Horrified Observations On Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnsons’s Latest Disgrace

As you can see in the video above [Trigger warning: if seeing a former governor who presumed to place himself before the nation as a qualified leader making an epic fool of himself on live television upsets you, as it does me—heck, those sitcom episodes when characters try to do stand-up and bomb horribly, like Cliff did on “Cheers” make me leave the room—don’t watch it. I mean it.], Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, the designated “none of the above” for voters who believe Donald Trump has nothing to offer but chaos and Hillary Clinton is more untrustworthy than Richard Nixon (both correct assessments), went on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews and made Sara Palin look like Henry Kissinger, and Rick Perry seem like Carl Sagan.

During the interview on MSNBC yesterday, Chris Matthews asked Johnson, who sat beside his running mate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld,”Who’s your favorite foreign leader?”  “Name one foreign leader that you respect and look up to,” Matthews asked. “Anybody.” Johnson looked like he had been asked for the dewpoint of feldspar.

“Mine was Shimon Peres,” V.P. Weld offered unhelpfully, picking the former Israeli leader who just died from a stroke. “I’m talking about living,” Matthews shot back, focusing on Johnson.

“Anywhere. Any continent. Canada, Mexico, Europe, over there, Asia, South America, Africa: Name a foreign leader that you respect,” Matthews said as Johnson continued to freeze. “I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment,” Johnson said, pathetically.

“But I’m giving you the whole world!” Matthews said. “Anybody in the world you like. Anybody. Pick any leader!”

“The former president of Mexico,”  was the best Johnson could come up with. Whichever one he meant, by the way, he’s massive crook,  like all Mexican presidents.

“Which one?” Matthews pressed.

“I’m having a brain freeze,” Johnson whined,

as Weld began going through the list  of recent Mexican presidents.

“Fox! Thank you!” Johnson said when he finally heard the name of former Mexican president Vicente Fox, who Johnson probably vaguely recalled from the evident mush he calls a brain because Fox had just made the news by mocking Donald Trump’s debate performance.

Strike Three. Strikes one and two were doubles off the Green Monster by comparison.

Good lord.

Observations:

  • “How does somebody think there going to run for President and be this ignorant? Completely ignorant?” asked Joe Scarborough on “Morning Joe,” today. “He could not name a leader — living or dead — past or present! My children can answer those questions!”

Good points all. The answer is that Johnson is uninformed. Johnson is lazy. Johnson clutches under pressure. Johnson is not taking his own candidacy seriously. Johnson is a joke, but the proper response to it is weeping. At a time when the two parties have completely failed their responsibility to the American people by presenting unfit, untrustworthy candidates that the majority of the nation dislike, and the need for a viable third party option has never  been greater, does Johnson study like a monk, prepare like a champion, and devote himself to being able to dazzle even the most skeptical voter with his expertise and mastery of issues? No! He apparently decides to boycott newspaper and TV news, and devote himself to Pokemon Go, or something. Surely he’s been doing something?

Diligence, responsibility, competence, respect for the nation and the public: Johnson has flunked all of these, spectacularly and beyond defending. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson

The Marx Brothers: Groucho, Zeppo, Harpo, Chico, and Aleppo

The Marx Brothers: Groucho, Zeppo, Harpo, Chico, and Aleppo

The Presidential nominee of the party whose convention featured a fat naked guy running around on stage found himself being the focus of the news this week, and not in a good way. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”—you know, that astute, objective news commentary show with a co-host who says Hillary Clinton is, like “awesome!”— there was this  exchange between Libertarian Party candidate, Gov. Gary Johnson and one of the show’s panelists, Mike Barnicle:

Barnicle: “What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?”

Johnson: “About…?”

Barnicle: “Aleppo”

Johnson: “And what is Aleppo?”

Barnicle: “You’re kidding.”

Johnson: “No.”

Barnicle explained that Aleppo is a once thriving city in Syria that is ground zero for the country’s civil war. Johnson replied, “Got it,” and provided the wisdom that “With regard to Syria I do think it’s a mess.”

He elaborated, but as CNN’s Frida Ghitis wrote, ” Who cares what Johnson thinks about Syria now? He knows nothing about it. His opinion is meaningless.”

Well, not exactly meaningless. What his failure to have an informed opinion on a major foreign policy crisis like Syria means is that Gary Johnson is lazy, lacks seriousness, and is failing his duty to he party and the nation, which is to provide a realistic, responsible, genuine alternative to the candidates of the two major parties, both of whom are spectacularly unfit to serve, unfit for office, and embarrassments to the democratic process who call into serious question the long term viability of both our form of government and the nation itself.

Did I sugar-coat that too much? Continue reading

Now THIS Is Incompetence!

oops

Film studio Warner Brothers hired Vobile, a company that tracks down illegally-streamed copyrighted material online and files hundreds of thousands of takedown demands every month, to find which sites were stealing WB’s property and to handle the miscreants.

Vobile, on behalf of its client, asked Google to ban many websites from search results, because they violated copyright laws by containing Warner films and videos. Among the sites targeted:  legitimate movie streaming websites run by Amazon, Sky Cinema, the film database IMDB….and Warner’s own websites.  For example, Google was asked to remove links to the official websites for Warner films like  “Batman: The Dark Knight” and “The Matrix.”

Nice job, Vobile!

Warner Brothers has yet to comment, although I would guess its comment would be along the lines of “#!%@*&!”

This is what comes of letting robots do human jobs, while charging fees as if humans were doing them. To be fair to Vobile, one sure way to stop illicit streaming is to block all streaming, just to be safe.

____________________
Pointer: Fred

 

Ethics Dunce: Above The Law

silence

The legal news, commentary and gossip site Above the Law—Ethics Alarms uses it a s a source for legal ethics issues from time to time, usually to disagree with its writers—has announced that it is banning comments on the site. This has become an increasing trend on-line. The argument for doing this is always the same, with variations: they don’t add value, they too often are vulgar or abusive, they just aren’t as good as the used to be. Here’s ATL today:

“Today the comments are not what they once were. Although occasionally insightful or funny, ATL comments nowadays are generally fewer in number, not very substantive (often just inside jokes among the commentariat), yet still often offensive. They also represent a very small percentage of our total traffic (as we can tell because of the click required to access them)”

The site also comforts itself that increasingly “everybody does it”:

“What we do know is that the decline in comment quality is not unique to ATL. As noted by Wired, NiemanLab, and Digiday, numerous websites have eliminated their comments sections in recent years, largely because they felt that the comments were not adding sufficient value and that discussion had migrated to social media.”

Yes, I’ve noticed all that high-quality, nuanced commentary on Twitter.

What’s going on here? Continue reading

Don’t Say The System Doesn’t Work—It Worked Perfectly With Marco Rubio

As it turned out, this told us everything we need to know...

As it turned out, this told us everything we need to know

Pundits, professors and even China are saying that the U.S. system of identifying qualified Presidential candidates doesn’t work or “is broken” because Donald Trump appears to have slipped through the net. But the occurrence of what Herman Kahn called “an unpredictable convergence of bad management and bad luck” only proves what Ethics Alarms has noted over and over again: no system, even the best, works all the time. I’ll post an article about all the people and circumstances that poked that hole in the Trump net once my nausea subsides, but in the meantime, I want to point out that the system worked perfectly with Marco Rubio. He wasn’t fit to be President, and the system exposed him brilliantly.

Good.

Rubio thought that he could follow the successful plan that put Barack Obama Barack Obama in the White House in 2008, despite similar deficiencies in experience. Like Obama, he was a young, fresh, minority candidate with a natural base, who projected intelligence and was an impressive speaker. The political and campaign processes, however, and his reaction to the stress of them, exposed his many flaws. The Obama plan wouldn’t be enough this time, in no small part because Marco Rubio is no Barack Obama: Continue reading

Marco Rubio Flunks A Gut Check: He’s Unqualified To Be President (Too)

empty podium

Last night in Nevada, as the depressing vote totals poured in showing that Nevada Republicans, or at at least about 45% of them, have the minds of desert toads and the ethics of Vegas Strip pimps, (that is, really want Donald Trump to be President of the United States of America, Peewee Herman having chosen not to compete, journalists waited to see what Marco Rubio, supposedly the choice of the GOP “establishment,” would say in his concession speech. He didn’t give one, however. Fox News reported that “the Senator has gone to bed.”

