Stand tall, Texas Democrats!

By John Kanelis /

Well now. Lo and behold there is some fight left in the Texas Democratic legislative caucus after all.

The House Democrats walked off the floor of their chamber Sunday night to deprive House Republicans of a quorum they needed to enact a restrictive voter law that many of us out here interpret as a form of voter suppression.

The law would limit voter access to millions of Texans, mainly those in minority communities, and would serve, as President Biden noted, to further the cause of “un-American” efforts to restrict voting access for Americans.

To be sure, the fight ain’t over. Gov. Greg Abbott is now likely to call a special legislative session to bring lawmakers back to seek to finish the job that Democrats prevented with their walkout.

“We’ve said for so many years that we want more people to participate in our democracy. And it just seems that’s not the case,” Democratic state Rep. Carl Sherman said.

The Wall Street Journal reported: “I am disappointed that some members decided to break quorum,” said Republican state Rep. Briscoe Cain, who carried the bill in the House. “We all know what that meant. I understand why they were doing it, but we all took an oath to Texans that we would be here to do our jobs.”

Well, Rep. Cain, doing your job should not include acting on the Big Lie fomented by the former Liar in Chief, Donald Trump, about phony vote fraud. Yet that is what Cain and the Texas GOP caucus is trying to do. They seek to subvert access to the voting process by eliminating drive-through voting, restricting mail-in balloting, reducing early voting times all because they contend this activity is fraught with the potential for the vote fraud that Trump said occurred during the 2020 presidential election.

Texas Democrats Prevent Republicans From Passing Restrictive Voting Bill (

If and when Abbott calls the special session, my strong hope is that Texas Democrats continue to stand as one body to prevent this kind of legislative chicanery from becoming law.

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.

Texas joins ‘un-American club’

By John Kanelis /

President Biden calls Texas’s new anti-voting law “un-American” and “an assault on democracy.”

You know what? I happen to agree with him. Big surprise, eh?

As the Texas Tribune reports: Senate Bill 7, a Republican priority voting bill, would limit early voting hours, curtail local voting options and further clamp down on mail-in voting, among several other provisions.

Let me be clear about one point: One of those “other provisions” involves proof of identification when you go vote. I have no problem with requiring photo ID or some valid documentation to prove that we are who we say we are.

As for the much of the rest of it, President Biden is correct to presume the Texas anti-voting legislation is anathema to what we stand for as a democratic nation.

Joe Biden criticizes Texas bill that restricts voting hours | The Texas Tribune

“Today, Texas legislators put forth a bill that joins Georgia and Florida in advancing a state law that attacks the sacred right to vote, ” Biden said in a statement to The Texas Tribune. “It’s part of an assault on democracy that we’ve seen far too often this year — and often disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans.”

There you have it. Biden has identified what many of us believe has been a frontal assault by Republican Party officials against efforts to encourage voting. Their response has been to restrict avenues for Americans to cast ballots.

Think of this for just a moment. A nation that has suffered through low voter turnout — compared to many other industrialized nations — has taken a state-by-state approach to restricting voters’ access to the ballot box. To think, therefore, that Texas — where turnout is below the national average historically — wants to discourage voters from casting ballots.

Disturbing, indeed.

Texas Republicans are hiding behind the Big Lie about alleged “vote fraud.” The 2020 election was the most secure in our history. That hasn’t dissuaded the GOP from clamping down on access to voting.


No need to ‘re-litigate’?

By John Kanelis /

Memo to Mitch McConnell …

The effort to form a bipartisan commission to examine the cause and consequence of the Jan. 6 insurrection is not intended to “re-litigate” the event.

Its intent is to establish the whole cause and to work toward ways to prevent such a thing from recurring.

Donald Trump incited the riot that sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The ex-POTUS fueled the anger in the mob assembled in front of him that day by declaring the election had been “stolen.” It wasn’t. President Biden won the most “secure election in history.”

McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, is playing politics with what should be a bipartisan/nonpartisan effort. Police officers were injured as they sought to fend off the mob. One of them died during the melee; another one took his own life.

McConnell is shaming himself, his office and the federal government he swore to protect and defend.

VP goofs with Memorial Day greeting

By John Kanelis /

This news item came from Fox News, but you know what? The right-leaning news network makes a point in mentioning an error of omission that came from Vice President Kamala Harris.

The VP offered a Memorial Day greeting that wished us all a happy “long weekend.” The criticism comes from those who wondered why Kamala Harris didn’t mention the significance of the “long weekend,” which is the significance of the fallen warriors we honor each year.

The critics are correct. The vice president certainly understands the significance of the Memorial Day weekend. Yet for a sitting VP to fail to recognize it publicly with a social media greeting just makes many of us a bit chapped.

This is a somber weekend. Yes, we should enjoy each other’s company, the fellowship we are engaging in as we come out of the COVID pandemic. Let us also pay tribute to the Americans who paid the supreme price so we can enjoy “the long weekend.”

End the filibuster?

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By John Kanelis /

The debate over whether to end the filibuster rule in the U.S. Senate gives me heartburn.

It’s a “reform” that is fraught with peril.

You know how it goes. Senators in the minority use the filibuster to block legislation. It was created with the notion of allowing senators to talk bills to death by blathering on and on about this and that. It has become more of a procedural maneuver these days.

The peril lies in the political future of the Senate and which party maintains the majority.

At this moment, Democrats control a 50-50 Senate split only because they have a Democratic vice president, Kamala Harris, available to break tie votes. Democrats are angry with Republicans because they filibuster legislation that Democrats want enacted; creation of the Jan. 6 bipartisan commission is the latest significant example.

