Friday, April 29, 2016

With Winds Like These, Who Needs Cyclones?

Somehow -- I don't really recall how, but I'm promiscuous like that -- I ended up on Erick Erickson's mailing list. I usually don't open the emails because internal Republican hair-pulling just isn't my thing, but this one caught my eye:

The Winds Appear to Have Shifted In Ted Cruz's Favor

Why did it catch my eye? Well, it's usually just not the kind of thing you see about someone who went oh for five in primaries three days ago. So I wondered what Erickson had on his mind.

I have to admit, Erickson turns quite a trick by fashioning two things -- one, that everyone who's talking about Cruz hates him; two, that most people (including Drudge) aren't talking about Cruz at all -- into a case for CRUZMENTUM.

And he seems to attribute this massive shift, of which the symptoms are that nothing at all seems to have changed in any way, to one thing: Cruz picking a failed CEO who got beat like a red-headed step-child in all three elections she's ever contested (California for US Senate, Iowa and New Hampshire for the GOP presidential nomination) as his running mate.

I'm not convinced.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Home Stretch Questions for Gary Johnson #4

Former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson spe...
Former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia)

Governor Johnson,

In a recent debate with fellow Libertarian presidential aspirant Austin Petersen in Oregon, you said "So I have a political arm, Our America Initiative, and we've been more outspoken regarding the Patriot Act perhaps than any other organization, writing editorials constantly about the Patriot Act and the infringement that it poses to all of us. As governor of New Mexico, I would have never ever established the Department of Homeland Security. I think it's incredibly redundant." You make that claim starting at about 26 minutes, 10 seconds into this video:

The National Governors Association says otherwise in its reprint of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety's Homeland Security Strategic Plan:

In January 2002, Governor Johnson appointed the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Cabinet Secretary, Thomas L. English, as his Homeland Security Advisor. Mr. English immediately established the Office of Emergency Services and Security (OESS) to carry out homeland security functions and requirements. In July 2002, Mr. English established the DPS, Special Investigations Division, CounterTerrorism Intelligence Section (CTIS).

The strategic plan describes an aggressive intelligence and surveillance plan, to include expanding New Mexico's war on drugs under cover of the war on terror, in direct contradiction to your public statements indicating a desire to pare back the drug war:

The State's Homeland Security Advisor created a counterterrorism intelligence section within the Department of Public Safety, Special Investigations Division. This section will train law enforcement officers statewide in basic terrorism concepts and procedures in developing useful counter-terrorism intelligence. Another focus of this unit will be on identifying sources of drug funds and repositories for drug proceeds. It is believed that drug monies are being utilized to fund terrorist organizations.

The record says that you actually did exactly what you now say you never would have done, not just on the broad issue of "Homeland Security" but with respect to the war on drugs and police militarization (as of the strategic report, using federal grants of more than $5 million for equipment purchases).

What other parts of your actual record as governor of New Mexico are the exact opposite of the claims you make about that record today?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Home Stretch Questions for Gary Johnson, #3

Former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson spe...
Former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia)
Governor Johnson,

Most governors and other high public officials with significant wealth put that wealth in "blind trust" while in office. This involves liquidating known assets and having a trustee invest and manage wealth without the official knowing the details.

Your "blind trust" was a little different: It involved retaining ownership of your construction company, Big J, turning putative management of that company over to your campaign treasurer, allowing the company to bid on state projects run by your administration while claiming that it didn't, attempting to remove two New Mexico Tech regents who had the gall and temerity to choose another contractor over Big J for a state-funded project, and hiring Big J's former president on a no-bid contract under which he was paid $20,000 to write a ten-page report suggesting that you be more "bold" and "dramatic" as governor.

That record, combined with your 2012 presidential campaign's dishonest finance reporting, its outstanding debt of between $1.5 million and $1.9 million, and its tendency to function more as an instrument for the care and feeding of "political consultants" than as an actual campaign, raises two questions:

First, was your problem from 1995-2012 that you were ethically challenged, or that you were not a very competent executive, or both?

Second, is there any reason to believe that you've become more honest and/or more competent since 2012, especially given that your current campaign is once again spending the bulk of its money on the same "political consultants," operating from the same address, only under a new company name?

