Author Archives: Thomas L. Knapp

Thomas Knapp: Think Words Aren’t Magic? Think Again

“Word choices by politicians and activists matter,” writes Matt Yglesias. “[S]wing voters tend to self-identify as moderate, and as a result, people who want to win should try to portray their ideas as moderate, common-sense reforms rather than sweeping vehicles for change. At the same time, words are not magic.”… Read more ...

Thomas Knapp: Crime Begets Crime, ICE Edition

On May 10, Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology released a report — “American Dragnet: Data-Driven Deportation in the 21st Century” —  which you should find disturbing but shouldn’t find surprising.

The part you should find disturbing: “ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]  has created a surveillance infrastructure that enables it to pull detailed dossiers on nearly anyone, seemingly at any time.… Read more ...

Thomas Knapp: Some Animals are More Equal Than Others When it Comes to ‘Privacy’

On May 9, The Hill reports, the US Senate passed — with unanimous consent! — a bill to “formally allow the Supreme Court of the United States Police to provide around-the-clock protection to [the justices’] family members, in line with the security some executive and congressional officials get.”

While sponsor John Cornyn (R-TX) justified the action on alleged “threats to the physical safety of Supreme Court Justices and their families,” the real reason for the bill is no secret.… Read more ...

Thomas Knapp: ‘Democracy’ Doesn’t Work as Argument Against Overturning Roe v. Wade

In the wake of a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion which, if it represents a final vote, would overturn Roe v. Wade, pro-choice advocates are marshaling their best — and worst — arguments against removing that ruling’s protections for abortion.

As always, I’ll refrain from sharing my own opinions on abortion as such.… Read more ...

Thomas Knapp: Election Years are Particularly Bad Times for Democrats to Call Black Voters Stupid

A year ago, the Washington Post reported that the Biden administration was poised to propose a ban on menthol cigarettes.

On April 28 the US Food and Drug Administration (supposedly an independent agency, but clearly operating per Joe Biden’s “suggestions”) finally announced its plan to move forward with the ban, which also includes cigars.… Read more ...

Thomas Knapp: Will Ron DeSantis’ Latest Mickey Mouse Political Tantrum Cost Him His Career?

On April 22, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Put that way, it sounds rather routine, but it isn’t. DeSantis called a special session of the legislature  just to get this done. The only thing routine about it is that it’s an example of Rule Number One in Florida politics since 2018: Don’t publicly disagree with Ron DeSantis, or he’ll throw a tantrum and try to punish you.… Read more ...

Thomas Knapp: Republicans Abandon America’s ‘Bi-Partisan’ Infomercial Provider. Will We Get Real Debates Now?

On April 14, the Republican National Committee announced its withdrawal from the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has monopolized “major party” debates since 1988. The RNC, claiming bias on the CPD’s part in selecting moderators, pledged to “find newer, better debate platforms.”

While the RNC’s reasons are self-serving, this may be the most encouraging development in presidential election politics in decades.… Read more ...

Thomas Knapp: War is the Crime and Perpetrators Seldom Face Justice

“Genocide.” That’s the announced verdict of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy as images of hundreds of civilian dead — some with their hands bound, apparently executed — emerged from the city of Bucha following a withdrawal of Russian troops.

“You may remember I got criticized for calling Putin a war criminal,” says US president Joe Biden.… Read more ...

Thomas Knapp: Attention! Deficit Disorder!

On March 28, US president Joe Biden unveiled his 2023 budget proposal. It totals $5.8 trillion, which would bring federal spending and deficits back below their pandemic-era heights (although not back to 2019 levels). Biden’s ask comes to nearly $18,000 for every man, woman, and child in America.

Oddly, The Hill reports, the White House’s big brag on the proposal is that it would  reduce the deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next ten years.… Read more ...

Thomas Knapp: Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill is Really About Politics, Not Sex

On March 28, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1557 — the “Parental Rights in Education Bill” — into law.

Supporters say it is indeed about parental rights:  The right to know what their kids are being taught, and the right to be informed about matters pertaining to their kids’ “mental, emotional, or physical well-being.”… Read more ...

She Did Her Job: A Republican Senator’s Case Against Ketanji Brown Jackson

Facing questions during her confirmation hearing before the US Senate on March 22, Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson caught what may be the strangest sort of flak I’ve seen in one of these circuses.

“Do you support, then, the idea that indefinite detention of an enemy combatant is unlawful?” asked US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), referring to Jackson’s representation of detainees held at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.… Read more ...

Daylight Saving Time: Finally, Some Government Action I Can Get Behind

If my picture appeared in the dictionary next to a word, that word would likely be “anti-government.” Or perhaps “pro-gridlock.” I don’t like government much, and I’m happier when it’s not getting anything done. Especially anything described as “bi-partisan,” which usually means something incorporating the worst instincts of Republicans and Democrats alike.… Read more ...