Tag Archive: FBI


With all due respect to the memory of LBJ and his colorful comment about FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover, American politics has been turned on its head.

Way back in the 20th Century, the conventional wisdom was to take the time to provide quality TLC to your electoral base, reach out to independents, and be extremely anal about your political enemies.

The rationale: Your friends can change, but your enemies will always be there for you.

Some contend the ageless adage: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” … is attributable to Chinese militarist Sun Tzu or maybe Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli or even Al Pacino in Godfather II.

We may never know for sure.

The Economist’s Lexington this week examined the prospects of the “Never Trump” movement within the Republican Party to possibly mount a primary challenge against Donald Trump when the 2020 presidential cycle immediately commences after the November midterms.

Considering that Trump’s approval rating is 90 percent among Republicans (i.e., two Supreme Court picks, tax reform, regulatory relief, strong economy, no wars), the chances of beating him right now in the GOP primary appear to be slim and none with Slim being out-of-town.

Ready for more GOP primary punishment, Ohio Governor John Kasich? Been there, done that?

Almost DailyBrett also is mindful of the time period between now and 2020 is a political lifetime.

What Do Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama All Have in Common?

Even though the philosophical gap among these former presidents is wide, they all enjoyed not having primary opposition when they successfully ran for their respective second terms in 1996, 2004 and 2012 respectively. They also focused their GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts on enticing millions of their close friends to vote on election day.

The aforementioned Lyndon Johnson (1968, Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy) along with Jimmy Carter (1980, Ted Kennedy) and George H.W. Bush (Pat Buchanan) all faced credible primary opponents. They all failed re-election, big time.

Trump’s enemies are not going anywhere. They will intensify their rhetoric, ferocity and protests (if that is even possible) between now and November 2020.

The question remains: What will Trump’s friends do in two-years-time?

Donald Trump – whether you adore him or detest him (there is literally no middle ground) – he knows how to play the “us” vs. “them” game better than ever before.

The editorials and op-eds in the New York Times and the Washington Post and the commentary from the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC are consumed by people who didn’t vote for Trump before, and will never vote for him in two years or ever.

As former coach Dennis Green once said: “They are who we thought they were.”

Barring the political fantasy of the 12th Amendment (e.g. Electoral College) being overturned, Trump needs to focus on keeping the red states, red or … keeping his friends, his friends.

One of the ways, he is doing exactly that is by fulfilling promises (e.g., steel and aluminum tariffs for Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania).

Another is the almost by the minute denigration emanating from the political class, questioning the cerebral capabilities of those in the fly-over states that provided Trump with his Electoral College majority.

When all is said (there will be a ton of pontificating and bloviating between now and the next 27 months), the number that still matters is 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

Trump delivered a relatively comfortable 2016 winning margin of 36 electoral votes above the 270 threshold. And if he holds his 30 states. Game, set and match.

The eventual Democratic nominee must peel away at least two red states. A good place to start would be Florida and its 29 electoral votes.

For Trump, it’s in his best political interest to keep close his friends in Florida.

Maybe even invite them over for some fun in the sun at Mar-a-Lago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfHJDLoGInM

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/389068855293185830/?lp=true

https://www.economist.com/united-states/2018/08/11/never-trump-republicans-could-have-their-revenge

http://www.startribune.com/he-was-who-we-thought-he-was-the-best-dennis-green-quotes/387948942/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/07/19/electoral-college-blues/

 

 

 

“They weren’t good enough to play in the NBA … and they don’t have the opportunity to go back to college and get a degree. I think whoever’s responsible for taking these kids out of college is the dumbest operation I think we have in sports.” – Former College Coach Bobby Knight

Can anyone graduate from a legitimate university with a bachelor’s degree in one year, much less earn a master’s degree or Ph.D?

More to the point, what is the value of going to college and being part of a university campus, if you only attend for a semester-and-one-half or two quarters?

All the attention is devoted to keeping the athlete “eligible,” not to advance toward a life-enhancing degree.

That’s only one of the reasons why the basketball one-(part of an academic year)-and-done (off to the NBA … hopefully) rule should be scrapped.

