Memo To Libertarian Party Judicial Committee

A memo to the LP Judicial Committee from Dr. Jim Lark, a regional representative on the Libertarian National Committee and a former Chair of the LP.


To:  Judicial Committee of the Libertarian Party

From:  James W. Lark, III

Region 5S Representative, Libertarian National Committee

Subject:  Comments concerning the appeal of R. Lee Wrights to the Judicial Committee

Date:  May 15, 2009

Dear Ms. Bennett, Mr. Cobb, Mr. Hacker, Mr. Nicks, Mr. Nolan, Mr. Sarwark, and Dr. Stevens:

I am writing to offer some comments for your consideration concerning the matter of the appeal of R. Lee Wrights to the Judicial Committee of the Libertarian Party.  I hope you will find my comments helpful as you entertain the appeal.

Allow me to preface my comments by offering my thanks to you for your service as members of the Judicial Committee.  I greatly appreciate your service to the Libertarian Party.  In particular, allow me to thank you in advance for your consideration of my comments.  I apologize for the length of this material.

Henceforth I shall frequently use the abbreviation “JC” to refer to the Judicial Committee and the abbreviation “LNC” to refer to the Libertarian National Committee.  Also, I shall frequently refer to Mr. Wrights as the appellant.

1)  Allow me to provide some background information to the Judicial Committee in the interest of full disclosure regarding my perspective in this matter.

*  I have the honor of serving as the Region 5S Representative on the Libertarian National Committee during the current (2008-2010) term.  I represent the affiliate parties of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

I have previously served as an LNC member in the following capacities:

At-large Representative, 1998-2000 term

Chairman, 2000-2002 term

Region 5E Representative, 2004-2006 term (representing the affiliate parties of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia

Region 5 Representative, 2006-2008 term (representing the affiliate parties of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia)

*  I have known R. Lee Wrights since December, 2000.  I regard him as a friend (I believe he regards me in the same manner), and he and I have served together on the LNC during two terms (2004-2006, 2008-2010).  In May 2002 I received the Liberty for All Founder’s Award from Mr. Wrights for my service to the Libertarian Party.  (Mr. Wrights is the founder and editor of the Liberty for All website.)

In addition, I voted for Mr. Wrights in the at-large representative election during the 2002 national convention, in the Vice Chairman election during the 2004 national convention, and in the at-large representative election during the 2008 national convention.  Also, I voted in favor of the recent motion to appoint him to serve as an at-large representative in the LNC.  (This motion was approved by the LNC through an e-mail ballot; the vote concluded on May 3, 2009.)

*  The comments I offer in this matter are my own.  My comments should not be interpreted as representing the official position of the LNC or the chairs of the Region 5S affiliates.

2)  According to the message Ms. Bennett sent to LNC members on May 8, 2009, the JC has decided to consider the following specific issue from among several issues raised by the appellant:

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

(I have enclosed Ms. Bennett’s message below as Appendix 1.  I have enclosed as Appendix 2 Mr. Wrights’ message to Ms. Bennett on Apr. 17, 2009 announcing the appeal.)

In my opinion, the most appropriate answer to this question is “no.” More precisely, in my opinion, the following constitutes the most appropriate interpretation of the Bylaws in this situation:

(a)  A “lapse in dues” by an LNC member constitutes a failure to satisfy the eligibility conditions to serve as a member of the LNC.  The conditions for eligibility to serve as an LNC member are specified in Article 8, section 4 of the Bylaws; specifically:

    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.

As I interpret Article 8, section 4, the phrase “A National Committee member shall be a sustaining member of the Party” means that among other things, an LNC member must be a sustaining member at the time of election to the LNC and must maintain the status of sustaining member throughout the term of service. A “lapse in dues” in this context implies that the LNC member does not satisfy at least one eligibility condition for membership. I believe the failure of the appellant to maintain eligibility to serve as an LNC member implies that the appellant’s LNC membership ended as of the time the appellant’s eligibility to serve on the LNC ended.

(b)  The loss of LNC membership by someone who fails to satisfy the conditions of eligibility to serve on the LNC is not a matter that requires deliberation and a vote by the LNC (in the case of officers and at-large members) or the appropriate region (in the case of a regional representative).  To hold otherwise would allow the LNC or a region to vote to allow someone to serve as an LNC member even if that member does not satisfy the eligibility conditions specified in Article 8, section 4 of the Bylaws.

In addition, the failure of the appellant to maintain eligibility should not be regarded as requiring a “for cause” deliberation and vote of the type described in Article 8, section 5 of the Bylaws.  This is due to the fact that the phrase “for cause” as used in Article 8, section 5 is clearly described in Robert’s Rules of Order (Newly Revised) as referring to matters of misconduct or neglect of duty, not to a failure to satisfy eligibility conditions for LNC membership.

In what follows I shall endeavor to explain and justify my opinions concerning this matter.

3)  As noted above, Article 8, section 4 of the Bylaws specifies the conditions for eligibility to serve on the LNC:

    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.

In addition, Article 5, section 6, provides the following:

    Only sustaining members shall be counted for delegate apportionment and National Committee representation. Only sustaining members shall be eligible to hold National Party office or be a candidate for President or Vice-President.

(Article 5, section 3 defines the term “sustaining member of the Party” as any Party member who has given at least $25.00 to the Party in the prior twelve months, or who is a life member.)

It is possible that the phrase “National Party office” should be interpreted narrowly to refer only to the officers of the Party (i.e., chair, vice chair, secretary, and treasurer).  If the phrase is interpreted more broadly (as I believe it should in this case) to mean all LNC members, then the “Only sustaining members shall be eligible to hold National Party office” phrase in Article 5, section 6 reinforces the “shall be a sustaining member of the Party” phrase in Article 8, section 4.  (I have enclosed Articles 5, 7, 8, 9, and 13 of the Bylaws as Appendix 3.)

In reading Article 8, section 4, I believe there are essentially two ways in which the phrase “A National Committee member shall be a sustaining member of the Party” may legitimately be interpreted vis-à-vis the condition of sustaining membership:

Interpretation (i):  In order to serve as an LNC member, one must be a sustaining member of the Party at the time of election, and one must remain a sustaining member at all times throughout the term.  Failure to be a sustaining member at the time of election disqualifies a person from being elected to the LNC.  Failure to satisfy the membership eligibility conditions at all times throughout the term implies that one’s LNC membership ends when one fails to satisfy the membership eligibility conditions.

Interpretation (ii):  In order to serve as an LNC member, one must be a sustaining member of the Party at the time of election, but need not maintain one’s sustaining membership at all times throughout the term in order to avoid losing one’s LNC membership.

In my opinion, (i) is the appropriate interpretation.  I believe the most natural interpretation of the phrases “A National Committee member shall be a sustaining member of the Party” and “Only sustaining members shall be eligible to hold National Party office” is that one must satisfy the condition of being a sustaining member at all times during a given term.  Indeed, I find it difficult to interpret the wording “Only sustaining members shall be eligible to hold National Party office” in any way other than as a requirement that an LNC must be a sustaining member at all times during a term.

In addition, since the LP members assembled in convention evidently decided to require that someone be a sustaining member in order to be elected to an LNC position, it would strike me as very odd for them to relax that requirement once the person is elected.  Moreover, if the delegates wanted interpretation (ii) to be in effect, it would have been much clearer for Article 8, section 4 to be written along the following lines:

    A National Committee member shall be a sustaining member of the Party at the time of election, and shall not be the candidate of any party except the Party or an affiliate.

If one agrees that interpretation (i) is the appropriate interpretation, then the failure to maintain one’s sustaining membership at a given time during the term implies that one has failed to maintain eligibility to serve as an LNC member.  As far as I am aware, the appellant has not contested the point that he failed to maintain his sustaining membership for roughly one week.

4)  In a message to Ms. Bennett dated April 17, 2009, the appellant writes the following:

    Jurisdictional Claim.
    Article 8, Section 5 and Article 9, Section 2c of the Bylaws of the Libertarian Party, give the Judicial Committee the power to hear appeals on the suspension of National Committee members-at-large.  I was elected to an At-Large position at our 2008 Denver convention and was recently suspended without the prerequisite vote of the LNC.  I am formally appealing this action.

    Basis of Appeal

    On April 14 of this year, I was notified by the Secretary Bob Sullentrup (Exhibit 1 sent in follow-up e-mail) that 1) my membership dues “lapsed” as of April 7; and 2) I was taken off the LNC as of April 8 because I was no longer a sustaining member as required by Article 8, Section 4 of the bylaws.

    My suspension was not the result of a “for cause” vote by the LNC, as required by Article 8, Section 5 of the bylaws.  Instead, it apparently was made by the Secretary and affirmed by Chair Bill Redpath.

As I understand the appellant’s message, he is asserting that the LNC was required to deliberate and vote to remove him according to the procedure described in Article 8, section 5 of the Bylaws.  Article 8, section 5 reads as follows:

    The National Committee may, for cause, suspend any member-at-large by a vote of 2/3 of the entire National Committee. The suspended member-at-large may challenge the suspension by an appeal in writing to the Judicial Committee within seven days of receipt of notice of suspension. Failure to appeal within seven days shall confirm the suspension and bar any later challenge or appeal.
    The Judicial Committee shall set a date for hearing the appeal between 20 and 40 days of receipt of the appeal and shall notify all interested persons, which persons shall have the right to appear and present evidence and argument. At the hearing the burden of persuasion shall rest upon the appellant. The Judicial Committee shall either affirm the National Committee’s suspension of the member-at-large or order reinstatement of the member-at-large within 30 days of the hearing. Failure of the Judicial Committee to rule within 30 days shall constitute an affirmation of the National Committee’s suspension of the member-at-large. At such times as the suspension is final, the office in question shall be deemed vacant.
    A National Committee member who fails to attend two consecutive regular meetings of
    the National Committee shall be deemed to have vacated his or her seat. The appointing
    body shall be free to reappoint the member who vacated the seat.

Since the appellant’s assertion is not specifically vitiated by the literal language of the Bylaws, it is not certain that the appellant’s assertion is incorrect.  However, I believe the assertion is based upon at least one assumption of a highly questionable nature.  Moreover, I believe a better interpretation of the Bylaws exists that (unlike the appellant’s assertion) is completely consonant with both the literal language of the Bylaws and Robert’s Rules of Order (Newly Revised)

(a)  As indicated previously, I believe the appropriate interpretation of Article 8, section 4, is that this section specifies the conditions of eligibility for service as an LNC member.  If so, then I believe the Bylaws do not permit either the LNC or a region the latitude to allow someone who fails to satisfy the eligibility conditions to continue as a member of the LNC.

In contrast, if one believes the LNC must conduct a “for cause” vote to remove an officer or an at-large representative who failed to satisfy the LNC eligibility conditions, then one allows the LNC to have such latitude with respect to both officers and at-large representatives.  Indeed, since the LNC usually has at most 17 members, then a negative vote of only six LNC members in such a “for cause” procedure would suffice to allow someone to serve as an officer or an at-large representative, even though that someone fails to satisfy the eligibility conditions.

(b)  Article 8, section 5 clearly states that the LNC may remove an at-large representative “for cause” through the mechanism of a 2/3rds vote, and describes aspects of the process involved.  (Article 7, section 8 authorizes the same power for the LNC to remove an officer.)  However, interpreting the Bylaws so as to require the LNC to employ a “for cause” process to deal with matters arising from failure to satisfy the eligibility conditions specified in Article 8, section 4 is problematic.

Specifically, the phrase “for cause” is a term of art used in both legal and parliamentary matters.  The phrase “for cause” is used in the Bylaws; however, the phrase is not defined in the Bylaws, nor is its meaning illustrated in the Bylaws.  Article 13 of the Bylaws (entitled “Parliamentary Authority”) reads as follows:

    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.

Given the language of Article 13, I believe it is appropriate for the Judicial Committee to turn to Robert’s for guidance in the interpretation of the phrase “for cause.” Such guidance is available in Chapter XX , entitled “Disciplinary Procedures.”

Specifically, in the section of Chapter XX entitled “Remedies Against Misconduct or Dereliction of Duty in Office,” the meaning of the phrase “for cause” can be inferred from the following passage (which appears on p. 642):

    Except as the bylaws may provide otherwise, any regularly elected officer of a permanent society can be deposed from office for cause – that is, misconduct or neglect of duty in office – as follows:

(I have enclosed the section of Chapter XX entitled “Remedies Against Misconduct or Derelection of Duty in Office” as Appendix 4.)

Based upon this material in Robert’s, I believe the appropriate interpretation of the phrase “for cause” in our Bylaws is that “for cause” processes involve misconduct or neglect of duty in office, not matters involving failure to satisfy eligibility conditions.  Incidentally, it is my understanding that the phrase “for cause” appears only once in Robert’s Rules of Order (Newly Revised): the passage on p. 642 cited above.

One might reasonably inquire whether failure to satisfy the eligibility conditions for LNC membership should be regarded as a form of misconduct or neglect of duty.  However, I believe that to regard failure to satisfy eligibility requirements as either misconduct or neglect (or dereliction) of duty in office is to redefine the generally accepted usages of the phrases misconduct and neglect (or dereliction) of duty in office.

5)  In a message to LNC chairman Bill Redpath and LNC secretary Bob Sullentrup on April 30, 2009, Ms. Bennett provided the following information:

    The consensus of the Judicial Committee is that there is no automatic removal or suspension of Libertarian National Committee members under Bylaws Article 8, section 4. The ability to remove or suspend an At-large member must either be done for cause under Article 8, section 5, paragraph 1, with a 2/3 vote of the entire Committee, or automatically under Article 8, section 5, paragraph 3.

    Our consensus is that Mr. Wrights is still a member of the National Committee. We understand that mail ballots are taking place regarding this issue. Our further action is dependent on the outcome of these ballots.

