Saturday, February 28, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 02/28/15

Brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! ("the left libertarian fondness for political correctness, identity politicking, moralizing, etc.");
  • Why the FCC's "Title II for the Internet" move is a coup d'etat against Internet freedom.

Related links:

Friday, February 27, 2015

There's No Such Thing as Free Op-Ed Outreach

As I note at the Garrison Center site:

The Garrison Center is not a 501(c)(x) institution. It neither seeks nor accepts institutional financial support and such support for its authors and administrators is not tax deductible. Center administrators and authors may benefit from site monetization, such as ad placements, "tip jars," etc.

I'm planning to run quarterly fundraisers, but see the above: If you donate, you are donating to me. There is no "Garrison Center" in any organizational sense of the word. And yes, I'll use any money you donate for whatever I want to use it for. But, here are a few of the things that I will use it for before I go out and have fancy coffee on your dime, or buy myself frilly new underwear or whatever:

  • So far I've written all except two of the op-eds at the Garrison Center (one op-ed written by another author has been published, the other one is coming soon). I plan to write most of the op-eds there. But I also plan to pay other authors $25 a pop for their 400-500 op-eds (including for the two already accepted/published).
  • If the fundraiser makes its goal, I'll put some money back into the site. I'll pay for another year or three of domain name registration. Maybe I'll hit Fiverr and get some nice graphics done up, or join a paid site to get better photos to attach to the op-eds themselves. If the site becomes popular enough to strain the resources of my current hosting account, I may move it to its own server. That kind of thing.

As a goal, I'm thinking that $500 per quarter sounds reasonable.

That's $2,000 a year for the production of op-eds that are already, in our first month, getting picked up by "mainstream and non-libertarian political media" at a rate of more than 20 per month.

If that rate holds -- and I expect it to go up, not down! -- it comes to a cost of $8 and change to put an op-ed in front of a non-libertarian audience. That sounds like pretty cost-effective outreach to me.

So, here's the button, and I'll stick a "fundraising thermometer" in the sidebar shortly (if you want to donate using Bitcoin, etc., use the sidebar widgets and just let me know using the contact form that it was for my Garrison Center work). Thanks in advance for your support!

UPDATE: The fundraiser made its goal and then some ... so I've shut down the button. Of course, ONGOING support is welcome, appreciated, and reduces the need for holding periodic fundraisers. So if you're so inclined, see the top of the sidebar for Patreon, PayPal and cryptocurrency options!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cantwell: Muh Branding!

Just because I'm bored and feel like stirring some sh*t. Quoth my favorite undercover gender studies postgrad ...

Instead of checking facts or refuting statements, Buzzfeed and MSNBC decided to brand Ron Paul a racist ...

Here's a link to the Buzzfeed article. Allegations of, or even references to, racism in the article: 0.

Here's a link to the MSNBC article. Allegations of, or even references to, racism in the article: One kinda, sorta, a little bit, if you hold your sheet and hood just right ("the notion that Congressional Black Caucus members were only skeptical of wars because of food stamps is racially charged").

Maybe I paid just a little too much attention in my elementary school English classes, but my understanding of the word "brand" is that it's a pretty strong term. In order to "brand [someone] a racist," I'd need to do go a little bit beyond laying out some facts that tend to lead you to my desired conclusion. If I wanted to "brand" you a racist, I think I'd at least make the effort to say something like "[your name] is a racist," or "wow, what [your name] did/said is really racist."

Yeah, yeah ... I know, they want you to think to yourself that Ron Paul is a racist, but they also want to be able to deny they called him one. They've been up to that game for decades.

Just like Ron Paul wants you to think to yourself that black people only oppose war if there's food stamps in it for them, but also wants to be able to deny saying it. He's been up to that game for decades too.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Thanks For Asking!

It's time for this week's "Ask Me Anything" thread, brought to you as always by Darryl W. Perry:

Politics! Literature! Music! Fashion! Culture! Henways! You ask it in the comments below this post, I'll answer it in comments, on this week's podcast, or in both venues. You might even ask what the hell this is:

Thread (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Hypothetical Question

Would it be possible for an ISP to deny all traffic -- HTTP requests, SMTP/IMAP email to or from, etc. -- with respect to a particular top-level domain?

Because if it is, and if I ran an ISP or other service which routes/relays Internet traffic, I'd strongly consider turning off all access to anything coming from or going to ".gov" domains tomorrow when the Federal Communications Commission tries to seize control of the Internet.

And I'd probably throw in the specific domain names of all the organizations agitating for the coup d'net as well.

No "fast lane/slow lane" stuff.

No negotiated deals for payment for preferential treatement.

OFF. COMPLETELY. Until they knock off that bullshit.

Just sayin'.

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...
Logo of the United States Federal Communications Commission, used on their website and some publications since the early 2000s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Net Neutrality" is Separating the Sheep from the Goats ...

... and it's pretty depressing.

Among others, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fight For The Future, groups that have done damn good work in the past on everything from crypto freedom to "intellectual property" to SOPA, have gone whole hog to the dark side, supporting a massive bureaucratic power grab in the name of "saving" the Internet from ... well, from something, but nobody's quite sure what.

