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Libertarian

Days to Release LNC Meeting Minutes: 81

The minutes from the last LNC meeting were finally posted to lp.org today. This last meeting ended 81 days ago. There are only 9 days to go before the start of the next LNC meeting.

The Membership Effectively Shut Out

Add to this the fact that the minutes are a 64-page tome. How is anyone who didn’t actually attend the last meeting supposed to participate intelligently in the next one? And the one after that. Et cetera.

If this wasn’t a libertarian party I might think someone was trying to exclude the membership from active participation in running the party!

Update: The minutes were only posted after an LP member contacted his Regional LNC Rep and that Rep made a phone call.

By George Donnelly

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7 replies on “Days to Release LNC Meeting Minutes: 81”

Minutes for a board meeting of similar length of either the National Association of Parliamentarians or the American Institute of Parliamentarians would be about two or three pages. They are approved hours, not weeks, after the meeting. In sessions lasting two or more consecutive days, the minutes of the first day’s meeting are always approved as the first order of business on the second day, as required by Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (10th ed.), pp. 457-58.

The LNC is correct to not release draft minutes, but the minutes should be concise and approved promptly. Unfortunately, the LNC has superseded the excellent rules on minutes from RONR by adopting a special rule of order that turns centuries of parliamentary wisdom on its head. I urge everyone interested to read pages 451-58 of RONR (10th ed.).

M Carling, Professional Registered Parliamentarian

So, instead of having transparency, instead of having their deliberations fully available online, instead of actually deliberating online, the LP has face to face meetings in meat space, then comes up with minutes to those meetings, then comes up with modifications of what was said so guys like Chuck can be less embarrassed, and finally releases minutes just a few days before the next meeting.

What a lousy process.

I disagree with Carling. The minutes should be verbose and as complete as possible, so individuals know exactly what was said and by whom. I think the live blogging exercise by Angela Keaton was very useful to activists seeking to have a sense of the events as they transpired. Since the LNC does so much to thwart the work of activists for liberty, it is well we know as fast as possible what evil machinations are in the works.

Minutes should never be used a substitute for a meeting report and a meeting report should never be used as a substitute for minutes. They are very different things with very different purposes.

Bob Sullentrup produces outstanding meeting reports.

M Carling, Professional Registered Parliamentarian

I have no idea why it is relevant that Carling claims to be a professional and registered parliamentarian. Do we register parliamentarians the way that the Nazis registered Jews? Or what’s the point here? Does an officious sounding title impart any sort of credential?

I’ve not met Bob Sullentrup nor spent much time with his meeting reports. I certainly don’t think that disciplining Angela Keaton for providing a set of timely and current technology meeting reports makes any sense.

I do note that Sullentrup has some problems with Tom Knapp. Given the extent to which Tom has earned my respect and admiration, I do wonder what was supposed to have happened to Tom on 10 October 2008, or whatever date it was that Sullentrup alluded to in one of his nasty messages to and about Tom. I think Sullentrup is the arch enemy of freedom, openness, transparency, and decency.

Sullentrup was upset enough at Tom Knapp to falsely and deliberately call Tom a felon in the recent LNC meeting. Doing so was slander, and wrong. Tom is not a convicted felon, and Sullentrup should not be calling Tom a felon. Sullentrup was very upset when Angela Keaton called Tom to inform him of this fact. Sullentrup was one of the nasty people trying to unseat Angela, and force her from the room during the deliberations over her being removed. (I’ve no idea if the minutes reflect such facts, but Angela’s meeting reports did.)

I think Bob Sullentrup and others on the LNC want to undo the election of Angela Keaton at the Denver convention. I am very confident that Mary Ruwart, Rachel Hawkridge, and others who have idiotically agreed with disciplining Angela, or calling for her to apologise or resign, would be next in the sights of such perfidious lackeys of authoritarianism.

M. Carling is, to me, just “some guy.” His words have no authority and carry no weight. He’s just another person with an opinion. If putting “registered public certified chartered knighted accountant” or parliamentarian, or any other suffix after his name makes him feel better, it seems utterly absurd and childish.

I gather Carling, in his role as liaison to the Barr/Root-less campaign was one of the scurrilous sorts who alleged that there could be no contract with the national LP because of Angela’s involvement on the LNC. Such base behavior ought not to be tolerated, nor encouraged.

I suspect from his desire to be identified with an authoritative title that Carling is an authoritarian, not a libertarian.

Jim,

Would you also say that a doctor uses an authoritative title? A lawyer? A car mechanic? What of people who lay claim to college degrees? Should they also be lumped in with Nazis?

Anyone who has studied Robert’s Rules even a little bit (i.e., anyone with a real interest in politics) knows that parliamentary procedure is complicated and subject to abuse when the parties involved are ignorant of its rules. Considering that the LNC appears to have violated those rules, I’d say that having someone who has studied those rules and can prove it would be a decidedly good thing.

It appears that the LNC was wrong… but comparing people to Nazis and calling them authoritarians because they happen to claim a title they’re entitled to isn’t how you’re going to get justice, nor is it making you any friends.

Incidentally, most real meetings do take place in the “real world.” Meeting minutes are not, as you seem to imply, meant to be a word for word documentation of the meeting (who writes that fast?) but a summary. I do agree, however, that the removal of the video camera was a bit shady, considering the relative ease of using it.

Yes, Chad, I would say that a doctor uses a title, and often uses it authoritatively, as a substitute for reason. Many medical doctors are quite arrogant about their knowledge, however out of date it may be. I’ve had doctors argue that medical doctors must be licensed by the state or antibiotics would be abused and super-bacteria would destroy the world. This sort of nonsense in spite of the fact that Triclosan has been on the market for decades with no evidence of resistance developing in the wild (and considerable evidence that laboratory claims of a resistance pathway are discredited). I have no problem saying that a medical doctor may be wrong, and should not be paid any deference just because they have a state-sponsored suffix to their name. You might not agree, in which case never get a second opinion.

A lawyer might be practicing their craft, or, like Angela Keaton, trained in the activity and not practicing. Some lawyers do use their law degree suffix as a blunt weapon, yes. I disparage such substitute reasoning. A lawyer may or may not have any relevant expertise. Even the Supreme Court – loaded down with education and degrees and titles and bar cards and law licenses – has been very wrong. Take the ruling in Dred Scott or the ruling in McCain Feingold, for examples.

An auto mechanic can be a master craftsman, and might be very knowledgeable about what is wrong with a particular car. Some mechanics are also licensed by the state. It is possible for a mechanic to use their certification and license abusively, to insist on expensive repairs when they aren’t needed. Happily, many mechanics are quite diligent and honest.

What of people who lay claim to college degrees? Lots of them drive taxi cabs and work in restaurants. If your waitress interrupts a conversation, gives you here degree qualification, and demands that you accept her expertise on a topic because she has credentials that you lack, what would be your reaction?

Should everyone be lumped in with Nazis? No, of course not. Only those who behave like Nazis. The concept of a registered Parliamentarian doesn’t impress me, just as a registered letter, a licensed mechanic, a licensed doctor, a licensed lawyer doesn’t impress me on account of being licensed. Many people that I see driving around on the streets and highways are licensed, and utterly incompetent at the work they are doing. They drive like bozos. Should I trust blindly in the state because they have licenses? No.

The proof of the pudding is in the tasting of it. The credentials of a parliamentarian are in their ability to apply bylaws and rules in a sensible fashion during a meeting. To argue that because someone is registered with some professional or state entity that we must therefore give up reason and criticism and blindly follow that person’s directives is quite comparable to Nazism, yes. Moreover, I think Carling is himself an authoritarian.

“… subject to abuse when the parties involved are ignorant of its rules.”

Parliamentary procedure and many other things are subject to abuse even when people are aware of these things or conversant with them. Tools may be used for good or evil.

“Considering that the LNC appears to have violated those rules, I’d say that having someone who has studied those rules and can prove it would be a decidedly good thing.”

Given Carling’s role in betraying the principles of the LP and selling out to Barr, who ran a decidedly anti-platform campaign, I would not agree that he is a qualified source. Other parliamentarians have evaluated the LNC’s behavior, and I have looked at some of their arguments.

There is also a danger, I think, in not applying common sense and reason. To reason about the ethics involved is not the exclusive domain of parliamentarians, registered with the state or otherwise. One should not abandon decency and principle simply because someone with an authoritative title says you should.

“…but comparing people to Nazis…”

I compared the process of registering parliamentarians to the Nazis registering Jews.

“…. and calling them authoritarians because they happen to claim a title…”

I call Carling an authoritarian because he’s taken authoritarian positions in various arguments. Perhaps you are his best friend, or perhaps you are him posting under a pseudonym. If not, why not look at the things he has written to see whether he might be authoritarian? I have, and that is my conclusion.

“… they’re entitled to…”

Everyone is entitled to call themselves anything they please. Or does entitlement only arise from state approval?

“… isn’t how you’re going to get justice, nor is it making you any friends.”

I’m quite comfortable with having no friends. If having no friends is the price of speaking my mind, then it is a price I’m willing to pay. Friendship is overrated, most especially when it comes at the price of principles and ethics. In fact, I have friends who are ethical and principled, diligent, hard working, and fun to be friends with. I don’t expect to become friends with Carling nor with any of his sycophants.

“Incidentally, most real meetings do take place in the ‘real world.’”

In what world do they take place, then?

“Meeting minutes are not, as you seem to imply, meant to be a word for word documentation of the meeting (who writes that fast?) but a summary.”

No, that is incorrect. Meeting minutes are meant to be a distortion of the events that took place, and place a character on those events which is acceptable to the powers involved in the meeting. Meetings where dissent is voiced are often reported as being entirely free of dissent. This happened in a recent Boston Tea Party of Florida meeting, in which one of the officers of the party was coerced into voting with the other three, and who reported extensive dissent over a period of 15 minutes which was not recorded in the minutes.

“I do agree, however, that the removal of the video camera was a bit shady, considering the relative ease of using it.”

I assume that you mean that you don’t mind that the camera was removed? Or should things that are even a bit shady be examined critically? Are you for or against a policy of openness?

I am for a policy of openness. I am for open deliberations in all matters. I think that a free people deserve to have those who would represent them (as the libertarians are arguably seeking to do) in government conduct their deliberations openly. This feature of openness is something that I think was designed into the national party organisation of the Boston Tea Party, and I have fought to bring it down to the state level – not always successfully.

I think this feature of openness has been missing in the LP, which I stopped paying dues to in 1998. If I got the impression that the LP had become committed to openness and principle, I would re-evaluate that choice.

In the mean time, I do not seek friends among Republicans, conservatives, and authoritarians. If you think that the only evidence I have that Carling is several of these things is his choice of officious sounding title, then I regret not having made my indictment of his GOP orientation, his conservatism, and his authoritarianism more extensive.

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