Tag Archives: social media

Trump still commands attention

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Jack and I go back a long way, more than 50 years.

He is a friend of longstanding. He also disagrees with me politically. Jack is a supporter of Donald J. Trump; I am not. So, with that background established, he asked me over social media when I am going to look ahead and stop commenting on Donald Trump’s comings and goings. He wonders when I will start thinking critically of Joe Biden.

I will answer my friend here in this brief response. He reads this blog, so I hope he won’t object to my using this forum in that manner.

My intention is to put Trump away as soon as humanly possible. I desperately want to stop commenting on him through this blog. However, he remains something of a political player. He keeps fomenting terrible lies about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election and those lies keep the “base” of voters he commands stirred up. They have swilled the poison he is dispensing. Thus, they remain a political force with which we must reckon.

As for President Biden, I make no secret of my joy at his election. I have mentioned several times over the past year or so that he wasn’t my first choice to run against Trump, but he survived the Democratic Party primary donnybrook. He was nominated and he ran a successful campaign.

I also have been critical of one of Biden’s key Cabinet choices, the director of the Office of Management and Budget. So it is not as though I am going to give the president a pass on every single thing he does or says. Just this week he referred to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to life the mask mandate a sample of “Neanderthal thinking,” which I believe is a bit harsh; I will have more to say on that later.

As long as Donald Trump continues to be “in the news,” I feel compelled to comment on him. I want him to vanish from the headlines. At least, though, I can declare that he isn’t occupying as much of my time as he formerly did.

That’s progress.

Lesson learned from this OMB director fight?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Neera Tanden’s nomination to become the next head of the Office of Management and Budget appears to be nearing an end.

She has zero Republican support and one key Democratic senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has announced his opposition to her becoming OMB director; in a 50-50 U.S. Senate, Manchin’s defection appears to be the deal-killer.

Shelby endorses Shalanda Young for OMB director should Biden pull Tanden’s nomination (msn.com)

To be candid, this fight gives me a mild case of apoplexy.

Republicans are mounting a laughable crusade in targeting Tanden’s Twitter rants as their reason for opposing her. As if GOP politicians haven’t said or done the same thing that she has done via that social medium. My personal concern about Tanden’s nomination is her lack of budget management experience.

Having noted the Twitter nonsense, there does appear to be a lesson in this tempest. It is that politicians ought to stay the hell off Twitter, particularly if they aspire to advance their political careers or standing. Tanden has developed a notorious reputation for saying some mighty cruel things via Twitter. But … haven’t her GOP critics said or done the same thing?

Fairness requires me to point out that other Democratic politicians have self-inflicted plenty wounds over Twitter.

As we have learned to many politicians’ dismay, you cannot ever un-say these things once they’re out there. They become inscribed instantly and indelibly in the public record, even after the author of these statements “deletes” the offending tweet.

Will any of the pols who argue that Tanden’s tweets are offensive take heed of the message? Oh, probably not. Still, it is a lesson worth heeding.

Getting through the crisis

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It has been fascinating to me to follow my social media friends’ struggles to get through the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

The various social media platforms out there have kept me informed on their progress. To be candid, some of them are actual friends, while others are just, oh, “friends” in the social media contact sense of the word.

However, social media being what they are, we get to share in the ups and downs, highs and lows with folks who play no particular role in our lives.

Still, the vaccinations are mounting  rapidly each day. Which tells me that if my social media contacts are any indication of the larger trend, we well might be on the verge of whipping the disease.

These keeping up with our networks of acquaintances and actual friends reminds me of the blessings that social media have brought to our modern society. Sure, the platforms spread lies, conspiracy theories and can be used for all sorts of nefarious purposes.

Informing the larger world of our progress in whipping a killer virus remains a distinct positive aspect.

I am delighted to hear the good news.

Big Lie just won’t die!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We can thank social media for continuing to breathe life into the Big Lie.

Yes, it is social media’s fault that the Big Lie has more lives than any thousand cats you can find. The Big Lie is being pitched by fruitcakes, traitors, seditionists and, yes, even a former U.S. president.

