Thomas L. Knapp

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

Feb 182018
 
No Huawei! US Spy Chiefs Reverse Course on Phone Spying

  by Thomas L. Knapp……. If it seems like only a year ago that the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was telling us how dangerous it is for Americans to have encrypted smart phones that make it hard for the FBI to poke around in our data, that’s because yes, it really was only a year ago. In early 2017, James Comey took Apple to court, demanding that the company help the FBI hack into the iPhone used by San Bernardino terrorist/murderer Syed [continue reading…]

 February 18, 2018  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #256, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Feb 182018
 
Purpose versus Excuse: Why Congress Might Buy Trump's Food Stamp Reform Plan

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Politico reports that the Trump administration wants to partially replace “food stamps” with “a box of government-picked, nonperishable foods every month.” Under the plan, recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which these days are delivered as debit card balances rather than as physical coupons — “stamps” — would receive about half as much money to buy food with. The other half would be replaced by the “America’s Harvest Box,” stuffed with “100 percent U.S. grown and produced food” such [continue reading…]

 February 18, 2018  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #256, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Feb 112018
 
A Korean Spring after the Winter Olympics is Unlikely. Here's Why.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Peace between the Republic of Korea (South Korea) the the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) suddenly seems closer than ever as the 2018 Winter Olympics open in Pyeongchang on February 9. The North is contributing athletes to a bi-national team with the South, and also sending a delegation that includes its head of state (Kim Yong Nam) and the first ever official visitor to the South from its ruling dynasty (Kim Yo Jong, sister of Kim Jong Un). The [continue reading…]

 February 11, 2018  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #255, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Feb 112018
 
The Nunes Memo Only Partially "Vindicates" Trump, but it Fully Indicts the FBI and the FISA Court

by Thomas Knapp…… On February 2, US president Donald Trump approved public release of a memo from the US House Intelligence Committee concerning FBI malfeasance  in its applications for warrants to surveil Carter Page, a former member of his campaign team. The following day, Trump triumphantly tweeted that the memo “totally vindicates” him in the ongoing “Russiagate” probe. It doesn’t really do that — proving a negative is always difficult — but it does add a great deal of credibility to his charge that the probe [continue reading…]

 February 11, 2018  Posted by at 12:40 am Issue #255, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Feb 042018
 
"Treatment We Associate With Regimes We Revile as Unjust ..."

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On January 29, US District Judge Katherine B. Forrest ordered the release of immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir from pre-deportation detention. Ragbir, who came to the US from Trinidad in 1991 and got his “green card” in 1994, has been fighting deportation over a fraud conviction since 2006.  Earlier this month, while checking in with immigration authorities to renew his annual extension, he was detained and jailed. Ragbir’s is an interesting and compelling story, but this column is about Forrest and [continue reading…]

 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #254, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Feb 042018
 
Protectionism: Trump's Tariff-ic Attack on Your Wallet

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On January 22, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer fired the first shots of the Trump administration’s 2018 trade agenda: Tariffs of 30% on imported solar panels, and tariffs starting at 20% on imported residential washing machines. In the name of “protecting” jobs — “America First!” — the administration is dead-set on making you poorer. Yes, the tariffs may benefit a few people (stockholders and employees of American solar panel and washing machine makers), if foreign governments  don’t retaliate in kind and [continue reading…]

 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 12:45 am Issue #254, Thomas L. Knapp 3 Responses »
Feb 042018
 
#ReleaseTheMemo -- And Then Some

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On January 29, the US House Intelligence Committee voted to publicly release a four-page memo on the “Russiagate” inquiry, authored by committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA).  Republican sources tell The Hill  that the memo alleges “‘shocking’ surveillance abuses” by the Department of Justice. By the time you read this, we’ll  all know much of the memo’s contents, as President Trump has reportedly signed off on the decision to release it with redactions. While the memo may be a bombshell, whats more [continue reading…]

 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #254, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Jan 272018
 
No, I Don't Really Care Much About Donald Trump's Sex Life. Here's Why.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In October of 2016, a Wall Street Journal article claims, Donald Trump’s lawyer paid $130,000 to buy the silence of Stephanie Clifford, better known to viewers of adult films, at any rate as “Stormy Daniels.” Daniels, it’s alleged, was set to tell the story of a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump on Good Morning America and in Slate. Now-president Trump and Daniels deny (through the attorney) both the encounter and the alleged payoff, but as I write this In Touch magazine [continue reading…]

 January 27, 2018  Posted by at 1:04 am Issue #253, Thomas L. Knapp 13 Responses »
Jan 272018
 
Veterans in Politics: It's Not About Honor

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The Atlantic‘s Ronald Brownstein reports that a new political organization, With Honor, “has launched a major effort to elect to the House more recent military veterans who commit to working across party lines. … a bipartisan core of House Members who are inclined to seek common ground, whatever their personal views.” The idea that veterans are particularly well-suited for political office — in part because of  “their experience working in diverse teams that pursue common goals under great stress,” as Brownstein [continue reading…]

 January 27, 2018  Posted by at 1:02 am Issue #253, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Jan 202018
 
The Worst Thing About Federal Government "Shutdowns"

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The second worst thing about federal government “shutdowns” is that they’re almost entirely meaningless theatrical productions — tales told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing — from beginning to end. The worst thing about such “shutdowns” is that they end, usually in a way that undoes most of what little good they accomplished in the first place. I’m writing this on the first (and for all I know, the last) morning of the latest such “shutdown.” It comes [continue reading…]

 January 20, 2018  Posted by at 12:38 am ~ Column ~, Editorial, Issue #252, Thomas L. Knapp 3 Responses »
Jan 122018
 
TWO MODEST PROPOSALS FOR CHOOSING BETTER PRESIDENTS

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In a recent column, I noted that if Oprah Winfrey runs for president in 2020, she will be at least as qualified for the office as the incumbent, Donald Trump, was when he announced his 2016 campaign. They’re both billionaires of similar net worth — her self-made, him not so much. They’re both former television personalities — her the long-time host of a top talk show and builder of an attached media empire, him a “reality TV” shock jock. And so on [continue reading…]

 January 12, 2018  Posted by at 12:16 am ~ Column ~, Issue #251 9 Responses »
Jan 052018
 
Fire and Fury: A Tale of Two Trump Lawsuits

by Thomas L. Knapp….. Two days before Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States, a former contestant on his reality TV Show, The Apprentice, sued him for defamation. At issue was his public response to her allegations of unwanted kisses and forceful gropes. He had caller her a “liar” and claimed she was motivated by greed and/or politics. Now the shoe’s on the other foot: Trump is threatening to sue publisher Henry Holt and Co. if they release a new book, Fire and [continue reading…]

 January 5, 2018  Posted by at 12:06 am Thomas L. Knapp 20 Responses »
Dec 222017
 
US Foreign Aid: Bad for America, Bad for the World

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Ahead of a vote in the United Nations’ General Assembly on a resolution condemning US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,  president Donald Trump and UN ambassador Nikki Haley threatened states voting for the resolution with the loss of US financial aid. “We’re watching those votes” said Trump. “Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care. But this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of [continue reading…]

 December 22, 2017  Posted by at 12:39 am Issue #248, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Dec 222017
 
Trump's "National Security Strategy" is the Opposite of National Security

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The Goldwater-Nichols Act requires the president to submit a “National Security Strategy” report each year. Every president since Ronald Reagan has failed to comply with the law in one or more years of his administration, but on December 17 Donald Trump issued his report. Unfortunately, Trump’s offering is of a piece with his prior displays of economic illiteracy and foreign policy jingoism. It’s a dog’s breakfast of policy pronouncements that couldn’t be more opposed to real “national security” if that had [continue reading…]

 December 22, 2017  Posted by at 12:39 am Issue #248, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Dec 152017
 
Here Comes the Next "Defense" Shakedown

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “Today with the signing of this defense bill,” US president Donald Trump said as he affixed his signature to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act on December 12, “we accelerate the process of fully restoring America’s military might.” Is Trump truly under the mistaken impression that US military might is ailing? Or is he mindlessly aping Ronald Reagan and hoping it brings in the re-election votes? Or perhaps something else entirely?

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:58 am Issue #247, Thomas L. Knapp 9 Responses »
Dec 152017
 
Finally, Evidence of Russian Election Meddling ... Oh, Wait

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On December 1, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to two counts of lying to the FBI about conversations he had with  Sergey I. Kislyak, then Russia’s ambassador to the United States. The charges, and Flynn’s plea, were part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of “Russian meddling” in the 2016 US presidential election. Finally! Hard evidence! The Trump campaign really did work with the Russians to fix the election and deprive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton of her pre-ordained [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #247, Thomas L. Knapp 11 Responses »
Dec 082017
 
"Tax Reform": Dump the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The US Senate’s version of “tax reform” reduces the amount of mortgage interest that home buyers can deduct from their taxable incomes. Currently, the maximum deduction is for interest paid on mortgages of up to $1 million on two homes or on home equity loans of up to $100,000. The new bill would cap that at $500,000 on one home. The House version doesn’t reduce the mortgage cap, but does away with the home equity deduction.

 December 8, 2017  Posted by at 12:38 am News 6 Responses »
Dec 082017
 
Happy Holidays. Yes, All of Them.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. It’s “War on Christmas” time again. In a November 30 speech in St. Charles, Missouri, US president Donald Trump mounted a stage festooned with Christmas trees to kick off the annual Airing of the Fake Grievance: “[Y]ou go to the department stores and you see ‘Happy New Years,’ and you see red, and you see snow, and you see all these things. You don’t see ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore. With Trump as your President, we are going to be celebrating Merry Christmas [continue reading…]

 December 8, 2017  Posted by at 12:34 am issue #246, Thomas L. Knapp 5 Responses »
Dec 012017
 
And Now, A Prairie Home Sexual Harassment Complaint

by Thomas L. Knapp……. America is in the middle of an agonizing reappraisal of sexual conduct. What constitutes sexual harassment or assault? Where is the line that separates acceptable, or merely rude, actions from unacceptable, and possibly criminal or civilly actionable, behavior? If you feel like this process has been dragging on for a year, you’re not alone. But as I write this, it’s actually been less than two months since the New York Times brought movie magnate Harvey Weinstein low with its story on [continue reading…]

 December 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #245, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Dec 012017
 
James O'Keefe versus the Cardinal Rule of "Gotcha" Journalism

by Thomas L. Knapp……. James O’Keefe is famous — or at least notorious — for running sting operations in which he uses actors to trick organizations he opposes into behaving badly on (hidden) camera. The Washington Post didn’t fall for his latest ringer, a woman falsely claiming that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore got her pregnant, then procured an abortion for her, when she was a teenager. Writing at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf takes O’Keefe and his Project Veritas conservative media operation to task for [continue reading…]

 December 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #245, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Nov 242017
 
No, the End of "Net Neutrality" is Not the End of the World (Wide Web)

by Thomas L. Knapp…….. I get lots of email, including email from political advocacy groups trumpeting the Impending Doom of the Month. This month, that doom is the coming end of “Net Neutrality” at the hands of the Federal Communications Commission. “Donald Trump and his corporate cronies are about to destroy the Internet,” writes Eden James of Democracy for America. “[FCC chairman Ajit] Pai is paving the way for monopolistic ISPs to block and censor what we see online, and push anyone who can’t pay [continue reading…]

 November 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:37 am ~ Column ~, Issue #244, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Nov 242017
 
Things I've Found to be Thankful for in 2017

by Thomas L. Knapp……. It’s that time of year, and like most of you I’m planning on a big meal and a lazy afternoon as America celebrates yet another Thanksgiving. Naturally, I’m also thinking back over the previous year and looking for things to be thankful for. I’ve found some. Here are a few that aren’t about family, spiral cut ham and so forth: I’m not thankful that Donald Trump is president of the United States, but I am thankful that he hasn’t blown up [continue reading…]

 November 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:26 am Issue #244, Thomas L. Knapp 12 Responses »
Nov 242017
 
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On November 15, US Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and US Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced  one of the shortest bills in the histories of their two parliamentary bodies. Shorn of the obligatory “be it enacted, blah, blah, blah” boilerplate, the bill’s content comes to 14 words: “It is the policy of the United States to not use nuclear weapons first.” It’s a short bill and it’s a good bill, but it could be made both shorter and better by eliminating the [continue reading…]

 November 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:24 am Issue #244, Thomas L. Knapp 3 Responses »
Nov 172017
 
Election 2017: The Moore You Know ...

by Thomas L. Knapp……. It’s hard to be objective about Roy Moore. Ever since his days as circuit judge of Etowah County, Alabama, he’s been a hero to religious conservatives and the bane of civil libertarians. The former powered his two elections to the office of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, on his promise to “return God to our public life and restore the moral foundation of our law.” The latter effected his two removals from that office over his insistence that his [continue reading…]

 November 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:35 am Issue #243, Thomas L. Knapp 2 Responses »
Nov 172017
 
The Honest Ads Act: "Fundamental Rights," Real and Imagined

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Wikipedia defines “moral panic” as “a feeling of fear spread among a large number of people that some evil threatens the well-being of society” and notes that A Dictionary of Sociology attributes the cultivation of moral panics to “moral entrepreneurs and the mass media.” We’re well into the second year of a moral panic drummed up by Democrats and “Never Trump” Republicans for the purpose of nullifying the outcome of the 2016 presidential election — removing US president Donald Trump from [continue reading…]

 November 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:34 am Issue #243, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Nov 172017
 
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition

by Thomas L. Knapp……. As US president Donald Trump returned to the White House after a 12-day trip to Asia, he might be forgiven for wishing he’d spent more time seeing the sights of the Far East. Back home he faces a Republican Party torn by scandalous allegations against its candidate for US Senate from Alabama, a likely bruising fight over tax “reform,” and more of the constant nipping at his heels by “Russiagate” special counsel Robert Mueller. Oh, and Articles of Impeachment introduced in [continue reading…]

 November 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:32 am Issue #243, Thomas L. Knapp 5 Responses »
Nov 102017
 
Veterans Day: "Appropriate Homage"

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In 1926, a concurrent resolution of the US Congress held it “fitting that the recurring anniversary of [the armistice which brought World War One to an end] should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations …” In 1938, Congress enshrined November 11 of each year as an American holiday “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.’” Somewhere between 15 and [continue reading…]

 November 10, 2017  Posted by at 1:01 am Issue #242, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Nov 102017
 
Chickenhawk Donald: A Complete and Total Disgrace

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On November 3, US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years as a prisoner of the Taliban in Afghanistan, was sentenced to dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank to private, and a $10,000 fine after pleading guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Without hesitation and displaying reckless disregard for his own reputation, US president Donald Trump courageously mounted his keyboard and charged Twitter to pronounce the sentence “a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to [continue reading…]

 November 10, 2017  Posted by at 12:57 am ~ Column ~, ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #241, Thomas L. Knapp 9 Responses »