Trump’s Taxes: Dems Not Up To The Challenge

It’s time to Break It Down!

So says White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, in and interview with “Fox News Sunday” host, Chris Wallace. In a next up sort of way, Sanders trotted out a new rationale for why Democrats in the House of Representatives, as Acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney said, will never see Trump’s taxes. When asked by Fox News if Democrats’ efforts to obtain Trump’s tax returns would succeed, Mulvaney said:

“No, never. Nor should they.” He added: “Democrats are demanding that the IRS turn over the documents. That is not going to happen, and they know it. This is a political stunt.”

Trump has a proverbial phalanx of support aiding in shielding his taxes from the sunlight of public, or even Congressional scrutiny. Rep. Richard Neal, D-MA sent the IRS a formal request, asking for six years of Mr. Trump’s tax returns. He asserted, in his role as Chair of the Joint Committee on Taxation, that the committee “has a responsibility to conduct oversight of our voluntary Federal tax system and determine how Americans — including those elected to our highest office — are complying with those laws.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who oversees the IRS, weighed in, writing in a letter, “The Committee’s request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of Congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative purpose, and the constitutional rights of American citizens.”

Ms. Sanders’ retort was yet another shot across the bow, warning Democrats that the GOP apparatus is fully on board in circling the wagons to prevent the release of Trump’s taxes. Her direct broadside attack on Democrats’ intellectual capacity is yet another indication she is comfortable parroting her boss’ attacking style. She first referred to Democrats’ requests for Trump’s tax returns as “a disgusting overreach,” and warned that they are headed down “a dangerous road.”

It was after that less than subtle dig that she went into full-throated Trump mode. She added:

“I don’t think Congress, particularly not this group of congressmen and women, are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume that President Trump’s taxes will be.

My guess is most of them don’t do their own taxes and I certainly don’t trust them to look through the decades of success that the president has and determine anything.”

It is all but certain Trump smiled as he watched her performance (And you know he watched; if not live, as soon as he returned to his TV screen from the links. It was Sunday, after all). He may even have added that she delivered the lines…just as he would have, or possibly, as he instructed her to do. Moreover, beyond Trump’s obvious delight, Ms. Sanders was apparently proud in her own right. She later reprised the moment in tweet:

“Democrats in Congress aren’t smart enough to understand the President’s tax returns and probably don’t even understand how to do their own…”

Not surprisingly, there were a number of responses to Ms. Sanders snarky commentary, including noting that there are a minimum of 10 accountants currently in Congress, at least three of whom are Democrats…not that Sanders specifically cited Democrats as being the tax-inept lightweights. But you just know that’s what she meant. After all, who’s asking for the tax returns?

As noted above, in framing his request, Chairman Neal asked for six years of Trump’s Tax returns. He cited a law that says the Treasury Department “shall furnish” the committee with “any return or return information” upon request. At this point it’s safe to say the two sides are dug in. The House Democrats are sure to keeping coming after Trump’s taxes, and Team Trump is certain to install every obstacle imaginable to keep Democrats from obtaining them. The matter appears headed to court where Trump is betting his stable of appointees will tilt the ultimate decision in his favor, and save him from the revelation all Democrats, and a majority od Americans think is warranted. In addition to the fact that process is likely to take years, if indeed, it turns out that way, then as much as it sucks, Sanders, and her Knight, will have won the dayTrump’s Taxes: Dems Not Up To The Challenge!”

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.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/democrats-aren-t-smart-enough-read-trump-s-tax-returns-n994291

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

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/04/15/sarah-sanders-doubts-congress-smart-enough-understand-trump-taxes/3470822002/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trumps-taxes-steve-mnuchin-calls-democrats-request-for-the-presidents-tax-returns-unprecedented/

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/mulvaney-vows-democrats-will-never-see-trumps-tax-returns-2019-04-07

https://news.yahoo.com/chief-staff-says-dems-never-see-trump-tax-133000338–politics.html;_ylt=AwrCwPM5iLZcdkgADhYPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTBydDI5cXVuBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwM2BHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/04/17/trumps-taxes-dems-not-up-to-the-challenge/

From Outhouse To Penthouse: Hoos Win!