There's no nice way to put this: Letting the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet in any way, shape, manner or form is a disaster for every form of freedom. It's like giving Charles Manson the key to your girlfriend's house. Or maybe just pouring gasoline all over the house and setting fire to it with her tied to a chair inside.

I doubt we can stop this atrocity, but hopefully we can avenge it.

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...
Logo of the United States Federal Communications Commission, used on their website and some publications since the early 2000s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Election 2016: RNC Gets Out Its Croquet Mallet ...

... and starts whacking itself right in the testicles. Best to get an early start, I guess, but at this rate they're gonna need a lot of ice packs.

They've picked "conservative" radio talking head Hugh Hewitt to host the first Republican presidential primary debate.

If you've never heard of Hugh Hewitt, that's because he's too simultaneously boring, politically inastute and thoroughly partisan to get much play in the mainstream media. Or hell, even on Fox.

Hugh Hewitt at the American Freedom Alliance c...
Hugh Hewitt at the American Freedom Alliance conference at USC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In 2004, he mused that John Kerry's skin tone (it got a bit orange-ish) might become a deciding factor in the presidential election. In 2008, he took bets on when John McCain's campaign would close up shop and get out of the real contenders' way (he backed Romney -- we all know how THAT turned out in both '08 and '12).

As a debate moderator, he's nearly certain to ensure that voters come away with the following impression of the Republican field:

Twenty months out and already Reince Priebus seems to be going all-out to throw his party's third sequential presidential election.
This could get fun. Or interesting, anyway.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Garrison Center: What's With The Pix?

I knew someone would ask sooner or later, but I thought it would be later. Someone (just one person) noticed that each posted op-ed at The Garrison Center now comes topped with a big photo and wondered why.

The explanation is simple: I want the Garrison Center's material to qualify for syndication via Flipboard, and one of the requirements for that is "at least one image per article, no less than 400px in width." There are other requirements that will take time to meet. A minimum of 30 articles, for example -- I'm not going to speed up op-ed production, I'm just going to make sure that as the new stuff churns out it's optimized so that when we hit 30 we're go for launch.

English: iPad picture
English: iPad picture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'd never really paid attention to Flipboard before. It started off as an iPad app and then (I think) made the jump to Android. Now it's available on the regular old web as well. I read an article the other day (I tried to find it again to link here but couldn't) about how much additional traffic Flipboard syndication drives to sites, especially from tablet and phone users. The answer is: A lot. And I want The Garrison Center's stuff to show up in that market. So ... pictures.

The fly in the ointment is that Garrison's op-eds are published under a public domain dedication, and finding public domain pictures for every article would likely be a real pain. So I added a disclaimer about photos to the public domain notice and started looking for relevant and/or attractive graphics at rgbstock, my favorite free stock photo site. I'll use other sources as well.

So now you know the rest of the story. If you wondered. But you probably didn't.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 02/21/15

Brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In this episode:

  • Thanks for Asking! (litmus tests);
  • Inside baseball vs. advocacy journalism -- the "open letter to Ron Paul," C4SS and The Garrison Center, etc.

Links I mention in the show:

"Open Letter to Ron Paul" --

Discussion Thread at IPR --

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Latest Advocacy Journalism Forays ...

J'accuse de Zola
J'accuse de Zola (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At The Center for a Stateless Society:

The Islamic State is clearly Islamic. It bases its claims to religious authority on Muslim doctrines drawn from the Quran and from particular hadiths (Islamic prophetic traditions). Disputes concerning the validity of its interpretations are sectarian, of a piece with arguments between Christian denominations over the appropriate method of baptism and so forth.

The Islamic State is also clearly a state. From among many definitions of the word, Hans-Hermann Hoppe's should suffice here: "[A] compulsory territorial monopolist of protection and jurisdiction equipped with the power to tax without unanimous consent." The Islamic State stakes that monopolistic claim over large portions of Iraq and Syria. The people living there are taxed to support it and forced, violently as necessary, to accept its laws and its authority.

Why doesn't Obama want to admit that the Islamic State is a state?

"The Islamic State: Obama Doth Protest Too Much," February 13

"Hardline House GOP conservatives aren't worried about a looming Department of Homeland Security shutdown," reports Cristina Marcos at The Hill. They'd rather let DHS's funding lapse than give up a provision in its new appropriation reversing president Barack Obama's recent executive orders on immigration.

Is it just me, or does this sound more like the promise of ice cream and fireworks than the threat of a spanking? I usually can't think of anything good to say about Congress, let alone its big-spending, war-mongering, Taliban-on-the-Potomac "conservative Republican" contingent, but this is one of those rare exceptions.

The only "security" DHS provides is job security for parasites.

"'Homeland Security': Please, Br'er Conservatives, Don't Throw Us Into the Briar Patch!" February 16

And at The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism:

Before the ink had time to dry on his February 12 executive order "promoting private sector cybersecurity information sharing," US president Barack Obama launched a campaign to re-write history and make the case for trusting government to bolster network security and data privacy.

"The Snowden disclosures," Obama told Re / code’s Kara Swisher in an interview the next day, "were really harmful in terms of the trust between the government and many of these companies."

Well, no. It was the government -- Obama's administration and its predecessors -- which betrayed the trust of American enterprise, the American people and the world. Edward Snowden is mere heroic messenger, telling us what we should have already known: That any such trust was misplaced.

"Cybersecurity: Beware Untrustworthy Partners," February 15

Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution is clear and unequivocal: "The President ... shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

Per the 1913 edition of Webster's, to reprieve is "[t]o delay the punishment of; to suspend the execution of sentence on ..."

Obama would be well within his constitutional powers to outright pardon every "illegal alien" residing in the United States. But he stopped well short of that, merely allowing a subset of immigrants to request postponement -- reprieve -- of deportation under specific conditions. The states' suit is without merit and deserves immediate dismissal.

"Immigration: 'Deferred Action' is not 'Executive Overreach,'" February 17

Prior to 1884, printed ballots were provided to voters by political parties and candidates. Those voters were also free to write out their own ballots by hand if they didn't vote "straight party ticket." Between 1884 and 1991, the states adopted the "Australian ballot" -- a uniform ballot printed at government expense.

Standardized, one-size-fits all ballots, of course, have to come with rules. And guess who gets to make those rules? The two ruling parties, of course. Over time they have sewn up their "duopoly" with increasingly draconian restrictions.

"Time to End the Elections Duopoly," February 19

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sometimes my Opposition to Capital Punishment is Tested

I don't think I'll ever see my way clear to being okay with the state doing it.

But I occasionally find myself thinking that if a particularly vicious criminal or criminals -- for example, publicly admitted kidnapping/extortion kingpins Leslie R. Caldwell, Dana J. Boente and Andrew G. McCabe -- turned up dead at the hands of someone acting on behalf of their victims or just in defense of the public safety against the clear and present danger represented by their ongoing actions, I'd be hard pressed to work up a good cry over it, and would almost certainly make a small contribution to the legal defense fund of the hero or heroine should he or she be apprehended by the culprits' co-conspirators.

Just sayin'.

More on the story here. Hat tip -- Matthew Barnes.

And People Wonder Why I Say "Never Trust State Media"

The headline at Voice of America is "Putin Demands Surrender of Encircled Ukrainian Troops."

The text of the story underneath that headline begins:

Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling on pro-Russian rebels to allow besieged Ukrainian troops safe passage out of the encircled town of Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine.

Speaking Tuesday in the Hungarian capital, Putin also urged the Kyiv government to allow its troops to surrender.

There's just no way to honestly get from that headline to that story, even setting aside the question of whether Debaltseve is in the Donetsk People's Republic or "eastern Ukraine."

No, I'm not "pro-Putin." If I saw him on fire in my front yard I wouldn't come outside to piss on him. But VOA's headline writers are just making shit up and broadcasting it at taxpayer expense. So much for their charter ("VOA news will be accurate, objective and comprehensive").

Message for MamaLiberty ...

... because I had a message from you pointing out a missing link at Rational Review News Digest, and every time I try to reply (three times, with different content), I get an automatic message as follows:

Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain by [].

The error that the other server returned was:
554 rejected due to spam content

So I suggest you have a conversation with your ISP, since you and I both know there was nothing even a little bit like spam involved. I figure you'll notice this blog post, and hopefully soon, since I'm apparently banned from emailing you.

In the meantime, first, the link you were looking for is:

And the rest of the message that your ISP rejected was:

Second, THANK YOU. I've been wondering for a long time if I'm going crazy. I know that every once in awhile, I or another editor will forget to put the URL into an entry, but sometimes I swear that I did put one in and that it disappeared later.

You just PROVED it. The story from which the link is missing HAD the link earlier, and I can prove that to myself because the link is there in the email version. That means that for some reason, Wordpress is occasionally just somehow losing the custom fields from entries, after they've been put in correctly.

So I may still be going crazy, but that's not a sign of it :D

Thanks (in Advance) for Asking!

Time for the weekly "ask me anything" thread for the upcoming episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast. Brought to you, as always, by Darryl W. Perry:

So, this thing is about what you want to know. But it's also about having a good, fun show. See if you can come up with something that I can make into a 10-minute diatribe. Ask in comments. I'll answer in comments, on the podcast, or both.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Personal Note on ISFLC 2015

No, I wasn't there. But Mackenzie Holst was. Due to a slight comedy of errors, when she read an "open letter to Ron Paul" crafted by herself, Cory Massimino and Aaron Shelby Baca, that letter was apparently attributed (as reported by, and later corrected by, Dave Weigel at Bloomberg) to the Center for a Stateless Society, where I work and where Cory is a Fellow.

By "comedy of errors," I mean this: Cory posted the letter to C4SS's work group with a proposal that we publish it, but when it comes to such things we have an internal process that sometimes becomes an eternal process. I'm not complaining about that, by the way. I think it's good for organizations like C4SS to talk out anything that there's significant disagreement on. Without naming names other than my own, some people supported publishing the letter, some opposed it, and my opinion was, well, "meh." Not because I had any great problem with its content, but because it was (and is) my opinion that as Ron Paul fades into obscurity, it's kind of silly to give his cultists new rallying points to keep their obsession alive.

So anyway, we were still discussing the matter when the letter was read at ISFLC; while Mackenzie Holst, who neither works for nor has any past association with C4SS, was under the impression (presumably due to some kind of communications cock-up) that we had endorsed it, planned to publish it, and stood behind the public reading of it.

