Tag Archives: socialism

Who’s a socialist?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The dictionary offers a comprehensive explanation of a term that has been weaponized in the current political debate.

It is socialism. The dictionary describes it this way :

” … a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

That is where I want to start this brief blog post.

Republicans throw the “s-word” out there whenever they hear a policy that want to oppose. It’s socialist, they say. Those who preach it believe in socialism. They want to strip away capitalism.

That’s the mantra of the demagogues who throw around “socialism” and “socialist” as if they know what the hell they’re talking about.

They don’t.

I have heard nothing from President Biden or Vice President Harris to suggest they favor taking over complete control of the means of production, distribution or exchange.” They remain, as far as I can tell, as dedicated to capitalism and the traditional American way of life as you and me.

That isn’t stopping the critics, though, from tossing around hot-button terminology as if it’s gospel. Socialism has become the term du jour that right-wing critics are using to scare the daylights out of those who adhere to their world view.

Here’s my suggestion for the day.

How about just chillin’ out? Americans elected a mainstream politician as our president in 2020. He chose an acknowledged political liberal as his running mate. Let us remember, too, that President Biden is in charge of the executive branch, which is one of three co-equal branches of government.

All of this is my way of saying that a president can propose all he wants, but it falls on the legislative branch — Congress — to enact legislation that becomes the law of the land.

Are the POTUS and VPOTUS going to pitch a notion that we become a socialist nation?

Not in a zillion years.

Well, Mitch? What about ‘need’?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am not a particularly avid fan of Sen. Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist from Vermont, the independent who pretends to be a Democrat.

However, grouchy ol’ Bernie has posted a message on Facebook that I must share here. I cannot express the outrage over Sen. Mitch McConnell’s duplicity any better.

Take it away, Bernie:

All of a sudden Mitch McConnell is “worried” that someone in America might get a $2,000 check “who doesn’t need it.”
Funny. He had no problem giving a $1.4 billion tax break to Charles Koch and his family with a net worth of $113 billion.
He had no problem giving a $560 million tax break to Sheldon Adelson, the casino tycoon who is worth $34.3 billion.
He had no problem giving a $104 million tax refund to Amazon over the past three years combined after it made $30 billion in profits.
He had no problem giving a $1 trillion tax break to the top one percent and profitable corporations.
Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs. They have lost their incomes. They have depleted their life savings. They are going hungry.
And they are scared to death that they will be evicted from their homes.
I say to Senator McConnell: Start worrying about the people in this country who are hurting and not just your billionaire campaign contributors.
Stop blocking legislation from coming to the floor which would provide a $2,000 direct payment that the working class of this country desperately needs.
Let the Senate vote, Mitch!

Socialism = scare tactic

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I never have thought of Harry Truman as being a squishy socialist, a guy who wanted to wrest control of our lives from private interests and hand it all over to the government.

What he says in these remarks attributed to him near the end of his presidency do resonate today as conservatives seeks to paint so many efforts to help Americans as a ploy to enact socialistic policy.

I hear it from friends of mine. One of them, an Amarillo business owner, believes that President-elect Biden is a tool of socialist interests who are intent on enacting a full government takeover of virtually every aspect of our lives. That’s how the dictionary defines socialism, by the way.

Well, I will stand by my own belief that it is not going to unfold as the president-elect’s critics suggest. They are intent on injecting fear among us.

President Truman’s wisdom is in short supply among many contemporary politicians.

Socialism = red herring | High Plains Blogger

Can Biden resist the extremists?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump demonstrated during his term as president an inability to resist the demands of those on the far right wing of the Republican Party.

As an aside, I’ll resist referring to the GOP as “his” party because I consider Trump to be a Republican In Name Only.

No such qualifier is required of President-elect Joe Biden, a center-left Democrat with years of credentials to illustrate the point.

So, the question of the day is this: Will the new president be able or is he willing to resist the tug from those on the far left wing of his own party? 

I am just a single voter, but I’ll offer this: I hope he can and does. I voted for a “good government” presidential candidate, which is what I see in President-elect Biden. By “good government,” I favor a federal government that is prepared to step up and help when needed, but is not willing to capture all the duties and responsibilities assigned to state and local governments, or the private sector.

I sense the president-elect is of the same ilk as yours truly. If that proves out to be the case, then I will be happy.

Meanwhile, the president-elect will have to steel himself for the onslaught of pressure he no doubt will feel from the “democratic socialist” wing of the Democratic Party. To be candid, I still am not sure what a democratic socialist is, other than perhaps being someone who doesn’t want the government to assume control of every aspect of our lives.

Still, I sense in Joe Biden a reluctance to avoid the socialist label, despite what Donald Trump and the GOP sought to attach to him. Trump accused Biden of being “anti-God,” of wanting to take guns away from Americans — while destroying the Second Amendment to the Constitution, of disarming the military, of taxing us into oblivion.

I have looked at Biden’s record and to be honest I don’t see evidence of any of that during his 44 years as a U.S. senator and vice president.

The man is a mainstream Democrat. I want him to govern that way. I am going to hold out hope that he will do as I wish. If not, then he will hear from me. Hey, if he does govern the way I want him to govern, he might still hear from me.

Socialism then; now it’s, um, acceptable

Yesterday’s socialist initiative has become an act of economic genius … in the eyes of many political observers.

I am confused.

Barack Obama became president of the United States in 2009 and went to work immediately to look for ways to rescue an economy in free fall. We were shedding tens of thousands of jobs each month. Unemployment was climbing toward 10 percent. The new president had to act quickly.

He and Congress managed to cobble together a massive bailout program. It helped shore up banks, the auto industry, the airline industry. Congressional Republicans and their friends in conservative media called it the most dangerous lurch toward socialism in American history.

The world was ending. Earth was going to spin off its axis. The sky would fall on us. The world as we knew it would end.

None of that happened. President Obama acted decisively, as did Congress. The loans sent out were paid back with interest. Job growth mounted. Unemployment fell. We began to pay down the federal budget deficit. The economy recovered.

Barack Obama left office in 2017. Donald Trump took over. Trump inherited a robust economy. Job growth continued. Joblessness fell to historic lows.

Then came the coronavirus pandemic that hit early this year.

People started getting infected with a disease. Then citizens began to die. Businesses shut down. Workers got furloughed. Cities, counties and states issued stay at home orders. Our streets fell silent.

The government then had to cobble together another stimulus package. This one totaled $2.2 trillion. The checks are in the mail. Billions went to businesses.

Where, I have to ask, are the accusations of a socialist initiative? Where is the righteous indignation and anger among conservatives that the government is grabbing private industry by the throat?

Remember that this initiative came from a Republican president, was approved by a GOP-run Senate as well as by a Democrat-run House. Some Democrats yammered that the bailout was too friendly to big business and doesn’t do enough for working families. However, it sailed through Congress with a bipartisan approval.

Times have changed, yes? Actually, not as much as some would have us believe. The opposition party in 2009 comprised a lot of fear-mongering demagogues. Today’s opposition resists on vastly different grounds but in the end it signed on to do the right thing.

Very strange.

Is there a doomsday scenario developing?

Bernie Sanders appears to be winning the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary.

Meanwhile, the one-time national frontrunner, Joe Biden, is finishing in a distant fifth or sixth place, pulling a single-digit turnout.

The former vice president of the United States, my preferred candidate, now must win in South Carolina. If he doesn’t win, he’s a goner.

Sanders is the “democratic socialist” who, if the Democratic Party nominates him, is going to walk straight into the Donald John Trump sausage grinder.

Are we being forced to accept the notion that Democrats just might nominate someone who wants to dramatically reshape the fundamental dynamic of our national economy?

Sanders keeps talking about leading a “movement.” Well, I am growing concerned that his movement is going to march off a political cliff and give a fundamentally unfit incumbent president a second term that — in my ever-so-humble view — might be more than this country can handle.

I am not liking what I am witnessing in this Democratic primary.

Rep. Taylor targets those ‘socialist Democrats’

I keep wanting to give my brand new member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Van Taylor, the benefit of the doubt.

The Plano Republican, though, keeps testing my magnanimous attitude.

He recently released a poll that he said suggests that 65 percent of Democrats think positively of “socialism.” He then goes on to say that Texas Democrats who seek to turn Texas into a battleground state in 2020 need to be stopped. He says Democrats want to create a socialist state, they want to junk the economic system that has given the nation its status as the world’s top economic power.

I think the young congressman is letting his GOP zeal get in the way of his better judgment.

I had heard earlier this year how he had forged good relationships with Democrats with whom he serves in Congress. I appreciate his bipartisan approach to legislating; I do not appreciate his efforts to demonize Democrats who — in my view — love this country just as much as he does.

Then again, that’s just me. He offends my own bias.

It might be too much to hope Rep. Taylor will tone it all down once he gets to know his congressional colleagues a little better.

Then again, my hope springs eternal.

Aren’t progressives allowed to ‘love’ the U.S., too?

I guess it’s all right for self-proclaimed conservatives to proclaim their love for the United States of America; everyone buys into it.

However, when a self-proclaimed socialist, a progressive politician does so, critics cast those proclamations into doubt; socialists cannot love this country, they declare, because they want to “destroy” it.

Donald Trump has gone to rhetorical war against four women who serve in the U.S. House. They’re all progressives. One of them is an avowed socialist. They’re all fighting back. They’re freshmen lawmakers, having just bee elected in 2018. They are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (the aforementioned socialist), Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar. Three of them were born in this country; Omar was born in Somalia but emigrated here when she was 12.

Trump said they all could return to the country of origin if they didn’t like it here.

AOC, though, spoke quite openly Monday of the “love” she feels toward this country and toward all Americans. Her statement flew right over the heads of those who weren’t about to listen to her.

How do we allow this to happen? How do we allow right-wing ideologues to get away with (a) proclaiming their love of country without qualification and (b) doubting left-wing ideologues’ proclamation love of country.

The president said the four women are free to leave if they “hate” this country. To be fair, he didn’t say they must leave, only that the door is open to them to depart if that was their desire.

It’s still a mindless comment, born of ignorance of the principle of dissent and discord under which the nation’s founding fathers crafted this republic.

These women do not “hate” this country, in my humble view. Their hatred is focused on the policies being espoused by the president of the United States. Specifically, they hate the separation of immigrant children from their parents and they damn sure hate the squalid conditions under which those children are being detained.

Demagogues such as Donald Trump, though, will have none of that. Instead, they level personal blasts at their foes and turn their words inside out.

Bring it to the middle, candidates

I dislike radicals on both ends of the vast political spectrum.

Yes, that includes the far lefties who at the moment seem to be dictating the direction the Democratic Party appears to be heading. I guess it’s understood that I harbor an intense loathing of those on the far right; no need to elaborate there.

The 2020 presidential campaign is taking shape.

You’ve got the incumbent on side, Donald Trump. Where he stands on that spectrum remains a mystery to me. He is a Republican In Name Only, the RINO in chief. He’s also a serial liar, a self-proclaimed genius and also a self-proclaimed self-made zillionaire; now that I think of it, the latter two items are related directly to the first one. He is an amoral narcissist who possesses zero empathy for the plights of others. He spent his entire pre-political life enriching himself and looks to me as if he governs in the same manner.

I want the president out of office, but you know that already.

As for the Democrats, I tend to tack toward the centrists. I don’t like the far-left rhetoric that comes from Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke . . . and many among the rest of horde of Democrats running for their party’s nomination. That leaves, oh, Amy Klobuchar. Then we have a one-issue hopeful: Jay Inslee.

I remain a devoted centrist. I am a deficit hawk. I want us to remain vigilant in the war against international terror. I favor strong border security (although I do not want to build Trump’s Wall along our southern border). I want to retain the Electoral College system for electing presidents.

On the flip side, I want stronger — not weaker — environmental regulations. I believe Earth’s climate is changing and we need to tackle the crisis head on. I believe transgender Americans deserve to serve in the military if they wish. I support the Affordable Care Act and believe the U.S. Constitution gives women the right to choose whether to terminate their pregnancy and whether same-sex couples have the right to be married.

My hope over time is that we can move the dialogue from the fringe and toward the center.

I am not confused. I once was a radical lefty. The older I get the more shades of gray I see on many issues.

It starts, too, with electing someone who appreciates the majesty of the office to which he or she will be elected. The guy we’ve got now needs to go.

Socialism is a serious straw man

Donald J. Trump stood before a joint congressional session and received his share of cheers — mostly from Republicans sitting in front of him — during his State of the Union speech.

One applause line deserves a brief comment here. He declared, without an ounce of equivocation, that the United States is never going to become a “socialist nation.”

GOP lawmakers stood and cheered. So did a handful of Democrats.

Why mention this here? Because the president of the United States only revealed his acute command of the obvious.

He was taking a direct shot at one member of the Senate, Vermont independent Bernie Sanders. He also was targeting a handful of House Democrats, too, namely the rookie lawmaker, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has become a media superstar while serving for an entire month in the House of Representatives.

Is the president’s declaration actually intended to stave off some hidden stampede toward socialism? He clearly intends with that statement to stoke some kind of made-up fear that there is enough support in Congress to allow for a government takeover of heavy industry. He is breeding panic among those who believe that the United States of America is going to forgo capitalism in favor of socialism.

Let’s catch our breath. There is no way in the world that the United States of America is going to adopt a socialistic economy.

The issues that some congressional progressives can be resolved without converting our economy from one that produces individual wealth to something that distributes wealth evenly among all 300 million-plus Americans.

“Medicare For All” is no more of a socialistic solution than, say, the original Medicare was when it was enacted in 1965. Or when Social Security became law in 1935. Yet lawmakers and, yes, the president insist that the Affordable Care Act — President Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative — marches the nation down the road toward socialism.

There remains a tremendous amount of individual wealth in this country. I happen to believe firmly that individual wealth will continue to flourish likely until the end of time — whenever that occurs! Socialism, as I understand the meaning of the concept, seeks to redistribute wealth through some nefarious government grab of individual assets.

Does anyone seriously believe that is going to happen? Ever?

If you believe it, then you likely have swilled the Kool-Aid dispensed by demagogues who flourish in a climate of fear.