Tag Archives: Washington Post

He put us in ‘Peril’

The older I get the harder it becomes for me to sit down with a book and read it from front to back non-stop. Yep, even those so-called page-turners.

That all said and understood (I presume), I ordered a new non-fiction piece of work that well could go down as a landmark historical document of the final days of the 45th president’s term in office. It’s titled “Peril,” co-written by a walking-talking journalistic legend, Bob Woodward, and an up-and-comer, Robert Costa.

They are telling the world a story about the imminent peril that the 45th POTUS put the nation through while he continued to fight the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Joe Biden won fairly, squarely, legally and any other way you want to describe it.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley called his Chinese counterpart to assure him he would be alerted ahead of a possible attack by the United States, Woodward and Costa tell us. They also related how then-Vice President Mike Pence talked with one of his VP predecessors, fellow Indianan Dan Quayle, about how he (Pence) could overturn the results of the election; Quayle told Pence to “give it up,” that he had no choice but to obey the Constitution and certify the results on Jan. 6.

I want to know more. I trust Woodward implicitly to get it right. I mean, he and his former Washington Post college Carl Bernstein wrote the book on political investigative journalism (no pun intended) during the Watergate crisis of the 1970s.

This is good stuff. I might be too old to read a good book in one sitting. I am damn sure not too old to learn more about how vulnerable our democratic institutions can become when we put a charlatan in charge of our nation’s executive government branch.


About that girl …

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Does the name Mary Ann Vecchio ring a bell with you? Does it strike a familiar note? Hmmm … ?

It didn’t hit me, either, until I opened up a story online from the Washington Post Magazine. I read about Mary Ann Vecchio, who as the author of the Post piece described her, was the most well-known mystery person on Earth.

You’ve seen the picture, yes?

That’s her, kneeling over a young Kent State University student who had just been shot by National Guard troops on the Ohio campus. The students were protesting the Vietnam War on May 4, 1970. I had thought all along that Vecchio was one of those student protesters. She wasn’t.

She was just 14 years of age when a photographer — Kent State senior John Filo — captured this image for the ages. She had run away from her home in Florida to escape her continually quarreling and fighting parents. She ended up in Ohio and, as her very bad luck would have it, she found herself in one of the landmark occurrences of the 20th century.

I didn’t know that Vecchio was just a girl. I had thought all along she was one of the Kent State students who got caught up in that protest and who saw her friend gunned down in the melee.

She also found her image captured for eternity by a student photographer whose picture would win him a Pulitzer Prize.

The girl in the Kent State photo and the lifelong burden of being a national symbol – The Washington Post

I have attached the Post magazine article to this blog item. Take some time to read it. You will be mesmerized by the woman who tells her life story, about her failed marriage and her journey through a tumultuous life that has returned her home from where she fled all those decades ago.


Can it be, that Texas is state to watch on Election Night?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

When someone as experienced — or “grizzled” as some might suggest — a politics watcher as Dan Balz speaks to matters political, I am inclined to heed his wisdom.

So … the venerable Washington Post political analyst has said that Texas might emerge as the nation’s most intriguing state during this Election Season.

How so? How can this once boring Republican bastion become such a hot spot for political pundits around the world? How can Texas possibly hold the key to whomever gets elected president of the United States next month?

Balz says we got a glimpse into a possible near future with Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s near-victory over GOP U.S. Sen. Ted “The Cruz Missile” Cruz in 2018. Balz figures O’Rourke’s close finish is harbinger of things to come. One of those “things” might be the reemergence of the Democratic Party in a state that has been locked in a GOP vise-grip for the past three decades.

The state’s changing demographics have nearly everything to do with it, Balz figures. Texas is becoming increasingly Latino. Indeed, the Latino population is on track to become the largest ethnic group in the state. Latino voters, therefore, might be inclined to vote more Democratic than, say, Texas Anglos.

