Tag Archives: US Constitution

Now, a word about the Constitution

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I feel the need to offer an encouraging word as we grapple with tumult and trepidation in these so very trying times.

We have a president of the United States who is threatening to stay in office if the election results don’t turn out his way. He is going to challenge the results. He has determined that electing Joe Biden as president would mean the election is rigged.

I am going to place my entire faith in the U.S. Constitution to protect us against the madman who masquerades as the current president.

President Ford took office in 1974 after crisis that saw another president, Richard Nixon, resign from office. “Our Constitution works,” Gerald Ford told us immediately after taking his oath of office. He was right.

We are facing another set of potentially frightening circumstances. Donald Trump is threatening to do actual harm to our system of government.

He is challenging the integrity of our electoral system. He actually suggested that “getting rid of ballots” would ensure his re-election. Trump has suggested that he very well might seek a third term were he to win a second term in office; he says the first term was spoiled by “witch hunts” launched by Democrats.

I happen to believe in the strength of the Constitution, which has endured many crises over the years. We have gone through three presidential impeachments and the Constitution served as the guiding beacon for all of those endeavors.

There was the aforementioned Watergate scandal of 1972-74. A vice president resigned, was replaced by the man who would succeed the president. It was all done under the auspices of the nation’s governing document.

Yes, these are perilous times. I am concerned about our future. However, my faith in the Constitution and the limits it places on executive authority gives me hope that it will see us through this current spasm of chaos and confusion.

I get that the founders didn’t create a perfect governing document back in the 18th century. It’s been made “more perfect” over time. However, what they did create has worked well enough to hold this country together during the most trying of times.

I am banking on the U.S. Constitution keeping us whole as we seek to find our way out of the darkness that Donald Trump has brought.

Founders are spinning

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Wherever they are, the men who formed the government that runs our beloved country surely must be so mad they could just spit.

Why? Well, they intended to create a federal judicial system that would be free of political pressure. They revealed that intent by creating judgeships that would last a lifetime. The idea was to free federal judges from political pressure by setting, say, limits on the amount of time they could serve.

It hasn’t worked out quite the way the founders intended.

We have another vacancy on our nation’s highest court and the political pressure is about the blow the roof off the Supreme Court building. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death wasn’t entirely a surprise, although it did sadden many of us … me included.

We now are going to watch a spectacle unfold in which a president with no discernable ideological base is going to nominate an arch conservative jurist to replace the progressive-leaning, trailblazing Ginsburg. The balance of power on the Supreme Court will be set for as long as the rest of the conservative majority remains seated.

Politics, anyone?

The pressure is going to go way beyond merely intense. It will become unbearable. Donald Trump promised to appoint archconservative jurists to the bench. He delivered with the appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, although they haven’t voted entirely the way the Trump administration would have wanted.

Now comes the next choice. It’s going to be a woman, Trump says. I won’t speculate here on who it might be. I’ll wait for the announcement that Trump said is coming Saturday.

Just know that the political hackles are going to be flying.

Dang. I just wish the founders were around to remind us all — in person — what they intended when they wrote that Constitution.

So much at stake … R.I.P., RBG

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This blog post was supposed to be a commentary on the stakes facing us in the upcoming presidential election and the impact it will have on the federal judiciary.

Then came the sad news: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died today of cancer at the age of 87. Folks, the stakes just got exponentially greater by a factor I cannot at this moment calculate.

But I’ll go on with what I had written. There will be much more to say about the immediate future of the Supreme Court.

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Americans aren’t just voting for president of the United States. We also are casting our ballots to determine the course of constitutional interpretation by the powerful federal judiciary.

Donald Trump wants another four years to drag the nation’s highest court so far to the right as to make it unrecognizable from where it stands at this moment. He has boasted about possibly making two more appointments, to go along with the two men he picked during his current term. Now comes the news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and quite suddenly, the balance of the court becomes a gigantic factor.

Trump even has gone so far as to offer a list of 20 candidates for the Supreme Court that he would consider were he re-elected.

So help me we cannot let that happen.

Joe Biden has declared his intention to select an African-American woman to the nation’s top appellate court. He did vow to select a woman with whom he would run for office and has made good on that pledge.

Given what we know — or think we know — about Joe Biden’s own judicial temperament, I am hoping he would go for center-left selections to the Supreme Court.

Of course, all of this depends on Biden getting elected president in November.

In addition, we have this other key set of elections occurring. They involve the U.S. Senate, which at the moment has 53 Republicans — a scant majority — in control of the upper legislative chamber. Democrats have to flip four Senate seats to claim a majority.

This is big stuff, man. We already have seen how the GOP majority conducts itself with Supreme Court appointments. The miserable raw political move in stymying President Obama’s choice in 2016 of Merrick Garland to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia told me plenty about how dirty the GOP can get.

