Sarah Sanders Secures Secret Service Safeguarding: “This Is America!”

It’s time to Break It Down!

Many Americans lament the erosion of civil discourse, especially in the political arena. I have noted before, this is by no means a new thing. Aaron Burr, Vice President of the United States, and former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton met July 11, 1804, in a duel that led to Hamilton’s death. Hamilton shot first, and missed. Oops! Burr then fired a shot that mortally wounded Hamilton. He died the next day from the gunshot.

As political feuding goes, it’s hard to top Burr-Hamilton. Laying that horrific anomaly to the side (most political tiffs don’t result in homicide), we are in an increasingly bad space these days. I have previously referenced a number of ways in which Donald Trump has contributed to the current low-water mark of public interaction.

In the event you have missed my commentary, or perchance, have been locked in a cave, or engaged in a latter day version of the Rip Van Winkle Story, here are a few of the ways in which Donald J. Trump has personally contributed to the race to the bottom:

  • Referred to Mexicans who immigrate to the United States primarily as people who bring drugs and crime. They are rapists. To his credit, he did go on to say, “And some I assume are good people.”
  • Suggested that a black protester at one of his rallies be assaulted. The day after one of his rallies, he said Mercutio Southall, Jr. was so obnoxious at his rally, that maybe he should have been roughed up. Video showed Mr. Southall being pushed to the ground and surrounded by several white men who began kicking and punching him. In addition to saying that he should have been roughed up, Trump added that his supporters should throw him out. What was the catalyst for this attack? Southall had screamed, “Black lives matter.” (Black Lives Matter protester was punched and kicked)
  • The Trump-White Nationalist nexus – Not only do white nationalists love Trump; he loves them back. During the course of his campaign, he accepted donations from racist white people, including Michael Polignano and Peter Brimelow, both of whom manage racist publications. White nationalists gravitated to Trump for a number of reasons. High on the list were anti-immigrant policies, Islamophobia, anti-blackness, and sexism. Their doting admiration was a key factor in why it took his campaign so long to denounce receiving support from organizations such as the KKK, and their leading personalities, including David Duke.
  • Called for the complete shutdown of Muslims entering this country. Trump and his transition team raised the stakes on Islamophobia. From his campaign’s inception, he indicated that a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims was necessary for the country’s safety. He suggested that systems beyond databases should be used to track Muslims in America.
  • What the hell do you (black folks) have to lose? In TrumpWorld, virtually all black folks are undereducated, bullet-dodging, abortion seeking at nine months kinds of people. This racial trope seems to be black reality in Trump’s mind. At one of his rallies he intoned, “We have to help them.” The infamous “them,” was black people who are apparently misguided, violent, and hopeless.
  • “Why are we having all these people from s…hole countries come here? At a meeting in the Oval Office with politcos from both sides of the aisle, convened to discuss immigration policy, Trump was disturbed by the immigration of people from Haiti and African countries. In addition to taking offense to Haitians and Africans coming to America (about 398 years too late), he suggested we need more Norwegians.
  • You also had some very fine people on both sides.” After violence erupted in Charlottesville, VA, during protests of the Unite The Right rally, inspired and led by white nationalists, Trump made the aforementioned comment. The “both sides” included the protesters on one side, and white nationalists and Nazis on the other. Very fine people among white nationalists and Nazis…Really?
  • “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag to say, `Get that son of a bitch off the field right now! Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!“ In the height of Trump’s efforts to stump for Roy Moore to become Alabama’s newest Senator, Trump took a rhetorical detour to expand upon his views on one of his favorite foils, NFL players who kneel to protest the violent deaths of black and brown folks killed by police officers. Trump, of course, has succeeded in conflating the issue so that he and his supporters argue vociferously about disrespecting “our great flag,” which has less than nothing to do with the issue.
  • “Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country” if you don’t stand for the anthem. When the NFL announced that it was enacting a policy that required players on the field to stand for the Anthem, Trump praised the League’s new stance, though he went on to pan the option for players who don’t choose to stand to remain in the locker room during the Anthem.
  • The Central Park 5 Billboard – One of the most abhorrent of Trump’s many acts of incivility was his purchasing billboards with several newspapers throughout NYC promoting the re-establishment of the death penalty, presumably to put 5 black and Latino New Yorkers to death for their alleged role in the beating and rape of a Central Park jogger. A subsequent confession, supplemented by DNA evidence proved conclusively that all 5 of the young men were innocent. The young men, who had spent up to 12 years in prison were released and sued the City. They were awarded a settlement totaling $41 million, a $million for each year they spent in jail. Trump was livid, and for many years refused to relent on his call for the death penalty. At least one report says he finally backed away from his insistence on the death penalty, but he still argues they are guilty. Talk about a science denier!

While I would never suggest this is The Donald’s Top 10 most heinous statements or actions, they all rank high, as far as I’m concerned. But that brings me full circle, and back to the title/theme for today’s post. News reports indicate that Sarah Sanders will get Secret Service protection, possibly as early as today. There have been conniptions, and gnashing of teeth by the Right due to the owner of an unaffiliated Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington, VA, asking Sarah Sanders, Trump’s Press Secretary, to leave. Many tossed out the Left’s taking offense about cake-maker who refused to serve the gay couple as an example of hypocrisy, and of a double standard. They blame the escalation of incivility on the Left.

In my view, in a perfect world, the gay couple would have gotten their wedding cake, and Mrs. Sanders and her family would have gotten dinner. But, we do not live in a perfect world. We live in TrumpWorld. And in that sphere, Donald Trump has since long before he ran for president, to while he was running for the office, and since being elected, appeared to work tirelessly to obliterate any sense of civil discourse on matters that relate to politics, race, religion, law, just to name a few areas. He and his supporters and sycophants believe that his obnoxious behavior is a political winner for him, and for them.

At this juncture, they control the Oval Office, the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, and more state legislatures than I care to count. It’s hard to argue with them at the moment. Still, at then end of a race to the bottom, you are at the bottom. In my heart of hearts, I believe there must be more, and better. But that’s all about the future. For now, Sarah Sanders Secures Secret Service Safeguarding: “This Is America!” Apologies to Childish Gambino.

I’m done; holla back!

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

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at; 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:

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; 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:

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: Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at; 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:

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: Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at;  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:’s-worst-lies/ss-AArYXsU