All posts by kanelis2012

Debate No. 1: Unwatchable


I agree with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos’s view of the first presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

It was “the worst presidential debate I’ve ever seen,” said the news anchor. Yes. It certainly was the worst one I’ve ever seen as well.

Who owns the unwatchability of this mess? Donald Trump.

The president came in spoiling for a fight. He was rude. He was the bully we all have come to know and loathe. Trump’s performance tonight was about as hideous as anything I’ve ever witnessed.

To be somewhat fair, Joe Biden didn’t rise significantly above the sh** show that Trump revealed to us. He sought to do so by looking into the camera and talking to you and me in our living rooms. Then again, he did call Trump a “clown” and told him to shut up.

Sigh …

I want to give a shout-out to Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who had the horrible task of trying to moderate this event. He tried on several occasions to tell Trump that as moderator, he was insisting that Trump adhere to the rules that his campaign agreed to along with Biden’s team.

The Trumpkin Corps no doubt will see this event differently. Fine. Go for it, folks.

For my money, Donald Trump showed us all that he remains the Bully in Chief.

Just think, we have two more of these to endure.

Issues might cause noggin to burst


We’re getting ready to head down the stretch in this run for the presidency and so help me, the issues — personal, political and public — are threatening to make my head explode.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump are getting ready to meet in their first of three debates. I’ll have more on that later.

I am trying to take all this in as we settle down for an evening of give and take between the Democratic Party challenger and the Republican Party incumbent.

I want Joe Biden to win this election. You know that already. There is no possibility for Donald Trump to collect my support. I detest the very idea that this self-serving narcissist even got elected in the first place. He did so against my strong protests. Now we need to get his ample backside tossed out of the White House.

It is mind-boggling in the extreme to even ponder how Trump can be anywhere near Biden in the horse-race aspect of this campaign. Trump has, in no particular order:

Disparaged men and women who serve their country in the military; denigrated actual war heroes; paid next to zero federal income tax; lied to Americans about the threat posed initially by the COVID pandemic; told an estimated 28,000 lies all told during his time in office; insulted political foes mercilessly; insulted our international allies; pretended to be a man of faith when everyone knows he is nothing of the sort; spoken kindly of KKK’men and Nazis.

I am trying like the dickens to wrap my noggin around all of this. My goodness, in a perfect world Joe Biden would be prepared to roll up a historic landslide, something rivaling President Reagan’s 49-state pummeling of Walter Mondale in 1984.

That base of voters remains loyal to Trump despite his lies, the reports of his tax cheating, his myriad boorish statements, the insults he hurls at opponents. They like that about him because, I have to surmise, he speaks their language; Trump speaks on their behalf. How does one cope with that?

So the debate tonight opens up a possible new lane for Joe Biden to travel. My version of political nirvana will unfold if the former vice president thoroughly thrashes the president and puts this race out of reach. Trump has given so much ammo to unleash.

May the former VP use it wisely … but with maximum effect.

COVID ‘under control’? Hah!


How do you define “success” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic?

Donald Trump says he and his administration are doing a “great job.” He gives himself an A+ grade in the response to the pandemic.

Hmm. Let’s look at a couple of numbers.

The worldwide death count has just surpassed 1 million human beings. Of that total, more than 200,000 of them died in the United States of America.

The United States comprises about 5 percent of the world population. The U.S. portion of the worldwide coronavirus death toll is, um, 20 percent. 

Five percent vs. 20 percent. That’s a successful strategy?

I do not believe that is the case.

Trump gives us all the shaft


It’s no surprise to anyone on Earth to know that I am not a wealthy man.

I made a nice living for many years and was able to provide for my family, but I certainly never acquired great heaps of material wealth, a la … Donald J. Trump.

However, I damn sure paid a whole lot more in federal income taxes than the Trumpkin in Chief paid over the course of the past 15 years, as revealed by The New York Times.

