Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Libertarian Party's Immigration Plank vs. the Dallas Accord

Brief refresher, for which Wikipedia will do:

The Dallas Accord was an implicit agreement made at the 1974 Libertarian National Convention to compromise between the larger minarchist and smaller anarcho-capitalist factions by adopting a platform that explicitly did not say whether it was desirable for the state to exist.

Plank 3.4 of the Libertarian Party's platform:

We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.

The text highlighted in red implicitly calls for the continued existence of the state. That's one of the reasons (there are others) it needs to go.

The text highlighted in yellow preserves the ability of minarchists to propose state action vis a vis immigration -- all they have to do is claim that their plans are "reasonable" -- without committing the party to the idea of the state.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Glass Maybe an Eighth Full: The Trump Tax Proposal vs. The MITE

The White House released its one-page summary "tax reform" proposal today. MarketWatch has the full text.

The proposal calls for the standard deduction to be doubled.

In my opinion that's a good thing and kinda sorta in the spirit of The MITE. More on that below.

The rest of the stuff is, at best, orthogonal to The MITE proposals and there may be some real poison pill stuff in there.

For example, Trump proposes reducing the current seven tax brackets (10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and 39.6%) to three (10%, 25% and 35%). That's cool from a simplification standpoint, and of course the current top-bracket taxpayers are going to like it. But how many of the current 15% payers are going to get at least some of their income pushed up into the 25% bracket rather than down to the 10%? Ditto current 28% or 33% income falling into the 35% bracket instead of the 25% bracket? Devil, meet details.

A quick read of the proposal indicates that it is shaped, to a high degree, by a weird combination of protectionist macho flash and supply side voodoo. I'm not particularly impressed. But anything that lowers taxes in general is, in my opinion, a move in the right direction. And at least the idiotic "Fair" Tax didn't make it into the proposal. So anyway ...

Increasing the Standard Deduction vs. Increasing the Personal Exemption

I favor increasing the personal exemption because doing so leaves room for individuals to lower their taxes even more with itemized deductions. Raising the standard deduction instead of the personal exemption decreases such opportunities. Not all MITE supporters agree with me on that -- personal exemption versus standard deduction was a matter of debate when we put together the project.

As a practical matter, though, most of the people at the lowest income levels don't itemize even at the current standard deduction level -- they don't have a lot of money to spend on specifically deductible things like charitable contributions and home mortgage interest in amounts that would come to more than the standard deduction. So increasing the standard deduction, which they were going to go with anyway, does fulfill part of The MITE agenda of "bottom-up tax cuts."

On the other hand, this seems to be a one-shot plan, rather than a proposal for continuous tax-cutting. Like certain categories of spending, increasing the income tax liability floor should become "non-discretionary" -- that is, either the personal exemption or the standard deduction should go up every year, substantially and automatically, unless Congress specifically acts to stop the process. That way we don't have to fight over that particular tax-cutting methodology every year. It just happens.

Also, the administration's proposal does not address the heavily regressive FICA taxes with a "floor" so that poor males of color can stop subsidizing the retirement and health care costs of wealthy white women. That should be a priority.

Of course, today's summary is just a first shot across the "tax reform" bow. The administration will be hitting Congress with more specifics soon -- and Congress will be hitting right back. So if affecting policy by lobbying politicians is your kind of thing, it's time to call your congresscritters.

Thanks For Asking! -- 04/26/17

This week's AMA thread and the podcast to follow are not exactly brought to you by Muslims for Liberty, but you should check them out anyway.

Ask me anything (yes, anything) in the comment thread below this post. I'll answer in comments, on The KN@PP Stir Podcast, or both.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What I Have to Understand ...

... is not this or that or the other excuse for Trump whenever he does something clearly stupid or evil.

And I'm tired of hearing those excuses, usually prefaced with some form of "what you have to understand is ..." from people -- especially libertarians -- who voted for Trump because he isn't Clinton, and are now making those excuses for him when he does exactly what Clinton would have done.

If it was Clinton doing it, those same people would be rattling the rafters with denunciations of how stupid and evil it was.

What I have to understand is that making excuses is exactly what they're doing, and that the reason they're doing it is that they don't want to admit they fell for the scam. It's embarrassing and hard to admit. But that's what happened and the alternative to admitting it and moving on is to decide that it's more important to not be seen as having made a mistake than it is to stick to a principle.

Words Fonz Cant say by Arthur-H-Fonzarelli

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 126: Please Refrain from Masticating the Henway

This episode is not exactly sponsored (if you would like to sponsor an episode and get yourself, your site, your cause, your product or your service featured for $5.99, hit the contact form), but I am promoting YouGov -- take surveys, get rewarded (and as you can probably guess, there are also rewards for referring others). I've been doing this for some time and they DO deliver the promised rewards (in my case, a $15 Amazon gift card).

In this episode: Thanks For Asking! [monkey-wrenching alt-right comments at IPR; why free market types fall for GOP lies; COINTELPRO in the LP?] :: Calling for supportive vibes for a hospitalized comrade.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Suddenly a HeadTalker Campaign

I've done this before. It's fun and it works if the idea is to get the word out.

Please visit the HeadTalker page for this campaign.

There, you'll be asked to lend your "social media reach" to the cause (the cause being "call your congresscritter" campaign for The MITE).

What does this mean? It means that you're allowing HeadTalker to post a message ("Talk to your US Senators and Representative about tax cuts from the bottom up!") to your social media accounts at a specified time, assuming the campaign gets the minimum number of supporters (25).

You give that permission one service at a time -- Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, LinkedIn -- and can do whichever ones you want and not do the ones you don't want to do.

It's easier than it sounds and it there is no charge.

As of this minute the campaign has 11 supporters. It needs 25 to be a go, and it needs them by 5pm Eastern time next Tuesday.

As of this minute, the campaign would reach 925,312 people with Tweets, Facebook posts, etc. if it was go time. Of course, that number will go up as more supporters with more media reach pile on.

Thanks in advance.

Strike BEFORE the Iron is Hot!

Long-time readers know I've been preaching a particular bit of incremental tax reform for a long time (more than a decade). Yes, taxation is theft and I want to end it. Yes, I want to repeal the income tax and replace it with nothing, etc. But if "perfect" is not going to happen yet, there's nothing wrong or unprincipled about pushing for "better" in the here and now.

Some of you may have noticed that last year I got together with a few others, libertarian and non-libertarian, to start a grassroots initiative for a raising the personal exemption and creating a "FICA Floor." It's called The MITE. Late start and not a lot to show for it in the 2016 elections, but the next chance to push it is arriving:

Next week the White House plans to announce the broad strokes of its tax reform plan.

If you're interested in getting incremental policy reform, and getting that reform by hitting up congresscritters (I know that some of you are interested in neither, and that's just fine), now is the time to call up those congresscritters and put the buzz in their ears.

"Tax reform" as such may or may not happen this year, but it's certainly going to be discussed and debated.

The MITE proposals should be part of that discussion, and they will be if enough phones start ringing in congressional offices -- and the earlier the better, before the White House gets its own bandwagon out of the garage and onto the road.

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

CNN headline:

USS Carl Vinson fighter pilot ejects during routine flight

Definition of "routine":

adj 1: found in the ordinary course of events; "a placid everyday scene;" "it was a routine day;" "there's nothing quite like a real ... train conductor to add color to a quotidian commute" -- Anita Diamant [syn: everyday, mundane, quotidian, routine, unremarkable, workaday] 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gettin' With The Campaign Material ...

... ordered and on the way. I'm an LPF state convention sponsor, but since I threw the money at them after the deadline for a display ad in the program, I'm having rack cards printed to be inserted instead. Here they are:

Word PSA

If  a thing is unique, that thing is the only thing of its kind.

It is not "very unique" or "more unique" or "most unique."

It's unique, or it isn't.

That is all.

Thanks For Asking! -- 04/20/17

Instead of seeking a sponsor for this episode, I'm going to "sponsor," in a manner of speaking, a great song and video by my long-time friend, comrade and co-worker Steve Trinward. This week, the Thanks For Asking! video goes at the top instead of the bottom of the thread ...

Good stuff, Steve!

Alrighty, then. Ask (me anything) and it shall be given you (in the form of answers in comments, on The KN@PP Stir Podcast, or both).

BTW, I don't know why it never occurred to me before to simplify linkage to the Thanks For Asking! threads, except maybe that I'm kind of slow and dense. I've done that now: These threads will henceforth be tagged (or, in parlance, "labeled"), and will point at the label archive. That way I can actually say the link on the show, etc.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 125: I'm the Pedantophile Your Mother Warned You About

This episode is brought to you an anonymous sponsor whose initials are Darryl W. Perry and who wants you to visit (and especially Art.FreeRoss.Org) and help fund the appeal of American political prisoner Ross Ulbricht, sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the crime of operating a web site.

In this episode: It's April 19 :: Thanks For Asking! (I ran for platform committee and all I got was this damn podcast episode; Clayton Hunt calls a cargo cultist to my attention; hopefully Jacob G. Hornberger is tanned, rested and ready to keynote another Libertarian National Convention; The Gospel of St. Cheeto[TM] Benito) :: I'm running for (Party) office.

Note to Paul Craig Roberts: It Wasn't Deregulation that Brutalized Dr. Dao

A friend points out this bizarre piece by Paul Craig Roberts, bemoaning "deregulation" and blaming it for, among other things, the recent incident in which Dr. David Dao was brutally assaulted and dragged off a United Airlines flight.

For those KN@PPSTER readers who are not familiar with Roberts, he was Ronald Reagan's Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in 1981 and 1982.  Here's his Wikipedia bio. For those KN@PPSTER readers who are familiar with Roberts, chances are you came across his stuff on e.g. and may -- may -- have assumed that this meant he was an Austrian or some other free market type economist. Well, no, as this piece demonstrates.

Not a full Fisking by any means, but let me take apart some of Roberts's complaints, keeping in mind that as a youngster my own experiences with air travel and paying phone bills began in the mid-1980s, a few years after "deregulation" of both began.


"Today four airlines control 85% of the market. A single airline can gain control over a major airport and thereby gain control over pricing out of the hub. We now have unregulated monopoly pricing. Average prices are higher today than they would be under the former regulatory system." [Roberts links to this HuffPo piece to substantiate that last claim]


The next major airport I come across that is controlled by a single airline will be the first. Even the little airport in my town of Gainesville sports two (Delta and American). Jacksonville, 90 minutes or so away, has eight airlines operating out of it. Orlando-Sanford,  a couple of hours away, seven. Orlando International, FORTY.

I don't fly a lot these days, but my wife and kids travel once or twice a year from Florida to the midwest, generally at a round-trip cost of less than $200 each. Tamara is able to search for the best deals, find them and book them in minutes. That's thanks to deregulation of telecommunications, which Roberts complains about elsewhere.

The HuffPo case that prices would be just as low if the airlines had remained regulated is based on a price curve trend. Which is fine, except that it assumes nothing else has changed. And lots of stuff has changed. The simple fact is that more people fly more often for less money than they did before deregulation. Even if deregulation wasn't responsible for that, it would not follow that deregulation is responsible for bad things happening.

The bad things that happen in air travel today are, so far as I can tell, largely a function of War on Terror security theater. The TSA lines mean you have to arrive at the airport earlier, submit to sexual assault before getting onto the concourse, pay insane prices for food in an area that you can't freely leave and return from, and then risk getting dragged off the airplane by thugs if you fail to instantly do as ordered by anyone wearing a uniform, or if the air crew or your fellow passengers just don't think you look right.

Now, to telecommunications, where we reach the truly bizarre:

"Under regulated AT&T, telephone service was excellent at a very low price. Compare today the poor service and high price for the unregulated local or regional monopoly."

Real telecom deregulation happened in the 1990s, although Ma Bell was broken up in 1982. Today, I pay about as much for phone service to one of my many choices as I did to AT&T in the mid-1990s. The differences:

  • I'm paying in inflated dollars that are worth much less.
  • Back then, I got local service and then paid by the minute for long distance. Today, unlimited long distance is included.
  • In addition to the local telephone line monopoly, I can get phone service from the local cable monopoly, or via VOIP from various companies, or from my cable/Internet Service Provider (I have several to choose from), or from any number of cell providers, at various price points for various levels of service. In fact, the last cell phone I had (before one of my clients sprung for service through their group plan) cost me a whopping $6.67 a month to keep operational (the phone itself cost about that much, too), and I never used all of the minutes that came with the plan.

So, what is Roberts's main complaint with deregulated telephony? "Today a telephone in the home is mainly used by telemarketers to invade your privacy."

Well, there's a way to avoid telemarketers: Look at the Caller ID and don't answer for people you don't know. Just let the telemarketers go to voice mail.

I don't know if Roberts has noticed, but while Caller ID and voicemail were in development prior to deregulation, it was after deregulation that they really took off -- and I strongly suspect a big reason for that was the competition that deregulation made possible. I distinctly recall receiving my first caller ID unit from a long distance company as a bonus for switching from AT&T to them back when you still had to pay for long distance but started being allowed to purchase it from a company other than the local monopoly.

Looping back, Roberts's complaints about air travel become similar -- regulated airlines included meals on their flights, regulated airlines had to let you use your ticket on any airline if the one you bought it from had a problem and couldn't get you where you were going, etc.

I am not as old as Roberts, but I am old enough to remember that neither air travel nor phone service was as realiable, or as cheap, or as competitive, in the 1970s as it is now, with the single exception of the government security apparatus that delays and often brutalizes passengers.

It's April 19

Early on the morning of April 19, 1775, British troops marched out of Boston, Massachusetts (which they had occupied since 1768) with the aim of seizing "Military stores" laid up by Massachusetts militias  in Concord. They were met by those militias in various engagements at Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (now known as Arlington) and Cambridge. By the end of the day, those militias had lost 49 killed, 39 wounded, and five missing, while the British lost 73 killed, 174 wounded, and 53 missing. The American Revolution had begun.

On April 19, 1861, Union troops from Massachusetts, en route to Washington, DC on a mission not too terribly dissimilar to that of the British troops in 1775, came under fire from secessionist sympathizers while switching trains in Baltimore, Maryland. When the smoke cleared, four of the troops and 12 Baltimoreans lay dead.  Apart from one killed and one wounded in a cannon salute accident during the surrender of Fort Sumter a week before, it was the first effusion of blood in America's bloodiest war.

On April 19, 1943, resistance fighters in the Warsaw, Poland ghetto refused to surrender themselves and their fellow Jews to SS-Brigadefuhrer Jurgen Stroop's deportation/extermination force. It took nearly a month for the Nazis to overrun the ghetto (it had only taken them six weeks to conquer France!), murdering 13,000 and shipping more than 55,000 off to the death camps, with Nazi losses in the operation running somewhere between 100 and 300 killed and wounded depending on whose numbers you want to believe.

On April 19, 1993, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation used chemical and incendiary weapons, as well as gunfire, to murder 76 religious dissenters (about 25 of them children), outside of Waco, Texas.

On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh used a truck bomb to murder 168 government workers, visitors, etc. (including 19 children at an on-site daycare center) at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Another Bylaws Motion from the Floor for Next Month's Libertarian Party of Florida Convention:

Submitted moments ago:

The following section shall be added to Article III, Section 4 of the bylaws ("Meetings of the Executive Committee"):

The Executive Committee shall use roll call voting on all substantive motions. On all roll call votes, the vote of each individual Committee member shall be recorded in the minutes. 

The argument for the motion is very simple (and the language, btw, is cribbed from the bylaws of the Libertarian National Committee which, last time I noticed, usually ignores it):

The members of the Libertarian Party of Florida deserve to know how their officers, directors at-large, and regional representatives vote on the business of the party.

When the chair takes a voice vote and rules based on his or her opinion of whether there were more yays than nays, (s)he's probably usually correct (if obviously or even possibly wrong, someone will usually object and ask for a roll call).

BUT: Unless a member has paid close attention to who spoke for or against a motion, or recognizes voices really well, there's not much way to tell which way each member voted. That makes it harder to judge the performance of any given member in view of possibly re-electing that member, or electing that member to another position, or just discussing the member's vote with the member.

I also suspect that some members might vote differently on certain matters if they knew that their votes would be recorded and that they might have to justify those votes later when asked about them. It's easy to do the easy, but wrong, thing if nobody is going to know, isn't it?

If You Are One of My Financial Supporters ...

... you should have already received a link to a post that won't appear here on the blog for another 24 hours:

"Note to Paul Craig Roberts: It Wasn't Deregulation that Brutalized Dr. Dao." It's a response to this post at Roberts's "Institute for Political Economy."

If you are one of the aforementioned supporters and I somehow missed sending you the piece, please hit the contact form and let me know. I don't produce nearly as much "supporter advance exclusive" content as I should, but I certainly want you to get what I do produce!

If you are not one of the aforementioned supporters and would like to be, a range of options are available to you over in the sidebar.

Monday, April 17, 2017

And Another Thing

Sent moments ago:

Subject: Notice of Candidacy
From: Thomas Knapp
To: selection [at]

To whom it may concern:

It is my intention to seek election to the position of Director At Large (1) at the Libertarian Party of Florida's 2017 state convention.

Best regards,
Thomas L. Knapp

A Motion for the Libertarian Party of Florida's State Convention

Submitted to the Secretary in writing this morning:

I move to replace Article II, Section 6 of the bylaws, in its entirety, with the following:

a. Any member of the Executive Committee may be removed, by a two-thirds vote of the whole Executive Committee, for violation of the non-aggression oath or for malfeasance in office.

b. The Executive Committee may, by a two-thirds vote of the whole Committee, publicly censure, and disassociate the Libertarian Party of Florida from, the statements or actions of any member if those statements or actions tend to bring the Party into disrepute or discredit it before the people and voters of Florida, or violate the non-aggression oath. The member may appeal the censure/disassociation in writing addressed to the Executive Committee within 30 days. If an appeal is made, the delegates to the next state convention shall review the appeal and the votes of two-thirds of voting delegates shall be required to sustain the censure/disassociation.

Here's the existing Article II, Section 6:

Any member of the Libertarian Party of Florida, or member of the Executive Committee, may be suspended by two-third vote of the executive committee for violation of the Non-Aggression oath. Upon suspension of a member of the party or a member of the Executive Committee, the officer or member may appeal the suspension in writing within 30 days. If no appeal is made by the suspended officer or member, they shall be removed from office, and have their membership revoked, upon expiration of the 30 day appeal period. If an appeal is made, the executive committee shall review the appeal and vote upon removal at the next regularly scheduled executive committee meeting. A three-fourths vote will be required to remove the appealing suspended officer or member. Should the vote fail, the suspension will be lifted and membership and/or Executive Committee status shall be fully restored. Should the three-fourths vote pass, membership shall be revoked for a period of one year, at which time the member shall be eligible to reapply for membership as defined in Article 2 of the Constitution, or by majority vote of the delegation at the next annual meeting. After a member has been reinstated, should that individual’s membership be revoked as outlined above a second time, the revocation shall become permanent, and that individual will no longer be eligible for membership in the LPF.

My argument for this amendment is as follows:

The provision allowing for "suspension" and "revocation" is defective in two ways.

  1.  It is of no great effect. Political parties are organized under state law. If you are registered to vote as "LPF" in Florida you are, for all intents and purposes other than convention participation as a delegate (for which your certification or non-certification of the non-aggression oath can be verified), an LPF member. If you decide to run for public office as a Libertarian and pay the filing fee or submit the requisite number of signatures, you will be on the ballot in the LPF primary for that office. And if you win that primary (or if there is no primary because no one else files for the same office), you will be the Libertarian Party of Florida's candidate for that office. The suspension/revocation procedure is, to put it as bluntly as possible, mere preening and puffery. It does not actually protect the party in any way.
  2. On the other hand, it seems to carry such weight that members of the Executive Committee are apparently -- on the evidence of the motion to invoke it with respect to Augustus Invictus, voted down at the Executive Committee meeting of April 16 -- hesitant to actually use it.
This motion dispenses with the fiction that LPF actually has the power to bar anyone from participation in the party as a voter or as a candidate for office, while retaining its power to remove misbehaving Executive Committee members and creating a simple way for LPF to disassociate itself as an organization from particular actions or statements.

I have always considered suspension/revocation provisions -- as well as candidate "vetting" provisions, which I expect to address in another motion -- suspect when it comes to the general membership of a state political party, for the simple reason that state political parties are organized under, and governed by, state law. State Libertarian Parties like to characterize themselves as "private" organizations when they want to do whatever they happen to feel like doing, while simultaneously demanding the benefits accorded "public" organizations vis a vis the ability to put candidates on general election ballots. That's hypocritical, and it tends to produce perverse outcomes.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Everyone Wants to go to Heaven But No One Wants to Die

The Libertarian Party of Florida's executive committee met tonight. Actually they are probably still meeting -- I hung up on the conference call after the two motions I was interested in were handled.

The first motion was a motion to refuse, and refund monies paid for, a sponsorship/ad in the state convention program next month. The sponsor is a publication called The Revolutionary Conservative. The publisher and founder of the magazine is Augustus Invictus.

There were actually sound arguments on both sides of this motion (the best arguments against it had to do with the de facto contractual relationship and the possibility that the sponsors had incurred additional costs in good faith that they would reasonably want to be reimbursed for).

The result: Embarrassingly (if the committee members have the sense to be embarrassed by anything, which I must say I have my doubts about), instead of voting it up or down, the committee decided to avoid taking any kind of position whatsoever and killed the motion with a vote to "postpone indefinitely."

The second motion was a motion to suspend Augustus Invictus's membership in the LPF for one year (that's what the bylaws provide for) on the basis of public threats of murder, clearly with social/political goals in mind, that he made at a debate with Walter Block some time back.

This one was even more embarrassing than the kicking of the Revolutionary Conservative ad can down the road.

EC after EC member said, with faces that I am pretty sure were straight although I could not see them over the phone, that they either 1) doubt that publicly, clearly and irrefutably threatening to murder one's political opponents constitutes a violation of the LPF oath against supporting/advocating initiation of force for political or social goals or 2) doubt that's what he did, even though he did it in front of an audience and was recorded on video doing it.

Some EC members -- mostly the same ones, I think -- expressed a wish that the Augustus Invictus issue would just go away. Not an intention to make it go away by dealing with it, mind you -- just a sort of general feelzesfest that if they click their heels together and whisper "there's no place like Munich" enough times, everyone will forget who and what Invictus is and they won't ever have to grow backbones and handle the situation.

So they voted, effectively, that threatening to murder political opponents is just peachy and that we should all sit down together and sing a round of kum-ba-ya.

And oh, the whining that will transpire when the whole thing flares up again because they decided not to do their jobs this time.

The real sore spot with me is that I know not all of these people are idiots and can't for the life of me understand why their IQs visibly plunge by 50 points or so when it comes to this particular matter.

I am a Tech Laggard

I don't mean to be. Honest. It's just that I start using something and don't really think that much about whether or not it's state of the art until it stops working reliably.

Take, for example, my old D-Link D-601 router. I don't recall how long I've had it, but my guess is at least 5-7 years, and I see on Amazon that it's been around since 2004. So basically it's Bronze Age tech as such things go.

It's been pretty solid, and for a long time. In fact, I had a spare still in the box in case this one ever went bad (I recall finding the model on sale at Micro Center in St. Louis and buying two) ... and a few weeks ago I set it up for a neighbor after I found out that she had been paying Cox Cable $8.99 a month for years "for Wi-Fi," which meant for rent on a router built into her cable and phone modem.

Naturally, right after I gave away the spare router, mine seemed to start acting up more often, with the network just sort of arbitrarily going down for a few minutes, or running slow for a few hours (the wireless network -- the one machine connected by Ethernet cable seemed unaffected).

So, I have this on the way:

It's an ASUS RT-AC1200 Dual-Band Wireless-AC1200 Router. 

My current router runs at a blazing maximum of 150mbps. This one can hit 300 mbps in N/2.4GHz and up to 867 mbps in ac/5GHz ... and yes, I do have several dual band devices. So in addition to improved reliability (and, from the look of those four antennas, improved range), I'm expecting a lot less congestion when four or five computers, one or two gaming consoles, and a streaming media device or two are all trying to do things at once.

I think I saw a couple of routers that claimed even faster speeds, but they weren't on sale for $30.

It's supposed to arrive no later than Tuesday, and from the tracking info I expect it tomorrow.

Andrew Napolitano was Right

There was a bit of establishment outrage, and he seems to have been suspended from Fox News for a week or two, but the Guardian reports that Napolitano wasn't just making stuff up when he cited anonymous sources as claiming that the United Kingdon's GCHQ was the intelligence service at the root of the Trump wiretap scandal (Trump's own initial mention of which also elicited howls that still haven't quieted down even after public confessions from Susan Rice and James Comey that yes, the Obama administration spied on Trump's campaign personnel).

I never did figure out why the whole thing was so controversial. Of course they spied on Trump. They spy on everyone.

Nope, Didn't Make the Cut for Platform Committee ...

... Libertarian National Committee vice chair Arvin Vohra just posted the results of the LNC balloting for platform committee on Facebook.

The LNC chooses five members for the committee.

The first four were Jeffrey Miron, Andy Craig, John K. Focker Jr., and Alicia Mattson, with a tie for fifth place between Adam Bates, Caryn Ann Harlos, Joe Henchman and Aaron Starr. If I am reading the comments correctly, LNC chair Nick Sarwark is reporting that Adam Bates won the run-off.*

I'd say congratulations to those appointed, but it's not like they won a vacation or something. What they won was a bunch of mostly thankless work. So instead of congratulating them I'll thank them in advance for their service.

*Actually, Nick informs me that he wasn't saying Adam Bates won the runoff, he was just tagging Adam to let him know that he was in the runoff. I'm told Caryn Ann Harlos is the fifth LNC-selected platform committee member. Nothing against the other selectees, but I'm happy to see her on the committee.

Friday, April 14, 2017

"One has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment."

The "one" in question being Wang Yi, foreign minister of the People's Republic of China, and the locale in question being the Korean peninsula.

I don't think he's just whistling Dixie. The US Navy's Carrier Strike Group 1 is steaming (so to speak) toward the waters off North Korea. The Chinese regime has the People's Liberation Army on heightened alert and is shutting down commercial flights between Beijing and Pyongyang.

I have a theory on how things are going to go. It's just a theory. This thing may resolve back to the status quo of 1953-2017 after the usual penis length contests. But if it does burst into warfare, here's how I think it will go:

  • The US will not invade North Korea with ground troops. It will instead launch a missile and air war, with any ground combat being pretty much defensive in nature along the DMZ and with a priority on making sure Seoul is neither overrun nor destroyed.
  • The US forces will quickly achieve air supremacy, taking out most of North Korea's air force, air defense forces, and missile capabilities in 24-48 hours.
  • Within 48-72 hours, the Korean People's Army as a whole, including ground forces, will have lost any semblance of battlefield cohesion, but probably not before executing Kim Jong Un and other key regime personnel. Kim's pleas with China to intervene on his side against the US forces will be replaced by North Korean military pleas, and US requests, for ...
  •  Chinese ground troops to move in as a "peacekeeping force" to "restore order," pleas/requests which will be granted. North Korea will quickly go from Chinese client state and all-around pain in the ass to  de facto Chinese province, under the direct control of Beijing. It might enjoy some ceremonial autonomy, but it will no longer actually be an independent player in any meaningful sense.
I would rather none of that happened, of course. But if it's going to be war, that's how I think the war will go. I'm not discounting the possibility that the North Koreans might get off a conventional ballistic missile or two at the South or even at Japan. I doubt that they can or will detonate any atomic or nuclear weapons.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

An Update on YouGov

Not long ago, I put out an affiliate link for YouGov, a site that rewards members for taking surveys (sometimes political, sometimes commercial -- the latter often related to entertainment). Thanks to the two people who used that affiliate link, earning me 4,000 points! Here's that link again for those of you who might be interested.

Shortly before promoting the link, I discovered I had earned enough points to get a $15 Amazon gift card and started the redemption process. Unlike some sites, YouGov doesn't just email a code, it mails a physical card. That was just strange enough that I couldn't be completely sure the whole thing was legit. I wondered if perhaps cards didn't have a habit of getting "lost in the mail" or whatever. But today, I went out to the ol' mailbox, and:

And yes, it's valid -- I've already punched it in and verified that $15 was added to my Amazon gift card balance. So YouGov is legit.

No, it's not a living. I wouldn't even call it a part-time income. But a gift card to Amazon or one of several other online stores every few months just for taking a survey a week or two is certainly better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. So if you're interested, get to it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Thanks For Asking! -- 04/12/17

This AMA thread (and the podcast to follow) are brought to you on behalf of Free Ross Ulbricht, by Darryl W. Perry ...

Darryl asked me particularly to mention Ross's art -- buy a pixel and help fund Ross's appeal while also uncovering the illustration "Two-Faced Tango!"

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

"We're going to shut it down."

That's a gang calling themselves "Libertarians United Against Fascism." What they're threatening to shut down, unless they get their way, is the Libertarian Party of Florida's state convention. And their two demands relating to that threat are designed to be impossible to meet.

Here's their threat in full.

There are two demands, one implicit, one explicit.

The implicit demand is that LPF rid itself of the fascists attempting to take it over.

The explicit demand is that LPF bar those of its members deemed fascists by "Libertarians United Against Fascism" (including members of its executive committee) from the convention.

LPF cannot rid itself of the fascists on its executive committee without having its convention.

LPF cannot have a valid convention while barring members "Libertarians United Against Fascism" doesn't like from participating.

This is not a matter of "Libertarians United Against Fascism" and LPF fighting together against the Augustus Invictus gang.

It's a matter of "Libertarians United Against Fascism" and the Augustus Invictus gang fighting together against LPF.

I don't intend to let either of these thug factions win. I'm coming to my party's convention. Want to stop me? Try it and see what happens, assholes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 124: I Hear That Flying United Airlines from Chicago to Louisville is a Real Drag ...

If you shave, and you probably do here's your chance to get a razor handle and four insanely great blades for $1 (including shipping)!

In this episode: Thanks For Asking! (anyone got some sarin rap for this sh*t sandwich?; libertarian agendas; nationalist entryists; leaving on a jet plane) :: Fly the unfriendly skies! :: Side note: Hit for Brad's take on the United incident as mentioned in this episode.

Opinions and a Questions About Airlines, Contracts, Etc.

You've probably heard about the guy who got dragged, kicking and screaming, from a United Airlines plane in Chicago.

Any way you cut it, the whole incident is bad customer service and bad public relations, and United isn't helping itself by defending what happened and using passive voice to distance itself from responsibility. Instead of admitting "we overbooked the plane" (which may not be the case, see below), the company's statement says "the plane was overbooked." Instead of "we apologize for overbooking the flight and having cops assault a paying customer and drag him off the plane," the apology is for "the overbooking situation," as if that situation was an act of God rather than an act of United Airlines.

Regarding "overbooking," that's an industry practice of selling more tickets than there are seats available on the plane. From what I'm seeing, that is not what happened here. What seems to have happened is that plane was fully booked and full of paying customers when United suddenly decided that it wanted to put some employees on board to get them to Louisville. That's not "overbooking," it's just deciding to steal back some seats they sold to customers and use those seats for their own purposes.

One instrument United is using in defense of ordering an assault on one of its paying customers is its "Contract of Carriage." One note and one question:

The note: The contract section on how oversold flights are handled refers to denial of boarding. But this customer was not denied boarding. He presented his ticket, he boarded the flight, he took his seat ... and then he was ordered off the plane.

The question: Is a contract provision pre-announcing a clearly fraudulent practice binding in any case? I'm interested in reader opinions. Here's mine:

The Contract of Carriage includes the following definition, which is subsequently used in the above-linked section: "Oversold Flight means a flight where there are more Passengers holding valid confirmed Tickets that check-in for the flight within the prescribed check-in time than there are available seats."

If there are 100 seats on a plane and United sells 101 "valid confirmed Tickets," they're defrauding at least one passenger. You bought the ticket. It's "valid." It's "confirmed." Oh, sorry, that seat you bought? So sorry, we sold it to someone else, too.

The practice of "overbooking" is designed to protect and/or boost airline profits based on the likelihood that some people will cancel at the last minute or just not show up for the flight, leaving seats empty and available.

The proper way to handle that is not to sell 101 "valid" and "confirmed" tickets for a flight with 100 seats. It's to sell 100 "valid" and "confirmed" tickets and then offer "standby" tickets -- if a seat is empty due to a cancellation or no-show, the "standby" ticket holder gets on the plane. If there are no empty seats, not.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Regarding the LPF Situation

I posted this to Facebook (and referred to it in several related emails) before waking up enough to think "hey, the blog is probably the best place to archive/reference this."

Hash: SHA256

To whom it may concern,

I've received several emails requesting phone discussions on the matter of the Libertarian Party of Florida's recent capitulation to August Invictus's threat of a frivolous lawsuit unless it retracted an 18-month old press release, my contention that that capitulation represented a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of executive committee members who voted for it, and my call for replacement of all those executive committee members at the coming state convention.

I won't be discussing this matter on the phone, and especially not _privately_ on the phone, for two reasons:

1) Verbal discussions are subject to erroneous recollection; and

2) I am familiar with the tactics Augustus and his supporters use, including but not limited to false and/or selective claims regarding discussions.

The only exception I might (_might_) make for phone calls on the subject would be for open, pre-announced, recorded conference calls, and even that doesn't sound like a good idea.

My strong preference for private discussion of the matter is by email, using PGP-signed messages so that misquotes (accidental or intentional) and decontextualized quotes can be corrected in a provable way.

Best regards,
Tom Knapp
Version: Mailvelope v1.7.1


Friday, April 07, 2017

Libertarian Party of Florida Convention Motions, Part 2: Constitution and Bylaws

I've previously posted my recommendations regarding platform proposals for next month's Libertarian Party of Florida state convention. This post is on the party's Constitution and bylaws. The proposals are posted here.

I do not envy the committee members who are charged with trying to straighten out LPF's Constitution and bylaws, and there's really only one proposal I have a big problem with.

The existing language:

The Executive Committee shall fill vacancies of elected positions of LPF Chair, LPF Vice Chair, LPF Secretary, LPF Treasurer, and Directors at Large as indicated by a majority of the votes cast by the Executive Committee via roll call vote.

The proposed change:

The presiding officer shall appoint a qualified and willing LPF member to fill any vacant office or seat. The appointee shall be vested immediately with the duties and powers of the office.

Do I even have to explain why that's a dangerous idea? Let me know. Other than that, there aren't really any changes I can't live with, but:

When I first began getting involved with LPF a couple of years ago and looked at the Constitution and bylaws, my first reactions were:

  1. Jesus, what a mess; and
  2. These two things should be one thing; and
  3. What LPF needs is a committee/process to create an entirely new set of bylaws (superseding the existing bylaws and subsuming the extraneous "Constitution") to be adopted in one swell foop.
I haven't seen any reason to change that opinion.

Unfortunately, the route there may be via a sort of "nuclear option."

Last weekend, LPF's executive committee voted, with only one "no" vote from Paul Stanton, to surrender to Augustus Invictus, the leader of an authoritarian nationalist hostile takeover attempt of LPF, agreeing to "mediation" of his manufactured complaints in lieu of seeing if he was serious in his threats of frivolous/malicious litigation.

This hostile takeover attempt is now in its third year. It's time to bring it to an end, and the first step in doing so is to replace each and every executive committee member who betrayed his or her fiduciary duty to the party and threw its members under the bus with this appeasement of the party's enemies.

If that doesn't happen, it will be time to ask the Libertarian National Committee to disaffiliate LPF and create a libertarian political party to replace what is fast becoming a front organization for fascist opportunists.

Disaffiliation would, of course, be a direct route to fixing the bylaws/Constitution situation. But it's far from the best route.

A Brief Response to Those Now Whining That Trump Fooled Us Into Thinking He Was Not a Warmonger

No, he fooled you, not "us."

Own it.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Thanks For Asking! -- 04/06/17

No sponsor this week (hit the contact form and talk to me if you'd like to sponsor this week's AMA thread and podcast episode for $5.99), so I'm just going to keep hammering on one of my favorite things in the world: Dollar Shave Club.

Click the graphic below and the magic of the IntarTubes will open a new tab with an offer for a razor handle and four blades for $1, with free shipping. Then use coupon code RFFMF31746482D7E7D89 in the promo box at checkout for $1 off. I'm not that great with math, but I think that comes out to pretty dang cheap. It stays cheap after that, too. The price, that is. The quality is outstanding.

So, ask me anything (anything!) in the comment thread below this post, and I'll answer in comments, on a coming podcast episode, or both.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 123: Living Long on the Alms-Basket of Words ...

Do it. You know you want to do it ...

In this episode: Thanks For Asking! (Malice v. Tucker, Sam v. Julian, Sane Progressive v. "sane" libertarians, more on my boring podcast listening routine, and the ultimate philosophical basis of libertarianism) :: The privacy sky is not falling :: Why Free Talk Live should dump James Wittekind.

Libertarian Party of Florida Convention Motions, Part 1: Platform

The Libertarian Party of Florida's 2017 convention is coming up next month (and you should hit the support links in the right sidebar to help me get there!). The party's Platform and Rules Committees have published their recommendations for changes to the party's platform, Constitution and bylaws here.

Here are my thoughts on some of the platform proposals. Just because I don't mention something, it doesn't mean I don't have an opinion on it. In fact, I'll focus on the proposals I disagree with in some way. I may be back with more later, including stuff I agree with, but this is my first pass at things that really pop out at me.

Motion: 2017-ABM-P-03

Title: Motion to strike Platform Item Preamble

Text: Motion by the Platform Committee to strike Platform Item Preamble


Libertarians seek a society based on personal liberty and responsibility—a society in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives. This most desirable method of organizing society is the natural order that arises when the unalienable rights of individuals to life, liberty and property ownership are respected and protected.

People have the right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and pursue happiness in whatever manner they choose so long as they do not forcibly or fraudulently interfere with the equal rights of others. Libertarians welcome the peace, prosperity, and diversity that freedom brings.

I oppose this motion. The preamble is a good general summary of what the Libertarian Party stands for and why. It should be retained.

Motion: 2017-ABM-P-04

Title: Motion to amend Platform Item I State Government

Text: Motion by the Platform Committee to amend Platform Item I State Government


[most of this motion elided, I'm concerning myself here with only the following part]

11. We oppose using state and local resources to enforce federal immigration laws against foreign nationals who do not pose a credible threat to security, health or property.

No, no, no, no, NO.

Why? This is an anti-libertarian poison pill that's cribbed from the final sentence of the national LP's platform, plank 3.4, which I am on record as intending to see deleted at next year's national convention for the same reasons.

I've run into more than one immigration authoritarian in the LP who argues that the verbiage "foreign nationals who ... pose a credible threat to security, health or property" is license to put the Libertarian Party in support of banning whole categories of persons from entering the United States on the basis of statistical claims that their religious or cultural backgrounds make them inherently "credible threats."

Even LP members who are not libertarian on immigration (the libertarian position -- the ONLY libertarian position -- on immigration is "open borders") should be able to get their heads around the idea that we don't want language in our platform that leaves an opening for statists to exercise broad authority rather than proving actual harm or threat on an individual basis.

Proposed alternative:

We oppose using state and local resources to enforce federal laws, or to hold prisoners in state or local correctional facilities for handover to federal agencies or agencies of other states in the absence of valid warrants, judicial orders or extradition requests.

Motion: 2017-ABM-P-05

Title: Motion to amend Platform Item II Elections

Text: Motion by the Platform Committee to amend Platform Item II Elections


[most of this motion elided, I'm concerning myself here with only the following part]

Campaign finance laws are unwarranted restrictions of free speech or association and should be repealed. Keeping in accordance with the tradition of all government being run in the Sunshine, we We support making all political contributions public records.

I oppose this motion.

Alternative proposal: Everything up to and including the word "repealed" should be kept, everything after discarded.

Whether or not a candidate makes his or her campaign contributions public should be up to that candidate -- and people who disagree with the candidate's decision can vote against the candidate. Personally I will be disinclined to support a candidate who hides where his or her money comes from, but that's a matter for candidates and voters to hash out among themselves, not for the law to dictate.

Motion: 2017-ABM-P-07

Title: Motion to amend Platform Item VII Economy

Text: Motion by the Platform Committee to amend Platform Item VII Economy


[most of this motion elided, I'm concerning myself here with only the following part]

The condemnation of private property for public use should only be allowed when necessary for the protection of the rights of the citizens. Eminent Domain is only appropriate for immediate concerns of public safety.

I oppose this motion.

Proposed alternative:

"Eminent domain" is a fancy word for "theft." If government wants to acquire property, it should be required pay the owner's demanded price just like any other buyer, and if the owner declines to sell that should be the end of the matter.