Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Hypocrisy rules!


By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The hypocrisy ringing throughout the halls of the nation’s Capitol Building is becoming the stuff of legend.

Four years ago, Republican U.S. senators said time and time again that no president should be allowed to fill a Supreme Court seat during an election year. They didn’t qualify the assertion. They didn’t stipulate presidents of any particular party.

They said no president, none, should move forward with selecting a justice when we have a presidential election on tap.

You will recall in early 2016 when Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly. President Barack Obama wanted to name a successor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “not so fast.” He slammed the brakes on a nomination.

GOP senators stepped up and said the same thing. No president should select someone for a lifetime during an election year.

Recall that Scalia died nearly 10 months before the 2016 presidential election. Now we have Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died just 48 days prior to the next election.

Republican senators are ignoring their own assertion. They now want to rush a nomination forward before the Nov. 3 election.

What happened to the 2016 mantra of “giving the people a voice” in who should sit on the Supreme Court? Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida even went so far as to say he would make that demand when we have a Republican president. Hey, Marco, we have one now … bub! What say you these days about seating someone to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg? I know. It’s full steam ahead!

The people still deserve a voice before the Senate acts on Donald Trump’s expected nomination of someone to succeed the great Justice Ginsburg. If the Senate GOP thought it was true in 2016 when Barack Obama sought to fill a post vacated by Justice Scalia’s death, then it should hold to that philosophy now.

Right? Oh wait! The Party of Trump doesn’t believe in ethics, fairness, truth-telling and honor.

Anyone can get elected to this office

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque 

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Barack Hussein Obama used to boast — and I imagine he still tells audiences this factoid — that he is proof that “anyone can get elected” president of the United States.

He is of mixed race: half black and half white. He came from a broken home. His mother and his maternal grandparents reared him into a university graduate, where he excelled at Harvard Law, becoming the first African-American to edit the Harvard Law Review.

Yes, Obama’s story is compelling.

However, he is a piker in the “anyone can get elected” category. The hands-down winner of that contest, such as it is, would be Donald John Trump, the immediate successor to Barack Obama.

Now, having said that, I forewarn you that what I am going to say next will be far from complimentary. While I continue to hold the former president in the highest regard partly because of his life story, I hold the current president in the lowest regard, also partly because of his life story.

Trump was born into wealth. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and then from Penn’s Wharton School of Business. He went into business, riding a multimillion-dollar stake from his father. He bought commercial real estate. Trump built office buildings and apartment complexes.

Trump managed to grow his inherited wealth into something even bigger. Along the way, he had business failures. He filed multiple bankruptcies. He schmoozed with fellow developers, some of whom had questionable dealings (see Jeffrey Epstein, as just one example).

Then he got involved with “reality TV.” He hosted a game show. He managed beauty pageants.

The real estate mogul got married, then divorced. He married and divorced again. He is now married to his third wife. Along the way, he accrued more wealth, lost some of it through more business failures. He produced five children with the three women he married.

What is missing from this brief background? Give up? OK, here it is: public service. Unlike Barack Obama, who became a “community organizer” right out of law school, and then a state senator in Illinois before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Donald Trump devoted not a single second of his time to serving the public.

Nothing. Zero. It was all about Trump.

So I am left to wonder how in the name of presidential politics was this guy able to parlay his life experience into assuming the most powerful and most exalted public office on Earth.

I am all in favor of “anyone” seeking public office. To that extent, I suppose I shouldn’t begrudge Donald Trump seeking the presidency after pursuing a career in business and … well, whatever else he decided to do.

Barack Obama, though, remains in my estimation the idealistic version of the cliche that “anyone can get elected” to the nation’s highest office. He rose quickly to be sure. His life, though, was a testament to public service.

Donald Trump’s life was a testament to self-service.

And it has shown itself demonstrably during his time in the only public office he ever has sought — or ever will seek.

Reinvest in renewables

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Politics is everywhere, including places where it doesn’t belong.

As Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden notes, fires and hurricanes don’t discriminate between “red and blue states.” He is seeking to rely on science to determine what the national response should be to fight what he has identified correctly as an existential threat to the nation.

That is climate change.

Donald Trump took office in January 2017 and began dismantling environmental rules and regulations established by the Obama administration. He fought to restore a full-throttle fossil fuel exploratory policy.

What the president ignored is that Obama’s effort to develop clean, renewable energy actually contributed to this nation’s independence from foreign-produced fossil fuels. Do you recall when Republicans blasted Hillary Clinton for saying in 2016 that she intended to eliminate jobs related to the coal industry? They ignored the rest of her statement, which was that she intended to replace those jobs with those associated with renewable energy development.

So it was prior to the time Donald Trump took office.

The Pacific Coast wildfires are the direct result of a changing worldwide climate, as scientists have affirmed. Trump is casting aside those analyses. He said “forest management” needs improvement, which he insists will prevent the explosive fires that have incinerated more than 4 million acres in California, Oregon and Washington.

Joe Biden is vowing for all he is worth to restore the effort to develop renewable energy sources. I haven’t heard him say he would propose ending fossil fuel exploration and development.

We have on our hands a direct national security threat that has nothing to do with terrorism. It has everything to do with the changing climate that is bringing untold destruction in the form of fire, heavy wind, shattering coastal surf.

This great nation needs national leadership from the top of the governmental chain of command. It isn’t getting it from the individual in charge at this moment. I am quite confident we will receive it when we replace him with someone who will listen intently to scientists who know what they are talking about.

Nobel Peace Prize for Trump? Eek!



Here we go!

Donald Trump has been nominated officially for the Nobel Peace Prize. The nomination comes from a right-wing Norwegian politician who thinks the U.S.-brokered peace deal with Israel and the United Arab Emirates is just, well, the greatest thing to happen this year on Earth.

As you can imagine, U.S. conservatives are excited about it; U.S. liberals are, shall we say, aghast. And you no doubt can guess that the Twitter-verse went bonkers over the nomination. Trump went nuts, too, according to The Hill: Trump shared the news of the nomination in at least 15 different tweets and retweets with his nearly 87 million followers on social media.

Count me as one of those who is horrified at the prospect of Trump getting this award.

You see, here is what I project happening. Trump’s political campaign is going to use the nomination as grist to pitch for his re-election. Then we’ll have to hear from Trump himself bragging about it.

Take this to the bank, too: He’ll just have to mention the Peace Prize that President Obama received at the beginning of his two terms in office. Obama himself has noted that the award at the time seemed a good bit, um, premature. The Nobel Committee, though, sought to honor the new president on the hope that he would bring worldwide peace. I am willing and able to acknowledge that President Obama didn’t leave us a more peaceful world when he exited his office in January 2017.

I just want this election to arrive on time. I want Donald Trump to be gone. I no longer want to hear his voice. Nor do I want to see his puss on my TV screen.

And I certainly do not want to hear him yammering and yapping about a Peace Prize nomination. Hey, maybe he’ll talk the Nobel committee out of awarding it to him just because of his incessant blathering.

Who’s the lawless POTUS?

(Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Let’s set the record straight on how we define lawlessness.

Steven Bannon has just been indicted on fraud charges related to the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign; he is the seventh member of Trump’s team to be indicted, to have pleaded guilty to criminal activity or convicted at trial.

Trump got a question from a reporter to explain why so many of these key associates have run afoul of the law.

Trump then blurted out the lie he keeps repeating about the Barack Obama administration. He called President Obama and Vice President Biden — Trump’s 2020 opponent — corrupt and “lawless.” He said the Obama administration “spied” on his campaign.

Hmm. The record, though, tells us that zero members of the Obama administration were indicted, convicted or pleaded guilty to criminal activity. Furthermore, the Justice Department on President Obama’s watch was reacting to reports that Russians were working with the Trump campaign while interfering with the 2016 election. A bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report has just confirmed that very fact.

