Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Concerning WhyNotGaryJohnson.com

Well, the campaign for the Libertarian Party's 2016 presidential nomination is over and the nominees are Gary Johnson for president and William Weld for vice-president.

I believe that a vote on the national convention floor comes with certain obligations. Energetically supporting the ticket is not one of those obligations -- you're either enthusiastic or you aren't. However, not actively opposing the ticket, unless some unusual and extreme situation arises which requires one to do so, is one of those obligations.

So, I've taken down the anti-Johnson/Weld site I created at whynotgaryjohnson.com and replaced it with a parking page (at least I've told Namecheap to do that ... it doesn't seem to have propagated yet).

The domain is listed for sale in Namecheap's marketplace for $500 -- but I've also contacted a friend with the campaign. If the campaign wants it, they get it for whatever the cost of transferring it comes to: Ten bucks or so. It seems like it would be a pretty cool URL that they might want to use for something.

All in all, I thought the site was a fairly good little operation -- five pages of bullet points explaining why Johnson shouldn't be the nominee. I publicized it by scattering otherwise unmarked QR codes all over the national convention site. I hope it played a role in denying Johnson and Weld first-ballot victories. As close as they came, I think maybe it did contribute to that.

But now it's time to move on.

A Note on Celebrity

Libertarian National Conventions are always a huge and undeserved ego boost for me. At least a few people come up to me and seem flattered to meet me because they've noticed me before. Rest assured, I am at least as flattered to meet them.

A new friend I made at the convention, who had NOT previously noticed me, emailed me this morning about that, asking "[a]m I supposed to know you as some kind of celebrity?"

Three things:

  • If you're loud enough for long enough, people start to remember your name.
  • As Robert Stacy McCain says, "being notorious is not the same as being famous, but it's better than being anonymous."
  • I'd rather have friends than admirers.

That is all.

A Bit of Fun Political Trivia

This past Sunday in Orlando, the Libertarian Party nearly nominated (and should have nominated) Larry Sharpe for vice-president of the United States. If they had, he would, so far as I know, have been the second former US Marine to appear on American ballots as a vice-presidential candidate. The first:

Monday, May 30, 2016

Libertarian National Convention: The Good

I'm back home from the 2016 Libertarian National Convention in Orlando, Florida. I had intended to stay in Orlando through today, but travel availability considerations made it seem more sensible to return home last night. And ten hours of sleep in my own bed after three nights of little or no sleep in strange places was very nice.

It was great to see old friends again, and to make new ones. I'm not going to try to list them all because I know I'd forget someone. Y'all know who you are. Some of you I've known for 20 years, some for only a few days. It's good to have comrades.

It was great to see the Libertarian Party's radicals organized and effective. I will name names here: I have to primarily attribute the Radical Caucus's strong performance to the work of Susan Hogarth, Marc Montoni and Caryn Ann Harlos. Others kicked in too, of course, and I have to appreciate them without trying to count them (I even worked a shift on the caucus's booth myself). In my opinion, the radicals' greatest victory was finally getting a good anti-death-penalty plank into the party's platform. My understanding is that that fight's been ongoing since 1971. Victory after such a long time tastes sweet.

Caryn Ann Harlos wields the Radical Caucus's "vote no" lightsaber and thumbs-down sign on the convention floor during platform debate.

I was personally pleased to see my old friend Nick Sarwark elected to a second term as chair of the Libertarian National Committee. And not just re-elected, but re-elected by an overwhelming margin, with nearly 2/3 of the vote against two opponents who ran real campaigns and one who performed a wonderful strip-tease in lieu of a campaign speech.

Speaking of which, those of you who voted to nominate Gary Johnson for president and/or William Weld for vice-president have no standing to complain about anyone else embarrassing the Libertarian Party. Let's review the play:

Side note: Some suggested expulsion from the party as a penalty for Mr. Weeks's dance, and the LNC's parliamentarian falsely asserted that such an action is allowable. It isn't. Robert's is only applicable insofar as it is consistent with the party's bylaws. Those bylaws explicitly define who is a party member and do not provide for any contravention of that definition. If you've certified in writing that you oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals, you ARE a member of the party and you REMAIN a member of the party until such time as you rescind such certification. Period.

