All posts by kanelis2012

Masks still visible

By John Kanelis /

Gov. Greg Abbott is just so doggone proud that “Texas is 100 percent back” from COVID-19 precautions.

Good for you, governor. Keep crowing. I just want to report that not everyone is buying the happy talk, at least not just yet.

My wife and I returned from a month on the road in our pickup and RV. We put just shy of 5,500 miles on our vehicles, visiting many states of various political persuasions between North Texas and the Pacific Ocean.

We came home Monday to Princeton. Do you know what I discovered upon my return to the neighborhood supermarket down the street and around the corner? I found a lot more exposed faces inside, but also a lot of masks still covering other faces.

If I had to take a wild guess I would say roughly 60 percent of the customers in the store were masked up. Store employees remain virtually fully masked.

To which I say: Good for them and good for us!

Look, Texas has done well in vaccinating residents as the medicine has become available. Most of my family here is vaccinated. We’re still waiting for our 8-year-old granddaughter to get the green light. She is behaving herself, understanding the concept of social distancing and the importance of mask-wearing.

I am a good bit away from ditching the masks we have in our truck. I want to resume what we used to call “normal life” as much as the next guy. I am willing and able to exercise some additional patience, though, awaiting for the all clear sign.

Yep, he’s a killer

By John Kanelis /

Vladimir Putin laughed when someone asked him if he is a “killer.”

Then the Russian strongman/dictator/despot told the interviewer that he has no interest in dealing with rumors and reports about what kind of guy he is.

President Biden hung the killer tag on Putin in an interview some weeks ago. The two men will meet in a couple of days in their first head-to-head encounter as mutual heads of state.

In actuality, Putin is the killer that Biden has described. Thus, it is imperative that President Biden refuse to give any quarter in their talks … not that Putin is going to pull a gun out of his pocket during the meeting and, well, you know.

Putin laughs when asked by NBC reporter if he’s a ‘killer’ | TheHill

I have some hope that Biden is going to present a different sort of approach to this bilateral relationship than the individual who preceded him as president of the United States. Whereas the previous POTUS extolled how Putin flattered him, I don’t hear such nonsense coming from President Biden.

To be sure, the country Putin leads is a formidable power, although it it falls far short of the U.S. standing as the world’s remaining military superpower. Indeed, Russia’s economic standing sits on its tenuous supply of oil, which is the driver behind the Russian economy.

I want to bring this up because Putin is not our equal. Yes, the Russians have plenty of capacity to perform havoc on our democratic system, which they have done through at least two presidential election cycles.

President Biden vows to confront Vladimir Putin on his nation’s interference in our elections, on its abysmal human rights record, its efforts to undermine independence in Ukraine and its paying of bounties to Taliban terrorists who have killed American service personnel in battle.

If the men are engaging in what is called “frank discussions,” perhaps President Biden will be able to ask Putin what’s so damn funny about being called a killer.

Watch and listen to this video

By John Kanelis /

The link I am attaching to this very brief post is an interview with President Barack Obama and Navy Admiral William McRaven.

They are looking back 10 years since the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. It is heartfelt. It tells us how the two men felt as they were about to make decisions that could have gone badly but instead ended with the death of the 9/11 mastermind.

10 Years Later: President Obama and Admiral Bill McRaven reflect on the bin Laden Raid – YouTube

It’s about 14 minutes long. It is worth your time to watch.

We need more like her

By John Kanelis /

This photo sums up what I believe is lacking in today’s troubled and topsy-turvy world.

That would be grit, coupled with determination. Throw in some raw courage and unbounded optimism.

The photo you see is of my late cousin Becky Olson. She died in late April of cancer. She had five recurrences of the disease.

I have spoken already on this blog about her. I left a couple of things unsaid. So, here goes.

Mourning a painful loss while honoring a glorious legacy | High Plains Blogger

Becky chose not to wallow in self-pity when she received her diagnosis. Yes, she surely was saddened and frightened. However, she powered through her treatments. She lived on.

