Old Glory: The Misrepresentation and Appropriation of a Protest

It’s time to Break It Down!

So how did we get here? And where is here, anyway?

Let’s answer the second question first. Here, is the point at which any mention of Colin Kaepernick, or the protest that he initiated during the summer, over a year ago, is routinely referred to by opponents of the protest as some kind of attack on, or desecration of our nation’s flag. Let us be clear; it is no such thing. The movement, if you want to call it that, is about police brutality and racial inequality. That’s what prompted Kaepernick’s demonstrations, first sitting, and eventually kneeling, during the national anthem.

Back to the initial query, how did we get here? I’m glad you asked!

Prior to a preseason game in 2016, Kaepernick sat down, as opposed to the tradition of standing, during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner“. During his post-game interview, he explained his position by stating:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

The quarterback indicated that he would continue to protest until he feels like the American flag represents what it’s supposed to represent. In the San Francisco 49ers’ final 2016 preseason game, Kaepernick switched from sitting to kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. In a detail most people missed, or at least fail to acknowledge, Kaepernick’s decision to alter his demonstration was intended to show more respect to former and current U.S. military members, while still protesting during the anthem. Moreover, it should be noted, his decision to change methods resulted from a conversation with former NFL player and U.S. military veteran Nate Boyer, who served in the Army, and who was a Green Beret.

After the September 2016 police shootings of Terence Crutcher, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Keith Lamont Scott, in Charlotte, NC., Kaepernick stated publicly that those shootings were perfect examples of why he was protesting. Over the course of the 2016 season, Kaep played twelve games and ended the season with 2,241 passing yards, sixteen passing touchdowns, four interceptions, 466 rushing yards, and two rushing touchdown. On November 27th, he recorded 298 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and 113 yards rushing in a game against the Miami Dolphins. In doing so, he joined Michael VickCam NewtonRandall Cunningham, and Marcus Mariota as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least three passing touchdowns and 100 yards rushing in a game.

During the course of the 2016 season, Kaepernick and the 49ers restructured his contract. On March 3, 2017, he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco team, and is now an unsigned free agent. During the course of his protest, it is fair to say controversy ensued. So much so that despite there being no serious debate about whether Kaepernick is better than a number of quarterbacks who are currently on NFL rosters, he has yet to be signed by any team in the League.

Folks have lined up on the pro and con sides of the issue. Former football greats Jim Brown and Ray Lewis both condemned Kaepernick’s actions. Brown said he would never desecrate the flag as Kaepernick did, while Lewis said he would never kneel (postscript: Lewis did kneel this past weekend). Almost certainly, there has been no greater detractor of Kaep’s position than Donald Trump. I’ll say more about that later.

On August 17, former NYPD officer Frank Serpico gave a speech live on Facebook and stood with police officers at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in support of Kaepernick. Retired Officer Serpico inspired the 1973 Al Pacino movie “Serpico,” a story about a whistleblowing officer in the then corrupt NYC Police Department. Though most of the 75 officers at the bridge, wearing #ImwithKap T-shirts, were African American, Serpico, then 81, was an exception.

Serpico admitted to not being a football fan. He said he felt it was important to support Kaepernick for his stance. He went on to say of Kaep:

“He’s trying to hold this government up to the ideals of our Founding Fathers.”

Sgt. Edwin Raymond, who was on his way to work after the rally, spoke of the need for racial healing. He framed his point thusly:

“Until discussing racism in America is no longer taboo, we own up to it, we admit it, we understand it, and then we can do what we have to do to solve it. Unfortunately, until then, we’re going to have these issues.”

As Preseason 2017 melded into the 2017 Season, a loosely aligned, not well-organized movement emerged to join Colin Kaepernick by boycotting the NFL. It was the lowest of low-key efforts. Few people seemed to be aware of it, and of those who did, only a fraction seemed down with the program. Prior to last weekend, the total number of NFL players who’d joined Kaepernick in kneeling was less than two handfuls, nine, to be precise. As for the boycotters, I’m not sure there were many more.

