And Another One…

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday, Donald Trump, former President, withdrew a lawsuit challenging NY AG Letitia James’ investigation into the Trump Organization. It was the second case Mr. Trump dropped; just days after dropping a case attempting to block access to his personal trust.

Lawyers for both Trump and James said, of the one-page filing they submitted, they reached agreement to dismiss the appeal with prejudice, which precludes the case from being revived in the future.

Last year, in May, Mr. Trump appealed a federal judge’s ruling that allowed James’ investigation into the Trump Organization to proceed. The judge dismissed Trump’s argument that James, a Democrat, was driven by political animus, and was investigating Trump in bad faith.

This past September AG James sued Trump, his three eldest children and the Trump Organization alleging they were involved in a decade long fraud that misled lenders, insurers, and tax authorities to enrich themselves. James is seeking $250 million in the suit.

Team Trump has denied wrongdoing. According to Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney, the appeal was withdrawn for strategic purposes. There may be some question about whether that’s true. But then again, if anyone knows lawsuits, it’s Donald Trump.

In announcing the news, AG James said:

“I’m pleased that Donald Trump has withdrawn both of his pending actions against my office. As we have shown all along, we have a legitimate legal case against him and his organization, and we cannot be bullied or dissuaded from pursuing it.”

Earlier, on Friday, Trump withdrew a lawsuit he filed in November seeking to stop the AG’s office from obtaining documents and records from the personal trust he set up to hold his business interests after becoming president.

Additionally, last week, Judge Donald Middlebrooks – who was overseeing the trust lawsuit – sanctioned Trump and a different set of attorneys $937,989 for a lawsuit Trump brought against Hillary Clinton, former top Justice Department officials and several others alleging they conspired against him in his 2016 campaign.

In his finding, Judge Middlebrooks said:

“No reasonable lawyer would have filed it. Intended for a purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim.

The appeal withdrawn yesterday was made to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in NY, and is not tied to Judge Middlebrooks, who is seated on the bench in Florida’s Southern District.

At a glance, it appears several Mr. Trump’s legal gymnastics are failing, falling flat on their face… “And Another One…!”

I’m done; holla back!

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

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MLK, Jr.: Quotes You Don’t Remember…Or Perhaps Never Heard (Relayed by Nikole Hannah-Jones) Redux

It’s time to Break It Down!

Solomon Peña, who lost his 2022 bid for New Mexico state House District 14, was arrested Monday by an Albuquerque SWAT team for allegedly paying and conspiring with four men to shoot at the homes of two state legislators and two county commissioners in December and January, authorities said. No one was injured but investigators said Peña intended to cause serious injury or death. Peña, attributed his defeat to a “rigged” election is accused of masterminding a series of shootings targeting the homes of elected Democrats. But I digress. Consider this batschitt craziness an FYI!. It’s not the topic of today’s post.

Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Over the years, I’ve written a post about Dr. King, the holiday, and how it came to pass. Today, I am again revisiting a post I initially wrote and posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011, and that I reprised January 18, 2017, January 17, 2018, and again, January 23, 2019, examining the advent of the King Holiday. It’s been 37 years since the initial observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday (MLK DAY), and 40 years since President Reagan signed the MLK, Jr. Holiday bill into law. Contemporary events continue to remind us that now is an apt time to look into the rearview mirror of time.

After over three decades of inculcation into the very fabric of our society, it may be largely forgotten that the conceptualization, submission and continual resubmission of the idea, the enactment, and the gradual national observance, was not the product of universal acceptance of a grand and enlightened concept, but rather, was emblematic of the civil rights struggle itself; steeped in controversy, and the eventual victory of a relentless movement to achieve richly deserved, and long overdue social justice.

Several members of Congress, a number of states, and even a President, using a host of creative means, sought to undermine, outmaneuver, sabotage, subvert, and otherwise derail the efforts of the measure’s proponents. Ultimately, the movement was consolidated, snowballed, and would simply not be thwarted.

The effort to create a King Holiday was started by U.S. Representative John Conyers, Michigan, shortly after Dr. King’s death, in the spring of 1968. It was first introduced in the House of Representatives in 1979 but fell 5 votes short of the number needed for passage in the Lower Chamber.

High profile opponents to the measure included Senator Jesse Helms, NC, Senator John McCain, AZ, and President Ronald Reagan. Both Senators voted against the bill, and Senator McCain publicly supported Arizona Governor Evan Mecham for his rescission of MLK Day as a State Holiday in Arizona. The campaign however, reached a critical mass in the early 1980’s. Spurred on by Stevie Wonder penning a song in King’s honor called, “Happy Birthday,” a petition drive to support the campaign would attract over 6 million signatures. It has been called the largest petition in favor of an issue in U.S. History.

