Wednesday, December 19, 2018

'Justice' is the word

I found it ironic that Merriam-Webster chose the word ‘justice’ as its word of the year for 2018. They said in a statement, “The concept of justice was at the center of many of our national debates in the past year: racial justice, social justice, criminal justice, economic justice.” Then they mentioned some newsworthy events in which they say justice played a role. The Mueller investigation was the most prominent one. They cited the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as another.

Neither case radiated much justice. We’ve been told for 19 months now that there was some sort of collision between President Trump and the Russians. Now we’re bogged down in a debate over whether or not hush money to a mistress constitutes a campaign contribution. If so, what kind of campaign work did Stormy Daniels do for the money? 

Then there’s Brett Kavanaugh. Not much justice there. Oh yes, he made it onto the Supreme Court, but at what cost? His entire life was dragged through the mud. He was made out by the left to be a rapist. His family was put through untold torture and humiliation just because the Democrats in the senate couldn’t get past the notion that the president of the United States, whoever he is, gets to pick whomever he chooses for the court, so long as they’re qualified. And Justice Kavanaugh most certainly is. Michael Avenatti, the creepy porn lawyer for Stormy Daniels, surfaced during the hearings with supposed bombshell allegations against Kavanaugh that proved to be totally unfounded. Still, the damage was done. Justice?

Too many people measure justice by whether or not they get their way. One of the dictionary definitions of ‘justice’ is “the administering of deserved punishment or reward.” Kavanaugh may have technically gotten the ‘reward,’ but confirmation to the Supreme Court is not about the individual justice. It’s about seating the court with qualified jurists. Where’s the deserved punishment? Christine Blasey Ford had not one shred of evidence, and those whom she claimed were witnesses had no recollection of the event in question. Was there any downside for her? Quite the contrary. She walked away with a hefty payday from crowd sourcing and is probably in negations for a huge book deal.

You want to know what justice really is? Justice is allowing the person the American people elected as their president to do his job. Chuck Schumer actually had the audacity to tell President Trump that elections have consequences. This from a leader who just lost the senate…again. The president reminded him that elections do have consequences, and that’s why we’re doing so well. 

Justice is a wall. The wall the American people wanted when they elected Donald Trump president. 

Justice is bringing to a close this endless harassment of the president over Russia. Despite the perjury traps and convictions totally unrelated to Trump, the relentless pursuit of impeachment continues.

Justice is allowing Supreme Court nominees to answer civil questions about their qualifications and not have their reputations torched in the process.

Justice is abiding by an election without snowflakes melting down like it was Armageddon.

Justice is media coverage of a president that isn’t 92 percent negative just because those reporting it hate him.

Merriam-Webster based their choice of ‘justice’ in part on how many people searched for the word on their site. A spokesman for the company said people didn’t look up the word because they didn’t know how to spell it. They were looking for its true meaning. Perhaps that’s because they don’t recognize it in today’s political landscape.

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

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Why Trump didn't break campaign finance laws

Anybody who thinks President Trump will ever be convicted of breaking campaign finance laws by paying off two women with whom it’s alleged he had affairs is dreaming. What he did is not a crime. Not even close. That’s not to say that he won’t be indicted. The Trump-haters are just liable to do anything.

But Michael Cohen pled guilty to breaking campaign finance laws, didn’t he? He did, but he pled guilty to a crimeless crime. There are two important points why what Trump did was not a crime. First, the money paid out was paid from his personal account. Second, the money was moving away from the candidate, not toward him. In other words, no one donated to his campaign illegally by his paying off alleged mistresses.

The prosecutors in the Cohen case said that Cohen and Trump criminally conspired to illegally influence the campaign. The fact is Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal conspired to influence the election. It wasn’t necessarily illegal. It’s called dirty politics. By now we’re used to October surprises.

Allow me to frame this in a way that’s easy for everyone to understand. Had Karen McDougal come forward with leaked medical records that showed Trump had a heart condition no one would be questioning his right to pay her to keep that information quiet. The fact that this case involves sex makes it juicy copy for the mainstream media, but it does not change the basic principles of the case. A private citizen has every right to protect his privacy. Being a candidate for president doesn’t change that. Bill Clinton understood this when he refused to release his medical records.

If failing to allow your personal life to become public is somehow misconstrued as illegally influencing a political campaign then name me one presidential candidate who hasn’t broken the law. And if the assumption is that any private matter that may influence voters has to be made public then good luck finding willing candidates to run.

I hear pundits all the time saying a case like this has never been adjudicated. Perhaps they’ve forgotten all about John Edwards. He was indicted for spending over a million dollars in campaign funds to keep a mistress quiet. Even though this was campaign money, the prosecutors could not get a conviction. That clearly appeared to be a violation of the law if for no other reason than he didn’t properly report the campaign expense. Still, he was let off the hook.

As the mainstream media obsess over nailing Trump on campaign finance charges, whatever happened to Russia? I thought that was the focus of the Mueller investigation. Notice how Mueller punted this to the Southern District of New York. One would suspect if Mueller ever thought he could get a Trump conviction on campaign finance infractions he would’ve kept the case in house. The fact that he didn’t speaks volumes.

I have been one of the staunchest believers that President Trump should leave the Mueller investigation alone. Now I’m not so sure. We’re hearing rumblings of Mueller heading for Trump family finances. His head is bobbing back in forth in the driver’s seat he’s so far off the main road. If he takes a detour to Trump Tower I wouldn’t blame the president one bit for pulling the plug.

We have to keep separated in our minds the Mueller investigation and the SDNY investigation. They’re not the same. The prosecutors in New York seem hell-bent on doing everything within their power to make Trump look bad. Let’s hope Robert Mueller is taking a higher road.

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