Tag Archives: AOC

Now, for social media’s negatives

Not long ago I spoke glowingly about social media’s ability to keep friends connected. Today, I want to offer a dart at social media’s ability to lift the celebrity profiles of politicians beyond where they deserve.

I am stunned at how freshmen and women in Congress become overnight celebrities, how their every utterance becomes headline news.

Progressives mined that wellspring a few years ago when Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez took her seat in the U.S. House. She got airtime, inches in print and attention usually reserved for much senior members.

She didn’t deserve it! Same with other progressives such as Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

Now, it’s the MAGA cultists getting this outsized attention. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Lauren Boebert all can be seen and heard everywhere. They have become leaders within their Republican Party, just as AOC emerged as a leader within the Democratic Party.

Who or what is responsible? Social media. These pols have mined social media with cunning. Their celebrity status is both cheap and costly. It cost them little to attain this status. It has cost our system of government, though, to give these loudmouths attention they clearly do not deserve.

Why give these rookies so much attention?

Regular readers of this blog might remember when I took a then-rookie member of Congress to task for being so damn out front on every issue imaginable. She is a progressive Democrat from New York City: Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

She was, well, everywhere. At once! She seemed to defy the laws of physics. She even became known as AOC and became the most visible member of a progressive team of congresswomen known as The Squad.

OK, she’s now in her second term, along with other members of The Squad.

She has given way to another brand of congressional newcomer. This latest batch comes from the other end of the spectrum. These are the right-wingers, adherents to that thing called QAnon.

President Biden recently referred to one of the leaders of the Class of 2020 gang of loudmouths as “What’s Her Name.” The representative from the 14th Congressional District of Georgia just couldn’t stand that kind of put-down. Hey, I thought it was so good, I am going to adopt as my own rule of referencing her in this blog.

From now until I decide otherwise, I’ll refer to this idiot as What’s Her Name. You’ll likely know to whom I am referring.

I guess in a way, Rep. What’s Her Name took a page from AOCS’s playbook two years earlier. Something comes up that gets the media’s attention? Rep. What’s Her Name shows up in front of a bank of microphones. She then spews whatever nonsense she can find. Reporters scribble their notes furiously. She gets all the attention in the world … none of which, I believe, she deserves.

There used to be an unwritten rule that suggested that House members or senators needed at least a term, or two, to earn any attention.

Hah! That rule, just like so many others, has been flushed away.


AOC offers sound idea

Here’s a thought that comes from a member of Congress but is one I want to present here as food for thought.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, one of the House’s most outspoken progressive members has suggested that any member of Congress who sought a pardon from the president of the United States should be expelled from that body.

Follow me on this.

AOC noted that during the House committee hearings on the 1/6 insurrection we learned that several House members sought a pardon from Donald J. Trump. According to AOC, one who seeks a pardon is admitting his or her guilt in committing a crime.

Hmm. Fascinating, yes?

Reps. Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Louis Gohmert, Mo Brooks and Marjorie Taylor Greene all were identified by witnesses as House members who sought pardons from Trump. Why? They must have known all hell was going to break loose on 1/6, as did Trump.

They’re all right-wing, wacko Republicans. Thus, you could expect that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — an ardent Democrat — would take a hard line on whether her colleagues should remain as members of the people’s House. However, AOC — with whom I have some problems in the past — makes a valid point about whether these GOP nimrods deserve to keep their seats in the House.

If they have admitted to a crime for which they sought a pardon from the lame-duck POTUS, then they have admitted that they have committed a felony. If that is their admission, do they then deserve to remain in their House offices, drawing pay from taxpayers’ wallets and making public policy decisions that affect every American?

No! They do not!


What happened to Congress’s better angels?

There once was a time when we expected our elected leaders to represent the very best in us, yes?

What, then, has become of that standard in the halls of our Congress?

A Republican member of the House, Paul Gosar of Arizona, could be censured by his Democratic colleagues for posting an animation depicting him killing Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden. Has there been any recrimination coming from the Republican side of the great divide? Has any of the GOP leadership scolded Gosar publicly for posting such a hideous depiction? No. Nothin’, man.

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has said nothing. Nor has any of the leadership team surrounding him.

Gosar could be censured. That means he will have to stand in the well of the House and listen to  his colleagues excoriate him. The critics are likely to be Democrats only. But his conduct casts shame on the entire House of Representatives, which contains a significant number of Republicans as well.

The better angels of our elected House have gone silent.

What a horrible shame on them!


