Letters: Michael Cohen, Colin Allred, National Emergency, Angela Paxton, ‘The Green Book'

Did Cohen move the needle?Re: "'I am not protecting Mr. Trump anymore' - Cohen calls president 'racist,' 'con man' and 'cheat,' Thursday news story.I doubt that Wednesday's testimony by Michael Cohen moved the needle. From a legal standpoint, it probably won't provide prima facie evidence to place the president in jeopardy, even if a sitting president could be indicted. Trump's attorneys made sure his written answers to Robert Mueller left sufficient room to avoid perjury.From a rhetorical perspective, I can't envision Cohen's testimony significantly reducing support for the president or causing Republicans in Congress suddenly to develop a spine. The country seems locked in and the Trump and his public relations team for months have systematically undermined what Cohen and others might say.Wednesday's hearing is an essential part of government oversight but the ongoing debate over Cohen, fueled by the media and political pundits, should not dominate the 2020 campaign. If it does, that will not help the Democrats put forward a unified message capable of persuading Independents and open minded Republicans.Richard Cherwitz, AustinGOP can learn from AllredRe: "GOP looking to oust Allred - Dallas freshman on early list of targets, ripped on energy policy," Saturday news story.Dallas County Republican Party chairwoman Missy Shorey is leading the efforts to oust Democratic Rep. Colin Allred, referring to him as a "bit of a fluke." Come again? Allred's stunning victory over Pete Sessions in District 32 was many things, but a fluke it was not. Allred won 52 percent of the vote in a Republican-dominated district. Much like the GOP nationally, this vote for Allred was partly based on Sessions being out-of-touch with the voters in his district as well as a rebuke of President Donald Trump.It's this myopic way of thinking that has handed the GOP stunning defeat after stunning defeat - no longer holding the majority in the House. Allred won because of a well-organized grass-roots campaign and his tireless efforts to understand what his constituency wants. Perhaps the GOP can learn something from him.Guy Mercurio, DallasA fake national emergencyRe: "Ex-officials reject Trump call for emergency - 'No factual basis,' bipartisan security group will say," Monday news story.This so-called national emergency must end. This is about so much more than setting a bad precedent -- it's a horrific power grab that destroys our already weak system of checks and balances. This is about rule of law. Yes, the president has the power to declare an emergency, and there are absolutely occasions when this is appropriate. Not having enough funding for his pet project is far from an emergency.No president, current or future, should have the power to take control of financial appropriations away from Congress. Sen. John Cornyn, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Rep. Colin Allred should step up and shut this down.Jeff Hood, RichardsonRepublicans lost their wayI always believed that Republicans supported the Constitution and the military. I guess that was the old Republican Party. It now looks like Republicans only care only about themselves. They don't care if they are giving up Congress' right to determine how tax money is spent. They don't care if funds for the military are taken away for another purpose. They seem to have forgotten the United States is a Constitutional democracy and not a dictatorship.Steve Turek, RockwallTrue in 2019, tooThis quote from Ken Follett's Edge of Eternity, Page 883, says it perfectly: "This was not medieval Europe, where kings were above the law; this was America, and justice was the same for everyone."Andrea Welch, PottsboroCornyn to show his colorsPolitical courage and leadership are extremely rare commodities. A politician demonstrates it when he or she casts a vote which may be contrary to the wishes of many constituents and could jeopardize re-election, but is the right thing to do. The upcoming U.S. Senate vote on the resolution opposing President Donald Trump's declaration of emergency is such a vote. Sen. John Cornyn's vote on this will answer the question as to what he values more highly: his re-election or the U.S. Constitution.Dale Crane, SouthlakeTrump deserves courtesiesThe Democrats are having a very harmful effect on this country by doing everything they can to express their hatred of the president. The fact that President Donald Trump was legally elected and their candidate lost should be recognized. He is our president for at least this term and possibly another and should be given the same courtesies as other presidents in past. He is only politician in my lifetime who is trying to do what he promised during the campaign.Jack Beene, Mount PleasantPaxtons' power grabRe: "Paxton defends proposal - Bill would hand her husband's agency new regulatory powers," Feb. 20 Metro & Business story.Is anyone surprised that Angela Paxton, newly elected North Texas senator, has immediately created Senate Bill 860, which would allow her husband, the Attorney General Ken Paxton, to have greater power as AG and also to get out from under his 2015 criminal indictments? Ken Paxton is already considered one of Texas' most powerful, if not the most powerful, politician in Texas. This bill is a blatant power grab despite the smokescreen being thrown up around it. Call your state representatives and senators.Mary Pritchard, MidlothianPaxtons 'beyond the pale'In the words of Austin ethics attorney Randall Wood, Sen. Angela Paxton's initial filing, SB 860, is "beyond the pale." I would add that it is the Paxtons' "Road to Personal Wealth." Even Republican constituents may have serious reservations about supporting Paxton for a second term. By filing SB 860, Sen. Paxton demonstrates that she is as ethically challenged as husband, Ken. And she expects us to lay down for this ploy. As a retired Texas teacher, I am counting on my legislators, including Sen. Paxton, to substantially help the thousands of Texas retired teachers currently living near the poverty level. Cooking up self-serving bills, like this through which they will directly profit, is not expected of honest legislators! It is enough that Texas legislators have voted themselves a huge pension plan, based on the annual salary of a Texas state judge - $125,000. And they continue to write more self-serving bills! Is there no ethical board in Texas to monitor legislators gone wild? Enough is enough, Texas legislators.Zona Ray, DallasFacts about Don ShirleyRe: "'Green Book' debate highlights divide on addressing racism - Best picture called 'glib and hucksterish,' uplifting to others," Tuesday news story.Green Book's Oscar award for best picture was good news for Peter Farrelly, the producer, and Nick Vallelonga, whose script was the basis for the film. It is regrettable that the movie missed facts that were part of a true story about the Don Shirley Trio. My brother, Juri Taht, and Ken Fricker were part of Shirley's trio for many years. They traveled coast to coast, including in Canada, to perform. My brother also performed with Shirley at Carnegie Hall concerts. He knew Shirley perhaps better than the driver in the movie. Farrelly, the director, did not contact my brother nor Fricker to check facts about Shirley for the movie. My brother, the cellist, is still alive.Here are some facts that I know from my brother. My brother is an Estonian, not a Russian. He does not speak Russian. Fictitious names were used for him and Fricker. My brother never saw Shirley have alcoholic drinks before or after performances. During tours, Shirley would only perform on Steinway and Baldwin grand pianos. Shirley's Cadillac was black and not blue. My brother and Fricker traveled in a white Oldsmobile.Karl Taht, Frisco  Continue reading...

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