Libertarian National Committee Votes to (Re-)Seat Lee Wrights

[Note: Article revised 6:13pm Eastern by SJH]

The Libertarian National Committee has voted 12-0-4 that Lee Wrights fill an alleged LNC At-Large vacancy. Earlier, it was alleged that Wrights had vacated his position by being late with his membership dues payment.

Sources: Ballot Access News and Chuck Moulton.

156 thoughts on “Libertarian National Committee Votes to (Re-)Seat Lee Wrights

  1. robert capozzi

    Looks like cooler heads prevailed.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled program, Roll Back the State.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    No, cooler heads have not prevailed yet.

    At this moment, pending a positive resolution of the Judicial Committee appeal, the precedent in place is “the Secretary has the power to unilaterally remove LNC members on the basis of allegations concerning their eligibility.”

    The illicit removal was not reversed. In fact, the move to reverse it (by appealing the ruling of the chair on the matter) was defeated. Instead, Wrights was purportedly “re-appointed” to the seat from which the secretary claimed to have removed him.

    The Starr cabal wants to keep this power of illicit removal in place, even though they’ve realized they won’t get away with exercising it this time. That assertion of power needs to be unambiguously quashed.

  3. robert capozzi

    tk, so this report that LW is “still a member…” is inaccurate?

  4. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    Yes, R. Lee Wrights is “still a member” of the LNC, since he was never properly removed.

    The report, however, is inaccurate. The LNC did not vote 12-0 that Wrights is “still a member.” They voted 12-0 to appoint him to fill a vacancy … when there was no vacancy to fill.

  5. robert capozzi

    tk, thanks for clarifying. can’t say I share your sense of righteousness on this one. seems to me there are MUCH bigger fish to fry….

  6. George Phillies

    @7

    Tom is not being righteous, he is being honest. You may now return to your efforts at brown-nosing the people with whom you are visibly trying to curry favor through your snide and uniformly one-sided comments.

  7. volvoice

    We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent parliamentarians and defend the rights of the individual.

  8. Trent Hill

    Tom is right. Wrights was re-appointed, rather than having the decision reversed. The author of the post would change it to reflect this, and change the name “Wright” to “Wrights” in the title and body of the post.

  9. robert capozzi

    gee, George, that’s an interesting take, since I have twice on IPR indicated that I thought someone should have called Wrights to remind him as a coutesy to renew. and I’ve never once indicated that I found this move against Wrights to be appropriate. In truth, I don’t find these sorts of hyper-technical parliamentary maneuverings to be even mildly interesting, so I frankly skip over all the (IMO) prattling on all sides.

    One huge distraction. We’ve got a State to dismantle, after all!

    Since, George, your otherwise gigantic intellect can’t seem to differentiate (minor) mistakes of fact from “lies,” at this point your reaction above seems (sadly) predictable. Pity, since you seem otherwise centrist and TAAAList.

  10. Susan Hogarth

    Trent, I went ahead and made the corrections since they were substantive. Hope that was OK.

    Morgan, you placed this in three categories: (1) LP (check), (2) socialist/leftist parties (?!) and (3) uncategorized (!!!?). I removed the latter two. The third especially made no sense after you assinged it to two categories….

  11. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “In truth, I don’t find these sorts of hyper-technical parliamentary maneuverings to be even mildly interesting, so I frankly skip over all the (IMO) prattling on all sides.

    “One huge distraction. We’ve got a State to dismantle, after all!”

    For (big-L) Libertarians, the party is the instrument through which the state is to be dismantled (or, per non-anarchists, reduced at any rate).

    If you want to cut down a tree, or even prune it, it pays to keep (or get) your saw in good working order.

  12. Michael H. Wilson

    Robert you are right on one point at least.

    It was a distraction and an unecessary one at that. The chair and secretary should realize that people cannot be removed just on someone’s say so. There is a need to prove the case.

  13. Robert Capozzi

    tk, yes, the saw needs to be in good working order, of course. I’ve been in and around the LP for nearly 3 decades, and I weary of all the in-fighting. I vividly recall the Alicia Clark purge of Eric O’Keefe, and since then it’s been nothing but fractiousness.

    Hence, my call for a St. Louis Accord and the Rodney King Caucus.

    We’ve really got to stop the insanity. It’s in no one’s interest except the Leviathan’s, yes?

  14. libertariangirl

    TK__The report, however, is inaccurate. The LNC did not vote 12-0 that Wrights is “still a member.” They voted 12-0 to appoint him to fill a vacancy … when there was no vacancy to fill.

    so let me get this straight , Lee Wrights was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Lee Wrights , except said vacancy wasnt really valid. so unless im mistaken the new appointment is invalid as well?

    what a friggin mess.so everyone agrees lee is going to fill the spot , but im with Tom , Id rather see a reversal of the actions rather than a re-appointment. the latter only gives legitamacy to the removal in the first place.

  15. Michael Seebeck

    LG @18:

    so let me get this straight , Lee Wrights was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Lee Wrights , except said vacancy wasnt really valid. so unless im mistaken the new appointment is invalid as well?

    That’s about right about Wrights. Hopefully the JudComm will reverse all of it and restore Lee back to the correct status of elected member and not appointed member.

  16. mdh

    I agree that we ought to propose a St. Louis accord. It would require some changes to the platform.

  17. Starchild

    What Tom Knapp said:

    “No, cooler heads have not prevailed yet.

    At this moment, pending a positive resolution of the Judicial Committee appeal, the precedent in place is ‘the Secretary has the power to unilaterally remove LNC members on the basis of allegations concerning their eligibility.’

    The illicit removal was not reversed. In fact, the move to reverse it (by appealing the ruling of the chair on the matter) was defeated. Instead, Wrights was purportedly ‘re-appointed’ to the seat from which the secretary claimed to have removed him.

    The Starr cabal wants to keep this power of illicit removal in place, even though they’ve realized they won’t get away with exercising it this time. That assertion of power needs to be unambiguously quashed.”

  18. Jim Duensing

    What’s the process for removing Aaron Starr from office? At this point, it’s probably easier than dealing with his attempts to remove Libertarian members of the Libertarian National Committee.

    Rather than being distracted by Starr’s petty power-plays, the LNC’s focus should be on fighting the massive growth of the pro-government extremists in Washington, who are nationalizing huge portions of the economy – through Federal Reserve backed bailouts – and expanding PNAC’s war in the middle east.

    Both Establishment parties are continuing to advance their agendas, while the Libertarian Party fights over the unnecessary parliamentary rulings of a Treasurer who is presiding over a bankrupt party.

    We need a treasurer who will uphold his fiduciary duty and present accurate and detailed treasurer reports, rather than organizing witchhunts against whichever Libertarian is next in line.

    In liberty, with eternal vigilance,

    Jim Duensing

  19. Mik Robertson

    It seems odd to me that an LNC member would fail to acknowledge his or her responsibility to maintain eligibility to serve on the committee. It seems even more odd that when the committee member fails to maintain eligibility, some claim not only that the membership on the committee does not expire, but that there was a responsibility on the part of other committee members to provide notification of impending failure to maintain eligibility.

    I don’t see why Mr. Wrights didn’t just say ‘Sorry, it is my responsibility, I request to be appointed to the vacancy.’ If we don’t want this to be an issue in the future, perhaps a bylaws change would be in order.

  20. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mik,

    You write:

    “It seems even more odd that when the committee member fails to maintain eligibility, some claim not only that the membership on the committee does not expire”

    I’m not aware of anyone having claimed that.

    What the opponents of the secretary’s action claim — CORRECTLY — is that the bylaws don’t allow for the secretary to personally and unilaterally determine that a member of the LNC has become ineligible for non-payment of dues, and remove that member on his own authority.

    There’s a process for removing LNC members for any reason other than missing two meetings. That process requires a motion to suspend the member, a second, and a vote of 2/3 of the LNC.

    Wrights couldn’t “ask to be appointed to the vacancy,” because there WAS NO VACANCY. Since there was no motion to suspend Mr. Wrights, no second to such a motion, and no 2/3 vote in favor of the motion, Mr. Wrights was never removed.

  21. Mik Robertson

    How can one not be eligible to serve on the committee yet serve on the committee?

  22. Mik Robertson

    The secretary did not remove Mr. Wrights from the committee, he removed himself by failing to maintain eligibility, although it appears to have been a simple oversight. The only way to claim there was no vacancy is to claim that committee membership does not expire when eligibility is not maintained.

    It seems a straightforward reading of the bylaws would suggest that failing to maintain eligibility by a committee member would result in the vacation of the seat.

  23. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mik,

    In the normal course of things, failure to maintain eligibility by a committee member WOULD probably result in vacation of the seat — after the bylaws-required process for alleging that ineligibility and proving it to the satisfaction of 2/3 of the LNC was followed.

    So far, that process HASN’T been followed. Therefore the seat has not been vacated.

    Which part of “the only provision for removal of a member without a 2/3 vote for a motion to suspend is for missed meetings” do you still not understand?

  24. Billy Goat Eater

    Committee membership does not expire when eligibility is not maintained, except by the automatic rule regarding attending meetings. There is not now and there never has been any provision for anyone except the LNC as a committee to remove a member of the LNC for failing to be current with his dues.

    It is not a straightforward reading of the bylaws to suggest that failing to maintain eligibility results in vacating the seat, or in taking a vacation in Rio. You are reading in this idea, which is not in the bylaws.

    The bylaws make it very clear that only the LNC has the power to remove a member of the LNC, except for the automatic removal due to failure to attend meetings. It is vicious and despicable to create a power for the secretary of the LP which is not in the bylaws.

  25. libertariangirl

    Peter Orvetti // May 5, 2009 at 5:19 am

    I kinda feel like I need to be a delegate in 2010,

    yes , yes and yes .
    conventioneering —the name of the game

  26. John Famularo

    “The bylaws make it very clear that only the LNC has the power to remove a member of the LNC, except for the automatic removal due to failure to attend meetings.”

    Even in this case, the LNC has to “recognize” that the absences actually occurred . The minutes detailing the absences have to be approved before any action can be taken.

  27. Bruce Cohen

    One can only hope… That since the point was made… That since everyone pretty much got their way…

    Both the detractors and supporters of Mister Wrights, in the end, ‘won’ their point.

    I am truly hoping that from now on:
    Mister Wrights will be a positive force, instead of a negative one… And that he will ‘give or get’ to the LP… And enthusiastically, not grudgingly.

    It’s certainly something expected of any Board member of any Membership/Donor suported organization. This would include the LP, the NRA, the Heritage Foundation, CATO, Reason, etc…

    Now is the time for Mister Wrights to step up and do the real work he was elected to do, not to argue the fine points of Robert’s Rules, or tell the other 17 Members how they are wrong and he is “right”.

    Being an LP Board Member is primarily about growing the organization, not about getting in people’s faces or telling them how to think.

    I am pessimistic about Mister Wrights giving or getting, much less recruiting.

    I am optimisitic in my hopes of being wrong.

  28. R. Lee Wrights

    Mr. Cohen is obviously quite confused.

    Me arguing the finer points of Robert’s Rules? That is laughable to anyone that knows me and shows how out of touch Mr. Cohen has become.

    As far as “give and get”… typical. If you don’t give enough money, nothing you do matters to these snobs that think the check book rules.

    I am glad that it appears Mr. Cohen is in the minority on this issue.

    Lee Wrights, still At-large

  29. Brian Holtz

    I’m glad to hear that the LNC has made sure that Wrights does not end up off the LNC merely because of a snail-mail problem combined with a misunderstanding about whether he thinks the LP deserves donations. However, I remain amused by continuing claims that 1) the applicable rules here have zero ambiguity and 2) facts pertinent to the operation of the Bylaws aren’t really facts until a 2/3 vote of the LNC creates them.

    As far as I can tell, Wrights never disputed that his sustaining membership lapsed. So does it require a 2/3 vote of the LNC to recognize that a resignation letter wasn’t forged? Approval of minutes requires only a majority, which is less than the 2/3 threshold for removal-for-cause. If an LNC majority approves minutes that blatantly lie about a consecutive absence, is the Judicial Committee not allowed to correct the situation? And if they are, then how is that any different from correcting a false decredentialing by the Chair or Secretary?

    Why would anyone be involved with the LP if he thinks that the LP isn’t institutionally capable of detecting and correcting things like forged resignation letters or false accusations of lapses in membership?

    I repeat yet again: the three requirements (attendance, dues, not running for office under another party) apply to all LNC members, whereas the suspension-for-cause process does not apply to regional reps. Are we to believe that if a regional rep shirks his dues or runs for office as a Republican, nothing can happen until the region’s affiliates notice? And if a region decides to ignore 8.4, is there really no way that even the unanimous objection of the rest of the LP (including the Judicial Committee) can be invoked to enforce 8.4?

    (There are six questions above. Spare us blather about “shame-o-meters” if you can’t muster substantive answers to all six.)

  30. robert capozzi

    brian, I don’t follow these technicalities closely, but were I Secretary, I’d first check to see whether I’d HAVE to decredential a lapsed LNC member immediately and unilaterally. Then, I’d check in with my fellow member…is he OK? Did his membership check get lost in the mail?

