Category: Social Media


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

There is no joy that comes from giving a student a “Falcon,” let alone three “Falcons.”

And yet as a former tenure-track university professor, one learned to always adhere to a carefully written and periodically strengthened (before a given term begins) class syllabus to ensure every student is treated and graded fairly.

If a student believes he or she has been wronged in the submission of the final grade, the first course of action is to appeal directly to the instructor. The second is to take the case to the applicable department chair, who will either sustain or change the decision of the professor. The third is a comparable appeal to the college dean with the same set of options.

And finally, there is the university Board of Academic Appeals. The ruling of this board is final for either party.

Almost DailyBrett was taken before the board in spring 2018 for three failing grades he gave as it turned out … to an African-American student. Even though your author is happily retired, he still has present-day reflections about this process.

Before proceeding with this epistle, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provisions must be upheld. The student in question is not be named and will not be identified. For the purposes of this discussion, the last letter of the Greek alphabet — “Omega” — will be substituted to protect the student’s identity.

Sports Illustrated photo – Kevin in the end zone

Omega submitted a petition to the Board of Academic Appeals including accusing your author on multiple occasions of being a “racist.” My consistent grading reflected the fact the student in question recorded five or more unexcused absences during 20-teaching-days courses, plus not working with classmate teams. The result as prescribed in the syllabi, three failing grades.

These “Falcons” were not instances of “can’t” — Omega was a good writer, solid presenter, a talented graphic artist — but of “won’t.” Someone, who for whatever reason refuses to attend class and team meetings, when they have all the tools to succeed and thrive is particularly sad.

Almost DailyBrett totally rejects this hateful R-label and is proud of his lifelong record of working successfully with the African-American community. Your author always displayed proudly in his offices a 1976 Sports Illustrated photograph of himself with LB Rod Martin (left) and S Dennis Thurman (right) from the USC vs. UCLA game. The same image is on the home wall of history as this post is being composed.

In the end, your author’s grading decisions were affirmed by the Board of Academic Appeals, which is comprised of faculty members and students. The reason in my humble opinion (IMHO) lies with the tight consistent language in the syllabi — the language was identical — for all three classes. The same set of rules applied to all students, ensuring a level playing field.

What About Today’s Cancel Culture?

Another professor faced with Omega’s non-performance in his class, did not give the student a “Falcon.” Regardless of the strict language in his syllabus, the student was given an “incomplete.” That professor was not taken to the Board of Academic Appeals. Was he smarter? Is discretion the better part of valor?

Considering today’s permissive, fearful and intolerant political atmosphere, would Almost DailyBrett be facing suspension for giving three falcons to an African-American student? Would the Board of Academic Appeals be disbanded for sustaining a tenure-track assistant professor’s grading? Would your author be shown the door upon being accused of racism?

The likely answers to all three of these questions are … ‘yes,’ ‘yes,’ and ‘yes.’

Almost DailyBrett is ready to believe virtually anything in our new Cultural Revolution when the statue of Winston Churchill, who beat racist fascist Nazi Germany, is defaced, and arguably the greatest epic movie of all time, “Gone With The Wind,” is dropped by HBO.

When will the books be burned?

An effective Democracy must be a nation of laws and agreed-upon procedures. If these laws and procedures are inadequate for today’s civilization, they can be and should be amended.

But what happens to those who enforce the laws and the rules? What about those who go by the book or the syllabus? What about those who are merely accused of the stupidity of singling out individuals just because the hue of their skin? Do they deserve to suspended, terminated and put out to pasture just for doing their jobs?

As a retired professor and active blogger contemplates the specter of facing the music just two years ago, one must wonder what would have happened if spring 2018 was actually spring 2020?

Would the student in question be the focus of the university review or would your author be shown the door after being accused and doing his job?

Almost DailyBrett Editor’s Note: The term “Falcon” was first heard by your author during his USC undergraduate days, shortly after The Wheel was invented. It’s use in this blog in no way minimizes the seriousness of giving a failing grade to any student.

https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/faq/what-ferpa

https://www.cwu.edu/academic-appeals/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/06/11/leaving-on-your-own-terms/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/05/15/never-answer-hypotheticals/

“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

 

There are times when the First Amendment prevails.

There are times when arrogance and smugness fail.

There are times when there really are two sides to a story.