It is true that Article 8, section 4 does not contain language specifically stating that an LNC member who fails to satisfy the eligibility conditions to serve on the LNC is automatically removed (or suspended).  However, the absence of such specific language does not imply that there is no automatic removal (or suspension) for failure to satisfy the eligibility conditions.  Indeed, if interpretation (i) of Article 8, section 4 is correct, it is not necessary for the section to contain such specific language.  One may reasonably interpret a failure to satisfy eligibility conditions as implying an automatic end of one’s LNC membership.  (As a matter of personal preference, I believe Article 8, section 4 should be amended to include such specific language.)

However, even if one believes the absence of such specific language in Article 8, section 4 implies there is no automatic removal or suspension for failure to satisfy the eligibility conditions, this implication does not justify the conclusion that a “for cause” deliberation and vote described in Article 8, section 5 is necessary for removal.

As noted previously, according to Robert’s Rules of Order, the phrase “for cause” refers to matters of misconduct and neglect of duty in office.  Thus, even if one believes some type of deliberation and vote by the LNC is necessary to deal with a member’s failure to satisfy the eligibility conditions in Article 8, section 4, one need not conclude that the “for cause” process specified in Article 8, section 5 is an appropriate process to use.

For example, one can reasonably believe the absence of language in Article 8, section 4 specifying automatic removal (or suspension) for failure to satisfy the eligibility conditions

(a) constitutes an unfortunate lacuna in the statement of Article 8, section 4, and

(b) this lacuna must be corrected via amendment of the Bylaws by the LP membership assembled in convention, rather than by misapplying Article 8, section 5 (which deals with matters of misconduct and neglect of duty in office, not failure to satisfy eligibility conditions).

6)  It should be noted that the Bylaws already provide for a “deliberate and vote” mechanism (albeit of an “ex post” nature, rather than an “ex ante” nature) for the LNC to deal with the failure of a member to satisfy the LNC membership eligibility conditions during a term of office.  Specifically, should someone’s LNC membership end due to a failure to satisfy the eligibility conditions, that someone can take steps to regain eligibility and then seek appointment to the LNC by the appropriate body (the LNC in the case of officers and at-large representatives, the appropriate region in the case of a regional representative).

This “deliberate and vote” mechanism does not suffer from the problem of applying a “for cause” process to a situation that Robert’s Rules suggests is not properly the subject of a “for cause” process.  Indeed, the appellant has already been appointed to an at-large position via this mechanism.

7)  I am unaware of any precedent in the history of the Libertarian Party that provides guidance to us in the interpretation of our Bylaws or the manner in which Robert’s Rules of Order (Newly Revised) are applied to this situation.

8)  In reviewing the appeal, I believe the appellant has failed to make a convincing case for his interpretation of the Bylaws.  Indeed, I believe the appellant’s appeal is critically dependent upon at least one highly questionable assumption.  As far as I am aware, the validity of this assumption has not been demonstrated in any manner; in particular, the validity of this assumption has not been demonstrated by reference to either the language of our Bylaws or the language of Robert’s Rules of Order (Newly Revised).  Moreover, this questionable assumption is on its face at odds with the meaning of the “for cause” language described in Robert’s.

I believe the interpretation of the Bylaws I have offered is both consistent with the language of our Bylaws and Robert’s Rules, and provides a coherent means of dealing with matters arising under Article 8, section 4.  Since the burden of persuasion rests with the appellant, then absent a clearly compelling case supporting the appellant’s appeal, I believe the Judicial Committee should deny the appeal.

Allow me to emphasize a point upon which I have touched on several occasions.  I hesitate to state that the appellant’s key assertion (that a “for cause” vote by the LNC is necessary for removal in the case of failure to satisfy the LNC eligibility criteria) is clearly false.  This is because despite the various problematic aspects of the appellant’s assertion, the assertion is not specifically vitiated by the literal language of the Bylaws or Robert’s Rules of Order (Newly Revised).  Since I believe there is a better interpretation of the Bylaws that is (a) consonant with both the language of the Bylaws and Robert’s Rules and (b) provides a coherent means of dealing with Article 8, section 4 matters, it is more appropriate to state that I believe the appellant has failed to provide compelling evidence to overcome the burden of persuasion.

Again, thanks to you for your work for the Libertarian Party, and for your consideration of my comments.  I hope you find these comments helpful to you in your deliberations.

Sincerely,

Jim Lark

James W. Lark, III

Region 5S Representative, Libertarian National Committee

158 thoughts on “Memo To Libertarian Party Judicial Committee

  1. Thomas L. Knapp

    I’m disappointed in the quality of Dr. Lark’s argument — I expected that if he took up the issue, he’d offer something more substantive than the Gang of Eight did in their “brief.” Instead, he just reiterated their argument:

    “The loss of LNC membership by someone who fails to satisfy the conditions of eligibility to serve on the LNC is not a matter that requires deliberation and a vote by the LNC (in the case of officers and at-large members) or the appropriate region (in the case of a regional representative). To hold otherwise would allow the LNC or a region to vote to allow someone to serve as an LNC member even if that member does not satisfy the eligibility conditions specified in Article 8, section 4 of the Bylaws.”

    In English that translates to “the bylaws must be pseudo-self-executing … BECA– USE YOU CAN’T TRUST THE LNC TO EXECUTE THEM.”

  2. Chuck Moulton

    Dr. Jim Lark wrote:

    Based upon this material in Robert’s, I believe the appropriate interpretation of the phrase “for cause” in our Bylaws is that “for cause” processes involve misconduct or neglect of duty in office, not matters involving failure to satisfy eligibility conditions.

    I greatly respect Dr. Lark, having served alongside him for two LNC terms — once as the alternate in the region he served as representative. This memo seems to be objective and reasonably thorough.

    However, I disagree with the implicit assertion that failure to satisfy an eligibility condition cannot be a “for cause” condition. In my opinion is it completely reasonable to classify maintaining eligibility (e.g., preventing lapse of dues) as a “duty of office”. If maintaining eligibility is a duty of office, then failing to maintain eligibility would logically be “neglect of duty in office”. Thus, failing to maintain eligibility would constitute “cause” under the “for cause” removal process (i.e., ineligibility would be a proper subset of “for cause” conditions).

    I am not asserting that the interpretation I’ve mentioned above is the only reasonable interpretation. I believe Dr. Lark’s interpretation of ineligibility as not covered under “for cause” is also reasonable. But to the extent that Dr. Lark glosses over that alternative interpretation without discussing it, his memo falls short of being thorough.

  3. Michael Seebeck

    Well, if maintaining eligibility is not a duty of the office, then what is it in relation to the office?

  4. Jeremy Young

    Dr. Lark is concerned that if Wrights’ objection is upheld, it would allow Redpath and Starr to, say, unilaterally add five more Reformers to the LNC and ram through Bylaw changes before the Judicial Committee could rule it out of order. I think that’s a reasonable objection.

    On the other hand, Mr. Wrights and his Radical colleagues are concerned that if the existing decision is upheld, the Reformers could disqualify the entire Radical slate and ram through Bylaw changes before the Judicial Committee could rule it out of order. I also think that’s a reasonable objection.

    So the question is, what to do? I think it’s too much to ask that the Bylaws be able to stand up against a determined LNC majority (which the Reformers now are) that’s willing to completely dispense with the rules and take power by force (which is not clearly the case at this time). The key arguments, to me, seem to be:

    1) Who has the power to effect Wrights’ removal from the LNC if he is in violation of eligibility requirements?

    2) Does it change things that Wrights was never knowingly and intentionally in violation of eligibility requirements?

    The second point appears to be the strongest one, to me. It seems to me that there is an implicit requirement that a good-faith effort be made to notify Wrights that he is in violation before he is declared to have lapsed. I can imagine all sorts of scenarios in which this could become a problem. What if Wrights sent in a check to pay his dues, but his check was lost in the mail? What if it was “lost” (i.e., destroyed by Secretary Sullentrup) and Wrights was denied membership that way? Particularly since the Secretary is the one who made the determination that Wrights had lapsed, yet it is the Secretary’s job to collect dues and to send reminders to members whose memberships are expiring (which was not done in Wrights’ case), it seems extremely problematic to give the Secretary this sort of power.

    Dr. Lark is assuming that the Bylaws can be self-executing, but that is in effect not possible. What he is actually doing is assigning the power of execution, as well as the power of fact-finding, to the Secretary alone, to be ratified only by the Chairman. Under Lark’s scenario, it’s entirely plausible that the Secretary could declare that the dues of an LNC member he didn’t like (say, Dr. Ruwart) had lapsed, could further claim that Dr. Ruwart had sent him an e-mail declaring herself to be willingly in violation, and that if the Chair signed off on the removal Dr. Ruwart would be removed from the committee and could only be reinstated pending action from JudComm.

    Dr. Lark is concerned that Mr. Wrights’ objection could be used by the LNC majority to dictate terms to the minority. While this is a legitimate concern, it seems to me that it’s more of a problem in the current scenario, where two of the executive officers working in collusion can completely determine the makeup of the LNC, at least for short periods of time (until JudComm can be convened to rectify the situation). Sullentrup and Redpath could conceivably remove all Radicals from the LNC three hours before convening the St. Louis meeting, for instance. That would not be possible under Mr. Wrights’ proposed scenario; it would take a two-thirds majority of the LNC to do so, and a one-third minority (six members) even to stack the committee with extra members. So I submit that Dr. Lark’s scenario is more dangerous than Mr. Wrights’ scenario.

    This from an outside observer who’s about as far from being a Libertarian as it’s possible to be.

  5. Michael Seebeck

    Jeremy, you ought to read the Bylaws, just as Lark ought to, because the scenario of Reformers adding more members is facetious. Only the delegates can vote on Bylaws changes, and it would take one to add those members.

    In this case, the question is not one of who can stack the deck, which is the result of the actions, but the actions in the first place.

    The Bylaws are not self-executing. No Bylaws ever are. If you look at the California Bylaws, which I rewrote on the Style Committee last year, you’ll see that pretty clearly–actions are done by people, not the abstract organization or by the Bylaws.

  6. Jeremy Young

    Michael, isn’t Lark’s point that Redpath could add members under any justification he wanted and have the LNC ratify it? I think he’s right that that’s a legitimate fear. The LNC has the functional power to ignore the Bylaws for a short period of time, until JudComm can get its act together and stop it. Lark is right that that’s a problem.

    The problem is that I think his solution actually makes it worse, and allows fewer people to have even more power in stacking the deck, under the false guise of making the bylaws self-executing.

  7. Michael Seebeck

    That’s what he claims, but it isn’t true. The numbers if the LNC are set in the Bylaws explicitly, as is the amendment process. The LNC has no authority to change that in the slightest.

    In fact, the opposite of what Lark is claiming is the problem. In the instant case, the Bylaws were ignored and Wrights was attempted to be removed without following the Bylaws, and if that is allowed to stand, it creates a very bad precedent. OTOH, if that precedent is overturned (as it should be), then it re-establishes what has been known and understood for years, which is that a LNC member is only removed by death, resignation, delegates voting them out, or by a due process removal from the LNC by a 2/3 vote. The LNC serves the delegates, not the officers, and the officers serve the delegates, not themselves. This is the basic facts of life that the Eight is Enough gang and Lark are forgetting here. They are an administrative body, not a dictatorial body.

  8. George Phillies

    The LNC also submitted a memo, signed by eight members:

    RESPONSE TO THE APPEAL OF R. LEE WRIGHTS

    This document addresses solely the merits of the question before the Judicial Committee.

    The submission of this document does not constitute a waiver of any rights and duties that exist under our organization’s bylaws. As such, we reserve all of our rights.

    The Judicial Committee has decided to hear the appeal of R. Lee Wrights concerning the following question:

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

    We assert that the questions which more appropriately address the situation are as follows:

    ?? Must a member of the LNC maintain eligibility requirements specified in Bylaw Article 5.6 in order to continue service on the LNC?

    ?? May the LNC through any act (or failure to act) ignore the eligibility requirements specified in Bylaw Article 5.6?

    ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

    Regarding the first question, the language of Bylaw Article 5.6 unambiguously states that one must be eligible to “hold” the office.

    Bylaw Article 5.6: “Only sustaining members shall be counted for delegate apportionment and National Committee representation. Only sustaining members
    shall be eligible to hold National Party office or be a candidate for President or Vice-President.” (Relevant language underlined for emphasis.)
    The delegates could have limited the language to being elected or selected, but evidently believed that the requirement to be a sustaining member should be ongoing throughout
    the term of office.

    One of the duties of the Secretary is to “to keep the organization’s official membership roll (unless another officer or staff member has this duty) ….” – RONR (10th ed.), p. 442,
    lines 29-30. In the particular case at hand, the Secretary was obligated to notify the LNC of the vacancy created by Mr. Wrights’ failure to maintain the eligibility requirements.

    No one, including Mr. Wrights, contests whether his sustaining membership lapsed. Mr Wrights has made public comments acknowledging his failure to meet the dues
    requirement, most recently at the LP Tennessee convention on April 25. These comments have been audio-taped and are publicly available.

    The facts are not in dispute and the answer to the first question is self-evident. Mr. Wrights failed to meet the eligibility requirements of Bylaw Article 5.6 in order to
    continue to hold the office. The following future imaginary news story illustrates the consequences of the opposing viewpoint:

    California Libertarians Appoint Republican to National Committee

    In what some will inevitably call a confirmation of reports that the Libertarian Party of California is under the influence of Republicans, the LPCA Executive Committee today voted by email to replace its representative to the Libertarian National Committee with former congressman Tom Campbell (R). Campbell will reportedly not be formally joining the LP as a dues-payer. He apparently is not yet giving up on his long-shot bid for the CAGOP gubernatorial nomination, and a recent opinion from the LP Judicial Committee cleared the way for a Republican like Campbell to attempt a fusion strategy, keeping a foot in each of the LP and GOP. Campbell might be hoping that if by chance he wins the nomination, the LPCA would not run a candidate against him and cost him a crucial percentage point or two.

