Category Archives: political news

This experiment failed … bigly

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It can be proclaimed forever and ever that the Great American Experiment in Unconventional Politicians has turned out to be a monumental failure.

Yep! I feel quite comfortable making that declaration.

Donald John Trump won election in 2016 in what I consider to be the Mother of All Flukes. He swore an oath to protect the Constitution, our government and us. He failed.

What has been the price of that failure? For him? Well, he is the first president in history to be impeached twice. He got past the first impeachment because only one Republican senator — Mitt Romney of Utah — had the courage to convict him of abusing the power of his office. The rest of the GOP caucus cowered in fear of Trump.

As egregious as the first impeachment allegations were — soliciting political favors from a foreign government — they pale in comparison to what transpired on Jan. 6.

Trump fomented a violent insurrection on the Capitol Building which at that moment contained members of Congress and the vice president who were doing their duty to ratify an election that Trump lost. He didn’t buy into that reality. Hence, he exhorted the terrorists/rioters to march on Capitol Hill.

So now he is impeached again. President-elect Biden becomes president of the United States in six days. The Senate will put Trump on trial once more. There stands a still-slim — but possibly growing — chance that he’ll be convicted, even though he will be out of office. The impeachment article contains a provision that bans Trump from ever seeking public office again. Hmm. That might be sufficient incentive for enough GOP senators to join their Democratic colleagues in banning this clown from the White House forever.

A man with zero public service experience on his record flim-flammed his way into the presidency by promising that “I, alone” can fix the nation’s problems. We knew he was a phony and a fraud. We knew about the refusal to release his tax returns. We knew about the groping of women. We knew that he disrespected our military veterans and our valiant prisoners of war. We knew about his penchant for cozying up to dictators. We knew of his mocking of disabled people.

We knew all of that. Yet he got elected anyway.

His quest to “make America great again” failed as well, chiefly because America has already is great.

The country has demonstrated its greatness by turning away from the failed experiment of electing a novice politician to the nation’s highest office.

The experiment was doomed from the beginning … as many of us knew would be the case.

Trump displays breathtaking ignorance

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By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald J. Trump displays a breathtaking degree of ignorance about a government he is about to leave behind.

Let’s ponder what is about to transpire.

Vice President Mike Pence is going to preside Wednesday over a joint congressional session that will ratify what we already know as stone-cold fact: that the Electoral College has certified that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the president- and vice president-elect respectively.

They defeated Trump and Pence in the Nov. 3 election.

Yet we hear that Trump is badgering/hectoring/threatening Pence, ordering him to challenge the results he is about to receive while swinging the gavel over the joint congressional session.

Except for this: Pence cannot do a single, solitary thing about the result. He must accept the result and then declare to the world that Biden and Harris will take office on Jan. 20.

Axios and other media are reporting that Trump didn’t know about the vice president’s ceremonial role until just recently. Still, having learned that VP Pence cannot change a vote, he cannot alter a result per Trump’s urging, that he must adhere to the U.S. Constitution, Trump continues to pressure Pence to violate the law.

So help me, Trump’s rebellion against the government he took an oath to defend and protect has crossed the line into criminality.

He demanded that Georgia’s secretary of state change the outcome of that state’s presidential outcome. He has badgered election officials in other swing states to do the same. He has filed and lost lawsuit after lawsuit seeking to cling to power.

I have not yet tried to analyze to my own satisfaction why Trump cannot or will not do what is normal, which is to accept defeat like a man and move on to the next phase of his life. It must be that he isn’t really a man, that he is a petulant little boy disguised in a man’s overfed body.

But … good news awaits us in just 14 days. Just two weeks! Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take their oaths of office. They will restore knowledge of government to the individuals who will run it. They will usher in an end to the failed experiment of being governed by a president who brought zero public service experience to — or knowledge of — the most exalted public office in the nation.

I am waiting anxiously.

Paxton seeks to bask in some perverse glory

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have concluded, based on zero hard data and only on my inherent bias that I admit to freely, that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is hellbent on making a spectacle of himself.

He seeks to bask in some sort of perverse glory derived from Donald Trump’s idiotic pursuit of “widespread voter fraud” where none exists. Thus, Paxton has filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court that seeks to overturn the free and fair election results in four states that cast most of their votes for President-elect Joe Biden in the just completed presidential election.

Paxton’s alleged “logic” is beyond belief.

He says the four states — Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia — changed their voting rules in an unconstitutional fashion by allowing more voters to cast their ballots using the U.S. Postal Service. He wants the high court, therefore, to toss out those states’ election returns.

To its credit, the SCOTUS — with three justices nominated by Donald Trump already aboard — has declared already that another lawsuit brought by a Pennsylvania GOP member of Congress has no merit; it has tossed it aside with a single-sentence ruling.

So what the hell is Paxton trying to do here? I mean, the dude already is in trouble already. He is awaiting trial in Texas courts for securities fraud allegations. He also is being investigated by the FBI for allegedly doing favors illegally for a campaign donor. Seven key legal aides have quit or been fired by the AG after they blew the whistle on what they allege is illegal conduct.

The word on Paxton is that he was a mediocre lawyer prior to his election to the Texas Legislature, where he didn’t distinguish himself as the author of much key legislation. Then he got elected Texas AG in 2014 and was almost immediately showered with suspicion when a Collin County grand jury indicted him for securities fraud.

Now this? The AG must have a screw loose.

Let me be as clear as possible: Joe Biden won the election; there is no evidence of the kind of “widespread” fraud that Trump and his Trumpster Team allege. Even the U.S. attorney general, William Barr, has reached that conclusion.

Ken Paxton needs to stop meddling in other states’ affairs.

No straight-ticket voting this year … woo hoo!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Here is a story that went virtually unreported in the just-completed 2020 presidential election.

It occurred in Texas and it is this: Texans just voted in their first presidential election without having the option of punching a straight-ticket spot on the ballot.

Yep, for the first time, Texans had go down the ballot and vote race by race for the candidates of their choice. Count me as one happy Texas voter to salute the wisdom of the Texas Legislature for scrapping the straight-ticket option.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law in 2017.

Straight-ticket voting has bugged me beyond reason ever since we moved to Texas in 1984. And the truth is that my dislike of this practice has nothing to do with the fact that Republicans have been the primary beneficiary of this lazy-voter style of ballot-casting. I just want to lay that out there for all to see.

Democrats used to benefit from this practice before they surrendered power to Republicans in the late 1970s and 1980s.

It has bothered me that Texans could walk into their polling booth, hit a single “all-Republican” or “all-Democrat” spot on their ballot. Then they’re done. They exit the polling place feeling smug and proud that they did their civic duty.

But … did they?

I long have argued that if people want to vote for candidates of a single party they should be required to look along the entire ballot and mark the spot next to their candidates’ names. Voters should be able to take a few extra minutes to ponder the decision they make.

I have been yammering about Donald Trump’s petulance over the result of the presidential election. I am glad to say something good about how Texas conducted its election, which was to get rid of straight-ticket voting.

Cowards occupy Capitol Hill offices

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am sickened to the maximum degree by the cowardice I am witnessing among Republicans who occupy most of the U.S. Senate seats and a healthy minority of those in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Americans have just elected Joseph R. Biden Jr. as their president, and yet congressional Republicans by and large refuse to even refer to the president-elect by the title he earned in a free and fair election.

What the hell is going on here?

The Senate’s chief coward, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has a longstanding professional and political relationship with the president-elect. Yet he remains silent on the issue of whether he won the election. McConnell cowers in the face of the Trumpkin Corps of zealots in Kentucky who threaten him with payback if he does what he should have done long ago, which is recognize President-elect Biden as the winner … and then say so out loud in public!

McConnell is just one, of course.

Still, we are witnessing a shameful and reprehensible dereliction of duty among our congressional leadership to do the right thing, which would be to follow our two-century-old tradition of honoring the results of an election. They are dishonoring that democratic process and dishonoring the government they all took an oath to defend and protect.

They sicken me to my core.

I would say we should vote them out of office. Except that too damn many of them were just returned to office in an election we just completed. I am left, therefore, to just vent on this blog … which I will continue to do until I start seeing some courage emerging from the herd of Capitol Hill cowards.

Democracy: big winner of 2020 election

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s set aside — if we can — the idiotic challenges that Donald Trump continues to mount against our electoral system.

I want to declare that the big winner of the 2020 election was none other than democracy itself. I continue to watch the straggler votes being counted and am utterly amazed at the huge numbers being rung up by the vote counters.

Nationally, more than 157 million ballots were cast. President-elect Joe Biden captured 51.2 percent of them; Donald Trump collected 46.9 percent. Biden’s vote total is nearly 81 million ballots; Trump has collected more than 74 million. Trump can claim some sort of “moral” victory (although “moral” is a word I usually do not associate with Trump) in knowing he has the second-greatest vote total in U.S. history.

Why are these numbers so staggering? Because they came while the nation is suffering through a massive pandemic that has killed more than 270,000 Americans.

Politicians urged us to vote. The call came mostly from Democrats who wanted to ensure that Americans used their constitutional right. They encouraged us to vote early if possible. My wife and I voted on the first day of early voting in Texas. We were glad to do so.

Democracy came out the big winner. Our democratic process has survived. I am confident it will survive this farcical attempt by Trump to overturn the clear and decisive result that we all delivered on Election Day. It might take some time for democracy to recover from the wounds that Trump has inflicted by sowing all this doubt into the integrity of our democratic system … but it will. Of that I am supremely confident.

President Ford told us on the day he took office that “our Constitution works.” It has shown us yet again — in the midst of a deadly pandemic — that it remains resilient, sturdy and strong.

Trump fails referendum

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am still trying to digest the results of the 2020 presidential election, so allow me this moment to ponder what they might mean.

I’ll go with what I have heard others suggest already, that Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden and the failure of Democrats to sweep the GOP away under an anticipated “blue wave” in both congressional chambers tells me the election was a referendum on Trump.

Donald Trump failed the test.

He suffered a fairly decisive defeat. He likely will end up on the short end of a 306-232 Electoral College tally, and will trail President-elect Biden by roughly 5 million ballots in the actual vote. Biden will have won by roughly 3 percent overall.

What that tells me is that Americans had heard enough of the lying, the insults, the innuendo, the divisive rhetoric, the endorsement of Nazis and Klansmen as “good people,” and the constant pitting of Americans against each other based on their political affiliation.

It also tells me they were sickened by the sight of Trump ignoring the recommendations given by medical experts as the nation continues to fight the pandemic that has killed 230,000-plus Americans. Mask wearing, keeping an appropriate “social distance” from others have been scoffed at by Trump.

I haven’t even mentioned, until now, the catering to dictators around the world, especially the one in Russia who has offered to pay bounties to Taliban terrorists who kill American service personnel in Afghanistan.

Congress remains a mixed bag. The best case for Democrats is they win the two George runoff elections and attain a tie in the upper chamber. The GOP whittled away at the Democratic House majority.

The good news from a policy standpoint is that President-elect Biden has a long record of working well with Republicans. He might need that skill as he seeks to govern after Jan. 20.

Donald Trump called his narrow victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016 a “landslide.” It wasn’t. Neither is Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. However, Biden sold himself as the preferable alternative to Trump’s four years of division, anger and ignorance.

That is just fine with me.

Texas sets the pace

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s not often I get to brag about the politics of the state of my residence.

I will take that opportunity to boast about a key development that has unfolded in Texas, where I have called home since the spring of 1984, when I moved my family here to take a job with a newspaper on the Gulf Coast.

The Texas Tribune reports that 9.7 million Texans voted early for president, or about 58 percent of all registered voters. Why is that reason to boast? The vote total exceeds the entire number of ballots cast during the 2016 presidential election. The percentage of turnout looks to be on pace to soar significantly past 60 percent of all voters when Election Day comes and goes next Tuesday.

My wife and I were among the 9.7 million fellow Texans who voted early. We cast our ballots on Oct. 13, the first day of early voting in Texas.

That day was a big deal for my wife and me. We usually vote on Election Day. The coronavirus pandemic — coupled with pleas from most Democratic politicians — persuaded us to vote early. We did so in Princeton, near our home. We took all the precautions called for: masks, social distancing, washed hands, sanitizer … you name it, we did it.

We got our votes cast and logged into the Collin County electronic system.

What fills me with pride is that Texas answered the call in a manner that set the pace for other states across the nation. We voted early because we felt concern about whether our ballots would be counted would we have voted by mail.

I long have hoped for the day when Texas could become a competitive two-party state, when it could break the Republican vise grip on the political structure. I don’t know if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will win this state’s 38 electoral votes, but I feel confident in suggesting that they are going to be highly competitive on Election Day. Moreover, so will the myriad congressional and legislative races on the ballot as well.

My center-left political sensibility hopes the Biden-Harris ticket can win the state’s electoral votes and that Democrats can gain control of the Texas House of Representatives. If it happens that Biden-Harris carries the day at the top of the ballot, then it’s “game over” for Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

To be sure, that would be enough to make me possibly shout my joy from the front porch of my home.

For now I will settle for the pride I feel that Texans have answered the call to vote early and possibly portending the kind of overall turnout that delivers Texas into a new political era.

Yell it out: We’re No. 1

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Early voting in Texas has shut down and here’s the good news: Texans responded like champs to Democrats’ call for early voting.

We responded so well that the early vote totals have surpassed the entire number of ballots we cast in the 2016 election; and that includes Election Day voting four years ago.

So, what does that mean? On the surface it could mean that more voters who lean in Joe Biden’s favor have turned out to cast their ballots early. My ballot is among the more than 9 million already cast. Does the former VP have a majority of those ballots in his column? Beats me. We’ll find out in, what, four days.

Still, it warms my soft spot to know that Texas has set the pace nationally in responding to this early-vote call. It was done out of concern that Donald Trump’s re-election machine is going to muck up the ballot-counting of mail-in votes.

Democrats responded by imploring us to vote early. My wife and I did, even though we would have preferred to wait to vote in-person on Election Day. The COVID crisis, though, persuaded us to vote early and not risk getting a mail-in ballot caught up in the snail-mail delivery system.

Now comes the mad rush by the candidates — Biden and Kamala Harris on one side, and Trump and Mike Pence on the other — as they criss-cross the country in search of votes.

I am now going to relax just a bit over the next couple of days. Then I will await the returns to start pouring in on Election Night. Oh, how I want this election to turn out the correct way.

Will this surge spell end of Trump Era?

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Harris County, Texas, has set two records in a row since the start of early voting on Tuesday.

Dallas County up Interstate 45 hasn’t done too badly, either.

Oh, and how about Travis County, where the state Capitol can be found? They’re turning out in huge numbers, too.

Same for Bexar County.

What does this mean for the 2020 presidential election. Some Democratic activists believe it bodes well for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and us Bidenistas who want the Democrats to oust Donald Trump and Mike Pence from the White House.

I am not going to count them chickens just yet.

However, I hasten to add that Democrats have been all over TV, radio and in print telling us all to “get out and vote.” If the first two days of early voting in Texas are an indication, the message has been heard. Democrats hope it means Biden and Harris are reaping the ballot-box reward.

Let me crystal clear: I do, too, want them to harvest the electoral fruit of this get-out-the-early-vote drive.

Harris, Dallas, Bexar and Travis counties all are Democratic strongholds. I have acquaintances in blood-red Randall and Potter counties who believe the Democratic ticket is catching fire up yonder in the Panhandle. I … am not so sure about that.

However, the record-setting early-vote turnout in those Democratic bastions gives me hope that just maybe, perhaps, possibly the state could turn from an R to a D on the strength of that monstrous balloting tide.

To be sure, the Trumpkins are turning out as well. They’re flying plenty of “Trump-Pence” flags in rural Texas. Donald Trump, though, isn’t going to pitch a huge early vote among his faithful. Indeed, he wants fewer of us do our patriotic duty. Go figure.