Tag Archives: High Plains Blogger

Encounter proves a point

I am going to tell you about a brief — and fairly unpleasant — encounter I had with someone who believes retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is “an honorable man.”

This person delivered a bit of proof I sought to make in an earlier blog post.

It was a social media encounter. This person and I belong to the same Facebook group that features conservative commentary. She wrote something about Flynn being an honorable man. I responded that I don’t think he’s honorable. I said he lied to the FBI, he sought to persuade Donald Trump to declare “martial law” to keep his job after losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden and he led the “lock her up!” chant at the GOP convention in 2016, wanting Hillary Clinton to be jailed over the email matter.

My foe said Flynn had been “exonerated” on all the charges brought against him. Thus, according to my acquaintance, he is honorable.

Her final response to me was that I am a “Democrat” and I adhere to the “fake news” being peddled by progressives. I am “involved with their ideology.”

I had made a point in an earlier blog post about the impossibility of discussing policy matters with those who adhere to Trump’s Big Lie. I believe my latest foe has proved my point. I will engage this person any longer. I did think it was useful to make this point in another post on this blog.

Debate is impossible | High Plains Blogger

It’s not that I believe I am a brilliant thinker. It’s just that every now and again individuals rise to the occasion to make me seem a lot smarter than I actually am.


Blog alive and well

It’s been a good while since I’ve waxed rhapsodic about my blog and the joy I receive writing it.

So, I’ll offer a few words to remind you of the only “full-time job” I have. It is High Plains Blogger.

First, a couple of acknowledgements are in order.

One is that my blog traffic has slipped a bit from the high-water mark I experienced in 2019. I don’t know why that’s the case. It might have something to do with the topics I choose for commentary. Maybe readers of this blog are getting bored with me. I regret that terribly if that is so. I will work diligently moving ahead to make the blog more interesting.

I named this blog to remind readers from where I wrote it. We were living on the High Plains of Texas when I started this blog back in 2009. And, yes, it’s a bit of a tribute to one of my favorite film artists, Clint Eastwood, who starred in those “spaghetti westerns,” one of which was called “High Plains Drifter.” I decided to keep the title after we moved from the High Plains to the Metroplex. Why? Because the blog had developed a “brand” that is recognizable. Why trifle with what folks know, right?

Another aspect I need to acknowledge is that I am not contributing the volume of work to the blog as I did before. I have been kinda busy, working as a freelance reporter for the Farmersville Times, a weekly in Collin County, and for KETR-FM, the public radio station associated with Texas A&M University-Commerce. My third gig just dropped out of the sky only recently; I am working a temporary job as an editorial writer for the Dallas Morning News. All of this takes time away from writing for the blog.

I have enjoyed my post-full-time journalism journey immensely. I no longer am fully retired. I cannot declare myself to be “retired.” I pretty much come and go as I please … most of the time. It surely beats working full time for a living.

I will continue with the blog for as long as I am able. To those who enjoy the blog and support its political leanings, I trust that is good news. To those who grind their teeth when they read my musings, well … too bad. Live with it.

Let’s enjoy the ride.


Wanting to shed politics

Those who know me only through my blog or from what I used to do for a living, which was write and edit opinion pieces for newspapers, seem to believe I am wedded to politics.

That I cannot live a day without talking politics with … someone, anyone.

Not true. There are days, such as today, when I want to set all that aside. So, I am going to do that very thing for the rest of the day.

I plan to spend the day with my wife, sons, our daughter-in-law and our granddaughter. We are going to yuk it up in the house and carry on without a worry in the world.

Then I suppose I’ll get back to the regular stuff in the morning. However, I won’t guarantee it. You see, I ain’t addicted to politics.



An insurrection? Um … yep

A critic of this blog, a gentleman with whom I have a casual acquaintance, posited an interesting notion that I believe needs a response.

He wrote: An insurrection is an attempt to overtake a government. How are you going to overtake a government without weapons?

He refers to the riot that erupted 1/6 on Capitol Hill. I have called the riot an “insurrection.” So have others. Those on the far right have declined to use that term. That is their call. I’ll stick with my description of what happened.

My critic wonders how one can have an “overtake a government without weapons.”

Actually you can. Indeed, from what I witnessed on 1/6, the mob that stormed into the Capitol Building had plenty of “weapons,” which they used with brutal efficiency as they stormed into the halls of our federal government. Did you see ’em beat the cops with flag poles, blasting them with chemical spray, throwing fire extinguishers … that kind of thing? Oh, and what about the zip ties recovered from many of the suspects arrested on that day?

What would have occurred had they been able to storm into the rooms where members of Congress were accepting the Electoral College ballots that declared Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election? The terrorists, as near as I could tell, weren’t joking when they hollered “Hang Mike Pence!” while looking for the vice president of the United States, who was presiding over this governmental ritual.

