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The Evolution of the Trump Alphabet: Moving From the L-Word to the R-Word

It’s time to Break It Down!

More times than I care to enumerate, I have written about Donald Trump and his propensity to align himself with narratives devoid of truth, facts, and propriety. In shorthand, terms many characterize what he does so frequently, and I suppose you might say, so effectively, as lying. As I’ve noted before, he’s prolific. Bess Levin wrote, in an article that appeared in Vanity Fair April 29, 2019, entitled, “Trump Has Told More Than 10,000 Lies Since Being Inaugurated:”

“In a truly superhuman feat, The Washington Post has tallied all the “falsehoods” that have spewed from Trump’s mouth and fingers since January 20, 2017, to April 27, 2019. Per the Post, that’s a whopping 10,111 in 828 days. And the situation vis-à-vis the president being a pathological liar is getting markedly worse. After telling a mere 5,000 false and misleading statements during his first 601 days in office, the pace and frequency of the lies has accelerated such that he doubled his bullshit in just a third of the time, telling almost 23 lies a day in the seven-month period beginning in late October, during midterm elections.”

I wrote a fairly extensive post (nearly 1400 words) on the subject 5 weeks ago (June 12th), entitled, “It Has Taken Far Too Long: Alas, The Media Is Coming Around!” In that essay, I examined the avalanche of untruthiness that is the phenomenon better known as Donald John Trump. In that post, I cited Paul Farhi’s Washington Post article, “Lies: The News Media is Starting to Describe Trump’s Falsehoods That Way,”in which he provided several recent examples of various media entities finding their (for too long silent) voice, including:

–CNN: “The Mueller report: A catalog of 77 Trump team lies and falsehoods.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune: “President Trump lies to troops about pay raise.”

Financial Times: “The real reason Donald Trump lies.”

Los Angeles Times: “Mueller report exposes all the president’s liars.”

Chicago Tribune: “Why are Trump’s lies not ruinous to him? Because truth can be in the eye of the beholder.”

The New Yorker: “It’s True: Trump Is Lying More, and He’s Doing It on Purpose.”

Foreign Policy: “Does It Matter That Trump Is a Liar?”

Wouldn’t you know it? Just when elements of the media start what was a long, slow process of coming to terms with the Prevaricator-in-Chief, boom goes the dynamite, and the Donald switches gears, and takes on another well-documented persona, that of being the most powerful racist in the world. And yes, there is documentation for that too. There may not be 10K examples, but there are certainly enough to make the case. Here are a few salient examples taken from an August 14, 2018 story by Christal Hayes in USA Today:

  • He tweeted, “Lebron (sic) James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron (sic) look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike.”
  • He tweeted, “Congressman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democratic Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max.”
  • Speaking of the Charlottesville incident, he said, “Both sides” were to blame for the violence. This, despite the fact that a woman protesting against the white nationalists was killed when a car rammed into a group marching down the street.
  • Of NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem, a constitutionally protected right, he said, “Wouldn’t you just love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son-of-a-bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired.’”
  • About Judge Gonzalo Curiel, “I have horrible rulings, I have been treated unfairly by this judge. Now this judge is of Mexican heritage, I’m building a wall.” Turns out, Judge Curiel is American. I guest that was a double-bonus, a lie, and racist.
  • Speaking of Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries, he said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries?
  • He claimed Obama wasn’t born in America, insisted he sent investigators to Hawaii to prove it, and when he finally had to admit Obama was born in America, he blamed Hillary Clinton for the smear.
  • Claimed that Gold Star parent Khizr Khan’s wife did not speak as Mr. Khan assailed Trump, because she was forbidden to do so.
  • In his June 2015 Campaign Announcement, Trump lamented Mexico was “Bringing their worst people to the U.S. They’re bring drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.
  • About MS-13, he said, “We have people coming into this country, or trying to come in – and we’re stopping a lot of them – but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

Wow, that’s 10, and I didn’t even cite the Central Park 5. But as Trumpites are fond of arguing about anything that didn’t happen “today,” that’s so-called “old news.”  Fast forward to this past weekend, when President Donald Trump used racist language on Sunday to attack four progressive Democratic Congresswomen, falsely implying they were not American citizens. In fact, all four of them are, three of them born here, and the fourth, naturalized as a teen. In a series of tweets, widely viewed as racist, Trump wrote (typed):

“So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……”

….and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how….

….it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!

The four Congresswomen, collectively known as The Squad, include, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes, NY, Rashida Tlaib, MI, Ilhan Omar, MN, and Ayanna Pressley, MA. All women of color; AOC, Tlaib, and Pressley were born in in the United States. Omar was born in Somalia, immigrated to the U.S. as a youth, and became a U.S. citizen in 2000 at age 17.

In Trump’s tweet storm, he implied that the four Congresswomen weren’t born in America and sarcastically suggested, “they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Yet again, racist…and untrue.

Ostensibly, all this started as Trump tried to insinuate himself into a budding feud between The Squad and Speaker Pelosi. Ocasio-Cortez had suggested she and her 3 colleagues were singled out, in part, due to being women of color, and that it was part of a pattern. Immediately the media jumped on the tension and injected the term racism. Trump, never one to miss an opportunity to jab his opponents, first chimed in and dismissed the notion that Pelosi is racist. As you might imagine, this wasn’t perceived as helpful, either by Democrats in general, or by Team Pelosi in particular.

While the level of interference was notable to most political observers, it wasn’t nearly enough for Trump. Anything less than total chaos is so not acceptable. Therefore, on Sunday, the serial tweets ensued. From that point, the imbroglio exploded as if propelled by Star Wars era hyperdrive.

First, Pelosi turned on a dime and came to The Squad’s defense. Trump doubled down on Monday, denying that the comments were racist, and inviting anyone who doesn’t like the country to leave. That’s pretty rich, when you consider how much Trump and the GOP complained about the country when Barack Obama was President. But I digress.

By yesterday evening, after much wrangling, the House of Representatives voted to pass a resolution condemning Trump’s racist comments. The process was delayed by several hours when the GOP attempted to neuter the declaration by striking the part of Speaker Pelosi’s comments, in which she asserted, “Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people. I urge a unanimous vote.”

At the end of the kerfuffle, and several Party line votes, the provision passed with 240 votes, with 1 Independent, and only 4 Republicans joining the 235 Democrats. For the nays, 187 Republicans voted no. Those Republican Representatives voting for the measure were Will Hurd, TX (the only Black Republican in the Republican Caucus), Fred Upton, MI, Susan Brooks, IN, and Brian Fitzpatrick, PA. Congressman Justin Amash, who just recently left the GOP to become an Independent, also voted for the resolution.

Before the vote, Trump urged the GOP to remain strong and not join the Dems. Clearly, his influence among his fellow Party members is substantial. In fact, few Republicans in either House have had much to say about Trump’s tweets and comments. Most who did said neither Trump, nor his tweets/comments were racist. Today’s (Trump) tweets should be amazing!

Meanwhile, stay tuned to “The Evolution of the Alphabet: Moving From the L-Word to the R-Word!” I mean really, the X-Word (Xenophobic) can’t be far behind.

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.

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

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/06/12/it-has-taken-far-too-long-alas-the-media-is-coming-around/

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/04/trump-has-told-more-than-10000-lies-since-being-inaugurated-washington-post

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/08/14/times-president-trump-comments-called-racist/985438002/

https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/14/politics/donald-trump-tweets-democratic-congresswomen-race-nationalities/index.html

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/07/17/the-evolution-of-the-trump-alphabet-moving-from-the-l-word-to-the-r-word/

 

 

 

 

When Is The Past Not The Past? When It Didn’t Happen!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Much is made of the gaggle of Trump falsehoods, fallacies, and fake news. I’ve been known to broach the subject myself. Today’s post is not about Trump, at least not directly. Instead, my focus is on the right wing incubator of false and misleading information that the Prevaricator-in-Chief has spawned.

I am going to use the KISS principle and (K)eep (I)t (S)hort and (S)weet. In doing so, I will cite just one example of the desperate measures Trump supporters, surrogates, and sycophants go to, to blame Obama for any and everything under the sun that can be viewed in the shadowy light of negative connotations.

This week’s news has been littered with references to the sentencing fiasco that was the so-called Epstein-Acosta plea deal. Without getting too deep in the weeds on the details, the story, in summary, is a tale about a rich and powerful man, Jeffrey Epstein, who is alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct with underage girls, up to and including trafficking.

Epstein is the epitome of a high roller. By many accounts, he is a billionaire. His historical connections include Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. Needless to say, the aforementioned Trumpsters have emphasized his connections to Clinton, and have been largely silent on those Trump ties. Trump, who has distanced himself from Epstein since the latter was arrested over the weekend, claimed the two fell out 15 or so years ago. It’s worth noting that Trump’s posture was different at an earlier time. Speaking for a 2002 profile of Epstein, Trump said:

“I’ve know Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

Epstein gained notoriety for a 2008 non-prosecution deal that allowed him to plead guilty to lesser charges while maintaining a lavish lifestyle. A deal brokered under the auspices former Miami U.S. Attorney…and current Trump Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, enabled Epstein to serve 13 months in jail, settle with a number of the victims, and register as a sex offender, while avoiding a possible life sentence. The deal was reached with no prior consultation of victims, and allowed Epstein to be picked up by a driver, and to spend most of his days at his office.

An extensive story by the Miami Herald has blown the cover off Epstein’s sweetheart deal. Now, that Epstein has resurfaced as the subject of a juicy news item, the finger pointing has begun. And to date, no finger has been more pointed than that of Fox Contributor Lawrence Jones. In an appearance on Fox News yesterday, Jones patently asserted that it was Barack Obama’s fault that Epstein got such a joke (relative to the charges) of a sentence. Jones appeared on Outnumbered, ostensibly in support of Acosta, but as always, in obeisance to Trump. In response to a question about why people are suddenly taking such a close look at the Epstein case, Jones said:

“Well, I don’t think people are taking a total look at this. Because there’s a lot of things that go into these decisions. A, when it’s someone like this involved, this does not skip Washington. That means that AG knew about it, that means the investigative agency, the FBI, Bob Mueller.

(Host) Harris Faulkner: “Well as Christine Pelosi said, some of the faves in the Democratic Party may be on a list here somewhere.” Notice the effort to deflect to Democrats.

Jones: “Exactly. Well, this was 2008, under a Democratic administration.” (Wrong! Actually, Obama wasn’t inaugurated until 2009, but when you’re trying to make a point on Fox News, what’s a little misinformation between friends?)

Faulkner: Right. (Right? Is there an adult in the room? Surely she knows better.)

Jones: So it’s not just [Alex] Acosta making decisions like this. Other factors go – and if there was corruption, then every investigative agency that was involved with it, including the Attorney General’s office, knew something about it. (That may very well be true, Mr. Jones. But just so we’re clear, Bush’s last AG, Michael Mukasy, was U.S. Attorney General from 2007-2009. I’m reasonably confident that includes all of 2008.

While the clearest result of the brouhaha emanating from the Epstein fallout is renewed, and rightfully so, heat and light focused on Jeffrey Epstein. Another aspect garnering attention, unwanted, I’m sure, is that there have been numerous calls for Mr. Acosta to resign. I don’t expect him to do so willingly, of course. Moreover, not surprisingly, when Trump spoke on the issue yesterday, one of the few things he said was to offer praise of Acosta. Oh well.

I really am not that guy who believes all Democrats are angels and all Republicans are demons. Each party has its fair share of miscreants. But allow me to be perfectly clear about this one thing. The Fox fixation, and the Trump trend of trying to hang every ill-conceived act by any American on Democrats in general, and on Barack Obama in particular is asinine, and until more Republicans stand up, speak up, and own up to the facile ignorance that undergirds that strategy, their claim to the legacy of Lincoln, and to anything approximating stature as a major political party thought leader is in a word bogus. Jones’ assertion is, on its face (as Republicans like to howl), fake news. As asked and answered in the Title, “When Is The Past Not The Past? When It Didn’t Happen!”

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.

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

https://www.mediaite.com/tv/fox-news-contributor-blames-epstein-plea-deal-on-obama-who-was-not-president-yet/?fbclid=IwAR1BrpcU0XFal7RUl-vfENACY0k096uapO1_e34K3II9lYBz8dsrPT3FR-o

https://youtube.com/watch?v=yJ1FEcXjcdY

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/07/10/when-is-the-past-not-the-past-when-it-didnt-happen/

 

 

Independence Day: Free At Last Redux ’19

It’s time to Break It Down!

