Tag Archives: MAGA

What happened to SCOTUS?

For as long as I have been covering and commenting on our court system, I have followed a few basic tenets of what I consider to be fair and impartial justice.

One of them is simple and straightforward. It states that judges must always be fair, impartial and objective when interpreting the law. They cannot possibly accept gifts from litigants or potential litigants. Period. End of story.

What in the hell, then, has become of that tenet? US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas finally has owned up to the revelation that over the years, he has accepted more than $4 million in travel and other assorted gifts from wealthy contributors. One of notably is Texas gazillionaire Harlan Crow, who has given Clarence and Virginia Thomas cruise trips, first-class jetliner rides, rooms at posh hotels and Lord knows what else.

Thomas only recently reported it. He’s not required to do so under SCOTUS rules. The nation’s highest court is the single judicial institution that does not police itself … but it damn sure keeps a close eye on the conduct of other federal judges serving on lower courts.

Thomas, appointed to the high court in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush, has assumed the unofficial title of chief grifter on the nation’s federal judiciary.

This is simply beyond belief. Oh, and get a load of this: Justice Thomas once told a TV documentary filmmaker that he prefers stay at Walmart parking lots in his recreational vehicle because that’s how “normal” people choose to relax.

It’s not clear when this scandal will expire. It seems we keep hearing of new gifts being lavished on the Thomases from their wealthy friends, some of whom actually have legal matters pending on the highest court in the land.

I am left only to lament the presence on this court of a justice who doesn’t grasp the gravity of his acceptance of these gifts … and to call on him once again to resign!

‘No one is above the law’

No U.S. citizen is above the law … that includes former presidents of the United States or the direct family members of the current president.

Hunter Biden, the surviving son of President Biden, is guilty of three counts of violating federal law in the purchase of a firearm. He faces a potential prison term of 25 years if the federal judge who presided over the case sees fit.

Biden likely won’t get that stiff of a sentence. There appears to be a decent chance he will avoid any lockup time. If I were King of the World, I would dictate that Hunter Biden receive a lengthy probationary sentence. That would be within the judge’s sentencing guidelines. It works for me, as it remains faithful to the “no one is above the law” mantra.

As for the ex-POTUS, whom the New York jury convicted of 34 counts of campaign law violation for paying the adult film actress 130 grand to keep quiet about a tumble the two of them took, he faces a possible jail sentence as well.

I am willing to accept any punishment that the judge is preparing to hand out, although a big part of me wonders if Donald Trump is bellowing his way into some jail time by attacking the judge, the jury and the system itself. Has the criminal defendant shown any remorse? Hah!

Yep. No one is above the law.

On the border: more of the same

A young man I know who is a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper has just returned from another deployment on Texas’s southern border.

He said he noticed that “it’s all the same down there. The same ol’ same ol’.” Gov. Greg Abbott has been sending troopers to the border to assist US Border Patrol officers and local police in rounding up illegal immigrants.

“Nothing is going to change until after the election if Donald Trump wins,” my DPS friend told me. Then he said two things are bound to happen. Trump’s get-tough policies will return and “those who now are trying to get into this country won’t want to come here” if Trump is elected.

He said DPS then won’t need to go to the border to lend a hand.

Hmm. Interesting, I thought to myself. I should have said that Abbott won’t send DPS troopers to the border because he won’t want to stick it in Trump’s ear the way he does with President Biden. I didn’t tell him so.

I guess it doesn’t matter to many Texans that Biden did issue an executive order that shuts down the border when crossings exceed a certain amount. Does that constitute an “open border policy”?

Not even close.

Ted Cruz: unlikable and mean

I will go to my grave — hopefully not anytime soon — wondering for all I can muster how Ted Cruz continues to hang onto his seat in the U.S. Senate.

I cannot think of more unlikable and mean-spirited senator than Rafael Edward Cruz. He has cast his beady eyes on a bigger prize since the day he declared his Senate candidacy in 2012. He was elected that year and ran immediately for the presidency in 2016.

He damn near lost his Senate seat in 2018 to Beto O’Rourke. Now he’s running again, this time against another Texas congressman, Colin Allred of Dallas.

Allred says the polls have the two of them tied. Maybe so. Maybe not. Polling I see shows Cruz with a slim lead.

What in the world has this guy done for Texas? What legislation has he authored that brings tangible benefit to the state? I cannot think of a single piece of legislation that has Cruz’s name stamped on it.

I can, however, recite a couple of notable instances where he embarrassed himself and the state. How about the time he filibustered in favor of a government shutdown, reading Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” from the Senate floor?

My favorite moment, though, occurred when Cruz sought to jet off to Cancun with his family in February 2021 while Texans were freezing to death in that killer winter storm. Someone caught him on the lam to Mexico. He returned … and then blamed his daughter for talking him into taking the family for a vacation.

Oh, how I want Allred to win this seat. Allred vows to work with Republicans. I intend to hold him to that pledge if he manages to win. Cruz, though, is lost forever to the cause of bipartisanship.

I’ll say it again: Good government requires compromise and Ted Cruz does not know to work in that environment.

Speaker’s job still threatened

Dade Phelan’s close runoff victory in the Golden Triangle of Texas well could come at a price for the Beaumont Republican.

He wants to keep his job as speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. To do that he had to fend off a GOP primary challenge from a first-time candidate David Covey, recruited to run in the primary by Attorney General Ken Paxton, who sought revenge against Phelan.

The speaker led the House that impeached Paxton on criminal charges. The vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan. Paxton then stood trial in the Senate, which acquitted him in a partisan show of cowardice.

Covey by all rights had no business forcing a runoff with the veteran legislator. He did and now Phelan is set to take office for another term.

I have spoken, though, with veteran lawmakers who believe Phelan’s victory in the runoff might not be worth having. His fellow Republicans are split among themselves over whether Phelan did the right thing by letting the House work its will in impeaching Paxton. The Texas House is chock full of MAGA Republicans who would love nothing better than to boot Phelan out of the speaker’s chair and install someone more to their liking.

As we have seen throughout the country, today’s Republican Party is controlled by those who are desperately loyal to the cult leader who is calling the shots.

My own preference, not that it matters? I hope Dade Phelan keeps his job. We need someone with a brain managing at least one of the state’s legislative chambers.

Does ex-POTUS want prison time?

It is striking to listen to the bellicose blathering of the blowhard who once served as our commander in chief.

He’s been convicted by a jury of his peers of 34 felony counts. Donald Trump continues to insist he’s innocent of any wrongdoing. He says the jury was rigged. The trial was a sham. The judge is a crook.

Now … why is this important? Because in about a month, the same judge who presided in NYC over the hush money trial is going to hand down a sentence. It might include probation. It might include some time behind bars.

The judge is Juan Merchan, who’s thought to be a meticulous jurist. One of the things I’ve always heard about sentencing procedures is that judges look for contrition among criminal defendants. They look for some semblance of ownership that the defendant did something wrong.

Judge Merchan isn’t getting any of that from this defendant. He’s getting insults, invective, epithets and threats of violent reaction.

All of this makes me wonder if Donald John Trump actually is inviting some prison time.

Don’t you know that July 11 is going to be an extremely big day.

Perfection: impossible to find

Those out there who seek to build the “perfect nation” in the mold, for instance, of the current Republican cult leader who’s heading for his party’s presidential nomination, need a serious lesson on what our founders intended for us.

These wise men knew from the outset that perfection was too steep a hill to climb. They wrote in the preamble to our cherished Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union … “

There you have it in the second clause of our nation’s government framework. They knew that perfection was out of their reach, and out of the reach of those who would follow.

Indeed, the founders — as learned as many of them were — enacted a Constitution that over time has proved to be far from perfect. The men who wrote it didn’t grant women the right to vote; that constitutional amendment didn’t come into being until 1920, for crying out loud!

They didn’t grant the rights of citizenship to Black people, who were still enslaved in 1789. Freedom from human bondage didn’t arrive until 1863 and then it took another century to enact legislation guaranteeing Black citizens the full rights of citizenship.

The issue for me is the tone of the rhetoric I hear from those on the far right, the MAGA cultists who don’t understand what the founders intended when they sought to create a “more perfect Union.” They knew from the outset what has been lost on too many Americans who march to the cadence dictated by their leader.

