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.


No more of what we saw … please!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The commission that sets the rules for these presidential encounters now is promising to change the rules designed to prevent the hideous spectacle millions of Americans witnessed Tuesday night in Cleveland, Ohio.

Donald Trump was at his boorish worst when he interrupted Joe Biden and moderator Chris Wallace repeatedly during the hour and a half set aside ostensibly to educate us on policy differences between the men. He was, to put it candidly, an a**hole extraordinaire. 

If Americans are going to get more of that kind of treatment, you can count me out. Maybe my wife, too. What we saw was unwatchable.

My preference at this point would be for the commission to cancel the next two presidential events, keep the vice-presidential presentation in place with Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence … and hope for the best.

I have zero expectation that Donald Trump will be able to control his crass instincts.

You want more of that?

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I awoke this morning after a good night of sleep wondering the following: What the hell did I witness last night?

My wife and I sat in our living room for 97 minutes and watched Donald John Trump behave in a manner that was stunning in its lack of decorum, honor, decency and dignity. He was, to put it candidly, the worst example of political boorishness many of us have ever seen.

As my wife noted, “He might be ‘the president,’ but nothing he did was presidential.”

Then we had Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger who had to endure what we all endured. Oh, my. Biden didn’t sparkle, or shine. However, he did more or less seek to play by the rules agreed upon by both presidential campaigns. They involved letting both men speak for two minutes uninterrupted when answering questions from moderator Chris Wallace.

Donald Trump failed. He couldn’t keep his yapper shut for two minutes. Hell, he couldn’t keep quiet for 20 seconds before interrupting Joe Biden or talking over Wallace’s efforts to restore order.

What did we learn from that encounter?

Not much of a constructive nature. However, two moments stand out for me.

Wallace asked Trump if he would categorically condemn white supremacists and urge them to “stand down” and not foment further violence. Trump refused. He demonstrated a reprehensible tolerance for the hate groups that have lined up behind him and his re-election bid. He urged them to “stand back and stand by.” Stand by!? What the fu** is that all about?

We know what he meant. Disgraceful, indeed.

Then came the moment when Biden sought to remind Trump that Biden’s late son, Beau, served in Iraq for a year and earned the Bronze Star. He said Beau Biden was not a “sucker or a loser.” Did Trump acknowledge Beau Biden’s service to the nation? Oh, no. He then launched an attack against the former VP’s younger son, Hunter, and lied about Hunter Biden’s discharge from the military.

We have two more of these events coming up; I refuse to call them “debates,” but what we saw Tuesday night bore no resemblance to anything of the sort. If we’re going to get more of what we have just witnessed, I will not watch. As a friend of mine noted immediately after last night’s sh** show, Trump needs to be fitted with a shock collar that should be wired to blast him when he speaks over Joe Biden.

I am so looking forward to casting my vote for president.

Debate No. 1: Unwatchable

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I agree with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos’s view of the first presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

It was “the worst presidential debate I’ve ever seen,” said the news anchor. Yes. It certainly was the worst one I’ve ever seen as well.

Who owns the unwatchability of this mess? Donald Trump.

The president came in spoiling for a fight. He was rude. He was the bully we all have come to know and loathe. Trump’s performance tonight was about as hideous as anything I’ve ever witnessed.

To be somewhat fair, Joe Biden didn’t rise significantly above the sh** show that Trump revealed to us. He sought to do so by looking into the camera and talking to you and me in our living rooms. Then again, he did call Trump a “clown” and told him to shut up.

Sigh …

I want to give a shout-out to Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who had the horrible task of trying to moderate this event. He tried on several occasions to tell Trump that as moderator, he was insisting that Trump adhere to the rules that his campaign agreed to along with Biden’s team.

The Trumpkin Corps no doubt will see this event differently. Fine. Go for it, folks.

For my money, Donald Trump showed us all that he remains the Bully in Chief.

Just think, we have two more of these to endure.

Issues might cause noggin to burst

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We’re getting ready to head down the stretch in this run for the presidency and so help me, the issues — personal, political and public — are threatening to make my head explode.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump are getting ready to meet in their first of three debates. I’ll have more on that later.

I am trying to take all this in as we settle down for an evening of give and take between the Democratic Party challenger and the Republican Party incumbent.

I want Joe Biden to win this election. You know that already. There is no possibility for Donald Trump to collect my support. I detest the very idea that this self-serving narcissist even got elected in the first place. He did so against my strong protests. Now we need to get his ample backside tossed out of the White House.

It is mind-boggling in the extreme to even ponder how Trump can be anywhere near Biden in the horse-race aspect of this campaign. Trump has, in no particular order:

Disparaged men and women who serve their country in the military; denigrated actual war heroes; paid next to zero federal income tax; lied to Americans about the threat posed initially by the COVID pandemic; told an estimated 28,000 lies all told during his time in office; insulted political foes mercilessly; insulted our international allies; pretended to be a man of faith when everyone knows he is nothing of the sort; spoken kindly of KKK’men and Nazis.

I am trying like the dickens to wrap my noggin around all of this. My goodness, in a perfect world Joe Biden would be prepared to roll up a historic landslide, something rivaling President Reagan’s 49-state pummeling of Walter Mondale in 1984.

That base of voters remains loyal to Trump despite his lies, the reports of his tax cheating, his myriad boorish statements, the insults he hurls at opponents. They like that about him because, I have to surmise, he speaks their language; Trump speaks on their behalf. How does one cope with that?

So the debate tonight opens up a possible new lane for Joe Biden to travel. My version of political nirvana will unfold if the former vice president thoroughly thrashes the president and puts this race out of reach. Trump has given so much ammo to unleash.

May the former VP use it wisely … but with maximum effect.

COVID ‘under control’? Hah!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

How do you define “success” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic?

Donald Trump says he and his administration are doing a “great job.” He gives himself an A+ grade in the response to the pandemic.

Hmm. Let’s look at a couple of numbers.

The worldwide death count has just surpassed 1 million human beings. Of that total, more than 200,000 of them died in the United States of America.

The United States comprises about 5 percent of the world population. The U.S. portion of the worldwide coronavirus death toll is, um, 20 percent. 

Five percent vs. 20 percent. That’s a successful strategy?

I do not believe that is the case.

Trump gives us all the shaft

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s no surprise to anyone on Earth to know that I am not a wealthy man.

I made a nice living for many years and was able to provide for my family, but I certainly never acquired great heaps of material wealth, a la … Donald J. Trump.

However, I damn sure paid a whole lot more in federal income taxes than the Trumpkin in Chief paid over the course of the past 15 years, as revealed by The New York Times.

What am I supposed to think of this? Well, first of all, it’s no surprise to learn any of this, given Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. Am I angry? Sure I am! However, I fall into the “never Trump” category of voters, so my anger is tempered a bit by what I have long suspected about the president of the United States, that is a fraud.

Here’s the question of the day: How should the Trumpkins out there, those who have paid their fair share of taxes, feel about their guy’s tax dodge?

I will shake my head violently if we hear from them that they’re OK with this. The guy who purports to speak for the masses of Americans disgruntled and angry with government now has been revealed to be someone who cheated the government out of revenue while understanding that his fervent, ardent and occasionally rabid followers are paying through their noses.

How many more lies is he going to concoct to persuade those among us that what he has done is OK, that it simply makes him “smart”?

This is what the cult of personality has produced, ladies and gentlemen. Go figure.

No. 1 issue? Climate change

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If someone were to ask me about the top priority facing the president of the United States, I would place climate change at the top of the list of “existential threats” that needs our attention.

Donald J. Trump is a lost cause on that one. He calls climate change/global warming a “hoax.” He pushes for more fossil fuel drilling and development; he has pulled the nation out of the Paris Climate Accords that establishes a framework for cutting carbon emissions; he has been silent on deforestation.

The wildfires that have ravaged several western states are essentially the direct result of climate change. Trump’s answer? He calls on states to sweep the forest floor clean of dead trees that provide fuel for the fires.

This is where Joe Biden can deliver the goods if he is elected president. Oh, how I hope that happens 36 days from now.

He said he would return to the Climate Accords. Biden has vowed to invest in clean energy technology. He vows to work with Congress — where he served for 36 years before being elected vice president in 2008 — to find common ground on legislative solutions to this growing threat to the only planet we can call home.

Trump is clueless. He is feckless. He is reckless in his declarations of “hoax.”

The men will face off tonight in the first of three debates. May the better man — and I consider him to be Joe Biden — return climate change to the front edge of the top shelf of issues that need presidential attention.

Trump has failed

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There should be no doubt over what the New York Times has reported to the world.

It is that Donald Trump is not the business wizard he told voters he was when he was elected president of the United States.

He has failed as a businessman. He has squandered the huge stake his father gave him when he began purchasing commercial real estate. Trump has acquired a debt load that would disqualify anyone seeking a national security job; and yet, here is the president lugging around a $400 million debt load.

To whom does he owe the money?

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, warned us in 2016 when he called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Now we know what he meant. Mitt nailed it.

So, where do we go from here? We collect our thoughts and then prepare to replace the phony fraud with a man who vows to reshape our national soul, who vows to work to heal the deep wounds inflicted by the pathological liar who masquerades as our commander in chief.

Joe Biden needs to win the Nov. 3 election. He needs to win big. Biden needs to establish a clear mandate defined by a landslide victory. I cannot predict he will do that. I only can express the hope that he will.

We now can see through the New York Times’ exquisite reporting that Donald Trump laid the predicate for the disaster he brought to the nation through his failure as a businessman.

What about all that debt?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald “The King of Debt” Trump has some serious explaining to do in the wake of the smashing New York Times story detailing his financial records.

He called himself the debt king during the 2016 presidential campaign. Now we have a glimpse into what he might have meant. The NY Times reports that Trump owes about $400 million to … someone, or some country, or some business empire.

We need to know to whom Trump owes all that money. Many of us are wondering whether any of those creditors happen to be, oh, heads of state with whom Trump has shown remarkable friendliness.

Let’s see, Russia comes to mind. Same with Turkey. Trump has boasted about his business dealings and it is known he wanted to build a hotel/resort complex in Russia. Meanwhile, he keeps giving Russian strongman Vladimir Putin a pass on some seriously hideous conduct: election interference and the placing of bounties on American service personnel, to name just two.

So, to the King of Debt, we American voters need to know to whom he owes the money.

And spare us the nonsense about the audit crap, Mr. President. The Internal Revenue Service places no audit-based restrictions on telling us the whole story about the debt.

We are waiting on you.