All posts by kanelis2012

This is meant as a defense of POTUS?

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders no doubt intended to mount a stout defense of the president of the United States.

It somehow seemed to fall a bit flat, sounded a bit hollow.

Sanders was asked about the accusation that Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken groped and kissed a TV news anchor when the two of them were on a USO tour in 2006. Franken — who hadn’t yet joined the Senate — has acknowledged doing it and has apologized for his actions.

What about the myriad accusations that have been leveled against Donald J. Trump? Sanders said they differ from what Franken has confronted.

According to the Huffington Post:

“I think that this was covered pretty extensively during the campaign,” Sanders said. “We addressed that then. The American people, I think, spoke very loud and clear when they elected this president.”

“How is this different?” the reporter asked.

“I think in one case specifically, Sen. Franken has admitted wrongdoing, and the president hasn’t,” Sanders replied. “I think that’s a very clear distinction.” 

Yep. There you have it. The president hasn’t admitted to anything … as if he ever admits to doing a single wrong thing.

To be fair, none of the allegations against Trump has been proved — although he was recorded on a 2005 audio recording all but acknowledging that he could grab women by their “p****” if he felt like it.

Bill Clinton should have quit? No … way!

Kirsten Gillibrand has ’em talking among Democratic Party officials and loyalists.

The U.S. senator from New York has said that President Bill Clinton should have resigned his office when it became known he was fooling around with a young female White House intern.

I could not possibly disagree more with Sen. Gillibrand.

She has been swept up in this “Me Too” movement spawned by the rash of sexual abuse/harassment/assault allegations that are swirling though the entertainment industry and the political world.

And of course we have Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, who’s been accused of sexual misconduct with underage girls.

Back to President Clinton.

The president got impeached because he lied to a grand jury about the relationship he had with the intern. Republican House members said the lie rose to the level of an impeachable offense. So the House impeached him; the president stood trial on obstruction charges and was acquitted by the Senate.

Should he have quit … over that? It sounds to me as if Sen. Gillibrand is being swept up in a moment of frenzy.

Do I need to remind the senator that the intern was an adult when she was fooling around with the president? The relationship, while it was sickening, was a consensual one. The intern has gone on with her life. The president finished his two terms in office and has become a beloved figure among Democrats across the country.

Gillibrand’s statement has ’em talking within the Democratic Party. Fine. Let ’em talk, squawk and wail about whether the former president should have quit.

It was an embarrassing episode for the president and for the presidency. No one seriously doubts any of that. It also proved embarrassing for Republicans who were looking for any reason to impeach a detested Democratic president — who delivered it to them when he lied under oath to a federal grand jury.

The president paid plenty in the moment for his indiscretion and his effort to cover it up. That’s enough. President Clinton need not have resigned over it.

‘War on Christmas’ about to commence

Listen up, my fellow Americans. Many of you are less than a week away from going to war. Against Christmas. Yes, I’m talking about you Black Friday shoppers.

You’ve heard the refrain from conservative media talking heads about the “War on Christmas.” They blame the “liberal mainstream media” for the open warfare, suggesting that the “happy holiday” greeting subverts the Christmas meaning.

It doesn’t do any such thing.

No, the real war on Christmas will be “fought” on retail sales floors all across the United States of America. The first shot in the next big battle in that war will be fired around midnight next Thursday/Friday. That’s when department stores fling open their doors to allow thundering herds of shoppers to pour into their buildings to look for their kids and grandkids’ perfect toy.

Here’s the best — or the worst part: There might be violence inside those department stores. Someone will grab the last fashionable toy off the shelf just ahead of someone who had his or her eye on the same item; they might exchange words, with the individual who wasn’t quick enough accusing the quick-draw artist who grabbed the item of cheating. They might exchange four-letter words and then fists might start flying.

Well, that isn’t exactly the Christmas spirit, is it.

But the war will commence anyway. Shoppers will tell media representatives about how chaotic this Christmas season has been. Some of them will bitch about the crowds and the rudeness of their fellow shoppers.

This will go on for a few days after the start of the Christmas Shopping Season.

I’m not shopping on Black Friday. I have many reasons for staying away. One of them involves the potential scenario I’ve just described. A more important reason is that my wife and I are accelerating our plans to relocate to points southeast of Amarillo, Texas; we’ll be too busy to do any Black Friday shopping.

Look, I get that some folks actually enjoy the pandemonium that occurs on Black Friday. I’m just one of them.

I made a pact with myself years ago to never again let Christmas get the better of me. I intend to go with the flow again in 2017 — of course, when I’m not doing what my wife tells me to do as we continue our relocation prep.

As for conservatives’ belief there is a liberal-led “war on Christmas,” I’ll simply say that it’s a canard. It’s a talking point.

What’s more, I take zero offense when someone wishes me a “happy holiday” when I make a purchase between now and Christmas.

What does offend me is the sight of the mayhem that is going to erupt on Black Friday.

