Monday, February 26, 2018

Libertarian Party National Platform Committee Update


It's been a little while since my last update, and simultaneously quite a bit has happened and not much has happened.

  • Caryn Ann Harlos was elected permanent chair of the committee.
  • Mimi Robson is in the middle of being elected secretary (the email ballot hasn't ended yet, but IIRC there's been one NOTA vote and a whole bunch of votes for her).
  • The chair is in the process of moving the committee from old and busted Yahoo! Groups to a better email list which will have a public reflector.
  • An email ballot is in process on a motion from the chair that "that all electronic and in-person meetings of the Committee will be open to all state and national Party members and may be recorded and broadcast through a streaming service." It looks set to pass.
  • An email ballot is in process on a motion by myself to strike the final sentence of plank 3.4, Trade and Migration: "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."
There's also an email ballot on a physical meeting, and an announcement of an electronic meeting set for March 6, 6-8pm Mountain Time (I'll post details for those who want to watch it when it gets closer).

And there's a rules controversy over whether a member of the committee who is both his state's representative and first national alternate can squat on an entitlement to two votes and cast the one he finds most advantageous (Robert's says no). That will get hashed out.

There's quite a bit of talk on the abortion plank. I don't see it going anywhere, and I certainly don't see any change away from a pro-choice position (I will not support such a change).

Note that I didn't mention how the email ballot is going on the Trade and Migration amendment. I haven't counted lately, but I'm under the impression that it's failing. Not on its merits for the most part, but because several members of the committee have announced that they won't vote for any motions until and unless their asses are cradled in hotel conference room chairs. Oddly, several of them have both made supported motions by email ballot when serving on previous platform committees. Suffice it to say that it's more about a personality-centered factional divide on the committee than about anything ideological.

OK, I think I covered everything. Questions welcome.

The Exceptions That Prove the Stupidity of the Proposed Rule


Florida governor Rick Scott proposes to [PDF]:

Require all individuals purchasing firearms to be 21-years-old or over. Exceptions include active duty and reserve military and spouses, National Guard members, and law enforcement ...

Members of the military (including reserve and National Guard units) are not required to purchase the weapons they use on duty. Those weapons are issued by their units. Why should they, let alone their spouses, get a special exemption from this rule (especially given that, at least anecdotally, military veterans seem heavily represented in the ranks of mass shooters)?

And why should "law enforcement" get an exception for weapons other than those purchased expressly for carry while on duty?

Of course the entire idea is evil pandering to hysteria. But if you're going to go evil and pander to hysteria, why not take it all the way?

My counter-offer: Ban all employees of the government of the state of Florida and its political subdivisions (yes, including police) from owning or possessing any firearm at any time or for any reason, with immediate termination of employment and prospective jail time as penalties, then we'll talk.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Another Proposal to Ameliorate the Negative Effects of an Idea I Oppose


The Universal Basic Income craze doesn't seem to be blowing over as I had hoped it might. I keep seeing stories about small-scale experiments with the concept (in America, something of the sort is about to start in Stockton, California). The craze includes quite a bit of commentary from the nominally libertarian end of the political spectrum. Today, it's Ryan Bourne commenting at the Cato Institute regarding UBI's effects on employment.

But if such a scheme were to be implemented, I would say that one immediate consequence should be:

Repeal of the minimum wage.

After all, the idea of a Universal Basic Income is that it's a basic income, right? Anything above and beyond it is gravy, extra. And since it's universal (everyone gets it), there won't be anyone who can't afford to live while getting paid whatever deal he or she can drive with an employer instead of there being a government-mandated floor, right?

Now, just to be clear, I am not going to burn my libertarian purist card and support UBI, which I consider both evil and cockamamie. It's not some kind of "trade" I'm saying should be "offered." I'm just saying that if the one does happen, the other should be required to happen with it.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate


It's been a long time since I've read Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (or excerpts from it -- it's been so long that I don't remember which!), so I'll just rely on a snip from the Wikipedia summary:

Witch trials in 16th- and 17th-century Western Europe are the primary focus of the "Witch Mania" section of the book, which asserts that this was a time when ill fortune was likely to be attributed to supernatural causes. Mackay notes that many of these cases were initiated as a way of settling scores among neighbors or associates, and that extremely low standards of evidence were applied to most of these trials.

As applied to witches, that dynamic apparently resulted in quite a few stretched necks, burned corpses, etc.

As applied to Russians, well, the hysterical ninnies and the demagogues (it's not always easy to tell who is which) are getting faster and louder with their bizarre comparisons of some "Help Jesus Beat Hillary" Facebook ads to Pearl Harbor and 9/11 (for example, here and here and here and here).

Which, if people don't CALM THE FUCK DOWN, could eventually end up producing a much higher body count.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Where is the Line?


In my opinion, it's not a real Smashing Pumpkins tour unless D'Arcy Wretzky is there on bass.

In my opinion, Axel Rose is right out for any band that wants people to believe they're AC/DC.

Then again, back in 1987 I saw a version of the Byrds that didn't include Roger McGuinn (the only "real" Byrds it included were original drummer Michael Clark and later bassist Skip Battin), and I was OK with that.

Where do you draw that kind of line?

If Ringo and the ringer who replaced Paul toured with two other guys as The Beatles, would that fly for you?

"File Under Mistrial" Revisited


In a recent post, I noted that the prosecution of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman doubly violates the US Constitution's Sixth Amendment -- the jury is neither identified (so the trial is not, as required, public) nor are the jurors from Mexico (so they aren't, as required, from "the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed").

Now it violates the First Amendment as well:


At the hearing, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan denied Guzman's request to speak in open court about the case after prosecutors expressed concerns he could be trying to send messages to his cohorts. The judge said that in the future he would need to be notified in advance on what Guzman wanted to talk about before he could speak.


Even if you happen to think that El Chapo is, as Donald Trump would put it, a "bad hombre" and that these are "exceptional circumstances," this is strikes me as one (actually, three) of those "give them an inch and they'll take a mile" kind of things.

Interesting ...


In 2008, I just couldn't bring myself to vote for the Libertarian Party's presidential ticket of Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root.

Nor was the Boston Tea Party's ticket (Charles Jay for president, me for vice-president) on the ballot or registered as a write-in option in Missouri.

So I voted for the Green Party's ticket of Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente. They seemed like the "most libertarian" option available (McKinney voted with Ron Paul in Congress more often than most Republicans did and, unlike Barr, appeared at an event with Paul to accept his generalized endorsement of voting third party).

On last night's Free Talk Live, I found out that Adam Kokesh did the same thing I did that year.

Why did that come up? Because FTL is broadcasting from the Anarchopulco  conference, where Kokesh used his speaking time to introduce McKinney as a newly declared anarchist. They interview Kokesh and McKinney. Good stuff.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A Question About Russiagate


So Robert Mueller has finally procured indictments against some Russians, for "election meddling" of the same type/variety as the weird "Help Jesus Beat Hillary" Facebook ads. This time it's stuff like having someone dress up as Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform and pose in a fake jail cell. Still not seeing any there there on the whole Trump campaign collusion thing, but ...

... purely for the sake of argument, let's suppose that the Russian government actually did take an active interest in the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and that, the lack of evidence for the claim aside, did in fact make a serious effort to influence that election's outcome in Donald Trump's favor.

My question is ... why?

Yes, Clinton made some anti-Russia noises as US Secretary of State, but presumably those noises were obligatory, seeing as how she made them at the same time she was raking in millions of dollars in Russian bribes to e.g. shepherd the Uranium One deal through the US regulatory approval process and whatever else the Russians would expect such a well-paid mole in such a high position to do for them. It's hard to imagine that the Kremlin would take such cover maintenance noises so seriously as to intervene against putting one of their own agents in the Oval Office.

Did her Kremlin handlers ask her to do something beyond the pale even for her, and take umbrage at her refusal?

Did she not deliver all the goods she was getting paid to deliver?

Or did she perhaps actively double-cross them and actually thwart some design she'd been ordered to advance?

It seems to me that it would have to be something pretty big for Vladimir Putin decide he'd give up on putting a highly compromised SVR asset in the White House and settle for a loose cannon like Donald Trump instead.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Here I Go Suggesting Government Efficiencies Again


Yesterday's Garrison Center op-ed is about the Trump regime's proposal to partially replace "food stamps" (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka SNAP) with the "America's Harvest Box." The column focuses on the real purpose of the "food stamp" program (to justify farm welfare) and why that real purpose makes it possible that Congress will go for the proposal.

An ABC News headline has me thinking about a solution to one of the objections raised by opponents:

USDA proposes replacing food stamps with delivery service, added work requirements

From the piece:

Current USDA requirements say that able-bodied adults without children can only get three months of food stamps in three years unless they work or participate in a job training program at least 20 hours a week. USDA would likely not change that requirement but could grant states waivers to impose stricter requirements at the state level.

So, a major objection to the plan is that its supposed cost savings doesn't account for the cost of actually getting the food to recipients' doorsteps.

Well, why not have some SNAP recipients fulfill the work/training requirements by packing and delivering the boxes? Pick the recipients who are 1) able-bodied and 2) unemployed and have them take those boxes to the recipients who are 3) disabled and/or 4) employed.

It seems like an obvious measure from both cost-cutting and putting-welfare-clients-back-to-work standpoints.

They learn to work on a packaging assembly line and/or drive a delivery truck -- both skills that will help in the job hunt.

If the work is hard enough, it might also constitute a figurative boot in the ass to go find jobs that pay in something other than SNAP bennies.

Yes, I'm against "food stamps" on principle.

And yes, I think this particular proposal is even more stupid than the existing program if for no other reason than that if I'm going to pay for a program to feed poor people, I'd rather they just got the cash because they're better judges of their own needs than some USDA bureaucrat could possibly be (see Milton Friedman's four ways to spend money).

But if feeding the hungry and reducing the costs of doing so and putting non-working people to work and/or teaching them how to work are all priorities, why not make that single program serve all three priorities?

Congratulations to Alison Foxall


Yes, really.

I'm already hearing some Libertarians (both in Florida and nationally) who are down in the mouth about Foxall "only" getting 3.x% of the vote in yesterday's special election for Florida state legislature after running a professional campaign that raised more money than any Florida house or senate campaign in the Libertarian Party's history.

Some will point out that 3.x% is pretty much average for a Libertarian candidate, but one thing they're not taking into account is the role special elections are assuming nationwide right now due to, in a word, Trump.

Democrats are pouring on the money and ground game as they take advantage of discontent with Trump to set themselves up for big gains in the US House/Senate midterms this November.

Republicans are doing the same thing as the Democrats in an attempt to fend off those prospective Democratic gains.

All of these special elections are being portrayed by both major parties as 1) incredibly tight and 2) of earth-shaking importance, which is the perfect storm for "wasted vote syndrome." They're the hardest kinds of elections for Libertarian candidates to break out in.

If I'd been forced to make a bet on yesterday's outcome, I'd have put my money on Foxall getting 1-2% of the vote. The extra 1.x% is, in my eyes, a function of better than usual campaigning. So yes, congrats.

That doesn't mean there aren't lessons to be learned here.

In an early stumble, Foxall appeared to endorse pending state legislation against "sanctuary cities" (she later clarified that she opposes the legislation on "home rule" grounds). Whether or not that stumble could have been avoided (the media will misinterpret Libertarians at every opportunity), it did probably hurt.

Her web site campaign platform ("The Plan") emphasized three issues (good! If you try to talk about too many things, nobody gets any of your many messages), but it may have been that those were not the three issues her prospective constituents cared most about (Libertarians can't control which issues the electorate cares about in any given election; the best we can do is offer good answers on those issues instead of trying to replace them with issues we care about).

And the LP is always having, and needs to have more, discussions on whether "professional campaigns" are as important as, or as effective as, more radical messaging. If the "professional campaign" aspect gained 1.x% of the vote for Foxall versus the notional base I posit, would big Hail Mary plays on the issues (for example, "end occupational licensing in Florida" instead of "end 80% of occupational licensing in Florida") have received more publicity and brought in more votes than, or combined with, the good pro mechanics?

But the fact that there are lessons to be learned does not overshadow the fact that she did a damn good job for her party and her district.

US Propaganda Infects Associated Press Coverage of Syria War


Opening paragraph of an AP story as it ran this morning in the Midland, Texas Reporter-Telegram:

It's a scenario many feared in the fog of Syria's multi-front war: a confrontation in which U.S. forces, responding to a provocation, kill Russian soldiers or mercenaries on a crowded battlefield.

There is no question of a "provocation" (or, as previous US DoD justifications put it, "self-defense").

Russian troops in Syria are there at the express invitation of the internationally recognized, UN member regime.

US troops in Syria are invaders, there in violation of both US law and the international law against wars of aggression which the US regime claims to support and pretends to be bound by except when it feels like violating it.

In any confrontation between US and Russian troops in Syria, the US troops are by definition the aggressors by the claimed standards of the US government itself. They're like home invasion robbers who complain that the homeowner pointed his shotgun at them after they broke in.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Me on the Radio ...


I'll discuss my recent Garrison Center op-ed, "A Korean Spring After the Winter Olympics is Unlikely. Here's Why." on Wilmington's WDEL Delaware Afternoon News (101.7 FM, 1150 AM) tomorrow (February 14, 2018) at 5:25pm Eastern.

If you're not in the Wilmington area, the station offers several online listening options, ranging from a live web stream to Android, iOS and Kindle apps.

Update after the interview ... So, anyone catch it? It was one of those very fast affairs with lots of questions and lots of answers. While actually talking, I felt like I was doing pretty well. Of course, afterward I wondered. Did I speak too fast? Did I speak clearly? Did my answers make sense? If you listened, I'd love to have the benefit of your opinion on the performance.

The Garrison Center Update I Meant to Post Several Days Ago


Each month, I send an email update out to all of those who financially support my work, updating them on what I've been doing -- mostly, what I've been doing at The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. They're paying for it, I figure they should be the first to know what I'm accomplishing with their money.

In theory, shortly after that, I should post a similar update here, both because I like to do that and because hey, it might move more people to become part of that group of financial supporters (which you can do from the sidebar -- Patreon, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, etc.).

I often forget to do that, but it's important to do it this month because I finally got done compiling the statistics from last year.

In 2015, Garrison Center op-eds were picked up by mainstream newspapers and non-libertarian political publications 545 times (that number is from memory, but I'm pretty sure it's right).

So, I set a goal in 2016 of, once again if I recall correctly, 750 pickups. And I think we ended up with 913.

For 2017, I didn't want to get too crazy and suspected Garrison might be hitting the top of its market potential, but I thought 1,000 was doable.

1,139.

I'm not going to set a goal for 2018, because I'm still of the opinion that there's a ceiling and that that ceiling is actually lowering as more and more local papers cease publication.

But I will note that Garrison had 135 pickups in January, and that if that's the monthly average for 2018, the total will be 1,620.

I'll also note that those pickup numbers are probably low, because there are almost certainly pickups I never find out about. I only list a pickup (at the Garrison web site, at the bottom of each op-ed) if I've actually found it online or if an editor has notified me that a piece is appearing in a paper's print edition.

As Damon Runyon put it, "he who tooteth not his own horn, the same shall not be tooted." I think I'm doing some pretty good libertarian outreach, and doing it pretty damn cheap too. Thanks to those of you who have supported, are supporting, or will support my work!

Monday, February 12, 2018

The North Koreans Should Make a Meaningful Offer ...


... in response to Mike Pence's proposal for talks:

"The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization," Pence said. "So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify. But if you want to talk, we’ll talk."

So denuclearization is what it's all about, then?

If I was Kim Jong Un, I'd go ahead and get those talks started along these lines:


  • North Korea on one hand, and the United States and its allies on the other, disclose the size and nature of their nuclear arsenals, with mutual inspections for verification.
  • North Korea will reduce its arsenal at the same time as, and by the same percentage as, the United States and its allies, until neither party has any nuclear weapons left.
  • Voila, denuclearization!

I don't know about you, but I doubt Pence is completely sincere in his call for denuclearization. I rather suspect that what he really means is "you get rid of your nukes and we keep ours."

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Who Says That Getting Older Isn't Fun?


I haven't eaten solid food since Thursday evening. About an hour ago, I started drinking a glass of water every ten minutes. The water is chock full of polyethylene glycol, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride and potassium chloride. I'm drinking six glasses of it now and six more later this evening (along with all the clear liquids I want) in preparation for a date tomorrow morning for which a doctor wants my intestinal tract very empty so that he can put a camera in it via the obvious route and see if there are any Burma Shave billboards up in there.

No wonder so many senior citizens are so crabby. Speaking of which, will someone get those damn kids off my lawn?

So, blogging may be sporadic and/or unhinged for the next day or two.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Want $10 Worth of Free Stuff?


Just got an email from my preferred razor vendor, Dollar Shave Club (not a referral link).

It says that any new customers I send them can use the coupon code RF218101827CUE91D9608701 at checkout to get a $10 credit.

If I'm reading the fine print correctly, I don't get anything at all out of the deal other than -- if you let me know about it -- the pleasure of having sent to you a fine place where you got free stuff. And hey, that's good enough for me.

I really do use Dollar Shave Club blades (their "4x" mid-level offering) when I use razors. Which, at this moment, is not much because I'm in a "why not grow my hair down to my ass and my beard down to my navel" phase. But that will presumably end before either destination is reached and then I'll be back to shaving most of my face and all of my head every day.

Time to Retire Amtrak?


Well, yes -- it's been time to retire it since it started.

If there's real economic demand for passenger rail, the market will respond to that demand. But "I want it and want to force everyone else to pay for it through government" is not economic demand. "I want it and am willing to pay for it myself" is economic demand.

But even setting aside that obvious and basic objection to Amtrak, it's also an increasingly literal train wreck safety-wise: "The rate of Amtrak accidents per million train miles traveled grew from 41.1 in 2008 to nearly 58.8 by November 2017, according to [the Federal Railroad Administration]." That's not counting last December's fatal derailment in Washington, the January 31 fatal garbage truck collision in Virginia, the February 4 fatal freight train collision in South Carolina, or yesterday's 125 mph decoupling in Maryland.

Also, Amtrak's personnel seem to be unwilling or unable to keep gangland riff-raff from hassling and threatening customers at their stations and on their trains.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Bittersweet


On the one hand, Trump says he'd "love to see a shutdown," which warms my heart.

On the other hand, his desire for a faux shutdown is tied to his demands that Congress make America even more like East Germany at home and even more like Nazi Germany abroad.

In the best of all possible worlds, we'd get a real government shutdown instead of a fake one and it would end up being permanent.

In the immediate short-term range of acceptable outcomes, we'll get a fake shutdown and he'll be the one who says "uncle" but then proclaims a yuuuuuge, nay, historic, victory.

I'm not optimistic that we'll get even that. Between the legislative, executive and judicial branch, the US government seems very dedicated to making things worse at almost every opportunity.

Ceterum censeo status esse delendam.

Brief Libertarian National Platform Committee Update


There's not a lot to tell, but I do want to keep my readers (and my fellow Florida Libertarians) updated as to my activity on the platform committee. So, what's going on right now:

We're finally under way on the process of electing a permanent chair, by email ballot, with a bylaws-compliant voting time of 10 days (which started last night at midnight).

The declared candidates (although "write-ins" are eligible) are temporary chair Alicia Mattson and Libertarian National Committee regional representative Caryn Ann Harlos.

As the acting representative from Florida (I am the alternate, but the actual representative has resigned from the party and all positions in it, which leaves me doing the work), I have cast my vote for Ms. Harlos.

Why?

No one can doubt the work ethic of either candidate. Ms. Mattson has held a number of positions in the party and while I often disagree with her, it's not over any perception of lack of effort. While she hasn't been in the party for as long, Ms. Harlos has been incredibly energetic in various efforts, including the party's Historical Preservation Committee.

That said, it is my belief that with Ms. Harlos as chair the committee's work will be 1) procedurally smoother, 2) more transparent, and 3) more focused on improving the platform from a standpoint of clarity, concise wording, and harmony with the party's Statement of Principles in a way that the national convention delegates will be inclined to support.

The next step, if I am not much mistaken, will be deciding whether or not to have a pre-convention committee meeting in meatspace, and if so where and when. My best guess is that if it happens, it will be in May and in Chicago or Atlanta, but those are just guesses.

Thanks to all of you who boosted me as a candidate/participant in this committee's work. I look forward to getting past the necessary set-up and to the guts of the thing.

File Under "Mistrial"


Camera 1: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed"

Camera 2: "The men and women picked to be jurors for the trial of drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman -- better known by his alias El Chapo -- have been granted special protections due to his notorious reputation. A New York judge ruled Monday that there were 'strong and credible reasons to believe the jury needs protection' and said that anyone chosen to be a juror would be anonymous and partially sequestered. The ruling means jurors will remain hidden from the public inside the courthouse, will be escorted to and from the trial, and their personal details will not be revealed to the defense, prosecution, or the press."

Emphases mine.

So, he's accused of crimes that he would have committed in, um, Mexico. Why would a New York judge and a New York jury be involved? And how can the jury be known to be "impartial" if neither his attorneys nor the public are allowed to even know who they are?

Monday, February 05, 2018

Is Anyone Actually Surprised?


According to the Nunes memo, the FBI took a folder full of "minimally corroborated" campaign oppo research compiled by a foreign former spy on behalf of Donald Trump's political opponents, and a Yahoo! News article based on leaks from that same guy, in front of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge for the purpose of getting/renewing a warrant to surveil a former member of Trump's campaign team. And they got their warrant.

Assuming the memo is reasonably accurate ... why would anyone find that surprising?

As of 2013, that court had granted 35,434 requests for warrants and denied a whopping 12. Not twelve hundred, twelve.

They probably could have gotten their warrant -- in fact, they've probably gotten a warrant before -- with a dog biscuit and an old copy of Air Supply's Lost in Love as their "probable cause" exhibits.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Hey, Maybe It Could Happen ...


Only a little over a week ago, I suggested in a Garrison Center column that the FBI should be disbanded. The news hook for that suggestion was the destruction of evidence (text messages between FBI agents) from an important time frame in the Russiagate witch hunt investigation.

Yesterday's release of the House Intelligence Committee's memo on FBI/DoJ abusive manipulation of the already far too easy FISA warrant process seems to portend major repercussions for the FBI. Disbandment? Unlikely. But perhaps a house-cleaning far more thorough, and a visit to the woodshed far more painful, than any in its century of lawlessness and skulduggery.

One suggested minor reform:

The FBI is legendary for not recording interviews with suspects and witnesses, instead using -- and testifying in court in accordance with -- written notes produced by the agents during those interviews.

That needs to stop. Right now. Completely.  For prosecution/court purposes, the rule should be that if it isn't on verifiable audio or video, an FBI employee's testimony on it is inadmissible for lack of credibility. The FBI has proven itself too untrustworthy for the word of its agents to be accepted as true without very strong corroboration.

That would be a start, anyway.


Friday, February 02, 2018

An Assertion Apropos of a Former, and Possibly Near Future, Controversy


Can members of a political party committee claim copyright in their correspondence with other members of that committee, on an official committee list, for the purpose of preventing the display of that content to the party's membership and the public?

My assertion: No.

I believe my interpretation of the applicable law (as explained in this Copyright Office circular -- PDF) is reasonable. It is as follows:


  • Messages from committee members to the committee's official discussion list are works "prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment."
  • Messages from committee members to the committee's official discussion list are works "specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work."

Membership in the a political party committee constitutes being an "employee" under the agency doctrine explained in the circular vis a vis "Control by the employer over the work" insofar as the work is done under the authority of, and according to the rules laid down by the employer (the party and/or its national committee); "Control by employer over the employee" (the party and/or its national committee outline the terms, schedule and objectives of the committee's work and how the members are identified and qualified); and the status and conduct of the employer (commissioning committees for the production of specified work product is part of its regular operations as noted in its governing documents).

So, fair warning: If you are a member of a Libertarian Party committee and I am a member of that same committee, don't bother trying to pull any "you can't show the rest of the party what I'm saying on the committee's discussion list because I claim copyright in it" shit. It won't fly.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Libertarian Party Activism Update ...


... because some of you are interested in and/or financially or morally support the stuff I do in the party.

Libertarian Party of Florida

The LPF rules committee wrapped up its work last week, as its proposals had to be published by a deadline of 30 days prior to the state convention. I think I made reasonably good contributions to the committee's work, and am glad to have had the opportunity to work with several wonderful party activists. I don't know if I'll be offered appointment to another term, but if so I'll gladly serve.

On the other hand, I won't be attending the state convention in person, for two and a half reasons:

Reason 1: I have some (routine) medical stuff going on the week before and after the convention and expect to be busy with that and other stuff.

Reason 2: The convention is nearly 300 miles away, basically adding a half-day of travel on either end, exacerbating Reason 1.

Reason 2 1/2: I'm saving my pennies, as there's a reasonable likelihood that I'll need to do some extra travel for ...

Libertarian National Platform Committee

As you may recall, I was elected to serve as LPF's alternate representative to the national platform committee last year.

The main representative, Frank Caprio, recently changed his voter registration from LPF to something else, thereby de facto resigning his membership in LPF and any positions in, or representing LPF.

For the moment, this means that as alternate, I will cast the LPF's vote on the platform committee. Of course, there's a chance that LPF's convention or executive committee could choose a new "full" representative, or promote me to that status formally.

But either way, I've committed to participating, and that means that if there is a pre-national-convention meatspace meeting of the committee, I'll need to travel to attend it. So I'm giving up a few fast food combo meals I would otherwise have eaten, and forgoing travel to the state convention, in anticipation of needing to cover plane fare and hotel for such a meeting.

On the platform committee's email list, I am personally recommending that we NOT have a pre-convention meatspace meeting. Having one is a tradition, but:


  • It's a pain in the ass to organize, since most platform committee members want to attend their own state conventions and state conventions cover many of the weekends between now and New Orleans.
  • In recent years, online meeting/project facilities have become pretty damn good. I don't see why 20 or so people need to shell out air fare and hotel room rental to do stuff we can do from our homes.
But that's just my opinion and I'll be going with whatever the committee decides.

As far as substantive developments on the committee, I have nothing to report, really. We're just now winding up to elect our permanent chair, and we're also trying to find a better discussion platform to move to (we're on Yahoo! Groups, which is frankly becoming very cranky and unreliable these days).

So, there's your activism support. Thanks to those supporters who have, so far, covered my national convention "package" and hotel room. If any other expenses that I can't personally cover come up, I'll throw myself on your mercy at that time :)

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