Panning Allies and Our Own Leaders While Praising Dictators: The Art of the Trump!

It’s time to Break It Down!

The times they are a changing. When Barack Obama was initially a candidate for president, he responded to a question by saying he would talk to world leaders, including our enemies, not just our friends. That former listing included the dictator-leader of North Korea. At the time the collective energy of the GOP was assembled into a giant swift and consolidated rebuke of Mr. Obama.

From Fox News to Republican Congressmen to the man and woman in the street, conservatives wallowed apoplectically, in what could have been called, “The Audacity of Nope.” No way, no how was that an acceptable posture. Fast-forward to last week, and you have what a mea culpa without an actual apology looks like. The GOP, complete with a gaggle of Fox News personalities cheerleading, staged an extended virtual standing ovation for Trump’s Tuesday, June 12th Singapore agreement with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. An agreement I might add, that has little detail, and even less certainty of pending follow through and execution.

But there is more. While this so-called deal, upon which the potential denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula hinges was unfolding, it did so in the backdrop of Trump beating up on French President Emmanuel Macron, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, leaders of two of the United States’ historic and traditional allies.

In an interview with Sean Hannity on the same day as the so-called Summit, Trump characterized Kim complimentarily, calling him a “strong guy,” and saying he is a “great negotiator.” He also said of him, “he’s got a very good personality, he’s very funny, very smart, and he’s a very strategic kind of a guy.”

Meanwhile, in his recent contentious bouts with Macron and Trudeau, he tweeted:

“Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers. The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow.”

He also added, “Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the U.S. and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things…but he doesn’t bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy — hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture.”

(Never mind that Canada is the top market for U.S. agricultural exports.)

This topsy-turvy, upside-down world on its axis narrative is consistent with Trump’s persona and one of his long-standing patterns. He has favorably compared Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad to the President of his own country (Barack Obama). He referred to Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein as “effective.” And of course, perhaps most famously, he personally spearheaded the “Birther” Movement, falsely alleging that President Barack Obama, the 44thPresident of the United States, was not born in the United States.

In a statement last Friday, Trump may have removed all that remained of “the Emperor’s Clothes.” Speaking, in a Fox News interview, about the North Korean “strongman,’ Kim Jong Un, he said:

“Hey, he’s the head of a country. And I mean he is the strong head. Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

I could say more, but why bother. In his own words, Trump has not only underscored his adulation of dictators and foreign adversaries, he has, for all practical purposes, removed all doubt by sharing his motivation for doing so. Panning Allies and Our Own Leaders While Praising Dictators: The Art of the Trump!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/06/12/trump-praises-kim-jong-un-as-strong-funny-smart-and-great-negotiator-in-hannity-interview.amp.html

https://www.npr.org/2017/05/02/526520042/6-strongmen-trumps-praised-and-the-conflicts-it-presents

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/10/g7-in-disarray-after-trump-rejects-communique-and-attacks-weak-trudeau

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-north-korean-leader-kim-jong-gotta-give/story?id=36198345

https://www.factcheck.org/2016/09/trump-on-birtherism-wrong-and-wrong/

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-kim-values-20180615-story.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/06/14/trump-has-turned-his-back-on-every-fundamental-american-value/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d229a8fff189

https://www.arcamax.com/currentnews/newsheadlines/s-2091921-p2

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-young-trump-cabinet_us_5ab51bbbe4b0decad0497fca

https://vote.us.org/memo/thread/69896/donald-trump-really-wishes-he-were-a-dictator/

Black Voters: Not A Trump Market

Black Voters: Not A Trump Market

Occasionally, someone says something regarding a topic on which I have an opinion, and they say everything I would like to have said…and they said it better, and more completely. Thank you Issac Bailey; you did that in your commentary on black voters and Donald Trump. In fact, I so endorse your writing on this subject that I submit your CNN Op Ed from yesterday as my post today.

Issac Bailey (a self-described conservative) is an interim member of The Charlotte Observer editorial board and the 2016 James K. Batten Professor of Public Policy at Davidson College. He was a 2014 Harvard University Nieman fellow and is the author of the book “My Brother Moochie: Regaining Dignity in the Midst of Crime, Poverty, and Racism in the American South” (Other Press). Follow him on Twitter: @ijbailey. The views expressed below are his.

Black voters are not going to follow Kim Kardashian and Kanye West into the arms of President Donald Trump.