So, this past Friday, September 22nd, while Donald Trump, ostensibly was in Alabama to support Luther Strange, a U.S. Senate Candidate vying to replace now Attorney General Jeff Session, he forever and in dramatic fashion, altered that dynamic. Incidentally, Strange lost to Steve Bannon backed candidate Roy Moore. OK, it’s later. I said I’d say more about Trump’s adversarial fixation with Kaepernick. Said fixation hit it’s zenith Friday night as Trump not only took on Kaepernick and anyone else who would dare protest, but apparently, he decided it was an apt occasion to denigrate their parentage as well. In front of a Trump-friendly Alabama audience, he said:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. He’s fired.’”

Not surprisingly, many social media uses viewed this as a swipe at Kaepernick. However, over the course of the weekend, he would tweet two dozen times about sports, mainly football, but also basketball, hockey, and NASCAR. His tweets included disinviting the Golden State Warriors from a white House visit, extolling the Pittsburgh Penguins, who accepted a White House visit, and praising NASCAR for the way they deal with supporting the flag. Time to reiterate…it’s not about the flag.

There were 14 NFL Games Sunday, and another Monday Night. From London to Los Angeles, players on virtually every team knelt, stood with interlocked arms, or remained in the locker room. Even two Anthem singers got in the mix. Rico LaVelle dropped to a knee and raised a fist as he ended the song before the Lions-Falcons game in Detroit, while Meghan Linsey and her guitarist, Tyler Cain, dropped to a knee as she sang the last note of the song prior to the Titans-Seahawks game in Nashville. While in Alabama, Trump suggested if even one player knelt, the fans should get up and leave. Later during the weekend, as he tweeted, he suggested fans boycott the games. All things considered, it is compelling to see whom Trump sees as very fine people…and whom he sees as SOB’s. It might also help if he did not appear to subscribe to a “Just shut up and play” mentality. That really does translate into the football field being equated with the arena, sort of the old Colosseum of Rome. To further this point, Trump even managed to downplay, if not dismiss completely, CTE, or as it’s formally known, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, the brain injury that many professional football players sustain as a result of receiving multiple concussions, while playing the game. Sad!

Almost imponderably, conservatives take great umbrage if/when anyone suggests Mr. Trump is a white supremacist, and/or a racist. Undoubtedly, his serial choices, from conflating Nazis and white supremacists with those who protest them to referring to what before Sunday were a few African Americans as SOB’s, contribute to that view. Perhaps if his defenders weren’t locked into automatically pivoting to some perceived Obama lack every time a Trump fault is raised, the political discourse in America could actually advance.

Ultimately, the crux of the matter boils down to this point. Judging from consistent and continuous feedback, there is never an acceptable time, place, or format for people of color to register dissent about the systematic mistreatment, frequently resulting in their death. Not by wearing “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts, not on Broadway (Hamilton), not by proclaiming Black Lives Matter (BLM), not by being articulate and promoting nonviolence, as Dr. King did, not by raising a fist in victory as Tommie Smith and John Carlos did, not by refusing to go to war, as Muhammad Ali did, and certainly not by kneeling on the NFL sidelines, as Colin Kaepernick did.

There is one other thing Colin did in the midst of this saga. He pledged a $1,000,000 (yeah, that’s right, one million dollars) to charity. What’s more important, by all accounts, he’s already donated virtually all of the money. Citizen, like it or not, in more ways than one, the era of shut up and play is over.

It is almost as though they are either unaware of, or they feel free to totally disregard the notion that the members of the armed services fight, and too often die for the right of men and women to stand…or sit for the flag (or any other symbol). By the way, there is a pertinent fact that should be elevated about the faux controversy regarding the flag. The practice of players standing for the flag is a relatively recent addition to the pomp and pageantry of NFL games. In fact, it’s less than ten years old. Prior to 2009, NFL players stayed in the locker room. The custom began when the U.S. Department of Defense gave the NFL $5.4 million dollars to stage on field ceremonies to make the teams “appear” more patriotic. In other words, it was a glorified, although admittedly slick recruiting tool. Don’t hate the messenger.

I am reminded that there was more tumult and raucous feedback over Michael Vick’s involvement in dog fighting than in the steady stream of unarmed African Americans killed by law enforcement officers, and then subsequently acquitted without even going to trial. Don’t get it twisted. That…is precisely why Kaepernick is protesting. Anything else is just noise, intended to deny, deflect, and/or deceiveOld Glory: The Misrepresentation and Appropriation of a Protest!”