What happens, though, if Republicans take control of the Senate after the 2022 midterm election? Democrats who today are screeching for an end to the filibuster are likely to sing a different tune if they are caught in the minority among senators. Meanwhile, are Republicans going to be as quick to stand with the filibuster if their Democratic colleagues begin filibustering in an effort to kill GOP-friendly legislation?

Control of the legislative branch is a fluid thing. It sways back and forth.

This is a rule written by the Senate. It is not a constitutional provision. Thus, I am a bit concerned that Democrats’ insistence on ending the filibuster might bite ’em all in the backside if control of the Senate — as tenuous as it is — slips away.

Biden faces Jan. 6 challenge

By John Kanelis /

President Biden is facing a quandary.

He wants Congress to create a bipartisan commission to examine the cause and impact of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Congressional Republicans have dug in deeply against it, wanting to protect themselves perhaps as well as Donald John Trump, the imbecile who instigated the riot that sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

So, what does the president do? He could create a commission on his own. He could allow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to appoint a select committee.

The U.S. Senate backed away from furthering a House-passed bill creating the commission. Newsweek reported:

On Saturday, Virginia Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly called on Biden to bypass Republicans and instead create a presidential commission.

“In light of the GOP’s cowardly filibuster of a bipartisan Jan 6th commission I urge President Biden to form and appoint a Presidential Commission to fully investigate the insurrection of January 6th at the US Capitol,” Connolly tweeted.

Calls Mount for Biden to Form Presidential 1/6 Commission After GOP’s ‘Cowardly Filibuster’ (

Even though such an idea is fraught with concern over how impartial such a presidential commission can be — given that the current president’s victory in the 2020 election is the reason for the insurrection in the first place — I am willing to endorse its creation.

I have a caveat to offer: President Biden must ensure the bipartisan nature of a presidential panel and then he should simply back away and let the group do its job without any hint of interference from the Oval Office.

Joe Biden has been around the halls of power long enough to understand what is proper. My sincere hope would be that the president would ensure a thorough probe into the events leading up to the Jan. 6 riot by the mob of terrorists. If only he could persuade the Trumpkins out there of its honesty.

They are likely to hang instead on the Big Lie that their idiotic hero keeps telling.

Nut Job Wing holds GOP sway

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter 

By John Kanelis /

It well might be that the Establishment Wing of the Republican Party is about to throw in the towel in its fight against what I am willing to call the Nut Job Wing of the GOP.

The Nut Jobs within the party are being led by a cabal of fruitcakes, know-nothings, airheads, conspiracy theorists, goofballs … dare I go on? You get the point.

Georgia U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the woman I have dubbed the QAnon Queen of the GOP caucus, is just the latest example of a nut job who has grabbed the party by its proverbial family jewels. She compares Democrats to Nazis and says mask and social distancing mandates aimed at protecting us from a killer virus are akin to what Jews suffered during the Holocaust.

Do you get the connection? Democratic “Nazis” are making us do things that compare to sending innocent people to the gas chamber.

The congressional GOP leadership condemned MTG for her idiocy, and then ran for the tall grass. The Georgia congresswoman has been stripped of her committee assignments, to be sure. That hasn’t silenced this idiot. She continues to spew hate-filled garbage, which of course is her right; we do have that First Amendment that all honor, even when it protects nut jobs such as MTG.

The Republican establishment just cannot bring itself to drop the hammer on the likes of MTG, Rep. Matt “The Alleged Sex Trafficker” Gaetz … or certainly not even the former Liar/Imbecile/Carnival Barker in Chief, Donald J. Trump.

It leaves me utterly flabbergasted.

Rep./Dr. Jackson needs to shut the hell up

By John Kanelis /

It’s official.

The individual who now represents the congressional district where I lived for 23 years has established himself as a first-rate a**hole.

Republican Ronny Jackson said this via Twitter: Fauci and Democrats have been covering for China for over a year about the origins of this virus. They’ll badmouth America any chance they get, but with China, they’re SILENT. Wonder why that is??

This guy is a menace. To think that he gets to vote on laws that affect all Americans, not just those in the Texas Panhandle — where he moved to run for Congress in 2020 after spending his entire adult life far away — is reprehensible on its face.

He succeeded Republican Mac Thornberry, who served the district with dignity for 25 years, even though I rarely agreed with his politics. Jackson has taken to Twitter to taunt Democrats, just like his hero, Donald J. Trump.

He sickens me.

Sanctions against Belarus? Uhh, yes!

By John Kanelis /

Think for just a moment how the immediate past president of the United States might respond to the act of state-sponsored thuggery that unfolded in Belarus the other day.

Donald Trump well might applaud the action that took a journalist into custody for — get this — criticizing the autocrat who runs his country.

President Biden is planning to invoke sanctions against Belarus and also has hinted that the audacious display of ham-handedness will be on the table when he and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin for their first summit.

Biden administration to reimpose sanctions on Belarus over diverted flight | TheHill

You know the story, yes? A jetliner took off from Athens en route to Lithuania the other day. When it crossed Belarus air space, air traffic controllers ordered the plane to land, contending it might have a bomb on board. The plane landed. Authorities found no bomb. Instead, they arrested Raman Pratasevich, a Belarusian journalist who also is active in the opposition movement against Alexander Lukashenko, the dictator who runs the country.

This act of repression borders on terrorism, in my humble view. This kind of aggression cannot be allowed to stand.

It is my fervent hope that President Biden follows through with his threat to deal strongly with the dictator who has demonstrated a callous disregard for basic human rights. Indeed, the entire issue of “human rights” has returned — thankfully — to the West Wing of the White House, where for the previous four years it was ignored by the Strongman Lover in Chief.