It’s time to Break It Down!

OK, it’s Wednesday, April 10th and the CIAA, ACC, and NCAA Basketball Tournaments are history. But before I turn the page, I’ve got a few final observations to make about the NCAA Final Four.

First, to the University of Virginia Cavaliers, their students, alumni and fans, Final Four Most Outstanding Player, Kyle Guy, and Coach Tony Bennett, congratulations on winning the 2019 NCAA College Basketball Division-I Championship! All praise coming your way for this signal achievement is richly deserved. Moreover, your 85-77 victory in the Title Game stands as an Instant Classic.

From the agony of being the first #1 Seed to be ousted by the University of Maryland Baltimore County (affectionately known as UMBC), a lowly #16 Seed last year, Virginia completed the ultimate NCAA college hoops comeback by being the last team standing, triumphantly so, when the confetti settled and the speakers in the makeshift US Bank (Stadium) Arena blared the 2019 edition of “One Shining Moment.”

A year ago at about this time, I decided since I’d never attended a Men’s Final Four, I would enter the ticket lottery and roll the dice. When I received confirmation last June that I’d scored two tickets, my wife and I were set. The only question remaining was whether my beloved Tar Heels would be accompanying us.

Alas, despite the regular season hype, and the early Tournament anticipation of an ACC/Tobacco Road cataclysmic Battle of the Titans between Duke, and North Carolina, the Heels made it only as far as the Sweet 16, where their hopes and dreams were dashed on a Friday Night in Kansas City by a sizzling hot Auburn squad that dismantled and dismissed them handily in what would become their own run to the Final Four.

As it turned out, erstwhile devastating Duke would have its own issues. First, they escaped a last second tip in attempt as Krzyzewski protégé Johnny Dawkins’ University of Central Florida fought valiantly, but lost by a point, as the Blue Devils advanced to the Sweet 16. Then, in an ACC family affair, Duke faced Virginia Tech for the third time, after having split during the regular season. Duke won the rubber match, and advanced, but only after VA Tech missed its own tip in at the buzzer for a chance to send the game into overtime. However, as we know, a win, is a win, is a win.

After having demonstrated Houdini-like resilience in two successive games, I made myself comfortable with the notion that Zion and Company were fated, and poised to claim the Title. However, the Spartans of Michigan State University had other ideas, and ultimately, would have their say in the matter. In their third nail-biter in a row, College Basketball’s 2018-19 version of The Greatest Show on Earth faltered, as MSU prevailed, winning by a single point in their Elite 8 contest. So much for a Duke-Carolina Title tilt!

Moving ahead, this year’s setting for the Final Four was US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The successful quartet included Auburn University (Charles Barkley), Michigan State University (Magic Johnson), Texas Tech University (Patrick Mahomes), and the University of Virginia (Ralph Sampson). Yeah, I know Mahomes is a football player, but here is where I confess I don’t know any prominent Texas Tech alums who made their mark in the NBA. Besides, those four guys were actually at the Final Four.

Speaking of the NBA, while in the Twin Cities, we also took in two Timberwolves games at the Target Center. Saw them play the Miami Heat (Dwayne Wade’s last Minneapolis appearance as an NBA player) Friday night, and the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday afternoon. The T-wolves bested the Heat, but fell to the Thunder. In total, we saw 5 games ( 3 college and 2 NBA) in 4 days. We did all this, and still managed to escape Minneapolis-St. Paul ahead of a projected snow storm that could deliver up to 12-inches of frozen precipitation to the area.

Back at US Bank, two of the four teams, Auburn and Texas Tech, had never advanced to a Final Four. A third, Virginia, had never made it to the Title Game. Of the four, only the Spartans of Michigan State had previously appeared in and/or won a Title Game. The Spartans claimed the Trophy in 1979, in the famous Magic-Bird match-up, and again in 2000, with a squad lead by Mateen Cleaves.