Today’s post is a revised reprint of a blog I originally published July 9, 2008, and then subsequently in the July 4, 2012, July 5, 2017, and July 4, 2018 Editions of “Break It Down!” Since tomorrow will be the 4th of July, this redux version is timely. I hope you have a wonderful (243rd) American Independence Day, 2019, and that if you get around to reading it, that you will enjoy this week’s blog.

So as I approached this Fourth of July, as always, I did so with complicated panoply of thoughts, a few of which I will share here. Our great country, and yes, by many measures it is great, strives to be all it can be, at home and abroad. It’s appropriate to note we have been successful on many fronts. On others, we still have work to do. It’s fair to embrace our successes, and necessary to accept our challenges. Doing both is the only way we can reach our true potential.

As an African American, I know that we as a group often find ourselves pulled in divergent directions over how to address this day; perhaps everyday. A hundred sixteen years ago, W.E.B. Du Bois framed it thusly in “The Souls of Black Folk:”

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.  One ever feels his twoness, –an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

I endorse Dr. Du Bois’ views on the subject.

But lest anyone rush to judge Du Bois, he is not alone; he is not even the first to cast a disparaging eye at the relationship between African Americans and the Fourth of July. On July 5, 1852, fifty-one years earlier, Frederick Douglass gave a speech at Corinth Hall, in Rochester, NY, his home. In a passage of that speech, Douglass said:

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

Suffice it to say neither Douglass, nor Du Bois was sold on the notion of the Fourth of July as a pure as the driven snow family friendly holiday. But that is not the sole point of this post.

No, history has given us the gift of some intriguing coincidences, as well as some compelling ironies. In observing both, there are times when, even though I hold him/her in great awe, and with the highest regard, I am convinced God is, if not a confirmed jokester, at the very least, the owner of a genuinely robust sense of humor.

During a number of past holidays, I have addressed ad nauseam, the “principle of incompatibility” that divides holidays from structured endeavors such as reading, studying, and heaven forbid, working. To that end I usually try to ratchet it down a notch or two, or several, during holidays. The fact that today is July 4thAmerica’s official Independence Daymakes that messaging exceedingly apropos. However, the topic is just too vast and complex to give it short shrift. My apologies.

Looking back at Independence Days past, 1826 probably held one of the more noteworthy coincidences.  July 4th, 1826, marked not only the 50th Anniversary of American Independence, but was also the day two of our nation’s Founding FathersJohn Adams and Thomas Jefferson, died. Yes, they died the same day in the same year. Such an occurrence today would almost certainly serve as a catalyst for rumors of a death pact, or worse a homocidal conspiracy.

Adams and Jefferson shared more than joint status as two of the fifty-six co-signers of the Declaration of Independence; they also went on to become the 2nd and 3rd Presidents of the United States, respectively. It is reported that Adams’ last words were, “Jefferson still survives.”

However, unbeknownst to Adams, Jefferson had died earlier that day.

Adams and Jefferson had quite a concurrent history.  Adams was the first to serve as America’s Vice President, he was the first President to live in the executive mansion (known today as the White House), and he was also the first President to be defeated in a re-election bid…by Jefferson, who had served as his Vice President.

Thomas Jefferson went on to become President after defeating Adams, but not without a bit of what we would think of today, as drama. Aaron Burr tied Jefferson with 73 electoral votes.  As a result, the election was sent to the House of Representatives to determine the winner. After 36 ballots (that’s right 36), Jefferson prevailed. In later developments, Burr, who served for a time as Jefferson’s Vice President, killed Alexander Hamilton, who was also a Founding Father, in a duel. Not surprisingly, Burr’s career in politics took a precipitous decline afterward, although he was never convicted of a crime for his role in the incident.

 Burr’s leaving the office meant Jefferson had to secure another Vice President for his second term as President. After 203 years, P-Funk fans still tip their hat to Jefferson, as he selected George Clinton to hold the second chair. (Funk-a-teers and P-Funk Mythology devotees will know what I mean…see George Clinton, musician, and his anthem Atomic Dog, as a point of reference).  I digress!

The virtually concurrent deaths of Adams and Jefferson marked an intriguing Independence Day coincidence of considerable magnitude. July 4, 2008, Independence Day again collaborated with the death of a prominent political figure, this time in what many consider a compellingly ironic twist. Former NorthCarolina Senator Jesse Helms, popularly known as Senator No, a nickname he appeared to relish, died leaving a legacy that will be debated, by supporters and detractors for many years to come.

