Tag Archives: sedition

DOJ files landmark sedition charge … wow!

So, just how serious is the U.S. Department of Justice in its pursuit of who did what and when during the 1/6 insurrection against the federal government?

It has filed sedition charges against the leader and founder of the ultra-right wing group Oath Keepers in an unprecedented allegation that the group sought to topple the government in an effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

The main target is a North Texas resident, Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers who faces a potential 20-year sentence in a federal prison if he is convicted of the charges leveled against him.

This is a big deal, man!

According to CNN.com: Attorney General Merrick Garland had balked at the earlier efforts to bring the seditious conspiracy charge. But in the months since, people briefed on the matter say FBI investigators and DC federal prosecutors have spent much time building the case, at least in part with the help of cooperators and the benefit of internal communications among the Oath Keepers.

Takeaways from the landmark sedition indictment against the Oath Keepers – CNNPolitics

I have heard from critics of this blog who have suggested that there have been no “insurrection” charges filed against any of the defendants accused of participating in the riot on Capitol Hill. Attorney General Merrick Garland has rendered that point moot with the charge against Rhodes and others.

The DOJ probe took a year to complete, which suggests to me that the AG made damn sure to cover every possible detail before announcing the indictments.

The investigation into this hideous event is sure to pick up a head of steam. It certainly should. The House select committee is moving forward with its own probe into what transpired on that terrible day. It is issuing summons to members of Congress and is getting push back from the Trump cult members of Congress who are resisting requests to talk to the panel.

Are the walls closing in on the former president, the guy who incited the riot with his call on the Ellipse on 1/6 to “take back our government”? I certainly hope so.

I applaud AG Merrick Garland for demonstrating an astonishing level of courage in following the law, as he said he would, “wherever it takes us.”


Shades of ‘good people … on both sides’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Ron Johnson has a screw loose in that vacuous noggin of his.

The Wisconsin Republican U.S. senator made a statement about the insurrection of The Sixth of January that truly makes me wonder about this clown’s fitness to serve in the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

He told a Wisconsin radio interview several things, two of which stand out in my mind.

One is that the insurrection didn’t “scare me at all” because the terrorists were Donald Trump supporters. But … had the shoe been on the proverbial other foot and Trump had won the 2020 election and had Black Lives Matters or antifa followers had rioted in that fashion, why, then he would have felt endangered.

The racist tenor of that remark stands alone. It is hideous in the extreme. Oh, but then he said something else that makes my spine shudder.

He said the terrorists were “law-abiding” citizens who “would never do anything” against the law. Look at the picture I posted with this blog. It shows terrorists storming into the Capitol Building. Hmm. Oh, and they killed a Capitol Police officer during the melee and injured several others, not to mention causing the deaths of about five other Americans.

To which laws were these lunatics abiding? None.

It reminds me of Donald Trump’s infamous declaration after the KKK/Nazi-inspired riot in Charlottesville when he declared there to be “good people … on both sides” of that deadly riot.

Someone needs to slap a straitjacket on Sen. Johnson.

Lesson needs to be learned

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Well, my fellow Americans … we have been treated to a serious lesson on the fragility, yet sturdiness, of our democracy.

The first half of the Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial has concluded in the U.S. Senate. The House of Representatives prosecutors — members of the House, the managers — made, in my view, a compelling case for conviction. That Trump incited an insurrection against the government he took an oath to protect and defend.

He didn’t do either during his single term as president. He incited a riotous mob of terrorists on Jan. 6, exhorting them to march on Capitol Hill and intervene in Congress doing its job on that day, which was to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

We saw in graphic terms how close the terrorists came to bringing physical harm to Congress, and to the system of government we cherish.

They didn’t succeed. Our democracy stands to this day. It stands strong and it will survive this horrendous episode.

Donald Trump’s legal team takes the Senate floor on Friday. They say they can make their case in a single day. I am going to go out on a limb here: Trump’s team will talk past the House managers. They will divert the argument, send it down another path.

They cannot argue against the constitutionality of the trial. The Senate has voted already that the trial met constitutional standards. Nor can they possibly defend what transpired on Jan. 6. I double-dog dare them to suggest that Donald Trump’s remarks on The Ellipse didn’t incite the mob to attack the Capitol Building, egg the mobsters to smash windows, to ransack offices, to injure and kill people.

They won’t go there. Instead, I am going to presume Trump’s lawyers might hang their defense on the First Amendment, suggesting that Trump merely was exercising his constitutional free-speech guarantees by declaring his opinion that the election was stolen from him. You know, though, that it wasn’t.

Sigh …

I am left then to salute the founders of this great nation for establishing a governing framework that can withstand the assault that developed on Jan. 6. It was a full-on frontal attack incited by a lame-duck president.

He is likely to get away with what he did; the Senate won’t convict him of the deed I happen to believe he committed. However, his hideous conduct is now on the record for history to judge. Americans have seen it unfold in real time. I don’t know about you, but I never will forget what we learned on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

We must not commit such a horrendous error — electing someone of this individual’s ilk — ever again.

More than QAnon Queen to worry about

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It is tempting to single out an individual who stands above a particular fray. So it has been with Marjorie Taylor Greene, the person I have dubbed the QAnon Queen of the House … of Representatives.

She deserves to be stripped of her committee assignments and sent to the back of the room. She can talk to herself and to her friends in the sedition caucus of the Republican membership in the House.

This brings me to a critical point, which is that there are more House members and senators who share this individual’s warped, distorted and disgusting world view. We need to keep our eyes peeled to their activities as well.

Who else is out there? I shudder to think that a newly elected rep from North Texas, Republican Beth Van Duyne of Irving, might be among them. She has become the target of vigorous political advertising that suggests she shares the loony bin notions being touted by Greene and others.

Oh, then we have Rep. Louie Gohmert from Tyler, who’s been faithful to his birther notions about former President Obama.

You know how I feel about Sen. Ted Cruz, the Houston Republican. Enough said about the Cruz Missile.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned us that the “enemy is within” the ranks of House members and senators. Boy howdy, Mme. Speaker.

I intend to remain vigilant to the nuttiness that can — and no doubt will — arise from Capitol Hill.

One more final point. Think of the irony that the very place that came  under attack on the Sixth of January from the terrorist mob — the halls of Congress — is now a potential hotbed for the type of lunacy that the rioters followed.


Videos keep worsening Jan. 6 tragedy

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

So help me I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

The New Yorker magazine today released a video from the Jan. 6 invasion of Capitol Hill by the horde of terrorists. It sent chills up my back; it made the hair seemingly stand up. Videos such as this provide ample and graphic evidence of what Donald Trump incited that morning while exhorting the crowd gathered in front of him.

Oh, and then we had Don Trump Jr. saying something like “coming after you” those who don’t turn from “zeroes to heroes” and Rudy Giuliani calling for “trial by combat.”

It just gets more repulsive daily, it seems, as video after video surfaces to show the world — yes, the entire planet — what kind of moron this nation saw fit to elect as its president four years ago.

The latest video shows terrorists busting through windows at the Capitol Building. They are marching under Old Glory, wearing those hideous MAGA hats, yelling “Where’s f***ing Nancy (Pelosi)!” They chant “Hang Mike Pence!” The video shows rioters pulling a police officer into the crowd and beating him within an inch of his life with flagpoles.

And  they scream “USA, USA, USA!” while attacking the very seat of our national government!

How in the name of decency does any of this make any godd*** sense?

The House impeached Trump one week later. He now will stand trial in the Senate. Trump will be out of office. Following true to form Trump said his conduct was proper. He takes no responsibility for the “incitement of insurrection” that he clearly and without any serious question is guilty of committing.

A Senate conviction won’t remove him from office. It can bar him from ever seeking public office again. That punishment would be good enough for me, even though I preferred a conviction during the first impeachment a year ago would have prevented all of this tragedy from unfolding in the first place.

Three days to go before President Biden takes the reins.

Oh, my. Let’s hold on for dear life.

Biden facing tough prosecutorial call

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Joseph R. Biden Jr. laid down an important marker a while back when he said he had no interest in pursuing federal criminal charges against his predecessor as president of the United States.

I’ll just get this off my chest: I think that was the correct course for President Biden to take. However, Biden made that judgment prior to the events that occurred on Jan. 6, which is the insurrection that Trump incited with that hideous speech on The Ellipse.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump a second time just one week after that tragic event. Joe Biden will take his oath of office just one week after the impeachment.

Trump will stand trial in the Senate. What the senators do, of course, remains the Question For the Ages. A conviction won’t remove Trump from office; he’ll be long gone from the White House. It would deny Trump the ability to seek public office ever again.

Should the Justice Department pursue criminal sedition charges against a former president if it determines there is evidence that he committed a crime by telling the mob to walk down the street and “take back the government”? If it doesn’t pursue them, does that let Trump off the hook, letting him get away with a punishable felony?

Here’s another question. Would a federal prosecution put the soul of the nation — which President Biden vowed to restore — in even more dire peril? Would such a prosecution inflict mortal wounds on our national psyche?

I now am officially undecided on the pledge that President-elect Biden made, that he has “no interest” in prosecuting Trump.

Joe Biden might have to assess the national mood in real time as he faces whether DOJ should proceed with prosecuting Trump.

I am not suggesting that Trump should avoid all prosecution. State authorities are looking into myriad other allegations leveled against the president. They involve campaign finance violations, his personal finances, the activities of his closest advisers and even his own family and a host of other matters. Local prosecutors’ ability and willingness to prosecute Trump are beyond the federal government’s reach, which renders DOJ’s view irrelevant.

What’s more, I also believe that local authorities need to keep looking until they determine whether they have enough to level charges. And if they don’t …

President Biden’s lengthy political career, burnished by his legal background, prepared him to ponder the decision he likely must confront.

If only Donald Trump had exhibited a scintilla of decency on Jan. 6 by telling the rioters to stand down. He didn’t. He incited them to attack the bastion of the government of this great nation.

That’s why President Biden faces an agonizing decision.

Riot looks more chilling

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

You know, the more I see videos of that calamitous riot on Capitol Hill the other day, the worse it looks to my eyes each time I see it.