Could this mob of terrorists stopped the process of certifying the result? Absolutely!

The best news of all is that they were prevented from getting their grimy mitts on more victims by quick-thinking Capitol Police officers.

My blog critic referred to the “so-called insurrection.” There was nothing “so-called” about we witnessed that day.

The U..S. House of Representatives select committee that is ramping up its probe of that horrific event vows to get to the truth. May the panel find all of it.

One more point: I checked my American Heritage Dictionary and looked up “insurrection.” It describes the word as “an act of open revolt against civil authority or a constituted government.”

Yep. That’s what we witnessed on 1/6.


World is my stage

This question comes to me from those who are aware of my left-leaning politics: How can you write this stuff on your blog, given where you live? 

My answer is simple. I write this stuff because the nature of this platform — my blog — allows me to reach far beyond the earthly boundaries of where my wife and I reside, which now is Collin County, Texas.

This is one of the many reasons why I love pursuing this version of my craft. I am able to speak my mind without reservation.

There once was a time when I had to be mindful of what I said and of the audience that was reading my thoughts. I worked for publications in the Texas Panhandle and in the Golden Triangle region of Texas that contained many readers who disagreed with my world view.

It’s not that it necessarily stopped me from speaking my mind. I just had to be a bit circumspect in the language I used. There would be no way I could refer to the 45th president of the United States as the Insurrectionist in Chief in, say, Amarillo, where he enjoyed tremendous political support during the most recent presidential elections.

Now that I am no longer employed by the newspaper that adhered to a pretty rigid conservative editorial policy, I am free to speak more freely. Which I do with gusto.

One of the struggles I fought during my nearly 18 years working in Amarillo and my nearly 11 years in Beaumont was trying to persuade readers that my signed columns were my opinion only and that they rarely reflected the editorial policy of the newspaper. I would write editorials on behalf of our editorial board that said one thing; I might be inclined to express a different view on a column that ran with my mug in a logo accompanying the text.

I no longer wage that struggle these days. The blog is mine. I own it. I also own the views I express on it.

Moreover, I am not constrained by my place of residence. The blog goes all around the world. How I do know that? Because I am able to track the sources of the hits I get on my blog. Over the span of a year, it covers our good Earth.


Why fret over this clown?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Some readers of this blog might be wondering why I spend any time  criticizing a member of Congress who represents a district where I no longer reside.

I will answer that query, presuming some of you are wondering.

I have spoken out about the Twitter rants of a Republican serving the 13th Congressional District of Texas. Ronny Jackson lives in Amarillo. He is a disgrace. I have said so, admittedly with extreme prejudice.

I care about that fellow’s rants for two reasons.

One is that my wife and I lived there for 23 years, longer than anywhere we have resided in our nearly 50 years of marriage. One of our sons still lives there. We have many friends there, too. I care about them. They should be represented by someone who (a) isn’t a carpetbagger and (b) isn’t prone to making defamatory remarks about the commander in chief, which Jackson does regularly about President Biden.

The second reason is that Ronny Jackson votes on legislation that affects every American. It’s the same reason I care about the goings-on involving other congressional fruitcakes and loons; Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Mitch McConnell come immediately to mind. When they vote on federal legislation, they put their imprimatur on laws that have a direct impact on every single American.

Congressman: detestable! | High Plains Blogger

I won’t apologize for harboring these feelings about members of Congress, any more than I feel the need to justify why I support other members of the legislative branch of government. Or, for that matter, why I continue to support President Biden … even as he struggles with crises, as he is doing at this moment.

We have plenty of fruitcakes in North Texas, where we now live. I’ll be getting to them in due course. I just felt the urge to explain a thing or two about why I still look back fondly at our time on what I call the Texas Tundra and why I want the best for the good folks who still call it home.

More in common than we thought

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A most startling thing happened to me today and I want to share it briefly.

I wrote a blog in the past day or so that was highly critical of the 45th president of the United States. It drew an angry response from a reader who called me an “idiot.” My oldest friend on Earth responded to this fellow and defended my honor; I am grateful for that show of support.

Then this individual noted that we have a common friend, a guy we both knew in high school back in Portland, Ore. I didn’t recognize his name; it turns out he ended up graduating from a nearby high school and didn’t attend the same high school as my friend and me during our senior years. We exchanged messages via Facebook about our common friend. We all served in Vietnam, they in the Marine Corps, me in the Army.

We shared a thought or two about our friend and about our shared service. Then this same guy who called me an idiot expressed that we have “more in common” than we thought.

A little while later, this fellow extended a Facebook “friend” request to me. I accepted it. Now we’re hooked up on social media.

I find that so very strange in a pleasant sort of way. In this time of extreme political polarization, the opposite too often occurs; longtime friends sever their friendship over … politics.

