Category Archives: national security

No briefings for ex-POTUS

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Millions of us are aware of all the norm-busting practices of Donald Trump’s administration, starting with Trump’s refusal to receive “daily presidential briefings” aimed at alerting him to national security needs and potential crises.

Here’s another norm that needs shattering into a million little pieces. Former presidents often are given national security briefings from their successors. Donald Trump should not get anything of the sort from President Biden’s administration.

Trump has demonstrated repeatedly, through his reckless use of Twitter — prior to it being yanked — to say things that could jeopardize our national security. He had that infamous meeting in the Oval Office with Russian visitors and blabbed about security issues relating to Israel’s defense posture.

I have noted several times that Trump is unfit to be president. He’s only got two days left before he hightails it to Florida. He will stand trial in the U.S. Senate for the second time. This allegation deals with incitement of insurrection.

Does this clown need to know the nation’s top secrets once he becomes a private citizen? Not a chance!

Giving former presidents intelligence briefings is not a requirement. It has been a common practice. Former presidents at times are given those briefings to alert them of what might lie ahead and also to solicit advice on how they might handle a situation that could arise.

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Trump is untrustworthy and must not be allowed access to anything regarding national security.

I could not agree more. Keep this individual as far out of the loop as one possibly can do.

A ‘new America’ awaits?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Take a long look at the picture contained in this brief blog post and I fear you are going to presume that this is the look of the new America.

It came to my Facebook page via Nancy Seliger, whose husband — Kel Seliger — reported for duty the other day as a state senator serving in the Texas Legislature.

The heavily armed individuals you see are on guard against potential violence at the Texas Capitol Building in Austin, where 181 members of our Legislature are meeting for the next 140 days to enact laws that govern us.

The riot that erupted Jan. 6 in D.C.? The one that killed five people and damaged the nation’s Capitol Building? The attack on our democratic system of government?

The terrorists who conducted that calamitous attack are vowing more of the same at capitols across the nation. That includes ours in Austin, ladies and gents. Thus, we have heavily armed security personnel on guard.

This is disgusting, reprehensible and is a vile statement of the nature of our political discourse in the Age of Donald Trump. Thankfully and not a moment too soon, that age is about to end. Trump will be gone from the White House.

I am saddened to presume that the anger he stoked for four years isn’t likely to subside just because Trump is no longer in power. Oh, how I hope to be wrong on this matter, but my fears continue to be fueled by FBI reports of alarm bells sounding. They could be hailing further spasms of uncontrolled violence.

Just as 9/11 spawned a new era of travel in this country and around the world, I fear that the Jan. 6 attack on our democratic system has produced a new era that requires such deterrence against those who would take political protest to these deadly extremes.

Let us pray for a return to sanity.

Get to the root of the Capitol Hill riot

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Those of us who are old enough to remember it likely would provide the same answer to this question: What is the most serious security breach in our nation’s history?

I would answer: 9/11. Terrorists flew three passenger jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and could have crashed a fourth jetliner into the Capitol Building were it not for the bravery of the passengers who fought them for control of the jet and crashed it into a field in Pennsylvania.

The tragedy of 9/11 prompted a thorough investigation into what went wrong and it produced some important reforms in the fight against international terrorism.

Now we have another monumental security breakdown staring us in the face. It occurred this past Wednesday when rioters stormed up Capitol Hill and ransacked the Capitol Building. They sent members of Congress – as well as Vice President Mike Pence – scurrying for cover. They were gathered to perform a pro forma constitutional act of ratifying the Electoral College vote that declared Joe Biden elected president of the United States. Donald Trump sought to contest that result and, well, he has contested it in hideous fashion!

Now comes the question: What in the name of national security happened and how did the D.C. Metro Police Department, the Capitol Police, and the Secret Service not respond more forcefully and quickly to the mayhem that was unfolding?

I am one American patriot who believes we need to create another blue-ribbon, bipartisan commission to study in detail what went wrong and provide solutions for how to prevent this kind of tragedy from recurring.

I also am one of millions of Americans who was horrified at what I watched on my TV screen. Donald Trump exhorted the rioters to march on Capitol Hill and “take back” the government. The rioters began their march and then all hell broke loose.

A commission charged with finding answers would have many questions to probe. They include:

  • Given Donald Trump’s threat that “something big” would occur on Jan. 6, why wasn’t the Capitol Building swarming with security personnel who could repel the advance of the rioters?
  • Why did some of the cops appear to many of us seem to assist rioters into the building?
  • Others have posed this notion, but I’ll repeat it here: Had the rioters been ransacking the Capitol been Black Lives Matter protesters, there is little doubt that police would have reacted much differently than they did with the pro-Trump mob. The question: Is that a valid assertion?

Was there a massive breakdown in security of our nation’s government? I want answers. I believe a blue-ribbon commission given free rein to search for the truth can provide the answers we need to hear.

BLOGGER’S NOTE: A version of this blog was posted initially on KETR-FM’s website.

Senate steepens Biden’s hill to climb

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As if President Biden doesn’t already have a steep hill to climb when he takes office in 10 days …

The U.S. Senate will not have confirmed a single one of his Cabinet nominees by the time he assumes the presidency. Why? Well, senators have been consumed by matters involving the hideous antics of Biden’s immediate predecessor, Donald Trump.

The president-elect has been rolling out his nominees systematically since winning the election. He has completed that task, along with naming top staff-level appointees who do not require Senate confirmation.

It would be in the nation’s best interest for senators — who return to work no later than Jan. 19 — to focus immediately on confirming the president’s national security team. That would include the secretaries of defense, state and homeland security along with the director of national intelligence and the CIA director. We also might want to toss in the treasury secretary for good measure, given that our economic strength remains a key component of our national security.

Too many Republican senators, I am saddened to point out, have swallowed the “widespread voter fraud” lie that Donald Trump fed them as he fought to cling to power. hey have taken their eye off the task at hand, which is to help ensure a smooth transition of power. One of those senators happens to be the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who now surrenders that title to Democrat Chuck Schumer when the next Congress returns to work.

I don’t have any doubt that President Biden, with his vast government experience, will be able to navigate through the initial stages of the presidency without a full complement of Cabinet officials on hand.

The onus belongs to the Senate, though, to ensure that the new president is staffed fully as soon as is humanly possible.

Because, unlike Donald Trump, the new president will actually listen to and heed the advice he receives. The national security team is foremost among the advisers on whom he will rely.

‘Under control,’ Mr. POTUS?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Here is a word to the wise.

When you hear the words “We have it under control” come from Donald J. Trump, you should pull the blanket up tightly over your head and not move for as long as you can remain still.

Trump decided to utter that phrase when asked the other day about the Russian hacking of our security system, which intelligence officials have called the worst such incident in U.S. — if not world — history.

Trump said it’s “under control” and said China might be the culprit … not those Russians.

Well, let’s harken back to a previous time the POTUS declared something to be “under control.” It was earlier this year. The COVID-19 coronavirus had just stormed ashore. We had a handful of cases. Trump said then it was “under control.”

Well … it wasn’t. It isn’t yet. It has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Help is on its way in the form of vaccines that have been developed and are being developed. However, Donald Trump’s so-called assurance that something is “under control” should be cause for serious alarm.

Therefore, I am terribly concerned about the latest Russian attack.

Russian cyber attack: a frightening act of aggression

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Those nasty, sinister Russians are at it again, only this time they have leveled their latest attack against this country at a target with which I have happen to have a touch of familiarity.

I used to live in and work in Amarillo, Texas, which is just a bit southwest of a massive complex where the Department of Energy stores nuclear weapons. The Pantex plant employs a lot of folks in the Texas Panhandle. It also stores thousands of nuclear warheads. The Russians reportedly hacked into DOE’s system and possibly have obtained vital information related directly to the Pantex operation.

This is frightening stuff, man. Meanwhile, what is the commander in chief — Donald John Trump — doing about it? Hmm. Let me think. Oh, I know! Not a damn thing!

He remains fixated on election results and phony allegations of fraud and illegal ballot-casting in an election that resulted in his loss to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

I used to comment on occasion while working at the Amarillo Globe-News about issues relating to Pantex. I cultivated many sources associated with the operation in Carson County. I became acquainted, too, with those associated with the Peace Farm, a site near the Pantex plant with the aim of protesting the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Pantex is a big part of the Texas Panhandle community. So, when I hear about a Russian hack into our nuclear weapons storage operations — of which Pantex is a key player — this story hits close too close to home for comfort.

Meanwhile, it is damn time for Donald Trump to condemn in the strongest language possible the Russians for mounting this latest frontal assault on this nation’s security.

POTUS has gone AWOL

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Can there possibly be a more glaring, graphic and grotesque example of a president who has gone AWOL than what we are witnessing at this moment of dire peril?

Never mind (for just a moment) that the nation is suffering grievously from a pandemic that has killed more than 300,000 of our citizens. The pandemic is dire enough of a threat. Yet the president ignores it.

Russia has just conducted what is believed to be the largest national security breach in our history and Donald Trump — the current president of the United States — is silent. He hasn’t said a word publicly to or about his pal, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. The Russians are now believed to hacked into our national security network in a sophisticated full assault on our cyber system.

What has Trump said or done about it? Not a damn thing!

Hell no! Instead, Trump continues to rant and rail about election “corruption” that simply does not exist. He continues to insist that President-elect Joe Biden’s victory is illegitimate because of “widespread” voter fraud. Courts all over the land have dismissed Trump’s phony allegation out of hand.

Meanwhile, real threats have emerged that have placed the nation in dire peril. Trump’s response has been to, uh, not respond at all!

I’m going to say it one more time with extreme malice: Donald Trump is a menace to the nation he has governed for the past four years. Thank goodness — oh yes! — that Trump’s time in power is coming to an end.

Gen. Flynn: still a criminal

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A bit of perspective is in order as we ponder the pardon delivered by Donald Trump to the man who served briefly as national security adviser.

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn received a “full presidential pardon” from Trump, who proclaimed that Flynn now can have a lovely Thanksgiving with his family.

Yes. He can. He can enjoy the holiday knowing he won’t go to prison.

However, the pardon does not erase the fact that Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI and to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russians who sought to attack our electoral system in 2016. That means, to be blunt, that he will be a criminal for the rest of his life.

I also should point out that despite the high praise Trump heaps on his disgraced national security adviser now he did fire him after 24 days on the job for lying to the VP, and said some harsh things — via Twitter, of course — at the time he fired him.

Trump’s pardon of Flynn does not expunge the record. It just keeps him out of the slammer.

Well, let’s all stay tuned. I am sure there will be more pardons to be delivered. Unbelievable!

Waiting for the result

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have a friend of many years — more than 50 of them, in fact — who wants Donald Trump to be re-elected president of the United States.

My friend posted this today on Facebook: Trump haters I will be so glad when this madness is over. If Trump wins I will not gloat and if Biden prevails, then so be it.

This fellow, my old pal, is a better man than I am … I reckon.

Why? Because of Joe Biden is elected president I am likely to crow just a bit. I hope it doesn’t devolve into gloating. There just will be so much to say about the potential end of the Donald Trump Era of Presidential Politics.

I will agree with my friend on this point: We have been through a period of “madness.” I suppose the latest manifestation of it occurred on a highway between San Antonio and Austin when a horde of Trump supporters surrounded a Biden-Harris bus en route to Austin, slowing traffic to a crawl, with one of the Trumpkin vehicles colliding with a passerby who was trying to get past the “madness.”

The FBI is investigating the incident as an act of voter intimidation. Indeed, it seems to illustrate graphically the kind of idiocy that surrounds the re-election candidacy of Donald J. Trump.

Hey, didn’t Hillary Clinton refer to these folks as “deplorables”?

So, the end of this hideous campaign is at hand. I wish I could be as magnanimous as my good friend. I just cannot.

If the results break the right way, I pledge to speak with good manners. I hope that’s enough.

Where … from here?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I received a brief email message overnight from a friend who lives way Down Under in South Australia.

He writes:

We have a coarse metaphor in this country to describe a disagreement with an obstinate person…

On the context of the debate, it would go something like this:

“Debating Donald Trump is like wrestling a pig in shit. After a while you realise the pig enjoys it … “

Seriously, where do you all go from here?

My friend casts a keen and discerning eye on U.S. politics and he and I have been sharing thoughts over many years now about the presidential candidacy and the presidency of Donald John Trump.

He is a learned and astute political observer. He asks a question that should trouble all Americans who are concerned and troubled by what we witnessed Tuesday when Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden sought to “debate” the issues of the day.

They didn’t debate anything. Trump dragged the proceeding straight into the gutter right off the top. Meanwhile, in this age of worldwide reach, our allies in places like Australia witnessed it right along with us. They, too, are embarrassed for us and ashamed of us for the so-called quality of political discourse we are receiving.

To answer my friend’s question about “where do you all go from here?” I would respond only by saying is that we need to vote the numbskull president out of office.

Seriously!