Tag Archives: The Wall

Nothing ‘happy’ about this holiday

A good friend of mine this week posted a message that resonates loudly with me, as it should with all Americans.

Don’t wish David Norris a “happy Memorial Day,” he admonishes us. It is a holiday of commemoration, of honoring those who gave their lives in service to this country.

Norris told the story of a fellow Marine who died while serving the rest of us. They were good friends and every Memorial Day, he remembers his friend’s sacrifice.

We should remember and honor all who paid the ultimate price in service to the great nation.

I served a tour of duty in Vietnam while employed by the U.S. Army for a couple of years in the late 1960s. Every Memorial Day I recall the sacrifice of a young man who was slated to go home after he had extended his ‘Nam tour a couple of times. Jose de La Torre served in the same aviation battalion that I did; he was assigned to a Huey helicopter company and I served in a Mohawk company.

He took off one day on a mission to drop sone troops off in a landing zone. It was “routine,” or so they thought. The LZ was hot and the enemy was waiting for our ships, De La Torre died that day.

I’ve seen his name on The Wall. It still fills me with sadness to recall the exuberance of the then-young man who was going home.

So … let us honor all the men and women who paid the steepest of prices.

And as my buddy David Norris said, don’t wish anyone a happy Memorial Day.

Gov. Abbott’s wall gets little endorsement

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Today’s edition of the Dallas Morning News offered an interesting snapshot of public opinion on a plan that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is trying to foist on the state he leads.

I refer to the border wall Abbott wants to build along our state’s border with Mexico.

The Morning News today published 13 letters to the editor on its opinion page commenting on Abbott’s idea. Eleven of them came from writers who oppose the wall construction outright; one letter seemed somewhat neutral, proposing the state build a ravine along the border; one letter applauded Abbott’s leadership as governor.

Hmmm. It got me thinking. If the Dallas Morning News — which publishes a moderate/conservative editorial page — cannot find more support for Abbott’s wall than it did in today’s letters package, then what is the point of the governor’s wall-building initiative?

I certainly realize that a single day’s newspaper collection of letters to the editor does not constitute a scientific survey of public opinion. Still, it seems instructive to me that so many North Texas residents seem opposed to the idea. It’s not as if this part of the state is a haven for left-wing progressive thinkers … you know?

It brings me to the point of Abbott’s decision. Abbott says he is acting because of what he determines is the federal government’s failure to secure our border. He has bought into the clap-trap offered by the previous president that the “horde” of undocumented immigrants is full of criminals intent on harming Americans.

So Abbott wants to build a wall. He calls it a “down payment” on securing our state. Except that he is now treading on federal authority, which is charged with securing the nation. Abbott isn’t having any of that. If the feds won’t act, he said, then Texas will take matters into its own hands.

I happen to agree with most of my fellow North Texans who expressed displeasure with Abbott’s initiative. A wall is too costly and will ultimately prove to be ineffective. It also illustrates how a one-time reasonable Republican politician has morphed into a cult follower who has bought into the crazy notion that we are being overrun by criminals.

Biden sends wall money back to Pentagon

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald J. Trump got his biggest applause while campaigning for election and re-election that he would make Mexico pay for The Wall he would build along our southern border.

Mexico hasn’t paid a nickel for it, nor will it pay. What did Trump do then? He redirected money meant for the Pentagon toward construction of The Wall.

Trump didn’t win re-election. So now the man who replaced him, President Biden, has sent $14 billion in Wall money back to the agency from where it came.

Biden administration to return Trump’s border wall money to Pentagon accounts (msn.com)

Good call, Mr. President/Mr. Commander in Chief.

The money should have stayed at the Pentagon, where Congress appropriated it in the first place. Trump’s decision to divert Pentagon money to construction of The Wall was an act of political desperation, given that there would be no on Earth that Mexico would — or should — pay for a structure that is being erected by our government.

As Roll Call reported: “To build a wall along the southern border, the previous Administration redirected billions of dollars Congress provided for supporting American troops and their families, and for purchasing military vehicles, aircraft, and ships,” the official said in a statement. “The Biden Administration is committed to upholding the rule of law, and properly equipping American troops and caring for their families.”

Congress’s authority to appropriate money must remain intact. It does now that Joe Biden has taken charge of the executive branch of government.

Immigrants make us great

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The most infuriating clause in the proposed America First caucus platform is the one that talks about what its adherents call “mass immigration.”