Trump appears to be making a push these days to woo black voters. But they are not going to be fooled. Not by Trump’s nakedly political attempt to pardon or commute the sentences of a few, select black people — especially as he implements policies that continue hurting people of color, including a rollback of civil rights protections and accountability for law enforcement.

And they won’t be misled by Trump’s false claims that he’s the reason the black unemployment rate has dipped to its lowest level on record, 5.9%, given that it improved significantly more under President Barack Obama.

But, more importantly, black voters won’t embrace Trump because he (and his supporters) have yet to acknowledge the affront of his well-documented, bigoted remarks, his unfair criticism of Obama and his refusal to acknowledge Obama’s accomplishments while in office.

Besides that, white supremacists — and those who may be sympathetic toward them — keep reminding us that they are giddy about Trump and feel more comfortable in the Republican Party because Trump shares “some of the same ideals.”

Even those with less extreme, though still deeply problematic views, have found a home with the GOP. “In my view, the best way to bring diversity to the Republican Party is for Republicans to openly say that the whole idea of diversity is a bunch of crap and un-American,” said Seth Grossman, the GOP nominee for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District. Grossman has been endorsed by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

His comments were far from the dog whistle the black community has grown accustomed to. Instead they were a blunt and bizarre declaration that those who believe diversity is important, particularly because black people, women and others have too frequently been denied opportunity, are the real racists.

His disgusting remarks were uncovered by a progressive super PAC that monitors GOP candidates. But there’s nothing surprising about Grossman’s comments. They fit well within today’s Republican Party, which supported a candidate for President who rose to national prominence despite (or because of) his embrace of bigoted beliefs.

And he has not let go of these beliefs since assuming office. He has allegedly called African countries “shitholes,” (though he denies it), has said he wants more immigrants from overwhelmingly white Norway and has labeled peacefully protesting NFL players as “sons of bitches” who don’t belong in the country.

But it’s not just what Trump has done while he has been in office — it’s also what he hasn’t done: give Obama credit where credit is due. When Obama became president at the height of the recession, black unemployment was at nearly 17%. By the time he left, it had dropped to 7.8%. Similarly, black poverty had reached its lowest level at 19%. And the stock market had risen 234%.

Of course, Trump called those statistics phony; he said black people had nothing to lose by voting for him because they lived in a veritable “hellscape.” Notably, only 8% of black voters bought his logic then, helping to usher him into office.

Trump, though he has been in office for a much shorter time than Obama, has yet to achieve his predecessor’s economic accomplishments. Take GDP growth: In 2014, under Obama, the United States grew 4.6% and 5.2% in the second and third quarters, respectively. The highest quarterly increase under Trump so far has been a 3.2% rise during the third quarter of last year.

The American public also received massive tax cuts under Obama, tax cuts that were more tailored for the middle class than those Trump signed into law last year. While the bottom three-fifths of earners benefited most from Obama tax cuts, the biggest beneficiaries of the Trump tax cuts are projected to be families making between $308,000 and $703,000.

Meanwhile, economic and racial inequality remain entrenched and are expected to worsen under Trump. “The policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege to be earned, rather than a right of citizenship,” Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur, has said.

Trump and his most ardent supporters, who spent years telling black voters the black guy in the White House had accomplished nothing of significance, now want to take credit for Trump’s underwhelming accomplishments. But black voters haven’t forgotten the Obama years. And they won’t.

“Black Voters: Not A Trump Market!” I’m done; Aloha!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

Consult the link below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/12/opinions/black-voters-not-fooled-by-trump-bailey/index.html

Trump By The Numbers: The Lies, False Statements and Misrepresentations Though

It’s time to Break It Down!

Monday was Donald Trump’s 500th day in office. The statement below, in his own words, tells the story of how he viewed that milestone:

“This is my 500th Day in Office and we have accomplished a lot – many believe more than any President in his first 500 days. Massive Tax & Regulation Cuts, Military & Vets, Lower Crime & Illegal Immigration, Stronger Borders, Judgeships, Best Economy & Jobs EVER, and much more…”

6:35 AM – 4 Jun 2018

  • 27,484Retweets
  • 125,419Likes
  • 58K people are talking about this

Let’s review a few key metrics.

