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.

Nov 032017
 
Sorry, Republicans: If You're Not Cutting Spending, You're Not Cutting Taxes

by Thomas L. Knapp…….. President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders rolled out their new tax plan on November 2. Since all bills must have titles, they’re calling this one “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” Republican “tax reform” theatrics have worn thin over  many months of waiting, but I still prefer a more theatrical title. “A tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing” rings true. Four centuries later, Shakespeare’s MacBeth is a better description of the matter than any [continue reading…]

 November 3, 2017  Posted by at 1:42 am ~ Column ~, ~ Opinion ~, Issue #241, Thomas L. Knapp 4 Responses »
Nov 032017
 
Encryption: Christopher Wray's "Huge, Huge Problem" is an Age-Old Inconvenience

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Less than three months into his tenure as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Christopher Wray wants you to know that the Trump administration’s policy on encryption is business as usual: Keep trying to break it, keep pretending it’s a new obstacle, keep thumping the rail and demanding unrealistic limitations on it. In an October 22 speech to the International Associations of Chiefs of Police, Wray complained that in the first 11 months of 2017, his agents found themselves unable [continue reading…]

 November 3, 2017  Posted by at 1:40 am Issue #241, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Oct 272017
 
Twitter versus RT: Which One is State Media Again?

by Thomas L. Knapp……. America’s New Red Scare escalated in mid-October as the US Department of Justice demanded that the US division of television network RT (formerly known as Russia Today) register as a “foreign agent” under the aptly named Foreign Agents Registration Act. The obvious purpose of DoJ’s demand is to keep the guttering flame of panic over “Russian election meddling” from going completely out. It’s a publicity stunt and that’s pretty much all it is  (no word of similar registration demands to personnel [continue reading…]

 October 27, 2017  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #240, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Oct 272017
 
The Cure for Weinstein is a Cultural Change

by Thomas L. Knapp……. How many women did Harvey Weinstein victimize?  When did he  start down the continuum leading from Hollywood’s shamefully tolerated “casting couch”  overtures to  increasingly flagrant sexual harassment, and finally (if we believe his accusers, as I think we should) open sexual assault? We’ll probably never know. But one thing we do know: There was a first time, a Victim Zero. While neither that victim nor the others should be blamed for what happened to them, it’s worth asking why there followed [continue reading…]

 October 27, 2017  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #240, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Oct 202017
 
Hillary Clinton: Cold Creepiness with a Side of Corruption

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On October 16, failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took her public pity party (and not so subtle hopes of somehow magically overturning the 2016 election) abroad, calling out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as “a tool of Russian intelligence …. a kind of nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator” in an interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s show “Four Corners.” Clinton’s evidenceless accusations don’t seem to  carry much weight with Assange himself. He doesn’t find her “a credible person.” [continue reading…]

 October 20, 2017  Posted by at 12:33 am Issue #239, Thomas L. Knapp 11 Responses »
Oct 132017
 
Take a Knee. Take a Seat. Take a Chill Pill.

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners,” US president Donald Trump thundered from the stage of a September campaign rally, “when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Many seem to agree that professional football games are no place for political statements. Well, at least they agree now. I don’t recall a peep from them for nearly a decade of the US government [continue reading…]

 October 13, 2017  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #238, Thomas L. Knapp 6 Responses »
Oct 062017
 
GOP Tax Plan: Hardly "Reform," But Tax Cuts "Cost" Nothing

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The Trump administration and congressional Republicans released their grandiosely titled “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code” on September 27. The plan looks a lot more like a grab bag designed by lobbyists than like any kind of carefully considered plan for “tax reform.” It’s full of smoke and mirrors. For example, the one-page highlight sheet brags that “the framework roughly doubles the standard deduction so that typical middle-class families will keep more of their paycheck.” I’d hoped that this [continue reading…]

 October 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:20 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #237, Thomas L. Knapp 6 Responses »
Oct 062017
 