Buttressed by what had become a wildly successful public campaign, Congress soon followed suit. The proposal passed in the House by a vote of 338-90, and in the Upper Chamber by a vote of 78-22. Given the dimensions of this overwhelming support, in the form of bicameral veto-proof votes, President Reagan signed the provision November 2, 1983, and it became Federal Law. The first observance under the new law took place January 20, 1986, rather than on January 15th, Dr. King’s birthday. A compromise in the legislation specified that the observance take place on the Third Monday in January, consistent with prior legislation (Uniform Monday Holiday Act).

Of course, that was not the end of the story. It would take more than 30 years after Dr. King’s death before the Holiday was fully adopted and observed in all 50 states. Illinois holds the distinction of being the first State to adopt MLK Day as a State Holiday, having done so in 1973. Twenty years later, in 1993, for the first time, some form of MLK Day was held in each of the 50 States.

It was not until 2000 that South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges signed a bill to make MLK Day a paid holiday for State employees; giving the Palmetto State the dubious distinction of being the last of the 50 States to do so. However, Mississippi also sets itself apart by designating the Third Monday in January as a shared Holiday that honors the memory of Robert E. Lee and Dr. King…two fine southern gentlemen.

Summer before last, after entertaining a whirlwind, on again off again, job offer at UNC, journalist, McArthur Fellow, Pulitzer Prize winner, and UNC alum Nikole Hannah-Jones opted to choose Howard University as her next employer, over UNC. Ms. Hannah-Jones, who gained notoriety for her work on the 1619 Project, has become a lightning rod for discourse around issues of civil rights, and the much-ballyhooed topic known as Critical Race Theory, #CRT.

A year ago, NH-J was invited to give an MLK speech on Monday. She discovered that a few members of the group hosting her wrote and subsequently leaked emails opposing her giving the speech. Those who opposed her felt it dishonored Dr. King to do so and characterized her as a “discredited activist” “unworthy of such association with King.”

This insight motivated her to call an audible. She scrapped her original speech and spent the first half of her speech reading excerpts from several of Dr. King’s speeches…without revealing that they were his words. She subbed BLACK for Negro, to avoid dating the material and giving away the fact that it was from over half a century ago. Literally, that’s all it took to transport to 2022.

Here is some of Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 2022 MLK, Jr. Day speech:

“It was in the year 1619 that the first BLACK slave was brought to the shores of this nation. They were brought here from the soils of Africa and unlike the Pilgrim fathers who landed here at Plymouth a year later, they were brought here against their will…”

“White Americans must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society…The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and racism…”

“The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power. A nation that continues year after year to spend more $ on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

“The crowning achievement in hypocrisy must go to those staunch Republicans and Democrats of the Midwest and West who were given land by our government when they came here as immigrants from Europe. They were given education through the land grant colleges…”

“These are the same people that now say to black people, whose ancestors were brought to this country in chains and who were emancipated in 1863 without being given land to cultivate or bread to eat; that they must pull themselves up by their own bootstraps…”

“What they truly advocate is Socialism for the rich and Capitalism for the poor… “We know full well that racism is still that hound of hell which dogs the tracks of our civilization.”

“Ever since the birth of our nation, White America has had a Schizophrenic personality on the question of race, she has been torn between selves. A self in which she proudly professes the great principle of democracy and a self in which she madly practices the antithesis of democracy.”

“The fact is, there has never been a single, solid, determined commitment on the part of the vast majority of white Americans to genuine equality for Black people.”

“The step backwards has a new name today, it is called the white backlash, but the white backlash is nothing new. It is the surfacing of old prejudices, hostilities and ambivalences that have always been there…”

“The white backlash of today is rooted in the same problem that has characterized America ever since the black man landed in chains on the shores of this nation.”

“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance…with each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that BLACK AMERICANS HAVE come far enough.”

“…for the good of America, it is necessary to refute the idea that the dominant ideology in our country, even today, is freedom and equality and that racism is just an occasional departure from the norm on the part of a few bigoted extremists.”

“If America does not respond creatively to the challenge to banish racism, some future historian will have to say, that a great civilization died because it lacked the soul and commitment to make justice a reality for all men.”

“Why do white people seem to find it so difficult to understand that the Black people are sick and tired of having reluctantly parceled out to THEM those rights and privileges which all others receive upon birth or entry in America?”