Instead of feeling remorse and sorrow over her condition, she chose instead to co-found an organization called Breast Friends. She used the foundation as a platform to reveal to the world an immense wellspring of courage. She imparted that courage to others suffering from cancer. She became a motivational speaker, parlaying her singing talent and remarkable stage presence into a presentation that she gave all across the country. She wrote a book, “The Hat That Saved My Life,” which tells of her struggle.

What is lacking today? Much more of that kind of boundless energy. Becky presented an optimistic view of this world and of life. Did she have her moments of angst, anxiety and fear? Of course she did! However, none of that deterred Becky from the mission she was dedicated to completing until the very end of her journey on this good Earth.

She was the voice of hope. How in the world does one go through this life without it?

‘America First’ gives way to alliance-building

(Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

By John Kanelis /

A president of the United States who declares an “America First” foreign policy always must be mindful of a simple fact.

The United States of America cannot shirk its global obligations military, economically and environmentally, which means that the U.S. of A. must honor the alliances it has built over many decades with other nations who depend on our leadership.

President Biden is seeking to reconstruct the trust that his immediate presidential predecessor dismantled repeatedly during his tenure in office.

The term “globalism” has become a four-letter word in some sectors of this country. Whether in offices, or in coffee houses, barber shops or grange halls, we hear Americans dismiss the notion that this nation is part of a much larger — but oddly shrinking — global community.

That is why President Biden returned the nation to the Paris Climate Accords, to the World Health Organization, the Iran nuclear talks and reasserted our role as NATO’s senior partner immediately upon taking office.

It also is why Biden will sit down soon with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and, as he said the other day, “tell him things I want him to hear.”

Joe Biden is operating at the summit level from a position of immense strength. Whereas Biden’s predecessor coddled the likes of Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the current president vows a vastly different approach. I do not expect President Biden to shake hands with Kim Jong Un for as long as Kim continues to murder his people.

And someone has to explain to me why such dictator-coddling in any form or fashion produces foreign policies that “put America First.”

It’s a new era dawning on the international stage with President Biden’s first foreign journey. In a way, though, it resembles a return to the way it used to be … which is all right with me.

Rioters were not ‘patriots’

By John Kanelis /

This must be noted with extreme vigor.

Whenever I see video of the Jan. 6 terrorist insurrection on the U.S. Capitol Building and hear mobsters declare themselves to be “patriots,” I want to scream at the top of my lungs.

The rioters who sought to dismantle the governmental process of certifying a duly constituted, legal and fair election were not patriots in any incarnation of the word.

I am a patriot. I pay my taxes. I follow the law. I have served my country in wartime. I am proud of my flag. I salute it appropriately. I am among many millions of Americans who consider themselves to be patriots. No one with whom I have any relationship ever would have done what the terrorists did on Jan. 6.

They stormed into the Capitol Building. They beat police officers with flags. They crapped on the floor of the halls of government. They shouted “Hang Mike Pence!” They posed physical threats to the leaders of our government.

Those are the actions of patriots? Would a patriotic American ever behave in such a reprehensible manner?

They were acting at the behest of a man who lost the 2020 presidential election. They were doing his bidding. Indeed, the ex-POTUS, the man who proclaimed his desire to put “America first,” instead put himself first.

They were patriots? They love the country? No. They do not. They detest the country and they deserve all the scorn that should come their way.

AG Garland makes critical vow

By John Kanelis /

Attorney General Merrick Garland has given good-government adherents something to cheer.

He spoke at length today vowing to do all he can to protect the rights of all Americans to vote, to take part in the democratic process. Moreover, he pledged to dramatically increase the civil-rights division staff of lawyers to guard against efforts to disenfranchise American voters.

“There are plenty of things up for debate in America, but the right of all eligible Americans to vote is not one of them,” Garland said.

Do ya think?

Garland appeared today to draw a bead on Republican-led efforts in  legislatures across the land — and that certainly includes Texas — to make voting a good bit more arduous for many Americans than it ever should be. As NBC News reported: The staffing surge would occur over the next the next 30 days, he said, and the beefed-up unit will use all laws at its disposal “to ensure that we protect every qualified American seeking to participate in our democracy.”

Garland says Justice Department will scrutinize new GOP-led voting restrictions (

Merrick Garland came to the Justice Department after a stellar career as a federal judge. He knows the Constitution and has spent a good bit of his professional life interpreting what issues pass constitutional muster. Accordingly, he asserted today that the DOJ will investigate effort whether statewide efforts cross a constitutional line they shouldn’t cross.

