Hoping for return of AA hardball in Amarillo

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I no longer live in Amarillo but I retain a deep and abiding attention and affection for my friends there and I wish them all the very best at every turn.

I wish them continued joy as they cheer for a baseball team that was supposed to defend its Texas League title this year but got sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Amarillo Sod Poodles are still the champs. They’ll get to defend their title next year … right? Well, let us hope so.

I do not for a nano-second believe we’re about to get a vaccine that will kill the COVID-19 virus deader than a door nail. It’s still some time in the future.

However, I remain hopeful to the extreme that continued measures — such as mask wearing and social distancing — will enable activities to resume to something approaching “normal” in the new year.

Hodgetown, the shiny new ballpark where the Sod Poodles play their home games, did play host to a college league this summer. Aspiring young hardballers got to play in front of government-mandated sparse crowds at the ballpark. It wasn’t exactly Class AA ball, which the Sod Poodles play, but it entertained the baseball faithful who were able to attend the games.

So, from some distance away, I want to extend a good word to my friends in Amarillo who are hoping to be able to swill a beverage or two and wolf down a hot dog at Hodgetown in 2021 while cheering for the Sod Poodles as they seek to defend their Texas League title.

Hey, I live near Frisco these days, where the Roughriders play ball in the same league as the Sod Poodles. If they play ball next year I intend fully to be in the Frisco stands cheering for the Soddies.

Now, a word about the Constitution

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I feel the need to offer an encouraging word as we grapple with tumult and trepidation in these so very trying times.

We have a president of the United States who is threatening to stay in office if the election results don’t turn out his way. He is going to challenge the results. He has determined that electing Joe Biden as president would mean the election is rigged.

I am going to place my entire faith in the U.S. Constitution to protect us against the madman who masquerades as the current president.

President Ford took office in 1974 after crisis that saw another president, Richard Nixon, resign from office. “Our Constitution works,” Gerald Ford told us immediately after taking his oath of office. He was right.

We are facing another set of potentially frightening circumstances. Donald Trump is threatening to do actual harm to our system of government.

He is challenging the integrity of our electoral system. He actually suggested that “getting rid of ballots” would ensure his re-election. Trump has suggested that he very well might seek a third term were he to win a second term in office; he says the first term was spoiled by “witch hunts” launched by Democrats.

I happen to believe in the strength of the Constitution, which has endured many crises over the years. We have gone through three presidential impeachments and the Constitution served as the guiding beacon for all of those endeavors.

There was the aforementioned Watergate scandal of 1972-74. A vice president resigned, was replaced by the man who would succeed the president. It was all done under the auspices of the nation’s governing document.

Yes, these are perilous times. I am concerned about our future. However, my faith in the Constitution and the limits it places on executive authority gives me hope that it will see us through this current spasm of chaos and confusion.

I get that the founders didn’t create a perfect governing document back in the 18th century. It’s been made “more perfect” over time. However, what they did create has worked well enough to hold this country together during the most trying of times.

I am banking on the U.S. Constitution keeping us whole as we seek to find our way out of the darkness that Donald Trump has brought.

Get set for the Fight of the Century

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

So, you thought that Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier engaged in the Fight of the Century way back in 1971, yes?

Step aside, fellas. The bigger fight is about to occur with the pending nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The word is out that Donald Trump is going to nominate Judge Barrett to the court to succeed the late, great Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Barrett is a darling of the evangelical Christian community. She is a far-right winger who vows to throw out Roe vs. Wade, the landmark SCOTUS ruling that legalized abortion; she wants to toss out the Affordable Care Act; Barrett intends to make constitutional decisions based on the will of God … which is a tough call given that the Constitution is a secular document.

Ginsburg, of course, represented the “other” wing of the Supreme Court.

So, the fight will commence as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell puts on his hypocrite hat and does the very thing he vowed shouldn’t happen, which is confirm a presidential Supreme Court appointment during a presidential election year.

Senate Democrats won’t sit still for it. Nor should they.

And in the House of Representatives, we hear faint rumblings of House members taking unusual steps to forestall this confirmation process until after the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The founders intended to keep the federal judiciary above partisan politics. As smart as they were, they could not have foreseen what we are about to witness up close in real time.

Let’s hold on with both hands.

Who are ‘Vets for Trump’?

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I will acknowledge being a member of the “Never Trump” brigade.

I get to join some prominent Republicans, even though I am not one of them. Given that we in Texas vote in an “open primary” system, we do not have to “register” with a particular political party.

Now that we have established that bit of info, I want to explore briefly the phenomenon called “Veterans for Trump.”

Why in the name of public service does any veteran stand with this guy? The Atlantic magazine article that portrayed Trump as someone who detests those who serve in uniform ought to have dissuaded any self-respecting veteran from backing this individual’s re-election effort. They have their assorted reasons and I will respect them for standing on their rationale.

To be fair, I known personally plenty of vets who fall into that category. I mean no disrespect to any of them. They are my friends and I love them all.

The Atlantic cited numerous sources who confirmed that Trump referred to vets as “suckers” and “losers.” He denigrated the service of those who were captured by enemy forces. Trump even told associates that parades honoring veterans shouldn’t include those who suffered grievous injury because “no one wants to see that.”

I hasten to add that The Atlantic article has been verified by other reputable news sources. They have corroborated what the reporter, Jeffrey Goldberg, revealed in the article.

And so I have to ask: How do veterans continue to stand with this guy who disparages them in such grotesque fashion?

To be sure, I am not one of them. Then again, I am a proud member of the “never Trump” team.

Consider this possible bombshell

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I don’t want to predict the moment that Earth will spin off is axis, but there’s a potentially explosive scandal out there that might erupt, forcing the worst constitutional crisis in American history.

Donald Trump is about to nominate someone to the Supreme Court. That someone could be confirmed in a U.S. Senate vote before the Nov. 3 election.

We’ll go to the polls and the result might not be to Trump’s liking. He might decide to challenge the results that could show Joe Biden winning narrowly … God forbid!

Then the case could go to the Supreme Court.

Just suppose Trump’s selection on the court finds herself in the position of casting the deciding vote that might return Trump to office for a second term. Suppose as well that the appointee doesn’t recuse herself from any deliberation and that her vote renders a Biden victory moot on some legal technicality that no one can predict at this moment.

Whoever Trump nominates and is confirmed in my view needs to declare herself out of the game. She must not participate in any decision that could deliver a second term to the individual who selected her for a lifetime appointment on the nation’s highest court.

Oh, man, I do not want any of this to play out. My version of political perfection would be for Joe Biden to win in a rout, to bury Trump under an electoral landslide that produces zero doubt over the outcome … not that a landslide loss would dissuade Trump from trying to pull of some mumbo jumbo to steal an election result.

We need to prepare ourselves for the possibility of a hideous, horrendous, hell-raising crisis in the event we get a shiny new Supreme Court justice sitting on the bench awaiting an electoral outcome.

Recusal is the only option.

Looking forward to early Election Day

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I truly cannot believe I am about to make the following statement.

Which is that I am looking forward to voting early for president of the United States of America.

Texas opens the door to early voting on Oct. 13. We keep hearing about the need to vote as early as possible, to vote in person if we can and if we can protect ourselves against the coronavirus.

We’re going to vote on the first day of early voting. 

You know of my longstanding desire to wait until Election Day to cast my ballot. I am tossing that preference aside with increasing glee.

I am growing more concerned about Donald Trump’s potential for electoral chicanery. He says the only way Joe Biden will win is if the election is “rigged.” Trump is threatening to refuse to accept the result if Biden gets more votes than he does. Trump is suggesting “rampant voter fraud” where no fraud exists.

So with that in mind, we are going to the polls on the first day of early voting. We’ll stand in a socially distanced line for as long as it takes on that day. We will then cast our ballots.

We will vote proudly for Joe Biden. Our votes will be logged into our state’s electronic balloting system.

Then we will await the results of the election.

If Biden wins and then restores dignity to the office of the presidency, my hope is that he ends the suspicion being hurled at our electoral system.

The most frightening aspect of this suspicion is that it is coming from the guy who is masquerading as our current president. We are witnessing an astonishing display of desperation from Donald J. Trump.

I will answer Donald Trump’s horrifying effort to undermine our electoral system by voting early on the very first day that the option becomes available.

Leave SCOTUS alone

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The battle that is fixin’ to explode over the nomination fight regarding the U.S. Supreme Court may include a skirmish I hope does not occur.

Shall the court expand from nine justices to some greater number, say 11 or 13? I believe that is unwise.

Senate Democrats are threatening to seek a court expansion if they gain control of the Senate after the Nov. 3 election. They want to add more progressive jurists to the high court in the event another conservative joins the court after Donald Trump nominates her and the Senate confirms his selection.

Don’t mistake my motives here. I do not want Trump to win a second term. I want voters to elect Joe Biden as president. I do not want this election decided by the Supreme Court. I want it decided cleanly, clearly and without equivocation by voters across the land.

What’s more, if this matter heads to the Supreme Court in a court challenge, I clearly do not want a court with a newly installed Trump nominee having a say on whether Donald Trump should remain in office. If I could define “conflict of interest,” such an occurrence would be Exhibit A in that definition.

I say all this while cautioning against taking drastic action to change one of our nation’s governmental bedrocks, the judicial branch of government. Granted, the U.S. Constitution does not specify that the Supreme Court must comprise nine justices. The number of justices has fluctuated between five and 10 but since 1869 the number has been set at nine.

