Bowers’ Story: The Receipts Come Rolling In

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday, another iteration of the January 6 Panel interviews unfolded. As I’ve noted in the past, there are occasions when the story is the story, and no interpretation or extrapolation is necessary. This is one of those instances. With that in mind, I pulled one rendition of yesterday’s J6 Committee hearings from KOLD News 13 in Tucson, AZ. The details follow below.

The House 1/6 committee outlined on Tuesday Donald Trump’s relentless pressure to overturn the 2020 presidential election, aiming to show it led to widespread personal threats on the stewards of American democracy — election workers and local officials who fended off the defeated president’s efforts.

The hearing opened with chilling accounts of the barrage of verbal attacks facing state and local elected officials, including Arizona’s Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers who said he was subject to a “disturbing” smear campaign online, bull-horn protests at his home, and a pistol-wielding man taunting his family and neighbors.

Speaker Bowers tells the Jan. 6 committee about groups that regularly show up at his house.

The panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol resumed with a focus on Trump’s efforts to undo Joe Biden’s victory in the most local way — by leaning on officials in key battleground states to reject ballots outright or to submit alternative electors for the final tally in Congress. The pressure was fueled by the defeated president’s false claims of voter fraud which, the panel says, led directly to the riot at the Capitol.

Chairman Bennie Thompson declared, “A handful of election officials in several key states stood between Donald Trump and the upending of American democracy.”

We fought Trump pressure, GOP state officials tell 1/6 panel

Moments before Speaker Bower’s testimony Monday, Trump issued a statement calling Bowers a “RINO” or a Republican in name only, a term often used by members of the party to those who are not seen as conservative enough. Trump also wrote that Bowers had previously told him that the election was rigged and that he, indeed, “won Arizona.”

Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers is the latest RINO to play along with the Unselect Committee. In November 2020, Bowers thanked me for getting him elected. He said he would have lost, and in fact expected to lose, if I hadn’t come along. During the conversation, he told me that the election was rigged and that I won Arizona. He said he got more votes than I did which could never have happened. In fact, he said without me, he would have been out of office, and he expected to be prior to my coming along, and big Arizona rallies. The night before the election he walked outside with his wife and saw the tremendous Trump enthusiasm and told her, “You know what? Maybe I will win after all”—and he did. Bowers should hope there’s not a tape of the conversation.

Former President Donald Trump on the morning of Bower’s testimony

Speaker Bowers fired back at the claim by the former President telling the panel “anywhere, anyone, anytime has said that I said the election was rigged, that would not be true.”

Bowers walked through an account of being called by Trump on a Sunday after returning from church when the defeated president laid out his proposal to have the state replace its electors for Joe Biden with those favoring Trump. “I said, Look, you’re asking me to do something that is counter to my oath,” Bowers testified before the committee. Bowers insisted on seeing Trump’s evidence of voter fraud, which he said Trump’s team never produced beyond vague allegations. He recalled Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani at one point told him, “‘We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.’”

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) told U.S. House committee members that anyone who claims he said the election was rigged is lying.

Trump wanted Bowers to hold a hearing at the state Capitol, but the Republican leader said there was already a “circus” atmosphere over the election. The panel showed video footage of protesters at the Arizona state house including a key figure, the horned-hat wearing Jacob Chansley, who was later arrested at the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

Trump nevertheless pressed the Arizona official, including in a follow-up call, suggesting he expected a better response from a fellow Republican. But Bowers testified under oath that because of his faith, including a belief the U.S. Constitution is divinely inspired, what the president was asking him to do was “foreign to my very being.”

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, the panel’s vice chair, embraced Bowers during a break in the hearing. She implored Americans to pay attention to the evidence being presented, declaring, “Donald Trump didn’t care about the threats of violence. He did not condemn them, he made no effort to stop them.” “We cannot let America become a nation of conspiracy theories and thug violence.”

The public hearing, the fourth by the panel this month, stemmed from its yearlong investigation into Trump’s unprecedented attempt to remain in power, a sprawling scheme that the chairman of the Jan. 6 committee has likened to an “attempted coup.” There will be more. But for now, consider “Bowers’ Story: The Receipts Come Rolling In!”

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Juneteenth: Why It Matters

It’s time to Break It Down!

I’m sure there are Americans who’ve never heard of it, though the number is likely decreasing each year. As we delve further into the digital age, all variety of media explore more deeply, almost every topic known to man. Juneteenth certainly falls into that category.

To be clear, Juneteenth is an American federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. The backstory on how Juneteenth came to be a thing in the first place is prima facie evidence of why the term American Exceptionalism is oxymoronic, in both derivation, and in contemporary assertion.

A year ago, on June 15, 2021, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution establishing June 19th as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Momentum for this legislation had been increasing since the spate of Black Lives Matter protests, sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, and Democrats taking over Congress and the White House after the November 2020 Election. However, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson spiked the bill in 2020, saying it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Johnson relented on his opposition last year, despite lingering concerns. He said:

“Although I strongly support celebrating Emancipation, I objected to the cost and lack of debate. While it still seems strange that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss this matter.”

The measure was overwhelmingly approved by the House on June 16, 2021, and then signed into law by President Biden a day later, June 17, 2021.

In the beginning, Major General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, the end of slavery, in accord with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Initially issued September 22, 1862, the Proclamation went into effect January 1, 1863. Slave owners in Texas had for two and a half years, somehow managed not to pass that information along to their enslaved population. Hence, the oxymoronic utilization of the term American Exceptionalism, dating all the way back to the 19th Century. Go figure. 

Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980. With Governor Kristi Noem’s signing of a bill in South Dakota on February 11, 2022, every state in the Union commemorates the day, though only a few states observe it as a paid holiday.

Senators Ed Markey, D-MA, and John Cornyn, R-TX, along with Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX are among the members of Congress who spearheaded the initiative to make Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday. It’s about time. “Juneteenth: Why It Matters!”

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Inflation And Gas Prices Are High; So Are Retirement Accounts And Millennial Home Ownership

It’s time to Break It Down!

There is a woebegone narrative that suggests the United States has gone to hell in a handbasket. The story is built upon a framework that accurately points to an inflation rate unseen since the 80’s, and to record high gasoline prices, both legitimate causes for alarm and distress.

But that’s not the end of the story. In fact, quiet as it’s kept, tens of millions of American households are thriving at the highest level in decades.

Why is that significant? High gas prices, stock market volatility and inflation are hiding the reality that the economy is working for a high swath of Americans – and has richly bolstered their nest eggs.

Here’s something rare these days – a parade of encouraging news:

Houses: It’s hard to find one to buy –  and the 66% of Americans who do own homes are seeing the values soar. The middle class has made an enormous $2.1 trillion from homeownership in the past 10 years, Fortune reports.

Retirement accounts: Despite the recent sell-off, they’ve been fattened by the stock market. Moreover, the share of people who say they expect to work past their early 60’s has dropped below 50% for the first time.

Jobs: Today there are 11.4 million job openings. The current unemployment rate is 3.68% – back to pre-pandemic lows.

Safety nets68% of Americans say they have cash for a rainy day.

Millennial homeownership: It’s at 43%, up from 37% last year.

Reality check: There’s still plenty of pain in this economy – likely with much more to come.

The tight housing market is pricing out millions of renters and potential buyers.

Rising prices – at the pump and in the grocery store – are draining wallets.

That helps explain one of the bigger polling conundrums we’ve seen:

We think things are going fine for us, but terribly for America. 78% of Americans are confident in their personal financial well-being, but only 24% are confident in the financial well-being of the U.S., per Federal Reserve data reported by the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson.

The bottom line: Things haven’t been so good for many decades, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research told The New York Times:

“You’d have to go back to the late 1990’s to find a similar era. Before that, the 1960s.”

At the end of the day, there is no getting around the fact that these are challenging times. But let’s be clear, these are not Dickensian “Worst of times.” Remember to appreciate the balance of the universe. “Inflation and Gas Prices Are High; So Are Retirement Accounts and Millennial Home Ownership!”

