Thursday, October 20, 2016

Gary Johnson on Donald Trump's contempt for democratic transitions: 'Unbelievable'

Last night, in the third and final Democratic-Republican presidential debate, GOP candidate Donald J. Trump suggested that he may not accept the results of the election on November 8, continuing his theme of asserting that massive electoral fraud will take place and that is the only reason he will lose to Hillary Clinton.

Today, Trump doubled down on his refusal to accept the central tenet of American democracy, that when a person or party loses an election, they become the loyal opposition and wait for another opportunity to win public office.

According to the Associated Press:

Trump kicked off a rally Thursday in Delaware, Ohio, by saying that he "would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supports and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election."

But he added: "If I win."

In response to Trump's bizarre break with tradition, the Libertarian Party's nominee for President, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, issued this statement:
Gary Johnson
“As a former Governor, who was elected and served as a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, I have to say that Donald Trump’s refusal to say he will accept the outcome of an election is just one more straw too many. It’s offensive to the thousands of election officials across the nation, and it’s offensive to a nation for which the integrity of elections is what sets us apart from much of the world.

“Peaceful transition of power, which depends entirely upon honoring the results of elections, is as fundamental to our greatness and Constitution as anything else we do in America, and Donald Trump can’t even accept that fundamental without hedging.

Johnson and his running mate, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, have achieved ballot access in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia -- the first third-party presidential ticket to do so since Libertarian Harry Browne and his running mate, Jo Jorgensen, did it in 1996.

Guest Post: Vote Against Both Evils, by Will Hammer

This November 8th, if you decide to vote, you have a huge choice to make. You can either vote for a corrupt crony politician, or you can vote for a vulgar corrupt crony reality TV star. Because of the media, the partisan Commission on Presidential Debates, and the two major parties who have a vested interest in only having two parties, you would think those are your only choices.

Will Hammer, left, with Robert Sarvis in Buena Vista, Virginia
Well, you actually do have a choice at the ballot box this November. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, is on the ballot in all 50 states and D.C. He is an honest and a great man, not your typical crony politician or a bigoted, morally corrupt, gaudy salesman. Do I agree with Johnson on everything? No, but he is leaps and bounds better than Clinton or Trump and represents real change from the business as usual in Washington that has gotten us here. Is Gary Johnson perfect? No, but he actually admits that and it’s refreshing when a politician admits their humanity. Will you agree with him on everything? Probably not, but at least you know he does not have an agenda and he’s not speaking out of both sides of his mouth, or other orifice.

The biggest smear the media can come up with for Johnson is his ‘Aleppo moment’, in which he didn’t know what Aleppo was when randomly asked during a live interview. Should he have been able to answer that question? Of course, he’s running for President, but it’s definitely not a disqualifier. I’d rather have someone whose foreign policy won’t cause Syrian and other middle eastern strife, than someone who would know, but only because she was part of the administration that caused the major humanitarian crisis. He had another moment where he couldn’t name a foreign leader he respected. A week later, he still can’t. The media would have you believe that he couldn’t name ANY foreign leader, but that’s untrue. He cannot name a current foreign leader he admires and he explained that he doesn’t want to defend them against things that he’s not even aware of. Again, this was an unscripted, live question. The other candidates NEVER have unscripted questions. They are screened, planted, and given well beforehand to prepare.

So those are Gary Johnson’s big ‘scandals.’ Now, let’s compare those to Trump and Clinton. If I were to include all of them, this article would take up the whole newspaper, not 1600 words. Trump and Clinton are different sides of the same corrupt, crony coin. One sells her political power and influence and the other buys it. Trump is definitely no outsider, and Clinton is no progressive politician putting people before profits.

