Category Archives: legal news

When did civil liberties protection become evil?

Democrat Rochelle Garza wants to become Texas’s next attorney general. She is running against a seriously flawed incumbent, Ken Paxton, who already has been re-elected once while running with a felony indictment hanging over his head.

Garza, though, has a curious bit of baggage as she seeks to defeat her Republican opponent. She is a lawyer steeped in the tradition of the American Civil Liberties Union. She fights to protect our civil liberties, you know, those lined out in the Constitution.

She’s also not scarred by the kind of wounds inflicted on Paxton. A Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton in 2015 on an allegation of securities fraud. He hasn’t stood trial yet.

However, in this curious and infuriating political climate, Garza must defend her work as a civil liberties lawyer. It’s a throwback to an earlier campaign, the 1988 presidential election between Vice President George H.W. Bush and Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.

President Bush vilified Dukakis because of the governor’s belief in the ACLU mission, which is to protect our civil liberties.

I keep wondering: How did ACLU membership and a defense of that legal organization’s mission become a punchline, an epithet, a four-letter word?

It has become all of that.

For my money, I would rather be represented by a legal eagle who isn’t stained by allegations of misconduct. Toss aside political affiliation and ask: Do you want to be represented by an individual who faces possible prison time if his case ever gets adjudicated, or do you want your AG to be someone whose record is clean and clear of any suspicion?

I’ll stick with Rochelle Garza.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Will Trumpism outlive its founder?

It has been said by more than one commentator that the movement Donald J. Trump spawned will live long past the time he no longer is a political factor.

Pardon the skepticism, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.

I’ll start with this notion: I have doubt that Donald Trump is (a) going to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 and (b) that the GOP has gone totally braindead to nominate him if he does enter the fray.

The Republican Party has shown itself in the past, oh, six years to be a party full of gullible numbskulls who are willing to swallow the swill delivered by Trump. They ignore the threat he continues to pose to our democratic process; they give him a pass on the idiocy that flies out of his mouth; they proclaim a desire to “defund the FBI” after the feds find top-secret documents squirreled away in his Florida home.

So, what is going to happen to Trump’s movement — his cult — once he’s no longer a political player. The way I see it, and I’ll admit it is from the cheap seats, whatever “movement” that Trump has stoked will disappear. Why keep telling The Big Lie about a “stolen election” if the Main Man is no longer calling the shots?

I am going to hold tightly onto my own hope that the law’s lengthy arm is going to corral The Donald sometime soon. The Justice Department is examining whether Trump broke the law in taking those classified documents from the White House; the House select 1/6 committee is considering whether to ask for indictment related to the insurrection that Trump clearly incited; the Fulton County (Ga.) district attorney is looking into whether Trump broke state election laws by demanding that officials “find” enough votes to overturn that state’s 2020 presidential election result.

Oh, and the New York attorney general already has filed a $250 million lawsuit against the Trump Organization for allegedly falsifying its worth to obtain favorable loans.

We have, as they said in a movie, “a target-rich environment.”

The cult leader, it appears to me, is going down in flames. May the fire consume what is left of the movement that bears his name.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Paxton: profile in cowardice

This incident should make me laugh out loud. It should be just another example of a politician proving he’s a chickensh** coward.

But dang! This is serious stuff and it reveals the utter lack of integrity of the man holding the office of Texas attorney general.

AG Ken Paxton, a Republican, was supposed to receive a subpoena related to a lawsuit filed by those who want the state to pay for out-of-state abortions. It came from the federal government, which right there tells me it’s a serious matter.

What did our state’s chief law enforcement officer do? He hid in a room inside his McKinney home, then fled an hour or so later with his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, at the wheel of their motor vehicle.

Ken Paxton tried to avoid being served with subpoena, court record says | The Texas Tribune

What an absolute crock of horse manure!

Paxton sent out a Twitter message that said he was concerned for his family’s safety, which he said is why he didn’t respond to the process server. And that makes me go … huh?

The Texas Tribune reports: “It’s clear that the media wants to drum up another controversy involving my work as Attorney General, so they’re attacking me for having the audacity to avoid a stranger lingering outside my home and showing concern about the safety and well-being of my family,” he wrote in a tweet.

The sequence of events appears weird on its face. The process server shows up. He waits around. Paxton is inside the house. Then his wife drives him away.

How many more examples of Paxton’s unfitness for public office does this clown have to exhibit? He has been under felony indictment alleging securities fraud almost since the day he took office in 2015. The Securities and Exchange Commission launched an independent investigation. Several key legal aides quit the AG’s office after alleging misconduct by the attorney general himself. The FBI is examining a whistleblower complaint against the AG.

Now this.

I know this sounds silly, but if Paxton has done nothing wrong, why didn’t he just go to the front door of his home, receive the subpoena and then contest it the way he normally would … through due process?

The guy should have resigned his office long ago.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

No need to ‘restore’ voter integrity

I have to say this as loudly and clearly as I possibly can say anything: The American electoral process is clean, fair and its integrity does not need to be “restored.”

Once again — ad nauseum — we hear adherents of the former Big Liar in Chief suggest that there is something fundamentally broken within the electoral system.

There isn’t. The system ain’t broke. The excuse mounted that declares “widespread vote fraud” is the result of one man losing the 2020 presidential election by 7 million ballots. He has succeeded in planting sufficient doubt in the gullible skulls of his cult followers about the integrity of the most recent presidential balloting.

Court after court, expert after expert all have determined that the loser’s assertion of widespread voter fraud is, in itself, fraudulent. The only theft of the election results has been the work of the loser’s attempt to toss out legitimate election returns.

Having taken a swing or two at the critics of the electoral system, I want to assert that the system isn’t perfect. Then again, it’s never been absolutely free of the occasional effort by someone, somewhere to cast an illegal ballot. Hey, it goes with the territory.

There have been reported isolated incidents of phony votes cast since, oh let’s see, the beginning of the Republic!

But to hear Republican politicians these days, you’d think the entire system is corrupt. That it’s crooked. That the integrity of the system is so compromised that it puts our national government in dire peril.

Only one problem has existed with this hysteria: No one has proven a word of it!

The midterm election is coming on quickly. There will be some election deniers on the ballot in several states. They will continue to promote The Big Lie as they try to persuade voters to send them to public office. The midterm election will be as clean and relatively corruption-free as the 2020 election turned out to be.

I just have heard all I can stand to hear from those who proclaim to seek a “restoration” of our electoral integrity. There is not a damn thing to restore.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Don’t let this death recede

Mahsa Amini’s identity, I believe, well might become a household name soon in a place where one wouldn’t expect.

That would be the Islamic Republic of Iran. Amini was a 26-year-old Iranian woman who was taken into custody and who later died. Why? Because she showed a few too many strands of her hair outside the hijab she was wearing.

Women must follow certain conservative tenets of Islamic faith, such as ensuring their hair is tucked away. The penalty is the fate that befell Mahsa Amini.

Amini’s death has prompted protests the likes of which have rarely been seen or heard since the Ayatollah Khomeini’s forces seized control of Iran in 1979.

Iranians have marched onto city streets seeking justice for Mahsi Amini, who by any measure of human decency should be alive today. Indeed, she should be walking free in her country. But, oh no. She’s now dead because that hideously named “morality police” squad took her into custody and quite likely killed her.

As Time Magazine reported on its website, Mahsa Amini has become a martyr to a cause unknown in the power circles of the governing Islamic Republic: human rights.

On social media, her name became an Iranian version of #MeToo — a prompt for ordinary people to post experiences of loss and oppression at the hands of the Islamic Republic, gathered under #MahsaAmini.

The Protests in Iran Have Shaken the Islamic Republic to Its Core (msn.com)

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been on the U.S. sh** list of nations that flout basic human rights for its citizens.

Too often people become victimized in nations such as Iran. The world wrings its hands and calls go out for justice. Then the emotion subsides, and the world’s attention turns to other crises.

Let us not allow Mahsa Amini’s name to recede into the background. She needs to remain at the top of our consciousness and must become a cudgel for the civilized world to use against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Will this strategic appeal to women work?

A political action committee has launched an intriguing midterm election campaign in Texas that appears plainly aimed at turning women out to vote in this year’s campaign.

They call themselves “Coulda Been Worse, LLC.” The PAC has paid for a series of TV ads that tell voters that “three men” are responsible for virtually banning abortion in Texas, despite polling that shows a significant majority of Texans favor allowing women the right to choose.

Coulda Been Worse singles out Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “Three men,” the ad repeats, have decided that Texas women must not be allowed to determine whether to end a pregnancy.

The ad concludes with Abbott uttering “it coulda been worse” while he was briefing the public about the Uvalde school massacre, which killed 19 fourth graders and two heroic teachers in Robb Elementary School.

Coulda Been Worse LLC also has broadcast an ad telling voters how Abbott made a choice in the wake of the Uvalde slaughter to attend a fundraiser rather than visit Uvalde to perform his duties as “the father of Texas.”

I am not going to predict that the campaign against Abbott, Patrick and Paxton will prove decisive. But, man, the PAC has plenty of material with which it is working. It has the backdrop of that Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a ruling that has outraged millions of women everywhere … including Texas!

Paxton is seeking a third term — despite being under felony indictment for the past seven years — against an ACLU lawyer, Rochelle Garza; polls show the contest a virtual dead heat. Patrick is facing Mike Collier in a lieutenant governor rematch from 2018.

Of course, Abbott is facing former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, currently the darling of the Texas Democratic Party; polls in that race are all over the place, with some of them showing a tightening contest while others suggest Abbott is pulling away.

If there is a hot button to push, my hope is that Coulda Been Worse can find it and push it incessantly until it produces what I deem to be the desired outcome: the defeat of Abbott, Patrick and Paxton.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Constitution works!

