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Will the riot stand as ‘1/6’?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Here is my thought of the moment.

When you mention “9/11,” we know what you’re talking about. Same for when you say “Dec. 7,” as we all know what that date signifies.

My curiosity makes me wonder whether society will recall the insurrection that occurred on Jan. 6, 2021 simply as “1/6.”

I happen to believe that the insurrection ranks right up there with the events of 9/11 and Dec. 7, 1941. They all stand as “dates which will live … in infamy.” 

I will not accept — indeed, I never have accepted — the reluctance among some Americans to refer to the riot of 1/6 as an insurrection. It most certainly was all of that. I consider it a full-out frontal assault on our democratic form of government.

On that day, members of both congressional chambers — led by Vice President Mike Pence — were in the process of certifying the Electoral College totals that resulted in President Biden’s election. The terrorists who stormed the Capitol Building intended to prevent that certification from occurring. My goodness, we have them saying so in recordings taking in real time as the mob stormed the Capitol and killed and injured several individuals who were trying to stop them.

Few events can be identified merely as dates on a calendar.

Let it be noted that on this day moving forward, your friendly blogger will refer to the assault on our democracy as “1/6.” The worst assault on our nation’s Capitol since the War of 1812 ranks right alongside the violence that brought us the war against international terror and the attack that dragged us into the Second World War.

GOP has gone bonkers

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Just how wacky has the Republican Party become in the Age of Trump?

Well, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, one of Trump’s strongest allies, got booed when he stood to speak before the George Republican convention. Why were the goober Republicans angry with Kemp? Because the governor wouldn’t force the secretary of state to break the law and “find” enough votes to turn the state from a Joe Biden win to a Donald Trump win.

So, for that the nut jobs have taken their vengeance out on a governor who happens be a Trump ally … but who just couldn’t bring himself to break the law or violate the U.S. Constitution.

This is the kind of goofiness that Republicans are facing as they do battle among themselves, not to mention when they face Democrats in the upcoming midterm election.

Trump loyalists boo Kemp at Georgia’s GOP convention (msn.com)

Of course, Trump is playing the GOP loyalists like the fools they are for following the dictates of the former Dipsh** in Chief. I mean, the ex-POTUS is even a real Republican, but he has fooled ’em into thinking he is one of them.

They are left now to boo and jeer actual Republican politicians — such as Gov. Kemp — only because they won’t follow Trump’s demands out the window.

Weird, man.

Memoir in the works

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The question comes with surprising frequency when I tell folks what I did for a living for nearly four decades.

It goes something like this: Are you going to write a book about it?

My answer is usually the same: Well … not exactly. However, I am renewing a commitment I made some years ago not long after my career in daily print journalism came to a sudden halt, which is that I am going to finish a memoir I intend to write for my sons and any other family members who are interested in reading it.

You see, my career enabled me as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers in Oregon and Texas to do many things not available to other human beings. It also allowed me to cross paths with people I admired and, yes, loathed from afar.

I was able to meet a future president of the United States, a former POTUS, someone who was running for the high office. I flew over an erupting volcano, I endured a landing and takeoff from a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. I stood in the presence of one of the 20th century’s most iconic political figure.

My wife has been nudging me to finish what I have started. Yes, I got started some time back on this memoir. I have let the effort lapse, much to my dismay.

Then we met recently with one of my oldest and dearest friends. He, too, likes to write and has paid marvelous tributes to his late wife. My friend encouraged me with affirmation that the highlights of my career are worth sharing with my sons.

It’s a project that needs finishing. My only “problem,” if you want to call it that, is that I am not sure I ever will be able to finish it, to tie a bow around it and present it. Why? I keep recalling individuals and occurrences that filled me with so much joy.

But … the work will commence.

‘Youthful indiscretion,’ anyone?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had a contentious Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, to be sure.

He argued that he shouldn’t be held totally responsible for how he might have acted as an irresponsible teenager.

What, then, does one make of a decision he signed off on that keeps a man in prison for life after he killed a grandparent when he was just 15 years of age?

Brett Kavanaugh Remains As Incorrigible as Ever | The Nation

The Nation magazine, a left-leaning publication, calls Kavanaugh “as incorrigible as ever” and criticizes him for the decision he rendered regarding the young murderer.

I know one cannot possibly compare the act of someone who kills another human being with what Kavanaugh was accused of doing — sexual assault and assorted other related activities.

Still, The Nation’s Ellie Mystal does pose an interesting question about how one can ask for leniency for his own behavior but can dig in so deeply when a young man commits a crime and is being forced to spend his life behind bars for a “youthful indiscretion.”

What’s good for the proverbial goose … you know?

What happened to GOP?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This question needs asking: What in the world has happened to the Republican Party?

