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.

Jun 302017
 
Mourn on the Fourth of July, 2017

by Thomas L. Knapp……. I visited Washington, DC for the first time in 1980. I was 13. Jimmy Carter was the president. My family only had one day to see the sights. As I remember it, we went through what seemed a somewhat sketchy  neighborhood (I was a country boy, so it may have just been nerves about The Big City), turned onto Pennsylvania Avenue, and drove past the White House and Capitol before taking in selected bits of the Smithsonian and visiting Arlington National [continue reading…]

 June 30, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #225, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Jun 302017
 
Everyone Should be Listening to Nobody Speak

by Thomas L. Knapp……. When Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, sued Gawker Media for invasion of privacy, infringement of personality rights, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the suit’s chief effect was to amplify the “news” that Bollea had been caught on video having sex with another man’s wife. Par for the course as salacious popular culture goes, and most of us treated it that way: As something of a joke. The laughter came to an abrupt halt when a jury found in Bollea’s favor, [continue reading…]

 June 30, 2017  Posted by at 12:53 am Issue #225, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Jun 232017
 
Contemplating a Jobless Future: I For One Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Writing in Reason magazine, Ronald Bailey asks (and tries to answer) a question you’ve probably been hearing a lot lately and may have silently asked yourself: “Are Robots Going to Steal Our Jobs?” Bailey takes an optimistic view. “[A]s we look ahead now to the end of the 21st century, we can’t predict what jobs workers will be doing, he writes. “But that’s no reason to assume those jobs won’t exist.”

 June 23, 2017  Posted by at 1:05 am Issue #224, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Jun 232017
 
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences

  by Thomas L. Knapp……. On June 16, a jury acquitted St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez of all charges in the 2016 killing of motorist Philando Castile. That acquittal was, in a sense, also a death sentence — not for Yanez, but for future motorists unfortunate enough to encounter cops like him. No, this is not a “bad cop” story. It’s a sad tale and I actually feel sorry for Yanez. But the facts are what they are. Yanez killed Castile. The killing [continue reading…]

 June 23, 2017  Posted by at 1:04 am Issue #224, Thomas L. Knapp 6 Responses »
Jun 232017
 
Mere Anarchy: The Center Cannot Hold

by Thomas L. Knapp……. A spectre is haunting Earth — the spectre of freedom. All the powers of the existing order have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Drug Czar, Tillerson and May, European progressives and Chinese financial police. Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as anarchistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of anarchism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as [continue reading…]

 June 23, 2017  Posted by at 1:02 am Issue #224, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Jun 162017
 
The Problem Isn't Willie Pete. The Problem is War Crimes

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The New York Times reports  that US and/or US-allied forces in Syria may be using white phosphorous munitions in the assault on Raqqa, capital city of the Islamic State in Syria. The use of white phosphorous in war is a perennial complaint among human rights activists. And while it’s valid as far as it goes, it misses a larger and more important point. White phosphorous — nicknamed “Willie Pete” by the US mortar, artillery and air forces who use it — [continue reading…]

 June 16, 2017  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #223, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Jun 022017
 
Free Speech: Ted Wheeler is the Enemy He Invokes

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Ted Wheeler, the mayor of Portland, Oregon, wants to control who can say — and hear — what. He’s asked the federal government to cancel one permit and deny another, both for “alt-right” demonstrations at Portland’s Shrunk Plaza. His excuse: Portland is “in mourning” and its “anger is real” over an incident in which an anti-Muslim bigot, Jeremy Joseph Christian, allegedly harassed two women on a commuter train and then stabbed three men who came to their defense, two of them [continue reading…]

 June 2, 2017  Posted by at 12:55 am Issue #221, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Jun 022017
 
Stand With Ross Ulbricht. Shun His Tormentors.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On May 31, a panel of three judges on the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit upheld the conviction and sentence of American political prisoner Ross Ulbricht. It’s been two years since I last devoted a column to Ulbricht’s plight, so a refresher seems in order: After a show trial so obviously fixed in advance that Stalin’s pet prosecutor Andrey Vyshinsky would have blushed with embarrassment to participate in it, judge Katherine Forrest sentenced Ulbricht to life in prison [continue reading…]

 June 2, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #221, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
May 192017
 
Donald Trump and the Politics of Whine

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety,” US president Donald Trump told Coast Guard Academy graduates on May 17, “has been treated worse or more unfairly” than himself. A day later, in the wake of the US Justice Department’s appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate allegations of “Russian meddling” on his behalf in the 2016 presidential election, Trump once again offered a grandiose reference to his place in history, this time [continue reading…]

 May 19, 2017  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #219, Thomas L. Knapp 5 Responses »
May 192017
 
Seth Rich, the DNC, and WikiLeaks: The Plot Thickens

by Thomas L. Knapp……. According to the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department, the nation’s capital reported 135 homicides last year. One of those homicides, the killing of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich on July 10, 2016, continues to make news ten months later. Who killed Seth Rich, and why? We may never know for sure. On the other hand, a significant piece of the puzzle may have just fallen into place. Fox News, citing a federal investigator as source, reports that Rich may [continue reading…]

 May 19, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #219, Thomas L. Knapp 51 Responses »
May 122017
 
The US Postal Service is Dying. Let it.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Like most monopolies, the US Postal Service isn’t interested in changing its business model. An enterprise hemorrhaging cash in a free market would cut prices, improve service, look for new revenue streams, or simply close its doors. The USPS solution, as usual, is to raise prices and hope for the best. Alternative proposal: Let’s put it out of its misery. The Service posted losses of $562 million in the first quarter of 2017, the Associated Press reports. This year will likely [continue reading…]

 May 12, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #218, Thomas L. Knapp 46 Responses »
May 122017
 
Congress Should Just Say No to Trump's Afghanistan Surge

by Thomas L. Knapp……. With the US occupation of Afghanistan well into its sixteenth year and the country no closer to becoming a stable democracy than it was in late 2001, Antiwar.com reports that this isn’t an “all options are on the table” scenario. President Donald Trump seems to have rejected the idea of withdrawing US troops and ending the war. Instead, he intends to become the third president in a row to roll the dice on a “surge” — that is, to send in [continue reading…]

 May 12, 2017  Posted by at 12:53 am Issue #218, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
May 052017
 
"National Security": The Last Refuge of Vote-Buying Politicians

by Thomas L. Knapp……. More than half a century ago, Congress passed the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Since mid-April, US president Donald Trump has twice invoked one of the law’s nearly forgotten provisions, ordering Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross to investigate the possibility that steel and aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security.” If Ross says they do and Trump agrees, the law empowers him to “take such action, and for such time, as he deems necessary to adjust the imports of such article and [continue reading…]

 May 5, 2017  Posted by at 12:40 am Issue #217, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
May 052017
 
The Scandal Isn't Post-Presidential Speaking Fees, It's Political Pensions

by Thomas L. Knapp……. As former US president Barack Obama’s second term drew toward its close last July, he exercised his veto power for the eleventh of 12 times, shutting down “The Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2016.” The bill, which easily passed both houses of Congress, would have reduced former presidents’ pensions and staff allowances dollar for dollar if their other incomes exceeded $400,000 per year. In the wake of Obama’s decision to accept a $400,00 fee for a Wall Street speaking engagement this [continue reading…]

 May 5, 2017  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #217, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Apr 282017
 
Tax Reform: Two Places to Start

by Thomas L. Knapp……. An anonymous announcement of a forthcoming public announcement: On April 26, an anonymous White House source says, the Trump administration “will outline our broad principles and priorities …. We are moving forward on comprehensive tax reform that cuts tax rates for individuals, simplifies our overly-complicated system and creates jobs by making American businesses competitive.”

 April 28, 2017  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #216, Thomas L. Knapp 8 Responses »
Apr 212017
 
"Buy American, Hire American" is Anti-American

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On April 18, US president Donald Trump visited the Kenosha, Wisconsin headquarters of Snap-on to speak in front of an American flag made of the company’s tools and publicly sign an executive order titled “Hire American, Buy American.” The order itself is small beans — it just orders four federal agency heads (Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, and State) to “review” policies and recommend changes that tend toward hiring and spending domestically instead of abroad. But such changes would just increase Americans’ [continue reading…]

 April 21, 2017  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #215, Thomas L. Knapp 8 Responses »
Apr 142017
 
"Safe Spaces," Notre Dame Edition: Who's Afraid of Mike Pence?

by Thomas L. Knapp……. At the beginning of their first terms in office, US presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were invited (and accepted the invitation) to speak at the University of Notre Dame’s commencement ceremonies in South Bend, Indiana. This year, university president Father John Jenkins tried to avoid an obvious and seemingly inevitable controversy by snubbing new US president Donald Trump, going instead with a “safe” speaker: Vice president Mike Pence. Not safe enough, Father Jenkins. In fact, according to student protesters, [continue reading…]

 April 14, 2017  Posted by at 12:58 am Issue #214, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Apr 072017
 
We're Asking The Wrong Questions About Syria

by Thomas L. Knapp……. As I write this, two key questions remain unanswered, and a third mostly unasked, about a deadly daybreak attack on Khan Sheikhoun, a northwest Syrian city of (pre-war) 50,000. Hundreds were wounded and as many as 100 killed, apparently chemical weaponry (Turkey’s health ministry believes the agent in question was the nerve gas sarin), on the morning of April 4. The two most obvious questions are who did this, and why? The US government (and unfortunately most American media, acting as [continue reading…]

 April 7, 2017  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #213, Thomas L. Knapp 15 Responses »
Apr 072017
 
Want Privacy? Washington Isn't Where You'll Find It.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On April 4, US president Donald Trump signed a bill repealing some of the previous administration’s rules on Internet Service Providers’ handling of user information. Privacy advocates raised Cain over the legislation, but let’s put it in perspective: The rules in question were only created last October and hadn’t even really been implemented. Internet privacy is going back in time a whopping six months, if that. The sky is not falling. That said, if you’re worried about Internet privacy, there are [continue reading…]

 April 7, 2017  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #213, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Mar 312017
 
Sanctuary Cities and DoJ Funding: The Hypocrisy of Jeff Sessions

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In a surprise White House appearance on March 27, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his intent to make America’s cities less safe and more vulnerable to crime unless he gets his way. He didn’t say it quite like that, of course. In fact, he asserted the opposite, accusing so-called “sanctuary cities” of “mak[ing] our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on the streets” and conditioning future grants from the US Department of Justice’s Office of Justice on certification [continue reading…]

 March 31, 2017  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #212, Thomas L. Knapp 6 Responses »
Mar 312017
 
Rudd Re-Declares Governments' Lost War on Strong Encryption

by Thomas L. Knapp……. UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd is upset. She considers it “unacceptable” that she can’t read your private chat messages and wants that fixed. Naturally, she publicly ties her demand that you surrender your privacy to the fight against terrorism. Fortunately, Rudd won’t get her way. That’s not because her demand is evil and wrong-headed, although it is. It’s because her demand is impossible to implement.

 March 31, 2017  Posted by at 12:51 am Issue #212, Thomas L. Knapp 2 Responses »
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 »