Tag Archives: Trump Country

Blogging expands one’s audience

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Every now and then someone asks me this question about High Plains Blogger: How can you put these views out there living as you do in the middle of Trump Country?

OK, the question is paraphrased, but the message I get is the same. Someone such as me who tilts to the left must be nuts writing while sitting in a home built in the middle of a neighborhood full of Donald Trump fans.

Well, that leads me to tell the questioner that my blog goes far beyond the folks who live on our Collin County, Texas, street.

I am able to check the worldwide reach of this blog. At last count, I has been read by folks in more than 100 nations around the world. I recently had a first-time reader look at the blog in Moldova. So, I hope the Moldovan reader shares the blog with his or her neighbors.

This is one of the cooler aspects of writing this blog. The vast majority of page views and visitors to the blog reside in the United States. Ireland provides the second-most number; it’s a distant second, to be sure, but those Irish are reading the blog.

The scope of cyberspace gives folks like me to express my views openly, candidly and freely. There once was a time when I worked full-time for newspapers when I had to dial back my own bias and write editorials that spoke for the newspaper. I worked for conservative publications in Oregon and in Texas. So, while I was able to express my own views somewhat freely in my signed columns, the editorials I wrote were another matter altogether.

Those days are behind me now. I am writing this blog totally unencumbered by corporate considerations. It’s all mine. It also enables me to speak far beyond my neighborhood or even far beyond the borders of the state where my family and I have lived for the past 36 years.

Our planet is big — and small — all at once.

Face masks … everyone’s wearing ’em!

Given that my wife and I don’t get out much these days — that worldwide coronavirus pandemic is keeping us close to the house — I am left to comment on fascinating sights I see running routine errands, such as to the grocery store.

Here’s what I saw today at the supermarket where my wife and I do the bulk of our food shopping: face masks! All the store employees are wearing them. Although I didn’t count them all, my best guess is that of the customers who were there, fully 75 percent of them were covering their faces behind masks.

Why is that a big deal worthy of a comment? We live in Princeton, Texas, which is in Collin County, which borders Dallas County, which is undergoing a surge in COVID-19 infections. Gov. Greg Abbott has shut down bars and ordered restaurants to seat no more than 50 percent of capacity.

This mask-wearing matter has become a political talking point, if you can believe it. So help me I don’t understand why it has become such, but it has. Those who identify themselves as Republicans are dismissing the masks; those who ID as Democrats are buying into the notion of wearing masks.

Collin County is at the epicenter of Donald Trump Country. Trump is the nation’s leading Republican and his Trumpkin Corps has bought into the hare-brained notion that face masks aren’t as critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 as others — such as medical doctors — say they are.

I know this is purely anecdotal, but based on what I witnessed at the supermarket today, even those who live in Trump Country are adhering more to the advice of medical experts than to the yammering of GOP politicians.

That is my idea of good news.

Stop the ‘reopening’ talk, Mr. POTUS; we’re still getting sick out here!

Donald Trump’s push to reopen the United States of America is running into the proverbial immovable object.

It happens to be the rate of infection out here in Trump Country.

The White House has issued a report that declares that coronavirus infection rate is showing no signs of slowing in the heartland. That’s where I live, Mr. President, along with my family and a whole lot of our friends. I should add that many of our friends consider Trump to be the bee’s knees, but we still love them and worry about them.

Yet the Re-election Campaigner in Chief wants to push ahead with restarting the economy that has all but cratered in the wake of 80,000 deaths and more than 1.3 million infections from the killer viral infection.

States are reopening. Texas is phasing in a return to some semblance of “normal” life, although I have serious doubts about the wisdom of Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan.

My wife and I have no plans to walk into a restaurant for a meal; we will continue to go sparingly to the grocery store; we’ll run errands only as needed.

Full disclosure time: I did get a haircut this past weekend. I was masked, as was the salon worker who cut my locks. They were making many customers wait in their vehicles, but not all of ’em!

Still, we remain committed to the stay at home policy. We are staying away from our granddaughter, which — truth be told — pains us terribly. However, we are doing what we believe we have to do.

As for Donald Trump’s declaration that we are meeting all of our goals in containing the virus, um … no, we aren’t. Not in the least.

The White House coronavirus pandemic task force report contradicts Trump. Listen to the experts, Mr. President. They know more than you do.

Dissent in GOP ranks? Not likely

Some in the media are reporting the seeming presence of “dissent” among Republican U.S. senators who are getting ready to join their Democratic colleagues in putting Donald J. Trump on trial for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The source of the chatter? Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s statement about being “disturbed” at Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s assertion of taking his marching orders for the trial from Trump’s legal team.

Disturbed? Yeah, it’s disturbing, all right. It’s actually much more than that. How about, oh, reprehensible; or repugnant; or disgraceful. I could go on, but I won’t.

Murkowski is disturbed. I keep wondering if her disturbance will allow her to vote to introduce witnesses into the trial or, even more dramatically, allow her to vote to convict the president if the evidence she hears is enough to push her to the Democrats’ side.

I guess this is my way of suggesting that any thought of widespread “dissent” among GOP Senate ranks is far too premature to assess.

I know I sit out here in the middle of Trump Country, so I’m away from the action, as it were. Given what has transpired to date, the Republican power structure in D.C. is too loyal to the man and not to the U.S. Constitution which, in my view, he has failed to honor and uphold.

His abuse of power in bargaining for a political favor from a foreign government and his obstruction of Congress by denying aides from answering congressional subpoenas are enough to persuade me that Trump needs to go.

But … that’s just me. You know?

They’re ‘welcoming’ me to the Trump ‘KAGA’ rally … cool!

