Tag Archives: US Constitution

This isn’t our ‘best’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Make no mistake, I am not a Pollyanna. I know good bit about our political system, about how we can elect zeroes as well as heroes to our governing bodies.

But, oh brother, we have an astonishing number of numbskulls in Congress, taking power and being handed the opportunity to make laws that govern all of us, not just those who send them to Congress from their various states and congressional districts.

Marjorie Taylor-Greene, I am talking about you.

Rep. Taylor-Greene is the walking, talking embodiment of a domestic demon in our midst. She represents a Georgia congressional district and she is a believer in that QAnon cult that has gripped millions of Americans by the genitals.

She believes Muslims cannot serve legitimately in Congress; she has stated that the Sandy Hook and Parkland, Fla., school massacres were hoaxes; she says President Biden stole the election from Donald Trump; she has called for the summary execution of Democrats.

Yes, she is now among the 535 men and women who serve in the legislative branch of government.

She is a traitor. A potential terrorist. She is certifiably unfit to serve in a public office.

And yet … the folks in her congressional district sent her to Capitol Hill. Astonishing, yes? You know the answer. It is frightening in the extreme.

The news gets even worse. Congress contains others who hold the same view as this idiot. Oh, and the Republican leadership to which she ostensibly answers isn’t calling her, slapping her down, telling her to keep her mouth shut. They stand behind the First Amendment’s free speech clause.

I am a big believer in free speech and in the First Amendment. I also believe free speech should be responsible and shouldn’t be perceived as a threat to our very government.

This member of Congress doesn’t represent our best. She represents the worst of us.

Abbott welcomes crooked company to Texas?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Gov. Greg Abbott just couldn’t contain his joy at learning that the National Rifle Association has announced plans to relocate to Texas.

Why, Texas “safeguards the Second Amendment,” the governor proclaimed after the bankruptcy-bound gun rights group made its announcement.

Hold on, governor. The NRA’s decision to relocate to some still-undisclosed Texas location doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the Second Amendment. It has everything to do with allegations that the NRA’s top echelon has mismanaged donors’ money, spending it on lavish vacations and other perks that have no relation to the company’s corporate message.

Pardon the pun, but Gov. Abbott has missed the mark badly by throwing out the welcome mat to an organization that has been accused of being crooked to the core.

As Politico reports: The announcement came months after New York’s attorney general sued the organization over claims that top executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures.

NRA declares bankruptcy, plans to incorporate in Texas – POLITICO

Suppose the New York AG’s investigation proves that the NRA is guilty of what’s been alleged. Is that the kind of company that Gov. Abbott wants doing business in Texas? Really … governor?

Don’t misunderstand me on this point. I consider the NRA to be populated by demagogues at its highest level. These individuals have bullied politicians for decades into keeping their hands off any legislative remedies to the gun violence plague that continues to kill innocent Americans. The NRA contends that anything — any law at all — would usurp the Second Amendment’s guarantee that Americans should be able to “keep and bear arms.”

I, too, support the Second Amendment. I also believe it can be preserved while Congress can enact laws that make it impossible for lunatics to acquire firearms.

As for the NRA’s decision to bring its alleged corruption to Texas, well … no thanks.

Constitution still works

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Over the life of this blog I have occasionally invoked the words of someone I consider to be one of the 20th century’s more underrated statesmen.

President Gerald Ford took office on Aug. 9, 1974 at the end of what at the time was thought to be the nation’s worst constitutional crisis. President Richard Nixon had resigned in the wake of the Watergate scandal and coverup.

President Ford took his oath of office and declared, “Our Constitution works.” Yes! It most certainly did then. It does now.

We are watching another crisis unfold before our eyes. I am going to stand foursquare behind the nobility of our nation’s founding governing document. It is working now. It will see us through this horrifying mess.

Donald Trump is 11 days from exiting the presidency. He incited a riot this week that could have resulted in the destruction of our democratic form of government. Five people died in the melee on Capitol Hill, which is where Congress was gathering in real time to perform a constitutional duty: ratification of the Electoral College vote that declared Joe Biden and Kamala Harris president and vice president of the United States.

Trump would not accept the voters’ verdict. He egged on the mob gathered before him to in effect storm the Capitol and stop the ratification. The rioters ransacked the Capitol Building. They occupied offices. They pranced through the Senate and House chambers while our elected representatives were holed up in safe places to avoid being harmed by the insurrectionists. Five people, including a D.C. police officer, died in the mayhem.

Our Constitution will work yet again. The House is considering whether to impeach Donald Trump once again. Pressure is mounting on the Cabinet and Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, which allows for the removal of a president who is incapable of doing his job.

Donald Trump is incapable of doing a job for which he is patently and demonstrably unfit.