President Roosevelt tried to enact a court-packing scheme when he took office, but that effort failed.

What’s more, none other than the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — whose death has prompted this monumental political fight — argued against adding to the justices serving on the court. She was a traditionalist.

So … am I. 

If the aim is to seek some sort of judicial balance on the court, then my own preference is to elect presidents who will ensure it. That is far better in my own mind that tinkering with the number of justices. What, for example, would prevent a more conservative Senate from adding even more justices if the Supreme Court tilts too far to the left? It never ends.

I doubt, moreover, that the founders would want one branch of government meddling so intrusively in the affairs of another branch of government.

Leave the Supreme Court alone.

Trump should alarm us all

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It is no stretch at all to suggest that Donald Trump is setting up multiple alarm bells over his statements related to a “peaceful transition” from one administration to the next one if he loses the presidential election.

The election is 40 days out. Joe Biden continues to show considerable strength in most public opinion polling. He is strong in the states he needs to win the Electoral College and, thus, be elected president.

That isn’t derailing Trump’s dangerous talk about refusing to commit to a peaceful transition, or his efforts to suppress voter turnout, or his call to “throw out ballots” that he says would guarantee he would stay in office.

Indeed, this dangerous rhetoric has prompted the U.S. Senate to pass a resolution proclaiming its strong intention to ensure that a transition, were it to occur, would be done in a manner befitting our great republic: peacefully and without tumult.

Trump’s danger to the republic is on full display as the campaign heads toward the stretch run. He intends to cheat his way to a second term.

Look at what he’s done already: He has sought help from Ukraine in digging up dirt on Biden; he has continued to dismiss assertions from the FBI and other intelligence experts that Russia is interfering in our election as it did in 2016; he asserts without proof that mail-in voting is fraught with corruption that it breeds “rampant voter fraud”; he has said publicly that a Biden victory would mean the election is “rigged.”

When have we ever heard a president say these things? Hmm. How about, oh, never!

Donald Trump is a menace to the Constitution he took an oath to defend and protect. He is a danger to the very electoral system of which he took advantage to win the presidency four years ago. Trump is a danger to our system of government.

This man needs to lose this election, He needs to lose big. Trump needs to pack his bags and exit the White House.

Founders are spinning

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Wherever they are, the men who formed the government that runs our beloved country surely must be so mad they could just spit.

Why? Well, they intended to create a federal judicial system that would be free of political pressure. They revealed that intent by creating judgeships that would last a lifetime. The idea was to free federal judges from political pressure by setting, say, limits on the amount of time they could serve.

It hasn’t worked out quite the way the founders intended.

We have another vacancy on our nation’s highest court and the political pressure is about the blow the roof off the Supreme Court building. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death wasn’t entirely a surprise, although it did sadden many of us … me included.

We now are going to watch a spectacle unfold in which a president with no discernable ideological base is going to nominate an arch conservative jurist to replace the progressive-leaning, trailblazing Ginsburg. The balance of power on the Supreme Court will be set for as long as the rest of the conservative majority remains seated.

Politics, anyone?

The pressure is going to go way beyond merely intense. It will become unbearable. Donald Trump promised to appoint archconservative jurists to the bench. He delivered with the appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, although they haven’t voted entirely the way the Trump administration would have wanted.

Now comes the next choice. It’s going to be a woman, Trump says. I won’t speculate here on who it might be. I’ll wait for the announcement that Trump said is coming Saturday.

Just know that the political hackles are going to be flying.

Dang. I just wish the founders were around to remind us all — in person — what they intended when they wrote that Constitution.

Trump = extreme danger

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What in the name of political insanity is Donald J. Trump trying to do?

He has been asked many times about whether he would commit to a “peaceful transition” of power in the event he loses the election in November.

Trump won’t commit. He won’t say he’ll hand the reins of power to Joseph Biden. He won’t follow the example set by every single one of his presidential predecessors.

Oh, no! This president is saying we need to “get rid of the ballots” he insists are being sent out illegally to millions of Americans. He doesn’t offer a shred of proof for anything he alleges.

Folks, we have a dangerous man on our hands. We have a man who is fomenting fear of our cherished electoral system. He is seeking to undermine the process we have used since the beginning of the republic to elect our presidents.

“We’ll have to see what happens.”

That is Donald Trump’s statement regarding the election. See what happens?

What quite possibly will “happen” will be that Joe Biden gets more votes than Trump. He will acquire more than enough Electoral College votes than Trump. Biden will be duly elected as the 46th president of the United States.

Trump, though, is going to cast doubt on the outcome. Indeed, he is setting that table already. He is ignoring what the FBI says is occurring, that Russia is working to interfere in the election just as it did in 2016.

He won’t commit to a peaceful transition in the event of a Joe Biden victory?

This is a dangerous man.

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