Category Archives: national news

Anglo-Saxon caucus?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

In the stunning but not surprising category of news items comes this report out of Washington, D.C.

A group of far right Republican members of the House wants to form a cabal, er, caucus comprising those who want to push forward a political agenda that calls attention to the Anglo-Saxon tradition of some of those who preceded us to these shores.

This group includes some real doozies: QAnon believer Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, accused sex trafficker Matt Gaetz of Florida and the lunatic birther from East Texas, Louie Gohmert.

Why is this so pernicious? As the grandson of immigrants who came to this country in the early 20th century from Greece and Turkey, I am appalled and aghast at a provision in the draft policy statement that declares that “mass immigration” would spoil the “unique culture” built in the United States.

Now, give that a moment’s thought. This nation’s uniqueness, the way I see it, is the built on its welcoming of immigrants from around the world. The Statue of Liberty’s inscription tells immigrants that this nation embraces their arrival.

What in the name of all that is decent are the far right wingers trying to do? I think I know. They are trying to slam the door shut on people of color, on the oppressed and fearful. They want our culture to remain true to some myth that we are an Anglo-Saxon nation first and foremost.

Nothing, not a damn thing, could be farther from that version of the truth about the founding and settlement of this country.

I am heartened to see some push back from GOP congressional leaders on this frightening notion. Can they deliver a kill shot to this right wing idiocy being pushed by the Donald Trump/America First wing of the Republican Party? I am going to hope so.

Insurrection + 100

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Where in the world does the time go?

It’s been 100 days since The Insurrection. I am not celebrating this momentous landmark. I will note it with shame and with disgust that the Big Lie that precipitated it lives on in what passes for the hearts and minds of those who followed Donald Trump’s exhortation to “take back the government” on Jan. 6.

We usually note the first 100 days of a new presidential administration. I’ll be happy to get to that in due course. Today, though, I want to commiserate over the Big Lie that needs to plowed asunder.

Donald Trump is holed up in Mar-a-Lago. He’s playing golf, entertaining allies, followers and friends. He steps out occasionally to say things in public that demonstrate just how evil — and yes, I’ll stick with that epithet — he truly is.

This individual’s evil intent foreshadowed The Insurrection of Jan. 6. He sought to derail the constitutional duty under way at that moment with Congress meeting to certify the result of the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost to Joe Biden.

Why in the name of human decency is it seemingly lost on the Trumpkin Corps that this individual has not yet condemned the violence that killed a Capitol Police officer, injured dozens more and resulted in the deaths of four more participants in that horrifying event?

It’s been 100 days since The Insurrection. Congress awarded members of the Capitol Police force the Congressional Gold Medal over the objections of 12 House members who disliked the term “insurrection” contained in the resolution. What the hell? That’s precisely what it was!

The Insurrection will remain in a state of dormancy for as long as The Big Lie exists, for as long as Donald Trump continues to insist that the election was “stolen” from him, for as long as his minions continue to believe it.

Why doesn’t Donald Trump just kill it dead by declaring he was wrong to launch The Insurrection and that Joe Biden is the duly elected president of the United States? Because he is consumed by evil intent!

‘Violence must end’ … do ya think?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke for millions of us.

As The Hill reported: “Yet again we have families in our country that are grieving the loss of their family members because of gun violence,” Harris told reporters as she greeted Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. “There is no question that this violence must end and we are thinking of the families that lost their loved ones.”

Eight people died in a massacre at the FedEx distribution center in Indianapolis. The shooter then killed himself.

Harris on Indianapolis shooting: ‘This violence must end’ | TheHill

I won’t identify the lunatic on this blog. I choose to keep his name to myself; besides, you probably already know it.

I don’t know about you, but I am running out of ways to express my outrage over this kind of violence. I am left to throw up my hands, to shake my noggin back and forth, to offer a quiet prayer for the families of those latest victims of this madness.

President Biden has called on Congress to enact laws tightening background checks. He has issued an executive order banning “ghost guns” that have no serial numbers. He and others are imploring Congress to step up. I join them in that effort.

My hope is giving way to a cynical belief that we are being governed by cowards. Shame on them. Shame on those among us for putting them in power.

This POTUS listens to experts

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump famously told us that he “watched the shows” to learn about threats to national security and that he didn’t need to be bored to sleep with endless recitations of what he already knew.

Along came Joe Biden to succeed Trump as president of the United States. The latest president has reverted to the traditional script: The National Security Council prepares the “daily presidential brief” and presents it daily to the commander in chief, who then reads it and listens — apparently with keen interest — at what they have to say about this and that threat.

This is one of the many returns to “normal” presidential behavior that I have welcomed while watching President Biden handle the affairs of state.

Whereas the 45th president spent his entire adult life barking orders and never seeming to take advice from anyone, the 46th president has been schooled in the nuance and complexity of government. He spent 36 years in the U.S. Senate and eight years as vice president of the United States. All along the way, Joe Biden sought to play by rules written by all the men and women who preceded him.

Is he the perfect politician? Will he be immune from mistakes that all human beings make? No and no! However, it looks for all the world to me that President Joe Biden will be able to own his mistakes when he makes them. That, too, is a welcome restoration of what has become “normal” in the U.S. presidency.

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.

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.

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.

Boehner comes out swinging

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There he is, suddenly becoming a major newsmaker.

John Boehner had been in relative seclusion since walking away from political life six years ago. Make no mistake that he wasn’t my favorite pol when he served as speaker of the House, given his penchant for trying to block meaningful legislation pitched by President Obama.

Now, though, Boehner is back in the news. Suddenly he has become one of my favorites. How’d that happen? Because he is hanging “political terrorist” labels on some seriously bad dudes in public life today. They are, for example, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and, oh yeah, Donald J. Trump of Mar-a-Lago.

Boehner has decided to reveal his deepest feelings about the insurrection of Jan. 6, about Trump’s conduct prior to and after the 2020 election, about what an a**hole Ted Cruz has been while serving in the Senate and Jim Jordan’s conduct as one of Trump’s suck-ups in the House.

In interviews, the former speaker has declared his disgust and revulsion at what has become of the Republican Party to which he has belonged for decades. The emotional politician shed a couple of tears on TV this past weekend talking to CBS News about his feelings watching the terrorists storm the Capitol Building at Trump’s urging.

Boehner is now a civilian. He won’t be back in the saddle. The former speaker of the House, however, remains a potent political antidote to the toxic mix that comprises today’s Republican Party.

Thus, I welcome his return to the limelight.

Politics: the ‘other contagion’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This must be said: The killer coronavirus isn’t the only disease that needs Americans’ attention.

We need to focus to a certain extent on what I consider to be the “other contagion” sweeping through the nation. That is the political battle that just won’t subside over the preventative measures we must take.

This needless and frankly stupid fight had its beginning during the final full year of Donald Trump’s term as president. It arose when Trump downplayed the severity of the illness that had sickened us. He hurled racial epithets at the disease, making reference to its alleged origin in China. He told us the virus would disappear when the temperatures rose in the spring and summer of 2020.

Trump poked fun at political foes, such as Joe Biden, who chose to wear a mask. He didn’t speak to us in terms that defined the COVID-19 virus what it turned out to be: a relentless and highly efficient killer.

Those Trumpkins followed their band director’s lead. We have become infected as well by the politics of what for the life of me I cannot grasp should never have devolved to that level.

Trump said he would adopt a “wartime” footing, only to denigrate the scientists who advised him of the dangers that lurked out there. And again, those followers took him seriously.

They, too, have become part of the problem and not the solution.

The political infection of what should be a united national fight is a disgraceful example of pettiness and petulance. It should have no place in a fight that should transcend partisanship.

President Biden calls mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing the “patriotic” thing to do. If we are going to whip this common enemy, we need to push aside the politics that infects us.

One contagion is enough.