The first semi-final game featured SEC Champion Auburn’s fast-pasted offensive juggernaut facing off against ACC Regular Season Champion Virginia, buoyed by its stalwart #1 ranked defense and a much improved, but often underrated offense. The game was a back and forth contest with a high drama ending. With Auburn leading 62-60, an Auburn player fouled Kyle Guy with 0.6 seconds remaining. Complicating matters for the Tigers, the shot, even though he missed it, was a three-point attempt.

Undoubtedly, by now, you know what happened next. Despite Bruce Pearl calling a timeout after Guy’s first two free throws, hoping to ice the shooter, Guy swished the third attempt, just as he did the first two shots. For all practical purposes, game over. In fact, the game, 0.6 seconds remaining, notwithstanding, was over. Final score, Virginia 63, Auburn 62.

In a 20/20 hindsight world, Samir Doughty would have assumed a stout hands in the air defensive stance, and made Guy hit or miss a tough shot and trust his teammates to corral the rebound. If he made the shot, congratulate him on hitting an acrobatic game winner. If he missed, celebrate Auburn’s win with his sure to have been exultant teammates. But college basketball isn’t played in hindsight. And in real time, Kyle Guy may have lost the battle (missed the shot), but he won the war (and the game), nailing a trifecta of foul shots to transform a two point Wahoo deficit into a one point lead with less than a second remaining, and Auburn needing to traverse the 93 feet length of the court and score in 0.6 seconds or less. Uh, game over.

In Saturday night’s second semi-final contest, Texas Tech, with its #3 ranked defense squared off against perennial Big 10 Power, Michigan State. It was another game in which the momentum and the lead swung back and forth. With less than 3 minutes remaining and Texas Tech clinging to a 52-51 lead, the young men from Lubbock dug in and leveraged the phase of the game that had kept them relevant all year. Defense!

They held the Spartans scoreless for the remainder of the game, while they went on to add 9 points to their own total. With that 61-51 victory, they launched themselves into Monday night’s Title Game. The combatants were set, Virginia, from the ACC, and Texas Tech, from the Big 12; marking both teams’ first Title Game appearance.

Monday night’s matchup between Texas Tech and Virginia pitted two of the top three defensive teams in the country against one another. Virginia allowed opponents only 55.5 points per game. Texas Tech was not far behind, allowing only 58.8 points per game. Only the Wolverines of the University of Michigan separated the two, barely edging the Red Raiders, allowing opponents 58.3 points per contest.

Here in Minneapolis there was an ever so slight Texas Tech vibe. Largely, I think, it was a root for the underdog kind of thing. Although, as we were taking the Blue Line Train back to our hotel after the Title Game, I did hear one local say he had pulled for Texas Tech “because of the stigma associated with Charlottesville.” The reference, of course, was to the Unite The Right Rally, which featured neo-Nazi and alt-right protests, and which resulted in counter protests on August 11th and 12th, 2017. There were any number of infamously memorable events that weekend in Charlottesville, including white men in Khakis and sports shirts chanting Jews will not replace us, two law enforcement officers killed in a helicopter crash, and the President of the United States asserting, “There are very fine people on both sides.” Even with all that, perhaps the incident that gained the most notoriety was James Alex Fields, Jr. running into a crowd of counter protesters with his car, killing activist Heather Heyer on August 12th.

Of course, I’m not a yahoo fan, but I don’t hold the events of that weekend against UVA students and/or student athletes. That’s a narrative with a host of sources, but the UVA Family is not one of them…in my humble opinion. But I digress.

Back to the Title Game, my own assessment is that while they were both stellar defending teams, Virginia probably had just a little too much offense. As it turned out, for 40 minutes, it was a draw, as the two teams played to a 68-68 tie, and overtime. For those who were rooting for Texas Tech, if you quickly revisit the world of 20/20 hindsight, two plays should standout. The first, with halftime nearing, and the score tied 29-all, Virginia with the ball, Ty Jerome found himself all alone at the 3-point line. Predictably, soon afterward, the ball joined him. In the blink of an eye, shot taken, shot made, halftime, UVA up three. Remember that sequence!

