Tag Archive: George Deukmejian


“ … Y’all sit here, y’all trying to interview people during their worst times. Like that’s not the smartest thing to do … like people are really breaking down, and y’all are sitting here with cameras and microphones trying to ask us what the fuck is wrong with us.” – Houston Mother to CNN covering Hurricane Harvey

“We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blond, who comes on at five. She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye. It’s interesting when people die. Give us dirty laundry.” – Don Henley, Dirty Laundry, 1982

The author of Almost DailyBrett was present at more than his fair share of fires, floods and earthquakes, first as a reporter and later as the press secretary for former California George Deukmejian.

Regardless of the particular circumstances or magnitude of the disaster (e.g., 1989 Loma Prieta 7.1 intensity earthquake), one thing was always certain: The media was out of control, and had no sense of proportion.

The media eventually becomes obsessed with who is responsible, when it just can a combination of geography (i.e., flood plains, seismic faults, hurricane paths) and the ferocity of Mother Nature. Many times no one is at fault, but with the media someone must be the scapegoat – the higher in the political strata, the better

The pattern begins with the media focusing on the particulars (e.g., time, epicenter, Richter scale reading, number dead, number wounded, damage estimates, how to contribute to disaster relief …). This information is vital to the public, and demonstrates the power of the media at its finest.

Predictably, the media grows bored with the mere reporting the facts and inevitably the hunt begins for who is responsible – even when no one is responsible. The attitude changes from reporting the news to an all-effort to assign blame.

But that’s not all.

Next up is the effort to interpret the news, offering their expert opinions, and to become part of the story by portraying the “human tragedy.”

The media for years has been guilty of placing a live camera lens and a boom mike in the face of someone is obviously grieving and suffering – maybe the Houston mother and her children having the worst day in their lives – and asking how she feels right then and there.

This footage is considered to be great television in Atlanta or New York, which drives ratings and in-turn, precious advertiser dollars. What may be great television to network execs (e.g., CNN) is seen by many as cheap exploitation of those who are suffering by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Do these victims deserve a little consideration and sympathy before the boom mike and camera is thrust into their faces? The Houston mom called out CNN in a graphic and profane way for having absolutely no consideration of her feelings, and the suffering endured by her children.

Will CNN and its rivals ever learn a lesson about sensitivity and empathy as a result of this shameless exercise? Almost DailyBrett will take the “under.”

Redefining ‘Disaster Porn’

“Can we film the operation? Is the head dead yet? You know, the boys in the newsroom got a running bet, get the widow on the set! We need dirty laundry” – Dirty Laundry, Don Henley

The conventional definition of “Disaster Porn” reflects on those who try to economically exploit a crisis (e.g., September 11, Boston Marathon Bombing) with special t-shirts and hats to demonstrate solidarity with the responders and victims. In reality, these are arbitrage opportunities disguised as cause marketing for those who only look to profit off misery.

But what is the difference in making a buck by selling t-shirts and hats on one hand, and thrusting boom mikes and microphones in the face of grieving people while broadcasting live to drive ratings on the other hand?

Almost DailyBrett is not necessarily equating making a cheap buck off the sale of disaster event hats and t-shirts with the exploitation of misery by the networks and labeling both of them as “disaster porn.”

Having said that, there needs to be a process in which the network asks off-camera with the full-calm assent of the victim to a live or taped interview before the interview takes place.

How about it, CNN?

Sure beats being scolded on national television with an F-bomb for emphasis.

http://nypost.com/2017/08/29/harvey-victim-with-freezing-kid-curses-out-cnn-reporter/

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=disaster%20porn

http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/americas-addiction-to-disaster-porn/

https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/disaster-porn-or-ethical-coverage-houston-mom-goes-off-on-cnn

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_Laundry_(Don_Henley_song)

https://playback.fm/charts/top-100-songs/video/1982/Don-Henley-Dirty-Laundry

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/loma-prieta/

 

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Not exactly, Cogito, ergo sum.

In 1988, your Almost DailyBrett author had the privilege of spending a lovely Sunday Valentine’s Day lunch with Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters.

There was nothing romantic about our encounter. Dan was very interested in what was in my folder: a copy of the Democrat majority’s plan to conduct a Kangaroo Court hearing the following day to justify voting against former Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Long Beach) as state treasurer.

Each Democratic senator, one-after-another on the committee, was to serve as a “prosecutor” on an assigned issue (e.g., Lungren voting against reparation payments for families of Japanese WWII internees). Nobody who had successfully negotiated the riggers of second grade expected a fair-and-objective state Senate confirmation hearing. The memo made it clear the proceeding was indeed a “prosecution” in a stacked court case, meant to provide political cover for Democrats voting against Lungren.

And why was the majority so aligned against a mere member of Congress?

Five-term congressman Lungren was telegenic, articulate and represented an electoral threat to the Democrat majority in Sacramento. He was appointed to the state Treasurer position in 1987 by my boss, Governor George Deukmejian, after the passing of legendary former Speaker Jess “Big Daddy” Unruh.

Dan Walters naturally already had another column teed-up for Monday, February 15. Nonetheless, he instantly could appreciate how the publication of the infamous “Forsyth Letter” could result in collective knickers being in a twist at stormy state Senate confirmation hearing the following morning.

Almost DailyBrett compared the Forsyth letter – named after Senate Pro Tempore David Roberti’s press secretary and author, Robert T. Forsyth – to the Oklahoma Sooners game plan being published in the Lincoln Journal Star the morning of the big contest against Nebraska.