  • Presidential tweets – 3,496
  • Meetings with world leaders – 94
  • Calls with world leaders/heads of state – 250
  • Direct interactions with Vladimir Putin – 11
  • Unemployment rate – 3.8%
  • Bills signed into law – 180
  • Flights on Air Force One – 192
  • Trips to Florida (Most frequent destination) – 19
  • Trips to golf clubs – 102 excursion
  • Days at Trump-branded properties – 159
  • Senior officials who no longer serve in the administration – 44
  • Foreign countries visited – 14
  • Nights at the White House – 364
  • Presidential pardons – 5

All of those are interesting numbers, to be sure. For the most part they are reflective of issues Trump would delight in owning, and discussing. Though there are some that casual observers might not view as positive, but that Trump and his partisans likely do; senior officials who no longer serve in the administration, and trips to golf clubs/his properties. Outside analysts might view the staff change as a marker for instability.

Team Trump, however, most likely sees the incidences of turnover as necessary churn for Trump to get the people he really wants in those positions. Naturally, that argument disregards the fact that he picked the people whom he subsequently fired, people whom ran off or people whom just couldn’t take it anymore. The golf outings and visits to his properties denote an inconsistency with claims he made while campaigning for the job. His supporters and defenders argue he’s “taking a few much needed and well-earned breaks. Don’t laugh; that’s really what they say.

Contrast those metrics with this one:

  • False or misleading claims – 3,251

According to the Washington Post (The Fact Checker’s database, which tacks, analyzes, and categorizes every suspect statement uttered by the president), in his first 497 days in office, Mr. Trump made 3,251 false or misleading claims. That’s an average of more than 6.5 claims per day. When the WP started tracking this data, for the president’s first 100 days, he averaged 4.9 such claims per day. As Trump’s tenure has increased, the frequency of claims, some might call it his LQ, or Lying Quotient continues to mount. I suppose he deserves credit for gaining proficiency in his craft, as his has grown in experience.

This is a story about which I’ve written before. I won’t deign to get into the weeds (at least not today) about the individual details of these claims. The points, which I find totally off-putting, are that he so consistently flouts the facts, by most objective standards, and that his supporters, facts notwithstanding, remain in total denial, period, full stop. That’s it in a nutshellTrump By The Numbers: The Lies, False Statements, and Misrepresentations Though!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com;  enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/500-days-trump-presidency-numbers/story?id=55635385

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/06/01/president-trump-has-made-3251-false-or-misleading-claims-in-497-days/?utm_term=.ae1ace9e3f75

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-claims/?noredirect=on&tid=a_inl&utm_term=.365aa8a6d311

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/04/trump-500-days-president-american-greatness

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/us/politics/fact-check-trump-500-days-.html

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/uselection/2016/11/04/donald-trump-the-unauthorized-database-of-false-things.html

https://video.foxnews.com/v/5792899072001/?#sp=show-clips

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trumps-500-days-american-greatness/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyDS2v1w2Gs

https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/world/20-of-donald-trump’s-worst-lies/ss-AArYXsU

The Jump-off: Act IV

It’s time to Break It Down!

The wait is almost over. The NBA Finals begin tomorrow. Under most circumstances, there is a good chance I would have penned a written homage to Memorial Day for this space. The Holiday, which was Monday, kicks off the summer season, but more importantly, is a federal holiday in the United States, observed on the last Monday in May, honoring the memory of people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. These brave men and women not only served, but also made the ultimate sacrifice.

As regular readers of this blog know, I’m a hoops fan. I have multiple rooting interests, including my collegiate alma maters, Fayetteville State University, and the University of North Carolina, and two professional squads, the Lakers (life-long), and the Timberwolves (familial connection). The college season ended long ago, and tomorrow, the NBA’s pièce de résistance kicks off.

The T-wolves endured an inglorious First Round exit. Although, by becoming eligible for postseason play for the first time in 14 years, even though it took all 82 Regular Season games, plus a five-minute overtime to do so, the organization likely considers the season at least a qualified success. However, the reward, dubious though it may be, for earning the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference Playoffs, is to begin by playing the Top Seed. It’s a system designed to reward the higher seed, and Houston, which earned the best record in the NBA this year, prevailed easily.

The Lakers, on the other hand, missed postseason play for the fifth year in a row. Oy vey!

Putting all that to one side, it’s about to go down! Prime Time starts tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. For the first time since 1979, both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals required 7 games to determine which team would represent their respective Conference in the NBA Finals. Both higher seeds went up 3-2, only to lose games 6 and 7, including the last one at home.

