It’s Classified: A Tale of Two Scofflaws Prison Photo

For the crime of telling America and the world about the lawlessness of the American political class — including one Hillary Rodham Clinton — Chelsea Manning is now a political prisoner, serving a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth’s US Disciplinary Barracks, after a show trial which violated nearly every basic benchmark of American justice.

For her crimes and misdeeds — including, since Manning’s day in kangaroo court, the discovery that she, too, was compromising classified information by running her official email through an illegal, unsecure “private” email server — the same Hillary Rodham Clinton’s punishment has, so far, been limited to a slow, agonizing fall from political grace.

This week, Manning once again finds herself in the news. She faces solitary confinement as punishment for a variety of “offenses” so minor that it’s nearly impossible to call them “offenses” with a straight face. The highlight: She is accused of possessing a tube of toothpaste that’s past its expiration date (I could be wrong here, but isn’t toothpaste in prison dispensed to inmates BY the prison?).

This week, Clinton once again finds herself in the news. She faces further drubbings in the pre-primary polls as punishment for getting caught lying, yet again, about her illegal handling of classified information. In New Hampshire, she now trails avowed socialist Bernie Sanders, who even a year ago would have been considered an interesting gadfly candidate at best, in the race for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

I find it painful to compare Chelsea Manning to Hillary Clinton.

Chelsea Manning is an American heroine who knowingly exposed classified information for the purpose of revealing war crimes in Iraq and other government lawlessness, including Clinton’s orders to her State Department underlings to bug the offices of UN diplomats.

Hillary Clinton is a power-monger who carelessly exposed classified information because she believes she’s above the law. Like the late Richard Nixon, on whose impeachment papers she worked as a young congressional staffer, she believes that if  Hillary Clinton does it, it’s not illegal.

I probably owe Ms. Manning an apology for linking her name with that of a disreputable figure like Clinton. But, dissimilar as they are, it seems to me that the solution to both their problems is the same: They should both get out.

Chelsea Manning should get out of prison.

Hillary Clinton should get out of politics.

How’s that for a win-win solution?

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.




Supporting the Garrison Center’s Work: How and Why

The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism is not an “organization” per se. We’re not registered with any government as a “non-profit.” Donations are not tax-deductible … in fact, since we’re not really an organization, we don’t accept donations at all. But our people do. And the “we” is really more of an “I.”

Hi, I’m Tom Knapp, “director and senior news analyst” at the Center. Which means that I write most of the Center’s content, maintain the web site, submit our content to newspapers, etc. When someone else writes an op-ed for the Center, I pay the author out of my own pocket (I’d like to do more of that, but that requires having, you know, money). So the way to “support the Center” is to “support Tom.”

A quick lowdown on the “how” before I get to the “why”: I accept donations through my blog, KN@PPSTER. Over on the right, near the top, you’ll find four options (Patreon, PayPal, Bitcoin and Litecoin) for contributing. Here’s a screen shot to help you find your way:




Now, the big question: Why should you support me? Simple: Because I get the job done. And when it comes to bang for buck, my work stacks up favorably versus think tanks with multi-million dollar annual budgets.

What is the job? Outreach. Writing libertarian op-eds and getting them published in “mainstream” and non-libertarian political media. That’s what I do. I’ve written hundreds, and placed thousands, of op-eds in those publications.

How can you tell I get the job done? Browse the site. At the bottom of each op-ed, you’ll find a list of publications in which that op-ed has appeared. Right now, I’m successfully placing Garrison op-eds 40-60 times per month in newspapers and on political sites across the US and around the world. Small-town dailies. Community weeklies. Large and prestigious newspapers. National and international news and political magazines.

My bare-bones financial nut for continuing to make this happen is $250 a month. At $500 a month, I would probably be able to go from three to four op-eds per week (with at least one per week written by an “outside author”) and start pushing toward the 100 mark with respect to getting libertarian material “out there” to the people who need it most. People outside the libertarian movement. You know, Joe and Jill Sixpack. The people we need to reach. The people we need to persuade.

Thanks to an angel donor who wishes to remain anonymous, that $250 per month came in, guaranteed, for six months. Said donor just extended for another three, which gets us to November.

Come hell or high water, I intend to keep the Center a going concern through the end of the year. If it’s not carrying its own weight by then, minus the single angel, I’ll decide the market has spoken and go do something else.

But this is me speaking to the market — to you, the libertarian who wants to spread our message far and wide, cost-effectively. At 50 media pickups per month and $250 in revenue, that’s $5 to place a libertarian op-ed in front of a non-libertarian audience. Sounds like a bargain to me. If you think so too, please help me keep making it happen.

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp

The Problem With Ad Blockers: There Ain’t No Such Thing as Free Content WWW

PageFair’s 2015 Ad Blocking Report paints a desperate picture for  web publishers. Those publishers, according to the report, can expect to lose $22 billion in revenues this year from readers’ widespread use of “ad blocking” software.

Halfway into the web’s third decade, content providers still struggle to monetize their products. Readers who never thought twice about springing for printed newspapers or magazines in “the old days” balk at ponying up for web editions. “Paywalls” don’t seem to work very well.

“Free” is the content watchword … but there’s no such thing as free. Most serious content providers publish for profit, not for fun. So the revenue model has evolved toward loading out every page with ads, then running as much traffic past those ads as possible.

I’m sympathetic to users, mind you. Too many ads can get very annoying, very quickly. I installed an ad blocker myself recently, specifically so that I could visit one site that (according to the ad blocker’s counter) averaged more than 20 advertisements per web page, slowing my computer to a crawl. After awhile, I rethought my strategy, uninstalled the ad blocker, and stopped visiting that site.

My reasoning: Checkout lines are inconvenient and annoying, too, but I don’t get to fill my cart with groceries and just breeze right on past the register. That would be stealing.

It seems to me that there’s a similar, if implicit, contract with web content providers. They’re not giving me the content, they’re selling it to me. The price is letting them put ads in front of me. If I’m not willing to pay that price, I shouldn’t expect the publisher to put out.

I’ve talked with fellow web readers about this. Some of them push back, pointing out that web advertising keeps getting more and more intrusive. Cookies and other tracking devices don’t just show you ads; they follow you around the Internet gathering information about you to target those ads to your interests.

I agree that tracking can get pretty creepy. And dealing with the various scripts that make the tracking possible bogs down my machine.

I think there’s a market solution to this, one that involves tough love on both sides of the content divide.

Instead of using ad blockers, readers should stop visiting sites with intrusive and annoying advertising … after hitting the contact links and explaining why they’ll be doing so in the future.

Instead of running an arms race with ad blockers, trying to find ways around them, publishers should just install scripts that detect the blockers … and black out site content entirely for readers using them.

It seems to me that this course would eventually result in some kind of detente: Readers becoming more tolerant of ads, publishers thinking more carefully about how much advertising they run, and ad brokers getting less intrusive with their tracking.

The last thing to do — unless we’re idiots — is ask government to regulate the user-provider interaction. That would only make things worse.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.