I understand that she's paid a personal price in terms of being dogged by Paul cultists right up to the point of deleting her social media accounts, etc. I don't like identity politics and such very much. I don't consider myself a "Social Justice Warrior" whatever that is (it's something I see "right libertarians" and conservatives posing as libertarians throw out as snark quite a bit). But even I can't help but notice how much meaner these allegedly "equal opportunity assholes" tend to get when it's a woman they're picking on (perhaps they worry slightly less that a female victim will forsake the non-aggression principle and break someone's nose by way of imparting a much-needed lesson in basic manners).

So anyway, since C4SS doesn't -- and probably shouldn't -- really have a position on the whole thing other than "no, that wasn't us," I think it behooves me to personally (but publicly) thank Mackenzie, Cory and Aaron for such outstanding work.

Since "the incident," Dave Weigel has published a second Bloomberg article which makes it sound like we left-libertarians (but I repeat myself), led by C4SS, Jeff Tucker and some poetry slammers, have all but completely taken over the "liberty movement." And we got denounced at VDARE, too, on pretty much the same grounds. Rumor has it that various Kochtopus operatives, Hoppe enthusiasts and paleo Viking re-enactors have barricaded themselves in a conference room at the convention venue for a forlorn last stand. Hopefully (OK, maybe not hopefully, but probably) they'll come out waving white flags and learn that it was a false alarm before they starve to death.

I couldn't have bought a media talk-up like that with a five-figure PR budget. And we got it for free. Thanks, you guys!

Monday, February 16, 2015

I'm Torn

On the one hand, my first, gut response to something like "DARPA has a cool new search engine" is "well, they need to immediately make it publicly accessible and release the source code."

And in theory, at least, project manager Chris White is on the same page, saying "By inventing better methods for interacting with and sharing information, we want to improve search for everybody ..."

On the other hand, Memex seems to be all about searching, and searching for, information whose creators/curators aren't particularly interested in sharing with every Tom, Dick and Harry who might happen to be interested. So my equal and opposite reaction is "well, they need to immediately cut off law enforcement access to this thing, do a multi-pass deletion of every drive containing its code, etc." Cassius Methyl at The Anti Media seems to agree.

On the third hand (yes, I have three hands), if DARPA is developing this stuff, it can, and therefore will, be developed by others sooner or later.

So I'm back to the first hand. Unless DARPA went private-sector when I wasn't looking, this stuff is public property. Let's see it. Now.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lifetime Goal Coming Up

I keep an informal list of "musicians I really want to see perform live before they die or retire."

Bob Dylan tops that list (tied with the Rolling Stones, whom I'm guessing I've missed my last shot at).

Looks like I may get my chance in April. Just gotta figure out how to swing the price of a ticket (prices don't seem to be listed yet), arrange transportation, etc.

I don't get out to shows very often. The last "big one I had to buy a ticket for" that I can remember would have been Joe Jackson at Mississippi Nights in St. Louis, circa 2004. Great show. I did make it down to the "free concert" series on the levee in St. Louis to see Sonic Youth, somewhat more recently. Good show there, too.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 02/14/15

Brought to you by:

In this episode:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Three Tidbits

Tidbit One

One thing I love about ChromeOS devices (Chromebooks and Chromeboxes) is how easy it is to keep up with the latest version of the operating system. What happens is, I see a little arrow at the bottom right hand side of my screen, and when I click on it it notifies me "restart to update." Like so:

When I restart and log in to my Google account, the machine seems to take a second or three longer to get into "OK, ready for you to use now" mode, but that may just be my imagination since we're talking single-digit numbers of seconds in any case.

Why does it occur to me to mention this, other than that I was trying to think of things for a short Friday blog post? Because I got the little arrow thingie this morning, and I've been wondering all day whether the guys at Google weren't thinking about what day it is, or whether they thought it would be really fun to tempt fate by issuing an OS update on Friday the 13th.

Tidbit Two:

Weren't blister packs supposed to make it EASIER to take over-the-counter medications? Single pack equal single dose (instead of pouring a bunch of pills into your hand and having to count them), just pop the friendly little aluminum foil backing out and bam, drugs?

These days they rank highly on the "banes of my existence" list. They're harder to get into than "child-proof" bottles. Hell, they're harder to get into than the panties under a nun's habit, or your favorite New York nightclub on a Saturday night if your name doesn't have "Diddy" in it.

When will the damn things replace airplane food as the go-to gag for flustered stand-up comics?

Tidbit Three:

This starts in about half an hour. IIRC, I'm on at about 3:45 Mountain Time, 5:45 Eastern Time.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Latest Op-Eds at The Garrison Center

Three this week, as per the schedule I posited in an earlier post -- Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. All of them by yours truly:

US vice-president Joe Biden put American exceptionalism on display in a big way Saturday (February 7), laying down a tough line of patter to the 2015 Munich Security Conference. Biden called on Russian president Vladimir Putin to "get out of Ukraine," doubling down on US threats to escalate conflict in the Russia-Ukraine border region by arming Kiev's forces.

"Too many times, President Putin has promised peace and delivered tanks, troops and weapons," quoth Biden, by way of promising peace and simultaneously promising to deliver tanks, weapons and possibly US troops.

"Joe Biden's Dangerous Game," 02/08/15

Last May, the European Union Court of Justice asserted a "right to be forgotten," ordering Google and other search engines to remove "inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive" personal information from search results on demand.

Glossing over the difficulty of objectively deciding what kind of information might be "inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive," Google promptly complied. The web search giant created an application process through which individuals could quickly and easily register their demands that EU web users be forcibly made a little dumber. Maybe even as dumb as European Union Court of Justice judges.

Or maybe not.

"'Right to be Forgetten?' Fuhgeddaboudit." 02/10/15

Under "hate crimes" laws, if a victim belongs to any of various "protected classes," and if the criminal's motive is demonstrably connected to the victim's status as a member of such a class, additional charges may be laid and additional penalties or punishments levied.

Those conditions are repugnant to the 14th Amendment's requirement that all Americans enjoy equal protection of the law. They designate some victims as more valuable than others, and some criminals as more culpable than others, with respect to the same crimes.

"Hate crimes" laws also do damage to the 1st Amendment's enshrinement of our rights to think, speak and worship as we please.

"'Hate Crime' Means ThoughtCrime -- #everylifematters," 02/12/15

So far this week's Garrison Center op-eds have been picked up by other mainstream or popular publications five times (you'll find such pickups listed and linked at the bottom of each story) and I'm expecting a few more.

The Garrison Center neither seeks nor accepts financial contributions. But I do. Check out the top of the sidebar for ways to support my work at Garrison and elsewhere.

One of Those Rare Call "Your" CongressCritter Occasions ...

I don't do it very often, but this seems like a worthy cause. Let's see if I can get this to reproduce on the blog exactly as it's formatted in the email I just got. If not, you can see it here (yeah, that didn't work, so click the link).

Short version if you need one before you click:  Please call "your" congresscritter and say no to the "Authorization for Use of Military Force" request v. the Islamic State that president Barack Obama just requested. If I need to explain why, let me know in comments and I will.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Live with Mikester on Friday!

I'll be joining Mikester on the Outright Libertarians Podcast at 6:30pm 5:45pm (time changed!) Eastern this Friday (February 13). Topic? I'm not really sure, except that it involves "a 69-A-Thon ... to promote our Pride season outreach." So, sounds interesting. Click that link in the first sentence to listen!

A couple of things about Outright:

  • I'm usually skeptical of "identity politics," but Outright is a major exception. Why? Because they don't make exceptions to their libertarianism for issues relating to sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. See here for what I mean by that.
  • Outright's mission is as follows: "To present libertarianism, The Libertarian Party and its Candidates to the GLBTQ community. To monitor the Libertarian Party's continuing support for Equal Rights for everyone including GLBTQ individuals. To support each other in this work." I support that mission, and not just because at least two of the letters in that acronym describe me.
See ... er, hear ... or at least talk atcha ... there!

Update: I just got a more detailed description from Mikester, as follows: "Outright Libertarians is bringing back the Spirit of '69 for Pride season 2015!! Tune in on Friday, February 13th from 3 to 6pm Mountain time for our 69-A-Thon and hear 12 guests in three hours -- Monica Jones, Thomas Knapp, Starchild, Marcel Fontaine, and more!! -- and don't forget to pick up your FREE rainbow heart lapel pin by donating to our outreach fund at"

Thanks For Asking! (Pre-Podcast AMA Thread)

Hey, I got the Q&A thread up on time for once (because I went ahead and set it up on Saturday while I was thinking about it)!

This week's episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast will be brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

This week's Thanks For Asking! questions, of course, are brought by you, to me, in the comments thread of this post. I'll answer in the comments, on the podcast, or both. Here's some music for while you're trying to think of a question.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Two Brief Thoughts, Not Really Related to Each Other

Thought One:

I don't consider myself poorly informed with respect to the daily news (hint: I've served as publisher of the freedom movement's daily newspaper for more than 12 years and have worked around that publication since the mid-1990s), but I've mostly used the web as my news source for a couple of decades now. When the Brian Williams scandal broke last week my first reaction was "who the f--k is Brian Williams?"

Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, John Chancellor, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Bob Simon, Irving R. Levine, Tom Brokaw, yeah, I recognize all those guys. Williams? I guess I must have heard of him, but if so he didn't make much of an impression.

Thought Two:

The "net neutrality" emails have been coming fast and thick for oh, a year or so, but even more so these last few weeks. Apparently the Internet needs to be "saved" from the guys who made it cheap, ubiquitous and pretty darn free (free as in free speech, not as in free beer). Who's doing the saving? The gang that historically has always, every time, without exception made anything and everything it touches more expensive, less reliable and less friendly to freedom of expression.

So color me skeptical. And write down my prediction that two years from now, the same idiots calling for "Title II" regulation of the Internet by the FCC today will be flooding my inbox with crocodile tears over the coming disaster ... and suggesting that the way out of it is yet ANOTHER round of FCC regulation.

Car Calculations

Last May, we bought our "new" car -- a 1994 Isuzu Rodeo. Yeah, it was 20 years old and would obviously need TLC to be kept in good operating condition, but our calculation ran like this:

If it lasted six months without requiring major repairs, it would be a better deal than putting the same amount of money ($1500) down and making financing payments of $200-300 per month plus higher insurance rates (full coverage instead of just liability) for a new or nearly-new vehicle. And if it didn't make it that long, well, roll the dice again -- it will average out.

Nine months later, the thing is still running (meaning it has more than "paid for itself" per the calculation above), but it's at the point of really needing some of that TLC. The power windows aren't working. The problem seems to be a weird relay (instead of a regular fuse) that AutoZone can't find in its parts catalogs, meaning I can't do this myself, and it would be a minimum $100-$200 to get them fixed (because the shop would want to do electrical tests, etc. instead of just plugging in a new relay). It will need new -- big, expensive, SUV-size -- tires soon. The oil pressure runs low, which probably means the engine is nearing the end of its life (no surprise -- it's got about 250,000 miles on it), and so forth.

By way of preparedness, Tamara started watching Craigslist for a good deal several months ago. She pulled the trigger this weekend: $1350 for an even older vehicle with only slightly less mileage. But this one is a 1989 Volvo sedan that's obviously and visibly been well cared for. Same owner for the last 17 years. It served as first car for two high school kids, then became a "spare daily driver." The couple recently decided that two cars were enough and priced it slightly below "blue book" value.

I expect this one to serve us well for far longer than six months. And we're already ahead of the "pays for itself" curve. But mostly I'm happy to see Tamara in a Volvo. Kind of expensive to repair when they break down, but they don't break down very often and they usually top the lists of cars that protect passengers well in accident situations. And they're comfortable.

Monday, February 09, 2015

He Shoots ... He Scores!

Christopher Cantwell may or may not be the first to make the comparison, but he's the first one I've noticed making it:

There is no question that some number of vaccines have had negative impacts on individuals. These may range from some temporary discomfort, to permanent disorders, to death. When people say vaccines are 'safe' I thus have to look at them like they are either ignorant or dishonest. Until vaccines are as safe as say, marijuana, calling them 'safe' as a blanket statement is just plain false. Vaccines do, in a small minority of cases, cause harm.

Every once in awhile, the guy makes me say to myself "damn ... I wish I had come up with that one."

Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Garrison Center's First Week

A pretty good one, in my opinion. We published four op-eds:

So far, two of them have been picked up to run in "mainstream media" publications (I link pickups at the bottom of each piece) and I've been interviewed by a Colombian newspaper (presumably as an "expert" or "opinion leader" of sorts) on the politics of Keystone XL. 

Not a half-bad outing for a capital investment of less than $20 and a few hours of my time. The site has all the basic functionality, including Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr presences. I'll be building it out a little more as time goes on, but it has the basics and they work.

My goal is to publish three op-eds each week, probably on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. I picked those days for reasons having to do with my own evaluation of how "the news cycle" works; if that evaluation doesn't pan out, I'll recombobulate the posting schedule.

I've already heard from two editors that they'll be running today's op-ed (Joe Biden's Dangerous Game), so I'm expecting an even better second week.

The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism doesn't seek or accept contributions. In setting it up, I decided it would just be easier to keep it free of various state entanglements like 501(c)(3) paperwork and so forth so I can just concentrate on the work. If you want to support the Center, you can do so by supporting its authors as individuals. I'll eventually get some kind of "tip jar" set up over at the Center's site, but of course you can always support me from the sidebar right here at KN@PPSTER.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 02/07/15

The KN@PP Stir Podcast is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In this episode:
  • Thanks for Asking! (Florida and music questions;)
  • Christopher Cantwell
  • Do you financially support people "engaged in violent activities overseas, including conspiring to murder and maim persons?"
  • Shout-out to Rodger Paxton & The Lava Flow Podcast (and rambling monologue on podcasting in general)
Note: As with last week's podcast, this one cuts out a little early. Strange -- I don't press the "stop recording" button until I've actually stopped talking, so I guess it's a Soundcloud issue. I'll try to remember to add a few minutes of silence, or hum "Flight of the Valkyries" or something at the end of next week's episode.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Ad Experiment Next

So, as you will probably notice -- because it's very much designed to be notice, that's the whole point -- I've gone from having a network ad in the sidebar to having a network ad that pops up at the bottom of your screen.

Hey, ads are always a work in progress. According to the service I use (Qadabra), these "rich media ads" can be "up to 500 times as profitable as regular display ads" (or something like that). Which sounds pretty good. Hey, I could go from pennies a day to five dollarses a day in ad revenues!

But of course I'm cool with input on user experience. Let me know if you love'em, hate'em, don't care ...

Per most any ad network's terms of service, I'm prohibited from artificially driving clicks to the ads, to include asking my readers to click on them. So of course I won't do that, and of course I discourage you from clicking on any ad that doesn't interest you.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a cartoon.

Celebritarian Pathos: The Curious Case of Christopher Cantwell

Yeah, I know. Never punch down. But I can't help myself. He's just so fascinating! Also, I got myself sort of implicitly challenged to an SEO duel and it sounds like fun.

