All posts by kanelis2012

Stay strong, Mr. President

Democrats are beginning to grumble about President Biden. They fret over his poll numbers, suggesting he isn’t showing enough decisive leadership in times of crisis.

Most of the griping comes from the progressive wing of the party, the fraction of Democrats who want to pack the Supreme Court with more liberal justices; they want to eliminate the filibuster in the Senate; they want the president to forgive all student debt.

They cannot understand why the president — who proclaims himself to be a progressive Democrat — isn’t joining them in their zealous quest for political perfection.

I’m going to give Joe Biden a bit more credit than progressives are giving him. The man has been a creature of government since before he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972. He knows politics and understands the value and the need for compromise.

Some progressive politicians say at this moment they cannot bring themselves to endorse President Biden for a second term should he decide to run in 2024. He has declared his intention to run for a second term, which — of course! — could change. I learned long ago that a pol’s “intent” doesn’t always translate into a forever condition.

Joe Biden has been dealt a tough hand. Vladimir Putin went to war illegally in Ukraine. That conflict has affected the price of fossil fuels. Inflation is raging. But, seriously, what can the president do unilaterally to bring it under control?

All that said, I am not going to acknowledge publicly that the economy is in the tank. We’re still adding hundreds of thousands of jobs each month. Unemployment is down to pre-pandemic lows.

And, yes, we have those midterm elections coming and the prospect — although it’s not certain — that Republicans are going to win control of Congress.

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party, though, can count this chump blogger as one who is going to stand with the president.

Cheney to become GOP martyr

As a general rule I dislike attaching the word “martyr” to run-of-the-mill politicians, even when they do extraordinary things.

Liz Cheney is one of those pols who also happens to be doing something that in an earlier era wouldn’t merit the kind of praise she is about to receive from this blog.

The Wyoming Republican congresswoman is standing tall for the rule of law. She is calling a former GOP president precisely what he is: an existential threat to the nation’s representative democracy.

Cheney is likely to pay a grievous political price soon in the Wyoming Republican primary. She appears slated to lose her primary fight for a fourth term in the U.S. House.

‘She knows it wasn’t stolen’: Liz Cheney challenges Republican primary rival over false Trump election claims (

And why? Because Wyoming Republican voters have swallowed the swill offered by the former Liar in Chief. Donald Trump’s Big Lie has gained traction among the gullible voters who appear to be the most dedicated among the GOP faithful.

Liz Cheney said this week that Republicans cannot possibly be faithful to both the Constitution and to Donald Trump. Of the two, which is more essential? Hmm. Let me think. I’ll go with the Constitution.

As we have learned during the House hearings on the insurrection — which Cheney has been a key principal — Trump doesn’t give a rat’s a** about the Constitution. His loyalty belongs only to himself and he has demanded it of those who worked for him in public life.

Liz Cheney has pushed back against the ex-POTUS’s sociopathic tendency only by insisting that he follow the law.

That she would be punished for that is reprehensible in the extreme. Yet, polling data suggest at this moment that Liz Cheney is going to lose her primary battle to return to Congress.

It boggles my mind that anyone with half a noodle in their noggin could believe the liar who once masqueraded as president of the United States.

I fear that such a travesty is going to unfold and a congresswoman who is fighting for the truth will pay the price for such ignorance.

Good riddance, except …

It’s pretty darn easy for Pac-12 football fans to say “goodbye and good riddance” to UCLA and the University of Southern California, which have announced their intention to bolt from the Pac-12 and sign up with the Big 10 football conference.

Except that the move all but destroys the Pac-12.

I am a Pac-12 fan. More specifically, I am a fan of the Oregon Ducks football program, which for the past decade or so has been dominant along the Left Coast. And any true-blue Pac-12 fan knows that the only people who root for USC and UCLA either (a) live in the Los Angeles area or (b) grew up there and remain wedded to the Trojans and Bruins because, well, they just are.

All this grid conference shopping makes my head spin. Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC a few years back, destroying the vaunted A&M vs. University of Texas annual football rivalry. Well, the Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners are joining the SEC, too.

The Big 10 now includes many more schools than just the 10 that comprised the original conference clustered around the Great Lakes region.

Now, heaven forfend, the Pac-12 has joined the parade of conferences with changing university lineups.

