Tag Archives: Congress

Keep talking, GOP hypocrites

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The checks are in the mail — so to speak.

At least a good number of “checks” are showing up this weekend in Americans’ bank accounts, thanks to President Biden and his Democratic Party allies in Congress, who worked to enact the COVID relief package over the strenuous objections of their Republican “friends” and colleagues.

But wait a minute.

Now comes word from around the country that Republican members of the House and the Senate are trying to take credit for something they opposed. I hear, for instance, that Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, one of the 50 Senate GOP “no” on the relief package, is heralding the benefit it will have on education in his state.

Yeah, keep talking Sen. Wicker. The voters in Mississippi ought to be wise to what’s up with him.

This kind of doublespeak occurs from time to time. Lawmakers who find themselves on the wrong side of public opinion look for ways to weasel their way into voters’ good graces. It turns out the COVID relief package totaling $1.9 trillion is quite popular with the masses out here. Eighty-plus percent of Democrats favor it and a slim majority of — gulp!Republican voters look kindly on the government relief effort.

None of that swayed the GOP cultists in Congress to sign on.

However, here they are, trying to glom onto the benefits being sent out en masse to those who have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. They have lost their jobs, not to mention lost their loved ones, to the disease. The package provides unemployment relief for the next several months and seeks to lessen the misery that has befallen so many millions of us.

What’s more, President Biden spoke to us the other evening and implored Americans to help in steering the nation away from the effects of the virus. “I need you,” he implored, which I consider to be a marvelous about-face from the “I, alone, can fix it” mentality offered by Donald John Trump.

However, don’t be fooled by the GOP fools who are trying to hoodwink Americans into thinking they played some role in bringing this relief to beleaguered pandemic victims.

‘Diverse opinions’? Huh?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Van Taylor strikes me as an earnest young man who seeks to answer questions from his constituents, which he has done with a question from me to the second-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Plano Republican, who is my congressman, provided a written response to a question I posed to one of his staffers, which was: Why did Rep. Taylor vote against sanctioning QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene? You’ve heard of Rep. Greene, yes? She is a fire-breathing fruitcake who has adhered to insane notions that notorious school massacres were “staged,” that they didn’t occur.

I wondered why Taylor voted against removing the Georgia Republican from key committee assignments, such as her seat on the House Education Committee.

He stood behind his decision, declaring that we must not succumb to the “tyranny” of those who oppose individuals who offer opinions that differ from their own. He said Congress shouldn’t “excommunicate members for diverse opinions.”

Whoa! That takes my breath away.

Arguing over whether human beings are responsible for climate change provides an avenue for “diverse opinions.” The same can be said over whether we should balance our federal budget or whether the Second Amendment means we shouldn’t try to create laws that make it more difficult for criminals to acquire firearms.

However, what Marjorie Taylor Greene has said over the years has nothing to do with policy. She and other QAnon adherents foment fear, lies and bigotry with their hate-filled rhetoric.

I do not want any part of that to occur in my House of Representatives. As Rep. Taylor notes in his letter to me, “The United States Marine Corps taught me the importance of servant leadership, and as your Representative in Congress, I work for you.”

Yes, he does. I wanted my congressman to kick that conspiracy kook off those committees.

Relief on its way

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden appears to be set to receive his first legislative triumph in the form of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that the U.S. Senate has just approved.

It has gone back to the House of Representatives, which will approve it once again, given its slim Democratic Party majority.

I want to stipulate a couple of points.

One is that the bill isn’t perfect. It contains some expenditures within the massive amount of money that really do not belong in legislation aimed at providing relief for Americans afflicted by the pandemic. It has killed more than 500,000 Americans and causing millions of others to lose their jobs.

Americans are hurting from this killer virus and the federal government needs to respond, given that every member of Congress as well as the president and vice president swear oaths to protect the citizens of this country.

As the saying goes and has been repeated all too often, it does no good to “let the perfect get in the way of the good.”

So, the legislation ain’t perfect, but it does do plenty of good.

It provides $300 a week in unemployment insurance for those who have lost their jobs; it provides $1,400 payments to individuals who earn less than a certain amount of money.