    Then, all things considered, I’d lay out the facts to the entire LNC. Coming on the heels of L’Affaire Angela, L’Affaire Lee only served to aggravate intra party ill will, near as I can tell. I’ve NO idea what the intent was, but that was the effect.

    While procedure is important, common sense and good will are more so. Challenging the State is a big enough endeavor, intra party squabbles are clearly in NO ONE’S interest.

  31. Thomas M. Sipos

    Brian Holtz: Wrights never disputed that his sustaining membership lapsed. So does it require a 2/3 vote of the LNC to recognize that a resignation letter wasn’t forged?

    A lapsed membership is not a resignation letter, and Holtz knows this.

    Holtz seems not to understand due process.

    If you see a man carrying a widget from a store without paying for it, the crime has apparently already occurred. But that doesn’t mean Holtz can imprison that man. He must still go to a police officer, and await the paperwork of an arrest report, prosecution, the setting of a trial date, the trial, sentencing, etc.

    The LNC Secretary can’t simply declare that a duly elected LNC member is no longer a member and expel him.

    Cohen: “Now is the time for Mister Wrights to step up and do the real work he was elected to do, not to argue the fine points of Robert’s Rules,

    Violation of due process is not nitpicking over Robert’s Rules.

    Cohen: “And that he will ‘give or get’ to the LP… And enthusiastically, not grudgingly. It’s certainly something expected of any Board member of any Membership/Donor suported organization.

    The bylaws determine what’s “expected” of an LNC member, not Bruce Cohen. (Which bylaws must then be enforced by due process, not by fiat.) If the bylaws don’t require Lee Wright to give, or even to advocate giving, then it’s not “expected.”

    Cohen and Holtz are such a pair of dishonest, intellectual lightweights. Two hot air balloons blowing gas and farting loudly, but ultimately limp and insubstantial.

  32. libertariangirl

    Wow B you should be a lawyer .
    technicalities , semantics , letter of the law etc.

    at least Bruce hints at the truth

    gentlemen would have gave Lee the opportunity to pay his dues , reminding him beforehand , even if they didnt like him personally.

    having said that Im shocked that others on the LNC dont have access or know when others dues are about to lapse . anticipation of such tactics would definately improve odds of avoiding messes next time.

    Like I said if AAron or Brians dues had lapsed there would be calls from many folks to go down this same road.

    all is fair in love and war:)

  33. robert capozzi

    ts, you should seriously consider retracting the statement that Holtz is an “intellectual lightweight.” Even those who disagree with him strongly recognize that he’s extremely bright.

    If you don’t, you run the risk of damaging your own credibility. It’s OK, we’ll forgive you. Everyone makes mistakes, although this one’s a whopper.

  34. libertariangirl

    I’ve NO idea what the intent was, but that was the effect.

    Like I said Bruce hinted at the truth in an earlier post when he said something like ‘ they were using protocol to remove someone who was veiwed as an obstacle”
    id replied its a shame other LPers are veiwed as obstacles.

    thats the truth whether anyone agrees with it or not. and Brians insistance on minutia and technicalities is smoke.

  35. libertariangirl

    ts, you should seriously consider retracting the statement that Holtz is an “intellectual lightweight.”

    I agree , Holtz is very intelligent as most libertarians are , Ive come to find.

  36. robert capozzi

    lg, I don’t know Cohen, but where in his post does he say what you attribute to him? Looks like he was talking about fundraising.

    What did I miss?

  37. Michael Seebeck

    The problem with Brian’s reasoning is, as I have pointed out before, is that there is a fundamental difference between Lee’s status and the process of what to do about that status

    The status was never in dispute in the first place. Everyone agrees that Lee’s dues had lapsed, even Lee himself, who renewed them at the first opportunity.

    What has been in dispute is what was done about it versus what should have been done.

    What was done was the low road: the combination of personal vendettas and bylaws breaking or misapplication.

    What should have been done was the high road: notification by all reasonable means, not just snail mail as alleged, but also email and telephone, of the lapse, the opportunity to renew it, and failing that, taking it to the full LNC for the 2/3 vote to remove.

    There is nothing in the Bylaws that indicate that a person’s LNC status, as elected by the delegates in convention, can be changed by unilateral interpretation by one officer. A LNC member leaves either of their own volition or they are removed by the vote of their peers on the LNC (not counting death, of course).

    Had Lee lapsed, not renewed, and the LNC refused to act, then the conversation would be about the LNC abrogating its duty to enforce the rules. Had they acted but not removed him for cause, then the conversation would be about patronage in the LNC by having an ineligible member on the LNC by their sanction.

    But neither of those happened.

    The LNC was never allowed to take proper action in the first place, having been improperly pre-empted by the Secretary assuming a duty he had no authority to assume!

    Had the Secretary brought the matter to the attention of the full LNC in the first place instead, for a proper vote as the Bylaws require, then the process requirement is met. Sure, there would be the same grumbling over nitpicking on dues like there is now, but the LNC would not be put into the embarassing position of having one or two members run roughshod over the rules because of their own personal vendettas and inability to think straight.

    That’s what it comes down to: the process laid out in the Bylaws was not followed properly.

    Brian can question what the Bylaws say all he wants, but until he recognizes the distinction between status and process, his position fails and he’s made the same reasoning error that the cabal who tried to remove Lee did.

  38. Thomas M. Sipos

    I’ve seen Holtz’s website. Lots of academese verbiage, the mark of an insecure pseudo-intellectual. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    The truly intelligent can explain their concepts in simple, brief, clear language. The less intelligent try to hide their shortcomings behind a waterfall of words.

  39. Thomas L. Knapp

    Quoth Brian Holtz:

    “However, I remain amused by continuing claims that 1) the applicable rules here have zero ambiguity and 2) facts pertinent to the operation of the Bylaws aren’t really facts until a 2/3 vote of the LNC creates them.”

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say the rules have “zero ambiguity.”

    For example, the portion relating to removal for missed meetings doesn’t note the obvious (that the removal isn’t effective until there’s an official record of those missed meetings, i.e. until the body approves the minutes in which the absences are noted).

    Facts are always facts. However, a deliberative body with bylaws has specific means for taking official notice of facts, putting those facts into the record, and then acting on them … even if the bylaws decree the specific action to be taken.

    In the case of the LNC, the bylaws make the body entire, not the secretary acting on personal authority, the executor of removals from the body. This is the implicit case (through approval of minutes) with respect to missed meetings, and the explicit case (through a motion to suspend) with respect to all other causes of removal.

    You don’t have to like it, Brian — it’s that way whether you like it or not.

    “As far as I can tell, Wrights never disputed that his sustaining membership lapsed.”

    The only venue in which Wrights’s confirmation or denial of the alleged lapse would matter would be in the LNC pursuant to some proposed action on the alleged lapse. His statements elsewhere might be offered as evidence for to support the proposed action, but until so offered, they’re irrelevant. And, of course, the secretary and the staff, acted quickly to ensure that Wrights couldn’t make any immediate statement on the matter in that venue, by removing him from the body’s email-based business meeting at the same time they were announcing his illicit removal.

    “So does it require a 2/3 vote of the LNC to recognize that a resignation letter wasn’t forged?”

    Interesting question. I’d be interested in hearing a parliamentarian’s opinion on it before attempting to answer it myself.

    “Approval of minutes requires only a majority, which is less than the 2/3 threshold for removal-for-cause. If an LNC majority approves minutes that blatantly lie about a consecutive absence, is the Judicial Committee not allowed to correct the situation?”

    Any action of the LNC can be appealed to the Judicial Committee by the requisite number of delegates or members. It might make sense to amend the bylaws to specifically provide for direct appeal by a member who is removed for missed meetings and claims that the meetings weren’t missed.

    “And if they are, then how is that any different from correcting a false decredentialing by the Chair or Secretary?”

    It’s different because the bylaws provide one method of removal for missed meetings, and another method for removal for all other causes.

    “Why would anyone be involved with the LP if he thinks that the LP isn’t institutionally capable of detecting and correcting things like forged resignation letters or false accusations of lapses in membership?”

    I heartily believe that the LP is institutionally capable of detecting and correcting those things. In this case, however, the LP has yet to institutionally take up the latter issue with respect to Mr. Wrights.

    “I repeat yet again: the three requirements (attendance, dues, not running for office under another party) apply to all LNC members, whereas the suspension-for-cause process does not apply to regional reps. Are we to believe that if a regional rep shirks his dues or runs for office as a Republican, nothing can happen until the region’s affiliates notice?”

    The question remains void due to mal-formation. Two of the three requirements you list fall under the suspension-for-cause procedure. Sounds like we need to work on our bylaws. Step one is getting the LNC to actually follow them as they exist.

    “And if a region decides to ignore 8.4, is there really no way that even the unanimous objection of the rest of the LP (including the Judicial Committee) can be invoked to enforce 8.4?”

    Another good question, for which I don’t have an answer. However, I fail to see how failure of the bylaws to address X invalidates the bylaws where they clearly address Y.

    You seem to expect me to believe that your shame-o-meter is in the shop or something. I don’t. If you weren’t ashamed of the argument you’re making, you’d actually making it instead of continuing to attempt to use leading questions to get someone else to make it for you.

  40. robert capozzi

    ts, I take your point generally, but not specifically in Brian’s case. I — and I suspect many of your allies — will now proceed with a diminished view of your credibility.

  41. Thomas L. Knapp

    “The truly intelligent can explain their concepts in simple, brief, clear language.”

    Try reading Einstein’s paper on the General Theory of Relativity some time and let me know how simple, brief and clear it is.

    Not all concepts lend themselves to simplicity and brevity — clarity may require complexity and extended discussion.

    Mr. Holtz tends to address himself to such concepts precisely because libertarian dogma has distilled itself down over time to simple/brief/clear statements, behind which perhaps lie complexities that are usually left unexplored at least in part precisely because simplicity, brevity and clarity are usually followed by (a not necessarily merited) certainty.

  42. libertariangirl

    The ‘expellee’ has certainly not made any friends, and has gotten in everyone’s face at any slight opportunity.

    Perhaps if the man had been more pleasant and accomplished something, there would not be this question at all?

    I’m quite sure that Lee would be a stickler for the rules if it served his interest, so he ought to have anticipated this. (Sorry to repeat the thought.)

    No conspiracy, just folks wanting to get as much done as they can, feeling like they are legally removing an obstacle.

    Note: I have not opined on the legality or ethics of any move, just on the big picture.

  43. Thomas M. Sipos

    Robert: “I suspect many of your allies will now proceed with a diminished view of your credibility.”

    Whereas I suspect that most people won’t even remember what Holtz or I say about each other, much less give a damn.

  44. Thomas L. Knapp

    libertariangirl,

    You write:

    “The ‘expellee’ has certainly not made any friends, and has gotten in everyone’s face at any slight opportunity.”

    On the contrary. His speech at the Tennessee LP convention was very friendly and seems to have been a hit.

    “Perhaps if the man had been more pleasant and accomplished something, there would not be this question at all?”

    When I see evidence that you’ve accomplished a tenth as much as he has, that question might be worth discussing.

    “I’m quite sure that Lee would be a stickler for the rules if it served his interest”

    He’s a stickler for the rules all the time.

  45. robert capozzi

    Mr Sipos, yes, you make it plain that you don’t give a damn about your credibility. Isn’t that getting a little old for you?

  46. libertariangirl

    geex sipos did you read the post after that what i said was a reprint of what cohen said on another thread .

    for christs sake do yu ever listen or do you just plot what your going to say next ,
    every post ive made is in support of lee and Capozzi was questioing where Cohen had called wrights an obstacle , so i reprinted his post w/o his name attached .
    right flippin under that i say it learn to read not react

  47. Mik Robertson

    It seems to me the suspension for cause under section 8.5 would mean that the committee member was otherwise eligible for the position, but some cause necessitated a consideration for suspension by the committee. Perhaps it was a violation of a policy, unprofessional conduct, or some other consideration of fitness to serve, but it would not be a question of eligibility to serve on the committee.

    If the expiration of eligibility was disputed, say a membership renewal was made and not recorded or a purported candidacy in another party was denied, then a finding of fact would be in order, but it would not need to be by vote of the committee. For membership information, those records would be maintained by the Party secretary.

    In this case, the expiration of the sustaining membership was not disputed, in fact it was confirmed by the committee member in question. The maintenance of sustaining membership to be eligible to serve on the LNC is a bylaws requirement and does not require a vote of the committee. Either you are eligible to serve on the committee or you are not. If you are not, the seat you occupied is vacated.

    At the end of the day, it appears the LNC has followed the bylaws as they exist, and this has been needlessly turned into a factional battle.

  48. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mik,

    You can “seems to me” as much as you want. When you’re done, the bylaws will still say what they say and mean what they mean, rather than what you wish they said and meant.

    libertariangirl,

    Sorry to jump down your throat, but if you’re going to quote someone you should probably identify who you’re quoting and use quotation marks or the blockquote tag. Otherwise, people are going to assume that what looks like a post from you is in fact a post from you.

  49. Mik Robertson

    I will make no claim to be a parliamentarian. I simply look at the most straightforward interpretation of the bylaws. Your results may differ.

  50. mdh

    I personally tend to believe that the bylaws are so ambiguous as to demand a formal ruling by the judicial committee.

