Another Suggestion to Wes Benedict

To: Wes Benedict, Executive Director of the Libertarian Party

Subject: Another Idea for the LP Store

Hi Wes,

I had written to you shortly before the election saying that the LP should start selling T-Shirts and bumper stickers saying “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Gary Johnson.”  I had cause to regret that immediately after the election when it became clear that the margin of voters who voted for Johnson in certain states could have won the election for Clinton.  I calmed down once everyone on social media had vented and come to the realization that if the choice was between X and Donald Trump and Donald Trump had at least an even chance of winning, then the race was already lost.  Even so, “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted Libertarian” seems like it would best appeal to the Nicholas Sarwark contingent that just wants to make liberals cry.  Mind you, if ticking off liberals was the only thing that mattered about voting, Donald Trump WOULD have gotten a popular vote majority.

So while “Don’t Blame Me” is still a good idea, I think I have an even better one.

I’m sure you’ve seen this picture:

We should sell this with the caption: “BE THIS GUY – VOTE LIBERTARIAN”

I think it would have more universal appeal, and be a more direct way of making the point.



Fuck You, CNN

So in the course of everybody Monday-morning quarterbacking The Election, I saw this one thing on Facebook from CNN titled “How Gary Johnson and Jill Stein helped elect Donald Trump.”

Let me just print out the link, cause it took almost 20 minutes to find this article on CNN’s CRAPPY search engine.

This is basically another review of the point that “if all of Jill Stein’s voters and half of Gary Johnson’s voters had gone to Clinton” she would have won Florida, and Michigan, AND Pennsylvania.

Which does of course assume that it violates the laws of God and Reality to vote for someone to vote for someone other than a Republican or Democrat. Which assumes that Hillary Clinton actually earned the votes of the public. Which she did not.  Which assumes that it was not more critical that 44.4% of the voting age population did not turn out AT ALL.  Which assumes it didn’t make a little bit of difference that 42% of white women voted for TRUMP.  White women. Isn’t that Hillary’s demographic? Isn’t that like 42% of the turkeys voting for Thanksgiving? I think liberals will agree with me when I look at that New York Times graphic and say “WHAT THE FUCK???”

And while we’re at it, all you liberals who wanna guilt-trip me over voting for Gary Johnson: Would it make you cry more if I accepted your premise that NOT voting for Dolores Umbridge is the same as choosing Voldemort? Fine then. I voted for Trump. (I voted for Johnson.) I ELECTED TRUMP. (Y’know, even though Clinton won my state anyway.) In fact, I killed the Lindbergh Baby. AND Ned Stark. You happy now?

Just the other day, a hardcore conservative Christian friend on Facebook posted that “Nevada would have went to Trump if he had received the votes that Gary Johnson received. Colorado would have went to Trump if he had received the votes that Gary Johnson received. New Mexico ditto. Minnesota ditto. Maine ditto. Popular vote total ditto.” And then he went, “I am glad that your (Libertarian) votes didn’t allow Hillary to win, but that last entry would at least have kept some of her supporters from being so disruptive.”

And I wrote: “Thank you so SO much. I am going to bring up this point EVERY SINGLE TIME some liberal wants to read me the riot act cause I voted for Gary Johnson. Because we all know that if Hillary had won the Electoral College, your side would be calling me an Antichrist and their side would be buying me a beer.”

But of all the statistics, there’s one we haven’t gone over: According to their Wikipedia entry, as of 2015, CNN was available in over 96 million households in the United States. Officially, as of April 2016, CNN is no longer a news network.  CNN was simply one of the most prominent media outlets to start covering Donald Trump’s campaign as an actual political decision and not a cheesy publicity stunt, a decision that many people have cause to regret, possibly including Donald Trump. They were of course, not alone. Les Moonves, CEO of CBS was famously quoted during this campaign as saying that Trump’s presence in the campaign “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”

