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 2 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 »
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 »