    In effect, both Tom and Mik are neither right nor wrong; each of their readings of the bylaws is fairly reasonable. The only way to have a definitive answer is to either have the judicial committee rule, or to amend the bylaws to be unambiguous.

  51. Mik Robertson

    There will always be room for interpretation. If you understand what the interpretation is, then you don’t have to automatically attribute the worst of motives to the actions of perceived enemies. This whole episode could have been discussed in terms of bylaws interpretation rather than in terms of one faction out to get another.

    Removing ambiguity in the bylaws will be another level of effort. I think the rule of thumb is the more laws, the less justice.

  52. Brian Holtz

    Tom Knapp writes: TK) It’s different because the bylaws provide one method of removal for missed meetings, and another method for removal for all other causes. (TK

    Tom, that’s not actually what the Bylaws say; “all other causes” is you begging the question and inventing words you wish were in the Bylaws. 8.5 merely says the LNC “may, for cause, suspend any member-at-large”. The words “all” and “other” just aren’t there. Please argue from what the Bylaws actually say, instead of from what you wish they said.

    If you say that Wrights’ admission that his sustaining membership lapsed is “irrelevant” to the question of whether 8.4 is effectuated, then that sums up our disagreement nicely. My position remains that some facts are facts even without a contrived LNC vote to bless them as such. You say that “a deliberative body with bylaws has specific means for taking official notice of facts”. You’re right, and our Bylaw 7.6 says “The Secretary shall be the recording officer of the Party” and shall “keep such minutes and records as necessary”. If you don’t trust your recording officer to recognize plain facts (like what nobody disputes Wrights admitted about his sustaining membership), then you need to either get yourself a new recording officer, or install a hotline to the Judicial Committee so they can rule that it’s raining whenever the Secretary wrongly records that it’s sunny out.

    You’ve not (yet!) claimed that any LNC vote is required to accept a report by the Secretary that a rep has resigned. You’ve lately decided that automatic suspension for consecutive absence is not automatic after all, but rather requires a (majority) vote approving the minutes noting the second absence. But what if the minutes fail to note that the absence is a consecutive one? Would you then grant the Secretary unilateral authority to recognize that a rep’s absence has been noted in two separate but consecutive minutes, or would that require a vote too? And if so, by what margin? If the 2/3 for-cause threshold is to protect us from a capricious purge, why are you saying that a majority can effect a purge by simply falsifying the minutes? All this paranoia about purges is a red herring: what really keeps a Chair+51% from being able to purge is the Judicial Committee, not the alleged need for 2/3 ratification of the Secretary’s records.

    You’ve identified nothing “mal-formed” about my question about regional reps. Are you denying that a regional rep could in very short order become a candidate of another party? I asked you what your reading of the Bylaws says can be done about this situation by anybody other than the appointing organ. Do you have an answer, or not? (If you need help imagining such a reality, try this: http://libertarianintelligence.com/2009/05/california-libertarians-appoint.html .)

    By saying “it sounds like we need to work on our bylaws”, you effectively admit that your construal of 8.4 — as merely an example of an 8.5 “cause” — leads to nonsensical results. The second fundamental principle of interpretation (RRONR p.570) is “When a provision of the bylaws is susceptible to two meanings, one of which conflicts with or renders absurd another bylaw provision, and the other meaning does not, the latter must be taken as the true meaning.” You complain that my argument is embedded in questions. Well, if you don’t like reductios, don’t back yourself toward the corner labeled “absurdam”. 🙂

    Mike, I’m doing nothing other than arguing what process the Bylaws text prescribes here. I’ve always said that Wrights should be rubber-stamped back into his seat after his clarification about whether the LP is to be donated to. The only question I have argued is whether 8.4 implies a process that is self-effecting like that of the third paragraph of 8.5. Reasonable arguments can be made either way. The strongest argument that it’s not self-effecting is the absence of the “deemed vacant” language in the three places where the Bylaws indisputably talk about a vacancy happening. The strongest contrary argument is that 8.4 is then rendered absurd (or at least horribly ill-crafted) in how it applies to regional reps. The latter argument seems stronger to me, and I’ve not seen anyone even attempt to answer it. All I’ve seen is implicit evasions, explicit evasions, ad hominems, and a sophomoric red herring about me imprisoning somebody for shoplifting a “widget”. (Newsflash: our rules meticulously _define_ what process is “due” in this case, so let’s not pretend that “due process” is a magic incantation that can trump what our rules actually say. Our rules are a voluntary contract, and if you think that ethereal claims about fairness can trump what a voluntary contract actually says, then you’re in the wrong party.)

    Speaking of Mr. Sipos (who actually says he is a member of neither LPUS nor LPCA), he doth, as usual, protest too much. I have no need to vouch about either my level of intelligence or his; readers can reach such conclusions for themselves.

  53. Erik Geib

    Maybe I missed something, but I just don’t see where in the bylaws Starr had the authority to remove Mr. Wrights. If the issue of his dues affecting his eligibility is so clear, wouldn’t a 2/3rds majority be easy to gather? If it’s not so clear, isn’t it good that a 2/3rds majority would be hard to come by?

    I just don’t see where an executive like Starr derives such authority.

  54. Brian Holtz

    Erik, the letter to Wrights was from the Secretary, not the Treasurer. Bylaw 7.6 says “The Secretary shall be the recording officer of the Party” and shall “keep such minutes and records as necessary”.

    I don’t claim that the rules here are clear. The possibility of unclear rules is why a body has one Chair — no more, no less. A fundamental problem in institutional design here is how to reconcile two opposing and seemingly unlimited powers — the ability of a bare majority to overturn a ruling of the Chair, and the ability of the Chair to declare that a ruling is not subject to appeal. It seems that Robert’s must choose either the potential tyranny of the majority, or the potential tyranny of the one.

    Robert’s comes down squarely on the side of the latter: “By electing a presiding officer, the assembly delegates to him the authority and duty to make necessary rulings on questions of parliamentary law.” (p. 247) “When the chair rules on a question about which there cannot possibly be two reasonable opinions, an appeal would be dilatory and is not allowed.” (p. 248) I guess the theory is that it’s easier for a principled majority to reign in a tyrannical Chair, than for a principled Chair to reign in a tyrannical majority. Also, the majority ultimately has only itself to blame if it elects a tyrant as Chair.

    In spite of all the abuse that a few people have heaped on him, Bill Redpath has been very fair in all the contexts that I’ve seen him operating.

  55. Erik Geib

    Ok, well, identity fact aside (I don’t follow this too closely because in-fighting is boring compared to philosophy), the logic remains. If it’s so clear, there’s no danger of getting a 2/3rds majority

  56. libertariangirl

    He sure did a great job chairing the convention , ecspecially with the former Nevada LP Chair challenging absolutely everything he said and did.
    although , at the time , goddamnit it was entertaining!

  57. Erik Geib

    Do the bylaws say the LNC is to follow Robert’s rules? Because just because Robert’s sides with the executive, it shouldn’t mean that every committee must do the same.

  58. Brian Holtz

    ARTICLE 13: PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
    The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern the Party in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order adopted by the Party.

  59. Erik Geib

    Ok… And a bare majority is the issue here (?), because I never saw a vote on this matter.

    Now, I’m no parliamentarian, nor do I have a copy of Robert’s Rules to refute your claim or see the context in which the quote above was made.

    My problem isn’t with Redpath making a decision after hearing two unreconciliable sides… My issue seems to be that only one interpretation was considered. As such, if this one interpretation is so clear, where’s the harm in taking it to the committee? At least then the argument could be made there’s no clear consensus and *then* Redpath could make a ruling. There was never a debate as far as I could tell, however. No debate where parliamentary law was actually questioned… All I saw was executive action without debate. That’s mý whole problem with this.

    I could care less if this had been an issue raised in committee and *then* this happened, but that’s now what happened. Sure, many here might still be sore and argue anyway, but that’s at least better than what occurred. In my eyes, since no debate was ever raised, this act was shady at best and despicable at worst.

  60. Jim Davidson

    @53 “Try reading Einstein’s paper on the General Theory of Relativity some time and let me know how simple, brief and clear it is.”

    In German, or English?

    As to brevity, the manuscript was only 46 pages, and the typeset monograph is only 28 pages in .pdf (in English translation).

    If you understand differential calculus and non-Euclidean manifolds, you shouldn’t have any trouble. Then again, as Einstein notes, “In section B of the present paper, I developed all the necessary mathematical tools…in as simple and transparent a manner as possible, so that a special study of the mathematical literature is not required for the understanding of the present paper.”

    So, you see, simple and transparent were his watchwords. On closer examination, I think “clear” would be a better term where the translator chose transparent. lol

    Since the mathematics works just as well whichever direction time flows, there are some who suppose that time is an illusion that consciousness imposes on the multiverse. Your mileage may vary.

  61. Brian Holtz

    Erik, since I’ve already said that reasonable people can disagree about how to interpret 8.4, I would tend to disagree with Redpath if (as has been reported) he ruled that 8.4 is so clear that an appeal of his interpretation of 8.4 was out of order. However, I don’t doubt that Redpath has a good-faith belief that 8.4 is clear, along the lines that Mik has argued above. When 8.4 says “shall” while 8.5 says “may”, I can understand why a Chair would say that a “shall” is clearly not subject to the sort of vote that a “may” requires.

  62. Erik Geib

    Again, my problem is that this is all dictive nit-picking on the part of the executive used to avoid debate. I really don’t care if Wrights is thrown off – I care about what I perceive as abuse by the executive. A simple debate among the committee would have sufficed to quell most of the outrage.

    I don’t doubt Redpath’s intentions (I don’t bùy into the ‘coup’ theory espoused by some), but I do question his judgment. This should have been debated before action was taken by the secretary or whomever.

    Even if those running the show did seek to nit-pick to throw Wrights off without warning, that alone isn’t unethical. The lack of openness or debate is what concerns me. Sure, he could have been called, but that’s more morals than ethics, and I can accept that being somewhat spiteful (though also petty).

    I could be wrong on this, but I think the executive only should have acted if the committe didn’t find a 2/3rds majority one way or the other. If this isn’t how the bylaws are written (or interpreted), maybe that’s something to address. What was done was not smart, however, and is just as easily questionable as the original point of contention.

  63. Thomas M. Sipos

    Holtz: “Speaking of Mr. Sipos (who actually says he is a member of neither LPUS nor LPCA), “

    As so often, Holtz is wrong once again.

    He is either intentionally lying, or intellectually sloppy. I don’t care which.

    Contrary to his statement, I never said that I was not a member of the LPC. I said I’d let my LNC membership lapse last June. I joined the national LP in June 1988, and essentially quit 20 years later.

    I don’t know where Holtz gets that I “actually says” I was not in the LPC. But he reaffirms what I’d said: he’s not very bright, despite his verbiage.

    Hell, he saw me at the recent LPC convention. Once, I sat right in front of him. And I later voted for Bob Weber’s anti-torture resolution, which Holtz opposed. There weren’t that many delegates left in the room, so I was easy to spot when I stood up to oppose torture.

    Surely, Holtz must have figured that since I was a voting delegate, I was still a member of the LPC. Does Holtz actually pay attention to events around him?

  64. Thomas L. Knapp

    “I don’t buy into the ‘coup’ theory espoused by some … Even if those running the show did seek to nit-pick to throw Wrights off without warning, that alone isn’t unethical.”

    “Nit-picking” is not precisely what happened.

    Mr. Starr and Mr. Redpath knew in advance the date on which Mr. Wrights’s sustaining membership would expire, because they had specifically inquired as to when that might be. Mr. Redpath admits to this.

    Mr. Redpath and Mr. Starr knowingly and intentionally awaited that date to spring an “ineligibility” trap on Mr. Wrights.

    They didn’t happen across it after the fact and “nitpick” to get the desired penalty. Rather, they planned for the event in advance, and there’s even some reason to believe they may have acted to ensure that the event transpired.

    To wit, while sustaining LP members receive email reminders that their dues are about to expire, Mr. Wrights didn’t. Mr. Wrights’s (estranged) wife attests that the snail mail reminders normally accompanying an upcoming expiration did not arrive at his address of record.

    Those two things do not constitute proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Starr and/or Mr. Redpath intervened with LPHQ staff to make sure Mr. Wrights received none of the normal reminders — but given their other behaviors, it’s a possibility worth exploring.

    In any case, two officers of the Libertarian National Committee knew that a bylaws violation (an ineligible member serving on the board) was imminent, and knowingly and intentionally failed to act to prevent that bylaws violation. This much is clear, based on Mr. Redpath’s own statement on the matter.

    Even absent proof that they further acted to ensure that the violation took place when it would otherwise not have, that’s a fair case for moving their suspension/removal from the LNC … and that’s before we even get to the part where Mr. Redpath abused his office for the purpose of preventing application of the bylaws to the situation he had knowingly and intentionally allowed to to come into existence

  65. Brian Holtz

    Careful, Jim, if you start talking about temporal anisotropy or any other subject beyond his reading level, Tom Sipos will accuse you of “farting”.

    Since consciousness is emergent it can aptly be described as illusory, but the local arrow of time is as real as — and arguably defined by — the local entropy gradient over the time variable.

    Mr. Sipos seems to assume that I’m as obsessed with him as he apparently is with me. Even though he suggested (incorrectly) in the LPCA newspaper that I was “gathering supporters for the state convention” in a conspiracy to have ExCom fire him, I barely noticed he was there and certainly didn’t look for his credentials or monitor how/whether he voted.

    A quick computer search shows why I thought Sipos wasn’t an LPCA member. In a discussion of the LPCA newspaper, he said he had deliberately let his party membership lapse, but that he might rejoin so that he can attend the 2010 NatCon. I assumed Sipos knew that a NatCon delegate need only be a member of an LP affiliate, and I replied “I didn’t know you had let your LP membership(s) lapse.” His insubstantive reply was buried in a blizzard of more cogent responses to me by other people, and at any rate his reply never actually said he was an LPCA member. If he will be an LPCA member in 2010, then I guess I just cost the LPUS $25 by correcting his ignorance about the party that he’s paid $3850 per year to write about — even while bragging in the LPCA newspaper that he voted for someone other than the party’s presidential nominee.

  66. Thomas M. Sipos

    Thomas Knapp: “two officers of the Libertarian National Committee knew that a bylaws violation (an ineligible member serving on the board) was imminent, and knowingly and intentionally failed to act to prevent that bylaws violation.”

    And yet Holtz speaks of my no longer belonging to the national LP as though it’s a shameful thing.

  67. Brian Holtz

    Somebody running for Vice Chair while not even a party member doesn’t raise Tom Knapp’s eyebrow. Nor is it raised if somebody on LNC has donated so little money to the LP that he brings himself into violation of the qualification bylaw.

    But if somebody on LNC — say, a life member and heavy party donor — actually tries to enforce that qualification rule, then Tom Knapp finds them guilty of breaking the rules. Then Tom finds them doubly guilty because — wait for it — they allegedly didn’t do all they could have to extract $25 from the recidivist to prevent an “imminent bylaws violation”. (Knapp elsewhere says it wasn’t imminent at all because the violation isn’t real until the LNC votes to reify it. I think they use magic rings or incense or something.) And so for caring too much about the qualification rule after the actual violation, but not engaging in enough paternalism before the violation, they now have exhibited cause for suspension.

    George Orwell called. He wants his eponym back.

  68. Erik Geib

    Thomas Knapp,

    Seeing the date of expiration and waiting for it (and having a plan of action when it did occur) certainly is immoral. However, I still don’t think it’s unethical.

    Now, that being said, if they intentionally made sure he wouldn’t receive any notifications concerning his lapsing membership, that may well qualify as unethical. Unfortunately, this is quite difficult to prove and, given the lack of evidence, not a matter of contention at this time (not yet).

    Nit-picking the law and/or playing political games is certainly to be detested, but it reeks more of political squabbling than the ‘coup’ theory espoused by some. I can buy the idea that Redpath and co. simply detested Wrights as a person and thus wanted him out – a coup would imply a grander scheme to control things ideologically. While I certainly think this is possible, I don’t yet buy into it. I know some will try and bring up Angela Keaton as evidence of a ‘continuing trend,’ but I also know that both have quite the reputation for being difficult to work with at times. ‘Coup’ is still a stretch for me, as I’m not prone to conspiracy theories.

    “Mr. Redpath abused his office for the purpose of preventing application of the bylaws to the situation he had knowingly and intentionally allowed to to come into existence”

    This is the part I begin to agree with you, though I still don’t care that he “knowingly and intentionally allowed [the situation] to come into existence” (again, that’s politics). Even if Redpath acted with the best of intentions and had no part in the planning of Wrights removal (however likely or unlikely), I still have a big problem with invoking this interpretation of the bylaws (factored with the Robert’s Rules justification espoused by others) without debate among the committee. There we can agree – this is an egregious abuse of power. Why should the committee ever decide anything at all, since according to Robert’s Rules and Redpath’s (supposed) logic all matters of debate that can’t be settled are settled by the executive? Especially when these matters of debate aren’t actually deliberated within the parliamentary body.

    It’s shitty, but if the committee failed to get a 2/3rds majority either for removing or keeping Mr. Wrights, I’d say what Sullentrup did is probably legit (since then the application of Robert’s Rules could come into effect as I understand it from this debate – granted, again, I’m no parliamentarian). Not allowing the committee to even discuss it, however, is not only foolish, but it’s petty and ridiculous. For a political party, the LP’s leaders aren’t exactly politically savvy.

  69. Robert Capozzi

    tk: Mr. Starr and Mr. Redpath knew in advance the date on which Mr. Wrights’s sustaining membership would expire, because they had specifically inquired as to when that might be. Mr. Redpath admits to this.

    me: bombshell, if true. Your source, Mr. Knapp?

    Lucy may have some big-time splainin’ to do.

  70. Marc Montoni

    Robert’s comes down squarely on the side of the latter: “By electing a presiding officer, the assembly delegates to him the authority and duty to make necessary rulings on questions of parliamentary law.” (p. 247) “When the chair rules on a question about which there cannot possibly be two reasonable opinions, an appeal would be dilatory and is not allowed.” (p. 248) I guess the theory is that it’s easier for a principled majority to reign in a tyrannical Chair, than for a principled Chair to reign in a tyrannical majority.

    Ummmm… Actually…

    RONR, Section 24, Appeal, pg 250: “Appropriateness of appeal. If a member disagrees with the ruling of the chair affecting any substantial question, he should not hestitate to appeal. The situation is no more delicate than disagreeing with another member in debate. In the case of serious when proponents and opponents appear nearly equal, a presiding officer may welcome an appeal from his decision. By relieving the chair of responsibility in a strongly contested situation and placing it on the assembly itself, better relationships are often preserved.”

    Also, the majority ultimately has only itself to blame if it elects a tyrant as Chair.

    That might be true if it were the case that the majority in the current example elected the chair. However, it didn’t. The convention elected the chair. The LNC had no say in it.

    Frankly, I think the chair and other officers should be appointed at-will by the LNC, with motions for replacements in order at any time. This prevents an organization from putting itself in the position of electing a tyrant that other volunteers have to then live with for some time.

    Only the At-Large representatives should be elected by the convention.

  71. George Phillies

    I believe Montoni has an excellent point about election of chair. If we had other key officers such as Editor on the board the point would be even better.

  72. George Phillies

    In order for the chair to rule a motion out of order as dilatory, the motion must cause a delay.

    In a meeting conducted by email in which all may speak at once, and multiple motions may be on the floor at once, *delay is impossible*. Any claim that a motion is dilatory is dishonest on its face.

  73. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Somebody running for Vice Chair while not even a party member doesn’t raise Tom Knapp’s eyebrow.”

    I’m unaware of any past or president candidate for Vice Chair who was “not even a party member.”

    “Nor is it raised if somebody on LNC has donated so little money to the LP that he brings himself into violation of the qualification bylaw.”

    Actually, it is raised in that event.

    You keep pointing out that Mr. Wrights has not disputed the lateness of his dues payment. Well, guess what? I haven’t disputed it either.

    If the matter had been handled properly, i.e. in accordance with the bylaws, I wouldn’t be grumbling about it.

    I take that back … I might be grumbling about it, but I wouldn’t be calling foul on the removal of Mr. Wrights, had it been done by the book. There’s a certain poetic justice element involved that I’m surprised no one favoring his removal has invoked yet.

    “But if somebody on LNC — say, a life member and heavy party donor — actually tries to enforce that qualification rule”

    To the best of my knowledge, no attempt has been made to enforce the qualification rule versus Mr. Wrights. Enforcement of the qualification rule begins with a motion to suspend him from the committee for violation of that rule. I’m unaware of any such motion having been made.

  74. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    No bombshell at all. Mr. Redpath affirmed the material facts I allude to in a message posted to the LNC e-mail list, leaked in various places, posted in at least one comment thread here on IPR and in one or more articles around the web.

  75. George Phillies

    Why should we believe that Redpath knew in advance? The following email as forwarded to Liberty for All seems to refer to the issue and show him admitting that he knew. I believe there are other emails related to this question that may yet see the light of day.

    Mind you, having said that, I will dispute the assertion about Mr. Wrights’ dues being late. We are a membership organization with an elaborate billing process design to elicit renewals. Mr. Wrights received no mailed renewal notices at his address of record; his former spouse testified to this. He received no email notices of the sort sent to many other members, even though his email address was immediately available on the LNC lp.org web pages. Readers may ask themselves how often the postal service has lost one of their credit card bills. The assertion that multiple notices mysteriously vanished is extremely difficult to credit.

    From: lnc-discuss-bounces@hq.lp.org [mailto:lnc-discuss-bounces@hq.lp.org] On Behalf Of William Redpath
    Sent: Friday, April 24, 2009 9:09 PM
    To: LNC Discussion
    Subject: [Lnc-discuss] Lee Wrights

    Several fellow Libertarian National Committee (LNC) members have asked for an explanation of events leading to the recent loss of Lee Wrights’ eligibility to serve as a member of the LNC.

    Here is the story, as I know it.

    In November 2008, I was rereading the Bylaws and read Section 8, Article 4, which states, “A National Committee member shall be a sustaining member of the Party, and shall not be the candidate of any party except the Party or an affiliate.”

    I then called Aaron Starr about this, and asked him to ascertain whether all LNC members were sustaining members. I may have called Bob Sullentrup about this, as well, but I don’t recall for sure.

    Aaron contacted Robert Kraus at LPHQ, and it is my understanding that Robert produced a list for Aaron of LNC members and their sustaining membership expiration dates (unless that member was a life member). All LNC members were sustaining members, at that time, and Aaron so informed me

    I never saw this list with expiration dates, but Aaron did. He noticed that several LNC members had expiration dates in early 2009, including Lee Wrights, who Aaron saw had an expiration date in April. Aaron tells me that he forgot about this list until Monday, April 6, on which day it dawned on him that this was about the time of Lee Wrights’ sustaining membership expiration.

    He called Robert Kraus that day and learned that Lee Wrights’ sustaining membership started on (I believe) April 8, 2008, and had not yet been renewed. Aaron called me on, I recall, the evening of Tuesday, April 7, and told me that Lee’s sustaining membership was about to expire. It is my understanding that Bob Sullentrup was not informed of Lee’s impending sustaining membership expiration until sometime on Wednesday, April 8.

    I waited a week after Lee’s expiration date to see if his sustaining membership renewal payment showed up in the mail. It did not. The Bylaws, in my opinion, plainly read that Lee was no longer eligible to serve on the LNC. The Bylaws don’t allow exceptions to this. Bob Sullentrup notified the Committee of the new vacancy. I directed Robert Kraus to remove Lee from the LNC Discuss List, and to remove him from the list of LNC members on lp.org.

    I have been asked why I didn’t pickup the phone and call or email Lee Wrights to notify him of the impending expiration of his sustaining membership, and the implication of that for his membership on the LNC. I was in a quandary about what to do. Part of me did think that that was the most prudent course of action for both the Party and the LNC. But, in the end, I could not bring myself to do it.

    First, it is not my job as Chairman to remind individual members to renew their sustaining memberships. So, for me to call Lee would have been a matter of courtesy. It was my judgment at that time that he did not deserve that, as he has shown a lack of courtesy through what at times has been egregiously rude behavior to his fellow members on this Committee, to LNC staff, and to me, particularly at the San Diego meeting and thereafter. (Although I am not on the APRC email list, I have been told he had behaved very uncivilly at times with his postings to that list.) For him to expect courtesy while treating others so badly is hypocritical.

    In particular, it is my understanding that Lee posted a commentary by Sean Haugh to libertyforall.net on the day after the San Diego meeting that other people have told me they thought was defamatory to me. I certainly thought it was, and, in my opinion, to the best of my knowledge, it was also defamatory to M Carling, former LNC member and current LP parliamentarian.

    Lee has told us that his failure to renew his sustaining membership before expiration was inadvertent. Maybe this is true, but based on the LNC’s financial donation records, it appears that each of the three times that Lee has been on the LNC, either he ran for election when he was not eligible to do so, or he lost eligibility to serve on the LNC after his election. There is a pattern here that should not be ignored.

    Lee has asserted to me that I am trying to “run the radicals off the LNC.” That is not so. My problem with Lee Wrights has only to do with his behavior.

    While I certainly admit that I am not an “LP Radical,” I have striven to be fair in my role as Chair, as that is an important quality to have in that position. As a part of that fairness, non-life members of this LNC should note that, as long as I am Chairman, I will not be reminding them in any manner to maintain their sustaining memberships. That will ultimately be their responsibility.

    I regret that what I consider a straightforward application of the Bylaws to Lee’s failure to remain eligible has caused this controversy. Also, I apologize for the delay in getting this information to you. You have every right to know what happened. In addition to my work and LP matters, I have been preparing for a professional examination in the near future and dealing with the impending death of a long-time friend.

    I know some of you think that I erred in not calling Lee as a courtesy to remind him about his expiring sustaining membership. Fair enough. I understand your position. If I had inadvertently failed to take care of a required task, I would want my colleagues to give me a heads-up, and I’d be hurt if they didn’t give me one.

    However, I hope you understand my position. I think Lee used up his ration of goodwill a long time ago. He has no right to complain about not receiving special courtesy when he fails to show basic courtesy to others.