So anyway -- thanks to everyone who made this convention a largely enjoyable and productive time despite much heartbreak.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

This is What a Libertarian Looks Like

Presidential Voting: Attempt to Liveblog Results

I'll be whipping for Daryl W. Perry on the floor during balloting, but I'll try to get overall results (NOT state by state -- just not enough time to do it and other necessary things) updated on this entry ASAP as they're reported (hopefully we'll got through multiple ballots and arrive at a nominee other than Gary Johnson).


Thanks to Mandy Parsons for the photo!


Libertarian Party gives up, de facto dissolves.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Yes, I am Podcasting from the 2016 Libertarian National Convention

Two short daily updates so far, and I'll shoot for AT LEAST one a day.

What you REALLY want to do is check out my whole-enchilada convention coverage page -- Instagram photos, YouTube videos, Soundcloud podcasts, off-site links, etc.

But if it's really ONLY the podcasts you want, hit the podcast page.

Later. Lots to do.

2016 Libertarian National Convention Friday Liveblogging ...

... at Independent Political Report.

Libertarian National Convention, Friday Morning Gossip Starter

Anecdotally -- based on talk over drinks and noticing who wasn't out drinking in the Rosen Centre's bars last night -- Gary Johnson's presidential campaign seems to be in full panic mode. Can't say I blame them, given yesterday's Time article on Johnson's campaign finances and his 35% performance in last night's post-debate straw poll. I'm trying to make my own modest contributions to the coming rout as well.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Megabus ...

Pretty sweet. I'm about halfway between Gainesville and Orlando, riding upstairs on a double decker. Comfier seats and better WiFi than Greyhound.

And the price was only $13. There's a very good chance my ride from bus stop to hotel will cost more than the city to city transportation.

Crowdfunding Some Travel Assistance...

[This post is manually "pinned" to the top of the blog's main page at the moment for obvious reasons - TLK]

[Update, 05/26/16: I'm adding this update and re-pinning the post right before shutting my computer down, finishing my last-minute packing, and heading for Orlando for the 2016 Libertarian National Convention. Thanks to have helped out with these travel expenses already, and thanks in advance to anyone who might feel moved to do so by the quality of coverage I deliver from Orlando. Keep an eye out here on KN@PPSTER, and especially on the dedicated convention coverage page, for that - TLK]

[Update, 05/23/16: I've finished the first of the two expeditions referenced in this post; THANKS to those of you who made my 4,000+ mile trip north to see family a little less financially stressful than it otherwise would have been! I'm preparing to go to Orlando for the 2016 Libertarian National Convention later this week.

I'll make it one way or another, but a little more assistance would make it a great deal easier, especially given recent news: While I was up north, Tamara's mother suffered a stroke. She is home, comfortable and recovering now, but Tamara and possibly the kids will probably travel north themselves next month to help with some home recombobulation (getting things set up on a single floor to reduce stair usage, etc.) and to just generally visit. Those of you who have elderly parents or grandparents are, I'm sure, keenly aware that every visit could be the last.

Again, thanks in advance for any moolah you decide to send! - TLK]

Let's try this again.

I'm trying to raise $500. If that's all you need to know, the button is at the bottom of this post, and thanks. If you'd rather read a messed up story first, here we go:

Earlier this morning, I tried to create a crowdfunding campaign for upcoming travel expenses using a service called Fundrazr. Complete nightmare -- they advertise that they support PayPal withdrawal of donations, but once you start setting up, they try to corral you into another service (WePay), and if you spend 15 minutes finding the PayPal option, it turns out that only works if you have a PayPal business account. The instructions on how to edit and delete campaigns bear zero relation to reality. When you try to unlink your social media accounts and just get off the service altogether, it demands MORE information (setting up an email address, password, etc.).

I don't recommend Fundrazr. I've sent them a nastygram asking how I get out of their house of horrors. Maybe I'll hear back. Maybe I won't. I've also deleted the Facebook post advertising the campaign and asked people who might want to donate to NOT donate through that if they've already seen it and clicked through, bookmarked, etc.