Time to Stop Squeezing The Juice

by Thomas L. Knapp……. A few minutes after midnight on October 1,authorities at Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Center released O.J. Simpson on parole after the former football great had served nine years of a 33-year sentence for criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, robbery, and using a deadly weapon. Simpson, who faces several years of parole/probation restrictions, says he’d like to move back to Florida, where he lived before his conviction. Florida’s attorney general, Pam Bondi, who never misses an opportunity to grandstand, says that “should not be an option.” [continue reading…]

 October 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:18 am Issue #237, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Sep 292017
 
The Russia-Blamers Think You're Stupid

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisions,” the Washington Post claims in a September 25 headline. Over at The Daily Beast, Dean Obeidallah explains “How Russian Hackers Used My Face to Sabotage Our Politics and Elect Trump.” And US Senator James Lankford (R-OK) thinks that “the Russians and their troll farms” (as opposed to Donald Trump and professional football players) are behind the current “take a knee” kerfuffle between Donald Trump and professional football players. Because, [continue reading…]

 September 29, 2017  Posted by at 5:37 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #236, Thomas L. Knapp 4 Responses »
Sep 292017
 
Privacy and Politics: The Hypocrisy of the Surveillance Statists

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The New York Times reports that at least six members of the Trump administration used personal email accounts to discuss White House matters. Given president Donald Trump’s campaign and post-campaign harping (as the Times puts it) on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private server and mishandling of classified information, it’s unsurprising to hear charges of hypocrisy from Democratic quarters. But the hypocrisy here  a matter of  political class elitism, not partisan politics. Those in power, regardless [continue reading…]

 September 29, 2017  Posted by at 5:37 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #236, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Sep 292017
 
Social Media: When Does "Actively Working With the Government" Become Censorship?

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In a September 21 post, Mark Zuckerberg shared nine steps the  site he started is taking “to protect election integrity and make sure that Facebook is a force for good in democracy,” by “actively working with the government” and “partnering with public authorities.” The day before that, the United Kingdom’s prime minister, Theresa May, used the United Nations General Assembly as a forum to demand that social media networks “ensure terrorist material [read: content that May disapproves of] is detected and [continue reading…]

 September 29, 2017  Posted by at 5:37 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #236, Thomas L. Knapp 2 Responses »
Sep 222017
 
Trump on Debt: Even More Establishment Than The Establishment

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The Washington Post reports that US president Donald Trump and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “have agreed to pursue a deal that would permanently remove the requirement that Congress repeatedly raise the debt ceiling.” That must be a bitter pill to swallow for those who thought they were electing an “anti-establishment” president to “drain the swamp” in Washington, but it should be no surprise. After all, Trump built his business career on going into debt up to his neck, taking [continue reading…]

 September 22, 2017  Posted by at 10:40 pm Issue #235, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Sep 222017
 
W3C Turns the Clock Back on an Open Web

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On September 18, Ars Technica reports, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published a new specification recommendation, Encrypted Media Extensions. The recommendation, which natively implements a “Digital Rights Management” scheme in web browsers, marks a giant step backward for user freedom and an “open” World Wide Web. W3C is the Web’s  “international standards organization.” Simply put, its recommendations are the reason you can load almost any web page in almost any browser and expect to see the same things on your [continue reading…]

 September 22, 2017  Posted by at 2:22 am Issue #235, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Sep 012017
 
Hurricane Harvey: About That Wall ...

by Thomas L. Knapp……. As I write this, Hurricane Harvey hovers off the Gulf Coast, menacing Louisiana and possibly ramping up for another go at Texas. Much of Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, is under water. It may be weeks before the storms end, the waters recede, and basic utilities are restored. But this, too, shall pass — and then begins the rebuilding. Who’s going to do that rebuilding?

