Tag Archives: Constitution

These Trumpsters told the truth

It is going to take me a long while to process fully what I heard this week in the televised testimony before the House select 1/6 committee.

We all heard several dedicated Donald Trump supporters set aside their personal support of the former POTUS and argue on behalf of concepts totally foreign to The Donald: the rule of law and the sanctity of their oaths of office.

Gabe Sterling and Brad Raffensberger of Georgia spoke the truth to power. So did Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers. They confronted Trump’s assertion that they could flip votes, overturn election results, “find” enough ballots to swing their states from Biden’s column to Trump’s.

They all voted for Trump. They were loyal to the man … to the extent of casting their ballots.

However, they refused to cross the line into lawlessness, which is what Trump wanted them to do. None of them would shirk their oaths of office. Speaker Bowers’s testimony was particularly riveting, as he said any notion of his forsaking his sacred oath was totally beyond his capacity as an elected public official.

Bowers, indeed, appeared to grow quite emotional as he testified before the House committee. It was, at some level, tough to watch. Then again, I was filled with pride that he continues to stand firm in his belief that he took the oath to protect the Constitution and to honor the laws of the land. He remained true to his oath.

As did Raffensberger, the Georgia secretary of state, and Sterling, one of his deputies.

They all demonstrated the incalculable value of public service.


Will Trump take Fifth? Hmm?

You might recall the several times Donald Trump has declared that “innocent” people have no reason or justification to fall back on the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the one that protects citizens self-incrimination.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we might get the chance to see if Trump really and truly believes it. You see, a judge has ordered the former POTUS, his oldest son Don Jr. and daughter Ivanka to testify — under oath — about their financial dealings that are under investigation by the Manhattan district attorney.

So, Trump will take an oath to tell the truth. If he has nothing to hide from investigators, he’ll talk. Isn’t that right? I don’t that’s going to happen.

His company already is under indictment for assorted felony accusations, such as tax fraud.

The walls appear to be closing in around Trump and his family. His son, Eric, already has hidden behind the Fifth Amendment, invoking it hundreds of times during questioning by prosecutors. Do you wonder what Daddy Trump told Eric after he left the conference room? Might he have called Eric a “loser”?

The smart money, based on what I have heard on the news, suggests that Trump’s lawyers will tell him to “not say a word.” His only option, therefore, is to invoke the Fifth Amendment.

But … hey. C’mon, Donald. An “innocent” man should be able to speak freely. Right?


If only Trump knew …

I have sought to inform readers of this blog about the myriad reasons Donald Trump was so profoundly unfit to serve as president of the United States.

One of those reasons has been laid bare in recent weeks. It has been his total ignorance of the power of the presidency and vice presidency and the limitations placed on both offices by the Constitution of the United States, the document Trump and Vice President Mike Pence swore to uphold and defend.

Trump’s urging of Pence to “overturn” the results of the 2020 election on 1/6 illustrates so graphically the ignorance of Trump about the government he was elected in 2016 to lead.

Had he any notion of the limits of presidential power, or any understanding of what the Constitution allowed, he might not have demanded that Pence do what the VP knew in real time he could not do. Pence knew he could not overturn any state’s duly certified election returns. Pence knew the limits of his role on that horrible day, which was to preside over Congress’s task of certifying the results of a free, fair, legal and secure election.

I don’t want to say, “I told you so,” but Trump’s abject ignorance of government, mixed with his delusions of grandeur, have produced a case study in how unfit this guy was to have occupied the most powerful office in the land … and arguably the most exalted office on Earth.

Y’all saw it right here.


Christian nationalism perverts Christianity

I had not heard of the term “Christian nationalism” until I opened my copy of the Dallas Morning News this morning and read a lengthy but remarkably informative essay by Ryan Sanders.

Sanders, a member of the DMN editorial board, says essentially that Christian nationalism is bad for the country. Why? Because in his view the notion takes Christianity and its religious tenets to dangerous new levels.

The essay alludes briefly to the founders’ intent when they formed this government of ours. They wrote the constitutional articles, noting in the preamble that “We the People of the United States” sought to form a “more perfect Union.” It doesn’t mention God, unlike the Declaration of Independence, which refers to our “Creator,” which of course is a reference to a universal God.

The First Amendment to the Constitution lists freedom from several government mandates, the first of those was freedom from government-sanctioned religion; it instructs that “Congress shall make no law” that establishes a state religion.