Yes, Mr. POTUS, pictures — and words — do matter

I now am utterly convinced that Donald J. Trump has no clue, none at all, about self-awareness and how someone with zero moral authority should refrain from speaking out on, um, morality.

The president wasted little time in tweeting a response to the accusation that U.S. Sen. Al Franken groped and kissed a woman without her consent. He referred to Franken as “Frankenstien” and said a picture is “worth a thousand words.”

Trump isn’t commenting via Twitter on that other guy whose alleged sexual misconduct is all the rage these days: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, who is accused of assaulting underage girls when he was a 30-something prosecutor.

Imagine my (faux) surprise, will ya?

I concur with the president that what Franken did was inexcusable. It was reprehensible and the Minnesota Democratic lawmaker should be chastised in the strongest terms possible.

However …

Trump’s tweet flings the door wide open to conversation about his demonstrated lack of respect for women. He all but admitted on that infamous “Access Hollywood” audio recording that he groped women because his celebrity status made it so easy for him. He said he could grab them by their genital area.

The revelation about Trump’s behavior surfaced about a month before the 2016 presidential election. Lots of Americans were aghast and outraged by what he had said in 2005. In the end, it mattered little as Trump was elected anyway.

But now we’re getting some more buzz about women who say they have been sexually harassed and abused by the man who would become president of the United States.

Why the renewed interest in Trump’s own seedy, sordid past? Because the tweeter in chief just couldn’t resist popping off about something on which he has zero moral authority.

But, hey … he “tells it like it is.”

Disgraceful.

Yep, it’s harder to come down on those you respect

It’s time for an admission.

I am admitting that it is easy for me to criticize politicians I dislike, or even detest and that it’s harder to go negative against those I respect.

Thus, I am having a conflict of sorts as I watch this story about Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken play out. Franken has apologized for groping a woman in 2006 while the two of them were on a USO tour; it was before Franken became a member of the Senate. He was a mere comedian at the time of the incident.

The woman, TV news anchor Leann Tweeden, produced a picture of him groping her while she apparently was asleep. She didn’t consent to the groping or to the kiss that Franken reportedly laid on her. Tweeden has accepted Franken’s apology to her.

What gives me grief is that I grew to respect Franken’s performance as a senator. I agree with his politics and thought he had a bright future in politics.

I am now left to use past-tense verbs when talking about Franken. I no longer respect him or admire him. I don’t know how much of a future he now has in politics. Yes, it pains me to say all this.

Unlike the scandal that’s swallowing up Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for the Senate from Alabama, this Franken story is giving me grief. I find myself writing critically of him while my teeth are clenched. I have no such difficulty while criticizing the likes of Donald J. Trump, or Roy Moore, or Newt Gingrich (when he was fooling around on his then-wife in the 1990s).

This time, I suppose that because the latest bomb to detonate involves a politician I formerly admired, that I should really drop the hammer on him … rhetorically, of course.

I am more than merely disappointed in Al Franken. I am outraged that he would betray those of us who once thought so highly of him.

Franken deserves to be censured … at minimum

Al Franken has acquitted himself surprisingly well in the U.S. Senate.

Until now.

The Minnesota Democrat has been snagged in a growing scandal involving members of Congress who have misbehaved badly in the presence of women. A television news anchor has come forth with an accusation that in 2006 Franken, before he was a senator, grabbed her and kissed her without her permission.

Franken has apologized for his conduct. He also says he remembers the incident — which occurred when the then-comedian was on a USO tour of the Middle East — differently from what the woman has alleged.

That is not good enough, senator.

The only aspect of this case that differs from the hideous accusations against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore — who’s been accused of sexual misconduct with underage girls — is that the accuser was an adult when the incident occurred.

That doesn’t make it acceptable in any form or fashion.

You see, Franken is one of those lawmakers who likes to speak glowingly of his wife, their children and grandchildren. He presents himself as a devoted family man.

What should the Senate do? I think a censure is clearly in order. There ought to be a strong statement condemning one of the body’s colleagues — who until this week was actually discussed as a possible presidential candidate in 2020.

For those of us out here in Flyover Country who have admired the work he has done ever since he joined the Senate, Al Franken has just become a huge disappointment.

Where does Trump acquire his political capital?

One of the many things that confound me about Donald Trump is how this man expects us to believe he has this huge cache of political capital stored up.

He keeps yapping and yammering about the “historic” nature of his presidential election victory in November 2016. When you think about it, Trump’s victory was “historic” in a certain context.

He lost the popular vote by record margins to Hillary Rodham Clinton but still managed to win the Electoral College by cobbling together precisely the right pluralities in three battleground states that voted twice for Barack H. Obama. So, there’s a certain bit of history that was made.

But then he took office and began boasting about the “landslide” victory he won. I consider landslides to be of the type that President Johnson rang up in 1964 and President Nixon scored in 1972. The political rule of thumb has been that a winning presidential candidate rolls up “landslide” with a 10-percentage point popular vote; LBJ and Nixon both rolled to victories that exceeded 20 percentage points. President Reagan’s re-election victory in 1984 came close to matching his predecessors’ victories.

The current president has nothing even remotely approaching that kind of political capital as he seeks to push his agenda forward. He doesn’t behave with a semblance of knowledge of just how flimsy his electoral mandate really is.

The 21st century’s first presidential election ended in 2000 with the winner, George W. Bush, garnering fewer popular votes than his opponent. President Bush, though, realized the truth of his election from Day One of his presidency and sought immediately to work with Democrats. He enlisted the late liberal lion, Sen. Ted Kennedy, to help him push some education reforms through Congress.

Has Donald Trump extended anything approaching an olive branch to those who oppose him? For that matter, have Democrats in both congressional chambers sought to reach out to the president?

No on both counts.

Still, it simply demonstrates graphically to me that the president has none of the political capital about which he boasts.

If only he would learn the harsh reality of the nature of his victory.

Congress revealing its vulnerability

William Kristol isn’t my favorite pundit, given his sometimes-acerbic conservatism.

However, the Weekly Standard editor is a prolific tweeter and of late he has been on a tear regarding the explosive accusations involving Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore.

Kristol tweeted this today: Against a backdrop of Trump, of Moore, Franken & Menendez, of abysmal ratings of Congress, of hyper-partisanship & gridlock, shouldn’t every young person of good character committed to public service consider running for Congress in 2018? Could incumbents ever be more vulnerable?

Kristol is no fan of Donald J. Trump, nor of Moore. Sens. Al Franken and Robert Menendez, both Democrats, surely aren’t on Kristol’s gift list. Franken is fending off a groping allegation and Menendez is facing a new trial on corruption charges.

But the conservative pundit does pose a fascinating question about the potential for any fresh-faced young person who could challenge an incumbent. “Could incumbents ever be more vulnerable?” Kristol asks.

It does seem that the atmosphere is well-suited for a challenger with sound moral footing and character to run against an incumbent. Thus, Kristol has delved into an issue worth exploring.

The filing season for running in the Texas primary election has commenced. We haven’t heard of any sexual misbehavior charges leveled against a member of the Texas congressional delegation. Then again, it’s still early in the election season and there well could be something erupting somewhere, involving someone who happens to represent Texas on Capitol Hill.

The landscape across the land, beyond the Texas border, is rife with opportunities for young men and women to seek to hold public service jobs.

Will they step up? Should they step up?

I don’t know the answer to the first question. The obvious answer to the second is a resounding “yes!” 

This trash pickup plan works!

I stand before you — actually, I’m sitting — to testify in favor of Amarillo’s new municipal trash pickup regimen.

It works, I’m tellin’ ya!

My wife and I had a couple of large items we wanted to discard from our southwest Amarillo home. I called the city solid waste collection office, told them what we had and was told to put it on the front yard, near the curb.

A truck would come by in about 24 hours to pick it up.

Well, by golly. It did. The truck’s two-man crew picked up the items. They are gone, heading off to Solid Waste Heaven.

This is a beautification project announced the other day by Mayor Ginger Nelson. She said that residential alleys have become collection points for unsightly debris. Come to think of it, is there any other kind? Well, I reckon you know what I mean.

Amarillo is not what I would call a grimy, trash-laden community. In my travels around the country, even in our recent sojourns in all directions from the High Plains, I have seen many communities that present giant eyesores to the casual visitor/passerby.

However, any effort to doll the city up is OK in my book.

To that end, I applaud the mayor and her vision. Nelson campaigned on a lengthy platform of issues she said needed to be addressed. Beautification happens to be one of them.

Now … let’s get busy dressing up those highway rights-of-way.

Oh, brother … now Sen. Franken gets accused

The hits just keep coming.

Now it’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota who’s been accused of groping and kissing a woman against her will.

She produced a picture of Franken committing the deed in 2006.

See the picture here.

OK, then. It’s reprehensible and disgusting. Franken should be ashamed of himself. The incident occurred when Franken — who was then a comedian — was on a USO tour with news anchor Leann Tweeden.

Franken has apologized for his actions.

Tweeden has leveled some harsh — and well-deserved — criticism at Franken.

Here, though, is a question I think needs to be asked, given the intense fallout from the Roy Moore story and the mounting pressure on the Republican senatorial candidate from Alabama to drop out of the race. Moore blames his accusers of being tools of Democrats and the “fake news” media.

Are there any political considerations to ponder about Leann Tweeden’s accusation?

Suffice to say that a new day has burst all over Washington, D.C., let alone on the entertainment industry, in light of the “Me Too” movement and the hideous accusations that have ricocheted about one-time superstars.

Let’s all stay tuned. My guess is that there will be plenty more of these accusations coming forth.