Walters’ piece was entitled, “A Game Plan for Democrats.”

Dan Lungren was outraged at the hearing, waving a copy of the Walters’ column at the Senate Democratic majority members on the panel. Lungren and by extension my boss, Governor Deukmejian, won the PR battle that day.

Alas, we were not ultimately successful. The Assembly confirmed Lungren. The Senate voted against Lungren. We did not prevail before the California Supreme Court on whether one house was sufficient for confirmation. Finis.

True to his battling form, Lungren recovered from the non-confirmation going forward to serve two terms as California’s attorney general, running for governor, and returning to Congress for another eight years. He is now lobbying on The Hill at 70-years young.

Number of People Knowing + Time = Leak

“If you don’t want to read about it in the Sacramento Bee, don’t put it down in writing.” – Often heard admonition in the State Capitol building

The Forsyth memo was prepared. Xerox machines started to hum. Copies were made. At least one of these game plans found its way to your author. Gasp, I leaked it to Dan Walters. The only stipulation: there would be no direct reference to me or my position in the Office of the Governor in his copy.

The column greeted Democrats the following day.

As the press secretary for Governor Deukmejian, my job in many cases was to deflect leaks targeting my boss and our administration. In this particular case, I was the leaker.

Every leak has a purpose. The practice is not new. And as long as the written word exists, particularly in digital form (e.g., leaked 2016 John Podesta campaign emails), leaking will remain intact until Armageddon.

As the New York Times defines the practice: “Generally, a leak is an intentional disclosure of secret information, often by an anonymous source whose goal is to make the information public.” Yep.

For example, the British provided a copy to President Woodrow Wilson of the secret 1917 (German foreign Minister Arthur) Zimmermann Telegram. The telegram was meant to entice Mexico to enter World War I on the side of Germany in exchange for U.S. territory. The subsequent publication of the telegram in March 1917, helped fuel the flames for the U.S. to declare war on Germany one month later.

Donald Trump has been known to fire off intemperate tweets condemning the widespread leaking in his administration, including one ironically posted on  Valentine’s Day 2017: “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?”

His predecessor Barack Obama conducted a “war on leaks” and yet these unauthorized disclosures continue.

Let’s face it, Washington D.C has always leaked like a sieve and always will. Ditto for state Capitals (e.g., Sacramento) and highly covered publicly traded companies. Putting this genie back in the lantern is simply not going to happen, particularly in our Big Data world.

As an admitted leaker, the author of Almost DailyBrett has also been on the receiving end of unflattering leaks on more than one occasion. My advice to any political or business entity: Practice discipline. Remember: Good government/good business is indeed good politics/good business.

And to the leakers/aspiring leakers, there is a responsibility to always ask yourself whether you are hurting the country, you purport to love with your leaking?

If the answer is “yes,” the end does not justify the means. There are legitimate reasons for confidentiality particularly in our increasingly dangerous world.

Almost DailyBrett notes: Belated congratulations to Dan Walters for his 8,000 columns for the Sacramento Bee during the past 33 years, and 57 years in service as a journalist … Still miss Bobby Forsyth, one of the nicest and funniest guys I ever met. He passed away in 1999. May Bob continue to rest in peace.

http://articles.latimes.com/1987-11-26/news/mn-24766_1_state-treasurer

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/dan-walters/

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/

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

https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1988&country=1

http://articles.latimes.com/1988-06-24/news/mn-5908_1_senate-democrats-position

http://articles.latimes.com/1988-06-24/news/mn-5912_1_state-supreme-court

http://newlearningonline.com/new-learning/chapter-7/descartes-i-think-therefore-i-am

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/business/media/are-leaks-illegal-explaining-history.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/10/obama-leaks-aggressive-nixon-report-prosecution

https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/zimmermann

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/dan-walters/article154087854.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The man who reads nothing is more educated than the one who reads nothing but newspapers.” – Thomas Jefferson

“A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself.” – Joseph Pulitzer

Has there ever been a time in recorded history when past-and-present reporters have been so incensed?

Has there ever been a time in recorded history when past-and-present reporters have been so happy?

trumpenemy1

 

 

Donald Trump is good to the last drop, and reporters, editors and correspondents love it.

In the parlance of journalism, Trump is “great copy,” maybe the best story of all time.

Just like catnip, the media can’t stay away. They can’t help themselves. They not-so-secretly want to bring down Trump, and they want to bring him down hard. He in turn has declared war on the “failing” New York Times and the “Clinton News Network” (CNN) and several others.

Some First Amendment types have brought up the names of the worst despots (i.e., Stalin, Mao, Mussolini …) in global history, stating that totalitarian regimes start this way. These critics completely omit the inconvenient fact that dictators dominate their media and use it for their own propaganda.

Trump may be trying to control the media through Twitter and other means, but he can’t … and he is crafty enough to know that. When his tenure comes to an end, the media will have the last word.

An Adversary By Any Other Name Is Still An Adversary

As a press secretary for a Republican governor (e.g., George Deukmejian) in a blue state (e.g., California) during a time when it was “Morning in America” (e.g., The 1980s), the author of Almost DailyBrett confronted two adversaries on a daily basis: The Democrats in the state Legislature, and the political press corps.

Were these two adversaries officially aligned, and did they coordinate their opposition to our administration? The answer of course was for the most part, negative.

Democratic press secretaries really only have to be concerned with one adversary: Republicans. The media largely serve as their unofficial allies.

enemiesofthepeople

Keep in mind, the vast majority of reporters, editors and correspondents take a vow of poverty to work in the Fourth Estate. As a result, they are distrustful of those who espouse buy low, sell high. The media for the most part concur with those who see raising taxes and manna from the government as the solution to every societal problem.

Is it a stretch to suggest the media (i.e., NYT, WAPO, NBC News, CNN …) are an extension of the Democratic Party? Yes, but not that much of a stretch. Republicans instinctively look at the masthead or the source of any poll or assertion, and immediately discount it, if it hails from predictable liberal media.

Think of it this way, good-and-dependable government is contrary to the economic interests of the media. If government works and is grounded in a steady philosophy (e.g., Deukmejian years), the media is bored and restless … a bored media is a dangerous media.

Consider this question: If 999 planes land safely at DFW Airport and one crashes, which one gets the attention of the newsies? The media feed off crisis, chaos and dysfunction. Whatever you admit, acknowledge or concede will be printed or broadcasted 99 percent of the time … or does Almost DailyBrett understate the case?

And what has Trump given the media? A steady stream of chaos and controversy, which leads to “great copy” and “good dirt.” Let’s ask here and now: Are the media’s best interests consistent with the nation’s well-being? Does the media relish reporting about that one plane, which falls out of the sky, allowing them to cover it and generate good copy?

trumpenemy

If the answer is “yes,” does that make the media a friend, an adversary … or worse?

The great-and-late New York Times pundit, William Safire, ghostwrote these words about the media for largely inarticulate and disgraced former Vice President Spiro Agnew: “Nattering Nabobs of Negativism.”

Is it good politics for Trump to take on the media, especially before red meat audiences such as the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC)?

According to Gallup in 2016, only 32 percent have a great deal/fair amount of confidence in the media, a decrease of 8 percent from 2015 and down 40 percent from the post Woodward & Bernstein era in 1976. Yikes! Guess that means that nearly 70 percent of Americans have a poor or no opinion about the media.

The media relishes pointing out Trump’s approval rating of only 44.4 percent (e.g., Real Clear Politics polling average), but even the unpopular president is running 12 percent ahead of the post-Dan Rather-era elite media. Both Trump and especially, the media, need better public relations.

Trump has many sins to atone for, but he is neither the first White House resident to complain and disdain the media nor will he be the last.

One rule he certainly has violated was summed up beautifully in the 19th Century:

“Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.” – Mark Twain

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/426038.Joseph_Pulitzer

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/02/17/trump-calls-the-media-the-enemy-of-the-american-people/?utm_term=.8431a8b1b181

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/02/21/the-lefts-hypocrisy-on-trumps-enemy-of-the-american-people-comment/

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/marktwain135280.html

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Nabobs_natter_about_the_passing_of_William_Safire_1929-2009.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/admit-acknowledge-or-concede/

http://www.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media-sinks-new-low.aspx

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_trump_job_approval-6179.html

 

“I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A; California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day.” — The Mamas, The Papas, 1966

Let’s embark on a little California dreamin.’

What if … California voted to secede from the union?

calexit

The state would inform Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C. that all of its myriad of laws-and-regulations are now-and-forever “null-and-void.” Instead, the world’s sixth largest economy with a $2.42 trillion GDP would be going alone.

Welcome back: California Republic.

The precedent was set when South Carolina, an “S”-state, voted to secede from the union in 1860. Now California, another “S”-state as in “Sanctuary California,” could vote on Calexit next year.

Naturally, constitutional and historical scholars have a habit of getting in the way. They will point to the U.S. Constitution, which would need to be amended by a two-thirds vote of each house of Congress and then approval by three-quarters (38 out-of-50 or more) of state legislatures.

Besides, wasn’t a similar secession program settled at Appomattox Court House in 1865?

appomattox

Details, details, details.

If California votes to leave the union, couldn’t the state’s legion of fighting attorneys simply stipulate, pontificate and bloviate the Golden State is no longer part of the United States? The result would be that all federal laws … including the Constitution … are null, void, not biding and simply not applicable.

Finis. Endo Musico

The ball would then be thrown into Donald Trump’s court. Does he envision himself as the 21st Century comb-over Abraham Lincoln saving the union for the second time?

Would he be willing to go to war with California to save the union?

Trump is already implying a massive loss of funding to the state, if it dares declare itself a “sanctuary state,” defying to not notify federal authorities, when criminal aliens are apprehended.

Let’s say he follows through on his threat; the California Republic responds as suggested by former Speaker Willie Brown by withholding funds from Washington, D.C., and ultimately votes to secede from the union.

What comes next?

The California Republic

“California could very well become an organized non-payer.” – Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown 

As a former press secretary of the Governor of California (George Deukmejian, 1983-1991), the author of Almost DailyBrett must ask: What would characterize a stand-alone, California Republic?

  1. California would be at least the world’s third-independent, one-party C-state opposing the wishes of the United States of America: California, China, Cuba. Republicans and members of similar subversive political parties would be subject to “extreme vetting” before receiving visas to enter sanctuary California.
  2. California’s highest 13.3 percent income tax rate would be combined with the present federal top income tax rate of 39.6 percent for a total marginal rate of 52.9 percent, all heading to the Franchise Tax Board in Sacramento. Those making less than $60,000 per year (e.g., California definition of wealth) would pay a lower rate on a sliding progressive scale. Each of the state’s 58 counties would be mandated to impose a minimum sales tax rate of 10 percent.

Meg-lev trains are expensive.

  1. Consistent with the California Sanctuary State … err Sanctuary Republic status, there would be no reason for a southern border, let alone a northern border with Oregon or an eastern border with Nevada and Arizona. Anyone could come and go as they please. The words, “contraband,” “illegal” and “undocumented” would be eliminated from the republic’s dictionaries.
  2. In order to avoid any and all unpleasantness with other nations (e.g., USA), California would establish a Department of Peace. The department would then oversee the republic’s Peace Army, Peace Navy, Peace Air Force, Peace Marines and Peace Coast Guard. Peace weapons would never be loaded, let alone fired.
  3. To stop real crime, the republic would establish a Department of Corporate Prosecution taking dead legal aim at those who buy low and sell high, employ tens of thousands, and make the products we need and use on a daily basis. These deep-pocket achievers deserve their just desserts before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  4. California’s golden poppy would be replaced by cannabis as the republic’s official flower. These dynamic “flowers” can be used for ornamental, medicinal and recreation purposes. Sorry golden poppy your days in the sun are done. The same is true for childhood immunizations.
  5. The republic’s colleges and universities will replace annoying grading, testing and reading with everyone receiving the highest grade possible. The state would be flooded with 4.0 GPAs. Faculty would be instructed to provide trigger warnings, guarantee safe spaces, and excuse students subjected to opposing points of view.
  6. Hollywierd would dictate California’s culture and would serve as the republic’s propaganda ministry, ultimately controlling all legacy and digital media connections within the republic’s boundaries and beyond. There would be no need for a TMZ.
  7. California would impose strict mortgage and rent controls statewide insuring that no fixer-up bungalow in San Jose could exceed $1.6 million with an outlay of $1,000 per month in property taxes. Glad we got that settled.
  8. And finally all California commuters would be required to use electric, solar, wind or biomass transportation for their five-mile trips that take 45-minutes or more.

Is all of the above, California Dreamin?

“One hundred and forty characters are suitable to expressing an impulse, but not an argument. It is the rhetorical equivalent of a groan, a shriek, a sneer or a burp. If reason and persuasion are what our politics lacks and needs, Twitter is not the answer.” — Nationally Syndicated Columnist Michael Gerson

At 71-years young, Donald John Trump is the oldest to take the presidential oath of office.

One would suspect a man of his age would be next-to-clueless about social media/digital technology — (remember out-of-touch George H.W. Bush and his amazement about the supermarket scanner?) — but one would be wrong.trump-twitter

Just as FDR used the radio-and-its-widespread-network for his fireside chats; Ronald Reagan five decades later repeatedly went before the cameras to go directly to the people and bypass Congress. Why should we be surprised that Trump is using Twitter to go around the media?

Agenda Setting Theory means that elite media (i.e., NYT, WAPO, ABC, CBS, NBC) pose the topics for the grateful masses to think about. Trump’s Twitter posts are usurping this cherished interpretive media role, and the ladies and gents of the Fourth Estate are not amused.

Have the Nixon days of the “nattering nabobs of negativism” returned with a daily war being waged between the elite media and the White House? Is the media appalled or secretly thrilled to have such an adversary to bring crashing to the earth?spicer

Sean Spicer is the present press secretary for the 45th chief executive. How long will he hold this job? Obama had three press secretaries (i.e., Robert Gibbs, Jay Carney, Josh Earnest) during the span of eight years. Almost DailyBrett will take the over on the question of whether this president will have three-or-more press secretaries.

One of the daily problems facing Spicer is pleasing his insatiable boss, while at the same time not getting eaten alive by the piranha covering the White House. Serving as press secretary may ultimately be rewarding in the form of a best-selling, tell-all book, but for now it is most likely the supreme thankless job on the planet.

Digital Is Eternal

“Are you insinuating that I am a purveyor of terminological inexactitudes?” – Winston Churchill

As California Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary (1987-1989), the author of Almost DailyBrett never worried about whereabouts his my boss (e.g., the governor went home to Gloria, the kids and the beagles). Your author was never concerned about what he was going to say in response to media questions (e.g., The Duke’s political judgment was superb/his message consistency was outstanding), and what he did at night … presumably he slept soundly.

Spicer and the Trump communication team always need to worry about political judgment/discipline, and particularly what the energizer-bunny president is doing at 3 am … namely his love affair with Twitter’s 140-characters.trumptwitterhillary

Are the Trump communicators tempted to program their smart phones to send S-O-S signals every time the boss fires off another tweet? Heck, sleep is way overrated anyway. Think of it this way, when a POTUS tweet is sent from God’s time zone (EST), it is already 8 am in London, 9 am in Berlin and 11 am in Moscow.

For the media on presidential “death watch” (those who must stay up in the White House briefing room as the president ostensibly sleeps), they now have something to do: Monitor the POTUS Twitter account.

Is there any way to mitigate and moderate what The Donald decides to tweet, save being in the president’s living quarters at 3 am (EST)? Would he listen to his communication pros anyway? The hardest part of the job for Trump’s  press secretary may be responding to wire service calls at all hours of the morning to add color to a tweet that he saw at the same time as the reporters.

Some of the 140-missives may make perfect sense and will be consistent with the policies and the programs of the administration. Others … well, they could be about almost anything including inaugural crowd sizes or “alternative facts.”

