Joe Conason from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 03 Dec 2016 01:21:35 -0800 Joe Conason from Creators Syndicate 5d17b23d2045e78360dac8eaad7f4e8a A Real Email Scandal -- and Trump's Hypocrisy for 11/28/2016 Mon, 28 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>For well over a year, Donald Trump ranted constantly about the woman he smeared as "Crooked Hillary," insisting that her alleged disclosures of classified information &#8212; although unintentional, harmless and ultimately deemed innocent by the FBI director &#8212; were serious felonies for which she ought to be sent to prison. "Hillary Clinton's corruption is on a scale we have never seen before," he sputtered. "We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office." </p> <p>That Trump no longer threatens to abuse his office to prosecute her doesn't change what he or his supporters said about her supposed crimes. The ugly screams of "Lock her up!" at the Republican convention still echo.</p> <p>But now Trump evidently believes that David Petraeus &#8212; who pled guilty to charges that he intentionally revealed classified information to his mistress &#8212; could be trusted to serve in the same exceptionally sensitive post that Clinton once held. The retired general, who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan before serving as CIA director under President Obama, reportedly came very close to a felony conviction that would have sent him to prison for leaking top secrets. He also lied to FBI agents during their investigation of his misconduct, a crime that FBI director James Comey specifically said that Clinton did not commit.<p>Updated: Mon Nov 28, 2016</p> da4f4d749397e87aa1401088a799ea10 As Neo-Nazis Hail Him, Trump Shrugs for 11/22/2016 Tue, 22 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>In recent days, events have reignited the most disturbing speculation about the nature of the incoming Trump regime, its ideological orientation, and the political character of the president-elect himself.</p> <p>Over the weekend, an organization that calls itself the National Policy Institute convened a couple hundred white nationalists and other disreputable elements of the self-styled alt-right in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the election of Donald Trump.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 22, 2016</p> 6fc6b9ebb7b93fbb08475cdcf45503ce Rogue FBI Agents Deface Democracy for 11/04/2016 Fri, 04 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Whatever the outcome next Tuesday, our political system crossed a disturbing Rubicon during the days leading up to that climax: For the first time in recent memory, officials of the nation's premier law enforcement agency sought to influence a national election with illicit leaks. </p> <p>Murky information about investigations of Hillary Clinton's emails and the Clinton Foundation, even fraudulent rumors of "indictments" have flooded the media, all somehow traced back to the FBI &#8212; with Rudolph Giuliani of the Donald Trump campaign boasting on Fox News that he had advance knowledge of these manipulations.</p> <p>Owing to his longstanding connections with the bureau, Giuliani had predicted "a couple of surprises" to come in late October, just days before FBI director James Comey sent his fateful letter to Congress about reviewing new emails in the Clinton case he closed last July. <p>Updated: Mon Nov 07, 2016</p> 914f00d339b76822d1af2648bbc967f4 Donald Trump's Clinton Blame Game for 10/14/2016 Fri, 14 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For reasons best known to Donald Trump and his campaign, they seem to believe that the best way to deflect the ongoing deluge of sexual assault accusations against him is to keep repeating old stories about Bill Clinton. If the former president did something wrong once upon a time, according to this theory, then Hillary Clinton is also guilty by association. And Trump is somehow exculpated.</p> <p>Both the candidate and his surrogates insist that Clinton "enabled" her husband's philandering, although they never quite explain what that means. And sometimes, without offering any proof, they claim that she "intimidated" or "attacked" the women who complained about her husband's alleged unwanted advances. To bolster this argument, they usually roll out three alleged victims &#8212; Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones &#8212;usually on Fox News. <p>Updated: Fri Oct 14, 2016</p> 9d8939085756b71dae195c71a17f63c6 Former Whitewater Counsel Faces the Truth for 10/10/2016 Mon, 10 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Most Americans may no longer remember Michael Chertoff, the New Jersey Republican who once headed the Department of Homeland Security &#8212; and who earned that position in part to reward his work on the Senate Whitewater Committee, where he served under New York's Alfonse D'Amato as chief counsel. But anyone who closely observed the antics of that committee &#8212; as I did while covering its ridiculous partisan witch hunt against the Clintons &#8212; will remember Chertoff all too well.</p> <p>Unlike the committee's Republican Senators, along with their ardent followers among scandal-addled reporters and right-wing rubes, its top lawyer always seemed far too smart to believe any of the far-fetched accusations. But he was cynical enough to promote them with feigned indignation.<p>Updated: Mon Oct 10, 2016</p> 1bbd0f2b931ea8a6fca19e8cb29f3936 The Brazen Hypocrisy of Trump, Giuliani -- and Their Enablers for 09/30/2016 Fri, 30 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Only in this mad election could a male presidential nominee &#8212; a misogynist boor who has been married three times, who has boasted of adultery with his friends' wives, and who has even publicly leered at his own daughter &#8212; seek to blame a female candidate for her husband's sexual indiscretions. And only in this election would that nominee outsource the attacks to a surrogate whose marital history is even more embarrassing, because it involved gross misconduct in elected office.</p> <p>But that perfectly describes Donald Trump, Rudolph Giuliani, and their bizarrely inappropriate attack on Hillary Clinton's marriage. Perhaps we can expect Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich &#8212; who notified his second wife that he planned to divorce her while she was hospitalized with cancer &#8212; to chime in next. <p>Updated: Fri Sep 30, 2016</p> c8124894ce0759d14a59de5c3af4fa6a A Moral Victory for Bill Clinton -- And His Foundation for 09/23/2016 Fri, 23 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Late on the afternoon of Sept. 21 &#8212; almost exactly eleven years after Bill Clinton inaugurated the annual Clinton Global Initiative conferences in New York City &#8212; the former president offered closing remarks there for the very last time. Having watched this innovative organization grow from a casual idea into a formidable entity credited for delivering quality health care, clean water, modern education, disaster relief and other essential benefits to millions of people around the world, he told its members and supporters gathered in a midtown hotel ballroom that "CGI has worked out better than I ever dreamed."</p> <p>It was understandable and probably wise for Clinton to declare victory, having profoundly changed the mindset and practice of modern philanthropy. But as the sound of John Lennon's "Imagine" filled the room, it was impossible to ignore another aspect of CGI's conclusion &#8212;- the angry, exaggerated and almost always inaccurate attacks on the initiative from political adversaries of Bill and Hillary Clinton, bristling with accusations of "corruption" and "favoritism."<p>Updated: Fri Sep 23, 2016</p> 596a67915f55a65145d72850b4046db6 Pay For Play? The Scandal Is Judicial Watch Misleading Gullible Media for 08/30/2016 Tue, 30 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Listening to the national media over the past few weeks, many Americans may now believe that the Clinton Foundation was set up as a "pay to play" scheme for Hillary Clinton to squeeze millions of dollars from wealthy foreigners and rich Americans. According to this theory, popularized by a lavishly funded right-wing organization called Judicial Watch, the former secretary of state would only deal with people and governments that had donated big money to her husband's foundation.</p> <p>But that story is itself a fraudulent scam, perpetrated by Judicial Watch with misleading information fed to gullible, lazy Washington journalists.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 30, 2016</p> 235a124e33206fd9c07446e3bfa30272 Why Is Assange Pushing Trump's Conspiracies? for 08/15/2016 Mon, 15 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Among the most distasteful features of this election cycle is the adoption of right-wing propaganda themes &#8212; including moldy material from decades ago &#8212; by ostensibly progressive activists and publications. In their zeal to bring down Hillary Clinton, elements of the left have mimicked the right to promote "scandals" that were decisively disproved when Bill Clinton was president.</p> <p>Despite the strenuous efforts of Nixon dirty trickster Roger J. Stone and his ilk, however, the attempted recycling of old garbage on behalf of Donald Trump has resulted only in a big dumpster fire (and a surge in book sales to the same rubes who bought all those similar volumes of bilge during the '90s).</p> <p>Undiscouraged, these fanatical fabulists have come up with a new and wild accusation, blatantly echoing the discredited "Clinton death list" and the old Vince Foster mania. And to promote their latest canard they have acquired an unexpected ally.<p>Updated: Mon Aug 15, 2016</p> d30526fb9b48235b3ca0f8786f22127a Country First: Why John McCain Must Dump Trump for 08/08/2016 Mon, 08 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"Country first."</p> <p>That was the patriotic slogan of John McCain's presidential campaign eight years ago, uttered by the Arizona Republican to express a higher purpose than partisan, ideological or career motivations. Behind that brief phrase was the primacy of the nation &#8212; not necessarily above family or religion, perhaps, but certainly above party.