Wednesday, August 29, 2018

For Some Reason ...

Disqus email notifications are taking several hours to reach me the last day or so. Please pardon any seemingly undue delay in responding to comments.

What's the Opposite of "to Fisk?"

I read -- or at least give a quick once-over to -- dozens of political commentaries every day. About twice a week, I come across one that really grinds my gears for a particular reason.

 fisk,  verb  1. slang to refute or criticize (a journalistic article or blog) point by point 

The kind of piece I have in mind does the exact opposite of fisking. It does absolutely nothing except quote another piece, in chunks, prefacing each chunk with a summary of the claim the chunk makes and following the chunk with an announcement that the chunk did indeed well prove the claim.

Note well: I am not condemning pieces that make their own claims and cite various other bits of writing in support of those claims, or that here and there do the claim/chunk/acclaim of chunk thing. I'm condemning pieces that are nothing but claim/chunk/acclaim of chunk, with every chunk from the same piece.

It's sort of like posting "I agree" in the comment thread on some blog posts, and then presenting the blog posts and "I agree" comments in aggregate as a supposedly original creation. At least the final step of the fisking formula (claim, chunk, criticism of chunk) implies something beyond an ability to summarize, copy, paste, and type "I agree."

New coinage:

 fusk,  verb  1. slang to agree with (a journalistic article or blog) point by point in the most boring way conceivable 

What the Hell is "Comedy-World Redemption?"

At The Daily Beast, Danielle Tcholakian complains that in Louis C.K.'s return to the comedy stage (an unannounced set at the Comedy Cellar), "[i]t appears he did not address his past misdeeds or any lessons he may have learned in his time out of the public eye. It seems C.K. would like everyone to forget his transgressions."

C.K spent the better part of a year out of the public eye after it came out that he had a habit of asking women to watch him masturbate (in his mea culpa he admitted that "when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question").

The story's title summarizes Tcholakian's opinion: "Louis C.K. Hasn’t Earned His Comedy-World Redemption."

Uh ... what?

Let's start with where Tcholakian is right: "[P]art of why C.K. and others need redemption is because they did not act toward others with a base level of respect and decency. You cannot command treatment from others that you have not given yourself. This is very basic stuff. Do unto others, etc. It should not be a revelation."

Yep. But that sort of "redemption" has to do with the person and those he has wronged.

Sure, people who learn about it at (ahem) second hand are entitled to their opinions, up to and including "ewwww ... can't ever look at that guy again without seeing things in my head that I don't want to see."

But since they aren't the ones C.K. asked (from a position that may have made it less a request than a demand) to watch him flog the dolphin, he doesn't owe them any kind of apology or accounting over that.

They are customers of something other than his free live masturbation shows.

They want what he's offering (a particular comedy experience), or they don't.

They want it from him, or they don't.

They consider it worth whatever payment he's demanding for it, or they don't.

If they think he needs some kind of "redemption," then whether or not he's "earned" that redemption is entirely up to them to decide.

Here's the question I ask myself about any comedian when considering whether or not that comedian's services are worth retaining:

Is he or she funny and thought-provoking enough that I feel like my time and/or attention and/or money were well-spent on the show?

Full stop.

I suppose if I couldn't watch the guy without involuntarily experiencing mental imagery of him whacking the mole, I might conclude that the value proposition didn't work. But that has nothing at all to do with what he may or may not owe those whom he actually so imposed himself on.

I'm a fan. Among currently active comedians I know of (I'm no connoisseur of comedy), he places second on my favorites list behind Doug Stanhope. I think I've seen all of his video comedy specials (and I've paid cash for at least one, maybe two, via his "buy direct from my web site" release scheme) and most episodes of his old show, "Louie."

Given the money and the opportunity, I'd buy a ticket to a set. And I wish he'd hurry up and release I Love You, Daddy, the film he wrote, directed, and was about to see released in American theaters when the chicken-choking controversy shut him down, so I could rent or buy that too (he appears to have purchased the rights back from the film's cowardly distributor).

Ditto Netflix's Gore Vidal biopic starring Kevin Spacey, by the way. Why should I, as a paying subscriber, be denied what sounds like a good movie just because one actor in got publicly crucified ... even if he deserved it?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Just Donated a Little Bit of that Bitcoin Cash Darryl Sent Me ...

To Defense Distributed -- they've raised $207k of their $400k goal to finance defending the First and Second Amendments against rogue state attorneys general and megalomaniac federal judges.

Will you help too? ( is matching donations made in Bitcoin Cash!)

In other news, the megalomaniac federal judge's preliminary injunction merely reinstates the US State Department's ITAR "export" ban on posting 3D-printed gun plans on line. Nothing at all in there about selling them to US customers. So they are.

In Which I am Partially Responsible for Killing Some Trees

If you're a sustaining member of the Libertarian Party (and you should be), you have likely found (or are about to find) the latest print edition of LP News in your snail mail receptacle. See page 5 for my piece on the LP's amended free trade and migration plank.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Let Us Now Praise Darryl W. Perry ...

... who is of course listed on my Wall of Supporters as the Original Podcast Patron (he paid the first two years of Soundcloud hosting fees).

Darryl just made a substantial contribution to the Send Tom and Tamara to See Bob Dylan Fund, let me know that I needed to change my Bitcoin Cash address (the address protocol has changed), and reminded me (when I asked for any quid pro quo opportunities) to tout his upcoming run in the New York City Marathon, which he's doing as a fundraiser for The Innocence Project.

I've donated some to Darryl's fundraiser previously and will likely donate more. I hope you will too. A slightly longer explanation of what's going on:

There are various ways to get into the New York City Marathon. One of them is to become part of a fundraising team for a worthy organization and to raise some specified amount for that organization.

Darryl chose the Innocence Project. He's met his fundraising goal, but that's just a minimum. The more the better, especially for an organization uses DNA evidence to exonerate and free wrongly convicted inmates --  more than 350 so far, including 20 from death row.

Darryl arrived a day later than I did to the Libertarian Party's 2018 national convention after stopping along the way to place first in his age group in a marathon shorter race in Alabama, Mississippi. so* I'm confident that he'll have a great race in New York City on November 4th. Let's help him make the most of it.