I will this offer this no-brainer prediction: If Joe Biden manages to pick off Texas’s 38 electoral votes next month — which few pundits predict will occur — there is no way on God’s Earth that Donald Trump can win re-election.

Indeed, Biden is running neck and neck with Trump in this state, which in itself is a sign of big time change in Texas.

As Balz wrote in a column published in the Houston Chronicle: Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University, said Trump “catalyzed” the demographic changes that already were at work. “If we say what explains why Texas has become much more competitive in 2018 and 2020, it’s Donald Trump’s presence in the White House. He is a drag on the Republican Party.”

The intrigue with Texas, though, stretches down the ballot, where Democrats might pilfer more offices held traditionally by Republicans. So, as Dan Balz notes, stay tuned for these ballots to be counted. There well could be a surprise or two to be revealed.

Trump is the ‘worst president in history’? Take a look at this essay

OK, I won’t quite yet endorse the notion posited by Max Boot in an essay published in the Washington Post that Donald Trump is the worst president in the history of the United States.

But, oh man, this guy — Trump — is really and truly a bad man who happens to hold the nation’s most exalted public office.

You can read Boot’s essay here.

I have not been shy in criticizing Trump since before he took office. I have maintained all along that his background as a rich kid who received a big business stake from his father; who then built high-rises and slapped his name on them; who then ran a series of failed business enterprises; who then ran beauty pageants and who then hosted a reality TV show was the most improbable fit imaginable for the presidency.

His blatant and bald-faced incompetence in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic likely cements his place as the worst in U.S. history. Oh, and then there’s his incessant, relentless lying … about everything, every topic, large and small. He can’t tell the truth.

At every level I can consider this man has denigrated his office. He has flouted tradition and dignity. He has behaved with absolute crassness and boorishness.

Yep, this guy is a bad man.

Worst fears of POTUS have come true

I sought repeatedly during the 2016 presidential campaign and thereafter to drive home a fundamental point about Donald John Trump.

It is that the current president of the United States had contributed not a single moment of his adult life to public service, that his entire mission in life was focused solely on self-enrichment, self-aggrandizement, self-promotion.

I am saddened to declare that I believe many millions of Americans’ worst fears about this president have come true.

A new book, “Very Stable Genius,” appears to confirm what this blog has sought to put forth. Donald Trump’s presidency is built on one premise: to do whatever is necessary to boost the fortunes of the president of the United States.

I’ve read a few excerpts of the book, written by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. I plan to purchase it when it goes on sale this week.

The book reportedly bristles with reporting about examples of the president dismissing the advice and counsel of his key advisers. He ignores and disparages the military commanders who surround him. He handles his own communications operation. He listens to no one. Trump relies only on his own instincts.

The president’s attention span is reportedly comparable to that of a gnat. He doesn’t read. He doesn’t study. He doesn’t learn. Donald Trump doesn’t ask probing questions.

As I have sought to lay out there from this platform, the man elected three years ago to the only public office he has ever sought has not grown into the office. Trump hasn’t learned anything about governance.

Leonnig and Rucker reportedly have revealed what many of us have believed all along. I am not going to say “I told you so,” but by golly, the temptation to do so surely exists.

Oh well. I guess I just did.

Trump ignorance begets more … ignorance

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

They sought to educate the president of the United States on matters they deemed essential to him being able to do his job, which is to protect the citizens of the country he was elected to lead.

They included then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then National Economic Council director Gary Cohn.

The Washington Post has reported a stunning story about how these men ran into a verbal firestorm generated by Donald Trump, who appeared alternately disinterested, bored and downright put off by what they were telling him.

The story is lengthy. It is worth your time to read. Take a look at it here.

The Post has performed a remarkable service to those who have an interest in the way this president conducts policy. He relies on no one with any gravitas. Indeed, James Mattis — a retired Marine Corps general who is revered by the men and women who served under his command — was arguably the lone superstar in Trump’s initial Cabinet. He then resigned over basic and fundamental differences with the president’s handling of military matters.