That’s it. That’s signature significance, conduct that all the spin in the world cannot reconcile with a man having the requisite character and values to lead a nation. Rubio has a nice face, a good personal story, a polished speaking style and, most of all, ambition, and until last night, an opportunity. With that weak, lazy and pusillanimous demonstration, Senator Rubio proved conclusively that this is all he has. It’s not enough; it’s not nearly enough. As much as I and any sane and responsible American citizen want someone to block Donald Trump’s frightening march to the Republican nomination, Marco Rubio is no alternative.

I have, apparently foolishly, not allowed all of the many warning signs regarding Rubio’s leadership skills and character to cause me to label him a lost cause. Early on, he proved himself unable to handle his campaign finances ethically or competently. As a Florida state senator, he abused his power and engaged in a scandalous conflict of interest. As a U.S. Senator elected by a tea party surge, he showed himself to be feckless and expedient. He has also been a lousy Senator, seldom showing up for votes. When he began running for President, Rubio even stated that he hated being a Senator, and abandoned any pretense of doing his job—but he continued to collect his salary, because, he said, he needed the money.

While his chief rival, Donald Trump, worked—yes, it is work—around the clock to get in front of cameras and on the air as often as possible, Rubio adopted a minimalist campaign style, never going off script, seldom subjecting himself to interviews where he would have to improvise answers and actually think. Rubio’s debate performances were entirely dependent on whether he could use portions of his stump speech to answer questions. When a skilled ex-prosecutor, Chris Christie, placed him under cross-examination for this weakness, Rubio devolved into an old Star Trek episode computer, repeating the same programmed phrase as metaphorical smoke billowed out of his ears. Then he ducked accountability for his meltdown, insisting that he was just staying on message, until his advisors finally convinced him that denial wasn’t working.

With all of that, in part because of utter desperation, journalists, Republicans and Americans who are horrified at the prospect of having no better candidates to choose from than the delusional Bernie Sanders, the corrupt and dishonest Hillary Clinton, and the vile and inexperienced Ted Cruz, continued to hope that Rubio could rise above his obvious flaws and be someone with the capacity to grow into leadership.

That hope, always faint anyway, is gone now. Not one of the other Presidential candidates would have willfully avoided the opportunity to give a defiant and inspiring concession speech that would be played on the networks and cable channels repeatedly today. Indeed, not one of them could have been stopped from giving such a speech. Nor would any of the past Presidents or unsuccessful but nominated candidates for the office within my lifetime. Why is Rubio different? Continue reading

Special Post Thanksgiving Food Feature: Store Brand Ethics

Dr-PublixI may be the only person who cares (other than the company’s that are losing sales to the tactic), but look-alike labeling, branding and packaging are ethicly objectionable if not flat-out fraudulent, and if it isn’t that, it’s a insult to shoppers’ intelligence. I particularly detest kids DVDs with the same titles and similar graphics as Disney DVDs, but containing cheap knock-offs that look like Hanna Barbara cartoons when the cartoonists were having a bad day. Now that my kids video purchasing days are over, it’s over-the-counter drugs and food packaging that trick me when I’m not paying attention and in a hurry, and with me its one or the other, often both. I got caught Wednesday, in fact, buying a Safeway knock-off that had the same colors as the real McCoy.

Thus I’m grateful to Consumerist, which recently asked for readers’ to send in photos of the most ridiculous examples of store brand imitations. With these, it’s not the lame attempts to fool consumers that’s annoying so much as the laziness and the pure lack of respect and creativity involved in the effort or lack of it.

There was a theme on the late, lamented film satire show Mystery Science Theater 3000 when the special effects or other aspects of the cheesy science fiction and horror movies they mocked were particularly ridiculous: “They just didn’t care.”

That’s what’s going on with this Hamberger Helper rip-off…

panburger

and this pathetic “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” clone… Continue reading

And The Michele Bachmann Memorial Award For The Most Disqualifying Ignorance Of American History Demonstrated By A Republican Presidential Candidate Goes To….

Michele-Bachmann1

Ben Carson, of course!

WARNING: the next person who tells me that Ben Carson must be intelligent because he separated conjoined twins is going to get a punch in the mouth, unethical or not.