I received an email message today that shouldn’t surprise me, but then again, it does fill me with an added desire to attend an event I never thought I would want to attend.

Donald J. Trump is coming to the Metroplex on Thursday. He will stage one of those Keep America Great rallies at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. I will be among those in the crowd.

The president’s re-election campaign today sent me a welcome message, expressing appreciation for my willingness to attend this event.

OK, so my sincere and ardent opposition to Trump’s re-election hasn’t exactly registered with the rank-and-file staffers at the president’s campaign. I get it. I’m just a chump blogger who lives out here in the heart of Trump Country.

The Trump-Pence campaign said it is “excited for you to join us at our Keep America Great Rally with President Trump.” I applied for a ticket online, printed it out and will present it when I walk into the arena.

The Secret Service will be checking everyone who walks into the AAC. Hey, I totally get that. The campaign advised me of the care the Secret Service is taking to ensure everyone’s safety. I’ll be glad to submit to whatever inspection they intend to conduct.

The campaign is advising everyone to get there early. No sweat. I will be there in plenty of time.

I am not going to delude myself into believing that anyone at Trump’s campaign HQ gives a damn what I have to say about the president. I am not employed by a major media outlet. I just write this blog for myself; sure, it gets distributed along some social media platforms.

My intent here is to attend the rally at the AAC. I won’t make a spectacle of myself. I’ll be discreet.

I do intend to report on what I see and hear at the rally. Donald Trump supporters likely won’t like what I expect to say about occurs inside the American Airlines Center.

But, what the heck. I do appreciate the email.

Corrupt intent in Smollett case? Just wondering

Let’s see what we have here in the case involving Jussie Smollett, the actor caught up in a growing controversy over a crime in which he was involved.

Smollett tells Chicago police that two white guys assaulted him, hurled homophobic and racial slurs at him, tied a noose around his neck and said he was in “Trump country”; they allegedly were wearing Make America Great Again hats.

The cops look into it, smell something fishy and then a grand jury issues a 16-count indictment alleging that Smollett — who is black and openly gay — paid two Nigerian brothers to orchestrate the attack; he paid them with a check, which authorities recovered. Smollett was charged with several felony counts of disorderly conduct and filing a false police report.

Then, mysteriously, prosecutors drop all 16 counts. They wipe the record clean. The files are sealed. Smollett is free and clear as if nothing happened.

Am I the only American who suspects some possible corrupt intent here? What in the world caused the prosecutors — who say they still believe Smollett did what they accused him of doing — to drop the whole thing?

Donald Trump says he plans to get the FBI and the Justice Department to look into this matter. That’s a good call. The folks in Cook County, Ill., need some answers to this bizarre turn of events. If the local authorities won’t provide it to them, then the feds have every reasonable right to look for answers and spill the beans to the public.

These kinds of attacks normally wouldn’t attract such attention. Except the victim/turned perp/turned victim again is a noted celebrity, a star on a major TV show.

It still smells fishy.

Beto’s been to all counties, even to the heart of Trump Country

I love how Beto O’Rourke boasts about visiting all 254 Texas counties. For the life of me I cannot fathom that, but the Democratic challenger to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz stands by his story … and he’s sticking with it.

I cannot help but wonder how he fared when he ventured into tiny Roberts County, just northeast of Amarillo along U.S. 60. It’s been said of Roberts County that it has far more livestock than live human beings.

However, the New York Times profiled Roberts County a year ago as the nation’s friendliest county for Donald John Trump. I looked up the results from the 2016 presidential election. Trump carried Texas by about 9 percentage points, which is down from the total that previous Republican presidential nominees — Mitt Romney in 2012 and the late John McCain in 2008 — scored in their losing bids against President Obama.

Roberts County, though, voted 94 percent for Donald Trump; Hillary Clinton got the handful of votes remaining.

How does someone such as O’Rourke, a flaming liberal/progressive, actually campaign in Roberts County? I haven’t been privy to news reports on how this event took place.

Suffice to say, though, that it speaks quite well of the young man from El Paso that he is willing to travel into the heart of Trump Country — and I consider Roberts County to be Ground Zero — and pitch his notion of good government.

His strategy seems to be to cut his party’s losses in the deepest Republican-red regions of the state and hope he holds onto his margins in the urban centers where Democrats usually outperform Republicans.

If he can cut the GOP margin in Roberts County by, say, three ballots, I figure the young man is on a roll.

Do political junkies have identifying marks?

In this Sept. 29, 2016, photo, local residents receive their ballots at the Polk County Election Office on the first day of early voting in Des Moines, Iowa. Many Americans have at least some doubts about votes in this year's presidential election will be counted accurately, and a significant number are concerned about the possibility of interference in the election by foreign hackers. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

PIEDMONT, S.D. — I’m wondering if I have some kind of mark on my forehead that identifies me as a “political junkie.”

Here’s what happened at a convenience store in what more than likely is Trump Country.

I picked up a copy of the Rapid City Journal and then met a young man standing in a short line waiting to pay for some items.

“Hey, the election is almost here,” he said, then he asked, “Have you voted?:

“No,” I said. “I don’t believe in voting early.”

“What the heck,” he said. “Our votes won’t be counted anyway.”

“Aw, yes they will,” I replied.

“Who do you think will win?” the young man asked. “Hillary,” I said.

“Do you want her to win?” he asked. “I just told you who I think will win, so I will just leave it at that,” I responded.

Other than the first takeaway I gleaned from this chance meeting — the one about any potential identifying marks — there’s another one.

Donald J. Trump’s repeated — and ridiculous — assertions about a “rigged election” seems to have taken root in the skull of at least one young voter.

As we left the store, I encouraged the young man to vote — despite his doubts that they’ll count his ballot.