Journey goes on

Our retirement journey has taken a new turn, with a new vehicle towing a new recreational vehicle.

You know already that we traded in our 29-foot fifth wheel for a 21-foot travel trailer. We’ve taken our new trailer out on a couple of short jaunts. We hauled it behind our big ol’ pickup, Big Jake, the 2011 3/4-ton Dodge diesel beast.

We bid so long to Big Jake today and took possession of our new — and a good bit smaller — truck. It’s a Ford Ranger. We’re toying with what to name it. I am increasingly stuck on Kemo Sabe. Whatever.

The new truck is a beaut. It’s brand new. Ford built the 2022 vehicle per our specs. Just for my wife and me. It’s big enough to haul our travel trailer.

Our journey, though, has changed, but mostly because of outside influences. The price of gas makes long-term travel too expensive for us. So, we’re re-evaluating how we intend to use our new truck and our new RV. Best guess? We’ll stay mostly close to home. Indeed, Texas is big enough for us to be able to visit state parks hither and yon.

Now, does this mean that extended travel is out forever? Hardly. We’ll wait a little while, see where fuel prices go. If they come back to Earth, well, we just might hit the long and winding road to points farther away.

Toby the Puppy, moreover, will have to get used to new travel digs. We remain confident that he will adjust just fine.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Ratings don’t matter

Donald Trump and his cabal of cultists can complain all they want about the allegedly low “rating” the insurrection hearings are getting.

What matters, though, is the testimony that is being produced from these televised events. Not only that, the witnesses are talking to a limited audience. They are speaking to prosecutors and investigators working for the Department of Justice.

The most recent testimony offered by mid-level White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson already has come under fire. Donald Trump cultists say she offered “hearsay” testimony. Oh, really?

Others around her said incriminating things about the 1/6 insurrection … and she was present to hear what they said!

Hearsay? That’s hardly a defense when someone delivers the kind of damaging goods that Hutchinson dropped onto the laps the1/6 House select committee examining the insurrection.

Cassidy Hutchinson told a compelling — and damning — tale of corruption within the White House on that horrible and horrifying day as Donald Trump’s time as president was staggering to its conclusion.

Whether the vast bulk of Americans are not yet paying attention doesn’t matter one damn bit to those who are paying attention. They are the legal professionals who are preparing to decide whether to file criminal charges against those who did the bidding of the most corrupt president in U.S. history.

And, yes, whether they will file charges against the president himself. It looks for all the world to me that the Justice Department is being left with few choices other than to take a historic leap.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

No way to soften ‘slavery’

This cannot possibly be real, cannot be serious, cannot be accurate. Some Texas educators now want to introduce a new form of study … changing the term “slavery” to something called “involuntary relocation.”

Good, ever-lovin’ grief! This can’t be happening. Oh, but it is happening.

The Texas Tribune reports:

A group of Texas educators have proposed to the Texas State Board of Education that slavery should be taught as “involuntary relocation” during second grade social studies instruction.

The group of nine educators, including a professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, is one of many such groups advising the state education board to make curriculum change requests. This summer, the board will consider updates to social studies instruction a year after lawmakers passed a law to keep topics that make students “feel discomfort” out of Texas classrooms.

How do I say this? The enslavement of human beings during the formation and early development of the United States is part of who we are as a nation, who we became and who we sought to correct.

To suggest that our children no longer should be taught what slavery meant to millions of our ancestors is to deny the facts as they occurred.

Texas education proposes referring to slavery as “involuntary relocation” | The Texas Tribune

“I don’t like it because it’s a personal belief. I don’t like it because it’s not rooted in truth,” said Aicha Davis, an SBOE member who represents Dallas and Fort Worth. “We can have all the discussions we want, but we have to adopt the truth for our students.”

We all have been told at times that “the truth hurts.”

Fine. Let it hurt. Slavery is the most egregious blot on our nation’s history. Our children should learn about it in its rawest form.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Talk to the panel, Meadows

Memo to Mark Meadows: If you believe in the “rule of law,” as you have said you do, then you by all rights should have no problem answering a House 1/6 select committee subpoena seeking your testimony into what happened on the day of the insurrection against the U.S. government.

The White House chief of staff has gotten the subpoena. He has refused to talk to the committee.

Now we hear from his former top aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified in great detail this past week about what she saw and heard from Meadows. It isn’t pretty … for Meadows, at least.

The ex-White House chief of staff needs to set aside his frothy featly to Trump and talk to the committee about all he knows about that day.

Meadows served in Congress prior to making the move to the White House. He knows the players. He understands, also, the penalty for failure to talk to the committee.