Gerald Ford spoke a fundamental truth only minutes after taking office as president of the United States in August 1974.

“Our Constitution works,” President Ford reminded us, as if we needed reminding about the crisis that preceded his becoming president. His predecessor, Richard Nixon, resigned just as he was about to be impeached and tried (and likely convicted) for high crimes against the Constitution.

I want to remind everyone who worries about whether the Constitution will hold up under the pressure being applied to it these days by a former POTUS who all but vows violence if he is indicted for criminal activity.

I am going to remain somewhat calm about the strength of the Constitution. It did survive the Watergate scandal. President Nixon had to quit. President Ford took office as the Constitution had been battered and bruised by the calamity of Nixon’s abuse of power.

It survived then. I am going to continue to believe in the strength of the Constitution now as the nation awaits the outcome of several investigations into a former president’s effort to upend the “peaceful transfer of power” from one administration to the next one.

I will concede that the transfer of power was not peaceful. It was bloodied by the 1/6 insurrection. However, the transition did occur.

Our Constitution works, indeed.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Prayer in school? Save it for church

You hear the refrain all the time, that society went to hell when the U.S. Supreme Court took prayer away from teachers and students in our public schools.

To which I say: nonsense!

For starters, I do not believe society has gone to hell. For critics of modern life, though, to assign blame for such an idiotic notion to a single court decision simply fails to look through a wide enough lens.

The SCOTUS ruled in the early 1960s that reciting prayers in public schools violated the First Amendment clause that prohibits the establishment of a “state religion.” Let’s be candid and clear about something: The prayers we all talk about are Christian prayers, which always end with a phrase that references “Jesus’s name.”

As I’ve tried to note, the Constitution doesn’t allow for Christian prayers, or Jewish prayers, or Muslim prayers in public schools. If we accept that public schools are products of local government — and I most certainly do — then public school systems are not exempt from the constitutional prohibitions laid out.

I also understand the “religious freedom” and “religious liberty” arguments that come from those who want to restore prayer in public schools. I happen to view those terms in broad terms. “Religious freedom and liberty” can be interpreted to mean that one is “free from religion” and is “liberated” from it, too.

Invariably I fall back on the notion to which I have subscribed my entire adult life. I am all for religion. I am a practicing Christian. I just want to save my prayer time for my own private moments … and for Sunday, when I’m sitting in church.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

GOP senators break with Trump … woo hoo!

It’s not every day one gets to salute U.S. Senate Republicans for doing the right thing as it regards the former president of the United States, the former Liar in Chief.

Donald Trump declared on Fox News the other day that he could “declassify” documents taken from the White House and stored at his Florida home simply by “thinking” about it.

No can do … Mr. ex-POTUS. Declassification is a complicated process, Sens. John Thune, Mike Rounds and Thom Tillis told CNN.

They said:

SEN. THUNE: There’s a process for declassifying documents. And I think it ought to be adhered to and followed.

SEN. TILLIS: There’s a formal process that needs to be gone through and documented … As I understand, the executive branch requirements there is a process one must go through.

SEN. ROUNDS: I think anyone who takes the time to appropriately protect that information, and who has taken the time to see what’s in the information would have serious concerns about how items could be accessed, if they’re not stored properly.

GOP Sens. Tillis, Thune, Rounds Break With Trump: “There’s A Formal Process” For Declassifying Documents | Video | RealClearPolitics

Do you get what I mean here? Donald Trump, once again, is making things up in what passes for that brain in his thick skull.

It’s getting might cramped in that space surrounding The Donald as the walls keep closing in.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I told you so … ?

As a general rule I am not one to gloat or to say “I told you so” when it regards political predictions, given that my record on that score is so abysmal.

However, I believe I might have earned the right to say “I told you so” as it pertains to whether Donald J. Trump is going to run for president of the United States in 2024.

I have expressed profound doubt that Trump would be able to mount any sort of credible campaign for POTUS. The federal judiciary, I am delighted to affirm, seems to be giving my assertions a good bit of weight.

A three-judge panel — with two judges having been nominated by Donald Trump — has essentially tossed into the crapper a ruling by another Trump judicial appointee any thought that the ex-POTUS could derail the FBI seizure of classified documents from Trump’s glitzy mansion in Florida.

Trump now is facing the prospect of having to withstand the full weight of the Justice Department probe into whether he violated the law by taking documents from the White House and “hiding” them in desk drawers in his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Furthermore, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel says the documents belong “to the people of the United States.” They aren’t Trump’s. They don’t even belong to the White House. They belong to you and me, man!

And then there’s the lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James that has the potential of wiping out Donald Trump and forcing three of his adult children to file bankruptcy. AG James alleges that Trump engaged in criminal falsification of his assets in order to obtain favorable business loans.

It is the by far largest lawsuit Donald Trump has ever faced … and, brother, he’s faced a bunch of ’em in his adult professional life!

All of this leads me to conclude — with a healthy dose of caution — that I see no way on Earth that Donald Trump can possibly seek the presidency ever again.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com