What am I supposed to think of this? Well, first of all, it’s no surprise to learn any of this, given Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. Am I angry? Sure I am! However, I fall into the “never Trump” category of voters, so my anger is tempered a bit by what I have long suspected about the president of the United States, that is a fraud.

Here’s the question of the day: How should the Trumpkins out there, those who have paid their fair share of taxes, feel about their guy’s tax dodge?

I will shake my head violently if we hear from them that they’re OK with this. The guy who purports to speak for the masses of Americans disgruntled and angry with government now has been revealed to be someone who cheated the government out of revenue while understanding that his fervent, ardent and occasionally rabid followers are paying through their noses.

How many more lies is he going to concoct to persuade those among us that what he has done is OK, that it simply makes him “smart”?

This is what the cult of personality has produced, ladies and gentlemen. Go figure.

No. 1 issue? Climate change


If someone were to ask me about the top priority facing the president of the United States, I would place climate change at the top of the list of “existential threats” that needs our attention.

Donald J. Trump is a lost cause on that one. He calls climate change/global warming a “hoax.” He pushes for more fossil fuel drilling and development; he has pulled the nation out of the Paris Climate Accords that establishes a framework for cutting carbon emissions; he has been silent on deforestation.

The wildfires that have ravaged several western states are essentially the direct result of climate change. Trump’s answer? He calls on states to sweep the forest floor clean of dead trees that provide fuel for the fires.

This is where Joe Biden can deliver the goods if he is elected president. Oh, how I hope that happens 36 days from now.

He said he would return to the Climate Accords. Biden has vowed to invest in clean energy technology. He vows to work with Congress — where he served for 36 years before being elected vice president in 2008 — to find common ground on legislative solutions to this growing threat to the only planet we can call home.

Trump is clueless. He is feckless. He is reckless in his declarations of “hoax.”

The men will face off tonight in the first of three debates. May the better man — and I consider him to be Joe Biden — return climate change to the front edge of the top shelf of issues that need presidential attention.

Trump has failed


There should be no doubt over what the New York Times has reported to the world.

It is that Donald Trump is not the business wizard he told voters he was when he was elected president of the United States.

He has failed as a businessman. He has squandered the huge stake his father gave him when he began purchasing commercial real estate. Trump has acquired a debt load that would disqualify anyone seeking a national security job; and yet, here is the president lugging around a $400 million debt load.

To whom does he owe the money?

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, warned us in 2016 when he called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Now we know what he meant. Mitt nailed it.

So, where do we go from here? We collect our thoughts and then prepare to replace the phony fraud with a man who vows to reshape our national soul, who vows to work to heal the deep wounds inflicted by the pathological liar who masquerades as our commander in chief.

Joe Biden needs to win the Nov. 3 election. He needs to win big. Biden needs to establish a clear mandate defined by a landslide victory. I cannot predict he will do that. I only can express the hope that he will.

We now can see through the New York Times’ exquisite reporting that Donald Trump laid the predicate for the disaster he brought to the nation through his failure as a businessman.

What about all that debt?


Donald “The King of Debt” Trump has some serious explaining to do in the wake of the smashing New York Times story detailing his financial records.

He called himself the debt king during the 2016 presidential campaign. Now we have a glimpse into what he might have meant. The NY Times reports that Trump owes about $400 million to … someone, or some country, or some business empire.

We need to know to whom Trump owes all that money. Many of us are wondering whether any of those creditors happen to be, oh, heads of state with whom Trump has shown remarkable friendliness.

Let’s see, Russia comes to mind. Same with Turkey. Trump has boasted about his business dealings and it is known he wanted to build a hotel/resort complex in Russia. Meanwhile, he keeps giving Russian strongman Vladimir Putin a pass on some seriously hideous conduct: election interference and the placing of bounties on American service personnel, to name just two.

So, to the King of Debt, we American voters need to know to whom he owes the money.

And spare us the nonsense about the audit crap, Mr. President. The Internal Revenue Service places no audit-based restrictions on telling us the whole story about the debt.

We are waiting on you.