I hope my shiny new friendship survives after he reads more of my political posts, which I share on social media platforms, such as Facebook. I remain confident it will.

Will stay at it … for the duration

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Walking through the ‘hood this morning with my wife and Toby the Puppy, I made a declaration that I want to share here.

It was simply this: I do not miss going to work every day, meaning that I enjoy this retired life. And I also intend to keep working part-time on my two reporting gigs for as long as I am able.

I need to lay down an important marker: The length of my reporting gig well might not be totally in my control. I do work for someone else in both instances. They might decide down the road that they no longer need my meager writing and reporting skills. If they bid me adieu, well, that’s the way it’ll have to be.

However, I am getting no indication that will occur. At least not today or perhaps even next week.

That all said, I have learned quite a bit about myself as I have trudged into this world of being a Retired Guy. I hated the way my working life came to an end. I have ditched the anger and have embraced fully the life into which I was thrust.

I have learned that I simply enjoy stringing sentences together. I write my blog daily (which I am doing at this very moment). I also write for a weekly newspaper, the Farmersville Times, which circulates in the community that sits just seven miles east of us in Collin County, Texas. And then there’s the blog I write for KETR-FM, the public radio station affiliated with Texas A&M University-Commerce.

I just cannot stop writing. Nor can I stop meeting people and learning about the communities where my wife and I frequent these days. Indeed, my wife recognizes that in me and she acknowledged that desire when I declared my intention to keep writing for the duration. “It’s what you do,” she said.

So, with that I hope to keep doing it until I no longer am able.

Struggle continues …

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Try as I am doing to maintain a forward-looking focus for this blog, events and news reports about the recent past keep pulling me back.

So help me, I do not intend to keep looking in the rear-view mirror.

However, we now have reports that the 45th POTUS pressured the Justice Department to declare the 2020 presidential election to be “corrupt.” Yep, the former A**hole in Chief wanted DOJ to effectively condemn the results per the 45th POTUS’s request.

Oh, my. It appears to me that the great conspiracy concocted by the former Traitor in Chief is unraveling one layer at a time.

This is the kind of thing that the U.S. House select committee assigned to get to the bottom of the events that led up to 1/6 is going to be compelled to examine. In detail. I want it to be unvarnished and unbiased, too.

As for this blog, I will continue to keep a fairly tight rein on it. I won’t be commenting on every single thing involving the ex-Insurrectionist in Chief. He has a boatload of trouble awaiting him.

The Manhattan (N.Y.) district attorney has indicted his company on tax issues. Georgia officials are examining whether he committed election law violations by pressuring the Georgia secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory there; the Justice Department has ordered the Internal Revenue Service to turn the former Tax Cheater in Chief’s tax records over to Congress.

Yep, we have plenty of grist on which to chew.

We also have a president seeking to stem the tide of an outbreak of COVID virus infections; he is trying to put more Americans back to work; Joe Biden is seeking bipartisan approval of a massive infrastructure package.

All of that deserves your blogger’s attention as well. Stick with me. I’ll do my level best to stay focused on the future.

Keep looking forward

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Your humble blogger — that would be me — feels the need to affirm a vow from an earlier post.

It is that I will not become fixated on the blathering, bellowing, bloviating and bombast coming from the mouth of the 45th president of the U.S. of A.

He is going to make a lot of noise for the rest of this year and perhaps even part of next year. He is going to repeat The Big Lie — that the 2020 election was stolen from him — in the hopes of energizing that fanatical and gullible base of dipsh**s who continue to adhere to his irrational rants.

I do not intend to comment on each rant as if he were still the POTUS. He isn’t. I don’t expect him to ascend to the nation’s highest office ever again. Hell, I don’t even expect him to be a serious candidate for the White House.

My only reason for commenting on him today is because the lunatic/imbecile/moron/con man/fraud continues to hold considerable sway among a large minority of American voters. For the life of me I don’t know why or how … but he does.

My intent is to keep looking forward.

I am acutely aware that some critics of this blog are going to suggest that I remain “fixated” on the 45th POTUS’s pronouncements. I will answer them with a plain no … I am not. 

I’ve already declared that I continue to endorse the presidency of Joe Biden. He has restored a sense of dignity and decorum to the high and exalted office he occupies. We are recovering from the pandemic. Our economy is revving up nicely. President Biden is re-establishing our nation’s role as a world leader. We are re-engaging in vital international partnerships that his predecessor stripped away because he wanted to “put America first,” whatever that meant.

This American patriot wants President Biden to succeed. I intend to keep my focus aimed toward the future.

Be advised on one point: I will not remain silent if POTUS 45 gets himself into deep legal trouble or if his machinations gin up the fanatical base to do things that mirror, say, the Jan. 6 insurrection.

My keen interest will lie in where the current U.S. president intends to lead us.