    If you decide to reelect him to the LNC, I will treat him in exactly the same way as any other LNC member. If he decides to act with courtesy, he will certainly receive the same courtesy from me.

    Thank you very much.

    William Redpath
    LNC Chairman

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  76. Brian Holtz

    TK) To the best of my knowledge, no attempt has been made to enforce the qualification rule versus Mr. Wrights. Enforcement of the qualification rule begins with a motion to suspend him from the committee for violation of that rule. I’m unaware of any such motion having been made. (TK

    Tom, I can tell when you’re tired, because you argue by merely assuming what you’re arguing for. This is beneath someone of your polemical talent. Get some rest, acquaint yourself with the basic facts of this case, and try again. In particular, see http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/04/lnc-memo-wrights-was-not-member-when-elected/ where I wrote “the memo says that when elected Vice Chair of the LNC in May 2004, Wrights had been lapsed for nearly three months.” Yours was the very first comment there. Perhaps your theory is that Lee is not naked until the LNC approves a motion to say he has no clothes on. 🙂

    George and Marc, the fundamental question remains: should a bare plurality be able to override any and all rules — even those protecting a minority — in the passion of the moment merely through its power as a mob? As a small-R republican, I trust a bare plurality to pick a Chair with enduring integrity much more than I trust the mob — even a mob of only 17 — to control its passions in each and every instance. And to apply Erik’s favorite point: if it’s so clear that the Chair chosen by the convention is a tyrant, then 2/3 of the LNC can vote to remove him for cause and appoint a new Chair.

    This whole affair remains a tempest in a teapot. The moment Wrights disavowed the report that he said the LP is not to be contributed to, there was no longer any question whether he would end up not on the LNC. At that point, this episode was reduced merely to grist for 1) Bylaws wonks and 2) conspiracy theorists — the perfect combination for generating comment traffic at IPR.

  77. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    Specificity is in order.

    R. Lee Wrights was, in fact, a member of the LP when he was elected vice-chair — or at least I’ve seen no credible allegation that he was not a member.

    Whether he was a sustaining (i.e. dues-paying) member is another question entirely.

    Please don’t specify one when you mean the other.

    “I can tell when you’re tired, because you argue by merely assuming what you’re arguing for”

    Not exactly.

    My assumption is that the bylaws mean what they clearly say.

    My argument is that operating in a manner contrary to what the bylaws say is not “enforcing the bylaws.”

  78. robert capozzi

    gp and tk, thanks for sharing Redpath’s email. I hear what he’s saying, and I agree it’s not HIS job to be renewal monitor for the rest of the LNC. given the financial challenges, it strikes me it IS staff’s job…talk about low-hanging fruit!

    I also hear him on his goodwill point. people who seem to lack civility test my patience, too. In my case, reprisals — passive/aggressive ones especially — ain’t how I roll. If Wrights had developed a pattern of behavior that was inappropriate or uncivil, this was not the way to put him on notice to cease his alleged counterproductive behavior.

    It’s one thing to disagree in a straight up manner (as you two have seen is my practice), another to employ technical machinations to effect off-point reprisals. I aspire to mensch-dom, and this incident wasn’t menschly, IMO.

    So now it seems the cycle turns to counter-reprisals, then counter-counter reprisals.

    To which I say: Can we all just get along? Can we just STOP this childish madness? Can we give peace a chance?

  79. libertariangirl

    Im glad I read Redpaths email , it seems sincere to me ( i know im getting flack) .

    I admit to not knowing the players at all and very little of the ongoing factional drama. Could it be true that Wrights is as rude an unagreeable as Redpath claims?

  80. Andy

    “I admit to not knowing the players at all and very little of the ongoing factional drama. Could it be true that Wrights is as rude an unagreeable as Redpath claims?”

    From my expierence, YES. Wrights is probably the rudest person I’ve ever encountered in the Libertarian Party. He did not come off that way when I first met him, but it wasn’t long until that side of him reared its ugly head. I’ve seen him be rude to other people as well.

  81. libertariangirl

    conspiracy –smiracy .
    I have a questions for the Toms. Hypothetical of course , and be honest .

    If either of you were chair and the other was secretary of the Nat LP and Aaron Starrs dues were about to lapse and he didnt know it ( that would never really happen cuz he’s treasurer) but for arguments sake , lets pretend.

    How would you handle it ?would you give you greatest nemesis a courtesy call? or would you milk his transgression in any way possible to have him removed?
    be honerst guys , everyone already knows the answer:)

  82. Thomas L. Knapp

    libertariangirl,

    I don’t think Mr. Redpath’s sincerity is at issue here. What’s at issue is his performance.

    Let’s raise the stakes a little bit.

    In the case of Mr. Wrights, Mr. Redpath knew that something was about to happen to put the LNC operationally in violation of the bylaws (by virtue of having an ineligible member serving on it), and he knew that when that thing happened, it would be costing the LP $25 in contributions it expected to get.

    Now, suppose that the specific imminent bylaws violation, and the amount of money involved, were different.

    Hypothetically, let’s say there’s an emerging situation in which the LP stands to lose $100,000 in projected revenues instead of $25, and in which the LNC will be in violation of Article 10, Section 5 of the bylaws, to the tune of borrowing a million bucks on the treasurer’s signature without the required 2/3 LNC vote.

    If Mr. Redpath decided not to act to avert that situation — keep in mind that it’s a situation he knows is coming and has the power to prevent — would you accept “someone involved has previously been rude to me, so I decided to do nothing” as a reasonable explanation? Or would you say “Bill Redpath is not fulfilling the obligations of his office?”

  83. libertariangirl

    csn you answer my Aaron Starr lapsed dues if you were in charge question first?

    it so bugs me when people answer questions with other questions that redirect .:)

    Im not sayinng they didnt exploit an opportunity , of course they did .Im just saying the other side woud have to if the opportunity was provided them .

    Alls fair in love and war:)

  84. Brian Holtz

    Tom, the context was clear. Your coyness and evasiveness may achieve some measure of self-gratification, but I can’t believe you would think that they help sway the mind of readers here. It may be that our respective motives for posting here are yet another thing we’ll just have to differ about.

    Wake me when you can muster an answer to what you know was my point — and to all my other unanswered comments to you above.

  85. Thomas L. Knapp

    libertariangirl,

    You’re right — everyone probably does already know the answer.

    If I were chair, and if I knew in advance that Mr. Starr’s dues were about to lapse, thus putting the LNC in operational violation of the bylaws, I’d remind Mr. Starr to pay his dues.

    If Mr. Starr declined to do so (or if I didn’t know in advance, and only found out after the fact), I’d invite a motion from the floor (the chair normally doesn’t make motions himself) to remove Mr. Starr for cause.

    My understanding of the situation is that the secretary did not have foreknowledge of the situation with respect to Mr. Wrights, but rather was informed after the fact of his dues expiration. I’m also willing to believe that his error in declaring the seat vacant on his own, instead of awaiting or soliciting bylaws-compliant LNC action to vacate it, was just that … an error.

    You seem to assume that all individuals will always act only in what they perceive as their immediate self-interest, never accepting responsibility for their actions or submitting to the results of those actions. I disagree. As evidence, I offer the fact that I once argued forcefully in favor of a motion put before the Missouri LP state committee to censure myself (said motion, coincidentally, offered by Bob Sullentrup).

  86. robert capozzi

    lg, first, I dispute that there are “two sides.” There may well be “rolling camps,” however.

    It would indeed be dysfunctional if another camp would do the same if the players were switched…hypocrisy is never attractive!

    maybe, just maybe, we should view ourselves as all on the same side…

  87. libertariangirl

    im going to take your answer as truth because I have no reason to doubt .
    However , there are those from the other faction ( I wont say redical, cuz Susan will reprimand me:) but the “other side” who who happily and gleefully and in any way possible do what it took to remove Starr , Sully , Carling , and others .
    Thats a fact.

  88. libertariangirl

    RC__ It would indeed be dysfunctional if another camp would do the same if the players were switched…hypocrisy is never attractive!

    maybe, just maybe, we should view ourselves as all on the same side…

    I AGREE 100% with your last sentence.
    I gave upon being w/in a certain faction and with arguing meanly and attack like also some time ago.I used to blindly beleive things id heard ad oppose people Ive never met for no reason. After Id talked a gang of shit about Aaron and others I had occasion to speak with him and he treated me with respect . I intend to domthe same to others.

    But the fact remains that their are ‘rolling sides’ that both employ things i find distasteful.

  89. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    Specifics are important, because we’re dealing with bylaws and procedure.

    In 2004, R. Lee Wrights was, in fact, a member of the party (he had certified that he does not advocate the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals).

    He may have been ineligible for election to the office of vice chair, since the bylaws in effect at that time required that “only members whose dues are current shall be eligible to hold National Party offices.”

    I say may have been ineligible, because as of now the only evidence we have is the claim of Aaron Starr that Wrights’s dues were not current as of the 2004 convention.

    Facts are facts whether they’ve been recognized as such or not — on that we agree.

    Where we seem to disagree is on the importance of process. The LNC has processes for recognizing and acting on facts. The facts are only relevant to the extent that those processes are followed.

    By way of simple analogy, if I murder you and you’re dead, it’s a fact that I murdered you and that you’re dead. Before I’m sentenced for your murder, however, there’s a process that has to happen (prosecution for the crime and proving the facts to the satisfaction of a jury). The prosecutor’s second assistant desk clerk doesn’t get to just decide on his own that I’m guilty, select the appropriate sentence, and subject me to it.

    And no, the above is not an implied threat to kill you.

  90. libertariangirl

    TK__Hypothetically, let’s say there’s an emerging situation in which the LP stands to lose $100,000 in projected revenues instead of $25, and in which the LNC will be in violation of Article 10, Section 5 of the bylaws, to the tune of borrowing a million bucks on the treasurer’s signature without the required 2/3 LNC vote.

    ME__ thats a hard one to grasp because we are so broke that would never happen. Aaron wouldnt let something that would make us lose that amount EVER happen.

    TK_If Mr. Redpath decided not to act to avert that situation — keep in mind that it’s a situation he knows is coming and has the power to prevent — would you accept “someone involved has previously been rude to me, so I decided to do nothing” as a reasonable explanation? Or would you say “Bill Redpath is not fulfilling the obligations of his office?”

    Me__ I dont ‘accept’ it now . Ive already said gentlemen would have notified wrights in advance even if they disliked him personally.

    What I am saying is that the two rolling camps are vicious at times. quite honestly the mean and attack like rhetoric is far more inflammatory from your side and Sipos and others . The other rolling camp is better at parlimentary tricks and such but they generally keep their mouths in check.
    The things Ive heard come from people attacking Redpath , Starr , Carling and others has been downright vicious and we’re I in their camp ( im in no camp) I might be inclined to be less than gentlemanly back .

  91. Thomas L. Knapp

    libertariangirl,

    I’ll certainly stipulate to your claim that there are some people who would do anything they thought likely to work to “get” Mr. Redpath, Mr. Starr and Mr. Sullentrup, the rules be damned.

    I’m not one of those people, and I’m not going to attempt to defend or justify their views on the matter or any of the “rules be damned” prospective actions they might take.

    I do, in fact, believe that the actions of Mr. Redpath and Mr. Starr rise to the level of “cause” for a suspension motion. I doubt that such a motion will be made, I doubt even more that such a motion, if made, would pass, and I’m unwilling to support non-bylaws-compliant means of removing them.

    Therefore, my efforts to “get” them will likely be limited to supporting other candidates for election to the offices that Mr. Redpath, Mr. Starr and Mr. Sullentrup now hold, at the next LNC election.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  92. robert capozzi

    lg, I’m unconvinced that “conventioneering” is the name of the game. how so?

    if the LNC were populated with more of (let’s call it) the “other” camp, would the LP have 100k members? be wildly successful based on some other metric? My answers are no, highly unlikely.

    my suggestion is that “mutual respect” and “peaceful relations” are the name of the game. without those, we have precisely nothing, since they are, ultimately, everything!

    your summary of the rolling camps tracks with mine. it’s more about style than ideology. of the frequent posters here, for ex., I’m probably ideologically closest to Phillies, but stylistically closer to Holtz and even Knapp.

    I’d like to think that we can have a respectful dialog about ideas and strategy in the context of mutual respect.

    That would be productive.

    This is not.

  93. Brian Holtz

    Tom, the LNC indeed “has a process for recognizing” facts. The difference between you and me is that I’ve quoted it, and you’ve ignored my quote. I repeat:

    Bylaw 7.6 says “The Secretary shall be the recording officer of the Party” and shall “keep such minutes and records as necessary”.

  94. Erik Geib

    “. And to apply Erik’s favorite point: if it’s so clear that the Chair chosen by the convention is a tyrant, then 2/3 of the LNC can vote to remove him for cause and appoint a new Chair.”

    What? Are you dense? I’ve never once argued this. What I *have* said is that if Wrights’ removal was so clearly called for based on the bylaws, gathering a 2/3rds majority on the issue should have been easy. Likewise, if it was clear he shouldn’t be removed, a 2/3rds majority the other way would suffice as well. I’ve also said that I accept the idea that Redpath or whomever might have the authority to remove Wrights if the committee couldn’t reach a conclusive opinion, though I’m no parliamentarian, and don’t know if this is kosher. The important element, in my opinion, was always that it should have at least been discussed and debated at the committee level before executive action was taken.

    At no point in time have I called for Redpath or Sullentrup or Starr’s removal. To so absurdly twist what I’ve said is shameful.

  95. Jim Davidson

    @113 What part of 7.6, or any other part of the bylaws, gives the secretary the power to unseat a member of the national committee?

    You are wrong, Holz. You have been wrong all this time. Shameless – you make hussies look virtuous.

  96. Robert Capozzi

    tk 53: Mr. Holtz tends to address himself to such concepts precisely because libertarian dogma has distilled itself down over time to simple/brief/clear statements, behind which perhaps lie complexities that are usually left unexplored at least in part precisely because simplicity, brevity and clarity are usually followed by (a not necessarily merited) certainty.

    me: If I follow, Tom, you seem to acknowledge that L dogma can, and perhaps should, be tested at the root, and some may come away with something LESS than “certainty.”

    Bumper-sticker nostrums may have their place, but if based on imperfect assumptions, we get imperfect answers.

    So, retesting the original premise seems appropriate, even necessary.

  97. Michael Seebeck

    Mike, I’m doing nothing other than arguing what process the Bylaws text prescribes here.

    No, you’re not. Your conflating status and process, and that’s been your reasoning error all along. I’ve already explained that multiple times rather clearly.

    I’ve always said that Wrights should be rubber-stamped back into his seat after his clarification about whether the LP is to be donated to.

    Irrelevant. People can say whatever they want. If I say that donations to the LNC should be boycotted until Redpath resigns or jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge, it may hurt his feelings, but it’s only words, and people can still choose to donate or not. We’re the party of choice and personal responsiblity, remember? ?

    The only question I have argued is whether 8.4 implies a process that is self-effecting like that of the third paragraph of 8.5. Reasonable arguments can be made either way.

    It does not and you have not. The plain wording of the Bylaws differentiates, as I have repeatedly shown, the difference between a member’s status and what to do about it. The problem with 8.4 is that it assumes a consecutive non-attendance action implies a second action, that of resignation, rather than creating a cause for action (like the LPCA Bylaws calls for, in contrast) to address the issue. It takes one action/process and implies another. 8.5, OTOH, makes no such implication on the front end and addresses only the process for dealing with a status—whether it be ineligibility or accused of violating the SOP, or whatever state of being that may constitute “for cause” (Note that “for cause can also mean actions done, but that’s not at question here.). You miss the fundamental point that a state of being and a state of doing are completely separate things. The error that Sullentrup committed, besides confusing the office of LNC member and a regular sustaining membership, when they are related but different, is that he also assumed one state of being implies another (sate of being a lapsed sustaining member implying ineligibility for the LNC) without taking into consideration the process involved (removal for cause by 2/3 of the LNC) that links the two together and can separate them. While the ineligibility is by definition a disqualifying factor prior to election (and nobody AFAIK has claimed otherwise), the assumption that the same type of filter applies after election does not follow in light of the fact that there is a clearly defined process for how to deal with it. That’s why Sullentrup usurped the role of the entire role of the LNC.

    The strongest argument that it’s not self-effecting is the absence of the “deemed vacant” language in the three places where the Bylaws indisputably talk about a vacancy happening. The strongest contrary argument is that 8.4 is then rendered absurd (or at least horribly ill-crafted) in how it applies to regional reps.

    Also irrelevant, because regional reps are dealt with in a different manner. But I would agree that 8.4 is horribly crafted, and the non-attendance issue should simply be referred to the LNC as grounds for suspension for cause. There should not be ANY assumed processes, period.

    The latter argument seems stronger to me, and I’ve not seen anyone even attempt to answer it. All I’ve seen is implicit evasions, explicit evasions, ad hominems, and a sophomoric red herring about me imprisoning somebody for shoplifting a “widget”. (Newsflash: our rules meticulously _define_ what process is “due” in this case, so let’s not pretend that “due process” is a magic incantation that can trump what our rules actually say. Our rules are a voluntary contract, and if you think that ethereal claims about fairness can trump what a voluntary contract actually says, then you’re in the wrong party.)

    What in the world are you talking about here? That seems more directed at others. All I’ve ever argued is that A) the proper process was not followed, and B) the proper process should have been and should be followed.

  98. Michael Seebeck

    Put it in simple terms: who can remove an LNC member?

    A) The member himself or herself (resigning).
    B) Grim Reaper (death).
    C) 2/3 vote of the LNC (removal).
    D) The delegates (not being re-elected).

    The Secretary sure isn’t on that list.

  99. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    Yes, the secretary “records” facts — but it is the LNC as a body which, for official purposes, recognizes those facts.

    Even with respect to basic meeting and convention minutes, the facts in them carry no weight just because the secretary records them. For official purposes, they’re merely the secretary’s assertions until the LNC approves those minutes.

    Since the secretary is a full member of the LNC, he’s just as qualified as any other member to bring up facts, make allegations, make, second or vote in favor of motions based on those allegations, etc. His role as secretary does not include plenary power to act in lieu of the full LNC on such facts or allegations, however, just because he’s the guy who writes things down.

  100. Brian Holtz

    Mike, in the midst of your discourse on “being” and “doing”, you at the crucial step simply assume the point that you should be arguing for. It happened right when you said: “While the ineligibility is by definition a disqualifying factor prior to election, the assumption that the same type of filter applies after election does not follow in light of the fact that there is a clearly defined process for how to deal with it.” What is _precisely_ in dispute is whether the for-cause process applies to 8.4 violations. You and Knapp keep making assertions about what the Bylaws clearly say, but you should instead simply quote the Bylaws wherever you claim they are clear. Like so:

    8.4. A National Committee member shall be a sustaining member of the Party, and shall not be the candidate of any party except the Party or an affiliate.
    8.5. The National Committee may, for cause, suspend any member-at-large by a vote of 2/3 of the entire National Committee. […]

    You can assert all you want that 8.4 is merely an exemplar of an 8.5 cause, but this bald assertion needs an actual argument behind it. The best one I’ve seen is the one I myself offered: that 8.4 is missing the “deemed vacant” language used in the three places where the Bylaws indisputably talk about vacancies happening. The contrary arguments are:

    1) 8.4 has to be considered “horribly crafted” under your reading, and you compound the problem by saying 8.5 must be considered flawed for restricting for-cause removals to at-large reps and not regional reps;

    2) the “shall” in 8.4 indicates a completely non-optional rule, in sharp contrast to the “may” of 8.5 that you want to govern 8.4;

    3) 8.5 itself demonstrates that it is possible for an adversarial removal to happen without the for-cause process, and even if you buy Knapp’s not-until-the-minutes-are-approved argument, the threshold for action is less than the 2/3 required in the for-cause case; [Also, what is the process for a resignation that may have been forged, but also may have been sent but then falsely disavowed?]

    4) Bylaw 7.6 says “The Secretary shall be the recording officer of the Party” and shall “keep such minutes and records as necessary”.

    Again, a fundamental rule this Party abides by is: “When a provision of the bylaws is susceptible to two meanings, one of which conflicts with or renders absurd another bylaw provision, and the other meaning does not, the latter must be taken as the true meaning.” My interpretation spares 8.4 from being considered broken with respect to regional reps, and the next leading brand doesn’t.

    Erik, when I said “apply Erik’s favorite point”, I of course wasn’t claiming you agree with the conclusion I reached thereby. What you’ve repeatedly said if that if one side is so clearly right, then they should just rely on the ability of the body to vote for what is clearly right. I simply turned that logic against the Redpath-haters here, and challenged them to drive over the cliff and say he clearly should be unseated for cause. Thelma Knapp over there gladly did so, but I of course was not saying that you are his Louise. I’ve told you repeatedly that I don’t think the interpretation of 8.4 is a slam dunk, so please stop aiming your “if Wrights’ removal was so clearly called for” arrows at me. I didn’t intend to put a conclusion into your mouth, but you seem determined to put words into mine.

    Tom, it’s bad enough when you evade large chunks of my argument e.g. regional reps, reading absurdity into the Bylaws, forged resignations, begging the question with imaginary “all”/”other” in the Bylaws, differing margins for minutes-approval vs. for-cause suspension, minutes that could note an absence without noting it being consecutive. You only dig your hole deeper when you pretend that the Bylaws only mean LNC-approved minutes where it plainly says “minutes and records”. Are you saying that no record kept by the Secretary is more than a mere “allegation” until the LNC blesses it? When Wrights admitted against interest that his dues had lapsed, was he confirming a fact, or merely repeating an allegation against himself? Just how far down the rabbit hole are we going here?

    Regarding “plenary power to act in lieu of the full LNC on such facts or allegations”, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawman and/or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question. Nobody has said that the Secretary’s duty to report 8.4 disqualifications is a delegation of the LNC’s 8.5 for-cause removal power. Please stop trying to sneak in the assumption that 8.4 is a special case of 8.5, and try actually arguing for it. Bonus points if you can do so without silly red herrings about convictions for murder or widget-stealing, where there is no dispute about what the prescribed process is.

  101. mdh

    It’s silly to watch everyone argue about how the bylaws “clearly” support their position, when I see nothing clear about this section of the bylaws at all. It’s ambiguous on the matter.

  102. Michael Seebeck

    Brian,

    Define what “for cause” actually is, then, as well as what it isn’t.

    I’t has to do with the actual reason for taking an action. A person can be terminated from a position without cause, meaning for no reason, or they can be terminated with cause, meaning there is a reason. There is no other form of termination. Even a resignation falls under one of the two: one can resign for a reason, or just for the helluvit.

    This is HR 101, folks. Not rocket science.

    I don’t need to assert that ineligibility is a ground for removal for cause, because by simple reduction logic it’s the _only_ assertion that makes sense by definition: If ineligibility were not a reason to remove “for cause”, then Lee was removed for begin ineligible “without cause,” and that is a power that neither the LNC nor the Secretary has delegated to them. So for Lee’s removal to even have a chance at flying, it has to be “for cause”. The Secretary himself stated that the alleged removal was *because* of the membership lapse–the action had a cause. The contrary to that is the Secretary tried to remove Lee “without cause”, meaning because the Secretary felt like it. Even the Secretary didn’t have the naked guts to go there.

    When a cause exists, it cannot be claimed it does not exist. We do not divide by zero around here.

    There is *no* removal a member from the LNC without cause, period. Show me in the Bylaws where an LNC member can be removed without cause. IT DOESN’T EXIST in there, and the plain wording of removal for cause implies that for it to exist, it must be explicit in the Bylaws, and it is not there.

    Regional reps are decided by the regions and are in fact nothing more than a red herring that YOU have introduced here. Take it up with the national Style Committee, if you can find one.

    It comes down to the simple point that you continually dance around and fail at, Brian, and one that you ignored @121: The Secretary cannot unilaterally remove an LNC member. he can recommend, even make a motion, to the LNC that a member be removed, but the decision is that of the body itself, after following the stated process.

    When you learn the difference between status of a person and process of a body, get back to me. You haven’t figured that out yet.

    When you learn that all your attempts to obfuscate and complicate a very simple point just to try to win a lost argument are nothing more than blowing hot air, get back to me.

    When you answer the question I posed @121, get back to me. The followup questions to each option of removal are simply, “How?” and “Why?”

    I consider most of the national Bylaws broken, because they aren’t in consistent form, are piecemeal, and lack cohesion. California had the same problem until I took the reins at the Style Committee are rewrote the things into a consistent form, and now they make a helluvalot more sense–something nobody else in the party was willing to step up and do.

  103. Thomas L. Knapp

    “where there is no dispute about what the prescribed process is”

    There’s no honest dispute about what the prescribed process in this case is. You’re well aware of that. If your shame-o-meter is still in the shop, you should check to make sure your “have I embarrassed myself enough attempting to throw a shadow of doubt over the obvious yet?” gauge.

  104. Brian Holtz

    Tom, imputing dishonesty to me is just icing on your cake of intellectual laziness. My arguments above stand unrebutted by you. I’ve agreed with MDH that the Bylaws here are ambiguous. By contrast, you’ve backed yourself into the corner of asserting that no honest reasonable person could disagree with you — and then you don’t even answer the arguments of mine that I’ve enumerated you not answering. I’m happy to let the record stand as is; are you?

    Mike, you seem to be confusing 1) the specific fact that “for cause” removal is a power of a 2/3 LNC majority, and 2) the general observation that the Bylaws don’t give anybody — Chair, Secretary, LNC, JudCom — the power to remove an at-large rep arbitrarily i.e. without any pretense of a reason. The fact that nobody has such arbitrary power of removal doesn’t mean that any removal has to follow the 8.5 for-cause process. This is obvious from the provision in 8.5 that consecutive absences automatically lead to removal, and not even Knapp argues that this must be effected by the for-cause machinery. (He claims it doesn’t happen until LNC uses a majority vote to approve minutes asserting a consecutive absence, and I claim it happens when “the recording officer of the Party” faithfully notes the second absence in his records. Do you claim that it doesn’t happen without a 2/3 for-cause vote? If you want to climb out alone on that limb, it can be sawed off by simply noting the absurdity it creates concerning regional reps.)

    I don’t claim that “the Secretary can unilaterally remove an LNC member”, and I doubt our readers need to be told that this is a straw man. What I claim is that “a National Committee member shall be a sustaining member of the Party”, and that “the Secretary shall be the recording officer of the Party” and shall “keep such minutes and records as necessary”. What I further claim is that 8.4 says “shall”, while 8.5 says “may”. You can cite “H.R. 101” all you want; I’ll stick to quoting the Bylaws and RRONR.

    My interpretation leads to no absurdities in the Bylaws, whereas you seem tor recognize that your interpretation means that 8.4 applies to regional reps but is in that case absurdly disconnected from the 8.5 for-cause power that you say 8.4 is so tightly bound to. What you’re not confronting here is the fundamental principle of interpretation that I’ve quoted repeatedly: a non-absurd reading of the Bylaws always trumps a reading that yields absurdity.

    By the way, you’re technically wrong to claim that “There is *no* removal [sic] a member from the LNC without cause, period. Show me in the Bylaws where an LNC member can be removed without cause. IT DOESN’T EXIST in there”. Actually, Bylaw 8.7 says: “A National Committee Regional Representative may be removed and replaced only by the act of the affiliate parties which constitute the subject region. The voting procedure for the removal and replacement of regional representatives shall be determined by the regions. In the absence of any such procedures, a majority vote of the state chairs shall prevail.”

    Nobody would dare claim that this isn’t a plenary power of arbitrary removal. Now, unlike Mr. Knapp, I’m not so desperate here as to pretend I don’t know what you were trying to say — namely, that _at-large_ reps cannot be removed arbitrarily. Your mistake here surely was caused by your determination to continue ignoring the issue of regional reps and the absurdity about them that your reading creates. You can say “red herring” and insult me all you want, but you’re the one positing an absurdity in the Bylaws, not me. I invite readers to notice whether your next response includes even more insults against me, while continuing to stonewall on my central argument about what is listed as the second fundamental principle of interpretation in the rules by which our Party has voluntarily chosen to govern itself.

  105. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    I’m still trying to find an argument in your questions. That’s one indicator that you feel guilt, or at least embarrassment: You decline to make your arguments explicit.

    Rather, you did decline to make your arguments explicit. Now you’re fairly explicitly arguing that the standard to adhere to when reading the bylaws is whether or not a plain reading results in “absurdity.” OK, I’ll answer that argument:

    You claim that if a plain reading of the bylaws results in absurdity, that absurdity has been introduced by the reading, and that therefore the method of reading needs to change.

    I claim that if a plain reading of the bylaws results in absurdity, the absurdity is embedded in the bylaws, and therefore the bylaws need to be amended to make sense.

    You’re correct that some absurd hypothetical situations (with respect to regional representatives, for example) arise from a plain reading of the bylaws. I don’t regard that as an excuse for an on-the-spot re-writing of the bylaws in order to achieve a desired result in a specific case. Instead I support actually following the bylaws as written, and amending them to fix any problems with it at the next convention.

  106. Brian Holtz

    Bzzzt. “Plain reading of the bylaws” is blatant question-begging. I quote the Bylaws, but you merely make unsupported assertions about what they say. Sorry, try again, and this time have the intellectual courage not to pretend I “claim that if a plain reading of the bylaws results in absurdity…”. That’s not what I said.

    My argument has been clear since my first posting on this topic: http://more.libertarianintelligence.com/2009/04/senator-joe-mcphillies-has-secret-list.html

    And if you can’t wrap your brain around questions that make a reductio ad absurdam argument, then I quote from my third posting on this topic (which was still on the first day I started commenting on this topic):

    ——–

    Why can’t 8.4 violations be considered just another form of “involuntary resignation”? I can think of only one textually plausible answer: in the three places where the Bylaws indisputably talk about a vacancy happening, they use a form of the phrase “deemed vacant”. That construction is not used in 8.4. This absence has to be weighed against the pointlessness of 8.4 if it is not as self-enforcing as the consecutive-absence rule (or, the ill-craftedness of 8.4 if it is supposed to only constrain elections/appointments). Reasonable people can differ on this matter, but people simply acting on agendas will just call other people names.

    ——–

    It’s ridiculously false to claim I “declined to make [my] arguments explicit”. Don’t try to pull that nonsense on somebody who logs and indexes his writings. Feel free to keep it up; I can keep shaming you like this for weeks on end. Copy and paste makes it eeeeeasy. 🙂

  107. Michael Seebeck

    Brian ignores answering the question at @121 AGAIN!

    I said get back to me when you answer those questions, not when you had more gibberish to spout.

    Better yet, try your convoluted logic at your next water board meeting and see how far it gets before you get laughed out of the room!

  108. Michael Seebeck

    Brian, calling the regional reps a red herring is not an insult–it’s the pure truth. The issue is over *at-large* representatives and always has been.

    Tom may comment about your shame-o-meter, but as far as everyone can tell here, your common-sense-o-meter never existed.

  109. Michael Seebeck

    “The fact that nobody has such arbitrary power of removal”…

    EXACTLY! You hit upon the truth and then shot right past it and never came back.

    Because there is no such power, removal can only come from one of the four methods specified @121. Yet the Secretary claimed that arbitrary power, WHICH IS THE SOURCE OF THE CONTROVERSY IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    Thank you for finally admitting the truth.

  110. Chris Bennett

    Is Brian Holtz really worth all this aggravation? As long as he keeps kissing the asses of the conservatarian supremacists on the LNC, it’s not worth giving him the time or day to weed through the nonsense he spews!

  111. Thomas M. Sipos

    No, Chris, you’re right. Brian’s not worth any aggravation. But he’s fun to play with.

    Once — once — I “rebutted” one of his articles in CF. Not even directly. I merely addressed some of his points in my editorial.

    Brian freaked out. He wrote a long-winded screed about my “rebuttal” on his blog. He sent me the url several times over the course of a year or so, and included it in some of his blog postings. I’d initially ignored him, but I guess he was aching for my reaction. Like a child.

    So eventually I reacted. He’d called antiwar my “obsession,” and I began wearing that label as a badge of honor.

    Nearly two years after I once “rebutted” him, he’s still crying over it. I must have made some excellent points.

    If you compare our blogs, he’s written far more about me than I’ve written about him. So who’s obsessed?

    Chris, I hope you return to the LP. We need your influence.

  112. Chuck Moulton

    I agree with Brian that the Bylaws are ambiguous, but disagree about how to resolve that ambiguity.

    If I were on the LNC I would have voted to overturn the ruling of the chair because common sense and tact should trump a strict construction of murky Bylaws here.

    As an ordinary LP member, I supported sending this matter to the Judicial Committee to get the matter resolved definitively under our appeal procedures.

    But that said, I have a lot more respect for the people in this conversation who admit there is ambiguity than those on either side of the debate who think the Bylaws are clear as day in favor of their side and think anyone who disagrees with them must be a crazy lunatic. There are many people in the latter category on both sides of the issue.

  113. Robert Capozzi

    jd, yes, thanks, I get that.

    how’s your campaign of hate and alienation working for ya? attracting a lot of folks to BTP with your approach?

    (pause)

    I didn’t think so.

  114. Robert Capozzi

    jd, I’m concerned about you. This Inner McVeigh you seem to share with us regularly seems pronounced. I urge you to get help…soon.

  115. Michael H. Wilson

    Yup the bylaws sure do need fixin’. All the years I have been in the LP we spend more time at convention on bylaws then all most anything else.

  116. Brian Holtz

    Mike, your list @121 is broken in two ways. First, as I already pointed out, a region can remove its rep under 8.7 — a fact your list glaringly omits. Second, your list also omits the fact that any LNC member gets automatically removed by missing consecutive meetings. Even Mr. Knapp says that removal for consecutive absences is a different process — with a different voting threshold — than removal for cause, so if you think that absences fall under the for-cause process, then you need to start aiming your insults in Tom’s direction instead of mine.

    My contention is that automatic removal by failure to maintain qualification is exactly analogous to automatic removal by missing consecutive meetings. There is nothing “convoluted” about that contention. You tell me who effects the removal for missing consecutive meetings, and that is the answer to your question @121 about who effects removal for failure to maintain 8.4 qualifications.

    It’s flatly false to say that “the Secretary claimed that arbitrary power [of removal]”. What the Secretary did was cite the Bylaw that “a National Committee member shall be a sustaining member of the Party”, and then act in his capacity as “the recording officer of the Party” who shall “keep such minutes and records as necessary”. The Secretary did not claim the power to remove somebody because of a bad hairstyle, for example. You’re confusing an “arbitrary” power of removal with the power of the recording officer to record that a very specific kind of self-disqualification has taken place.

    Just as I predicted, you again resorted to insults rather than confront the second fundamental principle of interpretation (RRONR p.570): “When a provision of the bylaws is susceptible to two meanings, one of which conflicts with or renders absurd another bylaw provision, and the other meaning does not, the latter must be taken as the true meaning.” You can keep putting your fingers in your ears and singing that you don’t care about the absurdities your reading creates regarding regional reps, but closing your eyes doesn’t make you invisible — as even my 3-year-old has figured out.

    Sipos is so cute. He follows me around on IPR like a stray dog, barking at me in response to my conversations with other people (like right here) — and then he claims that _I_ am obsessed with _him_. I don’t even read Sipos’s blog, and I ignore as much of his LPCA newspaper as I can, but Sipos apparently reads my blogs somewhat closely. Yes, every time I swat his nose with a rolled-up newspaper in an IPR comment, I turn that into a blog posting, but only because I log every single comment I make on any blog anywhere at my log-blog More.LibertarianIntelligence.com. The simple fact is that nearly everything I say to or about Sipos is a direct response to him barking something at or about me, whereas Sipos continuously follows me around IPR comment threads and barks at me in the middle of my conversations with others. Down, boy, down.

    Sipos’s “freaked out” characterization is a good example of what passes for reporting in his LPCA tabloid. I invite readers to test that characterization by reading my blog posting in question:
    http://knowinghumans.net/2007/08/cfs-new-antiwar-obsession-still-wont.html
    Sipos the drive-by pot-shot artist has of course never substantively replied to the arguments I make therein. He’s embarrassed that I have on a few occasions since then pointed out this failure, so he says I’m “crying”. Readers can decide for themselves which of us is being puerile here.

  117. Chris Bennett

    Brian, It seems like you’re the one with the unbalanced testosterone levels here. Besides liberty and freedom can be contagious and Sipos in his right mind is allowed to be overzealous on an issue he values at heart which is the anti-war issue. What is your passion Brian? Are you so pro-interventionist that us non-interventionists make you puke? Your geo-libertarian views are no better than the fools that hijacked the LP. You obsession of the current leadership of the LNC is poisonous to the real advancement of the party I once called home.

  118. Brian Holtz

    Chris, Mr. Sipos is perfectly free to devote 100% of his own resources to his give-me-liberty-or-give-me-peace obsession. Similarly, I’m free to disagree with him that the LPCA should pay him $3850 per year to devote to his obsession something close to 1/3 of the discretionary space in a newsletter that costs another $13K/yr to lay out, print, and mail.

    My passion is to unite all the voters who seek both more personal liberty and more economic liberty behind the choices that will most move public policy in a libertarian direction. That’s why I’ve never used my positions on the LPUS Platform committee or the LPCA Executive Committee or the LPCA newsletter to try to get the Party to endorse what I freely admit are still minority principles within the movement, like geolibertarianism and liberventionism. In all such internal disputes, all I’ve ever sought is tolerance for disagreement among principled Libertarians — no matter how much people like you insult and vilify me for doing so.

  119. Chris Bennett

    How does interventionism advance freedom and liberty? Do you have any compassion for the innocent people our government kills every day including here in the States. If you don’t have any compassion then the problem is not us, it’s YOU!

  120. Brian Holtz

    I didn’t say “intervention”, I said “libervention”. Sorry, I’m not interested in yet another IPR thread being hijacked by the give-me-liberty-or-give-me-peace caucus. My standard essay on the question has been sitting for two years at http://knowinghumans.net/2007/04/defending-libervention-in-iraq.html. I have never seen a single attempt at a systematic answer to it. If you want to find or write one, feel free. Otherwise, any future silence here from me on this topic is just me repeating that my arguments there remained unanswered.

  121. Brian Holtz

    A member of the Judicial Committee writes to me complaining of “misinformation” from me about JudCom at http://libertarianintelligence.com/2009/05/california-libertarians-appoint.html. Here is my response:

    The part about Tom Campbell was of course a joke. The part about JudCom follows straightforwardly from http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/04/statement-from-the-lp-judicial-committee-regarding-wrights/

    If 8.4 is not automatic in the same way as 8.5.3 is, then 8.4 is effectively just an optional guideline in the case of regional reps, and the whim of a region to ignore 8.4 is apparently unreviewable by anybody. Such whims are certainly not reviewable by the JudCom, per its jurisdiction defined at 9.2. And the LNC clearly has no 8.5.1 for-cause power to remove regional reps for an 8.4 violation. So if what I wrote is “misinformation”, please quote the Bylaws provision that can make a region adhere to 8.4 if it doesn’t want to. You can’t, because no such provision exists. Of course, the spectre of a region ignoring 8.4 is just as unlikely as the bogeyman of a rogue Secretary de-credentialing at-large reps under false pretenses. At least the latter case can be trivially corrected by the JudCom, but all the people who are shouting about the latter bogeyman lose their tongues when asked about the former spectre, which doesn’t even have a route to remediation.