And in just 11 days, Donald Trump — one way or another — will be gone from that office. President Biden and Vice President Harris will take over. The task of rebuilding and repairing our government will commence. It will take time and patience to restore order to this government of ours, which is both fragile and sturdy all at once.

President Ford stated it with profound wisdom in that earlier dark time in our history.

Our Constitution works.

It’s the context, man

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Context, like timing, is everything.

It shouldn’t be news that Vice President Mike Pence has pledged to uphold the law and the U.S. Constitution while he presides over a joint session of Congress to ratify Joe Biden’s election as president.

But it is news.

Nor should it be news that Republicans in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are standing up “courageously” to support that same Constitution by doing their duty and refusing to contest the election result.

But, again, it is news.

Why is it news? Because of the context of a needless, pointless and self-serving fight to keep Donald Trump in power even though he lost a free, fair and secure election to President-elect Biden. Trump has been joined by a dozen senators and 140 House members who will contest the Biden victory ratification.

Opinion | Never Forget the Names of These Republicans Attempting a Coup – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

The context of this event has lent shame and disgrace to the men and women who have placed their fealty to one man, Donald Trump, over their allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. It also has placed unwarranted newsworthiness to officials doing what the law instructs them to do.

We live in a bizarre political environment.

Ex-speaker blasts colleagues … who don’t hear him

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is angry with his former Republican congressional colleagues.

Ryan believes they have embarked on an “un-American,” and “anti-conservative” strategy while seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Of course he is correct. One big problem exists, however. They don’t give crap what the former speaker thinks of their shenanigans.

According to Business Insider: “All our basic rights and freedoms flow from a fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law,” Ryan, who represented Wisconsin in the House from 1999 until 2019, said in a statement. “This principle is not only fundamentally American but a central tenet of conservatism. Under our system, voters determine the president, and this self-governance cannot sustain itself if the whims of Congress replace the will of the people. I urge members to consider the precedent that it would set.”

Do you think any of the nimrods who are seeking to challenge President-elect Biden’s victory when Congress meets this week to certify the Electoral College tally from the election will heed these words?

Nope. They are hellbent on shaming the nation.

Memo to DJT: It’s called ‘check and balance’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald J. Trump is getting a real-time lesson on just how the federal government is supposed to work.

The president had vetoed a bill aimed at providing money for the Defense Department and the U.S. House of Representatives has just overridden that veto with an overwhelming, veto-proof tally. Trump’s response? It was to lash out at Republicans who joined their Democratic colleagues in overriding the veto.

Trump lashes out at Republicans after they override his veto – CNNPolitics

You see, here’s the deal … Donald. A president has to contend at times with another branch of government flexing its considerable musculature. That’s what happened in this instance. It didn’t set well with the Autocrat Wanna Be in Chief.

That GOP members would lock arms with Democrats on the defense matter is a clear signal of Trump’s waning power as his term as president comes to a welcome end.

Trump ain’t going out quietly, to be sure.

But as the saying goes — or as it might go: That’s why the nation’s framers built these checks into the Constitution … to prevent presidents from becoming dictators.

Census should count ‘residents,’ not just ‘citizens’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I concede that I am not a constitutional scholar, but I recognize clear and definitive language contained within the U.S. Constitution when I see it.

For example, the Constitution declares that the census should be taken every 10 years and must count all those who live this country. It doesn’t say “citizens.”

So, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that a challenge to a Donald Trump administration effort to limit the census count to just citizens doesn’t have merit. Hmm. The court ruling doesn’t make sense to me.

The court ruled 6-3 — with the conservative majority holding firm — that the complaint was “premature.” The decision by the SCOTUS doesn’t preclude any future challenges, just stops this one at this time.

The court’s conservative majority comprises justices I presume to be “originalists,” meaning that they take the founders’ words as written literally. The founders were clear on who should be counted. That’s why they said the census should include all “residents.”

What does this mean? It means that if the Trump exclusion holds up, states — such as Texas, which is home to many thousands of residents who aren’t U.S. citizens — can be denied the congressional representation they deserve. In addition to counting all U.S. residents, we’re going to reapportion the House of Representatives alignment; Texas stands to gain as many as three more House members because of our state’s population growth since 2010.

As ABC News has reported:

Immigrant advocates who sued Trump over the policy stressed that the Court’s move does not mean the fight is over.

“This ruling does not authorize President Trump’s goal of excluding undocumented immigrants from the Census count used to apportion the House of Representatives,” said ACLU attorney Dale Ho. “The legal mandate is clear — every single person counts in the Census, and every single person is represented in Congress. If this policy is ever actually implemented, we’ll be right back in court challenging it.”

Yes, this ruling does involve undocumented immigrants. Indeed, that is the crux of the conservative argument in support  of the Trump exclusion. Let’s not forget to include the so-called “Dreamers” who were brought here as young children by their parents who entered the nation illegally. Those folks once again are being punished unfairly because of something they could not control.

The Supreme Court has punted on this issue for now. My hope would be that judicial conservatives stick to the principle that they believe the founders had it right when they inscribed the method for counting every person who lives in this country.

Legal wrangling produces a benefit for ordinary folks

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

All this wrangling about an election that took place freely, fairly and securely has produced at least one positive benefit for those of us sitting out here in the Peanut Gallery.

It has awakened our awareness of what the U.S. Constitution says about elections and about how strong and sturdy the nation’s governmental document framework remains.

Ken Paxton concocted a phony argument that went straight to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Texas attorney general, who’s turned our state into an international laughingstock, challenged the presidential election results in four states; none of them was Texas. The states all voted favorably for President-elect Joe Biden. The nation’s high court tossed Paxton’s lawsuit without argument.

What we learned is that the Constitution is crystal clear about national elections. It is that states retain the sole authority to conduct they way they elect presidents. Attorneys general, such as Paxton, cannot intrude on those states’ business.

Yes, I knew all of that intellectually. What is gratifying as a political junkie, though, is that the SCOTUS decision drags this issue into the glaring spotlight of international attention. We also have been exposed to the rank hypocrisy of politicians who, under previously “normal” circumstances, would stand foursquare behind Article II of the Constitution, which grants this electoral power to the states.

These aren’t normal times. The Republican Party has become the Donald Trump Party and is beholden — ironically, I should add — to someone who doesn’t give a sh** about anyone other than himself.

As we watch this needless, senseless, feckless and reckless drama play out, I am heartened by the knowledge we are gaining about the government our founders created. They didn’t create a perfect system for us to follow. Then again, they only sought to create a “more perfect Union.”

It has been made a good bit more perfect as this spectacle staggers toward its conclusion … which will occur on Jan. 20 the moment President Biden takes his hand off the Bible.

It’s called ‘sedition’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have heard the term “seditious” used to describe a lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court by the Texas attorney general.

Sedition, as if I need to remind anyone, is a profoundly serious crime to commit against the Constitution of the United States. It means to incite rebellion against the United States.

The lawsuit that AG Ken Paxton has filed seeks to overturn presidential election results in four states that voted for President-elect Joe Biden. Paxton, who was known only to us in Texas prior to entering this national debate, has become a national laughingstock. He also is much worse than that. He is a dangerous laughingstock.

More than 100 Republicans in the House of Representatives have signed an amicus brief that supports the imbecilic lawsuit that Paxton has filed. Critics have called it “seditious.”

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution says that no one who commits an act of sedition can serve at any level of government. That means those who have joined the lawsuit are committing an act that disqualifies them from holding congressional office.

These individuals swore an oath to defend the Constitution. They did not swear an allegiance to Donald Trump. So did Ken Paxton, whose state oath also binds him to a pledge to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.

Is there a case to be made, therefore, to have these individuals expelled from Congress?

Pressure builds on Constitution strength

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am on record as stating my belief in the strength and resilience of the U.S. Constitution.

It has withstood crises. We have argued over the impeachment of presidents. The Constitution stood firm against the pressure. We fought a Civil War. The Constitution survived the nation’s bloodiest conflict.

It is being tested again arguably in a manner no one likely could have foreseen. A president has lost an election. Rather than accept Joe the defeat, he has challenged its veracity. Donald Trump has filed dozens of court challenges. He has lost every one of them.

Now he has a Texas attorney general — Ken Paxton — who has filed a challenge to our election. Paxton, who is under indictment for securities fraud and under investigation by the FBI on an assortment of unrelated allegations, argues that four states  that voted for Joe Biden must have their vote totals overturned.

Paxton went to the U.S. Supreme Court. My own sense is that the court will reject Paxton’s moronic argument summarily. I hope it is soon. The Electoral College will meet to certify what all 50 states have done already, that Joe Biden was elected president. Then Congress will meet early next month to do the same thing: declare Joe Biden to be the next president.

The Constitution will work. I have faith in the durability and strength of the document. However, it is going to suffer serious damage by the idiotic challenges that Donald Trump is mounting.

Trump is pressuring state GOP election officials to overturn their states’ results. A man with no understanding or appreciation of our democratic system of government is committing what some have called an act of sedition against the Constitution. Think of that for just a moment. The nation elected this lunatic as our president in 2016? My goodness!

A nation that is grieving the loss of hundreds of thousands of its citizens to a killer virus is being stiffed by a president who is fixated on reversing an election he lost. Donald Trump is disgracefully derelict in his duty to protect us. He violates his oath damn near daily, if not hourly.

However, through all of this I remain convinced as certainly as I am typing these words that the U.S. Constitution will guide us through this morass. The pressure is mounting. The document, though, is strong enough to withstand it.