Tag Archives: John Cornyn

Tightening criminal records checks: It’s a start

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn deserves an “A” for effort in trying to crack down on a tragic flaw in the nation’s effort to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

He has announced a bipartisan bill that seeks to strength the federal background check of individuals seeking to buy firearms. The legislation comes in the wake of the Sutherland Springs, Texas, massacre that killed 26 people at First Baptist Church. The gunman, an Air Force veteran, slipped through the USAF’s criminal records system when the Air Force failed to report to the FBI that the gunman had been convicted of domestic assault; he was given a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force.

According to the Texas Tribune: The Texas Republican’s bill, known as the Fix NICS Act, tries to ensure federal and state authorities accurately report relevant information, including criminal history, to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

“For years, agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” Cornyn said in a statement.

The Tribune reports: The NICS database is maintained by the FBI and used to determine if a prospective gun buyer has a criminal record or is ineligible to purchase a firearm. The database became the focus of national attention earlier this month after a man fired an assault rifle at a small church during Sunday morning services, killing 26 people and injuring scores others.

Read the Tribune story here.

I fear this legislation might be too little, though, to have a significant impact on the huge numbers of guns already available for anyone to buy — legally or otherwise.

The bill under consideration has the support of leading senators from both parties, which suggests at least a smidgen of bipartisan outrage over the flood of firearms.

It’s a start.

How can this guy possibly serve?

Texas’ two U.S. senators, both Republicans, have turned their backs on a GOP candidate who wants to join their august body.

John Cornyn has joined Ted Cruz in saying that Roy Moore of Alabama is not fit to serve in the Senate. They say the accusations against him by women who accuse him of improper sexual advances when they were girls are deal breakers.

Senate support vanishes

Get out of the race, Roy Moore! they are saying. Moore is having none of it. He continues to stand his ground. He says the women are liars. He blames Democrats and the liberal “fake media” for making these stories up. He says he “generally” didn’t date teenage girls when he was a 30-something lawyer; that is some denial, eh?

Senate leaders are bailing left and right from Moore. They don’t want him in the Senate. One Republican senator, Jeff Flake of Arizona, now supports Moore’s Democratic opponent, Alabama lawyer and former federal prosecutor Doug Jones.

This arcs back to my fundamental question: How in the world can this clown possibly serve in the Senate?

Moore is in it for the duration, or so he says. Time will tell. The Alabama special election is still about a month away.

Maybe this individual might realize what the rest of us already know: There is no way he can serve the people back home if he manages to get elected to the U.S. Senate.

Earth to Judge Moore: Read the Constitution

Roy Moore went to law school, has served on the Alabama Supreme Court and I must presume has actually read the U.S. Constitution.

The Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Alabama, though, has blathered ridiculously about whether Muslims should be able to serve in the U.S. Congress.

I am left to utter a simple “ugh.”

Moore says, for instance, that U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., should be barred from serving simply because he is Muslim. The candidate’s idiocy has been challenged by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who earlier had announced his backing of Moore to join him in the Senate.

Moore is demonstrating a breathtaking ignorance about the Constitution, which states quite clearly that there shall be “no religious test” for anyone seeking or holding public office. It means that no one’s faith should become a litmus test for their qualifications to serve in public life.

There once was a time when Catholics were scorned because of their faith. Mormons continue to battle that stigma. As for Muslims, they are considered the dreaded “enemy” of Americans. Yep even those who also happen to be Americans.

Cornyn disagrees with Moore

Roy Moore is furthering the cause of bigotry with his belief Ellison’s faith should bar him from serving the country.

Sen. Cornyn said he disagrees with Moore’s statement about Ellison and whether Muslims should serve. But his statement does sound rather tepid, in that he doesn’t say what I believe he should say — which is that Roy Moore’s ignorance of our nation’s governing framework makes him unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate.

‘Most of America’ first, eh Mr. President?

I need some time to digest this idea a bit more completely, but what I see initially gives me stomach pains.

Donald J. Trump has pitched a budget that takes away oil royalties the federal government shares with four Gulf Coast states that bear the bulk of the responsibility for responding to disasters related to the drilling of oil off their respective shores.

The result could cost the states of Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama billions of dollars in revenue.

Who gets the dough? The feds do!

Is this how the president plans to “put America first”?

This is another baffling proposal that has to pass congressional muster.

Here’s a thought for Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn — two Republicans who are among the president’s seemingly dwindling roster of congressional allies: Don’t stand still for a budget proposal that robs your state of valuable revenue.

According to CNBC: “The plan is part of the president’s effort to contain the growth of the U.S. federal deficit. The Office of Management and Budget estimates that ending the royalty-sharing program would save the federal government $3.6 billion over a decade.”

I’m a deficit hawk, too. I get the need to reduce the deficit — which the Obama administration had overseen during its eight years in office. Why, though, take money from states that also rely on this revenue stream to help them deal with pressure to fund valuable state programs?