    Sorry, but you guys have construed the Bylaws in such a way as to make 8.4 absurd in the context of regional reps. The JudCom apparently overlooked the second fundamental principle of interpretation (RRONR p.570): “When a provision of the bylaws is susceptible to two meanings, one of which conflicts with or renders absurd another bylaw provision, and the other meaning does not, the latter must be taken as the true meaning.”

  122. Michael Seebeck

    Brian, for the 2,342nd or so time: REGIONAL REPS ARE NOT AT ISSUE HERE, AT-LARGE REPS ARE! So quit trying to change the subject.

    There’s a reason why you’re not on the JudComm or Bylaws, Brian. Your tortured lack of logic and argument twisting is reason by itself.

    You obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

  123. Michael Seebeck

    Chris @133, Brian is not worth it, really, but since he never learned when to admit defeat and simply shut up, the more he talks, the worse he looks.

    He’s kind of like Catholic Trotskyist in that the only people who take him seriously is him.

    As for me, I need to get back to my current LP project of the Chris Agrella for Congress campaign….insert segue here.

    Forgive the shameless plug for our candidate, but he can really use donations for his campaign as well as volunteers. He kicked some major ass at the league of Women’s Voters’ Forum on Wednesday, getting the most raucous ovations (and there were only 4 LP members out of a crowd of 120, so it wasn’t us!), and he’s making a lot of noise against his 8 Democrat and 3 Republican opponents. Check out http://agrella4congress.org for more and to help out!

  124. Jim Davidson

    @144 And your standard essay can continue to sit there. You aren’t our professor, we aren’t your students, and we don’t have any obligation to complete reading assignments.

    Libervention costs lives. Libervention is Brian Holz-in-his-thinking code for “let’s slaughter civilians in other countries as often as possible, because committing atrocities makes people pay attention, and not enough people are visiting my web pages.”

  125. Brian Holtz

    Mike, reading absurdity into the Bylaws — as you’re doing, and as I’m not — is always an issue. You can look it up on p.570 of Robert’s Rules. You can run from it, but you can’t hide.

    Or maybe your edition says “When a provision of the bylaws is susceptible to two meanings, one of which conflicts with or renders absurd another bylaw provision that Mike Seebeck is willing to talk about, and the other meaning does not, the latter must be taken as the true meaning.”

    After all, I’ve heard there were some mistakes in the most recent print run… 🙂

    I’ll happily “admit defeat” when you explain either 1) how you’re not rendering 8.4 absurd with respect to regional reps, or 2) why the general principle of interpretation I quoted from p.570 does not apply here.

    You can’t do either, and you know it. And so you shout insults at me.

  126. Brian Holtz

    Jim, Chris asked me a question. I told him where the answer is. He’s under no obligation to read it, and he’s as free to celebrate his own ignoring/ignorance of it as you are to celebrate yours.

  127. Thomas L. Knapp

    It’s not a matter of “rendering.” 8.4 is absurd with respect to regional reps (how many times have I answered that question now? When are you going to admit that I’ve done so?).

    Imputing an implicit plenary power of removal to the Secretary, absent any evidence whatsoever in the bylaws to support that imputation, in no way affects the absurdity you allude to.

    “When a provision of the bylaws is susceptible to two meanings” is not Parliamentese for “when there’s a clear meaning meaning of one bylaws provision on one hand, and a tangentially related absurdity inherent in another bylaws provision on the other hand, and Brian Holtz is in the middle trying to use the absurdity to replace the clear meaning with some shit that he made up.”

  128. Liberty's Wing

    Bruce Cohen @34 –
    “I am truly hoping that from now on:
    Mister Wrights will be a positive force, instead of a negative one… And that he will ‘give or get’ to the LP… And enthusiastically, not grudgingly.”

    Lee Wrights gives enthusiastically – he works tirelessly for both the LP and for Liberty.

    “It’s certainly something expected of any Board member of any Membership/Donor suported organization. This would include the LP, the NRA, the Heritage Foundation, CATO, Reason, etc…”

    Wrights doesn’t belong to the Board of Directors of a non-profit company. He’s a representative to the national committee of a political party. That’s what we elected him for for. He does it. We didn’t elect him to give money. Anyone who knows him knows he doesn’t have money, because he works his butt off for almost no money – but to actually achieve more freedom.

    “Now is the time for Mister Wrights to step up and do the real work he was elected to do, not to argue the fine points of Robert’s Rules, or tell the other 17 Members how they are wrong and he is “right”.”

    Apparently you didn’t vote for him. Those of us who did voted for him to represent us. He does it well.

    “Being an LP Board Member is primarily about growing the organization, not about getting in people’s faces or telling them how to think.

    I am pessimistic about Mister Wrights giving or getting, much less recruiting.”

    How much have you GIVEN or GOT? This is not a requirement for the job, nor a duty. Governing the party is. Aaron Starr’s ideas about what the job entails do not a truth make. Read your bylaws. LP.org/bylaws, I think.

  129. Brian Holtz

    Yes, Tom, I agree that your reading of 8.4 “is absurd with respect to regional reps”. What I don’t hear you claiming is “8.4 is absurd if we read it as being automatic in the way that the Judicial Committee unanimously reads 8.5.3 as being automatic”. Do you dare say that? Of course not, because that would be actually disagreeing with my argument, and you don’t want to touch my actual argument with a ten-foot pole. 🙂

    I’m sorry, but there is just nothing “clear” in 8.4 about the process for enforcing the rule it sets forth. 8.4 no more describes the process for its enforcement than 8.5.3 does, and yet the Judicial Committee unanimously says that 8.5.3 is “automatic” — even though it is in the same 8.5 subsection as the for-cause removal power defined in 8.5.1. If 8.5.3 can be “automatic”, so can 8.4.

    There is nothing “tangential” about the absurdity you admit that you read in 8.4. Fully eight of our thirteen LNC reps are regional reps, and you don’t dare deny that 8.4 applies to all thirteen. Instead, you claim it’s “tangential” that you read 8.4 as effectively just a polite suggestion for 62% of the LNC reps it purports to be a rule about.

    “Imputing an implicit plenary power of removal to the Secretary” is just a recycling of Seebeck’s straw man, changing the word “arbitrary” to “plenary”. I already dismantled that straw man, thus:

    The Secretary did not claim the power to remove somebody because of a bad hairstyle, for example. You’re confusing an “arbitrary” power of removal with the power of the recording officer to record that a very specific kind of disqualification has taken place.

    I don’t impute, I quote. Again: the Bylaws say that “a National Committee member shall be a sustaining member of the Party”, and that “the Secretary shall be the recording officer of the Party” and shall “keep such minutes and records as necessary”. Necessary for what? Well, necessary for him to report who is a sustaining member, for example.

    It remains hilarious for you to talk about the Secretary’s records as “allegations” when Wrights himself admitted that his sustaining membership had lapsed. I recall that there is a long-standing personal beef between you and our current Secretary, and I guess you would dearly love to create the urban legend that he has claimed “plenary power” to remove any LNC rep who looks at him wrong. I suspect that’s why you’re lashing yourself to the mainmast of your sinking argument, and riding it down to the depths of absurdity. 🙂

  130. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “Yes, Tom, I agree that your reading of 8.4 ‘is absurd with respect to regional reps.’

    It’s not “my reading.” It’s any plain reading when viewed in light of 8.7, which allows only the regions to evaluate the eligibility of their representatives. That’s a clear conflict, i.e. an absurdity, which needs to be resolved through amendment.

    “What I don’t hear you claiming is ‘8.4 is absurd if we read it as being automatic in the way that the Judicial Committee unanimously reads 8.5.3 as being automatic’. Do you dare say that?”

    Yes, I dare say that, although I consider it inconsequential, since nobody who can parse English would read it that way.

    The Judicial Committee interprets 8.5.3 as being “automatic” because 8.5.3 includes language making itself automatic (“shall be deemed”) in contrast to 8.4 (which includes no such language) and as an exception to the previous language 8.5 applies to all other causes, presumptively including the causes in 8.4.

    In other words, there are rules, there is a method for dealing with violations of those rules, and there is an exception method for dealing with one particular type of violation of those rules. Attempting to apply the exception to anything other than that which it claims to specifically apply to isn’t something that can be done on a plain reading.

    “the Judicial Committee unanimously says that 8.5.3 is ‘automatic’ — even though it is in the same 8.5 subsection as the for-cause removal power defined in 8.5.1. If 8.5.3 can be ‘automatic’, so can 8.4.”

    Except that 8.5.3 designates itself as “automatic,” while 8.4 does not so designate itself and is followed by a process for implementation.

    “There is nothing ‘tangential’ about the absurdity you admit that you read in 8.4.”

    The absurdity is not in 8.4. The absurdity is in 8.4 in light of 8.7. Since 8.7 applies only to regional reps, it most certainly is tangential to the issue of an at-large rep.

    “Fully eight of our thirteen LNC reps are regional reps, and you don’t dare deny that 8.4 applies to all thirteen.”

    According to the bylaws, 8.4 certainly does apply to all 13, except that 8.7 says that it doesn’t. The absurdity is in the bylaws, not in a particular reading of the bylaws.

    “Instead, you claim it’s ‘tangential’ that you read 8.4 as effectively just a polite suggestion for 62% of the LNC reps it purports to be a rule about.”

    Incorrect. I claim it is tangential because the case at issue does not concern a regional rep, and therefore the absurdity has no real bearing on the case.

    “‘Imputing an implicit plenary power of removal to the Secretary’ is just a recycling of Seebeck’s straw man, changing the word ‘arbitrary’ to ‘plenary.'”

    Arbitrary and plenary are two very different words with two very different meanings.

    As you point out, Mr. Sullentrup did NOT attempt to claim or exercise an arbitrary (“Depending on will or discretion; not governed by any fixed rules”) power to remove an LNC member. Rather, he claimed and attempted to exercise a plenary (“Full; entire; complete; absolute”) power to remove an LNC member in enforcement of a fixed rule.

    The problem with that is that he possesses no such power. Nor does he possess in full the power you impute to him — “the power of the recording officer to record that a very specific kind of disqualification has taken place.”

    The secretary’s records are in fact subject to the examination and approval of the body, as anyone who’s attended an LNC meeting and stayed long enough to get past the front matter of the agenda, “approval of the minutes” knows. They are not official records of the party until such time as they receive that approval — until that point, they’re effectively just personal notes which he intends to submit for approval as party records.

    If the secretary had recorded Mr. Wrights’s putative disqualification, and if the body had, at its subsequent meeting, made that record official by approving his record of doing so, then the next step would have been for someone to move to suspend Mr. Wrights on grounds of ineligibility.

    That, however, is not what happened. Mr. Sullentrup made a personal note to himself that Mr. Wrights was no longer eligible to serve on the LNC. Then he acted to have Mr. Wrights’s name removed from the party’s web site, and to have Mr. Wrights’s name removed from the LNC’s working email list. In other words, he attempted to remove Mr. Wrights from the LNC.

    As of the time he did so, his assertion of Mr. Wrights’s ineligibility had neither been approved as a minuted fact by the LNC, nor tried by the LNC pursuant to a motion to suspend. The chair then acted to quash the LNC’s authority to evaluate and accept or reject the secretary’s records, or to hear, evaluate and possibly act upon the claim made in those records.

    “It remains hilarious for you to talk about the Secretary’s records as ‘allegations’ when Wrights himself admitted that his sustaining membership had lapsed.”

    To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Wrights made no such admission to the LNC while the matter was on its floor. Nor has the matter been open on its floor for any such admission to be entered into the record either by him or at second hand. Therefore, with respect to the proceedings of the LNC, no such admission exists and the secretary’s assertions or allegations thus far remain merely assertions or allegations, since the body has had no opportunity to examine them or approve them.

    “I recall that there is a long-standing personal beef between you and our current Secretary”

    Actually, no — the beef is entirely on his side. I did something wrong once. It made him angry. He was right to be angry. I even spoke in favor of his motion to the MOLP state committee to censure me over the matter. He hasn’t moved on. I’ve tried to.

    I can only read your attempt to bring Mr. Sullentrup’s sad personal obsession with me into the matter, and to further theorize a reciprocal obsession on my part, as a tacit admission that you’re near the bottom of your barrel of red herrings.

  131. Thomas L. Knapp

    Note:

    According to my source(s), the Judicial Committee has rejected the delegate petition of appeal on this matter, on the grounds that its request for relief is moot (Mr. Wrights having been “reinstated” [sic]).

    According to the same source(s), the committee has accepted as within its jurisdiction one question from Mr. Wrights’s personal appeal:

    “Does a lapse in dues require a ‘for cause’ removal described in Article 8, section 5?”

    So, I guess we’ll find out how they read the bylaws 😉

  132. Michael H. Wilson

    Obviously the bylaws committee need to rewrite this section of the bylaws and simplify it; who is eligible to run, what to do when eligibilty lapses, how to remove a member, etc.

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