With Texas Tech leading 68-65, with 14 seconds left, the ball found De’Andre Hunter alone in the corner. Déjà vu all over again! With no closeout in sight, Hunter squared up and casually sank a 3, tying the game, and ultimately leading to OT. In hindsight, in both instances, the defense should have forced a contested two, rather than giving up an open 3. In any event, after having witnessed, and survived the halftime dagger, both Texas Tech’s coaches and their players should have insisted on creating a different response (and hopefully a vastly distinct and discernibly dissimilar outcome) at the end of the game. But…that’s the difference between hindsight and real time. After trailing briefly, Virginia took command during the overtime period, and went on to win with minimal stress, and little apparent resistance in the extra period.

As is often the case, some folks will second-guess the officiating. I’ve been known to look askance at a call or two here and there, myself. Others will suggest the Wahoos were simply lucky. Carolina fans, think Dean Smith’s Heels in 1982 when Georgetown’s Fred Brown mistakenly threw the ball to James Worthy instead of a fellow Hoya, and again in 1993 when Michigan’s Chris Webber called a timeout when he and his Wolverine cohorts did not have any. People who default to those “what ifs” fail to take into account a couple of key considerations. In both cases, Carolina was ahead at the moment of the ill-timed miscues. Therefore, both teams would have had to design and execute a play (remember UM had no timeouts), take…and make…a shot, score, and prevent Carolina from doing the same thing. No sure thing in either case.

By the way, next year’s Final Four is in the ATL. I’m just saying. But again, I digress. This is about Virginia…and Texas Tech.

At the end of the day, it is my opinion that the team that was the best team in the country all year long won the tournament. Duke did beat them twice, of course, but as I mentioned earlier, Duke had its own issues. The Cavs were stout on both sides of the ball, refused to fold under pressure, survived, advanced, and withstood whatever their opponents threw at them. They executed a perfect fairytale ending, including making clutch free throws, three on one possession to seal Saturday night’s game, and 14 in a row down the stretch Monday night in the second half and overtime to secure the Title. They also played enough defense to weather the storm both nights. “From Outhouse To Penthouse: Hoos Win!”

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.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2019/04/08/texas-tech-virginia-live-updates-ncaa-tournament-title-game/3404447002/?src=rss

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ncaa-championship-final-2019-virginia-beat-texas-tech-overtime-85-77win-first-ncaa-tournament-national-college-title/

https://sports.yahoo.com/virginia-completes-redemption-story-edges-texas-tech-in-ot-for-national-title-034918062.html

https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2019/04/08/virginia-wins-national-championship-overtime-deandre-hunter-texas-tech-march-madness-recap

http://www.espn.com/espn/wire?section=ncb&id=26472427

https://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/article/2019-04-08/virginia-texas-tech-score-cavaliers-win-ncaa-title-ot

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/04/10/from-outhouse-to-penthouse-hoos-win/

 

Chicago Has Spoken: Lori Lightfoot Wins Historic Runoff

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday beckoned a new day in the City of Chicago, the nation’s third most populous city. In a Mayoral Election in which the outcome, no matter which way it went, was certain to usher in a change of historic proportion, voters in the Windy City doubled down on change in the City’s historic runoff Tuesday. Both Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot are African American women. Lightfoot, 56, who won, is a former US attorney who describes herself as “an out and proud black lesbian.” When sworn in, she will own the distinction of being both the first black woman, and the first lesbian to be Chicago’s Mayor. She will be the second woman to hold the position. Jane Byrne served one term in the capacity from 1979 to 1983.

In February’s general election, which featured 14 candidates, Lightfoot and Preckwinkle were the top two vote-getters, which led to Tuesday’s runoff. On the heels of the election, both women issued statements indicating intent to work harmoniously to build a better Chi-town. For her part, Mayor-elect Lightfoot said, “Now that it’s over I know we will work together for the city that we both love.”

Ms. Preckwinkle, 72, and a longtime political insider, heads the Cook County Board and chairs the County’s Democratic Party. She vowed to continue working on issues important to her. After calling Lightfoot to congratulate her on being victorious, she said, “This may not be the outcome we wanted but while I may be disappointed, I’m not disheartened. During the mayoral race she made education and a $15 minimum wage the major planks of her campaign.