Since he took over as White House chief of staff, though, he has become uncooperative and defiant.

My advice to Meadows? Lose the attitude, fella!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Abbott can’t control himself

Greg Abbott has demonstrated once again why he has proven to be such a disappointment as Texas governor.

When border officials found a semi-trailer full of deceased migrants seeking to sneak into the United States, Abbott released a hideous statement that sought to place all the blame on President Biden for the unfolding tragedy.

“These deaths are on Biden,” Abbott tweeted Monday night. “They are the result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”

There’s that phrase again: open border.

For the life of me I cannot stomach continuing to swallow that canard coming from Republican politicians. 

The nation’s southern border isn’t “open.” Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials and Border Patrol officers are rounding up undocumented immigrants every hour of every day. They are holding them for processing and sending them back to their countries of origin.

Has the federal program succeeded? No. It hasn’t. However, for GOP pols such as Abbott to keep saying our border is “open” becomes the rhetoric of shameless demagogues.

What’s more, Abbott’s bloviating ignores this fact, too: The state’s policies aren’t working, either.

Furthermore, when a Republican was sitting in the Oval Office, Abbott spoke in decidedly milder tones after a similar tragedy occurred in South Texas. As the Texas Tribune reports:

Abbott’s tone was notably softer when a similar tragedy played out in 2017. Thirty-nine migrants were found in sweltering conditions in the back of a commercial truck in San Antonio — 10 ultimately died.

“Human trafficking is an epidemic that Texas is working to eradicate,” Abbott said at the time, when Donald Trump was still president. “To that end, Texas will continue to provide protection for the victims who have been robbed of their most basic rights and bring down the full weight of the law for the perpetrators of this despicable crime.”

Migrant truck deaths raise questions about Greg Abbott’s border policies | The Texas Tribune

I am not going to give short shrift to the recent tragedy that killed 51 people who perished in unspeakable misery. 

Gov. Abbott, though, needs to reflect a bit on his own words spoken five years ago. He said then that Texas is “working to eradicate” human trafficking.

It’s not working.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Foes, not enemies

The collage of pictures you see with this blog post reminds me of a time that now seems almost quaint, and yet I wish for a return to this sort of political imagery.

Democratic and Republican politicians can still be friends even as they joust — sometimes ferociously — with each other over matters of principle and purpose.

We are living these days in an era where members of Congress are physically, viscerally afraid to be in the company of their foes. This is an era in which at least one presidential candidate — that would be The Donald — urged his rally supporters to “beat the crap” out of protesters; he then offered to pay their legal bills if they needed help defending themselves in court.

So damn many of Trump’s cult followers have taken that advice all too seriously.

As I look at the images accompanying this brief blog item I am struck by how recently they were snapped. Yet the individuals pictured come from a bygone era of comity and collegiality.

President George W. Bush, you should recall, went to the White House after serving as a successful Texas governor. A large part of Bush’s success as governor came from his willingness and ability to work with politicians from the other party. Bush is a dedicated Republican, yet his alliances with Democratic Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock and Democratic House Speaker Pete Laney became the stuff of recent Texas political legend.

That’s just one example worth noting in this brief post.

I no longer recognize the political process I used to watch with respect that bordered on awe as I was coming of age.

These days we see politicians who cannot stand to be in the same room with each other, let alone working together to find common ground. That made the recent gun legislation so remarkable, as Democratic and Republican senators searched for and found common purpose in crafting legislation that is far from perfect … but it signaled a constructive start.

The compromise reached recently in the Senate comes from a time-honored tradition that’s been present all along. The only thing that politicians must do is look for it.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Imagine such demagoguery

“Imagine being upset that babies will live.”

So it went this morning as I came across this social media post from someone I’ve known — admittedly not well — for the past quarter century.

He is applauding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion. Yes, we know it as Roe v. Wade.

My friend’s social media message, of course, follows the demagogue’s strategy in arguing his point.

To suggest that those of us who are pro-choice on abortion are “upset that babies will live” is a disgraceful attempt at demonization. What upsets me about the SCOTUS ruling has nothing to do with whether “babies will live.” It is that the ruling deprives women of the opportunity to make this most difficult decision on their own.

I maintain the right to be both pro-life and pro-choice. I could never advise a woman to get an abortion; that is not my call. It is hers alone! Nor could I ever endorse a government policy that dictates to a woman how she must handle a decision that is best left to her conscience.

But … all of this is part of today’s toxic climate.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Trump legacy leaves scars

No matter what happens to Donald J. Trump and his political future, the individual’s legacy is going to leave lasting scars and wounds across the landscape.

The scars remain in the millions of destroyed friendships his presence on the political scene has inflicted.

I know of what I speak. I have lost some friends over the past five years because of disagreements over Trump’s “contributions” to American life. I blame Trump for that.

It sickens me terribly to admit these relationships have been torn asunder because of disagreements over policy. Except that Trump brings out the worst in many of us. I count myself as a casualty.

Even during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, I maintained friendships through serious disagreements about President Nixon’s role in that hideous crisis. Of course, there was no such thing as “social media” in those days. We relied on TV and radio and printed media in the form of newspapers and magazines. These days, the communication is instantaneous, and it allows those of us to say things without giving our remarks a first– let alone a second — thought before speaking out.

Trump has mastered the manipulation of social media to the extent that he knows the impact he has on people’s relationships.

What troubles me the most is that some of these severed relationships — not many, mind you, but a few of them — involve people with whom I have been friends. Others, though, have involved individuals with whom I have casual contact, or who I have known only through social media. If they decide they dislike my world view and my loathing of Trump, they’re free to go their own way. I have done the same thing.

Many relationships have remained intact, largely because we don’t discuss politics when we’re in each other’s presence.

It’s the actual friendships lost that I mourn.

For that I will not forgive the source of that loss.

Damn you, Donald Trump!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

She sounds so credible

Cassidy Hutchinson arguably was the most credible witness to deal a potentially mortal wound to the Donald J. Trump administration.

It wasn’t what she said today that well might sink the Trump effort to hold onto power in the waning days of the presidency he lost in the 2020 election.

It was her continued devotion to Trump’s agenda. Yes, the 25-year-old former aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, remains a Trumpkin, no matter what she witnessed in the West Wing while the traitorous mob was attacking the Capitol Building on 1/6.

I don’t begrudge Hutchinson her continuing devotion to Trump. Indeed, as I listened to her testimony, I heard her express disgust and disappointment at the then-POTUS’s behavior. She was aghast and appalled that Trump would physically accost a Secret Service agent who told him he couldn’t venture to the Capitol to egg on the attackers.

Through all this surprise, last-minute testimony I found myself believing every assertion she made in describing Trump’s orchestration of the effort to undermine the Electoral College vote count and his effort to cling to power by using any means he deemed necessary.

Cassidy Hutchinson is no disgruntled ally of Trump who sought to exact revenge for being wronged. She instead appears to be someone who remains devoted to his agenda but who has separated his policy views from his personal conduct.

She endorses the policy. Hutchinson condemns the conduct.

U.S. House Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson convened today’s surprise hearing while keeping the contents of what would come forth a secret. To be candid, I wasn’t expecting to hear from someone such as Cassidy Hutchinson. She isn’t flashy or gregarious. She doesn’t have a single connection to Donald J. Trump … other than devotion to his agenda.

All of that made her an extremely credible deliverer of grim news for the disgraced — and thoroughly disgraceful — former president.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A new ‘John Dean’ emerges

Cassidy Hutchinson has emerged as the “John Dean” of the 1/6 insurrection scandal, given what she told the House select committee today in televised testimony.

Let me start by declaring that young Hutchinson — to put it bluntly — blew the doors off the building where she offered testimony in a surprise hearing called at the last minute by Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

Hutchinson served on White House chief of staff Mark Meadows staff. She was, to borrow a phrase, “in the room” when all hell was breaking loose on 1/6.

She told the committee that Meadows asked for a presidential pardon; so did Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani. Don Trump Jr. begged his father to call off the treasonous attackers on 1/6, along with Ivanka Trump. Hutchinson said the POTUS heard all those concerns and worries … and didn’t do anything to end the violence. Hutchinson told the panel that Vice President Mike Pence knew of the “Hang Mike Pence!” chants, as did Trump; still, the president didn’t halt the assault.

She told committee members that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol to incite the attackers even more, but when the Secret Service told him “no!” he became so enraged that he attacked an agent assigned to his security detail.

Those of us who are old enough to remember Watergate today received a first-hand account from a ringside seat inside the West Wing of the pre-meditated chaos that erupted after Trump incited the insurrection.

John Dean gave us a similar look during the Watergate scandal when he came forward to tell the Senate Watergate Committee about the “cancer” that was growing in the presidency of Richard Nixon.

Mick Mulvaney, who served as chief of staff in the White House prior to Mark Meadows, said via Twitter after Hutchinson’s testimony that “I know Cassidy … and I don’t believe she is lying.”

I believe her, too.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com