Trump has a horrible temperament and would be a disaster diplomatically, saying whatever came to his head on a whim in public, completely alienating us and quite frankly being a national embarrassment. He has spoken about media organizations such as the Washington Post having issues if he becomes President because of stories they have written about him. He has spoken about companies such as Amazon (both owned by Jeff Bezos) getting taxed essentially out of business. His careless speech may even incite violence, with him making suggestions about gun owners taking care of Clinton and many other situations. Trump has exploited horrible eminent domain laws to obtain private land to build his developments. He scammed people with Trump University, used bankruptcy to screw people and contractors over while walking away with millions, and the list goes on. He’s a bigot, demonizing Mexicans and others. And he’s a misogynist, saying crude and horrible things to and about various women. That’s bad enough, but we have just found out that he sexually assaults women and brags about it in private. This latest revelation was caught via a hot mic. Some are defending him, saying that it’s ‘locker room’ talk. Of course men do that, just as women do the same. But, there is a HUGE difference between what Trump said and ‘locker room’ talk. Trump actually talked about how being famous and a star allows him to sexually assault women and get away with it. I could care less about the “lewd language”, I care about the actions he described and he gets away with. This is DISGUSTING. This is it, this is your moment of truth. Are you going to defend and vote for this loathsome egomaniac?

Gary Johnson and William Weld at Libertarian Party Convention, May 2016
Clinton is definitely no saint either. Clinton is about as hawkish as they come. She voted for the Iraq War, costing thousands of US lives, an estimated 250-500k Iraqi lives, instability, and nearly $2 TRILLION. She was Secretary of State while the Obama administration bombed at least 8 countries, thousands upon thousands of innocent lives. She was part of regime change that created more and more instability, which led to the rise of ISIS. Simply put, she is one of the biggest advocates for and participants in our horrible foreign policy that has cost us US lives, innocent foreign lives, trillions of dollars, created more terrorists and allowed for ISIS to fill the void, and so on. War is a racket and Clinton is no peace candidate. The Clinton Foundation and pay to play with foreign governments/leaders. Recently she has also had some scandals involving emails. A leak revealed the DNC conspired to make sure Bernie Sanders did not receive nomination and that Clinton would. As a Ron Paul supporter in 2007 and 2012, I feel your pain and disgust Sander supporters.There is also the private email server that was in a bathroom that Clinton used instead of secure servers provided by the government for classified and official business while Secretary of the State. The FBI decided not to pursue charges against Clinton, but made it clear that she was extremely careless and frankly inept at handling classified information. But, why the double standard? Others have been charged with mishandling classified information, not intentionally. 30,000 emails deleted with BleachBit, 30 new emails recovered by FBI recently related to Benghazi, Clinton IT specialist asking Reddit how to alter ‘very VIP’ emails, and the list goes on. And now, the same day that Trump’s sexual groping audio comes to light, Wikileaks has released emails from Clinton’s campaign manager, revealing excerpts from Clinton’s Goldman Sach and other speeches, where she has earned more than $22 million, such as “If everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.”

I recommend voting against both evils and voting for Gary Johnson. He is a two term Republican governor from a heavily Democratic state, as is his running mate Bill Weld. They will bring sanity and non-partisanship to the office, reaching across the aisle and working with coalitions of all parties. They are fiscally responsible and socially accepting, like the majority of Americans. They do not want to continue our failed foreign policy of drone strikes, invasions, backing various rebel groups, and overthrowing governments. They want to balance our budget and stop the growing $20 trillion deficit, which has doubled under Bush and then again under Obama. Reject both of the two major party Presidential candidates, the most hated in US history. The Democrats and Republicans believe they own your vote. They do not, you own your own vote. A vote for anyone is not a vote for someone else, like the narrative they are trying to play right now. Gary Johnson is polling roughly 10% nationally. But these are polls that do not include people under 40 (which actually favor Johnson) and/or have only Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on the top line, head to head. In reality, they are not going head to head. This is at least a 3 way race in all 50 states, and a 4 way race in most states with Jill Stein. Johnson is polling over 19% in five states, over 15% in 15 states, and over 10% in 42 states. He currently is actually polling within margin or error to Trump in New Mexico. If Gary Johnson does get 10% in Virginia, then the Libertarian Party would get major party status and be able to run candidates within obtaining the ridiculous amount of signatures required currently. There are many other states where Johnson’s success would create more choice on the ballot as well. If he was allowed on the debate stage, run by the Commission on Presidential Debates which was founded by former Democrat and Republican national chairs, then I have no doubt that he would be even higher, and possibly overtake both candidates. But thanks to Ross Perot’s success, who was polling lower than Johnson and was allowed to debate, the CPD raised the arbitrary percentage to be in the debates. It’s a scam and even the League of Women Voters, who used to run the Presidential debates, dropped their sponsorship because they did not want to help “perpetuate a fraud on the American people.” Even dozens of major newspapers and publications are calling for Gary Johnson’s inclusion into the debate, with over 60% of polled Americans wishing for Johnson to be included. Gary Johnson has even received six major newspaper endorsements, to Trump’s zero.

