“During the course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare.” —Thomas Jefferson (1805)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Trump’s affairs may soon cost him even more dearly.
- Sports Illustrated taps Christine Ford to present a #MeToo award.
- Daily Features: On the Web, Columnists, Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Opinion in Brief, and Short Cuts.
- Featured Analysis: New Jersey turns law-abiding citizens into felons
The Justice Department announced an agreement with America Media Inc. (AMI), the parent company of National Enquirer, in which AMI claims it worked “in concert with” Trump’s campaign to kill a story about one of Trump’s now-infamous affairs, in order to conceal “damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election.”
The problem for Trump is that prosecutors now have two witnesses — both his former attorney Michael Cohen and AMI — claiming he knew the payoffs would support his campaign. If Trump directed and paid Cohen to make payments for the specific purpose of supporting his campaign and did not report the payment, that would constitute a felony. Notably, such felonious knowledge related to unreported campaign benefits are common in federal campaigns, and it is rarely prosecuted.
In his defense, Trump declared, “I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,” and proving he did is a high bar for prosecutors.
Regarding the question of illegality, Hans von Spakovsky argues, “FECA (52 U.S.C. 30114 (b)(2)) specifically says that campaign-related expenses do not include any expenditures ‘used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.’” He further adds, “These payments were relatively small given Trump’s net worth — the kind of nuisance settlement that celebrities often make to protect their reputations, especially when faced with claims that will cost far more to defend than making a quick payoff without all of the bad publicity that usually accompanies such cases. Given Trump’s celebrity status, the potential liability to these women existed ‘irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.’”
But there is no chance that Trump will be exonerated of wrongdoing, as Democrats and the hostile Leftmedia propagandists are anxious for impeachment fodder. They will pull out every stop to advance these charges.
However, there are two glaring examples that prove beneficial for Trump’s defense should charges be filed. First, there’s the case of former presidential candidate John Edwards, who under similar circumstances attempted to silence a mistress, but with a much higher payment of $1 million. He was charged for having violated campaign-finance laws by paying his mistress more than a million dollars from his campaign — but he was acquitted. Of even greater significance is the case of Barack Obama’s violations. He was fined $375,000 for almost $2 million in campaign contribution “irregularities.” No demand for his impeachment.
Christine Blasey Ford was an unfortunate pawn in the Democrats’ reprehensible blockade of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. They used her uncorroborated, unsubstantiated, and unverifiable claims of mild sexual assault to attempt to ruin a good man. Once Kavanaugh was confirmed, however, they dropped her like a hot potato. But she’s still gaining notoriety in some circles.
Sports Illustrated announced that its “Inspiration of the Year” award winner was Rachel Denhollander, the gymnast and now lawyer who came forward to accuse former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nasser of sexual assault. Denhollander’s accusations led to other women coming forward, and Nasser was convicted earlier this year and sentenced to 40-175 years in prison. He was found guilty in a court of law, and Denhollander’s courage led to his punishment. Sports Illustrated made a good choice. Unfortunately, that choice was marred by asking Ford to present the award to Denhollander. Ford’s self-indulgent message about taking “a huge risk … when the odds are seemingly stacked against you” and how “we all have the power to create real change” made the award about Ford, not Denhollander.
To choose Ford, whose accusations were unproven, to present an award to a real victim upstaged that victim, and Sports Illustrated should be ashamed. As we’ve said before, mixing false accusations with true ones undermines legitimate charges of sexual assault and, in fact, the entire #MeToo movement feminists claim to support.
Yet that’s not all. Sports Illustrated is the same rag that earlier this year published a #MeToo swimsuit issue. In it, naked women with words written on their bodies posed provocatively to ostensibly make the point that their bodies were not men’s play things. It was as hypocritical as it was objectifying of women. And it actually makes the magazine’s phony award doubly shameful.
ON THE WEB TODAY
- Another Known Wolf — A radical Muslim attacked a Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg.
- Trump EPA Rolls Back Another Obama Power Grab — Navigable waters is now clearly defined so as not to be Obama’s overly broad power grab.
- Climatologist Rebuts Rising Sea Level Narrative — Not that you’ll hear about it from the press, which is preoccupied with alarm.