It’s amazing for Almost DailyBrett to watch and re-watch the July 18, 2016 interview between CNN’s Don Lemon and former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke on the supercharged subjects of race and policing, and realize the intensity, the passions, the issues and the rhetoric have not changed.

For Lemon, he was sitting side-by-side with Sheriff Clarke. The seven-figure anchor could not resort to the dependable “R” label under the first signs of intellectual pressure because the head Milwaukee County law enforcement officer is also … an African American.

Alas, the interview was not a satellite uplink, which would have provided Lemon with an easy forum for smirking, if not laughing during his reaction shots. The exchange was mano-a-mano and Lemon blinked, calling for a commercial break in the middle of the interview.

We’ll be right back, we’re going to go to break. Are you (Clarke) going to let me (Lemon) talk?” — Don Lemon in punt formation.

After the commercial appeals for legal tender, the interview continued with Sheriff Clarke back on offense and Lemon wondering … ‘who booked this guest?’ Dissent was talking back. Arrogance was being rejected. The other side of the story was being presented. First Amendment Rights were being exercised.

The optics were Sheriff Clarke refusing to be intimidated or to back down in the immediate aftermath of the death of three Baton Rouge peace officers, countering Lemon point-by-point with controlled intensity.

Clarke was well prepared for the interview with a defined agenda, compelling facts and information. Most of all, he was there on behalf of the law enforcement fraternity. He was standing up for all police officers, particularly those who paid the ultimate price for our safety.

David Alexander Clarke Jr. was the other side of the story, even though way too many in the Fourth Estate contend there is only one side to any story. They will make that determination without any help thank you very much.

Finis. Endo Musico.

The real question is, whether Lemon was prepared? Just as Apollo Creed did not take Rocky seriously, Lemon was obviously not ready to respond to the rhetorical exchange with Sheriff Clarke. The sheriff deals with the cruel world on the streets night-after-night rather than pontificating in a plush air-conditioned studio surrounded by adoring sycophants.

The CNN Apologencia will conclude that Lemon did not lose the exchange. Fair enough, but he did not win.

Four years later, the issue as everyone knows has exploded for two weeks and counting, reignited by the senseless Memorial Day murder of George Floyd by one Minneapolis police officer in particular and four officers in toto. All four officers are staring at some major jail time, up to 50 years for second-degree murder or being accomplices to murder by asphyxiation.

Due process will run its course.

In the meantime a veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council — and even New York Mayor Bill De Blasio — have called for defunding police departments. Minneapolis would replace its peace officers with a “new transformative model for cultivating safety.” How does the “transformative model” work, if someone is breaking into your house or stealing your car?

Back in 2016, Donald Trump promised to end crime in America. The late Charles Krauthammer scoffed at this notion, reminding his readers and viewers that crime has been a plague on societies since Babylonian King Hammurabi — served from 1792-1750 BC — and his code of 282 laws. If Hammurabi was concerned with crime and punishment almost 4,000 years ago, why should we take thousands well-intentioned police officers off the beat because of few bad cops in the 21st Century?

Police officers put their lives on the line every day. Some pay the ultimate price for our safety. Sheriff David Clarke dared to stand-up for his fellow police officers, some of whom recently kneeled with peaceful protesters, while protecting communities from those selfishly exploiting a tense situation with violence and criminality.

When divisions expand and the mood becomes even more volatile and explosive, the public need for media professionalism and fairness becomes greater than ever.

Almost DailyBrett believes that dissent must not be silenced by partisan media intimidation.

Your author contends that arrogance and smugness must not prevail.

And most of all, there are always two sides to a given story and both deserve their day in the courtroom of public opinion.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/veto-proof-majority-of-minneapolis-city-council-supports-defunding-police-mayor-objects/

https://www.kgun9.com/news/national/sheriff-clarke-on-recent-police-shootings-i-predicted-this

https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2016/07/18/don-lemon-sheriff-david-clarke-police-shootings-full-intv-ctn.cnn

 

 

 

 

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at thus chorus of entitled white men, justifying a serial rapist’s (e.g., US Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh) arrogated entitlement. All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to the swine? Yes.” — Georgetown University Professor Christine Fair

“Bias against women as political leaders has clearly diminished in modern times, and women have been elected to state governorships (e.g., Nikki Haley) and other executive offices with some frequency. But the presidency is the ultimate executive office, and there are still many men, and some women, who have hidden (or not so hidden) gender prejudices.” — Professor Larry Sabato, UVA Center For Politics

What is the male equivalent of the word, “misogyny?”

