“Ted Cruz: We Need 100 More!”

It’s time to Break It Down!


Most of us know that Texas Senator Ted Cruz is spearheading the Tea Party/GOP initiative to shutdown the Federal Government in an effort to defund the program known as Obamacare.  The Senator, who has roots in Cuba (where his father was born & was a one time supporter of the Castro Regime), and in Calgary, Alberta (That’s in Canada in the unlikely event you are operating at a cultural literacy or geography deficit), is slowly but surely filling out the palette that is his personal profile.

In one of the best-kept secrets of competitive politics, the Senator has been positioning himself to make a run for the Oval Office in 2016.  At age 42, he is at the opposite end of the chronological spectrum relative to Senator John McCain and Governor Mitt Romney, the last two GOP Nominees for the Presidency.  That and his Latino heritage position him, along with Florida Senator Marco Rubio, also 42 and of Cuban descent, as prospective darlings among Republican Party hopefuls for 2016.

It’s early, but not too soon for various elements of candidate behavior to be “interesting.”  As a rule, I do not immerse myself in the intricacies of GOP Party politics, especially three years for before a Presidential election.  I must admit, however, I’m still waiting for evidence that Senator Cruz has passed the requisite Trump…I mean, Litmus test.  You know, the one in which someone of mixed heritage, or extra-national birth is required to produce a birth certificate.  I kid, I kid; a college transcript will do!

Lest I digress too far, the gist of this essay is the completion of the quote used in the Title, above.  To be clear, a couple of weeks ago, on the anniversary of Nine-Eleven, the Junior Senator from Texas built a Bridge too far!”  Here is the complete quote.  He said, in remarks at a Heritage Foundation event:

“It’s every bit as true nowas it was then.  “We need 100 morelike Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.”

 The then, to which Senator Cruz referred, was the occasion of John Wayne making a $5,000.00 contribution to Senator Jesse Helms, who died in 2008, and following up his donation with a flattering expository comment.  May God rest the souls of both Mr. Wayne, and Senator Helms.

Having said that, the one-time Senior Senator from my home state was an enthusiastic opponent of all things civil rights.  Senator Helms, a 30-year member of the U.S. Senate, opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which he called the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in Congress.  He was against the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  He was, by many accounts, the single most ardent opponent of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, and in 1983 staged a 16-day filibuster in an attempt to block the holiday.  In 1988, he opposed the Kennedy-Hatch AIDS bill, and argued there “is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy.”  This is a sampling of Senator Helms’ stand on the issues of his day: positions of which the Senator was damn proud.

For his part, Senator Cruz revealed that his first-ever political contribution was to Senator Helms.  I suppose that is revealing in its own right.

The GOP is in part salivating over the prospect of a Cruz candidacy because of his heritage, and the notion that by picking him, or someone like him, the Party will instantly become more desirable, or at least less toxic, among ethnic demographics.  This “peeling” of the onion that is Ted Cruz should be seen as an incredibly eye-opening sequence of events.  The scale of the irony here is quite simply incalculable.

Never mind Presidential politics.  After all, the 2016 election is still 1,140 days away.  Alternately, a government shutdown, should one occur, is a mere six days from now.  That the leader of the “Shut Down the Government” movement has cast himself as a devotee of “Senator No,” on its face, seems a case of remarkable transparency.  I would suggest you know all you need to about this gentleman, both as it pertains to the 2016 Presidential Election, and to shutting down the government.

To paraphrase another renown Republican icon (Nancy Reagan), I encourage you to Just say no to the uncivilized antics of the Junior Senator from Texas.  Remember what this assertion means; a U.S. Senate filled with Jesse Helms clones… Ted Cruz: “We Need 100 More!”


I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com or http://thesphinxofcharlotte.blogspot.com. A new post is published each Wednesday.

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Republicans Call President Obama Tone Deaf: More GOP Legerdemain!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Let’s establish one thing up front; Aaron Alexis, the 34-year old practicing Buddhist, and suspected gunman who killed twelve people in Building 197 in the Washington Navy Yard Monday, was a black man.  While that factoid pales in comparison to the horrendous, indefensible, and senseless acts he committed Monday, before authorities killed him, it had to be noted.  In fact, I had to write those words.

In the past, I have pointed out that the history of mass shootings in America is littered with the names of, presumably angry and/or sick, white men.  In longitudinal terms, that fact still stands.  Ex-police officer Christopher Dorner’s California shooting spree in February and now, Alexis’ scurrilous acts this week deviate from the trend line.  Do not get it twisted.  The reality is their actions have not re-ordered all we know about the who of those committing these heinous crimes.  It does once again however underscore the havoc and violence that widespread and “too easy” access to guns can cause.  In the case of Mr. Alexis, the records indicate he had a temper, heard strange voices, and had a history of gun violence.  In retrospect, his high-level security clearance to military facilities is in question.  SMDH!

That is all so unfortunate.  However, even in the aftermath of this most recent episode, a number of gun advocates have lamented the fact that more of the victims did not have their own guns.  It is as though they wish for a return to the ethic of the Wide Wild West.

That is food for thought.  But the focus of this brief commentary is the Republican response to President Obama’stone” in his comments made shortly after Monday’s incident.  It should be noted that at the top of his comments during a White House briefing, President Obama called the act cowardly, and demanded a seamless investigation between local and federal authorities.

The rub, it seems, is he did not stop there.  He went on to speak about developments in the Syrian conflict, and then to chide Republicans for threatening to shut down the government because they may not get all they want…which as you probably know, is the rescission of Obamacare.  The cavalcade of GOP brass who took exception to the President holding their Party accountable included:

  • House Speaker John Boehner called it a shame the President could not rise above partisanship.
  • Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted it was disappointing that the President didn’t rise above partisanship
  • Former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, who has his own history with shutting down the government, channeled President Reagan, noting that Mr. Reagan postponed the State of the Union Address because he realized the Country needed to be in mourning.
  • Alex Castellanos, a key GOP Strategist, called the press conference self-congratulatory and referred to the President as tone deaf.

It’s clear, the GOP really doesn’t want any spotlight placed on the fact that many of them would like to grind government to a halt.  It is even more apparent that they do not wish to be reminded of the fact that the war they were for, before they were against it, before the President backed it, before he sought the Congressional approval the GOP insisted he needed, before he asked for it, may actually be resolved through diplomacy anyway.  OMG!

The limitlessly irreverent Bill Maher coined a phrase recently, “Black-track.”  The definition…”When a politician changes his mind because he learns President Obama agrees with him.”  Amen Bill; the truth will set you free.  Meanwhile, Republicans Call Obama Tone Deaf: More GOP Legerdemain!”  I call that claim BS!

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com or http://thesphinxofcharlotte.blogspot.com. A new post is published each Wednesday.

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Calling All Patriots; Nine-Eleven Ten Years Later

It’s time to Break It Down!

The buzz for today, nationally as well as globally, will center, undoubtedly, on the potential for a “Syrian Solution.”  Last night’s speech by President Obama and how much it did or did not move the dial on public opinion will naturally be integrated into most conversations on the subject.

Instead of focusing on this latest development of a saga that has been unfolding for the past two and a half years, I am going to re-post a “Break It Down” entry from two years ago.  Today is the Twelfth Anniversary of Nine-Eleven; a day America can never forget.  While I am hopeful, but not expectant, that President Putin, Secretary Kerry, or even POTUS will propose a diplomatic solution that will resolve the Syrian conflict, obviating President Obama’s need to execute or abandon his call for military action against Syria’s Assad, I ask that you please direct your attention to the horror that was September 11, 2001.

(From the Archives, September 7, 2011)

Do you remember where you were, Tuesday, September 11, 2001?

Next Sunday we will observe the 10th Anniversary of the day that has come to be known simply as, Nine-Eleven (9/11).  That day 10 years ago, America lost, in one fell swoop, its blissful innocence, its long-standing appearance of invulnerability, and its deeply ingrained sense of security.  By some accounts, what it retained is it’s self-righteous (some would say) belief in American Exceptionalism and entitlement; but that is a conversation for another post.

Suddenly we were at war, and the fight, had, uncharacteristically, come to us, straightway.  This battle was personal, and it was on our home turf; no longer some shadowy ideological military exercise, or guerrilla warfare episode, played out on foreign soil, half a world away.

U.S. House of Representatives Joint Resolution 71 was introduced with 22 co-sponsors (11 Republicans and 11 Democrats) and approved by a vote of 407-0 on October 25, 2001 (with 25 members not voting).  The bill passed unanimously in the Senate on November 30, 2001.  The Resolution requested that the President designate September 11th each year as Patriot Day.  President George W. Bush signed the Resolution into law December 18, 2001 (as Public Law 107-89).

On this day, the President directs that the American flag be flown at half-staff at individual American homes, at the White House, and on all U.S. government buildings and establishments, home and abroad.  This year, President Obama has deemed the day one of National Remembrance and ServicePresident and Mrs. Obama will commemorate the day by spending time at the Pentagon, in Arlington, VA, at Shanksville, PA, and in New  York, at the site of the World Trade Center Towers, the three sites of the four Nine-Eleven plane crashes.

The President, who will attend a function at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, Sunday evening, plans to honor the victims, the respondents to the disasters, and the military personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in other missions aimed at rooting out the terrorists responsible for the Nine-Eleven attacks.

Even a decade later, with ten years worth of context building, and development of perspective, the numbers behind Nine-Eleven are chilling.  Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives, and thousands of others were injured, and many more sustained post-event trauma.  Examples of the carnage include: 

  • 2,977 Victims killed (not including the 19 hijackers)
  • 2,606 Killed at the World Trade  Center  Towers
  • 125 Killed at the Pentagon
  • 40 Killed in Shanksville, PA
  • 87 Killed on American Flight 11/NYC World Trade Center North Tower
  • 60 Killed on United Flight 175/NYC World Trade Center South Tower
  • 59 Killed on American Flight 77/Arlington – The Pentagon
  • 40 Killed United Flight 93/Shanksville, PA
  • 19 Hijackers
  • 246 Killed on the four planes
  • 19 Hijackers Killed (on the four planes)
  • 2,996 Killed on Nine-Eleven
  • 411 Emergency workers killed at the World Trade Centers
  • 341 FDNY firefighters killed
  • 2 Paramedics killed
  • 23 NYPD officers killed
  • 37 Port Authority Police Department officers killed
  • 8 EMT’s killed
  • 658 Employees of Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. (Investment Bank) killed; most of any employer
  • 1,631 Bodies positively identified from World Trade Center Towers
  • 1,122 Bodies (41%) remain unidentified
  • Bone fragments were still being found in 2005 by workers preparing to demolish the damaged Deutsche Bank Building
  • 72 Additional remains found in 2010 by a team of anthropologists and archeologists

A Medical Examiner will continue to try to identify remains in the hope new technology will lead to the identification of other victims.  The death and destruction of Nine-Eleven led to the so-called Global War on Terror.  Mostly the front lines have been in Afghanistan and Iraq.  However, a central intent of the action has been to prevent a recurrence of Nine-Eleven-like events on U.S. soil.

The initial thrust began October 7, 2001 when the U.S., British, and Coalition forces invaded Afghanistan, and in March 2002, the U.S. and Coalition forces launched Operation Anaconda and the Taliban suffered significant losses, and left the region.  In the interim, involvement in the region has ebbed and flowed, but the war, which the Obama Administration has referred to as Overseas Contingency Operation, continues.  In exactly one month from today, we will have been in Afghanistan 10 years.  However, months ago, the War in Afghanistan became the longest war in American History.  We are already in the every day is a new record era.

U.S. Intelligence sources pointed to Al-Qaeda as the probable instigator behind Nine-Eleven.  It’s leader, Osama bin Laden initially denied involvement.  Over time, bin Laden became more emboldened; first conceding involvement, and ultimately admitted that he was instrumental in masterminding the horrific attacks.  During his Presidential Campaign, Mr. Obama declared he would not relent on the hunt for Osama.  The elusive terrorist was thought to be hiding in Pakistan.  Mr. Obama stated bluntly that if reliable intelligence pinpointed bin Laden, he would deploy U.S. forces to find and kill him, which he did on May 2, 2011.

The good news is, over the course of the past decade, there have been no repeat Nine-Eleven events.  That result is partly due to fastidiously focusing on prevention efforts, partly due to the fortuitous failure of would-be terrorists, and partly due to the fateful intervention of alert by-standers.