I've come across a number of theories about Christopher Cantwell, but they tend to fall within the range bounded at one end by "well, what do you expect, he's an asshole?" to "perhaps he's a government saboteur/provocateur on a secret mission to discredit the libertarian movement." Personally, I think that range is far too limited and that other possibilities should be considered.

One is the possibility that Chris Kyle got tired of the SEALebritarian lifestyle and decided to fake his own death, change his name, lose the family baggage and make an ... interesting ... career move. Same temperament. Same lack of introspection concerning said temperament. Same grandiose, self-promoting style. And think about it. Have you ever seen them together?

I guess that one could dovetail with the provocateur thing. But I have to discount it based on Cantwell's publicly displayed (on The Colbert Report) complete lack of safe firearms handling skills. That stuff gets so ground into you in the military that it's hard to even fake messing it up.

Another possibility is that he's a graduate student in gender studies at City University of New York, working undercover to collect data for his doctoral thesis (and possible Salon book of the month contender): "Gullible is Written on the Ceiling: How to Build a Cult Following of White Cisgender Male Libertarians and Get Them to Believe Anything."

That second one would explain a lot.

For example, it would make sense of his recent decision to purge non-believers (including little ol' me) from commenting on his site. It's hard to keep a cult following together and cheering each other on. You can't get that ol' Joe Stalin "everyone's afraid to be the first one to stop clapping" effect going if there's anyone around spouting sense right into the middle of Dear Leader's nonsense.

It would also explain his occasional descent into the self-pitying (and revealing) "I became a crack-smoking car thief because my mom was a Catholic and my dad was an abusive alcoholic government employee -- nothing bad I've ever done was my fault!" routine that makes -- to cite Cantwell's own current SEO punching bag -- Brad Spangler look like the very model of mental health and moral rectitude by comparison. After all, inside every Social Justice Warrior (even a secret one working on his doctoral thesis) there's an excuse for the insanity trying to get out, right?

And of course it would explain his ongoing fascination with "celebritarianism" -- a word I've heard floating around lately, usually as snark. "Celebritarian" seems to be a portmanteau of "celebrity" and "libertarian," two words that just don't seem to go together very well (also, I'm not sure if current users realize that Marilyn Manson got to it first). Cantwell seems to take celebritarianism very seriously, right down to pursuing an SEO strategy (I did a little meta tag research on his site; he's got some interesting tricks going, but they don't seem to be panning out too well). Most roads to Salon book of the month run through first establishing a certain degree of prior fame, or at least notoriety. So it fits.

But nah. I'm thinking that "well, what do you expect, he's an asshole?" is the most likely explanation.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Thanks For Asking! (Better Late Than Never)

Well, I forgot to post the weekly AMA (now titled "Thanks For Asking!") thread on Wednesday. This is it, brought to you as usual by Darryl W. Perry:

The way it works, as usual, is that you ask me questions in the comment thread, and I answer them in the comment thread, on the podcast, or both. So, whaddayawannaknow?

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

From/About Our Sponsor

If you listen to The KN@PP Stir Podcast, you know that I'm just now getting to where the phrase "Peace Love Liberty Radio on the Road tour" rolls off my lips without any major stumbles. And of course when you see the podcast post here on the blog, you see our sponsor banner:

So, you know that the podcast sponsor is Darryl W. Perry, and you know that the Peace Love Liberty Radio on the Road tour is what I've been promoting for him.

Well, the tour is off and people who donated to support it are being reimbursed. I'm personally sorry to hear that, as I had suggested Darryl as a potential speaker at this year's Libertarian Party of Florida convention.

But that means I get to start promoting some of the other stuff Darryl does! Like:

Free Press Publications:  An independent alternative media and publishig company, founded in June 2009, with the mission of "ensuring a FREE PRESS for the FREEDOM MOVEMENT" and committed to spreading the message of peace, freedom, love and liberty. FPP also gives new authors an avenue for publishing freedom-oriented material. FPP brings you daily news and commentary as well as the monthly newspaper FPPNews, books and more.


FPPRadio: Productions include a daily five minute newscast (FPPRadioNews), a thrice weekly podcast (Peace, Love, Liberty Radio) & a weekly commentary focused new podcast (FPP Freedom Minute).

The above, of course, is sort of boilerplate that you'll hear me yammering at the beginning of each KN@PP Stir Podcast this year. And since I'll only have limited time to talk up my sponsor in each podcast, let me spill a little ink here praising Darryl and his projects. Not because he's my sponsor. Or at least not only because he's my sponsor.

These days, "journalists" -- especially those who cover politics -- are expected to function as the status quo's stenographers. Not "just the facts, ma'am," but "just the facts that don't rustle anyone's jimmies."

Darryl isn't that kind of journalist. He's the kind of journalist that Joseph Pulitzer pined for in a letter to the editor of the New York World (a paper he owned):

Every issue of the paper presents an opportunity and a duty to say something courageous and true; to rise above the mediocre and conventional; to say something that will command the respect of the intelligent, the educated, the independent part of the community; to rise above fear of partisanship and fear of popular prejudice. I would rather have one article a day of this sort; and these ten or twenty lines might readily represent a whole day's hard work in the way of concentrated, intense thinking and revision, polish of style, weighing of words.

Darryl puts out a damn sight more than ten or twenty lines a day of exactly that kind of content. He does so in multiple media. And that's before he goes to work helping others do likewise.

