Category Archives: national news

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.

‘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.

Ex-POTUS played dirtier than dirty

By John Kanelis /

Well now. The hits just keep coming months after the previous president of the United States has left office.

We hear the latest revelation about Donald J. Trump, which is that he allegedly ordered the Justice Department to seize the personal records of at least two congressional Democratic critics of his; moreover, the DOJ went after the records of several key House Intelligence Committee staffers; and, get this, DOJ also took the personal records of a juvenile.

Why? According to reporting from the New York Times, Trump was so very concerned about leaks stemming from Robert Mueller’s investigation that he wanted to find their source. So he went after congressional Democrats.

This is the kind of thing that ought to send chills up the spines of any good-government advocate. It violates the separation of powers between the executive and legislative government branches; it reveals that a president is willing to sic federal authorities on perceived political enemies; it suggests that the POTUS has zero regard for the rule of law.

Hmmm. Imagine that, if you dare. I believe Donald Trump was impeached twice because he has zero regard for the law.

He won’t be impeached a third time. However, this latest live grenade will not subside any time soon. Nor should it.

Go it alone, Mr. President

By John Kanelis /

If you put a gun to my noggin and forced me to make a prediction, I am likely to say that President Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress are on their own if they want to enact an infrastructure improvement package.

Biden is trying like the dickens to get Republicans to sign on. He is coming up empty.

The president has pitched a $2.25 trillion package. Republicans want to spend a lot less. Biden wants it to include job creation, climate change remedies and assistance to families. The GOP wants more emphasis on roads, bridges, airports, seaports.

They remain far apart.

Biden has been meeting with GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. They remain deadlocked.

Oh, what to do. I guess it well might fall on President Biden and Democrats in both congressional chambers to go it alone. Hey, they did it already with the COVID stimulus/relief package that Republicans resisted, only to then take credit for some of the programs it helped salvage.

Ayeee. It’s frustrating for those of us who want to see government work. We watch the president and congressional Democrats seeking to put government to work for us instead of against us. Then we watch Republicans dig in, resisting this and that, claiming that Democrats are playing “politics” with things such as, oh, the Jan. 6 commission that would find answers and solutions to the horrifying insurrection.

It occurs to me that Biden well might have offered a high-end proposal infrastructure knowing that Republicans would low-ball a counter-offer. Could it be that President Biden is aiming toward something in the middle, which is where he intended for this discussion to go?

That’s how you negotiate. If not, then I hope he and Democrats are ready to take off without their GOP friends.

Rep. Cheney rules?

(Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

By John Kanelis /

GREEN RIVER, Wyo. — As we approached the Utah border with Wyoming, I was hoping to receive a unique form of greeting from the state we were entering.

I wanted to see a sign that said something like: Welcome to Wyoming, home of Rep. Liz Cheney, one of the few Republicans in Congress with a backbone.

We didn’t see it. However, as we trekked through this state I am left to wonder a thing or two about the embattled congresswoman.

Allow to me clear the air a bit.

I did not much care for Cheney’s decision to run for the lone U.S. House seat in this marvelous, sprawling and so very scenic state. She is an arch-conservative thinker, the daughter of an equally conservative former Wyoming congressman, defense secretary and vice president. What’s more, I considered her a carpetbagger, given that she did not grow up in this state; she is a child of Washington, D.C., where her dad served for so many years prior to becoming VP during the Bush 43 administration.

She was elected to the House. Then she did something so remarkable that it has given me a reason to rethink some of my original dislike of her as a politician.

Rep. Cheney voted to impeach Donald J. Trump in his second House impeachment. She was one of a handful of GOP lawmakers who agreed with most of the country: Donald Trump incited an insurrection against the government, which at the time of the Jan. 6 riot was certifying President Biden’s election. Trump is still having none of that and Cheney is having none of Trump’s insistence in the Big Lie that he was the victim of some massive electoral theft conspiracy.

She has said so with vigor and passion, so much so that nitwits like Florida U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz — the alleged child molester and sex trafficker — has come to Wyoming to criticize his fellow conservative colleague.

So it is with some measure of gratitude that I wandered through this state knowing that it is represented in the House of Reps by an individual who is willing to stand up the Trump cult of personality.

If only she could take the next step and endorse some of the progressive notions being kicked around by President Biden and his Democratic friends in Congress.

Well, we can’t have all that we want … right?

Why do they think like this?

66699428 – divided usa patriotic old flag on a map with weathered wood background with copy space for message

By John Kanelis /

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Traveling through the state of my birth I am astounded as I ponder an item I saw on the news the other day.

Residents of seven counties in rural eastern and southern Oregon, where I was born a million years ago, want to separate from the state to which they have belonged since 1859 and join — gulp! — Idaho.

Why? I guess those folks feel more akin to the thoughts, policies and political mores of their neighbors to the east. I had heard about petitions that are asking for the separation.

I was visiting with a high school friend who now lives near Walla Walla, Wash., and he and I agreed on two points: The folks in rural Oregon are fanatical about Donald Trump and — this is the more important element — a separation and joining with another state ain’t gonna happen.

