Tag Archives: border security

How does POTUS tell his story?

Someone will have to explain to me why President Biden continues to struggle to win Americans’ approval over the way he is conducting himself in the office to which he was elected in 2020.

Maybe he just isn’t telling his story in a convincing fashion. Perhaps he is being outshouted by critics who continue to adhere to matters such as, oh, The Big Lie about the so-called theft of the presidential election.

I admit my bias. I want Biden to succeed and I want him to be able to sell his story to Americans who just aren’t buying into the Biden presidency. OK, so I have gotten that out of the way.

The economy continues to add hundreds of thousands of jobs each month; joblessness is less than 4%; we are winning the war against the COVID pandemic; we have restored our alliances around the world; the president is leading the worldwide response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and is crippling the Russian economy.

Life isn’t perfect. Inflation is hurting Americans. However, Joe Biden keeps reminding us that so much of the skyrocketing costs come from (a) supply issues created by the pandemic and (b) Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and the cutting off of Russian oil and natural gas to markets around the world.

The president needs to do a better job of securing our southern border. I acknowledge mistakes there. However, the border isn’t anything approaching an “open door” for anyone to walk into this country.

I am open to hearing from readers of this blog who has an idea of why Joe Biden continues to win the kind of approval from my fellow citizens that I believe he deserves.

So … with that I’ll sign off from this post.

Let’s discuss.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Waiting on an answer

Perhaps you have experienced as well a frustration I am about to express, which deals with a public official’s apparent refusal to provide a direct answer to a direct question.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar has been running a re-election campaign ad in which he declares that he “distributed $3 billion” to buttress the state’s border security. Hegar, therefore, is taking direct credit for acting under his own discretion to spend the money to secure our border. The Republican officeholder, quite naturally, is critical of the nation’s top Democrat, President Biden, over federal border policies.

My question went to the head of the comptroller’s media relations office. I sent an email and the question is this: Does Comptroller Hegar have the discretion to distribute $3 billion for border security as he sees fit, which he implies in his campaign ad, or is that distribution mandated by the Legislature and/or the governor? The media guy has gotten two messages from me. No answer.

I don’t know why he hasn’t answered my question. I believe it is clear and concise. All he has to do is say “yes” or “no,” if he doesn’t want to spend any time explaining himself or the state agency’s policy.

My concern about Hegar’s ad is that it might be misleading. In fact, I believe it is misleading. You see, the Legislature appropriates money and then directs agency heads — even those elected to their office — to spend it according to what the legislation prescribes. So, when Glenn Hegar tells TV viewers that he “distributed” the money, he leaves the impression that he has sole authority to spend the money as he sees fit. It’s all part of the GOP narrative I keep hearing played out during this primary election season: Republican officials are doing the job that the feds are supposed to be doing; therefore, the message goes, Joe Biden is failing at his job. In fact, Hegar’s ad opens with that very statement, that “Biden is failing.”

Candidates for Texas attorney general are saying it, too, even though the AG is mainly a civil litigator. They’re all proclaiming how they’re going to get tough on criminals crossing the border into Texas “illegally,” of course, to do harm to helpless Texans who will fall victim to their criminal intent.

Well, I’ll be patient and wait this one out. I just find it hilarious that the guy who serves as the state’s top bean counter would portray himself as a tough-as-nails crime fighter.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Watch for phony heroics among GOP candidates

Clearly it has become open season on the Joe Biden administration among Texas Republican candidates for public office. They all seem intent on positioning themselves as the polar opposites of the Democratic president … even if the office they seek has little to do with anything related to federal policy.

The Texas comptroller of public accounts provides an interesting example of what I am talking about.

The GOP incumbent Glenn Hegar is running a TV ad in which he declares that he is going to fight the Biden administration over protecting our southern border. How is he going to do that?

Hegar’s ad proclaims that he spent $3 billion on border security. I was wondering about an issue related to that bit of braggadocio: Does the comptroller have the discretionary authority to just send $3 billion in that manner, or must he do what the Legislature and the governor tell him to do?

I asked someone who covers state government extensively about that matter. He responded that government agencies have limited authority in some cases to exercise discretion in spending money, but the border money to which Hegar referred isn’t one of them. I have posed the question to the public information officer for the comptroller’s office and haven’t heard back from him.

I am left to wonder whether Hegar is misrepresenting his authority on that border security issue so he can muster up some anti-President Biden anger among Republican primary voters.

I will report back to you the response I get from the comptroller’s media flack.

Meantime, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether the state’s top bean counter — Glenn Hegar — might be, um, overstating his role in “keeping Texans safe from illegal immigrants.”

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

 

Dear Gov. Abbott: Get real, will ya?

You had me then you lost me, Gov. Greg Abbott.

Perhaps you might not remember when we had a nice professional relationship. You served on the Texas Supreme Court and then later as state attorney general. You would come see us in Amarillo when I worked at the newspaper as its editorial page editor.

