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.

Mar 242017
 
It's Time to End America's Longest War

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In the latest round of saber-rattling between the US and North Korean governments, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid down the well-worn line. “All options,” he said during a visit to South Korea, “are on the table.” If he’s serious, here’s an option that never seems to get much discussion lately: US president Donald Trump should send Tillerson to tell Yun Byung-se, his counterpart in Seoul, that the US is withdrawing its troops from the Korean peninsula by a specific [continue reading…]

 March 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #211, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Mar 172017
 
Stranger Fruit Meets Rotten Fruit: Robert McCulloch and the Michael Brown Shooting

by Thomas L. Knapp……. As the 2014 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was litigated in the court of public opinion, Ferguson’s police department released video which appeared to show Brown robbing a local store a few minutes before his fatal encounter with Wilson. A new documentary, Stranger Fruit, includes additional, mostly previously unnoticed, footage which seems to call that interpretation (and the attendant perception of Brown’s character) into question. Filmmaker Jason Pollock believes it shows that what happened [continue reading…]

 March 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:40 am Issue #210, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Mar 172017
 
Sorry, Non-Interventionists: Donald Trump is a War President

by Thomas L. Knapp……. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump claimed to have opposed the Iraq war, wanted better relations with Russia, and even briefly put his hand on the hot stove of the Arab-Israeli conflict, calling himself “neutral” on Palestine. On the other hand, he called for “rebuilding” the US armed forces, which hardly need it (they’re already the most expensive and bloated war machine on the planet). And he yanked his hand off the stove when he got his fingers burnt, turning [continue reading…]

 March 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #210, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Mar 102017
 
Vault 7: What it Means for You

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On March 7, the transparency/disclosure activists at Wikileaks began releasing a series of documents titled “Vault 7.” According to the New York Times, Vault 7 consists of “thousands of pages describing sophisticated software tools and techniques used by the [US Central Intelligence Agency] to break into smartphones, computers and even Internet-connected televisions.” If the documents are authentic — and WikiLeaks has a sterling reputation when it comes to document authenticity — every paranoid thriller you’ve ever watched or read was too [continue reading…]

 March 10, 2017  Posted by at 1:16 am Issue #209, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Mar 032017
 
The War on Marijuana is Ending. Disarm Jeff Sessions.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Jeff Sessions doesn’t “think America is going to be a better place when more people of all ages and particularly young people start smoking pot.” He’s worried about the possibility of “marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store.” Because, you see, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” America disagrees. A majority of US states (28) have modified their laws to recognize the medical benefits of cannabis over the last two decades. More recently voters in eight of those states, representing 25% [continue reading…]

 March 3, 2017  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #208, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Mar 032017
 
The Immigration Enforcement Police State is Here

by Thomas L. Knapp……. February 7: Muhammad Ali, Jr., returning to the US from a speaking engagement in Jamaica, is detained for two hours at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and questioned about his name and religious beliefs. February 22: Passengers disembarking from a domestic (San Francisco to New York) flight at JFK airport are held up by US Customs and Border Protection agents demanding their IDs. February 24: Jeffrey Tucker of the Foundation for Economic Education clears the usual security checks at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta [continue reading…]

 March 3, 2017  Posted by at 12:59 am Issue #208, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Feb 242017
 
Florida's Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In mid-February, Florida’s Division of Elections stripped the state’s third largest political party of its official recognition. Tallahassee’s excuse for ending the Independent Party’s ability to put candidates on the ballot and disenfranchising its 260,000-plus registered voters? The party organization’s 2014 financial audit wasn’t conducted by a Certified Public Accountant. Florida law doesn’t specify any such CPA requirement, and even if it did this dirty trick would exemplify the real purpose of so-called “ballot access laws”: To safeguard the Republican and [continue reading…]

 February 24, 2017  Posted by at 1:02 am Issue #207, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Feb 172017
 
Trump: Triumph of the Permanent Campaign

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Less than a month into the first term of his presidency, Politico reports, Donald Trump appears to be back on the campaign trail, heading for Melbourne, Florida and one of his signature airport hangar rallies. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump speculates that Trump’s outing is motivated by the simple need for an ego boost. It’s been a rough month. Heck, it’s been a rough week, marked by the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and the withdrawal of Labor Secretary [continue reading…]

 February 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #206, Thomas L. Knapp 8 Responses »
Feb 102017
 
Hey Antifa: Free Speech is Not Negotiable

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On February 1, a gang of violent thugs managed to shut down a speech scheduled to take place at the University of California at Berkeley, metaphorically making the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s into that movement’s grave site. The scheduled speaker, sponsored by the campus’s student Republican group, was “alt-right” clown cum agitator Milo Yiannopoulos. The gang of rock-throwing arsonists identified themselves as “Antifa” activists. “Antifa” is short for “anti-fascist,” but the actions of those identifying with [continue reading…]

 February 10, 2017  Posted by at 1:12 am Issue #205, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Feb 102017
 
Trump's Foreign Policy: Obama's Third Term, Bush's Fifth

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances,” Illinois State Senator Barack Obama said in 2002. Later in the same speech: “What I am opposed to is a dumb war.” Although elected president at least in part on his image as “the peace candidate,” Obama owned eight years of constant war. He waffled on then partially reversed the withdrawal [continue reading…]

 February 10, 2017  Posted by at 1:10 am Issue #205, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Jan 272017
 
Why Trump is Doubling Down on the Voter Fraud Fraud

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide,” US president-elect Donald Trump tweeted in late November, “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Kind of a sore winner. And now that he’s no longer just president-elect but actually president, he’s doubling down and says he “will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD …” That’s dumb. And dangerous. Dumb because voter fraud is almost non-existent. There are rare cases [continue reading…]

 January 27, 2017  Posted by at 12:34 am Issue #203, Thomas L. Knapp 12 Responses »
Jan 132017
 
Who's More Anti-American, Russia Today or the US Director of National Intelligence?

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Someone should take US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper aside for a talk. He desperately needs to be told that when you’re deep in a hole, the first step toward getting out is to stop digging. Clapper’s been in such a hole since 2013, when he got caught lying to Congress about the National Security Agency’s surveillance of and data collection on Americans. Oops. On January 6, he fired up a backhoe and dug himself six feet deeper when his [continue reading…]

 January 13, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #201, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Jan 062017
 
New Boss(es), Same as The Old Boss(es)

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Donald Trump ran for president in part on a promise to “drain the swamp” that is Washington, DC. He positioned himself as a political outsider, beholden to no one and capable of bringing sweeping changes to a federal government set in its ways. But as Inauguration Day approaches, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the fundamentals aren’t going to change much. While Trump’s cabinet picks do reflect the usual party line changing of the guard, they’re hardly “outsiders” by any conventional definition. [continue reading…]

 January 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #200, Thomas L. Knapp 5 Responses »
Dec 302016
 
About That Foreign Meddling in US Presidential Elections ...

by Thomas L. Knapp……. So we had an election and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won it. If I had all the ink that’s been spilled on why and how Trump defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I’d be an ink tycoon. Much of what passes for analysis focuses on alleged “foreign meddling” in the election. There certainly was some of that. There always is. But some meddlers get more attention than others. Mainstream anti-Trump opinion leaders claim that the Russian government, at the [continue reading…]

 December 30, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #199, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Dec 232016
 
Capital Punishment: Can we Cut it Out Already?

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The Hill reports that capital punishment is fading away in America. Government employees have ceremonially killed fewer prisoners this year (20) than in any year since 1991, and fewer criminals (30) have been sentenced to death than in any year since the option became available again in 1976 (after a US Supreme Court ruling resulted in a four-year national moratorium). There seem to be several reasons for the precipitous decline, ranging from difficulty getting the drugs used in executions (manufacturers and [continue reading…]

 December 23, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #198, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Dec 232016
 
Raid Encryption: This Should Be The New Normal

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “When government agents raid Uber’s offices,” Business Insider reports, “the company springs into action with an immediate response: it shuts everything down and encrypts all its computers.” That claim comes from documents filed by former Uber forensic investigator Samuel Ward Spangenberg, who’s suing the company for age discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, and defamation. Merits of the lawsuit aside, the details of Uber’s raid response protocol are fascinating. They should be standard practice for every company which electronically stores and transmits sensitive information [continue reading…]

 December 23, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #198, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Dec 162016
 
Servergate/Hackergate: The Case of the Investigatory Double Standard

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On December 9, US president Barack Obama ordered a “review” of — an investigation into — alleged Russian hacking aimed at influencing the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election. Supporters of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton lauded Obama’s order, which seems aimed at, well, influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. On December 19, the electors chosen by voters on November 8 will meet in their respective state capitals to choose the next president of the United States. Under the [continue reading…]

 December 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:43 am Issue #197, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Dec 162016
 
Trump on Military Spending: An Encouraging Sign

by Thomas L. Knapp……. As on most issues, president-elect Donald Trump has been all over the map on military issues throughout his campaign and post-campaign pronouncements. One day he muses about disbanding NATO, the next day he promises to “rebuild” the US military, which is already by far not just the most well-funded war machine, but the most well-funded enterprise of any kind on Planet Earth (the 2017 US military budget exceeds Wal-Mart’s 2015 gross revenues by about $100 billion). He’s hard to pin down. [continue reading…]

 December 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:43 am Issue #197, Thomas L. Knapp 6 Responses »
Dec 092016
 
Boeing's Iran Business: The War Party Versus American Jobs

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In June, US aerospace company Boeing inked an agreement with Iran Air to produce 109 passenger aircraft. Estimated value: $25 billion. The agreement represents the biggest business interaction between the US and Iran since that country’s 1979 Islamic revolution. On November 17, the US House of Representatives voted 243-174 to block the deal. The Senate seems unlikely to follow suit president Barack Obama would almost certainly veto the bill, but Boeing’s stock took a temporary 2% tumble on the vote. Why [continue reading…]

 December 9, 2016  Posted by at 1:16 am Issue #196, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Dec 022016
 
Hey, @RealDonaldTrump, Hands Off My Flag

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag,” writes US president-elect Donald Trump in one of his patented incendiary (pun intended) tweets. “[I]f they do, there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” You’ve probably heard all the arguments for and against a flag-burning ban, most of them variations of the maudlin “my ancestor died for that flag” or the obvious (and Supreme Court affirmed) fact that flag-burning is a form of political expression protected [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #195, Thomas L. Knapp 24 Responses »
Dec 022016
 
Will Trump Roll Back "Net Neutrality?"

by Thomas L. Knapp……. US president-elect Donald Trump will appoint a new Federal Communications Commission chair in January. That chair will likely be inclined to undo the FCC’s 2015 “Net Neutrality” power grab and, to at least some degree, let markets settle how bandwidth gets priced and who pays. Good. For the most part I’m no Trump fan, but Net Neutrality was a bad idea from the beginning — half crony capitalism, half stalking horse for a future Internet censorship regime, all economic nonsense. If [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #195, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Nov 252016
 
The Washington Post vs. "Fake News": Pot, Meet Kettle

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “Freedom of expression is a bedrock of American democracy,” the Washington Post’s editorial board writes in a November 18 jeremiad, “but its irresponsible exercise can distort and destabilize our politics.” The Post’s editors, mining the bottomless pit of mainstream media excuses for not predicting Donald Trump’s victory in November’s presidential election, think they’ve hit the mother lode with their newfound focus on “fake news” stories going viral in social media. The Post coming out against “fake news?” That’s rich, especially given [continue reading…]

 November 25, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #194, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Nov 182016
 
December 2016: A Republic, if You Can Keep it

by Thomas L. Knapp……. As I write this column, nearly 2.5 million people have signed a petition seeking to overturn the outcome of the November 8 national vote and make Hillary Clinton, rather than Donald Trump, the next president of the United States. The petitioners are asking presidential electors, chosen by the voters of their states to support Trump, to instead “faithlessly” cast their votes for Clinton on December 19. “Faithless” electors are nothing new. The only electoral vote ever won by a Libertarian presidential [continue reading…]

 November 18, 2016  Posted by at 1:03 am Issue #193, Thomas L. Knapp 15 Responses »
Nov 042016
 
Dakota Access Versus the American Way

by Thomas L. Knapp……. CNN reports that protesters from around the world continue to congregate in North Dakota in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and their struggle to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through (or placed so as to negatively affect) tribal lands. The issues and the divide between sides seem to be fairly conventional: Promises of jobs and economic growth motivate the pipeline’s supporters. Its opponents cite environmental concerns (especially the prospective damage to tribal lands) and allege violations of the [continue reading…]

 November 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:58 am Issue #191, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Nov 042016
 
Culture Isn't Property. Copying Isn't Stealing.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. I used to love Halloween. Not just as a kid, but also as an adult taking my own children out for church “trunk or treat” events and to selected neighborhood homes (we lived a few blocks from the house where the events The Exorcist was based on occurred; in fact, friends still live in that very house; spooky!). No store-bought costumes for my progeny — we spent weeks thinking about and designing and sewing and modifying theirs. So much for that [continue reading…]

 November 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #191, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Oct 282016
 
ObamaCare: Things Fall Apart

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare,” was intended to dramatically increase the number of Americans with health coverage while “bending the cost curve” (that is, reducing the expected increases in price over time). The plan managed the first goal, at least in the short term. Unsurprising, isn’t it, that more people get coverage when the law requires them to buy it, penalizes those who won’t, and subsidizes those who can’t afford to? But the progress on that metric [continue reading…]

 October 28, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #190, Thomas L. Knapp 3 Responses »
Oct 142016
 
War Crimes: John Kerry's Really Got Some Kind of Nerve

by Thomas L. Knapp……. US Secretary of State John Kerry opined (in an October 7 appearance with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault) that Russian military actions in Syria “beg for an appropriate investigation of war crimes.” French President Francois Hollande echoed the sentiment. Kerry might want to keep the fate of his German predecessor, Joachim von Ribbentrop, in mind when making such statements. Ribbentrop, Hitler’s Foreign Minister, was hanged after trial at Nuremberg. Kerry complains that Russian forces — in Syria helping that country’s government [continue reading…]

 October 14, 2016  Posted by at 12:43 am Issue #188, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Oct 142016
 
Surveillance State 2016: Orwell was an Optimist

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Reuters reports that troubled Internet giant Yahoo! “complied with a classified US government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI.” According to surveillance experts consulted by Reuters it’s probably “the first case to surface of a US Internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency’s request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.” Disturbing? Yes. Surprising? [continue reading…]

 October 14, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #188, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Oct 072016
 
School District Declares "Gorilla" War on Employee Speech

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Teachers’ aide Jane Wood Allen “has been relieved from duty and is no longer an employee of Forsyth County Schools,” the Georgia district announced on October 3. “Racism and discrimination are not tolerated in our school district.” The district’s announcement omits specifics (“[a]s this is a personnel matter, the district will provide not further comment”), leaving the casual observer to assume that she must have tried to force a Muslim or Jewish student to eat pork, or perhaps to segregate student [continue reading…]

 October 7, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #187, Thomas L. Knapp 2 Responses »
Oct 072016
 
Papers, Please: Polling Place Edition

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On September 30, a federal judge threw a new wrench into Wisconsin’s voter ID law, ordering an investigation into whether the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles employees properly implemented measures to ensure availability of identity documents to prospective voters. Those employees seem to caught in the middle, torn between assisting the disproportionately African-American poor in getting “documented” on one hand, and fulfilling Republican politicians’ aims of suppressing black voter turnout on the other. Cue world’s smallest violin. At one time — [continue reading…]

 October 7, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #187, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Sep 302016
 
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Amnesty International’s mission is “to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.” Unsurprisingly, the organization’s latest report collects “first-hand testimony of survivors, court documents, medical records and various other forms of evidence relating to 74 cases of torture” in Thailand and urges that country’s legislature and military government to follow through on their claimed commitments to bring an end to the practice. After [continue reading…]

 September 30, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am ~ Column ~, ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #186, Thomas L. Knapp 5 Responses »
Sep 232016
 
@Snowden: Give That Man a Medal, Not a "Pardon"

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In the days leading up to the official premiere of Snowden, Oliver Stone’s eponymous biopic of America’s exiled whistleblower, an international movement came together to pressure US president Barack Obama for a pardon. Executive absolution would make it possible for Edward Snowden to return from Russia without facing a show trial and a life (or even death) sentence for his heroism. It’s a fine idea. I support it. But I think it does get things backward and sends the wrong message [continue reading…]

 September 23, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #185, Thomas L. Knapp 4 Responses »
Sep 232016
 
Lies, Damned Lies, and Hewlett-Packard Printers

by Thomas L. Knapp……. September 13 was an unlucky day for an unknown number of Hewlett-Packard printer owners. Instead of going dutifully to work, their printers displayed the error message “One or more cartridges appear to be damaged. Remove them and replace them with new cartridges.” The cartridges weren’t damaged, though. The printers had been sabotaged with, for all intents and purposes, malware. And the saboteur was Hewlett-Packard itself. The company built a digital time bomb into its firmware to stop owners of HP printers [continue reading…]

 September 23, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #185, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Sep 162016
 
9/12: The Appeal to National Narcissism is Alive and Well

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “The narcissist,” someone once wrote on an Internet discussion forum devoted to the topic, “learns nothing, forgets nothing, and forgives nothing.” In conscious appeal to this tendency, the American political class flocks to shrines in New York, DC and Pennsylvania each year to once again cynically wring as much narcissistic flag-waving hoopla as possible from the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I generally avoid watching these observances. This year my sole exposure to them was video of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:44 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #184, Thomas L. Knapp 4 Responses »
Sep 092016
 
DEA Declares (Kr)atomic War on Americans

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In early August, the US Drug Enforcement Administration announced that, contrary to expectations, it wouldn’t remove marijuana from “Schedule 1” (“no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”). At the end of the month, DEA made another announcement: It intends to add another herbal substance, kratom, to Schedule 1. Why is the DEA picking on kratom? The agency offers numerous excuses — insufficient testing for the plant to have an approved medical use, its historical use as an [continue reading…]

 September 9, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #183, Thomas L. Knapp 3 Responses »
Sep 022016
 
Farm Follies: The Cheese Stands Alone (With Its Hand Out)

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On August 23, the US Department of Agriculture announced its plan to purchase 11 million pounds of cheese, at a cost of $20 million. The cheese will be “provided to families in need through USDA nutrition assistance programs,” but the real purpose of the purchase is to reduce excess cheese inventories, “assisting the stalled marketplace for dairy producers whose revenues have dropped 35 percent over the past two years.” Economics 101: When so many people produce so much of the same [continue reading…]

 September 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #182, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »