Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Failed Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson: A poster child for the anti-legalization [marijuana] movement

Let me apologize beforehand. Oh Lord, I’m sorry. I promised not to write another article critical of anyone. But like my arch-nemesis, Donald “The Don” John Trump, I cannot help myself. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is an irresponsible bumbler; a kinder, gentler Trump in his utter lack of curiosity about geopolitical affairs. The affairs, matters of war and peace, that an American president can expect to confront immediately after being elected and sworn into office.

For the second time Johnson’s showed himself not to be a viable and, more troublingly, serious third-party candidate. Syndicated columnist David Shields said Johnson “set back the cause to legalize marijuana” in a tongue-in-cheek crack aired on the “Analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks” segment of PBS’s “Newhour” this evening.

MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle asked Johnson how he would handle Aleppo, Syria as president in an interview that aired on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Sep 8, 2016. Johnson infamously responded, “And what is Allepo?”

This time it was MSNBC’s Chris Matthew. "Who's your favorite foreign leader," Matthews asked Johnson in an interview that aired on Wednesday evening. Seemingly dazed and caught off guard by the routine presidential campaign question, Johnson was unable to name one world leader more or less one he admired. This is Johnson on Wednesday:

Chris Matthews: "Who’s your favorite foreign leader?"

Gary Johnson: "Who’s my favorite—"

Chris Matthews: "Any. Just name anywhere in the—any one of the continents, any country. Name one foreign leader that you respect and look up to. Anybody."

William Weld: "Mine was Shimon Peres."

Chris Matthews: "No, no, OK. I’m talking about living. Go ahead. You’ve got to do this. Anywhere. Any continent. Canada. Mexico. Europe, over there. Asia. South America. Africa. Name a foreign leader that you respect."

Gary Johnson: "I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment in the former—former president of Mexico."

Chris Matthews: "But I’m giving you the whole world!"

Gary Johnson: "I know. I know. I know. I know."

Chris Matthews: "Anybody in the world you like. Anybody. Pick any leader."

Gary Johnson: "The former president of Mexico."

Chris Matthews: "Now—which one?"
Gary Johnson: "I’m having a brain—I’m having a brainfreeze."

Chris Matthews: "Well, name anybody."


Johnson was having more than a “brainfreeze.” He was addled. History favors the prepared, though. If ever we needed a competent bench player, a credible third-party candidate because the team starter and relief had become disqualified, it is now. But Johnson failed to seize the opportunity, not necessarily for the Libertarian Party, however. But for all third-party candidates that follow. This is why Johnson’s stunning incuriosity of world events and abysmal lack of preparation for the office he is running to assume is especially distressing.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Trump: From Russia With Love...

  The problem with any claim that a Russian intelligence service operation gave the hitherto moribund Trump campaign a needed boost over the finish line is that without hard facts – e.g., empirical data, primary source material, or other evidence - the Far Right abetted by a complicit media, already hard at work normalizing an abnormal candidacy, will be able to dismiss the claim as sour grapes; unsubstantiated conspiracy theories; the rantings of the lunatic fringe, or unfairly cast Clinton as a sore loser. 

   In all likelihood, the evidence would be dismissed as unpersuasive by an indolent media that gave us Trump on a silver platter. Look how easily Trump was able to adroitly manipulate his "poorly educated" supporters by characterizing the fourth estate as "corrupt," "liars" ex cetera. Now Trump backers are subliminally programmed to disbelieve anything the mainstream media publishes with good reason. It was a masterful disinformation campaign by a seasoned, media savvy, confidence man. 

   And it is also scarily reminiscent of 9/11/2001 when the United States government, in collusion with equally uncritical mainstream reporting, promoted the dubious story that numerous untrained Saudi nationals simultaneously high-jacked three jets on the East Coast of the United States - while the most sophisticated air-defense system in the world, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) - lay dormant. 

   The big, computer controlled, passenger jets hit targets in restricted airspace in three separate incidents causing considerable loss of life, negligible damage to a section of the Pentagon (already under renovation), but allegedly the complete destruction - by a fire fueled by kerosene - and eventual collapse of the twin towers comprising the World Trade Center. Notable experts to a person debunked the claims, however: Preposterous stories made by Bush administration scientists that total collapse of not one but two structures built to the standards of the WTC with American steel started by a jet fuel fire was even physically possible. 911: In Plane Site: Director’s Cut released in 2004 documents inconsistencies in the government's story. Prominent critics who have disagreed with the party line have had their professional reputations destroyed and subjected to ignominy as conspiracy theorists, personal lives disrupted; or, worst, taken in bizarre accidents.

   Wildly popular HBO political talk show, Real Time with Bill Maher, must have gotten the memo. To this day, Maher dismissively admonishes his viewers to “don't write me about the World Trade Center anymore... “”I'm not losing my show...” “it burned down...” Vice President Joe Biden once said of Trump supporter, former NYC mayor Rudy Guiliani who ran against Barack Obama in the 2007 presidential campaign “there's only three things [Guiliani needs] to make ... a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11.” 

   Giuliani has since acted as an unapologetic apologist for Trump's worst excesses including an internationally aired entreaty to the Russians, which they apparently took literally, to hack into Hillary Clinton's servers. During the aftermath of  9/11, the Giuliani administration inscrutably allowed a crime scene to be destroyed by letting the building owner hire contractors to remove millions of tons of debris - including damaged steel beams that showed trace evidence of thermite, which is an incendiary typically delivered by explosives that is able to burn through steel.

   The bottom line is that we have a long history of inadequately explained conspiracies in these United States beginning with the Kennedy, King and Malcolm X assassinations respectively in the 1960s. Trump's incredulous (albeit implausible) victory is simply one of the latest. But thread lightly in raising your concerns because neither the co-opted media more concerned with ratings than with objective reporting; and, powers-that-be wielding their influence quietly much like the proverbial Wizard behind the curtain kindly brook dissent. If history is a guide, dissenters with the temerity to question the party line, have not fared well – if at all.

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