    The LP Judicial Committee issued a ruling that the LP Bylaw about LNC qualifications is merely a guideline, and that enforcement of this guideline is subject to a discretionary vote of whatever body has authority to replace an LNC representative. Bylaw Article 5.6 cannot require a vote of the LNC to remove someone for being ineligible to serve — it is simply a matter of refusing to credential him, and that task is odged with the Secretary. Being ineligible is not a ’cause’ for removal. Simply being ineligible means the position is not filled. A formal declaration of the fact is all that is necessary.

    THE RIGHT OF THE LNC TO IGNORE THE BYLAWS

    Regarding the second question, some individuals assert that the LNC is required to conduct a vote to uphold the bylaws. And that somehow, by not voting, the LNC is free
    to ignore any requirement imposed on them by the delegates in convention. No vote, even if unanimous, can suspend the Bylaws. The inability to override the bylaws is discussed throughout RONR. “The term bylaws … which includes all rules that the society considers so important they (a) cannot be changed without previous notice to the members and
    the vote of a specified large majority (such as a two-thirds vote), and (b) cannot be suspended ….” – RONR (10th ed.), p. 12, lines 11-30.
    “… bylaws cannot be suspended.” – RONR (10th ed.), p. 86, lines 16-17. “The incidental motion to Suspend the Rules … can be applied to any rule of the
    assembly except bylaws (or rules contained in a constitution or corporate charter).” – RONR (10th ed.), p. 252, lines 18 through 253, line 1. “Rules contained in the bylaws (or constitution) cannot be suspended – no matter how large the vote in favor of doing so or how inconvenient the rule in question may be – unless the particular rule specifically provides for its own suspension ….” – RONR (10th ed.), p. 254, lines 28-32. Given the above, would the LNC have the right to enact the following motion?

    “Shall the LNC maintain that Mr. Wrights is a member of the LNC even though he does not meet the eligibility requirements under our bylaws?”

    Of course not. The LNC had no option to keep Mr. Wrights in his office once he became ineligible. To even consider such a motion would be considered improper.

    “Motions that conflict with the corporate charter, constitution or bylaws of a society, or with procedural rules prescribed by national, state or local laws, are out of order, and if any motion of this kind is adopted, it is null and void.” – RONR (10th ed.), p. 322, lines 15-18.

    THE QUESTION BEING CONSIDERED BY THE JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

    The question being considered by the Judicial Committee (“Does a lapse in dues require a for cause’ removal described in Article 8, section 5?”) is identical to the theoretical
    motion (“Shall the LNC maintain that Mr. Wrights is a member of the LNC even though he does not meet the eligibility requirements under our bylaws?”), except it is stated in
    the negative.

    To demonstrate the reductio ad absurdum consequence of this line of thinking, imagine that Bylaw Article 8.5 does apply, and a vote was needed to ‘remove’ Mr. Wrights for
    being ineligible. Not having such a vote would allow the LNC to violate Bylaw Article 5.6 by simple neglect. And having such a vote would allow a minority of the LNC to
    suspend the requirement of Bylaw Article 5.6 (bylaws cannot be suspended even with unanimous consent). Therefore, allowing the LNC even the opportunity to vote an ineligible person off the LNC is illogical and it CANNOT be a requirement that the LNC vote to remove somebody who is ineligible to serve.

    Bylaw Article 8.5 clearly refers to requiring cause for suspension of an LNC member. “Cause” is defined by RONR as “misconduct or neglect of duty in office ….” – RONR
    (10th ed.), p. 642, lines 31-32. Descriptions of misconduct or neglect of duty are further described on p. 642. Ineligibility is clearly not such a “cause” for which the LNC must
    vote a person off, and Bylaw Article 8.5 does not apply. The consequence of a Judicial Committee finding that a vote of the LNC is a prerequisite to enforcing this bylaw (or any bylaw) opens the door to a future LNC being able to ignore any other requirement by simply not conducting a vote. This would be ill advised.

    THE PROPER APPROACH FOR HANDLING VACANCIES CA– USED BY INELIGIBILITY

    The ONLY available method for the LNC to reseat Mr. Wrights was to recognize the vacancy caused by Mr. Wrights’ failure to maintain his eligibility, require that he
    reestablish his eligibility and then vote to appoint him to the vacancy that he created. This has been done, with the vacancy being filled by a twelve-to-zero vote of the LNC
    .
    SIGNATORS (alphabetically by last name):
    Patrick Dixon
    Stewart Flood
    Dan Karlan
    Alicia Mattson
    Bill Redpath
    Rebecca Sink-Burris
    Aaron Starr
    Bob Sullentrup

  9. George Phillies

    I am rather confident that there will be at least one bombshell during the LNC Judicial Committee hearing on the matter, which by report is today.

  10. Nicholas Sarwark

    The hearing is scheduled from 6:00 to 8:00 pm Pacific time tonight.

  11. Daniel Kamerling

    The internal politics between radical / reformers has a significant impact on the party. This is why there are bylaws so that controls are in place to allow fair discourse.

    However, it is still disheartening to see so much energy by so many people (right or wrong) being placed over a $25 dues slip. =/

  12. George Phillies

    However, the Gang of 8

    Patrick Dixon
    Stewart Flood
    Dan Karlan
    Alicia Mattson
    Bill Redpath
    Rebecca Sink-Burris
    Aaron Starr
    Bob Sullentrup

    and Dr. Lark to their credit, to give credit where credit is do, had the gonadal fortitude to write or sign statements in defense of their position. There were other members of the LNC who voted against the claim of Lee Wrights’ supporters, that the claim of the chair was appealable to the full LNC, but who have now submerged without a trace, and that is far more reprehensible.

    dk not withstanding, I do not believe this is a radical/republican lite debate.

  13. Jeremy Young

    Mike Seebeck, I think upon reflection that you’re right. Still, Lark does spin an excellent argument, doesn’t he? He had me convinced there for a bit.

  14. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    “This particular chatter” is about how the bylaws apply to the LNC’s actions. The question, and the answer, apply (and will in the future apply) regardless of which faction might happen to be in the majority of the LNC at any particular time.

    The bombshell Mr. Phillies is referring to is not, IMO, really a bombshell. It’s more a matter of prospective embarrassment for everyone on both sides of the question of Mr. Wrights’s suspension.

    To wit, for more than a month, a particularly relevant section of the bylaws — a section which would have unequivocally settled the question of Mr. Wrights’s eligibility in his favor, with no “process” questions involved — went unread, or at least unmentioned, by everyone on either side of the argument.

  15. Jeremy Young

    Mike, everything I’ve read on this blog leads me to think that Dr. Lark isn’t part of any “they.” Hell, even Knapp endorsed him for Chair. I believe he truly believes his argument, and that it’s not about political points for him.

  16. Michael Seebeck

    No comment, Chuck.

    Tom, best to leave that be from here.

    He’s not necessarily part of “them” but he tends to position himself with the way he thinks the wind is blowing.

  17. libertariangirl

    Jeremy , you are correct about that . Dr. Lark is one of the most respected people in the LP . I personally love him to death as does everyone who knows him . I have NEVER heard a bad thing about him and trust me the LP grapevine is worse than a bunch of college girls for gossip-mongering.
    I also have never heard him say anything bad about about anyone else . He is beholden to no particular group and votes his conscience evrytime, of that I’m sure .

  18. whatever

    Probably the imaginary section dealing with faeries and wood sprites.

    Constitutional comprehension is apparently not one of Knapp’s strong suits.

  19. Michael Seebeck

    Well, that’s over.

    Lee had myself, and Dr. Ruwart with him, and the Gang of Eight was represented solely by Mattson, and she tanked worse than the California Props on Tuesday.

  20. Michael Seebeck

    I wasn’t taking good notes, since I was in the middle of it. The JudCom is supposed to have taped it, and that might be made available.

  21. George Phillies

    The core issue here is to recall how laws are handled in the real world, namely the notion of legislative intent. It does not really matter exactly what the real words seem to say, because some consideration of what the delegates were thinking when they passed the rules is always required.

    The delegates wanted to have a national committee composed of people who had taken the non-aggression statement and who had recently given money to the party.

    In my opinion no one in their right mind can reasonably believe that it was the intent of the delegates that they were to lose someone they had chosen to elect, simply because a dues bill went astray in the mail.

    In my opinion, the people on the LNC who voted to the contrary, that being the people who voted to sustain the chair’s parliamentary ruling, have something seriously wrong with the way they think the world works, not in my opinion because they are like the man who confused his wife with a hat, but because their way of thinking about the world and the words we use to describe it is wrong. They think that manipulating words previously agreed upon should dominate any appeal to reality.

    By the way, that’s the exact opposite of the way real science and mathematics works.

    People who subscribe to that approach are prey to a wide variety of kooks, such as the people who think that endless tedious investigation of the exact resolutions used to ratify the income tax amendment can tell you whether the amendment was ratified, because their grip on the sensible real and social world has gone astray in a peculiar way.

    Correspondingly, the people who voted to sustain the chair’s parliamentary ruling because they felt bound by the words need to be removed — in the case of regional representatives, this may be done forthwith — from our national committee, because they are simply out of touch with what the late Russell Kirk called ‘right reason’.

  22. George Phillies

    One may further propose that my last remarks are in the vicinity of why we tend to attract software people, namely computer innards really do work as I have described in large part, and some of these people lose track of the issue that computer innards are very odd in the real world in terms of having the ‘it must be true because it can be logically proved’ property.

  23. Jim Davidson

    @7 “So the question is, what to do? ”

    Got rebar? lol

    @35 “the people who voted to sustain the chair’s parliamentary ruling because they felt bound by the words need to be removed…from our national committee…”

    Yep. No time like the present.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    gp 35, good analysis. However, it seems reasonable that IF one were to use a legislative intent approach (which seems appropriate, although we should keep in mind that Bylaws of a voluntary organization are not the same as THE law), one could still say that the adopters also adopted Robert’s Rules for administrative matters. That is, while the adopters didn’t intend this particular outcome, they DID defer to another source for unforeseeable circumstances. I suspect the facts around L’Affaire Lee were NOT anticipated by the adopters (or subsequent amenders).

    While the month vs. day point is interesting, it seems moot, since Wrights has been re-instated (or still on LNC, if you prefer). Thank God I’m not a lawyer, but that bombshell only suggests that the Secretary acted prematurely.

    As for “right reason” and removal, I can’t say I agree. This was a technicality, I’d say an overblown technicality. You can make the case to the regions, or at the next convention, but is it the best use of your time?

  25. Robert Capozzi

    gp 36, OK, software people tend to think that way. Are you suggesting sanctions against s/w people, too? 😉

    I’m curious: How would you describe the thought processes of physicists? Economists? Lawyers?

  26. George Phillies

    @39. You are seeing my point exactly backwards, I think. There are people who have this disordered way of thinking about the world, and some of them happen to discover computer programming and are smart enough — at some levels this is not very challenging — to become computer programmers. They have found for themselves an artificial universe in which their disordered thought processes actually work, and therefore enjoy becoming computer programmers. These are the people who their supervisors discover can be extremely dangerous if not working in very well-defined circumstances, e.g. find all instances in which representing the year two years hence as 00 rather than 2000 give different answers, and report them, because they will do something completely irrational and not understand why until it is explained in full detail.

  27. George Phillies

    With respect to the mythical California example raised in one of the briefs, the reasonable answer is that you are actually looking at a political question, no different from “the State of East Dakota, under its regional agreement, has used its privilege of choosing the new regional rep to appoint John Doe. Doe has taken the oath and paid his money. However, Doe is a right wing racist hatemonger who things gays, drug users, and women who have abortions should all face the death penalty,we should nuke Iraq, Iran, and the entire Arabian peninsula, and by the way all manufacturing industries without exception down to your grandmother selling her hand-knit sweaters should be nationalized.

    What is the correct outcome?

    Answer: This is a political question, and the political answer is someplace between “welcome on board” and “the states of the East Dakota region and all of their members are hereby expelled for cause from the party”.

    In Lee’s case, the reasonable answer was for someone to phone Lee, discover the bills were not sent, thank Lee for promising to send the money,

    and then ask why the staff apparently cannot maintain our membership rolls in good order, when we are talking about members of our own national committee who may be being mailed paper confidential paper documents as part of their official business.

    The gang of ten or so have shown they cannot be trusted with the business of our party, because they are lacking in common sense, like the programmer who cannot be trusted to fix the problem I noted, because he will write local code truncating “2000” to “00” and saying ‘problem solved”.

  28. robert capozzi

    gp, thanks for clarifying. My observation is that they are not alone in disordered, irrational propensities. We live in a nation that thought that Obama/McCain was a real choice, after all.

    While the logic employed in programming may have its limitations, and while some programmers may be prone to big-picture errors, I fail to see the point of singling geeks out for sub-optimal thinking.

  29. Michael H. Wilson

    Having been through all this game playing over dues with the LP state party in Oregon and knowing who created the mess then and knowing his good buddy is on the LNC I have to laugh. This is just a game and it has nothing to do with anything other than control of the LNC. Anyone who tries to tell me otherwise is just full of it.

    Unfortunately these people will con some and then the time will come and the shoe will be on the other foot and they’ll cry that they aren’t being treted fairly, or politely or some such nonsense.

    Instead of getting out in front of the issues facing this country we have devolved to this petty bickering. And wasting other people’s time and sapping their energy.

  30. Daniel Kamerling

    “It’s more a matter of prospective embarrassment for everyone on both sides of the question of Mr. Wrights’s suspension. “, post 21

    “In Lee’s case, the reasonable answer was for someone to phone Lee, discover the bills were not sent, thank Lee for promising to send the money,” post 41

    “Instead of getting out in front of the issues facing this country we have devolved to this petty bickering. And wasting other people’s time and sapping their energy.”, post 43 (previous post)

    I’m glad this has been sorted out and strongly agree with the statement by MW quoted above.

  31. libertariangirl

    GPhillies__Correspondingly, the people who voted to sustain the chair’s parliamentary ruling because they felt bound by the words need to be removed — in the case of regional representatives, this may be done forthwith — from our national committee, because they are simply out of touch with what the late Russell Kirk called ‘right reason’.

    Me__ are you seriously suggesting people get rid of Dr. Lark?
    with all do respect , and I Do respect you greatly , thats ludicrous.
    That will NEVER happen. Dr. Lark is beloved and to me in a very small group of people including C. Moulton who are fair , un-inflammatory and beholden to noone .

    maybe Im mistaken and you didnt mean remove Dr Lark. please clarify. you dont seriously think that someone who sides with people you dis-agree with a few times is also your enemy? do you think people have to always agree with ‘your side’ to be your friend and poltical ally?that goes for Dr. Phillies and the rest of you.

  32. AFH

    @43 “Instead of getting out in front of the issues facing this country we have devolved to this petty bickering. And wasting other people’s time and sapping their energy.”

    No kidding.

    It is interesting to me as a California member, that there are so many similarities on the LNC to what we were experiencing just a couple years ago. At this time, the Ca. ExCom works with some good amount of respect and order. But two years ago and for a bit more than a few years previous, we suffered a body whom spent nearly all of their time trying to rewrite bylaws, and reinterpret them in order to purge and limit members.

    If there is one part of our culture that, we as Libertarians, should examine for change it is our perception of these offices.

    In a traditionally hierarchal organization, the positions of responsibility and authority are handed to “leaders”. If something is to happen in a top-down command structure, it is necessary that the top be able to lead. Not so true in a libertarian paradigm.

    Libertarians tend to resent orders from the top. For good reason. I doubt if libertarians need further explanation on that phenomenon . What our entire philosophy is based on is granted authority from the bottom upwards and an unwavering demand for justice.

    In this paradigm. The administrators are not there to “lead” us, they are there to administrate and maintain infrastructure that supports the many disparate leaders and groups within the party. If we elect people into those positions that have agendas, then the most important part of their job will fall to the wayside in favor of their own desires.

    We must remember that the people we elect to our regional, at-large, and most importantly, officer positions are filling positions of trust. We must elect people whom we can trust to be fair to all libertarians as their first priority.

    The California party has learned its lesson from similar circumstance. We have chosen people of fair minded temperaments to our Executive Committee and officer positions. As a result, the attempts purges, and strife has died down to resonable and manageable levels. There is always some amount of disagreement and maneuvering no matter what you do; people are still people. Our officers spend a great deal of their time connecting groups together and empowering leadership at the grassroots level as a result our county organizations have begun to grow again and so is the number of new and energetic members.

    Unfortunately for the LP, the same personality types and leadership styles that hurt California so badly, have infested the positions of trust in national and are acting in a manner that is inconsistent with a common sense understanding of justice.

    I would suggest that we libertarians consider two things to stop this self-abuse. The first is an administrative change. I would suggest a by-law that makes “purging” far more difficult. That all administrative removals from an executive office require a positive affirmation by the judicial committee before execution.

    One body of representatives (much less one officer) should never have the authority alone to overthrow the judgement and expressed wishes of the membership.

    The second thing I would propose is that we libertarians actively promote a paradigm of seeking out the fairest people we have, and draft them into those positions (kicking a screaming if necessary, the people we want will likely want to avoid positions of “power). We are not well served putting people with agendas in to positions of central authority no matter how much we agree with the agenda. The “central authority” aspect is too dangerous to our very core principles.

    “Leaders” should be working with “people” not paperwork and budgets.

    This model is how we, in my neck of the woods, have become:

    ALIVE * FREE * HAPPY Libertarians

  33. Joe

    Is there nothing in Roberts Rules of Order that allows for a grace period to cover issues such as these — perhaps contemplating failures in communication — to allow, in this case, a lapse in dues to result in dismissal until dues are paid, or X period of time passes, whichever comes first.

    Seems a simple matter of fairness, which Roberts Rules is designed to ensure. But I’m not familiar with it to point to chapter and verse.

    Regardless, I’d hope that if a lapse in dues is considered is considered sufficient for removal from office without a “for cause” debate; that such a grace period be added to our bylaws to prevent this kind of stupidity in the future. Namely, the removal of someone who simply (apparently, or within the bounds of reasonable doubt) forgot to pay his dues.

    Same as a magazine that sends an extra month’s issue as a token of gratitude for a past subscription with a reminder that your payment is a month late, and are you sure you no longer want to subscribe.

    Is that kind of generosity really too much to ask here as well?

    Joe

  34. Thomas L. Knapp

    Joe,

    Robert’s Rules are only applicable in situations not covered by the bylaws, or by the LNC’s standing rules of procedure insofar as those standing rules accord with the bylaws (the bylaws being the source of the authority for adopting those rules).

    Per article 5, section 3 of the bylaws, a “sustaining member” is “any Party member who has given at least $25 to the party in the prior twelve months, or who is a life member.”

    The prior twelve months to April of 2009 include March, February and January of 2009, as well as December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May and April of 2008.

    Since Mr. Wrights contributed $25 in April of 2008, he remained a sustaining member through April of 2009. Therefore, process questions aside, he did not, as the secretary alleged, become ineligible to serve on the LNC.

    Of course, one good reason for the bylaws-prescribed process for suspension/removal of an LNC member is to allow claims of fact to be examined and verified before action is taken pursuant to those claims.

    In any case, yes, the kind of “generosity” you speak of is too much to ask from the Gang of Eight. Their actions in this matter were not innocent mistakes, they were part of a larger attempt to overthrow the will of the LP’s national convention delegates, an attempt made with considerable planning and malice aforethought, as even one of the conspirators, LNC William Redpath, has as much as publicly admitted.

  35. Paulie

    I don’t have time to read all this, but can someone please call and explain to me why this is still an issue?

    I’m checking

    http://www.lp.org/leadership

    Lee Wrights is listed again.

    If anyone wants to fill me in on why this still generating new posts and comments, please call me at 415-690-6352.

  36. George Phillies

    Paulie,

    The Judicial Committee hearing on whether the removal was proper or whether Lee was never removed was last night (Friday). Major parts of the issue have not yet been resolved.

    George

  37. Bill Wood

    “Hmm, we seem to pick the worst people to lead the Libertarian Party and we seem to have the best people writing answers on blog sites.”

    (A twist on a quote by Robert E. Lee)

  38. Robert Capozzi

    lg, Phillies seems to hold grievances against Lark based on George’s book, which is available online:

    http://cmlc.org/fundingframes23.htm

    It appears it all has something to do with the Willis/Browne controversies, which bore me, but feel free to read all this minutiae. If you care to, report back on your short version.

    Personally, I’m a forgiving sort, so this sort of exercise seems highly counterproductive on its face, but, then, I’ve been incorrect before.

  39. Mik Robertson

    What strikes me as odd is that if someone had information that could have eliminated this whole episode, why they would make an effort to keep it secret to sandbag a perceived “enemy”.

    This has been unnecessarily turned into a factional rivalry, with venom being spewed that should be reserved for the likes of McCain, Obama, Bush, and Clinton. No one likes to see turmoil on the national committee, and differences of bylaws interpretation does not need to be extrapolated into a war of factions.

  40. Michael Seebeck

    Mik, that’s backwards.

    A difference in Bylaws interpretations did not lead to a faction war. A faction war led to a difference in Bylaws interpretations.

    And it’s not odd at all. Sitting on info to sandbag an enemy is how they work. That’s why they sat on Lee’s dues date from November 2008 through April 2009, as admitted to by the Chair.

    What we simply have here is unethical and unprofessional behavior by the Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and Political Director levied against a duly-elected At-large LNC member who just happens to also be popular in quite a few Party circles (Andy doesn’t count), and a former Vice-Chair to boot. This is the second time this term this has happened, and at least three times overall, and yet the perpetrators are still in office because they refuse to do the right thing and resign, and there is no membership recall ability.

  41. Robert Capozzi

    ms, you might want to clarify, as the LP doesn’t have a Political Director at this time.

    You are making QUITE an accusation here. Yet the only thing I’ve seen is Redpath’s email, so I wonder if you are playing prosecutor, judge and jury. Have the Treasurer, Secretary and Political Director stated their cases, or are you doing PRECISELY what you claim these 3 or 4 people did?

    It seems to me that the Keaton situation that you seem to refer to was quite different. I didn’t see a sandbag there…looks like a case was being made, a direct one. You might maintain that the Keaton situation was off base, in part or in full, but you strain credibility to say this is a “second” time. They are obviously quite different circumstances.

    I wonder why you stop at 3 or 4 people…Dr. Phillies seems to want at least 8. As prosecutor, judge and jury, I wonder why you spare the 4 or 5 or so?

    I also wonder whether you vengeful stance stops at mere resignation. Mr. Davidson, for instance, former acting chair of BTP, seems to want to introduce “rebar” into the mix…do you share his sadism?

    “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” -Mahatma Gandhi

  42. George Phillies

    Capozzi is the mouthpiece for the scoundrels running our national committee. Thus he is unable to imagine any correlation between the effort to drive Angela Keaton off the National Committee, and the equally false effort to drive Lee Wrights off the National Committee. When failure of imagination is not enough, he makes up falsehoods with which to bludgeon the people he dislikes. In my case it was the falsehood that I had written two books attacking the LNC’s cast of characters. Here it is the absurd suggestion that Mr Seebeck is contemplating physical violence against members of the LNC.

  43. Robert Capozzi

    gp: Capozzi is the mouthpiece for the scoundrels running our national committee.

    me: Your evidence? Since I’m NOT in contact with anyone on the national committee, and my opinions are mine, your charge is ludicrous. I would bet BIG money that I would pass a polygraph on this matter. Care to take me up on this? I seem to recall your publicly stating in Portland that you’re a multi-millionaire…I could use some of that guap. (BTW, I found that disclosure inappropriate at the time.)

    gp: Thus he is unable to imagine any correlation between the effort to drive Angela Keaton off the National Committee, and the equally false effort to drive Lee Wrights off the National Committee.

    me: Where have I said I’m “unable to imagine any correlation”? There likely IS some correlation, as those apparently involved were the same people, at least to some extent. Although, even there, wasn’t it Flood who made the case against Keaton’s inappropriate public disclosures of closed-session goings on? If one is to make accusations, it seems wise to base them on facts, not inferences and suppositions, yes?

    gp: In my case it was the falsehood that I had written two books attacking the LNC’s cast of characters.

    me: George, how many times do I need to apologize to you for overstating your authorship of ONE book, not TWO, before you forgive me for my factual error of magnitude? Do you not see how ridiculous you sound with this point? Do you not care AT ALL about your credibility?

    gp: Here it is the absurd suggestion that Mr Seebeck is contemplating physical violence against members of the LNC.

    me: George, do you not see that I was not suggesting any such thing? Mine was a rhetorical device. Seebeck wants 4-ish resignations. You seem to want 8-ish resignations or ousters, yes? And Davidson alludes to “rebar” treatment.

    To me, that’s all of a piece, although the magnitude of reprisals/vengeance is obviously different.

    Consider rereading the Gandhi quote. Do you disagree? Is it actually weak to forgive and strong not to? If that’s your view, that’s a book of yours I surely WOULD read.

  44. Robert Capozzi

    gp, I’d read that book because it sounds absolutely upside down. I happen to agree with Shakespeare, to err is human, to forgive, divine. And Gandhi. And virtually every philosopher of note throughout history.

    But, maybe they are all wrong, and George Phillies has cracked the code….it’s actually NOT virtuous to forgive. We should seek and exact vengeance, whenever, wherever, we can get it.

    Seems to be your MO, but, then, I’m open to alternative views….

  45. Robert Capozzi

    btw, were I advising the national committee, I’d suggest that Wrights is owed an apology for this incident.

    Does that sound like a mouthpiece to you, George?

  46. Michael H. Wilson

    You are right Robert. Lee is owed an apology for dragging him thru this mess. At the same time the rest of us are also owed an apology. While so much is going on we have to indulge in petty infighting over an issue that could have been handled with a bit of diplomacy and maybe a telephone call or two. There is simply no excuse for this bad management.

    Meanwhile the nation continues to be involved in two wars, has an economy that is a mess and a future that looks pretty bleak for the next generation of Americans.

    And I sit here this morning working on the state news letter and wondering what the hell I am doing it for when I see and read about the games being played by some of the folks at the top of the heap in the LP.

    Now does the national party want my little contribution of $25, or should I just keep my wallet closed and not re up my dues? And by what criterea do I judge the answer?

  47. robert capozzi

    mw, yes, it’s been said that it takes 2 to fight a war, but 1 to end it.

    maybe a strong adult will step up and heal all this petty child’s play.

  48. libertariangirl

    MS < how do you feel about Dr Philles suggestion that the LNC remove Dr. Lark?

    seems to me the list of people some of you think should be removed keeps growing and growing…

  49. robert capozzi

    ms, I’d think that Kraus would be IDed as acting ED or Ops…small point.

    Yes, I’d seen Knapp’s opinion about appropriate retribution. Can’t say I’d agree. I do, again, believe an apology’s in order.

  50. AFH

    If you avoid concentrating on the people and concentrate on justice, you might find sustainable solutions.

    Have individuals done unjust things.? Yes, and apparently big things… but it is the actions and the effects that are the “evil”. People are secondary because even if you manage to purge your enemies, if you have not first corrected the behavior, you will find yourself victim to it again, or worse… the perpetrator.

    There will always be disagreement, and maneuvering. We must demand a culture that resolves it with justice and not its antithesis, retribution.

  51. Michael Seebeck

    Robert,

    I have no opinion on removing Lark. Nor did I ever say anyone should be removed. I said certain people need to resign. You should refrain from putting word in people’s mouths.

    You’d also think Kraus would be mentioned as one of the chief problems in LPHQ, but…oh wait, that’s been done repeatedly.

  52. Jim Davidson

    @41 “The gang of ten or so have shown they cannot be trusted with the business of our party” and so they should go.

    It is, of course, only my problem to the extent that I want it to be mine. It is only that I continue to feel cheated out of an effective and libertarian political party that I continue to bother thinking about it. It is not my problem to solve. Those of you who think the LP is save-able or salvageable or whatever have work to do.

    Perhaps some day you’ll do it.

  53. Jim Davidson

    @42 “We live in a nation that thought that Obama/McCain was a real choice, after all.”

    Nope. The nation as a whole, the 305 million or so, did not think so, by the numbers. About 23% voted for Obama, about 19% for McCain, maybe less (check the FEC.gov site if you want the numbers exactly). So about 58% or more did not vote for either of them.

  54. Jim Davidson

    @56 “Here it is the absurd suggestion that Mr Seebeck is contemplating physical violence against members of the LNC.”

    That’s correct. It is not he, but me, who has considered the extent to which this sort of incident makes me want to smack certain individuals upside the face with rebar. Apparently, considering my feelings and expressing them here is regarded as “sadism” which seems bizarre. But fun. I suspect Capozzi is projecting.

  55. Jim Davidson

    @60 “And I sit here this morning working on the state news letter and wondering what the hell I am doing it for when I see and read about the games being played by some of the folks at the top of the heap in the LP.”

    Michael, you are doing it for your freedom, which begins as close to you as possible. You can have an effective state LP and even success in elections if you work at it.

    I agree with George Phillies. If the LNC is going to be effective, those who are eager to gang up against radicals must be removed from office. If you can prefer moderates, find some that will play by the rules.

  56. Jim Davidson

    Forgiveness is a human behavior, therefore based on choice. Forgiveness, like respect, should be earned to be valuable. For those on the LNC who persist in doing evil things, the first requirement I place on them for my forgiveness is that they stop doing evil.

    The second requirement is that they each perform some act of contrition. In the case of Bill Redpath, I think an appropriate and acceptable act of contrition would be for him to crawl on his hands and knees over broken glass from Virginia to West Hollywood to apologise to Angela Keaton.

    It is foolhardy to forgive those who persist in committing the same sins over and over again.

  57. Robert Capozzi

    JD 70, I’m not sure it’s possible to have a conversation with you, but here goes:

    Yes, many, often more than half of those eligible, don’t vote, true enough. But, you seem assume that non-voters don’t vote for one reason. I’m sure there are many reasons. Do you have any evidence that the non-voters disproportionately didn’t believe that Obama/McCain was a real choice?

    If true, that MIGHT present a huge opportunity for a third party. I do, of course, think there are a lot of folks who don’t, but that party would have to give them a reason to believe that a third way was viable and worthy of support.

  58. Robert Capozzi

    jd 71, excellent, we agree! In important ways, ALL perception is projection! I’m pleased to see you seem to understand the concept.

    Repeatedly and openly advocating violence sounds sadistic to me, but I could be wrong: perhaps you are just attempting to be amusing. I’m not amused, and your calls for violence doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction, at least here.

  59. Robert Capozzi

    jd 73, of course forgiveness is a choice, but I — and most great philosophers I’m aware of — do so unconditionally.

    But, yes, dysfunctional behavior should cease.

    Think about it. These are not contradictory ideas.

  60. Gary Chartier

    rc, It seems to me that there are two distinct issues. Forgiveness–abandoning retaliation–ought to be unconditional. But that’s a very different matter from trust. Mightn’t someone agree that so-and-so ought to be forgiven while denying that there was any reason to trust him or her? It seems to me that that’s the real issue being raised here: that some people’s behavior has rendered them untrustworthy repositories of official responsibility. I have no interest in retaliation or retribution; but I do have considerable interest in seeing that what happened to Angela and what happened to Lee don’t happen again.

  61. Mik Robertson

    @54- The responsibility to maintain eligibility to serve on the LNC clearly rests with the individual committee members. It is tough to promote individual liberty without promoting personal responsibility.

    It appears the same sandbag technique was attempted with information about calculating the time of dues payments. I don’t think either side here can claim the high road. One of the few people who stated a straightforward interpretation of the situation, Dr. Lark, gets vilified. A dearth of noble actions abound.

    This incident could have been headed off with a phone call. Once done, it could have been minimized by the member in question taking responsibility instead of claiming conspiracy theories. A whole lot of other input was less than completely helpful to resolve the issue. It takes a lot of effort to turn a molehill into a mountain.

    If the delegates want to eliminate the eligibility requirements or in some manner modify them, that can be considered at the next convention. Until then, it may be best for committee members to concentrate on their own actions to ensure smooth and efficient administration of the organization and for others to not fan the flames of discord.

  62. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 78 nMik I agree with much of what you said, however I wish you hadn’t said:
    “It is tough to promote individual liberty without promoting personal responsibility.”

    Don’t I have the right to be irresponsible?

  63. Mik Robertson

    You have a right to the pursuit of happiness, and if being irresponsible makes you happy you may do so until it unduly infringes on the rights of others. Just don’t expect others to be responsible for you. It’s hard to claim rights without accepting responsibility.

  64. libertariangirl

    JD__The second requirement is that they each perform some act of contrition. In the case of Bill Redpath, I think an appropriate and acceptable act of contrition would be for him to crawl on his hands and knees over broken glass from Virginia to West Hollywood to apologise to Angela Keaton.

    even with such dutiful loyalty to your mistriss , you still wont even be hitting that. you are so funny and obvious …LOL

  65. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mik,

    Mr. Redpath has openly and publicly admitted that he colluded, i.e. conspired, with Mr. Starr to

    a) allow the LNC to fall into a bylaws-non-compliant situation and

    b) exploit that situation in question in furtherance of their factional goals.

    Unless Mr. Redpath is lying, that’s not a “theory,” it’s a fact.

  66. Michael H. Wilson

    Out here on the West Coast Memorial Day begins in a few moments. Let us remember those who will never return and those who came back with burdens others will never endure.

    I believe that it was Kilping who wrote something such as “…young men die for old men’s lies…”. Nothing has changed.

  67. Michael H. Wilson

    Please allow me to correct my last post. The wording should be;
    “…If any question why we died,
    Tell them, because our fathers lied.”

    Tell me what has changed.

  68. Robert Capozzi

    Gc, nice distinction bet. “trust” v. “forgiveness.” In my case, I trust that everyone is always doing their best the best they can, but that everyone is at least sometimes dysfunctional, including of course me! I trust that Angela believes her ex parte communications outside of Executive Session was the right thing. I trust that Flood thought HE was doing the right thing in advocating that she correct this behavior. I trust that most everyone would agree that a board like NatComm should have executive sessions where they can speak freely without having to measure each and every word. I trust that there might be times in which that confidence should be betrayed, for what one member believes is a greater good. I trust that Redpath found Wrights’s behavior to be uncivil, and Wrights believed his behavior was appropriate. I trust that some on NatComm believed there was a pattern of behavior in both Angela and Lee’s cases to be dysfunctional. My interpretation is some on NatComm overreacted and used technicalities to correct that pattern of behavior. My opinion – which I trust you’ll respect even if you disagree – is that there were more peaceful means to correct the dysfunctional behavior, which manifested differently in both cases, and was responded to differently. I would ask that if, say, Keaton were Chair and an LNC member were posting confidential information on the Web, would Keaton allies NOT be deeply disappointed if not outraged by such postings? If Wrights were Chair and an LNC member was frequently rude to him, would we NOT expect Wrights to seek to exploit technicalities to dispense with a disruptive member? Walking a mile in another’s shoes seems an excellent way to seek understanding.

    As for it not happening again, I would concur. My observation is that you can make book it WILL happen again. It’s been happening in the LP since at least 1983, when Alicia Clark (Ed’s wife and then NatComm Chair) fired the ED and moved LP HQ to Houston. The only way to end a war is for one side to refuse to participate in the childish drama. That’s what adults do.

    It’s tricky business, but I am not advocating not calling dysfunctional behavior. Indeed, I’m for it…how else do we learn to undo dysfunction but by recognizing it, sometimes with a little help from our friends? I’m calling this intellectual knife fight for what it is (as I see it), and strongly suggesting that we put aside our petty grievances and high school cliques. There’s a State to undo, and we need to keep our eyes on that FAR MORE important prize.

  69. Robert Capozzi

    tk: a) allow the LNC to fall into a bylaws-non-compliant situation and

    me: Help us understand how “the LNC” fell into a “non-compliant situation”. Do you mean to say “an LNC member to fall into a non-compliant situation”? Big difference, if so. How can one member’s compliance deemed the resposibility of the body?

    tk: b) exploit that situation in question in furtherance of their factional goals.

    me: The word “exploit” is not a fact, it’s an interpretation. I guess I agree with your interpretation, although I’m not sure — as Phillies points out — that it’s merely one faction’s goal…there’s several issues that seem to be at play. And I don’t know that any one faction actually HAS a goal; that too is your interpretation, yes?

  70. Robert Capozzi

    mw 84: Tell me what has changed.

    me: My take is that we Ls are at least WILLING to call “the lie” a lie. Recognizing a lie — the intergenerational untruth — seems to be the first step in fixing the problem.

    But, calling a spade a spade seems to ONLY be the first step. It’s not enough to say the Emperor has no clothes, to mix metaphors. A tiny minority that only ridicules the Emperor doesn’t strike me as especially productive.

  71. George Phillies

    The reason the LNC was obliged to review the allegations against Mr Wrights, as opposed to letting the Secretary violate the bylaws by claiming to have removed Mr. Wrights, is that there would then have been an investigation of the allegations, and by and by it would have been noticed that the claim that Mr. Wrights’ membership had expired was wrong in a variety of ways.

    @57 You have the unfortunate tendency to make false charges against people, and assume that because you say you apologize and then go on and make more false charges, that you entitled to get away with it. First you made accusations about my books, charges that appear inconsistent with having read them, then you suggest that another writer is contemplating physical violence against the LNC, etc., I’m sorry, you have a behavior pattern, and I am going to keep calling you on it.

  72. Joe

    Got a call from (I believe it was a “Morgan” (didn’t it always used to be Alexis) to tell me that my membership in the LP had expired, and asking if I’d like to renew.

    I replied, “Too bad you didn’t do this for Lee Wrights.” She didn’t seem to know what I was talking about — no doubt a paid fundraiser.

    Nonetheless I donated $100 and asked they call me back in the fall about the possibility of becoming a life member.

    It may be a mess, but, IMO it’s still the best, or one of the best things going, to advance the cause of Liberty, and one I want to support. (I just wish I could do that without any hint of hesitation or equivocation.)

  73. robert capozzi

    gp, I’m sorry you connect dots the way you choose to. You have written a book cataloging your take on LP dysfunction, true or false? Fair-minded observers would say true, I suspect. If you’re saying that I’ve suggested that sort of thing, along with your preposterous 2-state (was it?) presidential campaign, was counterproductive, you would be correct. I fail to see how those things advanced the cause of liberty, but I do defend your right to do so.

    Mr. Davidson has evoked and alluded to using rebar on any number of people many, many times, true or false? As he doesn’t quite make actual threats, I suppose he has the right to make these statements. They are REALLY uncool, though. Perhaps you have a different opinion….

    Continue digging yourself a deeper hole if you choose to.

  74. Robert Capozzi

    joe, I like your attitude. My membership card says “Libertarian Since: 1/21/1980,” which seems to be evidence that I am patient if nothing else, and I admire that trait in others. Having good, workable ideas seems to be the first step, and now with 3 decades of infighting, perhaps cooler, more sober heads will prevail.

  75. Mik Robertson

    @82 Mr. Knapp,

    I am confused by your response. I do not believe Mr. Redpath did the things you indicate. In the first case, I do not know that there was an issue of the LNC being in a bylaws-non-compliant situation. There was one member who apparently allowed his eligibility to serve on the committee lapse. The responsibility to maintain eligibility to serve is that of the individual members, end of story.

    What I recall Mr. Redpath indicating was that he felt the actions of the member in question did not merit the courtesy of a reminder on his behalf. The impression I got was that Mr. Redpath declined to act due to the actions of Mr. Wrights on the committee, not because of any of his beliefs or factional alliances.

    Mr. Redpath is entitled to his opinion and neither he nor anyone else is obligated to take on the responsibility of other committee members. There could be no conspiracy to subvert the bylaws through failing to notify of impending lapse of eligibility because there is no bylaws notification obligation.

    The allegations of conspiracy and factional purging appeared in response to the announcement of the need to appoint a committee member. It would seem the exploitation of the situation skyrocketed from there without the benefit of much concrete information.

    It may well be there can be a difference of opinion on the definition of a sustaining member. If the goal was to resolve the issue at hand rather than to fan factional flames, perhaps that would be the question to resolve.

    The question of whether a lapse of eligibility to serve on the LNC requires a “for cause” removal seems to me to be a greater stretch. Since the eligibility section of the bylaws was not included as a reviewable section for the Judicial Committee, it would seem the intent was to not have it be a “for cause” issue, as “for cause” issues would be subject to Judicial Committee review.

    Regardless, this situation was addressed by some in a manner that seemed intended to maximize strife rather than minimize it. The effort put into that would have been better spent someplace else.

  76. libertariangirl

    No matter the side or level or size of any ex-comm , lnc , the goal s always to have a group that can work together. while i dont agree with the actions taken , it is my belief that were the tables turned the ‘other side’ would have done the same thing.

    I want to say be kind but then i remember a few people in Nevada i hope lose their ability to be credentialed before our next convention.

    I consider myself philisophically with the ‘rads’ , the ‘lefties’ the restore 04 types. At the same time , the rhetoric from this side is far more inflammatory . Ie heard name calling at all times, threats , public attacks , personal attacks . Most of the time its highly adolescent , emotional outbursts and always unproffessional.
    remember , a key skill in politics , or as a woman is to be cordial and polite even to your enemys.

    Ive heard awful things about Redpath , and if I were him I may not be proactive in notifying someone who berates me either. You get what you put in. To their credit the reformers rarely if ever rely on such juvenile communications , they stick to what is , and use maneuvering to acheive their goals.

    to those who know nothing , they would seem more stable , mature , professional and better prepared to represent.
    Think about it.

  77. Michael Seebeck

    Mik, you really need to go read the Redpath email. In it he clearly states his decisions were based on personal animus, not fidicuary duty. If he’s unable to put personal animus aside and do the job, then he is unfit for the office.

  78. Jim Davidson

    @90 “Mr. Davidson has evoked and alluded to using rebar on any number of people many, many times, true or false?”

    Only because it disturbs you so much. I actually started out wondering why Aaron Starr’s comments and actions made me feel like using rebar to rearrange his outlook. Apparently, it is uncool to talk about our feelings and express emotional content.

    But since I’m not pretending to be the chairman of the LP, nor indeed of any other political party, why shouldn’t personal animus be expressed? Why shouldn’t I look at the things Starr has done, and the people to whom he’s done them, and find his actions upsetting? This idea that people should behave like robotic automatons is really very odd.

    Now, in the time since, entirely to upset you Capozzi, I’ve used “got rebar” as my campaign against the people who, as George Phillies notes, are unwilling to follow the rules of the party in their deleterious actions against sincere and effective libertarian activists. I regard “got rebar” as a metaphor for being able to take meaningful action against people who are attacking my friends.

    Of course, it probably matters to me that Lee Wrights and Angela Keaton are my friends. I suppose you don’t get upset when your friends are attacked in a scurrilous and dishonorable way?

  79. Jim Davidson

    @74 “Do you have any evidence that the non-voters disproportionately didn’t believe that Obama/McCain was a real choice?”

    The burden of proof is on the affirmative. It is your contention that we live in a country that thought Obama vs. McCain was a real choice. I submitted figures to show that most people did not choose either. If those people thought that either one was a meaningful choice, why did they not choose either one?

    So, you need to show some evidence that we live in a country which is populated by people who all thought Obama vs. McCain was a real choice. You have none. Therefore I win this point.

  80. Jim Davidson

    @76 “do so unconditionally”

    That’s odd. I don’t seem to have been forgiven by you yet, even once, even a little bit.

    If you give away forgiveness unconditionally, then it is worthless. Like unearned respect, it has no value. Fail.

  81. Robert Capozzi

    jd 96 and 98, oh, well, I DO of course forgive you. I can’t imagine what horrific things would cause you to have such angry thoughts, but I’m grateful that your scene’s not mine. Personally, I have nothing but good will and well wishes for you. The loop-of-tape that seems to be in your head that keeps you typing r-e-b-a-r would appear to be one heavy cross to bear.

  82. Robert Capozzi

    jd 97, ok, fair enough. If you think politics is a math equation, then you are correct. Perhaps I could have put it more precisely…I could have said something like: “Despite continuing majority non-voter returns and non-3rd party votes and my casual observation that most people I encounter are not wanting a severe change in direction (although most have some issues where they want at least a significant change in direction), my sense is the nation — in aggregate — were accepting of the choice of Obama/McCain.” or some such.

    Seems kinda cumbersome and technical, especially for a comment thread on a blog (!), but whatever.

  83. Robert Capozzi

    jd: If you give away forgiveness unconditionally, then it is worthless. Like unearned respect, it has no value. Fail.

    me: Hoping that approach works for you. I’m not liking the odds. I prefer the (more or less) “love the sinner, hate the sin” way. It’s more peaceful for me. I’d think that would be more consistent with the L attitude of “anything peaceful,” so I’m not sure where many Ls went off the rails and adopted this judgmental, sanctimonious, angry approach that you seem to’ve. As a Randian/Rothbardian in recovery, I think I may have a clue, though. 😉

  84. Joe

    @91,

    Robert, thanks for the kind words. By way of full disclosure, I should say that Bill Redpath and I have known each other since at least 1978 when we worked at the same radio station — WTTS in Bloomington IN. I like Bill, consider him one of my dearest friends, have stayed in his home in the DC area. I believe (but do not know and he as not said this to me) that he wishes he had picked up the phone and called Lee before his dues expired, but at the time felt that kind of mutual courtesy did not exist between them, and, if I remember correctly (and this could have come from another source), that Lee had been protesting that he would never give another dime to this (expletive related to disfunctional) party.

    And, personally, it’s not, I think, the chair’s job to call people about their dues.

    That said, I think the bylaws, or common practice, should be to allow a grace period after dues have expired, before expulsion — at least until the next regular meeting of the committee — which standard Lee met.

    I do consider myself more radical than my friend Bill is. More in line with where Lee is coming from. But I did see Lee’s behavior at at least one LNC meeting, which seemed to me at the time, more like a 3 year old throwing a temper tantrum, or trying not to throw one (walking out of the room, complaining while others were speaking, sighing, rolling his eyes, etc) and tending, I think, to belittle others on the LNC or in the Party. Yet, that said, what happened to Mary Ruwart before the Denver convention, apparently supported by LP staff, would have me hopping mad as well.

    Joe

  85. Robert Capozzi

    joe, agreed on this incident. Staff should have called. If they were directed NOT to call Lee, I would seriously question that judgment, even if Lee is prone to brutish behavior and even anti-LP utterances. (I’ve not met him, only seen him once, so I’ve no opinion other than I recognize him as a fellow L.)

    Staff — Cory specifically — attempted to immunize the party from Ruwart’s theoretical views on a very inflammatory position she apparently holds on the production of child pornography. If I recall correctly, however, Cory in essence “set her up,” as obviously she wasn’t making her campaign about kiddie porn, dredging her (IMO misguided) view on the matter and bringing it to light.

    I definitely don’t agree with Ruwart on the issue. However, I don’t think staff should be in the vetting business, especially for someone like Mary, who is generally a positive person, certainly in presentation, IMO. It appeared to me to be — in essence — a “dirty trick,” which seems inappropriate for staff to conduct, especially against fellow Ls.

    (This is all based on my vague recollections of the Ruwart incident, but I share it as part of my “Can We All Get Along?” campaign. This childish war has GOT to end.)

  86. Michael Seebeck

    Robert, rather than call Dr. Ruwart’s so-called “kiddie porn” position “inflammatory” and “misguided”, why don’t you simply ask her directly about it? Why jump to conclusions absent facts?

    The fact is, she was referring to teenagers, not prepubescent children, and age is no indication of maturity in anyone. No arbitrary temporal reference is.

    Furthermore, I debunked that mess eons ago over at TPW anyway. I believe Less Antman found and posted the archive link on these pages somewhere recently.

    It all comes down to a set-up job to remove Lee by trying an end-around on the Bylaws, because the people who wanted to remove him didn’t like him because he actually did his job in representing the membership and questioning the leadership.

  87. Robert Capozzi

    ms, I’m actually not interested in the subject of kiddie porn production and all its nuances. A good communicator/politician knows how to deftly sidestep theoretical, speculative questions, IMO. My recollection of that silly incident was that Ruwart DIDN’T sidestep it…more like she stepped in it. My sense at the time and now is I admired her attempt to “consistently” apply what she believes are L principles, but on that one I’d suggest discretion is the better part of valor. I’m reminded of Emerson’s counsel of “foolish consistency,” but…whatever…

    Can we move on?

    L’affaire Lee may well have been in some ways a “set-up job” in some ways, but it strikes me that a NatComm member is an adult, and should be responsible for maintaining his own membership in an organization that he’s a (putative, at least) leader of. No one else made his membership lapse, except Lee. (Some suggest it didn’t lapse, but apparently there’s a lot of documentation that says it did, actually…technically.) I’m all ears if someone DID cause him not write the check. Takers?

    You diminish your “opponents” if you think this was an “end run.” It wasn’t. It was, however, a technical reading of the Bylaws, which is sometimes gray and open to interpretation.

    Please watch this video, scroll to 0.50:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgiR04ey7-M

    Here was a man whose brains were bashed it by out-of-control cops, and he said “Can we all just get along?” Wow! “We’re all stuck here for awhile. Let’s try to work it out.”

    Do you disagree? Watch it again, then, till you get it…because not since a dude said “Forgive them for they know not what they do” or some such has there ever been such a heartfelt appeal to the nonviolent way. Maybe watch it again….and REALLY watch it this time.

    “It’s just not right.”

    “I’m neutral….”

    Watch it.

  88. Michael Seebeck

    Robert, I got the real story on Rodney King from my local police relatives here in SoCal. What the media didn’t report was that he was stoned out of his mind at the time. They didn’t report it because they wanted to sensationalize the race angle and the police brutality angle. Why do you think those cops were acquitted, which led to the riots? Because the jury heard the truth and the rioting public did not.

    Dr. Ruwart didn’t step in anything there–she was blindsided by others who dug into a 14-year-old book to take a quotation completely out of context and then smear her with it–the same others who went after Angela and made her life a living hell before she resigned, and the same one who went after Lee. Are you going to keep turning a blind eye or apologizing for them when they go after their next person, be it Rachel, Jake, Steve LaBianca, or someone else?

    Your argument against Lee has been thoroughly debunked here and elsewhere. Had you listened in on the JudCom hearing last Friday you would have heard that. But you were nowhere to be found.

    And yes, it was an attempt at an end run. They tried to exploit what they think is a loophole to do so without breaking any rules, and then clumsily broke the rules anyway.

  89. Jim Davidson

    @101 “angry approach”

    There are generally two reasons for anger. Fear and sadness. For many people, it is fear, for me it is sadness.

    You aren’t angry because you don’t really care. You don’t mind that the people in charge keep fucking over my friends. Perhaps because they aren’t your friends.

    You aren’t angry because the enormous loss of lives, the suffering, the torture, the destruction of property by the state, over and over again, doesn’t bother you. You are okay with it. So you won’t ever get very worked up about anything, about any injustice, about any violation.

    Which seems to make it easy for you to love all the people who are doing hateful, evil things to betray their neighbors and visit a shit storm of horrors on the immediate future. Not everyone has that level of nonchalance, that extent of sans souci, that uncaring demeanor that you display.

    Politics is about human relationships, and a great many of those relationships are based on trauma, violence, brutality, and betrayal.

    There is nothing wrong with anger, hatred, outrage, sadness, shock, horror, and other human emotions. Your persistent attacks on me belie your claim to have any forgiveness at all. You don’t forgive anyone because you don’t see anything wrong with anything. You just like to bully people.

  90. Mik Robertson

    @94

    So perhaps Mr. Redpath thought Mr. Wrights behaved like an ass and didn’t deserve a courtesy call. It is not Mr. Redpath’s job to remind LNC members of their responsibilities as determined by the membership. There is nothing Mr. Redpath or anyone else did that absolves Mr. Wrights of his responsibility.

    It is certainly possible that things get forgotten and dues went unpaid by mistake. In that case the honorable thing to do is accept responsibility for the error and move forward.

    The response from Mr. Wrights suggests to me that Mr. Redpath’s assessment may be correct. The response of others was much worse. Vicious and venomous attacks against other LNC members and LP staff as if they are worse than Hitler tend to lessen the credibility of the attacker.

  91. Michael Seebeck

    Mik, it’s his job as Chair to run the LNC in an efficient manner, and that means making sure the LNC is up to speed on everything, including their membership. Fact is, he didn’t do that, and deliberately took steps to do the opposite. There is a fundamental difference between a regular member and a member who is also an LNC member, and that difference appears lost on a lot of people. A simple listing of membership status at the start of each meeting takes an extra twenty seconds and extends a simple courtesy, one that would have avoided, as Ruth Bennett put it in the JudCom hearing, hundreds of man-hours resolving the issue. But because certain officers put personal agendas ahead of the good of the Party, they didn’t, and as a result, we get all of this.

  92. Michael Seebeck

    As for the rest, Mik, you really ought to get all the facts of the situation. This predates the current situation and it goes back to before Denver, and it makes West Wing look like a bad sitcom.

  93. Mik Robertson

    I think one big problem here is that a lot of people are dragging all kinds of other past baggage into this situation. It results in the creation of a lot a drama, and inhibits any progress toward resolving differences.

    I agree there is a fundamental difference between a member and a member who is also on the LNC. The LNC member is supposed to be a responsible leader. It seems odd that many of the same voices who say there should not be a dictator on the LNC seem to be holding the chair responsible for everything.

    Perhaps the LNC would be more efficient if it didn’t have members who get up and walk out, roll their eyeballs, or disparage the efforts of others. If it would make the LNC more efficient to remove Mr. Wrights, would that be the duty of the chair?

  94. Robert Capozzi

    ms: What the media didn’t report was that he was stoned out of his mind at the time.

    me: hmm, I live in VA, and I heard that fact. Interesting that an L would highlight that fact. OK, King was “stoned.” Therefore, he needed to be bludgeoned….? Huh?

  95. Robert Capozzi

    jd 108: You aren’t angry because you don’t really care. You don’t mind that the people in charge keep fucking over my friends. Perhaps because they aren’t your friends.

    me: It’s my practice to be friend to all, even those I disagree with. You are incorrect that I am never fearful or sad…I have the range of emotion that you do. But I respond differently. I don’t find it healthy to respond with viciousness, even when I see what appears to be vicious behavior. “Turn the other cheek” is more like it, although I think that counsel was an overstatement. It’s more like jujitsu. In your case, when you go OCD with your “rebar” imagery, I challenge your premises, and wonder whether McVeigh and Kaczynski and Manson had similar thought patterns before they committed their atrocities. If I were acquainted with them, I hope I’d have the strength to challenge THEIR premises, too, before they acted on their insane thoughts. Friends DO intervene when someone close is spinning out of control. View that “attack” if you will; I view it as “compassion.” It could well be that you have cracked the code, and my opinions are woefully incorrect. As yet, I’ve seen no evidence of that, however.

    Consider this the hint of the century: Forgiveness is not a scarce resource, to be doled out sparingly. It’s the opposite, I’d suggest. The more we share forgiveness, the stronger it gets. Does it REALLY make you happy to suggest someone be “rebarred”? Or, does forgiving make you happy? How could forgiveness, happiness, and love be limited? They are limitless!

  96. Robert Capozzi

    ms: the same others who went after Angela and made her life a living hell before she resigned, and the same one who went after Lee

    me: This is classic victimology. Angela and Lee are in charge of their experience, and how they interpret facts. If the interpretation of facts leads to “hell,” that’s on them, quite frankly. That’s not to say they shouldn’t call an injustice if they perceive one is in progress…I’d say they should! Don’t you recall the old saying, “I’m rubber, you’re glue.” Or “sticks and stones”? Truer words have never been spoken.

  97. mdh

    @106 – Mike, who gives a damn if he was stoned out of his mind? That doesn’t give the police the right or authority or anything else to brutally assault him the way they did.

  98. libertariangirl

    agreed! , what the hell does being stoned have to do with anything ?

    i do detect a little statism if im not mistaken.

    why would a LPer even make that statement , much less someone who ardently opposes the conservatism dominating the LP as of late?

    first you flaunt your superior intelligence , then you unabashedly take the side of fascist storm-troopers …

    mmmm , makes me wonder …

  99. PB

    Mik, it’s his job as Chair to run the LNC in an efficient manner, and that means making sure the LNC is up to speed on everything, including their membership. Fact is, he didn’t do that, and deliberately took steps to do the opposite. There is a fundamental difference between a regular member and a member who is also an LNC member, and that difference appears lost on a lot of people. A simple listing of membership status at the start of each meeting takes an extra twenty seconds and extends a simple courtesy, one that would have avoided, as Ruth Bennett put it in the JudCom hearing, hundreds of man-hours resolving the issue. But because certain officers put personal agendas ahead of the good of the Party, they didn’t, and as a result, we get all of this.

  100. Robert Capozzi

    On this “chair’s job is to run the LNC efficiently,” one could make the argument that allowing a disruptive member to lapse WOULD be efficient.

    Let’s take a more extreme example: Say Mr. Davidson were on LNC. He frequently suggests that another member needs to be hit with rebar. Other members are concerned for their safety. He cleverly never actually threatens others, yet they are nevertheless afraid that he might act on his fantasies.

    In that case, it might be efficient to allow Davidson to lapse.

    That said, I certainly agree wit Bennett’s suggestion. It might not even need to be done during the meeting.

  101. Mik Robertson

    @118 Is this from the Department of Redundancy and Repetitiveness Department?

    Courtesy seems to be at a minimum when is comes to relations among fellow LP members. Perhaps the best was to elicit courtesy is to practice it first.

  102. Michael Seebeck

    Robert, unlike you, I’ve been involved in these situations with my friends all along. You’ve been where during this? Oh yeah, acting like an uninformed fool behind a keyboard.

    I’m so sorry that you seem to be stuck in Milnes mode while being an apologist for the morons in charge while spouting Rodney King rhetoric. Perhaps a better use for you, like electronic doorstop, is in order.

    I’m sick of dealing with your Holtzian garbage. If you can’t see plain facts, then that’s your problem.

  103. Michael Seebeck

    Robert, until you have wealked a mile in a cop’s shoes and know what they deal with, STFU. I come from a family of cops. I’ve seen what they deal with, and it’s the dregs of humanity on a regular basis. I’m not saying King deserved what he got, but what I am saying is that the media didn’t tell the whole story and the public never heard the whole story, and they celebritized a guy that deserved nothing more than a booking at the local jail for reckless driving, all based on LAPD reputation and playing a race card. That’s what’s offensive about the entire King situation that you foolishly harp on all the time.

  104. robert capozzi

    ms, thanks for the time management counsel…I’ll take it under advisement.

    Sounds like I’ve pushed some of your buttons. Consider this: Let’s stipulate that Obama knows more about government and law than you do, OK? I suspect that you nevertheless disagree with his political opinions, yes?

    Perhaps your “closeness” to the Wrights matter has clouded your assessment of it. I liken it to the King video, the part where he understands the rioters initial anger, but its continuation was “just not right.”

    This desire to exact revenge seems dysfunctional to me. Something MORE productive would be to develop a slate of candidates for the LNC.

  105. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “This desire to exact revenge seems dysfunctional to me. Something MORE productive would be to develop a slate of candidates for the LNC.”

    Not to worry — there will almost certainly be at least one slate of candidates contesting officer and at-large seats with incumbents at next year’s national convention.

    I’m curious as to whom you think is operating from a “desire to exact revenge,” and upon whom and for what it is attempting to exact that revenge, though.

  106. Michael H. Wilson

    Let’s pretend I’m an at-large rep to the LNC and my dues are to expire so I send in a check and then there’s an anthrax scare at the post office and the mail gets held up for a month. In the meantime my dues expire because the office hasn’t got my check. Can the Chair just rule me me ineligible to sit at that point? Afterall I did send the dues in, but the Chair and I don’t get along very well. What now? Are our by-laws in need of repair?

  107. Robert Capozzi

    tk, well, I’d certainly venture to say that veiled rebar threats sound to me like the words of a vengeful person. I’d say branding people “morons” is, too, especially when they are obviously NOT morons. Suggesting 4 people resign based on an email from one person sounds vengeful to me, too, hence my “judge, jury and prosecutor” theme. Calling those who interpret rules a “Gang of Eight” strikes me as a vengeful thought, filled with condemnation that is not justified.

    I make a differentiation between differences of opinion and condemnation. For ex., I often disagree with your opinions (not always, of course, in fact I agree with you quite a lot), but I don’t condemn you as a “moron” or part of a “gang.” That’s because I recognize that ad hominem personal attacks only hurt me in the end…bad karma has a propensity to boomerang!

    Mr. Davidson might believe I personally attack him, and I can see why, though they aren’t intended as attacks. In his case, I do aggressively challenge his violent allusions, for I’m hoping he’ll seek some help. I’m doing my best to speak in a language he might understand, for I can’t imagine his approach is anything close to healthy.

    I tend to use a similar approach with haters, such as racists, homophobes, and misogynists.

  108. Robert Capozzi

    lg: comparing Jim Davidson to Lee Wrights is unfair

    me: Oh, I agree! I was careful to use the term “extreme example.” My illustration shows the weakness of the “efficiency” argument. Efficiency is in the eye of the beholder.

  109. Mik Robertson

    @126 If you are an at-large rep on the LNC it is your responsibility to ensure you maintain eligibility. If the post office, or your secretary, or your courier loses your sustaining membership payment or for some reason withholds it before it reaches the LP office, that is not the responsibility of the chair or anyone else on the LNC.

    Even if at that point you had the world’s best relationship with the chair, he could not ignore the bylaws and say you were still on the committee. A vote of the entire LNC could not say you were still on the committee if in fact you were ineligible to serve. That’s part of what makes this episode absurd.

    Changes to the bylaws can only be done in convention. If the delegates want to adopt some changes that would be the time to do it. In the mean time, it appears the wrong question was put before the Judicial Committee.

  110. Michael Seebeck

    I will never make no such stipulation. If Obama knew anything about constitutional law, starting with the first principles, he would be a Libertarian, not a statist Democrat. The problem with most lawyers is that they are a part of a system that discourages proper thinking and understanding of the reality of the system in favor of the procedural bullshit that’s called the legal system.

    Or, to quote my maternal biological unit, “Just because you’re educated doesn’t mean you’re wise.”

    Most lawyers may know the legal system, but to claim that they then know something of constitutional law would be utter malarkey. Witness yesterday’s Prop 8 ruling as most recent Exhibit A.

  111. Michael Seebeck

    BTW, my friendships don’t cloud my judgment here either. But your inability to see the facts, Robert, destroys yours.

  112. Michael Seebeck

    Sorry, “never make no such stipulation” => “never make any such stipulation.” Negation switch lost in the edit.

  113. Michael Seebeck

    And no, Robert, you haven’t pushed any of my buttons save one–the anti-Stupid button.

  114. Michael Seebeck

    Mik, go read the f’ing Bylaws and tell me where it says that a dues lapse causes automatic removal.

    You’ll find that doesn’t exist in there.

    Yet they claim it does.

    Rather simple, really: they’re wrong!

  115. Jim Davidson

    @119 “Say Mr. Davidson were on LNC.”

    No, don’t say that. It can’t happen. I did sign the pledge, but I am not willing to pay dues to the national LP because it is run by such complete jerks who attack my friends Lee Wrights and Angela Keaton.

    So, don’t even try it on as a hypothetical. The LP national is too corrupt, too vicious, and too useless to expect a dime from me.

  116. Jim Davidson

    @77 “I do have considerable interest in seeing that what happened to Angela and what happened to Lee don’t happen again.”

    The repetition does suggest that it will happen again, that those who did these things to Angela and then to Lee are inclined to play these games and screw over other members of the LNC. It seems clear that the members of the LP ought to remove all of them from power next year.

    And I won’t be holding my breath. lol

  117. Jim Davidson

    @114 “when you go OCD with your ‘rebar’ imagery,”

    Haven’t we already established that you don’t have a license to practice medicine, don’t have any training in psychiatry nor psychology, and don’t know anything about what you are saying? Because if not, then it is really wild for you to suggest that obsessive compulsive disorder has anything with being willing to use up to deadly force to defend life, liberty, and property, my own and others.

    Where is the tic? The sufferer of OCD performs repetitive and irrational physical motions in response to anxiety from an external stimulus. Since these are physical behaviors, and since you’ve never seen me in person, you are demonstrating your ignorance, as well as a vile tendency to accuse people you don’t like of mental disorders.

    In fact, my use of “got rebar” is meant to be a metaphor for effective and meaningful action, and is meant to poke fun at you in particular because it clearly bothers you so much. You obviously don’t care, at all, about anything because it actually offends you that anyone would ever take action against a thief or trespasser by killing them.

    Making fun of the mentally handicapped is not one of your better features, Capozzi. Pretending that I’m suffering from sort of mental disorder is a way of cheapening the discussion. It cannot conceivably be anything except ad hominem. Instead of dealing with my arguments with reason and making reasoned arguments of your own, you attack me with these horrid and absurd accusations. Why? How is that in any way conceivably Christian of you?

    “I challenge your premises, and wonder whether McVeigh and Kaczynski and Manson had similar thought patterns before they committed their atrocities.”

    You amuse yourself in making these bizarre comparisons, which is very unChristian of you. You also name three rather minor figures in the history of mass murder. Mao, Stalin, and Hitler are at the other end of that spectrum, I believe. But, again, these are just ad hominem arguments, nothing at all about my ideas, my reasoning, my evidence. It really makes you look stupid.

    You have no evidence whatever that I’ve ever killed or assaulted anyone. If you were to point to some act of aggression by me and say, “Isn’t he like Manson,” that might even be appropriate, but you cannot do so. All you can say is you don’t feel comfortable with me talking about how I feel. Which is good, because what I really want is you, and all people like you, to feel really, really uncomfortable, all the time. I want you to worry all the time whether your precious do-nothing political party might be the target of Department of Homeland Security action to round up card carrying members and throw you all in death camps.

    “If I were acquainted with them, I hope I’d have the strength to challenge THEIR premises, too, before they acted on their insane thoughts.”

    There is no hope. There is only action or inaction. Again, it doesn’t flatter you to call me insane. You have no evidence at all of this diagnosis. You aren’t qualified to make such a diagnosis. And saying that I am insane is saying that you have no reasoning to use against any of my arguments. It says that all you can think to do is attack me personally. It makes you look pathetic.

    “Friends DO intervene when someone close is spinning out of control.”

    Dude, get over yourself. You aren’t my friend. You have never been my friend. I deride your idea of friendship. You are an attacker, a mean person, a bully, one who badly uses others, one who makes false accusations, one who pretends to knowledge you don’t have, and one who objects to anyone rising in defense of his actual friends. Therefore, I don’t seek your friendship, nor your counsel. May your chains set very heavily upon you, may your manacles chafe and bind, and my history never record that you were my countryman.

    “View that ‘attack’ if you will; I view it as ‘compassion.'”

    Very sick and twisted of you. Calling people insane is compassion? Wow. You are very dark inside, aren’t you. There is something quite sinister in this comment you make that calling me insane, comparing gentle me to mass murderers is “compassion.” It does not encourage me to find any redeeming value in you.

    “It could well be that you have cracked the code, and my opinions are woefully incorrect. As yet, I’ve seen no evidence of that, however.”

    Your opinions are woefully ignorant and poorly informed. I should like to see your thoughtful and reasoned evidence that I have obsessive compulsive disorder. That would be really rich in its hilarity and amusing in its incongruity.

    “Consider this the hint of the century: Forgiveness is not a scarce resource, to be doled out sparingly.”

    God has infinite forgiveness. I don’t. I’m not God.

    Forgiveness is something that should be earned, like respect, or honor, or credit. I can’t take you seriously because you keep making stuff up, lying, making absurd accusations, and attacking me personally. I cannot forgive you for any of your past transgressions because every time you interact with me, you insist on attacking me personally again (as in your recent OCD comment, above). You have not earned my forgiveness. You have been weighed in the balance, by me, and found wanting.

    “It’s the opposite, I’d suggest. The more we share forgiveness, the stronger it gets.”

    The more you foolishly forgive people who persist in doing wrong, the more inclined they are to see it as without consequence to do wrong, again.

    That is why you have been a member of the LP since 1981 and you live in a country that is far more of a police state today than it was in 1981. It is your fault to a considerable measure that the LP is not an effective voice for liberty.

    “Does it REALLY make you happy to suggest someone be ‘rebarred’?”

    It amuses me endlessly that it bothers you. I keep saying rebar to taunt you in particular.

    “Or, does forgiving make you happy?”

    Find someone who deserves my forgiveness and I’ll get back to you on that.

    “How could forgiveness, happiness, and love be limited? They are limitless!”

    So are hatred, death, and horror.

    The universe is infinite in every direction, and appears to divide at every quantum event into endless variations on the theme. There are good reasons to suppose that consciousness itself depends on the ability our neurons have to detect and interact with parallel universes.

    God created a universe of cornucopia. Yet, everywhere we look, mankind are in chains, politicians are setting scarcity as the order of the day, and people in many countries starve to death on a daily basis.

    Yes, love, happiness, and other things are infinite. So is energy. So are the material resources of the universe. The flowers and birds don’t have politics and they find all the resources they need to grow, thrive, and reproduce endlessly.

    So there is clearly something about the way some people are behaving that is worth examining, and stopping. It is useful to examine not only what they are doing, but how that makes us feel.

    I think what you are doing, Capozzi, is regarding me in a contemptuous fashion. You think that because I write openly of my feelings I must be crazy. You think that because I write about forgiveness and respect being earned that I must be wrong. And so for you forgiveness is a way of belittling me, just as calling me a mass murderer or saying I have a mental disorder you read about once is your way of belittling me.

    It makes you look stupid. The universe has a way of punishing stupidity. It really is, as Heinlein wrote, the only universal capital crime. The punishment for stupidity is always death, and there is never any appeal. And that’s the universe. It has nothing to do with me.

  118. Jim Davidson

    Obviously the universe has much to do with me, but the universe punishing stupidity with death has nothing to do with my choices nor preferences. I do like to see evolution in action from time to time though.

    I wrote, “It is your fault to a considerable measure that the LP is not an effective voice for liberty.” And I want to expand on that just a bit. You are foolishly rewarding for A while seeking B.

    In particular, you claim to want an effective, ethical, and efficient Libertarian Party. But when you are presented with a request for funds, or “dues” you pay it even though the people you are rewarding are not providing you with these things.

    I don’t understand how those of you in the LP can conceive of your actions in supporting the LP as just. But even if you can justify giving the national LP money, how can you possibly expect better results that way? You have very few tools at your disposal. Throwing money at evil cretins seems like a poor choice.

  119. Jim Davidson

    @116 I think it was clearly the case that the police over-reacted in their brutal beating of Rodney King. Having myself been beaten by police, I am able to empathise.

    Rodney King was no angel. But the police in LA are devils.

  120. Jim Davidson

    @122 “I come from a family of cops.”

    Ah, there it is. New insight.

    So, Michael, I put it to you that cops have a choice in choosing their profession. It is possible to take those same skills and work in other jobs that don’t bring one into contact with “the dregs of humanity on a regular basis.”

    So, here’s my view. Cops are pigs. All cops are bullies with badges. Each and every cop gets a badge because he wants to bully other people, occasionally beat them up, often smack them around, and from time to time kill someone and get away with these things.

    Every cop has a choice to not be a cop. And that is the only thing I want from any cop. I want every single police officer to quit. Stop being a cop. Stop enforcing unjust laws. Stop arresting and harassing people for non-violent behavior. Stop being a parasite taking money stolen at gun point in every paycheck.

    I regard it as my duty to discriminate against people who make bad choices deliberately. It would be silly to discriminate against someone because of something they didn’t choose (like skin color, nationality). But every cop chooses to do his job every day. And that’s disgusting.

  121. Jim Davidson

    @127 “Mr. Davidson might believe I personally attack him”

    You do, Capozzi, and have done so repeatedly, without ever stopping. You attack me.

    It is not just me that perceives you attacking me. George Phillies has commented that you have been attacking me. Thomas Knapp has commented that you have been attacking me.

    Your attacks are personal and persistent. I’d like you to stop. I am insulted by your comments.

    You claim to be full of forgiveness, but I haven’t seen you apologise. Since you have made false accusations of a scurrilous nature, I ask that you apologise to me. I regard it as dishonorable of you to behave toward me as you have.

  122. Robert Capozzi

    ms 130, oh, I agree with your mom! Wisdom and technical knowledge are very different things. That was exactly my point, put more elegantly.

    Yes, when I said “the law,” that is to me the “practice of law and legal theory.”

    Rather than comparing and contrasting Obama and you, make it, say, Posner and me. Posner knows more about the practice of law and government than I do, yet I choose to not defer to his opinions in those matters.

    Hope that clears things up.

  123. Robert Capozzi

    jd, I’m so sorry you were beaten by police. You are correct that I can’t know if that trauma has colored your worldview, but I do wonder.

    Yes, perhaps I’ve gone overboard in challenging your violence-laced language. These comment threads seem useful in sharing ideas, but it does seem we all get carried away with this otherwise wonderful technology, myself included. Knowing now that you’ve been beaten like one of my favorite illustrations of forgiveness, Rodney King, it does seem an apology is in order. I apologize, and I again wish you nothing but the best. It seems best that I not respond to your provocative statements, which is my loss, as — violence aside — you have some very interesting ideas on a wide array of subjects that I’d like to understand better.

    Peace.

  124. Robert Capozzi

    ms: But your inability to see the facts, Robert, destroys yours.

    me: I find it interesting that you have repeatedly made this claim, you never specify which “facts” I don’t see.

    This strikes me as an epistemological question. At any given moment, we have millions of stimuli, facts if you prefer, that we choose to focus on. We each choose to filter those facts, assess them, and then form opinions or make decisions based on them. With me?

    I get the sense that you believe that anyone who doesn’t agree (perhaps in total) with how you’ve filtered and assessed the fact set surrounding the current LNC is somehow “stupid.” Is that a fair characterization of your view?

    If so, that goes to some pretty narrow-minded, dualistic places, I’d suggest–a plumb line on steroids!

    If I misunderstand, please have the courtesy to restate your position. Can we or can we not sometimes — even always — disagree with you and NOT be “stupid”? For ex., I seem to recall that Einstein was a socialist. Was he stupid, too?

  125. Michael Seebeck

    Gee, now Robert is channeling Holtz, engaging in subject-changing and non-sequitirs. Typical.

    The facts you refuse to see, Robert, have been laid out here for all to see. If you have the inability to read or process them, then that’s your problem.

    But I’ll restate them, so perhaps just maybe you’ll have a ghost of a chance that you’ll understand:

    1) Bylaws are not self-executing. People do actions based on Bylaws, and they Bylaws do not do them themselves.
    2) There is a difference between status and process based on status.
    3) Words in legalistic documents, even purported words of art, have significant and specific explicit meanings.
    4) When dealing with the relationship between Bylaws and RONR, RONR is secondary the Bylaws because the Bylaws supersede them.
    5) The Gang of Eight doesn’t understand these first 4, nor basic leadership.

  126. Michael Seebeck

    Well, Jim, that’s your choice to make that opinion, but I know there are many good cops that are given bad reps by bad cops. I’ve seen both, and had both in the family.

    To paint everyone of a profession with the same brush is infantile and evidence of a poor an uninformed mind clouded by bad attitude.

    I’m sorry you’ve been beaten by cops before, and I’m sorry you seem to hate the universe. But your attitude is your choice, your responsibility, and your problem–just as how cops conduct themselves on duty is theirs. Rather than bitch and moan about theirs, how about working on yours? How’s that Facebook thing going, BTW?

  127. mdh

    I’ve known some cops whom I got along with well. At the end of the day to say someone is good or bad is just silly, though. We’re all human and none of us is particularly any better or worse than others in reality, we just take different actions that are viewed subjectively by others and judged based upon those by others.

    The cops who beat Rodney King did, in my eyes, something very bad. I guarantee you we could probably find some racists or people who hate drug users or some such, who would claim that what they did was good. It’s all subjective.

    Are the cops who I get along with “good”? No more so than you, or me, or anyone else. I know a lot of people and get along with most of them despite what faults they may have, so long as they are not faults which personally affect me, such as someone who steals from their friends.

  128. robert capozzi

    ms, we seem to disagree about the definition of “facts” vs. “opinions.” Your list is a list of opinions; others have other opinions.

    Oddly enough, this seems to be the root of the problem. If there isn’t agreement on the difference between facts and opinions, it’s rather difficult to have a meaningful conversation…I’d hope you agree with at least THAT.

    Perhaps you can share how you construe your opinions as facts. Let’s, IOW, get radical…

  129. libertariangirl

    I come from a family cops too. My dad was a cop for 30 yrs.I cant say it hasnt helped me ‘get away’ with things like tickets and other things when others would have paid a price.

    so , having cops in the family does have its benefits:)

  130. Michael Seebeck

    Robert, I have the facts completely documented. Far more than you in your isolation far from the situation can comprehend. That timeline of facts is in the hands of the Judicial Committee, as well as others far more informed than you on the case. Most of the pieces of that timeline are in fact on this very site. I just took the effort to put them together in the proper order–an exercise that you seem to want to not do and instead continually apologize for the Gang of Eight.

    Do your own research, Robert. I did it, and even you can too!

  131. Michael Seebeck

    Matt hits it right on the head.

    It’s not the profession, it’s what people do in it.

    For every five quiet Mother Theresas there’s a loud Roger Mahoney making the other five look bad.

    In the case of Lee Wrights, the actions of the Gang of Eigfht are generally viewed as bad by people with common sense and decency, all apologists aside.

  132. robert capozzi

    ms, hmm, it’s clear you are not understanding my point. You could spend every waking hour researching this matter and it would not transmogrify the case you’ve assembled into an indisputable “fact.” You are using INTERPRETATIONS of facts to form an OPINION. Has to be.

    I’m amused that you refer to me as an “apologist,” as my opinion was this was an overreaction, poor judgment, and hyper-technical, and a waste of time. Yet, it IS a “teachable moment” as you left coasters are wont to say…

    Or maybe you’ve different take on the word “apologist,” as I’ve suggested Wrights is probably due an apology?…

  133. Robert Capozzi

    ms: Do your own research, Robert. I did it, and even you can too!

    me: “even”? I can research a frame-by-frame analysis of a dog chasing its tail, but — big picture — it’s a dog chasing its tail. Seems woefully counterproductive.

  134. Jim Davidson

    @151 “It’s not the profession, it’s what people do in it.”

    It is the profession. It is the job of pigs to enforce unjust laws, to harass non-violent non-criminals, to beat up ambulance drivers in Oklahoma, to kick in doors, to murder old women for allegedly being drug dealers, to empty their clips into unarmed men, women, and children.

    There is only one thing a cop should do. Quit.

  135. Jim Davidson

    @146 “I know there are many good cops”

    All cops are deliberately evil. There are only two kinds of good cops. Those who are dead (preferable) and those who have quit being cops (less preferable, as potentially temporary).

    “I’ve seen both, and had both in the family.”

    You should be ashamed of them.

    “To paint everyone of a profession with the same brush is infantile and evidence of a poor an uninformed mind clouded by bad attitude.”

    Well, have some of your pig friends beat me up for my bad attitude, then, jock pig-lover scum. What should inform my attitude about pigs? The way they beat up non-violent people? The way they kick in doors without warrants? Or the way they eat donuts?

    The world would be a better place if police as a profession had not been invented. Given that pigs exist, it would be better if they were all slaughtered.

    “I’m sorry you’ve been beaten by cops before,”

    No, you aren’t. You are a bully, and a jock. You like the idea of beating people up. It thrills you. You want more people beaten up which is why you love pigs.

    “I’m sorry you seem to hate the universe.”

    On the contrary, only you and your family of pigs. I enjoy God’s creation, especially His cornucopia.

    “how about working on yours?”

    I like my attitude. I find it very invigorating. I sit in my office every day, look outside at the flowers blooming and the vegetables growing, and enjoy my attitude about dead cops. Millions of Dead Cops, before they changed their name, was my favorite band.

    Imagine it Michael. Everyone in your family who was ever a cop, dead. Preferably beaten to death by a crowd. Burned to death in their patrol cars. Blown up in their pig stations. Gunned down in donut shops. It would be fun, it would make the world a better place, it would be educational, and it would be pigless. Piglessness is a blessing. Every place where there are no pigs is better.

    The same exact thing is my attitude toward death camp guards. The same exact attitude functions perfectly for CIA torturers. For those who detain prisoners indefinitely, who torture men, women, and children to death, for those who sodomise children as your military has filmed Iraqi prison guards doing, in front of their mothers.

    Why are the pigs the problem? They enforce mala prohibitum laws. They do so deliberately and maliciously because they want to enforce those laws.

    And, of course, you aren’t a libertarian because you want them to enforce those laws, you like them to enforce unjust laws, you like the idea of people being beaten up, killed, tasered, tortured, robbed, and looted by police. The police are your team.

    My attitude is that your team is the Nazi death camp guards, the Gulag archipelago guards, the NKVD, the KGB, the Gestapo. They aren’t my neighbors. May history never record they were my countrymen.

    It isn’t just an attitude, it is a fact. It is a fact that the police are evil and should be disbanded. It is a fact that the police take stolen money in every paycheck. It is a fact that the unjust laws could not be enforced without the police. It is a fact that the police are those who kick in doors, drag away dissidents, taser those who ask questions at political rallies, appear on the streets in their pig armor to stomp the faces of protestors. It is a fact that all pigs everywhere like being the boot smashing a human face, forever.

    So, turn me in, pig-lover. You know you want to.

  136. Jim Davidson

    @143 “I’m so sorry you were beaten by police.”

    Unless you are the police, Robert, you don’t need to apologise for them.

    I appreciate your candor and your efforts to apologise. Perhaps we should leave it there. Thank you for having some consideration.

  137. Jim Davidson

    I should also add that corruption and abuse of power are commonplace among police. Police have a siege mentality toward other people and “protect” their own by failing to report known instances of wrongdoing. They want to enforce the laws for everyone except themselves.

    It occurs to me to note as well that all the instances of dead police mentioned above are featured in films like “Demolition Man” and television shows and such. I don’t have to conceive of, design, or commit any of these acts to enjoy their depiction. I cheer for the individuals who oppose the pigs.

  138. Mik Robertson

    @145
    “1) Bylaws are not self-executing. People do actions based on Bylaws, and they Bylaws do not do them themselves.”

    Sometimes people fail to act based on bylaws requirements, for example they don’t maintain an eligibility requirement. The officer charged with keeping such records makes note and informs the appropriate officer on the committee of such failure and that there is a vacancy on the committee that needs to be filled.
    Of course the bylaws don’t act by themselves, that would be silly.

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