Category: Silicon Valley


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any Remorse?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Almost DailyBrett must ask: Can public trust in the Journalism “profession” plummet any further?

Have the inmates finally taken over the elite asylums?

Is it finally time — actually past time — for professional accreditation of journalists, and to require compliance with a defined set of media standards for fairness, balance and objectivity?

Physicians must secure their doctorates in medicine, plus four years of residency. Lawyers are confronted with the Bar Exam upon the completion of law school. Accounting majors are faced with the CPA exam. Virtually anyone who wants to succeed in business needs to earn an MBA, preferably from a top school (i.e., USC, Oregon, Harvard, Wharton … ).

What then are present-day standards and best practices for objectivity, accuracy and fairness for future Journalists?

Some will point to a curricula of university-taught devotion to activism, and intolerance to any-and-all dissenting views? That’s what most in university ivory tower J-schools may think, but they are wrong. They have been off-base for decades.

What about credentials? Ever wonder why reporters, editors, correspondents are less respected more than ever by the American public? To suggest that journalists rank in the same league with used-car salesmen actually besmirches the good name of … used car salesmen.

The obvious answer lies with the question of professionalism or more to the point, the glaring lack of media professionalism. Who needs ethos or logos, when your reporting is your personal pathos? You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.

The question of media accreditation — not talking about the mere issuance of credentials — is a perennial topic. Even mentioning the subject is the equivalent of a crucifix to a vampire for kicking-and-screaming reporters, editors, anchors and correspondents.

How much lower can public opinion of Journalism plummet when it comes to trust … or more to the point … lack of trust in the media? The profession’s approval rating is lower than … (gasp) the reviled, Donald Trump.

The Devil In The Details

Some may blame all of the media’s plunging public esteem all on Trump, the one-and-the-same who labeled journalists as “Enemies of the People.”

Some may say, he went too far with his comments and instinctively worry about chilling effects on the First Amendment. Trump can read public opinion surveys as well as anyone else and can easily conclude … the public is clearly dissatisfied with the media. They are an easy target, and attacking them obviously fires up his base of Independents and Republicans.

Heck, only one-third of Democrats trust most of the digital and/or conventional content they see from the media according to a Knight Foundation survey.  Independents, 13 percent. Republicans? Only three percent.

Maybe more telling is that one-quarter of all independents do not trust any of the content emanating from today’s media, actually higher than the 21 percent of Republicans who have zero trust in media reports.

The media is failing big time when it comes to trust. The numbers tell an undeniable quantitative story.

Truth be known, the slide in public esteem and trust began shortly after the glorified days of Woodward & Bernstein in the mid-1970s, and accelerated since then the race to the bottom. The arrival of digital media and the corresponding decline of print journalism only changed the business models, but not the down-to-the-right trajectory for the “profession.”

How does Journalism restore public trust in the news and information it provides?

Isn’t the Fourth Estate supposed to be the watchdogs of our Democracy? Who watches the watchdogs?

If there are going to be media accreditation, similar to public relations practitioners by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), who can objectively — there goes that word again — assume this task?

If the proverbial media fox is guarding the Journalism hen house — sets the standards for accreditation and best practices — how can the public trust the results let alone believe again in those who are supposed to provide with fair-and-balanced news and information?

The devil is in the details, but Almost DailyBrett believes that independent members need to be part of the process, similar to Boards of Directors for publicly traded companies.

There are some in the “profession” who will say the First Amendment “as we know it” will be threatened, if they are compelled to be tolerant, fair, balanced and objective to all points of view, not just the ones that advocate for redistribution Socialist Justice.

Almost DailyBrett is confident the First Amendment will live on, if journalists are accredited and conform to best practices of fairness, balance and objectivity.

The mission should be restoration of public trust in the media — and with it — the resurrection of the troubled profession.

There is a way. The question remains: Is there a ‘will.’

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/04/28/should-reporters-register-as-lobbyists/

https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/trust-in-media-down.php

Indicators of news media trust

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

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

That was then, this is now.

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

How can that be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What happened? Why is BMW going backward?

Tesla Is A Pure Play

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“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

 

“Yes, most likely.” — Boeing President and CEO David L. Calhoun asked if one of his airline customers will go out of business

Three little devastating words.

What is one of the Golden Rules of Public Relations? Don’t answer hypotheticals.

“What happens if the sun slams into the earth?

You can think we would all fry and die and the markets would close early, but you have the right to keep your thoughts to yourself and to deliver a boring response to a reporter, anchor or correspondent.