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.

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Legerdemain: The Fine Art of Illusion, Distraction, and Okey Doke

Legerdemain: The Fine Art of Illusion, Distraction, and Okey Doke

Yesterday was a day the likes of which the United Nations, Americans, and the worldwide community have never seen. The point of this post is simple and direct. Keep your eye on the prize; do not lose sight of that with which we are dealing. I promise to frame it in succinct fashion.

The President of the United States stood behind a podium at the vaunted U.N. No American President has ever spoken to the world like this. In what will certainly be remembered as a unique United Nations General Assembly debut for an American President, the leader of the free world reveled in the self-possessed disruptive, bellicose, nationalistic persona that is uniquely his own. He employed the rhetorical flair that totally shattered and then rearranged national political norms in this country ten months ago.

In this venue, it’s clear the working goal was to transform America’s global role on the international stage. Never before has a United States President displayed authoritarianism to the extent that he actually threatened to wipe a country off the face of the planet. Reagan’s “Evil Empire,” and Bush’s “Axis of Evil,” pale in comparison. North Korea and Kim Jong-un (whom the President has given the sobriquet Rocket Man) are hereby on notice.

How the speech was received depended upon one’s political and ideological perspective. A cursory review revealed, unsurprisingly, that it played exceedingly well in TrumpWorld. The so-called non-politically correct straight talk was just what the doctor ordered.

One such voice, Nile Gardiner, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, praised the President for his assertive and aggressive delivery, and for scuttling the deferential multilateral Obama doctrine. Trump BFF Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, called the speech bold and courageous.

Of course, there was no dearth of alternative facts…I mean, points of view. Margot Wallstrom, for example, Foreign Minister of Sweden, said of the speech:

“This was a bombastic, nationalist speech. It must have been decades since one last heard a speech like that in the U.N. General Assembly. … This was a speech at the wrong time to the wrong audience.”

Naturally, denizens of the other side of the deep and wide political and ideological chasm held a different view, as well. Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, said of the speech:

“The goal of the United Nations is to foster peace and promote global cooperation. Today, the President used it as a stage to threaten war.”

The truth of the matter is, this is compelling stuff. But I cannot say often enough. There are other compelling matters with which we should be concerned. Three weeks ago I elevated ten items as examples of matters worthy of our continued focus, despite any array of distractions that might befall us. North Korea was on the list, by the way. But it wasn’t alone…and it’s still not. Each of the issues on that list is still vitally important. They were, and are:

  1. Various Trump-Russia investigations (Don’t be fooled; there are 5)
  2. North Korea’s continued missile testing and accompanying threats
  3. Donald Trump, Jr. and his scheduled testimony on his Russian meeting
  4. Paul Manafort
  5. Subpoenas for Paul Manafort’s attorney and his current spokesman
  6. Jared Kushner
  7. Trump business sought to build a Trump Tower in Moscow
  8. Transgender Troop Ban
  9. GOP push to limit Mueller’s investigation to 6 months
  10. Trump’s Charlottesville response

That’s it. I would never imply that a United States President would start a war to deflect from his personal challenges on the home front. However, I fully encourage you to stay focused on what’s important, and don’t forget (and by all means, don’t fall for)”Legerdemain: The Fine Art of Illusion, Distraction, and Okey Doke!” So I reiterate, I will not imply…but if you happen to infer or impute…well that just means you’re smarter than the opposition.

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.

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Sixteen Years Later: Reflecting on Nine-Eleven

It’s Time to Break It Down!

(This post appeared originally in this space on September 7, 2011. It was re-purposed and presented September 11, 2013, and again today, September 13, 2017).

The buzz for today, will likely center, as it has for the past three weeks, on the weather. The principal thrust at this juncture is taking stock of, and responding to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma, which was the second consecutive Category 4 or above hurricane to reach land in the U.S. after a 12-year absence of storms packing that level of fury. Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys, came up to Miami, veered westward toward Tampa and Florida’s West Coast, and went up to the Northern tip of the state, dropping record levels of rainfall in Jacksonville, the largest city geographically, in the state and in the nation. The storm registered a high one-minute sustained wind speed of 185 m.p.h. This tied the record for the second strongest storm on record in the Atlantic, along with Hurricane Wilma (2005), Gilbert (1998), and the 1935 Florida Keys Hurricane. That trails only Hurricane Allen (1980), which reached 190 m.p.h. before striking a relatively uninhabited area of Texas. Irma was preceded by Harvey, which did most of its damage in the Houston area of Texas. It dumped more than 40 inches of rain on the state, is responsible for at least 71 deaths, and caused estimated damages of up to $200 million dollars.

In addition to Harvey and Irma, two additional storms developed in the Atlantic, Hurricanes Jose, and Katia. The storms, have surely been, and continue to be newsworthy. They produced such high profile media stories that some networks devoted coverage nearly 24/7. It’s not surprising that this almost total immersion into all things weather resulted in a reduction in media-based air, print, and cyber time for 9/11 commemorations.

However, instead of storm chasing, I am going to re-post a past “Break It Down” entry. Monday was the Sixteenth Anniversary of Nine-Eleven; a day America will never forget.  With that in mind, I ask that you please spend a few minutes directing your attention to the horror that was September 11, 2001.

(From the Archives, September 7, 2011)

Do you remember where you were, Tuesday, September 11, 2001?

On Monday we observed the 16th Anniversary of the day that has come to be known simply as, Nine-Eleven (9/11). That day 16 years ago, America lost, in one fell swoop, its blissful innocence, its long-standing appearance of invulnerability, and its deeply ingrained sense of security. By some accounts, what it retained is it’s self-righteous (some would say) belief in American Exceptionalism and entitlement; but that is a conversation for another post.

Suddenly we were at war, and the fight had uncharacteristically come to us, straightway.  This battle was personal, and it was on our home turf; no longer some shadowy ideological military exercise, or guerrilla warfare episode, played out on foreign soil, half a world away.

U.S. House of Representatives Joint Resolution 71 was introduced with 22 co-sponsors (11 Republicans and 11 Democrats) and approved by a vote of 407-0 on October 25, 2001 (with 25 members not voting).  The bill passed unanimously in the Senate on November 30, 2001.  The Resolution requested that the President designate September 11th each year as Patriot Day.  President George W. Bush signed the Resolution into law December 18, 2001 (as Public Law 107-89).

On this day, the President directs that the American flag be flown at half-staff at individual American homes, at the White House, and on all U.S. government buildings and establishments, home and abroad.  This year President Trump, as President Obama did before him, deemed the day one of National Remembrance and ServicePresident and Mrs. Trump commemorated the day with two events. The First Lady joined him as he led a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House, in remembrance for those lost September 11, 2001. Afterward he went to the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial to participate in an observance.

Even after more than a decade and a half, with sixteen years worth of context building, and development of perspective, the numbers behind Nine-Eleven are chilling.  Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives, and thousands of others were injured, and many more sustained post-event trauma.  Examples of the carnage include:

  • 2,977 Victims killed (not including the 19 hijackers)
  • 2,606 Killed at the World Trade  Center  Towers
  • 125 Killed at the Pentagon
  • 40 Killed in Shanksville, PA
  • 87 Killed on American Flight 11/NYC World Trade Center North Tower
  • 60 Killed on United Flight 175/NYC World Trade Center South Tower
  • 59 Killed on American Flight 77/Arlington – The Pentagon
  • 40 Killed United Flight 93/Shanksville, PA
  • 19 Hijackers
  • 246 Killed on the four planes
  • 19 Hijackers Killed (on the four planes)
  • 2,996 Killed on Nine-Eleven
  • 411 Emergency workers killed at the World Trade Centers
  • 341 FDNY firefighters killed
  • 2 Paramedics killed
  • 23 NYPD officers killed
  • 37 Port Authority Police Department officers killed
  • 8 EMT’s killed
  • 658 Employees of Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. (Investment Bank) killed; most of any employer
  • 1,631 Bodies positively identified from World Trade Center Towers
  • 1,122 Bodies (41%) remain unidentified
  • Bone fragments were still being found in 2005 by workers preparing to demolish the damaged Deutsche Bank Building
  • 72 Additional remains found in 2010 by a team of anthropologists and archeologists

A Medical Examiner will continue to try to identify remains in the hope new technology will lead to the identification of other victims.  The death and destruction of Nine-Eleven led to the so-called Global War on Terror.  Mostly the front lines have been in Afghanistan and Iraq.  However, a central intent of the action has been to prevent a recurrence of Nine-Eleven-like events on U.S. soil.

The initial thrust began October 7, 2001 when the U.S., British, and Coalition forces invaded Afghanistan, and in March 2002, the U.S. and Coalition forces launched Operation Anaconda and the Taliban suffered significant losses, and left the region.  In the interim, involvement in the region ebbed and flowed, but the war, which the Obama Administration referred to as Overseas Contingency Operation, continues. The War in Afghanistan is officially the longest war in American History.  We have for some time been in the “every day is a new record” era.

U.S. Intelligence sources pointed to Al-Qaeda as the probable instigator behind Nine-Eleven.  It’s leader, Osama bin Laden initially denied involvement.  Over time, bin Laden became more emboldened; first conceding involvement, and ultimately admitting that he was instrumental in masterminding the horrific attacks.  During his Presidential Campaign, Mr. Obama declared he would not relent on the hunt for Osama.  The elusive terrorist was thought to be hiding in Pakistan.  Mr. Obama stated bluntly that if reliable intelligence pinpointed bin Laden, he would deploy U.S. forces to find and kill him, which he did on May 2, 2011.

The good news is, over the course of the past sixteen years, there have been no repeat Nine-Eleven scale events on U.S. soil.  That result is partly due to fastidiously focusing on prevention efforts, partly due to the fortuitous failure of would-be terrorists, and partly due to the fateful intervention of alert by-standers.

As we place the commemoration of Patriot Day 2017 in the rearview mirror, and sixteen years of Nine-Eleven related memories with it, Americans are still advised to be on high alert for potential incursions by terrorists, most likely of the lone wolf variety, where one person acts alone.  So here we are, “Sixteen Years Later: Reflecting on Nine-Eleven .” Let’s get ready for a Day of Remembrance and Service.

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com or http://thesphinxofcharlotte.blogspot.com.  A new post is published each Wednesday.  For more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post, consult the links below:
















Labor Day – Six Years Later

It’s time to Break It Down!

(This post appeared originally in this space on August 31, 2011. It was re-purposed and presented again September 3, 2014, September 7, 2016, and today, September 6, 2017, has been edited and updated to reflect current unemployment data.) 

Monday was Labor Day.  At its core, according to the U.S. Department of LaborLabor Day in the United States was designed to commemorate the creation of the labor movement; dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.  The holiday focuses on contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well being of our country.

First observed in September 1882, the event has always been observed on the first Monday of the month.  Initiated by the Central Labor Union of New York, the celebration became a federal holiday in 1894.

In addition to its formal structure and purpose, Labor Day has a number of symbolic associations.  It is considered:

  • The unofficial End of Summer
  • The last 3-Day warm weather weekend for vacationers
  • By High Society standards, the last day for which it is appropriate for women to wear white
  • The beginning of the College Football Season (the preceding Saturday)
  • The start of the NFL Season (typically the following Thursday)
  • The conventional kick-off of hard core political campaign season
  • Backto-School shopping

On the formal side, while the Labor Department’s blurb omits any reference to it, Labor Day also validates and recognizes an often controversial mechanism that frequently divides American opinion; the labor union.  Scorned by many who fancy themselves as Free Enterprise Capitalists, unions and their members have not only been actively involved historically, in debates that framed public policy for American workers, they have won or forced hard-earned concessions that in the shimmering glow of reflective perspective, must be considered to have fundamentally altered the playing field (known as the workplace), including:

  • Pensions
  • Health Care Benefits
  • Paid Vacations
  • Equal Pay to women
  • The Development of Child Labor Laws
  • The 5-Day Work Week
  • The 40-Hour Work Week
  • The8-Hour Work Day
  • Worker’s Compensation benefits
  • Female Flight Attendants permitted to marry

These and many other important cherished and effective employee rights are attributable to the efforts of the American Labor Movement.  But, this is not an ode to Labor Unions.  Unions also have downsides.  They create or contribute to:

  • The potential for strikes
  • Additional costs to all employees (membership dues; whether a member or not)
  • Loss of individuality (ability to represent one’s self in a grievance)
  • Subject to fines & discipline by the Union
  • Disincentives to productivity and competition
  • Lack of promotions
  • Burdensome salary demands (relative to the market)
  • Loss of profits (and/or pay) due to strike
  • Inefficient & ineffective contracts
  • Increased unemployment due to failure to reach agreement w/management

The first Labor Day celebration was led by a Labor Union.  The history of the Day has been linked, inextricably, with Labor organizations, ever since.  But if it is the American Worker the Day was intended to commemorate, Labor Day 2011 was set in an auspicious and trenchant backdrop:

  • The Unemployment Rate in the U.S. was reported to be 9.1% in July 2011
  • The economy added only 117,000 jobs in July (154,000 in the private sector, -37,000 government jobs lost); better than expected, but still a dismally low number
  • Businesses are stockpiling $2 trillion in cash

Three years hence, the picture, thankfully, was much improved:

  • The Unemployment Rate in the U.S. was reported to be 2% in July 2014
  • The economy added 209,000 jobs in July 2014
  • August 2014 employment data was released the first Friday in September

In 2011, President Obama, announced after the Debt Ceiling Deal on August 2nd, that he would present a jobs proposal for Congress to consider, and was set to do so, after Labor Day, (on September 8th).  The proposal included a combination of tax cuts, spending on infrastructure, and measures designed to assist the long-term unemployed, while bolstering certain sectors of the economy.  This potion sounds eerily similar to the ideas Democrats proposed when negotiating the Debt Deal.

Republicans were lined up to oppose the plan, suggesting instead, among other things, a Balanced Budget Amendment; a balm the GOP/Tea Party also suggested during the Debt Deal negotiation.  In short, there was little expectation for significant movement, or the adoption of sweeping legislation to address the lack of jobs in America…and there wasn’t.  What we had instead was, déjà vu…all over, again!  Then, I was compelled to ask, “Labor Day: Where Is The Celebration?” Fast forward three years, and the truth is the labor dynamics in this country had improved appreciably. However, our country was still beset by challenges.

Each day we were faced with a series of old, and developing challenges abroad. Syria, Iraq, the Ukraine, Russia, North Korea, China, Somalia, are all global hot spots, just to name a few. Then of course, there was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the burgeoning by ISIS/ISIL, also known as the Islamic State. And oh yeah, we were still winding down in Afghanistan.

In the August 2016 Jobs Report, issued September 2, 2016, the nation’s Job’s Report continued to improve:

  • The Unemployment Rate in the U.S. was reported at 4.9%
  • The economy added 151,000 jobs in August 2016
  • Paychecks grew 2.4% compared to the previous year
  • Jobs Growth record extended to 77 consecutive months

The August 2017 Jobs Report, issued September 1, 2017, showed that the economy, for the most part, held steady during the month of August.

  • The Unemployment Rate in the U.S. was reported at 4.4%, up slightly
  • The economy added 156,000 jobs in August 2017
  • Earnings rose 2.5% over the past 12 months; however, the average work week shrank .1 hour to 34.4 hours per week, which means paychecks were a bit smaller
  • The Jobs Growth record has extended to 89 consecutive months (7 months for #45)

August job growth is historically volatile, and is the slowest month for job growth since the Reports have been published. The increase in jobs was disappointing, however, it was still an increase. Though disappointing, the increase, when viewed through the lens of the trend line, was not all that surprising. Moreover, the number more than doubles the 5-year average for the month of August, which is 71,000. It is also important to add, the Unemployment Rate remained comfortably below 5%.

Unlike in 2011, in 2014, 2016, and again Monday, in my opinion, Labor Day brought us more of a day of respite and reflection in honor of our country’s Labor Movement. On top of all that don’t forget, as the sixth bullet from the top advises, the conventional kick-off of the hard-core political campaign season is upon us. The General Election is just 64 days away. While there is no Presidential Election this year, please understand that elections have consequences. The entire House of Representatives, 535 members, is up for re-election, in addition to 1/3 (33 members) of the Senate. By all means be sure to exercise your franchise; vote!

It’s “Labor Day – Six Years Later,” and while we’ve got plenty of issues to temper our celebration, we should indeed celebrate America’s phenomenal Labor Movement. I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind 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.

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