It is a fact that there are those who consider Helms a patriot. Others have cited his “courage” to stand against the forces of change, on issues ranging from gay rights to trade agreements, to foreign aid. Many of his most notable tirades focused on issues of civil rights and affirmative action, and funding for AIDS research. He was also a leading Senate opponent of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, and he authored and/or approved the infamous, in North Carolina anyway (but highly effective), “white hands” commercial, aired during the first of two Senate campaign battles against former Charlotte Mayor, Harvey Gantt (1990).  For that moment in time at least, Senator No drove the concept of negative campaign advertising to a new and ugly low.

The Honorable Senator No appeared to take great pride in his predictable opposition to progressive ideals, and often needled the media when he felt he had bested their desired interests. He earned the distinction of being North Carolina’s longest serving Senator. That is a noteworthy accomplishment, and cannot be diminished.

However, it must be noted that many of the tributes and editorials that began streaming forth FridayJuly 4, 2008, sanitized the bigotry and raw mean-spiritedness that marked so many of Helms’ political encounters; especially his triumphs. His was a divisive, zero-sum brand of politics that often targeted the historically disenfranchised for more abuse, insult, and exclusion. In that light, it is impossible to deny the essence of irony in the events of Independence Day, 2008. He was a bona fide Tea Party hero, before his time. One can almost envision the spirit of King, after having scaled the mountaintop, uttering that famous three-word phraseFree at Last!

In my solitary reference to him during this post, I cannot wind down this blog without stating the obvious. Helms and some of his tactics were eerily reminiscent of some of those employed by a certain contemporary politician who holds one of the most powerful positions in the world, and whose 5-letter name rhymes with grump. In an effort to embrace the liberating theme of Independence Day, I opted not to promote “name that rhymes with grump” fatigue, or what his sycophants insistently deem, “name that rhymes with grump” Derangement Syndrome, by making this post about him. Indeed, it’s “Independence Day: Free at Last Redux ’19!”

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.

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.

For more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post, consult the links below:

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2018/07/04/independence-day-free-at-last-redux-18/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Adams

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Burr

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Clinton_(vice_president)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Clinton_(funk_musician)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Helms

http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=h000463

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/1995/05/bates.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7490458.stm

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/04/obit.helms/index.html

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1871

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._E._B._Du_Bois

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

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

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

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2927.html

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/07/03/independence-day-free-at-last-redux-19/

 

 

Next: Mr. Mueller Goes To Congress

It’s time to Break It Down! 

Democrats will introduce the first two of their winnowing debates tonight and tomorrow night, conservative media are savaging the contenders in advance of the onset of formalities, a GOP Congressman, Duncan Hunter, CA, is alleged to have used campaign funds to pay for extramarital affairs with lobbyists and staff, while another woman has accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. Most any day of most any week, any one of those stories could vie for news-of-the-day status. But not today!

In last night’s breaking news, word emerged that Robert Mueller, by virtue of a subpoena, has reached terms to testify before two House Congressional Committees on July 17th. By my reckoning, that is today’s top news story.

It’s true it’s unlikely to go over well at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC. And over in the Senate Chamber where Mitch McConnell has, on behalf of his GOP Majority, already dismissed any interest whatsoever in talking to Mueller, the action will likely be met by a shrug and a yawn.

Elsewhere though…last night, the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees released an announcement that the special counsel will appear and answer questions in public for the first time since he initiated the 22-month investigation that culminated in the Mueller Report. The vast majority of Americans have not read the 448-page report, even in the redacted format. Now it appears we will get to hear Mueller himself answer questions about the probe. In a joint statement issued by House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, the two said:

“Americans have demanded to hear directly from the Special Counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack.”

Congressman Schiff added, the two committees will question Mueller separately, and that the Intelligence Committee will question Mueller’s staff in closed session afterward. It is fair to say Mueller’s testimony is highly anticipated. While the staff will testify in closed session, it is equally assured that a read out of their testimony is also feedback millions of Americans are looking forward to hearing.

Democrats, the Justice Department, and Mueller’s team spent weeks negotiating before resorting to issuing the subpoenas. They attempted to persuade him to testify voluntarily. When those efforts failed, they played the subpoena card.