Are you ready for … “misandry?”

Haven’t heard the term, misandrists or women who hate men? The same was true for Almost DailyBrett until recently.

In our advanced 21st Century civilization there seems to be only public dialogue of the unfortunate practice of misogyny and evil misogynists, which is appropriate but is that the end of the discussion?

As former Vice President Joe Biden contemplates, which woman he will add to the ticket (too bad he closed the gender door to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo), the always excitable resistance journalists will hyperventilate about how his running mate choice will impact THE Gender Gap (Democrats vs. Republicans and the women’s vote).

Translated: Who will better assist Biden in firming up and expanding his base with women: Stacey Abrams? Kamala Harris? Amy Klobuchar? Catherine Cortez Masto? Elizabeth Warren?

Your author fully anticipates the predictable absence of pundit bloviation of what is another valid factor, if not an equally germane discussion: What will be the impact of the chosen woman running mate on the forgotten gender gap: Republicans vs. Democrats and the vote by men (assuming all American males don’t suffer miserable deaths, while feminists laugh in the meantime).

Looking back at 2016 exit polling, we find not surprisingly that Hillary Clinton carried THE gender gap by a 13 point margin (54 percent-41 percent).

Conversely, Donald Trump won the forgotten gender gap by 11 points (52 percent-41 percent).

This assessment of the women vs. men voting tendency divide is not the end of the story, just the end of the beginning.

Digging deeper into the numbers, we find that inconceivably Hillary Clinton actually lost the white women’s vote to Donald Trump (52-43 percent). White men in numbers with high propensity, voted for Trump over Hillary by two-to-one landslide, 62 percent to 31 percent.

Three times in the past 48 years, Republican nominees have captured 50 percent or more of the total vote among women (Nixon, 61 percent in 1972, Reagan, 56 percent in 1984 and George H.W. Bush, 50 percent in 1988)

Only once in the last 48 years has a Democratic nominee won 50 percent of the total vote among men (Jimmy Carter with 50 percent in 1976).

‘Don’t Want This Particular Woman’

“Throughout the campaign, an observer could not miss an assertion made frequently by women young and old: ‘I want a woman president, and I’m sure we’ll have a woman president soon, but I don’t want this particular woman (e.g., Hillary Clinton).'” — Larry Sabato

Donald Trump’s two-for-one victory among men in 2016 should not be dismissed particularly as it applies to the fly-over swing-states including: Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin … White men and Midwest swing states still matter in 2020.

Should Joe Biden pay attention to the forgotten gender gap? How will his choice of running mate, a bleeding heartbeat away from the presidency impact the men’s vote?

Trust Almost DailyBrett on this point: The good folks at CNN, MSDNC, NBC and CBS will pay scant attention to the shave-their-faces in the morning demographic. They will focus on how a shrill Elizabeth Warren fires up progressive women base or how an angry Kamala Harris will perform in a debate against cool customer, Mike Pence.

Even as apoplectic Warren clearly unnerves Wall Street and America’s Investor Class (more than half of the country), how will she play with men in must-win-for-either-side, Florida?

Considering Biden’s rhetorical struggle against himself, could an oratorically gifted Governor Cuomo have been a wiser choice as a running mate?

Let’s also weigh Biden’s “… you ain’t black” gaffe with the African-American community. Will adding Georgia governorship loser Stacey Abrams or “I don’t believe you (Biden) are a racist” Kamala Harris solve the nominee’s problems with blacks in particular, and American men in general?

Maybe making the premature announcement that he would only consider a woman for the VP slot was political malpractice? Why close out one gender so early, when your party has historical major political problems with that very same gender, men?

Are progressive women going to vote for Trump, if an Andrew Cuomo or Cory Booker is selected? Forget about it.

Men are relevant. Men matter. They vote. They don’t appreciate being placed in a “basket of deplorables.” They will not be the forgotten gender gap.

Most of all, they will be there in November.

https://www.lexico.com/explore/what-is-the-female-equivalent-of-a-misogynist

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/when-boy-meets-girl/

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” — US General George C. Patton (1885-1945)

“The Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him (her Presbyterian minister father) to vote. The Republicans did.” — Former U.S. Secretary of State and present Stanford provost Condoleezza Rice

“I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.” — President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

Some have suggested that we have never been so divided; some seem to be skipping over the Civil War.