So, why am I trying to raise $500, and what will donors get for helping me do so?

Well, it's like this: I have some travel coming up and it's going to punch a bit of a hole in the ol' family budget.

From May 11th thru the 18th, I'll be traveling from Florida back to Missouri to visit my parents and my oldest brother. They're 82 (my parents, not my brother) and in the process of selling their house and moving. I haven't seen them in 3 1/2 years. My OTHER brother and I will be traveling together -- he used some points he's accrued to buy me a plane ticket from Jacksonville, Florida to Milwaukee, Wisconsin (he lives in Racine), and we're going to drive down to Missouri, spend a few days, drive back to Wisconsin and I'll fly home.

Then over Memorial Day weekend, I'll be traveling a mere 120 miles to Orlando, Florida for the 2016 Libertarian National Convention. This will be a working trip for me, and a couple of days of it will be a vacation trip for Tamara and Amelia (Tamara wants to visit old Libertarian Party friends, Amelia wants to attend a science fiction convention next door to the Libertarian event).

I'm raising the money to help take the edge off things like hotel room rental, road food, etc.

I really only have two things to offer in return for your help:

- I'll be glad to give you public thanks/appreciation here on the blog and/or on the podcast. Just hit the contact form up top and let me know if you'd like that.

- My intent is to blog, podcast, possibly livestream video, etc. from the Libertarian National Convention. You'll read, see and hear that stuff here, at Independent Political Report, etc. (I'll be trying to get together some kind of "LP convention central media HQ" thingie to point you to -- there may be Instagram photos, Periscope videos, whatever; I'm working out the tech now). So a little bit of what you're buying with your support is "hopefully better and more detailed coverage of the convention that usual, above and beyond C-SPAN's, for those who can't actually be there." Among the POSSIBLE budget holes to cover will be buying a wi-fi package or hot spot if there's not good "free" Internet access from the convention hall.

So, that's what's up. Thanks in advance!

One More Cup of Coffee ...

... and then I finish packing, etc. and head for Orlando.

Presumably I'll start throwing coverage at you even before I arrive -- I've got a whole page set up for Instagramming, YouTubing and Soundclouding atcha from one spot!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Thanks For Asking, 05/25/16

This week's AMA post/thread and the podcast to follow are, as per usual, brought to you by Darryl W. Perry ...

... but this week things are a little different.

Usually, I invite you to ask me anything -- anything! --  in the comment thread below this post, and promise to answer your questions in the comment thread, on the weekend podcast to follow, or both.

This week, there will be multiple podcasts starting as early as today (although more likely tomorrow), centering around and mostly from the 2016 Libertarian National Convention in Orlando Florida. So two things:

  • Instead of asking me questions, think of questions you'd like me to ask other people I might encounter at the convention. That could mean presidential or vice-presidential candidates, Libertarian National Committee members or candidates for LNC, Libertarians you know or have heard of, etc. Maybe you'd like to know whether national chair Nick Sarwark prefers boxers or briefs, or ask William Weld what his good friend Rudy Giuliani is really like, or whatever.
  • This week, I can't promise that your questions will be answered, since I'm not the one who'll answering them. I can't even promise that I'll be able to ask your question of the person it's aimed at, because I don't know who I'll run into (I suspect certain people will turn and walk the other way if they see me coming, especially if I have a camera or microphone in hand).

Oh, and a third thing -- if you're in Orlando, say hi! I'll be with the New Hampshire delegation when doing party business, and probably hanging out with the Perry campaign and/or the Radical Caucus peeps and/or George Phillies at other times.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

And the Non-Denial Denials Keep on coming ...

New email from Gary Johnson's presidential campaign. Excerpted:

Gov. Johnson Has Been Called a Lot of Things, But ...

A big government spender?? That's right. A writer for the conservative National Review posted an article this week attacking Gov. Johnson for his spending record as New Mexico Governor, absurdly calling him a 'big government type'. ... Without getting into mindless detail, it is clear that the writer who attacked Governor Johnson doesn't understand state budgets -- or chose to play 'fun with numbers' to paint an entirely incorrect picture. And he didn't even bother to call Gov. Johnson to talk with him about it.

As for the truth, it is highly unlikely that established, respected publications and organizations such as Reason, the Cato Institute, and even the Club for Growth wouldn't have lauded Governor Johnson’s fiscal conservatism if he had, in fact, been a 'big government type'. Big government types don't veto 750 bills and thousands of spending items, cut the size of government by more than 1,000 employees, and earn the title: 'Most fiscally conservative governor' in the nation.

Notice what's not in there? Any denial of the claims in the National Review piece.

Maybe that's because the two major claims in the piece are absolutely, irrefutably correct. They are:

  • That "[w]hen Johnson took the tiller in New Mexico in 1995, the budget stood at $4.397 billion. When he left in 2003, it had grown to $7.721 billion, an increase of 7.29 percent a year. Of the eleven governors who filed to run for president this year (two Democrats, Johnson, and eight Republicans), only one had a worse record on spending growth."
  • That "Johnson inherited a debt of $1.8 billion and left a debt of $4.6 billion, a rate of increase unmatched by the 22 governors in either party who have filed for presidential primaries in the past two decades, with the exception of Governor Tom Vilsack (D., Iowa) in 2007."
Apart from the ranking trivia -- which is quite interesting! -- this is nothing I haven't told you right here at KN@PPSTER.

As governor of New Mexico, Johnson grew government spending faster than inflation, faster than population growth, and faster than Barack Obama has grown federal spending as president of the United States.

As governor of New Mexico, Johnson more than doubled his state's debt.

Those are facts. Maybe there are good explanations for them, but they're still facts.

Johnson runs on the parts of his record that sound good, which is fine. But the other parts are fair game for discussion as well. If he wants to be the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee he needs to be able to talk about those parts too, if for no other reason than that just because we don't ask him about them, that doesn't mean Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton won't ask him about them should he happen to achieve his goal of making the big-time debate stage.

PS: Yes, I noticed the double negative typo in the final paragraph quoted from Johnson's email as well. Hey, shit happens.

A Podcast Libertarian National Convention Delegates NEED to Listen To

I've actually been holding back on promoting it until the convention got close, because I want you to still be thinking about it when you arrive in Orlando. It's Rodger Paxton's LAVA Flow Podcast,  "BONUS: The My Libertarian Presidential Endorsement Edition," from May 16th (there's a new episode up this morning -- I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but it addresses the recently announced vice-presidential candidacy of William Weld, and because it's Rodger you know it's going to be good).

I encourage you to visit/listen at the links above, but getting this in your ear is important enough that I'm going to go ahead and embed it as well:

[Note: Or maybe I'm not. Can't seem to find anything that works. Maybe Blubrry doesn't want to feed the file to a rogue script or something? GO HIT THAT LINK, PLEASE! - TLK]

Monday, May 23, 2016

Thanks to the Wonders of Modern Technology ...

... I "attended" two Libertarian presidential candidate events tonight: A Google Hangout with John McAfee and his campaign manager Tiffany Madison, and a conference call with Gary Johnson and his preferred running mate, William Weld.

Bottom line: I didn't change my mind about which candidate I support or why, but I thought both presentations were reasonably good.

As befits the "revolutionary" among the top three candidates, McAfee, I thought he made a good case for himself, and Ms. Madison likewise justified the campaign's value to the party in terms of creating a candidate assistance package geared toward modernizing Libertarian campaigns.

No real surprises on the Johnson campaign call. A Utah state senator came on to wax enthusiastic and former LNC chair / current LP ballot access honcho Bill Redpath explained the challenges ahead on that front. Weld got a bit long-winded, presumably because he felt the need to familiarize the listening delegates with him, but I think he helped himself a bit (his account of his 2nd Amendment issues would have stood him in good stead if he hadn't already had a couple of false starts on it in the past few days). Both candidates made strong arguments that they are the ones who can get the Libertarian Party onto the debate stage and permanently enlarge its electoral base.

In other news, Austin Petersen has had two endorsements and two withdrawals of endorsement in the last two days.

The first was conservative talk host Glenn Beck, who clearly and unambiguously endorsed Petersen ("he's my guy"), then tried to "clarify" that he hadn't actually done what he had done.

The second was Walter Block (long associated with the formerly libertarian, now paleoconservative, Ludwig von Mises Institute), who apparently didn't bother to actually familiarize himself with the candidate before endorsing him and recoiled in horror when he learned that Petersen doesn't endorse the Non-Aggression Principle.

I feel bad for Petersen. Not because I support him, I don't, but because a candidate should be able to count on prominent endorsers to make up their goddamn minds and stick to their guns for more than, say, 15 minutes before turning tail.

OK, I Finally Found a Google Thing That I REALLY Hate

And it's not something I would have expected.

I created a YouTube channel specifically for videos I intend to record at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention. I thought about livestreaming via one of several services, but I don't really WANT to livestream. I prefer to record stuff and upload it. Other people will be livestreaming, I'm sure.

I had planned to embed the channel on the page I'm creating for my convention coverage (that page will also have embeds of my convention Instagram gallery, my convention podcasting, etc. -- basically one-stop shopping for my convention coverage).

It should be the simplest thing ever. Go to the channel, grab some embed code, go.

But noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ...

I'm pretty sure it's not impossible, but when I search for information on how to do it I get a bazillion help threads, all of which end with "this method has been deprecated, go here for the new way."

I finally gave up and just created a playlist on my default channel, then embedded that. But my original idea should have been easy to implement instead of some kind of nightmare.

It's Like They Think No One's Paying Attention ...

... and I suppose they may be right. "They" being William Weld and Gary Johnson, who seem to have taken up a last-minute campaign strategy of "just make shit up about the hard stuff and hope the Libertarian National Convention delegates don't notice we're just making shit up."

It started with Weld, who issued a lengthy statement after people brought up some of the problems with his candidacy for the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential nomination. Quoth Weld:

Likewise, there has been much discussion among Libertarians about my campaign for Governor of New York in 2006. New York has a unique system in which candidates often assemble "fusion" tickets in order to achieve a winning coalition. As part of such an effort, I was honored in 2006 to earn the Libertarian nomination for Governor. Unfortunately, the larger effort failed, and we were not successful in making the Libertarian ballot "line" part of a coalition that could win. I am grateful to the Libertarian Party for the work we did, and disappointed that the strategy simply couldn’t be executed.

Except that's not what happened. Weld's betrayal of the Libertarian Party of New York wasn't just some kind of disappointing "didn't work out" thing. Weld was specifically asked whether or not he would continue to run on the Libertarian ballot line for governor of New York even if he didn't receive the Republican nomination as well. The querent explained to Weld why the question was important (LPNY had been screwed over by prominent "drop in, then drop out" caniddates before). And Weld Just. Flat. Lied. Here he is doing it:

Flipping the directionality of the falsehoods, Weld first addressed his pro-victim-disarmament ("gun control" history) in the message ...

I am a lifelong hunter and gun owner. In 1993, however, as Governor of Massachusetts, I went along with some modest restrictions on certain types of firearms. I was deeply concerned about gun violence, and frankly, the people I represented were demanding action. Sometimes, governing involves tough choices, and I had to make more than a few.

Today, almost 25 years later, I would make some different choices. Restricting Americans’ gun rights doesn't make us safer, and threatens our constitutional freedoms. I was pleased by and support the Supreme Court's decision in the District of Columbia vs. Heller -- a decision that embraced the notion that our Second Amendment rights are individual rights, not to be abridged by the government.

... then went on CNN on Sunday and made it clear that no, his views haven't changed and that they are of the "liberal Democrat shooting skeet in a campaign commercial -- guns for hunting, yes, but guns that are all scary and military looking, no" variety (starts at about 4 minutes, 30 seconds in):

Johnson appears to have taken the cue from his chosen running mate, releasing a similar message on Facebook late last night in which he addresses the "Nazi cake" episode at length. For those who don't recall the particulars of that incident, let's go to video for a third time:

Money quote: "I think that if you discriminate on the basis of religion, I think that is a black hole ... I think you should be able to discriminate for stink or you're not wearing shoes or whatever. If we discriminate on the basis of religion, to me, that's doing harm to a big class of people." After which he says that yes, a Jewish baker should have to bake a cake for a Nazi on demand.

