Obama Plays the Inexperience Card Redux ’19

It’s time to Break It Down!

Posted on August 21, 2019

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

HAPPY 12th ANNIVERSARY “BREAK IT DOWN!”

Today, in acknowledgement of the 12th anniversary of “Break It Down,” As I have done occasionally in the past, I am revisiting my inaugural blog post.

Tempus fugit (Time Flies)!  Yesterday 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 633 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.

’06!

Posted on Mon, Aug. 20, 2007

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

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS DEBATE IN IOWA

Obama posits virtue of inexperience

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

MIKE GLOVER

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 wire tapping 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 ’19!” 

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find 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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/27/news/economy/senate-skinny-repeal-health-care/index.html

http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/nationworld/report/062717_scotus_travel_ban/trump-gets-partial-win-from-supreme-court-stalled-travel-ban/

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/top-us-general-promises-military-transgender-policy-now/story?id=48885302

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-on-charlottesville-i-think-theres-blame-on-both-sides/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/04/politics/trump-obama-wiretap-tweet/index.html

http://people.com/politics/donald-trump-covfefe-tweet/

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/08/17/trump-tweets-general-pershing-bullets-pigs-blood-sot-nr.cnn

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/08/21/obama-plays-the-inexperience-card-redux-19/

 

 

Racism: The Source of So Much Angst and Faux Indignation

It’s time to Break It Down!

This is a really short post. In part because nearly everything that can be said about the subject has already been stated or written, ad infinitum, and in part because, for today anyway, as Shakespeare’s Polonius said in Hamlet, “brevity is the soul of wit.”

Being called racist seems to infuriate Trump and his supporters. Perhaps more so than any other appellation, they hate it. At least they say they do. Much has been written, and at least an equal or greater amount said about this matter. The thing is, it’s all a sham, a straw man, if you will. As 2020 approaches, there is a good chance racist will displace deplorable as the term which Trump supporters, surrogates, and sycophants most feign umbrage over being called.

They have developed memes and social media posts, along with a wide array of defenses and other means of pushing back. When it comes to this topic, they have elevated affecting wounded bird syndrome due to the cognomen to an art form. Here’s the thing. In my humble opinion there is a supremely simple solution.

Do not say, do not do, do not tweet, do not defend, do not rationalize, do not ignore, and oh yeah, do not retweet racist things. There’s one more. If perchance, you slip up, or flat out fail at one or more of the aforementioned do not do’s, do not deflect and accuse others of being racist for calling you out for your transgression.

Follow those clear, concise and direct instructions, and I am 100% certain the incidences of people employing the r-word to describe you, or your favorite elected official will quickly, and I might add, not mysteriously, decline to zero. Boom! “Racism: The Source of So Much Angst and Faux Indignation!”

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.

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/08/14/racism-the-source-of-so-much-angst-and-faux-indignation/

 

A Weekend in Chiraq: Mourning In America

It’s time to Break It Down!

Chicago has many nicknames. Chi-town. The Windy City. Second City. City of the Big Shoulders…and a number of others make the list as well. One that has emerged in the last decade or so that most Chicagoans are loath to embrace is Chiraq.

Just as the name connotes, Chiraq, a sobriquet given to what is now America’s third largest city, Chicago, was invoked because there are more murders and violence occurring Chicago than in the war in Iraq (and Afghanistan) during the height of the conflicts. A number of observers claim walking the streets of Chicago is like walking in Iraq with all the murders, robbery, gangbangs, and other acts of violence.

Those of us even remotely aware of national news reports know of the mass shootings that took place in El Paso and Dayton, yes Dayton, not Toledo, Mr. Trump, over the weekend. The shootings commanded the headlines and news cycles, and they should have been highlighted. Both communities are set to receive visits from Donald Trump this week. That alone will ensure that the coverage will continue for days to come.

There is a discussion that is ripe to be had on these violent displays that pop off periodically across America. Chances are, before too much time has elapsed, we’ll move on, not because we have forgotten the mourning and disconsolate families in Texas and Ohio, but because another episode will have jumped off somewhere else.

But for just a few minutes, I’m going to focus on Chiraq. This weekend, in Chicago, seven people were killed, and 53 others were injured, due to having been shot. According to ABC 7 Chicago, the carnage was comprised of several shootings, accounting for the dead and wounded. So why do I choose to shift the focus when El Paso and Dayton are already being analyzed?