Another pertains to a wretched witches’ boiling cauldron of shoe contracts, NCAA titles, NBA draft, greedy agents/publicity merchants and money, money and even more money.

Some go to college to earn an MBA. Others attend to secure the MRS along with a bachelor/bachelor’s degree.

There a few who complete three years of college for the NFL degree (and maybe attain an academic degree in that time as well).

And then there are those who stay eligible long enough (winter and March Madness) to pursue an seven-or-eight figure NBA contract. Forget about an academic degree with the one-and-dones.

The One-and-Done rule ostensibly is to provide one year of college experience for a future Magic, Michael, Kareem, Kobe, LeBron. The fear is too many come out of high school, thinking they will be one of the super talented 60 studs, who will be selected in the NBA’s two-round draft. Most don’t make it … and once they hire an agent they can’t play in college.

The agreed-upon solution was the future NBA star spend a portion of one year on campus in the hopes that a Final Four appearance/championship will follow … then off to the pros for NBA riches/shoe contracts with nice cuts for parasitic agents and assorted hangers-on.

The shameful side effects of the one-and-done-scheme were manifested this week with FBI indictments and more specifically the door being shown to pretty boy Coach Rick Pitino of Louisville University.

Surprise “Commitment” of Stud Brian Bowen

Louisville reportedly was NOT on the radar screen of five-star, small-forward recruit Brian Bowen … until he surprisedly committed to Coach Rick Pitino.

The U.S. Attorney this week, announced the results of an extensive FBI investigation, which included mass corruption, bribery and wire fraud.

As far as Almost DailyBrett can surmise the fraud scheme included contacting Louisville’s shoe sponsor, Adidas AG, to secure $100,000 to pay Bowen’s family. Bowen in-turn promised to sign with Adidas and certain agents upon entering the NBA, presumably after one year. Bowen then committed to Louisville. The school provided a basketball scholarship to Bowen. Adidas continues to sponsor Louisville.

Considering that one player can transform a team faster with more immediate impact in basketball than any other sport (e.g. within one year … and done), and make untold millions of dollars in the offing … Is it any wonder that NBA/NCAA basketball is ripe for corruption and fraud?

Pitino was fired this week by Louisville. The program was already on NCAA probation. Is the “death penalty” against Louisville next up on the docket? Let’s not forget that assistant coaches at Arizona, Auburn and USC were also arrested based upon the FBI probe.

“Student Athlete”

The folks in Indy, including NCAA head Mark Emmert, are fond of talking about the welfare of “student athletes.” Does that include potential NBA Hall-of-Famers, who have virtually zero chance of earning a degree in less than one year on campus?  They are hoping against hope they are one of the only 60 players picked in the NBA draft?

But what happens, if they are left out in the cold? Most likely, no college degree.

We all know the universities – particularly the Big Five Conferences – are the farm systems for both the NFL and NBA. The key difference is that football players stay on campus at least until the completion of their junior year academically. Conceivably, a player is on the way to a degree or actually earns his bachelor’s degree after three years (e.g., Deshaun Watson of Clemson, Royce Freeman of Oregon).

Can a basketball god earn a degree in two quarters or within two semesters?  Forget it. These are athlete-“students,” not student-athletes.

Can the one-and-dones win a championship for the likes of John Calipari at Kentucky? That theory has already been proved.

Can any of these student-athletes make any discernible progress toward an academic degree? What do you think?

What did Robert Montgomery Knight say about the “dumbest operation” in sports?

https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2017/09/28/rick-pitino-career-louisville-kentucky-fbi-scandal

http://nypost.com/2017/09/28/this-was-rick-pitinos-exact-role-in-college-hoops-scandal/

http://ferrall.radio.cbssports.com/2015/12/05/bob-knight-says-one-and-done-rule-is-the-dumbest-operation-in-sports/

 

 

 

 

“To protect herself as president, and to protect her presidency, Clinton needs a Dr. No. That’s somebody more powerful than the smart loyalists she surrounds herself with, somebody with the stature to say: “Ma’am, you cannot do that.” – Bloomberg Columnist Al HuntDrNO

Whether or not Hillary Clinton is elected president in November will play out in the next four months. For now, Mr. Hunt may be getting a little ahead of himself.

