Now comes the fight … maybe

By John Kanelis /

This just in: U.S. Rep. Chip Roy of Austin might decide he wants to lead the House Republican caucus because the presumed heiress apparent, Elise Stefanik of New York, is too liberal.

Ah, yes. Let’s have a fight, shall we?

The House GOP caucus ousted Liz Cheney of Wyoming because Cheney is appalled at the conduct of Donald Trump. She happened to have the bad form to criticize the former president for inciting the Jan 6 terrorist attack on the Capitol Building while Congress was in the midst of certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Why, those Republicans just cannot stand the notion of one of their leaders criticizing such abhorrent conduct. So they booted Cheney out of her leadership post.

OK, that’s done. Now comes the fight to find a successor.

Roy said Stefanik’s voting record is too, um, moderate to suit his taste. He wants a fire-breather in that leadership job. Hey, kinda like Liz Cheney, whose own conservative credentials are beyond dispute.

Is Roy going to sing from the same page as Stefanik, giving Trump a pass on his insurrection-incitement? That appears for all the world to be the only credential any card-carrying GOP member of Congress needs these days to assume a leadership role.

This’ll be fun to watch.

Go ahead, Rep. Roy. Let’s see what you have.

Get back to governing

By John Kanelis /

Amarillo’s goofy recount in its mayoral contest is over.

Any surprises? Hah! None! Mayor Ginger Nelson was re-elected to another two-year term despite the challenge mounted by a challenger, Claudette Smith, who wanted to peel 816 votes away from Nelson’s total to force a runoff. I guess she said something about irregularities.

It ain’t gonna happen.

Nelson said this on social media: I want to personally thank our county election clerks and staff for their hard work in validating the election results of May 1st. Our county employees do an amazing job of running our local elections with integrity and professionalism. I also want to thank the City Secretary, the Secretary of State’s office, and all the City staff who carefully followed the recount process. Most of all, I’m thankful for our citizens for voting in the May 1st municipal election.

I get that I am looking at this from afar, given that I no longer live in Amarillo, but so help me this recount smacked of the kind of sore loserness exhibited by Donald Trump … without a riot that stormed City Hall the way the terrorists stormed Capitol Hill on Jan. 6.

I have heard from a couple of sources that Smith got into a snit with Nelson over a matter and she filed to run for Nelson’s seat because of a personal beef she had — or still has — with the mayor. Oh, does she have a public service record on which to run? Hmm. I haven’t heard of a single thing that she has done.

Well, the recount appears to be over. I would be willing to bet real American money we might never hear from the challenger again.

Hey, Rep. Cheney: Keep messaging!

(Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

By John Kanelis /

The U.S. House of Representatives Republican caucus has thrown in with the former Liar in Chief and decided that a truth-teller among its ranks has no place in its leadership.

Rep. Liz Cheney this morning was stripped of her title as chair of the House GOP caucus, the No. 3-ranking post among congressional Republicans.

Prediction: Liz Cheney isn’t going to skulk away quietly.

Indeed, she said today that she intends to do all she can to ensure that Donald Trump never sets foot in the Oval Office ever again.

Good for you, Rep. Cheney.

Be not confused here. I detest Cheney’s politics. I do admire her courage in standing firm against Donald Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and her vote to impeach Trump a second time when he exhorted the terrorists to storm Capitol Hill.

Cheney told the truth about Trump. Her colleagues in the House are having none of it. They have shamed themselves and their governing institution.

Where is outrage at Hamas?

By John Kanelis /

Allow me this brief rejoinder to the criticism that’s being leveled at Israel over its airstrikes against the terrorists who have been launching rockets into civilian neighborhoods.

The Israeli air force has been hitting Hamas strongholds in reaction to the rockets that have flown into Bethlehem, into Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Askelon.

Critics have blasted the Israelis because some of their strikes have killed civilians. Make no mistake that I am horrified, too, that civilians have died in these strikes against Hamas. I detest the loss of innocent life in these military exchanges.

But where in the hell has been the outrage aimed at Hamas … which aims its rockets deliberately at civilian targets?

I had the high honor of touring Israel a dozen years ago and I saw up close the building requirements that Israeli homeowners must face. Those requirement mandate reinforced bomb shelters in every home, given that the nation sits a spitting distance away from forces bent on the destruction of their country.