Today’s Savannah Guthrie asked Calhoun if an airline (e.g., one of Boeing’s customer) could go under, and he uttered those three little words starting with “Yes.”

Guess what? The entire airline sector took a dive (pardon the poor Almost DailyBrett pun) as well as one of their chief suppliers … that would be … Boeing. The company’s PR department reportedly tried to “walk back” Calhoun’s gaffe, but as they say … ‘You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.”

Almost DailyBrett must first ask: Why “Today”?  Why now?

Even before Covid-19 sell-off, the company was responsible for two Boeing 737 Max-8 failure airplane crashes. As a former shareholder, your author knows the airline passenger market is on its back. Boeing turned into a ‘sell.’ It’s still a ‘sell.’

What’s the “great” news to bestow to the aeronautics rocket scientists at Today. Considering that Boeing is the ultimate B2B (business-to-business) is Today’s audience, your audience? Wouldn’t CNBC, Fox Business, Wall Street Journal or even Aviation Week be more appropriate media for Boeing?

Your Mother Always Told You To Tell The Truth

So did Immanuel Kant.

A former Silicon Valley colleague made a valid point that Boeing boss Calhoun should be given credit for telling the truth, and nothing but the truth.

True, but Calhoun went too far. Questions about the financial health of each and everyone of Boeing’s airline customers should be left to the … carriers themselves.

What was the alternative (besides declining the Today interview request)? How about not responding to the question, simply acknowledge the interrogative, say you can’t speak for individual airlines and pivot the discussion back to Boeing. The technique is known as Acknowledge-Bridge-SOCO (Strategic Operating Communications Objective).

SOCO is the answer, which coincides with predetermined before the Today interview Boeing’s agenda, not the wishes of Mizz Guthrie.

As a former press secretary for former California Governor George Deukmejian, your author and our press office staff parried each and every hypothetical question. It was our rule. It was our political discipline.

Consider one of the many questions that we received about legislation pending in the state Legislature, and whether the governor would sign or veto a bill? Unless it was one of the rare cases in which the governor deliberately wanted to send a discouraging message in advance — the bill would be DOA — we implemented our sacrosanct rule about not responding to hypotheticals.

Reporters would often voice their displeasure, but our answer made sense … bills are often amended. They are shelved in committee. They fail on the floor of one or the other house. You can’t make a judgment on a bill if and until it reaches the governor in its final form.

In governance, it’s sound public policy to plan for the future — California 2010 project in 1987. The Golden State foresaw the equivalent of the population of the State of Illinois moving to California. That prediction turned out to be true.

Having said that, there is zero upside with thinking out loud in the on-the-record presence of a reporter. Unless you have the internal green light from your management to float a trial balloon, the practice of speculating about the future is inherently dangerous.

And if you do venture into the hypothetical minefield, mind your own knitting (one metaphor following another),

Calhoun’s greatest sin in the eyes of Almost DailyBrett was conjecturing out loud about the business future of one of Boeing’s customers. That’s the carrier’s prerogative and responsibility, not Boeing, the B2B supplier.

Boeing’s PR department deserves more than its fair share of blame for this gaffe. Today was a bad choice at the worst time possible.

Calhoun was not adequately media trained, particularly when it comes to never answering hypotheticals.

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/coronavirus-pandemic-could-force-major-u-s-airline-out-business-n1205036

http://www.boeing.com/company/bios/david-l-calhoun.page

 

 

Which Californian would you rather have running your business: Tim Cook or Gavin Newsom?

Taking into account that Covid-19 indiscriminately hit both Apple and the State of California at the same time in the same place, which entity performed better under nearly identical circumstances?

Under Governor Gavin Newsom’s watch, California with the nation’s highest income taxes (13.3 percent at the apex) and an average sales tax of 8.66 percent recently reported its record $21 billion surplus is now an unprecedented $54.3 billion deficit … that’s a staggering $75.3 billion switch if you are scoring at home. Nonetheless, the state found $75 million in the form of a pander payment to California illegal aliens.

Will they be eligible to vote … some day?

As the chief executive officer of $260 billion Apple with $44 billion in cash reserves, Tim Cook just announced the reopening some of Apple’s national stores this week with many more to follow. The company achieved a 37.8 percent gross margin and 14.3 percent to the bottom line in FY 2019, returning quarterly dividends of $0.82 per share for its shareholders.

As a member of the growing California Diaspora and a best-in-breed investor, who would Almost DailyBrett choose as a responsible fiscal steward?

Hint: Apple shares are up 7.25 percent this year, despite the Corona virus. As CNBC’s Jim Cramer repeatedly has proclaimed, he is only interested in a stock’s future. Share prices are a leading … not trailing … indicator of future performance.

Apple is a leader. California is a laggard.

The same is true with other best-in-breed publicly traded companies including Salesforce.com, Gilead Sciences, Lululemon Athletica, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nike, NVIDIA and Starbucks. Is the present iteration of California anywhere close to … best in breed?

If California was publicly traded, would a responsible investor select the Golden State or no state income tax Texas and/or Florida?

As the former press secretary for the former Governor of California George Deukmejian (1928-2018), my love for the Golden State is true … your author loathes the present crew in Sacramento. Just ask Tesla boss Elon Musk.

Peddling A False Choice

The bull statue on Wall Street and the True Value hardware store on Main Street are not mutually exclusive.

The countless suggestions of a Berlin Wall type of divide between the two streets is a false choice. Even the stately The Economist fell into this trap.

The reason is simple, millions of investors who live on Main Street, the side streets and the suburbs. Gallup reported that 55 percent of Americans own stocks and/or stock based mutual funds … before Covid 19. America’s Investor Class certainly took a hit with the virus, but there are tangible results indicating without any doubt that investors are coming back, money is coming off the sidelines … heck the NASDAQ is up for the year.

Those who project the end of Capitalism may even be the same to predict the Republicans were the Whigs of the 21st Century, heading for extinction. Whatever happened to these rocket scientists?

Many in America’s investor class are fond of ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds and other versions of mutual funds. Your author is an investor in Fidelity’s Contrafund with $112 billion assets under management (AUM). The fund invests in large caps including Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Berkshire Hathaway (think Warren Buffett), Adobe, Google …

Cash needs to be a significant portion of any responsible portfolio, which should include a mutual fund or two.

Almost DailyBrett must pause and ask the investor class (anyone who would care to listen), how about being the manager of your own mutual fund (no fees or commissions)? Why not build a portfolio with your own selection of best-in-breed stocks (e.g., Apple)?

To some, this approach may be too risky. To others, do you really need a paid-by-you investment advisor to tell you that Nike is the number athletic apparel manufacturer in the world? Why not buy the stock when the next inevitable dip comes around?

Buy Low Sell High.

For the most part, America’s Investor Class radiates out from Main Street. To suggest that Wall Street needs to be reined in and economic freedom should be curtailed by those who determine the so-called Public Good is contrary to the best interests of millions investing for retirement, a child’s education, a dream house or a new business.

It takes a free market to raise a child.

Wall Street is Main Street.

P.S. Be careful about investing in The State of California.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/05/07/the-market-v-the-real-economy?

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/07/california-faces-a-staggering-54-billion-budget-deficit-due-to-economic-devastation-from-coronavirus.html

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/10/apple-reports-fourth-quarter-results/

State and Local Sales Tax Rates, 2020

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/15/california-to-give-cash-payments-to-immigrants-hurt-by-coronavirus.html

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

What Percent Of Americans Own Stocks?

State Individual Income Tax Rates and Brackets for 2020

“They (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB …) want to get back. They’ve got to get back. We want to get back soon, very soon. We have to re-open our country again.” — President Donald Trump after a Saturday conference call with the major sport commissioners

The “easy” part was declaring a State of Emergency, and shutting down America.

The decision was difficult, but once made it was relatively easy to implement

At some point — not now — comes the hard part: Re-opening the stadiums, arenas, music halls, stock exchanges, restaurants, stores, businesses, corporations …

What? When? Where? Who? Why? and most of all, How?

How are we going to re-open America?

Will we simply lift the State of Emergency, and pick up where we left off? Don’t think so.

Will we wait until everyone is tested for COVID-19 antibodies?

Will we hang on until everyone has been vaccinated? 2021? 2022? …

How will we demand proof of vaccine or antibody testing without violating federal health privacy guidelines (e.g., HIPAA), and personal liberties?

Will we continue to quarantine the high-risk population, Baby Boomers and older?

Will the ‘All-Clear’ signal be given to X-Gens, Millennials and younger?

How does that square with equal protection guidelines of the 14th Amendment?

What criteria will we use? Can we accept that unanimity is impossible; there will always be those who disagree (particularly those with political agendas in an election year)?

Will there ever be an absolute “coast is clear” signal? You can be absolutely sure that opinions will vary, count on it.

And there will be attorneys too, in particular for this Almost DailyBrett author: Plaintiff attorneys … tan, rested and ready to sue anyone and everyone with deep pockets (e.g., NFL franchises).

