All posts by kanelis2012

Ah, yes, more ‘fake news’ from POTUS

Mr. President, you have put forth yet another lie.

Doggone it, sir! I cannot let this one go.

You keep attaching the pejorative term “fake news” to the media and your political foes, but you have turned fake news into an art form.

The terror attack in Spain prompted another careless, reckless response from you, sir. Let me remind you of what you tweeted: Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!

Did you say at that hideous press event the other day that you like to “get the facts straight” before you make a statement? Yeah, you did.

The tweet about Gen. Pershing, Mr. President, is a lie. You defamed the memory of one of our great national heroes all in the name of making some sort of stupid and ridiculous point about the nature of the terror attack that killed at least 13 people in Spain.

That fake story you told during the campaign about Gen. Pershing dipping bullets in pig’s blood and then shooting Islamic prisoners to death is a lie. It didn’t happen. So, you told the lie once again today. You put out fake news. You are a habitual, pathological liar. You, Mr. President, disgrace the office to which you were elected.

You not only defamed Gen. Pershing with that hideous story, you accused him of committing a horrific war crime.

I’ll attach how the National Review reported what you said, in case you haven’t seen it. It’s not often that I agree with the National Review, but we’re on the same page on this one, Mr. President. They can’t stomach you as president; neither can I. Nor can the hefty plurality of Americans who voted for Hillary in the 2016 election.

You keep demonstrating time and time again your total unfitness for high political office.

Fake news? You keep blathering that line at any opportunity.

Well, I got my fill of your so-called “fake news” long ago. The Barack Obama birth issue; the Muslims supposedly cheering the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11; the “millions” of illegal immigrants voting for Hillary; your insistence on voter fraud throughout the nation.

They’re all lies. They’re all “fake news.”

You should be ashamed of yourself. Except that shame requires a conscience. You are sorely lacking in both.

Amarillo might learn just how insulated it can be

Amarillo sits half a continent away from the turmoil that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., where groups of protesters erupted in a riot this past weekend.

One group sought to protest attempts to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee; this group comprised white supremacists, KKK members and neo-Nazis. The other group opposed the first group. They clashed. One woman was killed when someone rammed a car through a crowd.

The nation has been buried under the fallout.

So, what does this have to do with Amarillo?

We have in this city a statue commemorating a Confederate officer. It’s at Ellwood Park. We also have a school named after the same Confederate general who became the focus of the violence in Charlottesville. What has fascinated me for the two-plus decades I’ve lived in Amarillo is that Robert E. Lee Elementary School educates a student population that comprises a significant number of African-American children. Does that fascinate you, too? It should.

Amarillo sits out here in the middle of the nation. We seem to be somewhat immune to many of the disputes that erupt on either oceanic coast. I’m wondering if our community’s insular outlook is going to last as the national debate rages and roils over these Confederate monuments.

Amarillo’s public school system has named many of its campuses after individuals responsible for Texas’s independence. The names of Houston, Travis, Bowie, Crockett, Fannin and Lamar all are meaningful to Texas history. We have schools named after pioneer families; a school has the name of a Spanish explorer; other campuses don’t bear the names of individuals.

Lee is a bit different. I’ve noted already that the general fought to destroy the Union. Yet in many communities he is saluted, honored. The Confederacy is part of our national “heritage,” people insist. It also symbolizes a bloody war that was fought over the enslavement of human beings, some of whose descendants attend school in a building named to “honor” someone who fought to destroy the nation — and keep those people in bondage.

Do I advocate changing the name of the school? I’m going to remain neutral on that one — at least for the time being.

My interest at this moment lies in the possibility that this national discussion is going to find its way to our community. All it will take, I suppose, is for parents to broach the subject of changing the name of Lee Elementary School with the Amarillo Independent School District Board of Trustees.

I’ll wait to see if this intense national debate finds its way to the Texas High Plains.

Sen. Corker: POTUS lacks ‘competence’ to lead

Bob Corker has just delivered a seriously sharp rebuke to Donald John Trump Sr.

Why is it important that such a rebuke comes from Corker?

He’s a Republican U.S. senator; he hails from Tennessee, one of the states that seceded from the Union in 1861; he is ostensibly allied with the president on most public policy issues.

The backdrop for Corker’s rebuke gives his statement plenty of gravitas.

The president weighed in on that terrible Charlottesville tragedy over the weekend. He has, in effect, taken up with the white supremacists who provoked the riot that killed a young woman who was among the counter protesters who battled with hate groups that were protesting the taking down of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The nation is being swallowed up by the controversy that has ensued. Democrats, understandably, have been outraged by Trump’s remarks. Many Republicans have spoken out against racial or religious intolerance. Few of them in Congress have singled out the president and ascribed specific blame to him for inflaming the nation’s emotions in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy.

Corker, though, has laid it out there.

“The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to be successful,” Corker said in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Welcome aboard, Sen. Corker. Many millions of Americans have been saying those very things — and a lot more — about the president. Many of us even said so while he was campaigning for the presidency. A few folks predicted he would govern like a maniac.

Count me as one who now believes that Trump is worse than I feared he would be. I was hoping he might be able to grow into the job of president.

Corker did use the phrase “not yet been able” when discussing Trump’s performance. The word “yet” suggests Corker believes — or hopes — the president will figure it out. I have little faith of that occurring.

Still, Sen. Corker’s rebuke is strong. It also is important.

Slugger tells it straight about home run record

Giancarlo Stanton is a young man after my own heart.

The Miami Marlins baseball star has declared that Roger Maris’s 61 home runs during the 1961 season is the legitimate single-season record. Why would the Marlins’ slugger say that? It’s likely because he stands a chance of hitting more than what Maris hit during his epic home run battle with New York Yankees teammate Mickey Mantle.

Maris’s total no longer is the major-league record — officially. The record actually belongs to Barry Bonds, who hit 73 during the height of the Steroid Era in Major League Baseball. Indeed, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa also hit more home runs in a single season than Maris, but they, too, were juiced up with performance-enhancing drugs.

“When you grow up watching all the old films of Babe Ruth and [Mickey] Mantle and those guys, 61 has always been that printed number as a kid,” Stanton said.

I am one baseball fan who has serious trouble accepting Bonds as the home run king, either for a single season or a career. I continue to consider Henry Aaron to be the all-time HR monarch, as he hit 755 dingers during his storied career. He did so without the chemical help that Bonds — who hit 762 home runs during his career — received along the way.

Maris surpassed Babe Ruth’s record of 60 home runs — which The Babe set in 1927 — while battling Mickey Mantle during the entire 1961 season. They were neck and neck all season long. Then Mantle went down with an injury late in the season — and became his buddy Roger’s greatest cheerleader as Maris continued his chase for baseball immortality.

That’s the record worth chasing now. To that end, I am pulling for Giancarlo Stanton to surpass it.

Motorists require extreme patience

One of my few virtuous traits is getting tested to the hilt.

That would be patience, the kind I usually exhibit while I’m driving a motor vehicle through my city, Amarillo, Texas.

I came home today from across town. It took me far longer than it used to take. Why is that? The first cause would be obvious: growth in population and motor vehicles on our city streets. The second cause is construction, lots and lots of road construction.

There once was a time when I joked that Amarillo didn’t have a morning and early-evening “rush hour.” I called it a “rush minute.” You could get anywhere in Amarillo in less than 20 minutes. That’s how it used to be in the mid-1990s when my wife and I arrived here.

We had a house built in southwest Amarillo. Our property was literally one block from the western border of the city. There was nothing west of Coulter Street … except for pasture and the cattle that grazed on it. The summer sunsets were spectacular, as we could watch the sun dip just below the horizon very late in the day.

Then the Greenways housing development sprang up. Boom! Like that we witnessed urban sprawl develop in real time right before our eyes.

Now the highways are being rebuilt. Interstate 40 east of the Canyon E-Way interchange is a serious mess. The interchange itself is being modernized and brought up to date with a direct-access ramp for eastbound I-40 traffic onto the southbound E-Way.

Patience, anyone?

Well, I’m going to cling desperately to what remains of my very own level of patience. Pray for me, if you please. I’ll do the same for you.

This is how we remember traitors?

I want to discuss briefly a subject that makes me a bit uncomfortable: Confederate memorials and statues.

It’s been in the news of late. Communities across the land are pondering whether to remove statues commemorating leaders of the movement that ignited the Civil War, tearing the nation in half, killing roughly 600,000 Americans on both sides of that terrible struggle.

And for what purpose? The Confederate states wanted to continue to enslave human beings.

It’s news these days, of course, because of what transpired this weekend in Charlottesville (which has become a form of shorthand for “racism,” “bigotry” and “intolerance”).

I join others who are asking: What other country “honors” those who betray their nation, secede from it and then start the bloodiest war in that nation’s history? Slavery is undoubtedly this nation’s most visible scar. We cannot hide it, push it aside, ignore it. It’s part of our past.

In that context, Confederate descendants say that individuals such as Robert E. Lee, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Jefferson Davis and a whole host of others also are part of our nation’s history. Oh, sure they are. Do we honor them? Do we revere their memory or their legacy? I think not.

My wife and I visited Germany this past September. We stayed with friends in Nuremberg, which has a special place in world history: It was the city where Nazi leaders were put on trial for their crimes against humanity.

One of our friends, a journalist and a highly educated man, told us that Germany has come to grips with Nazis’ role in plunging the world into the bloodiest conflict in its history. There’s a place called the Documentation Center in Nuremberg. It tells the story of the Holocaust and the unthinkable misery that the Nazis brought to Europe and sought to inflict on the rest of the world.

“We don’t hide from it,” our friend said. “We are ashamed of that time.”

But the Germans damn sure don’t honor anyone associated with that period of their nation’s otherwise glorious past. One doesn’t see statues of Hitler, Goebbels, Goering or Himmler in public places.

Perhaps we ought to ponder whether these Confederate “heroes” deserve the same level of scorn.

Business advisory councils’ demise no huge deal, except …

The dismantling of two advisory councils by the president of the United States won’t matter in the grand scheme of the Donald John Trump administration’s method of operation.

The president doesn’t listen to advice. He doesn’t value the expertise of his advisers. He keeps his own counsel. He then acts on some gut impulse.

So, with the departure of the American Manufacturing Advisory Council and the Strategy and Policy Forum we haven’t lost anything of great value — to this administration.

The context, though, is important.

CEOs from both panels — which serve on a volunteer basis — were bailing en masse as a result of Trump’s hideous and jaw-dropping rant on Tuesday about the Charlottesville riot, the one where he blamed “both sides” for the violence and the tragic death of Heather Heyer and those two Virginia state troopers.

Moreover, they had informed the president of their intention to quit, effectively ending their existence. Trump, though, decided to get ahead of them with a tweet that said he was taking the initiative and ending the councils himself.

Put another way: Donald Trump lied. Again. Plainly.

It’s the context of these councils’ demise that gives this story its legs.

If only the president would have valued whatever advice they could provide him, then the country would be the lesser for their departure.

Many of us are left to wonder: Are White House staffers and, oh, possibly Cabinet members next to head for the exits?

Gen. Kelly’s ‘dismay’ comes from the top

I had high hopes for John Kelly, the new White House chief of staff.

The retired Marine general came aboard to repair a dysfunctional West Wing operation that was tearing itself to pieces. Within hours after reporting to work on his first day, Kelly showed renegade communications director Anthony “Mooch” Scaramucci the door.

Then he restricted access to the president. He made sure everyone on the staff reports to him. He seemed to get a quick handle on the complicated mechanics of the White House machinery.

Except for one thing: He cannot manage the president himself. No sir. Donald John Trump Sr. is his own man. He takes no advice from anyone. He freelances at will. He is a train in search of a place to wreck himself.

Trump did so again Tuesday afternoon. He walked into the Trump Tower lobby and launched into an unannounced rant against the media, against the counter protesters who challenged the racists who had gathered in Charlottesville; he said “both sides” were responsible for the misery and mayhem that occurred.

And Gen. Kelly stood in the background, arms crossed, looking at his feet, wincing more than once.

Then came reports that Trump’s out-of-control impulses have the chief “dismayed.” Well, yeah, do ya think?

The chief of staff has plenty of clout to make White House staffers toe the line. He has none, though, as it regards the guy who sits in the big chair in the Oval Office.

I truly wish Gen. Kelly success. Wishing it, however, likely won’t bring it to this spit-and-polish Marine.

Two were nation’s founders; two sought to destroy the nation

Four men have been thrust posthumously into the front of the national debate over the removal of statues.

The president of the United States launched an impromptu press conference this week at Trump Tower. Donald Trump began answering questions about the Charlottesville, Va., riot that left three people dead. White supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen were protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. Counter protesters clashed with the racist protesters.

It got real ugly real fast.

Then the president weighed in. He said “many sides” were at fault. Then he blamed the hate groups. Then on Tuesday he doubled down on his initial response, saying “both sides” were to blame for the mayhem.

Then his press conference veered into some truly bizarre territory.

I mentioned Gen. Lee already. Trump decided to mention that Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s statue also is targeted for removal. Then he asked: Should we take down statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? They were slave owners, too, just like Lee and Jackson, he said.

Time out, Mr. President.

If Donald Trump had a clue about history he would realize this:

Yes, Washington and Jefferson enslaved human beings. They were imperfect men. However, they led a revolution that resulted in the creation of the United States of America. Washington commanded our armed forces fighting against the British Empire; Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence and was a key author of the U.S. Constitution. Those contributions to the founding of the nation does not pardon them for their slave ownership, but it is a mitigating factor that grants them greatness.

As for Gen. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, they fought to destroy the Union that Washington and Jefferson helped create. Gen. Lee struggled whether to fight for the Union or to fight for the Confederate States of America. He chose to side with Virginia, which seceded from the Union. Jackson joined him in that terrible, bloody Civil War. Those men were traitors. Moreover, they were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans who died in the bloodiest war this nation has ever fought.

To his everlasting credit, President Lincoln declared during his second inaugural address — just weeks before he would be gunned down at Ford Theater — that the nation should bind the wounds that had torn it apart. “With malice toward none and charity for all,” the president said, signaling that Confederate leaders wouldn’t be prosecuted for their high crimes against the Union.

Donald John Trump doesn’t grasp any of that, as he made abundantly clear when he attached moral equivalence between two of our nation’s founders and two men who sought — and fought — to destroy the nation.

Hey, what about ‘the Russia thing’?

Pssst. I am about to let the cat out of the bag.

Much of the nation — maybe most of it — has been consumed by the tragic events of Charlottesville and the president’s response to it. I get it. Donald Trump first blamed “many sides” for the riot; then he singled out the white nationalists, neo-Nazis and the Klan; and after that he reverted back to his original response.

All ever-lovin’ hell has broken loose. The fecal matter has hit the fan.

But, but, but …

We have this other thing going on. It’s the “Russia thing.” Remember it? Of course you do!

Special counsel Robert Mueller has assembled a crack team of legal eagles who are examining the many aspects of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. There might be an obstruction of justice element; there might be collusion; there might be some financial matters to examine; hey, we might even get to see the president’s tax returns.

As the national media continue to scurry after this Charlottesville story — as they should — Mueller and his team are being left relatively alone to pore through the mountain of evidence and information that keeps piling up.

The last thing I heard — and it seems like eons ago now — was that Mueller wants to speak with former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. There might be subpoenas coming from Mueller’s office.

I just thought it would be useful to remind everyone that as important as the Charlottesville story is — and the media must cover it — we’ve got this other matter lurking out there.

The “Russia thing” needs a resolution. Don’t look for it soon. Just be sure to keep one eye on the special counsel’s exhaustive search for the whole truth.