Joe Conason from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 24 Aug 2016 04:26:12 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Joe Conason from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/joe-conason-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason 235a124e33206fd9c07446e3bfa30272 Why Is Assange Pushing Trump's Conspiracies? for 08/15/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/08/16/why-is-assange-pushing-trumps-conspiracies 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 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/08/16/country-first-why-john-mccain-must-dump-trump 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 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/07/16/why-america-recoils-from-trump 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 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/07/16/french-paradox-terror-attacks-continue-as-isis-loses-ground 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 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/07/16/what-the-republican-assault-on-james-comey-reveals-about-todays-gop 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 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/07/16/whos-really-to-blame-for-brexit-and-donald-trump-87c91 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 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/05/16/crying-rape-trump-unseal-your-divorce-records 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 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/04/16/how-bernie-sanders-can-squander-or-expand-his-victory 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 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/04/16/on-israel-sanders-is-right-and-clinton-knows-it 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 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/05/16/it-happened-here-92402 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 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/03/16/how-to-become-terror-torn-europe-and-how-not-to 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 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/03/16/what-bernie-sanders-and-his-supporters-must-remember-before-november 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> 805ea79c40d4692530b86f0cc1978bd9 For Honest Conservatives, the Only Answer Is #NeverTrump for 03/04/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/03/16/for-honest-conservatives-the-only-answer-is-nevertrump Fri, 04 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>From his opening slur against Mexicans to his current coddling of the Ku Klux Klan, Donald Trump has shaped the Republican presidential race into a character test for conservatives. For months, too many of the country's most prominent figures on the right have failed to respond adequately to the threat he embodies. Yet now, as Trump seems favored to clinch the GOP nomination, a growing cohort of principled Republicans is forthrightly proclaiming #NeverTrump &#8212; and placing country and Constitution above narrow partisanship.</p> <p>It may be too late to save the Grand Old Party from the extremist contamination that Trump represents, but it is never too late to stand on principle.</p> <p>Many Republicans have opposed Trump all along, of course, while supporting one or another alternative on the party's overcrowded debate stage. The casino mogul was too vulgar, too inexperienced, too empty, too populist or simply too compromised by his long record of contradictory political positions and alliances. Back when all of the Republican presidential candidates signed that pledge to support the eventual nominee, however, uniting the party behind Trump still seemed possible. They didn't trust him, but they might have supported him anyway in order to win back the White House.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 04, 2016</p> fe0626c56b993dd62148ee9d3db7d88c Who Has a 'Glass Jaw'? for 02/27/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/04/16/who-has-a-glass-jaw-27afe Sat, 27 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Updated: Sat Feb 27, 2016</p> fd098afddb210c2520d858d80e39d538 What Does Sanders Really Believe About Clinton? for 02/12/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/02/16/what-does-sanders-really-believe-about-clinton Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>When they debate, the Senator from Vermont usually refers to the former secretary of state as his "friend" &#8212; not in the Congressional-speech sense of someone that he actually despises, but in what is presumably his deeply authentic, Brooklyn-born candor. He speaks frequently of his "great respect" for Clinton. And he has said more than once that "on her worst day" she would be a far better president than any of the potential Republican candidates "on their best day."</p> <p>Even more often, however, Sanders suggests that Clinton has sold out to the financial industry for campaign contributions, or for donations to her super PAC, or perhaps for those big speaking fees she has pocketed since leaving the State Department. Certainly, he has fostered that impression among his supporters, who excoriate Clinton in the most uninhibited and sometimes obscene terms on social media. </p> <p>But if Sanders believes that Hillary Clinton is "bought" &#8212; as his legions so shrilly insist &#8212; then how can he say, "in all sincerity," that she is his respected friend? <p>Updated: Fri Feb 12, 2016</p> 54fd8b3a4577cbaf27ab6f90473006c2 Is There Only One True Progressive? for 01/29/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/01/16/is-there-only-one-true-progressive Fri, 29 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>In our polarized politics, the Democratic Party is trending leftward &#8212; not as sharply or as rapidly as the Republican Party has turned toward the far right, but still the party is moving further left than a generation or even an election or two ago. The stunning rise of Bernie Sanders, who proclaims himself both a democratic socialist and a political revolutionary, provides powerful evidence of desire at the grassroots for substantive and perhaps radical change.</p> <p>Yet many Democrats understandably wonder, as the primary season begins, how far their party can go without risking a catastrophic loss of the White House and the Congress to Republican extremists like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. They also wonder whether Hillary Clinton, whose surname is synonymous with triangulating centrism, will inspire their base &#8212; and whether her candidacy represents any kind of change, beyond gender.