As we approach Patriot Day 2011, and a decade of Nine-Eleven memories, Americans are advised to be on high alert for potential incursions by terrorists, most likely of the lone wolf variety, where one person acts alone.  So, Calling All Patriots; Nine-Eleven…Ten Years Later,” let’s get ready for a Day of Remembrance and Service.

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.blogspot.com.  A new post is published each Wednesday.  For more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post, consult the links below:













So Whose War Is This, Anyway?

It’s time to Break It Down!

It has long been said, politics makes strange bedfellows.  Henry John Temple, AKA Lord Palmerson, aformer British Prime Minister, is reputed to have asserted, “Britain has no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies; only interests that are eternal and perpetual.”

Recent elements of the Syrian conflict, an aggressive intra-national quarrel that many observers insist has risen to the level of a civil war, in which government-sponsored chemical warfare and genocide have persuaded Americans to choose sides, in a manner of speaking.

Naturally, no one is for perpetuating the conflict.  However, when it comes to the steps Americans favor taking to diffuse the conflict, we, as a nation, are a House divided.  Nowhere is that division more palpable than the nexus between President Obama and the Republican Party.  Since the beginning of the conflict, which emerged from the Syrian version of the Arab Spring, beginning March 15, 2011, Republicans have attempted to force President Obama to kowtow to their wishes and arm the rebels.  They declared Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, Public Enemy Number 1; a true menace to society.

Therefore, it was…until it was not.  A funny, rather a peculiar thing, happened on the way writing the 2013 Edition of the History of the World.  Cue the USA edit.  First, the Assad Regime is alleged to have ramped up chemical attacks on the rebels, still Syrian citizens.  There have been earlier reports of the government launching chemical attacks.  In those earlier reported attacks, a relatively small number of people died.  The numbers have escalated dramatically recently.  Thousands of Syrians have died from attacks; most analysts believe Sarin is responsible for an agonizing Death sequence shown on TV’s around the world.

Then in a move that stunned and apparently agitated Republicans, President Obama, said there was tangible evidence that President Assad and Syrian government forces crossed his pre-established Red Line, and called for military intervention.  Lo and behold, the sacrosanct ideological dicta of the GOP instantly transformed and mutated, as if there had been a tectonic shift in the very plates that underpin all the Party holds dear.  No more adhering to unflinching support of the Military Industrial Complex; now the Guiding Principle, in fact, the only principle that mattered…at least since January 20, 2009, is, whatever President Obama is for, the GOP oligarchy is against.  To wit, whereas before, when the President was not supportive of arming the ill-defined rebels, and when he articulated a clear message conveying his intent to terminate, not launch wars, Republicans consistently:

  • Demanded the President take action in Syria to support the rebels
  • Called the President weak because he did not do so
  • Contended the President was letting Israel     down by not forcing out Assad
  • Accused the President of emboldening Iran     and North Korea,     via his inaction
  • Called for a no-fly zone
  • Asked that the President bomb Syrian Airfields, & command and control.
  • Implied he could/should take this action unilaterally, specifically, without     support in the Region from the Arab, or internationally, from our allies

As has been the case on numerous other issues, the moment the President adapts his position to incorporate the view that it is imperative to act, the GOP gets a raging case of snow blindness, and expresses pure unadulterated disdain for the President’s plan to attack Syria.  They even demanded that he seek Congressional approval for taking the action, even though a limited action, such as that proposed by POTUS, does not require approval by that august body.

It is not hard to imagine, members of the GOP expected the President to by-pass them.  Instead, the President acquiesced and once again gave Republicans a template for forging a bi-partisan alliance; a vexing one-word solution…compromise.

For more than two years, Republicans lobbied relentlessly for this moment.  Once the President offered it up on a platter; go figure!  In somewhat of a yin, yang situation, many Republicans have donned their political body armor, and claim they are ready to vote against endorsing the action the President requested.  “So Whose War Is This, Anyway?”

 I’m done; holla back!

 Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com or http://thesphinxofcharlotte.blogspot.com. A new post is published each Wednesday.

To 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 in-box.

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