The latest exchange in Israel must come to an end and I pray that it will. Israel, to my way of thinking, has shown incredible restraint in dealing with Hamas and other terrorists who take direct aim at women and children in their effort to destroy their country.

It’s all topsy turvy

By John Kanelis /

My ever-lovin’ goodness.

I am cheering for Liz Cheney, a right-wing Republican member of Congress.

She is about to be stripped of her chairmanship of the Republican House caucus because … she is telling the truth about Donald Trump, the ex-POTUS and insurrectionist in chief.

It’s a dark day if you’re a Republican. I am not. I call myself a “good government progressive.” In Texas, in fact, we don’t register as Democrats or Republicans. We vote in open primaries. We get to vote in whatever primary we choose. The election judge might stamp our voter registration card with a “D” or an “R.” Or he or she might not.

Still, I dislike Liz Cheney’s politics. Too right wing for my taste.

However, she ain’t buckling under the pressure of the Trumpkin Corps. She is continuing to speak the cold, hard truth about Donald Trump, that he’s a threat to our government and that he needs to be stopped.

And so, the Republican poo-bas are going to relieve her of her chairmanship because she won’t swill the poison that makes believers of Trump’s Big Lie about the 2020 election being “stolen.”

Indeed, a dark day is going to dawn very soon on the national Republican Party.

Trump: a national peril

REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

By John Kanelis /

I take no pleasure in asserting what I believe in my heart … that Donald J. Trump presents a dire and existential threat to the nation he once governed.

Of all the men who preceded him as president — and there have been some serious losers/wack jobs/crooks/criminals, none of them come as close to presenting the threat to our very governmental fabric that Donald Trump presents.

He continues to spew the Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election. His minions in the House of Representatives are about to boot the GOP caucus chair from her post because she stood on principle. He threatens anyone who crosses him. Trump has not a shred of decency to stop the assault on our electoral process that is underway in Arizona, where conspiracy theorists are concocting scenarios they hope will deny President Biden the votes he won legitimately.

Donald Trump is a threat to our national security. To our very governmental fabric. To the balance of political power.

Do I like saying these things about him? No. Of course not!

When the votes were counted in the 2020 election, Donald Trump could have picked up a phone and congratulated the winner, Joe Biden. He could have wished him well. He could have pledged his support. Trump could have declared his intention to oversee a smooth transition of power. He could have welcomed the president-elect and his wife to the White House, shown them around the place and then sat there at the inaugural and clapped politely when the new president took his hand off the Bible as he was sworn in.

No. Donald Trump didn’t do any of that. Indeed, he incited a riot by a terrorist mob on Jan. 6. He turned his back on Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the certification of the Electoral College victory that Biden rang up. Trump has turned his back on Pence, who did his constitutional duty and had to be holed up in a secure location while the terrorists were yelling “Hang Mike Pence!” as they stormed into the Capitol Building.

To think, therefore, that most Republican voters have swallowed that poison that Trump has dished out — believing that the election was “stolen” — is utterly beyond anything I ever could have imagined.

Donald Trump continues to threaten the nation. Anyone with a sense of shame would be, well, ashamed. This individual simply defies any norm of decency, dignity and decorum.

Good news from pandemic

By John Kanelis /

This has to be far more than just a sliver of good news as a result of the COVID pandemic.

It is that renewable energy production has spiked considerably in the year since Earth became consumed by the coronavirus that has killed more than 2 million human beings worldwide, and more than 580,000 Americans.

A study by the International Energy Agency reports that wind power has boomed along with solar energy. The IEA reports that renewable energy jumped 45 percent in 2020 to 280 gigawatts. As National Public Radio reported: In 2020, renewable power was “the only energy source for which demand increased … while consumption of all other fuels declined,” says the IEA, whose mission is to make the world’s energy supply more reliable, affordable and sustainable.

You might be wondering: What is a gigawatt? It equals 1,000 megawatts, or 1 billion watts of energy. So, the pandemic helped spike the renewable energy output to 280 billion watts of power.

You know, from my perch, that means it can turn on a whole lot of light bulbs … you know?

This is good news for anyone — and it should be everyone — who is concerned about the impact that finite energy sources are having on Earth’s environment.

Renewable Energy Capacity Jumped 45% Worldwide In 2020; IEA Sees ‘New Normal’ | 88.9 KETR

Coal production fell by 4 percent, according to the IEA. Indeed, coal-burning power plans are seen as a primary cause of climate change, which is a serious existential threat to our national security, as well as a threat to the very life of our precious planet.

I do not wish this pandemic to continue. I do wish — and hope — to keep the trend toward more renewable energy tracking in the direction it has been headed since the pandemic struck.

House GOP to define itself

By John Kanelis /

The U.S. House of Representatives Republican caucus is facing a defining moment this week.

It will have a chance to define itself as being willing to push forward a serious agenda or whether it will serve as a cabal of toadies for a disgraced, defeated for president of the United States, the former Liar in Chief who continues to foment the Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election, that it was stolen from Donald Trump by “rampant vote fraud.” There was no rampant fraud. It’s a lie. It’s the Big Lie.

The moment will come in a vote over whether to replace Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as the Republican caucus chair and seat Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York in her place.

Cheney is a right-wing conservative lawmaker with serious GOP chops, being the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. She also is a principled conservative who was as appalled and aghast as others were at the insurrection that Donald Trump — the aforementioned Liar in Chief — incited on Jan. 6. She voted to impeach Trump.

That doesn’t sit well with most of the GOP caucus. They fawn over Trump and are fearful of what he could do them if they were to cross him, the way Cheney did.

So up steps Stefanik, a Trumpster to the core. She has bought into the Big Lie. She is loyal to the Liar in Chief. And so … the House GOP caucus will get to choose her over Cheney, which they appear set to do on Wednesday.

It surely will mark a dismal moment in the history of a once-Grand Old Party.

There’s a glimmer of good news in this key vote. It well good pi** off enough serious Republicans to turn their back on the Big Lie … and on Donald J. Trump.

Cancel culture bites horse? What?

By John Kanelis /

Did I hear this correctly?

Bob Baffert, the legendary race horse trainer, told Fox News over the weekend that his steed, Medina Spirit, is a victim of what they call the “cancel culture.”

Eh? What the … ?

Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby. He is trained by Baffert. The race gurus then ran a test on the horse and found some sort of illegal drug in his system. He faces disqualification if a second test confirms the first one.

Now we have Baffert telling a right-wing media outlet — those goofs at Fox — that he and Medina Spirit have been victimized by the lefties’ “cancel culture.” That the horse is the victim of some nefarious plot to disqualify him from winning racing’s crown jewel.

Man, oh man. I do not get this guy.

He denies the horse had the drugs in his system. The tests say something different. If a second test confirms the first, the horse will face disqualification. It’s a simple issue, yes?

Medina Spirit may have been racing with a substance flowing through his veins that he wasn’t supposed to have. Someone gave him the drug — allegedly.

Ain’t no cancel culture at work here … Bob!

Heart bursts with conflicting emotion

By John Kanelis /

Twelve years ago this week I had the honor of beginning a marvelous journey through one of the world’s holiest — and deadliest — regions.

I accompanied four young West Texans to Israel on a Rotary International Group Study Exchange; once we arrived, we hooked up with another team of GSE members from The Netherlands. Today we are sharing our heartache at the video we all are watching from our homes as Israelis launch air strikes in retaliation of the rockets launched into sacred places by the terrorist group Hamas that governs Gaza.

You see, our journey through Israel took us to the doorstep of Gaza. We visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem. We toured all the quarters of the Old City. We walked along the Via Dolorosa where Jesus Christ strode 2,000 years ago, and we prayed on the Mount of Olives.

Now the region is being threatened once again by the horrifying terror that falls from the sky. Hamas is dedicated to Israel’s destruction. That is a fact. I will not argue the point in this brief blog post about why Hamas has decided to launch rockets into Israel.

I am going to express worry about the men and women we met along our marvelous journey. Are they safe? Have they been caught in the crossfire?

My friends with whom I traveled for those four weeks in Israel know of the love I have for them. I also have much love for the many people we met along our way through that holy place. We shared meals with them, we toasted them, we danced with them, we shared our life stories with them.

I am praying for their safety and for an end to the violence that keeps erupting in that holy and sacred land.