I considered you to be a decent fellow. Thoughtful, not terribly partisan, reasonable.

Then you got elected governor in 2014. I was gone from the business when that happened, but I have been watching you closely ever since. Frankly, Gov. Abbott, you have disappointed me.

You keep hammering the federal government over Affordable Care Mandates, or border security issues, over COVID-19 protection measures. You just cannot stop blasting the feds over this and that.

I get that you might want to seek the presidency in 2024. You’re entitled to harbor your ambition. But what the hell? Now you want the feds to send more testing kits to Texas and more antibody material. You keep yammering that President Biden isn’t sending enough of them here. Hey, does it occur to you that Texas is one of 50 states and several territories that also require federal assistance during this pandemic?

I was hoping you might take your even-handed approach to government into the governor’s office when you got elected. Silly me. I was a fool for thinking that would happen.

What is so remarkable about your insistence on federal help now is how you have stiffed the feds — and the president — previously.  You didn’t even have the decency to show up for a photo op with Biden when he came to Texas. He’s the president of everyone and good manners would dictate that you could at least grace him with a handshake for the cameras. But you’re all over the former Liar in Chief when he visited the Texas. What a joke!

Well, enough of this note to you, Gov. Abbott. I just had to get this off my chest. I feel better now.

Happy new year … and stop trying to make political points by your constant bitching about Joe Biden.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Charm offensive doesn’t always work

KAMLOOPS, British Columbia — We entered this beautiful country aboard our pickup and hauling our fifth wheel through a thinly traveled checkpoint just north of Bellingham, Wash.

We were ready for the inquisition we expected from the Canadian border security personnel. We presented our passports … and then the inquiry began.

Why are you coming to Canada? You’re headed for Kamloops … why did you pick that city? Do you know anyone in Kamloops? How long do you intend to stay in Canada? Where do you live in the States? Do you have any guns with you? Are you aware that bringing guns into Canada is illegal?

We were advised before our arrival at the border that fresh produce wouldn’t be allowed into Canada. The young woman didn’t ask if we had anything like that aboard. Whatever. We didn’t.

The border security guard asked us many of the same questions more than once. I sought to be usual charming self with her. It didn’t take. She wasn’t having any of it.

She asked us when we intended to get back home. My answer: Hey, we’re retired. We’re going to head for the house whenever we feel like it. I said it with a broad grin; the border security agent didn’t smile back.

We understood precisely why these individuals ask these questions and why they repeat themselves. They look for any rattles in our answers. They are trying to get a rise out of us.

In the moment, I was thinking of how my wife and I went through airport security a decade ago at David Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. Talk about intense grilling! The young man asked us seemingly dozens of times the same set of about eight or 10 questions, looking for us to get jumpy. We didn’t flinch. We cleared airport security just fine and were on our way home.

We got a first-hand look at precisely how the Israelis have prevented jetliner hijackings and terror attacks at their main international air terminal.

Moreover, we got a smattering of that treatment while crossing into this beautiful country just north of the United States of America..

No, Mr. POTUS: The U.S. isn’t ‘full’

Mr. President, how many times do we have to tell you that your anti-immigrant rhetoric is un-American?

Your recent trip to the California-Mexico border contained more of the same, tired rhetoric about how you intend to crack down on illegal immigration, how you want to stop drug traffickers from entering the United States and how you no longer want asylum seekers to even bother making the effort to escape oppression in their home countries.

You said the country is “full.” There’s no more room at the proverbial inn? Is that what you mean?

So now you give Mexico a year to shut down the illegal drug trade before you carry out your threat to “close the border.” Yeah, I heard you say that “I’m not messing around.”

Then you “mess around” by backing off on your shut it down now mantra by declaring you intention to wait a year? Do you know what that tells me, Mr. President? It tells me your initial threat was as phony as all the other threats you fire out there.

You said you want to repeal the Affordable Care Act now. Then you say you want to wait until after the November 2020 presidential election. Same thing, Hoss. That initial threat was hollow. It was phony. Bogus. It was full of crap.

Mr. President, the United States is not full. We comprise about 3.7 million square miles. We are a big and until now a welcoming country. Hey, my grandparents — all four of them — came here in search of a better life than what they had in southern Europe. They found it and contributed more to the advancement of the American ideal than you’ll ever contribute.

They believed in the American dream. You were born into immense wealth and you believe in personal enrichment.

You may stop the bloviating and the bluster about shutting down our southern border. You are now more than welcome to stop proclaiming that the door is now shut, that the “United States is full.”

No sir. It isn’t.

House Democrats flex their muscles; Senate GOP is up next

The Democrats who control the U.S. House of Representatives stuck together today. They got a few of their Republican friends to join them in blocking Donald J. Trump’s emergency declaration.

The vote was 245-182, which is almost a full House tabulation. The issue is that important.

