Category Archives: national news

Unity is elusive, but not impossible

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden laid down a critical marker that in any other time would sound like just another platitude.

This isn’t just any other time. Joe Biden has become president of a nation still reeling from the tumult, turmoil and terror of recent weeks. He stood on the steps of a Capitol Building that just two weeks ago bore witness to a violet insurrection of terrorists hell bent on inflicting grievous damage to our democratic process.

Biden’s inaugural speech spoke of unity, of healing, of reconciliation. He wants us to be able to disagree politically but not do so out of anger.

Yes, the president has set the correct tone as he now moves forward along with the history-making vice president, Kamala Harris, who becomes the first woman, the first African-American, the first woman of Asian descent to become VP.

It has been quite a day. A moment for the ages.

Can the president achieve the unity he seeks? Sure he can. It will be tough climb. He inherits the highest office in a deeply divided land.

Let’s not be coy about the barriers standing before him. President Biden succeeds a man — who he never mentioned by name in his inaugural speech — who sought to sow division and who governed with no sense of the diversity our nation’s citizenry.

Moreover, Biden offered a moment of silent prayer for the 400,000 Americans who have died from the pandemic. When did his predecessor ever do that?

President Biden’s immediate predecessor is now gone, but the cult that formed upon his election four years ago remains. Yet, Biden spoke to them today, vowing to work just as hard for those who opposed his election as he will for those who endorsed it.

Whether the opponents hear and heed that message remains to be seen and heard. Oh, man … I hope he can deliver the goods.

All in all? This has been a good day for the United States.

I want to make one final point: President Biden spoke of the fragility of our democracy. I concur to a point. Fragility, though, does not mean it breaks easily.

Thus, our democracy remains as strong as tempered steel. We saw that strength today.

Riot likely kills Trump’s political future

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Whether the Senate convicts Donald Trump of incitement of insurrection quite likely is a moot point at this juncture.

Trump will no longer be president when the Senate convenes his second impeachment trial. The House impeached him on a single charge, of inciting the terrorist attack on Capitol Hill on The Sixth of January.

Democrats need 17 Republicans to join them in convicting Trump. It’s still a long shot for conviction, but it is not as long of a shot as it was, say, two weeks ago. If the Senate convicts Trump, then it needs a simple majority to ban him from ever seeking public office.

To be honest, it looks for all the world to me that Trump’s political future vanished the day he exhorted the mob to attack the Capitol Building and interfere with Congress doing its duty to ratify Joe Biden’s victory.

If what is left of the Republican Party has half a brain left, it will shun Trump. It will deny him any leverage at all. It will seek others to carry the party banner in 2024, which Trump reportedly is interested in doing.

I get that Trumpism will survive long after Trump’s term as president expires — which it will do in just a few hours from now.

I will hold out hope that Donald Trump inflicted a mortal wound on the movement that carries his name on the Sixth of January when he whipped up the terrorists to attack the Capitol Building … and assault our system of government.

Will any terrorists show up at Mar-a-Lago?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I cannot help but wonder, given Donald Trump’s initial expression of “love” for the terrorists who attacked Capitol Hill on The Sixth of January …

Is the former president going to invite any of ’em to Mar-a-Lago for dinner and drinks with him and Melania?

Heavens no. Which directs me to the amazing irony of the lunatics who sought to disrupt Congress from declaring Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election.

It is that Trump doesn’t give a rat’s a** about the individuals who shattered the nation’s psyche in his name. They were mobsters, terrorists, rioters who poured into Washington because they swallowed the diet of lies that Donald Trump fed them. He said the election was fraudulent. That the result was “stolen” by hordes of illegal voters. That Trump, not Biden, won the election in a “landslide.”

We witnessed an amazing phenomenon on the sixth day of this month. Militants stormed into the Capitol Building. Many of them are known to be white supremacists; they are Holocaust deniers; they have KKK sympathies. They came from all over the nation.

One of them is a North Texas Realtor who said she was just doing her duty as a patriotic American. Hah! She committed an act of treason, in my humble view.

Meanwhile, their hero will be luxuriating in his posh resort in South Florida. He will have not a damn thing to do with any one of them.

They thought they were making America great again.

Biden to restore empathy to high office

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It looks as though we have received a sneakĀ  preview of what I believe might become a hallmark of a Joe Biden presidency.

The president-elect today bid so long to his beloved Delaware and while doing so teared up, talking about his late son, Beau and how his entire family will have “Delaware” inscribed in their hearts forever.

He ended his speech with tears streaking down both cheeks. Joe and Jill Biden have arrived in Washington and will get ready for the biggest day of their lives, when Joe Biden ascends to the pinnacle of political power.

Empathy, compassion, heart-felt emotion. That has been missing for the past four years. It is the kind of quality we occasionally need to see in the president of the United States. We caught a glimpse of it today and I suspect that as we move forward into the Biden presidency we are going to see much more of it.

I have noted before how the term “consoler in chief” isn’t described in writing in the president’s job description. It is implied. It is understood that at times — such as these — we need a president who can wrap his arms around grieving families and offer them the kind of emotional support they need.

Heaven knows, a nation in the midst of a killer pandemic needs that kind of empathy from our head of state. We have lost 400,000 AmericansĀ  to the COVID-19 virus. Many more will succumb to this disease. President Biden cannot snap his fingers and cure it just like that. He can, though, speak to us about the pain many of us are feeling. Indeed, a man who has endured unspeakable tragedy in his own life can understand; his wife and infant daughter died in a car crash many years ago and then he buried his son, Beau, just five years ago.

Joe Biden knows about pain. He knows how to relate to others who are suffering from similar pain.

We saw a touch of it today. I look forward to seeing much more presidential empathy as we move ahead.

How to react to new POTUS?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The day is progressing and as Donald Trump completes his tumultuous term as president of the United States, I am left to grapple with a bit of conflict among my emotions.

Oh, make no mistake, my overarching emotion will be of happiness that this vile, venal, vicious human being will no longer represent me as president. Joseph Biden Jr. presents a return to a more “normal” head of state/commander in chief.

His predecessor will take off Wednesday morning from Andrews Joint Base. He’ll head to Florida. He will be gone from my house, our house. That is all good.

I am wondering now, on this day before, whether the moment Biden and Kamala Harris take their oaths will produce some sort of emotional response. You know … will I well up, swallow hard. Yeah, probably.

That’s OK. I also am trying to dial back my expectations of what President Biden will be able to accomplish. The pandemic is no respecter of who’s in charge of affairs in Washington. The 100-day mask-wearing request seems reasonable to me. Biden will order masks to be worn on all federal property; that, too, makes perfect sense.

He wants us to pull together as Americans, patriots, lovers of our country. Hey, I’m all in.

A big day awaits us Wednesday. It should be full of emotion for all Americans and I include even those who are sorry to see Donald Trump fly away into private life. I can’t speak to how they will react. It’s of no concern to me, frankly.

I am just looking forward to a new day.

What do we call that riot?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have been grappling with how we should remember what occurred during the first week of this month, when terrorists invaded the Capitol Building.

Then I noticed a blog written by a friend of mine, a former colleague with whom I worked at the Beaumont Enterprise. Jon Talton, in his Rogue Columnist blog, called it “The Sixth of January.”

I read that and thought, “Hey, that has a bit of a ring to it.”

Rogue Columnist: Cold Civil War Turns Hot

It’s kind of like “9/11” has become a colloquial shorthand to which we refer to the attack on Sept. 11, 2001 by terrorists against the United States. When you say “9/11,” people know of what you are referring. I use that term all the time. Readers of this blog know to which I refer.

I am thinking now of using “The Sixth of January” as the new shorthand to describe the events of that hideous attack on our democratic process.

When you mention The Sixth of January, you will identify immediately with the attack that sought to prevent Congress — and Vice President Mike Pence — from ratifying the Electoral College vote that elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next POTUS and VPOTUS. It was an attack on our democratic process, on our very government … and it was incited by the lame-duck president of the United States, Donald John Trump.

Remember the Alamo. Remember Pearl Harbor. Remember 9/11. Remember the Sixth of January.

Hmm. Yeah, I might go with that.

Waiting for ‘normal’ presidency

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As we Americans have come to learn to our dismay Donald Trump was anything but a “normal” president of the United States.

He led a chaotic, corrupt, incoherent administration. He governed that way and is governing that way to the very end of his tenure.

I never, ever thought I would say this but I am looking forward in just two days to the start of a “normal” presidential administration led by a man who knows how to govern, knows how government works and is capable of taking the time to learn what he doesn’t know already.

President Biden likely won’t set the world afire with soaring rhetoric. He pledges to seek unity as he takes the reins of power. He will take his oath of office on Wednesday and will start the unification process immediately.

He won’t blast out an incessant stream of Twitter messages. He won’t demand Cabinet officials demonstrate undying loyalty to him. Biden won’t pit Americans against each other, or pit this country against our neighbors to the north and south of us.

I doubt seriously we’re going to hear President Biden declare, if we are faced with the kind of violence we saw in 2017 when Klansmen and Nazis were lifted to the same moral equivalence as the people who were protesting against them.

No, all he’s going to do is govern the way presidents of the United States traditionally have governed. That he is succeeding an individual who never grasped the principle of compromise or ever understood the complexities of governing with two other co-equal branches of government only heightens the anxiousness many of us feel as return to a “normal” president.

These past four years have seemed like a lifetime to many of us who like following the twists and turns of government.

Normality? Bring it on!

When does Trump vanish for good?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Speaking metaphorically, it is clear that Donald John Trump is being dragged kicking and screaming from the presidency he liked to claim as his very own.

He isn’t leaving quietly, or peacefully, or like anything approaching a gentlemanly manner. He will jet off Wednesday morning to Florida. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will take their oaths. The nation will turn an important page.

But … here’s the deal. We’re going to keep talking about Trump. Bloggers such as me will keep writing about him, at least for as long as he is standing trial in the U.S. Senate — for the second time! After that? It’s anyone’s guess. It will depend, I suppose on whether the Senate convicts him of incitement of insurrection and then determines he shouldn’t ever seek public office.

Regardless of what the Senate decides, I feel confident in suggesting that Donald Trump’s political career is over. The Capitol HillĀ  riot and Trump’s exhortation of the terrorists has guaranteed Trump’s political demise.

President Biden has an ambitious agenda awaiting him. He will put his signature on a number of executive orders out of the chute. The president will seek to turn the corner quickly on that killer pandemic. He wants to jump-start an economy that has been crippled by the virus.

Many of us, though, will keep talking about Donald Trump. He will command our attention in ways that no one in their right minds desires.

One measure of success for President Biden might make itself known the moment we no longer are thinking consciously about Trump. I await that moment in time. I am anxious for a time when Donald Trump simply disappears from public view.

That day will arrive. Eventually. I want it to arrive much sooner than later. Take my word for this notion, too, which is that I take no pleasure in commenting negatively on Donald Trump. Critics of this blog believe I relish it. I do not. I want to move on and I intend to move on at the appropriate time.

When will we know when Trump drops off our screen? I cannot describe how it will be made evident. We’ll all just know it happens when it does.

I await the arrival.

Why the GOP struggle to loosen Trump’s grip?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly is struggling to move the GOP away from the Donald Trump era into, well, something that might resemble the world that used to welcome his political party.

Put another way, McConnell might seek to shed the GOP as being the Party of Trump. Good call, if that is his aim.

I struggle to realize why it’s so hard for Republican Party honchos to separate themselves from this toxic president. Trump will be gone in two days. Trumpism, the remnants of the movement that Trump created, will continue. Whether it is as strong and vocal as it has been during Trump’s time as president remains to be seen.

Truth be told, Donald Trump is not a Republican. He is not the real thing. He ran as a Republican only because it would provide the clearer path for him to the presidency. Maybe he thought Republicans are more gullible than Democrats, that they would swallow the snake oil he peddled more readily than those of the other party. I cannot say such a thing with conviction; I only can speculate it to be the case.

Trump donned many mantles during his term in office. He was the Liar in Chief, the Demagogue in Chief, the Sore Loser in Chief, the Panderer in Chief, the Russian Appeaser in Chief … you name it, Trump fit the bill.

He did not adhere to a hard and fast philosophy on taxes. He sought to “put America first,” but then slobbered all over Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. The term “fiscal responsibility” is as foreign to Trump as anything uttered in English.

Donald Trump is a classic Republican In Name Only and yet his most fervent followers hang that label on those within the GOP who disagree with Trump’s world view. Are you kidding me?

I wish McConnell and other actual Republicans luck in trying to shuck the Trump skin. Then again, they bought into Trump’s phony rhetoric, too.

Patriots? No, perverts!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

How about this bit of symmetry?

The terrorists who stormed Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 at Donald Trump’s inciteful rhetoric were no more “patriots” than the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, supposedly in the name of Islam.

The Trump terrorists were perverts to patriotism, just as the 9/11 terrorists had perverted a great religion.

The more I see the video of the Jan. 6 terrorist riot and hear them screaming their “love” of country while beating cops with Old Glory-adorned flag poles, the more I think of the monstrous terrorist attack on 9/11.

I make no apologies for connecting those events. The mob that sought to disrupt Congress from doing its constitutional duty of ratifying the Electoral College vote that elected Joe Biden as president was every bit as heinous as terrorists who do their deeds in the name of Islam.

I know that the death count on Capitol Hill doesn’t begin toĀ  match the pain inflicted on 9/11. I am making no connection on that level.

Instead I merely am attaching degrees of perversion between the groups of fanatics. I see practically no difference between those who attacked us on 9/11 and those who attacked our sacred government on Jan. 6.

Yes, Dr. Dean, they’re ‘Muslim terrorists’ | High Plains Blogger