Tag Archives: 2016 election

Russia is not our equal

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald J. Trump was fond of telling us — perhaps he still is, for that matter — that it “would be nice if we got along with Russia.”

His strategy for making nice with Russia meant sucking up to its strongman, Vladimir Putin. It meant giving Russia a pass when it interfered in our election and denying our own intelligence analysis that said the Russians did interfere. It meant never challenging Russia over reports that it paid Taliban terrorists a bounty for killing Americans on the battlefields of Afghanistan.

Trump’s strategy didn’t work. Putin didn’t take the American president seriously. He played Trump like a fiddle.

President Joe Biden has taken over. He isn’t going to play nice with what is a third-rate military power and a fourth- or maybe fifth-rate economic power.

There can be no mistaking that Russia wanted Trump elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020. It hacked into our electoral system and sought to undermine the candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Why? Because it would get a better deal — from their standpoint — with Donald Trump.

President Biden has made it clear that he intends to hold Russia accountable for the mischief it is making around the world.

Biden is only 102 days into the presidency. He wasn’t granted the courtesy extended usually to new presidents from those they succeed. Donald Trump did not allow his national security team to consult openly and freely with the new POTUS’s team.

I only can presume that President Biden will deal with Russia from his lofty perch as commander in chief of the world’s greatest military and as head of state of the world’s most vibrant economy.

Yes, I get that Russia still has all those nuclear weapons left over from its Soviet Union era. I also know that the doctrine of mutual assured destruction if they chose to use them has kept the rival nations from going, um … “MAD.”

Making nice with Russia? It’s a non-starter. Period.

Trump policies? What are they?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Not in a million, a billion, a gazillion years will I ever accept the dubious notion that Donald J. Trump’s followers are enamored of his policies … such as they are.

As a social media acquaintance of mine said this weekend, they were in love with his lies, his hatred of certain ethnic groups, with the manner in which he led them down some garden path.

They are waiting for some signal from their guy, the ex-president, that he’ll be back in the arena. The 2024 presidential election might beckon him.

Wait a second, though. Trump told Fox News that he cannot yet divulge what he intends to do in the future because of “legal issues.” Legal issues? What are they? He said he will decide in due course whether he’ll run for president again.

The legal issues hanging over his noggin likely have to do with the possible criminal indictments that might come from Manhattan (N.Y.) District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., or from Fulton County (Ga.) DA Fani Willis, both of whom are investigating separate but serious criminal complaints leveled against Trump.

As for the Trumpkins awaiting the possible return of their guy, well, they have been snookered into the cult that Trump developed from the moment he declared his 2016 presidential candidacy by declaring that Mexican immigrants were “rapists, murderers and drug dealers” coming to the United States to poison us.

Policies? He cannot speak to any of it.

Oh, the irony is rich

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am trying to understand the irony of Donald Trump’s assertion that a Joe Biden victory will come only if the election in November is “rigged.” The ironic richness is beyond belief.

The Russian government interfered in our 2016 presidential election. Its aim was to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. Moreover, the Russians intended to sow confusion and suspicion in our sacred electoral system.

Think of it! The guy the Russians wanted to win four years ago is now doing the Russians’ work for them! The president of the United States is asserting that Joe Biden can win only if the election is rigged.

Trump doesn’t provide a scintilla of proof of what he suggests would occur. Yet he is now mounting a prejudicial campaign against an electoral system he took an oath to protect and defend. Yes, think also of that … if you dare.

The presidential oath contains a clause that compels the nation’s head of state to protect the very system that puts him in office. The U.S. Constitution undergirds the entire process. Yet the president is now threatening some unspecified action to challenge the results of a free and fair election if it doesn’t produce the result he prefers.

I keep circling back to what happened in 2016. You heard him encourage the Russians to search for Hillary Clinton’s missing e-mails, right? The Russian government led by Vladimir Putin commenced its attack on our system that very day. At Trump’s invitation! Was the 2016 election rigged? Did it produce an electoral result that was, shall we say, illegitimate? 

So now we have arrived in the here and now. Donald Trump, having benefited in some fashion from foreign interference in the previous election, is threatening to undermine the results of the next presidential election. He bases his threat on allegations he cannot prove. He is sowing the same seeds of doubt that his Russian benefactors did four years ago.

The irony is rich. It’s also dangerous.

Final report is in: Russia attacked us!

I guess you can file this in the “Better Late Than Never” category of official government findings.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, the panel run by a Republican Party majority, has concluded what many of us knew already: Russia attacked our electoral system in 2016 seeking to aid in the election of Donald J. Trump.

It is a bipartisan finding. It lends credence to the assertions delivered by special counsel Robert Mueller III, who told us in 2019 that Russia attacked us and that they will do so again this year. The report confirms all of that.

It also puts to rest any phony denial — supported by Trump — that Russia didn’t do what has been alleged all along.

Recall that Trump stood next to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and openly dismissed reports from our intelligence experts that Russia had interfered in our 2016 presidential election. He sided with his pal, Vlad, standing before the entire world.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report now has put to rest any notion that Trump might try to foist on us that the Russia probe was a “hoax,” a “witch hunt,” or a fishing expedition.

It was none of any of those things. Indeed, the Senate findings also suggest that there was, indeed, “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russian goons who hacked into our electoral system. Does that sound like “exoneration”? Not to me!

CNN reports: The report is all the more remarkable because it was led by then-Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia. The report provides an exhaustive, bipartisan confirmation of the contacts between Russians and Trump associates in 2016 — and it was the only congressional committee that managed to avoid the partisan infighting that plagued the other congressional investigations into Russian election meddling.

What do we do with this report? It will remind me — just a chump voter and blogger who happens to be an American patriot — of the corrupt nature of Donald Trump’s political team … then and now.

‘T-word’ tossed out there … again

Oh, that goofball/demagogue/liar Donald J. Trump just can’t stop hurling the “t-word” at Barack Obama.

He said the former president of the United States likely committed “treason” by spying on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. He said that former CIA director John Brennan knew about it; so did former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; same for former FBI director James Comey; of course, let’s not forget former Vice President Joe Biden … he knew about it, too.

Trump today called it the “biggest political scandal in history.”

Was it “treasonous,” Mr. President? Are you kidding me?

First of all, there was no “spying” done on the campaign. There were questions raised about allegations of Russian interference during the 2016 campaign. The Obama administration was obligated to examine it under the law.

Furthermore, for Trump to toss out “treason” once again amounts to demagoguery at its worst.

For the record, treason is defined by federal statute as a betrayal of the country, of doing something to aid an enemy state.

What’s the punishment for committing an act of treason? Death! 

I am so damn weary of hearing Trump spew this trash.

We have an election just over the horizon. For my money, it cannot get here soon enough. Donald Trump’s incessant posturing about alleged “spying” is dangerous and it needs to end.

It appears to me the only way to shut this liar down is to vote him out of office.

Russians are at it again … imagine that!

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Russia has its favorite American political candidate. His name is Donald J. Trump. Russia is doing precisely what Robert Mueller, the former special counsel, said it would do: attack our electoral system just as it did in 2016.

Is Donald Trump going to express any outrage over it? Is he going to meet with Republicans and Democrats in Congress seeking to find meaningful sanctions to levy against Russia?

No and no.

What in the name of electoral sanctity does it take for the Trumpkin Corps to wake up to the reality that their guy poses an existential threat to our democratic way of life?

He invited the Russians to find Hillary Clinton’s emails during the 2016 campaign; the Russians obliged. Trump stood with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and openly denigrated U.S. intelligence conclusions that Russia interfered in 2016; he sided with Putin. Robert Mueller got the task of investigating all of that and determined that Russia had attacked our election and said it would do so again. He was right. Trump’s response has been to disparage Mueller’s findings.

Trump hasn’t yet said a single critical word about Putin’s chicanery. He spoke on the phone with the Russian strongman, but didn’t bring up the issue of Russian electoral interference … or the issue of Russian goons placing bounties on the lives of American service personnel killed in battle against the Taliban.

Where I come from that is called “dereliction of duty.”

And yet, the Trump faithful continues to give him a pass. Whatever they might feel privately they keep strictly to themselves. The public outrage is nowhere to be seen or heard.

Donald Trump has become the most dangerous existential threat to the nation he was elected to govern. The Russians know it and, in my view, that is precisely the reason they are seeking to work on behalf of his re-election.

Trump’s boorishness is beyond … boorish

I am running out of ways to express my disgust and utter astonishment over Donald Trump’s public utterances.

I look at some of the public opinion polling that puts Trump at a 42 percent — give or take — approval rating and I wonder: How in the name of sanity does anyone continue to stand with this idiot?

Trump’s passel of platitudes now includes some hideous accusations about Joe Biden being against God, against the Second Amendment, how he has forsaken African-Americans, that he is a far-left socialist.

Trump sounds like someone who thinks he is going to lose the election in November.

Then he tells reporters that he might not accept the election results, which he says will be the result of the “most corrupt election in history.” What if the Russians interfere this year as they did in 2016 and try to persuade Americans to re-elect Trump? Then it’s OK, he will say.

Trump’s hideous record, exemplified by the reprehensible initial non-response to the coronavirus pandemic, only confirms what I and other critics have said all along … which is that this guy cannot lead the nation. He has no understanding of the role he took an oath to perform.

He is left now to fabricate issues against which he will run.

Trump’s incessant lying, demagoguery, posturing, fraudulent characterizations of his record have revealed to the world that the United States made a terrible mistake in electing this clown in 2016.

My goodness, we have to correct that mistake.

How does Trump defend his record?

How is this supposed to work?

Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency in 2016 by proclaiming that the country was in dire peril. He said “I, alone” can fix the nation. He won the election and then delivered an inaugural speech remembered for one line: “This American carnage ends right here and right now.” It was a dark, foreboding speech.

Four years later he is campaigning for re-election by summoning voters to the same fear he harvested in 2016.

How is that supposed to make voters feel better another four years under the leadership of the Carnival Barker in Chief?

Donald Trump is presiding over a nation that is in infinitely worse condition than it was when he took office. How does he tell us he can repair what is so badly broken now?

To be fair, he didn’t cause the pandemic that has killed 160,000 Americans. His failure to respond proactively at the front end, though, clearly must be considered the cause for so many of those deaths. Oh, and the economy? It has collapsed. The one aspect that Trump sought to hail as his signature positive argument has been destroyed by the pandemic.

He is going after Joe Biden, the presumed Democratic nominee, hammer and tong. He is accusing Biden of wanting to ruin the suburbs, take our guns away, of being “against God,” of being a “far-left” politician.

Where are the accomplishments on which Trump wants us to re-elect him? They don’t exist. Trump’s campaign looks almost identical to the previous one.

How does this equate to a re-election strategy?

I am baffled.

Follow the Nixon lead, Mr. POTUS

Donald J. Trump just cannot commit to accepting the election results in November … if he loses to Joe Biden.

He sought to justify his skepticism of the results, casting doubt on their legitimacy, in an interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.

Simply by refusing to accept those results, Donald Trump is seeking to undermine the work done at the state and local levels of government to ensure that our elections are safe, free and secure. That’s how the president rolls. He said the same thing prior to the 2016 election, that he might challenge the results if Hillary Clinton won that contest. It turned out that Trump won; I don’t recall Clinton holding out for a possible challenge after she conceded defeat to Trump.

This is part and parcel of Trump’s background, starting with the obvious lack of public service experience. He was bred on the notion that everyone in business is out to cut someone else’s throat; therefore, they weren’t to be trusted. Had he an ounce of public service experience, Trump might take a different, more magnanimous approach to election results.

I harken to the 1960 presidential election. Vice President Richard Nixon lost that contest by a whisker to Sen. John F. Kennedy. JFK’s plurality totaled 112,000 votes nationally. Questions arose about the vote count in Illinois, where Kennedy won that state’s 27 electoral votes by just a handful. Republican operatives urged the VP to challenge the Illinois vote count, to tally up the ballots all over again. Nixon chose instead to let the vote count stand, to allow the president-elect to begin his transition to the most exalted office in the land.

Nixon put the country ahead of any personal political gain. To be sure, had Illinois’ electoral votes gone to Nixon, he still would have lost the electoral vote. But my point is that the vice president didn’t want to subject the nation to additional and, to his mind, pointless turmoil. His eight years as VP in the Eisenhower administration and his time in Congress taught him something about the value of public service.

Donald Trump has zero understanding of that need and will do all he can to sow seeds of doubt and discord in an electoral process that we all cherish.

Wishing media could dial back Biden’s poll reporting

The media are having a field day reporting on Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s spectacular poll ratings against Donald J. Trump Sr.

Biden is leading Trump by double digits, the media tell us. Biden is leading Trump in virtually all the critical “swing states,” they report. Biden might already have enough Electoral College votes in the bank to assure his election in November, the reporting continues.

I want the media to dial it back. Why? Because it is beginning to fill me with a sense of hope that might not hold up as we head down the stretch toward Election Day.

My memory is vivid on some things. One of those matters involves what the media reported at this stage of the 2016 campaign. They said Hillary Clinton would cruise to an easy election.

I bought that narrative four years ago. I was so confident that I attended an election-night watch party with my wife at some friends’ house in Amarillo. We went there expecting Hillary Clinton to make a victory speech upon getting the concession call from Donald Trump.

Uhh, it didn’t happen. My worst political nightmare came to pass on election night 2016.

I am acutely aware that Joe Biden doesn’t carry nearly the negative baggage that Clinton did against Trump. I also am aware that much of Trump’s message that sold against Clinton is hitting the deck with a thud against Biden.

We have an economy in collapse, the nation’s response to the pandemic has been disastrous. Trump is campaigning against his own record as president, if you allow me to parse the rhetoric he keeps using.

I know the media have a role to play and a job to do. Part of all that is to tell us what the polling is telling us about the race as it develops. It’s just making me nervous.