Don’t make me want to give up you, my beloved Ducks. Maybe the conference can rebuild itself around the Ducks’ awesome brand. The conference does have the Ducks, the University of Washington Huskies, Cal, Stanford, Oregon State, Washington State, Utah and Colorado. They all play pretty good football at most of those places.

UCLA and USC? Who needs ’em?

Journey goes on

Our retirement journey has taken a new turn, with a new vehicle towing a new recreational vehicle.

You know already that we traded in our 29-foot fifth wheel for a 21-foot travel trailer. We’ve taken our new trailer out on a couple of short jaunts. We hauled it behind our big ol’ pickup, Big Jake, the 2011 3/4-ton Dodge diesel beast.

We bid so long to Big Jake today and took possession of our new — and a good bit smaller — truck. It’s a Ford Ranger. We’re toying with what to name it. I am increasingly stuck on Kemo Sabe. Whatever.

The new truck is a beaut. It’s brand new. Ford built the 2022 vehicle per our specs. Just for my wife and me. It’s big enough to haul our travel trailer.

Our journey, though, has changed, but mostly because of outside influences. The price of gas makes long-term travel too expensive for us. So, we’re re-evaluating how we intend to use our new truck and our new RV. Best guess? We’ll stay mostly close to home. Indeed, Texas is big enough for us to be able to visit state parks hither and yon.

Now, does this mean that extended travel is out forever? Hardly. We’ll wait a little while, see where fuel prices go. If they come back to Earth, well, we just might hit the long and winding road to points farther away.

Toby the Puppy, moreover, will have to get used to new travel digs. We remain confident that he will adjust just fine.

Ratings don’t matter

Donald Trump and his cabal of cultists can complain all they want about the allegedly low “rating” the insurrection hearings are getting.

What matters, though, is the testimony that is being produced from these televised events. Not only that, the witnesses are talking to a limited audience. They are speaking to prosecutors and investigators working for the Department of Justice.

The most recent testimony offered by mid-level White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson already has come under fire. Donald Trump cultists say she offered “hearsay” testimony. Oh, really?

Others around her said incriminating things about the 1/6 insurrection … and she was present to hear what they said!

Hearsay? That’s hardly a defense when someone delivers the kind of damaging goods that Hutchinson dropped onto the laps the1/6 House select committee examining the insurrection.

Cassidy Hutchinson told a compelling — and damning — tale of corruption within the White House on that horrible and horrifying day as Donald Trump’s time as president was staggering to its conclusion.

Whether the vast bulk of Americans are not yet paying attention doesn’t matter one damn bit to those who are paying attention. They are the legal professionals who are preparing to decide whether to file criminal charges against those who did the bidding of the most corrupt president in U.S. history.

And, yes, whether they will file charges against the president himself. It looks for all the world to me that the Justice Department is being left with few choices other than to take a historic leap.

No way to soften ‘slavery’

This cannot possibly be real, cannot be serious, cannot be accurate. Some Texas educators now want to introduce a new form of study … changing the term “slavery” to something called “involuntary relocation.”

Good, ever-lovin’ grief! This can’t be happening. Oh, but it is happening.

The Texas Tribune reports:

How do I say this? The enslavement of human beings during the formation and early development of the United States is part of who we are as a nation, who we became and who we sought to correct.

To suggest that our children no longer should be taught what slavery meant to millions of our ancestors is to deny the facts as they occurred.

Texas education proposes referring to slavery as “involuntary relocation” | The Texas Tribune

“I don’t like it because it’s a personal belief. I don’t like it because it’s not rooted in truth,” said Aicha Davis, an SBOE member who represents Dallas and Fort Worth. “We can have all the discussions we want, but we have to adopt the truth for our students.”

We all have been told at times that “the truth hurts.”

Fine. Let it hurt. Slavery is the most egregious blot on our nation’s history. Our children should learn about it in its rawest form.

Memo to Mark: answer the panel

Memo to Mark Meadows: If you believe in the “rule of law,” as you have said you do, then you by all rights should have no problem answering a House 1/6 select committee subpoena seeking your testimony into what happened on the day of the insurrection against the U.S. government.

The White House chief of staff has gotten the subpoena. He has refused to talk to the committee.

Now we hear from his former top aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified in great detail this past week about what she saw and heard from Meadows. It isn’t pretty … for Meadows, at least.