The Complex PR Puzzle Facing Re-Opening Decisions

No matter how many public officials are consulted. No matter how many health experts provide advice. No matter, no matter, no matter ... somebody has to be first to re-open the doors, the turn-styles, the restaurant tables for overpriced seared sea bass with risotto.

Let’s say we don’t re-open until 2021 (e.g., Tokyo Olympics, UEFA Euro 2021 … ), there still will be a line in the sand. People will no longer maintain six-foot buffer zones. Most likely they will no longer wear face masks, except for football players and hockey goalies.

Can college and NFL football players block and tackle each other? Otherwise, what is the point?

Can fans, patrons return to packed-in-as-sardine stadiums? What if they are scared (Will their tickets be refunded)? What if they actually go to the game, concert, restaurant, store, shop … and get sick? Will they sue? How many? And for how much will they litigate?

An NFL team has the legal muscle and deep pockets to defend itself, but what about a mid-range college athletic department?

Your author is not an attorney, but is there an assumed liability that comes with handing over your ticket with the QR code face up?

Almost DailyBrett contends strongly that public relations practitioners should urge not only communication, but over-communicating.

There will be an acute need for earned media (e.g., digital and conventional media interviews) employing team owners, university presidents, chief executive officers and of course, health experts.

Ditto for paid media (e.g., advertising) with strong messages about getting back to work, and going to the game … safely.

And most of all every organization will be required to launch owned media campaigns (e.g., websites, blog posts, social media, signage, PowerPoint presentations, brochures and takeaways).

The more people are informed about the calculated risks they may take in waiting for the first guitar riff or standing up for the kickoff … the better for them and for the resumption of our economy and our way of life.

Bill Gates was amazingly prescient about the threat of microbial pandemics in his now famous 2015 TED Talk, which served as the forerunner for the crisis of the ten-thousandth of a millimeter in diameter Corona Virus.

Considering the wonderful work of Bill and Melinda Gates, donating a record $50 billion to their namesake foundation for health and education and to combat third world poverty, maybe he could serve as a major thought leader in negotiating the hard part, getting us back to work, into the stadiums, and back on campus.

Didn’t someone piously state that billionaires should not exist?

Ahh … the subject of another Almost DailyBrett post.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28995399/sources-trump-says-nfl-start

https://www.gatesfoundation.org/who-we-are/general-information/foundation-factsheet

New York, N.Y. – The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today announced the formation of a sister exchange/wholly owned subsidiary, the Toilet Paper Stock Exchange (TPSE).

The “Tipsie”  began trading today with its first full flush of excitement at 9:30 am (EDT), 6:30 am (PDT).

The commodity units utilized for Tipsie trading are known as Resources Of Limited Life (ROLLS). Digital Trading Platforms (TP) have been established by the TPSE to facilitate the buying and selling of increasingly valuable toilet paper.

“We have never in our lifetimes witnessed the unbelievable demand for the ultimate recession proof product: toilet paper,” said Stacey Cunningham, NYSE Group president. “One way or the other, we all will use this strategic commodity each day, sometimes multiple times a day.

“If we must use ROLLS, and some even resort to evil hoarding of this product (see Costco), why can’t investors trade these ROLLS, employing our TPs under the regulatory oversight of the newly created federal Toilet Paper Exchange Commission or TPEC?”

The “Tipsie” immediately reported brisk initial trading with each ROLL fetching an average price of $69.95, representing a total market capitalization (number of rolls issued x sales price) exceeding $1 trillion.

Only Microsoft ($1.20 trillion) and Apple ($1.11 trillion)at the close of trading on the final day of Q1 2020 rival toilet paper in attainment of 13-digit institutional (i.e., buy and sell side) and retail investor inflows (not to be confused with outflows).

Cunningham cautioned investors to fully expect the trading of ROLLS to remain volatile and fluid for the duration of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) global pandemic. The unprecedented and inexplicable demand of toilet is expected to continue for weeks, if not months.

“Just like any other market — from tulips to Internet start-ups to toilet paper — we must guard against commodification,” said Cunningham. “Most of all we need to cover our … derrieres … if the demand for toilet paper falls and the supply of ROLLS run out. Otherwise, we may feel a little … Tipsie.”

Safe Harbor Cautionary Statement — Institutional and retails investors are summarily cautioned that trading on the increasingly volatile and fluid  TPSE or “Tipsie” requires a certain degree of risk in which the value of ROLLS may actually fluctuate regardless of whether the TPSE or TPs (Trading Platforms) are utliized. The TPSE expressly follows the dictates of the Toilet Paper Exchange Commission (TPEC), the federal Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the Security Exchange Commission and other regulatory bodies.

