Tag Archives: Van Taylor

‘Diverse opinions’? Huh?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Van Taylor strikes me as an earnest young man who seeks to answer questions from his constituents, which he has done with a question from me to the second-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Plano Republican, who is my congressman, provided a written response to a question I posed to one of his staffers, which was: Why did Rep. Taylor vote against sanctioning QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene? You’ve heard of Rep. Greene, yes? She is a fire-breathing fruitcake who has adhered to insane notions that notorious school massacres were “staged,” that they didn’t occur.

I wondered why Taylor voted against removing the Georgia Republican from key committee assignments, such as her seat on the House Education Committee.

He stood behind his decision, declaring that we must not succumb to the “tyranny” of those who oppose individuals who offer opinions that differ from their own. He said Congress shouldn’t “excommunicate members for diverse opinions.”

Whoa! That takes my breath away.

Arguing over whether human beings are responsible for climate change provides an avenue for “diverse opinions.” The same can be said over whether we should balance our federal budget or whether the Second Amendment means we shouldn’t try to create laws that make it more difficult for criminals to acquire firearms.

However, what Marjorie Taylor Greene has said over the years has nothing to do with policy. She and other QAnon adherents foment fear, lies and bigotry with their hate-filled rhetoric.

I do not want any part of that to occur in my House of Representatives. As Rep. Taylor notes in his letter to me, “The United States Marine Corps taught me the importance of servant leadership, and as your Representative in Congress, I work for you.”

Yes, he does. I wanted my congressman to kick that conspiracy kook off those committees.

Sighing in relief … sort of

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A half-hearted sigh of relief is in order.

While most of the nation reels from the publicity surrounding the far right wing nut jobs who are dominating some of our news cycles, I am relieved to realize that my member of Congress — the young man who represents my family and me in Collin County, Texas — is not among the wackos.

Rep. Van Taylor is a Republican from Plano who is serving his second term. He succeeded a legend in these parts, the late GOP U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson, a former Vietnam War prisoner and a longtime Republican stalwart.

Taylor, too, is a veteran. He served as a Marine Corps officer in Iraq. He is a patriot who never, ever — in my humble view — subscribe to the disgraceful ideology ascribed to QAnon adherents who represent other congressional districts.

And for that I am grateful.

Now, having lauded my congressman, I want to offer just a few brief words of condemnation to our state’s junior U.S. senator, Ted Cruz.

The Cruz Missile dishonored the state and the office he occupies by insisting on an audit of the 2020 presidential election. He still to this very day hasn’t even had the decency to refer to President Biden by name and title, which he acquired in a free, fair and totally secure election.

Cruz has swallowed the Big Lie served up by the former president of the United States, and he makes me ashamed that he represents my interests in the Senate.

So, we have the good and the not so good. I will cling to the belief that Rep. Van Taylor will continue to adhere to honest and well-considered principle. I might disagree with him most of the time. I honor the fealty he pays to the U.S. Constitution and to the oath he took to defend and protect it.

Congressman answers question … sort of

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My congressman stood on the correct side in a dispute between the Texas attorney general and the president-elect of the United States.

How do I know that? I asked his office directly and someone in his Plano office told me that Rep. Van Taylor was one of the Republican lawmakers who did not join a lawsuit filed by Ken Paxton, who sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

I applauded Taylor for keeping his distance from the litigious idiocy launched by our state’s attorney general.

Then I got a letter with Taylor’s signature at the end of it.

I’ll be candid. I read the letter and it sounded like a boiler-plate response that he sends out to anyone who asks his staff a question. He thanked me for “taking the time to contact me and share your thoughts regarding the 2020 Presidential Election. Our representative democracy works best with active participation from the people and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me.”

There you go. The rest of it reads like a statement that congressmen and women provide to deal with issues of the day.

Taylor again offered his congratulations to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Taylor said he and his wife, Anne, are extending their “prayers and well wishes to both the Biden and Harris families as they prepare for this momentous undertaking.”

I want to thank the congressman — who was just re-elected to his second term from the Third Congressional District — for the letter. If only he had spoken to me a bit more directly.

Rep. Taylor noted the letter that former President George H.W. Bush left for the man who defeated him in 1992, President Bill Clinton. Bush told the new president: “Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.” Taylor added, “We must follow this example of putting political differences aside and upholding the integrity of the Constitution instead of the typical Washington dysfunction that has so many Texans frustrated.”

A final point: There is not a damn thing “typical” about the way Donald John Trump has conducted himself in the weeks since losing the election.

There you go, Rep. Taylor; that wasn’t so hard … was it?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

“Our Constitution defines the process for electing the president. Today, the Electoral College voted and on January 20th, President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. Anne and I extend our prayers and well wishes to the Biden and Harris families as they prepare for this momentous undertaking.”

— U.S. Rep. Van Taylor of Plano

There you have it. A freshman Republican congressman from the Metroplex has signed on to the notion that, by golly, Joseph R. Biden is going to take office as the next president of the United States.

Van Taylor happens to represent me in the U.S. House of Representatives. What astounds me at this moment in our nation’s history is that the media and other observers even have to ask members of Congress such an elementary question.

Taylor responded to a question from the Texas Tribune to our state’s entire congressional delegation: Do you accept Joe Biden as the president-elect?

Not all of the GOP-dominated delegation answered the question, which is their way of saying “no.” Taylor said “yes.” For that I am grateful and pleased.

As for the non-responders, which include Sen. Ted Cruz and the loony bin rep from East Texas, Louie Gohmert, I have nothing more to say other than this: Shame on you and shame on those who believe the bullsh** being fomented by Donald J. Trump about the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election as president!

They have disgraced the beloved state and the nation they took an oath to serve.

Congressmen stay away from Paxton lunacy

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I want to declare that the young man who represents me in the U.S. House of Representatives and the fellow who was my congressman until my wife and I moved to Collin County have reneged on joining the Ken Paxton loony bin parade.

U.S. Reps. Van Taylor of Plano and Mac Thornberry of Clarendon have declined to add their names to the seditious letter signed by 105 House Republicans in support of the lawsuit filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

I am heartened to report that sanity has taken hold in at least two House GOP members’ noggins.

Paxton has sued four states, seeking to overturn their voters’ results after they supported President-elect Joe Biden’s successful presidential campaign. Paxton’s lawsuit has zero chance of being approved by the SCOTUS. Indeed, some GOP senators — such as John Cornyn of Texas — have expressed serious doubt about the merits of the argument Paxton is presenting.

Taylor was just re-elected to the House from the Third Congressional District. Thornberry is stepping down after serving since 1995 in the 13th District. Indeed, Thornberry has accepted publicly and openly that Joe Biden is the next president, unlike too damn many of his GOP colleagues in Congress.

The Dallas Morning News has reported on Thornberry’s statements:

Asked what signal it sends to foreign governments that so many of his GOP colleagues refuse to accept Biden as the winner, he said that “other countries, as well as most Americans, understand and probably support President Trump making full use of all of the legal avenues … to contest mistakes or whatever he can find — flaws in the voting process. But I also am mindful that, whether it’s the attorney general or a host of others, nobody’s said they have seen any evidence of enough flaws to change the result.”

“Nearly everybody says that transition needs to move on. And we’re down to just a few days now before the Electoral College votes. We’re proceeding step by step through the normal constitutional process. And certainly, Dec. 14 when the electors vote — that’s how a president is chosen. So, things need to move ahead,” he said.

I take that to mean that Paxton’s moronic lawsuit will go nowhere. Count me as a Texas resident who is glad to know the two men who have most recently represented my interests in Congress have demonstrated that they have retained their sanity.

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.

Facing an electoral quandary

I have been “chatting” via social media with a longtime friend who has told me of her intention to vote in the Republican Party primary next month. She lives in the Golden Triangle of Texas and tells me she must vote in the GOP primary because of the plethora of local races that mean much to her.

I get that. I also have told her that I intend to vote in the Democratic primary because I have not yet built the familiarity my friend has with her community.

She’s lived in Orange County for decades. I have lived in Collin County for a little more than a year. I am not proud to acknowledge that my familiarity with local contests isn’t yet up to speed. However, I must go where my instincts lead me.

They are leading me to cast my ballot for races involving national and statewide contests.

We’re going to cast our votes for president on March 3. Super Tuesday’s lineup of primary states includes Texas and its big prize of delegates to both parties’ nominating conventions.

I am not going to restate the obvious, which involves my vote for president, or simply that I will never cast a ballot for the current POTUS. My chore now is to examine the Democratic field for the candidate of my choice.

My inclination is to support Joseph R. Biden Jr. However, it is not clear at this writing whether he’ll be a viable candidate when the Texas primary rolls around. He must win in South Carolina. The former VP is losing African-American support that he says is his “firewall” to protect his candidacy from total collapse.

Then we have the U.S. Senate race and the U.S. House contest. Yes, the impeachment battle plays a factor in my vote. GOP Sen. John Cornyn, whom I actually like personally, has been a profound disappointment to me with his vote to acquit Donald Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. What’s more, my first-term congressman, Republican Van Taylor, also disappointed me when he voted against impeaching Trump of those high crimes and misdemeanors.

My attention is focused, therefore, on the bigger stage.

I will need to live through another election cycle to familiarize myself with local issues and candidates sufficiently to cast my vote with any semblance of intelligence. Hey, given that I live in a county that’s even more Republican-leaning than my friend’s home county in the Golden Triangle, I understand the need to get up to speed.

I will do so in due course.

Does he really want to know what I think?

My congressman, Republican Van Taylor of Plano, wants to know what I think of the job Donald Trump is doing as president of the United States.

Hmm. Let me think about this one. My first reaction was to ignore the poll. I am having second thoughts.

I live in the Third Congressional District, which includes much of Collin County. It’s reliably Republican. Collin County voted for Trump in 2016, even though it borders Dallas County, which voted for Hillary Clinton.

Someone at Taylor’s office in Plano knows already how I feel about the president. It’s not good. He or she knows that. Yet the first-year congressman sent me this poll advisory via social media.

I’ll just have to stipulate once again up front: I want Trump defeated at the next election; moreover, I want him convicted in the Senate trial that will convene eventually to determine whether he committed impeachable offenses by abusing is presidential power and by obstructing Congress. I believe he did both things.

I am now thinking about answering the poll survey. I hope it gives me room to offer some commentary on whether I believe Donald Trump is unfit to serve as our head of state and commander in chief.

I believe he is. Unfit, that is.

Congressman responds … sort of

I got an answer from my congressman, to whom I posed a direct question. His response, I must stipulate, was decidedly less direct.

In a letter I had asked Rep. Van Taylor, a Plano Republican, why after complaining about so-called “secrecy” during the House Intelligence Committee’s closed-door deposition of witnesses during the House inquiry into whether Donald Trump should be impeached, that he voted “no” on a measure to bring it into the open.

Taylor’s response was, shall I say, off the mark. He did thank me for “taking the time to contact me regarding efforts to impeach President Donald Trump. Our representative democracy works best with active participation from the people and I appreciate your sharing your thoughts with me.”

There you go. That’s the extent of any reference to the question I posed. Except that he didn’t answer it.

He offered the boiler-plate response about not seeing sufficient evidence to merit the president’s impeachment, let alone his conviction in a Senate trial.

I am disappointed, although not surprised. I won’t write him any more letters on this subject. I now know precisely where he stands on whether the president deserves to be impeached. Actually, I knew it long before his letter arrived in the mail today.

I told you I would report to you how Rep. Taylor would respond. I have done so. I was hoping for a direct response. I didn’t get one.

Disappointing in the extreme.