Lawlessness, Mr. President? Look inward.

Barack Obama delivers

Barack Hussein Obama delivered the goods and laid them directly at the feet of Donald John Trump.

Those goods contained a fairly detailed recital of precisely why — in my own view — Trump is unfit for the office he holds and why former President Obama’s “brother,” Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., deserves to be elected the next president of the United States.

The media are making quite a lot of the “unprecedented” nature of a former president taking a sitting president to task so directly and so harshly. Hmm. Well, my own sense is that Trump merely is reaping what he has sown.

Why? I consider equally unprecedented the level of direct criticism, denigration and disparagement that the current president has laid on his immediate predecessor. I feel the need to point out that President Obama had remained essentially silent in the face of those unfair and unwarranted attacks … until now!

Obama said Trump has failed to grow into the office. He has failed to grasp the gravity of the awesome responsibility he inherited when he walked into the Oval Office. He said Trump has failed to rein in his angry impulses, failed to cease labeling foes as the “enemy.”

Yes, the 44th president delivered the goods. As did Sen. Kamala Harris, the VP nominee who’s running with Biden against Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

What’s next? Joe Biden has a steep hill to climb tonight when he accepts his party’s presidential nomination. He will need to at worst to meet the level that Obama and Harris reached with their speeches.

Biden has a stirring and compelling personal story, full of heartache and tragedy and perseverance. We know the story. He needs now to tell us where he intends to lead the nation if he becomes elected as our 46th president.

I am all ears, Joe. Talk to me.

Trump unhinged

I am trying to fathom the reasons that millions of American voters are continuing to argue for the re-election of the man pictured here.

So help me I am at a total loss.

Donald Trump keeps threatening to do bodily harm to our democratic process if the November presidential election doesn’t turn out the way he wants.

He is indicating he might not accept the result of an election that favors Joseph R. Biden Jr. He already has said that a Biden victory would guarantee a “rigged” election. So he’ll do what? Demand a recount? Toss the ballots out? Start over?

Then he said he deserves a “do-over” because President Obama and Vice President Biden “spied” on his campaign during the 2016 election season. Spied? Oh, that was when the FBI and others reported to the Obama administration that Russians were interfering in the election, so the Obama folks wanted to take a closer look at it.

The FBI already has determined there was no “spying.” That hasn’t shut Trump’s pie hole.

The latest gem is that he might seek a third term if — and I am swallowing hard to say these next few words — he wins re-election.

Oh, but wait. The U.S. Constitution’s 22nd Amendment says a president can be elected twice. That’s it. No more. Is he going to demand an amendment to the Constitution? Good luck with that one, Donald.

Watching The Donald flail and flounder this way simply brings to mind my astonishment in the support he continues to pull from the roughly 40 percent (give or take) of the American voting public. What on Earth, in the name of political sanity, do they see in this individual?

The third term suggestion might be some sort of Trumpian joke, although The Donald seems to possess no discernible sense of humor. The “spying” allegation is just one more smear that Trump insists on leveling at Barack Obama, given what I believe is his intense envy at the sophistication his immediate predecessor demonstrated during his two terms in office.

Whether to accept the election result if former VP Biden wins? In some sort of macabre way, many of us saw that one coming long ago … about the time he rode down that Trump Tower escalator to declare his candidacy for the only public office he ever sought.

Trump is unhinged.

Why discuss this … at all?

I cannot believe we are engaging in yet another discussion of “birtherism” involving a prominent American politician.

The defamation of Sen. Kamala Harris shouldn’t even be discussed at any level, except for one major point: One of the principals involved in this matter happens to be Donald John “Fake News Master in Chief” Trump.

Harris came into this world in Oakland, Calif. Her Indian mother delivered her after conceiving her with her Jamaican husband. Donald Trump has given this hideous matter a bit of air simply by stating he would “look at” whether she is qualified to run for vice president on the Democratic Party ticket.