The bill that President Biden will sign — perhaps next week — lacks a $15 hourly minimum wage component, which is something congressional progressives insisted it contain. I figure the minimum range boost will end up eventually on Biden’s desk contained in another stack of legislation.

The most regrettable aspect of this legislation is that it is squeaking through Congress with just Democrats voting for it. The Senate vote was 50-49; Vice President Kamala Harris was poised to cast the tie-breaking vote, but one GOP senator, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, was absent from the roll call tally.

My own center-left philosophy hopes that Congress no longer will need to enact more measures to provide this kind of relief. I acknowledge that $1.9 trillion is a mighty hefty price tag and it gives me the nervous jerks to realize we are spending this kind of money that the government just doesn’t have in the bank.

But the president and most of Congress have answered the call. Those in Congress who have refused to lend aid to those who need it will have to deal with their consciences.

I am glad the COVID relief bill is heading toward the president’s desk. It isn’t perfect, but it does what it should be doing, which is to assist Americans who have fallen victim to the pandemic and the damage it has done.

Biden battles obstructionists

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Call me naive … I suppose.

My hope for President Biden was that he would parlay his 36 years of experience as a U.S. senator and eight years as vice president into a smooth governing machine once he settled into the Oval Office.

It’s not turning out that way.

The president is staking his legislative agenda on a COVID-19 relief bill that is aimed at bringing aid to a nation struggling against a killer virus. Congressional Republicans signaled their opposition to it. The $1.9 trillion bill passed the House on a largely partisan vote; it sits in the Senate and the president hopes it will clear that body, too.

However, it appears it will take a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris to clear the upper chamber.

Republicans still are steamed that Biden defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 election. They aren’t giving up the phony notion that Biden somehow “stole” it from Trump. He didn’t. President Biden won fair and square.

He is trying to get the Cabinet seated. GOP senators are holding up key picks for attorney general and health and human services secretary.

The AG nominee, Merrick Garland, has to get to work reassembling the Justice Department decimated by the Trump administration; moreover, he wants to commence a key investigation into the insurrection that occurred on Jan. 6. Oh, and HHS Secretary-designate Xavier Becerra needs to get that department ramped up and working to facilitate an end to the COVID virus that is still killing Americans.

President Biden thought he could get to work immediately. He thought he could broker the friendships he developed during his years in government into a working coalition. I guess he didn’t count on the hard feelings that translates into blind obstructionism.

I will cling to the hope that the president can bring his legislative acumen to bear.

Censure the loony bird

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Marjorie Taylor Greene certainly has made a name for herself in just a few days in public office.

Her name is, well, mud. She is a Republican congresswoman from Georgia who is aligned with the QAnon comprising conspiracy nut jobs and lunatics.

What does the House of Representatives do about this moron in its midst? Jack Shafer, senior media writer for Politico, has an interesting idea: censure her and then let the voters in her congressional district decide whether to keep her in 2022.

Not a bad idea. As Shafer writes in Politico: Nowhere in the Constitution—and this is excellent news for freshly sworn-in Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)—does it stipulate that a House member must have the mental capacity to cook on all four burners.

This is in keeping with the Framers’ general idea that only the lowest bars should be set for officeholders. They declined to cordon off Congress with credential and qualification roadblocks, stating in Article I, section 2, clause 2 that House members need only be 25 years old or older and a U.S. citizen for at least seven years. This left plenty of room for the daft, the moonstruck, the brainsick, the rabble-rousing and the witless to run for the seats. And they have, often gaining office, as Rep. Greene recently did, to the horror of many.

Opinion | Expelling Marjorie Taylor Greene Is Just Crazy Talk – POLITICO

The House has punished members for making untoward statements. Former Rep. Steve King, the Iowa Republican who repeatedly spoke fondly of white supremacy, was stripped of his committee assignments. All he could do for the remainder of his term was cast recorded votes on the floor of the House. The voters in his House district took care of King’s political career … by voting him out of office.

That well could happen to Marjorie Taylor Greene, if the House has the gumption at the very least to censure her.

Unify Congress? Hah! Good luck

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden’s stated intention to “unify” the nation is facing a major hurdle very close to the president’s new home.

Just down the street from the White house sits Congress. Its members are at each others’ throats. Democrats are angry and some are frightened of their Republican colleagues. Why? Because many of them have given tacit approval of the insurrection that could have produced casualties among members of Congress.

Meanwhile, GOP members are continuing their harangue against the election that President Biden won over Donald Trump.

Some members of Congress don’t want to work with their colleagues. Many of them want their offices relocated because of actual fear of how their colleagues might treat them.

Yes, there is a serious rift opening wide among members of Congress. As Politico has reported: Some House lawmakers are privately refusing to work with each other. Others are afraid to be in the same room. Two members almost got into a fist fight on the floor. And the speaker of the House is warning that “the enemy is within.”

Forget Joe Biden’s calls for unity. Members of Congress couldn’t be further divided.

‘I’m just furious’: Relations in Congress crack after attack – POLITICO

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declared that the “enemy is within” the halls of Congress. She is specifically pointedly of some House members who adhere to the QAnon lunacy that school shootings are hoaxes and that Muslims cannot serve in public office. Pressure is building to a full boil among Democrats to expel Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia, who said during the 2020 campaign that it is time to “shed blood” to reverse trends she opposes.

I want Joe Biden to succeed in unifying the country. I do not have an idea on how he should do so, other than for him to call on senior Republicans in the House and Senate — men and women he knows well — to persuade them to close the yawning divide between the parties.

It’s just that the president has to start seeking unity in the other co-equal government branch.

QAnon infects our politics

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Time for another fusillade against a QAnon-believing member of Congress.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene has become — with justification — the embodiment of what is wrong with many elements of the modern Republican Party.

Taylor-Greene is on record saying some of the most outrageous statements imaginable. Such as this piece of dookey: that the massacre of first- and second-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School and high schoolers at Marjorie Stoneman High School were made up, that they didn’t happen.

So, what does the House GOP leadership do? It places her sorry a** on the House Education Committee.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has yet to condemn the frothing rambling of this moron. He has given her a forum to further her idiocy on a committee that helps set federal public education policy that affects the very children threatened by the violence that the Georgia Republican lawmaker helped incite on the Sixth of January.

Taylor-Greene is about as un-American, un-democratic, unpatriotic an individual as I ever have witnessed, albeit from a safe distance far away from Capitol Hill and from this idiot’s Georgia congressional district.

Taylor-Greene, though, is far from the only danger to the democracy now serving in the U.S. House. Mo Brooks is another Republican, from Alabama, who stood among the terrorists who stormed Capitol Hill on the Sixth of January. He wasn’t seen smashing windows or beating security officers with flagpoles or hurling fire extinguishers at Capitol Police officers. He did, though, incite violence by cheering the garbage spewed by Donald J. Trump.

I am among those American patriots who is ready to welcome a new day on Capitol Hill. That day already has dawned in the White House, with the expulsion of Donald Trump and the election of Joe Biden. Congress, though, is still infected with morons/imbeciles/nut jobs who have the power to enact laws that affect the rest of us.

I am not proposing to censor or stamp out opinions with which I disagree. I do condemn in the strongest language I can muster the astonishing notions that pour forth from individuals who espouse certifiably insane notions.

Marjorie Taylor-Greene is one of them.

There. I am done with this numbskull. For now!

This isn’t our ‘best’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Make no mistake, I am not a Pollyanna. I know good bit about our political system, about how we can elect zeroes as well as heroes to our governing bodies.

But, oh brother, we have an astonishing number of numbskulls in Congress, taking power and being handed the opportunity to make laws that govern all of us, not just those who send them to Congress from their various states and congressional districts.

Marjorie Taylor-Greene, I am talking about you.

Rep. Taylor-Greene is the walking, talking embodiment of a domestic demon in our midst. She represents a Georgia congressional district and she is a believer in that QAnon cult that has gripped millions of Americans by the genitals.

She believes Muslims cannot serve legitimately in Congress; she has stated that the Sandy Hook and Parkland, Fla., school massacres were hoaxes; she says President Biden stole the election from Donald Trump; she has called for the summary execution of Democrats.

Yes, she is now among the 535 men and women who serve in the legislative branch of government.

She is a traitor. A potential terrorist. She is certifiably unfit to serve in a public office.

And yet … the folks in her congressional district sent her to Capitol Hill. Astonishing, yes? You know the answer. It is frightening in the extreme.

The news gets even worse. Congress contains others who hold the same view as this idiot. Oh, and the Republican leadership to which she ostensibly answers isn’t calling her, slapping her down, telling her to keep her mouth shut. They stand behind the First Amendment’s free speech clause.

I am a big believer in free speech and in the First Amendment. I also believe free speech should be responsible and shouldn’t be perceived as a threat to our very government.

This member of Congress doesn’t represent our best. She represents the worst of us.

These wounds won’t heal quickly

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s start with the obvious.

The wounds on our nation inflicted by the rioters who stormed the Capitol Building this week won’t heal any time soon. They will fester at least for as long as the nation remains transfixed on the doings of the man who instigated the riot: Donald John Trump.

I want the wounds to heal a soon as possible. However, I believe we need to remain vigilant and alert to what brought the havoc to the doorstep of our democracy.

Donald Trump will be gone from the White House in 11 days. The House of Representatives appears set to impeach for a second time early next week. The Senate isn’t likely to convene a trial in time to decide whether to convict him. Still, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be in office on Jan. 20 and they can get right to work dealing with the issues that matter the most.

Like, oh, that pandemic.

Trump wants to remain a political factor. My strong hope is that if the House impeaches him and the Senate convenes a trial after he leaves office that senators can muster up some sort of nerve and approve a provision that bans Trump from seeking public office ever again. He has proved demonstrably that he is unfit for public office. I want the Senate to codify that unfitness with an outright ban.

None of that will silence the mobsters who stormed into the Capitol Building. They could surface again. Indeed, there appear to be threats that Trumpsters could demonstrate on the day that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take office. Our fondest hope should be that the D.C. police force is better prepared to respond to violence if it presents itself a second time.

Even as we allow time to lapse from the events of this past Wednesday we should be as alert to the rumblings from within our nation as we have continued to be to those we hear from terrorists abroad.

The rioters who stormed into the seat of our representative democracy are domestic terrorists who inflicted grievous damage on our system of government.

Donald Trump’s exit from the political stage cannot occur quickly enough. He’ll be gone, but the damage he and his followers have done will take time to heal.

A new day dawns after a grim, tragic episode

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Good morning, everyone. Did you sleep well last night?

I did, to my surprise. What’s more, I awoke to the news  that Congress completed the task that was interrupted Wednesday by the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol Building, vandalized our property, ransacked the offices of high government officials and generally brought heaps of shame onto the country they purport to love.

Congress had gathered to ratify the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president and vice president of the United States. Then he sh** hit the fan as Donald Trump incited the rioters to march to the Capitol Building and take back the government … from whom is a mystery to me.

Congress finished its task in the wee hours. After the cops cleared the Capitol, the Senate and House reconvened to receive the Electoral College tally of votes. Then Vice President Mike Pence announced to the world what we knew: that Biden and Harris will take office on Jan. 20.

We witnessed a shameful display of petulance gone utterly mad. Donald Trump lost an election but his refusal to concede fanned the fires of anger among his cult followers.

Oh, today Trump tweeted something about pledging an orderly transfer of power, which is his sorry way of admitting that President-elect Biden defeated him. We’ll have to wait with bated breath to see how this transition takes place. To be candid, I do not have faith in anything that flows from Trump’s Twitter account.

I remain fearful of what this evil individual can do over the course of the next 13 days. I am of the belief he needs to be reined in tightly. We have that constitutional amendment that allows for his removal. Yes, it’s a stretch to think that a majority of the Cabinet and Pence will go along with it. The House could impeach Trump again in the next couple of days if it had the guts to do so.

Donald Trump’s demonstration of his utter unfitness for public office was on full and ghastly display.

What must we do? We must hold the seditionists who sought to contest an election result on phony assertions of fraud accountable for their horrendous conduct. Texas, I am ashamed to say, stands at the front of that line of shame, with the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz and several members of the House joining in that charade.

Let’s all have a good day … shall we?