Considering the government’s record of telling the truth has been less than stellar over the decades (e.g., LBJ’s “Credibility Gap” during Vietnam, Nixon’s “I am not a crook,” and Jody Powell’s “Right to Lie” during the Iran hostage crisis), are we surprised an administration is resorting to terminological inexactitudes?

What is breathtaking is the number in the first week alone, but more noticeable is the speed, namely through 140-characters or less Twitter.

How many tweets will POTUS fire off its cyberspace in four years or maybe eight years? Will there be any political-and-editorial discipline imposed?

Don’t count on it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-a-tweeting-president-is-so-bad-for-our-politics/2017/01/26/9a6892a8-e3f0-11e6-a453-19ec4b3d09ba_story.html?utm_term=.06b7a51ec1ce&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://uspolitics.about.com/od/presidenc1/tp/List-Of-Obama-Press-Secretaries.htm

http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/33875.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/the-other-side-of-the-story/

 

 

 

 

Never thought the author of Almost DailyBrett would ever see the day.

Guess there is a first time for everything.

Yes I did it. I wrote-in my choice for President of the United States: Speaker Paul Ryan.

Today, I submitted my ballot. The deed is done.ballot

Some may contend that I threw my vote away.

Some may warn that my write-in vote will not be counted.

Some may scold that I helped put a Clinton back in the White House.

Personally, I have to live with myself.

Voting for big-legalized drugs/Snowden-pardon supporter Gary Johnson is a non-starter.

Jill Stein? Please.

Back in the 1990s, I never voted for a Clinton for president. There is zero chance I would do that now.

The prospect of putting the country’s nuclear arsenal in the hands of the most politically undisciplined party nominee in the history of the Republic (understatement), Donald Trump, is a bet I am not willing to make.

To little ole me, not voting is irresponsible and quite frankly, not an option.

By writing this blog post I am not seeking a medal or some kind of accolade, but sharing my personal journey as I contemplated for weeks and months literally the worst presidential choice ever … and the polls bear out this point.120811014459-romney-ryan-vp-2-horizontal-gallery

My reasoning: I voted for Paul Ryan to serve as Mitt Romney’s vice president four years ago. I am very comfortable with the prospect of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the White House.

The Shining City on the Hill

“Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will report that I appeal to your best hopes not your worst fears … “—Former President Ronald Reagan, 1992

Even though Almost DailyBrett for seven-plus years attempted to be as even-handed as it can be and avoid partisan screed, your author is mortal and has a definitive political view.

Politically, I cut my teeth covering as a 20-something reporter the 1978 Proposition 13 tax revolt in California. Because of crippling 15-18 percent annual inflation and related-skyrocketing property tax bills, people were being asked to choose between their homes and essential services. They chose their residences.

Four years later, I served as the press director for the (George) Deukmejian Campaign Committee. One year after surviving an assassination attempt, Reagan campaigned for us. Even at 71-years-young, he looked like a million bucks to a young, impressionable media aide. From that day forward, I am proud to describe myself as a Reaganite.reaganduke

My outlook is realistic, but always positive. My beliefs include controlling the debt, stimulating full-time private sector jobs with the complete array of benefits, fostering a robust export-driven economy, and protecting our exceptional country from all adversaries … foreign and domestic.

The dystopian, inward approach to the world preached by one Donald J. Trump is not Reaganesque, and it is not Republican.

Did I listen carefully to all of the candidates during the lengthy primary season? Absolutely. I was hoping a true-Reagan conservative would emerge from the pack. That result did not happen.

There was a time, and Almost DailyBrett cannot pinpoint a date, but it became evident that Hillary Clinton would be the nominee of the Democrat Party and Donald Trump would serve as the standard bearer of the Republican Party.

This choice was unpalatable then and it is totally unacceptable now.

As a result, I wrote in Speaker Ryan. Regardless of who prevails next Tuesday, I am confident Paul Ryan will be serving as a living example of the checks and balances our Founding Fathers envisioned.

I will sleep better knowing he is on the job.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/31/politics/john-kasich-donald-trump-john-mccain-endorsement/index.html

http://www.speaker.gov/

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/03/nancy-reagan-death-donald-trump-2016-213709

 

 

“With best wishes to Kevin who understands what this is all about” – Jody Powell

“When the news seemed to me then and now, to be wrong, unsupportable, and unfair.” – President Jimmy Carter’s press secretary Jody Powellpowellsignature

One of my most cherished possessions is a personally signed copy of Jody Powell’s 1984 book about presidential public relations and the media, “The Other Side of the Story.”

Powell passed way-too-young (65) of an apparent heart attack seven years ago, making my copy of this hardbound book irreplaceable.

Today, the author of Almost DailyBrett assigns new PR students Powell’s remembrances of his brain-fart disclosure to the media of Jimmy Carter smacking a “the killer rabbit” with a canoe oar, “A Grave Mistake,” and more importantly do PR pros in extreme circumstances have “The Right to Lie”?powellbriefing

Powell is seen through the lens of history as one of the very best to serve as the chief spokesman and communications strategist for the leader of the free world. Without a doubt that will be Jody’s lasting legacy. Alas, he served a president who was besieged with 52 Americans held hostage in Iran, out-of-control inflation and economic malaise.

Despite Powell’s best efforts, Carter was excused from the presidency in 1980, winning only six states + DC or 49 electoral votes. Powell eventually shook off the loss, and provided wisdom to all PR pros with his “The Other Side of the Story.”