Having made this necessary clarification, your author is reminded of a quote from an Auburn football fan about the annual Iron Bowl.

“In Alabama, it’s either ‘Roll Tide’ or ‘War Eagle,’ and once you choose, you are branded for life.”

‘You are either for me or you are against me.’ How many times have we heard that quote?

In reality, life is not that simple. It’s not always black and white. As citizens — not subjects — with free will, we don’t have “own” everything that goes along with political orthodoxy. In fact, we don’t need to forever embrace a particular political philosophy.

Having grown up in a Roman Catholic Democratic household in which John F. Kennedy was our family patron saint and Nixon’s first name was “damn,” it seemed that Almost DailyBrett would be relegated to lifelong subordination to the Democratic Party.

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates.” – President John F. Kennedy, Economic Club of New York, December 1962.

Kennedy’s quote and his strong military “quarantine” against Soviet missiles in Cuba, not the advocacy of a never-ending shutdown of the American economy, serves as a perfect example of the difference between the Democratic party then and the Democratic party now.

No Lightening Bolt Out Of The Sky

“Democrats, when they’re feeling alarmed or mischievous, will often say that Ronald Reagan would not recognize the current Republican Party. I usually respond that John F. Kennedy would not recognize the current Democratic Party, and would never succeed in it.” – Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan

Ronald Reagan didn’t transform your author into a “Reagan Democrat,” but instead a “Reagan Republican.” The Gipper’s celebrated epiphany occurred in 1962. For your author it was 20 years later. With time, Almost DailyBrett has grown to be even more neo-liberal and libertarian.

Buy Low Sell High.

There is a 100 percent correlation with your author leaving the ranks of those an eternal vow of poverty (e.g., political press corps) and joining the ranks of the well-compensated “dark side” (e.g., public relations … press director for the Deukmejian Campaign Committee). As George C. Scott in “Patton” said, “I love it. I love it, so.”

As an aforementioned Catholic your author expected a lightening bolt to strike me out of the sky, falling off the horse on the road to Damascus, and voting for Reagan that first time. As James Brown celebrated: “I Feel Good, So Good … “

Becoming a proud Reagan/Deukmejian Republican does not mean, yours truly buys into each and every policy position on the right side of the aisle. To this very day, Almost DailyBrett can state ex-cathedra, he doesn’t like guns, never did, never will. Bad people with guns, even those playing violent video games, are not good things.

Assault weapons are the worst. George Deukmejian said he saw absolutely no reason why anyone needed an assault weapon. We banned assault weapons in California. The NRA went fruit cake. Almost DailyBrett as press secretary strenuously defended that position; and supports that stance now.

There is no reason to be … predictable.

Voted Against The Clinton Restoration

Four years ago your author voted against the specter of a Clinton Restoration in the White House. Some believe in their hearts today they cast a good vote on behalf of a now increasingly bitter Hillary. There was zero chance of your author making that choice.

At the same, Almost DailyBrett was deeply troubled by Donald Trump’s decided lack of Reagan/Deukmejian political discipline. There was never any doubt about the philosophical direction of Ronald Reagan and George Deukmejian. You could agree with them or not agree with them, but there was no doubt where they stood.

As Reagan said in his last Republican Convention speech in 1992: “Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts.”

Reagan and Deukmejian were eternal optimists, not utopian and decidedly not dystopian.

Your author did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016 (writing in former Speaker Paul Ryan), the first time since the 1980s not supporting the GOP nominee.

Fast forward, Donald Trump is not any more politically disciplined now compared to four years ago (see TMI on Hydroxychloroquine), another self-inflicted public relations damage control fire drill.

Having said that, there is the president’s record including tax and regulatory relief, standing up to China, strengthened border controls, strict constructionalist judicial nominees, increasing military preparedness and no new wars. And let’s not forget the Covid-19 response and the reopening of America’s economy.

Alas, the Democrats have settled on Joe Biden. Not being the hated Trump apparently is good enough for them. Deep down, they really want New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Democrats can’t get what they want. Republicans are getting what they need.

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1894529_1894528_1894518,00.html

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1894529_1894528_1894522,00.html

https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/library/convention/chome/nreagan.html

 

 

“This is someone (President of the United States) whose grasp of science is at the third-grade level.” – New York Times science and health “beat” reporter Donald McNeil, Jr. during his May 12 CNN interview. He also called on the CDC’s Dr. Robert Redfield to resign.