Step 1: Support the Innocence Project via Darryl at


Step 2: All of the money Darryl is raising via the above link goes to the Innocence Project. If you'd like to help with his personal expenses (traveling to and staying in New York City isn't cheap!), or support one of his other projects, check out Liberty Lobby LLC (Darryl is a crowd-funded liberty lobbyist in New Hampshire!) or the "shop" options at Free Press Publications.

* My mistake.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Dylan Update

Bread on the waters style (if we start the process, the money will show up to finish it), Tamara is ordering the Dylan tickets (October 19, St. Augustine Amphitheatre) right now.  Total: $137.23 ($54.14 per ticket; an $11 per ticket Ticketmaster processing fee;* $4.50 to have physical tickets mailed because reasons;* and I guess some tax) invested.

I had assumed a maximum of $85 each for the tickets, so we're already $32.77 under the contemplated budget.

* I don't really object to the total price. In fact, many moons ago, early 1990s, I had a chance to see Dylan at $75 and didn't. But in my opinion the "face" ticket price should include the Ticketmaster fees.

** Apparently Ticketmaster doesn't let you get an "e-ticket" and print it out. They do offer phone tickets, but I don't trust Tamara's phone as it occasionally goes reception-wonky for hours at a time in places where it shouldn't. And besides, if there's a sudden financial windfall and we want to trade up with a scalper for better seats we'll need physical tickets.

Thanks For Asking! -- 08/25/18

This AMA thread, and the episode to follow, are brought to you by Free Pony Express:

Ask me anything (anything!) in the comment thread below this post -- or, if you want to pay me a dollar for my answer, via (please specify in your communication there that it's a question for public/AMA answering). I'll answer you in comments, or on the podcast, or both.

Friday, August 24, 2018

If Payment Pursuant to a Non-Disclosure Agreement is a "Campaign Contribution" ...

Well, Mueller & Co. seem to be closing in on Donald Trump. Not for anything related to the supposed purpose of their investigation ("collusion"/"Russian meddling"), but for purchasing the silence of his former sexual partners.

His former attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty a few days ago to, among other things making an illegal campaign contribution and claims he did so at the direction of a candidate for federal office (Trump).

Other parties allegedly connected to the contribution (National Enquirer CEO David Pecker and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg) have been granted immunity, indicating that the investigation doesn't end with Cohen's plea. They're obviously after Trump himself.

So, is paying someone pursuant to a non-disclosure agreement a "campaign contribution?"

The legal theory here seems to be that it is if the intent is to influence the outcome of the election.

In my most recent Garrison Center op-ed, I argue that in this instance that might not have been the intent at all. Trump has a long history of paying for silence when he wasn't even running for office. Who's to say that it wasn't the Wrath of Melania, rather than losing votes, that he was worried about here?

But let's play along with the theory.

If I run for president tomorrow and it turns out that 20 years ago I paid someone pursuant to an NDA, how can anyone know I wasn't thinking about eventually running for president at the time?

Absent evidence that Trump's specific intent with this NDA was to affect the outcome of this election, the theory here implicitly disqualifies anyone who has ever traded something of value for another party's signature on an NDA from ever running for public office. After all, if eventually running for office was on -- or even in the  backs of -- their minds at the time, those NDA payments were illegal (and unreported) campaign contributions made for the purpose of influencing future elections, right?

That implicit disqualification would also necessarily preclude any and all incumbent members of Congress who have used NDAs to forbid interns from talking in return for the internship opportunities, as part of settlements to keep sexual harassment claimants' mouths shut, etc. from running for re-election.

And, again stipulating to the correctness of the theory, does anyone want to claim -- with a straight face, at least -- that when John Brennan demanded NDAs from people involved in the Benghazi debacle, he wasn't doing it at least partially to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, acting as a Michael Cohen to Hillary Clinton's Donald Trump?

I'm starting to like this whole idea that an NDA is an illegal campaign contribution. I suspect that if applied in a fair and even-handed manner, it could reduce the population of Washington, DC by 537 or so, and negatively impact inbound migration considerably.

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 143: Not In My Prime

This episode is brought to you by Free Pony Express:

In this episode:

  • Thanks for Asking! (cryptocurrency advice and Bob Dylan fandom plea)
  • Politicizing the murder of Mollie Tibbetts
Crypto links mentioned in episode: (shop Amazon with BTC or Bitcoin Cash) (earn BTC by reading emails and performing other easy tasks)
Coinomi (cryptocurrency wallet)
Jaxx (cryptocurrency wallet)

And by the way this podcast is covered by a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication, not the more restrictive license that is the least restrictive Soundcloud lets me pick.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

More on Blackmail

On the last episode of the KN@PP Stir Podcast, the "Thanks For Asking" question I answered had to do with the likelihood of someone trying to blackmail me. My answer focused on whether or not I'd make a good victim (spoiler: No, probably not).

The whole Trump/Cohen/Stormy Daniels hush money thing moved to the forefront of the news cycle around the same time. I wrote a Garrison Center column on it. Then today I got an unsigned contact form message to the following effect:

"Could a demand for hush money be considered blackmail or extortion?"

My reply, channeling Walter Block:

Well, yes, I would say it is OBVIOUSLY blackmail. But blackmail as such shouldn't be illegal.

Let's say that you know something about me that you did not violate my rights in coming to know. For example, you happen to be driving past a motel and you see me going into a room with a woman whom you know to not be my wife.

You know it. You have every right to tell my wife -- or, for that matter, the National Enquirer -- about it. But, knowing that I would not want you to do so, you come to me and say that you will not do so ... for $10,000.

So far, all we have is you offering to not do something that it's perfectly legal for you to do, if I pay you to not do it. Nobody's rights are violated. You didn't threaten to break my legs if I didn't pay you. You didn't bust down the door of the motel room (violating the motel owner's property rights in ownership and mine in rental) to get a picture of me with the woman.

Obviously, blackmail/extortion CAN be criminal (or a violation of contract, if we reach an agreement and then you later come back and demand more). But it isn't necessarily so.

In Trump's case, it was he who imposed "non-disclosure agreements" on his ex-wives in their divorce settlements. Maybe he did so because they threatened to "tell all" if he didn't pay them, but either way they formulated it as a perfectly legal and binding contract. Who came to whom with what offer, and how formalized it was, unless rights were violated, is just detail.

Movin' On Up!

According to the Cato Institute, I live in what is now the freest of the 50 states.

I've lived most of my life (continuously from toddler-hood to age 46, excepting military deployments and such) in Missouri, which ranks 11th.

I haven't sorted through all the details, but I will say I feel more free. I'm just not sure it's based on state-level stuff.

My last 12 years in Missouri were spent in a middle class suburb of St. Louis (right outside the city limits) with a local government that wanted to treat the place as an all-but-gated exclusive community. They did their damnedest to regulate and milk the residents to death.

In Florida, I'm technically "suburban" (just a few miles out of Gainesville), but for all practical purposes "rural." I live in a trailer on a one-acre wooded lot on a dead end street.

The only interaction I've had with the state/county/local government at home was getting a sticker on my trash dumpster notifying me that it's not allowed to be overstuffed, and that if I need to put more trash out than it will hold I can buy exorbitantly priced special bags.

My recollection is that Tamara has been pulled over one time in six years, for a tail light being out and that the fine was waived as long as she went down to the courthouse and proved she had fixed it. There were a bunch of unfriendly "respect my authoritah" cops at one protest I went to, but they were state cops. The local cops (I know one of them from church) and the deputy sheriffs are generally either friendly or, if in a group protest situation, hang back and just let people bloviate, etc.

The sales taxes are pretty low here, and even seem to not apply to many items. There is no state income tax. I'm told that Alachua County has higher property taxes than most, which is probably reflected in my rent. I'm also told they have more onerous environmental standards for building than most, but I haven't tried to build anything. When I get behind on mowing the lawn, nobody complains (half the lots in the area are vacant and get brush-hogged maybe once a year; of the inhabited lots, lawn maintenance does not seem to be a priority for at least half).

We got some kind of medical marijuana scheme a couple of years ago, and I expect we'll get recreational legalized or decriminalized or whatever this November. I know that it's possible to get arrested over pot, but I've seen people smoking it openly in public without apparent consequence.

U-turns are legal! Tamara loves that. Even after nearly six years, I accuse her of contriving to get into traffic situations where U-turns make sense.

I'm absolutely certain that there's bad government in Florida. I read about it sometimes. But so far I haven't really seen it, at least that I can think of.

Yeah, feels pretty free to me, relative to other places I've been. Always room for improvement, though!

The Tentative Plan ...

Of all the events I would like to attend in the remainder of 2018, seeing Bob Dylan doesn't just top the list, it pretty much is the list  (this got on my mind because reader Thane Eichenauer asked about it in this week's "Thanks For Asking" thread).

For decades, I've had a sort of running short list of "musical acts I need to see before they retire or die." I have probably missed out on the Rolling Stones and Rush. I have missed out on Tom Petty. There are a few others but probably no hurry. Dylan is 77 years old. Time is running out.

After looking at area tour dates for this year, Tamara's preference (and mine, although I didn't tell her when asking) is October 19th in St. Augustine. That's a Friday and we haven't seen St. Augustine, so the idea is:

  • Go to see the show (two tickets at $55-75 each -- call it $65 to $85 as there likely "processing fees").
  • Stay overnight (we try to be budget-conscious on hotels, but I'm going to call it another $85 to be safe) and sight-see the next day.
So that's $255.

Gas (and probably car rental, I like our 1999 4Runner but don't consider it a road trip vehicle for both age and gas mileage reasons), food that we'll have to buy out instead of eating at home, etc. will probably make this at least a $300-$350 trip.

So, anyone got a $300-350 job they'd like done that I'm the guy to do?

What is it With All the "Re-Launch," "Re-Brand," etc. Mania?

Yesterday, ZenCash announced a major "re-branding" as HoriZen to emphasize aspects of the project other than cryptocurrency. This after months of (so far as I can tell, pretty successfully) promoting ZenCash, increasing name recognition for ZenCash, etc.

In the last 24 hours, the USD price of whatever-it-is-now has fallen by more than 9% (versus 3.x% for BTC).

As, likely, would the share price of Apple if it changed its name to Peach and its product focus to  phonograph records right in the middle of rising success.

I still think that ZenCash (or whatever it is going to be called now) is a great idea and the bulk of my tiny crypto portfolio is in it. Maybe I'll even buy the dip. But is it too much to ask of crypto peeps to pick a name, stick with it, and work on the product instead of playing this stupid masturbatory "re-branding" game?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Thanks For Asking! -- 08/22/18

But first, a message from my sponsor:

New episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast coming soon, so ...

  • Ask me anything (yes, anything) in comments here at the blog (or via if you'd like to pay me for an answer -- if you go that route, please specify whether or not your question is for use on the show); and
  • I'll answer in comments, or on the podcast, or both.

Something That Surprises Me ...

... especially since many of my readers seem to be cryptocurrency-oriented ...

is that I don't have a crap ton of referrals at

Yes, that's a referral link. It costs nothing to join, and you get paid in cryptocurrency to let people contact you, ask you to do things, etc. I've earned (and successfully withdrawn) Bitcoin worth (at times of withdrawals) probably $70 or so. Quite often, the messages/tasks that come in are along the lines of "sign up for our token airdrop" or whatever and get done in a couple of minutes. You can add yourself to different groups that have to do with your demographics and interests so that you're more likely to get stuff you like.

So, why not grab some crypto, easy?

The Trump Outlook Post-Manafort/Cohen

As I predicted, Paul Manafort was not convicted on all charges in his tax evasion trial. In fact, the jury hung on more than half the charges. And since the charges, so far as the prosecution's hand is publicly tipped, have precisely zero to do with Donald Trump or "Russiagate," not a big deal for the Trump presidency.

Michael Cohen's sudden plea agreement yesterday might be a different story. He entered guilty pleas to eight counts, including one count of making an illegal campaign finance contribution.

In his plea entry, Cohen specifies that he made the contribution 1) "at the direction of the candidate" and 2) for the "purpose of influencing the election."

What was that illegal campaign contribution? Who was it to?

The date specified for the contribution is October 27, 2106. That's the day Cohen paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 for the purpose of keeping her quiet about her sexual relationship with Donald Trump. Which, if the reason for wanting her kept quiet was to "influence the election," constitutes an illegally large and non-FEC-reported "in-kind" campaign contribution.

Grounds for impeachment? Maybe, I guess.

I doubt anyone will be surprised to learn that Bill Clinton skated after working with the DNC to launder millions in illegal campaign contributions -- and foreign ones to boot.

On the other hand, Clinton got impeached over lying about sex, and this case involves illegal campaign contributions and lying about sex, although not the "agents of a foreign power" angle of the Clinton scandal and that Clinton partisans have been pressing versus Trump with the "Russiagate" nonsense.

Could some Republican politicians finally be embarrassed enough by Trump to throw in with a Democratic impeachment effort, especially if Trump is criminally charged? Yeah, it could happen. But even if impeachment happens in the House, conviction in the Senate is hardly a lock.

As for Trump's "base," they knew he was a lying and corrupt serial adulterer when they voted for him in 2016, so I doubt this latest bit will shift many 2020 votes if he stays in office and runs for re-election.

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, episode 142: How to Make Porn and Prison Frankly Kind of Boring

No sponsor for this episode -- we'll get back to that if the podcast gets back to happening more often.

In this episode: Thanks For Asking! (Could Tom Be Blackmailed?); Support US Prisoners' Strike.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Dog Bites Man: I was Right, As Usual

On July 31, I predicted:

"[Paul Manafort] will not be convicted of all charges. He may not be convicted of any."

Convicted on eight counts; hung jury/declared mistrial on 10.

No, I'm not a psychic. It was just a little more obvious to me a little earlier than it became obvious to most people. Maybe I should go into the jury consulting business.

MPEG or it Didn't Happen

Writing at The Hill, Jim Bovard notes:

The FBI rarely records interviews and instead relies on written summaries (known as Form 302s) which "are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations," the New York Times noted last year. Though defense attorneys routinely debunk the accuracy and credibility of 302s, prosecutors continue touting FBI interview summaries as the voice of God.

This is not about FBI agents testifying to something they saw or heard in sudden and unpredicted situations ("I was exiting the bar when I saw two men in ski masks and carrying shotguns enter the store across the street").

This is about FBI agents testifying on the content of pre-planned, formal interviews which can and should be recorded on audio or video, but which they instead take necessarily subjective, even if not intentionally dishonest, written notes on.

When a law enforcement agent intentionally avoids making an objective and complete record of an interview, there's a reason -- and his subjective and incomplete notes on that interview, or his testimony from memory, should be held inadmissible as evidence. It's like being able to take fingerprints at a crime scene, but instead just testifying that a handprint looked to be about the same size as the suspect's and expecting that to be treated as credible evidence.

"Testilying" is a thing. It's always going to be a problem. The courts shouldn't actively facilitate the practice by allowing bullshit like this.

Some Tipping Advice for the FTL Crew

On last night's Free Talk Live, there's a fun discussion about tipping at restaurants. One of the hosts (Ian) has a pretty sound attitude about tipping. The two others (that were on last night) have problems.

Mark finds the whole idea of tipping confusing, not understanding why or how much he should tip in any given instance. He'd rather just know a price up front (as opposed to employers paying their workers less than minimum wage and tippers being implicitly expected to make up the difference).

Melanie is convinced that there's a knowledge problem. That is, she thinks of tipping as paying some owed amount, and thinks she needs to know how much the restaurant worker is making in wages and how much the restaurant worker "should be" (according to the government) making in wages in order to tip the appropriate amount to make up the difference. Mark has a bit of that outlook on things, too.

Geez, guys ... it doesn't have to be that complicated. And why in the name of all that's holy would an anarchist like Melanie let government policy dictate to you how much service staff "should be" making?

First thing: The only amount you actually owe at a restaurant is the price advertised on the menu (and some menus may specify that a "gratuity" -- actually a price increase -- is automatically levied on large parties, etc.). In general, no, you don't "have to" tip. You agreed to pay a price for such and such, you got such and such, that's the price you "have to" pay.

Second thing: Tips are a service bonus from the customer to the service staff. The restaurant owner is paying wait staff to be there, to process orders, and to deliver food, and how much he pays them is between him, them, and (unfortunately) the government. You are paying the restaurant owner to cover that. A tip is extra value returned for extra value received from staff in the opinion of the customer. You do not have to know how much the workers are making, or how much they "should be" making, from sources other than tips in order to decide to tip or not tip, or in order to decide how much to tip. You just have to know how happy you are with the service -- how much value added you perceive yourself as having received -- above and beyond the fact that you got what you ordered.

There are certainly social conventions. The "standard" tip is 15%. The average tip is 18-20%. If you consider yourself especially well-served, you might go higher. If you're at a repeat service place (like a bar), you might just drop a buck in the tip jar for every drink you order and are served.

Personally, I try to tip well (20%-ish) if the service is reasonably good or if there's a non-service-staff excuse for it not being that great (e.g. a sudden rush at a time when the owner doesn't have enough people working to handle it -- I notice that staff are busting their asses and giving me the best service they can give me and tip accordingly). If the service feels "above and beyond the call of duty" to me, I up the tip some.

Your mileage may vary, and that's fine. Tipping is a situation in which you get to decide how much what you got is worth, if anything.

Side note: If you're at a strip club, usually the value the dancers deliver is ALL value received above and beyond your cover charge (which goes to the bar owner) and drink spending (the price goes to the owner, any tip goes to the bartender). The dancers generally dance for tips only (and pay the owner a percentage of their tips). You still don't have to tip. But if you do, you'll generally get some value added (closer looks at, and more attention from, the dancers). And you should. A good exotic dancer is working hard both physically and, essentially, as an actor. Whatever value you get from that is value you are ONLY paying for if you tip. Just sayin' ...

Monday, August 20, 2018

Dear Google ...

If I just didn't like "New Gmail" very much, that would be one thing (I often don't like new iterations of old services for some time, then eventually wonder how I ever did without the new features).

But when I run "New Gmail" and it just doesn't work right -- in Google Chrome, running as ChromeOS, on a Google Chromebox -- that's messed up.

Specifically: When I email a bunch of people using BCC, and I paste in some addresses, the formatting suddenly goes all wonky once those addresses have been processed, and I can't into the BCC area -- which sprawls into the subject line and message body areas -- to paste in any more addresses. If I increase and decrease the size of the message window some random number of times, it eventually gets it right. Eventually.

And, of course, Google has the worst tech support ever -- no direct contact, just post in a forum somewhere and hope someone has solved the same problem.

I mean, c'mon, didn't you bother to test the new version of your new service on your own software, running on your own OS, on hardware purpose-built to run that OS, before releasing it?

And what's with this thing about requiring a new tab outside of Gmail to access my contacts? That's just dumb.

Is This a Recent Trend?

Over the years, I've heard any number of stories about cops using tape to conceal their badge numbers, usually when deployed en masse versus protesters or whatever.

Lately, every cop I encounter seems to have a black piece of cloth stretched over his or her badge, obscuring any personal identifier that might be on it. It looks like the cloth might actually be stretch nylon sewn into the uniform shirt.

Not that I encounter a lot of cops, but it's not terribly unusual for me to run into a local police officer or a deputy county sheriff at an area convenience store. That was the case this morning, and I noticed the obscured badge, and remembered that I had been noticing obscured badges. So I figured I'd ask around about that.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Purposes of the Libertarian National Committee ...

... do not extend to resolving ideological/factional disputes within the Libertarian Party, or to censuring the ideological/factional opponents of the LNC's members.

Thankfully, a recent attempt to abusively employ the LNC's public policy resolution authority to do those two things seems to have failed (the email ballot doesn't close until August 22, but more than 1/4th of the LNC has already voted no and the vote is running 10-5 against with a 3/4th threshold for adoption).

The obvious target of the resolution was the Libertarian Socialist Caucus. Think what you will of them, they do exist, they are part of the Libertarian Party, and at the party's recent national convention their endorsed chair candidate collected enough delegate support tokens to participate in the formal debate and their endorsed vice-chair candidate made it past the first ballot.

I do not label myself a "libertarian socialist," but there is such a thing, and people to whom that label is applicable have been activists in the party since long before I came along (1996), let alone since fairly recently arrived party activists like Caryn Ann Harlos (the "have the LNC grind my ideological ax" sponsor of the resolution) and Joshua Smith (the "have the LNC censure my ideological/factional opponents" sponsor of the resolution) ran for and won election to the LNC.

In fact, there have probably been "libertarian socialists," broadly defined, in the party since its founding in 1971 or shortly after.

The late Karl Hess, who edited the party's newspaper for four years, was also a member of Students for a Democratic Society and the Industrial Workers of the World.

Bruce Baechler, recipient of the party's 2002 Thomas Paine Award, was also a Wobbly.

There's always been a noticeable Georgist/geoist tendency, usually not expressing as organized faction, in the party. Georgists/geoists disagree with the theory of property in land that most other party members accept. And that's okay.

Article 4, Section 1 of the party's bylaws is clear, unambiguous, and dispositive: "Members of the Party shall be those persons who have certified in writing that they oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals."

We get to disagree (and have done so loudly for nigh on 50 years) on what that means -- on what constitutes initiation force and why, including but not limited to debating questions relating to what might constitute or not constitute a rightful property claim. And it's not the LNC's job to intervene in such arguments.

The Problem with Juror Identity Secrecy

Per BBC News:

The judge in the trial of ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort says he will not release the names of jurors because of fears for their safety. ... Speaking in court while jurors deliberated for a second day, Judge [TS] Ellis said: "I had no idea this case would excite these emotions ... I don't feel right if I release their names .... I've received criticism and threats. I imagine they would, too."

If there are fears for the safety of jurors, jury tampering (beyond the legal version, voir dire), etc., then the proper course is to sequester the jury -- put them up in a hotel with armed security until the case is over.

But here's the US Constitution:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed ...

If we don't know who the jurors are, how can we know where they're from or whether or not we can expect them to be impartial?

The trial is in Virginia, and it's a case on tax evasion and related offenses. Since Ellis won't tell us who's on the jury, for all we know he just let Mueller's people bus in 12 IRS agents from New York, all of whom worked on the case they're now hearing, to fill the openings.

Friday, August 17, 2018

A Couple of Thoughts on Omarosa, Security Clearances, Etc.

Thought #1: Government employees have precisely zero reasonable expectation of privacy in the performance of their duties. The working areas of the White House should be completely covered by 24/7 live-streaming cameras with mics so that the people the White House claims to work for can monitor their activities at will. Yes, that should include the Oval Office. In the absence of that, no, I don't see any problem with Omarosa Manigault Newman keeping a digital recorder on her person and recording anything she considers important, relevant, or otherwise useful.

Thought #2: While I disagree with the whole idea of "classified information" for reasons that Thought #1 should make obvious, if such a system is going to exist, security clearances should be automatically revoked when those holding them leave government employment. Per the system, they no longer have any "need to know" classified information.

Some Asides:

One of the justifications for someone like John Brennan keeping a security clearance after leaving government employment is that it's convenient in case some successor wants to consult him and get his advice. That's risible. Does anyone really believe that the Safety of the Republic depends on John Brennan, or any other individual, offering an opinion on an issue based on current access to classified information? Brennan keeping his security clearance isn't for the benefit of the government, it's for the benefit of Brennan. Its sole present purpose is letting his new employers -- NBC/MSNBC --  tout him to their audience as a Very Important and Unusually Well Informed Person.

One objection to Manigault Newman's recording of her firing by White House chief of staff John Kelly is that she brought a recording device into the Situation Room. My question is: Why the hell would Kelly take her to the Situation Room to fire her? The Situation Room is the venue in which highly sensitive matters of national security (that presumably couldn't be discussed in a White House with that 24/7 streaming I mention above) are supposedly discussed. The objection here should be that Kelly abused the Situation Room by using it to conceal stuff that was not classified, not that Omarosa exposed him for doing so. It's kind of like the DNC email dump in miniature: "Waaaah, shame on you for outing us, not shame on us for doing what we did!"

As for the notion of "nondisclosure agreements" for government employees: Not only no but f*ck no. According to the prevailing mythology they are OUR employees; Donald Trump is just someone we've hired to oversee them. If a shift manager at McDonald's got caught trying to make the cashiers sign agreements not to disclose stuff to the corporation's CEO, that manager's ass would be canned post-haste, and rightfully so.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Some Thoughts on the Lunch Lady Retirement Fund Scandal

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

For four years, nearly half-a-million dollars quietly vanished from cafeteria registers at two schools in Connecticut. No one noticed the money was missing from the schools in New Canaan until 2017, when the school district installed an enhanced accounting system, authorities said. Now two sisters are accused of allegedly pocketing $478,000 in cash from New Canaan Public Schools in a scalm [sic] that authorities say dates back to 2013.

Let's make the best case possible for two lunch ladies being able to steal $478k in five years (2013-2017) ...

The New Canaan School District includes a total of five schools and a student body of 4,210.

So, let's assume that these two lunch ladies worked at two separate schools and that they were the largest ones (presumably the middle school and high school rather than any of the three elementary schools). And let's further assume that the population split between those schools is 50% spread across the three elementary schools and 25% each at the middle school and high school. So the total number of students handing money to these ladies would be 2,105, on the most pro-theft-opportunity assumption (that all of the students pay for lunch, and do so in cash).

The school year in Connecticut, as in most states, totals 180 days. The full-price hot lunch is $4 at both Saxe Middle School and New Canaan  High School.

So, 180 days times $4 times 2,105 students = $1,515,600 per year. Times five years, total of $7,578,000.

Let's take a look at the assumptions above before moving on.

We're assuming that every student ate lunch every day.

We're assuming that every student paid the full price for lunch, and paid in cash.

And we're assuming that every last dime of that cash was handed to one of those two lunch ladies.

In which case, these ladies are accused of stealing 6.4% of the schools' gross lunch revenues, one dollar out of every $15.88.

But of course those assumptions are unduly tilted toward maximum theft opportunity.

Some students probably brought their lunches. Others probably skipped lunch some days. Even though New Canaan is a very-high income town, probably at least a few students received free or reduced-price lunches. These two women were almost certainly not the only people accepting money at the lunch counter, and they probably did not each work all 180 possible days every year for five years.

And while a new accounting software setup was implemented recently, the school district allowed payment at point of sale by check or money order, and pre-payment by check, money order or electronically before that (at least as early as the 2015-2016 school year -- the Wayback Machine gets errors on earlier years).

I would be very surprised to learn that as much as half the money assumed above passed through these two pairs of hands. If the number was that high, then they were stealing 12.8% -- one dollar out of every eight. And I strongly suspect that the cash payments came to a lot less, and passed through more hands, and that thus the percentage allegedly stolen by these two amounted to a lot more, than that.

Well, maybe they did steal that much over that long. But if they did, the school district's accountants were asleep at the switch for five years too.

Trump on the Hustings: Harmful or Helpful?

Dick Polman writes at The Atlantic, on complaints that Donald Trump is too personally involved in the midterm campaigns with endorsements, personal appearances, etc.:

With diplomatic delicacy, Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak told me that Trump’s “highest and best use over the next 80 days should be fundraising,” especially “in the 10 red-state Senate races with vulnerable Democratic incumbents,” and maybe in the 15 or 20 House districts where the Trump base is more sizable than the opposition. That’s the standard formula for presidents with lousy poll numbers: George W. Bush didn’t stump extensively in the 2006 midterms, nor did Barack Obama in 2010 or 2014. But Trump doesn’t hew to tradition. As Ohio Governor John Kasich told ABC News last week, “Donald Trump decides where he wants to go.”

In 2006, Bush's party lost control of Congress. In 2010, Obama's party lost control of Congress. Not exactly a strong supportive claim for the efficacy of the "standard formula."

Interesting piece, though.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Little Population Factoid

Because, for reasons having to do with a question I had about what gets covered in the news and why, I was doing a little math and thought it interesting enough to share.

Did you know that about 1/3 of the US population lives in only four of the 50 states (California, Texas, Florida, and New York)?

Cognitive Dissonance, Trump Edition

Per Wikipedia:

In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. This discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a belief of a person clashes with new evidence perceived by that person. When confronted with facts that contradict personal beliefs, ideals, and values, people will find a way to resolve the contradiction in order to reduce their discomfort.

Camera One: Donald Trump is a true alpha male genius. Accomplished businessman, astute at evaluating his opponents' weaknesses and his hangers-ons' motives and relentless in exploiting those weaknesses and motives to get the outcomes he wants. A steamroller of a human being who will Make America Great Again!

Camera Two: Donald Trump is a mewling, helpless blob of formless jelly, forced minute by minute to take whatever policy shape the sinister cabal of Deep State influencers he surrounds himself with demand of him. He operates from the of best motives, and truly does want to Make America Great Again! but is just too much of a moral weakling to stand his ground against a John Bolton or Mike Pompeo, and too much of a mental midget to understand that they're manipulating him.

The same people see Trump through both of these two cameras. Whenever he seems to be getting something done that they perceive him as having promised them, it's Camera One. When he seems to be doing exactly the opposite of what they think he promised them (i.e. "[w]hen confronted with facts that contradict personal beliefs, ideals, and values"), it's Camera Two.

In reality, Trump promised so many mutually exclusive things to so many different groups of people that he is constantly going to be "keeping" one set of promises while "breaking" another. He's neither a true alpha male genius nor a mewling, helpless blog of formless jelly. He's a lying, scamming, narcissistic, sociopathic con artist who's very good at creating the cognitive dissonance described above and getting quite a few people to see him as simultaneously both of two things other than what he actually is.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Things That Beggar Belief, #7311-7313

#7311: That a reality TV personality would get elected president.

#7312: That that reality TV personality president would then hire another reality TV personality (in fact, one whom he had twice reality-TV-"fired") to work at the White House.

#7313: That others in the reality TV personality president's White House entourage would be the least bit surprised or upset when the reality TV personality staffer acted like a reality TV personality during and after her White House employment.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

"Some battles ... are worth fighting, regardless of the outcomes"

That's US Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), talking about her attempts to bring #MeToo issues into the Senate process of questioning, and confirming the appointments of, federal officials. I find the sentiment interesting in general, not with regard to the specific venue or cause in question.

For the two decades and change that I've been involved in the Libertarian Party -- and I'm sure it was happening long before that -- a standard anti-radical slogan has been "pick your battles." Which is actually wise advice as far as it goes. But it's generally used not in its wise sense, but in this sense:

"We shouldn't advocate radical solution X because advocating X won't result in us immediately getting X. Let's instead advocate a very moderate sub-set of X, or even something that's not quite Xish at all so that [insert one of two unlikely outcomes here -- 'that a deal will get made,' or 'that the Very Important People Who Run Things will take us seriously']."

Two problem with those claims:

  • 99.9x% of the time, the Libertarian Party and its candidates have no leverage whatsoever to "make deals" that result in policy changes. True, we're not going to immediately get X, but we're also not going to get a credible offer of that very moderate sub-set of X or whatever, because we have nothing to trade that the parties in power want. In point of fact, the only thing we have any control of at all is what we offer the people inclined to vote for us. And offering some weak tea compromise on X is effectively giving away some of those votes, because those voters can already get the weak tea version from one of the parties that actually wins elections by working within those parties.
  • Similarly, those votes are the only thing that the Very Important People Who Run Things take seriously, and then only in races where a Libertarian candidate might affect the outcome of the election ... by advocating something the VIPWRT's candidates aren't offering.
In this, the LP's position is very much like Hirono's.

She doesn't have the votes in the Senate to make her #MeToo values official policy. Unlike the LP, she might be able to use her vote to make small, extremely partial side deals in return for her support on other things, but that probably wouldn't get her very far toward where she wants to go.

What she has -- like the LP -- is an occasional bully pulpit opportunity.

Unlike the faux "pragmatists" in the LP, she is not under the illusion that weakening the message she preaches from that bully pulpit will get her any of those deals, or make the VIPWRT majority in the Senate "take her seriously." Her only hope is to offer the full, un-softened version of what she's after and hope that the people whose votes the VIPWRT candidates want will start demanding it.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Concerning the Podcast ...

Yes, it will be back. I'm kind of itching to do a new episode, but between scratchy throat (since New Orleans) and a big workload that's too boring to go into, not yet.

In the meantime, some time back Joel Schlosberg said he'd be glad to get an archive up at (so that the existing episodes don't disappear if I switch platforms and stop paying Soundcloud $120 a year to host it here in a couple of months). He's off to a start on that.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

"Excluding Indians not taxed ..."

I wrote a Garrison Center column on "the citizenship question" back in February.

The controversy: Whether or not the US Census should include questions relating to a respondent's citizenship status.

My answer in the column was correct as far as it went: The purpose of the census is to count noses, period, end of story. Any other demands for information exceed the census's constitutional mandate.

But there's another good argument that a "citizenship question" specifically has zilch to do with that mandate. Let's look at the text from Article I, Section 2:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

The "three fifths of all other persons" referred to slaves, of course, and that became irrelevant with the 13th Amendment.

But what's the relevance of "Indians not taxed?"

Simple: A popular sentiment leading up to the American Revolution was "no taxation without representation."

This text, by codifying the reverse of that -- no representation without taxation -- affirms the original. Indians living within the claimed jurisdiction of the US who were not taxed were not to be counted in the census ... and everyone who paid taxes was to be counted in the census.

Non-citizens might not be able to participate in choosing their (supposed) representation (by voting), but they still got that (supposed) representation by being counted in the census such that their numbers were reflected in the apportionment of US Representatives. And, as the now vestigial text on slave counting indicates, they got full representation.

QED, there's no constitutional reason for the census to ask a citizenship question, because a non-citizen counts exactly as much toward congressional apportionment as a citizen does.

The usual disclaimer: Yes, I am still an anarchist and want to see the system described above smashed to bits and salt sown in the earth where it once stood. I'm setting aside questions like whether or not the state should be allowed to exist, whether or not the constitutional system constitutes anything like legitimate "representation," etc., above for the purpose of considering the question on that system's own terms.

Monday, August 06, 2018

I Am So Sick of "Safe"

In justifying its decision to remove Alex Jones's presence/material from its site, Facebook tells us that "[w]e believe in giving people a voice, but we also want everyone using Facebook to feel safe." Some thoughts:

  1. Bad business move, Facebook. These "I don't feel safe" people will never "feel safe" enough to stop demanding that you reduce the content options other Facebook users enjoy because feelzfeelzfeelz. And there are more people in the "other Facebook users" category than in the "make anything that might conceivably scare me go away" category. At least, I think there are. For the moment. Keep this shit up and that ratio will change as those of us who want more out of social media than finger painting, rainbows, and unicorns abandon ship.
  2. There is no such thing as a right to "feel safe." Your feelings, including those relating to your "safety," create no moral obligations on the part of anyone else. If the ability of some weirdo to post weirdo stuff on the Internet makes you "feel unsafe," that's your problem. Quit trying to make it everyone else's problem. Get therapy, or grow the fuck up, or, heck, learn how to use Facebook's "block user" function to create your own little island of "safe" feelings, instead of expecting the rest of us to walk on eggshells to save you the trouble of learning how to live in the real world.

The Thing to Notice About Paul Manafort's "Fraud" Trial

What Paul Manafort is charged with, in simple English:

He is accused of working in Ukraine, earning money in Ukraine, keeping that money in Ukraine (or at least not in the US), not telling and/or lying to the US government about it  (that's the "fraud" alluded to), and not giving the US government a cut of it.

Only three governments on Earth have the gall and temerity to demand that their subjects pay tax on income earned outside the countries they rule. Those three governments are the governments of North Korea, Eritrea, and the United States.

In fact, the US government demands that its former subjects continue to pay income tax for some years after they move abroad and renounce their US citizenships.

That's some control freak greedhead bullshit right there.

Even if Manafort did what he's accused of (in this particular trial), the jury should acquit him.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

A Word I'm Getting Tired of Seeing

Every so often, it really catches my attention on a particular topic. The last couple of weeks that topic has been files for DIY gun-making at home.

The mainstream media portrayed the settlement between the US State Department and Defense Distributed as the former "allowing" the latter to make such files available. Defense Distributed's opponents claim that it shouldn't be "allowed" to do so.

Ten headlines from a quick Google News search, starting with the thing mentioned above:

AG Bob Ferguson sues Trump administration over decision to allow public access to 3D-printed guns
Ohio judge sued over refusal to allow transgender teens to change names
Deri vetoes municipal efforts to allow businesses to operate on Shabbat
Dental Board votes to allow arrested dentist to keep practicing despite Governor's concerns
China urges U.S. not to allow stopover by Taiwan president
Rauner signs bill to allow medical marijuana in schools
SEC Commissioner: ‘No Reason’ Not to Allow Bitcoin ETF
New Zoning Rules to Allow Short-Term Rentals
Judge rules in favor of Sterling Heights to allow mosque to be built
Stamford reps: Reject zone change to allow freestanding fitness centers in office parks

Each of those headlines treats as settled the claim that a given government body has a legitimate power to "allow" ("[t]o grant license to; to permit; to consent to") or not "allow" someone to do something.

I don't consider it settled at all. I'll try not to mangle reader/commenter dL's statement on the libertarian attitude toward such things:

The libertarian position vis a vis the state and Peaceful Activity X is


Saturday, August 04, 2018


I'm on lots of email lists, including the American Civil Liberties Union's "This Week in Civil Liberties" roundup. The latest edition just hit my inbox a few minutes ago. The featured stories:

  • Trump Administration's Census Cover Up
  • Listen Now: How to Fight an Algorithm
  • The Victorville Horror
  • Ports of Despair
  • It Ain't Meatballs
  • Your Rights on Standby
  • Elementary School Kids Don't Belong in Handcuffs
Completely missing: Easily the most important free speech story of the week and month, possibly of the year (I'd put it in a dead heat with FOSTA).

As of yesterday, the attorneys general of 19 states and the District of Columbia are suing for repeal of the First Amendment (supported, of course by the establishment's lapdog media and several Hollywood whiners).

The ACLU has never been perfect (especially on the unalienable human right to possess the means of self-defense), but at one time it could be counted upon to stand tall for free speech. Maybe O'Brien had its leaders dragged off to Room 101 and tortured until they begged him to do it to Cody?

Thursday, August 02, 2018

I Don't Buy Many Albums These Days ...

... but I expect I will buy Confessin' the Blues when it comes out on November 9th.

It's a compilation of important blues songs "curated" by the Rolling Stones.

Why bother buying it when I've already made it into a Spotify playlist? Liner notes, etc. Plus, a portion of the proceeds goes to Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation. And we don't have any of that newfangled Bluetooth MP3 stuff in our 1999 Toyota 4Runner, which means if I want to listen to anything but Tamara's stack of Grateful Dead and related material (not that there's anything wrong with that!), I have to bring something in CD format or take a shot in the dark on finding something on radio.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Libertarian Party's "Constitutional Crisis": A Way Forward

Over at Independent Political Report, Caryn Ann Harlos describes a "parliamentary Gordian Knot" emerging from the Libertarian Party's 2018 national convention. Short version:

The convention adjourned after a first round of balloting to elect the party's new Judicial Committee. The election was held by a form of modified approval voting: Vote for as many of the candidates as you like (there were a bunch, including me), the top seven are elected so long as they receive votes from a majority of delegates.

None of the top seven vote recipients got such a majority, but no further balloting could be done, as the convention had adjourned by the time the first-round ballots were counted. And since the former Judicial Committee was dissolved as of the convention's adjournment, there is now no "appeals court" for actions of the Libertarian National Committee.

As Caryn Ann points out, the LNC has no authority, nor should it have any authority, regarding the composition of the body which judges its actions on appeal. She has suggested a mail ballot of the delegates as a way past this situation. I don't oppose that, but this is my proposal:

The top seven vote recipients should constitute themselves organizationally -- that is, elect a chair and establish their Rules of Appellate Procedure -- and simply begin functioning as the Judicial Committee.

No, they shouldn't ask the LNC for permission, nor should they take cognizance of any attempts by the LNC to dictate their composition, etc. The only authority the LNC has with regard to the Judicial Committee is to deny any proposed changes to those aforementioned Rules of Appellate Procedure after their publication.

Yes, what I am proposing is in violation of the bylaws. But the bylaws have already been violated ("The Judicial Committee shall be composed of seven Party members elected at each Regular
Convention" -- that election was interrupted and not completed), so the question is not "how do we avoid violating the bylaws?" but rather "how do we proceed with minimal further violation of the bylaws?"

Leaving any decisions on this in the hands of the LNC would clearly take the whole matter entirely outside the scope of the bylaws.

Continuing the election by means of mail ballot would be acceptable (contra the claims of some, there is bylaws language recognizing a continuing role/power on the part of delegates after adjournment), but I'm not sure it would be practical, as we could go several more rounds and might not even be done by the next convention, and there's not an established procedure or rule in place to do it.

At the moment, the top seven vote-getters possess the closest thing to a delegate mandate that exists vis a vis the composition of the Judicial Committee. They should act per that semi-mandate because it's better than no mandate at all, which is what the LNC has.

If there are no appeals to the Judicial Committee between now and the next election (and the LP once went for 30 years without any such appeals), the whole matter stands more or less moot.

If there are appeals to the Judicial Committee between now and the next election, there needs to be a committee to hear those appeals ... and the longer the top seven vote-getters wait to announce themselves as that committee, the more time the LNC has to ponder meddling in the matter, making any "constitutional crisis" problems worse than they have to be.

Cut that Gordian Knot, Top Seven.

Wilson 1, Nelson 0

US Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL):

The administration has surrendered to the crazed demands of a self-described anarchist who is going to put this up on the internet. He wants to sow chaos. He said so, in our country and across the world by making these blueprints widely available ...

Cody Wilson:

What's going to make me comfortable ... is when people stop coming into this office and acting like there's a debate about it. The debate is over .... The guns are downloadable. The files are in the public domain. You cannot take them back. You can adjust your politics to this reality. You will not ask me to adjust mine.

Welcome Stephan Kinsella to the Libertarian Party!

Per an "Edgington Post" interview at the end of last night's episode of Free Talk Live:

I recently just joined the LP for the first time ever, and one of my goals is, I'm gonna try to get involved and try to push them to adopt an anti-patent-and-copyright plank in their platform ...

I did not push for recommending such a plank while serving on this year's platform committee.

Why? Because adopting such a plank needs to come after a real internal debate in the party on the issue. There's no point in bringing a plank to the convention floor if the delegates haven't already been thinking about the issue for long enough, and attentively enough, that they're ready to weigh the arguments offered in floor debate.

The debate has been raging in the larger libertarian movement for decades, and in the last few years has begun to resolve toward consensus on the correct position (that "intellectual property" isn't property), but the party has lagged far behind the movement in terms of even paying attention to the topic.

Kinsella is someone with the weight to pick that fight, force it to be had, and win it.

"Code is Free Speech. Free Speech is Freedom."