And whether or not Hillary Clinton and by extension Bill Clinton (and of course, The Donald) needs a personal reputation “Dr. No” as Mr. Hunt suggests is beyond doubt.

The author of Almost DailyBrett would be a very wealthy hombre, if he received a dollar for every time somebody suggested that he should be coaching/mentoring Public Celebrity A. (e.g., Tiger Woods) or Public Celebrity B (e.g., Anthony Weiner).

The very notion of mentoring suggests that a Hillary Clinton and/or Bill would actually listen to a brand/reputation coach regardless of her or his level of personal gravitas.

Now before one accuses Almost DailyBrett of directing attention to only one side of the ever-widening political divide, your author would like to opine that Donald Trump has repeatedly warranted an ejector seat. This point applies to his rambling off-the-cuff remarks and his fire-ready-aim use of Twitter.

FILE - This is a Wednesday, March 25, 2015 file photo of FBI director James Comey as he gestures during a news conference at FBI headquarters in Washington. FBI director Comey has caused huge offense to a U.S. ally: using language to suggest that Poles were accomplices in the Holocaust. On Monday, April 20, 2015 Poles were waiting to see if FBI director James Comey apologizes _ something Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said he expected so the matter can be settled. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

FILE – This is a Wednesday, March 25, 2015 file photo of FBI director James Comey as he gestures during a news conference at FBI headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

At a time that FBI director James Comey handed the Republicans a political gift with his public repudiation of Hillary as “extremely careless” in regards to her mobile devices/personal server, The Donald is meanwhile assessing the positives of brutal dictator Saddam Hussein because he allegedly fought terrorists.

Where is your message consistency, Mr. Trump?

Can you stay on topic?

Must you always say what is on the top of your mind?

Ma’am and/or Sir, you cannot do that’!

Most Americans – including elites in both parties – believe both Bill and Hillary Clinton think a different set of rules and standards apply to them than everyone else. This dates to the 1990s.” – Washington Daily 202 columnist James Hohmann

“Mr. Trump was typically free-associative and talked too long, more than an hour. He doesn’t know when to stop because he doesn’t know when he’s made his point, or sometimes what his point was.” –Former Presidential Speech Writer Peggy Noonan

Just as most Democrats wax nostalgic about John F. Kennedy and Republicans harken back to “Shining City on a Hill” Ronald Reagan, there were also influential aides-de-camp who were always there to question, advise and mentor.

Pres. John F. Kennedy with his Aide Theodore Sorensen (R) discussing W. Virginia's economic problems with President-election. (Photo by Paul Schutzer//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Pres. John F. Kennedy with his Aide Theodore Sorensen (R) discussing W. Virginia’s economic problems with President-election. (Photo by Paul Schutzer//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Ted Sorensen was beside Kennedy as the U.S. faced down Nikita Khrushchev’s Russia and the Missiles of October. The young president was well served by listening (and not necessarily always agreeing) to Sorensen.

James Baker was the Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of State and served as chief of staff for two Presidents, Reagan and his successor George H.W. Bush. The native-born Texan was always cool under pressure, seemingly hitting the right tone and drawing the ear of at least two presidents.

The Always DailyBrett question of the day: Who are the Ted Sorensens and Jim Bakers for Hillary and The Donald?bakerbush

Some may immediately point to Hillary’s spouse, former President Bill Clinton, but is he a paragon of political discipline? Wasn’t there an embarrassingly improper meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the broiling tarmac of Phoenix International Airport? And for some reason, Almost DailyBrett is reminded a series of presidential dalliances in the 1990s.

For The Donald, he heavily relies on his family. Yes it is true that blood is thicker than water, but are any of his clan ready to tell Emperor Trump that he doesn’t have any clothes on? More to the point: Will any of them insist that Mr. Billionaire think before he speaks or tweets?