This simple title also should serve as a reminder to us all that with all issues, there is indeed another side to the story.

To my horror, your author remembers being told there is no other side of the story when it comes to a major criminal justice issue. My training as a political/business public relations professional is there are indeed two sides to every story, and you are simply not doing your job if you don’t comprehend the opposing argument.

How can you fashion a winning rebuttal?

Getting Out of Our Filter Bubbles

One of the tenets of public relations theory (don’t glaze over) is Cognitive Dissonance or the practice of re-examining a hard-felt position upon the presence of compelling new information. John F. Kennedy through his charm and conviction was able to gain support from Republicans despite setbacks (e.g., Bay of Pigs). Conversely, Ronald Reagan’s success and communication skills led to the formation of a new-at-the-time political force, The Reagan Democrats.

Does Cognitive Dissonance still apply today in our woefully divided, gridlocked society?

Looking into my crystal ball, will President Hillary Clinton be “primaried” (new verb) in 2020 by Bernie-Sanders-progressives, if she works with Speaker Paul Ryan? There is zero doubt that Clinton and Ryan see the world differently, but at the same time it is their job to work together for the benefit of the country.powellbook

 

In order to do just that, both sides need to appreciate there is indeed The Other Side of the Story. Even more germane, is this notion is at the heart of the Marketplace of Ideas.

For example, many decry the fact that an estimated 2 million are incarcerated in American jails and prisons, a disproportionate number hail from minority communities. Is that the only side of the story that matters?

As press secretary to former California Governor George Deukmejian, our administration doubled the size of the state’s prison system, which was a godsend considering the massive overcrowding issue the Golden State faces to this day.

Were we being mean, hateful and vindictive or were we responding to the public who did not want criminals in their neighborhoods and in the streets?

Are there indeed two sides (mass incarceration and public safety) to this criminal justice issue?

In a more intense sense, there is a reason why ISIS is so evil, so angry and so violent? Is there a side to their story we should try to comprehend? Yes. At the same time, we need to respond to their attacks on soft targets in the United States, Western Europe and the Middle East. We have our side of the story as well.

Almost DailyBrett knows instinctively that Donald Trump will soon and thankfully fade from the airwaves and digital screens. The ensuring period of global Schadenfreude will pass as well.

Will we reach a point in which we respect there really are two sides to virtually every story? When and if we do, we will become a much more civil society.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/us/politics/15powell.html?_r=0

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/14/AR2009091402738.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

 

 

“I cannot imagine ever voting for him (Donald Trump).” – Conservative Washington Post columnist, Charles Krauthammer

“What I think about Hillary Clinton is — I imagine to be a bright woman without the courage of her convictions because I’m not sure what they are.” — Comedian and Late-Night Host Jon Stewart

“(Trump’s attack against an Hispanic judge) The textbook definition of a racist comment.” – House Speaker Paul Ryan

“All I’m saying is that the idea that there’s one set of rules for us (The Clintons) and another set for everybody else is true.” – Former President William Jefferson Clinton

Choosing between Hillary and The Donald is akin to either burning at the stake or drowning (not to be confused with “Berning” at the stake).hillarytrump

Is this “choice” posed to the American people the absolute best the most powerful country on earth can do at this critical point in the nation’s history?

Can Hillary seriously be compared in the same vein to Democratic forerunners Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy?

We all know the answer to that question.

Ditto for weighing out-of-control Donald Trump against Honest Abraham Lincoln, Progressive Teddy Roosevelt, Commander-in-Chief Dwight Eisenhower and The Gipper, Ronald Reagan. All of these presidents were the epitome of political discipline. That is very last word that applies to Trump.

There is a nationwide pile-on against The Donald for a litany of good reasons, which could lead to the ultimate Schadenfreude moment: We are so happy The Donald is so sad … and humbled.oligarchy

The most likely net side-effect: The Clintons are back in the White House. There will be the predictable celebration of the first woman president. Keep in mind, we will not be electing the American equivalent of Kanzerlin Angela Merkel, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher or Fed Chief Janet Yellen, but yet another member of the Clintonian Oligarchy.

Maybe we should simply elect the right person for the right time (e.g., Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, Ronald Reagan in 1980) or is that too much to ask?

Is there a third way?

Is there a third option?

Throwing Away My Vote?

“I’m sorry this happened (Trump nomination), but we’ll see where it ends up. I’m not making any final decision yet, but at this point I just can’t do it (endorse The Donald).” – Ohio Governor John Kasichkasich

Last month, yours truly cast his first State of Washington primary ballot for Kasich. Even though Ohio’s chief executive easily fits my definition of a Ronald Reagan-vintage Republican, everyone knew that Kasich could not win. Did the author of Almost DailyBrett throw his vote away?

By voting for Kasich, your author opted for a good guy and better yet did not jump on the Trump bandwagon as it heads towards the electoral cliff. Proud to NOT vote for Trump and akin to Charles Krauthammer, can’t imagine ever checking the box for Trump even though he is the party nominee.

The list of prominent Republicans not yet (or never) endorsing The Donald is deep and prominent: Former President George H.W. Bush, Former President George W. Bush, Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina among others.

Even more important to your author as a former Golden State press secretary is that all three living California Republican Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pete Wilson and of course my former boss, George Deukmejian, are not endorsing Donald Trump … and hopefully never will.

Bull Moose in 2016?