A freedom movement with 51 Darryl W. Perrys, one in each state and one consigned to the purgatory of the District of Columbia, would probably be unstoppable. So: Pay attention. And emulate. Just sayin' ...

Getcher Pro-Business, Limited Government Republican "Defenders of Liberty" Here!

The first item under "highlights" on Florida state legislator Matt Gaetz's (R-Fort Walton Beach) official web page is "American Conservative Union, Defender of Liberty, 2013."

He's really big on liberty, apparently. And low taxes. Except for women who work for a living, or people who like to watch women working for a living, or people who roll their own cigarettes instead of paying Florida's exorbitant taxes on pre-manufactured smokes. Liberty and low taxes for them? Not so much.

Gaetz wants to impose a $10 head tax on entry into strip clubs. While he throws around some nonsense about fighting "human trafficking," he makes it clear what his real goal is. As paraphrased in WPTV News Channel 5's report on the proposal, it's to "discourage people from frequenting the businesses." Oh, and he also wants to require strip clubs to keep records of their customers, just in case the government might want to know who they are.

Representative Charles Van Zant (R-Keystone Heights), whose legislative web page touts his "Florida Chamber of Commerce Honor Roll" and "ABC Friend of Free Enterprise" awards, takes it even further: He wants a $10 entry tax on all night clubs and a $25 tax on nightclubs featuring human nudity. Why? Because "[l]ap dancing is not buying a loaf of bread at a grocery store."

Gaetz is also behind a proposal to charge people who buy pipe tobacco and paper/filters at "roll your own" shops the same taxes as are currently levied on actual cigarettes. And he also makes it clear that his goal is to put shops that cater to that customer base out of business.

I'm shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that Republicans hate business, hate working women and hate smokers. Unfortunately, they generally get away with this kind of stuff throughout their legislative sessions before coming home to campaign by eating apple pie in front of American flags and pretending they're your friends.

They're not. If you want freedom, low taxes and respect for people who work for a living from Florida's politicians, your only real option within the system is to vote Libertarian.

Monday, February 02, 2015

TGC -- Off to the Races!

I don't want to clutter up The Garrison Center's front page with "omigodomigodomigod" posts, but I feel the need to brag somewhere, so ... three days old and already we have the first newspaper pickup of a TGC op-ed (that I know of, anyway).

"Capital Punishment Means Unlimited Government" ran on page 4 of today's University of New Mexico Daily Lobo.

Circulation 15,000, presumably mostly students whose minds have hopefully not yet nodded off into life-long authoritarian slumber.

So over here I get to brag. Over there, it's just a subtle note at the bottom of the piece. Hopefully the first of many. Sort of like ...

Recently Written

My two latest pieces at The Center for a Stateless Society:

[O]ur masters mostly expect "educated" Americans to sit down and shut up (apart from perhaps expressing gratitude for whatever bread and circuses the ruling class might care to bestow upon them to produce a contented state).

That's the program for most of us. But there are always some who don't do well in the combination day care centers, minimum security prisons and bureaucratic money sinks sold to us as "schools." And an increasingly high-tech economy requires new layers of workers with skill sets that require more cultivation than such "public" institutions can provide.

Enter "school choice" programs, through which students (via their parents) can take "their" government funding to institutions other than the one-size-fits-all schools laid out by geographic districts.

[Read the rest of "'School Choice' is a Stopgap Measure for the Ruling Class"]

Anyone who doesn't live under a rock (or whose rock gets bombed periodically) knows that the US government spends more on its military than any other nation-state. A useful way of understanding how MUCH more: If the US "defense" budget was cut by 90%, it would remain the first or second largest military spender in the world (depending on fluctuations in China's military expenditures).

That 90% -- and then some -- is the single largest welfare entitlement program in the US government's budget, even omitting "emergency supplementals" for the military misadventure of the week and military spending snuck into other budget lines.

[Read the rest of "The Best Defense (for the Welfare State) is an Expensive Offense"]

And my first two op-eds at The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism:

Capital punishment is incompatible with "limited government" in any meaningful sense of the word. If the state may kill its subjects -- not in the heat of the moment when life and death decisions must be made instantly, nor in actual defense of life, liberty or property, but merely in leisurely pursuit of revenge and "deterrence" -- what may the state NOT do to those subjects?

How can we plausibly dispute lesser state impositions like gun control schemes or the "individual mandate" requiring us to buy health insurance, having already cheerfully ceded power over life and death to the same authorities?

[Read the rest of "Capital Punishment Means Unlimited Government"]

Obama's public justification for the veto is that the State Department should be allowed to complete its review in its own good time. That's bureaucratic window-dressing. The real constituents for Obama's regulatory foot-dragging are environmentalists concerned about the pipeline's potential for disastrous leaks and spills, aquifer damage, etc.

But any excuse for the Keystone veto will satisfy the environmentalists. They don't care how Obama justifies it; they'll happily chalk it up as a victory for Mother Earth, move on, and continue to vote Democrat. So why not address the elephant in the room (pun very much intended) and openly side with libertarians against this GOP boondoggle on property rights grounds?

[Read the rest of "One Cheer for Obama on the Keystone XL Boondoggle"]