When egos exceed respect for any advisor no matter how talented, how skilled, how schooled and how seasoned, does it really matter if the candidate stops listening before the aide-de-camps stop talking?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2016/07/06/daily-202-clinton-s-credibility-gap-widens-after-fbi-rebuke/577bff0c981b92a22d5b2044/

http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-07-05/hillary-clinton-needs-a-dr-no

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

http://www.wsj.com/articles/comedy-wears-better-than-cynicism-1467933077

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

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aide-de-camp

 

“Apple is not above the laws of the United States, nor should anyone or any company be above the laws. To have a court warrant granted, and Apple say they are still not going to cooperate is really wrong.” – California Senator Dianne Feinstein

It (Apple iPhone) is a deeply personal device. It is an extension of ourselves.” — Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple desperately needs an attitude adjustment.

It’s past time to cooperate, Tim Cook.

How about right NOW?timcook

And yet the Fortune 500 CEO walked off stage yesterday to the lyrics of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.”

The terrorists who struck Brussels this morning, killing at least 30 and injuring 100 more, won’t back down either.

As an Apple shareholder (the stock is up this morning) and most importantly a strong proponent for safety, the author of Almost DailyBrett is joining the bi-partisan chorus calling for the company to fully comply with federal magistrate court order and unlock the secrets contained in a terrorist’s stolen cell phone.

What is particularly galling is the arrogant notion that a device is an extension of ourselves, and defines who we are.

Really?

Your author lived for almost six decades and managed to get by just fine without an Apple iPhone.

Public Relations Disaster

Did we have to get to this point?

Why did the relationship between Apple with the strongest brand in the world and the legendary Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have to degenerate into a public battle of wills with privacy being claimed on one side and safety being championed on the other?

The issue comes down to a County of San Bernardino owned iPhone 5 being used by a terrorist couple to kill 14 people and injure 22 more last December. What are the secrets contained in the encrypted smart phone used by Syed Rizwan Farook?terrorists

How can the FBI and by extension the people of this nation unlock this cell phone without permanently erasing the data contained in this device (10 unsuccessful tries triggers the elimination of all content)?

Why couldn’t über-secret Apple quietly and confidentially, particularly in the face of a legitimate court warrant,  write the code allowing the FBI to unlock this particular phone?

Couldn’t Apple have complied on a sub-rosa basis and keep those who think Edward Snowden is a swell guy happy at the same time? Why the public spectacle on CBS’ 60 Minutes and elsewhere that grows more intense and intransigent on a daily basis?

Just this week, the Department of Justice announced it may have a fix that allows the FBI to hack into the phone without inadvertently erasing the data. Is the FBI bluffing, trying to force Apple’s hand?

And will the spectre being played out on TV and mobile device screens from Brussels this morning, prompt a little soul-searching at Apple?

According to former Fortune technology columnist (and Apple apologist), David Kirkpatrick, the ISIS-coordinated attacks on the EU’s capital airport and central rail station, will have zero impact on the board room stance at Apple.

Alas, he is probably correct. A quick glance at the company’s news releases this morning offers plenty of details about the Apple iPhone SE and a new and improved iPad.

If you are expecting reflection, contemplation and refreshing change from Apple’s defiant attitude as a result of today’s deadly terrorist attacks, you are sadly mistaken.

The needless Apple public relations disaster continues.

http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Feinstein-says-Apple-is-wrong-to-refuse-to-6843414.php

http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/02/17/senator-dianne-feinstein-intelligence-cmte-lead-intv.cnn

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/brussels-attacks-weigh-on-wall-street–apple–fbi-court-face-off-canceled–amazon-s-cable-play-120427384.html#

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2016-03-22/how-will-terror-attacks-impact-apple-vs-fbi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUTXb-ga1fo

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fbi-may-have-found-way-to-unlock-san-bernardino-shooters-iphone/

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-san-bernardino-shooting-live-updates-htmlstory.html

http://www.apple.com/pr/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wolf of Wall Street now holds the cinematic record for the most uses of the F-bomb in a non-documentary film.

Congratulations?

How long will it be before some other director beats Martin Scorsese’s “record” for the use of the world’s most prevalent four-letter word?

scorsesedicaprio

Do we really give a f… about this word anymore?