Rep./Dr. Jackson channels AOC

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It didn’t take Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez long at all to make a name for herself after she got elected to Congress in 2018.

Suddenly, this New York City progressive lawmaker became all the media’s No. 1 TV, radio and print “get.” They wanted to know what this rookie congresswoman thought about any issue of the moment.

So, now it’s 2021. We had a congressional election in November 2020. Who among the crop of rookie congressmen/women has emerged as the latest go-to individual? None other than Ronny Jackson, the Republican who now lives in Amarillo, Texas — where my wife and I lived for 23 years before we moved to the Dallas ‘burbs in late 2018.

Jackson wants to make a name for himself, too. He is using the same medium that AOC used to elevate her profile a couple of years ago: Jackson has become a Twitter tyrant. He shows up on Fox News and other right-wing media outlets, sorta the way AOC showed up on liberal outlets in 2019 and 2020.

I called AOC out then because I didn’t believe she had earned her spurs. She needed more seasoning to be considered any sort of authority on congressional matters. I tend to listen more intently to those with years — rather than weeks or months — of experience legislating at the congressional level.

As for Rep. Jackson, the one-time presidential physician who now represents the 13th Congressional District of Texas … well, he just needs to shut his trap.

Civil discourse? It’s MIA

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What in the name of uncivil backstabbing is going on atop Capitol Hill?

Democrats and Republicans continue to detest each other. My particular concern rests with GOP lawmakers who seem to pose an actual physical threat to their Democratic colleagues.

The latest high-profile confrontation included two relatively junior members of the House of Representatives. They haven’t been there but both of ’em have taken full advantage of their position to reap the highest profile possible.

The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene’s spat with Ocasio-Cortez | TheHill

The House’s QAnon queen, Marjorie Taylor Greene, seemed intent on confronting lefty darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She followed AOC down the hall and out the door of the Capitol Building, berating her with every step. AOC didn’t respond.

Cortez has expressed concern for her physical safety because of antics performed by Greene and some of her other right-wing lunatic colleagues.

This seems to stem from the insurrection of Jan. 6. You remember that, yes? Donald Trump incited the terrorists to storm Capitol Hill. They did and shouted their desire to “hang Mike Pence!” as the vice president was doing his constitutional duty by certifying the Electoral College victory of Joe Biden over Trump.

It hasn’t abated much since that terrible day.

That the confrontation between Green and AOC, though, illustrates something strange about the current political climate. Both of these women are newbies to Congress; Greene was elected in 2020 and AOC was elected in 2018. Yet we find that the skyrocketing influence of social media has elevated both their profiles.

It well might be igniting the hard feelings that exist among members of the far left and the far right. It bothers and frightens me terribly.

As for MTG vs. AOC, hmmm … I’ll pull for the lefty.

Green New Deal is back!


By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Just in time, a newer version of legislation that got stalled a couple of years ago in the U.S. Senate, has returned to the center stage of environmental policy discussion.

The Green New Deal — the bogeyman of the Republican Party — has been reintroduced by U.S. Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York; indeed, AOC herself has become a favorite target of GOP critics.

Why is this so timely? Because we have Earth Day coming up Thursday. It’s the one day of the year — as if we should dedicate just a single day — we call attention to the fragility of the only planet we can inhabit.

I’ll save a discussion on the nuts and bolts of the Green New Deal for another day. I do want to make a point about the importance of what the GND intends to accomplish. It seeks to preserve our environment, to retain Earth as a place where human beings can inhabit.

President Biden has made climate change one of the linchpins of his tenure in office. He appointed former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of State John Kerry as a special international envoy on climate change. The president signed an executive order upon taking office to return the United States to the Paris Climate Accord, from which Donald Trump had walked away when he took office.

Climate change presents an existential threat to our national security. Never mind the spring chill that has swept across the nation in recent days. The evidence continues to show that Earth’s median temperatures continue to increase year over year. Ice caps are melting. Sea levels are rising. Third World nations continue to fell millions of acres of forest each year. The industrialized nations of the world continue to pour millions of tons of carbon-related pollutants into the air.

We must find some answers to these crises. Many of us say it when Earth Day rolls around every year: We only have one planet … and we have to protect it.

Is the Green New Deal too much? Too little? I don’t know. However, I believe we must not continue to do what we have been doing. We are contributing to the destruction of our Good Earth.

POTUS looks for patriots

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden is striving mightily to appeal to our love of country while pitching hard for a massive new program aimed at repairing, restoring and reviving our nation’s infrastructure.