It’s simple. First, Chicago labors under a steady barrage of shootings, and worse, killings. Second, the vast majority of those shot and/or killed in Chiraq’s mean streets are black. Third, and last, the scourge of gun violence has wracked Chicagoland for years.

Last week Mr. Trump attacked the City of Baltimore, as among other things, worse than the Southern Border, and a disgusting place where no human being would want to live. No indication he offered to extend any energy to correct the problems, although four years ago, when he was running for office, he suggested he was just the elixir the city needed:

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

@Vanderpunked

: Can we drop

@realDonaldTrump

off in the middle of #Baltimoreso he can show Obama how it’s done?” I would fix it fast!

7:31 AM · Apr 28, 2015

What a difference four years makes! But I digress. Back to Chiraq. Last October, Trump directed the Justice Department to work with law enforcement in Chicago to “straighten out the terrible shooting wave” in the city. I’m not sure exactly what steps “all the president’s men” have taken to counter the violence, but, if this pass weekend, like many that preceded it, is any indication, there is still a fair amount of work to do. Selah!

The chaotic state of life in Chicago’s black and poor communities is borne of the fundamental breakdown of systems, including the family unit, basic law & drug enforcement, access to guns, and local politics. While some of the same elements plague other communities, it’s fair to say Chiraq has been roiled by a relentless perfect storm. So far in 2019, more than 1,500 people have reported having been shot.

Most conversations about gun violence in Chicago start with the observation that Chicago, as well as Illinois have stringent gun laws. However, gang warfare, accessing firearms for jurisdictions outside the city and state, and acquiring firearms illegally all contribute to the pervasiveness of gunplay in Chicago.

What can turn around the injurious prevalence of Chicago shootings and the resulting death spiral?

Let’s be clear, there is no silver bullet. Pun intended.

Donald Trump will not wave a wand and make it disappear. Neither will local or state politicians. However, it is conceivable that if all levels of government, federal, state, and local, collaborate in crafting a Marshall Plan, complete with research and funding for executing the findings and recommendations, a solution can be found. Rhetoric is not the answer. Contentious bickering is not the cure. Partisan rancor does not hold the solution. However, here’s a thought. The President of the United States, who, incidentally, is president of all the states, cities, and towns…and all the people in them, should actually be engaged in promoting a collaborative initiative rather than posting sketchy tweets tearing down communities where he thinks none of his supporters reside.

So tomorrow, feel free to return your attention to the national news. But today, take a moment to reflect on the seemingly never-ending stream of tears shed by ChicagoansA Weekend in Chiraq: Mourning in America.”

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://dailycaller.com/2019/08/05/chicago-weekend-shootings/

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/593014648644964353

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/08/07/a-weekend-in-chiraq-mourning-in-america/

 

Trump’s Rhetorical War on Baltimore: Trump Being Trump

It’s time to Break It Down!

The hue and cry that I frequently hear from the Right is…it can’t be disparaging, or racist, or intemperate…if it’s true. Unfortunately, while that may make for a good talking point, sound bite, or platitude, it’s simply inaccurate. Case in point; let’s take B’more and Donald Trump’s recent tweet screed against Elijah Cummings and his district, which includes parts of Baltimore.

Representative Cumming’s district encompasses some impoverished areas, but also contains some fairly well to do areas and communities, and some rural spaces. In fact, as a whole, the district has a median income above the national average. So, while Mr. Cumming’s district, like most urban centers, has areas where rats are a problem, and spaces where that’s simply not the case. Trump’s broadside stereotyping quite clearing paints a false narrative.

Is it racist? His defenders will argue that it’s not. But then again, his defenders try mightily to preempt any assertion that Trump ever crosses and winds up on the wrong side of any blurred line, be that line one of ethics, truthfulness, lying, racism, or a whole host of other miscarriages of reasonable behavior.

A number of conservatives contend that racism is simply a term Democrats/liberals use when their argument fails, or they run out of ideas. As best I can determine, they reserve characterizing behavior as racist to those Democrats who birthed the Ku Klux Klan in 1865, and to those who joined and participated in later years, such as the late Robert Byrd.