CNN, as opposed to the more openly liberal MSNBC or the openly conservative Fox, hired the Trump sycophant Jeffrey Lord as a regular discussion panelist, basically as the house organ of the Trump campaign. In an profile from Vanity Fair,  Lord said he had gotten the job after Trump taped an interview with Anderson Cooper in July 2015. “According to Lord, “Trump says something to the effect that, ‘Every time you have me on, you have someone following me, one of those Bush guys, who hate me. Why don’t you put on one of those guys who likes me?’” (CNN declined to comment when asked to confirm the story.) Soon after, Lord was on air. And within months, he was the only Trump supporter on regularly with people like David Axelrod, James Carville, and Ana Navarro—people whom Trump himself called “killers,” always trying to bury Jeff. “Those panels, those are horrible panels. I feel so sorry for Jeffrey Lord,” he once told a rally in Davenport, Iowa.” The article later mentions an episode caught on camera: “One recent evening, as Lord and his CNN colleagues were on air discussing the Republican convention, his cell phone rang behind his desk. As Cooper gave him a strange look and tried to keep the cameras on the other panelists, Lord says that he listened to an irate Trump, fuming that the rest of the panel was criticizing his convention. “You tell Anderson Cooper,” Lord recalled Trump saying. Seconds after, Trump hung up and the cameras panned back to Lord, who grinned at Cooper: “Well, Anderson, as a matter of fact, I’ve just spoken to Donald Trump, and he has a message for you!”

CNN more famously hired as panelist Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, whom Trump let go after being charged with simple battery against a Breitbart campaign reporter.  Lewandowski was still under the non-disclosure agreement he’d signed as part of Trump’s team, and as a CNN commentator was still receiving severance pay from the Trump campaign.

But according to one of your staff, CNN, it was Jill Stein and Gary Johnson that put the republic in danger.

WE did this? Not YOU??

You did make certain ideologies unacceptable. Followers of right-wing classical liberalism might as well be the last believers in a hokey old religion. Democratic socialists are just kooks. But Trump calling Mexicans rapists and drug smugglers? Saying that we need to ban immigrants on the basis of religion or national origin? “Great for ratings.”

But WE did this?

After all the free publicity you gave that tailored orangutan and all you have done (over the years) to make third-party candidates unpersons?

How many more people watch CNN than voted for Johnson and Stein? How many CNN viewers even know who Jill Stein is? They certainly wouldn’t have found out watching CNN campaign coverage.

Suck my big Mwamba, CNN. I am never watching you again.

There is now a greater-than-zero chance that Donald Trump will start World War III – most likely cause the dictator of North Korea hit his hands – and just as Nazi Germany started World War II and ended up losing, we will lose, because while we, like Nazi Germany, have military and technical superiority, we, like Nazi Germany will end up pissing off almost the entire rest of the planet. And once it’s over and the allied coalition occupies our nation, they will have to find the least radioactive city in North America to stage the next Nuremberg Trials. And when they do they are going to round up every surviving member of the Trump Administration along with every surviving executive of the mainstream media, and put them on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity, just as the Allies ended up doing with publisher Julius Streicher.

Because while free speech is as close to an absolute as we have in America- and that DOES include what the Left calls “hate speech”- there is no requirement or obligation on the part of a news outlet or other corporation to give free publicity to a race-baiter who has been credibly accused of sexual misconduct, and there is no obligation on the part of a broadcaster to legitimize such a demagogue by treating his opinions as though they deserved a public hearing, as though we had not already rejected such opinions long ago as toxic to a humane society, as if we had not already fought wars to put such philosophies into the ground, and as if they deserved more credence than the opinions of libertarians and democratic socialists, simply because the wannabe fascist in question is an entertaining buffoon who’s good for ratings. And when you actively promote and endorse such positions, you have abrogated your responsibility as a news medium (to the extent that you are one) and you are complicit in whatever comes to pass.

Fuck you, CNN.

Was I Wrong?

Blame me. I voted for Gary Johnson.

That was not enough to cause my state of Nevada to go for Donald Trump in the presidential election. But it must be stated: In Florida, Hillary Clinton lost the state by a margin of 1.4 percent- when Libertarian Gary Johnson got 2.2 percent of the vote. Trump won Michigan by about 0.3 percent- and Johnson won 3.6 percent. Pennsylvania, crucial to Clinton and what’s left of the Democrats’ working-class base, went for Trump by 1.1 percent of the vote. Gary Johnson got 2.4 percent of the vote there.

In other words, you have the “Blame Nader” 2000 election scenario again, although this time based on facts. And a margin not nearly as close.

What’s amazing is that believe it or not, it’s not like the Libertarian Party wasn’t trying to HELP. Not only did Gary Johnson give non-answers to direct questions from the press, his running mate Bill Weld went on Rachel Maddow’s show to “vouch” for the character and record of Hillary Clinton, something the press gave a lot more attention to than Weld’s more frequent speeches vouching for his own candidate. Of course that in itself may have been telling.

Trump’s wins were not entirely due to racism (though that’s not the same as saying that they didn’t have A LOT to do with racism). What pisses me off about this election is not only that liberals were right about the third-party factor but that Michael Moore was right about anything.

A lot of people out there are downright PISSED at me and people like me. And you have a right to be pissed. I cannot speak for other Libertarians. But I have to answer the question: Why did I not vote for Hillary Clinton?

Policy issues weren’t that important. In theory, I ought to sympathize with Republicans more than Democrats. But since I’ve seen Republican government in practice, I have no respect for their theory. I care more about getting things done. I am not a “progressive.” But I would have voted for Bernie Sanders over Trump. Hell, I would have voted for President Obama if he were eligible, rather than Trump. Because Sanders and Obama, like Clinton, know things, and Trump doesn’t. But Sanders and Obama can also make people believe in them. And Trump, whatever you think of him, can do that too. Hillary Clinton cannot.

Why did I not vote for Hillary Clinton? Because I had to wonder why I should be confident about her if liberals weren’t. Because their arguments for her were scared and defensive. Because the only partisan defense on her mendacity was that every politician has to present a public position versus a private position, that they all have to glide on the truth- avoiding the repeated messages, even from the Left, that that is exactly what Americans are sick and tired of in politics. Because even throwing ethics out, she was a horrible campaigner and could not present herself as an effective politician on the level of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. Because she could not do the easiest thing in the world: Convince people that she (or anyone) would be a better president than Donald Trump. Because this election was simply the absurd resolution of the dynamic of “you HAVE to vote for the candidate you don’t like to stop the candidate you like less.” Because if that’s all liberals had, and they were asking me, as a non-supporter, to give Clinton more enthusiasm than they were willing to muster themselves, then this thing was already lost.

For those carping that Libertarians’ desire for “purity” cost their candidate the election, I point out again that Clinton won my home state despite my not voting for her. Would I have felt more “pure” if I’d discarded my preference, done the pragmatic thing, voted for Clinton, and lost the election anyway?

I knew damn well that my position meant taking a risk. Was I wrong to take the position I did? Was my observation of events incorrect?

People are frantically asking themselves, “Why is it so hard to convince people that Hillary Clinton would be a better president than a pathological liar and sex maniac??” And I thought, “Well, they thought her husband was okay.”

A while back, I said:

“The ultimate lesson here, if you’re a Democratic partisan, is that the Republicans are living in a glass house built next to a rock quarry. But Democrats need to keep in mind that all those Millennial voters (who for some reason they can’t understand, don’t trust Hillary Clinton) were not paying attention to this scandal factory right from the beginning. And if Bill Clinton is not as relevant to this election as Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton is a good deal more relevant than Ken Starr, Dennis Hastert or any other of the conservative meanies from the Whitewater period who either got in their own sex scandals or had to retire from public life while Clinton continued to become more important.

So if Democrats don’t understand that after all this time, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is undermined by the same defensive tactics that she used to defend her husband long ago, then they can’t understand why voters loathe both her in particular and this political system in general.”

Was I wrong?

I said on more than one occasion:

“In any case, objections to the Clintons from the Right are of decades’ vintage, and there has been plenty of time to go over them, and most people who aren’t conservative dittoheads have dismissed them. But these days the most strenuous objections to Hillary Clinton are from the Left. The last time she ran in 2008, most Democrats had no objection to Mr. And Mrs. Clinton; they thought Bill was a great President and Hillary was a great Senator. They just thought Senator Obama had more to offer as a presidential candidate. But this year people are not objecting to Benghazi, or Vince Foster. The attacks on Hillary Clinton are coming from leftists offering critique of the last eight years of economic policy in comparison to the Clinton’s Administration’s push of NAFTA and its results on the American and international economies. In short, they’re a good deal more relevant to the average person than what the National Enquirer or Sean Hannity thinks of Hillary Clinton or her husband. And again, Clinton’s sense of optics is flawed: She is no more willing to reveal what she said in her speeches to Goldman Sachs than Trump is willing to reveal his full tax returns.

… Hillary’s best selling points are that she is a more experienced candidate who represents the sensible establishment position. But the reason Trump ate the Republican Party and Sanders almost snuck up on Hillary is because after eight years of Obama, (however much better he is in comparison to McCain and Romney) there’s no more hope and people have no more change in their pockets. Obama won because people were sick of the old way of doing things, and now they’re that much sicker. Trump is running as the opposite of the establishment mentality and Clinton is running as the representative of it. And it’s going to be that much more of a problem because of who she is. Obama at least has some ability to think outside the box. Whereas Hillary Clinton not only doesn’t think outside the box, she practically is the box. ”


“Part of the issue is that when “first past the post” means that only two parties have a realistic chance of support, the issue of “can this candidate win?” takes almost exclusive precedence over what should be at least as important a question: “should this candidate win?” One of the problems with that mentality, as Hillary Clinton is discovering, is that not wanting Candidate B to win is not the same thing as wanting Candidate A to win. ”

Was I wrong?

