FBI zeroes in on Trump

What in the name of juris prudence are we to make of the news that exploded this evening?

The FBI has walked into the home of the immediate past U.S. president to search for who knows what. The announcement comes on the eve of the 48th anniversary of the date Richard Nixon resigned the presidency as the Watergate scandal unraveled everything in sight.

Let’s understand what the so-called “raid” at Mar-a-Lago entails.

A federal judge had to sign off on a Justice Department request to allow the agents to look for evidence of specific allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

Thus, this is not just some rogue agency running amok. It is the result of a federal judge determining that the FBI had enough to justify a thorough search of a former president’s home.

There appears to be building evidence that Donald Trump broke more than one federal law when he squirreled federal documents away as he was preparing to vacate the White House after the 2020 election.

We don’t know what the FBI was seeking. It will become known in due course.

However, from my perch, it looks for all the world that the feds have the goods on the individual who gave the finger to the oath he took to protect the government.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Trump gets support from CPAC … imagine that!

This is likely the biggest non-surprise of the current political season, but it’s still worth a comment or two.

It comes in the form of the endorsement of Donald J. Trump’s continuing presence on the political scene by the Conservative Action Political Conference, which met this past weekend in Dallas.

I cannot help but shake my noggin.

The CPAC faithful want Trump to run for president in 2024. They have decided, I reckon, to ignore the two impeachments during his term in office, the stunning pile of evidence that mounts from the House select committee’s probe into the 1/6 insurrection and perhaps the possible indictments for criminal activity that might come from the Justice Department.

Oh, and never mind that Trump has yet to lay any sort of agenda for the future. He continues to wallow in The Big Lie that he keeps alive by suggesting the 2020 election was stolen from him.

That’s leadership? That’s moving toward the future?

At CPAC, conservative Texans show Donald Trump loyalty | The Texas Tribune

The “conservative movement” has been hijacked, along with the Republican Party, by the cult of personality led by Donald J. Trump.

The Texas Tribune summed up nicely the theme of Trump’s keynote speech: Trump stuck to a familiar script and repeated the falsehood that the 2020 election was stolen from him, even as those claims have repeatedly been debunked by even his own former aides. He painted cities run by Democratic leadership as hellscapes awash in crime and lamented what he described as an open southern border with Mexico.

The Texas crowd ate it up. “I’m over the moon, I’ve been trying to see him for years,” said Therese Boehnlein, who drove from Waco to Dallas to see Trump.

Well … OK. The ex-POTUS dropped a hint or two that he’ll run again in 2024. That will be his third attempt at the White House. Just remember something: He got fewer votes than Hillary Clinton in 2016 and a lot fewer votes than Joe Biden in 2020.

Truly astounding.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If only he hadn’t lied

This makes me so mad I could just spit. Dick Cheney came to his daughter’s defense with a stellar argument that called Donald John Trump a “coward” who “lies to his supporters.”

The former vice president of the United States said a “real man” wouldn’t lie the way Trump does.

Of course he is right! I would be leading the cheers for the former VP who served for two terms during George W. Bush’s presidency, except for this little thing. Dick Cheney also is a liar.

I don’t say this with any sort of cavalier attitude. I want the former veep’s ad to sway voters to his daughter’s corner as she battles for re-election to the U.S. House seat that her father occupied before taking on the job of White House chief of staff for President Ford.

Dick Cheney, though, spooned up a major dose of snake oil when George W. Bush became president. He persuaded the president that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, chemicals that it would use against us. He also told us that Saddam Hussein — the late Iraqi dictator — played a role in the 9/11 attacks on Washington and New York City. Neither allegation was true.

We went to war with Iraq in March 2003 and lost nearly 5,000 American lives in the process. And for what purpose? To retaliate for lies conveyed by the then-vice president and others within the Bush administration.

This is the kind of thing that sticks to people’s backsides. It’s indelible. No matter how much Dick Cheney might pretend to be a man of high honor and integrity — who tells the truth all the time — we cannot deny that he lied about WMD and the culprits behind 9/11.

I just wish Liz Cheney could have found another ally to launch this attack on Donald Trump.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Go for it, Liz!

Liz Cheney well might find out that being a lame-duck member of Congress has an advantage or two … such as freeing her from the threat of political blowback as she seeks to find the truth behind a president’s corruption.

The New York Times is reporting that Cheney will continue on her crusade to keep Donald J. Trump far away from the Oval Office even if she loses her Republican Party primary race next week.

Cheney is running for re-election to her fourth term in the House. She has signed on to the House select committee examining the 1/6 insurrection. Cheney has left no doubt as to her belief that Trump is responsible for the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and has said out loud that the Justice Department must find evidence to indict the ex-POTUS.

The Trump-backed Republican is favored to defeat Cheney next week. I am not going to take that outcome to the proverbial bank just yet, although I acknowledge that it doesn’t look good for Rep. Cheney at the moment.

Accordingly, lame-duck status would seem to fit Cheney quite well. It will free her to speak even more bluntly — if that is even possible — about the corrupt and criminal intent she and others on the panel have found.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Not even close …

This isn’t anything like the way I envisioned legislation would proceed upon the election in 2020 of Joe Biden as president of the United States.

I envisioned a return to the type of collegiality and compromise one could see with a president with decades of legislative experience working with members of Congress to enact laws that would do good things for Americans.

What have we seen? More gridlock. More obstruction from the loyal opposition. More partisan wrangling.

Democrats are cheering the enactment of what they call the Inflation Reduction Act. The Senate vote was 50-50, leaving the tie-breaking vote to come from Vice President Harris.

The bill isn’t perfect, but it includes the nation’s largest investment ever on ways to battle the planet’s changing climate. It seeks to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. It is paid for by taxes being leveled on corporations.

The Grand Obstructionist Party fought all of it. Tooth and nail. Hammer and tong.

President Biden’s predecessor took office without a lick of government experience … and it showed. He couldn’t negotiate his way out of a phone booth. Biden took office in January 2021 making what I thought at the time was a reasonable pledge to restore a sense of commonality between Democrats and Republicans.

Silly me. It hasn’t worked. GOP members of both congressional chambers continue to dig in, even to the point of denying that Joe Biden even is the “legitimate president of the United States.” Yes, they have swallowed The Big Lie and are obstructing the president at every turn.

But … Democrats won this latest battle. I am glad and grateful at least to see one side of the great divide working on my behalf.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Jury makes example of hater

A Texas jury has done the right thing by assessing a hefty punitive damage award against one of the nation’s most noted and infamous purveyors of hate and outright falsehoods.

Alex Jones will have to pay the families of children slaughtered in the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre $44.5 million. The jury awarded that amount in assessing the punitive damages that Jones must shell out.

Of course, Jones claims to be impoverished.

Jones already was found guilty of defamation by declaring that the massacre of those kids in Newtown, Conn., was fake, that it never happened, that it was a staged event designed to gin up opposition to the gun owners’ rights lobby.

This individual is a disgrace to the human race. The jury decided, moreover, to make him pay for the damage he did to the loved ones of those precious children and the educators who sought to protect them against the madman.

What might be the fallout from this award? It is my sincere hope that this jury’s decision to hammer a known hate monger might deter someone else out there who is inclined to spew the kind of filth that comes from the mouth of Alex Jones.

I know all about the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. Gasbags such as Jones use the U.S. Constitution as their first and last line of defense against who seek to muzzle them. The truth, though, is that I don’t want them necessarily silenced simply because they espouse views I find reprehensible. I believe it is important to keep such idiots in plain sight where we all can keep our eyes on them.

However, the jury ruled that Alex Jones took several giant steps too far by defaming the families of innocent victims.

Now he has been ordered to pay for the garbage he has blathered and the damage he has inflicted.

Good!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Get her out of Russian prison!

Brittney Griner has been handed an outrageous prison sentence for a “crime” that in most countries on Earth would be treated as a misdemeanor offense.

Oh, but not in Russia!

Griner, a noted women’s basketball star from Texas, was caught earlier this year with some cannabis in her luggage. It was a tiny amount. She told Russian authorities of her mistake at the time, but they took her into custody anyway.

Griner then pleaded guilty to the crime of packing an illegal substance. She went on trial, was convicted of it and then received a nine-year prison term.

What an utter outrage! She is being treated as a political prisoner. Why? Because the United States of America opposes Russia’s lawless, immoral and illegal invasion of Ukraine. President Biden has called Russian thug/goon/dictator Vladimir Putin a war criminal because of his forces’ attacks on civilian targets.

For that — and not the tiny bit of drugs she was carrying — Griner is being punished.