In the end though, the basketball gods had their way, and for the fourth year in a row, the Finals included some variation of the best player in the world (today) slotted against the best team in the world. Moreover, for the first time in history, the same two teams are meeting in the NBA Finals for the fourth year in a row.

Once again, the Cleveland Cavaliers will take on the Golden State Warriors for the Title. On paper, neither the Cavaliers, nor the Warriors were overwhelming favorites to advance to the Finals. The Cavs fell behind the Pacers 3-2, and then fell behind the Celtics 2-0, then 3-2. Needless to say (they’re in the Finals, after all), they rallied to win the last two games against both teams.

Then there was Toronto. The Cavs played the Raptors after the Pacers, and before the Celtics. The Raptors had the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs swept them. Rumor has it; somewhere, at some point, the Cavs ripped out the Raptors’ collective heart, and ate it…or tossed it into the sea, or something to that effect. Anyway, the end result is, the Finals start tomorrow and LeBron and the Cavs (in that order) will be present, accounted for at 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA (Oracle Arena), home of the Golden State Warriors. Along the way, at every point the Cavs were counted out, LeBron did what LeBron does, and as a result, they are making what has become an annual trek to the Finals.

The Warriors did not have the torturous journey the Cavs had in reaching the Finals. In the First Round, they fell behind the Spurs 1-0, then 2-1, before winning three straight to close out the series. In Round 2, the Pelicans were able to tie the Series at 1-1, before the Warriors closed out with three consecutive victories. Then came the League leading (record-wise) Rockets, who took three of the first five games before one of their most pivotal players (Chris Paul) went down to injury. Houston partisans will insist Chris Paul’s hamstring is the only thing separating the Rockets and this year’s NBA Finals, and probably a Championship. While that may be true, we’ll never know. What we do know is the Rockets will have the off-season to think about it, and…Andre Iguodala missed more games than Paul. Now, if the Cavs beat Golden State, and Iguodala doesn’t play, well…

By the way, don’t even mention Haywood and Irving in Boston. But really, that’s an entirely different story.

In full disclosure, I have a highly diversified skill set. Unfortunately, master prognosticator is not in the package. Nonetheless, if I were to make a projection about the outcome, just as Vegas is doing, I’d pick the Warriors. Even without Iguodala, they have four All-Stars, in Curry, Durant, Thompson, and Green. Let’s not kid ourselves though. The Cavs have LeBron, and there is a good chance they will have Kevin Love, sooner or later. Once again, on paper, they will be overmatched. However, the truth is, it’s been a long time since a team with LeBron has been truly overmatched. He routinely bends the curve on the unexpected, and as he proved against the Pacers, and again against the Celtics, he can often transform the improbable into the, been there, done that.

Let’s be clear, though. The Warriors present a different kind and level of challenge. If he’s unable to go, they will miss Iggy. He has established himself as the team’s most effective Lebron defender. Still, they have four aforementioned All-Stars. They also have experience playing the Cavs on the biggest stage of all, and have prevailed when doing so, two times out of three over the past three years. They’ve now even won a game 7, on the road. In the event the Finals should require 7 games, the Warriors would have the small comfort of playing the game at Oracle, rather than at Quicken Loans Arena. There is a reason I say small comfort. The fact is, despite my previous assessment, there is a caveat. If the Cavs and Warriors find themselves in a Game 7, all bets are off (figuratively speaking, of course, as I am not betting). In other words, if it should come to Game 7, I would expect LeBron and the Cavs to prevail. To be perfectly clear, I do not expect it to come to that, but if it does, go with The King. “The Jump-off: Act IV!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2778400-everything-you-need-to-know-about-cavs-warriors-2018-nba-finals?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=editorial

https://sportsnaut.com/2018/05/twitter-reacts-to-warriors-vs-cavaliers-nba-finals-part-iv/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/golden-state-warriors-vs-houston-rockets-today-2018-05-28/

http://www.businessinsider.com/warriors-beat-rockets-third-quarters-2018-5

https://www.nbcsports.com/bayarea/warriors/still-best-west-warriors-beat-rockets-game-7-set-part-4-cavs

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/basketball/nba/warriors-game-7-rockets-1.4681470

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cleveland-cavaliers-defeat-boston-celtics-lebron-james-to-make-8th-straight-finals-appearance-2018-05-27/

https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/sports/Boston-Celtics-Cleveland-Cavaliers-Eastern-Conference-Finals-Game-7-TD-Garden-483828691.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2018/05/27/lebrons-35-help-cavs-beat-celtics-87-79-reach-nba-finals/35434513/

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2018/05/27/lebron-james-cavaliers-beat-celtics-cavaliers-game-7-eastern-conference-finals-nba/

Ollie North: At It Again

It’s time to Break It Down!

