by Thomas L. Knapp……. Things that make me go hmmm … The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, adds conservative writer Kevin D. Williamson to the publication’s masthead. An odd choice, it seems to me. I’m a fan of both the magazine and the writer, and for similar reasons, but they make an odd match.
by Thomas L. Knapp……. During a visit to Ohio to promote his infrastructure plan on March 29, US president Donald Trump dropped one of the bombshells that Americans have become accustomed to over the last year and a half: “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon …. Let the other people take care of it now.” If he’s serious, if the more hawkish members of his administration don’t dissuade him, and if he follows through, Trump will be taking a giant step in [continue reading…]
by Thomas L. Knapp……. US president Donald Trump signed yet another massive government spending bill — $1.3 trillion — on March 23, after threatening a veto. Why did he threaten a veto? Because the bill doesn’t fund his cherished US-Mexico border wall idea, and because it doesn’t address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that he’s threatened to end absent a “fix.” Why did he sign it?
by Thomas L. Knapp……. Politico reports on a letter to US Representative and House Ethics Committee chairwoman Susan Brooks (R-IN), from more than two dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus, requesting an investigation into “the legality and propriety” of lawmakers sleeping in their offices. Among their complaints are that the free lodging and associated perqs constitute a “direct violation of the ethics rules which prohibit official resources from being used for personal purposes,” and that the risk of seeing a naked politician creates a [continue reading…]
by Thomas L. Knapp……. President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions find California’s “sanctuary” laws inconvenient, and are asking the courts to rule in favor of their convenience rather than affirming the US Constitution. That’s the takeaway from United States v. State of California, a US Department of Justice lawsuit filed on March 6. The case sounds like it’s about immigration — and the administration can be counted on to play up that perception in the secondary court of public opinion — but it [continue reading…]
by Thomas L. Knapp……. In late February, Venezuela’s government began accepting presidential candidate registrations and announced a snap legislative election for April. The country’s opposition denounces the process as a sham and Maduro as a dictator, both of which may be true. Oddly, a third voice — the US government — also weighed in. Per US state media outlet Voice of America, “the United States, which under President Donald Trump has been deeply critical of Maduro’s leadership in crisis-torn and economically suffering Venezuela, on Saturday rejected the [continue reading…]
by Thomas L. Knapp……. Speaking to CNN on the possibility of resuming hostilities in the nearly 70-year-old Korean War (in uneasy ceasefire since 1953), US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says “all the damage … would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security.” Worth it, Senator Graham? To whom? The last period of open war on the Korean peninsula cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 million lives, including nearly a million soldiers on both sides (36,516 of them American) and 2.5 [continue reading…]
by Thomas L. Knapp……. “An epidemic terror seized upon the nations,” wrote Charles Mackay in his 1841 masterpiece, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. “It was a crime imputed with so much ease, and repelled with so much difficulty, that the powerful, whenever they wanted to ruin the weak, and could fix no other imputation upon them, had only to accuse them of witchcraft to ensure their destruction.” Sound familiar? It’s a recurring theme. There’s always some specific group to blame for all [continue reading…]
by Thomas L. Knapp……. Dear Students Demand Action, I understand. You’ve witnessed — far too often at first hand and in the most terrifying circumstances — the violent deaths of your fellow students. You refuse to accept that that’s just how it has to be. You’re organizing for change. You deserve to be heard. Don’t let anyone talk down to you or minimize your concerns. You want action. I don’t blame you. But it’s important to consider what kind of action you want, how to [continue reading…]
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…]
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…]