Friday, May 26, 2017

Thanks For Asking! -- 05/26/17

This week's AMA thread and the podcast to follow are brought to you by Paul Stanton, who has his own question for you:

In tiny Deland, Florida, the city commission wants to give half a million dollars to a private developer to renovate a bad investment. Do you know which cronies your city commission is giving your money to?

Ask me anything (yes, anything) in the comment thread below this post. I'll answer in comments, on the podcast, or both.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 129: An Apple a Day Keeps You one of Tim Cook's Favorite Customers

This episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast is brought to you by Paul Stanton, who encourages you to ignore celebritarians like me and get involved in local politics ...

In this episode: Local politics :: Thanks For Asking! (RIP Chris Cornell; Trump freak show; Nazis in the woods; stupid LP resolutions; climate change; F*cking limey libertarians; Marshall McLuhan revisited) :: Putting my platform shoes back on.

Why Did Florida Became a State?

Apropos of the controversy over "Old Joe" (yes, I attended the public to-do yesterday, on the side of those who wish to see a piece of history preserved, and I'm not unhappy with the Alachua County Commission's decision to hand the statue over to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the organization that put it up in the first place), I think the question in the title is worth thinking about.

Florida became a state because the adjacent slave states simply couldn't tolerate a territory next door where escaped slaves, displaced Native Americans and poor whites looking for land to settle were actually getting along. White supremacy could not be maintained near such a place, so something had to be done. And that something was to bully Spain into giving up Florida so that slavery and racial segregation could be imposed.

Not that it worked especially well. Multiple wars had to be fought over it.

You may have heard that the Seminoles were an "Indian tribe." Well, not exactly. The word "Seminole" is a corruption of the Spanish word cimarrón (an adjective describing someone as "savage, especially if he was domestic and has fled to the countryside").

The Seminoles were a melting pot of displaced Creek Indians, free blacks (especially escaped slaves), and people of mixed race (Osceola, the most famous Seminole leader, was born Billy Powell and was of Creek, Scots-Irish, and English ancestry). The horror! Again, something had to be done. And that something was three wars through which the US Army carried out the project of exterminating Creeks, imposing chattel slavery on blacks, and chivvying poor (landless or subsistence farmer) whites into identifying their interests with the interests of the landed plantation aristocracy.

Accomplishing all that was the purpose of Florida becoming a state.

The payoff:

After half a century of war to impose the plantation system on Florida and dupe poor whites into supporting it, those poor whites took up arms to defend that system in the most terrible conflict in American history, and many of them died doing so. 

But when the war was over, the whole south, not just Florida, faced yet another existential (to the rich white landed aristocracy) threat. Once again, racial harmony threatened to break out. Once Reconstruction formally ended, the aristocracy immediately went to work to reimpose its rule. Two elements of that rule:

  1. Racial segregation; and
  2. Ritual glorification (including through the erection of public monuments) of "The Lost Cause" with the purpose of getting those poor whites, many of them widowed or orphaned in service of said cause, back with the program.
Make no mistake about it: Jim Crow and Old Joe are fraternal twins whose shadow kept the south impoverished, both materially and morally, for more than half a century. We're only now just starting to recover from the legacy of white supremacy.

And that's precisely why I don't want to see the statue destroyed or moved somewhere away from public view.

Santayana was right: "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

The Party (IngSoc) in Orwell's 1984 was right too: "Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past."

Those who think that melting the statue down or whatever would accomplish anything in the fight against racism are misguided. Keep the statue. Use the statue to teach the real history of the matter -- especially to those who come to it in veneration for those whose deaths it commemorates. They have the right to mourn their ancient dead -- and to come to understand why, and in the service of what, those deaths occurred.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Libertarian Party of Florida: Two Things

Thing #1: Thanks to the Libertarian Party of Florida's executive committee for unanimously confirming me as the state's alternate appointee to the national platform committee at their Sunday night teleconference meeting!

As the alternate, I get to participate in the committee's discussions/debates, and to attend the physical meetings. I only get a vote in the event that the state's main representative, Frank Caprio, can't make it to one of those physical meetings and I am there (that's the main reason to have an alternate). My understanding is that there are usually two such meetings -- one between now and the national convention, and one at the beginning of the convention. I do intend to be there for both, finances permitting (and y'all know how I stretch a dollar -- I see a couple of bus rides and shared rooms or park benches in my future). And I'll try to represent the state well in any case. Thanks for the opportunity

Thing #2: At the state convention I proposed, and the delegates passed, a bylaws amendment as follows:

The Executive Committee shall use roll call voting on all substantive motions. On all roll call votes, the vote of each individual Committee member shall be recorded in the minutes.

During Sunday night's conference call, someone -- I forget whether it was secretary Suzanne Gilmore or rules committee chair Tony Sellers -- suggested that I be asked to write something up on exactly what the hell is meant by "substantive motion." So:

There are two kinds of motions in a meeting utilizing parliamentary procedure: "Procedural motions" and "substantive motions."

"Procedural motions" are motions relating to how the meeting is run. Adopting the consent agenda and accepting the minutes of the previous meeting are procedural motions, as is a motion to adjourn. "I move the previous question" is a procedural motion. "I move to suspend the rules to consider ..." is a procedural motion. "I appeal the ruling of the chair" is a procedural motion. And so on and so forth.

"Substantive motions" are motions intended to result (if passed) in the organization taking an action or adopting a policy. "I move to appropriate $500 for the purchase of brochures" is a substantive motion. "I move to suspend/revoke the membership of [insert name here]" is a substantive motion. "I move to affiliate [insert county organization here]" is a substantive motion.

I hope that clears things up. But I'm going to throw in a little more here to shed light on the intent of the change and help the chair run things smoothly vis a vis votes.

When the chair moves to to a vote on a motion and asks for its adoption "without objection," if there are no objections, in my opinion that would constitute a unanimous roll call vote -- it is known that each and every member voted "aye" on the motion (fulfilling the amendment's intent) without them all having to individually say so. Only if someone objects would the secretary have to go to the work of calling each member by name and getting an "aye" or "nay."

The intent of the amendment as I offered was simple: If there's an issue (a substantive, not procedural, issue) on which the executive committee is divided, the members deserve to be able to know who voted which way on that issue.  That way we know whether or not our representatives are, um, representing us in terms of the reasons we voted for them, and from that whether or not we should re-elect them when the time comes.

There was some concern that this change would lengthen the already very long executive committee meetings. I understand that concern, and have two things to say about it:

First, I suspect it may have the opposite effect. I believe that executive committee members will, because of the extra time it takes to conduct a roll call vote, likely be more inclined to act unanimously on issues that aren't of earth-shattering importance to them, instead of quibbling over the minor details of things that nobody will remember six months from now.

And if that's not the case, well ... yes, I know the members of the executive committee are volunteers. But they volunteered for a job that entails accountability. If the already long meetings go ten minutes longer because there are ten roll call votes instead of ten voice votes, it won't kill anyone and it will be worth the time in terms of creating information that's of value to the membership.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Apropos of Libertarian Veterans Turning Into a Herd of Whiny Snowflakes ...

Over at Facebook, Michael Weems reposted something I wrote some time back. It does seem applicable to current events in the Libertarian Party. So what the hey, why not re-use it as a blog post?

Who Got Served?

Thomas L. Knapp, 1985
Marine Corp Recruit Depot San Diego
As a veteran of the US Marine Corps (1984-1995, “honorably discharged”), I’ve always found the obligatory “thank you for your service” remarks somewhat grating. It’s difficult to explain why, but a Google News search returning 19.1 million media results in the last 30 days on the dual terms “veterans” and “service” indicates a need for re-examination of the whole concept of “service” as it relates to military affiliations.

What is “service?” When someone signs a contract and joins a state’s uniformed armed force, who is serving whom? The answer isn’t as simple as one might think. “Service” is a layered thing in even its simplest forms.

For example, think of  the “servers” at your favorite restaurant. They serve at least two masters: The restaurant’s owners on one hand, you on the other. The market justification for this is that by serving the customers well (satisfying their desire for food served quickly, efficiently and courteously), the servers also serve the ownership well (satisfying their desire for maximum profits). And there’s no question that service is what they’re engaged in. They really are servants, not masters, at the beck and call of  (and subject to pleasure or displeasure of) customer and restaurateur alike.

Military “service” is different. The soldier, sailor, airman or Marine certainly serves the military force. Likewise, that military force certainly serves the state which created and operates it. But those are both instances of service to ownership. There are no “customers” in any real sense. The alleged “customers” — the tax-paying citizens of the state in question — are themselves servants rather than served.

In the case of the United States, the only war in its 240-year history which even came close to qualifying as an instance of “service” to the taxpayers was the American Revolution. Every subsequent conflict, from the Whiskey Rebellion to the (just now supposedly wrapping up) occupation of Afghanistan, has been fought entirely in the interests of the state and the ruling class. To the extent that I’ve studied history, this appears to be true of all other states and their wars as well.

If anyone should be thanking anyone else for “service,” it should be me thanking all of you who paid my salary, bought my food, provided my medical care, subsidized my travel and covered the costs of numerous other benefits of military “service,” even though nothing I did during that “service” could plausibly be construed as having been done in your defense or for your freedom.

It’s unseemly that the direction of appreciation should be reversed, with you continuing to believe I did something for you. And since you really have little choice in the matter (other state “servants” stand ready punish you if you don’t pay for said “services”), it seems to me that what you’re due from me is not thanks, but sincere apology. I’m sorry I took the money that the state took from you. By way of restitution, I hope to help you abolish the state which took it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Coincidence? Or Pseudonym?

Bry anCap lan*

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Thanks For Asking! -- 05/17/17

This week's AMA thread, and the podcast to follow, are brought to you by Paul Stanton. Until and unless he tells me to change the sponsor message, it is: Quit wasting your time listening to celebritarians and go get something done in your local political environment.

Ask me anything (in the comment thread below this post) and I'll answer (in comments, on the podcast, or both).

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 128: This Machine Kills Boredom

This episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast is brought to you by Paul Stanton, who wants you to stop wasting time on celebritarians like me and get involved in local politics. Good advice.

In this episode: Thanks For Asking! (Blogrolls; "White Nationalists" in the Libertarian Party; Knapp The Censor; I Want To Ride My Bicycle; Cold War and Anarchist Reading Recommendations) :: I Stand With Arvin.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

One Thing I Don't Understand ...

There seems to be a certain amount of unhappiness with the Trump administration's tendency to go from denial to at least semi-confirmation (with claimed justification) in seconds flat. For example, here's Rod Dreher at The American Conservative:

Yesterday's story: It didn't happen.

Today's story: If it happened, I had a right to do it.

Well, that's confidence-building.

Yeah, I understand the sentiment. However, let's remember how the Clinton/Obama version went:

First story: Nope, didn't do that.

Second story after evidence emerges: Nope, never happened.

Third story after incontrovertible evidence emerges: Don't think it happened and if it happened it didn't happen the way the evidence says it happened.

Nth story when it becomes obvious there's no way out of admitting it happened: [Sullenly] Mistakes were made ...

So in addition to being rather, well, brazen, I think there's also a case to be made that Trump & Co. are more speedy and efficient at getting to the Big Reveal.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Confirmed: DOES pay

Disclaimer: So far as I know, the link to my profile does NOT result in a commission, bonus or any other compensation for me if you decide to sign up. Just telling you about it to pass along some scoop. There's a "sign up" link at the bottom of the profile. Do with it as you please.

Anyway: An hour or so ago, I noticed that I had $4.xx worth of Bitcoin sitting in my account, "earned" in perhaps five minutes of "work" (filling out my profile, answering a couple of questions, agreeing to accept a job offered through the service).

The big question: Could I actually GET that Bitcoin, or was yet another one of those "earn money online!" scams that disappears when it's time to fork over?

The big answer: Yes, I actually got the Bitcoin (or, rather, the transaction is in the blockchain, although not yet confirmed -- you know how Bitcoin is these days unless you fork over insane miner fees). You can check for yourself -- here's the bulk transaction at BlockCypher. There are four outputs. Mine is the one for 0.002xxxx BTC.

What sells is the ability to contact people of some claimed expertise/field (and based on my experience, the claims are examined/verified to some degree), either individually or en masse, and actually receive replies. For example, you can contact me through that profile link at the top of the post for a buck. Or you can "Get replies from 33 Andreessen Horowitz partners for $50 per reply." The contact groups are heavy on tech and finance.

Neat idea, in my opinion. Whether or not it will fly, who can say? But I'm already making money with it and kind of hope to continue doing so. What I may do is start offering email consulting in some specific field, with as the payment collection end of things. You want to talk to me about X, it costs $Y per email (with emails of unreasonable length not being replied to and therefore not being paid for).

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I Await News of the Inevitable Arrests

Per ABC News:

Dozens of people gathered in New Orleans on Thursday morning to witness the removal of the Jefferson Davis Memorial, the second of four Confederate-era monuments that are set to come down.

The statue, erected in 1911 in honor of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, was taken down at around 6 a.m. Thursday by workers wearing masks and helmets.


The city began the process of taking down the statutes late last month, starting with the removal of the monument to the Battle at Liberty Place, which Landrieu said was put up to celebrate the murder of police officers by white supremacists.

Workers in that removal crew also wore masks and the area was guarded by officers and snipers.

Per the New Orleans Code of Ordinances, Section 54-313, "Masks or disguises in public":

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to use or wear in any public place, a hood or mask or anything of the nature of either or any facial disguise of any kind or description, calculated to conceal or hide the identity of the person or to prevent ready recognition of such person.

(b) This section shall not apply to the following:

(1) To persons participating in any public parade or exhibition of any educational, religious, or historical or amusement character given by any school, church, civic, fraternal or carnival organization or public governing authority or to persons in any private residence club or lodge room; or

(2) To persons participating in masquerade balls or entertainments, to persons participating in carnival parades or exhibitions during the periods of Mardi Gras or Spring Fiesta festivities, to persons participating in the parades or exhibitions of minstrel troupes, circuses or other dramatic or amusement shows, or to masking on Mardi Gras up to the hours of 6:00 p.m. It shall be unlawful for any masker to refuse to furnish his true name and street address and to temporarily remove his mask on Mardi Gras whenever requested by any police officer in uniform.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Comey's Out

I guess he's either fully served, or else failed to fulfill, whatever purpose Trump had in mind in keeping him on as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Clinton cult is celebrating, of course. But I doubt they'll be celebrating for long. After all, now Comey's free to write the tell-all book in which he fully explains the events leading up to, and following, and painting him into the corner of, his "well, of course she's a felon, but we can't prosecute her because she's Hillary Clinton" moment last July.

Real World Multiple Choice Quiz on Borders

The options:

  1. Open borders; or
  2. Open borders and an expensive, intrusive, brutal police state that doesn't and can't actually "secure" them
Pick one.*

*Since this is a real world quiz, the utopian fantasy option of "secure" borders is omitted.

All Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

The next episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast will not be out tonight. After last weekend's convention trip I am still tired, hoarse, and behind on other work. On the other hand, you did get two short special episodes out of the weekend. I'm not yet sure if I'll jam a full episode in somewhere this week, or just take back up normal podcasting again next Tuesday.

If you're really jonesing for podcast goodness and you're about to threaten to cut me, I highly recommend listening to the current episode of The LAVA Flow Podcast instead. And make sure to hang on until the end for a chance to win the coolest prize evah.

Monday, May 08, 2017

My Comment to the FCC on Net Neutrality Repeal

The Federal Communications Commission is now accepting public comment on its pending proposal to repeal Tom Wheeler's 2015 Title II "Net Neutrality" power grab. The Electronic Frontier Foundation offers an online tool that makes it easy to comment. They pre-fill the comment form with pro-Net-Neutrality language, but you can ditch that pre-fill verbiage and say anything you like. Here's my comment -- feel free to use any of it that you like in putting together your own:

Thanks to the FCC for taking up the matter of "Net Neutrality" repeal.

Title II "Net Neutrality" is a dangerous power grab -- a solution in search of a problem that doesn't exist, with the potential to become an engine of censorship (requiring ISPs to non-preferentially deliver "legal content" invites the FCC and other regulatory and legislative bodies to define some content as "illegal").

Title II "Net Neutrality" is also an instance of regulatory capture through which large consumers of bandwidth (such as Google and Netflix) hope to externalize the costs of network expansions to accommodate their ever-growing bandwidth demands. To put it differently, instead of building those costs into the prices their customers pay, they want to force Internet users who AREN'T their customers to subsidize their bandwidth demands.

Please go through with the repeal of Title II "Net Neutrality."

Yes, I am Already at Work on Proposals for Next Year's LPF Convention, Part 2

Proposed Amendment to the Bylaws of the Libertarian Party of Florida

Article IV, Section 4 of the Libertarian Party of Florida's bylaws is hereby amended as follows:

Parliamentary Authority Robert’s Rules of Order The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure as most recently revised shall be the party's parliamentary authority for all matters not covered by the Constitution, Bylaws and Standing Rules.

Yes, I am Already at Work on Proposals for Next Year's LPF Convention ...


Article VII of the Libertarian Party of Florida's Constitution is hereby amended by the addition of Section 3 as follows:

a. At the first executive committee meeting following the party's Annual Business Meeting in 2019, and every 10th year thereafter, the executive committee shall appoint a Governing Documents Textual Review Committee chaired by the party's Vice Chair and additionally consisting of six LPF members in good standing.

b. The Governing Documents Textual Review Committee shall work to perfect the spelling, punctuation and language of the party's Constitution, Bylaws and Platform so that they most clearly and concisely, with as little reference to external documents as possible, and without changes of meaning, reflect the intent of the existing versions. The committee will report its work in the form of new draft versions of the Constitution, Bylaws and Platform by the deadline for committee reports to the following Annual Business Meeting.

c. The Annual Business Meeting held in the year following the appointment of the Governing Documents Textual Review Committee will, voting separately on each draft version, adopt or reject each document without amendment, as follows:

i. Consideration of each draft document shall be the first orders of business on the Annual Business Meeting agenda relating to the content of the existing version of that document.

ii. A minimum of 30 minutes of debate/discussion time for each draft document shall be placed on the agenda and the previous question may not be moved, nor discussion ended, during the scheduled time if delegates awaiting an opportunity to speak have not been recognized.

iii. A 2/3 vote of all delegates voting shall be required for adoption of each draft.

iv. Upon adoption, a draft document shall replace its predecessor document with immediate effect.

LPF Convention Recap, First Pass

I'm back from the Libertarian Party of Florida's 2017 state convention. I wish I could say I'm rested up from it, but I'm not quite there yet. Still, I'd like to get some thoughts down on what transpired.

First, a huge THANK YOU to those who financially supported me in making this trip! There were things I wanted to accomplish, some of which worked out and some of which didn't, but I think the effort was worthwhile regardless.

And THANK YOU to the convention for consenting to a moment of silence in memory of Libertarian Hero R. Lee Wrights.

So, here's what happened vis a vis my own agenda:

The Battles I Fought and Won

  • I proposed the following bylaws amendment: "The following section shall be added to Article III, Section 4 of the bylaws ('Meetings of the Executive Committee'): The Executive Committee shall use roll call voting on all substantive motions. On all roll call votes, the vote of each individual Committee member shall be recorded in the minutes." It passed, and I think that's a good thing when it comes to transparency and accountability.
  • I opposed the following language, which was proposed as part of a batch platform amendment: "We oppose using state and local resources to enforce federal immigration laws against foreign nationals who do not pose a credible threat to security, health or property." That language was divided into a separate motion from the rest of the batch, and then tabled.

The Battles I Fought and Lost

  • I ran for the position of Director At Large 1 on the party's executive committee. I didn't expect to win, and I didn't win. Congratulations to Alison Foxall, the incredibly hard-working incumbent who DID win. My purpose in running was to make one particular point about the party standing up for itself when threatened with frivolous/malicious litigation over its public communications, and I got the chance to do that. My impression is that quite a few delegates agreed with me on the matter and hopefully that will affect the executive committee's actions in the future.
  • Thanks to my friend Paul Stanton, who nominated me for appointment to Florida's slot on the national platform committee. The delegates chose Frank Caprio of the Orange County affiliate to fill that position. Congratulations to Frank. I will continue to work on the platform as I have been so far -- as an advocate, and next year from the convention floor.
The Battles I Didn't End Up Fighting
  • I was encouraged by several Florida Libertarians to run for a seat on the executive committee as my region's representative. I wasn't inclined to do so, and after informally discussing the matter with delegates from the region, my perception was that they were neither unhappy with the incumbent  (Ryan Ramsey) nor inclined to replace him. God knows I'm not afraid to pick a fight (I'm sure some people think I pick way too many), nor am I afraid to lose a fight. I just wasn't convinced that there was anything worthwhile to be gained by picking this fight. Congratulations to Ryan.
  • I proposed (prior to the convention through the party's mechanism for doing so) a lengthy bylaws amendment relating to suspension/expulsion of members. When that motion arrived on the floor, I withdrew it. Obviously this bears explanation, so:
    1. The convention was pressed for time, and this was an item which would have required lengthy discussion and almost certainly would have run out the clock without a vote. I didn't want to be the asshole who kept the delegates in session for longer than necessary without getting the job done anyway.
    2. At least one other amendment came up on which this proposal would have had bearing. Pressing it would have made things even more complicated, and that other amendment also made it clear that there is a load of work to do in getting the next convention's delegates to think about the nature of "membership" in the party, what that entails, and what powers the executive committee actually has (the bylaws are at variance with both the party's Constitution and Florida law). I plan to come to next year's convention with a more comprehensive fix to bring the party's rules into line with reality, and I plan to have thoroughly explained that fix and why it's necessary before then.

I expect to have more thoughts on this weekend's happenings, but frankly I'm still too worn out to get those thoughts together -- so I'll come back with another post later. In the meantime:

Saturday, May 06, 2017

The KN@PP Stir Podcast: Cocoa Beach Special #2

And a second quickie special brought to you by Paul Stanto,n who wants you to stop listening to celebritarians and get more involved in your local politics ...

Party office election results from the Libertarian Party of Florida's convention in Cocoa Beach!

The KN@PP Stir Podcast: Cocoa Beach Special #1

Sponsors: Paul Stanton wants YOU to get involved in local politics, and Darryl W. Perry (of Free Talk Live) and Michael W. Dean (Freedom Feens) gave me swag to hand out from my sponsor table -- so guess which two shows are in heavy rotation on the laptop at that table, too?

The first of hopefully several quickie specials from the Libertarian Party of Florida's 2017 convention. News: Augustus Invictus enters the race for state chair, I'm now facing two opponents instead of one in my campaign for Director At Large 1, and a platform amendmentI oppose has been broken out from a larger block of amendments for a separate vote.

Help Lay a Hero of Liberty to Rest

I was privileged to work with, and enjoy the friendship of, R. Lee Wrights for 16 years. His passing is a loss beyond reckoning for the freedom movement.

One of the side effects of dedicating a life to fighting for liberty is that money can't be the priority and is usually in short supply when it comes to things like planning for final expenses. Please help lay Lee to rest in a manner befitting the hero he was.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Not EXACTLY an Emergency, But ...

... Tamara's work schedule has made it impossible for her to attend this weekend's Libertarian Party of Florida convention with me, and difficult for her to transport me to same. The Alachua County Libertarian car pool is fully stuffed as well.


  • If you are passing through Gainesville on your way to Cocoa Beach on Friday and would like someone to help pay for your gas, I can be that someone. Just give me a yell on Facebook or via the contact form here, and we'll work it out.
  • Alternatively, I might be able to grab a bus as far as Orlando and hook up with you there in the early afternoon for the final bit to Cocoa Beach.
  • I'm pretty sure my hotel room will have two beds, so anyone who's arriving without having already booked lodging is in luck. Contact as per above.
I'm going to this thing, even if it means abandoning most of my luggage and bicycling for 17 hours straight. But I'd rather not do that.

UPDATE: I just went and bought a bus ticket to Orlando, as I figure A LOT MORE people will be passing through there than through Gainesville. And since I'll be getting into Orlando at around 8:30am on Friday, I'll be available to hook up with anyone coming through at pretty much any time.

It's about 50-60 miles from Orlando to Cocoa Beach ... $20 sound good to pay for your gas and time making a slight detour to the bus station as you come through? If that's not enough, we can talk it over.

Thanks For Asking! -- 05/03/17

This AMA thread, and the podcast to follow, are brought to you by Paul Stanton, who wants you to stop listening to celebritarians and get more involved in your local politics. Great sponsor message from someone who walks the walk (and drives the drive to visit local Libertarian Party affiliates all over Florida too)!

In fact, it's serendipitous, as I've been meaning to mention another good friend's (okay, I've only met him once and corresponded with him a few times, but he's a great guy and "good friend" sounds better than "great guy I've only met once and corresponded with a few times") campaign for mayor of Knox County, Tennessee.

Local politics can exercise far more -- or at least more direct and often more troublesome -- influence over your life and the lives of your neighbors than the things that go on in Washington or in your state's capital city. It can also be both more bruising and dirty. And it's a place where Libertarians can have a larger impact than we usually enjoy at the higher levels.

So anyway, short sponsor message, long addendum, and this is supposed to be an AMA thread, not a stem-winder.  So ask me anything in the comment thread below this post and I'll answer in comments, on the podcast, or both.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 127: Methinks He Doth Podcast Too Much

This episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast is brought to you by my obsession with getting you to sign up for YouGov.

In This Episode: Thanks For Asking! (Francy pants; libertarian country startups; bad political music; why aren't Arabs/Muslims and libertarianism more closely associated?) :: No rant, just a couple of random musings on the upcoming Libertarian Party of Florida state convention.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Libertarian Party's Immigration Plank vs. the Dallas Accord

Brief refresher, for which Wikipedia will do:

The Dallas Accord was an implicit agreement made at the 1974 Libertarian National Convention to compromise between the larger minarchist and smaller anarcho-capitalist factions by adopting a platform that explicitly did not say whether it was desirable for the state to exist.

Plank 3.4 of the Libertarian Party's platform:

We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.

The text highlighted in red implicitly calls for the continued existence of the state. That's one of the reasons (there are others) it needs to go.

The text highlighted in yellow preserves the ability of minarchists to propose state action vis a vis immigration -- all they have to do is claim that their plans are "reasonable" -- without committing the party to the idea of the state.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Glass Maybe an Eighth Full: The Trump Tax Proposal vs. The MITE

The White House released its one-page summary "tax reform" proposal today. MarketWatch has the full text.

The proposal calls for the standard deduction to be doubled.

In my opinion that's a good thing and kinda sorta in the spirit of The MITE. More on that below.

The rest of the stuff is, at best, orthogonal to The MITE proposals and there may be some real poison pill stuff in there.

For example, Trump proposes reducing the current seven tax brackets (10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and 39.6%) to three (10%, 25% and 35%). That's cool from a simplification standpoint, and of course the current top-bracket taxpayers are going to like it. But how many of the current 15% payers are going to get at least some of their income pushed up into the 25% bracket rather than down to the 10%? Ditto current 28% or 33% income falling into the 35% bracket instead of the 25% bracket? Devil, meet details.

A quick read of the proposal indicates that it is shaped, to a high degree, by a weird combination of protectionist macho flash and supply side voodoo. I'm not particularly impressed. But anything that lowers taxes in general is, in my opinion, a move in the right direction. And at least the idiotic "Fair" Tax didn't make it into the proposal. So anyway ...

Increasing the Standard Deduction vs. Increasing the Personal Exemption

I favor increasing the personal exemption because doing so leaves room for individuals to lower their taxes even more with itemized deductions. Raising the standard deduction instead of the personal exemption decreases such opportunities. Not all MITE supporters agree with me on that -- personal exemption versus standard deduction was a matter of debate when we put together the project.

As a practical matter, though, most of the people at the lowest income levels don't itemize even at the current standard deduction level -- they don't have a lot of money to spend on specifically deductible things like charitable contributions and home mortgage interest in amounts that would come to more than the standard deduction. So increasing the standard deduction, which they were going to go with anyway, does fulfill part of The MITE agenda of "bottom-up tax cuts."

On the other hand, this seems to be a one-shot plan, rather than a proposal for continuous tax-cutting. Like certain categories of spending, increasing the income tax liability floor should become "non-discretionary" -- that is, either the personal exemption or the standard deduction should go up every year, substantially and automatically, unless Congress specifically acts to stop the process. That way we don't have to fight over that particular tax-cutting methodology every year. It just happens.

Also, the administration's proposal does not address the heavily regressive FICA taxes with a "floor" so that poor males of color can stop subsidizing the retirement and health care costs of wealthy white women. That should be a priority.

Of course, today's summary is just a first shot across the "tax reform" bow. The administration will be hitting Congress with more specifics soon -- and Congress will be hitting right back. So if affecting policy by lobbying politicians is your kind of thing, it's time to call your congresscritters.

Thanks For Asking! -- 04/26/17

This week's AMA thread and the podcast to follow are not exactly brought to you by Muslims for Liberty, but you should check them out anyway.

Ask me anything (yes, anything) in the comment thread below this post. I'll answer in comments, on The KN@PP Stir Podcast, or both.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What I Have to Understand ...

... is not this or that or the other excuse for Trump whenever he does something clearly stupid or evil.

And I'm tired of hearing those excuses, usually prefaced with some form of "what you have to understand is ..." from people -- especially libertarians -- who voted for Trump because he isn't Clinton, and are now making those excuses for him when he does exactly what Clinton would have done.

If it was Clinton doing it, those same people would be rattling the rafters with denunciations of how stupid and evil it was.

What I have to understand is that making excuses is exactly what they're doing, and that the reason they're doing it is that they don't want to admit they fell for the scam. It's embarrassing and hard to admit. But that's what happened and the alternative to admitting it and moving on is to decide that it's more important to not be seen as having made a mistake than it is to stick to a principle.

Words Fonz Cant say by Arthur-H-Fonzarelli

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 126: Please Refrain from Masticating the Henway

This episode is not exactly sponsored (if you would like to sponsor an episode and get yourself, your site, your cause, your product or your service featured for $5.99, hit the contact form), but I am promoting YouGov -- take surveys, get rewarded (and as you can probably guess, there are also rewards for referring others). I've been doing this for some time and they DO deliver the promised rewards (in my case, a $15 Amazon gift card).

In this episode: Thanks For Asking! [monkey-wrenching alt-right comments at IPR; why free market types fall for GOP lies; COINTELPRO in the LP?] :: Calling for supportive vibes for a hospitalized comrade.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Suddenly a HeadTalker Campaign

I've done this before. It's fun and it works if the idea is to get the word out.

Please visit the HeadTalker page for this campaign.

There, you'll be asked to lend your "social media reach" to the cause (the cause being "call your congresscritter" campaign for The MITE).