I hadn’t heard or thought about the name Oliver North in many years. If and when I did, it was in relation to the ill-fated Iran-Contra affair, which was a political scandal that occurred in the United States during Reagan’s second term. The CliffNotes summary of the matter is that the United States, aimed to free 7 American hostages held in Lebanon by Hezbollah, a paramilitary group with military ties to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Senior Reagan official secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, which at the time, not unlike now, was the subject of an arms embargo. The intent was to fund the Contras in Nicaragua while simultaneously negotiating the release of the hostages.

Ultimately, it was determined, subterfuge notwithstanding; that by making large-scale modifications to the plan, then Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council played a central role in executing a covert and prohibited arms for hostages deal. On March 4, 1987, Reagan hit the airwaves in a nationally televised address, taking full responsibility, and saying, “what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages.”

Fast forward, On May 7, 2018, the National Rifle Association (NRA) announced that North would become the organization’s next president within the following weeks. He will succeed Pete Brownell, the incumbent President, who did not stand for re-election.

After last week’s school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, in which 10 students and 2 teachers were killed, and a dozen others injured, North cited “a culture of violence” as the culprit in school shootings. He mentioned the drug Ritalin, TV, and movies, as causes for such shootings, which after last week, the 20thweek of 2018, numbered 22. Not surprisingly, he did not mention guns, lax gun laws, or any aspect of the Second Amendment, which the NRA vigorously supports at all costs. But there was one other NRA and gun lobby scape-goating favorite that he conveniently failed to note: violent video games.

At an NRA forum, North had this to say:

“The problem that we’ve got is we’re trying like the dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease. And the disease in this case isn’t the Second Amendment. The disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence.”

He indicated, in a Fox News interview last Sunday, that prescribing of the attention deficit disorder drug Ritalin was partially responsible for violence such as that at the Santa Fe, Texas high school. North also gave violent movies specific mention. Commentators from a variety of media outlets were quick to point out that the former Marine was not only featured as a voice actor in “Call of Duty: Black Ops II Video Game,” but he also served as a pitchman. Undoubtedly, for North, it’s a case where, like beauty, violence is in the eye of the beholder.

There is little question, North created wide ranging parameters for creativity when he orchestrated the little known moving parts of the Iran-Contra scandal. In ascending to a pivotal leadership role with the NRA, he will almost certainly be called upon to match, if not exceed that level of mental legerdemain in his defense of all things NRA, including a relentless series of school shootings.

The constant barrage of shootings, especially at schools, but also in clubs and at concerts, has sparked a call for changes in gun laws. The NRA has been front and center in blaming culture, and in lobbying against any substantive changes. Now Oliver North stands front and center for the NRA.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a group which promotes stricter gun laws, said in a statement Monday that “The American people know who bears the most blame for gun violence: the NRA apologists who are always pointing their fingers at everyone else.”

The terms of engagement are different, and many more than 7 lives are at stake. It’s been more than 30 years, and once again, Oliver North stands in the midst of a controversy that roils the nation. Ollie North: At It Again!”

I’m done; holla back!

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

https://www.9news.com/article/news/nation-now/new-nra-president-oliver-north-decries-culture-of-violence-but-worked-on-call-of-duty/465-306872c4-741e-4cc4-a422-2a8ef66978d1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran–Contra_affair

http://time.com/2954148/iran-contra/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-oliver-north-nra-20180507-story.html

http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-oliver-north-nra-president-20180507-story.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/oliver-north-blames-culture-helped-call-duty-article-1.4002730

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/10/new-nra-president-oliver-north-says-gun-control-activists-are-civil-terrorists

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/05/20/incoming-nra-president-oliver-north-blames-school-shootings-on-culture-of-violence/

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/nra-boss-oliver-north-blames-ritalin-school-shootings-article-1.3999849

Happy Birthday: A Year In The Life of Special Counsel Mueller

It’s time to Break It Down!