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Memorial Day: What Your Teacher Never Taught You! (Edition VI)

It’s time to Break It Down!

(Please enjoy a reprised edition of “Break It Down!” This post was originally published May 30, 2012 at:, reposted May 27, 2015 at as Memorial Day: What Your Teacher Never Told You!, again on May 31, 2017, on May 29, 2019, and last on May 27, 2020.)

This year, the third consecutive month of May we’ve experienced some degree of COVID 19, we were presented with, what for most of us was no longer unique, but still somewhat different Memorial Day. It’s been more than a century since the United states has been caught up in a worldwide pandemic, the likes of the novel coronavirus. As such, most Americans have never experienced anything quite like what we’ve been dealing with for nearly the past two and a half years.  But this is not a post about the so-called, “invisible enemy.” While we are in a much better place than when I logged this post in 2020, there is still much work to be done. There have been two doses of the vaccine, and two boosters to date. The rate has fallen precipitously since its peak, but as summer approaches, cases are rising again in many states, including here in North Carolina. More about all that in another post. Maybe.

OK, so Memorial Day was earlier this week.  You may be familiar with my holiday week philosophy, which is: make it easy on the readers, who are always otherwise engaged, no matter the holiday.  Of course, in the process, I am also giving myself a break.  That makes for a natural win-win scenario.

With that overarching thought in mind, I will endeavor to apply three elementary rules of communication:

  1. Utilize the KISS PrincipleAKAKeep It Short & Simple (also Keep It Simple Stupid)
  2. Convey new or “not widely circulated” information
  3. Always remember to emphasize points and 2 above

Memorial Day is a federal holiday to honor America’s fallen soldiers.  It originated after the Civil War.  Falling between Easter and Independence Day, it is often equated with a late spring break, or a pre-summer respite.

The weekend typically includes a cornucopia of sports.  For example this week included the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600the NBA PlayoffsCollege Men’s Baseball playoffs, and College Women’s Softball competition, among others. I mentioned COVID-19 earlier, right? Scratch the sporting events.

Historically, there have been a plethora of activities thrown into the mix. As a result, the holiday is sometimes almost lost in the shuffle. That was less problematic this year. But wait; Memorial Day has a special cultural significance.  In fact, it is because of that nexus we should pay special homage to this late spring holiday.

The first well-known observance of a Memorial Day type was held May 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina.  Over 250 Union soldiers that had been prisoners of war, died in Charleston, and were quickly buried in makeshift graves. A group of blacks, mostly freedmen, organized the observance and led cleanup and landscaping of the burial site.

Most of the nearly 10,000 people who attended were freedmen and their families.  Of that number, 3.000 were children, newly enrolled in freedman’s schools.  Mutual aid societies, black ministers, and white Northern missionaries were also in attendance.

David W. BlightProfessor of American History at Yale University, and Director of the school’s Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, & Abolition, described the day this way:

“This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the War had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.”

Professor Blight conceded there is no evidence that the Charleston event led directly to the establishment of Memorial Day across the country.  But the record is clear they formed the earliest truly large-scale event, complete with media coverage.  Their effort was the prototype, if not the catalyst.

Having said that, I believe I honored the rules established above for this post:

  • Told this story in a direct and uncomplicated fashion
  • Presented information I am confident most readers did not know
  • Recognized points and 2, were accomplished and closed the post

Enjoy your bonus time, and be sure to reflect on “Memorial Day: What Your Teachers Never Told You! (Edition VI)”

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It Happened Again: It’s Not Going To Stop Itself

It’s time to Break It Down!

On May 24, 2022, an armed man entered a Tops Friendly Market, a supermarket located in an East Side Buffalo community. The man killed ten people and wounded three others. It shouldn’t matter, but all ten of the people killed were Black. The shooter was White; he was apprehended and taken alive into custody. His social media posts imply he targeted that zip code in general, and targeted that establishment in particular, to maximize the number of Black folks he could kill.

When selecting a topic last week, this episode crossed my radar, but I elected to go in another direction. Yesterday, just ten days later, another gunman launched a deadly attack, this one at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen students and two adults were killed during the incident. The shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, a Hispanic surname, was killed by law enforcement officers, according to officials. He also shot his grandmother before going to the school. Texas Rangers reported she was airlifted to the hospital and was “still holding on” last night. 

Yesterday was the 144th day of 2022. Through yesterday, there had been at least 212 mass shootings, sixty-eight more mass shootings than days so far this year. CNN and the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) define a mass shooting as a shooting that injured or killed four or more people, not including the shooter. 

Last night President Biden issued televised remarks in response to the Uvalde shooting. During his appearance, he said:

“There’s a lot we don’t know yet. There’s a lot we do know. Parents who will never see their child again, never have them jump in bed and cuddle with them. Parents who will never be the same. To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away.”

He implored lawmakers to “turn this pain into action” as he ticked through some of the mass shootings since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, when he was vice president.

“I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage. Why do we keep letting this happen?

“Where in God’s name is our backbone to have the courage to deal with and stand up to the lobbies?”

Former President Obama also weighed in, saying:

“Across the country, parents are putting their children to bed, reading stories, singing lullabies—and in the back of their minds, they’re worried about what might happen tomorrow after they drop their kids off at school, or take them to a grocery store or any other public space.”

Michelle and I grieve with the families in Uvalde, who are experiencing pain no one should have to bear. We’re also angry for them. Nearly ten years after Sandy Hook—and ten days after Buffalo—our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies.

It’s long past time for action, any kind of action. And it’s another tragedy—a quieter but no less tragic one—for families to wait another day. May God bless the memory of the victims, and in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.”

I opted not to write about the previous shooting, not because it wasn’t important, but because I was confident nothing would fundamentally change, despite the many thoughts and prayers extended to the victims and their families. Today, that’s still true, but, I relented and wrote a post about yesterday’s senseless slaughter because, well because as a blogger who chooses what content to share, based on my personal interests and inclinations, not those of the marketplace, like influencers, I can. It’s what I do. To that end, I urge you to push for change. Why, you ask? Because…“It Happened Again: It’s Not Going To Stop Itself!”

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Golden: My How Time Flies

It’s time to Break It Down!

Life is an adventure. No matter the circumstances of one’s birth, men, and women the world over circumnavigate myriad circumstances after leaving the birth canal and entering the world and this thing we call life. Some are born into great wealth and prominence, while others are visited upon by abject poverty and insufficiency. However, it is fair to say being born poor does not make one destined to a life sentence squalor and destitution. Similarly, being born with a silver spoon in tow doesn’t carry a guarantee of permanence either. Hence, life is an adventure.

Given events in Buffalo this past weekend, I would normally write about the pervasiveness of gun violence, and our collective lack of will to insist upon and/or promulgate effective policy initiatives to eliminate mass shootings. After thinking about it a great deal, I decided not to make that the object of this week’s post. Instead, I am going to follow-up last week’s healthcare note with another personal essay.

A couple of weekends ago, Gwen and I traveled to eastern North Carolina, which is the part of the state where I was born. My wife and I spent the weekend darting between Kinston, New Bern, Greenville, and Belhaven. I have roots in or near all those places. Sometimes, contrary to Thomas Wolfe’s assertion, you can go home again. In fact, not only can you, but doing so is actually a good thing. Broadly speaking, we took advantage of the opportunity to hang out with my friends and family. The specific purpose of the trip though, was to attend my 50th High School Reunion.

As I have grown older, I have attended fewer class reunions. I made several of the early ones; 10, 20, and 25. Then I went AWOL until 40. I had not thought about it much since then. But as the date approached (Mothers Day Weekend every year), it dawned on me that 50 years is a pretty big number, a long time ago, and to paraphrase Deon Cole (Cole Hearted on Netflix), there’s not a lot of summers left. It seemed like a good idea to make the trip.

Covid has robbed most of us of so much. Some of us, life itself. I know over the past two and a half years, we have traveled less, entertained less, and attended fewer functions. Moreover, too many of the functions we did attend were funerals. We missed a Final Four, lost a trip to Egypt, missed college and church homecomings, and just said no altogether to concerts. My 50th Reunion would not be added to the list.