About the Toilet Paper Stock Exchange (“Tipsie”)

The Toilet Paper Stock Exchange or “Tipsie” is a sister trading platform to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and a wholly owned subsidiary. The express purpose of the Tipsie is to facilitate the orderly buying and selling of Resource of Limited Life or (ROLLS), using the exchanges digital trading platforms or (TPs).

Almost DailyBrett Editor’s Note: 

Serious consideration was given to taking a pass on this blog’s annual “April Fool’s” post for obvious reasons. However, the strange global obsession with all things toilet paper is a strange global obsession. Buy reasonable amounts of toilet paper, if you can. More importantly, stay healthy. Stay very safe.

— TPSE —

https://ir.theice.com/governance/executive-management-team/default.aspx

 

 

From a public relations and mass communications standpoint, we need to leave the past — most of all recriminations — to the mass media. Let them focus on the fact that we again slept at dawn.

Hint: They were sleeping as well.

We need to envision and more importantly, credibly and practically project better times in the future. We need to balance our justified health concerns with our economic hopes.

Will we have a national resurrection by Easter Sunday, April 12? Maybe? Most likely, not?

If not, the media will happily tell us how our loving optimist-in-chief somehow failed in the face of continued darkness.

And yet his approval rating continues to rise, and his score for handling the corona virus reaches 60 percent thumbs up against 38 percent thumbs down.

As Teddy Roosevelt (pardon the paraphrase from heaven, POTUS #26) told us in his famous 1910 speech to the students at Paris’ Sorbonne, it’s not Gloomy Gus or Negative Nancy who counts, or how the strong man or woman stumbles or how she or he could have done better.

The credit belongs to those who are in the arena.

We need more of those, who dare to suggest with credibility that yes life will get better. We are not eternally condemned to the boredom of our living rooms.

Some day we will standing in line for the barista, waiting for our beer or wine, actually ordering our food to a table in a restaurant … our hearts thumping with thousands of others, anticipating the first guitar riff or standing up for the kickoff.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News “virtual town hall” event on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with members of the coronavirus task force in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

It takes courage to stand up in front of this wall of negativity and suggest that life may be better sooner … much sooner … as opposed to later.

It takes moxy to purchase shares of best-in-breed stocks (i.e., Apple, Microsoft, Nike, NVIDIA, McDonalds, Starbucks …) as the markets refuse for weeks to stretch two or more positive trading days in a row. Volatility will eventually be tamed, most likely not now.

It takes compassion to swipe our credit card at our local coffee place, order books online from our regional bookseller, call for take out at our favorite Italian place. With our economic freedom maintained, we can choose who and how much to support.

They have been there for us. Isn’t time for us to be there for them?

It’s so easy to hunker down and to shut down for the “common good.” It’s harder to dream again, and to express hope.

We Need Good News

“Hope is believing good will come, even in bad times. 

“Hope is knowing that this too shall pass.

“Hope is knowing no matter how afraid we are, our higher power will be with us.

“Hope is knowing that we never have to be alone again. It’s knowing that “Time Is On Our Side.’

“Hope is giving up control. Hope is knowing we didn’t have control in the first place.” — Rolling Stones lead guitarist Ronnie Wood.

Almost DailyBrett believes there are more than a few, who have major problems with the United States and its world’s largest gross domestic product (GDP) at $21.99 trillion (prior to the impact of the Corona virus, COVID-19).

To them the USA needs to redistribute the pie, not expand it to offer more pieces for everyone.

The word “balance” seemingly does not exist in ivory towers on campuses, the deep state or in some media empires.

Until recently, climate change dominated. “How dare” anyone suggest thoughtful consideration of those who work and thrive in our world-best economy?

And now the little corona virus bugger has replaced the planet — at least for now — as the single most priority. Forget about producing products we use or compensating our employees. Allocating $25 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in DC is just so vital to beating this global epidemic.

As we debate looking for the positive versus being Gloomy Gus or Debbie Downer, we know two things for certain:

Teddy Roosevelt is forever enshrined on Mt. Rushmore.

No one will ever build statues to critics, including Negative Nancy.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/id-love-to-have-it-open-by-easter-trump-hopeful-economy-will-be-revived-in-coming-weeks/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=breaking&utm_campaign=newstrack&utm_term=19820067

http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html

https://news.gallup.com/poll/298313/president-trump-job-approval-rating.aspx

 

“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

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