Tag Archives: The Atlantic

Goodbye, stick shifts? Oh, my!

I just glanced at an article in The Atlantic that saddens me greatly.Ā It’s because the article foretells the demise of stick shifts in motor vehicles. This is a terrible event in the age of the horseless carriage.

Here’s the article to which I refer:

The End of Manual Transmission – The Atlantic

I learned how to drive on a manual transmission. Mom taught me the ins and outs of operating a three-speed transmission in her 1961 Rambler. It was a brown-ish vehicle. It wasn’t very sporty, but it did allow me to learn the intricacies of actually operating a motor vehicle.

Mom advised me that “once you learn to master a manual transmission, you’ll be able to drive anything.” Oh, she was so right.

Not too many years after learning how to drive Mom’s Rambler, I returned home from Vietnam and spent the final few months of my Army tour of duty with an armored cavalry regiment in Fort Lewis, Wash. I got orders to report to a transportation company within the Third Armored Cav. They threw me into a five-ton cargo truck. And, yep, it had a manual transmission.

It was a piece of cake, man.

Ian Bogost writes in The Atlantic: But the manual transmissionā€™s chief appeal derives from the feeling it imparts to the driver: a sense, whether real or imagined, that he or she is in control. According to the business consultant turned motorcycle repairman turned best-selling author Matthew Crawford, attending to that sense is not just an affectation. Humans develop tools that assist in locomotion, such as domesticated horses and carriages and bicycles and carsā€”and then extend their awareness to those tools. The driver ā€œbecomes oneā€ with the machine, as we say.

Hey, it’s not “imagined.” The driver is in control.

My family members have known for years how I feel about stick-shift driving. I always have preferred to actually manipulate the clutch pedal and run the shifter through its paces over just sitting behind the steering wheel and guiding the car to wherever I have pointed it.

Hey, I’ll get over this sad news. It’s just going to take some time.


POTUS has gone mad

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The headline over The Atlantic story says it clearly.

“Trump Is Losing His Mind.”

If we are to believe the New York Times story — and I do believe it — then we now know that Donald Trump has discussed openly the idea of imposing martial law as a way to overturn the results of a free and fair presidential election.

It was an election he lost fair and square to President-elect Joe Biden.

Furthermore, he has considered hiring disgraced lawyer Sidney Powell to serve as special counsel to look directly into the election results. Oh, and there’s more: He brought in his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who Trump pardoned for crimes relating to his lying to the FBI over testimony he gave regarding his connection with Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

This came forward after a White House meeting. The NY Times reported it. Trump, of course, calls it “fake news.”

However, I am going to believe the reporting done by the Times. I also am going to endorse the headline atop The Atlantic story.

Donald Trump’s obsession with clinging to power has created a patently dangerous episode within the walls of the White House.

We have to keep our eyes on this guy.

Who are ‘Vets for Trump’?

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I will acknowledge being a member of the “Never Trump” brigade.

I get to join some prominent Republicans, even though I am not one of them. Given that we in Texas vote in an “open primary” system, we do not have to “register” with a particular political party.

Now that we have established that bit of info, I want to explore briefly the phenomenon called “Veterans for Trump.”

Why in the name of public service does any veteran stand with this guy? The Atlantic magazine article that portrayed Trump as someone who detests those who serve in uniform ought to have dissuaded any self-respecting veteran from backing this individual’s re-election effort. They have their assorted reasons and I will respect them for standing on their rationale.

To be fair, I known personally plenty of vets who fall into that category. I mean no disrespect to any of them. They are my friends and I love them all.

The Atlantic cited numerous sources who confirmed that Trump referred to vets as “suckers” and “losers.” He denigrated the service of those who were captured by enemy forces. Trump even told associates that parades honoring veterans shouldn’t include those who suffered grievous injury because “no one wants to see that.”

I hasten to add that The Atlantic article has been verified by other reputable news sources. They have corroborated what the reporter, Jeffrey Goldberg, revealed in the article.

And so I have to ask: How do veterans continue to stand with this guy who disparages them in such grotesque fashion?

To be sure, I am not one of them. Then again, I am a proud member of the “never Trump” team.

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 presidentā€™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.

Is anonymity worth it?



I am coming down with a touch of a headache watching and following the The Atlantic Monthly magazine’s story on whether Donald Trump referred to military personnel as “suckers and losers.”

First of all, I take my hat off to editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg for some first-class reporting on statements attributed to Trump as he denigrates the service of men and women who have been injured or killed in battle.

Here’s where the head starts throbbing.

He uses four anonymous sources. Not one of them was willing to put his or her name on what he or she heard Trump say. Goldberg stands behind his decision to protect their identity. He said he knows who they are, their names and perhaps even their loved ones’ names, too.

He believes what they told him. Frankly, so do I, based on what I have read; that includes The Atlantic story, which I have read three times.

I confess to some discomfort over keeping their identities secret. I never was able to grant anonymity to news sources while I was working for daily newspapers. I always believed that if someone had something to say, they should offer their names to enable the public to judge the veracity of the story they were telling.

If I had been in charge of The Atlantic and a reporter (in this case, Goldberg is editor in chief of the magazine) came to me with anonymous sources, I likely would insist they allow their names to be published along with the tale they were telling.

Then again, you get a story — a once-a-career kind of story — that is so compelling that the only way the source will talk to you is if you offer him or her anonymity.

That might have been part of Goldberg’s calculation as he prepared the story for publication. If that’s the case, then I respect his decision to grant anonymity to his sources. Goldberg’s journalistic reputation is stellar enough for me to believe him when he endorses their credibility.

Take my word for this final point: No journalist worth a damn is going to pi** away a career for the sake of a fake story.

Yep, the shoe fits

“IĀ would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects them more.”

Donald J. Trump



Do you believe the commander in chief’s denial that he denigrated and disparaged the men and women who serve in our nation’s military?

Yeah. Me neither. Nor does Chuck Hagel, the former Republican U.S. senator from Nebraska and former defense secretary in the Obama administration.

The source of this angst comes from The Atlantic magazine, which published a story by Jeffrey Goldberg citing four anonymous sources who reportedly heard Trump speak ill of those who were wounded in action, were killed in action or taken prisoner by enemy forces.

According to USA Today: Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran and two-term Republican senator, told ABC NewsĀ “This Week” co-anchorĀ Martha RaddatzĀ that if Trump’s reported comments are “real, it’s beneath the dignity of any commander in chief. Truly they’re despicable.”Ā 

OK, Hagel is giving Trump a sliver of a benefit of the doubt on the remarks attributed to him in The Atlantic. I saw the ABC News interview and I came away from watching it that Hagel truly believes the remarks fit a pattern that Trump already has exhibited.

No, this story won’t go away any time soon. Nor should it. The reporting paints the commander in chief in the most hideous context imaginable.

I would accept Donald Trump’s denial, that he would swear on anything he could find. Except that his constant and relentless lying has destroyed all semblance of credibility.

This story will stick



I have no doubt about the veracity of a story that has grown more legs than a centipede.

It involves statements attributed to Donald Trump in which he denigrates the service performed by wounded servicemen and women, those who were captured by the enemy and even those who gave their lives in defense of the nation.

He called them “losers” and “suckers,” according to the article published in The Atlantic.

Of course, Trump denies it vehemently. He has gone on the attack against the author of the piece, Jeffrey Goldberg, against the owner of the publication, and against the “fake news” media for reporting what Goldberg has written.

But think about it for just a moment: The statements attributed to Trump are wholly consistent with statements he has made publicly, out loud, and for the record about service personnel who have served with honor, valor and heroism.

He disparaged the late John McCain’s time as a Vietnam War prisoner; he castigated a Gold Star couple whose son was killed in action in Iraq; he criticized Admiral William McRaven after the special operations commander coordinated the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, saying he should have killed bin Laden sooner; he ridiculed Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified in the impeachment inquiry against Trump.

He feigns admiration for our servicemen and women. He brags about all the great things he has done for our veterans and for our active-duty personnel.

Still, he finds moments to denigrate the service of those who serve their country.

He wants us to believe he didn’t say those things attributed to him in The Atlantic? He must be out of his ever-lovin’ mind to believe Americans should accept his overheated denials.

I believe this story will continue to grow even more legs as we move toward the end of the presidential campaign. As it should. It rings true to this veteran’s ears. I suspect there are others among us who will be as repulsed as I am to read the things that fly out of the mouth of the man masquerading as our commander in chief.

Whether to ID sources

Jeffrey Goldberg is taking a good bit of heat these days over a story he wrote for The Atlantic magazine.

You no doubt know of what I speak: the story about Donald Trump’s reported denigration of men and women in the military and the tale it tells of Trump’s profound disrespect for those who serve in defense of the country.

Goldberg is getting panned by those on the right because he granted anonymity to several individuals who he says have direct knowledge of hideous statements Trump has made.

Which brings me to the point of this brief blog post: Should he have granted them anonymity?

Well, I worked for nearly 37 years as a print journalist for small and medium-sized newspapers. I would get requests from sources to remain anonymous. My bosses always had a rule: We don’t grant anonymity unless naming the source posed a threat to that individual’s well-being. I never granted anonymity.

Goldberg’s sources, from what I understand, had to remain hidden because of severe threats they face from none other than Donald Trump himself. Goldberg has told media interviewers that he knows who they are and he knows whether their knowledge is legitimate. Thus, he remains comfortable with the decision to grant them anonymity.

I don’t know Jeffrey Goldberg, but I surely know of his work and of the work contained in the page of The Atlantic. He is a time-tested journalist who takes his work quite seriously. Yet, there are those who say categorically that Goldberg’s story is false, that it’s made up, it’s fiction.

I simply would respond with this: No journalist who has developed the reputation for meticulous reporting that Jeffrey Goldberg has acquired is going to toss a career’s worth of work aside for the sake of publishing a false story.

Journalists don’t take an oath to report the truth. They rely instead on the protection guaranteed in the Constitution against government recrimination. They cherish that protection and — take my word for it — no serious journalist is going to flout it for the sake of a “fake news” story.

I am going to stand with Jeffrey Goldberg on this one.

Is POTUS protesting a tad too much?

So, how angry is Donald J. Trump at reporting from The Atlantic that he has spoken boorishly about servicemen and women who serve, are injured or die in the line of duty?

He is so angry he is calling on his base of supporters to “bombard” the magazine with messages of protest over what he calls “fake news” and “another witch hunt.”

There you go. The president of the United States is engaging in one of the tactics for which he has become infamous. He is showing off his bullying skills.

And to think he is now launching this attack on an esteemed publication, led by an esteemed reporter and editor — Jeffrey Goldberg — who has checked, rechecked and rechecked again his sources for the explosive story.

Goldberg writes that Trump has called those who were injured or killed in battle “suckers” and “losers.” Goldberg has reported on a litany of examples of Trump denigrating the service of military men and women. Some of them are quite well known, such as, oh the late President George H.W. Bush and the late Sen. John McCain.

Trump, though, is firing back.

He should save his breath as far as I am concerned. I happened to believe Goldberg’s account of what Trump said. It is consistent with what we know he has said about McCain, for example.

As for his bullying of a media organization, well, I guess the First Amendment protection against government coercion of a free press doesn’t extend to presidential petulance.

‘Losers’ and ‘suckers? My a**!

I am having a difficult time setting aside this latest reporting about Donald Trump’s hideous and profoundly despicable view of those who chose to serve their country.

The Atlantic magazine’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, has written a detailed account of statements that have come from Trump about those who were wounded in battle, those who died in battle, those who were captured and held as prisoner and, yes, even those who volunteered to serve in politically unpopular wars.

Goldberg is a first-rate journalist. He stands firmly behind the story he has written. He has sourced it meticulously. Yes, he granted anonymity to the sources, but I understand his reasoning: He wanted to protect them against retribution from Donald Trump.

Trump, though, calls him ghastly names. He denigrates the journalism contained inside the magazine’s covers. Goldberg is a pro and as practitioner of a fine craft, he has every reason to stand behind his reporting. Those who take up careers in serious journalism do so while pledging to always be truthful, accurate and fair. Donald Trump is none of that and we all know it.

I am simply astonished that a commander in chief could say the things attributed to Trump in this piece. It exhibits at so many levels what many of us have known all along, that someone with no public service experience prior to becoming elected president of the U.S. would harbor such miserable views about those who serve their country.

As I have re-read The Atlantic article I find myself muttering to myself that none of this surprises me. Trump cannot tell the truth, so his reported lie about skipping a World War I victory celebration because of “security concerns” is now revealed to have been because he didn’t want the rainfall to mess up his coiffed combover.

Trump infamously denigrated the Vietnam War service of the late John McCain and now we learn that he thought little of the late George H.W. Bush’s World War II service because he, too, got shot down over the Pacific Ocean.

So now Trump has gone on the attack against Jeffrey Goldberg, against a Fox News reporter who has corroborated Goldberg’s reporting, against The Atlantic, against Fox News itself.

The reporting of what Donald Trump has said cuts me deeply, as I am certain it cuts many of us who (a) served our country and (b) are members of families with others who have done their duty for the nation we all love.