In the fall of 1968, my 9th Grade class became the first desegregated freshman class at John A. Wilkinson High School in Belhaven. My fellow Black students and I had previously attended Belhaven Elementary & High School. Beaufort County Schools, where Belhaven is located, like most schools in North Carolina, adhered to a desegregation order that became effective at the start of school in August 1968. Belhaven, being in North Carolina in the 60’s, many parents of students, 9th Grade and earlier, moved their kids to private schools. As a result, while 10th-12 Grades retained a predominately White student population, Black students composed a majority of students in classes from 9th Grade on down. That of course led to its own set of dynamics. But that’s not focus of this post.

The Reunion was cool. Understand that the event, for all practical purposes was a dual event; a 60-year Homecoming Celebration of the former Belhaven Elementary and High School (the high school ended after the Class of 1968), and a fete for the current Senior Class along with featured Reunion Classes. I’m not sure what the Covid/Fire Code capacity was, but the event was sold out, and well attended. Many of my fellow classmates, Black and White, were there; some still live in the area. There were folks I had not seen in decades, and probably a few of whom I hadn’t seen in 50 years. 

That was the highlight of the trip, but it didn’t end there. We stayed at a waterfront hotel in New Bern, which was its own story. I would typically have stayed in Greenville, or more likely Washington for an event in Belhaven, both of which are closer to Belhaven than New Bern. But it just so happened to be East Carolina’s Spring Commencement weekend. Hence no room in the inn. New Bern is a little further than Greenville, and more than twice as far as Washington. But it’s a quaint town, on the water, and a former colonial and state capital of North Carolina. We had plenty of time, so it made for a more than adequate back-up plan for lodging, and provided an almost vacation-like ambience.

On Saturday morning, one of my cousins who lives between Kinston and New Bern came over and joined us for breakfast. Afterward, Gwen and I cruised over to Kinston, visited with my family, and then headed downtown where we met more family at the BBQ Fest on the Neuse, the town’s annual barbecue festival. While there, we went to see a mural featuring a number Kinston’s sports legends. A lot of people know of Kinston’s impressive basketball legacy (Cedric Maxwell, Brandon Ingram, Charles Shackleford, Jerry Stackhouse, Reggie Bullock, Mitchell Wiggins, Tony Dawson, Dontrez Styles, et. al., but there are also baseball and football stars who hail from Kinston (Quinton Coples, Derek Rivers, Dwight Clark, Ron Wooten, Lin Dawson played in the NFL, while George Suggs, Chris Hatcher, and Carter Cupps all pitched in MLB. Tyrone Willingham played football at Michigan State, and held Head Coaching positions at Stanford and Notre Dame. Ty holds a special place on my list because he and I were born the same day in Kinston, NC.

We left K-town and went to Greenville where we checked out a couple of my childhood friends. After that we completed a loop back to New Bern where we enjoyed a quiet dinner at our hotel. On Sunday, we headed back to Charlotte, stopping briefly in Durham where we checked in on another of my cousins, and his extended family. After a short visit, we returned home after a fulfilling weekend getaway. I will remember it all, but none more fondly than reconnecting with my high school graduating class at our 50th Reunion. 

Perhaps the best part…it’s been a week and a half, so I think I can safely say we did not contract Covid during the trip. “Golden: My How Time Flies!”

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Your Personal Health: It’s A Serious Matter

It’s time to Break It Down!

So yesterday, I did a thing.

Our time on this orb called earth is limited. One Biblical proclamation asserts that “The days of our years are threescore years and ten (70 years), and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years (80 years), yet is their strength labor and sorrow, for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Psalm 90:10. 

Anthropological historians and demographers have noted that human lifespans have increased, primarily due to numerous factors, including, but not limited to, improvements in environment, food/food preservation, medication, labor saving devices, refrigeration, science, and living in an age of relative peace.

Over the course of the last few decades, life expectancy has increased around the globe. The average person born in 1960, the earliest year the United Nations began tracking global data, could reasonably have expected to live to be 52.5 years of age. Today the average is 72.  In the UK, where records have been kept longer, the trend is even greater. In 1841, a baby girl was expected to live to just 42 years of age, a boy to 40. In 2016, a baby girl could expect to reach 83, a boy, 79. In the U.S., life expectancy decreased from 78.86 years in 2019 to 76.99 years in 2020, and 76.60 years in 2021, a net loss of 2.26 years. While these changes in the U.S. and 19 peer countries have been published online by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the study has not yet been peer reviewed. However, the trend highlighted by these results are significantly attributable to the death toll from COVID-19.   

Laying COVID-19 to one side, the natural conclusion is that both the miracles of modern medicine and public health initiatives have helped us live longer than ever before – so much so that we may be running out of innovations to extend life further. The fact is, while medical advancements have improved many aspects of healthcare, the assumption that human lifespan has increased in some dramatic fashion over the centuries is, in a word, misleading. As always, the devil is in the details. Overall life expectancy hasn’t increased so much because we’re living far longer than we used to as a species. It has increased because more of us, as individuals, are making it that far.

I could go way more in depth about the differences and distinctions between life expectancy (which is an average), and life span of humans. Don’t worry; I won’t. In fact, this is where I shift gears.

I have written before about the importance of attending to one’s individual health. In a previous paragraph, I noted that the point that drives people to notice how much longer we live, is the fact that, more of us are living longer. Moreover, a key reason more of us live longer is more of us have and take advantage of better available healthcare. But let’s not get it twisted. None of us is here on permanent assignment. Nothing we do will alter that fact.

If there were only two people in the world, and one died of pneumonia, due to lack of available healthcare, at two years old, and the other lived to 80, the average lifespan of earth’s population would have been 41. Yet, if those same two people, instead, both lived to be 50, the average lifespan would be 50 years. Even though one of the two lived 30 years less than in the previous example, the average age increased by nearly a decade. Doing right by oneself matters. Providing, accessing, and utilizing advanced healthcare options is a critical necessity. It directly affects each of us and our quality of life as individuals, but it also redounds to us in a macro sense, because the more of us who partake of this benefit, the longer more of us are likely to live.

I had my fourth Colonoscopy yesterday. My medical history also includes a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy. Yesterday’s procedure was executed without incident, and the results were good. No polyps or other areas of concern revealed. 

I am writing about this for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I’m relieved and frankly delighted to have received a clean report. I’m happy for my wife and me, but also buoyant that my extended family and friends do not have to share the burden I would be carrying had I received a bad report.

Secondarily, I write to caution and encourage every single person who reads this post to act proactively when it comes to your health. In Invictus, William Ernest Henley asserted, 

            It matters not how strait the gate,

            How charged with punishment the scroll,

            I am the master of my fate,

            I am the captain of my soul.

I submit that every adult among us has a responsibility to him or herself to be the best person he or she can possibly be. When it comes to our health, just as with our finances, it behooves us to be our own personal fiduciary. Some folks are reticent to consult medical professionals. Many of us know someone who received devastating news after a consultation with their physician. In too many cases, due to reluctance, hesitancy, fear, and sometimes just being too busy, we put off visiting a doctor, when there were troubling signs or symptoms that we could and should have shared with a physician much sooner, and as a result, received a more favorable diagnosis, or have had an opportunity to a get a more effective regimen prescribed. Stop playing. “Your Personal Health: It’s A Serious Matter!”

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Control The Narrative: How To Change The Subject

It’s time to Break It Down!

A couple of days ago the U.S. Supreme Court‘s long standing veil of pre-decision secrecy was pierced. According to a now confirmed leak, the 5 most conservative members of the Court, including the three Trump appointees are poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision, decided January 22, 1973, that makes some abortions legal in the United States. In publishing the first draft of the opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Politico broke with the Court’s longstanding protocols for security and secrecy.

For the past half-century, abortion, and abortion rights, or the lack thereof, have been among the most hotly contested, widely debated issues in the public policy sphere. Arc conservatives, neo-conservatives, and almost every other stripe assembled under the banner of conservatism have used almost every conceivable measure from civil debates to civil disobedience, to actually killing human beings…in the name of the pro-life movement. It seems oddly antithetical to the stated goal of preserving life, but like their support for unfettered access to guns and ammo, if they are for it, collateral damage doesn’t seem to resonate as anything more serious than a minor inconvenience. Just another way to “own the libs.”

Given the robust nature of the debate, and conservatives’ longstanding passion to achieve what now seems to be a likely victory, it smacks of disingenuousness to see and hear the nauseatingly hollow-ringing moaning and groaning about the source of the leak. Really? If ever there was a straw man, this lame argument steps to the head of the class. I wouldn’t put it past someone from the most conservative corner of the spectrum to have fed the intel into the public domain, specifically with the intent to render a preemptive strike on pro-choice forces, and dissipate early, any energy that might spontaneously ignite to mobilize public opinion, and more importantly, voters.

I could go on a long and laborious rant about the overwrought, under-sourced chorus of “Hillary and Trump are the same” assertions, and the counterpoint that even one Hillary term would have produced a remarkably different kind of Court. But that’s water under the bridge, or over the dam; whichever idiom you might prefer. At this point, preparing for the next round of races is essential. And, lest anyone has forgotten, in North Carolina anyway, voting has already begun. Any time and energy spent off topic, i.e., majoring in the minors, and/or minoring in the majors, is time wasted. Do not fall for the okey-doke. The likely overturning of the law is where the focus belongs. Misdirection such as this, is a long-practiced art of deception. “Control The Narrative: How To Change The Subject!”

I’m done; holla back!

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

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People Are Talking: Atwitter Over The Purchase Of A Social Media Platform

It’s time to Break It Down!

In case you haven’t heard, Elon Musk, currently accorded the title, “The World’s Richest Man,” is buying Twitter. Conservatives are cheering, underscoring their confidence, that Musk who has signaled his opposition to the media conglomerate’s initiatives to moderate extremism, such as reining in content, and suspending accounts that harass other users and/or traffic in misinformation, A.K.A. fake news.

For his part, Musk has argued that Twitter has overcorrected in such cases. Now that he is in a position to do something other than editorialize on the subject, social media users in general, and the Twitterverse in particular, are tuning in to see just what steps the CEO of Tesla, the world’s most valuable car company, SpaceX, whose mission is to ascertain how to transport humans to other planets in the event the Earth becomes uninhabitable, and now, new owner of Twitter, will take to make their fondest social media dreams come true. As Allison Morrow, of CNN Business noted yesterday, “Musk is not only the world’s richest person, he is arguably its most powerful too.” 

In conversations I have either participated in, or observed about the matter, conservatives have overwhelmingly backed the idea of Musk. Some approached apoplexy when it appeared for a fleeting moment that Twitter might nix the offer. Those individuals acted almost personally offended that some elitist liberal cabal would eschew the interests of stockholders by refusing the sweetheart deal Musk had put on the table. Of course, one of the first rules of negotiation, if it’s in fact a negotiation is, never accept the first offer. In the end, the offer was accepted, pretty much as it originated. That’s probably a clear indication, as any, that the fiduciary responsibility was taken seriously, as the arbiters of the refusal did not allow the initial offer to be diminished, before accepting it.

I saw another erstwhile conservative equate Musk buying Twitter with Jeff Bezos purchasing the Washington Post. While they are fundamentally different entities, from purpose, to structure, at the end of the day, they are both contemporary media platforms, and their content influences people around the globe. The deeper point, however, wasn’t related to the types of media, but to the idea of liberals expressing grave concerns about Musk’s acquisition, vs. Bezos’. That comparison suggests, all such acquisitions are equal, and liberals thought they were getting some kind of upper hand when Bezos bought the post, and that Musk buying Twitter is just a case of turnabout being fair play.