This is ridiculous. It also is a blatantly racist attack on a woman who has risen dramatically to national stature after assuming her U.S. Senate seat in 2017.

One might have hoped, albeit naively, that the birther issue had died when Barack Obama left the presidency. It hasn’t, quite obviously. What does the Obama birther matter have in common with Kamala Harris? Donald Trump was part of the Birther Brigade that spread the lie about Obama, just as he has joined the crew that is smearing Kamala Harris with the same defamatory idiocy.

I would say that we “deserve better” from the president of the United States. However, I have to remind myself that the racist managed to get elected to the office he occupies. We just cannot mess up a second time around.

Not so strange after all

Media pundits continue to make something of a ruckus over the recent political history involving Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris, that Harris roughed up Biden in a couple of debates before she dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary contest.

They’re now on the same Democratic ticket. So I am left to wonder: Why the fascination? It’s hardly the first time political rivals have hooked up, buried the hatchet and locked arms in the fight against a common opponent.

In 1960, Sens. Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy fought for the Democratic nomination. They spoke harshly of each other. LBJ pulled out at the end of that primary fight. JFK was looking for someone to help strengthen him in the South. So he turned to Sen. Johnson. They won that race. Fate, though, tragically intervened when JFK died from an assassin’s bullet in November 1963.

In 1980, former Gov. Ronald Reagan and former CIA director/U.N. ambassador/former congressman/former special envoy to China George H.W. Bush butted heads for the Republican nomination. Bush chided Reagan’s fiscal policy as “voodoo economics.” Reagan survived and then selected Bush to be his VP. The two of them served together through two successful terms.

In 2008, for heaven’s sake, Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden fought for their party’s nomination. Biden didn’t last long. He took his shots at Obama, who fired back at his foe. Obama got nominated and had Biden at his side for two terms.

So now it’s Sen. Harris who’s being examined. Is she loyal enough? Does the presumptive nominee trust her to be a team player?

Biden has been through the VP vetting process. He knows what to ask, where to look.

Harris’s selection is historic. Many have made much of that fact, given her racial and ethnic background. Biden’s decision to select her, though, doesn’t look like much of a gamble. LBJ, George H.W. Bush and Biden himself already have blazed recent trails that led them all to the vice presidency.

Let’s worry less about the recent past between these two politicians and concern ourselves more with the policy positions they share and will take to the fight against Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

It’s game on, man!

Welcome back, Mr. POTUS 44

Barack Obama appears to be getting back into the game.

He’s been out of action since leaving the presidency in January 2017. I reckon he has seen and heard enough from Donald J. Trump to bring him back into the action.

President Obama is all in with the man who served as vice president during his two terms in office. He is thoroughly and completely behind Joe Biden. That is no surprise, of course. The two men, Obama and Biden, forged a remarkably close personal and professional relationship for eight years in the White House.

I have learned recently that their friendship didn’t materialize immediately after they took office, but that it evolved and developed over time. At the end of his time as president, Obama was referring to himself and his family as “honorary Bidens.” He has called Joe Biden his “brother.”

So it has developed and matured.

After nearly four years of Donald Trump, though, and listening to Trump’s constant drumbeat of denigration of his time in office, I figure President Obama believes he needs to do what he can to remove Trump from an office he never should have won in the first place.

To be fair, Trump did win. Along the way to the White House, Trump continued to belittle Obama’s record. Since taking office, Trump has sought specifically to erase Obama’s name from legislative accomplishments. Target No. 1 has been the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature domestic legislative achievement. The ACA remains in effect, more or less, but Trump continues to vow to remove it forever. Is there a replacement? Umm. No.

As one American voter who wants Trump defeated, I am going to welcome Barack Obama back into the fight. He remains a U.S. citizen and is entitled to speak his mind whenever he pleases. Yes, it is not “normal” for a former president to weigh in so heavily.

But … what the hey. Let’s watch the battle be joined.