It is that those of us who love this country must also understand a fundamental truth about it. It isn’t perfect and we are unlikely ever to make it so.

What would Ike think?

Today and other days this week have my mind flashing back to the first president I remember during my tine on this Earth.

I was born in 1949, during the second term of Harry Truman’s administration. My initial memory of the president begins with Dwight Eisenhower.

I want to preface my brief remarks by reminding readers of these facts. Eisenhower led the World War II Allied forces to victory in Europe in 1945. The victory march began 80 years ago today when Ike ordered the D-Day invasion of northern France to begin. He achieved General of the Army status. He ran for the presidency in 1952 and won in a landslide; he would repeat the landslide victory four years later.

Ike was a Republican and today I am wondering: What in the name of all that is holy would President Eisenhower think of what has become of the party he once led to the pinnacle of power?

Ike wasn’t a career politician when he decided to run for president. He had spent his professional life in the military, arguably the least political job one can hold in service to the public. His concerns didn’t rely on political considerations.

Eisenhower led by example and was adamantly faithful to the oath he took to protect and defend the Constitution. He took the oath while wearing his uniform and then as president of the United States.

I cannot help but wonder what Ike would think of the great political party he once led in this era of fealty to one man. Gen. Eisenhower died in 1969, just eight years after leaving the presidency in the hands of the “next generation” led by President John F. Kennedy.

He warned us in his farewell speech of the dangers of the “military-industrial complex.” He knew those dangers better than almost any other living American in that moment.

This man was a leader. He wore his military uniform with pride and was far from the “sucker” and “loser” that one of his presidential successors has proclaimed others who choose that career to be.

That successor, himself a sucker and loser and now a convicted felon, would be unfit to carry Eisenhower’s briefcase. Yet here is, leading Ike’s once-great political party.

What has happened to the Grand Old Party?

DOJ is the wrong target

Can we set the record straight while seeking to determine who is responsible for what cases? Sure, I’ll try …. not that it’ll do any good, given the numbskulls whose vacuous brains I need to probe.

Donald Trump is now a convicted felon. A jury of 12 of his peers delivered a stunning unanimous decision convicting him on 34 counts associated with his hush money payment to Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels. She and the former POTUS had a fling in a hotel room in 2006 and Trump paid her to keep quiet about an event he denies even occurred.

The jury believed her and not him. What does Trump do in response? He blames President Biden for bringing the case against him. He and his allies blame the Justice Department for “weaponizing” its resources to “get” the former POTUS.

He calls Judge Juan Merchon everything but the spawn of Satan. He says the judge is corrupt.

Let’s hold it for a moment. This case was brought by the state of New York. He was prosecuted by an elected district attorney who does not answer to the DOJ, let alone the president. This case was handled under the rule of law. It was done properly. The jury heard the evidence and then delivered its verdict.

I cannot help but wonder whether the former Liar in Chief is cutting his own throat by trashing the very judge who, on July 11, could sentence him to prison. The judge vows to follow the law.

However, he is a human being.

Mooch: Trump will ‘implode’

Anthony Scaramucci served briefly as communications director during Donald Truomp’s term as POTUS … so he professes, I presume, to have some sort of inside knowledge on the state of what passes for the former Liar in Chief’s mind.

The Mooch said this weekend that the former Philanderer in Chief is going to “implode” before the Nov., 5 election.

Someone will have to explain what occurs when someone implodes. I don’t know that Scaramucci, a lawyer by profession, can answer that medical/psychological question.

However, it does present an interesting scenario to ponder while the legal system continues to do its work on the former POTUS.

The 45th POTUS is playing the tough-guy card, telling us he’ll appeal the conviction handed down this week in the hush money case. Jurors deliberated about nine hours and then return a verdict that convicted the defendant on all 34 felony counts.

The ex-POTUS is entitled to appeal. I certainly don’t begrudge him from exercising his constitutional right to appeal this duly constituted decision by a jury of his peers.

But what does an implosion look like? He might begin spouting nonsense. He could physically attack a reporter who dares question him about how he feels being the only ex-president ever convicted of a crime, let alone multiple felonies.

The one-time big man seems considerably smaller now that he joins other convicted felons facing the prospect of jail time.

Does that cause an implosion? I’m willing to wait for it.