The so-called congressional caucus — pitched by far right wing conspiracy theorists and assorted loons in Congress — seeks to promote what they refer to as an “Anglo-Saxon culture.” Included in that is this despicable clause denigrating “mass immigration” from places I presume they mean do not fit the Anglo-Saxon stereotype.

I am a product of immigrants from southern Europe. All four of my grandparents chose to spend their lives in United States after moving here from Greece and Turkey. They were patriots. They worked hard. They played by the rules. They brought 10 children into this world among them. One of those children — my father — enlisted in the U.S. Navy on the very day that Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor and dragged this country into World War II.

The America First caucus does not understand or appreciate the tenet to which all patriotic Americans should subscribe, that the very essence of American greatness and its “unique” culture rests in the hearts of those who choose to come here. I mean no disrespect for native-born Americans; hell, I was born here, too.

I just take profound offense at those in Congress who suggest that immigration — and immigrants — are somehow bad for the country. They all seek to “make America great again” by closing our doors, erecting walls across our southern border and issuing some sort of merit-based standard for those seeking to build new lives in the Land of Opportunity.

Had there been such a standard in force at the turn of the 20th century, I doubt any of my grandparents would have been allowed to come here, allowed to marry and allowed to build their own families.

Am I offended by this America First caucus? You’re damn right I am.

Welcome them, however …

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden said he is wants to “go big” on an immigration reform proposal for Congress to consider.

I agree with him, but with an important caveat. I want there to be strict border security and enforcement of immigrant-entry rules for those seeking to come to the United States.

The president has unveiled a sweeping reform that enables undocumented residents already living here an eight-year path to seeking citizenship or legal resident status; it seeks to speed up that path for agricultural workers and recipients of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program; and, yes, it seeks technology to help patrol the nation’s borders.

The childhood arrivals idea, aka DACA, became a favorite target of the Trump administration. Donald Trump rescinded President Obama’s executive order granting a form of amnesty from deportation for those who were brought here illegally as children. Joe Biden then rescinded Trump’s order in a kind of take-that approach to peeling back his predecessor’s policies.

Democrats unveil Biden’s immigration bill, including an eight-year path to citizenship (msn.com)

I am trying to take a longer view of the approach to immigration reform is taking. For sure I do not want to see a continuation of the heartlessness espoused by many of Donald Trump’s immigration advisers, namely that prince of darkness Stephen Miller who sounded for all the world like someone who wants to shut the door completely to all immigration. As the grandson of immigrants, I take deep personal offense at the approach that the Trump administration took and I welcome the more compassionate approach being expressed by the Biden team.

And no, I do not favor any sort of “open border” notion that has become a sort of whipping boy for those on the right who suggest that anything short of walling off the United States is an endorsement of welcoming everyone … legal and illegal immigrants alike. That is the stuff of demagogues.

I want President Biden to deliver on his 2020 campaign promise to fix the nation’s immigration policies. He has thrown a bold plan out there to ponder. Finding common ground is the basis for sound legislation. The president’s decades of experience as a U.S. senator puts him in position to lead that effort.

Kinky Friedman: ahead of his time

I enjoy looking back on musings I pushed out via my blog, seeking to find common ground with current events.

On July 28, 2010, I wrote a short piece about Kinky Friedman, the fascinating humorist who once ran for Texas governor. He was one of the more provocative and interesting political interviews I ever conducted.

He spoke about a notion that was getting some traction among Texas Republicans. He opposed building a wall along our southern border.


I won’t give up with this blog post what he said then, but I do want to alert you to what feared might occur in the United States if matters kept spiraling in a direction that Kinky didn’t like. Just check out the item I have attached to this post.

Kinky Friedman was way ahead of his time.

How does the liar in chief get away with this?

I am baffled beyond belief at how Donald John “The Liar in Chief” Trump gets away with saying the things that fly out of his mouth.

He stood before the Conservative Political Action Conference — the outfit he has taken over with his cult of personality — and declared that Mexico is paying for “The Wall” he is building along our southern border.

Mexico is not paying for it. Two of Mexico’s presidents have said they never will pay a peso for it. Yet the president continues to foment that lie. What’s more, he is actually paying for the wall by usurping appropriated Defense Department funds; he is taking billions of dollars approved by Congress on military hardware and diverting it to construction of The Wall.

Furthermore, he makes these outrageous claims about Mexico footing the bill for The Wall in front of the frothing faithful at CPAC … and they cheer themselves hoarse.

I am left dumbstruck at the idiocy of those who continue to buy into this clown’s falsehoods and the notion that a group such as CPAC — which once stood for conservative principles — would shun the likes of real conservatives to curry favor with a president who adheres to no known moral code that any of the rest of us can detect.

One actual conservative would be U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who had the temerity in the Senate impeachment trial of Trump to vote to convict DJT on a count of abuse of power. Romney was correct to vote his conscience. CPAC and other Trump toadie groups are wrong condemn him for doing what he believed was the only path he could take in determining whether the president should stay in office.

So, the president keeps lying … and lying some more.

And he gets away with it. Astounding, man.

Trump proposes pilfering defense funds to pay for The Wall

I guess Donald John Trump can stop pledging to force Mexico to pay for The Wall he wants to build along the border that separates us from our neighbor.

He now intends to pilfer money appropriated to pay for defense projects to pay for the structure.

What happened to “promises made, promises kept”?

Texas Democrats and Texas Republicans are criticizing a plan to divert $3.8 billion in defense money to pay for The Wall. One of the critics happens to be Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Clarendon Republican who once chaired the House Armed Services Committee. Thornberry, who isn’t running for re-election this year, calls the diversion an inappropriate maneuver.

The money involves assembly of aircraft being built in Texas. They are the F-35 fighter and the V-22 Osprey, the tiltrotor aircraft assembled in Amarillo, which Thornberry represents.

As the Texas Tribune reported: Thornberry … stated that the southern border was a national security challenge that partisanship had “exacerbated,” but he took issue with the executive branch’s decision to reallocate the funds. (H)e said that while the Department of Defense was able to make recommendations in the budgeting process, once appropriations decisions are made, “the Department of Defense cannot change them in pursuit of their own priorities without the approval of Congress.”

Then again, understanding how that process works requires a commander in chief with knowledge or a willingness to learn about the nuts and bolts of the government he was elected to lead.

Trump is too preoccupied with a ridiculous campaign promise — the one about Mexico paying for The Wall — that he never should have made in the first place.

The Wall buckles under the wind

We chuckled a bit in our house today when we heard this news: Stiff wind knocked over a portion of The Wall that Donald John Trump is seeking to build along our southern border.

We were able to laugh because there was no injury or loss of property. Just a portion of The Wall was blown over near El Centro, Calif.; a portion of the structure fell into Mexico.

It illustrates one of the many problems facing Trump’s effort to erect this structure, which he said Mexico would finance. Mexico has responded categorically: Oh, no we won’t!

The wind along out border poses just one obstacle for construction of this barrier. If you’ve been anywhere near El Paso or along the Trans-Pecos region of far West Texas, you kind of understand the wind-related problems associated with building a wall that is strong enough to withstand the battering it will take.

Then we have the issue of purchasing private land to build this structure. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees just compensation on matters such as this. It’s going to get mighty expensive for a federal government that is running an annual budget deficit that exceeds $1 trillion.

And so it goes. Trump keeps insisting Mexico will pay for a wall. Meanwhile, he is pushing to spend our money appropriated for other purposes to foot the bill that is supposed to go to Mexico.

Are you confused? So am I.

Meanwhile, the wind howls and parts of The Wall fall down.

Yes, POTUS did say Mexico would ‘pay for The Wall’

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Donald Trump is trying now to take back what he said the day he announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency.

You can’t do that, Mr. President. Really. You cannot!

He now says he never pledged to have Mexico pay “directly” for a “big, beautiful wall” he wants to build along our nation’s southern border. But actually, he did say it. Many times, in fact. He said it all along the campaign trail. He’s been repeating it since winning the 2016 election.

When you say “Mexico is going to pay for the wall, believe me,” then what else are Americans supposed to infer? When I heard him say it, I heard that “Mexico is going to pay,” period … full stop, end of story.

Sure, POTUS did seek on a few occasions say that he never suggested Mexico would “write a check” to cover the wall’s cost. He said it again Thursday at the White House. However, the direct payment idea has been crystal clear since the day he entered political life in June 2015, when he declared he would run for the presidency.

Let’s not play these games. The notion of Mexico paying for a wall along our nations’ shared border has been arguably the key campaign pledge that Trump made on his way to the White House.

He must not be allowed to lie his way out of what he said repeatedly.

The fact checkers  are hard at work keeping track of these things.