All posts by kanelis2012

One fear is coming true

I expressed some concern that the loser of the Alabama U.S. Senate race wouldn’t concede gracefully to the winner. The fight got seriously nasty, you know?

Sadly, it’s proving to be the case.

Roy Moore lost to Doug Jones by about 1.5 percent, which is outside Alabama’s mandated recount margin of .5 percent. Moore, the Republican nominee, was supposed to beat the Democrat Jones.

He didn’t.

Moore said Tuesday night he would “sleep on it.” I hope he got a night’s 40 winks. Except he awoke today and still hasn’t done what he ought to do: Place a call to Jones, tell him congratulations and pledge to “work with” as he transitions to the U.S. Senate.

At least, the president of the United States — who had endorsed Moore — managed to fire of a congratulatory tweet late last night.

But … this is what we can expect I suppose from the guy accused by several women of sexual misconduct.

Here’s the good news, though: Doug Jones won. The senator-elect will take office with or without a concession from the guy who lost.

GOP about to engage in un-civil war

Intraparty conflicts aren’t pretty. Just ask any Democrat who got caught in the 1960s-70s battle that damn near destroyed that party in the wake of the Vietnam War.

I am thinking the Republican Party is about to launch a rhetorical bombardment on its own in the aftermath of that stunning loss in Alabama, where Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore in the race for that state’s U.S. Senate seat.

Let’s re-trace a few steps for a brief moment.

  • Moore challenged U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, the Republican appointed to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, who became U.S. attorney general. Donald Trump endorsed Strange, campaigned for him and then watched him lose the GOP runoff race to Moore, who had been backed by Trump’s former senior White House strategist, Stephen Bannon.
  • Then came the allegations against Moore from several women who accused him of sexual misconduct. “Establishment Republicans” began fleeing Moore. They withdrew their previous endorsement. Senate GOP leaders said he was unfit for a Senate seat. Then the president decided belatedly to endorse Moore, meaning that Trump and Bannon were back on the same team.
  • Moore then lost the election to Jones, a former federal prosecutor. The race was close but it falls outside the margin that triggers an automatic recount. Moore hasn’t yet conceded to Jones. Trump congratulated Jones. Then he tweeted something about how he knew all along that Moore couldn’t win, that the “deck was stacked against him.” What utter crap! The deck was stacked in Moore’s favor, given Alabama’s tradition of backing Republicans over Democrats.

So, what does the Republican Party do now? Does it continue to fight among itself? Bannon considers himself to be a “kingmaker.” His latest candidate for U.S. political royalty has been toppled.

As for Trump? Well, his instincts aren’t so great either. No surprise, given that the president had zero political experience prior to being elected to the highest, most exalted office on Earth.

I sense an un-civil war is about to commence.

The sun shines a bit more brightly today … in Alabama

I awoke this morning. The sun came out and is shining quite brightly here on the Texas High Plains.

This is an unproven notion, but my sense is that it likely is shining a bit more brightly today over yonder in Alabama, where voters did something few of us thought possible. They rejected a deeply flawed Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate and elected a moderate, mainstream Democrat.

Who knew, yes?

Sen.-elect Doug Jones is likely beginning his preparation to join the Club of 100 on Capitol Hill. He will be the first Democrat to represent Alabama in the Senate in 25 years. This was supposed to be GOP nominee Roy Moore’s election to lose and by golly he found a way to do it.

He campaigned badly, particularly in the final days when he disappeared from the campaign trail. He left the field wide open for Jones, who took full advantage down the stretch.

But … that’s side-show stuff. The real flaws in Moore’s candidacy stemmed from his outrageous notion that only evangelical Christians were fit to serve in public office and, oh yes, those allegations about sexual misconduct.

The stunning aspect of Jones’s victory is being felt in the White House, where Donald Trump staked a great deal of his political capital on a Moore victory. Some analysts are calling this defeat the worst of Trump’s tenure as president. Jones cuts the Senate GOP’s already thin margin by a single seat. It now opens the door to a possible Democratic takeover of the Senate in 2018, not to mention possibly puts control of the House of Representatives in play.

And all this happened in Dixie, in a state Trump won by nearly 30 percentage points in 2016.

It’s been said that a week, a month — let alone a year — can be a “lifetime in politics.” The stunning result that occurred in Alabama last night drives the point home.

Boy, howdy!

Let the sun shine brightly.

There really is political justice, yes, Sen.-elect Jones?

My dear ol’ Dad used to declare “I’ll be dipped in sesame seeds” when something surprised him.