The award is named for Bachmann because she repeatedly mangled American history on the way to becoming the 2012 Republican Presidential hopeful who most embarrassed her party, her gender, her species, bipeds,  and the American educational system. On the way to losing all respect, credibility and the nomination, Bachmann told her cheering, stupid crowds that the “shot heard round the world” was in New Hampshire, and that John Quincy Adams, a little boy in 1776, was a Founding Father. (Bachmann also confused John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy, the serial child killer, and I’m not forgiving that, either.)

Believe it or not, Carson’s award winning statement is worse. Yesterday,on C-SPAN, he said this in his usual inspiring eyes half closed, lips barely moving, droning delivery, when he was asked which of the Founders most impressed him:

“I’m impressed by a lot of them, but particularly impressed with Thomas Jefferson, who seemed to have very deep insight into the way that people would react. And he tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control people’s natural tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.”

No, that’s not a slip of the tongue. He specifically mentions Jefferson, and he was not talking about the Declaration but the Constitution, with which Tom had nothing to do—he didn’t write it,he didn’t sign it, and he wasn’t at the Convention.

Dr. Carson’s ignorant, he’s faking it, and he’s an idiot…just like Bachmann, who graduated from law school, remember.

Carson hasn’t bothered to acquire the basic knowledge of his country necessary to become an American citizen, much less to presume to lead  it.

When I interviewed for a job, I made sure that I knew the basics about the company or organization I was attempting to join, because that demonstrated that I was serious and responsible, and at least had a threshold understanding of what my job might require. Carson would flunk a basic job interview, even without being scored down for his terrible presentation—you can’t look an interviewer in the eyes with your eyes closed.

Would it be unfair to require as a prerequisite of running for the leadership of a nation to be able to answer 5th grade-level questions about that nation’s history? You know…who was the first President? Which side won the Civil War? Who delivered the Gettysburg Address?

Which founding document did Thomas Jefferson write????

I don’t think that would be unfair at all.

Here Doctor, you arrogant disgrace, watch this (it’s videoed from a TV screen—tough), since you obviously never read a history book:

 

 

 

Wanting Jobs Is Not Enough

Free-Resume-Templates-You have to also be worthy of a job. Just being a human being is not enough. You must be a trustworthy human being.

The socialists  and gullible among us always speak about the unemployed as diligent, honest, earnest people who just want to support their families once they are given a chance. Many of them fit this description, but it is neither fair nor just nor ethical to eliminate incentives for those who do not to change their ways, eliminate toxic life style choices, learn ethical values, become responsible, and to stop expecting to be given what they haven’t earned. Bernie Sanders-like rhetoric about how there is a “right” to a job is either pandering (dishonest) or deluded (incompetent and irresponsible.). There is no right to a job. There is a right to exercise one’s rights in such a way as to make one unworthy of a job, and to suffer the consequences.

Careerbuilder currently features  an article called “Avoid These Resume Mistakes.”  Most of the advice is standard fare, but it includes these “résumé mistakes” reported by employers. These are not really mistakes, but graphic proof of corruption, laziness and idiocy: Continue reading

Incompetent Political Correctness vs. Amy Schumer

That Mel Brooks...what a racist!

That Mel Brooks…what a racist!

If you want a template for the argument that comedy and jokes should not tread outside the thick, forbidding red lines of political correctness, you cannot do better than the Washington Post op-ed titled “Don’t believe her defenders. Amy Schumer’s jokes are racist.” Two professors, Stacey Patton and David J. Leonard, made the argument that Schumer’s humor is racist, and did so in as forceful terms possible. For example, they write:

 Racial jokes allow white America to claim that race no longer matters, even as there’s talk whizzing in every direction about how blacks and Latinos are outbreeding whites, are criminals and welfare queens, are “stealing jobs” and victimizing whites through affirmative action policies and denying them the right to use the n-word. Comedy allows these comforting ideas to be shared with a built-in defense mechanism that protects white innocence. 

America’s soil of racism is fed by jokes and incendiary speeches, by stereotypical images and symbols like the Confederate flag. Just as Rush Limbaugh,  Donald Trump and other members of the Republican Party regularly disparage people of color and claim they are simply telling the truth, Schumer can use comedy as a protective shroud to deny the harm and hurt caused by her jokes. A joke is considered benign especially when told by a supposed white liberal feminist. We can distance ourselves from the anger, from the harm, from the ideology, and from the hatred of the “extreme,” but also find comfort in the same anger, ideology  and hatred that is “just a joke.”