I am fine with that. Christian nationalists, though, are not fine with it. They believe wrongly that the founders created a religious document when in fact they created a document that was as far from a religious governmental framework that one can get.

I encourage you to take a look at Sanders’s essay.


Sanders writes, for example: Christian nationalism isn’t attracting followers because it’s far-fetched. On the contrary, like all the most dangerous errors, it is attractive because it seems good. It is darkness masquerading as light, like the Apostle Paul warned. In modern parlance, we might say it is truth-adjacent.

The rioters who stormed the Capitol Building on 1/6 exemplified the horror of Christian nationalism. They sought to persuade the rest of us that they were to do God’s work by disrupting the 2020 presidential election certification. My goodness! They were acting at the urging of a defeated president and transferring his message into some twisted form of religious doctrine.

I must rank Christian nationalism among the list of existential threats to the very principles on which this nation came into being.


Filibuster? Yes, but make ’em talk!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Senate Democrats and progressives around the country want to eliminate the filibuster from Senate procedure.

They contend it is being abused by the Republican minority in the “world’s greatest deliberative body.” I am not going to join that chorus. I don’t have a particular problem with the filibuster, other than the way it is implemented now.

Senators can declare a filibuster is in effect when they object to legislation. Then they go about their business as if nothing is happening.

If they’re going to filibuster, they should be forced to stand on the Senate floor and talk their lungs out in an effort to kill legislation. Make ’em blab about this and/or that, which is what the filibuster was designed initially to require.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said recently he would talk until he “fell over.” I might pay real American money to see that happen.

The filibuster is aimed to protect the interests of the political minority. At the moment, the GOP is the minority party. One day they might regain control of the Senate, although I don’t particularly want that to happen. What happens then, if the Senate kills the filibuster now, disallowing future political minorities from exercising the long-standing Senate rule?

The filibuster wasn’t written into the Constitution; it was enacted under Senate rule-making authority. Getting rid of it only solves the issue of the moment. The balance of power has this way of swinging back and forth.

If we keep the filibuster, by all means then make senators stand in the well and bluster and bloviate until they do fall over.

An ‘innocent’ POTUS keeps acting like a guilty POTUS

Here we are as a most tumultuous year is about to head for the sunset of history.

Donald Trump is going to stand trial eventually in 2020. He says the House of Representatives impeachment of him is a sham, a hoax and a witch hunt. He declares that he has done nothing wrong.

However, he is continuing to deny the Senate any access to witnesses who, it would stand to reason if you believe the president, would offer testimony that is favorable to him.

I keep wondering: Is this the conduct of a man with nothing to hide, nothing to keep from public view, nothing that would change any Republican minds?

The House impeached Trump on charges that he abused the power of his office by seeking political help from a foreign government. He did so in a phone call with the Ukrainian president. The White House released a memo of that phone call. He says it as clear as can be, but he calls the phone call “perfect.”  The House also impeached him on obstruction of Congress. How does one dispute that, given that Trump has demanded that no key White House aides answer congressional subpoenas, denying Congress the ability to do its constitutional duties relating to oversight of the executive branch of government?

The president and his GOP allies say the evidence doesn’t stack up. I disagree with that view but that’s just my view.

I cannot grasp the notion of a president continuing to deny access to key witnesses if he is as innocent of wrongdoing as he insists.

I want this trial to be completed. I do not want a drawn-out extravaganza that will become a sideshow. I do want witnesses to testify. I also want there to be any additional evidence submitted that will enable senators to make a more clear-headed decision on whether the president stays in office.

The president says he’s innocent. The president’s actions are those of a guilty man.

Welcome to another tumultuous year.

POTUS provides impetus to proceed now with impeachment

Donald J. Trump’s profound arrogance has given the House of Representatives all the evidence it now needs to determine that the president of the United States has committed an impeachable act.

He has committed an unconstitutional act. How?

By awarding himself a massive government contract that will bring the leaders of the seven leading industrial nations of the world to his posh resort in south Florida. Yep, Doral National Country Club is going to play host to the G7 summit of nations next spring.

Donald Trump has declared Doral to be the most fitting resort in the United States to host this event. He has violated the Emoluments Clause to the U.S. Constitution, the one that says the president cannot profit from his public office.

Trump will profit bigly by playing host to the G7 summit.

There is no more need, in my mind, for the House to look much further — if at all — for reasons to impeach the president. He has delivered a big reason all by himself.

I haven’t mentioned — until right now — what White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney declared, that the president withheld arms to Ukraine for political purposes. He then scolded the media to “Get over it.”

That, too, is an impeachable offense. It also violates the Constitution.

However, this awarding of the government contract to his own business simply crosses the biggest red line possible.

Donald Trump needs to be impeached. He needs to be thrown out of office after a Senate trial.

My question remains: How in the name of no man being above the law can Republicans in Congress and across the land ignore what is occurring in real time before all our eyes?

Impeachment: full of land mines, ready to explode

Our nation’s founders had plenty of flaws. They were damn smart, though, when crafting a governing document that sought to create a “more perfect Union.”

One of their nearly perfect notions was to set the bar for impeaching and removing a president quite high. It’s a two-step process.

The U.S. House of Representatives can impeach a president with a simple majority. Then it gets a lot harder.

The U.S. Senate would put the president on trial, but to convict a president the Senate needs 67 out of 100 votes.

That’s a high bar . . . by design.

Thus, I respect the presumed next House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to argue against impeachment. Why? Because the Senate seems to lack the votes to convict Donald Trump of anything the House would argue. Therefore, Pelosi — as shrewd a vote counter as anyone — isn’t going to put her reputation on the line by stampeding an impeachment proceeding through the House without some assurance that the Senate would follow up with a conviction.

Trump reportedly is telling aides he believes the next House — to be controlled by Democrats — will launch a bum’s rush toward impeachment in 2019. I am not so sure about that.

Pelosi is not going to follow the exhibit shown by another former speaker who whipsawed the House into impeaching a president. Newt Gingrich was speaker in 1998 when the House impeached President Clinton. The Senate acquitted Clinton on all the charges. Gingrich was left looking like a fool.

Nancy Pelosi does not want history to repeat itself.

Omarosa needs to chill out

I don’t know why I’m concerning myself with this, but I will anyway … against my better judgment.

Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former White House aide who was let go by the president — who also fired her from “The Apprentice” show he once hosted — has declared that she tried to get Donald Trump to “stop tweeting.”

She was shut down by other White House aides.

Omarosa offered a weepy assessment on an episode of “Celebrity Big Brother.” She told a fellow contestant that she fears the United States won’t “be OK” after Donald Trump’s time as president is over.

“It’s going to not be OK, it’s not. It’s so bad,” she told fellow cast member Ross Matthews while wiping away tears.

C’mon, young lady. Get a grip here.

I’m no fan of Omarosa’s former boss. I don’t want him in the White House any more than other Trump critics. But I do believe strongly in our constitutional system of government. We’ve been through plenty of crises involving presidents, lying, coverup, scandal and impeachment.

Thus, I think Omarosa (and I hope it’s OK if I refer to her by her first name) is being a tad melodramatic. I mean, she is on a TV show and she is weeping to her fellow contestant with the cameras rolling.

I feel the need here to remind us all of what a brand new president said moments after he took the oath of office. President Gerald R. Ford took office on Aug. 9, 1974, after Richard Nixon resigned in the wake of the Watergate scandal. The new president then declared, “Our Constitution works.”

Yes it did, Mr. President. Take heed, Omarosa. The U.S. Constitution still works to this day.

U.S. Constitution alive and well

There are those who say the U.S. Constitution is carved in stone.

Others say it is a living document.

I will side with the living document folks.

Consider this, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision that legalizes gay marriage across the nation.

The Constitution, when it was written, granted full citizenship rights to just a portion of the population.

* Men were allowed to vote. Not women.

* Black people were the property of white people; they were considered to be three-fifths of a human being.

Eventually, the Constitution underwent change.

The 19th Amendment gave women got the right to vote. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery. The 24th Amendment barred poll taxes as a requirement to vote in federal elections.

The courts stepped in on a number of fronts. The Supreme Court tossed out a state law that prohibited interracial marriage; it tossed out “separate but equal” provisions in public education, resulting in integration of our public schools; it ruled that women have a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

Now it has ruled that same-sex couples are as entitled to marry as heterosexual couples.

The Constitution has evolved over time.

I believe the evolution will continue with this latest ruling.