Tonight I am up to my armpits in sesame seeds with news that Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore in a race for the U.S. Senate from Alabama.

Jones becomes the first Democrat elected in blood-red ‘Bama in 25 years. To win the seat, though, he had to defeat a Republican opponent who faced accusations from several women who alleged that Moore sexually abused them; one of the women said Moore did so when she was 14 years of age and he was a 32-year-old deputy district attorney.

One cannot overestimate the political fallout this is going to create all over Washington, D.C.

Sen.-elect Jones’s victory cuts the Republican margin in the Senate to one vote. It comes after Donald John Trump endorsed Moore, recorded a phone message on his behalf and declared wrongly that Jones was “soft on crime.” Moreover, Stephen Bannon — Trump’s former political strategist and the godfather of the GOP’s rebel wing — had campaigned hard for Moore.

Even if we set aside the allegations of pedophilia and assorted sexual abuse accusations against Moore, my own view is that the Republican candidate was unfit for service in the Senate. He was removed twice as chief justice of Alabama’s top court over his refusal to obey federal law: one involved the removal of a Ten Commandments monument on public property, the other dealt with his refusal to obey a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage.

He is a religious zealot who doesn’t understand that the U.S. Constitution established a secular government.

And yet, Alabama voters have declared that they don’t want to be represented in the U.S. Senate by someone so wholly unqualified.

Good for them. Thank you for restoring many Americans’ faith in the political process.

Tillerson bucks Trump again … this time on Russia

What?

You mean to say that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson thinks Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?

Why, I thought the president of the United States has called it “fake news,” that the Russians wouldn’t do such a thing, that their president, Vladimir Putin, told him they didn’t do it — and that Donald Trump believes him!

Isn’t that what we’ve been told by the Liar in Chief?

Tillerson reportedly made his feelings known privately. But I guess they aren’t quite so private these days now that the world knows what the secretary of state believes about the Russian hanky-panky.

The secretary is on thin ice as it is with the president, who’s reportedly working on an exit strategy to remove Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Tillerson opposed Trump’s decision to de-certify the Iran nuclear deal, and the withdrawal from the Paris climate change accord.

He called the president a “moron” and then pointedly declined to take it back when he was asked about it.

Now we have this item in which Tillerson bucks the Big Man yet again on the Russian interference matter. Actually, Tillerson is far from alone in believing the Russians sought to meddle in the election. If anything, it’s Trump who’s singing solo in his refusal to sign on to what intelligence analysts all have said happened.

However, Trump is the president. Tillerson works at his “pleasure.” My guess is that the president is not feeling too pleased with this latest sign of diplomatic mutiny.

Here’s why Senate votes are so important

A lot of Americans are awaiting the results of a statewide election that has nothing to do with their own state.

Alabama voters have cast their ballots. Democrat Doug Jones or Republican Roy Moore will become that state’s next U.S. senator.

Why is that important to, say, Texans, or those who live in California, Wisconsin, Delaware or the Dakotas?

Two reasons.

One is that the Senate right now comprises 52 Republicans and 46 Democrats (with two independents who caucus with the Democrats). That means the balance of power is tenuous, indeed.

If Jones wins, the narrow margin is made even more narrow, which is why Donald Trump has campaigned (sort of) for Moore.

The second reason speaks to why all Senate — and House — elections are important for the entire country. These individuals make laws that affect all Americans. With the Senate balance hanging so tenuously, that makes this particular contest so noteworthy — even without the sexual allegations that have swirled around Roy Moore.

This federal system of government of ours puts a lot of power in the 100 men and women of the Senate and the 435 individuals who comprise the House of Representatives. A single senator can block a presidential nomination. House members initiate all tax legislation.

House members can impeach the president; the Senate then can conduct a trial.

These elections in every state and congressional district have a direct impact on Americans who live far beyond that state or congressional district’s borders.

You know how I want this Alabama election to turn out.

This one matters, it seems, more than many other states’ elections.

Then again, they’re all important.

Some of my best friends are … you know

Kayla Moore, wife of that guy — Roy Moore — sought to dispel suggestions that she and her husband hold anti-Jewish sentiments.

She said — and this is kind of funny if you’re in the right frame of mind — “One of our attorneys is a Jew. ” Then she said she has “many good friends that are Jewish.”

It’s come to this, dear reader. A candidate for the U.S. Senate is now defending himself, via his wife, that he has friends who are Jewish.