I could cite chapter and verse a laundry list of things Trump has done, dating back to 1973, when Nixon’s Justice Department (yes, he of the infamous Southern Strategy) sued Trump and his father, alleging that African-Americans and Puerto Ricans were systematically excluded from renting their apartments. While the Trumps were able to settle the suit with a consent agreement, they were required to institute a series of safeguards to ensure their apartments were rented without regard to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Back to Baltimore: As I have previously noted, from time to time I see a single story that incorporates virtually all the elements that I want to make my focus. Today is one of those instances. Monday, the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board published a piece that presented a litany of salient facts about the racist, yes racist history that contributed to the pathology of Baltimore’s contemporary blight. With the heading, “Cummings didn’t cause Baltimore’s woes; it was people who profited from racism. Sound familiar, Mr. Trump?,” you can probably glean the gist narrative. Aside from explaining how those folks who assign false motives to people who call out racism when it rears its ugly head, the editorial drops some serious Baltimore History (which closely parallels much of American History) for those with short memories, and/or a perverse inclination toward Trumpslaining. It also makes a not so glowing reference to Jared Kushner and his Company’s (some infested with rodents, mould, and maggots) Baltimore apartments, as well as his overarching role in the current day Baltimore problem. Read it at your leisure. (https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-cummings-trump-tweets-20190729-ox4zodziazfsvef7qdiqx3wcza-story.html). And, as you do, remember, this is #45’s pathway to #MAGA”Trump’s Rhetorical War on Baltimore: Trump Being Trump!”

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.baltimoresun.com/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-cummings-trump-tweets-20190729-ox4zodziazfsvef7qdiqx3wcza-story.html

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/baltimore-sun-defends-elijah-cummings-in-scathing-editorial-comparing-trump-to-vermin/

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-07-29/trump-s-baltimore-elijah-cummings-racism-is-fine-with-republicans

https://news.yahoo.com/jared-kushner-owns-baltimore-apartments-091129985.html;_ylt=AwrEg6dRGkFdhigA8gAPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTBydDI5cXVuBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwM2BHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/07/31/trumps-rhetorical-war-on-baltimore-trump-being-trump/

 

 

What Time Is It? It’s Mueller Time!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Long awaited, and at least once delayed, today is D-Day for Robert Mueller’s hearings before the House of Representatives’ House Intelligence Committee and House Judiciary Committee. Millions of Americans will tune in to their favorite viewing platform to listen for the juiciest details. At the same time, millions of others will be totally oblivious to the next episode of As The Political World Turns. Perhaps, even more important, you can rest assured that of those who do watch, the vast majority of them have already made up their minds.

By one estimate, only 3% of the American people have read the Mueller Report. Of the remaining 97%, it’s fair to say, most have a fully formed, though insufficiently informed opinion. Tomorrow’s hearings is unlikely to alter the trajectory of that calculus.

The President of the United States maintains the Mueller investigation was a Democratic-led witch-hunt led by angry partisans, whose primary mission was presidential harassment. The Attorney general of the United States assures us the Report found no collusion. The President’s closing argument claims he was exonerated by the Mueller Report’s findings.

The Report, by most accounts is a dense document; 448 pages long. At this point, several months after the Report was released, not only have the vast majority of Americans not read the document, neither have most members of the U.S. Congress. As the hearing approaches this morning, it’s safe to presume most of the members on the two committees referenced above have read the report, if for no other reason, to ensure that they (both sides) can adroitly navigate the document with pointedly appropriate questions.

This post is not intended to shape opinion, and is certainly not designed to change minds. Rather it is to stake out a few facts for your consideration. What you choose to do with them is up to you.