Former President Teddy Roosevelt was less than enamored with his successor Howard Taft in 1912 and ran as “progressive” third-party “Bull Moose” campaign for president, splitting the Republican Party and electing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to the White House.teddyroosevelt

As an eternal optimist Almost DailyBrett must ask: Is there a common sense, free-enterprise, strong-fiscal discipline and hawkish on national defense type who can run “Bull Moose” this year?

Whattyathink Mitt Romney? How about it, John Kasich? Do you really want to be speaker, Paul Ryan?

Yes, Almost DailyBrett understands that running a “Bull Moose” candidate this year (former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson does not fit the bill) will most likely result in Bill Clinton measuring the new drapes for the Lincoln Bedroom, but one can be spared from having to decide between Hillary and The Donald.

University of Virginia Professor of Political Science Larry Sabato pointed to 1964 (e.g., Goldwater) as the year the Republicans “went off the rails” followed by a similar exercise in political masochism by the Democrats in 1972 (e.g., McGovern). Now it is the GOP’s turn again. The more-than-likely Republican train wreck will not be pretty, but it may be cleansing.

It will be onward to 2020. Hopefully, we will not be looking up to the heavens for a third choice, a third way once again.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-the-matter-of-paul-ryan/2016/06/09/e2d7734a-2e71-11e6-9de3-6e6e7a14000c_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/06/07/ryan-says-trumps-attacks-on-judge-fit-the-textbook-definition-of-a-racist-comment/?tid=a_inl

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/06/15/time-for-panic-or-for-nevertrump/?wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/06/16/good-for-kasich-now-will-he-help-dump-trump/?wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

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

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/06/13/this-new-poll-utah-poll-is-amazingly-bad-for-donald-trump/

http://www.eonline.com/news/671706/arnold-schwarzenegger-reacts-to-donald-trump-s-run-for-president-some-candidates-will-make-a-lot-of-noise

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/donald-trump-vice-president-224488

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Party_(United_States,_1912)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/november-is-fast-becoming-what-the-gop-fears-a-referendum-on-trump/2016/06/18/f942ddd2-34dd-11e6-8758-d58e76e11b12_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/05/12/jon-stewart-perfectly-diagnosed-the-problem-with-hillary-clintons-candidacy/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Read my lips: No new taxes.” – Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush

Taxes were raised.

Back in my early 30s, I accompanied my boss, Governor George Deukmejian, to the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans.

The sweltering Big Easy is not the best place to be in August. And national political conventions are not just Thursday nights with all the falling balloons, chanting, cheering and sign waving, but rhetorical endurance contests.

Reflecting back on those heady younger days, I relished the opportunity to defy the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) stronghold on the agenda and instead placed my governor on network television as much as possible. A photo of ABC’s Sam Donaldson interviewing The Duke with a beaming me behind them sits on display in my office.

Donald Trump protestors clash with officers during the California GOP Convention held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, California on April 29, 2016. (Joel Angel Juarez/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Donald Trump protestors clash with officers during the California GOP Convention held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, California on April 29, 2016. (Joel Angel Juarez/Special to S.F. Examiner)

One essential point: The author of Almost DailyBrett never worried for a nanosecond about personal safety in attending a national convention in 1988. Were there protesters outside the New Orleans Superdome despite the fact it was indeed, “Morning in America”?

Of course. Can’t remember what they were yammering about. Doesn’t matter now.

Two months later, yours truly attended the last presidential debate between Bush and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

“Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” — CNN Bernard Shaw’s opening question of the debate

Robotically Dukakis swung-and-missed on this controversial question, and the debate and the election were over on the first question of the night.

Was there heavy security at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on October 13, 1988? The question seems silly. Certainly. Yet once again, there was never an issue of personal safety that evening even though the stakes are always high in a presidential election, especially with an open seat.

Fast forward to today: Would a parent think twice about her or his daughter or son attending a major political convention, rally or presidential debate?

Unfortunately, these questions need to be asked as the pages of American history have turned to darker chapters.

Distinguishing The “Lovers” From The “Haters”

Almost DailyBrett three years ago dared to take issue with Martin Scorsese and the record 506 four-letter F-Bombs, which were unloaded during the three-hour-plus cinematic orgy of nudes, ludes and coke, The Wolf of Wall Street.

Today, a new four-letter invective is being dropped on political opponents in order to intimidate and silence: The H-Bomb.lovetrumpshate

Certainly, it is clever to champion that “love trumps hate,” even putting all the words in lower case to keep people from wondering if the verb is a double-entendre (which it is, of course).

The intended divisive net-result is the “lovers” are on one side and the “haters” are marginalized on the other side.

And what happens if the “haters” hold a political rally or attend a political convention? Do the “lovers” come out en-masse?

Of course there are sinners among the “haters,” but are all the “lovers,” saints?

Watching the video from usually calm-and-bucolic Costa Mesa with police cars being shattered, rocks and other projectiles being thrown all in the name of love, Almost DailyBrett wonders whether the two opposite terms – love and hate — are rapidly becoming synonymous.

Or am I confusing this video with the raucous scene from Chicago a few weeks ago? How many more 1968 Windy City scenes will be digitally transmitted in the new few weeks and months? How much blood will be shed? Will the carnage mercifully stop on election day? Don’t count on it.

