Tag Archive: Michael Bloomberg


“The mayor (Pete Buttigieg) just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave, full of crystals and served $900-a-bottle wine. Think about who comes to that? … Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States.” — $12 million net worth Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren

“According to Forbes Magazine, I’m literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or a billionaire … This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass.” — South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg

Guess Almost DailyBrett has been drinking cerveza way too long.

The term beer cave projects the image of a bunch of guys downing bottles, tapping a keg, and binge watching football.

Some may simply envision and label the grunting, belching and scratching venue as a … ‘man cave.’

The very notion of a Napa Valley wine cave connotes a more upper-crust distinction.

A $900 bottle of Hall Winery fine cab (actually $185) on the house? S’il vous plait!

Always excitable Warren took issue with the image of people enjoying expensive vino in a plush wine cave in California’s Napa Valley. More to the point, she particularly doesn’t condone wealthy individuals attending a fundraiser on behalf of a pesky political rival, Mayor Pete.

Isn’t this the same Democrat senator who owns a $3 million home in Cambridge, MA. and a $800,000 DC condo?

Her political soul mate, $2.5 million net worth Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, even purchased the web domain name: peteswinecave. Sanders may presently lead Warren in the polls (Real Clear Politics average), but he trails her nearly five-to-one in net income.

Should latte sipping senators living in glass condos throw rocks?

Where was the invitation for Almost DailyBrett?

Guess one has to be a limousine liberal to be invited to a trendy wine cave to sip super-expensive cabernet sauvignon in crystal goblets on onyx tables.

Reminds your author of the infamous joke of USSR party leader Leonid Brezhnev inviting his mommy to drink Moskovskaya vodka in the Kremlin, cruise around in his Zil limo, and consume caviar in his private dacha.

Mother Russia proudly looked at her most equal of the equals son and said: ‘What happens when the Reds come back?”

A quote more apropos for this discussion is the infamous one by former California Speaker of the Assembly Jess Unruh’s (1922-1987): “Money is the Mother’s Milk of Politics.”

Your author’s boss first Attorney General/later California Governor George Deukmejian (1928-2018) raised $8.3 million in 1982 to be elected to the corner office in Sacramento. The Duke was outspent in the primary and the general election, and still won the governorship.

That amount is almost quaint by today’s standards, and downright puny in comparison to the $125 million Donald Trump’s re-election campaign raised in the last three months.

In some respects, Trump’s fundraising prowess is just the tip of his earned (media interviews/coverage), paid (advertising) and owned media (Twitter) communications juggernaut.

Revisiting An Ancient Argument 

Warren suggesting out loud that Mayor Pete is somehow being bought by billionaires sipping pricey cab in a wine cave is the latest twist on an age-old assertion.

Are the billionaires buying your fidelity? Did you sell out? Did they buy in?

Here are more germane questions: Are you going to award an ambassadorship to the Court of St. James or the Vatican for the federal campaign contribution maximum, $2,800?

How do you propose funding your campaign at 2019-2020 advertising rates, if you don’t raise dough from wealthy people … unless you are already a billionaire (i.e., Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer)?

Billionaire celebrity Trump was outspent and out-organized three-plus years ago, and overcame this deficiency by absolutely dominating earned media, thus sucking the air away from every other candidacy including Hillary Clinton’s.

Even though the knives are out for #45, he still rules every utensil and appliance in the mass communications kitchen.

He is not invulnerable. The time between now and November 3 is a political lifetime. No one, including Almost DailyBrett, predicted his election.

Do presidential incumbents have an advantage? Not always (i.e., Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush in rotten economies).

Presidential elections are not referendums, they are choices.

Both the incumbent and his inevitable challenger are going to need green manna from heaven to ensure their respective messages get to the electorate, particularly in swing fly-over states. Campaigns are expensive.

There will be even-more fundraisers in the coming months, hosted in a wine cave near you.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/21/about-that-wine-cave-dinner-i-was-there/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michelatindera/2019/08/20/how-elizabeth-warren-built-a-12-million-fortune/#2b85f493ab57

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chasewithorn/2019/04/12/how-bernie-sanders-the-socialist-senator-amassed-a-25-million-fortune/#1d4107fb36bf

https://nypost.com/2019/12/22/elizabeth-warrens-wine-cave-comments-spark-questions-about-her-donors/

 

“Information is power.” – Activist, Author, Journalist, Lecturer Robin Morgan

Consider my visit to McDonald’s this past weekend.

The Angus mushroom burger with Swiss cheese looked mighty tempting, but then I saw the calorie count beside it: 770 calories, 360 of which comes from fat.

Hmmm…I am follicly challenged, and to some, I may be vertically challenged. Damn it all, I will not be horizontally challenged. No convulations hanging over my belt thank you very much.

Okay, then no Angus mushroom burger with Swiss cheese.