</p> <p>It is not an easy ideal to uphold, especially in our polarized national politics. For years the former prisoner of war could claim, more plausibly than most American politicians, that he has tried to live by those words. <p>Updated: Mon Aug 08, 2016</p> 11c499966745623317002b1119ce4a54 Why America Recoils From Trump for 07/22/2016 Fri, 22 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>The revulsion evoked by Donald Trump as he accepted the Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland goes far beyond his speech, which was memorable only for its angry mood, not its vapid content. What repelled so many Americans in that moment was the realization &#8212; or simply the intuition &#8212; that the candidate of the Grand Old Party in 2016 is a living repudiation of every hope, every principle and nearly every word that made this country great.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 22, 2016</p> 652fb0a7fa408ddaf6304ab8b00a9309 French Paradox: Terror Attacks Continue as ISIS Loses Ground for 07/15/2016 Fri, 15 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In the hours after the horrendous attack on French revelers and tourists in Nice &#8212; celebrating Bastille Day in homage to liberty, equality and fraternity &#8212; supporters of the so-called Islamic State declared revenge for the reported killing of an ISIS commander known as "Omar the Chechen." Indeed, several of their top commanders have been eliminated in recent months, even as they continue to see their forces driven from cities and towns across Iraq and Syria. As this episode indicates, however, the terror group continues to possess the capacity to inflict mayhem in the West even as its "caliphate" begins to disintegrate.</p> <p>President Obama warned about this paradox last month, when he reviewed the state of the war against ISIS following the shootings in Orlando, Florida. The "lone wolf" terrorists who perpetrate such atrocities are very difficult to detect and impossible to deter in every case. It is not yet clear what connection or support the terror group provided to the perpetrator of this latest atrocity in France, who reportedly was heavily armed. But cowardly terror against Western and Mideast civilians is increasingly the only way that ISIS can demonstrate power to its followers and its funders.</p> <p>What media coverage of the terror strikes tends to obscure is that the strategy pursued by Obama is gradually destroying ISIS, as its thugs surrender one city after another. Starting with the battle for Kobani early last year &#8212; when Kurdish peshmerga fighters, bolstered by American air power, evicted the genocidal gangs &#8212; the tide of battle seems to have turned decisively against ISIS on the ground, in places like Haditha, Fallujah and, in due course, Mosul, where "Omar" is believed to have met his end. To date, ISIS has lost roughly half of the territory occupied since its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the establishment of their "caliphate" in 2013.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 15, 2016</p> 868151c14212d54fee93f9de320428b0 What the Republican Assault on James Comey Reveals About Today's GOP for 07/08/2016 Fri, 08 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The confrontation between FBI Director James Comey and his would-be tormentors on the House Government Oversight Committee revealed something far more fundamental about politics in America today than the reasons why Hillary Clinton will not be prosecuted over her "damned emails."</p> <p>The calm, intelligent, upright Comey, focused on facts and fair play, represents what the Republican Party once was at its best. The dim, ultra-partisan, conspiracy-obsessed Republicans who interrogated him on Thursday represent the sad condition of the Grand Old Party today.</p> <p>That dismal contrast between sanity and lunacy is why such Congressional show trials repeatedly flop. The interrogation of Comey ordered by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the committee chair, provided a perfect example of the syndrome that afflicts them, which now appears to be incurable.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 08, 2016</p> 367eed97bdbfaccc52c3362be7234697 Who's Really to Blame for Brexit and Donald Trump for 07/01/2016 Fri, 01 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Joe Conason is off this week. The following is a column written by Ted Rall.</p> <p></p> <p>At this writing, securities markets and the international community are reeling at the news that British voters have opted to leave the European Union. The "Brexit" has provoked angry reactions from the pro-Remain camp, who accuse Leave voters of stupidity, shortsighted ignorance and, worse, thinly-disguised racism and nativism posing as nationalism.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 01, 2016</p> 8f7b9dc2a1d157b27f3cf923a4baed82 Crying 'Rape,' Trump? Unseal Your Divorce Records for 05/27/2016 Fri, 27 May 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Evidently Donald Trump believes his campaign can accomplish with an Internet video what Kenneth Starr failed to do with $50 million and a platoon of private detectives and FBI agents: Bring down Bill and Hillary Clinton by dredging them through moldy muck. Somehow he doesn't seem to understand his own vulnerability on scandalous matters that are real rather than invented.</p> <p>The problem Ken Starr confronted during six years as independent counsel was neither a shortage of resources nor a lack of support from the political media, most of which seemed as eager to ruin Clinton as the right-wing Republican prosecutor. No, the trouble with Whitewater, Travelgate and Filegate &#8212; so dubbed by scandal-addled reporters &#8212; was that substantive, plausible evidence of wrongdoing simply didn't exist. The Lewinsky affair was all too real, but most Americans didn't believe that sex, or even lying about sex under oath, merited a costly, hypocritical, and rabid investigation, let alone a presidential impeachment.</p> <p>The hollowness of all those old pseudo-scandals is why the Clintons are still standing &#8212; even as ace sex detective Starr is ousted from the presidency of Baylor University in disgrace for covering up sexual assault by members of the school's football team.<p>Updated: Fri May 27, 2016</p> 1d106a4d4254e1b7277e5a5e96e96a88 How Bernie Sanders Can Squander -- or Expand -- His Victory for 04/29/2016 Fri, 29 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>JOE CONASON</p> <p>FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2016</p> <p><p>Updated: Fri Apr 29, 2016</p> 7e6665f1ad475bfe7aea20502212af72 On Israel, Sanders Is Right (And Clinton Knows It) for 04/15/2016 Fri, 15 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The most significant moment of the Democratic primary debate in Brooklyn &#8212; and perhaps any presidential debate this season &#8212; came when Bernie Sanders challenged Hillary Clinton over her refusal to criticize Israel's excessive use of force against the Palestinians in Gaza. For the first time in memory, a major American political figure insisted publicly that the Jewish state and its leaders are "not always right" &#8212; and that in attempting to suppress terrorism, they had killed and injured far too many blameless human beings.</p> <p>Asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer about his judgment that Israel's military response to attacks from Gaza in 2014 was "disproportionate and led to the unnecessary loss of innocent life," the Vermont Senator answered firmly: "Yeah, I do believe that." He mentioned that many other nations, including longtime allies of Israel, had denounced the atrocities in Gaza, along with human rights organizations around the world.</p> <p>Having reiterated that he supports Israel as our ally &#8212; with every right to self-defense &#8212; Sanders said that "in the long run, if we are ever going to bring peace to that region which has seen so much hatred and so much war, we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity."<p>Updated: Fri Apr 15, 2016</p> 1ade06a04648190cc2c43f1078f90bbd It Happened Here for 04/08/2016 Fri, 08 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The following is a column by Ted Rall.</p> <p></p> <p>It began with the global economic crisis.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 08, 2016</p> c264ec56f4718502ca0bf0b7c451a273 How to Become Terror-Torn Europe -- and How Not To for 03/25/2016 Fri, 25 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Recoiling from the terrorist carnage in Brussels, Americans may be attracted to the "tough" posturing of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. The casino mogul wants to bring back torture, while the Texas senator hopes to bomb indiscriminately until the desert glows. Trump would bar any Muslim from entering the United States, while Cruz would dispatch special police patrols into Muslim neighborhoods. Both eagerly demonize Muslims worldwide and stigmatize Muslims in America. </p> <p>Yet we know that the leaders of ISIS or Daesh, the self-styled Islamic State, welcome such signs of panic. That is why they recently featured footage of Trump in a propaganda video, ranting about the Brussels attack. The would-be presidents vying for the Republican nomination consistently serve as useful idiots, their declarations of hostility to Islam only alienating that faith's 1.6 billion followers here and abroad, while in no way advancing our security. </p> <p>Our success in defeating Daesh depends on achieving the opposite &#8212; that is, winning the cooperation of the great majority of Islam's believers against the murderous apostates whose victims include thousands of Muslims.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 25, 2016</p> 0c6c6257ae96b0d9e65a7b13157386fc What Bernie Sanders -- And His Supporters -- Must Remember Before November for 03/11/2016 Fri, 11 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Exactly one year before Election Day &#8212; on Nov. 8, 2015 &#8212; Bernie Sanders was asked whether his agreement with Hillary Clinton on basic issues outweighed the conflicts that he proclaimed at every campaign appearance.</p> <p>Speaking on television rather than on the stump, the Vermont senator conceded reluctantly that he and Clinton concur on some issues. But then he added an entirely gratuitous endorsement:</p> <p>"And by the way, on her worst day, Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and President than the Republican candidate on his best day."<p>Updated: Fri Mar 11, 2016</p>