I’ve long held the position that Trump is ours (the American people’s) until he’d not, as in, until he is unelected, or until he has served two terms, whichever comes first. I simply do not view impeachment (Senate conviction) as the means by which Trump will exit office. Who knows? I’ve been wrong before. MeanwhileNext: Mr. Mueller Goes To Congress!”

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.

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

https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/25/politics/robert-mueller-will-testify/index.html

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/06/26/next-mr-mueller-goes-to-congress/

 

 

Oh Canada: Raptors Win NBA Title

It’s time to Break It Down!

In what would have seemed an improbable turn of events at the start of the NBA Season last October, the Toronto Raptors were the last team standing a week ago Monday night. The Canadian based franchise became the first team outside the United States to win an NBA Title. In another first, the Raptors also became the first team to win three road games on the way to the Title.

Last Summer Kawhi Leonard, a former NBA Finals MVP ditched the San Antonio Spurs for the Raptors. Leonard played only 9 games last season. He spent, for all practical purposes, the entire season out due to injury. He and the Spurs’ management and medical staff were at odds all year. His reputation took a major hit…with teammates, Spurs management, fans, and undoubtedly, a number of other NBA teams.

At the end of a contentious year, Leonard forced a trade, which ended up packaging he and Danny Green to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected 2019 first-round pick. At that point there was a fair amount of speculation that Kawhi was at least a borderline malcontent who simply no longer wanted to play in San Antonio, and who may just be biding time in Toronto until an opportunity for him to sign a max contract with another team presented itself. While it’s still uncertain whether Leonard will return to Toronto next year, the malcontent issue appears to have been debunked.

Another year, another Title, and another Finals MVP. A lot has changed. Lest there have been any doubt, Kawhi established again, that he is one of the best among the League’s elite players. Detractors will note that the Raptors bested a depleted Warriors squad, one that saw Kevin Durant make only a token appearance, that saw Klay Thompson falter and go down in the deciding game, that included Andre Iguodala missing time due to injury, and with DeMarcus Cousins playing as a shell of his former self. All that is true, but shed no tears for the 2019 Warriors. A number of teams thought to be destined for NBA Titles have been undone by the fate of the injury gods, including Pistons, Lakers, Cavaliers, and even the Warriors. The season is long and injuries happen. The Warriors stocked their roster with a collection of the best players money could buy. When at full capacity, they could start Cousins, Green, Thompson, Durant, and Curry, or 5 All-Stars. That’s happened on 5 times before this season. That it didn’t work out in the end is surely not the Raptor fault. Neither is it their concern.

In the end, the best team won. Not the best collection of players, or the best team, if everyone had been available, but the best team over the 6-game duration of the 2019 NBA Finals. Conventional wisdom holds that the Western Conference is tougher than the Eastern Conference. Perhaps that’s true. But the Raptors not only swept the Warriors during the Regular Season, they finished with a better record, second only to the Milwaukee Bucks, whom they bested in the Eastern Conference Finals, winning 4 straight games after falling into an 0-2 deficit.

Having a better record than the Warriors meant the Raptors had the home court advantage in the Finals. After splitting games in Toronto to open the series, the Raptors won all 3 games at Oracle Arena (losing one more at home), not just ending the home team’s bid for a Three-peat, but closing Oracle for good with one final loss. The Warriors open a new state-of-the-art facility, the $1.4 billion Chase Center across the bay on (the Mission Bay area of) the San Francisco Waterfront.

Congratulations to the 2019 NBA Champs”Oh Canada: Raptors Win NBA Title!”

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.

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

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nba-finals-2019-toronto-raptors-win-game-6-first-nba-title-in-history-today-live-updates-2019-06-13/

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/24128461/toronto-raptors-agree-deal-acquire-kawhi-leonard-trade-involves-demar-derozan

https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/warriors-reveal-updated-logo-for-next-season-as-they-relocate-from-oakland-to-new-san-francisco-arena/

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

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/06/19/oh-canada-raptors-win-nba-title/

 

It Has Taken Far Too Long: Alas, The Media Is Coming Around

It’s time to Break It Down!

It has been 873 days since Donald Trump assumed office. While conventional wisdom often suggests that time flies, for me at least, this factoid is impenetrably etched in another arc of the time and space continuum. It seems like it has been much longer. But that’s really beside the point. Please excuse my digression.