Given Johnson's previous enthusiasm for telling Muslim women what they can and cannot wear, etc., his newfound disgust with religious discrimination is a bit rich. But hey, if this is his honest sentiment now, so be it. Except that his explanation of the incident ... well ...

I responded to that question in the legal context of whether a public business has the right to refuse to serve a member of the public, as distasteful as it might be.

No, Gary, your answer wasn't "in the legal context." You were quite clear that it was about your personal opinion of what kinds of discrimination are and are not socially acceptable.

If you had made the kind of argument on national television that you're making now (I encourage KN@PPSTER readers to read the entire statement linked above), many libertarians might still disagree, but it would have been an interesting and thought-inspiring discussion on strategy.

But you didn't make that argument. You made a different argument. And now you're trying to go back and change the history, like Winston Smith did from his desk at IngSoc's Ministry of Truth in 1984.

Will the Libertarian Party's 2016 national convention delegates notice how they're being played and respond accordingly? I hope so. I'm even a teensy weensy bit optimistic that the Libertarian Party can repel the Johnson/Weld hostile takeover attempt. But only just a teensy weensy bit. Past experience (e.g. Barr/Root 2008) indicates that Libertarian national convention delegates have a collective attention span problem.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Now That I'm Back, a Brief Travel Reminiscence

Guesstimate: I covered 4,300 miles in eight major and several minor legs last week.

Driving from Gainesville to Jacksonville. Flying from Jacksonville to Baltimore, then Baltimore to Milwaukee/Racine. Driving from Racine to Springfield, Missouri, then back, with a lot of short drives in between. Flying from Milwaukee to Atlanta to Jacksonville, then the drive home to Gainesville.

That probably doesn't seem like a LOT of mileage to most of you, but keep in mind that I went for three years without straying further than 50 miles from Gainesville, and hand't flown in 13 years. So it was a big trip for me.

My biggest fear was that I would arrive at JAX airport and find out I was on the no-fly list, requiring me to either cancel the trip or go Greyhound. No problems. Because I didn't want or have time for problems, I didn't opt out of the scanners or any of that stuff. Maybe sometime when I'm feeling my oats. My second biggest fear was that the variable air pressure would give me toothaches, since my bottom teeth remain a mess. No problem there either. A little bit of congestion over the course of the week, probably from cutting across a bunch of territories with different pollens and temperature profiles, but that was about it.

At the far end of the trip (addendum: after an overnight with my brother Mike and his exceptionally lovely wife Pam, including a tour of old downtown Milwaukee), I got to spend several days visiting with my brothers and my parents. My mom and dad were in the process of moving from their house of 20 years or so in Marshfield, Missouri into an apartment in Springfield. We arrived in time to help with the auction of household goods and some cleanup, but mostly just got a good long visit in.

I brought home some cool family pictures and artifacts, which I've been sharing and discussing on Facebook. For example, my great-grandfather John T. Knapp's razor strop, which was a childhood object of disciplinary terror for me:

It was a great time. I got almost no WORK -- by which I mean blogging, podcasting, etc. -- done, for which I apologize. Too much to do and not really very good hotel Internet. This coming week's travel to the 2016 Libertarian National Convention in Orlando should be just the opposite. I appreciate y'all's continuing support in these expensive endeavors, which is why I'll be re-pinning the "help me out with travel" post to the top of the page momentarily.

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 80: Just Say No to William Weld!

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

I think an additional disclaimer is called for on this episode (and probably some others): Do NOT assume that Darryl endorses any particular thing I say. I'm honored by his sponsorship, but we do not discuss my content, he has no veto power over my content, and it's ALWAYS possible that he might disagree with what I have to say about this or that. That said:

In this episode:

  • Hello, I Must Be Going;
  • Thanks for Asking! (Why I bother with the Libertarian Party);
  • Just Say No to William Weld!;
  • See You in Orlando!

Monday, May 16, 2016

As You May Have Noticed ...

I'm traveling and a podcast was,  while not impossible, very inconvenient last evening. Best guess: Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Thanks For Asking! -- 05/11/16

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

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

* This weekend's podcast may not be this weekend -- gonna be on the road. But if not at the usual time, it will be ASAP after that time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

File Under "You Have Got to Be Sh*tting Me"

Buy a large soda at McDonald's and it's unlikely that anyone will hassle me if I sit there in a booth hoovering up free wi-fi all day.

Book a flight -- something a lot more expensive than a large soda (at least if I'm not buying the soda at an airport concession) -- and I get a friendly email from the airline the day before departure, letting me know I can get wi-fi there, too.

For $8.

That's some bullsh*t right there.

Monday, May 09, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 79: Rational Expectations Time, Libertarian Party ...

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

In this episode:

  • Thanks for Asking! (Rumors that I've bought Gawker are exaggerated; Paleocon Medicine Show Con Men for Trump; A Cinco De Mayo Question that I completely blow; states blame stateless for consequences of statism);
  • Libertarian Old-Timers ... please help newbies not burn out due to irrational exuberance.

The Libertarian Party's Sugar High Problem

I'm not going to attribute this quote because I've probably seen a hundred versions of it in the past week:

If we want any chance of attracting social conservatives, Austin [Petersen] is that chance.

Immediate disclaimer/follow-up: I'm not trying to pick on Austin Petersen in particular as a candidate, or social conservatives as a targeted demographic here. The versions I'm seeing vary in both candidate and demographic prescriptions. It's the general approach and the problem with that approach that I am concerned with here.

What is the Libertarian Party's purpose and mission? Here's a quick -- but as we shall see, not dispositive -- crib from our bylaws:

The Party is organized to implement and give voice to the principles embodied in the Statement of Principles by: functioning as a libertarian political entity separate and distinct from all other political parties or movements; moving public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office; chartering affiliate parties throughout the United States and promoting their growth and activities; nominating candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States, and supporting Party and affiliate party candidates for political office; and, entering into public information activities.

A significant faction within the party holds that its sole and overriding purpose/mission should be "winning elections." Some even insist, contra the actual bylaws above, the the LP's sole and overriding purpose/mission IS "winning elections." While I disagree with that faction, I'm not going to argue the point here, because whether one hews to the bylaws purposes or the "winning elections" idea ...


If we want to "win elections" -- or succeed at any of those other things in the bylaws over the long term -- we will have to do so by attracting and/or creating libertarians and recruiting them to support the Libertarian Party and its candidates.

Please do not read the above to mean that I oppose the idea of social conservatives, anti-war progressives or left-handed Asian-American lesbian amputees voting for Libertarian candidates. I don't. I welcome their votes and their support in any given election cycle or for that matter all election cycles.

But to the extent that the party or its candidates thinks in terms of attracting votes from those demographics in a particular election instead of in terms of attracting and/or creating libertarians and recruiting them to support the Libertarian Party and its candidates, those prospective votes are just a sugar high, not an advancement toward our goals. Those demographics aren't going to stick with the LP and its candidates over the years except to the extent that we sell them on OUR goals. Just temporarily catering to their temporary dissatisfactions isn't enough.

If the Libertarian nominee for president gets 5 million votes from social conservatives this November, those votes will not directly, in and of themselves, advance the party so much as a millimeter toward its goals because libertarians aren't social conservatives and are therefore not going to appeal to social conservatism long-term. If social conservative votes advance us indirectly, it will only be to the extent that they help us generate publicity to attract and/or create libertarians and recruit them to support the Libertarian Party and its candidates on an ongoing basis.

Which is why, when choosing a presidential nominee, we should be thinking about how well that nominee presents our ideas so as to attract and/or create libertarians and recruit them to support the Libertarian Party and its candidates instead of worrying about whether or not that candidate might happen to appeal to social conservatives, anti-war progressives or left-handed Asian-American lesbian amputees in a way that might produce a satisfying but irrelevant mini-vote-boost in this particular election.


Sunday, May 08, 2016

One of THOSE Nights ...

I'm having one of those "Internet not working well" nights -- first clue was when YouTube videos started wanting to buffer for 15 minutes at a time, and some timeouts while working in Wordpress.

Since I record The KN@PP Stir Podcast using online apps, and then have to upload it to Soundcloud as a file tens of megabytes in size that sometimes seems to run like molasses even when everything else is going fine, it seems like a bad idea to mess with it just this minute (early on I had a few days like this where I ended up spending several hours before having to give up and come back later; might as well skip directly to the come back later part).

What I MAY do is an episode on Tuesday, and then another the following Tuesday or Wednesday (I'll be traveling between those two days). Or I may try to get the next episode out tomorrow and keep things relatively on schedule.

Sorry for the delay!

2016 Libertarian National Convention Coverage



My Instagram Feed (courtesy of Instush):

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Do Any of Y'all Use an External Phone Keyboard?

I was trying to post stuff from a meeting today using my newfangled "smart phone." The biggest bottleneck was typing captions/tweets etc. on the onscreen "keyboard."

I've been trying to decide whether or not to pop $10-15 for a bluetooth keyboard to help with that kind of stuff, but I figure some of you have actually used the damn things and will be able to tell me whether they're worth messing with (for the sake of those who love me enough to blow money on a speculative thing for me just because, here's my Amazon wish list with one such keyboard on it, too late, someone already did, and thanks!).

I did manage to get a little proof of concept stuff done with the phone today -- taking photos at an event and sharing them via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Between that and the test podcast-from-phone a couple of weeks ago, making good progress. All that's really left is choosing a service for video livestreaming. I got a nice little phone tripod off of eBay that I will hopefully be able to use to good effect at the upcoming Libertarian National Convention.

As that convention approaches, I'll be creating a central page for all the good stuff, or pointing to some other venue where it will appear, such as Independent Political Report. or perhaps a purpose-built Facebook page. The idea is to hit you in various formats at one convenient location.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Home Stretch Questions for Gary Johnson #5

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,

At OnTheIssues.Org, you are quoted to the following effect on federal spending and federal debt:

"I have proposed cutting the federal budget by 43 percent to bring it into balance. It can be done. It requires the will and ability to ignore and even fight the special interests that have a vested interest in more and more government spending." -- Washington Times, 02/02/12

"I'd avoid continually raising the debt ceiling by not incurring more debt!" -- 2011 Republican primary debate on Twitter.com, 07/21/11

"We can quibble over economists' numbers, but it doesn't take an economist to know that continuing to add to the national debt is bankrupting us -- and that debt has doubled on [Barack Obama's] watch, aided and abetted by Congress." -- Libertarian Party response to 2016 State of the Union speech, 01/12/16

How do you square these wonderful policy positions with the facts that:

  • New Mexico's state government spending grew under your governorship -- in fact it grew faster than the rate of inflation, faster than the rate of population growth, and faster than federal spending has grown during the presidency of Barack Obama; and
  • New Mexico's state debt more than doubled under your governorship, just like the US national debt has doubled during the presidency of Barack Obama?

ADDENDUM: In comments below this post, Marc Scribner offers a detailed argument as to why New Mexico's debt under Johnson is materially different -- and more defensible than -- US debt under Obama (or any other president). If I had to summarize that argument, part of it might go something like "New Mexico's debt is like a home mortgage, US national debt is like using a credit card to take a vacation." But there's more to it than that, so hit the comments and read Marc's explanation, please.

Thanks For Asking! -- Cinco de Mayo 2016

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

And it goes a little something like this:

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

Sunday, May 01, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 78: Nothing to See Here, Move Along

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

In this episode:

  • Thanks for Asking! (Winston Smith and Libertarians for Trump);
  • Schlosberg pushes me over the edge and I come unhinged; and
  • so forth.

To Whom it May Concern

Effective immediately, I have resigned as a senior fellow (and any additional/supplemental titles) at the Center for a Stateless Society.

This is not intended as one of those angry, ugly or melodramatic separations. The Center and I have been moving in divergent directions for some time now. Recent events tell me loud and clear that no re-convergence is likely, so I'm just going to accept that and move on. It's an amicable separation, at least on my side of things. I wish the Center and all of the people affiliated with it the best.