When people asked, with good reason, why anyone on the Left would not vote for Clinton, I said:

“It’s pretty clear that just from the standpoint of not making things worse, a center-to-Left voter ought not to choose Trump, or even to abstain from voting Clinton if she is the most realistic way of stopping Trump. But on economic issues at least, a lot of voters are seeing “progress” only in drips and drops, often despite and not because of the Democratic Party. This is why a lot of them supported Bernie Sanders in the first place. And the way (the nomination) ended up is part of why they still don’t trust Clinton.”

Was I wrong?

And just on Election Eve I said:

“I say the same thing now I (said about the 2000 election): It isn’t the fault of third-party voters if your candidate sucks and nobody likes them.  It ought to be that much more damn obvious when the stakes are that much more dire.  If it’s a simple choice of Hillary Clinton versus Orange Julius Caesar, and you STILL have people hedging their bets, what the fuck does that TELL you??

It tells me that Democrats have pinned their hopes and this country’s future on Hillary Clinton, who symbolizes everything that Americans are sick of and do not want in American politics, a career politician who has all the appeal of soggy shredded wheat and would be that much less likely to end the war in Syria.”



Was I wrong?

Election Night Preview

So.  It’s almost Election Day.  And on social media, I’ve been getting a lot of flak for voting for Gary Johnson, or at least not being rah-rah-sis-boom-bah for Hillary Clinton.  “It’s Good vs. Evil!  It’s the end of civilization itself!  Don’t you understand the stakes?  Don’t you remember Bush vs. Gore???”

Well, YES.  How the fuck could I FORGET Bush vs. Gore when liberals have spent the last 16 years reminding me of the 2000 election because they need to rationalize the fact that Democratic candidates other than Obama have been both unpopular and incompetent?  I say the same thing now I say then: It isn’t the fault of third-party voters if your candidate sucks and nobody likes them.  It ought to be that much more damn obvious when the stakes are that much more dire.  If it’s a simple choice of Hillary Clinton versus Orange Julius Caesar, and you STILL have people hedging their bets, what the fuck does that TELL you??

It tells me that Democrats have pinned their hopes and this country’s future on Hillary Clinton, who symbolizes everything that Americans are sick of and do not want in American politics, a career politician who has all the appeal of soggy shredded wheat and would be that much less likely to end the war in Syria.

She just happens to have the good fortune of running against Donald Trump, who has exacerbated all the demographic issues the Republicans identified in their “autopsy” of the Romney campaign, adding onto that a schism within the Republican Party itself.  Either some Republicans didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to be appealing to racism all along, or they were okay with that but just don’t like being so tacky.

In retrospect, the main lesson Donald Trump seems to have learned in life is that he can get whatever he wants and do whatever he wants and act as boorishly as he wants because neither society nor reality has ever forced him to pay the consequences for his incompetence and malice.  And I suspect that in the back of his mind, he realizes this.  And so the only way Trump can justify his inflated self-image is to attain the office that actually would make him all-powerful and unaccountable.

So here’s my prediction for tomorrow: Sometime around 7 Pacific/10 pm Eastern, Trump will come out to make his speech.  He will be preceded by his entourage of family and sycophants.  And then he will waddle towards the podium with that Resting Trump Face of his.  And then he will take the mic and fire off so many profanities in the course of two minutes that he will make Andrew Dice Clay look like Pope Francis.  And then he will mount the podium and bellow for ten seconds.  Then he will lock eyes with the nearest male reporter, jump off the podium, land on the reporter feet first, then pull down his pants and shit on the guy’s face.  And then he will run down the nearest female reporter, force her to her knees, and skullfuck her for the twenty seconds or so it takes him to reach climax.

And that’s if he wins.

Review: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is the latest film in the Marvel Studios series of comicbook adaptations, in this case featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as Marvel’s “Sorcerer Supreme”.  The character is probably lesser-known than Iron Man and Spider-Man, but still has a serious following as the Marvel Universe’s primary mystical hero.  When the character was first introduced (by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in the anthology comic Strange Tales #110), he was a vaguely Chinese-looking mystic with a Tibetan guru (The Ancient One) and a four-color morality in keeping with a superhero dedicated to fighting supernatural evil.

In this regard, the interesting thing about Doctor Strange was his origin story, which wasn’t revealed until five issues after his debut.  As it turned out, Stephen Strange was a doctor, in fact one of the top surgeons in New York, but was consumed by ego and greed, refusing to see patients who couldn’t pay his fees.  (Cumberbatch has a history of playing arrogant geniuses, so this was great casting.)  But Strange’s career ended when he got in a car accident that caused nerve damage to his hands which prevented him from doing surgery again.  Such was his reputation that he still could have made a decent living as a consulting surgeon, but his pride refused to let him work under another doctor.  He wasted his fortune on fruitless leads until at the end of his rope he traveled to the Himalayas in pursuit of “the Ancient One” and a miracle cure.  It was also at this point in the comics that Strange met his future archenemy, Mordo, who was the Ancient One’s main student.  Strange refused to believe in magic until he discovered that Mordo was using spells to try to murder the Ancient One, and when Strange tried to warn the old man, Mordo used another spell to silence him.  Strange realized that he would be helpless against Mordo unless he learned magic himself.  So he petitioned the Ancient One to become his new disciple, and at that point the archmage revealed that he was aware of Mordo’s evil but preferred to keep him at his monastery where he could watch him.  But from that point, Doctor Strange became the Ancient One’s new pupil, and eventual successor.

The movie changes this story significantly.  Not only did Marvel Studios famously “whitewash” the Ancient One from an Asian man to the Caucasian Tilda Swinton, Mordo (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a polite, low-key disciple who ends up being Strange’s main friend in the monastery as he begins mystic studies.  The relationship between Strange, Mordo and the Ancient One is complex and changes significantly over the movie.  In the meantime, Strange gets involved as the mystic community has to defend against Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), an evil ex-pupil of the Ancient One whose exposure to the Dark Dimension has given him the worst case of pinkeye in the Multiverse.  Other characters include Benedict Wong as… Wong (who in this version is not Strange’s butler but one of his tutors) and Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer, Strange’s colleague and ex-lover, who doesn’t really figure into the main story but is symbolically significant in being Strange’s only emotional connection to the human world, even when he was still a surgeon.

The movie is not especially original – the fabulous “space folding” effects were more famously used in the movie Inception, although not so extensively.  And the story is a bit familiar in being a Hollywood version of “the Hero’s Journey” where an arrogant person is brought low, forced to adapt to a new environment, and then turns out to be a Chosen One who learns great abilities that take other students many years to master.  But it’s all very well done and very well-acted.  And in terms of the broader universe, just as Guardians of the Galaxy introduced a whole space-faring civilization of humans and other races that the people of Marvel Earth are totally unaware of, Doctor Strange introduces the mythology and magical elements of the Marvel Comics to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which of course means that in the end the movie ties into the larger narrative that will lead to Marvel Studios’ “Infinity War.”  So as both an action movie and a comicbook movie, I highly recommend it.


And remember: Driving while distracted can be hazardous.  Please drive responsibly.

If I May Make A Suggestion

Letter from James Gillen to Wes Benedict, Executive Director of the Libertarian Party

Subject: The LP Store

Dear Wes,

As a card-carrying Libertarian, I’m glad to get notices and ads from you, but I’m sorry that I am not able to buy the election/promotional materials you advertise for the Johnson/Weld campaign.  I am in fact so broke that I wasn’t able to afford the parking fee to attend the Gary Johnson event at the MGM in October, where you were handing out the materials.

In any case, I’m afraid there isn’t much to advertise.  You see, I did early voting in Nevada, and I did vote for Gary Johnson.  I had wanted to vote Libertarian all the way down ballot, but there was one problem: There WERE no other Libertarian candidates.  For the Senate, for my Congressional District, or my State Assembly district.  We DO have candidates for the Independent American Party, and they’re the guys who want the Bible taught in schools.  I think that in the next series of elections, especially the midterms, you would be much better served by putting such resources you have into recruiting candidates for offices OTHER than President, so I can tell people that there are other people to vote for.

If I may make a suggestion for the immediate future: Do you have any T-Shirts or bumper stickers saying “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Gary Johnson”?  I predict those will be VERY popular in the next 12 months.



 (UPDATE: Response from Wes Benedict:

Soon, we’ll be offering a sticker that says “Don’t blame me, I voted Libertarian”. When you see us promoting it, send me an email and I’ll send you a free one.

We’ll be encourage people to run for more Libertarian offices in 2018. This year we do have people running in 600 offices, but not many are in Nevada.

Thanks for your interest.

Wes Benedict, Executive Director Libertarian National Committee, Inc.

Thanks, Wes!)