What does this mean? It means that you're allowing HeadTalker to post a message ("Talk to your US Senators and Representative about tax cuts from the bottom up!") to your social media accounts at a specified time, assuming the campaign gets the minimum number of supporters (25).

You give that permission one service at a time -- Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, LinkedIn -- and can do whichever ones you want and not do the ones you don't want to do.

It's easier than it sounds and it there is no charge.

As of this minute the campaign has 11 supporters. It needs 25 to be a go, and it needs them by 5pm Eastern time next Tuesday.

As of this minute, the campaign would reach 925,312 people with Tweets, Facebook posts, etc. if it was go time. Of course, that number will go up as more supporters with more media reach pile on.

Thanks in advance.

Strike BEFORE the Iron is Hot!

Long-time readers know I've been preaching a particular bit of incremental tax reform for a long time (more than a decade). Yes, taxation is theft and I want to end it. Yes, I want to repeal the income tax and replace it with nothing, etc. But if "perfect" is not going to happen yet, there's nothing wrong or unprincipled about pushing for "better" in the here and now.

Some of you may have noticed that last year I got together with a few others, libertarian and non-libertarian, to start a grassroots initiative for a raising the personal exemption and creating a "FICA Floor." It's called The MITE. Late start and not a lot to show for it in the 2016 elections, but the next chance to push it is arriving:

Next week the White House plans to announce the broad strokes of its tax reform plan.

If you're interested in getting incremental policy reform, and getting that reform by hitting up congresscritters (I know that some of you are interested in neither, and that's just fine), now is the time to call up those congresscritters and put the buzz in their ears.

"Tax reform" as such may or may not happen this year, but it's certainly going to be discussed and debated.

The MITE proposals should be part of that discussion, and they will be if enough phones start ringing in congressional offices -- and the earlier the better, before the White House gets its own bandwagon out of the garage and onto the road.

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

CNN headline:

USS Carl Vinson fighter pilot ejects during routine flight

Definition of "routine":

adj 1: found in the ordinary course of events; "a placid everyday scene;" "it was a routine day;" "there's nothing quite like a real ... train conductor to add color to a quotidian commute" -- Anita Diamant [syn: everyday, mundane, quotidian, routine, unremarkable, workaday] 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gettin' With The Campaign Material ...

... ordered and on the way. I'm an LPF state convention sponsor, but since I threw the money at them after the deadline for a display ad in the program, I'm having rack cards printed to be inserted instead. Here they are:

Word PSA

If  a thing is unique, that thing is the only thing of its kind.

It is not "very unique" or "more unique" or "most unique."

It's unique, or it isn't.

That is all.

Thanks For Asking! -- 04/20/17

Instead of seeking a sponsor for this episode, I'm going to "sponsor," in a manner of speaking, a great song and video by my long-time friend, comrade and co-worker Steve Trinward. This week, the Thanks For Asking! video goes at the top instead of the bottom of the thread ...

Good stuff, Steve!

Alrighty, then. Ask (me anything) and it shall be given you (in the form of answers in comments, on The KN@PP Stir Podcast, or both).

BTW, I don't know why it never occurred to me before to simplify linkage to the Thanks For Asking! threads, except maybe that I'm kind of slow and dense. I've done that now: These threads will henceforth be tagged (or, in parlance, "labeled"), and will point at the label archive. That way I can actually say the link on the show, etc.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 125: I'm the Pedantophile Your Mother Warned You About

This episode is brought to you an anonymous sponsor whose initials are Darryl W. Perry and who wants you to visit (and especially Art.FreeRoss.Org) and help fund the appeal of American political prisoner Ross Ulbricht, sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the crime of operating a web site.

In this episode: It's April 19 :: Thanks For Asking! (I ran for platform committee and all I got was this damn podcast episode; Clayton Hunt calls a cargo cultist to my attention; hopefully Jacob G. Hornberger is tanned, rested and ready to keynote another Libertarian National Convention; The Gospel of St. Cheeto[TM] Benito) :: I'm running for (Party) office.

Note to Paul Craig Roberts: It Wasn't Deregulation that Brutalized Dr. Dao

A friend points out this bizarre piece by Paul Craig Roberts, bemoaning "deregulation" and blaming it for, among other things, the recent incident in which Dr. David Dao was brutally assaulted and dragged off a United Airlines flight.

For those KN@PPSTER readers who are not familiar with Roberts, he was Ronald Reagan's Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in 1981 and 1982.  Here's his Wikipedia bio. For those KN@PPSTER readers who are familiar with Roberts, chances are you came across his stuff on e.g. and may -- may -- have assumed that this meant he was an Austrian or some other free market type economist. Well, no, as this piece demonstrates.

Not a full Fisking by any means, but let me take apart some of Roberts's complaints, keeping in mind that as a youngster my own experiences with air travel and paying phone bills began in the mid-1980s, a few years after "deregulation" of both began.


"Today four airlines control 85% of the market. A single airline can gain control over a major airport and thereby gain control over pricing out of the hub. We now have unregulated monopoly pricing. Average prices are higher today than they would be under the former regulatory system." [Roberts links to this HuffPo piece to substantiate that last claim]


The next major airport I come across that is controlled by a single airline will be the first. Even the little airport in my town of Gainesville sports two (Delta and American). Jacksonville, 90 minutes or so away, has eight airlines operating out of it. Orlando-Sanford,  a couple of hours away, seven. Orlando International, FORTY.

I don't fly a lot these days, but my wife and kids travel once or twice a year from Florida to the midwest, generally at a round-trip cost of less than $200 each. Tamara is able to search for the best deals, find them and book them in minutes. That's thanks to deregulation of telecommunications, which Roberts complains about elsewhere.

The HuffPo case that prices would be just as low if the airlines had remained regulated is based on a price curve trend. Which is fine, except that it assumes nothing else has changed. And lots of stuff has changed. The simple fact is that more people fly more often for less money than they did before deregulation. Even if deregulation wasn't responsible for that, it would not follow that deregulation is responsible for bad things happening.

The bad things that happen in air travel today are, so far as I can tell, largely a function of War on Terror security theater. The TSA lines mean you have to arrive at the airport earlier, submit to sexual assault before getting onto the concourse, pay insane prices for food in an area that you can't freely leave and return from, and then risk getting dragged off the airplane by thugs if you fail to instantly do as ordered by anyone wearing a uniform, or if the air crew or your fellow passengers just don't think you look right.

Now, to telecommunications, where we reach the truly bizarre:

"Under regulated AT&T, telephone service was excellent at a very low price. Compare today the poor service and high price for the unregulated local or regional monopoly."

Real telecom deregulation happened in the 1990s, although Ma Bell was broken up in 1982. Today, I pay about as much for phone service to one of my many choices as I did to AT&T in the mid-1990s. The differences:

  • I'm paying in inflated dollars that are worth much less.
  • Back then, I got local service and then paid by the minute for long distance. Today, unlimited long distance is included.
  • In addition to the local telephone line monopoly, I can get phone service from the local cable monopoly, or via VOIP from various companies, or from my cable/Internet Service Provider (I have several to choose from), or from any number of cell providers, at various price points for various levels of service. In fact, the last cell phone I had (before one of my clients sprung for service through their group plan) cost me a whopping $6.67 a month to keep operational (the phone itself cost about that much, too), and I never used all of the minutes that came with the plan.

So, what is Roberts's main complaint with deregulated telephony? "Today a telephone in the home is mainly used by telemarketers to invade your privacy."

Well, there's a way to avoid telemarketers: Look at the Caller ID and don't answer for people you don't know. Just let the telemarketers go to voice mail.

I don't know if Roberts has noticed, but while Caller ID and voicemail were in development prior to deregulation, it was after deregulation that they really took off -- and I strongly suspect a big reason for that was the competition that deregulation made possible. I distinctly recall receiving my first caller ID unit from a long distance company as a bonus for switching from AT&T to them back when you still had to pay for long distance but started being allowed to purchase it from a company other than the local monopoly.

Looping back, Roberts's complaints about air travel become similar -- regulated airlines included meals on their flights, regulated airlines had to let you use your ticket on any airline if the one you bought it from had a problem and couldn't get you where you were going, etc.

I am not as old as Roberts, but I am old enough to remember that neither air travel nor phone service was as realiable, or as cheap, or as competitive, in the 1970s as it is now, with the single exception of the government security apparatus that delays and often brutalizes passengers.

It's April 19

Early on the morning of April 19, 1775, British troops marched out of Boston, Massachusetts (which they had occupied since 1768) with the aim of seizing "Military stores" laid up by Massachusetts militias  in Concord. They were met by those militias in various engagements at Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (now known as Arlington) and Cambridge. By the end of the day, those militias had lost 49 killed, 39 wounded, and five missing, while the British lost 73 killed, 174 wounded, and 53 missing. The American Revolution had begun.

On April 19, 1861, Union troops from Massachusetts, en route to Washington, DC on a mission not too terribly dissimilar to that of the British troops in 1775, came under fire from secessionist sympathizers while switching trains in Baltimore, Maryland. When the smoke cleared, four of the troops and 12 Baltimoreans lay dead.  Apart from one killed and one wounded in a cannon salute accident during the surrender of Fort Sumter a week before, it was the first effusion of blood in America's bloodiest war.

On April 19, 1943, resistance fighters in the Warsaw, Poland ghetto refused to surrender themselves and their fellow Jews to SS-Brigadefuhrer Jurgen Stroop's deportation/extermination force. It took nearly a month for the Nazis to overrun the ghetto (it had only taken them six weeks to conquer France!), murdering 13,000 and shipping more than 55,000 off to the death camps, with Nazi losses in the operation running somewhere between 100 and 300 killed and wounded depending on whose numbers you want to believe.

On April 19, 1993, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation used chemical and incendiary weapons, as well as gunfire, to murder 76 religious dissenters (about 25 of them children), outside of Waco, Texas.

On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh used a truck bomb to murder 168 government workers, visitors, etc. (including 19 children at an on-site daycare center) at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Another Bylaws Motion from the Floor for Next Month's Libertarian Party of Florida Convention:

Submitted moments ago:

The following section shall be added to Article III, Section 4 of the bylaws ("Meetings of the Executive Committee"):

The Executive Committee shall use roll call voting on all substantive motions. On all roll call votes, the vote of each individual Committee member shall be recorded in the minutes. 

The argument for the motion is very simple (and the language, btw, is cribbed from the bylaws of the Libertarian National Committee which, last time I noticed, usually ignores it):

The members of the Libertarian Party of Florida deserve to know how their officers, directors at-large, and regional representatives vote on the business of the party.

When the chair takes a voice vote and rules based on his or her opinion of whether there were more yays than nays, (s)he's probably usually correct (if obviously or even possibly wrong, someone will usually object and ask for a roll call).

BUT: Unless a member has paid close attention to who spoke for or against a motion, or recognizes voices really well, there's not much way to tell which way each member voted. That makes it harder to judge the performance of any given member in view of possibly re-electing that member, or electing that member to another position, or just discussing the member's vote with the member.

I also suspect that some members might vote differently on certain matters if they knew that their votes would be recorded and that they might have to justify those votes later when asked about them. It's easy to do the easy, but wrong, thing if nobody is going to know, isn't it?

If You Are One of My Financial Supporters ...

... you should have already received a link to a post that won't appear here on the blog for another 24 hours:

"Note to Paul Craig Roberts: It Wasn't Deregulation that Brutalized Dr. Dao." It's a response to this post at Roberts's "Institute for Political Economy."

If you are one of the aforementioned supporters and I somehow missed sending you the piece, please hit the contact form and let me know. I don't produce nearly as much "supporter advance exclusive" content as I should, but I certainly want you to get what I do produce!

If you are not one of the aforementioned supporters and would like to be, a range of options are available to you over in the sidebar.

Monday, April 17, 2017

And Another Thing

Sent moments ago:

Subject: Notice of Candidacy
From: Thomas Knapp
To: selection [at]

To whom it may concern:

It is my intention to seek election to the position of Director At Large (1) at the Libertarian Party of Florida's 2017 state convention.

Best regards,
Thomas L. Knapp

A Motion for the Libertarian Party of Florida's State Convention

Submitted to the Secretary in writing this morning:

I move to replace Article II, Section 6 of the bylaws, in its entirety, with the following:

a. Any member of the Executive Committee may be removed, by a two-thirds vote of the whole Executive Committee, for violation of the non-aggression oath or for malfeasance in office.

b. The Executive Committee may, by a two-thirds vote of the whole Committee, publicly censure, and disassociate the Libertarian Party of Florida from, the statements or actions of any member if those statements or actions tend to bring the Party into disrepute or discredit it before the people and voters of Florida, or violate the non-aggression oath. The member may appeal the censure/disassociation in writing addressed to the Executive Committee within 30 days. If an appeal is made, the delegates to the next state convention shall review the appeal and the votes of two-thirds of voting delegates shall be required to sustain the censure/disassociation.

Here's the existing Article II, Section 6:

Any member of the Libertarian Party of Florida, or member of the Executive Committee, may be suspended by two-third vote of the executive committee for violation of the Non-Aggression oath. Upon suspension of a member of the party or a member of the Executive Committee, the officer or member may appeal the suspension in writing within 30 days. If no appeal is made by the suspended officer or member, they shall be removed from office, and have their membership revoked, upon expiration of the 30 day appeal period. If an appeal is made, the executive committee shall review the appeal and vote upon removal at the next regularly scheduled executive committee meeting. A three-fourths vote will be required to remove the appealing suspended officer or member. Should the vote fail, the suspension will be lifted and membership and/or Executive Committee status shall be fully restored. Should the three-fourths vote pass, membership shall be revoked for a period of one year, at which time the member shall be eligible to reapply for membership as defined in Article 2 of the Constitution, or by majority vote of the delegation at the next annual meeting. After a member has been reinstated, should that individual’s membership be revoked as outlined above a second time, the revocation shall become permanent, and that individual will no longer be eligible for membership in the LPF.

My argument for this amendment is as follows:

The provision allowing for "suspension" and "revocation" is defective in two ways.

  1.  It is of no great effect. Political parties are organized under state law. If you are registered to vote as "LPF" in Florida you are, for all intents and purposes other than convention participation as a delegate (for which your certification or non-certification of the non-aggression oath can be verified), an LPF member. If you decide to run for public office as a Libertarian and pay the filing fee or submit the requisite number of signatures, you will be on the ballot in the LPF primary for that office. And if you win that primary (or if there is no primary because no one else files for the same office), you will be the Libertarian Party of Florida's candidate for that office. The suspension/revocation procedure is, to put it as bluntly as possible, mere preening and puffery. It does not actually protect the party in any way.
  2. On the other hand, it seems to carry such weight that members of the Executive Committee are apparently -- on the evidence of the motion to invoke it with respect to Augustus Invictus, voted down at the Executive Committee meeting of April 16 -- hesitant to actually use it.
This motion dispenses with the fiction that LPF actually has the power to bar anyone from participation in the party as a voter or as a candidate for office, while retaining its power to remove misbehaving Executive Committee members and creating a simple way for LPF to disassociate itself as an organization from particular actions or statements.

I have always considered suspension/revocation provisions -- as well as candidate "vetting" provisions, which I expect to address in another motion -- suspect when it comes to the general membership of a state political party, for the simple reason that state political parties are organized under, and governed by, state law. State Libertarian Parties like to characterize themselves as "private" organizations when they want to do whatever they happen to feel like doing, while simultaneously demanding the benefits accorded "public" organizations vis a vis the ability to put candidates on general election ballots. That's hypocritical, and it tends to produce perverse outcomes.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Everyone Wants to go to Heaven But No One Wants to Die

The Libertarian Party of Florida's executive committee met tonight. Actually they are probably still meeting -- I hung up on the conference call after the two motions I was interested in were handled.