 September 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:39 am Issue #234, Thomas L. Knapp 7 Responses »
Sep 012017
 
WikiLeaks: Hostile is as Hostile Does

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “It is the sense of Congress,” according to the annual Intelligence Authorization Act now working its way through the US Senate,”that WikiLeaks and the senior leadership of WikiLeaks resemble a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such a service by the United States.” US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) was the lone dissenting vote on the bill, which was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee in late August. Wyden is on board with Congress’s [continue reading…]

 September 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #234, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Aug 252017
 
Charlottesville Haters: Test Case for the Internet as Public Square

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In a recent column, I celebrated the phenomenon of “Social Preferencing” and the boost Charlottesville gave to an online, crowdsourced, social media version of it, “@YesYoureRacist,” which makes it easy for everyone to “ostracize a Nazi.” That column received quite a bit of pushback from readers with a darker view of the situation, pointing to the likelihood of shattered innocent lives (due to mistaken identity or intentional fraud) and predicting an era in which unpopular views are suppressed by the digital [continue reading…]

 August 25, 2017  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #233, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Aug 182017
 
@YesYoureRacist Crowdsources Social Preferencing

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The Twitter account @YesYoureRacist went up in 2012, but jumped from about 65,000 followers to more than 350,000 in the days following Virginia’s “Battle of Charlottesville.” After an army of  white nationalists rioted to “Unite the Right,” murdering one and injuring dozens, @YesYoureRacist admin Logan Smith swung into action to identify, then “name and shame,” the attendees. He’s getting lots of help. As photos of the thugs go up, the leads come in. At least one of the Charlottesville marchers is looking [continue reading…]

 August 18, 2017  Posted by at 12:36 am Issue #232, Thomas L. Knapp 10 Responses »
Aug 112017
 
Don't Trust Trump's North Korea Bluff, Bluster, and Brinksmanship

by Thomas L. Knapp……. US president Donald Trump put much of the world atwitter and ajitter Tuesday with his comment to the press: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Trump’s certainly proving himself  Kim Jong Un’s equal at foreign affairs smack talk. Is he serious? I believe so. I expect some sort of major military confrontation — possibly even outright war — between the US and North [continue reading…]

 August 11, 2017  Posted by at 12:46 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #231, Thomas L. Knapp 26 Responses »
Aug 112017
 
Google to Employees: Feel Safe Sharing Your Opinions, as Long as They're Our Opinions

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Former Google engineer James Damore is suddenly between jobs. He’s been fired, Bloomberg reports, for writing “an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies.” Google has long cultivated a reputation for hiring smart people, turning them loose, and listening to them. This firing puts a giant dent in that reputation. Media reports describe Damore’s memo as a rant, a tirade, a screed, sexist, anti-diversity, and a whole bunch of other bad things. I was almost afraid to read the 10-page [continue reading…]

 August 11, 2017  Posted by at 12:44 am ~ Opinion ~, Issue #231, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Aug 112017
 
Mueller v. Trump: Ain't Life Grand?

by Thomas L. Knapp ……. The Wall Street Journal reports that “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections.” That report diverges from reality when it comes to purpose. Mueller’s aim (and therefore the grand jury’s real purpose) is to “get” US president Donald Trump and key members of his administration. “Russian meddling” is just the pretext. Trump’s true crime in the eyes of the establishments of both major political parties is that he beat them. First [continue reading…]

 August 11, 2017  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #231, Thomas L. Knapp 5 Responses »
Aug 042017
 
If You've Got Nothing to Hide, You've Got Nothing to Fear, JFK Assassination Edition

by Thomas L. Knapp……. As America marked the 50th anniversary of US president John F. Kennedy’s assassination four years ago, a clear majority of Americans (according to polls by Gallup and AP/GfK) still believed that the whole truth of what happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963 remains unknown: That Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone and that the killing was in fact the result of a conspiracy. One good reason for that belief, or at least for skepticism as to the truth of [continue reading…]

 August 4, 2017  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #230, Thomas L. Knapp 1 Response »
Jul 282017
 
