Gov. Gary Johnson responds to State of the Union Address

January 12, 2016, Santa Fe, NM – Former New Mexico Governor and presidential candidate Gary Johnson released the following statement following President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

“I applaud the President’s optimism. I too am an optimist. But I have a real problem with basing that optimism on what government has done over the past 7 years and what President Obama wants it to do in the future.

He says that anyone who says the economy is in decline is peddling fiction. We can quibble over economists’ numbers, but it doesn’t take an economist to know that continuing to add to the national debt is bankrupting us – and that debt has doubled on his watch, aided and abetted by Congress.

He talks about medical advances, after having done everything in his power to kill medical innovation with new taxes and layers of bureaucracy. His signature promise of better care and lower cost simply isn’t happening.

He speaks of civil rights and those who have resisted expanding them. This from a President whose Administration continues at every turn to dismantle the 4th Amendment, spy on American citizens and plant the government in every aspect of society.

To be fair, there have been steps in the right direction. Meaningful criminal justice reform is taking hold across the nation. More and more governments at all levels are finally seeing the failure of the War on Drugs. But far too many Americans are still being victimized by militarized police and heavy-handed laws.

My assessment of the State of the Union is quite different than President Obama’s, and much simpler. I see a national debt that will hit $20 trillion by the time he leaves office. I see a government that was too big and too overreaching when he took office, and has gotten more so under his watch. And I challenge anyone to show that we are today safer after years of war, failed nation-building abroad and foreign policy chaos.

I’m optimistic, but not because of anything the government is going to do for us. I’m optimistic because it is clear America is tired of too much government and too little freedom, and appears poised to demand change – a different kind of change than we have gotten over the past 7 years.”

Gary Johnson served as Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, and ran for President in 2012 as the candidate of The Libertarian Party. Gov. Johnson is a candidate for the nomination of The Libertarian Party for President in 2016. More information on the Gary Johnson campaign can be found @ https://www.garyjohnson2016.com/

Gallup:”Democratic, Republican Identification Near Historical Lows”

PRINCETON, N.J. — In 2015, for the fifth consecutive year, at least four in 10 U.S. adults identified as political independents. The 42% identifying as independents in 2015 was down slightly from the record 43% in 2014. This elevated percentage of political independents leaves Democratic (29%) and Republican (26%) identification at or near recent low points, with the modest Democratic advantage roughly where it has been over the past five years.

Full report on the rise of Independent voters in America @ The Gallup Organization: http://www.gallup.com/poll/188096/democratic-republican-identification-near-historical-lows.aspx?g_source=Politics&g_medium=newsfeed&g_campaign=tiles

The results of the latest poll show declining loyalty to the two major parties. The growing importance of independent voters provides fertile ground for a third party challenge in 2016

Eland:”U.S. Should Stop Supporting Likely Saudi War Crimes”

The United Nations top official on human rights recently told the U.N. Security Council that the U.S.-supported, Saudi Arabian-led coalition of Sunni nations fighting Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen bore a disproportionate responsibility for attacks on civilians. Since the civil war in Yemen began in March 2015, more than 2,700 civilians have been killed and dozens of hospitals and schools have been attacked, leading the United Nations to warn of violations of international law.

The problem is that the United States is supporting the Saudi-led coalition’s air strikes by providing intelligence for targeting and also by refueling coalition’s war planes, thus extending the range of their bombing. Domestically, Saudi Arabia has a horrendous record on human rights that it is exporting to Yemen via bombing civilians there. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein exacerbated the Sunni-Shi’ite division throughout the Islamic world, and the war in Yemen is actually a joust for influence in the Persian Gulf between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran, which are bitter regional rivals

Full commentary by Ivan Eland of The Independent Institute @ http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=8635

Chris Christie:”I will shoot down that plane!”

At the Republican debate on National Security, Wednesday December 15, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called for a no-fly zone over Syria, and committed to enforcing it with brutal force. Wolf Blitzer posed the question: if a Russian plane is flying over Syria, would you want to shoot it down? Governor Christie gave an emphatic response:”I would shoot down that plane!”

To clarify, Governor Christie is not likely to fly a combat plane and actually shoot the plane down himself. Like all the other Republican candidates on the debate stage, Governor Christie has no experience of military service. He does not know how to fly a combat plane, and it is not clear that any American combat planes can support that much weight in the cockpit. Governor Christie just wants to sound tough.

Christie did not explain why America is authorized to order a no-fly zone over Syria. Congress has not declared war on Syria, and no one is advocating a declaration of war on Syria, even as they talk of declaring war on ISIS. As Sen. Rand Paul pointed out, Russian planes are flying over Syria at the request of the Syrian government and at the request of the Iraqi government which was installed after American troops overthrew the Saddam Hussein regime. Shooting down a Russian plane is a recipe for a new world war.

During the Cold War, America never shot down a Russian combat plane. Even after Soviet aircraft shot down Korean Airliner KAL 007, neither the United States nor the Republic of Korea responded with military action. Making such a pledge amounts to more chickenhawk droppings, the like of which littered the debate stage on Wednesday.

Sen. Marco Rubio talked of asserting American leadership, apparently through political interventionism backed by threat of military force. His baby face has probably never seen combat, except maybe the Bush/Gore recount battle of 2000.

Sen. Ted Cruz talked about “carpet bombing Isis” and making sand glow in the dark. In the 1960s there was a rash of airplane hijackings by people who wanted to go to revolutionary Cuba. Does Senator Cruz think that a proper response would have been to make Cuba glow in the dark?

Governor Kasich wants to “give Russia a punch in the nose.” Is he going to take a leave of absence from running Ohio’s government to go fight Russia? Probably not.

And Carly Fiorina wants to “bring back the warrior class” including Gen. McChrystal and Gen. Petreaus. Apparently she thinks the Jihadis don’t have enough weapons. The biggest accomplish of Gen, Betray-us when he was in charge of security in Iraq was to lose track of 157,000 guns. Not sure how that made Iraq safer, or why Carly Fiorina thinks these people knew what they were doing. McChrystal, Petreaus and the others she mentioned created the mess in Iraq that has led to the rise of the Islamic State. But Ms Fiorina wanted to sound tough – a chickhawk among the chickenhawks.

If the Republicans cared about America, they would take the clowns who were on stage Wednesday night, put them on a bus, and send it to the George Washington Bridge – and we can hope that Christie’s underlings have learned from him how to close down that bridge till the election is over and these people cannot do as much harm.

Donald Trump: an Old-Time Republican After All

Some perceptive observers have looked at Donald Trump’s history, and questioned his commitment to the Republican Party. He has been a Democrat and an Independent; he is friendly with the Clintons, and he once considered a third party run for President.

Odd bird that he is, The Donald has perched in the Grand Old Party. and he is gathering a big nest of committed followers, with his call for mass deportation and registering Muslim Americans.

Donald Trump’s call for mass deportation of illegal immigrants and their families envisions a massive government program – he is not satisfied with Mitt Romney’s reliance on the initiative of individuals to self-deport.

The harshness of his rhetoric has drawn condemnation, but building a campaign on fear of immigrants and hostility toward Mexicans is not a new idea for Republicans. Pete Wilson was re-elected Governor of California in 1994 with TV ads that showed Mexicans crossing the border, with a voice-over that said “They just keep coming.”

Nobody talks about Pete Wilson anymore. Few people talk about the California Republican Party, no longer competitive in America’s largest state.

Donald Trump has floated the idea of registering Muslims in a government database. To be fair, he has not committed to the idea. This idea is not new either, but the antecedents are in Europe, not America. Pick your abstraction – government registration of non-Christians, or government registration of Semites – Arabs are, as are Jews. The idea is repulsive, an inheritance from its ugly forebears.

Recently Mr Trump has proposed a temporary ban on Muslims immigrating to America. The idea of a religious test for immigrants has been condemned by Speaker Paul Ryan, Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu, and others. Obviously unenforceable, it would seem to go against the Constitution’s ban on religious tests.

Such an idea has never been implemented as government policy, but in the 1890s Republican orators raged against “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion” as they sought votes from native born Protestants. When Republicans denounced “Papism” it was not aimed at all Catholics, but at the hordes of Irish who came to the country in the post Civil War period. Other Catholics were welcomed into the Republican Party, including Italian Americans in New York City and wealthy Catholics along the eastern seaboard.

With his recent willingness to entertain the idea of internment camps for Muslims, Donald Trump invokes the legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt. At the beginning of World War II, President Roosevelt ordered the internment of Japanese residents – many prohibitied from citizenship by the 1923 immigration law and earlier “oriental exclusion” acts – because of fears that they owed loyalty to the Emperor of Japan. This act by a Democrat President was supported by California’s Republican Governor, Earl Warren, but has since been repudiated by a bipartisan majority in Congress, which voted reparations to decendents of the Nisei.

Donald Trump’s proposals to create a totalitarian state to deal with the threat of terrorism, or of people crossing the border to seek paid work, have driven up his poll numbers. Currently, as of mid-December, Trump is polling at 35% of Republican voters. Conservative voters who truly believe in limited government, and Republicans who remember that Ronald Reagan welcomed immigrants and favored peace and trade with the Middle East will need to look to other alternatives in November of 2016.

NBC Report:Netanyahu Rebukes Trump over Comments on Muslims

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is rejecting Donald Trump’s remarks about banning Muslims from entering the United States, saying that Israel “respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens.”

“Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world.”

Full report from NBC News @ http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trumps-muslim-comments-draw-rebuke-netanyahu-n477141

Chapman:”Hillary’s Appetite for War”

The United States has been at war every day since October 2001, when we invaded Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. Never in our history have we engaged in hostilities abroad without interruption for so long. But if Americans are weary of it, you can’t tell it from our politics.

If they were, Republicans would not be vying to show their willingness to use force against Russia or Syria or the Islamic State. More pertinent still, Hillary Clinton would not be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Democrats were proud to nominate Barack Obama in 2008 on the strength of his opposition to the Iraq War. But anti-war credentials no longer count for anything in Obama’s party.

The president himself is partly to blame, having inured his followers to the notion that the United States can’t extricate itself from foreign conflicts (see: Afghanistan). But Obama has also refused to be panicked into reckless military action against Syria, Russia or Iran. Compared with what his critics demand, his steps against the Islamic State have been cautious and small-scale.
Full column by Steve Chapman @ Reason https://reason.com/archives/2015/11/16/hillarys-appetite-for-war