Tomorrow will mark the one-year anniversary of the Justice Department’s appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the government’s investigation of possible Russian interference in our 2016 Presidential Election, including, but not limited to collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. How one assesses the fruits of Mr. Mueller’s efforts very much depends upon where one sits.

The feverish and frenzied fanatical Fox News viewers see every act that Mueller has taken (and some that he hasn’t) as evidence of a deep state, democratic, liberal media conspiracy. Let’s take a moment to consider the upside down nature of that reality. If you have anything other than a short memory, you may recall that it did not begin that way.

Conservatives and Republicans were, if not giddy, at least satisfied that their interests were being served by getting rid of Comey, who despite his arguably malevolent actions against Hillary Clinton, had managed to find himself in persona non grata time out with Republicans. Here are 10 observations made about Mueller’s appointment in one Fox News story, the day after it happened, asserting that Democrats AND Republicans should be happy:

  1. First, the Attorney General’s wise recusal and Deputy’s swift appointment moves this distraction from politics to legal inquiry– where it belongs. This is good for the country.  Leaks may happen, but the White House and Congress can get back to legislating.
  2. Second, the media can sniff, but Mueller is a consummate professional, which is why two presidents appointed him FBI Director.  Expect front pages to yield thin pickings.  This too is good for America. It turns down the post-election hysteria on this issue.
  3. Third, Mueller’s reputation for being thorough, as well as efficient, offers light and quiet at the end of an unusually dark and noisy tunnel.  If Russians sought to disrupt faith in democracy, he will say so.  If there was no collusion of any sort, with any intent, by any party – he will say so. If some other conclusion is warranted, he will say so. Period.
  4. Fourth, Mueller is not after a second career.  He is not going to use this assignment as means to another end.  He is content with his status, wise man of the law.  There is a bit of William Webster and George Marshall about the man.  This means he is unlikely to be scoring political points, one way or the other. He is unlikely to want a book, movie or publication of salacious notes.  He is about duty, as called. We need more of that.
  5. Fifth, Mueller’s penchant for close attention to detail means he will not miss vital facts, but will likely stick to the assigned inquiry, not succumbing to that age-old “independent counsel” lark – launching ever-widening inquiries on spurious grounds.
  6. Sixth, Mueller’s assignment represents a brilliant political move, the equivalent of castling in chess.  While bringing forward a player with great versatility and respect to hold an important square, the move elevates respect for the FBI and diminishes interest in the controversial departing director, who held that post for a third of Mueller’s time.
  7. Seventh, the move demonstrates extraordinary good judgment on the part of the Deputy, and by extension the Attorney General.  Necessarily, it reflects faith in wise men by wise men, as well as in the FBI, rule of law and pursuit of truth.  This validates the president’s commitment to law enforcement, rule of law and truth.
  8. Eighth, the appointment reestablishes America’s longstanding commitment to openness, particularly when the “independent counsel” statute lapsed almost 20 years ago, and multiple prior Attorney Generals resisted initiating similar truth-seeking, including the last two, who resisted parallel calls for inquiries into possible mis-, mal- and nonfeasance by high-ranking members of the Obama administration.
  9. Ninth, while some Democrats and media hounds will credit themselves for this decision, the truth is that its speed, authenticity, clarity and level of professionalism speak to a new and un-politicized Department of Justice. America needs this change.  We need the confidence that flows from such clarity of reasoning, and an end to infusion of politics into what has always been a non-political domain.
  10. Finally, America should take a deep breath for another reason.  This was a decision that many called for and few expected; a moment of choice based on moral goodness and taking a step beyond what was necessary, into what was simply good for the country. If the investigation finds something, so be it.  If it finds no material collusion, which is what I personally expect it will find, the nation is again stronger for having asked.

Robert Charles, a former Assistant Secretary of State for President George W. Bush, a former naval intelligence officer and litigator, wrote that appraisal. He also served in the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses. He is not a deep statist, a Democrat, or a member of the liberal media. He is, as it were, “one of them.”