Send in the Clown: Scaramucci versus the Leakers

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In Italian  comic theater, Scaramouche is a clown, the boastful poltroon whose antics frequently bring him to grief. Presumably new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci’s name is related  to that tradition. His personality seems tailored to it as well: He’s off to a running start with the boast that he’s going to put a stop to White House leaks. How? “I’ll fire everybody, that’s how I’m going to do it. You’re either going to stop leaking or you’re going to [continue reading…]

 July 28, 2017  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #229, Thomas L. Knapp 9 Responses »
Jul 212017
 
Healthcare: A House Divided Cannot Stand

by Thomas L. Knapp……. The latest healthcare initiative from the Trump administration and the Republican Party’s leaders in Congress seems set to sink just like the last version. Mitch McConnell can’t seem to round up the votes to push it through the Senate, if anything the House is more likely to tear apart than pass the Senate version, and the White House isn’t getting anywhere with its attempt to mobilize the nation’s governors behind attempts to modify the Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare.” Good. Even [continue reading…]

 July 21, 2017  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #228, Thomas L. Knapp 5 Responses »
Jul 142017
 
Our Paranoid Society is Too Hard on Kids -- and on Parents

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In the latest sign that America has gone stark-raving nuts at the expense of its parents and children, the Rochester, New York Democrat & Chronicle reports that a “mother faces child endangerment charges for letting her 10-year-old hang out in a Lego Store while she shopped elsewhere” in the same mall. Not a week goes by without a report of parents getting arrested, or having their children seized by social workers, for the “crime” of letting them walk to or from [continue reading…]

 July 14, 2017  Posted by at 12:43 am Issue #227, Thomas L. Knapp 3 Responses »
Jul 142017
 
Death Panels: Sarah Palin Was Right, Sort Of

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In 2009, former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin raised the kind of ruckus she’s known for with her comment on the then-notional Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare.” In a Facebook note, she wrote: “The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide … whether they are worthy of health care.” Palin’s aim was rather [continue reading…]

 July 14, 2017  Posted by at 12:40 am Issue #227, Thomas L. Knapp 5 Responses »
Jul 142017
 
Circumcision: One Woman's Piercing Commentary

by Thomas L. Knapp……. When Enedina Vance posted a photo of her smiling baby with a pierced cheek on Facebook, she expected — and wanted — a reaction. She probably didn’t expect the reaction to be so vehement. She received death threats. Some commenters claimed to have called government “child protective services” to come take the child away from an “abusive” mother. When Vance revealed that the photo was fake (no, she hadn’t really had her child’s dimple pierced) and intended as social commentary, the [continue reading…]

 July 14, 2017  Posted by at 12:37 am Issue #227, Thomas L. Knapp 4 Responses »
Jul 072017
 
Who's That You Called Dangerous, President Trump?

by Thomas L. Knapp…….   On July 6, CNN reports,  “President Donald Trump chided North Korea for its recent missile tests, saying it is ‘behaving in a very very dangerous manner.’”  Particularly motivating Trump’s expression of angst was this week’s test of the Hwasong-14,  which the North claims (and the US seems to believe) is “capable of hitting any part of the world, along with nuclear weapons.” But since Trump wants to talk about dangerous behavior, let’s.

 July 7, 2017  Posted by at 12:42 am Thomas L. Knapp 4 Responses »
Jun 302017
 
What The Deep State Is

by Thomas L. Knapp……. Buzzwords come and buzzwords go. Lately, a trending buzzword — or, I guess, buzz phrase — among the politically inclined is “Deep State.” Google News returns 127,000 recent media uses of the phrase. Every time US president Donald Trump finds himself under attack or just stymied in one of his policy initiatives, his supporters blame the Deep State. The Deep State is behind the “Russiagate” probes. The Deep State doesn’t like his Muslim travel ban or his ObamaCare replacement bill. The Deep [continue reading…]

 June 30, 2017  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #225, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »