Where So-called Information Misinforms: TrumpWorld

It’s time to Break It Down!

Sir Winston Churchill once spoke of “A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Ironically, the line was intended to describe the intentions and interests of Russia in 1939. Eighty years later, the phraseology might be used to describe Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia.

But that’s something we know. That there is a functioning connectivity between the two, and that for all practical purposes, it indecipherable. Moreover, the reason for the unintelligible nature of the relationship is hidden in plain sight.

That is to say, the more evidence presented, the more the principals deny and or dissemble. Mr. Trump, America’s Popinjay-in Chief, routinely counsels us not to trust the FBI, the Justice Department, the Courts, and the entirety of our national intelligence apparatus, while simultaneously advising members and former members of his administration not to comply with congressional subpoenas. Given that backdrop, and his stated praise of dictators, including, Putin, Kim Jong Un, Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, Rodrigo Duterte, Erdogan, Xi Jinping, to name just a few, picking low hanging fruit. One is almost tempted to surmise he thinks he’s King Donald, or some other potentate label. But I digress.

Back to the point of the post. According to the Washington Post and MSNBC, by October 9, 2019 (993 days in office), Trump had uttered 13,435 false or misleading statements. Some would call them lies, but why quibble? Anyway, you choose to look at it or characterize it, over the course of just less than a thousand days, the person who wears the title President of the United States has fixed his mouth to say something untruthful more than 13 times…each and every day.

Fast forward to present day. An interesting development is unfolding. Twitter and Facebook are reviewing and taking down posts that spread disinformation about how and when to vote on Election Day. I’ve seen and heard Trump and a number of his supporters, surrogates, and sycophants complaining that social media outlets are trying to destroy Trump and steal his presidency. OK, now is the time to pay close attention to how this claim breaks down.

Social media takes steps to sift out and discard disinformation. The President and his peeps say that’s an effort to take out their guy. Keep in mind, this is a man who’s preeminent political strategy seems to be the reckless and frequent infusion of untruths into the retail political marketplace. Several things seem clear from this turn of events:

  • While flatly denying it, Trump and his team appear to be tacitly conceding they need to continue their wanton propensity to sling false and misleading claims into the political orbit in order to be able to compete; say nothing of succeed.
  • Facebook and Twitter, while downplaying the role their hands-off tact played on the 2016 Election outcome, appear to tacitly admit that the mass misinformation conveyed on their platforms affected election results.
  • Finally, the most important element in ensuring a fair and appropriately administered election is an informed and (with emphasis) vigilant electorate.

If you are happy with how your national government has been run for the past three years, all’s well; no worries. Do nothing other than what you’ve been doing. Conversely, if you think our leadership has lost its way, and we are in need of a course correction, you need to stand up, step out and commit to doing your part, as well as encouraging and assisting others to do theirs. Be informed, be engaged, and by all means, be knowledgeable. It’s imperative to understand our current location. “Where So-called Information Misinforms: TrumpWorld!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click 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 inbox.

For more information about this post click on the links below:

https://hillreporter.com/times-donald-trump-praised-dictators-and-controversial-leaders-31009

https://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/trump-has-told-13-435-while-in-office-wapo-71560773873

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/11/06/where-so-called-information-misinforms-trumpworld/

 

Vote…Election 2019: A Voteless People Is A Hopeless People – Don’t Be Hopeless

It’s time to Break It Down!

Consider this post a classic illustration of the aphorism “Less is more.” It is a reconstituted version of a post I penned a year ago, the week prior to the midterm election. By the time you receive next week’s post, not only will Election 2019 have come and gone, but the results for the vast majority, if not for all races, will already have been determined and parsed.

With that said, the Election is next Tuesday, November 5th. Elections have consequences; you know that. “VOTEElection 2019: A Voteless People Is A Hopeless People. Don’t Be Hopeless!”

That’s it, I’m done, holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click 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 inbox.

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/10/30/vote-election-2019-a-voteless-people-is-a-hopeless-people-dont-be-hopeless/

 

This Is Not OK: Neither Is Equivocating About It!

It’s time to Break It Down!

The only thing lynching is a metaphor for…is lynching!

Yesterday, Donald Trump tweeted this:

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

“So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!”

7:52 AM · Oct 22, 2019·Twitter for iPhone

Permit me to reiterate, This is not Ok. Neither is equivocating, deflecting, denying, diverting, what-abouting, gaslighting, and most certainly not defending this madness. Last week I emphasized the need to vote, and I committed to focus on voting until we move past Election Day. This tweet is a prime example of why I took that step.

With that, I have only one more thing to say. VOTE! “This Is Not OK: Neither Is Equivocatng About It!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking on the link http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday. To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my homepage at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your email address in the designated space and click on sign me up. Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your inbox.

Consult the links below to learn more about this post.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-trump-lynching-tweet-compares-impeachment-inquiry-to-lynch-senators-reaction-lindsey-graham/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/10/23/this-is-not-ok-neither-is-equivocating-about-it/

 

 

Now Is The Time For All Of Us To Come To The Aid Of Our Country!

It’s time to Break It Down!

In 1918, Charles E. Weller created the phrase, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the country.” Sidebar: That it was less than two decades out of the 19th century, we can overlook the phrase not including, “and women. “While it may be tempting, given the timing (the end of World War I), to believe those 16 words were the foundation for a patriotic rallying cry for Americans at the war’s end, the true and underlying story is significantly less dramatic. In reality, Mr. Weller was neither a conquering general, nor a pontificating politico. He was a teacher; his subject, typing. The phrase was popularized as a typing drill, and its use extended at least 50 years, as I was familiarized with it in my 1968 Typing Class. Thank you, Mr. Weller (and Mrs. McCullough).

Fast forward another 50 years or so, 51 years, to be precise, and we find ourselves at a critical point in our history. If you live in North Carolina, today is the first day of One Stop Absentee Voting, colloquially known as Early Voting. From now until November 5th, Election Day, I do not believe I can convey any more important message than VOTE!

Yes, I know it’s not a Presidential Election; it’s not even a midterm. Yet, it’s important for several reasons.

First and foremost, people were beaten, tortured, and killed, all in an effort to fight for, and eventually earn the right for We The People, all of us, not just male, landed aristocrats, to exercise the franchise. We should be irresistibly forceful in our insistence on voting, each and every time the opportunity avails itself.

Second, in North Carolina alone, men and women will be elected to office in 503 cities, towns, and villages, nine school districts, and 17 special districts. It is often asserted that for all the talk about the Presidency, for most of us, the most impactful politicians are those on the local level. Don’t get lost in the sauce and miss the simple and truthful elegance of that truism.

Third, there are any number of people and groups who have invested heavily in making it more difficult for you to vote, and by you, I mean persons duly authorized to vote, but whom are often presented with special challenges to do so. This is an age-old ruse, and has included a wide array of pernicious tools, e.g., property ownership, poll taxes, reading/writing tests, and famously, being required to recite the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, verbatim. The current iteration features voter suppression tactics, including voter intimidation, reduction of the number and/or varying the location of voting sites, and widespread misinformation about the location of polling places…to name a few.

Fourth and finally, voting is akin to a muscle. The best way to grow one’s propensity to vote…is to use it. The more one votes, the more likely one is to vote the next time the opportunity presents itself. Unlike with Mr. Weller, this is not a test, typing or otherwise. We are perilously positioned on the precipice. More than anytime in recent memory, “Now Is The Time For All Of Us To Come To The Aid Of Our Country!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click 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 inbox.

Consult the links below to learn more about this post.

https://www.ncsbe.gov/voting-options/one-stop-early-voting

https://ballotpedia.org/North_Carolina_elections,_2019

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/10/16/now-is-the-time-for-all-of-us-to-come-to-the-aid-of-our-country/

 

POTUS The Great: One Smart Dude…Just Ask Him!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Donald Trump tweeted the following on Monday (two days ago):

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over…

141K

11:38 AM – Oct 7, 2019

I don’t believe there is anything I can say to clarify or further elucidate what the Commander-in-Chief said in a policy statement (yes, in this administration, Trump’s twitter is accorded U.S. policy status), vis-vis one of our NATO allies. To that end, I conclude this post. “POTUS The Great: One Smart Dude…Just Ask Him!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click 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 inbox.

Consult the links below to learn more about this post.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/07/donald-trump-unmatched-wisdom-syria-tweet/3898498002/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/10/09/potus-the-great-one-smart-dude-just-ask-him/

 

 

 

Las Vegas Shooting Two Years Later: Opportunity Still Lost

It’s time to Break It Down!

This post is a lightly edited and updated version of the edition I wrote for this space a year ago, in observance of what has become known simply as the Las Vegas shooting. The frequency of mass shootings in America has reached such a ridiculously epidemic pace and volume until it is actually normal to identify them by their location and expect that the odds are good many if not most people will recognize the horror of which you speak. Columbine, Aurora, New Town, Charleston, Orlando, Parkland, and Las Vegas are just a few pertinent examples.

Yesterday was October 1st. Two years earlier, 64 year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire on an outdoor festival in Las Vegas from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino across Las Vegas Boulevard during the closing performance by singer Jason Aldean. By the time the shooting stopped eleven minutes later, Paddock had unleashed what is considered the deadliest firearms assault in American history. Incidentally, it displaced the previous record of 49, attributed to the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting at the Pulse Night Club. The toll: 58 fatalities (including Paddock) and 527 injuries.

Paddock had spent three days in his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Using that location as his operations center, he assembled a cache of weaponry that included at least 23 firearms (22 rifles and one handgun) inside the hotel. Some of the rifles were altered from semi-automatic to automatic, using devices known as bump stocks. Once altered, the rifles functioned with the rapid-fire action of machine guns. As police continued investigating the case, they discovered Paddock had at least 47 guns, explosives, and several thousand rounds of ammunition. Let’s not delude ourselves, or others, by saying he snapped. And…if you are an NRA member, or a hard core Republican, then by all means, let’s not even think of introducing the subject of access to firearms, or improved gun legislation into the discourse matrix, because as they have told us for decades, guns don’t kill people; (mentally disturbed) people do.

Paddock used a hammer-like object to break two windows in the suite, from which he launched repeated barrages of gunfire on unsuspecting fans at the concert. The rapidity with which the bullets rained down on the venue created a level of confusion that made it impossible for those taking fire to discern from whence the attack was emanating. If ever there was one, this is an American made tale of woe.

As I noted in this space two years ago, it may surprise some to know, I am an NRA member, a life member, in fact. I maintain an up-to-date CCP…or Concealed Carry Permit, and have qualified for, and held a permit to provide security services. I am not your prototypical “anti-gun” guy. However, I do believe easy access to firearms contributes to the health crisis that is gun violence in America.

Which more or less brings me to my point. After the Vegas tragedy, there was an audacious hue and cry for some kind of action on the gun legislation front. As is frequently the case, in the immediate wake of rampant gun violence, such as in Aurora, or Newtown, or Orlando, the national conversation is so robust, until there is a temptation to believe the discourse might lead to a change in gun laws. In the case of Las Vegas, the chief target was bump stocks.

Following the incident, Donald Trump, several members of Congress, and even the NRA mouthed support for banning bump stocks. They have one purpose; to elevate the degree of carnage that it’s possible to unleash on human beings. Yet, 367 days later, they are still legal instruments of pain and suffering. Meanwhile, we find ourselves immersed in a nationwide discussion about the fate of Brett Kavanagh, as the trio of Trump, Graham, and McConnell endeavor to explain to us how Judge Kavanagh has had his life ruined — because of a Clinton conspiracy — to hold him accountable for his actions. Contemporaneously, Don, Jr. has exclaimed that in this environment, he is more concerned about the fate of his young boys, than that of his young girls…presumably because he fears it’s more likely that some woman will falsely accuse his sons, than it is that a man might attack or abuse his daughters. Just for the record, statistics belie his perception, but that’s an e conversation for another time. Conspiracy theories and alternative facts are definitely a thing (or two things) that resonate(s) repeatedly when discussing the Trumps.

The Kavanagh imbroglio was certainly worth its own space. It was a weighty matter in its own right, and the outcome could alter the trajectory of SCOTUS decisions for decades. I hope it is resolved in an appropriate way. In a way that renders the least onerous outcome on all of us. But in terms of today’s subject, it was simply another distraction.

I am fond of noting, elections have consequences. And they do. Enormous consequences. The Las Vegas shooting created a dynamic that could have led to altering the landscape of the acquisition of some of the most dangerous and destruction-causing firearms accessories available to man. There are many considerations worth being mindful of as we approach November 6TH, Election Day. I submit to you, few are more important than electing people who exhibit the courage to take on the gun lobby. Let me be clear, gun legislation is not a magic bullet. In a land with way more than 300 million firearms, more guns than people by most estimates, new legislation will not make the carnage disappear. Howsumever, It could very well be a step in the right direction. In a logic-driven world, Rule #1 is, if you find yourself in a hole, cease and desist digging! Post haste.

Banning bump stocks didn’t take a single existing device out of circulation. What it did do was stop adding to the plethora of mechanical accelerants for semi-automatic rifles. That did not end the story. But it was step 1, a small step at that, in curbing mass violence. That one act stands as a poignant memorial to the 58 lives lost, and the 527 men and women wounded by Stephen Paddock. It took two and a half months to find the courage to do the right thing.

This summer, August 3rd and 4th, to be precise, in one weekend, two mass shootings occurred, one in El Paso, Texas, and one in Dayton, Ohio, claiming 32 lives (22 in El Paso and 10 in Dayton, and injuring 51, 24 in El Paso and 27 in Dayton. After those August 2019 shootings, once again, fitful spurts of activity ensued, once again, without a lot to show in tangible results.

Some of the current inaction is attributable to the fact Congress was in Recess, and the Senate Majority Leader opted not to call the Senate back into Session. By the time Congress’ six-weeks hiatus had ended, much of the energy and national urgency to do something had waned. This is precisely what opponents of taking action calculated.

There is still an outside chance that Congress will pass something before the end of the year, and possibly, before the election. If anything is certain, it will be a minor piece of legislation. Once again, We The People, a majority of whom favor taking action, appear to be on the path to being thwarted by the deep pockets of the NRA/gun lobby. And no, like the Kavanaugh spectacle of a year ago, the impeachment debate does nothing to promote efforts on this front. Although, for once, I imagine Mr.. Trump might actually prefer the comparatively friendly confines of NRA support in stonewalling firearms legislation rather than the specter of impeachment. But I digress. That was last week’s epistle.

As you know, Congress is not on the ballot next month. But, thousands of local elected officials all across America are facing the power of the ballot. To that end it’s in your (voters) hands. Make your desires known, and most importantly, vote in a matter aligned with your interests.

In many ways, on this front, not much has changed in the two years since Stephen Paddock rained deadly terror on Las Vegas concertgoers. However, it is up to us to be the change we believe in. Meanwhile, we are left with the stark and challenging realityLas Vegas Shooting Two Years Later: Opportunity Still Lost!” Can we engage the issue and change that narrative before yet another year has passed?

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click 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 inbox.

Consult the links below to learn more about this post.

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2018/10/03/las-vegas-shooting-one-year-later-opportunity-lost/

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/18/politics/bump-stocks-ban/index.html

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/10/02/las-vegas-shooting-two-years-later-opportunity-still-lost/

 

Moving On: Nan Relents

It’s time to Break It Down! 

It has been quite a week (for me). For the first time in nearly 24 years, I have a new address and phone number, and a great deal more importantly, for the first time in nearly 21 years, there is news of an impeachment inquiry of an American President. People move all the time, and some folks change phone numbers more frequently than snakes molt, or for those of us who are just not that into Ophiology (the study of snakes), shed their skins. Contrast that with the fact that in 230 years, only two Presidents have been impeached, Andrew Johnson in 1868, and 130 years later, Bill Clinton (1998). To be clear, an inquiry doesn’t mean there will be an impeachment, but given the make-up of the current House of Representatives, there is a strong likelihood that the process would not have advanced this far, were the outcome were not all but predictable.

Having said that, my estimation is that when the dust settles, the House will adopt articles of impeachment. Moreover, owing my bias, in my view, it couldn’t happen to a nicer (read that more deserving) fellow. Of course, what is equally clear (to me) is that the U.S. Senate, also given its composition, is certain to reject any proposed indictment of Donald Trump quicker that one can say or spell Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis, the longest word (45 letters) in most major English Dictionaries. The hyper-partisan divide in the American body politic is palpable. In our contemporary USA, no subject is more likely to detonate the fractiousness that accompanies that chasm than Donald Trump.