Will Hammer is a Libertarian who ran in 2014 for U.S. Congress and 2015 for Virginia House of Delegates. Hammer was the sole recipient of the Libertarian Party’s Patrick Henry award in 2016, which recognizes a very effective campaign for public office at the state or federal level, while communicating Libertarian ideas, principles, and values.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Guest Post by James Copeland: 'How I Would Coach Donald Trump for the Next Debate'

Publisher's Note: This guest post was written by James Copeland, executive director, emeritus, of the National Speech and Debate Association. He was a member of the Associated Press Presidential Debate Evaluation Panel, 1976-2000. He is the author of Cross Examination in Debate (1983) and has advised gubernatorial and congressional candidates about campaign debates.

Donald Trump, like Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Reagan, is a leader, not a man of study.  Men of study like Bob Dole, Jimmy Carter and Al Gore were good with briefing books and detail.  But briefing books and practice debates are not the best way for Mr. Trump to prepare.

Preparation for the next debate must be based upon Trump's considerable skills. His greatest skill was exhibited on “The Apprentice”, where Trump evaluated and judged the arguments of others. Trump is a counter puncher and this skill can be honed to create retorts to opposition arguments.

The retort is the most effective and dramatic argument that can be posed in a debate: It takes the PREMISE of the opponent's attack and turns it back against the accuser.
Example #1: [Premise: Transparency]
Secretary Clinton insists I release my tax returns.
I insist she release the transcripts of her speeches to Wall Street firms, which paid her thousands of dollars in speaking fees. How do we know what she promised them? She demands I provide transparency, yet she provides none.

Example #2: [Premise: Honesty]
Secretary Clinton accuses me of not being truthful when I say I did not support the Iraq war.
My opinion was that of a private citizen. I accuse Secretary Clinton of not being truthful about the Benghazi attack. Publicly she blamed the attack on an anti-Muslim video. Privately she tweeted her daughter, Chelsea, that it was a terrorist attack! She demands honesty from private citizens, yet refuses to provide it as a public official.

(NOTE: A retort is NOT a pivot. A pivot tries to dodge an argument, not turn it back on the accuser.)

If I had the honor to coach Mr. Trump I would follow this plan:
1] Mr. Trump should be seated in an executive chair behind a table, like “The Apprentice”
2] Facing Mr. Trump about ten feet away should be two side by side podiums.
3] At one podium is the Clinton surrogate; at the other a Trump surrogate.
4] Staff will have prepared a list of Clinton personal attacks on Trump and a retort for each.
5] Staff will have prepared a list of Trump issues, Clinton's rebuttal and Trump's retort.
6] Each surrogate will be scripted with the material prepared by staff.
7] The surrogates will act out one attack or issue at a time. THEN
10] Roger Ailes should attend each session and privately offer his critique to Mr. Trump.
11] Each session will not last more than one hour (15 minutes for each issue).

For James Copeland's assessment of the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, see this post on Bearing Drift:  "Champion Debate Coach Assesses Trump-Clinton Performances."

Monday, September 26, 2016

From the Archives: LP presidential hopeful Gary Johnson calls two-party debates a 'waste of time'

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on October 21, 2012. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

LP presidential hopeful Gary Johnson calls two-party debates a 'waste of time'

With the third and final Democrat-Republican presidential debate approaching, Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, said in an interview that such debates are “a waste of time,” also offering his thoughts about U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa. He also indicated that he may win a large percentage of votes in his native New Mexico.

Johnson, author of the new book, Seven Principles of Good Government, spoke to the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner during a recent campaign stop in Washington, D.C.

Although a social gathering at The Board Room on Connecticut Avenue was meant for Johnson to engage with his supporters and campaign volunteers, he spent the greater part of the evening answering journalists' questions on a wide range of policy issues.

Asked about the value to voters of the debates between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Johnson said they are “just a big waste of time” and that the two participants are like the Lewis Carroll characters “Tweedledee, Tweedledum.”

'State of war'

The former New Mexico governor offered this prediction: If “either one of them get elected, we're going to have a heightened police state. We're going to find ourselves in a continued state of war. Military interventions are not going to stop, and spending and debt [are] going to continue to be unsustainable. At some point,” he concluded, if Obama or Romney is elected, the economy “will collapse.”

In response to a question about radio and television advertising for his campaign, Johnson said he will soon be airing TV commercials “in areas we might actually win, or potentially taking second place” although “probably not” in Washington, D.C., despite that city's small number of Republican voters.

Johnson also predicted his vote totals will be relatively high in some Western states and one Midwestern swing state.

“I think there's opportunity in Nevada,” he said, noting that “something that really has gone unpublicized is in Ohio last week, I was polling at 11 percent.”

That is “probably an aberration,” Johnson conceded, “but nonetheless, all these polling numbers are going up. They're not going down.”

The first-time presidential candidate said he believes it is possible he could win more than 10 percent of the vote in New Mexico, where he served two terms as a Republican governor in a majority-Democrat state.

“I really believe that, I really do,” he said, “and we're not focusing anything on New Mexico. The notion is that we're trying to treat everything equally and see how that pans out but I would have to think that, [given] my experience in New Mexico, I'm really looked at favorably. I really am.”

Libya question

In the foreign policy debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, on October 22, the question of U.S. policy in Libya and reactions to the September 11 murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans will be in the forefront of the discussion, just as it was in the town hall debate at Hofstra University on October 16. Johnson has some strong views on what U.S. policy in that region should be.

“I would pull all of our diplomats out of our embassies” there, he said. “I would not set us up as being targets.”

In the “long term,” the United States and other countries should “take part in what I would hope would be mutual benefit but when I hear that” American diplomats in the region are supposed to be “protecting vital American interests, I just ask rhetorically, out loud, What are vital American interests? Are they propping up the new dictatorship that we deem better than the old dictatorship?”

In response to a question about whether American influence is better projected using soft power than military power, Johnson explained, “that's right. It's walk softly and carry a big stick. That's what [George W.] Bush said but none of that none of that was reality. None of it.”

Suggested Links

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson assesses Romney, Stein, and Goode
Presidential hopeful Gary Johnson on health care, marriage, and Colbert
Libertarian author Brian Doherty compares Ron Paul and Gary Johnson
Constitution Party presidential nominee Virgil Goode talks politics on Labor Day
Libertarian VP nominee Jim Gray reflects on electing judges, Gary Johnson

Monday, September 05, 2016

From the Archives: Former NM Governor Gary Johnson talks about shutdown, surveillance, and Sarvis

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on October 25, 2013. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

Former NM Governor Gary Johnson talks about shutdown, surveillance, and Sarvis

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will be one of the primary speakers on Saturday, October 26, at a rally at the foot of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., to protest the expanding surveillance state.

Known as “Stop Watching Us,” the rally at the Capitol Reflecting Pool will also feature such speakers as Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, gay-rights advocate Dan Choi, NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, national security analyst and author Bruce Schneier, and social critic Naomi Wolf. A video in support of the rally features celebrities John Cusack, Phil Donahue, Daniel Ellsberg, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Oliver Stone, and Wil Wheaton.

Protesters are gathering from around the country, with buses carrying them from far-flung places like New York City, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville, Virginia.


Two nights before the rally, the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner spoke to Gary Johnson (who was also the 2012 Libertarian nominee for U.S. President) at a fundraising event for his non-profit organization, Our America Initiative.

In the course of the interview, Johnson expressed his outrage at the growth of government surveillance of American citizens and violations of privacy and constitutional protections.

“It's outrageous,” Johnson said, “that 125 billion cell phone conversations have been recorded or are authorized” to be archived for future probes.

“When you find out that a federal judge has said that it's OK for the [National Security Agency] to gather information from 113 million Verizon users,” he complained, “to me that is not the Fourth Amendment, to me that is not due process.”

Instead, it is “some sort of blanket 'government-knows-best'” policy that leads to the government “search[ing] your personal archives” and doing whatever they like with it, without constraints.

“This has got to stop,” Johnson said. “This really has to stop.”