The Big Lie draws deep breaths on social media outlets that continue to give Big Lie purveyors a platform from which they spout their treasonous nonsense.

It is that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump … the aforementioned ex-president. The Big Lie continues to insist that all 50 states and the District of Columbia, where public servants all certified the results of the election as accurate and secure, cannot be trusted.

Wow! My head is spinning. I am trying to catch my breath, trying to keep my balance as I listen to The Big Lie being repeated not just on social media but also on right-wing TV and radio media outlets that give them an audience to soak up the lie they keep hearing.

Social media have been — at the very least — a mixed blessing. It does plenty of good. It connects people. It allows folks to make new friends and keeps old friendships alive and well. It also serves as a conduit for lies big and small.

It’s The Big Lie that needs to die a quick death. If only social media would pull the plug.

Twitter silence is, um, golden

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It might be just me, but I am finding Donald Trump’s expulsion from Twitter to be a Godsend.

He isn’t blasting out incoherent policy pronouncements, or hurling insults at Democrats and Republicans, or bullying people who cannot defend themselves against the head of state, or calling the media and others the “enemy of the people.”

Isn’t it great that he has been denied all this? Well, I believe it is.

I also believe that he hasn’t been denied a single tiny bit of his First Amendment liberty. He can still issue policy statements. He can still rant and spew on TV. Trump can still make an ass of himself and he can still lie through his teeth about how he has done a “fantastic” job in fighting the COVID pandemic.

The Twitter storm? It’s calm out there. It’s grand!

Time to brag about blog

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Every now and then I like to bust out a boast about this blog I’ve been writing since The Flood.

So … here goes.

I am about to set an all time monthly record for page views and unique visitors. High Plains Blogger almost set a daily record earlier this month. Even though it fell short by just a bit, the run came in the middle of a sustained surge in viewer traffic, for which I am grateful.

It looks as though the annual record set in 2019 will stand. High Plains Blogger is going to fall just a bit short of that high-viewer mark. Still, I am proud of the monthly record that will fall in a day or tow … or perhaps three. What’s more, there will be several days remaining in this hideous Old Year before we can turn the page and start over in 2021.

Traffic on the blog had kind of plateaued over the course of the past several months. I don’t know if readers are growing bored with my topics, or whether they’ve just moved on to other pursuits, seeking other versions of the truth that comes from yours truly.

Whatever the case, I have enjoyed a strong finish to an otherwise miserable year. Of course, the misery that came this year has nothing to do with the blog, at least not for me.

So, with that I’ll go now. I just add to brag a bit. I’m entitled, since this is my blog … you know?

Social media reveal true friends

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It didn’t take me long to become swallowed up by the social media culture that seems so prevalent.

I am attached to many social media platforms, most of which I use primarily to circulate this blog. Facebook remains my No. 1 social media platform and I appreciate very much the attention that the outlet provides this blog of mine.

Social media, though, do have plenty of downsides. They become primary conveyers of falsehoods, conspiracy theories … those kinds of things. They also reveal to me who out there are our friends.

Here is where I want to make an admission. I have valued many friendships with individuals of varying political persuasions. Then came social media and and I admit to losing some of those friends because of our varying, um, political leanings. Dang, that just makes me want to spit … you know?

I am not proud to acknowledge that the end of those relationships means I’ve been suckered into placing far more value in them than the other party. One of them recently severed a social media relationship after being an actual friend for more than 30 years. He never told me why he was cutting me loose; he just did it. I am left to presume it was our different world views, as we had jousted in recent years about political matters.

Whatever. It’s done. I will continue to use social media to distribute this blog. I enjoy using the various media platforms. I reckon I need to view the relationships I have with others in a more critical light and avoid overvaluing them.

I’m a grownup. I know how these matters play out.

Close … but no cigar!

By JOHN  KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have had a pretty good run over the past week or so.

By that I mean this blog I have been writing full time since the summer of 2012. Here’s what I mean.