What were my alternatives? Looking at the McDonald’s scoreboard, I selected a bacon ranch grilled chicken salad (230 calories, 80 calories from fat) and a small wild berry smoothie (210 calories, five calories from fat). If you are scoring at home, I said “no” to 770/360 and “yes” to 440/85.

mcdonaldsmenu

Best of all, I made this decision without New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg or some other nanny state politician or bureaucrat interceding, regulating or taxing on my behalf. Some may question my decision to go to McDonald’s in the first place, but that was my independent choice as a liberty-loving American.

My point here is not taking an ostrich-burying-its-head-in-the-sand approach in the face of the skyrocketing instances of obesity in the United States and around the world. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.  According to the World Health Organization, the UN and The Economist, 35 percent of the global adult population of 4.4 billion in 2010 was overweight and 12.4 percent were obese (obviously, the US percentages were higher). Projected out to 2020, 39.7 percent of the adult population of 5.1 billion will be overweight and 15.4 percent will be obese…more than half the adults on the planet.

The Institute of Medicine estimates that obesity related illnesses cost about $190 billion annually or one-fifth of total health spending in the US. Houston, we clearly have a problem. Is more government the solution? Or does the solution lie with public information? Can the global public relations/advertising/marketing industry be the answer?

Denmark tried the predictable and intellectually vapid command-and-control response of imposing a tax on fatty foods. Last month, the country rescinded the unpopular tax based upon the law of unintended consequences.

Besides belting the country’s high-end Danish cheese and meat industries with higher selling prices, driving down demand, Danish consumers also voted with their cars, boats, bikes and feet. Forty-eight percent, up 10 percent, bought their fatty foods from neighboring Germany and Sweden to the tune of $1.8 billion in lost revenues to the country’s retailers and tax coffers.

Doesn’t every answer that requires a new tax, potentially resulting in higher revenues and thus more spending and debt, also result in an unintended consumer response? Why do increased tax champions conveniently always seem to ignore the dynamic response to their policies? When something seems so simple, in reality it is much more complicated.

Mayor Bloomberg’s prohibition against stadiums, movie theatres, restaurants and (gasp) food carts selling sugary drinks above 16-ounces, while inexplicably still allowing the selling of 24-ounce beers (fat, carbs and alcohol all in one), strikes one as being hard paternalism and/or nannyism gone wild.

Isn’t another answer social marketing that deftly employs social and conventional media a better answer? We have more information tools to move data about smart choices to more people than ever with unprecedented speed and range. Why not more horizontal informational approaches to a flattening world as opposed to vertical command-and-control edicts from the all-knowing elected or non-elected Politburos?

The Texas State Department of Transportation (yes, the public sector) has used social marketing for a generation to convince the Bubbas to not litter from their trucks with its wildly successful, “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign. Alpha males (e.g. George Strait, Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Too Tall Jones, Randy White) implored the truckers and other manly (and womanly types) to not litter Texas highways.

dontmesswithtexas

Even though there are still more than 1.1 million pieces of litter each year on Lone Star State highways, one can only imagine how much worse that number would be without the program. It worked by providing information, skillfully delivered with a terrific campaign: Message, Candidate(s), Campaign.

Is it any wonder that Texas with its public information approach scores among the best for small business, while New York with nanny Bloomberg and (Proposition 30) tax raising California score near the bottom? And didn’t the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors consider banning and fining those who had the audacity of throwing a Frisbee or a football on a county beach this past summer?

Instead of requiring already overwhelmed LA County Sheriffs to go on the prowl for those in swim trunks and bikinis who dare to throw a Frisbee, why not hire California PR talent to ask those to be cool with Frisbees and Angus mushroom burgers with Swiss cheese. One message could be that you will look so much better in your swim trucks and bikini with six-pack abs and no extra love handles caused by mushroom Angus burgers with Swiss cheese.

http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/content/dam/AboutMcDonalds/Newsroom/Electronic%20Press%20Kits/Nutrition%20EPK/McDonalds%20USA%20Adding%20Calorie%20Counts%20to%20Menu%20Boards.pdf

http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/getnutrition/nutritionfacts.pdf

http://economist.com/news/europe/21566664-danish-government-rescinds-its-unwieldy-fat-tax-fat-chance

http://dontmesswithtexas.org/

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Blogs/Business-Buzz/2012/05/09/The-10-Best-and-Worst-States-for-Small-Business.aspx#page1

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/17/local/la-me-plastic-bags-20101117

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/02/14/la-county-updating-beach-regulations/

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/nyregion/bloomberg-plans-a-ban-on-large-sugared-drinks.html?pagewanted=all

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/confessions-of-an-ex-box-boy/

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

Never did I fully appreciate, until now, the damage I did to society and the polar bears as a box boy (now called “courtesy clerks”) at Gil’s Community Market in suburban Los Angeles County in the 1970s.

boxboy

Gil’s was your typical supermarket, run by a matriarch who reminded me of Eva Braun in both her appearance and mannerisms. You wouldn’t look at twice at Gil’s if you were driving past. Nevertheless, I am indebted to Gil’s and Frau Braun for giving me my first job…I particularly liked working Easter, earning triple time which translated into serious revenues for a young lad.

Speaking of my youth, I was probably caught more than once doing the once over of our shoppers of high ornamental value. In addition, I was sinning in ways I never imagined: I was putting groceries into paper bags (no paper and plastic choice back then…and no scanners either). Where was the government to stop me? Was the Los Angeles County Board of (Nanny) Supervisors nowhere to be found?

Since that time, Gil’s has gone the way of Eva Braun into the ash heap of history. Just like cockroaches and scorpions, the LA County Board of Supervisors is still there big time…and will always be there.

In the LA County of today, you must bring your own bags to supermarkets located in unincorporated (e.g., county jurisdiction) areas of the metro So Cal county. If you fail to bring your own bags, then you must purchase bags for 25 cents each from the grocery store.

And just when you thought that was enough, reports circled the globe about the county banning the tossing of Frisbees and footballs on beaches within its jurisdiction from Memorial Day to Labor Day…ah…that would be now. If you followed in my calloused bare feet, you would have thrown a Frisbee and a football as well on a county beach in the 20th Century. Only one difference back then: The LA County sheriffs would have been amused, if they noticed at all. Today they were in line to nail you with an up to $1,000 fine for this egregious violation. One would think the LA County sheriffs would have something better to do with their time than looking out for Frisbee criminals.

When the reports to a proposed ban came out they immediately went viral. It was way too  easy to believe that the nannies…err…supervisors had imposed this ban. Since that time the county has “clarified” the rule, meaning that menacing Frisbees can be thrown around the sand…for now.

Don’t for a nanosecond think the Left Coast has cornered the market when it comes to nannyism (the newest of scary –isms). RINO (Republican in Name Only) New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed banning sugary drinks to 16-ounce containers or less at Gotham stadiums, restaurants, cinemas and (gasp) food carts. Let’s see: You can go to Yankee Stadium to watch the Bronx Bombers and order a 24-ounce calorie and alcohol-leaded beer (and maybe one for the road) and drive home…but no way Jose to a soft drink exceeding 16 ounces.

Closer to home, the University of Oregon and other universities in the state’s higher education network are banning smoking on campus beginning September 1. As readers of Almost DailyBrett know, I view cigarettes as the most evil legal product sold to promote premature death. Even though I support the ban, I question how the enforcement will work against verboten cigarettes. If you can’t stop “Smoking in the Boy’s (or Girl’s) Room” in high school, how will that be achieved when a campus is so large and the addiction is so strong?

There has to be a better way to combat climate change, battle obesity and impede the impact of second-hand smoke without encouraging those that yearn to regulate our lives and interfere with our liberties.

How about public relations and advertising?

Ever heard of the “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign? The issue was how to stop the widespread littering on Texas highways. How to reach out to Texas “Bubba” truckers to get them to see it was un-cool and unmanly to befoul the state. The answer was a communications campaign that featured alpha male Texans, such as Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Lance Armstrong, Warren Moon, George Strait and many others.

willienelson

The amount of litter on Lone-Star State highways plummeted by 72 percent, but individual liberties were not violated by the nanny-bureaucratic types.

Couldn’t that approach be used when it comes to bringing your own bags to the grocery store?

Could we design an advertising/public relations PSA (e.g., public service announcements) campaign to do that?

How about asking Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Jonathan Quick, Albert Pujols and Charlie Sheen to urge beach goers to be cool when it comes to Frisbees and footballs? Okay, Sheen is not a good idea, but the campaign could very well work.

And why can’t Mayor Bloomberg ask the legions of Madison Avenue advertising types to design a campaign to combat obesity, and remind everyone from restaurants to patrons to watch how many calories they consume in all drinks…not just sugary sodas…but beers and 1,600-calorie chocolate-chip cookie-dough milkshakes as well?

Next Monday is graduation day at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. I worry how many of my public relations students will actually find a job in this troubled economy. Their daunting prospects could conceivably be improved, if resources were redirected to devising advertising/public relations campaigns to achieve better society results. Sure beats asking county sheriff deputies to chase after the bare foot types and fine them for having the audacity to play Frisbee in the sand.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/17/local/la-me-plastic-bags-20101117

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/02/14/la-county-updating-beach-regulations/

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/nyregion/bloomberg-plans-a-ban-on-large-sugared-drinks.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.kval.com/news/health/131182188.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don’t_Mess_with_Texas

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/the-worlds-most-evil-product/

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