In the ensuing 125 weeks and five days, I have published 125 blog posts. Of those posts, in 10 of them, I have delved pointedly into the frequency, which third party evaluators have deemed Donald Trump to have uttered or written misleading, false, or downright patent untruths. Fact checkers at PolitiFact, the New York Times, and the Washington Post have recently indicated that Mr. Trump is closing in on 11,000 false or misleading statements, pegging the number at north of 10,800, and counting.

I have on a number of occasions pointed out in wonderment that the Fourth Estate has appeared to be reluctant to directly refer to these departures from truth as lies. I understand, somewhat, the deference, which at least in part accrues to the Office, not the man. Still it seems to me, there must be a point of no return, a breaking point, a point at which the masses and the media must simply face the absolute undeniable fact that, frequently, Trump makes statements that are not only not made jokingly, they are not alternative, nor any other kind of facts. They are, for lack of a more polite term, lies.

A week ago, a Paul Farhi article entitled, “Lies: The News Media is Starting to Describe Trump’s Falsehoods That Way,” appeared in the Washington Post. In the disquisition Farhi opined that it is all but official. The president of the United States, AKA Donald J. Trump, is a liar. For anyone who chafed at the erstwhile inexplicable reluctance, the Office notwithstanding, of media types to characterize the repeated, frequent, and by all discernible accounts, intentional statement and/or writing of the provably untrue as, well, lies, this has be akin to the point at which one stops “waiting” to exhale.

To underscore his point, Mr. Farhi provided several recent examples of various media entities finding their (for too long silent) voice:

–CNN: “The Mueller report: A catalog of 77 Trump team lies and falsehoods.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune: “President Trump lies to troops about pay raise.”

Financial Times: “The real reason Donald Trump lies.”

Los Angeles Times: “Mueller report exposes all the president’s liars.”

Chicago Tribune: “Why are Trump’s lies not ruinous to him? Because truth can be in the eye of the beholder.”

The New Yorker: “It’s True: Trump Is Lying More, and He’s Doing It on Purpose.”

Foreign Policy: “Does It Matter That Trump Is a Liar?”

It hasn’t been that long since questions about Trump’s assertions were tested in a realm where he was routinely given the benefit of the doubt. The prevailing logic went something like this: “Could a Presidential statement, no matter how blatantly false, be deemed a lie, since by definition, the word implies awareness of falsity and intent to deceive?” To wit, how can journalists know what’s in Trump’s mind, even when he repeatedly says transparently untrue things, such as, “the wall is under construction right now,” on the Southern Border with Mexico, or that the United States pays “a disproportionate share” of the cost of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)?

The dictionary definition of lie still renders some media organizations unwilling to apply it to Donald Trump. FactCheck.org hasn’t used the term in 10 years, according to its Director, Eugene Kiely. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker column, despite having documented more than 10K false or misleading claims, has used the term just one time.

Glenn Kessler, the Post’s Fact Checker editor and chief writer notes that it’s impossible to get in Trump’s head, and the situational nature of his statement may mean he actually believes what he’s saying. That said, he concedes the sheer volume of Trump’s false and misleading statements may have caused some journalists to cease and desist with the benefit of the doubt trope.

For his part, Kessler used the apparently powerful three letter word last year to describe Trump’s denials about paying hush money to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election, given that an audio recording and other evidence clearly showed Trump spoke falsely.

The Post published the story under the headline, “Not just misleading. Not merely false. A lie.” The story appeared on Page 1 of the paper.

Last year, propelled by what may be considered Trump’s insouciant disregard for truth-telling, the Fact Checker created the Bottomless Pinocchio, a new category of falsehoods that have been repeated so often, “that there can be no question the politician is aware his or her facts are wrong.”

Among the first and most prominent entities to adopt the use of the L-word were the New York Times (NYT) and the Associated Press (AP). Both festooned Trump’s Birtherism claims with a Scarlett L. After his inauguration, the NYT also stamped Trump’s claim, that he would have won the popular vote had it not been for voter fraud, with an L. The headline: Trump Won’t Back Down from His Voting Fraud Lie. Here Are the Facts.”

Daniel Dale, who joined CNN last week on the fact checker beat, former Washington bureau chief for the Toronto Star, was one of the first mainstream journalists to systematically brand Trump’s comments as lies. He began compiling a database in 2015 and started counting the false statements the following year.