Trump was having none of what Mattis, Tillerson and Cohn sought to tell him. Remember, too, that Tillerson once referred to Trump as a “fu**ing moron,” and never once denied saying it when the media pressed him on reports of his outburst against the president.

This story spells out how Trump has dismissed our allies, cozied up to dictators, ignored the advice he has received from those with actual experience in important policy matters.

I guess little of what the Post is reporting should be a surprise. Trump did tell us during the 2016 campaign that he knows “more about ISIS than the generals. Believe me.” Well, actually, he doesn’t. He knows nothing about anything regarding government.

If only the upcoming Senate trial could remove him. It likely won’t. We are left, therefore, to rely on the wisdom of the voters later this year who’ll get the chance to cast their ballots for a president who doesn’t call the military’s top brass “a bunch of dopes and babies.”

‘A Warning’ paints dire picture of Trump White House

I haven’t decided whether I will read “A Warning,” a book written by someone known only as Anonymous.

That said, I am interested in the contents of the book, some excerpts of which have been obtained by The Washington Post. My reluctance in buying the book and reading all of it is my concern that someone with the kind of salacious detail about Donald Trump hasn’t found the courage to identify himself or herself to the public.

I dislike text written by anonymous authors.

OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, what I have seen in the Post’s article about the book sends chills up my spine. It does seem to confirm what I and many millions of others have believed from the get-go of this man’s presidency: Donald Trump is unfit for the office.

Anonymous writes that a large number of senior aides contemplated resigning en masse to protest the president’s behavior and his handling of policy matters.

According to the Post: “I have decided to publish this anonymously because this debate is not about me,” the author writes. “It is about us. It is about how we want the presidency to reflect our country, and that is where the discussion should center. Some will call this ‘cowardice.’ My feelings are not hurt by the accusation. Nor am I unprepared to attach my name to criticism of President Trump. I may do so, in due course.”

The author does tell about Trump’s intellectual shallowness, his lack of attention to any sort of detail, his absolute absence of curiosity about the nitty-gritty of policy. The writer says Trump operates solely from within his gut and hunch and surrounds himself exclusively with sycophants who are unwilling to tell the president the truth.

It paints an utterly ghastly future for a second Trump term if hell freezes over and he gets re-elected a year from now.

From what I have heard so far from Anonymous, my skin is crawling at the prospect.

Wondering: Why are conservatives turning on Trump?

Donald John Trump talks occasionally about espousing “conservative” ideals while lambasting “liberal politicians” over their own ideals.

The president campaigned as a sort of “conservative populist,” although there seems to be a counter-intuitive tilt to that description.

Millions of Americans swallowed the bait. Millions more of us spit it out.

For me, I am left to wonder: If the president is such a conservative icon and a believer in conservative principles, ideology and principle … why are so many notable conservative thinkers turning on him?

There might be a couple of thoughts at play here. One is that Trump is not the conservative he purports to be. Another is that actual political conservatives — except for evangelical Christians — are appalled, astonished and aggravated at this man’s history of hideous behavior.

I want to reel off just a few notable conservatives who now count themselves as anti-Trumpers: George F. Will, the Pulitzer Prize winning columnist; Jennifer Rubin, a noted conservative columnist for the Washington Post; William Kristol, former VP Dan Quayle’s chief of staff and founder of the now-defunct Weekly Standard; David Brooks, a conservative columnist for the New York Times; Bret Stephens, another right-wing columnist for the NYT; Joe Scarborough, a former Florida Republican congressman who’s become a virulent anti-Trump spokesman; David Frum, a former speechwriter for President Bush 43.

Those are just a few names. They all have significant megaphones from which to comment on the state of political play.

I continue to maintain that Donald Trump is the classic, quintessential Republican In Name Only. He is the RINO’s RINO. I get that he appoints conservative judges and names conservatives to surround him within the White House.

