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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Knapp Quotes 6 Questions, Evades 3 Of Them, Begs 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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