Tag Archive: COVID-19


“First of all, a campaign is a marathon, you know that. I don’t think he (Biden) was up for a marathon. I think he would have been worn down already in the campaign by this time if he had to be out there everyday.

“Plus, let’s be honest: He’s a bit of a gaffe machine. He’d be saying all sorts of different things.” — Liberal Political Pundit Bill Maher

Can Joe Biden take “The 5th” the clear way to the presidency?

Does he benefit that his name is not Donald Trump?

Can he simply follow Napoleon’s axiom: “Never interfere with the enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself”?

This is the year in which Covid giveth and Covid taketh.

The infectious disease has greatly reduced Joe Biden contacts with the media and the voters. And with the reduction of these contacts, the potential for embarrassing gaffes goes down as well.

Almost DailyBrett has adhered to two political truisms during his career: The first is you can’t beat someone with no one.

The second is the race for the Presidency is a choice, not a referendum. It always has been, it always will be.

The two truisms are complementary. For example, the 1980 challenger (e.g., Ronald Reagan) stepped up on the debate stage and said, “There you go again” to unpopular incumbent Jimmy Carter.

After the debate, David Broder of the Washington Post wrote: Carter had “accomplished almost every objective except the most important one: The destruction of Reagan’s credibility as a President.”

Some chief executives adopted Rose Garden strategies with no debates, attempting to ignore the challenger and run out the clock. Richard Nixon won the 1972  battle against George McGovern, but ultimately lost the war with Watergate two years later.

What happens when the challenger adopts a Del-a-Where Bunker Strategy (DBS)? Can Joe Biden go underground for four months, leaving all the warm-and-fuzzy partisan activist media to unleash their 24-7-365 fury on Donald Trump?

The basement strategy may sound tempting to Biden’s always nervous handlers, but he still has to emerge from his subterranean refuge to announce his choice for a vice president, a bleeding heartbeat away from the presidency. He also must deliver his Democratic Convention acceptance speech behind the safety of the warm-and-fuzzy teleprompter.

And he has to debate Donald Trump at least three times.

The first two can be carefully calibrated and controlled. The debates bring the greatest risk, turning a preferred referendum into a contentious choice with equal amounts of public attention on both the incumbent and the challenger.

Playing The Expectations Game

 “I tell you if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” — White dude Biden to black radio show host Charlamagne Tha God

“To have that mindset, you must have the attitude that we, Black Americans, we own you. We can take you for granted. … That to me shows you that Black Americans are an appendage of a party. That’s the biggest turnoff I’ve heard from a politician in a long time.” — Black Entertainment Television (BET) Founder Robert Johnson

As the debates approach and expectations need to be managed the question becomes: How far can Democratic operatives talk down Joe Biden’s debating prospects without denigrating the former vice president?

And … How far can Democratic operatives talk up Donald Trump’s extensive stage presence and television experience (e.g., “The Apprentice”) without praising the president?

Do they acknowledge as Bill Maher said that Joe Biden is “a bit of a gaffe machine”? Okay, maybe more than “a bit.”

Even though Biden is sitting on a double-digit lead nationally and mostly within-the-margin of error (MOE) edges in battleground states (i.e., Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania), his support is predicated more on not being Donald Trump than on being Joe Biden.

Trump supporters by a 2/1 margin are more enthusiastic about the president. Biden backers are the mirror opposite; they are not enthusiastic about their guy, but detest and loathe (being kind here) Trump.

And there lies the temptation for the Biden team to glide toward the presidency, limiting appearance and interviews.

You can’t utter a gaffe if you don’t say anything.

Didn’t President Hillary Clinton adopt a similar strategy?

Who did she run against?

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/504617-bet-founder-bidens-you-aint-black-remark-biggest-turnoff-from-a-politician-in

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/maher-says-biden-sidelined-by-coronavirus-rules-helped-shut-down-gaffe-machine

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/fox-news-poll-biden-widens-lead-over-trump-republicans-enthusiastic-but-fear-motivates-dems

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

“Families are overrated.” — Anonymous blogger

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

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

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

We don’t have to wear a mask at home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We can do it again.

Are Families Indeed, Overrated?

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

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

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

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

And yet, she won … and the family lost.

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

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

Au contraire! 

Let their drama be their drama.

Life can and should be Gemütlichkeit, today and everyday.

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

Is Kipling politically correct?

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

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

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

 

 

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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

“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

“Play the radio, make sure the television — the, excuse me — make sure you have the record player on at night … make sure the kids hear words.” — Former ice President Joe Biden, Democratic Presidential Debate, Sept. 12, 2019

Record player?

Every day Wall Street is assessing, “The Cuomo Effect.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily Covid-19 briefings on the impact of the Corona virus on the most densely populated metropolitan area in the country are moving markets … mostly upwards.

Not only is New York the most impacted state as a result of the spread of the virus, it also serves as the venue for the NYSE and NASDAQ and not-so-coincidentally the major networks.

Almost DailyBrett is still mystified the White House’s Corona Virus task force never adopted the idea of holding its briefings during market hours (e.g., 9:30 am to 4 pm EDT), particularly earlier when remarks from President Trump, Vice President Pence, Drs. Fauci and Birx would have greatest impact.

In turn Governor Cuomo has been Mr. Carpe Diem. Each morning has been his turn to preach the gospel of Covid-19 response. Is there any wonder, where he acquired his oratorical skills? His father, the late Governor Mario Cuomo (1932-2015), electrified the 1984 Democratic Convention with his keynote address.

Your author fondly remembers reading Mario Cuomo’s 1982 diaries about his New York gubernatorial campaign. That was the same year my boss, George Deukmejian (another New York native), ran and won the governorship of California. The Duke also read Mario’s diaries. The same is true for former California governor Jerry Brown.

As a former public relations professor, your author is particularly impressed with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s presence, persona, pacing, command of the language and skillful use of PowerPoint. Almost DailyBrett has been waiting … literally for years … for politicians to skillfully employ PowerPoint, which has long been de rigueur for technology and academic presentations.

“You Know” Four Times In One Sentence?

“Um, you know, there’s a, uh, during World War II, uh, you know, where Roosevelt came up with a thing, uh, that, uh, you know, was totally different than a- than the- it’s called, he called it, the, you know, the World War II, he had the war- the the War Production Board.” — Joe Biden COVID-19 comments Friday, April 17 on CNN

During World War II, President Roosevelt established the War Production Board.

Eleven words. How tough was that?

The hyperventilating “WhatAboutism” crowd is already getting their collective knickers in a twist to identify comparable Bidenesque rhetorical wrestling matches with President Trump. The president is confident when he speaks … maybe too confident … while Biden struggles and struggle and struggles.

Your author would stop a student reaching for his … it was always a male … fourth “you know” crutch word in the same sentence. The Millennial was obviously nervous and maybe a little ashamed in front of fellow students. The job was to slow him down and help him concentrate on delivering a succinct understandable message.

That is the essence of communication.

The real question for today is could Joe Biden serve as Governor of New York, let alone President of the United States, and rally us in days of crisis? Yes Joe is from Del-a-where not New York, but we are putting this obvious point aside for the sake of discussion.

Joe … ‘I knew Mario Cuomo. Mario Cuomo was a friend of mine … and you are no Mario Cuomo’ … make that no Andrew Cuomo as well.

Could Joe Biden present Andrew Cuomo’s corona virus response briefings each day with anything close to the same presence and command? As mentioned Andrew is a skilled orator, but he will not be the Democratic nominee for the presidency.

The answer should be obvious. Joe Biden is not Andrew Cuomo … not even close.

Would the majority of Democrats opt to re-run the presidential primary season, if they could? You bet ya.