He’s not the real deal. Donald Trump is a panderer who doesn’t understand how government works. He built his business career with one aim, to fatten his wallet and enrich his brand. He is a serial liar who is unwilling to tell the truth at any level.

True conservatives should have nothing to do with this individual. A good many notable conservatives have been willing to speak out and to declare their antipathy to what this man is pitching.

Good for them.

Ryan speaks out, draws Trump’s rage; imagine that!

Now you tell us, Mr. Speaker.

The former speaker of the U.S. House, Paul Ryan, has revealed why he left public life. He couldn’t stand working with Donald J. Trump.

Ryan is quoted in a new book about his time as speaker during the Trump Era. He says in Tim Alberta’s book, “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the rise of President Trump,” that he sought to protect the president from his “knee-jerk” policy making instincts.

According to the Washington Post: “We helped him make much better decisions, which were contrary to kind of what his knee-jerk reaction was. Now I think he’s making some of these knee-jerk reactions.”

Of course, Trump’s reaction was his normal way of responding to such criticism. He flew into a Twitter rage. He called Ryan a “lame duck.” He launched a series of tweets calling Ryan an ineffective speaker who lost Republican control of the House.

Again, as the Post reported: “We’ve gotten so numbed by it all,” Ryan said. “Not in government, but where we live our lives, we have a responsibility to try and rebuild. Don’t call a woman a ‘horse face.’ Don’t cheat on your wife. Don’t cheat on anything. Be a good person. Set a good example.”

Yes, that is the kind of individual the nation elected as president. Ryan — a man I do not necessarily support on a policy basis — nonetheless is a man of moral character.

Donald Trump is hardly a “good person,” which I am certain is what rankled Ryan from the outset of the men’s professional relationship.

I guess what makes me angry is that it took Ryan this long to acknowledge what many of us already knew or believed about Trump. He maintained a mostly silent posture while Trump was hurling insults at foes and behaving boorishly on the world’s most public and visible stage.

I’ll give Ryan credit for this, though: He disinvited Trump while the 2016 Republican nominee was campaigning for the presidency in the wake of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump revealed how would grab women by their “pu***.”

But then Trump got elected. Ryan had to work with the new president. Oh, but it got to be too much, according to what we have learned.

Trump’s reaction to Ryan’s candor seems to validate the former speaker’s frustrations. Imagine that.

This isn’t how you MAGA, Mr. POTUS

Well, Mr. President, you’ve crossed a fascinating threshold so early during your time in the only public office you’ve ever sought.

The Washington Post tally of lies/misstatements/fibs/prevarications has just crossed the 10,000 mark. Are congratulations in order, Mr. President? If so, then I offer them to you.

Your lying — and I’ll stick with that description for the purposes of this blog — has transcended anything many of us can remember.

I’m old enough to recall how presidents have hidden the truth from us. They do so because of because of perceived national security issues that could put the nation in peril if they were to reveal the “whole truth.”

The Vietnam War, the Cold War, specific crises (such as 9/11) all have produced incidences of presidents keeping certain information from the public.

Not you, Mr. President. You lie at every opportunity. You lie when you don’t need to lie. You’re penchant for making things up simply is mind-blogging/blowing in the extreme.

I have to wonder how you live with yourself. Oh, never mind. I know the answer to that. Your entire life prior to becoming a politician was predicated on self-enrichment. So, I gather that to further your own self you feel as though you had to lie to make yourself look better than you are . . . which I have determined isn’t all that difficult a chore.

Why, you even lied about the size of one of those buildings that has your name on it, inflating it by 10 stories.

You make these outrageous claims of being the “most” this or that, or the “best” at whatever you endeavor to do. One cannot categorize those as lies, per se.

However, you are really and truly good at lying.

Well done, Mr. President.

I just want to note that lying your way through life is not going to “make America great again.” Really. That, sir, is the truth.