“I never cease to wonder at the amazing presumption of much of white society, assuming that they have the right to bargain with the BLACK for their freedom…”

Oh, the uncomfortable silence as I read Dr. King’s words at a commemoration of Dr. King’s life when people had no idea that these were his words. When I revealed that everything I said to that point was taken from his speeches between ’56 and 67… Can you say SHOOK!

Then I read all the names that white Americans called King: charlatan, demagogue, communist, traitor — and brought out the polling showing more than three-quarters of Americans opposed King at his death while 94 percent approve of him now.

I left them with this: People who oppose today what he stood for back then do not get to be the arbiters of his legacy. The real Dr. King cannot be commodified, homogenized, and white-washed and whatever side you stand on TODAY is the side you would have been back then.

In fact, most white Americans in 1963 opposed the March on Washington where Dr. King gave the “I Have A Dream” Speech with that one line that people oppose to anti-racism like to trot out against those working for racial justice.

When the speech was over, Father Pfleger, who had been cheering me on from the crowd, whispered in my ear: That’s what you call the “You Gone Learn Today” speech.

“This is why the 1619 Project exists. This is why the decades of scholarship that undergirds the 1619 Project exists. Because if we do nothing, they will co-opt our history and use it against us.”

Dr. King was a radical critic of racism, capitalism and militarism. He didn’t die. He was assassinated. And many, including Regan, fought the national holiday we’re now commemorating. “If you haven’t read, in entirety, his speeches, you’ve been miseducated & I hope that you will.”

As it was in 1623, 1723, 1823, 1923, and yeah, remains in 2023…”MLK, Jr.: Quotes You Don’t Remember…Or Perhaps Never Heard (Relayed by Nikole Hannah-Jones).

I’m done; holla back!–T2c63h3l3BCwu8

Classified Docs: Biden’s Turn

It’s time to Break It Down!

I was prepared to write about the circus that unfolded at the Capitol last week, as Republicans manufactured dramatic theater in what I presumed, rightfully I can now say, to be a foregone conclusion…the selection of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House. Yes, it took 15 ballots, but seriously, McCarthy got at least 200 votes in each one. No other Republican eclipsed 21. All others together never reached 30. Who else were they gonna elect? Hakeem Jeffries? Perish the thought. It was McCarthy’s to lose, and he had absolutely no incentive/motivation to quit. Some argued that he repeatedly allowed his own team to embarrassed him. Let the record show that after flying to Mar-A-Lago and kissing The Ring, he pretty much established his imperviousness to embarrassment. He was all-in, and committed to be Speaker, and submitting to prostration for the sport of his own team was most certainly not going to get in the way.

I accept all disagreement with my position on the subject, and file it in the category of, you’re entitled to your own opinion. Moving on. As noted, that was what I was going to focus on today. Was!

There is always news, worthy of investing time, contemplation, and discourse. That’s the case this week, like any week. Monday’s big reveal, that Confidential documents were found in one of President Biden’s private offices in Washington instantly topped my list. As a matter of course, it will be an immediate inflection point, and basis for GOP pivoting to talking points around investigations that they promised, even before they won a House Majority…if they won a House Majority, which of course, they did. Even though not in the ominous Red Wave they expected. But a Majority is a Majority.

Republicans will do their best to conflate Biden’s document problem with that of Mr. Trump. As a matter of politics, that dog hunts…for Republicans, desperate to move the spotlight away from last week’s theatrical shenanigans. But seriously?

Mr. Trump was “invited” by the National Archives, repeatedly, to return documents. An offer he alternately blithely ignored, disrespectfully declined, and at points defiantly refused. Then, his counsel, presumably at his direction, claimed “all” documents had been returned. They were not. Apparently, some still have not be returned.

Conversely, when President Biden was informed that documents were found in one of his offices, he is said to have self-reported, and ordered the docs returned. An investigation has already begun.

Based upon actions by the principals, there is no comparison. What about the metrics? 


At least 325 documents

60 top secret

Under investigation for obstruction

National Archives reached out to Trump’s lawyers (repeatedly)


10 documents

Some top secret

Lawyers found & alerted National Archives

U.S. Attorney (Trump Appointed by the way) conducting review

Finally, I am uninclined to lawyer for Biden. He’s a big boy who’s been in the game for decades. He can handle himself. That’s absolutely not the point of this quick overview. Rather, it’s to clarify a simple fact; it’s impossible to fairly evaluate the two situations without nuance and context. But that’s up to you. All I have to say is… “Classified Docs: Biden’s Turn!”