One thing I can guarantee you. There is zero chance that a year later, anyone in TrumpWorld has anything remotely positive to say about Robert Mueller. I don’t know how Robert Charles feels about Mueller today. My guess is, Shepard Smith would still sign off of this summary, a year into the investigation. It’s equally assured that few, if any others at Fox News would concur. In a Fox Insider story yesterday, Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch President, offered a much more typical contemporary conservative characterization of the Mueller probe. He called it “an unmitigated disaster.” He went on to say, of the investigation:

“It hasn’t worked, it’s failing, it was created based on an illegal leak by James Comey, many of the people who inspired the Mueller investigation were fired from the government.”

That’s what you will hear from Republicans now. While Democrats, looking back, likely have a considerably more favorable view of Mueller, there is still much we do not know. My sincerest advice is, don’t let anyone tell you Mueller’s investigation is a direct route leading to Trump’s impeachment. I personally think that’s an unlikely outcome due to the combination of arithmetic, and GOP Trumpitis, otherwise known as allegiance, or as Mr. Trump might call it, loyalty. I’ve explained both before, and there is a good chance I will again, but for the moment, that’s enough. “Happy Birthday: A Year in the Life of Special Counsel Mueller!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/one-year-of-integrity-from-robert-mueller/2018/05/14/ecae2320-57a3-11e8-b656-a5f8c2a9295d_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c6bbf2553319

https://www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/special-counsel-robert-mueller/index.html

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

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/05/18/mueller-appointed-special-counsel-ten-reasons-for-dems-republicans-to-breathe-easier.html

https://www.npr.org/2017/05/17/528846598/former-fbi-director-mueller-appointed-special-counsel-to-oversee-russia-probe

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/buckle-up-as-mueller-probe-enters-second-year-trump-and-allies-go-on-war-footing/2018/05/13/e3d15fbe-546b-11e8-9c91-7dab596e8252_story.html?utm_term=.453e6a550895

https://nypost.com/2018/05/15/a-year-into-mueller-probe-we-still-know-nothing-dying-for-photo-ops-in-gaza-and-other-comments/amp/

http://insider.foxnews.com/amp/article/61612

https://www.axios.com/mueller-investigation-appointment-one-year-anniversary-dbd384d5-4a2a-4ba1-bd29-f71bd827cd55.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/who-has-been-charged-in-russia-investigation-mueller-trump-2017-12

‘Tis The Season: Elections Have Consequences!

‘Tis The Season: Elections Have Consequences!

Yesterday was Primary Election Day in four states, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and my native North Carolina. For all practical purposes, this is the kick-off of the much ballyhooed midterm election season. I will not be casting the primaries into any kind of framework suitable for extensive review and analysis. In fact, this post is not so much about any or all of the elections, but rather about you, and your civic duty.

It’s a short blog, with one very specific message. Vote! That’s it.

No matter where you fall along the political and ideological spectrum, you should have no dearth of motivation to exercise your franchise. There are enough compelling bases to go around.

In the event you fancy yourself a Trump supporter, the coming election contests, both primaries and the general election, represent the opportunity to solidify what so many of you characterize as solid gains that put us (America) on the right track after nearly a decade of having been lost in the Obama-fashioned wilderness. At least that is a kinder, gentler way of expressing the dire nature of our current situation, based on the conservative commentary that I hear articulated on Fox News, that I see in my news feed, and that I hear when I am in conversation with my conservative and right-leaning associates. I suppose that’s a tautology. So be it; it’s a short post. 😉

Conversely, if you are alarmed by the systematic undoing of all things Obama, which Mr. Trump has engaged in for the last 403 days, or so, you’ve got more than a little impetus to drive you to your assigned polling place. If you are concerned by the penchant of the GOP-led House & Senate to endorse and support Trumpism, even when he declares that there are very fine people on both sides (despite the fact that one side is comprised of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis), you ought to be fired up…and ready to go…Vote. If you are reeling from Trump referring to African nations and Haiti as “s-hole” countries, you have an ample trigger to get your vote on. If you are tripping because the President of the United States, presumably the most powerful man in the world, called African American Athletes SOB’s, for exercising their Constitutional right to kneel during the National Anthem before football games, you d… sure ought to be provoked beyond measure to vote your conscious, and to do so, as often as the occasion presents itself.

In summary if you live in IN, OH, WV, or NC, I hope you voted yesterday. Moreover, I implore you to vote whenever your own primary rolls around, if you don’t live in one of those four states, and of course, no, make that especially, by all means, vote in your state’s general election in November.  Remember, “Tis The Season: Elections Have Consequences!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.