Bernie Sanders Won’t Drop Out. Here’s Why.

Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bernie Sanders says he’s taking the Democratic presidential nomination contest all the way to the party’s national convention in Philadelphia at the end of July. Believe it.

With increasing intensity after each primary or caucus he loses — and for that matter after each primary or caucus he wins — party big-wigs call on him to concede the race and get out of Hillary Clinton’s way. Politico‘s informal April survey of anonymous Democratic “insiders” has nearly 90% wanting Sanders out no later than the DC primary in mid-June and only 10% urging him to hold out to the bitter end.

Why isn’t he listening to the 90%? As a Florida Democrat told Politico, “[t]here is no path, and there is no math.” Actually there are at least four paths.

Path #1: Clinton’s health fails in a very big and very public way. She’s had multiple public fainting spells since 2005, including one resulting in a broken elbow in 2009. In 2012, she suffered a concussion and was hospitalized with cerebral venous thrombosis, a life-threatening blood clot condition. Her campaign health statement acknowledges these problems and throws in hypothyroidism to boot, although characterizing the 67-year-old as enjoying “excellent” health.

Path #2:  Clinton is indicted in, or otherwise dragged down over, the “Servergate” affair, in which she appears to have illegally mishandled classified information while Secretary of State.

Path #3: Clinton comes to big legal or political grief over apparent connections between large donations to her family’s foundation on one hand and her actions as Secretary of State on the other. For example, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia donated $10 million to the Clinton Foundation and Boeing donated $900,000. Later, Secretary Clinton cleared a $29 billion arms deal involving the two parties. You can see how that kind of thing looks. There may be some “there” there.

Path #4: The texts of Clinton’s Wall Street speeches, for which she received millions of dollars in honoraria, are leaked. Clinton’s refusal to release those texts tells us that their release would be politically damaging. Everything comes to light sooner or later. If it’s sooner — that is, before July —  we may find out how just how damaging.

Any of these four scenarios might result in Hillary Clinton’s ignominious withdrawal from the presidential race and release of her delegates, followed by the party’s scramble for an alternative nominee. If Bernie Sanders doesn’t quit, he becomes the odds-on favorite for the job.

So he won’t quit. And now you know why.

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.


Dishonoring Harriet Tubman

English: Harriet Tubman grave
Harriet Tubman’s grave (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Later that year, Congress passed, and US president Woodrow Wilson signed into law, the Federal Reserve Act. The following year the Federal Reserve issued a new $20 bill, adorned with the portrait of Grover Cleveland. In 1928, the first $20 bill bearing the visage of Andrew Jackson appeared. Even though the Federal Reserve had taken over the creation of “money” (loosely defined) from the US Treasury, the note still promised that it could be redeemed for gold at the US Treasury, or gold or “lawful money” at any Federal Reserve Bank.

Nearly 90 years later, as the Treasury announces that Tubman’s likeness will grace the next $20 bill, Federal Reserve Notes are just paper, no longer redeemable in gold but sustained only by the faith of buyers and sellers in a government nearly $20 trillion of its own debased dollars in actual debt and even deeper in the hole when unfunded promises of future spending are taken into account.

Due to a cumulative inflation rate of more than 2,300% since 1913, a $20 bill today will buy goods valued at 83 cents in 1913 currency.

That differential represents something that Tubman spent her whole life fighting. I wonder how one of slavery’s greatest opponents would feel about having her image appropriated for use on the symbol of its resurgence — an instrument of debt representing the promises of politicians to hold their subjects in perpetual bondage while taking the payments out of our hides?

Tubman was no stranger to financial swindles like the Fed’s disappearing gold scheme. In 1873, she fell victim to a private sector cash for gold con that ended with her knocked out, robbed, tied up and left penniless in the woods. I doubt she’d have fallen for the Federal Reserve scam.

In recent years a few scattered politicians (most notably former US Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), his son US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)) have sponsored or supported legislation demanding an audit of the Federal Reserve System. Laudable, I guess — especially in the case of Sanders, who broke with the Democratic Party to support the latest version of the bill even as he ramped up his Democratic presidential campaign — but a little short of what Harriet Tubman might have expected.

Auditing the Fed isn’t enough. Like Tubman said, “never wound a snake; kill it.” Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are the 21st century’s version of the underground railroad. If the US government won’t kill the Federal Reserve, free markets will.

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.


Utah’s Porn Resolution is an Obscenity

Pornographic film set, December 2007. Pictured...
Pornographic film set, December 2007. Pictured are Mikey Butders, Cali Chase, and a photographer simply identified as Nicole.The photograph was taken by Larry Knowles for an article for The Naughty American website called “One Fine Day on a Porn Set” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On April 19, Utah governor Gary Herbert signed a resolution passed and forwarded to him by both houses of the state’s legislature: “[T]he Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein, recognizes that pornography is a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms; and recognizes the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the citizens of Utah and the nation.”

For the moment, the resolution has no real legal effect. It’s just a statement of sentiment and resolve to eventually do … well, something. Par for the course in political demagoguery, in other words. It is nonetheless, to use a word that appears down in the resolution’s detailed list of complaints, “toxic” in two ways.

The first is obvious: We have a First Amendment for a reason, and claims that it only extends to whatever speech and press politicians don’t think they can make hay by attacking this week don’t stand up to scrutiny.

I don’t have to like porn (I’m not going to try to convince you I’ve never looked at it). You don’t have to like porn (maybe you do, maybe you don’t). Governor Herbert and the Utah legislature don’t have to like porn (yes, I do wonder). If you don’t like it, don’t view it. Unless the participants in it are children or adults acting under compulsion, whether or not anyone else views it is None. Of. Your. Business.

Secondly, resolutions of this kind further degrade and politicize the terms “public health” and “epidemic.” At one time, those terms were arguably useful. They referred to legitimate epidemiology, i.e. the spread of pathogens (the prime example being the tale of John Snow tracing a cholera epidemic to a particular well and ending it by removing the pump handle).

Volitional human behavior — such as having sex in front of a camera or watching people have sex on camera — isn’t a pathogen per se, any more than “gun violence” — another “public health” hobgoblin raised by demagogues for political purposes — is.

And as has historically been the case with “gun violence” per the Centers for Disease Control et. al, Herbert and company fudge the evidence to reach the results they want regardless of the facts. As the Free Speech Coalition notes, “access to adult entertainment correlates pretty clearly historically and geographically with declines in sex crime.” Which may explain why rape reports declined by 14% between 2005 and 2014 in Utah, the state with America’s highest porn consumption rate.

Perhaps Herbert and his pals should work on ending the remaining 86% of rapes instead of on obscene grandstanding.

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.