My hope now is for Congress to step in and dispose of a presidential proposal that appears to punish four of our United States.

Even presidents need a ‘filter’

The FAKE MSM is working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out.

OK, there you go. Donald J. Trump has tweeted — yet again! — in a rant that takes aim at the “mainstream media” because it is seeking to do something the president of the United States does not want to do.

The media are seeking to drum into the president’s thick skull that these tweets represent the statements of the head of state, head of government, the commander in chief of the world greatest military apparatus.

Thus, this individual — the president — must exercise some self-control, self-restraint, and even some self-awareness in sending these messages around the world.

George Conway, a lawyer of some repute — and the husband of Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway — has warned Trump about the danger of firing off these tweets.

Moreover, he is stripping away any claim of “executive authority” he might want to claim as he does battle with Congress, special counsel Robert Mueller and former FBI director James Comey over the “Russia thing” that continues to bedevil the Trump administration.

Does anyone consider U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to be a tool of the “fake media”? He isn’t. Even a Trump ally such as Sen. Cornyn has acknowledged the self-inflicted “problems” associated with Trump’s tweet storms.

The bottom line is this: Mr. President, the so-called “FAKE MSM” is issuing you a well-deserved warning about the trouble your own impulses can produce.

Get a bleeping grip!

What? No call for Trump to kick his Twitter ‘habit’?

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn says the president of the United States is afflicted with a “Twitter habit.”

Still, Cornyn gives Donald J. Trump a B+ in foreign policy.

I suppose Sen. Cornyn’s Republican credentials just cannot allow him to say the obvious thing: Mr. President, you need to rid yourself of that Twitter habit, immediately!

Cornyn was interviewed by WFAA-TV in Dallas and acknowledged that the president’s habit of firing off tweets — and then have them stand as presidential policy statements — has caused him some difficulty.

Then he saluted Trump’s action against Syria and suggested the president is dealing with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Thus, he gets the good foreign-policy grade.

I suppose he chose to ignore the tension between Trump and fellow NATO allies, or perhaps the G7 meeting during which he tweeted that Germany is selling “too many cars” to Americans and how that must stop.

Hey, how about the confrontations the president has initiated with the leaders of Canada, Mexico, Australia, the United Kingdom and France?

I don’t think I’d give the president anywhere near a B+.

He also needs to kick the “Twitter habit.” If only his so-called Republicans “friends” had the guts to mention it out loud. The president damn sure doesn’t listen to his critics.

Cornyn pulls out of FBI search … good!

John Cornyn issued a statement today that says this: “Now more than ever the country needs a well-credentialed, independent FBI director. I’ve informed the administration that I’m committed to helping them find such an individual, and that the best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the U.S. Senate.”

The Republican U.S. senator from Texas had been considered a prime candidate for the FBI directorship. After all, he had served as a trial judge in Bexar County, a justice on the Texas Supreme Court and Texas attorney general before being elected to the Senate.

He would have been a terrible pick for Donald Trump to make to replace the fired FBI boss James Comey. Cornyn is too partisan, too political, too friendly — I only can assume — with the president to be the kind of “well-credentialed, independent FBI director” the agency needs in this critical time.

He has pulled his name out of the running for the FBI job. Good deal.

Many Americans’ hope now is that the president will find someone who fits the description of a tough-minded independent law enforcement official to lead the FBI.

Let’s get busy, Mr. President.

Listen to your fellow GOPers, Mr. President

Lindsey Graham isn’t exactly a huge fan of Donald J. Trump.

He ran against him for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Trump hurled a few insults at him. Graham said some unkind things in return.

But the U.S. senator from South Carolina is trying to implore the president to do the right thing — and avoid naming a politician to become the next director of the FBI.

Sen. Graham is talking specifically about Texas Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, who has emerged as one of the favorites to succeed James Comey at the FBI, whom Trump fired this past week.

Cornyn could face stiff resistance in the Senate if Trump selects him, even though Cornyn has been part of the “world’s greatest deliberative body” for some time now. He’s known to have friends on both sides of the aisle.

But the FBI needs a decidedly non-political director in this difficult time, Graham said. “I think it’s now time to pick somebody that comes from within the ranks or is such a reputation that has no political background at all,” he said. “John Cornyn is a wonderful man. Under normal circumstances, he would be a superb choice to be FBI director. But these are not normal circumstances. We’ve got a chance to reset here as a nation.”

“Reset” is a mild term. I prefer to think the FBI leadership needs a major overhaul.

It’s not that Comey was a bad director, despite what the president said about him. Word filtering out of Washington by those who know Comey well say the president’s description of him as a “showboat” just doesn’t square with the man’s reputation.

Sen. Graham’s assessment of a successor, though, is on target. The FBI needs to be led by someone who knows how to pursue an investigation to a comprehensive conclusion. I would have thought Comey is capable of doing that, which likely got him in trouble with Trump.

Cornyn may have great political skill. The agency needs someone who would cooperate fully with a special prosecutor — whom the Justice Department should name to handle this probe.

Sen. Cornyn’s political background is precisely the wrong fit for this job — at this time.

Don’t pick Sen. Cornyn to lead FBI, Mr. POTUS

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn has shown up on Donald J. Trump’s short list of possible nominees to become FBI director.

In the name of non-bias, non-political leanings and law enforcement professionalism, I am hoping that the president does not pick Sen. Cornyn to lead the FBI in this critical time.

James Comey got the boot from the FBI’s top job because — if we are to believe anything that comes out of the president’s mouth — he was spending too much time and energy on the “Russia thing.”

Truth be told, in my view, the next FBI director needs to spend a whole lot more time on Russia and related matters. Is John Cornyn the man to do the job? No way, dude!

Cornyn may get a good look

I’ve known Cornyn for a number of years in my capacity as a journalist first in Beaumont and then in Amarillo. We have had a nice professional relationship during those years. I’ve known him as a Texas Supreme Court justice, as a state attorney general and as a U.S. senator. I disagree with him politically, but he’s a gentleman.

Over the years, as my hair got grayer, Sen. Cornyn would needle me that I eventually would get as gray as he has been for decades. I’m still not there yet, although I’m close.

All that said, he is as wrong for the job of FBI director as anyone being considered. Why? He is a partisan hatchet man for the Senate’s Republican caucus. He’s the No. 2 man in the Senate GOP hierarchy and his main task in recent Senate sessions has been to ensure the election of more Republicans. I understand that’s part of his job and I respect that someone has to do it, that they need to fill the ranks with partisans on both sides of the aisle.

Cornyn’s highly political profile, though, makes him a terrible fit for the FBI director’s job. Comey was in the middle of an investigation that was looking into allegations that the Trump campaign was complicit in efforts by the Russian government to influence the 2016 election — seeking to help Trump get elected president.

Are we to believe that a member of the president’s own party who would get the task of leading the FBI and, presumably, continue that investigation will shed his partisan leanings?

The president needs to look within the law enforcement community to find a new FBI director. He needs to find someone who has no political axe to grind. He needs to nominate someone with zero political ties to the White House, or to the Congress.

John Cornyn is not the man for this job.

Wishing for days of ‘pork barrel’ bickering

My late mother had a retort when I would say, “Mom, I’ve been thinking.”

“Oh, beginner’s luck?” she would ask … rhetorically.

I’ve had a rash of beginner’s luck lately. I’ve been thinking about the good ol’ days of politics in Washington, D.C., when we used to single out politicians who had this habit of being champions for “pork barrel spending projects,” or those projects that benefit a specific area.

These days, worries about pork barrel spending has given way to rank ideology, where one side calls the other side “evil.” Liberals think conservatives have evil intent; the feeling is quite mutual coming from the other side.

Frankly, I prefer the old days when politicians used to bitch at each other because of all the money they funneled to their states and/or their congressional districts.

The former Republican U.S. senator from Texas, the loquacious Phil Gramm, used to boast about all the “pork” he brought home. “I’ve carried so much pork back to Texas,” he would say, “I think I’m coming down with trichinosis.”

Gramm, though, was a piker compared to some of his Senate colleagues. The late Democrat from West Virginia, Robert Byrd, was known as the king of pork barrel spending. He would attach riders onto amendments to bills that had dough for this or that federal project. As a result, Byrd’s name is on more buildings and bridges in West Virginia than one can possibly imagine.

However, is pork barrel spending a bad thing?

Look at it this way: Politicians do what their constituents want them to do. That’s the nature of politics in a representative democracy, as near as I can tell. We elect pols to represent our interests. If it means carving out a few bucks for this project or that back home, well, then that’s what we send them off to do for us.

These days we hear from rigid ideologues in the U.S. Senate and House. Texas’ two senators — Republicans Ted Cruz and John Cornyn — offer prime examples. One won’t likely accuse Cruz especially of being loaded down with pork; he’s too busy promoting rigid conservative ideology to worry about rebuilding highways and bridges back home in Texas; Cornyn, too, has this leadership role among Republicans in which he seeks to elect more of them to the Senate.

The House features much the same sort of ideology. My congressman, Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, once criticized President Obama for considering air strikes against Syria; then he praised Donald J. Trump for doing that very thing. Thornberry isn’t the least bit interested in pork barrel spending, which seems to fit the desires of his constituents; if they insisted on him bringing home more money to the 13th Congressional District, my hunch is that he’d do their bidding.

Where am I going with this?

I guess I’m trying to suggest two things.

One, I long for a return to the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill’s maxim that “all politics is local.” Why not argue the merits of this or that spending program and whether our member of Congress — in the House or Senate — is doing what we want him or her to do on our behalf?

Two, let’s quit the purely ideological battles and demonization of each other just because they happen to be of a different stripe. From where I sit, I still consider good government to be a team sport where each team respects the other side.