Some may point to Joe Biden’s adolescent stuttering. Some may remember Almost DailyBrett’s youthful stammering issue. These problems can be overcome with deliberation, preparation and confidence. The former is running for the presidency. Can he ever inspire or will he always struggle to find the next word.

You know?

https://www.businessinsider.com/joe-biden-record-player-democratic-debate-abc-houston-2019-9

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/what-about-whataboutism/

“One taboo after another has been broken. Not just the threat of fines or prison for ordinary people doing ordinary things, but also in the size and scope of the government’s role in the economy. — The Economist, The state in the time of covid-19, March 26, 2020

“Coming next is likely to be contact tracing, an effort track people exposed to the virus that could invade the privacy of all Americans.” — Dan Balz, Washington Post, Government is everywhere now. Where does it go next. April 20, 2020

“Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” — President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address, 1981

The California beach City of San Clemente filled its popular skate park with sand because it was being used by … (gasp!) … skateboarders.

The State of Michigan banned nurseries and garden shops because mandated shelter-in-place folks actually wanted to plant their home gardens … believe it or not … with seeds.

It’s spring. Pollen is in the air. The flowers are blooming. The birds are chirping.

In these growing cases of governmental overreach, are these punitive actions public relations victories … or failures?

“For believers in limited government and open markets, covid-19 poses a problem. The state must act decisively. But history suggests that after crises the state does not give up all the ground it has taken. — The neoliberal Economist

The Economist proclaimed today’s global state of affairs after more than one month combating the Corona virus as the “most dramatic expansion of state power since the second world war.”

Reminds one of the Red Army “liberating” Eastern Europe at the end of the same war.

Almost DailyBrett maintains a healthy libertarian streak preferring carrots (e.g., effective public outreach) than stones (thou shalt not … ). In the overwhelming number of cases, Americans accepted wise counsel from doctors and scientists, and closeted themselves at home for weeks on end.

At the same time, pay checks and investment portfolios vanished in the face of the unprecedented shutdown of the world’s largest ($21.44 trillion GDP) free-market economy.

Now the storm clouds are showing signs of receding, people are ready to go back to work, particular those who are unemployed. They do not want to wait … and will not sit at home … until 2021 or (gasp 2022 ), calmly waiting for final FDA approval and widespread distribution of a covid-19 vaccine.

The “Highest Priority” Of Government

“The highest priority of government is the protection and safety of its citizens.” — Former California Governor George Deukmejian

“Government also has changed personal behavior, recommending and in some cases ordering people to stay home, practice social distancing and wear masks outdoors, in some places under the threats of fines and penalties.” — Dan Balz, Washington Post

It will come as no surprise that your author, who earlier served as a Governor Deukmejian press secretary, concurs with controlling the size and scope of government.

Without getting inflamed by all the political finger pointing and retributions associated with the containment of the Corona virus, your author believes there is zero doubt we will ultimately beat this little bugger, the evidence is already there. We have prioritized protection and safety.

The Deukmejian administration contended that government was indeed necessary, but we questioned automatic expansions and costs of government which make little or no sense (e.g., today’s high speed train proposal from god-awful Bakersfield to no-where Merced).

But when is too much government, too much? Why can’t citizens … not subjects … be treated as adults rather than children?

Almost DailyBrett concurs with stay-at-home and social-distancing gospels as long as they are absolutely necessary … on a state-by-state basis. Where your author gets out of the government über alles boat is when the orders are arbitrary and capricious, and become an excuse for arrogant petty tyranny.

There is a major difference between the word, “encourage,” and “prohibit.” The latter means Verboten.

Your author remembers vividly University of Oregon graduate school classmates openly stressing about the prospect of the federal government keeping tabs of their … library book checkouts because of the Patriot Act to fight terrorism.

Why would government … care?

What would they think about digital virus contact tracing by Big Brother?

The Mother of All civil liberties battles?

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/03/26/the-state-in-the-time-of-covid-19

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/2020/04/20/government_is_bigger_than_ever_what_comes_next_508525.html

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/coronavirus-authoritarianism-is-getting-out-of-hand/?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How is that fair? Life is not fair.

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

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

Will there be football states and non-football states?

Hopefully, Autzen is located in a football state.

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

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

Does the Grip and Grin come before or after the Dog and Pony Show?

In the 2020/2021 “New Normal” will we even plan … let lone participate … in the Grip and Grin?

Will the Dog and Pony Show (e.g., presentation, briefing), more times than naught, be forever transformed into a video conference?

How does one shake hands via digital video? Isn’t physical proximity, necessary?

Almost DailyBrett knows from years of experience that oodles of events — from weddings to political fundraisers — include receiving lines.

The guest(s) of honor is/are required to assume a mannequin stance, participate in small talk, sport an artificial grin and most of all, shake hands.

Will the Corona Virus/COVID 19 (let alone the next little pandemic bugger) put an end to the unhealthy practice of shaking hands? Will germaphobes and/or hypochondriacs figuratively spike the ball in the back of the end zone?

Your author has always been somewhat envious of the evil-and-reclusive shipping magnate Karl Stromberg (Curd Jürgens) in the best Roger Moore movie as James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me.

James Bond was informed in advance that Herr Stromberg did not shake hands, and yet Mr. Shaken-and-Not Stirred stuck out his paw upon meeting the villain … and sheepishly was forced to withdraw.

What if the custom of handshaking is withdrawn … for good? The same would apply to high fives to kissing on both cheeks as is the custom here (the former) in other cultures (the latter)?

What if we greeted each other verbally and waved (the elbow pounding greeting doesn’t fly)? Don’t military types salute each other? There are ways to show respect without the Grip and Grin.

The End of Shaking Hands Judgments

“A grip and grin should be sincere. If not, then what is the purpose?” — Almost DailyBrett, Grip and Grin Controversy

As a dude, Almost DailyBrett knows that males make judgments based upon the strength (or lack thereof) of the handshake of other hombres. A wimpy handshake many times elicits a corresponding rolling of the eyes, and immediate negative impression.

Is that fair? Can you tell a book by its cover? Can you judge the character of a man by his handshake grip?

Almost DailyBrett wrote a decade ago about the custom of handshaking (e.g., Sir Walter Raleigh in the 16th Century). Five centuries of gripping and grinning constitutes an accepted and widespread practice, but does mean we can’t change?

Your author wrote before about the awkward situation of not shaking the hand of someone, who is an adversary, enemy or someone you loathe, despise or even hate (hate to use the word, “hate”).

For example, The Donald didn’t shake Nancy’s hand at the obligatory State-of-the-Union (SOTU) speech. She in turn tore up his speech. What if there was zero expectation of a handshake, would the text of the SOTU address still be in one piece?

Maybe the political theater was orchestrated in the first place? Trump never intended to shake Madam Speaker’s hand, and Nancy fully intended to rip up his speech to fire up her troops.

For folks, who do not hold the highest offices in the country, there still is the judgment call that comes from the must-I-shake-the-bastard’s-hand vs. can-I-refuse-to-shake-the-bastard’s-hand decision?

As confessed 10 years ago and repeated now, your mortal and fallible Almost DailyBrett author in virtually all cases has embraced the reptilian hand of an adversary, but there comes a time … when you cannot or will not shake the bastard’s hand.

You may not be proud, but you are not ashamed. You stood up for yourself.

For the most part, Almost DailyBrett refrains from ex-cathedra statements, but will do so in this case:

With COVID-19, germaphobes and hypochondriacs will be empowered more than ever, and therefore even less enthusiastic about the practice of shaking hands.

Even with the corona virus pandemic, it will still be difficult to brake a 500-year grip-and-grin tradition.

That doesn’t mean that society shouldn’t seek a more sanitary way to greet family, friends, colleagues, adversaries … and even, enemies.

 

Getting to grips with germaphobia

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/grip-and-grin-controversy/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/02/20/tearing-up-the-speech-paying-the-pr-price/

 

 

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