The ex-White House chief of staff needs to set aside his frothy featly to Trump and talk to the committee about all he knows about that day.

Meadows served in Congress prior to making the move to the White House. He knows the players. He understands, also, the penalty for failure to talk to the committee.

Since he took over as White House chief of staff, though, he has become uncooperative and defiant.

My advice to Meadows? Lose the attitude, fella!

Abbott can’t control himself

Greg Abbott has demonstrated once again why he has proven to be such a disappointment as Texas governor.

When border officials found a semi-trailer full of deceased migrants seeking to sneak into the United States, Abbott released a hideous statement that sought to place all the blame on President Biden for the unfolding tragedy.

“These deaths are on Biden,” Abbott tweeted Monday night. “They are the result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”

There’s that phrase again: open border.

For the life of me I cannot stomach continuing to swallow that canard coming from Republican politicians.

The nation’s southern border isn’t “open.” Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials and Border Patrol officers are rounding up undocumented immigrants every hour of every day. They are holding them for processing and sending them back to their countries of origin.

Has the federal program succeeded? No. It hasn’t. However, for GOP pols such as Abbott to keep saying our border is “open” becomes the rhetoric of shameless demagogues.

What’s more, Abbott’s bloviating ignores this fact, too: The state’s policies aren’t working, either.

Furthermore, when a Republican was sitting in the Oval Office, Abbott spoke in decidedly milder tones after a similar tragedy occurred in South Texas. As the Texas Tribune reports:

Migrant truck deaths raise questions about Greg Abbott’s border policies | The Texas Tribune

I am not going to give short shrift to the recent tragedy that killed 51 people who perished in unspeakable misery.

Gov. Abbott, though, needs to reflect a bit on his own words spoken five years ago. He said then that Texas is “working to eradicate” human trafficking.

It’s not working.

Foes, not enemies

The collage of pictures you see with this blog post remind me of a time that now seems almost quaint, and yet I wish for a return to this sort of political imagery.

Democratic and Republican politicians can still be friends even as they joust — sometimes ferociously — with each other over matters of principle and purpose.

We are living these days in an era where members of Congress are physically, viscerally afraid to be in the company of their foes. This is an era in which at least one presidential candidate — that would be The Donald — urged his rally supporters to “beat the crap” out of protesters; he then offered to pay their legal bills if they needed help defending themselves in court.

So damn many of Trump’s cult followers have taken that advice all too seriously.

As I look at the images accompanying this brief blog item I am struck by how recently they were snapped. Yet the individuals pictured come from a bygone era of comity and collegiality.

President George W. Bush, you should recall, went to the White House after serving as a successful Texas governor. A large part of Bush’s success as governor came from his willingness and ability to work with politicians from the other party. Bush is a dedicated Republican, yet his alliances with Democratic Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock and Democratic House Speaker Pete Laney became the stuff of recent Texas political legend.

That’s just one example worth noting in this brief post.

I no longer recognize the political process I used to watch with respect that bordered on awe as I was coming of age.

These days we see politicians who cannot stand to be in the same room with each other, let alone working together to find common ground. That made the recent gun legislation so remarkable, as Democratic and Republican senators searched for and found common purpose in crafting legislation that is far from perfect … but it signaled a constructive start.

The compromise reached recently in the Senate comes from a time-honored tradition that’s been present all along. The only thing that politicians must do is look for it.

Imagine such demagoguery

“Imagine being upset that babies will live.”

So it went this morning as I came across this social media post from someone I’ve known — admittedly not well — for the past quarter century.

He is applauding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion. Yes, we know it as Roe v. Wade.

My friend’s social media message, of course, follows the demagogue’s strategy in arguing his point.

To suggest that those of us who are pro-choice on abortion are “upset that babies will live” is a disgraceful attempt at demonization. What upsets me about the SCOTUS ruling has nothing to do with whether “babies will live.” It is that the ruling deprives women of the opportunity to make this most difficult decision on their own.

I maintain the right to be both pro-life and pro-choice. I could never advise a woman to get an abortion; that is not my call. It is hers alone! Nor could I ever endorse a government policy that dictates to a woman how she must handle a decision that is best left to her conscience.

But … all of this is part of today’s toxic climate.