Thanks For Asking! 04/27/16

This week's AMA thread, and the podcast to follow, are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

The rundown:

  • Ask me anything (anything!) in the comment thread below this post; and
  • I'll answer your question in comments, on this weekend's podcast, or both.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Couple of Questions for Dr. Richard Ebeling

In an essay on "the bathroom wars" published yesterday at Epic Times, Dr. Richard Ebeling writes:

In government accommodations in such places as, say, courthouses, and in spite of the additional taxpayers' expense, matching toilet facilities for men and women, there also should be "transgender" facilities of some sort. There must be accommodations for taxpaying citizens who would feel uncomfortable in satisfying biological functions in the same limited space with those they define as members of the opposite sex, and at the same time for there to be facilities for those who are indifferent or who consider it "right" for transgender individuals to share such facilities with them.

Interesting perspective. Let me see if I'm understanding him correctly.

I take it Dr. Ebeling supported the "public" (i.e. government-run, although through a contractor) bus line in New York City that made "accommodations" for taxpaying male Orthodox Jews who "would feel uncomfortable" having women ride in the front of the bus with them, by requiring women to board through the back door and remain in the back of the bus, right?

Breathing and drinking water are "biological functions." Am I entitled to have, just for example, the public courthouse segregated by race if I "would feel uncomfortable" breathing the same air or drinking from the same fountain as African-Americans, Dr. Ebeling?

Just wondering.

[hat tip: Nick Manley]

Libertarian National Convention: A Couple of Bylaws Notes

The Libertarian Party's bylaws committee is circulating a survey soliciting opinions on various proposals. On the assumption that said proposals will end up in the committee's final report and be voted on by delegates to the national convention, I'd like to make the case for voting against a couple of them.

First, we have a proposal relating to relations between the Libertarian National Committee and the presidential campaign. The bylaws require the LNC to support the campaign, but not vice versa. In recent years, the LNC has attempted to make its support contingent on contracts that require the campaigns to do certain things, e.g. turn over their contact lists so that the party, as well as the campaign, can communicate with supporters. That hasn't always worked out. Here's a proposal for an addition to Article 15 of the bylaws:

Not less than six months prior to each Presidential Nominating Convention, the National Committee shall publish the contract specifying the terms by which the Party and the Presidential and Vice-presidential campaign shall assist and support each other. The Chair shall sign on behalf of the Party with each person who otherwise qualifies and desires to be our candidate. Only those persons who have signed prior to the close of nominations and are in compliance with the contract shall be recognized as candidates and be eligible to be nominated for President or Vice-President.

I recommend a NO vote on this proposal. Would it be a good thing for the presidential campaign to work closely with the LNC to build the party instead of just being a one-off, one-election-cycle project that disappears after the first Tuesday in November? Sure.

But that's something to be settled by appeal to the national convention delegates to support or oppose this or that candidate, not something to be settled by using the bylaws to hold campaigns hostage to whatever the LNC might happen to demand in its contract offer.

Secondly, we have yet another "intellectual property" ploy. A number of years back, the LNC filed a frivolous and fraudulent trademark application, claiming to own the name "Libertarian Party" even though it neither invented nor was the first to use that term, and even though the LNC was created BY the previously existing state Libertarian Parties as a mutual affiliation mechanism. It's sort of like the recently hired janitor claiming to own the stock symbol of the company where he mops floors. Because that trademark claim clearly wouldn't last 30 seconds in court, they're back trying to use the bylaws to gain "ownership" of a name that is not and never has been their "property" (even if intellectual property was conceptually compatible with libertarianism -- it isn't):

No person, group or organization may use the name "Libertarian Party" or any confusingly similar designation except the Party or an organization to which the Party grants affiliate party status or as otherwise provided in these bylaws. An affiliate that does not have on file with the Party a signed standard agreement acknowledging that the affiliate’s use of the Libertarian Party name is contingent upon it remaining an affiliate, that affiliate shall not be eligible to:

  • send delegates to any Regular Convention;
  • join a representative region;
  • receive resources from the Party;
  • appoint anyone to serve on any Party board or committee.

The first sentence in the above is risible but unfortunately already pollutes the bylaws. The new language is the party beginning with "An affiliate that does not have on file with the Party ..."

Once again, clearly something to vote NO on. The LNC should never be supported or rewarded in attempted fraud.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Initial Thoughts On Amazon Prime Instant Video

If you're a streaming movie and TV buff, you've probably heard the latest: Amazon is taking two steps to put itself into more direct competition with Netflix, at the same time that Netflix is preparing to piss off a bunch of its most loyal and long-time subscribers, including me.

Amazon Step #1: Making it possible to subscribe to the company's Prime service on a monthly, rather than annual, basis.

Amazon Step #2: Making it possible to break out one component of the Prime service -- streaming video -- at a lower price ($8.99 per month) or get the whole ball of wax (streaming video, streaming music, a crap ton of free books for Kindle, and free two-day shipping on physical stuff) for a little more ($10.99 per month).

Dumb Netflix Move: Jacking up a previously "grandfathered" monthly price of $7.99 to $9.99 for long-time subscribers (like me) who want to be able to continue streaming to two devices at once (I've got kids; people who are good with only one stream can stick at $7.99). The price increase starts rolling out in May.

So, I started my free one-month trial of Amazon Prime on Friday.

And I like it.

Every now and again for the last several years, I've Googled terms like netflix vs amazon prime and mulled making the switch. The comparisons vary wildly by criteria. But mostly Amazon just seems to have ... well, MORE. The main problem with the decision is original programming. I can't watch "Orange is the New Black" on Amazon. I can't watch "Bosch" on Netflix.

Right now I'm leaning toward Amazon on content considerations. That's not really a reflection of quality. It's just that I'm tired of "Orange is the New Black" and just now getting started on "Bosch." But OK, I can see where the decision might be difficult.

Where it's not difficult is on interface. Amazon's is just better. When watching Amazon video on my computer, I can mouse over the screen and BOOM -- a list of every actor in the scene I'm watching pops up, as well as information on e.g. what music is playing and so forth. And I can click thru for more info and even pop right over to IMDB.

How cool is that? Well, here's how cool: Every time Tamara and I watch something, anything on Neflix, we see someone we think we recognize but can't quite place, and one of us ends up yelling "hit pause! I have to go see who that is!" and then spend ten minutes tracking down the episode name and looking through the cast to find out who it is we're looking at. On Amazon, it's mouse over, click, done. Instant gratification.

I can get Amazon Prime video for a buck less a month than Netflix is going to be charging me. Or for a buck more than Netflix is going to be charging me, I can get video, and music, and books, and free shipping.

Unless something changes in the next 25 days or so, Netflix is gone. I kind of hate that because I've been with Netflix for a decade and a half or so and haven't really had any complaints until now. But hey, I'll get over it. I've got t-shirts older than that.

Brief after-note: I've watched the first four episodes of "Bosch," and love it. Now I'm waiting for Tamara to catch up (we've both read all the Bosch novels and love them). While I'm waiting, I'm binge-watching a show I always knew I would like but couldn't watch on Netflix: "The Newsroom." Call me sappy a secret com-symp, but consider Aaron Sorkin a national treasure.

And short after-thought, a few minutes after initial posting: I think that Marcia Gay Harden may be the most attractive woman working in film and television today. Yes, even more so than Christina Hendricks, Kirsten Vangness or Scarjo. And if you don't agree, well, you're stupid and I don't care what you think.

A Grudging Bit of Respect for the Johnson 2016 Campaign

Over the past week or so, I've emphasized the importance of opposition research in political campaigns and bemoaned the near absence of it in Libertarian political campaigns.

Earlier this morning, I found out that Gary Johnson's presidential campaign has a private Facebook group apparently dedicated to one side of the oppo research equation: Figuring out what might be used to attack the candidate so that it can be headed off.

The group is called Troll Patrol GJ2016. Obviously I'm not a member of it. In fact, I'm presumably not supposed to know it exists (neither are you unless you're a member of it).

For obvious reasons, I'm of two minds on the subject.

On the one hand, it's nice to see a Libertarian presidential campaign doing one of the things it needs to be doing. Congrats to the Johnson people on being proactive there.

On the other hand, I'm on the general catch-all anti-Johnson team, so if there are any turncoats lurking in Troll Patrol GJ2016 who'd like to share what's been posted there and what gets posted there in the future you know where to find me.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 77: Yippie Yi Okyay ("the") and the Gary Johnson Death Match

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

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! (my sad fiction career);
  • The word "the" and why Raquel Okyay flipped out and blocked me on Facebook;
  • Gary Johnson's bizarre record on the death penalty.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 76: A Peripatetic Special

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

This mid-to-late-week episode is a checkout of how podcasting using my phone while walking around works, with a view toward doing so from the Libertarian National Convention next month. A little difficult, but I could get used to it ... except that the Soundcloud Android app doesn't let me do things like edit this description or other properties. So ... there is ACTUAL CONTENT here -- a rant on Libertarian oppo research.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

And Yet Another Podcast Outlet

The KN@PP Stir Podcast is now available on TuneIn. That's the 12th listening option (click that first link over there to see all 12, or to listen to the episodes in embed format).

I'm still jonesing to be part of Liberty Radio Network's weekly podcast feed, though. You really should go over there and ask them to make that happen. Because you love me, of course.

Home Stretch Questions for Gary Johnson, #2

Former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson spe...
Former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson speaking at a Campaign for Liberty event at CPAC.  (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia)

Governor Johnson, as of 1996 you supported having state employees kill 13-year-old prisoners:

Have you changed your mind about that?

And have you changed your mind on your 1997 support for lowering the bar from unanimity to majority vote for a jury to decide to have state employees kill prisoners?

What's your position on capital punishment this week?

In October 2001 you said that Terry Clark deserved to die and signed the death warrant for the first execution in New Mexico in 41 years. But by January of 2002 you were claiming to be against the death penalty. Kind of. Sort of. In one of those "say it, then take it back" ways you have:

"I believe in the death penalty ... I believe in an eye for an eye. I believe that if you kill somebody, you should pay for that act with your own life. But I have become convinced that the death penalty as public policy is flawed and shouldn't exist."

Errrrr ...

One of your Democratic opponents in the state senate implied that you were trying to trade death penalty repeal for the drug law relaxations you wanted. And it turned out you had actually said you would -- before retracting the offer: "I was asked at a press conference if I would consider trading the death penalty for the passage of the drug reform measures ... I said, 'Yeah, I probably would.' After I said it, I said, 'Time out. Let me renege on what I just said.' I would not trade that off. I'm telling you that because this is something I believe in and I will judge it on its own merits."

An exasperated Jim Belshaw confessed in an op-ed for the Albuquerque Journal to "rhetorical whiplash" over your backs and forths on capital punishment. "Is he sincere?" asked Belshaw. "I don't know. Only he does."

I don't know either. So I thought I'd ask.

Thoughts on the Recurrence of Technique in the Clinton Political Dynasty

Hillary Clinton is doing to the Democratic Party this year what her husband did to Ricky Ray Rector in 1992 -- killing for personal political benefit.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Just took notice and thought I'd share, that's all.

Thanks For Asking! -- 04/20/16

This week's AMA thread -- and the podcast to follow -- are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

As per usual:

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

Does the Libertarian Party Need a GenX Caucus?

And maybe a Boomer Caucus?

It's got a Millennial Caucus now.

Caucusing by age seems like a weird idea to me.

The Millennial Caucus mission seems to pretty much just a combination of 1) re-packaging the starry-eyed cargo cultism of the circa-2006 Reform Caucus and 2) "Hey, we need to get with that there Internet thingie, because all those geezers who are older than 36 never THOUGHT of that."

I guess it's cool that millennials are active and all. And admittedly, before I got old as dirt, I thought I had all the answers too, and didn't want to hear that all my magical silver bullets had been tried before either.  Then I learned better. Presumably the Millennial Caucus will go through the same process, with some of them giving up and some of them hanging in there and making a difference.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Home Stretch Questions for Gary Johnson, #1

Former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson spe...
Johnson speaking at a Campaign for Liberty event at CPAC. (Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia)
Governor Johnson, in 1997 you became the first governor of New Mexico to ever be held in contempt by your state's Supreme Court, for attempting to rule by executive decree when the legislature wouldn't pass a welfare reform bill you wanted. Do you regret that overreach? Given the US Supreme Court's greater deference to executive power than your own state's, if elected president, could you be trusted to resist the temptations of the imperial presidency?

Monday, April 18, 2016

New KN@PP Stir Podcast Outlet

The KN@PP Stir Podcast is now available via Google Play.

That makes 11 outlets/formats it's available in, that I know of. They're all listed here. Subscribe and enjoy!

That is all.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 75: Sigh ... "Roomgate"

This episode of the KN@PP Stir Podcast is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! (presidential ambitions -- no, not really -- why I still use Google+ and what's up with single-payer healthcare);
  • Not so much a rant on "Roomgate" as a shout-out to Caryn Ann Harlos and Will Coley on coverage of "Roomgate."

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Writers Should Read

Get Richard Blake's new short book, How I Write Historical Fiction, for the lovely price of $0.00 -- but only this weekend and in Amazon Kindle format.

If you want it in another format or at another time, it will cost you. I haven't read the whole thing yet because I stopped to get the word out to you, but I suspect (based on the first few pages and on my personal estimation of the author and his work) it will still be worth it even if you mess around and end up having to pay.

Libertarians, of course, know Blake by another name and in another context, and love him just as much under that name and in that context as they love him for his Death of Rome series and stand-alone "alternate history" novels (The Churchill Memorandum and The Break).

Friday, April 15, 2016

Thanks For Asking! -- 04/15/16

Yeah, the AMA thread is running late this week. But it's still brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

Ask me anything -- anything! -- in the comment thread below this post and I'll answer in comments, on this weekend's podcast, or both.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Gary Johnson's Campaign Debts Get Bigger and Less Avoidable

The Federal Elections Commission ruled on April 5th that Gary Johnson's 2012 campaign committee owes it a refund of $332,191. The FEC's claim is that some of the "matching funds" welfare it gave to the campaign were used for non-qualifying expenses.

Johnson's 2012 campaign organization, which was already $1.4 million in debt before this ruling, has 30 days to cough up.

In the meantime, his 2016 campaign organization reports that it has, thus far, spent about $36,400 more than it has taken in. I say "reports" because, as we now know, at this time in the 2012 campaign cycle Johnson's campaign actually had six times as much debt as it admitted to. Is the campaign lying this time too?

The Libertarian Party Can't Afford Gary Johnson Again.

[Update: I may be mis-reading the current report. George Phillies reads it as indicating that the Johnson campaign is spending more than it is taking in in actual campaign contributions, but not more than it's taking in altogether -- because it's taking government welfare ("matching funds") again - TLK]

[Additional update: And now, no, it doesn't look like the Johnson campaign is getting any matching funds; rather, its latest campaign finance report is screwed up with respect to which fields contributions were reported in, etc. So whether even the basic numbers reported are correct, or believable ... well, who knows? If they are, the campaign is spending more than it's taking in - TLK]

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 74: Muslims and Latte Liberals and Smart Phones, Oh My

This episode of the KN@PP Stir Podcast is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! (Libertarian VP candidates, Latte Liberals in Gainesville, Florida, and why I finally got a smart phone)

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Thanks For Asking! -- 04/06/16

This week's AMA thread, and the podcast to follow, are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

You know the drill:

  • Ask me anything -- anything! -- in the comment thread below this post;
  • I'll answer in the comment thread, on this weekend's podcast, or both.
In lieu of a video this week, a bleg:

As I mentioned on last weekend's episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast, my next goal for promoting the podcast is to get it included in the Liberty Radio Network's weekly podcast feed. Please help me out by asking LRN to make that addition to their programming. You can do so from the link in the previous sentence -- scroll down the page and you'll find contact information at the bottom of the right sidebar. Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Suppose You Got a Ticket ...

... for driving without your glasses on and/or for not having proof of insurance card.

OK, well, it's just a ticket. But what if that ticket led (for whatever reason) to your arrest, and to police searching your cell phone and calling people you might or might not have ever had sex with just to make sure those people know you're HIV positive?

I'd say that's some bullshit right there. And it's not just a hypothetical (h/t Jason Gatties).

Monday, April 04, 2016

Notice: Key Revocation, Etc.

PGP keys associated with the address are no longer valid -- Unseen is in the process of migrating to a new email system and since I had no valuable archive to preserve, I found it easier to delete my account than to migrate it. And while I had my key pair backed up, I figure now's as good a time as any to do a periodic key change. So you'll probably see a new public key around here somewhere, soon.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 73: Trigger Warnings & Cake Slavers

This episode of the KN@PP Stir Podcast is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In This Episode:

  • Help me take the next step in world conquest!
  • Thanks For Asking! (Trigger Warning: Trigger Warnings)
  • The Week in Stupid: Austin Petersen Takes Gary Johnson to the Woodshed on Cake Slavery
  •  The Usual "Send Money, Guns & Lawyers" Closer.
Show Notes:

  • I reference the Fox Business Libertarian presidential candidate debate hosted by John Stossel in this episode's "The Week in Stupid" segment. If you missed part one of the debate (part two airs this coming Friday), here's the video.