Tag Archives: 9/11

Patriots? No, perverts!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

How about this bit of symmetry?

The terrorists who stormed Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 at Donald Trump’s inciteful rhetoric were no more “patriots” than the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, supposedly in the name of Islam.

The Trump terrorists were perverts to patriotism, just as the 9/11 terrorists had perverted a great religion.

The more I see the video of the Jan. 6 terrorist riot and hear them screaming their “love” of country while beating cops with Old Glory-adorned flag poles, the more I think of the monstrous terrorist attack on 9/11.

I make no apologies for connecting those events. The mob that sought to disrupt Congress from doing its constitutional duty of ratifying the Electoral College vote that elected Joe Biden as president was every bit as heinous as terrorists who do their deeds in the name of Islam.

I know that the death count on Capitol Hill doesn’t begin to  match the pain inflicted on 9/11. I am making no connection on that level.

Instead I merely am attaching degrees of perversion between the groups of fanatics. I see practically no difference between those who attacked us on 9/11 and those who attacked our sacred government on Jan. 6.

Yes, Dr. Dean, they’re ‘Muslim terrorists’ | High Plains Blogger

Get to the root of the Capitol Hill riot

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Those of us who are old enough to remember it likely would provide the same answer to this question: What is the most serious security breach in our nation’s history?

I would answer: 9/11. Terrorists flew three passenger jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and could have crashed a fourth jetliner into the Capitol Building were it not for the bravery of the passengers who fought them for control of the jet and crashed it into a field in Pennsylvania.

The tragedy of 9/11 prompted a thorough investigation into what went wrong and it produced some important reforms in the fight against international terrorism.

Now we have another monumental security breakdown staring us in the face. It occurred this past Wednesday when rioters stormed up Capitol Hill and ransacked the Capitol Building. They sent members of Congress – as well as Vice President Mike Pence – scurrying for cover. They were gathered to perform a pro forma constitutional act of ratifying the Electoral College vote that declared Joe Biden elected president of the United States. Donald Trump sought to contest that result and, well, he has contested it in hideous fashion!

Now comes the question: What in the name of national security happened and how did the D.C. Metro Police Department, the Capitol Police, and the Secret Service not respond more forcefully and quickly to the mayhem that was unfolding?

I am one American patriot who believes we need to create another blue-ribbon, bipartisan commission to study in detail what went wrong and provide solutions for how to prevent this kind of tragedy from recurring.

I also am one of millions of Americans who was horrified at what I watched on my TV screen. Donald Trump exhorted the rioters to march on Capitol Hill and “take back” the government. The rioters began their march and then all hell broke loose.

A commission charged with finding answers would have many questions to probe. They include:

  • Given Donald Trump’s threat that “something big” would occur on Jan. 6, why wasn’t the Capitol Building swarming with security personnel who could repel the advance of the rioters?
  • Why did some of the cops appear to many of us seem to assist rioters into the building?
  • Others have posed this notion, but I’ll repeat it here: Had the rioters been ransacking the Capitol been Black Lives Matter protesters, there is little doubt that police would have reacted much differently than they did with the pro-Trump mob. The question: Is that a valid assertion?

Was there a massive breakdown in security of our nation’s government? I want answers. I believe a blue-ribbon commission given free rein to search for the truth can provide the answers we need to hear.

BLOGGER’S NOTE: A version of this blog was posted initially on KETR-FM’s website.

Blogging is just so much fun

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I once thought that the terror attacks on 9/11 broke open a dam for opinion writers. I went through a lengthy spell while writing opinions for a daily newspaper that I had to confront more topics that I could comment on each day.

My task after 9/11 became difficult: I had to decide what I could set aside for another day.

I left daily journalism more than eight years ago. I now am a full-time blogger. I am relearning now that the Donald Trump Era of American politics has given me a new surge in subjects on which I can comment.

Soon, though, the Trump Era will come to a merciful end. I am hopeful for a new day in American politics. President Joe Biden promises to restore our national soul. I hope he does. Our soul is in dire need of restoration.

If he does, then I hope that the trove of topics on which to comment will remain full. I am going to use this blog to offer all manner of opinion on issues of the day.

It gives me reason to keep on blogging.

What happened to Rudy?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have been thinking of the tragedies that have emerged from Donald Trump’s term as president and I come up — so far — with just one tragic story.

It involves Rudy Giuliani, who’s now serving as Trump’s lead lawyer in the futile and feckless fight to overturn the results of the election Trump lost this month to President-elect Biden.

I mean, I have to collect myself a bit just to comprehend what has happened to the man who’s gone from hero to zero in the span of roughly two decades.

There he was, standing with President Bush after the 9/11 attacks on his city and the Pentagon. Giuliani served as NYC mayor. He became “America’s mayor.” Time magazine named him its person of the year in 2001 for the courage he demonstrated in helping his city  clean itself up after the wreckage that the terrorists delivered on that terrible day.

Before that the mayor served as a crime-fighting, mob-busting federal prosecutor.