I reminded my friend that we have this discussion in Texas now and then. Some nimrods talk openly about Texas seceding from the Union, which of course is illegal. Other nimrods insist that there is some language in the Texas Constitution that allows the state to partition itself into multiple mini-states. This kind of malarkey is heard occasionally in the Texas Panhandle, where we lived for 23 years before moving to the Dallas/Forth Worth Metroplex.

It’s also been a subject of coffee shop banter in the Oklahoma Panhandle, aka No Man’s Land, where folks feel next to zero connection with the policies handed down from the state capital way down yonder in Oklahoma City.

Back to my point about the seven Oregon counties.

The argument we hear in truth is not unique to Oregon. These seven counties all voted significantly for Donald Trump in the two elections for president in which he ran. They have no affinity for the politics of Portland, Salem or Eugene — those liberal bastions where the bulk of the population lives and which voted overwhelmingly for President Biden in 2020 and for Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016.

I am not going to lose any sleep, expend any emotional capital or worry one little bit about it all. Other than to lament that this kind of nonsense is bound to pick up some steam for as long as Donald Trump is alive and willing to fan the flames of such idiocy.

Stop the demagoguery on guns!

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

By John Kanelis /

I am on the verge of pulling my hair out!

The hysteria mounted by those who oppose legislative solutions to the national gun violence epidemic is driving me to the edge of insanity.

The gun lobby keeps yammering about how those of us who want to make it even more difficult for nut jobs to obtain firearms are actually intent on “taking guns away from law-abiding citizens.”

I can think of fewer contemporary discussion topics that are farther from the truth than that one. I know what the Second Amendment says about the right to “keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” I also know that it would be political folly for any reasonable politician to suggest that the amendment be stricken from the U.S. Constitution.

To say, though, that our intent is to disarm Americans is flat out wrong. It is frightening. It also is dangerous.

The danger comes in the form of those who believe such bullsh** and who react by storming government buildings, fully armed, threatening to do bodily harm to elected officials who are trying their level best to make us safer from the nut jobs among us.

We have witnessed such incidents in Oregon, Michigan, Texas (where my family and I live) and throughout the nation. The gun lobby has latched onto people’s fears and is exploiting it to the maximum degree. The whole lot of them are being led by the immediate past POTUS who foments the nonsense by declaring that “Democrats want to destroy the Second Amendment.”

I will not tolerate such utter trash. I remain committed to the notion that there remains a sensible legislative answer to the gun violence plague that retains the integrity of the Second Amendment. Anyone who suggests it’s all an effort to “disarm law-abiding citizens” is flat-out crazy.

‘Reinstated’ in August? Huh?

By John Kanelis /

If this report is true — and I believe it has legs — then it needs to be said loudly and with maximum clarity.

Donald John Trump is certifiably and clinically insane.

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who knows Trump as well as anyone in the media, is reporting that Trump is telling allies he believes he will be “reinstated” as president in August.

Yep. The election will be overturned. President Biden will be stripped of his office. It will be handed to Trump.

Hmm. Someone needs to call the paddy wagon. Fit the old ex-POTUS with a straitjacket. Send him to the loony bin. Let him talk to the walls about how the 2020 election was “stolen” from him and handed to the guy who beat him bigly by virtue of “rampant and widespread vote fraud.”

Trump is telling people he thinks he’ll be ‘reinstated’ as president in August, according to a report (

Oh, my.

How in the name of political nuttiness does one escape the realization that Trump is out of his ever-lovin’ noggin?

I cannot. You can’t, either. No one can.

Let me be as clear as I can possibly be: There is no way on God’s good Earth that Donald Trump will be reinstated. Period. End of story.

Now, shut the hell up … Donald.

Memorial Day: not a ‘happy’ holiday

By John Kanelis /

Many millions of Americans are taking an extra day off from work while the nation honors the sacrifice that allows them to take day off.

I am retired, so I don’t get that extra day; indeed, every day is a “weekend” for my wife and me. But I digress.

Memorial Day came into being as Decoration Day. We honor the sacrifice given by those who fell in battle over the course of our great nation’s history.

I came of age during the Vietnam War. I graduated from high school in 1967. Many of us went to Vietnam not long after walking across the stage at our high school football stadium. To the very best of my knowledge, we lost no one in our high school class in that war. Thus, none of my classmates paid the ultimate price in defense of our country and for that I am grateful.

However, I do know about the significance of this holiday. It’s not a happy occasion. So, when a gentleman saw my “Vietnam War veteran” ballcap over the weekend, and extended his hand to thank me for the service I performed, I was a bit taken aback when he wished me a “happy Memorial Day .” He meant well and I hold no hard feelings toward him.

I just want to express my own sincere gratitude for the millions of Americans who gave their last full measure of devotion to the country we all love.

Yes, I am a happy fellow today because I can enjoy the gift that those men and women bequeathed to me when they fell in battle.