Tag Archives: Russian bounties

Where’s outrage, Rep. Taylor?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Van Taylor is likely to be re-elected to a second term as congressman from North Texas. He is a Republican running in a solidly GOP congressional district, which includes my neighborhood in Princeton in eastern Collin County.

However, the young man has pi**ed me off royally.

Let me stipulate off the top that I honor his service as a combat Marine in Afghanistan. He parlayed that service into a winning campaign in 2018 to succeed the retiring GOP Rep. Sam Johnson, a former Vietnam War prisoner who served the district with honor for many years.

It’s Taylor’s military service that brings me to the point.

We have learned that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin offered bounties to Taliban terrorists if they killed U.S. servicemen and women on the battlefield in Afghanistan. Donald Trump has been silent about it. He has declined to confront Putin directly about the bounties; good grief, he actually admitted to glossing over the issue in conversations with his pal, Vlad.

What about Rep. Taylor? Why in the name of sacrifice hasn’t the former combat Marine spoken out?

Surely it cannot be because he gives Putin a pass on this hideous action against our service personnel, as Trump has done. Or perhaps he fears some retribution from a president who I doubt seriously at this moment even knows of Rep. Taylor’s existence in the U.S. House of Representatives.

I, too, am a veteran of a foreign war. I didn’t serve in combat in Vietnam, but I am quite certain I would be horrified knowing that a foreign power had put bounties on the heads of my brothers in arms.

Why, then, has Rep. Taylor remained eerily silent on this matter as he campaigns for re-election? And, yes, I have seen the TV ads touting his service in Afghanistan. Go figure.

Why the silence, indeed?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I found this letter to the editor of the Dallas Morning News today that I want to share on this blog.

Five times I have written my congressman, Van Taylor, about his silence on reports of Russian bounties, the president’s alleged comments about prisoners of war, those killed in actions and wounded veterans. He has not responded directly. A staffer called after my letter on bounties but all he did was list the bills Taylor supported.

Taylor touts his service as a Marine. Why is he silent on the statements from Trump, actual and alleged, that denigrate military people? Has he forgotten why he served and those with whom he served?

Michael Bulkeley, Richardson


Rep. Taylor is my congressman, too. He is a first-term Republican whom I have met and discussed some local issues. He seems like an earnest young man.

However … I want to echo Mr. Bulkeley’s letter to the DMN. Taylor, though, is far from alone in the GOP silence on reports that Russian goons have paid Taliban terrorists bounties for Americans they have killed on Afghanistan battlefields.

We are witnessing a shameful and shocking fealty to a president who has demonstrated a horrifying disrespect for those who make the kinds of sacrifice that he infamously sought to avoid during the Vietnam War. Van Taylor, given his combat experience as a Marine in Afghanistan, ought to be yelling the most loudly in challenging Trump’s silence on the Russian campaign against our fighting forces.

He isn’t. Nor are his GOP colleagues in both chambers of Congress.

Think about this for a moment. Traditional Republican politicians would be aghast to hear such things about this longstanding hostile foreign power. Donald Trump has acknowledged already that he has declined to bring it up with Vladimir Putin during several phone calls he has had with the Russian president. What the hell?

The GOP congressional caucus also has sat in stone-cold silence over The Atlantic story in which Trump reportedly called service personnel “suckers” and “losers” if they are injured or killed in combat. Indeed, has Rep. Taylor called Donald Trump out for the remarks attributed to him in The Atlantic? I am waiting patiently.

What we have here, I daresay, is a Republican political caucus that is too beholden to an individual. It is a disgraceful example of blind and muted loyalty to a president who demands it of others but who refuses to return that loyalty to those who defend our nation.

What if it’s Biden?

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Let’s play a game of “What if?” … shall we?

Bear in mind that I am not predicting any sort of presidential election outcome. I merely am pondering the possibilities if my preferred result occurs at the end of ballot counting on Nov. 3.

  • What if Joe Biden beats Donald Trump in a landslide? Trump has indicated he might “not accept” the results of a free and fair election. He will suggest it was “rigged.” Will the president-elect summon the Secret Service to escort the previous first family out out of the White House? I would pay real American money to see that occur.
  • What if Biden is given the chance to “lead” the nation through the coronavirus pandemic? Trump has failed at virtually every level possible, no matter what VP Mike “The Sycophant” Pence says to the contrary. How will that leadership present itself? My hope is that the new president starts simply by expressing sincere compassion and empathy for the suffering of millions of Americans.
  • What if Joe Biden inherits an economy in absolute free fall? The nature and scope of our economic collapse makes the 2009 mess that Biden and President Obama inherited when they took over resemble a walk in the park. It’s related directly to the pandemic. Millions of Americans have been tossed out of their jobs. Where does the new president find the money to boost an economy that already is teetering on the precipice of a depression?
  • What if Joe Biden takes over as head of the world’s most indispensable nation and finds that our allies are laughing at us? The wreckage that Trump has brought to those alliances is epic in its scope. Trump has scolded our European allies for not doing enough to defend themselves against Russia. He has chided our continental neighbors in Canada and Mexico personally. Joe Biden, the master of diplomacy, needs to mend those fences in a major hurry.
  • What if Joe Biden gets to sit down face to face with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin? This is where the new president needs to wag his finger in Putin’s mug and warn him about the economic and diplomatic consequences that await him if (a) he continues to interfere in our elections and (b) continues to pay bounties to the Taliban for killing our troops.

A new president will have a monumental repair job awaiting him after the wreckage that Donald Trump has brought.

Biden vows to read PDBs … hey, it’s a start!

A reporter asked Joseph Biden how he would respond to reports that Russians had placed bounties on the heads of U.S. service personnel.

The former vice president’s response? He said he would “read the briefing material” that comes to his desk in the Oval Office.

That’s where it starts and ends. Donald Trump has denied knowing about the bounty intelligence matter. How so? He famously told us he doesn’t need to read the “daily presidential briefs” that intelligence officials compile for him each day. They’re boring and repetitive, he said … as I’m sure you remember.

Well, he should’ve looked at the Feb. 27 material that ended up on his desk, as it contained information about the bounty that Russian goons had placed on our soldiers’ lives.

Therein lies what looks like one of the many fundamental failings of the current president. It gives me hope that the next president — and I want it to be Joe Biden — will follow through and read the material that lands on the desk where the proverbial buck historically has stopped.

I also hope the presumptive Democratic nominee for POTUS — were he to learn of such an atrocity — would call the offending hostile power immediately to read the head of state the riot act and to threaten him or her with swift and severe punishment.

That quite clearly didn’t happen in this instance. It must never be allowed to continue.

How would I react to this news?

A social media friend posed a fascinating question to me regarding the latest scandal involving Donald Trump, the one involving reports that he failed to respond to intelligence that Russia was paying bounties to Taliban terrorists who killed U.S. servicemen and women.

He noted that I had served in the military and wondered how I would react to such reports that the commander in chief was looking the other way at news that an enemy state had put a bounty on my head.

You know what? I cannot answer that question definitively. It’s hypothetical and when I am faced with such a question, I tend to fall back on how “I would hope to respond.” I hope I would be filled with rage at the individual who sent me into harm’s way.

I was a 19-year-old kid when I arrived in a war zone more than 50 years ago. I don’t have the foggiest recollection of where my head was in that moment. I cannot recall if I ever gave any thought to anything other than wishing my tour of duty would be over quickly so that I could return to “The World.”

What’s more, I was that we used to refer to as a REMF. The first three letters of that acronym were “rear echelon mother …” I let you figure out what the fourth letter meant. I served in the rear, at first on a flight line, then I went to work at a tactical operations center in  Da Nang, South Vietnam.

My concern at this moment deals with what the men and women who put their lives on the line while fighting for our country are thinking about the commander in chief and the latest astonishing scandal that is boiling up around him. I acknowledge a lack of “consensus” from intelligence officials on whether the Russians are paying bounties to Taliban fighters. But to my ears the reports seem credible.

Donald Trump might have known and did nothing. Maybe he never bothered to read the briefing papers that contained the intelligence. Perhaps the intelligence officers who provide Trump with this information never bothered to tell him what they knew. Are any of these possibilities acceptable? Absolutely not!

I cannot get past the notion that the men and women in harm’s way are mad as hell at the commander in chief.