All posts by kanelis2012

‘Endless war’ sees an end

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

An astonishing thought occurred to me today as I listened to President Biden’s announcement that he is ordering our troops home from Afghanistan.

Are you sitting down for this? Joe Biden is invoking a policy that mirrors one espoused by Donald John Trump!

Recall that Trump bellowed during the 2020 campaign, and before, about he wanted to cease getting this country involved in “endless wars.” Well, his successor has followed that course. President Biden today announced our final contingent of troops will be out of Afghanistan no later than Sept. 11.

So, this thought also occurs to me: Will there be a statement endorsing this policy decision announced by Joe Biden coming from his immediate predecessor?

I know. You’re laughing out loud! In a way, I am snickering under my breath as I type these words. Hell, how can Trump endorse anything that President Biden does without ever even acknowledging that he was elected to the nation’s highest office?

We might just have seen the weirdest joining of strange political bedfellows in memory.

Good riddance, Bernie Madoff

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

You know how it goes … that you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.

Hmm. Bernie Madoff is dead. He was 82 years of age. Madoff was the perpetrator of one of the world’s most notorious Ponzi schemes. He bilked Americans out of billions of dollars.

Madoff got caught. He was sent to prison. That’s where he died.

What, then, does one say about this truly nasty individual if we are going to avoid speaking ill of the dead?

Not a damn thing.

Declaring victory?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President George W. Bush responded with strength and resolve nearly 20 years ago when terrorists declared war on this country.

He ordered the military into Afghanistan  to overthrow the government that had given the monsters safe haven. The war against international terror had begun.

I said at the time that I wondered how in the world we could declare victory. How could we ever know when we have defeated this enemy? I likened it a bit to the semi-cavalier approach espoused by the late, great Republican U.S. Sen. George Aiken of Vermont who said during the Vietnam War that we should “just declare victory and go home.”

President Biden has in a sense declared victory against the terrorists. He is bringing home the remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan no later than Sept. 11, the 20th year since the beginning of the longest war in U.S. history.

We didn’t start this conflict, but today Biden declared that we are about to finish this particular phase of it.

My fervent hope is that we remain on the highest alert possible for any future evil intent. I heard the president say that it is time for us to look forward, that the terrorist movement has “metastasized” and moved into many other areas of the world. It is time, he said, for us to focus our efforts beyond the Afghan battlefield.

Joe Biden is not wild-eyed. He does not strike me as being prone to making decisions based on hunches and gut feelings. The president is a studied creature of the government he now leads.

I do hope with all that I can muster that he can remove the relative handful of troops from the field of battle while ensuring that we can remain focused sharply on danger when it presents itself. That we can take a proactive posture against threats to our nation.

We do possess the nation’s strongest military apparatus. A first-rate intelligence service complements that force with seasoned and dedicated professionals. We also have a commander in chief who listens and acts on the advice and counsel he receives from the pros who are trained to deliver it.

Can we truly declare victory on the Afghan killing fields? I hope that is the case.

Biden: Bring troops home

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It is with guarded optimism — with the emphasis on “guarded” — that I welcome the pending end of our nation’s longest war as announced today by President Biden.

The president today declared his intention to have all U.S. combat troops removed from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 20 years after what has been called simply “9/11.”

Terrorists hijacked jetliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on that horrific day. A fourth jetliner became the scene of a fight between heroic passengers and terrorists and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. We went to war that day.

Joe Biden today, in effect, declared a form of “victory” in our fight against international terrorism. He wants to end our combat involvement in Afghanistan, where the Taliban gave safe harbor to al-Qaeda terrorists, enabling them to plot and execute the ghastly terrorist attack that drew us into the longest conflict in our nation’s history.

At roughly the halfway point in that struggle, our special forces killed the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden.

To be sure, the terror threat cannot possibly be extinguished ever. It was there all along, prior to 9/11 and afterward. Indeed, President Biden today acknowledged that threat and vowed to deploy all available counter- and anti-terrorist strategies to protect us against further attacks.

I hope with all my heart that he succeeds in this effort. I no longer want to send our young men and women into battle. That doesn’t mean, though, that we ever let our guard down against threats such as what befell us on 9/11.

I remain dubious that the Taliban can be trusted as a negotiating partner. Thus, it is imperative that we keep our military on the highest level of preparedness moving past the date set for our withdrawal from the Afghan battlefield.

Joe Biden reminded us that four U.S. presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Biden — all have dealt with this conflict. President Biden vowed today he wouldn’t hand it to a fifth commander in chief.

I want to applaud this decision. However, I will hold off on that hand-clapping when we can know for certain that we have ended forever the threats of violence that can come at a moment’s notice.

Take the offer, Mr. POTUS

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Joe Biden has received an offer he cannot in good conscience refuse.

It came from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has invited Biden to speak to a joint session of Congress on April 28. Accept the invitation, Mr. President.

The speech won’t be a State of the Union address, per se. It would give the president a chance to speak to the nation all at once, seeking to lay out his legislative agenda and to keep a pledge he made to tell us “Help is On the Way.”

And it is.

The president has scored one key legislative triumph in the form of the COVID-19 relief bill. He wants more victories that he says will benefit Americans.

The Hill reported: “Nearly 100 days ago, when you took the oath of office, you pledged in a spirit of great hope that ‘Help Is On The Way.’ Now, because of your historic and transformative leadership, Help Is Here!” Pelosi wrote in a letter inviting Biden to address both chambers.

“In that spirit, I am writing to invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday, April 28, to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment,” Pelosi added.

Pelosi invites Biden to address Congress on April 28 | TheHill

Joe Biden has a full plate of “challenges and opportunities” as he seizes control of our government’s executive branch.