“Donald McNeil went too far in expressing his personal views . His editors have discussed the issue with him to reiterate that his job is to report the facts and to not offer his own opinions.” — New York Times management rebuking McNeil

Reporters should not be part of the story, let alone be the story.

The acceleration of the decline in public esteem in elite media is not solely attributable to the Fourth Estate’s collective hatred of the president, and ensuing pack mentality that ensures that any reporter, correspondent, anchor can never be seen as being even a tiny bit sympathetic to Donald Trump.

It was the same pack mentality that unofficially declared any positive discussion of Trump’s 2016 electoral chances (exception: FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten) was strictly verboten in print, digital format and broadcast. In effect, the media became a major part of the story and may have unintentionally suppressed Hillary Clinton’s GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts, thus aiding and abetting Donald Trump’s narrow upset victory.

Almost DailyBrett noticed a disturbing trend years ago, even before Trump’s Apprentice days: Reporters interviewing reporters.

Wait. Aren’t reporters supposed to be covering news makers, the important achievers in our society? As a member of the great unwashed, your author wants to hear from Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx when it comes to virology, not Donald McNeil, Jr., who graduated summa cum laude from Cal Berkeley with an undergraduate degree in …  rhetoric.

And yet instead of a credentialed medical expert, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour was interviewing McNeil about the Covid-19 outbreak and America’s response.

On what basis of fact does McNeil conclude that President Trump’s grasp of science is at the “third grade level,” “sycophant” Vice President Mike Pence should not be serving as the chair of the Corona Virus Task Force, and CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield (MD, Georgetown University, 1977) should resign.

Should we all be wearing masks even outdoors, Dr. McNeil?

It’s a rare day when Almost DailyBrett totally agrees with the editors at the New York Times, but McNeil expressed his obviously biased political views and did not even attempt for even a nanosecond to report any facts. The rebuke from the New York Times was essentially a slap on the wrist.

Your author believes that if McNeil was to appear on one of the many ubiquitous reporters interviewing reporters shows, he should stick to his coverage based upon facts learned. Now that he has called for Redfield to resign from his leadership at the Centers for Disease Control, how can McNeil cover the agency fairly?

McNeil is now jaded and exposed. He needs to be taken off the beat. He is not impartial. All of his subsequent copy is now and forever suspect. The fault is McNeil’s, and McNeil’s alone.

The next time McNeil editorializing occurs (Almost DailyBrett is taking the “over”), the blame will be directed to the management of the New York Times.

Taking A Vow Of Poverty

“It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.” — CBS Anchor Walter Cronkite, Feb. 27, 1968

Your author remembers J-School back in the Stone Age (1975-1978).

We learned how to gather facts and report the news professionally, fairly and objectively with the views of both sides represented regardless of our personal expression.

As we all took a vow of poverty, our opinions were irrelevant and most of all … should not enter into our copy or scripts.

What mattered were the ex-cathedra statements and fallacies of our elected leaders. We were there to cover them … not to preach, pontificate or bloviate. Right, Jim Acosta of CNN?

And there it is, Washington Week In Review on PBS with panelists enlisted from more than 100 reporters (curiously none from cable market leader, Fox News). Each Friday night, if you didn’t have anything better to do, reporters kibbutz and provide you with their hallowed personal opinions. The “interpretation” disease is now widespread and mutating.

One commenter pointed to Almost DailyBrett’s admiration of the professionalism and demand for both sides of any story to be covered by revered former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite. It was the very same Cronkite, who based upon years of coverage including on the ground in Southeast Asia declared the Vietnam War as a “stalemate.

Wasn’t Cronkite offering his opinion?

He was making a conclusion based on the on-the-ground facts immediately following the Tet Offensive, which made it clear the Communists had grabbed the upper hand in Vietnam. Declaring the Vietnam War as a “stalemate” was actually a mild description. America lost the war. The end came with helicopters on the roof of the collapsing American embassy in Saigon in 1975.

Isn’t Cronkite’s Vietnam declaration the same as McNeil’s opinion making?