Nancy Pelosi, in announcing a formal impeachment inquiry yesterday said:

“Today, I am announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. The President must be held accountable. No one is above the law. Actions taken to date by the President have seriously violated the Constitution.”

Suffice it to say; there are many Democrats, liberals, independents, and even a few Republicans (his supporters write those off as Never Trumpers), who will argue Speaker Pelosi is late to the party. The Truth is Pelosi had been attempting to strike a delicate balance between her multidimensional Party’s varied interests. She frequently cited that the catalyst for Democrats regaining control of the House last November was it’s centrist messaging on healthcare (save and preserve Obamacare, e.g.), along with noting that most of the 40 seats Democrats picked up were in the suburbs where Trump made hay, unexpectedly, in 2016. In direct opposition to that narrative stood, among a few others, four women collectively known as The Squad, (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, NY, the best known of the four, Ilhan Omar, MN, Ayanna Pressley, MA, and Rashida Tlaib, MI); all of whom have figuratively shouted from the mountaintops that they believed Trump’s actions warranted impeachment.

Frequently, it appeared there was a schism in the Democratic Party, tied, implacably, to the I-word. As more of Ms. Pelosi’s Caucus came out in favor of upping the ante, it because more difficult, and finally perhaps simply untenable for the Speaker to swim upstream on the issue. Yesterday, she relented.

Meanwhile, as the march toward an impeachment inquiry, which was likely inexorable, continues, Trump carries on, seemingly oblivious to increasing concerns about his words, actions, policies, and indeed, whether he is in anyway tethered to reality. His rapid fire and boundless capacity to speak untruths and with a straight face, deny he said what he obviously said (because We The People have the receipts/there is often accompanying video/audio) doesn’t help his case. That is, unless you ask him, and his supporters. Team Trump will respond, “Obama said you can keep your doctor. With Trump well into the 5 digits, (over 12,000 lies in less than 3 years), deflecting to a pledge Obama made that was blocked by a recalcitrant GOP, is the ultimate in milquetoast responses. Of course, that hasn’t stopped…or even slowed Team Trump. Rather, they seemed committed (excuse the football metaphor) to run a sweep to the right side until the other team can stop them.

Well, it may not be successful, but alas, the Dems have formulated a defense. Increasingly, I am less concerned about the specific outcome than than I am about seeing that someone is at least making an effort to preserve the concepts that were once widely viewed as the key strengths of our nation. Instead of raising the oft-repeated reprise of America, the exceptional nation, let’s call upon the nation that enslaved Africans, forced Native Americans across the Trail of Tears, burned down Black Wall Street (in Tulsa), lynched African Americans across the country, especially in the South, made redlining de rigueur, established Jim Crow as par for the course, and legitimized denying VA benefits to black soldiers returning home from World War II, to just be better. Own up to those and innumerable other wack, inhumane, and deleterious practices as being central to developing this country into the economic behemoth that it is, and yes, in a very un-Trump-like fashion, do the right thing, and apologize. But I digress.

Nancy Pelosi was right to resist her Party’s nascent urge to impeach Trump because he spoke in a bullying fashion, or even that he lied profusely. But, she is just a right to embrace impeaching a man who sides with Putin over American intelligence agencies, even when they are led by “the best people,” whom, incidentally, he chose. She is right to lend the authority of her office to impeaching a man who sought the aid of another country in investigating a political opponent.

Let’s be clear on this point. Politically this step has risky political implications. Many Democrats…and Republicans recall that the 1989 GOP House impeachment of Bill Clinton actually left him stronger. While it’s conceivable, Trump could turn this move into a winning hand, and totally certain he will try to spin it as the outgrowth of an angry left wing mob suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, and unable to get over having lost an election (he will say they should have won…which is interesting in itself), there comes a time to stand up and be counted upon to defend the principles one says one stands upon. Madame Speaker is saying that time is now. I concur. “Moving On: Nan Relents!”

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.

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

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/24/politics/democrats-impeachment-strategy/index.html

https://www.msnbc.com/deadline-white-house/watch/trump-asked-ukraine-to-investigate-biden-s-son-multiple-times-69509189702

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Squad_(United_States_Congress)

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/24/politics/john-lewis-donald-trump-impeachment/index.html

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

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

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/09/25/moving-on-nan-relents/