'Chill out'
On another topic of recent concern, the temporary shutdown of the federal government that may recur in the near future, the 2012 presidential candidate explained what he would have said to the nation under those circumstances, if he were president.

“Here is what would have been coming out of my mouth,” Johnson said:

“'Chill out, citizens of the United States. I'm the executive. We're going to pay the bills. There's revenue coming in. We're going to pay the interest on our debt. Social Security checks are going to go out. I'm going to prioritize what's important in government and get it the funding and we'll manage our way through this.'”

Johnson said that his personal philosophy – not being a social conservative while also being “arguably the most fiscally conservative governor” in U.S. history – helped him reach across the aisle and work with a Democratic legislature as a Republican governor.

“I'm going to argue that” a libertarian philosophy like that “is reflective of most Americans and in a state that's two to one Democrat, [like] New Mexico, that resonates” with voters, he said.

Advice to Robert Sarvis
He offered his own experience as advice to Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate for governor of Virginia this year.

If Sarvis is elected governor, Johnson said, he “can succeed on looking at issues first and politics last.”

That was “my promise running for governor of New Mexico, and I think I've fulfilled it,” Johnson said, emphasizing the slogan, “Politics last, issues first.”

In addition to speaking at Saturday afternoon's “Stop Watching Us” rally in Washington, Johnson and Sarvis will make a joint appearance that evening at the IOTA Club, 2832 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Suggested Links

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson assesses Romney, Stein, and Goode
GOP lieutenant governor candidate E. W. Jackson 'certainly used marijuana' exclusive: Gary Johnson reflects on his first visit to Jefferson's Monticello
Virginia LP governor candidate Robert Sarvis will push for liquor-law reform
LP presidential hopeful Gary Johnson calls two-party debates a 'waste of time'

Sunday, September 04, 2016

From the Archives: Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson to speak in Charlottesville on May 3

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on April 25, 2010. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson to speak in Charlottesville on May 3

Former Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico will give a speech in Charlottesville on Monday, May 3, hosted by the Charlottesville Republican Committee, Albemarle County Republican Committee, and the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia. Governor Johnson will speak at the Northside Library in Albemarle Square at 7:00 p.m.

A triathlete who has climbed Mount Everest, Gary Johnson was elected to two terms as New Mexico's governor after a successful career as an entrepreneur. He is currently honorary chairman of the OUR America Initiative.

CPAC Speech
When he spoke to an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February, Johnson laid out his vision of politics in 21st century America:

“Our politics have failed us in America,” Johnson said. “Our leaders on both sides of the aisle are making things worse for us every year, not better. And the proof is all around us. Take a look at our America today, take a look at the brink of economic collapse that our government has led us to, and tell me that we're busy living the dream. We're not. We're busy getting deeper into debt. We're busy losing the freedom that so many have given their lives to achieve.”

He continued:

“Thomas Jefferson said that it was our patriotic duty to stage a revolution every generation just to kick out the riff-raff. He was right. He understood politicians and politics perfectly. We do need a revolution in America in this generation, an armed rebellion. Let's arm ourselves with common sense. Let's stop spending money we don't have. Let's live within our means. This is our America. How can we justify borrowing money for our retirement and health care and hand the bill to future generations?”

Staying with that Jeffersonian theme, Johnson added:

“Our country is about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Let every Member of Congress and the President of the United States take an oath to take on these difficult spending issues that we face and vow that they're not going to be re-elected: understand that they won't be re-elected.”

Presidential Run?
The idea has been floated that Gary Johnson might run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, but currently he is not a candidate for any state or federal office.

According to his official biography:

“As Governor of New Mexico, Johnson was known for his common-sense business approach to governing. He eliminated New Mexico’s budget deficit, cut the rate of growth in state government in half and privatized half of the state prisons.

“Johnson also shifted state Medicaid to managed care (which led to better healthcare by creating a statewide healthcare network that previously did not exist and which saved money) and reduced state employees by over 1000, with no firings. During his term, New Mexico experienced the longest period without a tax increase in the state’s history.

“While in office, Governor Johnson vetoed 750 bills (which was more than all the combined vetoes of the other 49 Governors in the country at the time) and thousands of line item vetoed bills.”

Additional Information
For more information about Governor Johnson's May 3rd lecture in Charlottesville, check out the event page on Facebook. The event is free and open to the public.