10 Things I Believe: 10 Things I Do Not!

It’s time to Break It Down!

I believe:

  1. There is an omnificent, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent (Almighty) God.
  2. Aside from God, no one else has any or all of those traits.
  3. The earth is round, rotates on its axis, and revolves around the sun.
  4. Gravity is a thing.
  5. Man has traveled to, and walked on the moon, and in space.
  6. Mary Trump
  7. The Middle Passage was cruel and devastatingly inhumane
  8. The 2020 Election is “A Serious Matter!”
  9. Racism is real…in America today; “This Is America!”
  10. Black Lives Matter.

I do not believe:

  1. Black Lives Matter means Blue Lives Don’t.
  2. The righteous will be forsaken
  3. COVID-19 is a hoax
  4. Rules requiring mask-wearing during the pandemic violate anyone’s rights.
  5. Satan-worshipping pedophiles are plotting against Donald Trump (QAnon).
  6. African slaves were guest workers
  7. African slaves were also immigrants
  8. There is a last straw…for Trump supporters
  9. Opting out of voting is the answer (to anything, except how to give up).
  10. Donald J. Trump is a big-brained stable genius.

Naturally, there are many more things I believe, and a good deal more that I don’t. Ten is a nice round number, and an apt cut-off point. The beauty of this post is, you may disagree with every single item I have posited above. The line of demarcation is clearly delineated. Those are things I believe, or do not believe. None of which is subject to change because it doesn’t align with your views. Have a great Wednesday. “10 Things I Believe; 10 Things I Do not!”

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Obama Plays The Inexperience Card Redux ’20

It’s time to Break It Down!

(Note: This is a Reprised and Amended Presentation of My Original Blog Post)


Today, in acknowledgement of the 13th anniversary of “Break It Down,” As I have done occasionally in the past, I am revisiting my inaugural blog post.

Before launching into the post, it’s certainly appropriate to contextualize my original post within the parameters of our contemporary timeframe. To do that, I note that post was about a young lion, Barack Obama, coming into what would become his era. Last night, the Democratic Party, via virtual Convention, officially installed Joe Biden as this year’s nominee. Whereas, Obama was one of the youngest to ever carry the banner, Biden is the oldest. That bit of history/trivia is augmented by his selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate. Senator Harris will be formally installed tonight. She is the fourth woman to be part of a Presidential Ticket, the third as a VP Candidate, and the first woman of color. Biden has had two unsuccessful runs. This outing will determine whether he will be able to register the third time as the charm, while Senator Harris is attempting to break the proverbial glass ceiling for women on a ticket.

Their work is cut out for them, in the form of the Republican opponents. The GOP will conduct it’s Convention, part virtual, part in person, in Charlotte, and part at the White House. The virtual aspects of the Conventions was necessitated due to COVID-19. Donald Trump, of course, is the Party’s nominee, and he is expected (at least by me) to retain Mike Pence, the current VP, as his running mate. I mention it in passing, only because there is speculation in some corners that Trump will replace Pence, perhaps with a woman. While Trump and his loyalists like to brand him as an anti-establishmentarian, the thought that he’d engage in such a high risk, low reward gambit strikes me as unlikely. If there is any present day pol that’s unlikely to elevate a woman to his second-in-command, the name Donald Trump leaps out at me. Enough about the conventions.

Tempus fugit (Time Flies)!  Tomorrow marked a significant milestone in the life and development of “Break It Down!”  I initiated this blog August 20, 2007, on a lark…almost a dare.  That was twelve years (and 685 editions) ago.  Having related the story a number of times over the past several years, I will not repeat the complete details today.

I will note, however, that on that summer’s eve, I contemplated and discussed, in five paragraphs, the experience, or in reality the lack thereof, of then Senator Barack Obama, as he navigated the early stages of his historic Presidential Campaign.  The prodigious parameters of that history were not evident at the time.  To be sure, over the next 14-½ months, he bested the odds and won, not only the Democratic Nomination, but also the Presidency, not so unlike what Donald Trump did in 2015-16.  In so doing, my lack of conviction, along with that of many others, in Mr. Obama’s ability to claim the nation’s biggest political prize, was exposed as a patently errant assessment. Without question, just as many people missed on their own un-Nostradamus like projections regarding Donald Trump’s prospects.

I want to make one more note about the blog.  In addition to this week marking the Twelfth Anniversary of Break It Down, today’s post commemorates the Seven-year Anniversary of my using WordPress as the primary Host Platform for the blog.  The link, http://TheSphinxofCharlotte.com is simpler and more straightforward than the Blogger (Blogspot) link, http://TheSphinxofCharlotte.blogspot.com.  The site design and presentation at WordPress are cleaner, and less busy than the setup I used at Blogger.  Please note, while I may eventually migrate Break It Down exclusively to WordPress, the blog remains available at both sites for the foreseeable future.

So, this was the message in Post #1; five brisk paragraphs and a sign-off:

In an apparent calculated act of derring-do, Obama declares the virtue of inexperience. Gotta love it!

Personal footnote of recollection: I recall Jimmy Carter running the classic “anti-Washington” (i.e., lack of Capitol Hill experience) campaign in ’75-76. You know what, it worked.

The problem was, once JC sent all the reigning bureaucrats & policy wonks home, he was left with an assembly of newbies who didn’t understand how to get things done in DC. The result was that a very smart guy, genuine humanitarian, and erstwhile successful leader presided over what was widely perceived as a disastrous presidency. President Carter’s solitary term was fraught with innumerable policy failures (see the Shah of Iran, double-digit inflation, runaway gas prices, & the outrageous Interest/Mortgage rate morass) and public relations gaffes (remember the killer rabbit, and the failed helicopter gambit).

Fortunately for him he was able to live long enough and subsequently do enough good deeds to distance himself from most of an unremarkable tenure as a one-term president, followed by a resounding defeat by that cowboy actor Teflon guy.

Of course, none of that has anything to do with Obama…except in the unlikely event he prevails. If he does, let’s hope he doesn’t take that inexperience thing too far. As W constantly reminds us, getting to the White House is one thing (after all, he’s done it twice), providing prudent and effective leadership once there is quite another.


Posted on Mon, Aug. 20, 2007

Just for perspective, see a news story that the AP carried on the subject that day:


Obama posits virtue of inexperience

What rivals criticize as naiveté; he presents as break from status quo


Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa –Democrat Barack Obama on Sunday tried to parlay his relative lack of national experience into a positive attribute, chiding his rivals for adhering to “conventional thinking” that led the country to war and has divided the country.

In their latest debate, the candidates also said they favored more federal action to address economic woes that have resulted from a housing slump and tighter credit. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson called the current financial crisis “the Katrina of the mortgage-lending industry.”

Prodded by moderator George Stephanopoulos at the outset of the debate, Obama’s rivals critiqued his recent comments on Pakistan and whether he would meet with foreign leaders — including North Korea’s head of state — without conditions.

“To prepare for this debate I rode in the bumper cars at the state fair,” the first-term senator from Illinois said to laughter and applause from the audience at Drake University.

The debate capped an intense week of politicking in Iowa, an early voting state in the process of picking a nominee. The Iowa State Fair is a magnet for White House hopefuls each presidential election.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., directly addressing a question about Obama’s relative inexperience, said: “You’re not going to have time in January of ’09 to get ready for this job.” Dodd has served in Congress for more than 30 years.

Former Sen. John Edwards said Obama’s opinions “add something to this debate.” But Edwards said politicians who aspire to be president should not talk about hypothetical solutions to serious problems.

“It effectively limits your options,” Edwards said.

Obama said he could handle the rigors of international diplomacy and noted that many in the race, including Dodd, Edwards and Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joe Biden, voted to authorize the Iraq war in 2002.

“Nobody had more experience than Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and many of the people on this stage that authorized this war,” Obama said. “And it indicates how we get into trouble when we engage in the sort of conventional thinking that has become the habit in Washington.”

The debate, hosted and broadcast nationally by ABC, took place less than five months before Iowa caucus-goers begin the process of selecting the parties’ presidential nominees.

As we reflect upon the Campaign of 2008 it really does harken the recognition of how swiftly time and events pass.  Indeed, I am especially reminded of how supremely confidently the Senator approached his moment.  I shall always recall that it propelled me to write, “Obama Plays the Inexperience Card!” Needless to say, he has gained an enormous amount of experience in the years ensuing since then.

As I wrap this up in 2019, it is with a completely different appreciation for what an inexperienced Barack Obama brought to his job, vis-à-vis what a politically inexperienced Donald Trump is currently bringing to the job. Mr. Obama inherited a fragile country with a downward spiraling economy, a nearly double-digit employment rate, and a foreboding 700,000 job losses per month. By the time he left 8 years later, the unemployment rate had been halved, to less than 5%, the country enjoyed the longest period of consecutive job gains, 75 months, in history, over 11 million jobs had been added, including 1.2 million in his last 6 months in office, while the Dow Jones rose from a slumping 7,949 when he took office to 19, 887 when he exited. No President controls every single lever that triggers all that happens during his (or her) tenure, when things go south, he/she occupies the space where the proverbial buck stops. Conversely, when things trend rosy, he gets a fair amount of the accrued shine.

In that light, Mr. Trump entered office in a much different environment, benefiting from what can rightfully be called the Obama Recovery. Let’s be clear. There is definitely still work to do. But anyone who suggests that Obama didn’t bequeath more and better than he inherited is full of bovine excrement. Full stop!

With that said, these are the salad days of the Trump Administration. It must be said he has delighted his base. At least the ones with whom I have spoken believe he’s the cat’s meow, and they say (whether they believe it or not) he’s been doing exactly what they hoped for when they voted for him. I would suggest that anyone who didn’t vote for, or support him, or who is undecided about supporting him, should let that sink in for a moment or two, or twenty.

Team Trump contends Democrats, liberals, the Main Stream Media, and some nebulous ill-defined entity referred to as the deep state, are solely responsible for all that has stymied or delayed even potential successes by the Trump Administration. So, health care, travel ban (or whatever appellation one cares to affix to it), Transgender Military Policy, Charlottesville Messaging, the Obama wiretapping claim, the Flynn firing, the Comey firing, the Spicer firing, the Priebus firing, the Scaramucci firing, the Bannon firing, and oh by the way dare I say, his tweets…Can we really blame all that on the Party that held a minority in both Houses for two years, and that still holds only one House of Congress, or on a media that has no votes, and presumably no say in who Trump hires in the first place, or fires for that matter, or on the deep state, whatever the Sam Hill that is?

If you are a Trump trooper, you can, and you almost certainly do. If you are not, then you probably think such an assertion is sheer lunacy on its face. Perhaps…just maybe, he is finding difficulty gaining traction because he is not only fighting through an experience deficit, but he is operating with a startling lack of curiosity, matched only by an overabundance of hubris. All things considered, I am inclined to look back on the time when I wrote, “Obama Plays the Experience Card,” and conclude that we (who should be a grateful nation) were considerably better served than with the current inexperienced occupant of the Oval Office. So today, my emphasis is…“Obama Plays the Inexperience Card Redux ’20!” 

I’m done; holla back!

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

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The Veep Sweepstakes: It’s Kamala

It’s time to Break It Down!

There is not a lot to say. This post could practically write itself. It’s political by nature, but it’s bigger than that. In an era in which the current occupant of the Oval Office is viewed in many quarters as a culture warrior, Senator Kamala Harris’ addition to the Democratic Presidential ticket represents a cultural bet; an historic one at that, and one that is not without risks. There is much more that could be said, than what I will address in this post. There are nearly 12 weeks; 83 days actually, between now and the election. Electoral politics will not disappear between now and November 3rd. More about the race another day. 

It was Sunday, March 15, 2020 at the CNN/Univision Debate with Senator Bernie Sanders in Phoenix, the 11th and final contest, when former Vice President Biden revealed he would select a woman as his running mate, should he advance as the nominee. By that time, Biden was in the midst of completing a comeback that included winning primaries convincingly and having most of his Democratic competitors bow out. Senator Bernie Sanders subsequently suspended his campaign on April 8th. In the ensuing four months there has been more than a little speculation about whom the woman would be, who would rise to the top of the search list. News reports have indicated that the Biden team vetted at various levels, at least 11 women.

In the final analysis, Vice President Biden chose one of his fiercest competitors as his choice to take on the presidential race this fall. As observers handicapped the various choices, many analysts opined that Senator Harris’ chances might be hindered due to the kerfuffle between the two during the Democratic Presidential Debates. When asked earlier, Biden insisted that Harris was a serious contender, and was both capable of and qualified to do anything she wanted in the service of our country. Yesterday afternoon, he validated that assertion by making the Junior Senator from California his running mate.

Kamala Devi Harris is stepping into the breach and bringing a varied and accomplished resume to the table. She is a person of color; a Black woman. She is the daughter of immigrants. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan was a breast cancer scientist who emigrated from India in 1960 to pursue a doctorate in endocrinology at the University of California at Berkeley. Her father, Donald Harris, is a Stanford University Emeritus Professor of Economics. He emigrated from Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study at Berkeley. Kamala, born in 1964 in Oakland, California (let the Birth Certificate detectives get on that), identifies as African American, attended an HBCU (Howard University), pledge an historic African American Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha (Oldest in the nation), and grew up attending a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple. She is also a wife and mother. She married attorney Douglas Emhoff in August of 2014 and is stepmother to Cole and Ella.

Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee. As such, he will be ensconced as the Party’s candidate next week at the virtual Democratic National Convention. He will be center stage, opposite the man whose position he hopes to claim, the President of the United States. But make no mistake about it, Kamala Harris will not be far away. She will be just the fourth woman ever to be on an American Presidential ticket, and the third to seek the Vice Presidency, following Geraldine Ferraro (Walter Mondale), in 1984, and Sarah Palin (John McCain), in 2008. Of course, Hillary Clinton was at the top of the Democratic ticket in 2016. Ferraro, who died in 2011, was a Democrat, as are Clinton and Harris. Mrs. Palin is a Republican.

It is instructive to note, none of the previous three candidates were part of a winning ticket. Undoubtedly, Biden-Harris hope to break that trend. The Senator’s career arc includes having served in the Alameda County (Oakland) District Attorney’s Office, in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, in the City Attorney of San Francisco’s Office, as District Attorney of San Francisco, as Attorney General of the State of California, and of course, as a United States Senator from the State of California. She sought the Democratic nomination for President, and for a brief period was the front runner. She suspended her campaign December 3, 2019.

Yesterday, August 11, 2020, she gained a new assignment; candidate for Vice President of the United States. She will continue to serve in her capacity as a United States Senator, at least until the November election. Make no mistake about it, in this moment, we celebrate Senator Kamala Harris. Still, it’s important to note that to its credit, Team Biden pulled off its search without a leak. They made the announcement on their own terms. It may seem a small thing, but in the digital age, it was surely no mean feat. In fact, Joe Biden might call it “a big eff’n deal.” At the very least, it bodes well for what will be a need to manage effectively, efficiently, and with precision, the myriad large and small details of a fast paced, often unpredictable presidential campaign. “The Veep Sweepstakes: It’s Kamala!”

I’m done; holla back!

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Donald Trump Addresses The John Lewis Issue: The Swan Interview

It’s time to Break It Down!  

OK, truth in advertising requires that I advise you there was much more in the AXIOS interview than questions about Congressman Lewis. To get the full impact of what transpired, you may benefit greatly from clicking on the link below and watching the YouTube video of Jonathan Swan’s recent (last week) AXIOS on HBO Exclusive interview with Donald Trump.

I wrote about John Lewis last week; didn’t mention Donald Trump. In this post, I am focusing only on four Swan questions, all of which centered on the late Congressman John Lewis, and Mr. Trump’s responses. Yeah, it’s a quick read. You’re welcome!

I’ll get right to it:

Swan: How do you think history will remember John Lewis?

Trump: I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know John Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration. He chose—I never met John Lewis, actually, I don’t believe.

Swan: Do you find John Lewis impressive?

Trump: I can’t say one way or the other – I find a lot of people impressive. I find many people not impressive, but no, he didn’t come to my inauguration. He didn’t come to my State of the Union speeches, and that’s Okay. That’s his right. And again, nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have. He should’ve come. I think he made a mistake. I think he should’ve come.

Swan: But taking your relationship with him out of it, do you find his story impressive – what he’s done for this country?

Trump: He was a person that devoted a lot of energy and a lot of heart to civil rights. But there were many others, also.

Swan: There’s a petition to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama as the John Lewis Bridge. Would you support that idea?

Trump: I would have no objection to it if they ‘d like to do it. I’d have no objection to it, whatsoever. 

Although not an exhaustive list, the interview also touched upon COVID-19, sometimes referred to by Mr. Trump as the China virus, China, Tulsa, Fox News ratings, canceled rallies, good and bad Governors, testing, the great job the U.S. has done with the virus, Russian bounties, fake news, never having discussed the bounties with Putin, global warming, daily intelligence briefings, the angry place that is the world, Russia/Afghanistan, U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, having taken out ISIS, conditions under which Trump would not accept November’s election results, ballots vs. applications, Ghislaine Maxwell, Portland, anarchists, protesters, Antifa, and Chad Wolf, people rounded up without being told why they are being detained, Democrat run cities, Trump’s hope that there is no such thing as systemic racism, HBCU’s, Mr. Trump’s oft-repeated trope that he has done more for African Americans than any president, possibly other than Lincoln, but including Lyndon Johnson. 

This was not discussed at length during the interview, but just for the record, President Johnson was responsible for enacting The Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Voting Rights Act of 1965, the appointed the first Black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, the first Black cabinet officer, Robert Weaver, and the first Black member of the Federal Reserve, Andrew Brimmer. But I digress.

Alas, the focus of this post is Congressman Lewis, so this is where I close. “Donald Trump Addresses The John Lewis Issue: The Swan Interview!”

I’m done; holla back!

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

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