The abuse heaped on Schumer, a young, clever, rising comedian that I only recently became aware of because of her hilarious—filthy, but hilarious—parody of “Twelve Angry Men,” is breathtaking. She is called the equivalent of Donald Trump (who himself is misrepresented as a racist who believes all Mexicans—he said some illegal Mexican migrants—were criminals and rapists); she is declared complicit in the Charleston shootings and the creation of Dylann Roof, encouraging gun purchases generally, and “a worldview that justifies a broken immigration system, mass incarceration, divestment from inner city communities, that rationalizes inequality and buttresses persistent segregation and violence.”

This is why Mel Brooks says that “Blazing Saddles” couldn’t be made today.  His brilliant seventies Western spoof, which many, including Brooks, believe is the funniest film ever made (I’d pick “Animal House,” but he’s not far from wrong) was immediately recognized as a devastating attack on racism, despite its frequent use of the word “nigger” and its employment of almost every black stereotype for maximum comedy effect. Schumer is no Mel Brooks, but her audiences aren’t stupid either. They understand that she, like Brooks, is spoofing both the stereotypes and the people who believe them, as well as properly zinging the individuals who craete the stereotypes by their own conduct. There is nothing racist about that at all, unless one has embraced the current, floating, broad and infinitely flexible definition of “racist,” which is whatever a progressive or African American critic thinks will be most harmful to his or her target at the time.

The reason “Blazing Saddles” was understood to be satiric and beneficial to the cause of racial understanding forty years ago, and Schumer’s far less harsh humor is being attacked now is simple: race relations are worse today, thanks to people like Drs. Patton and Leonard, who I would have banned at the box office if they ever tried to buy a ticket to a comedy I was directing, and civil rights establishment that has decided that hyping eternal victimhood is the way to power and wealth.  People like this are incapable of humor, because they have to analyze whether they should laugh before they do laugh. To them, Popeye and the Road Runner encourage violence, Eddie Murphy’s Gumby impression furthers racial stereotypes, and Woody Allen’s movies are anti-Semitic. I’m sure they find Mel’s “Hitler on Ice” completely bewildering.

The Post apparently invited the two clueless political-correctness obsessed academics to write this drivel. Asking them to write about comedy is like inviting  Mike Huckabee to analyze the rhetoric of Dan Savage (and vice-versa). In other words, it was a set-up.

Debra Kessler explored the origins of this strange essay on the comedy website The Interobang.

I spoke with The Washington Post‘s Outlook Deputy Editor Mike Madden …. “This is not the opinion of The Washington Post,” Madden told me, “this is the opinion of a couple of contributors to The Washington Post.”  Of course both articles are editorials and newspapers print conflicting editorials all the time.  But even op-ed pieces are edited and selected and subject to internal guidelines and even op-ed pieces enjoy the weight of The Washington Post banner– one which has a history of protecting journalistic expression feverishly.

Kessler also talked to Stacey Patton, who told her that the Post solicited the piece, and had to persuade her to write it. Apparently they couldn’t persuade her to write it fairly, responsibly, or competently, however:

Dr. Patton said a few things that surprised me. For starters, she said she’s not a specialist on comedy or humor. While she does enjoy comedy (she likes George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Martin Lawrence, the Queens of Comedy, and Bill Maher among others), she told me that watching comedy isn’t something she gets to do often. In fact, before the ‘Schumer issue’ came up, she had never seen Amy Schumer perform stand up, and she had never seen Schumer’s Comedy Central television show. Even more surprising, she said she didn’t watch any of Amy’s performances or shows while writing the article, not even as background for the piece. Her judgement was based on what she read, presumably in The Guardian, which had just published an article accusing Schumer of “having a blind spot for race.”

The Interrobang: Have you ever watched Amy’s television show… in preparation for the article?
Stacey Patton: Nope. Not at all.
The Interrobang: Her stand up set[s]? have you ever watched any of them?
Stacey Patton: Nope. None of them.

Wow. Continue reading