- Video: Trump’s White House Clash With Pelosi, Schumer — Scott Ott leads Bill Whittle and Stephen Green in a game of their own.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
- Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen gets three years in prison, blames Trump for his “path of darkness” (ABC News)
- FBI created multiple summaries of Michael Flynn’s questioning — what are they hiding? (The Federalist)
- House sends compromise farm bill to Trump’s desk (National Review)
- House, Senate agree on sexual-harassment bill after months-long struggle to resolve differences (The Washington Post)
- Pelosi reaches deal to be speaker by agreeing to stay only four years (NBC News)
- Trump gets win as Xi makes good on pledge to buy U.S. soybeans (Bloomberg)
- Theresa May survives confidence vote (BBC)
- Third-ranking Vatican official convicted of sexually abusing choir boys (National Review)
- Fentanyl now America’s deadliest drug with more than 18,000 overdose deaths in 2016 (USA Today)
- Humor: Woke parents refuse to assume newborn baby’s nutrition preferences (The Babylon Bee)
- Policy: Huawei is the doorway to China’s police state (The National Interest)
- Policy: It’s time to reform food-stamp policy (National Review)
For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.
“Around Christmastime, everyone’s rushing here and there, agitated, sometimes even a bit angry, as they juggle a hundred things ahead of the holiday. And that’s what makes what happened in Nashville on Saturday truly remarkable. Hundreds of people were packed into the airport awaiting their flights when an airline attendant announced over a loudspeaker that children of fallen service members were boarding their flight. The kids were being flown to Disneyworld on an all-expenses trip. Everyone in the airport stopped as ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ was performed, with soldiers saluting the children. The busy travelers stood quietly, some with their hands on their hearts.”
Read more at Daily Wire.
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column
Read The Mueller/Comey/Clinton Collusion to Take Down Trump. The claim of campaign-finance violations will fuel the Democrats’ relentless hounding of Trump over the next two years, as it fits with their “stolen election” narrative and is fodder for faux impeachment charges.
If you’d like to receive Alexander’s Column by email, update your subscription here.
“No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” —Article 1, Section 9, U.S. Constitution, pertaining to Congress
“No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.” —Article 1, Section 10, U.S. Constitution, pertaining to the states
As of Tuesday, the Constitution was suspended in the state of New Jersey. Last June, one of six new gun-control laws signed by Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy banned the possession of any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Moreover, state residents have 180 days to give them up, permanently modify them to hold 10 rounds or less, or transfer them to someone legally allowed to own them. Active-duty military and law enforcement officers “authorized to possess and carry a handgun,” as well retired police officers, are exempted.
New Jerseyans who fail to comply can be charged with a fourth-degree felony, subjected to a prison sentence of up to 18 months, up to a $10,000 fine, or both.
It gets worse. On Dec. 5 in a 2-1 ruling, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law, rejecting a lawsuit filed shortly aft the law’s passage by the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs and supported by the NRA. U.S. Circuit Judges Patty Shwartz and Joseph A. Greenaway Jr., both appointed by Barack Obama, insisted the law did not violate the Second Amendment because it reasonably advanced New Jersey’s interest in preventing mass shootings and does not “severely burden” the Second Amendment rights of the state’s law-abiding citizens.
That would be former law-abiding citizens turned potential felons as of Tuesday.
Dissenting Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Donald Trump appointee, forcefully disagreed, insisting the Court “watered down” those rights. “The Second Amendment is an equal part of the Bill of Rights. We must treat the right to keep and bear arms like other enumerated rights,” he declared, referring to the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.
In fact, Bibas echoed the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion when he wrote for the majority’s ruling in Heller. “We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach,” Scalia declared. “The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government — even the Third Branch of Government — the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all.”
Unfortunately, New Jersey and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals are working toward the Second Amendment’s incremental elimination. And as columnist Daniel Horowitz reveals, both entities are hardly outliers. “Since the Heller ruling, five circuit courts have essentially abolished the ruling by allowing states to ban common weapons, common magazines, and any ability to carry any firearms outside the home,” he explains.
Horowitz further notes the same Supreme Court with a penchant for upholding constitutionally dubious interests has been rather sanguine when it comes to clamping down on courts that defy the “plain meaning” of the Constitution.
And no one made the meaning of “ex post facto” with regard to criminal law plainer than Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase in Calder v. Bull, a case adjudicated in 1798:
1st. Every law that makes an action done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal; and punishes such action. 2d. Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed. 3d. Every law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed. 4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offense, in order to convict the offender.
