The Aleppo Moment

The talk about Hillary Clinton’s health episode has knocked Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and his interview gaffe off the front pages.  He must be grateful for that.

If you’ve seen the footage of Johnson’s interview last week on MSNBC, you know it was a painful moment.  Johnson is asked what he would do about Aleppo, and he stares blankly at the interviewer and then asks “And what is Aleppo?”  The interviewer says, “you’re kidding,” and then explains that Aleppo is in Syria.  Of course, for years Aleppo has been a focus of the ongoing fighting in that war-torn country.

aleppoThe footage is tough to watch, because you can almost see Johnson’s brain desperately spinning and trying to come up with an answer — but he can’t call up anything.  Johnson later explained that, at the moment, his mind was stuck on thinking that “Aleppo” was an acronym for something — he just couldn’t remember what.  After getting some air time on a national network, being asked questions that indicate he is being taken seriously as a viable candidate, and having a chance to reach voters who might actually consider voting for a third party in this unfortunate presidential contest, sheepishly asking “And what is Aleppo?” must have been as embarrassing as it gets for a politician.

It’s tough for the third party candidates in America.  It’s rare for them to be taken seriously, and rarer still for them to have any kind of impact on the race, because as Election Day nears and the reality of the polls sinks in, their supporters start wondering if they are wasting their votes.  For that reason, the margin of error for third party candidates is awfully small.  Whereas the major party candidates can survive a number of blunders — as Donald Trump’s amazingly resilient poll numbers indicate — when a bad gaffe like Gary Johnson’s Aleppo moment happens to a third-party candidate, it can be enough to quash their chances forever.

I’ve heard more people talking about the Libertarian candidate and the Green Party candidate this year than ever before, and some polls were showing Johnson was reaching the high single digits — putting him within striking distance of a showing sufficient to give him a podium at a presidential debate, which is the Holy Grail for third-party candidates.  Johnson says his “Aleppo day” might actually end up working in his favor, by increasing his name recognition and raising awareness of his candidacy.

Perhaps . . . but experience teaches it was more likely the death knell, and the moment when Johnson became the butt of a future Saturday Night Live skit.  As Johnson sat their under the TV lights, desperately struggling to think of what Aleppo was, he may have crossed the line into irrelevancy.

Goat-Blood Government

There are some among us who might contend that a little goat-blood guzzling might be good training for a politician.

After all, if you’re going to be sacrificing your principles on a regular basis, why not sacrifice a barnyard animal while you’re at it, and suck down the lip-smacking, iron-flavored richness of its still warm hemoglobin as you thoughtfully consider the many rewards of your chosen profession?  It kind of makes you wonder whether some of the other significant political figures of our time haven’t taken a nip or two of billy goat blood from time to time after they’ve come off the Senate floor or just finished a contentious committee hearing.

In Florida, a Senate candidate named Augustus Sol Invictus (that’s not his birth name, which he legally changed a few years ago to those rolling Latin words that mean “majestic unconquered sun”) has admitted to quaffing some goat hemoglobin.  Two years ago, Old Sol apparently walked from central Florida to the Mojave Desert — any geography buff will tell you that’s quite a jaunt — and spent a week fasting and praying, and then when he returned home alive he gave thanks by sacrificing a goat to the pagan “god of the wilderness” and then drank its blood.  And really, who among us, upon returning from a week-long visit to California, hasn’t been tempted to do the same?

Sol is a criminal lawyer — do you think he runs ads that say “Better Call Sol”? — who’s running as a Libertarian.  He thinks the government is “waging war on citizens” and citizens therefore have “the right to self-defense on government,” and he sees “a cataclysm coming.”  He admits to being investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Marshals, and other law enforcement personnel, but seems to take some pride in that fact and says he’s flattered that they think he’s a “threat to the stability of the system.”

I’m not sure about a threat to the system, but he’s proven that he’s a threat to goats.

Be Vewy Vewy Careful

This week the Senate will be debating a bill that would require the Treasury Department to identify countries whose currencies are under valued and then in turn order the Commerce department to impose duties on imports from such countries. Countries that hold down the value of their currency do so to give their exporters an edge over their global competitors. The bill has bi-partisan support and is backed by both Republicans and Democrats. Mitt Romney is in favor of such legislation while Speaker Boehner sounds as though he is against it.

The fact that the Congress is going in this direction is worrisome. A couple of weeks ago I finished a book called The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes who is a Libertarian. Ms Shlaes book details the history of our country from the Stock Market Crash in 1928 until the late 1930’s. Her basic premise is that government intervention kept us in a Depression during that time up until our involvement in WWII.

In 1928 the Republican platform included protectionism and a bill called Smoot – Hawley made its way quickly through Congress in an effort to protect American jobs from foreign competition 9sound familiar). The bill imposed tariffs on exports from other countries who in turn imposed tariffs on our exports.

Many economists at the time warned that such legislation may do the opposite of what the bill intended and cause more job loss. The unemployment rate went from 7% the year Smoot – Hawley was passed to 25% three years later and exports dropped 61% during the same time frame.

I am in agreement with Ms Shlaes and Speaker Boehner on this one – passage of the bill being debated would give those voting for it some political cover, but if history is any indication those voting for the bill may have the look that Elmer Fudd has on his face above !

Find Out Who You Are ?

 

Many of the blogs posted on our website are political in nature. Last week I was watching Glenn Beck and I heard him talking about something called the Nolan Chart Survey, which lists ten thought provoking issues each with four choices representing different points of view. After answering the survey a person can click on the button at the bottom of the survey to find out where one falls on the chart.

The chart shown above then places an individual somewhere on the chart as a Libertarian, Liberal, Conservative, Centrist or a Statist. I guess it didn’t much surprise me when I completed the survey, pressed the button and found out I was a centrist.

There was an article posted on the site titled what it is to be a centrist.  I particularly liked one of the comments made by the writer that a centrist is continuously reconsidering, rexamining or revisiting one’s viewpoint. Yep, that’s me !

I have read Richard’s blog where he has mentioned that he is a liberal, but when he takes the survey will it bear him out ? I think I know where brother Bob falls on the chart, but I challenge him to take the survey so we can find out for sure. Where does my nephew Russell land on the chart and how about my sister in law Kish ?

 So have fun taking the test and finding out who you are I did !