Has This Site Become Passe?

On January 17, 2019, Bill Weld changed his Massachusetts voter registration from “Libertarian” to “Republican.”

On Valentine’s Day, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader,  he formed an exploratory committee with a view toward challenging US president Donald Trump in the 2020 Republican presidential primary.

Later today, he’ll address the Politic and Eggs Forum, a New Hampshire eating/politics club and presumably discussion his Republican presidential aspirations.

The purpose of this site has, thus far, been to defend the Libertarian Party from a prospective Weld candidacy for our presidential nomination.

In neither sorrow nor anger, I’d like to bid Mr. Weld goodbye and wish him well in his Republican endeavors.

But the site will remain up, at least for a little while, on the same premise as the final stanza of Bob Dylan’s Masters of War. Given his propensity to change directions, stripes, etc., I intend to stand over Bill Weld’s (Libertarian Party presidential nomination) grave ’til I’m sure that he’s (metaphorically) dead.

Weld 2020 Rumors and the Big Question

Earlier this week, rumors circulated in the New England press that William Weld might announce a presidential candidacy as early as Thursday. Weld denied those rumors and no announcement was made on Thursday.

Per Stephanie Murray at Politico, “Weld has ‘nothing to say’ about it until he headlines a Politics & Eggs breakfast on Feb. 15 in New Hampshire and said he hadn’t taken a leave from ML Strategies or made any decisions.”

The big question piled on top of the rumors: If Weld runs, will he seek the Libertarian Party’s 2020 nomination or enter the GOP primaries as an alternative to US president Donald Trump?

Murray: “Running as a Republican could be seen as a betrayal to the Libertarian Party …”

Perhaps, but certainly not a surprising betrayal.

When Weld sought the Libertarian Party of New York’s nomination for governor of that state, while simultaneously going for the GOP nod, he publicly promised LPNY that he would remain in the race as their candidate whether the GOP nominated him or not. Then, within hours of losing the Republican contest, he broke his word and dropped out.

When Weld sought the national Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential nomination in 2016, his running mate (Gary Johnson) described him as “the original libertarian” and Weld himself sought to un-ruffle Libertarian feathers over his past support of gun control. He’d changed on guns, he told convention delegates, right before going out in the hall to tell CNN he hadn’t changed on guns. After receiving the nomination, he ran explicitly against the party’s positions on drug laws, due process, and, you guessed it, guns.

Bill Weld? Betrayal? No biggie, we’re used to that. The GOP is welcome to him.

David Friedman on Bill Weld

I recently attended an event at which Bill Weld, who was the vice presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party in 2018, spoke. I learned two things: 1. He is not a libertarian …. 2. He does not understand economics.

Read the whole thing here …

Happy Birthday, Bill Weld

Bill Weld turns 73 today. If elected president in 2020, he would be the oldest president to take the office in US history by five years.

Reason: “Yeah, Bill Weld Is Totally Running for the Libertarian Presidential Nod in 2020”

Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie of Reason magazine interview Bill Weld at one of any aspiring Libertarian Party nominee’s obligatory campaign stops, FreedomFest. Related article and other podcast formats here.

Data Security/Privacy: Pollyanna Weld

Looking back to 1996, it’s easy to understand how one might have been overly optimistic about the ability to secure data or at least to prevent the extraction of personal information from anonymized data.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth looking back at who did or didn’t “get” the stakes and likely outcomes, and what they might or might not have learned from their mistakes.

The Guardian’s Olivia Solon discusses that history (“‘Data is a fingerprint’: why you aren’t as anonymous as you think online,” 07/13/2018):

“It’s convenient to pretend it’s hard to re-identify people, but it’s easy. The kinds of things we did are the kinds of things that any first-year data science student could do,” said Vanessa Teague, one of the University of Melbourne researchers to reveal the flaws in the open health data.

One of the earliest examples of this type of privacy violation occurred in 1996 when the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission released “anonymised” data showing the hospital visits of state employees. As with the Australian data, the state removed obvious identifiers like name, address and social security number. Then the governor, William Weld, assured the public that patients’ privacy was protected.

Latanya Sweeney, a computer science grad who later became the chief technology officer at the Federal Trade Commission, showed how wrong Weld was by finding his medical records in the data set. Sweeney used Weld’s zip code and birth date, taken from voter rolls, and the knowledge that he had visited the hospital on a particular day after collapsing during a public ceremony, to track him down. She sent his medical records to his office.

What did Bill Weld learn from getting publicly pantsed like that? Apparently that he could use the difficulty of maintaining online privacy to increase the power of government.