I watch the videos of him from back in the post-9/11 era and wonder: What in the name of God in heaven happened to this guy?

He has devolved into a shill for Donald Trump. These days he is fomenting crazy and utterly stupid conspiracy theories about phony election fraud allegations. Did you saw him sweating during that presser this week, with hair dye dripping down both sides of his face? My goodness!

Rudy was ridiculous, citing a scene from “My Cousin Vinny” as evidence in a wacky conspiracy theory.

Well, you know all that. You know that America’s mayor has become America’s fool. I don’t know how you might feel about the deterioration of this once-stellar public servant. I will stand by my view that we are witnessing a tragedy in the making.

It saddens me beyond measure.

Lift the Muslim ban, Mr. POTUS-elect

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

On the night he declared victory in the 2020 presidential election, Joseph Biden’s team announced plans for the new president to sign a series of executive orders on Day One of his administration.

One of them would be to life a ban on entry into the United States by travelers from certain Muslim-majority nations. Donald Trump issued that order early in his presidential term.

The new president wants to revoke that order. To which I say … yes!

FBI Director Christopher Wray has told us a stark truth about the nature of terrorist threats to this country. It is that the biggest threat comes from home-grown, corn-fed white supremacists and not from Muslim nations.

The new president realizes what the nation’s top cop, the FBI director, has asserted.

I don’t mean to suggest that this nation’s security team should just shrug and look the other way at any terrorist threat that comes from abroad. I do mean to suggest that Donald Trump issued an informal declaration of war against Islam, a point that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama sought assiduously to avoid when they were in office.

President Biden intends to revoke the Trump overstated declaration that Muslim countries pose a hideous threat. If we have learned anything since 9/11 I would presume we have learned how to detect and deal with international terrorist threats, especially from Muslim nations … which renders a ban on travelers from those nations to just an unnecessary show of presidential bravado.

9/11: Memory still burns hot

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It was 19 years ago when our lives changed possibly forever.

As I look back on that terrible Tuesday morning, I find myself swallowing hard. My throat develops that lump when I see the Twin Towers collapse onto the street in lower Manhattan. I have difficulty watching video of the men, women and children running for their lives.

Yes, our lives changed when we saw what happens when terror shows its ugliness. It did on that day in 2001.

Of course I remember that day. I remember my reaction when my colleague told me that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I remember turning on the small TV in my office and watching in real time the second jetliner crash into the other tower.

Then the sh** hit the fan.

We went to war against the Taliban, against al-Qaeda, against any organization that sided with the religious perverts who struck at our heart. I have said for all that time that we may never be able to declare victory as we have done in many of our previous wars. I will stand by that assertion.

Pundits were enraged and expressed their rage with eloquence. I tried to bring my own meager talents into play. In reality, the attack stands alone as a testament to the cruelty that humankind can rein down on ourselves.

It doesn’t get any easier to recall that terrible day, the attacks on the Twin Towers, on the Pentagon and when those brave passengers aboard the jetliner crashed the airplane into the field, sparing yet another target from destruction.

I will get through the day after spending it thinking and remembering how our nation was alerted in the starkest terms imaginable to the danger that lurks all around us.

Allow this boast

I shouldn’t boast, given that I criticize Donald J. Trump for doing so.

Just bear with me for a moment.

I have just logged the 402nd consecutive day posting a blog on High Plains Blogger. I happen to believe that’s boast-worthy.

You might ask: Why?

It’s because I like to think I have a lot to say. It’s importance, of course, is open to interpretation. Much of my blog involves political and policy matters; less of it involves life experience, but I do consider that important, too. I also have series of posts on the blog: I talk about retirement and I also discuss adventures my wife and I have with Toby the Puppy; and I also look back from time to time on the full-time journalism career that concluded nearly eight years ago.

On that last point, my journalism endeavor hasn’t ended completely. I wrote for a public TV station in Amarillo for a time after leaving print journalism; I also wrote for a CBS-TV affiliate, also in Amarillo. Since moving to the Metroplex, I have become a freelance blogger for KETR-FM public radio at Texas A&M University-Commerce. And … I am a freelance reporter for a group of weekly newspapers, writing chiefly for the Farmersville Times.

Through it all, I have kept firing away on my blog. It’s what I do.

Some folks tell me I am a “prolific” blogger. I take that as a supreme compliment. I have help in that regard. The world is bursting with news on which to comment. It’s been that way since, oh, roughly about the time 9/11 occurred. That event changed the world and brought bloggers and other commentators like me along with it.

So, this blog continues apace. I am thrilled to be able to contribute some small perspective to the huge world of opinion.

Hey, it beats working!

You want major national change? Try this!

Mom and Dad saw the world change in front of them when we went to war against international tyranny. We emerged victorious from that world war and took our place as the world’s colossus … and the world changed forever.

Then came 9/11, when those terrorists flew jetliners into office towers and into the Pentagon. The nation went to war again against the monsters who sponsored those madmen. The nation is still fighting that war … and, yes, the world changed once again forever.