I came within a few hundred hits on my blog of setting a single-day record. My traffic was exploding over the course of several days. Then, just as suddenly as it skyrocketed, it settled back down to a more, um, normal pace.

My blog-traffic explosion filled me with some sense of hope that High Plains Blogger had reached a whole new audience out there in cyberworld. I don’t think that’s really the case.

I love writing this blog. It has given me a sense of purpose, although it surely isn’t my sole purpose for awakening each day. It’s just one of them. It allows me to vent. It gives me an avenue to share some thoughts with those who take the time to read them. I encourage folks to share them with their social media contacts/friends/loved ones/adversaries as well.

I don’t know who is doing it. I just want to take this opportunity to encourage everyone who looks at my spewage each day to share them with whomever you think might want to see it, or should see it.

Maybe I’ll get another surge like the one I have just enjoyed.

Thank you in advance.

Minds are made up

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I get this question on occasion. It’s fairly rare that someone asks, but given that I get the query, I’ll speak to it briefly here.

The question: Why don’t you engage people who disagree with statements you make on your blog?

I generally dislike engaging in a give-and-take because people’s minds are made up. As is my own mind. I am not going to change anyone else’s view of a public policy issue and, I dare say, neither will anyone likely change my own mind.

That’s the short answer. A more expansive response seems appropriate.

I write this blog as my final statement on an issue. For instance, I have published an endless stream of posts that assert that Donald J. Trump is fundamentally unfit for the office he occupies. I have sought to say why I believe that throughout this man’s foray into political life. My mind is made up. I will not be persuaded to change my mind that Trump is somehow actually fit for the presidency. What would be the point of going back and forth with someone who believes Trump is the next “great president”?

It’s pretty much true on most issues. I tend to make up my mind before I post something on High Plains Blogger.

This does not mean I do not welcome critical comments. I most certainly do welcome them. Whether you respond directly to the blog’s site on Word Press, or on Facebook, or any other social medium that distributes these posts, I say, simply: Bring it!

I am highly unlikely, though, to argue with those critics. I am too old to waste my time trying to persuade someone that their views are all wrong and that mine are all right.

I just know it all to be true. That’s good enough for me. It’s also good enough for my critics.

Media casualty list climbs

Social media in the Age of Donald Trump have claimed two more casualties … who happen to be members of my family.

I get that two such “injuries” don’t by themselves represent a trend, but I do believe they are indicative of the national mood that Trump has perpetuated since the day he rode down the escalator to declare his presidential candidacy.

These two fellows got into a beef over the Black Lives Matter movement and the behavior of police officers in relation to African-American citizens. One of them decided to “unfriend” the other from Facebook and vowed never to speak to him again. Not ever!

That outcome saddens me, as the two of them once were a lot closer.

This is the kind of thing that has erupted in families and other social circles nationally in this Trump Age.

Donald Trump promised to unify the nation. My goodness, he has done precisely the opposite. He has fomented division, increased the chasm between the political parties and his rhetoric has spawned the kind of anger — among family members, for criminy sakes! — that leads to severed relationships.

Social media haven’t helped, either. The various media have given us a shield behind which we can fire off angry messages, responses to messages, and responses to the responses. On it goes. It never ends.

I am acquainted with many individuals who become crazed ideologues when they sit behind a keyboard. For all I know, many of my friends think the same thing of me. If so, well … too bad.

Others, though, have actually become different people than I know them to be. One of my former friends cut our relationship off after he and another member of my family got into a snit about something; I cannot remember what it was. I took up for my family member. My friend became highly agitated with me — and we parted company. We haven’t spoken since.

These examples are what I am talking about.

Politics isn’t supposed to be a contact sport. At least that is what I long have thought and believed. At some level I still do. I choose not to engage good friends — actual friends — and family members in the nuts and bolts of policy disagreements. I try the best of my ability to let it all roll away.

It’s tough, especially in this Age of Donald Trump.

Thanks, Mr. President, for “unifying” us … my a**!