Incorporating Cronkite and McNeil in the same sentence, besmirches the good name of 1972’s “Most Trusted Man In America.”

https://www.cnn.com/videos/health/2020/05/12/donald-g-mcneil-jr-senate-hearing-coronavirus-sot-amanpour-vpx.cnn

https://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/panelists

https://www.usnews.com/news/ken-walshs-washington/articles/2018-02-27/50-years-ago-walter-cronkite-changed-a-nation

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

Remember the opening scene of “Basic Instinct”?

The boiled bunny? Wrong movie.

Sharon Stone was the ultimate femme fatale in that movie and countless others, and drew an inordinate amount of attention from the male of the species in particular during her incredible career.

Judging from recent headlines and the cavalcade of Internet images, the queen-in-waiting of Democratic Socialism North Korea’s Royal Family is drawing more than her share of publicity. And who would have thought that was possible, when it comes to murderous North Korea?

It all started with Kim Yo Yong’s appearance at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang South Korea. North Korea’s charm offensive obviously worked (she is the head of North Korea’s propaganda) as the media was falling all over themselves trying to take one more still or record one more video of the leading lady of the so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The fact that Vice President Mike Pence gave her the cold shoulder, added a juicy element of conflict to the story. The fascination with Kim Jong Un’s sister intensified, transforming the snub into an international incident.

Almost DailyBrett will attempt to be charitable, her big brother is her mirror opposite. Chubby Kim Jong Un is a dork, extremely unpredictable and dangerous … but still a dork. And that hair cut? Who would cop to being his hair “stylist”?

A follicly challenged male in a glass house should not be throwing rocks, but your author cannot resist the temptation.

And yet even the intellectually stuffy magazine, Foreign Affairs, acknowledged what it describes as the prurient global interest in the Supreme Leader’s sibling. From a public relations standpoint, telegenic women have a proven track record of successfully softening a nation’s image. The ultimate challenge is moving the public relations dial when it comes to optics of he world’s most abrasive, repressive and desultory state, North Korea.

Just as the beautiful and mysterious, almost covered by her long hair siren Lorelei mythically led sailors on the Rhine to their deaths, a consumer warning should be attached to 32-years-young Kim Yo. Those who ruminate in their sleep about a first date with her in Pyongyang, should consider that encounter may be very quickly become the last date. North Korea does not stop being North Korea.

Besides, she’s married.

A Little Family Feud?

“She’d probably have to shoot a lot of people to assert her authority.” — Peter Ward, writer and researcher on North Korea, University of Vienna

Even Kim Yo Jong’s ascendancy to the red throne of North Korea, assuming the untimely potential passing of her stressed-out, hard drinking, heavy smoking “supreme leader” brother, reportedly she has other family members to fear (e.g., including her repeatedly passed over uncle). But let’s not jump ahead of ourselves.

Keep in mind even in ultra-macho North Korea, she is the grand daughter of communist state founder Kim Il Sung and the daughter of his first son, Kim Jong Il … and as mentioned the sister of Kim Jong Un. Reportedly, lineage matters in Korean culture, and it may even usurp … sexism.

Could North Korea crown a woman chief of state before the United States of America? There have been others (i.e. Britain’s Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Israel’s Golda Meir, Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto … ), but none triggers the intrigue and outright danger of Kim Yo Yang (think nuclear missiles and legendary paranoia).

Some have contended that men en masse have misgivings about strong assertive women. Okay. At the same time, many men were fond, if not transfixed with the risk and danger associated with the parts played by Sharon Stone. She came across as the ultimate babe in total control of herself.

Right, Michael Douglas?

Is Kim Yo Jong is control of herself? Would that be the case, if she wasn’t born into a particular family? Are her life prospects long or relatively short? What we don’t know about North Korea could fill volumes.

What we do know is, Kim Yo Jong has grabbed the attention of the world.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/01/why-we-shouldnt-rule-out-woman-north-koreas-next-leader/

https://www.businessinsider.com/kim-yo-jong-kim-jong-un-sister-life-bio-photos-2018-2#like-many-of-kims-family-members-kim-yo-jongs-exact-age-is-difficult-to-pin-down-but-shes-believed-to-be-in-her-early-30s-likely-born-in-1989-1

https://nypost.com/2020/04/29/kim-jong-uns-sister-has-been-gaining-power-in-north-korea-report/

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/statue-of-loreley

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/feminizing-the-fatherland/

The Internet Likes Kim Yo Jong a Little Too Much

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