The first motion was a motion to refuse, and refund monies paid for, a sponsorship/ad in the state convention program next month. The sponsor is a publication called The Revolutionary Conservative. The publisher and founder of the magazine is Augustus Invictus.

There were actually sound arguments on both sides of this motion (the best arguments against it had to do with the de facto contractual relationship and the possibility that the sponsors had incurred additional costs in good faith that they would reasonably want to be reimbursed for).

The result: Embarrassingly (if the committee members have the sense to be embarrassed by anything, which I must say I have my doubts about), instead of voting it up or down, the committee decided to avoid taking any kind of position whatsoever and killed the motion with a vote to "postpone indefinitely."

The second motion was a motion to suspend Augustus Invictus's membership in the LPF for one year (that's what the bylaws provide for) on the basis of public threats of murder, clearly with social/political goals in mind, that he made at a debate with Walter Block some time back.

This one was even more embarrassing than the kicking of the Revolutionary Conservative ad can down the road.

EC after EC member said, with faces that I am pretty sure were straight although I could not see them over the phone, that they either 1) doubt that publicly, clearly and irrefutably threatening to murder one's political opponents constitutes a violation of the LPF oath against supporting/advocating initiation of force for political or social goals or 2) doubt that's what he did, even though he did it in front of an audience and was recorded on video doing it.

Some EC members -- mostly the same ones, I think -- expressed a wish that the Augustus Invictus issue would just go away. Not an intention to make it go away by dealing with it, mind you -- just a sort of general feelzesfest that if they click their heels together and whisper "there's no place like Munich" enough times, everyone will forget who and what Invictus is and they won't ever have to grow backbones and handle the situation.

So they voted, effectively, that threatening to murder political opponents is just peachy and that we should all sit down together and sing a round of kum-ba-ya.

And oh, the whining that will transpire when the whole thing flares up again because they decided not to do their jobs this time.

The real sore spot with me is that I know not all of these people are idiots and can't for the life of me understand why their IQs visibly plunge by 50 points or so when it comes to this particular matter.

I am a Tech Laggard

I don't mean to be. Honest. It's just that I start using something and don't really think that much about whether or not it's state of the art until it stops working reliably.

Take, for example, my old D-Link D-601 router. I don't recall how long I've had it, but my guess is at least 5-7 years, and I see on Amazon that it's been around since 2004. So basically it's Bronze Age tech as such things go.

It's been pretty solid, and for a long time. In fact, I had a spare still in the box in case this one ever went bad (I recall finding the model on sale at Micro Center in St. Louis and buying two) ... and a few weeks ago I set it up for a neighbor after I found out that she had been paying Cox Cable $8.99 a month for years "for Wi-Fi," which meant for rent on a router built into her cable and phone modem.

Naturally, right after I gave away the spare router, mine seemed to start acting up more often, with the network just sort of arbitrarily going down for a few minutes, or running slow for a few hours (the wireless network -- the one machine connected by Ethernet cable seemed unaffected).

So, I have this on the way:

It's an ASUS RT-AC1200 Dual-Band Wireless-AC1200 Router. 

My current router runs at a blazing maximum of 150mbps. This one can hit 300 mbps in N/2.4GHz and up to 867 mbps in ac/5GHz ... and yes, I do have several dual band devices. So in addition to improved reliability (and, from the look of those four antennas, improved range), I'm expecting a lot less congestion when four or five computers, one or two gaming consoles, and a streaming media device or two are all trying to do things at once.

I think I saw a couple of routers that claimed even faster speeds, but they weren't on sale for $30.

It's supposed to arrive no later than Tuesday, and from the tracking info I expect it tomorrow.

Andrew Napolitano was Right

There was a bit of establishment outrage, and he seems to have been suspended from Fox News for a week or two, but the Guardian reports that Napolitano wasn't just making stuff up when he cited anonymous sources as claiming that the United Kingdon's GCHQ was the intelligence service at the root of the Trump wiretap scandal (Trump's own initial mention of which also elicited howls that still haven't quieted down even after public confessions from Susan Rice and James Comey that yes, the Obama administration spied on Trump's campaign personnel).

I never did figure out why the whole thing was so controversial. Of course they spied on Trump. They spy on everyone.

Nope, Didn't Make the Cut for Platform Committee ...

... Libertarian National Committee vice chair Arvin Vohra just posted the results of the LNC balloting for platform committee on Facebook.

The LNC chooses five members for the committee.

The first four were Jeffrey Miron, Andy Craig, John K. Focker Jr., and Alicia Mattson, with a tie for fifth place between Adam Bates, Caryn Ann Harlos, Joe Henchman and Aaron Starr. If I am reading the comments correctly, LNC chair Nick Sarwark is reporting that Adam Bates won the run-off.*

I'd say congratulations to those appointed, but it's not like they won a vacation or something. What they won was a bunch of mostly thankless work. So instead of congratulating them I'll thank them in advance for their service.

*Actually, Nick informs me that he wasn't saying Adam Bates won the runoff, he was just tagging Adam to let him know that he was in the runoff. I'm told Caryn Ann Harlos is the fifth LNC-selected platform committee member. Nothing against the other selectees, but I'm happy to see her on the committee.

Friday, April 14, 2017

"One has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment."

The "one" in question being Wang Yi, foreign minister of the People's Republic of China, and the locale in question being the Korean peninsula.

I don't think he's just whistling Dixie. The US Navy's Carrier Strike Group 1 is steaming (so to speak) toward the waters off North Korea. The Chinese regime has the People's Liberation Army on heightened alert and is shutting down commercial flights between Beijing and Pyongyang.

I have a theory on how things are going to go. It's just a theory. This thing may resolve back to the status quo of 1953-2017 after the usual penis length contests. But if it does burst into warfare, here's how I think it will go:

  • The US will not invade North Korea with ground troops. It will instead launch a missile and air war, with any ground combat being pretty much defensive in nature along the DMZ and with a priority on making sure Seoul is neither overrun nor destroyed.
  • The US forces will quickly achieve air supremacy, taking out most of North Korea's air force, air defense forces, and missile capabilities in 24-48 hours.
  • Within 48-72 hours, the Korean People's Army as a whole, including ground forces, will have lost any semblance of battlefield cohesion, but probably not before executing Kim Jong Un and other key regime personnel. Kim's pleas with China to intervene on his side against the US forces will be replaced by North Korean military pleas, and US requests, for ...
  •  Chinese ground troops to move in as a "peacekeeping force" to "restore order," pleas/requests which will be granted. North Korea will quickly go from Chinese client state and all-around pain in the ass to  de facto Chinese province, under the direct control of Beijing. It might enjoy some ceremonial autonomy, but it will no longer actually be an independent player in any meaningful sense.
I would rather none of that happened, of course. But if it's going to be war, that's how I think the war will go. I'm not discounting the possibility that the North Koreans might get off a conventional ballistic missile or two at the South or even at Japan. I doubt that they can or will detonate any atomic or nuclear weapons.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

An Update on YouGov

Not long ago, I put out an affiliate link for YouGov, a site that rewards members for taking surveys (sometimes political, sometimes commercial -- the latter often related to entertainment). Thanks to the two people who used that affiliate link, earning me 4,000 points! Here's that link again for those of you who might be interested.

Shortly before promoting the link, I discovered I had earned enough points to get a $15 Amazon gift card and started the redemption process. Unlike some sites, YouGov doesn't just email a code, it mails a physical card. That was just strange enough that I couldn't be completely sure the whole thing was legit. I wondered if perhaps cards didn't have a habit of getting "lost in the mail" or whatever. But today, I went out to the ol' mailbox, and:

And yes, it's valid -- I've already punched it in and verified that $15 was added to my Amazon gift card balance. So YouGov is legit.

No, it's not a living. I wouldn't even call it a part-time income. But a gift card to Amazon or one of several other online stores every few months just for taking a survey a week or two is certainly better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. So if you're interested, get to it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Thanks For Asking! -- 04/12/17

This AMA thread (and the podcast to follow) are brought to you on behalf of Free Ross Ulbricht, by Darryl W. Perry ...

Darryl asked me particularly to mention Ross's art -- buy a pixel and help fund Ross's appeal while also uncovering the illustration "Two-Faced Tango!"

So, ask me anything (anything!) in the comment thread below this post and I'll answer in comments, on the podcast, or both.

"We're going to shut it down."

That's a gang calling themselves "Libertarians United Against Fascism." What they're threatening to shut down, unless they get their way, is the Libertarian Party of Florida's state convention. And their two demands relating to that threat are designed to be impossible to meet.

Here's their threat in full.

There are two demands, one implicit, one explicit.

The implicit demand is that LPF rid itself of the fascists attempting to take it over.

The explicit demand is that LPF bar those of its members deemed fascists by "Libertarians United Against Fascism" (including members of its executive committee) from the convention.

LPF cannot rid itself of the fascists on its executive committee without having its convention.

LPF cannot have a valid convention while barring members "Libertarians United Against Fascism" doesn't like from participating.

This is not a matter of "Libertarians United Against Fascism" and LPF fighting together against the Augustus Invictus gang.

It's a matter of "Libertarians United Against Fascism" and the Augustus Invictus gang fighting together against LPF.

I don't intend to let either of these thug factions win. I'm coming to my party's convention. Want to stop me? Try it and see what happens, assholes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 124: I Hear That Flying United Airlines from Chicago to Louisville is a Real Drag ...

If you shave, and you probably do here's your chance to get a razor handle and four insanely great blades for $1 (including shipping)!

In this episode: Thanks For Asking! (anyone got some sarin rap for this sh*t sandwich?; libertarian agendas; nationalist entryists; leaving on a jet plane) :: Fly the unfriendly skies! :: Side note: Hit for Brad's take on the United incident as mentioned in this episode.

Opinions and a Questions About Airlines, Contracts, Etc.

You've probably heard about the guy who got dragged, kicking and screaming, from a United Airlines plane in Chicago.

Any way you cut it, the whole incident is bad customer service and bad public relations, and United isn't helping itself by defending what happened and using passive voice to distance itself from responsibility. Instead of admitting "we overbooked the plane" (which may not be the case, see below), the company's statement says "the plane was overbooked." Instead of "we apologize for overbooking the flight and having cops assault a paying customer and drag him off the plane," the apology is for "the overbooking situation," as if that situation was an act of God rather than an act of United Airlines.

Regarding "overbooking," that's an industry practice of selling more tickets than there are seats available on the plane. From what I'm seeing, that is not what happened here. What seems to have happened is that plane was fully booked and full of paying customers when United suddenly decided that it wanted to put some employees on board to get them to Louisville. That's not "overbooking," it's just deciding to steal back some seats they sold to customers and use those seats for their own purposes.

One instrument United is using in defense of ordering an assault on one of its paying customers is its "Contract of Carriage." One note and one question:

The note: The contract section on how oversold flights are handled refers to denial of boarding. But this customer was not denied boarding. He presented his ticket, he boarded the flight, he took his seat ... and then he was ordered off the plane.

The question: Is a contract provision pre-announcing a clearly fraudulent practice binding in any case? I'm interested in reader opinions. Here's mine:

The Contract of Carriage includes the following definition, which is subsequently used in the above-linked section: "Oversold Flight means a flight where there are more Passengers holding valid confirmed Tickets that check-in for the flight within the prescribed check-in time than there are available seats."

If there are 100 seats on a plane and United sells 101 "valid confirmed Tickets," they're defrauding at least one passenger. You bought the ticket. It's "valid." It's "confirmed." Oh, sorry, that seat you bought? So sorry, we sold it to someone else, too.

The practice of "overbooking" is designed to protect and/or boost airline profits based on the likelihood that some people will cancel at the last minute or just not show up for the flight, leaving seats empty and available.

The proper way to handle that is not to sell 101 "valid" and "confirmed" tickets for a flight with 100 seats. It's to sell 100 "valid" and "confirmed" tickets and then offer "standby" tickets -- if a seat is empty due to a cancellation or no-show, the "standby" ticket holder gets on the plane. If there are no empty seats, not.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Regarding the LPF Situation

I posted this to Facebook (and referred to it in several related emails) before waking up enough to think "hey, the blog is probably the best place to archive/reference this."

Hash: SHA256

To whom it may concern,

I've received several emails requesting phone discussions on the matter of the Libertarian Party of Florida's recent capitulation to August Invictus's threat of a frivolous lawsuit unless it retracted an 18-month old press release, my contention that that capitulation represented a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of executive committee members who voted for it, and my call for replacement of all those executive committee members at the coming state convention.

I won't be discussing this matter on the phone, and especially not _privately_ on the phone, for two reasons:

1) Verbal discussions are subject to erroneous recollection; and

2) I am familiar with the tactics Augustus and his supporters use, including but not limited to false and/or selective claims regarding discussions.

The only exception I might (_might_) make for phone calls on the subject would be for open, pre-announced, recorded conference calls, and even that doesn't sound like a good idea.

My strong preference for private discussion of the matter is by email, using PGP-signed messages so that misquotes (accidental or intentional) and decontextualized quotes can be corrected in a provable way.

Best regards,
Tom Knapp
Version: Mailvelope v1.7.1


Friday, April 07, 2017

Libertarian Party of Florida Convention Motions, Part 2: Constitution and Bylaws

I've previously posted my recommendations regarding platform proposals for next month's Libertarian Party of Florida state convention. This post is on the party's Constitution and bylaws. The proposals are posted here.

I do not envy the committee members who are charged with trying to straighten out LPF's Constitution and bylaws, and there's really only one proposal I have a big problem with.

The existing language:

The Executive Committee shall fill vacancies of elected positions of LPF Chair, LPF Vice Chair, LPF Secretary, LPF Treasurer, and Directors at Large as indicated by a majority of the votes cast by the Executive Committee via roll call vote.

The proposed change:

The presiding officer shall appoint a qualified and willing LPF member to fill any vacant office or seat. The appointee shall be vested immediately with the duties and powers of the office.

Do I even have to explain why that's a dangerous idea? Let me know. Other than that, there aren't really any changes I can't live with, but:

When I first began getting involved with LPF a couple of years ago and looked at the Constitution and bylaws, my first reactions were:

  1. Jesus, what a mess; and
  2. These two things should be one thing; and
  3. What LPF needs is a committee/process to create an entirely new set of bylaws (superseding the existing bylaws and subsuming the extraneous "Constitution") to be adopted in one swell foop.
I haven't seen any reason to change that opinion.

Unfortunately, the route there may be via a sort of "nuclear option."

Last weekend, LPF's executive committee voted, with only one "no" vote from Paul Stanton, to surrender to Augustus Invictus, the leader of an authoritarian nationalist hostile takeover attempt of LPF, agreeing to "mediation" of his manufactured complaints in lieu of seeing if he was serious in his threats of frivolous/malicious litigation.

This hostile takeover attempt is now in its third year. It's time to bring it to an end, and the first step in doing so is to replace each and every executive committee member who betrayed his or her fiduciary duty to the party and threw its members under the bus with this appeasement of the party's enemies.

If that doesn't happen, it will be time to ask the Libertarian National Committee to disaffiliate LPF and create a libertarian political party to replace what is fast becoming a front organization for fascist opportunists.

Disaffiliation would, of course, be a direct route to fixing the bylaws/Constitution situation. But it's far from the best route.

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