That said, Senate control ranks a very close second to White House control in this upcoming election. The legislative, executive and judicial branches of government are separate and have equal power under the Constitution. They are linked inextricably, though, through the power of our individual votes.

I am one American patriot who does not want to see this delicate government balance upended if we fail to act on the need for change in the White House and the Senate.

Trump likes those authoritarians?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Well, that Bob Woodward is revealing a lot about Donald Trump, much of it we knew, but much of it also is so shocking to hear coming directly from Trump himself.

Such as his admission to Woodward that he prefers dealing with authoritarian leaders. Of course, I use the word “authoritarian” with some caution. The term doesn’t come close to describing the heavy hand used in places such as North Korea, Russia, Turkey and the Philippines, all of which are governed by despots/tyrants/killers.

They also seem to curry favor with Trump, who in the past has praised them for their, um, “strong leadership” and other goofy terms of endearment.

Woodward is making the news/talk show circuit these days, talking up his new book “Rage,” which has revealed how Trump lied to Americans about what he learned in the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. He downplayed the impact of the virus to us publicly, but stated to Woodward as early as February that we were facing a killer virus.

This authoritarian preference, though, seems to suggest a sort of projection of Trump onto the style employed by these other world leaders. It’s as if he wants to be just like them.

Except for this little restraint: The U.S. Constitution limits presidential power, meaning that Donald Trump cannot exert the kind of authority he seemingly would like to exert.

If only Trump would read the nation’s governing framework.

‘We’ll negotiate’ … what?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There he was, standing before a crowd of worshipers ranting in a riff about a “rigged” election and making what I consider to be a rather startling declaration if — heaven forbid — he actually wins re-election.

Donald Trump said “We’ll negotiate” a way to stay in office past a second presidential term.

I damn near shook the glasses off my face at that one.

Trump keeps yapping about how badly he was treated during much of his current term in office. About the Robert Mueller investigation into alleged “collusion” with Russians seeking to interfere in our election. About the House of Representatives impeaching of Trump over abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. About the ongoing findings by intelligence officials that Mueller was right, that the Russians did interfere.

So what does Trump propose to do at the end of a — gulp! — second term? He wants to see how he circumvent the U.S. Constitution to finagle a third term in office.

The Trumpkins arrayed before him at the Nevada political rally cheered Trump’s ridiculous call to “negotiate.” They likely don’t believe that what he said is practically impossible. That he is likely just saying such a thing to rile up the “base.” That it’s just campaign-trail grist.

The 22nd Amendment that limits presidents to two elected terms is rock solid. It won’t be tinkered with by a goofball who thinks he is above the law, which I should add got him in trouble with the House that impeached him.

I just have to circle back to the most fundamental question of the moment: How can we allow a president who makes these kinds of ridiculous assertions to stay anywhere near the White House?

Get him outta there!

‘No religious test … ‘

How many times do I have to remind religious zealots about what Article VI of the U.S. Constitution says about how “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States”?

Don’t answer that. I’ll keep saying it for as long as it takes.

While skimming through the TV channels this evening I ventured onto a news channel and listened to a former football coach say that Joe Biden is a “Catholic in name only.” Lou Holtz, the former Notre Dame coach, was speaking on behalf of Donald Trump but then decided he knows what is in the heart of Joe Biden.

Yep, Coach Holtz went far beyond the Xs and Os of drawing a football play and straight into territory where he doesn’t belong.

Donald Trump has declared that Biden is “anti-God” and “anti-Bible.” The practicing Catholic would destroy our faith, according to a president who has no relationship with any religious faith.

I am going to circle back to what the Constitution instructs us. It is a secular document written by men who took great pains to keep religion far away from the government they were creating. Article VI is as crystal clear as it gets. No candidate for public office should be required to adhere to any religious faith.

Biden doesn’t run away from his Catholicism. He flaunts it. He carries Rosary beads. He smears ash on his forehead to commemorate Ash Wednesday every spring. He is free to do that. He would be free to not do it as well.

The Constitution doesn’t require us to attend any house of worship. If it did, well, Donald Trump wouldn’t qualify as a presidential candidate. You know what I mean?

So, for Lou Holtz to step into a religious thicket by hurling an epithet at a man of faith is reprehensible. Stick to talking football, coach. Take a look, too, at what the Constitution’s Article VI instructs us.

Reprehensible response!

Donald Trump received a grooved pitch straight into the strike zone … and he whiffed.

On purpose!

Trump today was asked to disavow a racist rant that Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris is not qualified to run because her parents are immigrants.

“If she has a problem you would have thought she would have been vetted by Sleepy Joe (Biden),” Trump said.

Do you get it? Trump won’t say the right thing, which is:

“Of course I disavow this rant. It has no place in a discussion of presidential politics. The Constitution stipulates that candidates for president and vice president must be ‘natural born’ U.S. citizens, either by their birthplace or the citizenship of their parents. Sen. Harris was born in Oakland, Calif., and she certainly qualifies. Now, let’s squash this nonsense.”

But … the Racist in Chief didn’t go there.

Donald Trump is consciously, deliberately appealing to the very worst in his base of supporters. He is an utter disgrace!

Where is the GOP hiding?

What used to be known as a great American political party has gone into hiding.

They call themselves “Republicans,” but they aren’t really anything of the kind. They are “Trumpkins” beholden to some guy who ran for president in 2016 under the Republican banner. He isn’t an actual Republican. He just portrays one while sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

I ask the question about where the GOP is hiding because Donald Trump — the aforementioned POTUS masquerading as a Republican — is seeking to undermine a free and fair election. He speaks for Republicans, he says, because they would be harmed by an effort to allow voters to cast their ballots by mail this November.

Republicans should be joining their Democratic colleagues in Congress in bellowing their displeasure at what is trying to do to the U.S. Postal Service. They aren’t. They are silent. Democrats are doing all the griping. They note that efforts to inhibit the USPS violates the U.S. Constitution, which mentions the “Post Office” specifically in Article I. The “Postal Clause” was added “to facilitate interstate communication as well as to create a source of revenue for the early United States,” according to Wikipedia.

So, why aren’t congressional Republicans upset at what Donald Trump is trying to do? He is seeking to usurp the Postal Service’s duties delineated by the Constitution.

State election officials stand by their staffs’ ability to conduct elections without the “rampant fraud” that Trump — without evidence — keeps alleging.

And yet, congressional Republicans continue to stand by the phony Republican in the White House who has admitted in plain sight to anyone who cares to listen that he is trying to protect his backside at the expense of allowing voters to perform their civic responsibility.

The GOP silence is deafening in the extreme.

Count the ‘persons in each state’

It’s a given that Donald J. Trump doesn’t know the U.S. Constitution, the document he swore on oath to defend and protect.

With that established, let’s understand that when Trump says that census counters are not to count undocumented immigrants as part of the 2020 census, he is violating the Constitution … which he doesn’t understand.

Trump wants to limit the count of those who are living here to just citizens, actual Americans. No can do, Mr. POTUS. That 14th Amendment to the Constitution, the one that talks about equal protection under the law, has this to say about how states must be represented in Congress:

“Section 2: Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States, according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State … “

If you look throughout the 14th Amendment, you will not find a word in it that stipulates that only citizens can be among the “whole number of persons” counted in each state. The framers threw open the counted to be “persons.” Citizens or non-citizens, documented or undocumented immigrants. They all count the same, according to the U.S. Constitution.

That is the basis for progressive groups complaining about the restrictions that Trump is seeking to place on the census takers.

This kind of ham-handedness would have an impact on Texas, which stands to gain as many as three new representatives once the census is taken. The state also is home to quite a large number of undocumented immigrants, which you know about already. Many of those immigrants happen to be “dreamers,” the folks brought here as children when their parents sneaked into the country to pursue a better life for themselves and their families.

Trump is trifling with the Constitution in a way that is going to do harm to communities and to states. He must not be allowed to get away with this attempt to pilfer power from states that deserve a loud and clear voice within the halls of government.

Hideous POTUS, but legitimate nonetheless

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I want to clear the air a bit on Donald John Trump’s tenure as president of the United States.

No one wants to see him run out of office more than I do. I am using this blog to the best of my ability to declare his unfitness for the office he won in the biggest political fluke in American history.

However, I disagree with those who contend he is an “illegitimate” president. I have many social media friends who contend he was elected illegally. That the Russians’ electoral chicanery in 2016 resulted directly in his election, that the undermined Hillary Clinton’s candidacy sufficiently to guarantee Trump’s Electoral College victory.

I just cannot buy that notion.

I haven’t seen evidence that suggests that the Russians effort to undermine Clinton’s candidacy was decisive. It might have contributed to the defeat, but so did a number of huge tactical errors down the stretch by the Clinton team contribute to Trump’s shocking victory. Clinton ignored key battleground states in the Great Lakes region that Trump managed to peel away. There also was that horrendous announcement from FBI Director James Comey that he was taking a fresh look at the email matter that had dogged Clinton for months and months.

Sure, Trump received nearly 3 million fewer votes than Clinton. He won the Electoral College, though, which is where the Constitution prescribes the way we elect presidents. It was all done legally. The guy is legit.

I say all this while gritting my teeth so hard that they are hurting. The 2016 election produced precisely the wrong outcome. The wrong candidate got elected. However, the Constitution worked in this case, just as it did in 1974 when Richard Nixon resigned the presidency after facing certain impeachment and conviction on high crimes and misdemeanors and just as it did in 2000 when the Supreme Court awarded George W. Bush the presidency by disallowing the recount of ballots in Florida.

It worked in 2016 even as Donald Trump stumbled onto the nation’s highest office and is threatening to destroy the world’s greatest nation.

It will work one more time — I hope — when Americans vote this clown out of office.