He deploys the word “lie” often and unabashedly refers to Trump as a “serial liar.” Speaking on the subject, Dale said:

“I think both are objectively true. It isn’t a departure from objective journalism to use these words. Why should objective journalism mean we have to dance around the obvious, objective truth? If we’re going to get readers to trust us, we have to be straight with them.”

Dale notes that he uses the term lie more frequently when Trump repeats a false claim multiple times. He elaborated:

“Perhaps the first couple [of instances] were confusion. But after dozens, and sometimes hundreds of instances, I think the active disregard for accuracy is sufficient grounds for calling the statement a lie.”

At the end of the day, Dale believes the terminology is less important than calling out the statements as wrong and inaccurate. “To not do so means news stories and segments are being completed without the public being informed the president made 10 or 15 or 35 false statements in one covered speech.”

Angie Drobnic Holan, the editor of PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checking organization, agrees. She added:

“It’s much more important to point out why Trump is wrong, and show the evidence.”

PolitiFact doesn’t use the word lie explicitly. However, its most extreme rating – “Pants on Fire” – certainly implies it. It also awards a “Lie of the Year Award. Not coincidentally, it has given the award to Trump three times in the past four years.

Holan and Dale view the issue differently. Holan is concerned that the public is being pummeled with headlines that suggest they are being lied to, which may breed cynicism. Dale counters her concern with the observation that “if someone committed 100 felonies, we don’t report that he committed 2 felonies and 98 nonlegal activities. We just say it was 100 felonies. Trump lies all the time. If we’re only going to point out some of them, he wins with the other ones.”

On balance, though I think Ms. Holan means well, I fully and resolutely believe Mr. Dale is absolutely correct, both in his actions, and in his underlying reasoning. It Has Taken Far Too Long: Alas, The Media Is Coming Around!”

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.

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

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/05/01/it-was-only-a-matter-of-time-45-eclipses-the-10k-milestone/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2018/06/06/trump-by-the-numbers-the-lies-false-statements-and-misrepresentations-though/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2018/03/28/fake-news-oops-just-make-that-news/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2018/02/21/witch-hunt-hoax-fake-news-phony-scam-notanymore/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2017/12/13/the-twitter-king-fake-it-til-you-make-it/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2017/10/11/trumpworld-you-just-cannot-make-this-shizzle-up/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2017/08/16/he-is-who-we-thought-he-was-end-of-story/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2017/07/26/fantasies-fiction-and-falsehoods-thats-the-real-fake-news/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2017/05/24/the-long-arc-of-the-moral-universe-is-that-karma-im-seeing/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2017/03/22/the-30th-white-house-press-secretary-when-spinning-spun-out-of-control/

https://www.timetemperature.com/date-tools/days-between-two-dates.php?timestamp=75423600&sd=20&sm=01&sy=2017&ed=12&em=06&ey=2019

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/06/12/it-has-taken-far-too-long-alas-the-media-is-coming-around/

And Another One: White House Orders Former Staffers Not To Cooperate With Congress

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday, the White House again directed former employees to ignore Congressional subpoenas and not provide documents to the House Judiciary Committee. In this latest of instances, it instructed Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson to refuse to comply by not providing information the Committee had requested.

Donald Trump has pledged to contest, defy, and or fight any efforts by the Democratically controlled House to get information from individuals who currently serve the White House, or who formerly worked for him. He has issued a blanket assessment that such subpoenas amount to what he deems presidential harassment.

His supporters continue to argue he has a point, and, of course, they accept his reasoning. Democrats have launched a variety of probes, including into his taxes, his finances, and into his administration.

This post could take up numerous pages, and address various individuals who’ve already been precluded from openly sharing with a duly elected co-equal branch of government, information that it has every right to collect. It could. But it won’t. In fact, I will close with the most basic of questions.

If, as Trump suggests, and as his backers concur, there is no there, there, what does Donald Trump have to hide?

As the talk radio phrase goes, I’ll hang up and listen! “And Another One: “White House Orders Former Staffers Not To Cooperate With Congress!”

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.

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

https://time.com/5600692/hope-hicks-house-subpoena/

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/white-house-orders-hope-hicks-former-aide-to-defy-subpoena

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/white-house-directs-hope-hicks-annie-donaldson-withhold-documents-house-n1013666

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/06/05/and-another-one-white-house-orders-former-staffers-not-to-cooperate-with-congress/