He is running — so far, at least — into a partisan wall erected by Republicans who comprise the so-called “loyal opposition.”

Biden wants to spend at least $2 trillion on repairing our nation’s roads, highways, bridges, rail lines, airports, water delivery systems, all while improving Internet service.

It’s the patriotic thing to do, he said this week in a speech in Pittsburgh. The president is right, but … hold on! Republicans say it’s too costly. They don’t want to pay for it by increasing taxes on millionaires and others who got a huge tax cut from Donald J. Trump and the GOP-led majorities in both congressional chambers.

Joe Biden proposes to increase the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28 percent. Here’s the deal, though: The 28-percent tax rate proposed by the president is still less than what it was before Trump and his Trumpkins slashed the rate to 21 percent.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell calls President Biden’s proposal a “Trojan horse” that is actually full of too many perks for the “far left wing” of the Democratic Party. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the unofficial leader of the House progressive movement, doesn’t think the president goes far enough. She wants to spend at least — I hope you’re sitting down for this — $10 trillion. To which I say: Holy crap, AOC! Are you out of your mind?

So, the president’s search for patriots among us is running into resistance from the far left and the far right. Meanwhile, the vast moderate middle, which polls suggest supports what the president wants to do, is being kicked around while the extremists fight it out on the edges.

Go figure.

Ted Cruz: ‘sniveling coward’ of the year

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Ted Cruz takes the grand prize as the “sniveling coward” of this still young year.

I kind of like the term “sniveling.” It’s so, um, descriptive. You can draw a mental picture of someone cowering in a corner, sobbing while crouched in some sort of fetal position.

It’s an epithet that the Texas U.S. senator threw at a fellow Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Yep, that would be Donald John Trump, the guy who eventually won the presidency that year. You recall the moment, yes? Trump tweeted an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz, Ted’s wife. Ted went after Trump with ferocity, calling him a “pathological liar,” a guy with “no morals,” and yes, he called him a “sniveling coward.”

Trump is all of that. So, too, is Ted Cruz … I mean the sniveling coward part.

You see, after Trump got elected Cruz began sucking up to The Donald. They became best friends. Cruz became afraid of the damage Trump might cause were he to remain committed to his earlier view of Trump’s morals, his lying and his lack of courage.

He cowered in the face of potential payback. Thus, he became a “sniveling coward.”

I suppose you could say he burnished his “sniveling coward” credentials by jetting off to Cancun while Texans shivered in the dark during that horrible winter storm. Oh, and get this: Cruz then decided this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference to mock Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York progressive member of Congress, who came to Texas and raised $5 million in storm relief … while Cruz was hightailing it to the beach in sunny, balmy Mexico.

All of these examples I have cited offer plenty of evidence to suggest that Ted Cruz is very much the “sniveling coward” he once said of an ex-president to whom he now professes blind fealty.

Cruz makes me want to puke.

AOC is earning her stripes

I have taken a shot or two at first-term U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the past few months, suggesting she’s still a bit too green to be getting all the media attention and hype she gets.

Well, I think AOC has turned an important corner.

She stepped to the microphone during a U.S. House of Representatives session this week and took to task a veteran Republican colleague, Ted Yoho, for blurting out a profane epithet at her during a confrontation on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

AOC spoke on behalf of women across the country who are verbally abused and accosted by men in power and said, in effect: We are not going to take it any longer!

To which I say: Stand tall, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez!

The event occurred after Yoho and AOC exchanged a few heated words on the Capitol steps. She reportedly walked away and then heard Yoho call her a “fu**ing bitch.” The Hill newspaper reported the incident. Yoho then took to the floor to deliver what I like to call a “non-apology apology.” He didn’t say he was sorry for using such crass language. He said something about being married for a long time and for having daughters, which makes him aware of how he should talk to women.

Ocasio-Cortez stood on the House floor and said the following, according to the Chicago Tribune: “This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural,” said Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., calling it a culture “of accepting a violence and violent language against women, an entire structure of power that supports that.”

I should point, too, that AOC happens to be part of the so-called progressive “squad” of four legislators who have been singled out by Donald Trump, who once told them to “go back” to where they came from. Hmm. The other three are Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Ihan Omar and Rashida Tlaib; AOC, Pressley and Tlaib all were born in the United States, while Omar is a naturalized U.S. citizen. They all are women of color and they all deserve to be treated with respect as elected American politicians.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a serious dose of truth to power in a 10-minute speech on the floor of the U.S. House.

I’ll leave you with this, from AOC: “Having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man.”