Tag Archives: Taliban

Give Putin the dickens, Mr. POTUS

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Vladimir Putin is in dire need of a stern lecture from the leader of the world’s remaining military superpower.

The Russian strongman is preparing no doubt for a summit meeting with President Biden, who has just commenced his first foreign trip as our commander in chief.

Biden has said in public that he plans to bring up at least three critical issues that his immediate predecessor, Donald Trump, didn’t bother to broach with his strongman pal.

They include: interference in our elections, human rights concerns, the paying of bounties to Taliban terrorists who kill American service personnel on the Afghanistan battlefield.

President Biden has known Putin for many years, owing to his two terms as vice president and his time as a U.S. senator. He told Putin once that he looked into the Russian’s eyes and “did not see a soul,” which Putin reportedly responded that the men understood each other.

Whereas Trump coddled dictators, President Biden has expressed an intention to take an entirely different approach in dealing with Putin. Joe Biden now gets his chance to demonstrate that he means business and that he will make Putin answer for the behavior he has sanctioned while governing Russia.

My hope for Joe Biden is that he deals with Putin as the leader of the world’s most powerful and indispensable nation and that Putin no longer can act as though Russia is our equal. It isn’t.

Biden to scold Putin?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The days of Vladimir Putin getting a pass from the president of the United States appear to be over.

That said, I would pay real American money if I could become a “fly on the wall” in the room where President Biden and the Russian strongman/spook/tyrant/dictator hold their first summit … when it occurs.

They don’t have one scheduled yet, but the wheels are turning to get the two men together to talk about, oh, differences over policy.

Putin got all snuggly with Donald Trump during Trump’s four years in the White House. He interfered in two of our elections, Trump said nothing. Putin reportedly paid Taliban terrorists bounties for every American they killed on the Afghan fields of battle, but again Trump said not a word. He has sought to subvert Ukraine in an ongoing war with the former Soviet republic, but Trump kept quiet about that, too.

Joe Biden wants to look into Putin’s flinty eyes and and give him the what-for, to which I say, “You go, Joe!”

If only I could eavesdrop. Dang!

Tension with Russia, China mount? Imagine that

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Who would have thought that two nations competing with the United States of America are getting their dander up over the words coming from the new U.S. president?

Too bad … for them.

President Biden has acknowledged that Russian despot Vladimir Putin is a killer, prompting the Russians to call their U.S. ambassador back to the Kremlin. Biden also is working with our allies to get China to change the way it treats dissidents in its country, prompting the People’s Republic to stiffen its back as well.

I want there to be peaceful relations with both countries. I also want the United States to act like the powerhouse nation it is, not roll over and concede matters to Russia and China, which happened all too often during the Trump administration.

Biden has pledged to make Russia pay for interfering in our elections and for its assorted other misdeeds, such as reportedly paying bounties for Americans killed on the Afghanistan battlefield. Donald Trump never even brought that subject up with Putin, as Trump himself has admitted. That must change and by all accounts, it has done so.

Russia, China tensions rise with White House  | TheHill

As for China, I also want President Biden to talk openly about human rights abuses, which the PRC is infamous for committing against its citizens. If the leaders in Beijing don’t like it, well … that’s just too damn bad.

Russians might pull their envoy to the U.S.? | High Plains Blogger

The United States has sufficient alliances around the world with nations that are able to back us up and are capable enough to withstand challenges from Russia and China.

I welcome the tougher talk coming from President Biden. After all, we are big dog on the block.

Putin isn’t your pal, Mr. POTUS

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin chatted the other day.

They reportedly covered — according to a read-out supplied to the media by the White House — a number of topics. They included at least two topics that Donald Trump refused repeatedly to mention to his pal Vlad: the bounty paid to Taliban terrorists who kill American service personnel on t he battlefield and the Russian interference in our elections.

What a change in tone. What a welcome change.

President Biden has made it clear, or so it appears, that he doesn’t plan to be Vladimir Putin’s friend. He wants to assert U.S. moral authority. He wants to engage Russia on nuclear arms reduction. Biden intends to face Russia down on its efforts to subvert Ukraine.

Trump boasted of his deal-making prowess but he never came close to negotiating a nuclear arms reduction deal with his good pal Putin.

Biden enters this relationship with a long history of involvement in foreign policy discussions. Let’s remember that he formerly chaired or was ranking member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee before he became vice president for two terms serving under President Obama.

Indeed, the White House read-out of the meeting is something the public didn’t get for the past four years during Donald Trump’s term. No one ever knew what the two men talked about, except what Trump would say out loud; and we all know how believable Donald Trump could be, right?

To be sure, the read-out only reveals what the White House wants us to know. However, my own sense is that the Biden administration will deal much more forthrightly and candidly with Vladimir Putin than the Trump administration ever did.

President Biden has laid down an important marker at least by challenging Putin on the hideous report of the bounties he paid for the lives of American service personnel.

Don’t let up, Mr. President.

Where is POTUS’s outrage now?

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As the president of the United States continues to rant and rail against the democratic process in this country, an avowed foe of the country he was elected to govern has been revealed to have hacked into several federal government agencies.

Have we heard a peep from Donald J. Trump? Has the president signaled any sort of public anger at what the Russians have done — again! — in their ongoing assault on our governmental infrastructure?

The answer is as obvious as it gets. No. He hasn’t said a word publicly about it. Donald Trump has expressed zero outrage. He has remained silent, just as he did when it was reported that Russian goons were paying Taliban terrorists bounties for Americans killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan.

It has been abundantly clear to me and others that Trump might pretend that he won the 2020 presidential election, but his lack of action on any manner of important matters suggests he has taken leave of his duties … not that he ever paid much attention to the myriad details of his job.

Donald Trump will disgrace Americans for as long as he occupies the presidency. The clock is ticking on his exit.

Trumpkins hang tough … astounding!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I must admit to a certain astonishment as I watch Donald Trump seek re-election as president of the United States.

It comes as I watch those members of the Trumpkin Corps continue to make excuses for their candidate’s astounding behavior. I admit to watching Trump at those rallies he stages and am shocked and amazed at how little substance he offers. Indeed, his rants and riffs are bereft of any policy initiatives.

He prances and preens in front of those adoring fans of his as if he’s a TV star … oh, wait! I forgot that he once was one once upon a time. He mocks Joe Biden because the former vice president chooses to wear a mask while speaking in public. Hey, we do have a pandemic among us that is still killing Americans by the hundreds every day.

Trump gripes about the news coverage he gets. He has taken aim at the moderator of the next “debate” scheduled for later this week with Biden, NBC reporter Kristen Welker.

Trump continues to deploy his Twitter account relentlessly, ad nauseum.

And still … the Trumpkins out there think he’s just the bee’s knees, the greatest thing since pockets on shirts, the alleged “messiah,” the guy who “tells it like it is.”

They ignore the president’s failure to respond initially to the COVID-19 pandemic. They dismiss Trump’s unwillingness to challenge Russian loon Vladimir Putin for placing bounties on our American fighting men and women and paying real money to Taliban terrorists for killing them on the battlefield. They ignore his un-Christian behavior at every turn yet some of them keep suggesting that God dispatched Trump onto the campaign trail in 2016 to save the nation.

This individual has created a cult of personality the likes of which I have never seen in this great nation of ours. He cuddles (proverbially) with murderous dictators and denigrates our own intelligence professionals. Trump recently said FBI director Christopher Wray “isn’t doing a very good job” because Wray says white supremacists pose an existential threat to this nation. He challenges the expert advice given him and the nation by the world’s pre-eminent infectious disease guru, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who – for the life of me I don’t understand this – continues to serve at the pleasure of this goofball.

Through it all Trump sways the faithful who just cannot bring themselves to acknowledge what the rest of us have seen all along. It is that their guy is as phony as they come.

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.

Biden needs to be held to his own campaign pledges

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Joseph R. Biden Jr. is making his share of campaign promises as he seeks to unseat Donald J. Trump Sr. from the presidency.

I am extremely cautious in my hope that he’ll be able to fulfill them. I man, Trump does have a way of pulling rabbits out of his hat … if not his a**. He could do so again down the stretch toward Election Day.

Biden is making some promises that I want to see him keep. For example:

He vows to improve the Affordable Care Act, not scrap it; he vows to rescind Trump executive orders removing us from the Paris Climate Accords and the Iranian nuclear arms deal; Biden promises to work closely with our worldwide allies and cease scolding them; he pledges to hold Russia accountable for the attacks it has launched on our political system and to force answers on the issue of paying bounties for the combat deaths of American service personnel; he vows an energy policy that stresses “clean” sources of energy.

Biden wants to restore our nation’s “soul.” I’m all in. Our soul has been co-opted by the fraud who occupies the Oval Office. Biden vows to lead the entire nation, not just the base that is most loyal to him … which is a promise we never have heard from Donald Trump.

Once the dust settles and Biden — or so I am hoping — is elected the nation’s 46th president, I am going to insist that the new guy keep faith with the myriad pledges he has made.

I am acutely aware that I won’t be alone in that effort. Good. The more of us the better … for the nation.

What happened to bounty outrage?

It’s been clear to me for many years that yesterday’s outrage too often becomes today’s afterthought.

Such as it is with the story that got the media’s attention regarding reports that Russian intelligence officials had placed bounties on the heads of American soldiers fighting Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan.

Yep, we were filled with rage over the notion that Vladimir Putin’s goons were paying money for every soldier the Taliban killed. What’s more, we became even more outraged at Donald John Trump’s lack of outward anger at the reports.

Instead, Trump attacked the media outlets that were reporting this stunning news. He called it “fake.” He became angry at whoever it was who leaked the information to the Associated Press, to the New York Times and to CNN. His anger at the Russians? Silence, man!

I happen to be mad as hell — still! — at Donald Trump over this story. Sure, there are plenty of things Trump has done to incur my wrath: the insults, the hideous pandemic response, the incessant lying.

The idea, though, that the president of the United States would ignore briefing material that had landed on his desk that told him of bounties being paid to Taliban fighters who kill Americans is the utmost betrayal of the oath he took to become commander in chief.

However, the outrage that we heard from all across the country seems to have subsided. Granted, it has been overtaken by another huge event, one that has worsened on Donald Trump’s watch as president of the United States.

The coronavirus pandemic demands our national attention. So do the reports of bounties paid by a hostile power to our battlefield enemies who kill the men and women our president sends into harm’s way.

We cannot let up in our demand for accountability at what many of us consider a hideous dereliction of duty by a man who vowed to protect the men and women who serve under his command.