Trump has declared there to be an emergency on our southern border. He did so even while acknowledging that “I didn’t need to” make the declaration. He did so to make a political point.

The president’s ostensible point is to stem the tide of drug dealers, killers, rapists, human traffickers and terrorists he says are pouring into the country. Military officials say no such emergency exists. Indeed, the president’s declaration is as phony as a degree from Trump University.

Now it’s the Senate’s turn. Republicans still run the upper chamber. However, some GOP senators are peeling away from the president, who now stands likely to lose this emergency declaration travesty.

Trump is likely to veto whatever Congress sends to him. The margins of defeat in the House and Senate are not “veto proof,” meaning that Congress likely will be unable to override a presidential veto.

But what does this mean to the president’s declaration?

It means to me that he doesn’t have the support of a majority of a co-equal branch of the federal government. Will he proceed anyway with this idiotic emergency declaration? Oh, more than likely he will because he doesn’t understand the political implications of what he intends to do — which is build The Trump Wall along our border with Mexico.

This is getting weirder by the hour.

Declaring rhetorical ‘war’ on border-security demagogues

I am on the verge — or perhaps I’ve already taken the step — of declaring rhetorical “war” on those who insist that that those who oppose The Trump Wall are in favor of “open borders,” or are soft on crime, or who don’t want to protect the nation.

I am one of those who opposes the barrier that Donald Trump keeps insisting we build along our southern border.

Do I favor open borders? No. Am I soft on crime? No. Do I want to protect the nation against those who would do us harm? Yes.

Why is this so troublesome? It bothers me in the extreme to hear otherwise normally reasonable people say the things they do out loud, in public, about those of us who believe the president is wrong to declare a national emergency just to build The Trump Wall.

The president promised to make Mexico pay for its construction. It didn’t happen; it won’t happen. Now he is trying to foist The Wall on taxpayers. Congressional Democrats are digging in against that idea, too. So, to circumvent Congress, the president has declared a national emergency where none exists. Democrats are fighting back and, lo and behold, they’re getting some Republican support against the emergency declaration idea.

The day after making the declaration, he flew to Florida to play a few rounds of golf. National emergency? Hmm?

Trump has led the demagogic drumbeat against those who oppose The Wall. He yaps and yammers about open borders, national security and contends that his foes favor the former and oppose the latter.

I simply cannot take any more of that blind demagoguery coming from the president and his political base of supporters.

No one will get hurt in this “war” I intend to declare. Unless, of course, I inflict damage on some feelings along the way.

If so . . . that is just too bad.

‘Emergency’ plays second fiddle to golf at Mar-a-Lago

I admit readily that I am a bit slow on the uptake at times.

Such as when the president of the United States declares a “national emergency” and then jets off to Florida for a weekend of fun in the sun and a round or three of golf at his posh Mar-a-Lago resort.

What am I missing? I cannot grasp what he’s doing here.

When a president declares a “national emergency,” doesn’t he remain on his watch, pouring all his energy into solving the problem that causes the emergency? Yeah, I know I’ve declared my lack of angst over all the golf that Donald Trump plays; he’s always on the clock. It’s just that he said he wouldn’t “have time” for golf once he took office as president.

So he says our southern border has become a “point of entry” for hordes of drug dealers, human traffickers, killers, rapists and assorted international terrorists. His response was to declare the “national emergency” that in fact doesn’t exist.

The president betrayed the urgency of the declaration, I am going to presume, when he boarded Air Force One and headed to South Florida for the weekend.

I always have considered “national emergencies” to be, by definition, events that require the president’s undivided attention. President Carter declared such an emergency when the Iranian terrorists took our embassy personnel in 1979. If memory serves, the president acted the way one in his position must act.

Donald John Trump Sr.? He has fabricated a “national emergency” where no such thing exists.

National emergency? What national emergency?

Robert Reich is a vocal critic of the president of the United States. I mean, he served as labor secretary in the Clinton administration. His progressive credentials are established.

He wrote this on Facebook today in response to Donald Trump’s declaration of a phony “national emergency”:

Just hours after Trump declared a national emergency to secure funding for his nonsensical border wall without congressional approval, he jetted off to Mar-a-Lago for a weekend of golf and relaxation. Excuse me, but shouldn’t the president be in the White House during a national emergency?

The truth is there is no emergency. Border crossings are at historic lows, immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans, and a wall would do little to curb the flow of illegal drugs. This entire crisis is designed solely to score points with Trump’s political base and consolidate his own power.

What Reich neglected to mention in this message — although I am certain it wasn’t lost on him — was that Trump himself actually dismissed the “national emergency” in a rambling, incoherent “press availability” on the White House lawn.

Trump knows there’s no “emergency” on the border. He made the declaration, it seems to me, because he wanted to create a pretext to erect something to which he can attach his name.

OK, then. Let’s call it The Trump Wall.

It’s all his. He can have it.