It was hijacked decades ago by conservatives who grew weary of the party’s longstanding tradition of liberal thinking, of outreach to racial minorities, even of reasonable fiscal restraint and limited government interference.

It now has become a cult of personality. A once-great party is driven by its belief in the lunacy of the Big Lie, that an election was stolen through something they call “rampant vote fraud.”

The cultist who leads this moronic notion is Donald Trump, a former one-term president who actually incited a mob of terrorist rioters to overturn an election he lost.

As CNN’s Fareed Zakaria has noted in a special on his cable network, “Trump is gone” but his movement lives on.

Yes, this is the party that Trump once led even though he lacked any knowledge, let alone experience, in political life.

In an odd way, today’s GOP has switched places with what used to constitute the bulk of the Democratic Party. The old Democrats — particularly in the South — was populated by segregationists who resisted efforts to grant equal rights to black Americans. That version of the Democratic Party did not adhere to the loony notions of an individual, however, the way that the current Republican Party has glommed onto the imbecilic notions pitched by The Donald.

It is distressing for me to watch this devolution of a once-great political party. I say that as someone who hasn’t yet voted for a Republican for president. I go back a ways, having cast my first presidential vote in 1972.

Now that I am older, I could be persuaded to vote for a Republican for the nation’s highest office — except that the party is an extension of what is now being called “Trumpism.”

It is a horrible — and horrifying — fit, to be sure.

Let the recount begin; it will change nothing

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A ridiculous recount of votes is about to occur in the city where I once lived.

It is an appalling abuse of electoral prerogative. Not to mention time. I am glad to say it won’t be a waste of public money, as the candidate for mayor who wants the recount is going to foot the bill.

Claudette Smith finished far behind the winner of the Amarillo mayoral race on May 1. The winner was the incumbent, Mayor Ginger Nelson.

According to the Amarillo Globe-News: In unofficial combined election results from Potter and Randall counties, incumbent Ginger Nelson garnered 54% of the total with 10,922 combined votes. Smith, who got the second most votes in the race, was reported as getting 29% of the vote, with 5,861 combined votes. To trigger a runoff election, which would be hosted June 5, Nelson would have to lose 816 votes through the recount. 

Amarillo officials outline recount schedule for mayoral election

54 to 29 percent. That’s a 25-point spread between first and second. And yet … Claudette Smith thinks there could be an 816-vote swing in a recount to trigger a recount? A recount would occur if no one finished with 50 percent plus one vote in the election.

Oh, my. This is a fool’s errand being pushed by a foolish candidate who emerged from nowhere to challenge the mayor. Why? Well, I am not privy to any inside info on that one, other than Smith’s virtually nonexistent local public service record suggests she has a bone to pick over something the mayor allegedly did during her highly successful tenure in office.

I’m just baffled as to why this recount has to proceed, other than Smith meeting the requirements needed to launch such a goofy initiative.

The second-place candidate isn’t going to find anything wrong with the ballots. Of that I am absolutely certain.

Cheney vs. Stefanik? Weird, man

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have done a little sniffing around about the individual who is likely to succeed U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney as the House Republican Conference chair.

Rep. Elise Stefanik is campaigning hard for the post among her GOP colleagues. She wants to be a leader among House Republicans. She has gotten the endorsement of the ex-POTUS, Donald Trump.

But … why?

Here’s what I have found out. Stefanik is not a mainstream or a Trump conservative. Her sole qualification for the job apparently is that she stuck up for Trump when he got himself in trouble over trying to seek political favors from a foreign government and then for inciting the insurrection.

A quick look at Stefanik’s still-scant congressional record reveals some interesting things.

Conservative political action groups rate her pro-Trump voting record at around 77 percent; Cheney’s is at about 92 percent. You want more? Let’s try these:

Stefanik voted against the Trump tax cut proposal in 2017; she voted in favor of the Equality Act that stood for greater rights for gay Americans; Stefanik opposed Trump’s decision to ban entry into the United States of people coming from certain Muslim countries; Stefanik was one of 14 Republicans to vote with all House Democrats to override Trump’s veto of a measure unwinding the latter’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border.

Do you get where I’m going with this? She opposed Trump on several key Trump-supported initiatives. She was decidedly less conservative than Rep. Cheney.

Do you think for a nano-second that Donald Trump gives a rip about such mundane matters as, um, legislation and government policy? Hell no! All he wants is blind loyalty.

He isn’t getting it from Liz Cheney. Elise Stefanik has provided the requisite brown-nosing that the ex-POTUS demands.

A cult of personality? There you have it.

Silence is deafening

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump’s silence in the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict has been deafening.

Yet I almost can hear what the former president might have told those sitting around him when he got the news along with the rest of the nation. I sense that he believes Chauvin got hosed by the jurors who convicted him of murdering George Floyd on that Minneapolis street a year ago.

You might wonder: Why is this guy (me) even discussing this? Because it was on Donald Trump’s watch for the past four years that this type of crime — with the cops exercising brute force against African-Americans — became so prevalent.

Therefore, it stands to reason to believe that Donald Trump would have something to say publicly about a criminal trial that captured the public’s attention in a way not seen since, oh, the one involving O.J. Simpson in 1995.

But he hasn’t said anything about the verdict.

Barack Obama has spoken out. So has President Biden, as has George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. They all have said essentially the same thing, that the verdict was correct.

Donald Trump’s term was punctuated by a sharp increase in hate crimes against various ethnic and racial groups. Big surprise, eh? Hardly. The man began his campaign for president in 2015 with a full frontal attack on Mexican immigrants who he said were “rapists, murderers” and drug dealers seeking to enter the United States illegally for the expressed purpose of committing crimes against Americans. It went straight into the crapper from that point.

He failed to address the issue of crimes against minorities. He looked the other way when hate against them erupted into violent crime. The result was the emboldening of Americans who knew that Trump had their back.

Trump is now gone. He likely never will return to the White House that he defiled during his time in office. Trump’s silence on the Derek Chauvin trial and on the death of an American under the knee of a rogue cop speaks loudly enough for me to understand the gravity of the mistake this nation made by electing this guy in the first place.

‘No’ on ‘constitutional carry’

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

They’re calling it “constitutional carry” legislation.

I will call it foolishness that carries some dire peril for many Texans.

The Texas House of Representatives has voted along partisan lines for a bill that will allow any Texas resident to carry a handgun around with them even without a permit issued by the state. Yep, the House – led by its Republican Party majority – wants to liberalize (if you’ll excuse that verb) the state’s concealed-carry law to enable anyone to pack heat on their person.

House Bill 1927 passed on an 84-56 vote and now goes to the Texas Senate, where it might meet some needed resistance, particularly from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate’s presiding officer and a politician who has expressed serious reservations about the bill.

I can’t believe I am going to say this, but I concur with Lt. Gov. Patrick’s squeamishness.

Texas’ concealed carry law has proven to be nothing close to the monster that many of us thought it would be when the 1995 Legislature enacted it. I opposed it then but grew to accept it over time. I feared an outbreak of road-rage violence involving those who were licensed to carry weapons. That hasn’t happened. For which I am glad and grateful.

Now this new law might be on the horizon. Texas does not require stringent knowledge of firearms to issue a concealed carry permit. Applicants need to take a brief course on firearm safety and pass a proficiency test with the firearm while of course clearing the necessary background check to ensure they lack a criminal record.

Why in the word, then, do legislators feel the need to allow everyone who lives here to pack heat without so much as a rudimentary test to acquire a permit?

As the Texas Tribune reports: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick … has previously expressed hesitation over the measure, saying in 2017 … that “with all the police violence today we have in our state … law enforcement does not like the idea of anyone being able to walk down the street with a gun and they don’t know if they have a permit or not.”

I hope Patrick hasn’t swilled the gun-toting Kool-Aid and become a convert to the cause championed by gun-rights activists. Indeed, he ought to heed law enforcement officials who oppose this nutty notion. Newly hired Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia was among those speaking against the legislation, along with members of the clergy and veterans.

https://www.texastribune.org/2021/04/15/texas-constitutional-carry/

Texas has more than enough guns out there already. We already have a concealed-carry law that seems to work well enough.

The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantees our right to “keep and bear arms.” The state’s provisions requiring Texans to take a test to demonstrate that they know how to handle a firearm ought to be enough to help keep these weapons out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.

NOTE: A version of this blog was published originally on KETR.org.

Texas AG’s office needs a pro

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What follows is a brief response to an earlier item I published on this blog.

A social media friend responded via Facebook that he doesn’t think much of Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush’s legal credentials as he considers whether to run for Texas attorney general.

George P. might run for AG? Yes! | High Plains Blogger

My friend wrote this, which isn’t his entire comment, but which deals with a key point in his rejoinder: It would be nice to have a state AG who is a professional — a prosecutor, a judge, a law professor — after the embarrassments of Paxton and Ted Cruz, who never missed an opportunity to sue (and lose) over any federal action they didn’t like, contributing to the image of Texas politicians as right-wing clowns.

I am going to agree with him on this point: The state’s top legal official ought to be someone with notable legal experience. Ken Paxton, before he was elected to the Texas House, was a mediocre lawyer with a Collin County practice. Then he ratcheted up his game to run in 2014 for Texas AG. He won. He was re-elected four years later, but between his election and re-election, he got his sorry behind indicted by a grand jury in his home county.

My friend notes that P’s legal experience is pretty limited, too.

He is, however, a fellow of impeccable integrity, as near as I can tell … which to my way of thinking is a huge step forward from who we have now in the AG’s office.