Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Garrison Center Update

I don't do nearly enough of those, do I?

As of earlier today, Garrison Center op-eds had been picked up by mainstream newspapers and non-libertarian political publications 77 times in June.

That's a new record, beating the March count of 74.

My goal is 750 pickups for the year. Based on the first six months of the year, we are on track for 776.

A couple of the larger first-time picker-uppers this month: The Louisville, Kentucky Courier Journal and Jacksonville's Florida Times-Union.

But of course you don't have to be big to be interesting -- take, for example, the Fredericksburg, Virginia Free Lance-Star, or the Caledonian Record, the circulation of which spans the Vermont/New Hampshire border.

I think Garrison is continuing to do damn good libertarian outreach. If you agree, head over to the right sidebar and support my work!

Bon Mot of the Week?

It's a scam, skillfully pitched to fool the gullible. His framework is a house of cards built on sand in a wind tunnel. Its most noticeable feature is a total divorce from basic economic realities.

Succinct, accurate, devastating: Steve Chapman on Trump on trade at Reason.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Is Donald Trump the 2016 Presidential Campaign Cycle's Max Bialystock?

Based on both the quality and reception of his play so far, there seems to be a strong case for thinking so:

But if so, who's his Leo Bloom?

[update: Naturally, I didn't think to myself before posting this, "I wonder if anyone else has had that thought?" Naturally it turns out that I'm far from either the first or most prominent - TLK]

Thanks For Asking! -- 06/29/16

This week's AMA thread, and the podcast to follow, are 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, June 28, 2016

If I Had a Hammer ...

... I'd probably leave it home if I could afford to attend FreedomFest 2016.

I can't afford to attend FreedomFest 2016, but if I could afford it I'd have great fun checking out talks by Angela Keaton of, Jeffrey Tucker of, Will Coley of Muslims 4 Liberty, Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation, Doug Casey, John McAfee, Andrew P. Napolitano, and bunches and bunches of other pro-liberty, pro-peace types.

Of course, for some reason FreedomFest's organizers always seem to feel obligated to add at least a few authoritarian douchenozzles to the speaker roster as well. Last year they hosted war criminal Allen West. This year, I notice, among others, Dinesh D'Souza and Bob Barr. What's up with that, Skousen? Didn't you learn anything from the reaction when you invited Rudy Giuliani to address an event at the Foundation for Economic Education?

But anyway, the event does sound cool for the most part. I can't go, but maybe you can, especially if you're already within driving distance of Vegas.

Early Predictions are Dangerous But I'm Sticking With Mine for Now

I don't know if I've even mentioned that early prediction here on KN@PPSTER yet, but here it is (I've been making it for a couple of months in various venues):

In November, assuming he's the GOP nominee (I still think a successful national delegate rebellion is just barely possible), Donald Trump will win every state that Mitt Romney won in 2012. He will also win Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, he will at least be competitive in New York and New Jersey, and he may even put California in play.

Of course, it's not just early predictions that are dangerous, but any predictions involving Donald Trump. I didn't think he had a chance in hell of winning the Republican nomination. Every time he stumbled I figured he was going down for good. So if I'm making a mistake this time, it's the opposite mistake -- he's had a bad couple of weeks, but I expect him to turn things around.

The Hill's Jonathan Easley reports that even with Trump's slump, Clinton has failed to pull convincingly ahead in the ten "battleground" states where the election will likely (per the conventional wisdom, not per my prediction) be decided. Interesting. Even more interesting, though not fully explored:

Trump and Clinton both have historically high unfavorable ratings, opening the door for two outsider candidates -- Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein -- to potentially play spoiler.

When Johnson and Stein are considered in polls, the margin between Clinton and Trump almost invariably narrows.

See what's hinted at, but not actually said, there? As Matt Welch points out at Reason, when Johnson and Stein are included in polls, their inclusion hurts Clinton more than it hurts Trump. IIRC, even some polling that included only Johnson and not Stein shows Johnson hurting Clinton more than he hurts Trump. If there is a "spoiler effect" (yes, I hate the whole flawed concept, but that's how it gets reported), that effect seems to be pro-Trump.

I will be interested to see whether Johnson and/or Stein get enough votes to arguably affect the outcomes in any states. To the extent that they might do so, I expect that that effect would militate toward an outcome like the one I predict.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Apparently Everyone is Supposed to Have Strong Opinions on the "Brexit"

But I don't.

In large part, I defer to my friend Sean Gabb of the UK's Libertarian Alliance since he's there and knows quite a bit about the British situation and since I'm not and don't. He did vote for it, but he also expresses more skepticism than I would have expected toward the notion that it's all that and a bag of chi ... er, crisps. Here's his latest on the subject.

The thoughts I do have are tentative and as follows:

  • A lot of people seem to think that the United Kingdom has exited the European Union. It hasn't. The EU is a treaty organization from which the UK can withdraw on the basis of a prescribed negotiation process. The referendum last Thursday was the UK's voters instructing the UK's government to begin that process. If the government accepts those instructions, it will still probably be years before the actual exit occurs. And I expect that there will be herculean, and quite likely successful, efforts on both sides of the English Channel to get a new referendum and to frighten the electorate into reversing itself.
  • That said, the result certainly does seem to have given the political class big scare, and not just in the UK or the EU. That's always a good thing.
  • Some people attribute the outcome of the "Brexit" referendum to discontent with matters of borders and immigration. That discontent is certainly real and certainly affected votes ... but blaming those things on EU membership seems misplaced. The UK opted out of the Schengen agreement, and thus maintained substantial control over its own border and immigration policy. Those decisions were made in London, not Brussels, so leaving the EU does nothing to unmake them. Think of it as sort of like those Americans who voted against Obama because they believed he was a Muslim and/or born in Kenya. Neither of those things appear to be true, but that doesn't mean the belief didn't influence some votes.
  • Just guessing here, but I'm guessing that if the UK does exit the EU, other countries will follow; and
  • Just guessing again, but I'm guessing that in the event the UK and other countries do exit the EU, we can look forward to a general European war a la World Wars 1 and 2 within 20 years or so.
And that's about it. Sorry I don't have more for you.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 84: Gary Johnson vs. the Libertarian Party

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

The disclaimer I occasionally throw in: Just because Darryl sponsors the podcast, it doesn't follow that he agrees with a damn thing I say in the podcast. Just sayin' ...

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! (Kasich/Dukakis 2020?, Brexit, Spoilers, Boxers, Briefs or Commando?, Citizen Schlosberg);
  • The Week in Stupid (Gary Johnson vs. the Libertarian Party)

For Those Who Think I've Been Too Tough ...

... on Johnson and Weld, check out Jason Stapleton's show from June 23. Money quote from the description:

Above all else what bothers me the most about Gary J and Wild Bill is they are clearly unprepared and lack even a basic understanding of their police [sic] opinions. They have no pride in what they do or what they stand for. It's shameful we have these two man representing our ideas. No one voting in this election is going to know what libertarianism is. Even if Gary was a libertarian (and I contend his is not) he lacks either the desire or ability to explain his positions.

Shame on the LP for nominating these two clowns. Pray we don't get 15%. These men will be made to look like fools on a debate stage.

Now that is tough on Johnson and Weld.

And completely accurate.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Some CNN Town Hall Notes, and a Question

Video, for reference (all Gary Johnson quotes below are from this "town hall"):

Libertarian Party Platform, Plank 1.9: "We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition."

Gary Johnson: "I don't think our position would be making it easier [to buy guns], we're not looking to roll back anything. But with regard to keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, with regard to keeping guns out of the hands of potential terrorists, Bill talked about establishing a thousand person task force to potentially address that, a hot line. Look, we should be open to these discussions."

Libertarian Party Platform, Plank 2.4: "We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors."

Libertarian Party Platform, Plank 2.8: "Employment and compensation agreements between private employers and employees are outside the scope of government, and these contracts should not be encumbered by government-mandated benefits or social engineering."

Libertarian Party Platform, Plank 2.11: "Libertarians would phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to a private voluntary system."

Libertarian Party Platform, Plank 3.4: "Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders."

Gary Johnson: "We should make it as easy as possible for somebody that wants to come into this country and work to be able to get a work visa ... that should entail a background check and a Social Security card so that applicable taxes get paid."

Libertarian Party Platform, Plank 1.7: "[W]e favor the repeal of all laws creating 'crimes' without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes. "

Gary Johnson: "We are not espousing legalization of any drugs outside of marijuana. ... We're not advocating the legalization of any drugs, not heroin. ... No drugs legalized outside of marijuana .... keep the drugs illegal."

Libertarian Party Bylaws and Convention Rules, Article 14, Section 4: "The National Committee shall respect the vote of the delegates at Nominating Conventions and provide full support for the Party’s nominee for President and nominee for Vice-President as long as their campaigns are conducted in accordance with the Platform of the Party." [emphasis mine]

Libertarian Party Bylaws and Convention Rules, Article 14, Section 5: "A candidate's nomination may be suspended by a 3/4 vote of the entire membership of the National Committee at a meeting. That candidate's nomination shall then be declared null and void unless the suspended candidate appeals the suspension to the Judicial Committee within seven days of receipt of notification of suspension. The resolution of suspension must state the specific reasons for suspension and must be signed by each member of the National Committee agreeing thereto. The Judicial Committee shall meet and act on this appeal within 30 days and before the election."

Question: According to the draft minutes of the Libertarian National Committee meeting of May 30, the committee will next meet on July 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Is suspension of Gary Johnson's presidential nomination on the agenda for that meeting (or, to put it a different way, does the LNC have any plans to do its job)?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thanks For Asking! -- 06/23/16

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

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

Monday, June 20, 2016

What Bothers Me About LGBTQIA Victim Disarmament Advocates

Well, there's the part where they're advocating victim disarmament ("gun control"), of course. That's bad enough

But then there's the particular part where victim disarmament advocates turn to the argument that  "we need to make sure the mentally ill can't buy guns." That's even worse.

Until the early 1970s, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the psychology/psychiatry industry's official guide to mental illnesses) classified the LGB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual) part of LGBTQIA as a "mental illness."

The T part -- Transsexual -- is still reflected in the DSM as "gender dysphoria."

Part of the A part -- Asexual -- is still reflected in the DSM as "male hypoactive sexual desire disorder" and "female sexual interest/arousal disorder."

To the extent that people form groups or communities based on common characteristics and interests -- and we do -- the queer community should be the last such group to buy into the idea of handing over a general power to forcibly constrain the actions of others based on claims of "mental illness."

I suppose I could turn here to some of the Szaszian argument against the existence of "mental illness" as generally understood. Such a turn would be entirely appropriate, and I certainly encourage those of you not familiar with it to explore it, but I'm going to go in a slightly different direction:

There seems to be an extraordinarily high correlation (maybe not quite 1:1, but fairly close) between membership in the group that victim disarmament advocates propose to give these powers to (the political class) and display of the symptoms of another DSM-classified "mental illness" -- antisocial personality disorder.

If anyone should be preemptively deprived of access to guns, sociopaths fit that bill perfectly. Governments are composed, at least in large part, of such people. They've murdered hundreds of millions of innocents in the last century alone. Instead of giving them the power to take our guns, why don't we take theirs?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 83: Whaddayagonnado?

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

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! (Hulk Hogan and OJ Simpson and Bachelor Food);
  • The Sopranos a decade later.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Things That Make Me Ask "WTF?"

Marco Rubio wasn't going to seek re-election to the US Senate.

But apparently he considers Omar Mateen's attack on an Orlando nightclub an indicator of strong public demand for his continued service, to which he may -- reluctantly, mind you, reluctantly -- bow.

Anyone got some extra facepalm? I'm running short this week.

Notice: Florida is Jurassic Park

Last night, an alligator grabbed a two-year old boy whose family was vacationing in Orlando, Florida. Police have recovered his body.

Of course the Internet is in full Blame Game mode -- why was the kid playing at water's edge at night in an area with "no swimming" signs? Why did Disney just post "no swimming" signs instead of "stay the hell away -- alligators!" signs? And so on, and so forth.

I'm sure there will be a lawsuit. And I'm sure there will be a settlement. And I'm sure that there will be "stay the hell away -- alligators!" signs in that area most ricky-tick. No, I'm not blaming Disney, exactly, but that's how things go these days. And the signs do seem like a good idea.

I don't see any call to suggest parental negligence or stupidity here. The family is from Nebraska. They were vacationing in an urban area known for its "family friendliness." They weren't swimming, they were just out for a family walk along a beautiful and exotic-looking lake when a dinosaur attacked.

Yes, dinosaur. Alligators have been around for 40 million years or so. They grow up to 15 feet long and weigh up to half a ton. And they are carnivorous.

Alligators are not dumb. A species doesn't survive for 40 million years by being dumb. They've been observed camouflaging themselves with sticks so that birds will land on them to be easily captured. A few weeks ago, someone snapped a photo of the gator my wife walks past every day on her way into her office building, crossing the street ... in the crosswalk.

And yes, I said "the gator my wife walks past every day on her way into her office building." On the eighth largest university campus in the US, with a student enrollment of 50,000. Alligators are the apex predators of every body of water in Florida that's larger than a bathtub. Hatchet Creek, which runs through the campus, is a body of water in Florida that's larger than a bathtub.

They're carnivorous dinosaurs, and people fit nicely into their prey profile.

Thing is, a family from Nebraska can be forgiven for thinking that alligators are something you see at the zoo or on a tour of the Everglades, not something that notices your toddler at a lakeside tourist hotel in Orlando and decides it's snack time.

We (and in this very particular case, by "we" I mean Disney) need to do a better job of getting the word out to tourists on the alligator situation. Just sayin' ...

This American alligator is a frequent site in ...
This American alligator is a frequent site in the Graham Pond at the University of Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks For Asking! -- 06/15/16

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

The drill:

  • Ask me anything -- ANYTHING! -- in the comment thread below this post; and
  • I'll answer you in comments, on the podcast, or both;
  • Burma Shave

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Something to Think About

Mark, chapter 12, verses 41-44, King James Version:

41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

You never know, there just might be a quiz or something later.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 82: Let's Just Leave This One Nameless

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

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! (Taxes);
  • A downer of a weekly rant (the Orlando massacre);
  • The usual wrap-up.
Yes, it's a short episode -- less than 15 minutes this week. Not a happy weekend, folks. Maybe there will be a mid-week special episode if things get happier. Thanks For Asking! got much shorter shrift than it deserved this week on the podcast proper, so I hope you'll check out the written questions answers in the original thread.

"Worst Mass Shooting in US History"

I'm seeing that verbiage in quite a few places today.

Not even close. Even if we leave out almost every battle in the unpleasantness of 1861-65 (and the New York City draft riots during same), there's also Wounded Knee, Blair Mountain, and probably dozens of others.

But I guess "worst mass shooting EVAH" is the victim disarmament's latest dance routine and that they'll be doing the funky chicken in the victims' blood for the next week or more. Unlike the people who actually went out to give blood in response to the call. At least as far away as Gainesville (where I live) the bloodmobiles were overwhelmed and had to turn folks away.

Friday, June 10, 2016

If I Owned Gawker, I Would Burn, Bulldoze or Otherwise Destroy the Value of Every Last Item of Associated Property ...

...  before I'd let Terry Gene Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, collect so much as one thin dime of the $140 million a jury awarded him pursuant to his frivolous lawsuit. In fact, I think I might spend some of that money (before the bankruptcy auction) paying people of certain loosely defined occupation to track down the judge, the jury, Bollea and lawsuit financier Peter Thiel and give them stern talkings to, possibly involving baseball bats, tar and butane.

The jury awarded Bollea $55 million in "compensatory damages" when in fact he almost certainly economically gained rather than lost wealth due to the circus over Gawker's publication of a "sex tape" video, a circus that he enlarged and extended (double entendres not intentional) with his malicious litigation. And the rest of the award was horseshit too. The suit should have been dismissed with prejudice about 30 seconds after it was filed.

No, I'm not a Gawker aficionado. I'm sure I've visited the site, but I suspect I could count the number of times I've done so on my own digits without removing my shoes.

And as a side note, there are probably things I'd like to see less than I'd like to see video of Hulk Hogan having sex, but for the life of me I can't think of any right now.

I Love Uber But I Guess They Don't Love Me

One of the first things I did when I got a smart phone a couple of months ago was set up the Uber app. For the most part, I have no reason to use it in my own home area, but I was planning to head for Orlando for the 2016 Libertarian National Convention, and thought I might have occasion to use it. I did -- Megabus drops off pretty much all the way across town from the convention center -- and it was a great experience.

A Facebook friend told me to expect the Uber fare from bus stop to convention center to run at least $70, even though the "fare estimator" function said $17-$23, and that seemed reasonable (he was running people from the airport to the convention center for $35 -- per car trip, not per rider, to cover gas, wear, tear, etc.). When I stepped off the bus I talked to the waiting shuttles/cabs, all of whom quoted me a fare of $50. What the heck, I decided. I had an $18 off coupon for my first trip, so even if it DID cost $70 it wouldn't be any more than a cab. Opened the app, let it detect where I was, told it where I wanted to go, and ...

... bam. Driver on the way, ETA X minutes. It turned out to be something like X+3 minutes because traffic was heavy and the driver spent at least two of those minutes awaiting a break in traffic to turn into the parking lot. No biggie.

Decent, clean car (a Kia). I'll call the driver "Georgia" because that's what the app said her name was and it was what she answered to. Nice, personable, friendly, had only been driving for Uber for a week. I think the trip took two or three minutes longer than estimated, but once again there was a LOT of traffic, so not an issue. And the fare? I paid $3 and change out of pocket after my $18 coupon, which means the fare was right in the middle of the app estimate.

So I'm sold on Uber. Except ...

Uber does serve Gainesville. And with Tamara traveling next week it occurred to me that if I needed to run into town that would be a good way to do it. So I just opened the app, and the app located me ...

"No UberX (their normal, non-elite service) available."

I started playing with the pickup location. If I'm willing to walk 2.3 miles, I can get a ride from Uber. But apparently I can't just pay extra and get picked up at my door. And walking for 45-55 minutes to get to a location where I could hail a ride would sort of defeat my purpose. I have a neighbor who's happy to run me to the store or whatever and I just pop for a little gas money or, if we're out long, take her to lunch (both options together probably coming to less than a two-way Uber trip). The whole idea of checking Uber came down to "I'd rather not bother her, especially on short notice."

I could understand not being able to book a ride from 50 miles outside the metro area in question. But we're talking about a four-minute drive past what seems like an arbitrary stopping point (not the city limit or a major shopping center or anything like that; a seemingly random street corner well out of town, just not QUITE as far out of town as I live, and I live about 30 seconds off the main road in the area).

What's up with that, Uber? Heck, Domino's delivers to my doorstep, and drives from within your coverage area to do so.

Yes, I'm Futzing with the Blog Again

New color scheme. New fonts. New header (photo by Avens O'Brien).

So on. So forth. Pardon the usual recombobulation problems.

Now that the 2016 Libertarian National Convention is thoroughly over, I've removed the link to my coverage page from the header to reduce clutter. The page still exists, though.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The "Fair" Tax is Anti-Libertarian ...

... and I won't support any candidate who promotes it. Neither should you.

Thanks For Asking! -- 06/08/16

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

The usual:

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

Endorsements: Two Candidates, One Project

Endorsement #1: Paul Stanton, Libertarian for US Senate from Florida. I was privileged to be present at Paul's announcement speech and to be his first (small) campaign donor. He's still working on his campaign web site, but he's got a donations page (please use it!) and a Facebook presence. I hope you'll help him get things rolling.

Endorsement #2: Ken Willey, Libertarian for Florida State Legislature. Ken chairs the Clay County, Florida Libertarian Party. He invited me up to the Jacksonville suburbs for a county meeting a couple of months ago. Nice to see an active party and an active candidate. Again, his campaign web site is under construction, and again he has an active Facebook presence. As he notes there, he's still raising money for Florida's insanely expensive filing fee. Please help him out (yes, I have done so):

Endorsement #3: #VoteDifferent. This is a Libertarian candidate/election support project from "Team McAfee." Hopefully it will bring a new level of professionalism to Libertarian Party campaigns and make it much easier for candidates to find the help they need. Those of us who have run for office or volunteered with campaigns know how much sweat gets wasted just on basic setup that our party should have, and has tried in various ways over the years to develop, one-stop shopping for. Maybe this time will be the charm. Thanks to John McAfee and Co. for bringing their resources to bear on the problem.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 81: Getting Back on the Hoarse (Not a Typo)

This episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry, the man who should have been the Libertarian Party's 2016 presidential nominee:

In this episodode:

  • Back from the 2016 Libertarian National Convention;
  • Thanks For Asking! (Questions from a New Jersey Whackjob, etc.);
  • Hopefully my final little rant on Johnson/Weld 2016 and so forth;
  • The usual monthly wrap-up.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Libertarian National Convention: The Bad

OK, so I covered the good in a previous post. In this post, I'll cover the bad -- and the ugly, just to get it over with.

The Libertarian Party nominated Gary Johnson for president and William Weld for vice-president.

So far as I can tell the nominations were legitimately conferred. I was in the hall. I had a vote. So the only thing I can do in good conscience is accept the result. I don't plan to actively campaign against this ticket unless they betray the party in some big way above and beyond the pre-existing reasons why they should never have been seriously considered for the nominations in the first place.

At the same time, just because a majority of national convention delegates decided to shit the bed, that doesn't mean I have to roll around in it with them for the next five months. I cannot bring myself to promote or otherwise support this ticket.

I strongly believe that Libertarian candidates should support the candidates up- and down-ticket from them. Since I can't do that this year, I have ended my campaign for US House of Representatives. To the extent that I'm involved in electoral politics between now and November, it will be on behalf of Libertarian candidates who can be supportive of the presidential slate.

This is the third presidential election in a row in which the Libertarian Party has declined to offer the American electorate a viable libertarian choice on their presidential ballots. I'm not sure how many more such fiascoes the party can survive. Heck, it may be too late to save this thing now. But I guess I'll keep trying.

OK, back to work.

Thanks For Asking! -- 06/01/16

OK, I'm back. Hopefully my "screamed myself hoarse" sore throat will be gone by Sunday show time. Let's do this! 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. I'll answer it in comments, on the podcast, or both.

A Way to Beat Trump at the Republican National Convention?

I was just reading through the Republican National Committee's convention rules -- I wondered how they compared to the Libertarian Party's -- and something struck me.

Unlike the Libertarian Party, the Republican Party has "bound" delegates for its first ballot. The rules say that if those delegates try to support anyone other candidate than the one they're "bound" to by a state primary or caucus, that support will not be recognized.

What I don't see in the rules is any requirement that any particular delegate actually vote at all.

And what I do see in the rules is this:

When at the close of a roll call any candidate for nomination for President of the United States or Vice President of the United States has received a majority of the votes entitled to be cast [emphasis mine] in the convention, the chairman of the convention shall announce the votes for each candidate whose name was presented in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (b) of this rule. Before the convention adjourns sine die, the chairman of the convention shall declare the candidate nominated by the Republican Party for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States.

It seems to me that delegates who are "bound" to Trump by the rules, but who don't want him to be the nominee, can simply stand mute on the first ballot rather than casting their votes at all. Since Trump has to get a majority of votes that could be cast, not just a majority of votes that are cast, he'll fail on the first ballot, and on subsequent ballots delegates would no longer be "bound."

I suppose I could be wrong on that, but it looks solid to me.

Libertarian National Convention: A Proposal for 2020

The Libertarian Party's next national convention is in New Orleans in 2018. That one's already pretty much set in stone. However, the 2020 convention hasn't been projected/planned yet, and I think we have an opportunity here.

First, we should have the convention in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Secondly, we should have the convention in late 2019, not in 2020 (the bylaws allow for it to take place any time after Labor Day of 2019).

My reasoning:

New Hampshire is one of the major centers of American political activity late in the year before an election year. Republican and Democratic presidential primary candidates will be thick on the ground, hectoring citizens for their votes.

Why not bring a thousand or more Libertarians into that mix, let them pick their nominee, then hit the streets of Manchester for rallies and vote-soliciting at a time when both personal and media attention is FOCUSED on presidential politics in that place?

Manchester is accessible (Southwest flies directly into town).

Manchester has convention facilities big enough to handle our needs (yes, I checked).

New Hampshire has a strong libertarian movement with organizations who know how to host events (e.g. the Free State Project). That would likely make organizing this thing easier.

The Libertarian Party hasn't had a convention in the northeast since 1989 (in Philadelphia). Conventions should be spread around geographically so that every so often each part of the country gets some Libertarian love.

Having the convention early would give our presidential ticket more time to campaign as the nominees. That's how we used to do it, and it makes sense.

Let's do this.