The world went through fundamental change in the 20th and 21st centuries because of senseless acts of violence brought to us.

Now we’re entering another fundamental change brought to the world by an “enemy” no one saw coming until it was too late. The world likely is going to change in ways we cannot even foretell now as we seek to stem the attack brought to us by the coronavirus pandemic.

Our world will change culturally, with no arena sports to cheer from grandstands packed with fans like you and me. Our interpersonal behavior will change. We’ll be far more cognizant of personal hygiene.

Think of this for a just a brief moment. Our government has enacted certain restrictions on our behavior. We must not gather in large crowds. We dare not venture into public places without wearing face masks. We pack sanitized wipes, little bottles of alcohol-based cleanser. We maintain what we now know colloquially as “social distancing” from those we meet.

We shouldn’t shake a stranger’s hand. We shouldn’t even embrace friends we haven’t seen in good while. Oh, sure, we aren’t prohibited by law from doing these things. It just is patently unwise given the nature of the COVID-19 virus that attacks even the heretofore perfectly healthy among us.

Therein lies the change that awaits us as we continue this struggle against the pandemic. My rumbling gut tells me we’re likely going to change forever … yet again.

The world changed 75 years ago

We saw it coming from Donald Trump

Many of us saw it coming when Donald Trump first announced his campaign for the presidency of the United States.

A fellow with no public service experience in his background, no military experience, not a hint of self-deprecation was running for the nation’s highest office.

His entire professional life had been aimed at one goal only: to enrich an already rich guy with even more loot, earned from allegedly shady business dealings.

So he runs for the presidency in 2016 vowing to shake up the government. He needed to vow to first learn something about how government works. He didn’t know then anything about the federal government operation he would inherit and he damn sure doesn’t know anything now that the government is in crisis trying to do battle with the COVID-19 virus that has killed tens of thousands of Americans.

Yep, some of us saw it coming. I don’t want to say “I told you so,” but … well, you know.

Trump’s response to the pandemic has been a classic cluster fu**. His daily rants long ago ceased delivering any useful information. He uses the White House press room as a forum to campaign for re-election.

He boasts about the “great job” his administration is doing, and then he lies constantly about what he has said previously and then about his denials.

There are so many aspects of Donald Trump’s time as president I find disheartening, so I’ll settle on just two key elements.

This man lacks any semblance of empathy. His White House rants — and I no longer will call them “briefings” — never contain a single expression of sincere empathy for the victims of COVID-19. They never speak to loved ones’ suffering, let alone to the suffering of those afflicted by the killer infection.

The other element deals with Trump’s inability or unwillingness to tell the truth. He lies about big things and small things. He lies about what he knew of the pandemic early on and lies about “friends” who have been stricken by the illness. He once lied about all the “friends” who died on 9/11, but there is no record of Trump ever attending a single funeral of anyone who perished on that terrible day in 2001.

Donald Trump has built his version of the presidency using the same blocks on which he cobbled together the business that was started for him by his wealthy father. He cannot resist seeking self-aggrandizement even in the face of the world’s dire health crisis.

Some of us saw this coming long ago. We couldn’t have predicted it would present itself in this particular context, but truth be told, we aren’t surprised in the least to see Donald Trump behaving in this hideous fashion.

Pearl Harbor and 9/11 rolled into one tragedy

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has issued fair warning.

Americans, Dr. Adams said, are going to endure our “Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment” as we continue to wage war against coronavirus pandemic.

I have no doubt that we are up to the challenge. We’ve been through hell already in our lives. I am 70 years of age and I’ve had a ringside seat to plenty of national crises.

The Vietnam War; constitutional crises; presidential impeachments; assassinations; fiscal calamity. They all have inflicted deep wounds on our national psyche, not to mention — in the case of the Vietnam War and other conflicts around the world — wounds on many thousands of Americans’ physical well-being.

We have somehow endured and emerged from those crises strong. Some have suggested we are stronger than ever. To that extent, I endorse part of the message that Donald Trump seeks to deliver, which is that we’ll emerge from this health crisis a stronger nation. I just do not want him to take credit for it … although I am certain he will seek to do so.

Our Pearl Harbor moment nearly 80 years ago thrust us into a world war. Millions of young Americans signed up immediately to get into the fight. My father, I learned just this past fall, enlisted in the U.S. Navy on the very day Japan attacked our fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Then came 9/11, an event that spurred a new generation of American heroes to join the war against international terrorism.

Yes, we emerged from that Pearl Harbor moment a mighty nation. It remains to be seen how we will rebuild ourselves after the terror attack on 9/11, although the signs look promising to me.

My hope now for the nation is that we exhibit patience and perseverance. Yes, we’re all learning to live in a world that requires us to observe new norms of behavior. Given the alternative to learning these new norms, I am willing to stay the course for as long as it takes.

We mustn’t rush back to what we think is normal. The killer virus does not respect the economic pain we’re enduring. It is singularly deadly. No amount of bluster is going to wish it away.

We got through Pearl Harbor and 9/11. We’ll get through this crisis.