Yes, Sen.Cruz … we’re interested in this Trump tax story


U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — the former Donald Trump critic turned Donald Trump suck-up — tried this morning to speak for millions of Americans regarding the New York Times story on the taxes that Trump did not pay.

The Cruz Missile tried to say that Americans don’t care about the tax story, about reports that Trump didn’t pay federal income taxes for 10 out of 15 years, that the so-called billionaire paid $750 the year he was elected president of the United States.

Americans “don’t care”? Oh, yes we do … senator!

The lengthy NYT story reveals several things about the charlatan/con man/fraudulent president. One of them is that he isn’t nearly as savvy a businessman as he led us to believe he is. Another is that didn’t pay as much in federal tax as your rank-and-file waiter or waitress.

Many of us have been clamoring for years to see Trump’s financial records. We have insisted that the public be able to see how the nation’s chief governmental executive’s finances hold up under public scrutiny. The president’s portfolio happens to be our business. He helps set tax policy and he makes demands on Americans to pay our fair share of taxes. Doesn’t that require a president to pay his fair share as well?

We now know that Donald Trump does nothing of the sort.

He has cheated the government. He has been revealed as many of us have suspected to be a fraud.

Back to Ted Cruz. Senator, this story matters a lot to many millions of Americans. I am just one of them, but I believe there are many others just like me who want to know the whole truth about our president’s financial standing.

Now we have a lawn sign


What this picture depicts is a lawn sign stuck in the sod in front of my house.

Bryan Washington isn’t widely known outside of Princeton, Texas, where we live. He is running for Place 3 on the Princeton City Council. We chatted this evening in our front yard and I told Washington he had my vote.

“Can we give you a sign?” asked one of the volunteers who walked the neighborhood with him. “Sure,” I said. “Why not?”

That is not a tepid endorsement. I just don’t generally put lawn signs in front of my house. Now that I am more or a less a “civilian” these days — and no longer a full-time journalist — I figure I can declare my political leanings out loud.

What’s kind of cool for Washington and other City Council candidates this time is that the election will occur on Nov. 3, the same date we’ll be voting for president of the United States, U.S. senator, U.S. House members, state legislators and on and on.

I reminded Washington that he will be facing a much larger voter turnout than is usually the case in municipal elections. The turnout for City Council races usually is abysmal, miserable, puny, minuscule. Not so this time.

So, whoever wins the council election will be able to take their seats with a mandate not usually associated with these local elections.

Now, I need to ponder whether I want to put a “Biden-Harris” sign in the front yard. Given the intense passion being exhibited on all sides as we get closer to Election Day, that notion presents some consequences I need to ponder.

Go hard after him, Mr. Biden


I wasn’t quite 11 years of age in 1960 when Vice President Richard Nixon faced off against Sen. John F. Kennedy in that history-making first-ever televised presidential debate.

Those who watched the debate deemed Kennedy the winner; those who heard it on the radio declared Nixon the winner. The TV version proved decisive and Kennedy went on to win the presidency.

We’re going to have another possibly history-making joint appearance Tuesday. It will feature former Vice President Joseph Biden against Donald Trump, the current president of the United States.

Were the Biden team ask my advice I would tell them simply this: Go hard after Trump but do not get caught up by the insults and innuendo that Trump is sure to fire at you regarding the business dealings of your son, Hunter.

Donald Trump has provided a treasure trove of hideous declarations, assertions and lies that Biden to fire back at him. I would encourage the former VP to go on the attack. Do not let up. Do not give Trump an opening to launch into one of those riffs that his “base” just eats up.

I don’t expect this debate to have quite the gravitas as that first Nixon-Kennedy encounter. Those men had two more debates in 1960; they became increasingly contentious. Biden and Trump will meet three times as well. I expect fully that their encounters will become angry to the point of bordering on outright rage.

My fondest hope is that Biden keeps his cool, stays focused on Trump’s hideous record compiled during his term in office and remains … and exposes Trump to be the phony so many of us know him to be.