This still image taken from video shows a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after a protest on Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Costa Mesa, Calif. Dozens of protesters were mostly peaceful Thursday as Trump gave his speech inside the Pacific Amphitheater. After the event, however, the demonstration grew rowdy late in the evening and spilled into the streets. (APTN via AP Photo)

This still image taken from video shows a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after a protest on Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Costa Mesa, Calif. Dozens of protesters were mostly peaceful Thursday as Trump gave his speech inside the Pacific Amphitheater. After the event, however, the demonstration grew rowdy late in the evening and spilled into the streets. (APTN via AP Photo)

How far are we as a coarsening society from a daily display of torch-lights and pitch-forks all in the name of “love”?

Before Dropping the H-Bomb

Considering there are 323 million Americans, can we conclude they are all “lovers” as the term in being defined in some circles?

Alas, there are more than a few who are genuine haters based upon their targets being a different race, ethnicity, gender and/or orientation. But does everyone who does not fully subscribe to the definition of “love” by default become a “hater?”

Should the rhetorical H-bomb be dropped on these dissenting souls? Should they be forced to eternally wear a Scarlet “H”?

How about a little public relations instead? How about some friendly persuasion? How about the marketplace of ideas, where dissent is welcome and tolerated?

Sure beats the ugly pictures on television and mobile devices all in the name of “Love.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2007/04/questions-that-kill-candidates-careers-003617

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/506-f-bombs/

http://www.census.gov/

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/29/politics/donald-trump-protests-republican-convention-california/

http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/386c25518f464186bf7a2ac026580ce7/Article_2016-04-29-US–Trump%20Rally-Protests/id-3d26c5d9dc7441b3b9e1ce8fc898e736

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It.” – Too Many Moms to Count

Donald Trump lost it, Saturday night … Not just the debate, but any resemblance of personal deportment.trumprage

We knew it was coming, it had to happen … and it did.

Too many kisses on the CombOver’s derriere from the lips of way too many lackeys for way too long. And at last … along came former Florida Governor Jeb Bush with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

He got under The Donald’s skin, enough to make his face as crimson as the horrible CBS red backdrop (Who in the RNC approved angry red behind angry candidates?)

On the other side of the philosophical divide … When Hillary was blown out in New Hampshire by Bernie it was more than people don’t trust her, it was also because people don’t like her.hillaryinlaw

Bernie is a weak candidate, and he still won. In fact, he won big.

Experience is a plus. Business smarts is a plus. You may say all the right things or at least the politically correct things, but in the end analysis, if people can’t imagine you appointing Supreme Court justices, let alone having your finger on the nuclear button … you are not going to be president.

Yep, moms are right … It’s not what you say, but how you say it.

Persona – The Way You Behave

“George Deukmejian’s favorite color is gray.” – Too Many ‘Clever’ Reporters to Count

Supposedly, my guy was boring. My guy didn’t have vision. My guy didn’t have charisma. That was the narrative.

My guy was the most popular California governor in the modern era, even more than Ronald Reagan, Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger.deukmejian2

George Deukmejian barely won the governorship in 1982. He won the biggest landslide in the state’s history (61-37 percent) four years later. He was just as boring in the eyes of the media both times. He was also pleasant and positive on the stump.

Governor John Kasich of Ohio was asked his reaction to being the Democrats favorite Republican candidate for president … including primary endorsements from the liberal New York Times and Boston Globe … designations that are normally the kisses of death in a contested GOP primary.

Kasich took these “accolades” in stride, and scolded his five fellow presidential contenders for their at-times out-of-control behavior. If Kasich is to lose the nomination, he will go down waging a positive campaign … and demonstrating persona (and gravitas too).

Best Hopes or Worst Fears?

“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.” – President Ronald Reagan’s Farewell Address, January 11, 1989

“This back and forth, and these attacks: Some of them are personal. I think we’re fixing to lose the election to Hillary Clinton if we don’t stop this. You know what I would suggest? Why don’t we just take all the negative ads and all the negative comments down from television.” – Governor John Kasichkasich

Fat chance the negative “comparison” ads – television, radio, Internet — are going away. But aren’t they still part of the problem?

This week, the RealClear Politics average of respondents asking whether America is on the right track or the wrong track is 28.3 percent for the former and 63.7 percent for the latter or 35 points below the Mendoza Line.

The Donald Trump crusade pivots off these horrible results and contends that everyone in government is “stupid.” Bernie offers his own revolution and declares that America is “corrupt.” And even the Hillary campaign contends there is a “special place in hell” for women who dare to vote for Bernie.

Stupid … Corrupt … Hell. Let’s throw in “liar” and “liars.” And you wonder why people are tired of the bickering in Washington, D.C., believe the system is broken, and want positive messages for a refreshing change?

Almost DailyBrett contends from a public relations standpoint, it is much easier to point out the problems and resort to the negative. It takes courage to offer solutions and positive optimistic messages. Many will scoff, let them.

Could John Kasich be the George Deukmejian of 2016 American politics?

Sure hope so.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/its-not-what-you-say-but-how-you-say-it/

http://link.washingtonpost.com/view/5483d7e93b35d052478c33d33mv62.4cvh/24e67ed5

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cody-cain/hey-hillary-heres-why-peo_b_9206424.html

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/14/people-dont-have-to-like-hillary-clinton-to-vote-for-her-donald-trump

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/persona

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ronald_Reagan

http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2016/02/john_kasich_makes_the_positive.html

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/direction_of_country-902.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/08/us/politics/gloria-steinem-madeleine-albright-hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders.html?_r=0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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