Does it remind you of how some folks will say “I am not racist. Some of my best friends are black”?

Kayla Moore’s comments came just a few days after her husband said of George Soros, the noted left-leaning political mega-donor — who happens to be Jewish: Soros “is going to the same place that people who don’t recognize God and morality and accept salvation are going. And that’s not a good place.”

I guess Roy Moore means hell. He means that non-Christians are going straight to purgatory. Isn’t that right?

They’ve gone to the polls today in Alabama, where Moore is running against Democrat Doug Jones to fill the U.S. Senate vacated when Jeff Sessions became attorney general.

How do suppose non-Christians in Alabama — or anywhere else in this widely diverse nation — feel about a candidate for the Senate saying they’re going to hell?

This is the kind of thing — apart from the sexual abuse allegations — that creeps me out about Roy Moore.

Happy Trails, Part 62

I anticipated that the pace of transition would quicken as we prepare to relocate from Amarillo to somewhere near our granddaughter, her parents and her brothers.

I didn’t quite expect the feeling of anxiety that would come with the speeding up of that transition.

Most of our belongings are stored away in Amarillo; the rest of them are stuffed into our recreational vehicle.

And today, the painters went to work refreshing the interior of the house we used to call “home.” We don’t yet have a timeline on when to expect them to finish. The lead painter vowed to work extra hard to get it done before Christmas. I am in no position to question whether he can get it done.

Anxiety? It’s not serious. It’s just a bit overwhelming — at least it is for me — to watch these men I’ve never seen before scurrying around our house taping windows, masking kitchen cabinets and laying butcher paper over every square inch of our floor.

It seems like just yesterday that the house was where my wife and I hung our hats, where we relaxed with the joy of knowing the property was all ours.

It’s still ours, but we now are calling another place “home” while we prepare for this next big challenge in our life together.

Get a load of this, though: The painters tell us the house is going to look “so good, you won’t want to leave.”

Uh, let me ponder that one.

OK. I just did.

Not a chance. Get to work, fellas.

We’re winning the ‘war,’ but the fight will go on

Iraq has declared victory in its war against the Islamic State.

It has declared that ISIS is defeated in Iraq. The terrorist fighting force no longer is able to wage war against the Iraq military machine. Good news, yes? Of course it is.

But wait. What about the terrorist who tried to kill innocent victims in New York? He is “ISIS-inspired,” according to the FBI and New York law enforcement officials. How are we going to stop these monsters? How do we prevent the so-called “lone wolf” terrorists from perpetrating their evil acts against civilized society?

We cannot?

A Bangladeshi immigrant is now recovering from his injuries after he terrorized people in a New York train station. He tried to blow himself up, but failed.

Bold pledges and declarations of our intent to “destroy” the Islamic State shouldn’t be ignored. Indeed, our military forces have taken out many thousands of ISIS fighters; they killed or captured many ISIS leaders; they have disrupted ISIS’s command and control network.

The fight should go on. It must go on.

We are going to fight this war, however, for as long as terrorists exist anywhere on Earth. U.S. and Allied forces bombed Germany to ashes during the World War II; our forces killed thousands of Nazis; Adolf Hitler killed himself in that Berlin bunker.

Did that eradicate Nazi sympathizers in Europe — or in the United States of America? No! Nazi lone wolves are still on the prowl throughout the world.

This post-9/11 world continues to teach us a hard but necessary lesson, which is that we cannot let our guard down — ever — against those who would do us harm.

They are everywhere.

Weirdness persists in Alabama contest

Just how bizarre is the contemporary political climate?

We can start with the election in November 2016 of Donald John Trump Sr., as president of the United States. A man with no public service experience, a record of crude behavior and with no knowledge of government became the head of state of the world’s greatest nation.

That’s pretty weird, yes? Yes. It is. In my view.

So, let’s try this one on.

Two men are running for a U.S. Senate seat from Alabama. One of them, Republican Roy Moore is accused of sexual abuse against women; one woman has alleged that Moore tried to seduce her when she was just 14 years of age. The other candidate is Democrat Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor who secured the conviction of two Klansmen implicated in that hideous 1963 bombing of a Baptist church that killed four African-American girls.

Who’s leading the race? The candidate accused of child molestation. That would be Moore.

Here’s weirdness kicker: Moore has been MIA in the campaign’s final days. He has had zero public appearances; Jones, meanwhile, has been campaigning across the state, shaking hands, kissing babies, making his case.

But … Moore still leads. Barely, but he still leads. The race might be too close to call.

Bizarre.