With the rest of this missive, I will leave you with 10 instances the Mueller Report cited as evidence of Donald Trump potentially obstructing justice. They are enumerated herewith:

  1. Pressured Comey to end the probe of Michael Flynn. (“I hope you can see your way to letting this go.”)
  2. Trump’s reaction to the continuing investigation. (Trump telling White House Counsel Don McGahn to stop then Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia Investigation; Trump’s subsequent anger at Sessions, and Trump’s contacting Comey and other Intelligence agency leaders to ask them to push back publicly on the suggestion that he had any connection to the Russian election interference effort.)
  3. Firing of Comey and aftermath (Mueller’s Report says “substantial evidence” indicates Trump’s decision to fire Comey in May 2017 was the result of the FBI Director’s unwillingness to say publicly that Trump was not under investigation. On the day after Trump fired Comey, he told Russian officials that he had “faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s off now.”)
  4. Appointment of Special Counsel and efforts to remove him. (Trump reacted to news of Mueller’s appointment by telling advisers that it was “the end of his presidency.” Trump told aides that Mueller had conflicts of interest and should have to step aside. His aides told him his asserted conflicts were meritless. Following media reports that Mueller’s team was investigating whether Trump had obstructed justice; Trump called then White House Counsel McGahn at home and directed him to have Mueller removed. McGahn refused.)
  5. Further efforts to curtail the Special Counsel’s investigation. (Trump instructed former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to have Sessions publicly announce that, notwithstanding his recusal from the Russia investigation, the investigation was very unfair to Trump, that Trump had done nothing wrong, and Sessions planned to meet with Mueller to limit him to investigating election meddling for future elections.)
  6. Efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence. (In the summer of 2017, Trump learned that the news media planned to report on the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between senior campaign officials and Russians offering derogatory information about Hillary Clinton. Trump directed aides not to publicly disclose the emails setting up the meeting. Before the emails became public, Trump also edited a press statement for Don, Jr. by deleting a line that acknowledged that the meeting was “with an individual who (Don, Jr.) was told might have information helpful to the campaign.”)
  7. Additional efforts to have Sessions take control of the investigation. (At several points between July 2017 and December 2017, Trump tried to get Sessions to declare that he was no longer recused from the Russia investigation and would assert control over it. The report says there’s evidence that one purpose of asking Sessions to step in was so that the Attorney General would restrict the investigation’s scope.)
  8. Trump orders White House Counsel to deny that he’d tried to fire Mueller. (In an Oval Office Meeting in 2018, Trump told McGahn to “correct” a New York Times story that reported that Trump had earlier instructed McGahn to fire Mueller. Trump also asked why McGahn had told Mueller’s investigators about the directive to remove Mueller. McGahn told Trump he had to tell the truth.)
  9. Trump’s actions toward Flynn, Manafort and other possible witnesses. (Mueller looked at whether Trump’s sympathetic messages to Flynn, former campaign manager Paul Manafort and others were intended to limit their cooperation with Mueller’s investigation. When Flynn began cooperating with prosecutors, Trump passed word through his lawyer that he still had warm feelings for Flynn, and asked for a “heads up” if Flynn knew of information implicating Trump. Trump praised Manafort during and after his criminal convictions, and refused to rule out a pardon for his former campaign chairman.)
  10. Trump’s actions toward Michael Cohen. (Mueller noted that Trump’s actions toward Cohen, a former Trump Organization executive, changed from praise to castigation after Cohen began cooperating with prosecutors. The evidence could “support an inference that Trump used inducements in the form of positive messages in an effort to get Cohen not to cooperate, and then turned to attacks and intimidation to deter” cooperation and undermine Cohen’s credibility, Mueller wrote.)

All indications are during the course of today’s hearing, Democrats will endeavor to engineer responses to questions of Mueller that deepen the public’s knowledge and understanding of the extent to which Trump may have obstructed justice, while Republicans will make every effort to paint Mueller, and his entire investigative team as tainted, while also attempting to inject a host of other narratives that embellish Trump, and diminish Mueller.

If you take nothing else from the Report, which Trump touted as exonerating a few months ago, but now disparages, take time to allow the 10 items above to simmer and percolate. As you watch the hearings, if you watch the hearings, recall that the Report, contrary to Trump’s boisterous and frequently made claim, simply does not validate his assertion of exoneration. “What Time Is It? It’s Mueller Time!”

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://apnews.com/e0d125d737be4a21a81bec3d9f1dffd8

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/18/mueller-report-transcript-trump-obstruction-justice-1281245

https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/439517-here-are-the-10-episodes-mueller-probed-for-potential-obstruction-by

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/4/18/18484947/mueller-report-obstruction-of-justice-summary

https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2019-04-18/the-10-instances-of-possible-obstruction-in-mueller-report

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/07/24/what-time-is-it-its-mueller-time/

 

 

 

 

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/