The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 88: Back to (Reform) School

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

In this episode:

  • Surprise Announcement #1 (OK, OK, it's an app);
  • Thanks For Asking! (Emmanuel Goldstein v. sodium pentothal, Nick Gillespie, respectability politics vs. batsh*t insane conspiracy theories, Pence and Kaine you ignorant sluts!);
  • Surprise Announcement #2 (hint: I'm a glutton for political punishment);
  • A chaser of support me.
A couple of extra/explanatory links:

You Know, I Suppose I Should Make This Formal

Attn: Delegates attending the Reform Party's 2016 national convention, July 29-31, Bohemia, New York

I, Thomas L. Knapp, hereby declare myself a candidate for the Reform Party's 2016 vice-presidential nomination. My declaration to this effect is pursuant to having been named as the preferred running mate of prospective 2016 Reform Party presidential nominee Darcy Richardson.

I aver that I am constitutionally qualified for election to the vice-presidency of the United States, being a natural born citizen thereof, having attained the age of 35 years (turning 50 this November, in fact), and having been 14 years a resident of the United States (the last time I left the United States was in late December of 1990, pursuant to military orders; I returned in late May of 1991).

I am neither wealthy nor famous, but I am an experienced campaigner, going back to 1992 when I gathered ballot access signatures for Reform Party founder Ross Perot's first presidential campaign and proudly cast my vote for him. I pledge, if nominated, to use such resources as I have at my disposal to actively and energetically campaign on behalf of the party and its presidential ticket, and to help begin the process of rebuilding a Reform Party which can put its next presidential ticket on many more ballots and back that ticket with a much higher level financial and volunteer support.

Due to the lateness of this declaration, I do not expect to be able to attend the party's national convention next weekend. However, I will gladly make myself available via phone or videoconference should my virtual "presence" be required. Between now and the convention I invite delegates to contact me via email ( or on Facebook (thomaslknapp). Said contacts can be escalated to phone or Skype as necessary.

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully yours,
Thomas L. Knapp

An Analogy I Haven't Heard Elsewhere Yet

Just throwing this out for discussion.

The 2016 US presidential election as analogous to the 2000 Mexican presidential election:

One obvious difference here is that Trump isn't defeating the Republicans and the Democrats in one swell foop. He defeated the Republicans first (in their own primary elections) and will now attempt to defeat the Democrats (in the general election).

But I think the dynamic is at least facially similar.

I Was Reform Party Before There WAS a Reform Party

In 1992 I faced a presidential election quandary. I had pledged to vote for the re-election of George HW Bush, provided he honored his "no new taxes" pledge.

He didn't. But I wasn't going to vote for Bill Clinton, either. Since my first presidential vote in 1988 (for Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis), on the basis of intense reading and study, I had found myself moving across the left-right political spectrum, passing through "conservative" and into a space I hadn't yet identified as "libertarian."

Enter Ross Perot. I didn't agree with him on everything, but I had reached a point where I considered the two-party system broken and the left-right spectrum invalid, and he seemed like the best thing going. I gathered petition signatures for him as a volunteer and voted for him in November. Those who are old enough to recall the election will remember that his backing organization at that point was called United We Stand America. By 1996, it was the Reform Party (and I was an ideological libertarian and a partisan Libertarian).

OK, enough trivia. You may be wondering why I bother mentioning this at all, so let's get to the heart of the matter ASAP:

My friend Darcy Richardson has declared his candidacy for the Reform Party's 2016 presidential nomination.

Finally, a candidate I can support! No, we don't agree on everything (I would describe him as a social democrat with strong civil libertarian credentials; we've already discussed what I am), but I know him to be honest, hard-working and not intent on campaigning on the wrong side of any of the issues I just can't stomach a candidate campaigning on the wrong side of. He's also supported a number of my own political efforts over the years.

If Darcy is the Reform Party's 2016 presidential nominee, I will gladly vote for him this November.

Especially since he has selected me as his running mate.

What are the "negative factors that demonstrate [Leslie Van Houten] remains unsuitable for parole?"

Let's be honest. There's really only one such factor:

Paroling her would be politically unpopular and could possibly be used to the disadvantage of Democratic candidates, by "law and order" opponents, in future elections.

That's the reason -- the only reason -- why California governor Jerry Brown vetoed the parole board's recommendation.

She's been in jail or prison for nearly 50 years -- since 1969, when she was 20 years old.

There's good reason to believe that that her culpability in the murder of Rosemary LaBianca is somewhat mitigated by circumstance. To wit, she was effectively "brainwashed" -- recruited by the Manson "family" specifically because she was vulnerable to their approach, being a confused, drug-addled, mentally troubled teenager with an ugly family backstory (including a forced abortion).

She's been a model prisoner, never a disciplinary problem. She'll turn 67 in August.

Yes, it is true that but for the Manson "family," including Leslie Van Houten, who assisted Tex Watson in killing her, Rosemary LaBianca would either turn 86 this December or else have died in some other and almost certainly less horrific way.

It is also true that absent that single word -- "Manson" -- being associated with her crime, Van Houten would almost certainly have been paroled long ago. That may be a good thing or it may be a bad thing, but there's no doubt that the reason it's a thing at all is politics.

An eBay Scam I Only Just Noticed ...

... although it's probably been going on for quite awhile:

  • You search for an item (the example I am going to go with here is "compression shirt," because that's one of the items I noticed on which the scam is played);
  • You select "Buy It Now" and "Price + Shipping: Lowest First" (this is the way I  usually shop on eBay -- I may not end up buying the absolute cheapest product based on perception of quality, seller rating, etc., but I certainly start shopping from the bottom up on price);
  • You are presented with a whole bunch of listings with price ranges ("$1.87 to $10.45," "$2.93 to $9.99," "$1.99 to $7.49," etc.); and
  • Once you click on an item and start picking options (color, size, sleeve length, what have you), you discover that there are no items available at the lowest listed price (for the above-listed items, the lowest actual prices are, respectively, $6.67, $9.78 [note: There is a $2.93 item on this one, it's just not a shirt -- they threw some briefs into the same listing to get that lower price in the shirt listings], and $5.49).
How many listings of this type do you go through before finding an item actually sold for the price advertised? In this example, the 28th item is listed for (and actually sells for) $3.88 including, after 27 listings showing prices starting at $2.84 + 99 cents shipping or less on the search results, but without any items in those listings actually available at that listed lowest price.

It's a cheap scammy trick that sellers use to fraudulently move their items up to the top of the search listings, and eBay should crack down hard on it.

The Two Gary Johnsons

Gary Johnson #1, in Politico today:

Creditors have been hurt as [Donald Trump] walked away from debts. Is that the kind of moral example that he would bring to the U.S. government -- finding ways to duck obligations?

That's not an academic question. He has pledged to tear up agreements and even concoct some scheme by which America could walk away from its debt -- just as he did in his business dealings. America doesn't do that.

Bill Weld and I believe that fiscal responsibility is at the core of what our government needs to do.

Gary Johnson #2, according to his 2012 campaign's most recent FEC report:

Debts and Obligations Owed BY the Committee: $1,538,118.73

One of these things is not like the other.