By contrast, Lightfoot rose to prominence in the wake of the Laquan McDonald scandal — in which a white police officer, Jason Van Dyke, shot the black teenager 16 times as he walked away from police — Lightfoot was appointed by then Mayor Rahm Emanuel to head the newly created police accountability task force. Emanuel did not seek a third term. Congratulations Mayor Lightfoot. Chicago Has Spoken: Lori Lightfoot Wins Historic Runoff!”

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/2019/04/02/us/chicago-mayoral-election-results/index.html

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/elections/ct-met-chicago-election-results-mayors-race-lightfoot-preckwinkle-20190402-story.html

https://www.npr.org/2019/04/02/708833184/history-to-be-made-as-chicago-votes-for-mayor

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/04/03/chicago-has-spoken-lori-lightfoot-wins-historic-runoff/

Trump Takes Aim At Obamacare…And At Obama’s Legacy!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Just when Donald Trump appeared to be in a position to gloat (and he did) about Attorney General Barr’s determination that findings of the Mueller Report revealed no collusion, Mr. Trump had his Justice Department advise a federal appeals court of his new position that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) should be invalidated, in its entirety. At times in the past, the administration has argued that the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be struck down, but that remaining elements of the law, including the expansion of Medicaid, should survive.

If the Appeals Court accepts the Trump administration’s new arguments, it is likely millions of people will lose health insurance, including those who gained coverage through the expansion of Medicaid and those who have private coverage subsidized by the federal government. As Abbe Gluck, a Yale law professor, framed it, “The Justice Department is no longer asking for partial invalidation of the Affordable Care Act, but says the whole law should be struck down. Not just some of the insurance provisions, but all of it, including the Medicaid expansion and hundreds of other reforms. That’s a total bombshell, which could have dire consequences on millions of people.”

Such action also makes it inexorable that a highly vigorous political furor will ensue as both Parties square off for the impending 2020 elections. Democrats have contended for some time that Trump still wants to abolish the law. At the very least, this move stands as Exhibit A.

The retail politics of this new posture will play out over time, most likely beginning with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Given the pitched fight most observers anticipate, there is a good chance the ultimate decision will wind up in the Supreme Court. President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law nine years ago. Since then it has become insinuated into our nation’s health care system. Because of it, Medicare pays doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers in different ways than it did prior to the inception of the law. It has unleashed a plethora of innovations in health care delivery. In response, the health insurance industry has invented a new business model selling coverage to all comers, regardless of pre-existing conditions.

Trump’s new position has engendered a bevy of harsh criticism by both the insurance industry and by consumer advocates, including the following:

  • Matt Eyles, president and chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said, “The government’s position puts coverage at risk for more than 100 million Americans.”
  • Leslie Dach, chairman of Protect Our Care, a consumer advocacy group, added, “In November, voters overwhelmingly rejected President Trump’s health care repeal and sabotage agenda. But he remains dead set on accomplishing through the courts what he and his allies in Congress could not do legislatively: fully repeal the law, devastate American health care and leave millions of Americans at risk.”
  • Xavier Becerra, attorney general of California, asserted Monday while filing a brief urging the appeals court to uphold the law, “The Texas lawsuit (the ruling upon which the administration’s new posture is predicated) is as dangerous as it is reckless.”

On one hand, reneging on a promise to retain the pre-existing conditions provision of the law, made by Trump, and the GOP at-large, may seem odd. Not really, on Trump’s part. When you consider Trump’s Number 1 trigger, Barack Obama, it all falls into place. It has always been clear there is nothing along the political spectrum that drives Trump more than his need to diminish and, if he has his way, abolish Obama’s legacy. Destroying the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature program, is Job 1. Think back to Senator McCain’s infamous “thumbs down,” torpedoing Trump and the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump is still livid about that, and has recently trashed McCain, months after the Senator’s death due to brain cancer, because of the snub.

Yes, the Affordable Care Act is on the clock. But that’s not all. Trump Takes Aim At Obamacare…And At Obama’s Legacy!

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.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nation-politics/total-bombshell-trump-administration-seeking-full-repeal-of-obamacare/

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/26/opinions/the-real-reason-trump-wants-to-break-obamacare-filipovic/index.html

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/03/27/trump-takes-aim-at-obamacare-and-at-obamas-legacy/

Trump Through The Eyes Of A Supporter: Things You Need To Know

It’s time to Break It Down!

Happy Vernal Equinox! Last week the ACC Tournament was in full swing. This week, the NCAA Tourney commences. Another week, another Tournament; this one lasts the better part of three weeks. GO HEELS! OK, OK, the NIT also kicks off this week.

Now that I got that out of the way, permit me to introduce you to a story I’ve been trying to tell for more than two years, but today, I do so from the perspective of a true believer, instead of my cynical self. In short, I have been arguing since 45’s election that his supporters are there for the long haul, and the factors that allowed him to succeed in 2016, can, and may, for all practical purposes, replicate themselves in 2020. Oh yeah, and rest assured, he’ll be in play in 2020. No investigative report is going to prevent that.

Victor Davis Hanson wrote an opinion piece that was published yesterday on cnn.com. Hanson is a Stanford Ph. D., professor emeritus of Classics at California State University, Fresno, and currently a Senior Fellow in classics and military history at Stanford University‘s Hoover Institution. His other pursuits include farmer and columnist. It is, of course, in this latter capacity in which Dr. Hanson was operating when he penned the subject column that appeared under the heading, “What progressives should know about Trump voters.”

Hanson is a conservative and a Trump booster who has also written a pro-Trump tome, published this year, entitled, “A Case for Trump. ”Predictably, Mr. Trump praised the book. In his book, Dr. Hanson defends Trump’s insults and vile language as “uncouth authenticity”, and praises Trump for “an uncanny ability to troll and create hysteria among his media and political critics.

One unimpressed detractor, Washington Post book critic Carlos Lozada, noted the book “focuses less on the case for Trump than on the case against everyone else,” in particular attacking Hillary Clinton. As a Trump supporter, it comes as no surprise that Hanson was an Obama critic. But I digress.

In yesterday’s opinion, Hanson enumerated 10 points adopted by consensus and uniformly endorsed by all who view the world according to Donald Trump. The complete commentary can be viewed by clicking the first link below. Here are the 10 points in summary form:

  1. Voters appreciate the strong economy.
  2. Many Trump supporters, who dislike his antics, hate Democrats even more.
  3. Despite his being crass and uncouth, he has expressed concerns that resonate with that part of the country often referred to as flyover states
  4. While some view him as callous, his supporters see him as authentic
  5. Even when he stumbles, Trump’s supporters have established they will, in most instances, continue to stick with him.
  6. His supporters view the plethora of negative news stories about Trump as part of a sustained effort to remove or delegitimize him.
  7. What-abouitism. TrumpWorld notes that, ”while in office,” trump has not had the kind of peccadilloes that marked Kennedy’s, or Clinton’s tenure. They observe further, that while his language is blunt, so was that of Truman and LBJ.
  8. Much like #3 above, his supporters believe elites, the deep state, or the universal “they” are at once condemnatory, yet ignorant of the plight of those who reside in flyover country.
  9. All things considered, his supporters view the Trump family circle as tight and strong.
  10. To Trump supporters, his rants and rambling are as engaging as JFK, (Bill) Clinton, or Obama; definitely not flat, like Bob Dole, Mitt Romney…or (Hillary) Clinton.

To be sure, the items above are the thoughts of one individual. Yet, they reflect the Borg-like mindset of TrumpWorld. Is it possible that, even if true, there will not be enough synergy to re-create a lightening strike in the exact same spot? Do you really want to just whistle in the dark and take that chance? If you don’t have any friends, family members, or acquaintances that are Trump supporters (that you know…because I guarantee you, you have some), you should add some, or at least one, to your circle. Stay grounded my friends.

Enjoy opening week of the NCAA’s. However, in your more sober moments, think about Trump Through the Eyes of a Supporter: Things You Need to Know!”

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/2019/03/19/opinions/what-progressives-should-know-about-trump-voters-hanson/index.html

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

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/03/20/trump-through-the-eyes-of-a-supporter-things-you-need-to-know/

 

The Price Is Right: Mother of All College Admissions Schemes

It’s time to Break It Down!

It’s NCAA Post-Season Tournament time. That means the ACC and a host of other tournaments have or are kicking off this week. In other words, it’s virtually a holiday, at least for college basketball fans. To that end, I’m going to treat this week’s post similar to the way I do most holiday posts. Similar, but not quite the same as I usually do during holidays. In those instances, I usually re-share a previous post. Today’s post is actually breaking news, but I won’t provide much additional commentary. The story stands on its own merit (or in this case, actually, demerit).

According to CNN reporting, yesterday, federal prosecutors announced that dozens of parents, including famous actresses, college coaches and a winemaker were charged in an alleged conspiracy to get students into top colleges. Fifty people were included in the federal criminal complaint.

William “Rick” Singer, based upon details released by the feds, is alleged to have conspired with a host of others to facilitate the fraudulent acceptance of students using bogus test scores, in some cases, purporting to be sports recruits. As I read about and listened to a variety of folks discussing this scheme yesterday, I saw it compared to affirmative action and legacy admissions, both of which are legal remedies to validly identified obstacles to college admission. This…is nothing like that. Full stop!

Mr. Singer, 58 years old, is from Newport Beach, California and is the owner/operator of Edge College & Career Network, LLC, a for-profit college counseling, and preparation business. Singer also served as CEO of Key Worldwide Foundation, a nonprofit, posing as a charity. He is the mastermind behind the scam to ensure that wealthy parents living a, by any means necessary, dream could grease the skids to ensure acceptance and admission of their kids to the best, most prestigious, hardest to gain entry to colleges and universities in America.

In Singer’s own words, “I created a side door that would guarantee families would get in. I was bribing coaches for a spot. And that occurred very frequently.” The overarching scheme was multi-varied, and often effective. At its core it was basic, but brazen. The three principal facets were:

Cheat on standardized tests

Bribe decision-makers

Pretend the money was for charity

Of the 50 people charged, many were not just wealthy, but individuals of fame, prominence, and notoriety.

Actresses:

  • Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and her spouse made an alleged $15,000 charitable contribution to Key Worldwide Foundation to participate in the college entrance exam-cheating scheme on behalf of her oldest daughter. She later made arrangements to do so on behalf of her younger daughter, before changing her mind and deciding not to do so. She has been charged with felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. She was arrested at her home.
  • Lori Loughlin (“Full House” and “Fuller House”) and her husband fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli have been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Giannulli allegedly “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000” in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team – despite the fact they did not participate in crew – thereby facilitating their admission to USC.

A Winemaker

  • Agustin Huneeus, Jr., who owns vineyards in Napa, California, and elsewhere, conspired to “bribe [senior athletic director Donna] Heinel and Jovan Vavic, the USC water polo coach, to facilitate his daughter’s admission to USC as a purported water polo recruit. He was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Heinel and Vavic are accused of conspiracy to commit racketeering.

CEO of a boutique-marketing firm

  • Agreed to make a purported contribution of $50,000 to Key Worldwide in exchange for having a cooperating witness take the ACT on behalf of her son at a Houston test center.

New York International Law Firm Attorney

  • This parent paid a purported $75,000 to Key Worldwide. A cooperating witness arranged for the director of college entrance exam preparation at a private school in Bradenton, Florida to pretend to proctor the attorney’s daughter’s ACT exam and “correct the answers after she completed it.”

College coaches and administrators (CNN has reached out to all four schools listed below)

  • Yale University – Former Head Coach Women’s Soccer
  • Stanford University
  • University of Southern California – Senior Associate Athletic Director, former Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach
  • Wake Forest University

This is truly only a CliffNotes kind of summary of this outrageous scandal. To find more details about this scam, check in with your favorite media outlet. It’s bound to be a part of the news cycle for at least the next few days. The involvement of Hollywood celebrities alone will ensure TV coverage, and print and electronic media are almost certain to go along for the ride. So, check it out. The Price Is Right: Mother of All College Admissions Schemes!”

P.S. By all means, consider that while this repugnant and scandalous scheme was foiled, it is likely it represents just the tip of the iceberg, and many more scams of its ilk remain active, but unseen.

Now, that we got that out of the way, let’s get back to basketball. GO HEELS!

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/2019/03/12/us/college-admission-cheating-scheme-players/index.html

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/03/13/the-price-is-right-mother-of-allcollege-admissions-schemes/

Majority of Americans Think Trump has Committed Crimes: It Gets Worse

It’s time to Break It Down!

There is an old and familiar saying; “Truth is stranger than fiction.” In contemporary America, this has never been truer. In fact, at the highest levels of our national government, there is a prima facie case to be made that this golden platitude is the current day rule rather than the exception.

As I’ve noted previously, there are times when the gist of a story has already been presented, and just doesn’t need re-visioning or embellishing. This particular news item is about as straight forward as it gets. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents think Trump has committed crimes…before taking office. Let that sink in. And let’s be clear. That is not 64% of Democrats, or of independents, but 64% of “all” respondents.

There’s more (the “it gets worse” part). The poll found that 65% of all respondents believe Trump is not honest. Moreover, it’s worth keeping in mind that since the end of 2017, the low end of the spectrum of Americans who feel that way was 57%. In other words, a majority of Americans have believed this about Trump, for more than a year, and the number has grown.

It’s fair to say, most people think politicians are dishonest. In this light, when compared to his counterparts, he fares slightly better, but, even at that, half of respondents say he’s less honest than past presidents. Expand that picture and you’ll find only 20% of respondents – and less than half of Republicans, say he’s more honest than past presidents.

And…

  • Over 70% of Americans, including more than 1/3 of Republicans, say Trump is not a good role model for children
  • Half of respondents said they were more likely to believe Michael Cohen, versus 35% who said they believe Donald Trump, while a plurality of Americans think Cohen told the truth in his testimony. Yes, the same Michael Cohen who pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, last year, was deemed more believable than Donald Trump.
  • A slightly larger number of respondents, 45%, think Trump has committed crimes while in office, versus 43% who believe he has not.
  • Most Americans, including a quarter of Republicans think Congress should investigate Cohen’s claims.
  • Overall, Trump’s approval rating was 38%, while 55% disapproved.

From a pro-Trump perspective, despite the mind-numbing parade of negativity represented by the preceding array of data, there was good news. The poll showed that 49% of respondents approved of Trump’s handling of the economy, and more important, I presume, 35% of respondents were in favor of initiating impeachment proceedings, while 59% oppose.

As a pragmatist, I must admit that I have a working theory about that last statistic. First and foremost, zero Republicans want Trump impeached. Obviously, that does not a majority make. However, Democrats and independents have acquired an appreciation for strategic design. They understand all too well that, were the House to indict Trump on impeachment charges, the Senate, as was the case with Bill Clinton, is all but certain to rebuff them, and opt not to convict him of any charges. This, while ostensibly a monumental waste of time, would quite possibly give an individual who was elected the first time without a majority of the popular vote, just enough wind beneath his wings to create a second lightning strike. In other words, they don’t want to chance it.

I have maintained for the entire Trump tenure that the best and foremost chance to rid the upper echelon of America’s government of its current scourge is to vote the rascals out. With that in mind, do not, I repeat, do not read the bulleted items and conclude that the work has been put in, and it’s a done deal. Trump had an unbelievable amount of baggage in 2016; today he is President. A different 2020 outcome is not a given. Do, however, remember, a “Majority of Americans Think Trump has Committed Crimes: It Gets Worse!”

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.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/05/most-americans-think-trump-committed-crimes-trust-him-less-than-admitted-liar-michael-cohen/?utm_term=.863d8bb16331

http://www.fortune.com/2019/03/05/quinnipiac-university-survey-poll-trump-approval-michael-cohen/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/03/06/majority-of-americans-think-trump-has-committed-crimes-it-gets-worse/