All posts by Thomas L. Knapp

Election 2016: Who I’m Not Voting For, And Why Vote Pencil

That’s what this election is about, isn’t it? Daily, I’m warned by Democrats that I mustn’t vote for Donald Trump, by Republicans that I mustn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, and by supporters of both that I mustn’t vote for a third party, independent or write-in candidate.

If I take all that advice to heart, I won’t be able to vote for any of Florida’s 12 balloted or write-in candidates for president , will I?  And I admit that it’s tempting to sit this one out.

I know I won’t waste my vote on Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Call me picky, but in my view pathological liars who hate freedom and love war shouldn’t get to live in the White House, sign and veto bills, have access to nuclear launch codes,  and all that other president stuff. I’ve narrowed it down THAT much, anyway.

The easy out for me — and I may take it — would be to vote for Gary Johnson. I’m a partisan Libertarian and he’s my party’s candidate. He’s seriously flawed, but on the plus side he’s probably not irredeemably evil like the two major party picks. He’s kinda, sorta, a little bit in favor of my own top political values, freedom and peace. America could do worse. In fact it mostly has.

The other third party candidates — the Green Party’s Jill Stein, the Reform Party’s Rocky de la Fuente, and the Constitution Party’s Darrell Castle — also seem like decent folks but they’re just a little too far afield on issues I care about. If we MUST have a president, I could live with one of them. But not vote for any of them.

I only recognize the names of two of the six write-in candidates — independent Laurence Kotlikoff and the Transhumanist Party’s Zoltan Istvan Gyurko. Of those two, only Istvan appeals to me. He’s all about immortality, which sounds good. Also, wouldn’t it be cool to have a president named “Zoltan?”

Of course, there’s something to be said for the write-ins I DON’T recognize. Maybe we should start picking presidents at random from a pile of all the phone books in America. Speaking of which, do they still even print phone books?

Yes, I know that you people are going to pick Clinton or Trump. But that’s on you, not me. And it proves that we really need a better way of going about this politics thing. Just sayin’.

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


“Rigged Election” Rhetoric: A Dangerous Two-Way Street Vote Pencil

Google News returns (as of October 18) 285,000 search results on the phrase “rigged election.” It’s a trending topic, run up the flagpole of public consciousness by media coverage of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s mouth. Sample, from an October 17 rally in Wisconsin:

“Remember, we are competing in a rigged election …. They even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths, where so many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is all too common.”

Three observations:

First, this kind of rhetoric is dangerous, and not just in a notional manner. More than one country has descended into riot, revolution, coup or civil war territory over disputes about the integrity of its elections. Think it can’t happen here? Think again.

Secondly, this kind of rhetoric isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination. In the United States, the claim has enjoyed growing persuasive power ever since 2000 when a Florida vote recount was halted by the US Supreme Court, thereby awarding the office of president to George W. Bush, who probably didn’t actually win the election. Many Democrats ascribed John Kerry’s 2004 defeat to voting machine manipulation in Ohio. In 2012, Republicans threw in with complaints over apparent voter intimidation at urban polling places in support of Barack Obama’s re-election.

Finally, Trump is not the only presidential candidate claiming that this presidential election is rigged. As far back as August, we have Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton saying things like this:

“I think laying out the facts raises serious issues about Russian interference in our elections, in our democracy …. For Trump to both encourage that and to praise Putin despite what appears to be a deliberate effort to try to affect the election I think raises national security issues.”

The Clinton version is a bit more subtle (and even less well-supported by anything resembling actual evidence) than Trump’s. It’s also at least as dangerous and possibly more so to the extent that it might serve as a casus belli for World War III.

Trump is preemptively positioning himself to claim that a victorious Clinton and her party rigged the election. That could lead to fireworks.

Clinton is preemptively positioning herself to accuse a foreign power of rigging — or at least unduly influencing — the outcome to her loss. That could lead to fireworks of a nuclear variety.

Third party and independent candidates have the strongest complaints of election-rigging — the Republicans and Democrats have colluded in suppressing all other parties for lo on 130 years now with restrictive ballot access laws and other dirty tricks. But those complaints aren’t quite the gasoline-soaked pile of tinder that happens when the two wings of the ruling oligarchy have this type of falling out.

We certainly live in interesting times.

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


Sandy Hook Suit Victimized Families Yet Again for Political Gain

First Generation Bushmaster Assault Rifle - Wo...
First Generation Bushmaster Rifle – Wooden stock shown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been nearly four years since Adam Lanza murdered his mother at the Newtown, Connecticut home they shared, then assaulted Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children, six staff members and, finally, himself.

Naturally the usual suspects — including but not limited to US president Barack Obama — immediately began rolling around in the victims’ still-wet blood and dancing on their graves, screeching for more of the very laws which had made Lanza’s atrocity possible in the first place (for example, the Gun Free School Zones Act, which virtually ensured that he enjoyed an extended timeframe in which to murder with impunity before facing an armed response).

The ghouls have marked time since the massacre with chest-beating ritual designed to keep the victims traumatized and periodically reopen their wounds. Newtown made a spectacle of acquiring Lanza’s home and demolishing it. The school district spent more than $50 million closing, demolishing, and rebuilding Sandy Hook Elementary.

And of course the victim disarmament lobby deployed one of the perennial favorites in its propaganda arsenal (pun intended): Malicious litigation in the form of “lawfare” (“the abuse of Western laws and judicial systems to achieve strategic military or political ends”).

Freedom won an important battle on the lawfare front on October 14, when Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis dismissed a lawsuit filed in the names of 10 of the Sandy Hook victims’ families against Remington Arms, Camfour Holding LLC, and Riverview Sales — respectively the manufacturer, distributor and retail seller of the Bushmaster rifle Lanza used in his killing spree.

The dismissal was clearly mandated by a specific law, the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” passed by Congress in 2005 to protect gun manufacturers from litigation of this sort. But that law shouldn’t have even been necessary. Such litigation is meritless and frivolous on its face. The attorneys who drummed up the suit on behalf of (or to pitch to) the plaintiff families should be denied any monetary compensation from the families for their morally reprobate “work,” personally financially sanctioned by the court to recoup the costs of this farce  to the taxpayers,  and disciplined by their state bar association for ethics violations (e.g. barratry, “vexatious litigation or incitement to it”).

Remington Arms manufactured an indisputably legal item of a type available for general sale for more than a century. Camfour Holding LLC distributed that legal item to retailers. Riverview Sales legally sold that legal item Lanza’s mother.

The item was not defective, at least in any way which incited, encouraged, or brought about the killings. It was an inanimate object.

The cause of the killings — the ENTIRE cause of the killings — was Adam Lanza’s intent to kill, full stop. None of the defendants bears so much as an iota of responsibility for Lanza’s actions. But the ambulance-chasers who brought this suit bear full responsibility for THEIR actions. They should be made to feel that responsibility, preferably in the form of finding themselves destitute, unemployed, and unemployable (other than, perhaps, at a “would you like fries with that?” level).

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