Influencia

Cristiano Ronaldo’s marketing power appeared to be on full display this week when his removal of two bottles of Coca-Cola from the podium at a press conference coincided with a $4 billion drop in the company’s market value.

Before speaking to the media on Monday in Budapest a day before Portugal’s Euro 2020 opener against Hungary, the Juventus star moved the Coca-Cola bottles out of the frame and held up a bottle of water before saying, ‘Agua.’

Coca-Cola’s share price dropped from $56.10 to $55.22 soon after Ronaldo’s gesture, while the company’s market value dropped from from $242 billion to $238 billion. Coca-Cola is an official sponsor of the European Championship.”

Paragraph To Ponder—Self Delusion Edition

“Donald Trump is writing a book. And, as with all things Donald Trump does, he is already marketing it with a combination of hyperbole and outright lies. Although the former president has boasted that rights to a memoir about his political career—the ‘book of all books’—are being fought over by major publishers, and that he has already turned down ‘very substantial offers’ from ‘two of the biggest and most prestigious publishing houses,’ reporters have uncovered zero evidence to substantiate his claims. According to Politico, none of the editors and publishers contacted at the Big Five publishing houses—Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, and Simon & Schuster—said they were aware of any such offer. One source was openly ‘skeptical’ of his claims. ‘He’s screwed over so many publishers that before he ran for president, none of the big 5 would work with [him] anymore,’ the source told Politico.”

I can hear him now, “I NEED you to find me 11,780 more readers!”

Postscript: Awkward.

What To Make Of The Secret IRS Files

A week ago, ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest showed how the wealthiest Americans pay little in income tax compared to their wealth in “The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax”.

Pro big business libertarians were outraged at ProPublica’s decision to release private tax information of people who, in their view, have contributed disproportionately to the public good.

The extremely well written report left many others shocked by the findings and gleeful that the billionaire class was exposed.

Long story short, most Americans pay 14% of their income in taxes, billionaires pay 3+% on average. That’s because we tax income and not wealth and billionaire’s wealth grows much, much faster than their income.

Everyone concedes that the highlighted billionaires haven’t done anything illegal, which leaves many wanting to make our tax system much more progressive.

A few thoughts:

  1. As long as we tax income and let wealth slide, the Great Tax Divide will only widen. At some point, billionaires’ physical safety may very well be threatened. It is in their self-interest that we have a more egalitarian society. Therefore, it is in their interest to pay more in taxes.
  2. We need to invest a whole lot more in the Internal Revenue Service. Specifically, we need more, better trained agents who understand of how the ultra-wealthy avoid taxes sometimes illegally. Right now the ultra-wealthy are emboldened by the ridiculously low rate at which they are audited.
  3. Conservatives often defend things like video surveillance by asking, “Well, what do you have to hide?” In that same spirit, when it comes to personal income taxes, maybe we should go the way of Norway.
  4. Debates about the ethics of ProPublica’s decision-making will continue especially since they’ve said this is just the first of several related reports. As will debates about the implications of the data and related policy questions.

socialism-socialism-socialism

Portland A Year On

From “After a Year of Protests, Portland Is Ready to Move On. But Where?”

People will conclude very different things from this update because as the Torah says, “We see things not as they, but as we are.” Admittedly, it’s dangerous to selectively excerpt from it, but here goes.

“A hardened core of street activists, many of them professing opposition to authority in general, has dug in and shows no signs of going away. (Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, has asked people to stop calling them protesters, but rather what they call themselves: anarchists.) Their numbers are now down to perhaps 25 to 75 on any given night, compared with hundreds in late 2020 and the many thousands who marched last summer in protests after Mr. Floyd’s murder.

But they have shown themselves at times to be violent — one was charged with attempted murder after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the police — destructive of property and highly adaptable, using social media tools and other strategies to divert the police from the targets they select.

Direct actions are promoted on social media with the phrase ‘No gods, no masters,’ a 19th-century anarchist term that indicates a rejection of all forms of authority. More traditional protesters from Black Lives Matter and other movements who try to curtail violence are now ridiculed as ‘peace police’ by the anarchists, who mostly consist of young, white men.

Demetria Hester, a member of Moms United for Black Lives, continues to push for defunding the police but disagrees with the current call for dismantling the entire political system. “Breaking windows is performative,’ she said. ‘That satisfies them at night, but they don’t have a plan.’

Some prominent Black leaders have been formally distancing themselves, with some calling the anarchists’ rejection of gradual progress just another symbol of privilege that Black people do not have.

‘Being able to protest every night is a white privilege, being able to yell at a police’s face is a white privilege,’ said Gregory McKelvey, a prominent Black organizer who ran the mayoral campaign last year for Mr. Wheeler’s opponent, Sarah Iannarone. ‘Most Black people across the country do everything they can to avoid cops.'”

There is no reason why law abiding, pro-peaceful protest liberals should let 25-75 anarchists confirm Fox viewers’ and Right Wingers’ preconceived notions that all Progressives endorse violent anarchy. “Formal distance” is a start. Prosecute cases of violence and vandalism. Schmidt is striking the right balance.

Paragraph To Ponder—Vax Edition

John Gruber on Philadelphia’s Vax Sweepstakes:

“I really do love the idea of these lotteries and giveaway promotions. It’s innumeracy that leads some people to grossly miscalculate the risks vs. rewards of getting vaccinated, and it’s innumeracy that leads people to play lotteries. Sweepstakes for getting vaccinated put innumeracy to work.”

Be Adventurous, Tell Stories

Apologies for going silent during the annual dose of cycling and running in Bend, Oregon last week. Pretty damn selfish, but at least I didn’t kill the Humble Blog like The Former Guy did. Grow a spine Former Guy, if I closed shop every time a “friend” made fun of the Humble Blog, the world would be bereft of all my insights. Cue “friends” making fun again.

Yesterday, I was driving north on Hwy 26 from Bend to Gresham at the same time as a badass woman in a convertible MiniCooper. Like me, she was OLD, but that didn’t stop her from embracing the elements. The air temp was 45F/7C, but we were doing 60mph, so adjust accordingly. She paired a hooded winter jacket with ski gloves.

I would never do that (how could I hear my podcasts; plus, my hair), but I loved that she was. Each time we leap frogged one another, I became more intrigued with her story. What kind of person drives with the top down when it’s hella cold? The answer of course is an adventurous one.

I wanted to meet her because anyone that adventurous has to have a lot of great stories from a life well lived. That’s one of the best things about adventures, besides the actual experience, you end up with a treasure trove of stories that enable others to experience your adventure vicariously, and therefore, for the experience to live on.

But then I ruminated on the fact that she was alone, which of course means she doesn’t get along with other people. I mean, if she did, even just a little, wouldn’t she have someone in the car with her? Someone she’s shared some adventures with?

So, maybe having a beer with her wouldn’t be so great an experience after all.

But then I thought about the fact that apart from Blanca and Rosa, I was alone in my car too. So who am I to judge, maybe I’m not God’s gift to interpersonal relations. So maybe I shouldn’t keep her solo-ness from proposing we stop for a beer in Sandy for some story telling.

But alas, I wasn’t adventurous enough to propose that, so I don’t have any stories to tell about the woman in the convertible MiniCooper.

Don’t be me. Get jabbed, be even more adventurous, meet people, and make stories.

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