</p> <p>The response of the Sanders faithful is straightforward enough: Their man is not only more faithful to progressive principles but more likely to win in November, because his "revolution" will bring out millions of new voters. (Evidently the Republican Party, which attacks Clinton relentlessly while sending out messages supportive of Sanders, doesn't agree.)<p>Updated: Fri Jan 29, 2016</p> a4102abdad650f6fd88c9cd4f5fe35ad The Man Who Drowned Democracy With 'Sewer Money' for 01/22/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/01/16/the-man-who-drowned-democracy-with-sewer-money Fri, 22 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>This week marked the anniversary of the Citizens United decision, which exposed American democracy to increasing domination by the country's very richest and most reactionary figures &#8212; modern heirs to those "malefactors of great wealth" condemned by the great Republican Theodore Roosevelt &#8212; so it is worth recalling the false promise made by the justice who wrote the majority opinion in that case.</p> <p>Justice Anthony Kennedy masterminded the Supreme Court's Jan. 21, 2010 decision to undo a century of public-interest regulation of campaign expenditures in the name of "free speech." He had every reason to know how damaging to democratic values and public integrity that decision would prove to be.</p> <p>Once billed as a "moderate conservative," Kennedy is a libertarian former corporate attorney from Sacramento, who toiled in his father's scandal-ridden lobbying law firm, "influencing" California legislators, before he ascended to the bench with the help of his friend Ronald Reagan.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 22, 2016</p> 3ae2408d933ee793c4a7c6aeb5488ec8 New York Values: What Tiny Ted Will Never Get About the Big Town for 01/15/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/01/16/new-york-values-what-tiny-ted-will-never-get-about-the-big-town Fri, 15 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Exactly what does Ted Cruz mean when he sneers about "New York values" as a reason to reject Donald Trump? Disparaging New York has long been a favorite trope for reactionary loudmouths, always with an ugly undertone of bigotry against racial, ethnic, religious and, more recently, sexual minorities.</p> <p>Demagogues denigrating New York come and go with boring predictability &#8212; and the nation's greatest city will continue to thrive long after the Texas senator is merely an unpleasant memory. But in the meantime, his cheap insult tells us much more about him than about his target.</p> <p>For someone who went to the very best schools &#8212; and flaunted his academic elitism until that no longer served his ambition &#8212; Cruz is remarkably narrow in his outlook, or at least he pretends to be. While he reeks of phoniness, perhaps he truly is so small-minded that he cannot comprehend just how large New York really is, in every way.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 15, 2016</p> 93c0ac4ee37b1fada85393cc0b255c5a Will Corporate America Confront GOP Climate Denial? for 12/04/2015 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/12/15/will-corporate-america-confront-gop-climate-denial Fri, 04 Dec 2015 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Much as the world must hope that the governments assembled in Paris achieve their objectives, at the very least they have provided an occasion for business leaders of all descriptions to announce their commitment to climate sanity. With sponsorships, pledges and official statements, a long list of major corporations has declared that man-made climate change is real and must be reversed to save the earth &#8212; and their profits. </p> <p>Easy as it is to lampoon the professions of these corporate leaders, there should be little doubt that some, perhaps most, are sincere. They're sentient human beings, after all, whose children and grandchildren will have no choice but to live on this endangered planet. They say that is why they've publicly expressed support for successful negotiations in Paris and promised to reduce carbon emissions while using and investing in clean energy. </p> <p>According to the White House, many of those firms have made still more stringent vows, to cut emissions by 50 percent, to reduce water waste by as much as 80 percent, to send no more solid waste to landfills, to purchase only renewable power and to stop causing deforestation. All of which sounds marvelous and necessary &#8212; but what would American corporations do if they really, truly, seriously wanted to stop climate change?<p>Updated: Fri Dec 04, 2015</p> 333cc6df423165c40b9283b693e8ddba Why ISIS Needs the 'Useful Idiots' Who Demonize Muslims for 11/20/2015 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/11/15/why-isis-needs-the-useful-idiots-who-demonize-muslims Fri, 20 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0800 <p>When France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls said after last Friday's attacks in Paris, "nous sommes en guerre" &#8212; we are at war &#8212; there could be no doubt that the rest of the civilized world, including the United States and NATO, will stand beside our oldest ally in a common struggle to extirpate the barbaric ISIS.</p> <p>But as this conflict deepens and national emotions surge, it is vital to keep minds clear and principles intact.</p> <p>Sadly the Republican candidates for president, and too many in their party, will seek to use this crisis as a partisan weapon against President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential contender. They will charge the Obama administration with "weakness" even as American warplanes fly thousands of sorties against ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria. Such political attacks sound ridiculous to anyone familiar with the recent history of the Mideast. As a product of al-Qaida in Iraq, ISIS rose directly from the ill-conceived invasion and occupation of that unfortunate country &#8212; and the fact that Clinton mistakenly voted to give George W. Bush the conditional authority to wage that war in no way makes her (or Obama) responsible for its botched execution.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 20, 2015</p>