as the Golden State’s chief executive. We were also helped immensely by the success of Ronald Reagan’s economic policies.

Reagan was not perfect; perfection as always is in short supply.

The Gipper summed up best in his farewell address to the nation:

“All in all, not bad. Not bad at all.”

Not bad, not bad at all, Mr. Poster Man on the living room wall.

http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/reagan-tear-down.htm

https://www.reaganfoundation.org/ronald-reagan/reagan-quotes-speeches/farewell-address-to-the-nation-2/

https://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/12/news/transcript-of-reagan-s-farewell-address-to-american-people.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/when-reagan-walked-into-the-room/

Even men have standards …

Gov. Gavin Newsom wears a pair of safely glasses as he helped custodian Maria Arambula, right, with her janitorial work at American River College on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 in Sacramento.

Should a mayor sleep with his campaign manager’s wife, Rippey?

Should a mayor sleep with his chief of staff’s wife, Rippey?

Should a mayor sleep with his best friend’s wife, Rippey?

What if all of above – campaign manager, chief of staff, best friend – was one fellow male, Alex Tourk?

What kind of friend are you Mr. Mayor … Mr. Governor, anyway?

As adoring California media gush and write fluffers and puffers about former San Francisco Mayor, now Golden State Governor Gavin Newsom, do his antics 12 years ago matter … particularly and especially to men who time-and-time again do not vote Democratic?

Gavin won the governorship of California, even after violating the man code. Why should that little indiscretion stop him from becoming President #46 in 2024? You know he’s running … yes you do.

First Almost DailyBrett must ask: Will Gavin’s dalliance matter at all, to women?

Two of the last four presidents were/are champion cheaters, one grabbing them in private areas and as desperate defenders of the other always say: ‘It was just a blow…!’

Did either Messrs. Trump and Clinton ever make love to the wife of a best friend? As far as we know, the answer in both cases is negative.

Second, carnal knowledge behind the back of your best friend with his spouse is without doubt a direct violation of the Man Code.

C.W. Nevius of the San Francisco Chronicle in 2007 defined the code as “a set of rigid but unwritten boundaries over which no man may step. Break the Man Code, and you’re toast.”

Sorry C.W., Gavin is governor, not toast … at least not yet. Having said that, does that mean all is forgiven and forgotten with males of the species?

The Real Gender Gap

Donald Trump won the white male vote 62-31 percent … or two-to-one for you math whizzes … demonstrating that Democrats more than Republicans are confronting a gender gap.

Almost DailyBrett has real doubts Democrats can do enough to close this gap between now and 2020, let alone five years from now.

If Gavin wakes up one day and gazes into his golden mirror on the wall and sees, not just a governor, but a president (bet on it), how will men across the fruited plain view his 2007 violation of the Man Code?

You can be sure that opposition research will dredge up this tawdry caper, even in a Democratic primary for an open seat … let alone the general election.

Some will contend that your Almost DailyBrett author should slow down. Didn’t The Donald run against the first woman nominee, Hillary? Were oodles of (misogynist or not) men simply voting against a female standard bearer, particularly that woman?

There are few who as far to suggest that Hillary was not in a word … “likeable.” Really.

In contrast, Gavin will offer himself as a telegenic white privileged male with a socialist-oriented track record as Mayor of San Francisco and Governor of California.

How will the story of his sneaking behind his best friend’s back to bed his wife sound to literally millions of men from sea to shining sea? Is there a Statute of Limitations on this type of story?

Just ask Joe Biden and/or Brett Kavanaugh.

The Man Code is visceral. A man instinctively senses a deep-seeded … that is so wrong … type of wrong. Your best friend’s wife is out-of-bounds and will always be. There is no there, there. Don’t even think about it.

Are men horn-dogs? Does the sun rise in the morning and set in the evening? Hormonal hetero men (redundant?) have responded to women since Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis.

Women expect the worst when it comes to testosterone-laden men. We never fail to deliver. Men are their own worst enemies and our collective PR to use a sophisticated term … sucks.

Having said that, women are more willing based upon centuries of rolling-their-eyes experience to eventually accept and maybe even forgive men for being … men.

Men are different animals. A violation of the Man Code is serious and enduring. You were wrong Gavin. You know you were wrong. What felt so good should not give you pleasure now, Governor Gavin. The coast is not clear.

If you think men will forget in five-years-time (or any time), you are sadly mistaken.

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article229922079.html

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Unforgivable-breach-of-Man-Code-2652345.php

 

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