The 2020 election had many important features. One of them was the remarkable spike in the number of ballots that were cast. All told, nearly 160 million Americans voted for president. The most important feature, of course, was that Americans elected Joe Biden as president, who in turn nominated a towering judicial figure — Merrick Garland — to lead the Justice Department.

Today, the nation got a glimpse of the wisdom of President Biden’s choice of the nation’s top legal eagle.

“So far this year, at least 14 states have passed new laws that make it harder to vote,” Garland said.

“We are scrutinizing new laws that seek to curb voter access and where we see violations, we will not hesitate to act. We are also scrutinizing current laws and practices in order to determine whether they discriminate against Black voters and other voters of color,” Garland said.

Yes, Mr. Attorney General. You have the floor.

Legislators show spine … good for them!

By John Kanelis /

Oregon’s state legislators have demonstrated some rare political courage and they have made this native Oregonian quite proud of them.

Oregon House members voted 59-1 to expel state Rep. Mike Nearman of Independence, Ore., for disorderly behavior after he let rioters into the State Capitol to protest the state’s response to the COVID pandemic. The event occurred Dec. 21. Nearman, a Republican, was caught on video allowing rioters into the Statehouse.

Lawmakers remove state legislator over Oregon Capitol breach (

Many of the mob members were carrying banners supporting the previous POTUS. Some of them spouted QAnon conspiracy theories. They posed a direct threat to the Legislature, which was meeting at the time. The Capitol had been closed to the public because of safety concerns.

That didn’t matter to Nearman, who opened the door to the mob.

The expulsion is the first for Oregon in its 160-year history.

Meanwhile, other state legislators elsewhere — not to mention members of Congress — are demonstrating wimpiness in the extreme as they fail to take action against those who promote the kinds of violence we have witnessed in this pandemic and post-election age.

Well done, Oregon legislators.

State Bar examines AG’s conduct … wow!

By John Kanelis /

Are you really surprised that this item has splashed its way onto the news cycle?

The State Bar of Texas is examining whether Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s frivolous lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election constitutes an offense worthy of his disbarment.

Well …

Who’da thunk that might happen? I sorta did.

Paxton sought to reverse the results of the election in four states that voted for President Biden over the Republican incumbent president. The U.S. Supreme Court tossed the lawsuit with nary a word, contending that Paxton had no standing to file such a lawsuit.

The Huffington Post reported:

Kevin Moran, the 71-year-old president of the Galveston Island Democrats, shared his complaint with The Associated Press along with letters from the State Bar of Texas and the Board of Disciplinary Appeals that confirm the investigation. He said Paxton’s efforts to dismiss other states’ election results was a wasteful embarrassment for which the attorney general should lose his law license.

“He wanted to disenfranchise the voters in four other states,” said Moran. “It’s just crazy.”

State Bar Investigating Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton | HuffPost

Yep. It’s crazy, all right. It also served to embarrass Texas in front of the entire world! It suggested to many of us that the AG’s fierce fealty to the former president blinded what passes for his better judgment.

So, here we are. The state’s top legal eagle is awaiting trial in state court on securities fraud allegations; the FBI is probing a whistleblower complaint of wrongdoing brought by several former top AG’s office lawyers; now the State Bar is looking into whether the attorney general should be stripped of his license to practice law.

Nice going, Mr. Attorney General.

POTUS with no name

By John Kanelis /

I have just made a command decision regarding this blog.

From this moment forward I no longer am going to refer to the 45th president of the United States by name. I no longer want to memorialize it.

Why? Because the sound of his name and its appearance as a printed word sicken me. I don’t want to hurl all over my computer keyboard.

That all said, future comments on matters dealing with No. 45 will be spare. I intend to move on to the goings on with the current president, Joe Biden. I also intend to discuss policy matters. When faced with referencing the immediate past POTUS I will simply seek to write around his name.

One problem arises, though. The ex-POTUS might get indicted for criminal activity. If that moment comes, well … just wish me luck as I seek to comment without mentioning him by name.

There. Now I feel better.