Little did I realize that yours truly along with his new bride and one and only biological daughter witnessed history being made with 506 F-bombs on Xmas Day. Kind of makes you feel all tingly for the Holidays.

Reportedly, Scorsese had to exercise restraint in the use of sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence in order to avoid the dreaded NC-17 rating.

Whew! That was close.

So why did I indulge in this three-hour film, and drag along my loved ones (and apologize afterwards) on Christmas Day? Good question.

The first is that I am a Wall Street junkie (equities and mutual funds; not the cocaine and ludes that seem to pop up in between tons of flesh in this film). I have written and lectured repeatedly about the synergy between fiduciary responsibility and corporate social responsibility, IPOs, SEC disclosure compliance and many other Wall Street-related strategic communications issues.

The film revolves around the book, The Wolf of Wall Street, about the Internet Bubble era of stock-pimpster (e.g., Steve Madden IPO), fraud-master, money-laundering, Jordan Belfort, and his stock brokerage, Stratton Oakmont.

In the end, Belfort ignored all the warning signs and a possible settlement with the SEC, broke a plea bargain with the FBI, and ended up in a federal pen in Nevada and paid $110.4 million in fines. Today, he is a motivational speaker.

Couldn’t Scorsese have told us this story without pouring-it-on in the form of yet another clip of drug ingestion and gratuitous nudity? Leaving the theatre, I was wondering whether The Wolf of Wall Street was a good film or a bad film. I knew that it could have been better, particularly with Leonardo DiCaprio, Rob Reiner and Margot Robbie lending their names and talents to the movie.

leonardomargot

Please don’t discount my comments by concluding that the author of Almost DailyBrett is a prude. After all, the blog earlier bared its soul commenting on the Playboy pose or no-pose decision from a reputation management point of view. My conclusion? It all depends.

Almost DailyBrett earlier examined Bill Maher’s lovely use of the vulgar C-word to describe former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and the New York Times’ decision to use the F-word in a recent news story.

All of these examples, and Scorsese’s new film, bring up the question of the coarsening of society. Have we become immune to profane language? Will the F-word eventually serve as an adjective modifying every noun? Will we get to the point that the F-bomb is reduced to a cliché?

Should we thank Hollywood for our present cultural state of affairs?

What is the Almost DailyBrett take on the obsessive use of the F-bomb to the point it is almost di rigueur in our society?

There is no doubt that Jordan Belfort would never be confused with Mother Teresa. He obviously used the F-word, and was addicted to/obsessed with drugs, sex and money. Can that point be made without dropping 506 F-bombs in 179 minutes or an average of 2.8268156424 uses of the F-word each minute or one every 20 seconds?

One would hope so.

My former boss, Governor George Deukmejian, remembered fondly debating Democratic leader and future San Francisco Mayor George Moscone on the floor of the California State Senate. Being the minority leader, George Deukmejian, was on the wrong end of the final vote more times than naught. Still when the debate was over, the two Georges were friends and no F-bombs were dropped.

hamiltonburrduel

Contentiousness is not new to our society and undoubtedly will persist. Consider the fatal duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. How about the Free States and the Slave States that led to the Civil War? Next year we will commemorate the start of The War to End All Wars. Everyone has got along swimmingly since the end of World War I in 1918.

Besides leaving massive debts to our children and their children, will we as the fading Baby Boomer Generation bequest to them a coarse-and-vile society? Is there a way that we can put the brakes on, at least slowing down, the animosity, vitriol and the degradation of societal discourse?

At a minimum, let’s hope we don’t see a Christmas movie with 507 F-bombs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan_Belfort

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wolf_of_Wall_Street_%282013_film%29

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1719590/wolf-of-wall-street-margot-robbie-nudity.jhtml

http://thecelebritycafe.com/reviews/2013/12/martin-scorseses-wolf-wall-street-review-excessive-movie-about-excess

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/the-f-bomb-r-i-p/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/is-the-c-word-the-equivalent-of-the-n-word/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-decision-to-pose-for-playboy/

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

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