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 Curious Case of George Santos & GOP Leadership’s Silence

It’s time to Break It Down!

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” –Sir Walter Scott, excerpted from the poem, “Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field,” 1808. 

NY GOP Rep.-elect George Santos has been making headlines since December 19 — when The New York Times published its jaw-dropping article documenting his litany of false claims about his work experience, education and just about everything in between. (Santos later described these falsehoods as “resume embellishment” but admitted to misrepresenting his employment and educational background.)

Santos claimed in his campaign bio to be, for all practical purposes, the 

“full embodiment of the American dream” and was running to safeguard it for others. He amplified his storybook journey:

Son of Brazilian immigrants

First openly gay Republican to win a House seat as a non-incumbent

Grandparents survived the Holocaust


Mother died in 9/11 attack (Later revealed she died in 2016)

By his account, he catapulted himself from a New York City public college to become a “seasoned Wall Street financier and investor” with a family-owned real estate portfolio of 13 properties and an animal rescue charity that saved more than 2,500 dogs and cats.

A New York Times review of public documents and court filings from the United States and Brazil, as well as various attempts to verify claims that Mr. Santos, 34, made on the campaign trail, calls into question key parts of the résumé that he sold to voters.

Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, the marquee Wall Street firms on Mr. Santos’s campaign biography, told The Times they had no record of his ever working there. Officials at Baruch College, which Mr. Santos has said he graduated from in 2010, could find no record of anyone matching his name and date of birth graduating that year.

There was also little evidence that his animal rescue group, Friends of Pets United, was, as Mr. Santos claimed, a tax-exempt organization: The Internal Revenue Service could locate no record of a registered charity with that name.

His financial disclosure forms suggest a life of some wealth. He lent his campaign more than $700,000 during the midterm election, has donated thousands of dollars to other candidates in the last two years and reported a $750,000 salary and over $1 million in dividends from his company, the Devolder Organization.

Yet the firm, which has no public website or LinkedIn page, is something of a mystery. On a campaign website, Mr. Santos once described Devolder as his “family’s firm” that managed $80 million in assets. On his congressional financial disclosure, he described it as a capital introduction consulting company, a type of boutique firm that serves as a liaison between investment funds and deep-pocketed investors. But Mr. Santos’s disclosures did not reveal any clients, an omission three election law experts said could be problematic if such clients exist.

And while Mr. Santos has described a family fortune in real estate, he has not disclosed, nor could The Times find, records of his properties. 

Throughout these twists and turns, one thing has remained constant: GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy has not condemned Santos. Not over his admitted falsehoods, his apparent misrepresentation about family members fleeing the Holocaust, questions regarding his campaign funding or even reports on his spending of campaign funds on travel to places such as Miami. (McCarthy has not returned CNN’s requests for comment about Santos.)

This silence is not surprising. It perfectly sums up McCarthy and many in today’s GOP who seek power at any cost — with no regard for principle or the greater good of our nation.

Even fellow GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz — who has opposed McCarthy’s bid for House speaker — recently slammed the Republican leader for not having any core values, writing in an op-ed, “Every single Republican in Congress knows that Kevin does not actually believe anything. He has no ideology.”

While it’s true, McCarthy has been mum on the subject, so has much, if not most of the GOP leadership. Arguably, McCarthy’s excuse is, he’s locked into a tense battle that he hopes will end with him being voted in as the Speaker of the House for the 118th Congress. This was scheduled to happen yesterday. In fact, the House conducted 3 votes, none of which resulted in any candidate earning the necessary majority (118 votes) of votes from House Members. Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic challenger, garnered the most votes in each of the three ballots. Jeffries got 212 votes each time. McCarthy got 203 votes twice, and 202 votes during the third ballot. The general presumption is given the tenuous nature of McCarthy’s bid, even though Republicans maintain a slim numerical advantage, he could not afford to lose even one vote, which might have happened, had he acted or made comments that may have offended Santos.

That leaves a plethora of other Republicans in Congress, few of whom have called out Santos for his eye-popping exaggerations, misleading claims, and falsehoods. It doesn’t require much imagination to glean the tone, tenor, and frequency of GOP hyperventilation, had a Democratic Congressman been the source of similar claims. That Santos won a contested race, at least partly based on his misrepresentations, adds even more fuel to what should be considered de rigueur behavior, in response to any candidate taking such liberties with the truth. 

There’s so much more to this still unfolding saga. But that’s enough to establish the gist of the case. Meanwhile, make your own foray into…”The Curious Case of George Santos & GOP Leadership’s Silence!”

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; 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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