American and Russian negotiators are working to secure her release. Indeed, Griner isn’t the only American being held unjustly. Paul Whelan is serving a prison term for espionage, which is another dubious charge.

Griner and Whelan both need to come home. Many of us are now imploring the State Department to move whatever mountain it must to secure their release.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Senate clears big bill

OK, so it doesn’t constitute a stunning bipartisan mandate, but it does demonstrate how Senate Republicans — once again — appear to be on the wrong side of history.

The U.S. Senate approved by the thinnest margin possible a procedural vote that clears the way for approval of a slimmed-down package that President Biden has been seeking to do a number of positive things for the economy.

The bill seeks to cut carbon emissions and help stem the changing climate; it seeks to pay for itself by raising taxes on the richest Americans; it seeks to lower drug costs, giving more Americans access to medication.

Harris breaks 50-50 deadlock to advance landmark climate, tax, health bill | The Hill

Hey, it’s a good package.

All 50 Senate Republicans voted “no.” All 50 Democrats voted “yes.” That left it to Vice President Harris to cast the deciding vote to send the measure on to a full vote sometime Sunday.

This is the same deal that was given up for dead when Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin declared he couldn’t support it. Then the senator met with Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer to work out a pared-down version. Manchin changed his tune; the deal was back on the table.

This gives President Biden a much-need push toward keeping a major campaign promise, which was to help reduce the threat caused by climate change.

As for the Republicans, they continue to push policies that Americans do not support. How can they sustain that stubbornness going into the midterm election?

My hope is that they cannot.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A bit of history burns away

I just got some stunning news that I want to share with anyone — and I am going to presume that means “everyone” — who has a special place where they came of age.

The Roseway Theater in Portland, Ore., caught fire and burned … almost to the point of destruction.

This place means a lot to little ol’ me. I used to attend Saturday matinees there, mostly with my sister.

Historic theater partially collapses in 3-alarm fire in NE Portland (kptv.com)

It was a meeting place for many of us who grew up in that neighborhood. You know what I mean, right? Friends would gather to watch a movie, carry on and laugh — a lot.

It was the place where I enjoyed my first kiss. Yes, I remember her name, even though it was, shall we say, a very long time ago.

The Roseway Theater also was the place where I had my brush with infamy.

The movie ended one evening. I went outside with a couple of friends and lit up a cigarette. A police officer approached me and asked me my age. I told him 16. He said, “You’re under arrest.” He then escorted me to a paddy wagon — yes, an actual paddy wagon! — and hauled me downtown. The cops called my parents, told ’em they had me in custody for smoking; Mom fetched me.

My evening didn’t end well, if you get my drift.

Still, the Roseway Theater is part of my history and I am saddened to believe it might no longer exist.

The building was erected in 1925. It has withstood a lot, I presume, over the many decades of its existence. To me it is a symbol of my youth, just as I am absolutely certain we all have such symbols of our past.

Keep those places near to your heart. They can vanish in a flash.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

RINO: misdirected term

It is an astonishing thing to watch and to hear as Republicans seek to hang RINO tags on fellow party members in this age of Trump as the former POTUS seeks to tighten his grip on a once great and grand old party.

Donald Trump’s hijacking of the party has turned it into a cult of personality in which actual long-standing and principled Republicans are being demonized because they, in so many cases, simply stand for the rule of law.

RINO, of course, is the acronym that stands for Republican In Name Only. What is baffling to me in the extreme is to hear so-called Republicans who — prior to Trump’s arrival in politics — had little to do with the party or with crafting policy positions on which the party ran for public office.

Donald Trump is one of them. In that context, he is the ultimate RINO, an empty vessel who becomes a champion of whatever cause someone tosses out there for him to scarf up.

Liz Cheney is seeking re-election to her House seat in Wyoming. She has been censured and cast out of her state’s GOP. Why? Because she had the temerity to criticize Trump for inciting the insurrection of 1/6 and for refusing to adhere to the long-standing tradition of handing over power to the man who beat him in the most recent presidential election.

And yet she is as a Republican as they come. Her record is replete with votes in favor of gun ownership, against abortion, in favor of lower taxes, favoring a strong military.

You get the idea, right? Her Republican credentials cannot possibly measure up to the standard that the Trump Cabal of Cultists have set. You have to be loyal to the former POTUS, or else you’re out!

It is truly astounding.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com