At this rate, the riot launched by terrorists against the federal government might take its place with the 9/11 videos we all have watched for nearly 20 years. That is to say that the 9/11 images are virtually unwatchable for me.

I have difficulty watching the planes fly into the World Trade Center without — at a minimum — swallowing hard as I fight back tears of grief.

So it might be as we seek to digest what happened on Jan. 6.

The terrorists gathered on The Ellipse in Washington, D.C. Donald Trump stood before them and said they needed to take back the country. Don Trump Jr. urged them to get violent if need be. The man formerly known as America’s Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, said it was time for “trial by combat”; indeed, it is ironic that Giuliani, who once captured the nation’s imagination with his strength post-9/11 has now been reduced to this caricature of a lawyer.

I watch the videos daily on the news, given that as a retired guy I spend a lot of my time watching TV news and trying to stay current with issues of the day.

The images of that insurrection are making me sick to my gut. It doesn’t get any easier to watch them and learn more about what law enforcement authorities are revealing about the events that preceded the deadly riot.


And stomach-churning!

We live in frightening times

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My head is spinning, but my heart is, oh, filling ever-so slowly with hope for a better day.

Donald Trump is six days from exiting the nation’s most glorious, exalted and powerful public office. Joe Biden will take the oath and along with Kamala Harris will start the task of rebuilding what Trump has damaged.

Trump supporters keep yammering about the need now to “unify” the nation rather than put the impeached president on trial in the Senate. Two thoughts cross my mind on that matter.

First, unification will arrive when we hear the evidence produced for senators to consider. The entire nation should be unified in its outrage over the sight and sound of Trump fomenting the riot that damaged Capitol Hill, the Capitol Building, put our elected representatives in peril and threatened the very core of our democratic system of government.

Trump will be gone when the Senate gets down to brass tacks and starts hearing the evidence. It is there for all of us to see.

Second is my belief that the Trumpkin Corps should have called for “unity” when their man — Trump — kept telling the bald-faced lie about voter fraud in the 2020 election. Let’s be clear: The entire insurrection effort was built on a lie that came from Donald Trump’s mouth. For his frothing, fervent and fanatical followers to say now it is time for unity is to pretend that the Big Lie doesn’t exist.

I am saddened to realize that the Big Lie will live far beyond Trump’s time in the public spotlight. That’s how conspiracy theories exist in the first place. Those who adhere to the Big Lie will continue to gin up anger where they can find it. Their success in producing more violence, such as what we saw this past week, will depend on whether enough of us call them out for what they are: lying cowards. 

I will continue to believe that this anger will subside eventually, which of course could mean anything you want it to mean. It might tamp down soon, in the medium term or it might take years or — God forbid! — decades to vanish.

Donald Trump’s post-election behavior, culminating in the riot and the impeachment, has cemented his place in history. Whether he survives another Senate trial is moot. He will be forever scorned as a failed president who sought to destroy the very government he took an oath to protect.

That is some legacy. Don’t you think?

More to the D.C. riot story?

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A North Texas chief of police blurted something out the other day that caught me by surprise.

I won’t reveal his identity, as he doesn’t know I am writing this, but he sent a chill up my spine when he said it.

He mentioned a conversation he had with a classmate who attended the FBI Academy with him; the classmate is now employed by a D.C.-area police agency. He said “there’s a lot more to the story” behind the Capitol Building insurrection than we’ve been told.

A lot more? I asked. Tell me the rest of the story, I implored the chief. He couldn’t speak candidly with me at that moment, so I let the conversation lapse.

It comports, though, with what is beginning to be reported about theories regarding the source of the riot that erupted after Donald Trump incited the rioters to march on Capitol Hill the morning of Jan. 6. We’re hearing investigations into possible collusion — yep, there’s that word again — between members of Congress and leaders of the mob that had descended on Washington to contest Congress’s constitutional duty to ratify President Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.

The House of Representatives, of course, took swift action Wednesday by impeaching Trump for the second time, just a week before he exits the office and clears the way for Joe Biden.

Something tells me — I don’t know what that “something” is — that we might, indeed, learn a lot more than we ever thought we would learn about what transpired immediately prior to the rebellion we witnessed in real time.

Respect for the flag?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Millions of us have seen the videos of the rioters storming into the Capitol Building.

One segment is particularly galling. You see images of rioters beating a Capitol police officer … with a pole attached to Old Glory. Yes! The rioter in that sequence is using the Stars and Stripes itself to bloody and injure a law enforcement officer who was trying to prevent the riot from spilling into the halls of our government.

It is ironic in the tragic extreme.

The mob descended on the Capitol Building at the urging of Donald J. Trump, who now stands set to be impeached a second time on a charge of “inciting an insurrection” against the very government he swore to protect and defend.

Think, too, of the hideous hypocrisy of the terrorists who profess some sort of perverted “love of country” while using the very symbol of our beloved nation as a cudgel to batter public servants who are charged with, um, protecting the public.

This is just one more example of the tragedy that unfolded in real time this past week and why we need to be on guard against those who proclaim faux piety about how much they love our nation.