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: 21.co DOES pay


Disclaimer: So far as I know, the link to my 21.co 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 21.co 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 21.co 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 21.co 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 21.co 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 ...


PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF FLORIDA

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.

So:


  • 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.



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