On one hand, it’s fair to say not all liberals think the same; nor do they all subscribe to the same principles. Ostensibly, that could also be said of conservatives. Laying all that to one side, both liberals and conservatives tend to paint with a broad brush. Most liberals and Democrats (not all Democrats are liberal) believe that all conservatives and Republicans support Trump. While not “all” do, polling consistently suggests that most, in fact, do. Of course, many conservatives and Republicans (it could be most) believe Hillary and Democrats ran a pedophilia ring out of a pizza restaurant in DC, and that Obama is not an American. Some even believe Obama was responsible for the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

The essence of conservative’s support for Trump circles back to the litmus test of the moment. Ergo, if you support Trump, you must believe:

            The 2020 Election was stolen

            Joe Biden is not the duly elected POTUS

            There was no insurrection on January 6, 2021

Elon Musk may reverse Twitter practices on fake news. But, if you believe any or all the three items above…it is my opinion that you’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, lead astray, run amok, and flat out deceived. I’ll leave it there. “People Are Talking: Atwitter Over The Purchase Of A Social Media Platform!”

I’m done; holla back!

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

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Attorney Still Caping For 45; Withholding Over 3,000 Emails

It’s time to Break It Down!

As tempting as it was to make today’s post a 4/20 blog, I “Just said no!” The 2020 Presidential Election was 523 days ago. In less than two weeks, it will have been a year and a half. Still, an attorney for the previous president, a man who endeavored to negate the incumbent’s defeat through a variety of legal maneuvers and assorted wrangling, continues the fight, in his own way.   

As reported yesterday, John Eastman, a far-right lawyer for the then-President who wanted to block his electoral loss in 2020, is still withholding about 3,200 documents from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, according to a new court filing this week.

In earlier developments, the court ordered Attorney Eastman to release 101 documents, which he had tried, unsuccessfully, to claim were confidential legal communications related to the former president. These documents were emails from January 4 through January 7, 2021.

Since that ruling, Mr. Eastman has continued to parse almost 100,000 pages of emails, also sought by the House Select Committee. These emails are from other dates around the election. Meanwhile he is currently arguing that thousands of documents, comprising about 36,000 pages, which are being sought by the House Select Committee, in its effort to investigate the January 6 insurrection, should remain confidential. The House Select Committee made a new filing this week.

David Carter, a Federal Judge in Santa Ana, California, is weighing whether Eastman can keep those pages secret. Carter is the same Judge who ruled tot force Eastman to release the 101 documents. That decision was pivotal for the Select Committee and represented a setback for Eastman.

Eastman’s lawsuit is also a, not so subtle, reminder that the Select Committee continues to be tied up in court on multiple fronts. As they fight for their subpoenas to be executed and adhered to, the clock is set to become as much a factor as uncooperative witnesses with a clear mission to obstruct the Select Committee’s objective of getting to the bottom of/determining the root causes of the January 6 hostilities.

The 101 emails the Select Committee received two weeks ago capture extensive discussions among Eastman and others about using court cases as a political argument to block Congress from certifying the vote, according to past proceedings in the court case.

In one email, a draft memo for Rudy Giuliani, that was obtained by the committee, the judge decided it was potentially being used to plan a crime. The memo recommended that then-Vice President Mike Pence reject some states’ electors during the January 6 congressional meeting.

About that email, Judge Carter wrote, “This may have been the first time members of the President’s team transformed a legal interpretation of the Electoral Count Act into a day-by-day plan of action.

“Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that the President corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.”

As a result of determining the other emails he ordered released, were not about litigation, Judge Carter ruled they could not be protected as the work of an attorney. His reasoning was a startling acknowledgment by a federal court that the President’s interest in overturning the election could be considered criminal. 

The House committee does not have the wherewithal to prosecute 45 or his allies, but the panel has considered formally asking the Justice Department to investigate. In the case, the House made the bold move of arguing the President was trying to obstruct Congress and defraud the government by blocking his loss of the election and discussing it with Eastman, an argument with which Judge Carter agreed.

In addition, the state of California’s attorney regulators are reviewing Eastman’s legal ethics related to the election, though neither the former president, nor Eastman have been charged with any crime. Yet.

Judge Carter wrote, “If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the Court fears January 6 will repeat itself.”

Eastman did not appeal Carter’s ruling on the 101 documents. “Attorney Still Caping For 45; Withholding Over 3,000 Emails!”

I’m done; holla back!

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

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right-hand corner of my Home Page at; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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