My fervent hope is that he accepts the offer, agrees to speak to us directly, candidly and honestly. We keep hearing about the progress we are making in eliminating the pandemic. We see job creation accelerating after the battering our economy took in 2020 when the pandemic shut the nation down.

There’s more to do, to be sure.

Talk to us, Mr. President. Say “yes” to the speaker’s offer.

Gut punches keep coming

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My gut has been getting punched repeatedly with news reports that just sicken it … and me!

It’s not enough that we had an insurrection against the federal government six days into the new year. Nor is it enough that we impeached a president for the second time as a result and then endured another acquittal of the guy who should have been convicted and tossed out of office the first time.

We keep hearing about and watching news reports of police officers shooting African-American men in incidents that make me wonder: Would this happen if the individual being rousted were a white guy? Protests are mounting. They have turned into riots.

It’s giving me tremendous anxiety as I watch this from my quiet neighborhood. All this unrest, this anger, this anxiety looks to me as if it has the potential of exploding into a hideous national crisis.

A former Minneapolis cop is on trial for murder in an incident that killed a black man; a young African-American was shot to death by a Minnesota cop, who then quit along with her boss, the chief of police; a black Army officer was pepper-sprayed in December by a white officer in Virginia.

The victim in Minneapolis was killed after he sought to pass a counterfeit bill; the young man died in nearby Brooklyn Heights after he was stopped because he hung an air freshener from his rearview mirror; the Army officer was pepper sprayed because he didn’t have a license plate on the rear of his motor vehicle, which he had just purchased. 

These are just the most recent instances of violence being committed against black Americans by police officers who, um, are not black.

Man, this is disheartening and frightening. I am weary of all these gut punches.

You have perfection … and then this

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Hope Trautwein hails from Pflugerville, Texas and attends the University of North Texas in Denton.

Sounds pretty, um, normal. Yes? Well, this young woman has done something that’s never been done in the history of NCAA Division I athletics.

She threw seven innings of perfect softball against the the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. When I say “perfect,” she struck out every one of the batters she faced. That’s 21 whiffs. No one hit a ball into a UNT player’s glove. No one walked. No one reached base on an error in the field. They strode to the plate, took three strikes and went back to their dugout.

Pitcher Hope Trautwein Throws A Perfect Game Of All Strikeouts | 88.9 KETR

Trautwein told National Public Radio’s Morning Edition: “I guess it’s never been done before so it doesn’t have a name.”

Here’s a name: Fantastic!

That’s how a POTUS should act

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway.

The nation today saw a display of how our president fulfills an unwritten — but still highly critical — aspect of his job. President Biden stepped up and did his duty as our consoler in chief.

The remains of Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans were brought to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, not far from where he died when a lunatic sought to plow through a security barricade Evans was manning.

Joe Biden stood up and spoke directly to Evans’ mother, the officer’s two children and to the children’s mother. He told us how he feels their hurt, their heartache. How does he know? Because he has buried two of his own children and his wife. He spoke to them — and to the nation in human terms.

Two senior political leaders who also spoke today in the Rotunda — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer — spoke directly to the Jan. 6 insurrection and the heartache being felt by the Capitol Police Department.

President Biden did not speak to that terrible day. He had no need to mention. Instead, he spoke directly to the children of the hero they were honoring and to the nation that continues to grieve over this senselessness.

That is what presidents do.

Cop, chief both quit

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Kim Potter and Tim Gannon have just joined the ranks of former police officers caught up in a hideous law enforcement incident.

Potter quit the Brooklyn Center, Minn., Police Department after shooting a young motorist after allegedly thinking she was going to fire her taser at him. Gannon, the police chief of the small department, quit as well. Both of them are white. The victim of the shooting, Daunte Wright, was black.

CBS News reports: Without explicitly referencing the shooting, Potter wrote in her resignation letter: “I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.”

Live Updates: Officer who killed Daunte Wright and Brooklyn Center police chief resign (cbsnews.com)

The uproar has been tremendous. Brooklyn Center sits a chip shot distance away from Minneapolis, where former cop Derek Chauvin is on trial for murdering George Floyd in another police incident involving a white officer and a black victim. The trial has been covered worldwide.

Is there another more ghastly juxtaposition than that?

Potter was a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center PD. She stopped Wright supposedly because Wright was driving with an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror; something about “sight obstruction” was the cause of the traffic stop. It escalated badly.

Potter yelled “taser!” at Wright, then shot him with her service pistol. Gannon called the incident an “accidental discharge” of a weapon.

Oh, my goodness. So many questions that need answering. The one that jumps out to me is this: How does a veteran police officer mistake a fully armed service pistol for a much lighter taser device? While we’re at it, how does an officer who is trained to carry her firearm on her “strong” side while carrying the taser on her “weak” side, meaning that a right-handed officer — such as Kim Potter — is instructed to carry the weapon on his or her right hip.

These resignations must not signal the end of the police investigation into this terrible incident.

It looks for all the world to me as if we are just beginning an arduous journey toward the truth of what happened to Daunte Wright.

Glad he spoke out, however …

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As glad as I am to hear former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner speak out against what he calls “political terrorism” within the Republican Party, I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize an obvious element of history.

While the ex-speaker decries the harsh partisanship that has infected the current political climate, he needs to own his particular contribution to that infection.

He called the Affordable Care Act the greatest sin ever perpetrated on Americans. Boehner filed lawsuits to stop the implementation of President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. He did plenty of blustering and bellowing from the House floor about the evils of his Democratic colleagues’ intent.

Has the former speaker had an epiphany? Has he realized what he did contributed to today’s toxicity? I hope that is the case.

Still, to hear him refer to Sen. Ted Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh,” and to express his profound revulsion over the insurrection that occurred on Jan. 6 remains music to my admittedly partisan ears.