So where is SCOTUS? As of now sitting on the sidelines. But maybe not for long. The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs has promised to appeal the decision that turns “one million honest citizens into felons for keeping property obtained legally that could be used for defending their lives,” stated the group’s executive director Scott Bach.
Ominously, New Jersey is hardly through with its efforts to eviscerate the Second Amendment. In October, Murphy announced a package of laws he wants the legislature to address in 2019, including one that would require ID from customers, and reports from retailers, for ammunition purchases.
In other words, a de facto gun-registry scheme.
“When I took office this past January, New Jersey’s gun-safety laws were among the strongest in the nation,” Murphy declared. “But there is still significant action needed to address our nation’s gun-violence epidemic. As we close out 2018 and move into the new year, we will continue to be proactive in our efforts to save lives and prevent needless tragedies.”
Utter nonsense. Needless tragedies are not committed by law-abiding citizens looking to defend themselves, their families and their homes. Just as more and more Americans, marinated in a stew of progressive ignorance, are growing comfortable with banning “hate speech,” so too are they buying into the idea that targeting law-abiding gun owners will reduce violence committed by maniacs and felons.
Nothing reveals the utter bankruptcy of their “logic” more than so-called “gun-free zones.” Gun-free zones turned classrooms into killing fields at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Parkland, where the only thing more egregious than the extermination of utterly defenseless people was the reality that each shooter had ample time to reload — and reload — in the midst of perpetrating each atrocity, precisely because of that codified defenselessness.
If gun-control laws were the answer, Chicago would be the safest city in the nation. A total of 528 homicides so far this year suggests otherwise. So does the reality that cities with the highest homicide rates in the nation are overwhelmingly Democrat Party strongholds.
The same Democrat Party yearning to repeal the Second Amendment. Maybe banning Democrats would be a more effective strategy.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Veronique de Rugy: “You know you’ve got a problem when your tax schemes are even being rejected by the French. While there’s always a danger in reducing the causes of political unrest to a single issue, the plan to impose yet another regressive $9 billion annual carbon tax proved to be a catalyst for the ‘yellow vest’ protests that are roiling Paris. The nonviolent version of the French carbon-tax revolt is spreading globally, too. … The resistance comes from middle- to low-income workers. They’re especially sensitive to changes in the cost and availability of energy for the simple reason that it affects so many aspects of their lives — from getting to work, especially for those who live in rural areas, to the price of most consumer goods. It’s clear that many ordinary people aren’t willing to pay higher costs just to fulfill the grand visions of central planners. …[U]sing every means necessary to obstruct development of energy sources deemed insufficiently green looks increasingly like an electoral loser. Voters and taxpayers seem to have little taste for climate-change policies that raise their cost of living and hurt the economy.”
Upright: “Those of us who take a more miserly view of the enumerated powers of the federal government believe that it does not have very many legitimate jobs to do. Instead of doing a few things well, it does many, many, many things — badly. But if the federal apparatus serves any purpose at all, providing for national security — beginning with securing the borders — is it.” —Kevin Williamson
Braying Jenny: “I understand that Donald Trump doesn’t care [about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi]. … But why doesn’t Mike Pompeo care right now? Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard… Is that a patriot speaking, or a wannabe dictator’s buttboy?” —MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski
Non Compos Mentis: “It’s ridiculous that it’s unconstitutional for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to run for president.” —Vox’s Matthew Yglesias
Apples and oranges I: “Even if Google were deliberately discriminating against conservative viewpoints, just as Fox News and Sinclair Broadcasting and conservative talk-radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh discriminate against liberal points of view, that would be its right as a private company to do so, not to be questioned by government.” —Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) (While technically true, this isn’t a fair comparison. Unlike some of these other big names, Google — which has a vastly bigger consumer base — isn’t a political entity. If the circumstances were flipped and it was conservatives being aggrandized by Google, Nadler would argue just the opposite.)
Apples and oranges II: “You’ve got a right to have whatever politics you have. We could subpoena Fox News and bring them in here and beat them up about how 90% of the references on Fox News to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton are negative, but they’ve got that right under the First Amendment, and you’ve got a right under the First Amendment to have whatever political views you’ve got.” —Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
And last… “The thing that really outrages me about the potential government shutdown is that it’s only partial and temporary.” —Matt Walsh
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher