Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Might as well face it, Trump's the nominee

I hate to break it to everyone else in the race for the GOP nomination but this thing is done. Donald J. Trump is going to be the nominee for the Republican Party. As much as that may gall the GOP establishment, it’s a foregone conclusion. There’s only one ‘if’ and it’s a long shot.

The only way Trump does not clinch the nomination is if all the other candidates but one get out and leave a single person to go toe-to-toe with Trump. Who should that be? Well, that’s the problem. Each remaining candidate would make a case for why he’s the best bet in beating Trump.

Understand, this is not my conspiracy to try and thwart a Trump nomination. I’ll admit I’m not big on Trump, but I’m not repulsed by a Trump presidency, either. I believe Trump could do some terrific things, to use his language. I really believe he’ll do what he says he’ll do. He’ll get the wall or fence or some sort of structure built on the Mexican border. Whether or not he’ll get the Mexicans to pay for it remains to be seen, but he’ll get that done.

He’ll deal more harshly with the Chinese on trade. Right now they’re having their way with us and Trump will probably change that. It will inevitably mean higher prices for Americans, but I’m good with that. I’ve never thought we should be trading with those commie SOBs to start with.

What remains to be seen is what Trump will do that he hasn’t mentioned. Personally, I’m frightened that eminent domain will go nuts in this country under a Trump administration. Trump truly believes it’s fine to take one citizen’s private property if another private citizen can create more jobs with it. That was never what eminent domain was intended to do, but the courts have pretty much sided with the developers like Trump. I see an expansion of that policy in the name of revitalizing the economy if Trump’s elected.

And there’s really no one on the Republican side to stop him. The reason being is ego. Most presidential candidates stay too long. I hate to be a downer but neither Ben Carson nor John Kasich has a chance. Only Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz have any shot in taking Trump down, but not both. If they both stay in through Super Tuesday, Trump’s a shoo-in. At least Jeb Bush did the honorable thing and bow out after South Carolina. Everyone else should’ve done the same thing, save one remaining candidate to face Trump. The only person who can stop Trump is Trump.

I also hate to break it to Bernie Sanders but the jig’s up. He was never going to get the nomination. The scary part is he came closer than anyone ever imagined.

But let’s get back to the courts for a second. I don’t want to claim divine intervention or anything so drastic, but it is curious that Antonin Scalia up and dies in the middle of an election year. Most people don’t give a second thought to the Supreme Court, but it’s probably the most important part of being president. It’s certainly the most lasting aspect of a presidential legacy. Scalia was appointed by Ronald Reagan. His influence on the court outlived the Reagan presidency by nearly 30 years.

America’s attention has been jolted back to the importance of Supreme Court nominations. With an equally divided court, it’s paramount that the next president appoint constitutionalists to the Supreme Court and not judicial activists. 

Judicial activists are appointed by liberals. Let’s hope and pray Trump is not one.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Internet addiction, my iPhone

We are becoming a society of weaklings and confabulators. I recently read a piece in the Daily Mail in which a psychotherapist claimed social media are as addictive as Class A drugs. Yeah, he really said that. He was trying to explain why so many people can’t stay away from Facebook. It’s not hard to explain, and it has nothing to do with addiction.

First, we must understand the difference between habit and addiction. Cigarette smoking is often referred to as a bad habit, but there’s a very real addictive quality to nicotine. The body suffers from withdrawals when it becomes used to nicotine and suddenly doesn’t get it. That’s not to make an excuse for continuing to smoke. The addiction can be broken, but it takes willpower.

Such it is with the habit of social media. Look around any restaurant these days. Anyone who’s left alone at a table for more than a couple of seconds immediately reaches for the smart phone. I’m not going to claim that I haven’t done it, but I make a concerted effort not to use my phone as a crutch.

It’s as if we can’t deal with down time. What happened to just staring out the window, lost in our thoughts? Now we have to be constantly entertained. That’s not addiction. That’s just pitiful.

UKTV hooked up a British radio host to an MRI to see what happens to the brain when one sees pictures of friends on social media. They found that there’s a distinct reaction in the brain when we see friends on Facebook. They then took the huge leap of determining that such brain stimulation leads to social media addiction.

This is the very same argument made for gambling and pornography addiction. News flash: Anything that brings us pleasure is going to stimulate the brain. That doesn’t make it addictive. I’m sure my heart races when I look at boats on the Internet. It used to distress my wife so that I had to keep a page of naked women at the ready just in case my wife walked in and I was looking at boats.

Each time I discuss this on the radio I get the predictable response from the excuse-makers out there, but there is no such thing as porn and gambling addiction. There is, however, such a thing as people with absolutely no willpower or self-control.

That may sound crass, but we do these people no good by coddling. Heroine addicts have to get iced down in the bathtub. Alcoholics suffer from delirium tremens which affect the central nervous system. These are very real very physical withdrawals from a very real substance. To allow some guy who won’t cut off his computer to glom on to the addiction train is a slap in the face to people with real addictions and real problems.

I’ve heard of parents who claim their kids are suffering from gaming addiction because they can’t stop playing the X-box. Makes me want to shake these people. Go take the X-box away! I suspect this belief in some mythical gaming addiction is to mask the fact that these parents have lost complete control of their kid.

The Internet has opened up a whole new world to us that, a generation ago, we could only dream of. That world has a dark side. We all know it’s there. Most of us have the self-discipline to stay away from it. At least most of the time. Those who can’t and then claim addiction need to have their Internet privileges taken away.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Cam Newton, the victim

Have you noticed a theme? Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton says criticism of him is basically because he’s black. Beyonce gave an alleged nod to the Black Panthers and the Black Lives Matter movement at halftime of the Super Bowl. These are two of the most accomplished people in the country acting as though they’re facing oppression in 1962.

When Cam was asked by CBS to explain his race comments he said people were scared because a black man had never reached his level before. Hello. A black man named Russell Wilson made it to the Super Bowl two years in a row, Cam. And guess what? He actually won one of them. Not to mention Steve McNair in 2000.

Newton acts like he’s broken some color barrier by making it to the Super Bowl and that people are afraid of a powerful black man. It’s comical, really. He seems to be the only one obsessed with it. The people who were criticizing him in the run-up to the Super Bowl were doing so because he’s cocky. Sure, there are probably some racists out there who don’t like Cam or any other black folks, but they are such a small percentage. Some people just don’t like Cam Newton just like some people don’t like Tom Brady or Johnny Football. They all have their reasons, but race isn’t one of them.

But you know where all this is coming from, right? Directly from the White House. President Obama was supposed to put a dagger in the race issue. Instead, he evoked race every chance he got. He had a golden opportunity to bury the race issue and he chose instead to exploit it for his own political gain. So no wonder impressionable people like Beyonce and Cam Newton turn to race as an excuse.

I think Newton’s fixation on race lost him the Super Bowl, to be quite honest. He came into that game acting like he was Jackie Robinson or somebody and nobody took him seriously. I think that frustrated him. He was too focused on being a victim and not focused enough on winning. And look, Cam Newton has been the poster boy for what it takes to be a winner in America, no matter what color you are. His life has been about focus and overcoming his mistakes and getting back into the game. He’s an inspiration to so many, but he’s got to learn how to lose gracefully.

He said of his post-game walk-out, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.” That’s just another excuse. Instead of owning up to the fact that he acted like a jerk, he wants to put forth this notion that only losers are graceful in defeat.

I get it. It’s not fun to lose, especially the Super Bowl, but maturity requires more of an NFL quarterback. Nobody’s dissing you, Cam, because you’re black. We’re disappointed because you haven’t learned how to lose with grace. What a great message that would send to the youth of America. That’s why so many people without a dog in the fight were pulling for Peyton Manning. Not only was this the last hurrah for Peyton, he’s a guy who commands respect. He’s a player who hates to lose but loses, for the most part, with dignity.

I’m wondering, with this attitude, if Cam Newton will be back next year. People talked about how much he had matured over the last three years, but it’s awfully easy to be mature when you’re winning. It’s losing that tests your mettle.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Why Trump couldn't 'close the deal' in Iowa

One of the things people appreciate about Donald Trump — whether you support him or not — is his blunt talk. He says what’s on his mind, regardless of who it offends or how it helps or harms him politically. Or does he?

In the waning hours of the Iowa caucuses, when it was starting to look like Ted Cruz might pull off the upset, Trump did something he rarely does. He pandered. He told an audience in Waterloo (ironically) that Ted Cruz will “destroy your ethanol business 100%” He said if Ted Cruz wins, the ethanol industry “will be wiped out within six months to a year.”

Despite the scare tactics, Ted Cruz went on to win not only Iowa but Iowa’s heaviest corn-producing counties. How did he do it? He told the truth.

Trump tried to portray him as some Texas oil man who was trying to destroy the competition. In a 7-minute long discussion with an angry corn farmer, Cruz laid out his plan and, in the end, won the man over. The Cruz plan is the conservative plan. It eliminates any subsidy for any energy source, whether that be oil or solar or wind or ethanol. It also eliminates the EPA’s limit on ethanol blends so any gas station in America can stock whatever blend their customers want.

Trump backer Ann Coulter was on my show the day of the Iowa caucuses. I pointed out the conservative heresy in supporting government subsidies. She justified the ethanol subsidies by saying Trump was creating jobs. “I’d rather pay another ten cents to fill up my car if my fellow Americans can have jobs.” Sounds like liberal logic to me.

That seems to be the Achilles heel of the Trump supporters. They’re too able to look past his not-so-conservative positions thinking the end justifies the means. I don’t know that it does. They believe Donald Trump will make America strong again and I don’t doubt that he can. What I doubt is that he’s the only one who can.

Supporters point to his plan to build a wall as if it’s a brand new idea. It’s not. In fact, Congress appropriated money for a barrier a decade ago in the Secure Fence Act of 2006. They never finished it. Studies showed that border crossings where the fence was constructed were down significantly, but they stressed that illegal invaders (also known as undocumented Democrats) just went around the fence. Of course, we could solve the problem if there is no “around” to go.

Point being, most Republicans support securing the border, even Marco Rubio. The problem with Rubio is he has supported securing the border “first,” meaning “second” would be amnesty. People act as if Trump invented the issue of illegal immigration. What’s he’s done — and quite successfully — is tap into the public’s frustration over it. I’ve certainly cheered him on for doing so, but there are other things about Trump that trouble me.

I have to admit that his interpretation of eminent domain scares me. In the famous Kelo decision, the Supreme Court decided it was fine to take the land of private homeowners and give it to another private entity for the purpose of a hotel-retail-condo “urban village.” The irony is the developer went belly-up and the development was never built. Now the property sits vacant. On the Kelo decision, Trump told Neil Cavuto of Fox Business “I happen to agree with it 100 percent.”

Do we sacrifice liberty for security with Trump? As Ben Franklin famously said, if so, we deserve neither.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.