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 Sat, 12 Jun 2021 13:19:54 -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 1a914028fa992f18a1c28238b996ecb7 Begin the Jan. 6 Investigation -- Now for 06/11/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/06/21/begin-the-jan-6-investigation-now Fri, 11 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Framing his diplomatic visit to Europe within a broader historical mission, President Joe Biden rightly warns us that authoritarians are eager for democracy to fail. He knows very well that democracy's enemies are active here as well as abroad. Now, he and the leadership of his party must act to fully expose the most overt assault on our system of self-government since the Nixon era.</p> <p>Congressional Democrats should move swiftly, with Biden's support, to establish a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 11, 2021</p> f1366b84e8a687361ee952bd6bf42170 It's Time to Dump, Depose and Defenestrate DeJoy for 06/04/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/06/21/its-time-to-dump-depose-and-defenestrate-dejoy Fri, 04 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Now that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has confirmed reports that he is under investigation by the FBI for alleged campaign finance violations, ordinary postal customers who have suffered under his regime may rightly wonder why he is still in office. That is an urgent question &#8212; and has been an urgent question ever since President Joe Biden's inauguration &#8212; but it is worth examining how DeJoy got the job, and how he abused a position of constitutional trust.</p> <p>The FBI probe concerns an alleged "straw donor" scheme undertaken by DeJoy to illegally funnel over a million dollars in excess contributions to the Republican Party and Donald Trump's presidential campaign. It's an obvious form of trickery designed to evade federal limitations on individual donations by urging others to support a campaign or candidate and then reimbursing them under the table. Corporate executives with political ambitions like DeJoy have committed this particular felony over and over again &#8212; and if DeJoy is indicted and convicted, he won't be the first suit sent to prison for it.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 04, 2021</p> 3870792774a20d5832e5a6f3c7d8e97f The Party of Surrender to Tyranny for 05/20/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/05/21/the-party-of-surrender-to-tyranny Thu, 20 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When the violent mob finally dispersed from the Capitol late on Jan. 6, it left behind a troubling choice that Republican congressional leaders are only now being forced to make.</p> <p>This week, they had to decide whether to fulfill their constitutional oath by supporting a full and independent investigation of that day's terrible events, which inevitably will reveal all the dimensions of former President Donald Trump's responsibility for the insurrection, or to surrender to Trump by attempting to kill that investigation while muttering excuses that only underline their cowardly dereliction.<p>Updated: Thu May 20, 2021</p> 61dc8993cf58ddab122f136b59cba8f0 The Dirty Secret Behind the Cheney Purge for 05/14/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/05/21/the-dirty-secret-behind-the-cheney-purge Fri, 14 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When House Republicans deposed Liz Cheney from her leadership post, they were widely mocked for that display of abject servility to former President Donald Trump. But the motives behind her abrupt removal are more profound &#8212; and far more sinister &#8212; than the Wyoming representative's penchant for angering Trump.</p> <p>Only a few months ago, Trump's irritation wasn't enough to undo Cheney, who easily survived a vote to remove her that was promoted by the ex-president's surrogates, notably the disgraced Rep. Matt Gaetz. Back in February, she had just voted to impeach Trump but nevertheless retained the support of two-thirds of her fellow Republicans and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.<p>Updated: Fri May 14, 2021</p> 0e3cdc2838fbb9c14e779d0cd650ed80 Suspend Those Vaccine Patents Now for 05/06/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/05/21/suspend-those-vaccine-patents-now Thu, 06 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Images of the uncontrolled pandemic in India or Brazil may seem too distant to worry us in America, separated as we are by thousands of miles and decades of development. But any such complacency is badly misplaced. Raging contagion poses an existential threat to us, whether abroad or at home, and can only be stanched by an emergency mobilization of massive inoculation.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">That global effort is only likely to succeed in time if Western countries remove the patent protections that now stand in the way of rapid and decentralized production of COVID-19 vaccines.</span> Any nation that can make its own &#8212; with appropriate safeguards and quality assurance &#8212; must be given the formulas and technology to do so now. Delay means allowing the virus to spread and mutate at an unlimited rate, which would only result in disaster. It would render useless the vaccines, which represent the single meaningful achievement of former President Trump's administration.<p>Updated: Thu May 06, 2021</p> ec8c4f573037151d0185ef2dfaad82ed Biden's History Lesson For Republicans for 04/30/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/04/21/bidens-history-lesson-for-republicans Fri, 30 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Embedded in Joe Biden's first speech to Congress was a crucial lesson in our nation's economic history that every American ought to understand. Explaining why he proposes to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on the construction of new power grids, broadband internet connections and transportation systems, the president reminded us of the public investments that have "transformed America" into a prosperous world power. It is a lesson too often and too easily forgotten amid the incessant propaganda, imbibed by almost all of us from an early age, about the "magic of the free market," the "dead hand of government" and various equally hoary conservative cliches.</p> <p>Markets are marvelous, but government has been essential in growing and regulating the economy from the republic's very beginning. Biden cited the transcontinental railroad and the interstate highway system, the construction of public schools and colleges that enabled universal education, the medical and scientific advances that sprang from the space program and defense industries - but his speech could well have continued for quite a while in that same vein. Political leaders from Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy all have promoted public investment in research, infrastructure and people as the prerequisites of progress, and sometimes even national survival.</p> <p>What progress requires, however, changes in every generation along with technology and society. Today, we face rapid climate change that jeopardizes the future of human civilization, creating threats that range from flood and fire to pandemic, famine, drought and mass migration. We must swiftly rebuild our basic infrastructure, which is crumbling after decades of neglect. And we have to bring the entire country into the modern digital economy before inequality permanently damages our democracy.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 30, 2021</p> eb6168524c886d54c6539076f23930f4 How to Survive a Global Pandemic for 04/22/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/04/21/how-to-survive-a-global-pandemic Thu, 22 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Well before Joe Biden marked the end of his first hundred days as president, his administration doubled the goal of 100 million vaccinations he set at the beginning. His government's performance suggests that we can eventually temper the hesitancy among certain populations &#8212; notably white males who watch too much Fox News &#8212; on our way to herd immunity.</p> <p>After the United States manages to inoculate the great majority of those who live here, however, we will still have to face a greater threat &#8212; and a lesson about life on this planet that we ought to have learned decades ago.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 22, 2021</p> 7ad9a4f6258aa1597c4bf472bc2da3af How to Exit the Forever War for 04/15/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/04/21/how-to-exit-the-forever-war Thu, 15 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The courage of President Biden's decision to bring our troops home from Afghanistan should not be underestimated. But neither should that withdrawal be mistaken for the end of the "forever war" that the United States and its NATO allies have endured there for so long. We will leave, but the Afghans aren't going anywhere &#8212; and our responsibility for what happens there won't disappear either.</p> <p>Biden surely knows there will be bad prospects for the government in Kabul when our troops go, even though we will continue to finance its army and air force. Most Americans, who devote little attention to what happens in Afghanistan, probably don't know how limited the reach of that regime is today (which is why our veterans sometimes call it #Forgotistan). After two decades, $2 trillion and the loss of more than 2,000 of our troops, it scarcely rules over more than the capital itself. The Taliban and other hostile forces control the rest.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 15, 2021</p> 9357608ca372a3cbebb45f192e2a1ee8 The Proof of Bad Faith in Georgia for 04/08/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/04/21/the-proof-of-bad-faith-in-georgia Thu, 08 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For anyone not paying close attention to the furor over Georgia's election laws, Republican leaders are offering benign sound bites that are almost believable. </p> <p>Gov. Brian Kemp will explain how the new law provides additional days for early voting, provisions to prevent long waiting lines and extra ballot drop boxes in certain counties. He will defend the new voter ID requirements, which aren't quite as stringent as those in some states that demand photo ID, and skim over the weird criminal prohibition against giving food or water to any voter waiting in line.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 08, 2021</p> 5ab3ff0c45b5c13d8dbba4adac6671dc Saving Roads and Bridges -- and Democracy Itself for 04/01/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/04/21/saving-roads-and-bridges-and-democracy-itself Thu, 01 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Talking about the challenges faced by the United States and its allies in a world always ambivalent about democracy, President Joe Biden said a few words the other day that bear directly on his own confrontation with authoritarian forces at home. What he aimed to explain is more important than any specific aspect of his infrastructure proposal or the debate over how to pay for that big project's cost.</p> <p>"It is absolutely clear," said the American president, that this era "is a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies," by which he meant China and Russia but not only those major rivals. "That's what's at stake here. We've got to prove that democracy works."<p>Updated: Fri Apr 02, 2021</p> e2b5afcc87cc7416534026ae02be7ec1 Behind the 'Crisis' at the Border for 03/25/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/03/21/behind-the-crisis-at-the-border Thu, 25 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The frightening story of a "crisis" at the U.S. border with Mexico, with an "overwhelming surge" of destitute and possibly disease-bearing humans, is now repeated constantly by Republicans and their eager echoes in the mainstream media. But what interest beyond partisanship is served by that narrative? What would serve us all far better is to understand the background of these events so that panic and prejudice don't distort our response.</p> <p>On Thursday evening, President Joe Biden provided sorely needed context to the "border crisis" when asked whether the latest increase in migration was owed to his kindly image &#8212; and his reversal of the cruelest immigration policies of his predecessor.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 25, 2021</p> 592d137d215294c9586bf34c89cc4a05 Why Did Our Top Officials Lie About China? for 03/18/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/03/21/why-did-our-top-officials-lie-about-china Thu, 18 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Before Merrick Garland took office last week, the new attorney general surely understood that he would face a difficult and almost-overwhelming set of problems &#8212; including reconstruction of the Justice Department after the ruinously partisan rule of his predecessor William Barr; overseeing hundreds of federal prosecutions of Jan. 6 insurrectionists; and dealing with the scandal detritus of the Trump regime, which may eventually involve indictments of the former president, his associates and even members of his family.</p> <p>But this week, we learned of still more troubling issues that may require Garland's attention, when the department of homeland security and the director of national intelligence released declassified reports on foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election. The classified versions of those reports were on the attorney general's desk when he arrived for his first day of work, and what they indicate is the worst U.S. intelligence scandal since the fabricated reports that justified the invasion of Iraq in 2003.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 19, 2021</p> 5355868bb883d2d754fb358bdbb0368c A Real 'Infrastructure Week' -- or Decade for 03/11/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/03/21/a-real-infrastructure-week-or-decade Thu, 11 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Soon enough, America will once again mark "infrastructure week" &#8212; except that next time, the catchphrase popularized by former President Donald Trump might become more than a late-night-comic's punchline. Now that President Joe Biden and Democratic congressional leadership have enacted the American Rescue Plan, providing $1.9 trillion to support families, health care and education needs, their anticipated next step is the fulfillment of Trump's unkept promise to rebuild the country's transportation, energy and environmental systems.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Whether Trump ever intended to actually create or even propose a real infrastructure program is as mysterious as anything else about his state of mind. </span>He was once a construction executive, after all, and he did sincerely try to put up that idiotic border wall.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 12, 2021</p> 56e8c5bd26717e55d816449d1794c296 How to Truly Honor Dr. Seuss for 03/04/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/03/21/how-to-truly-honor-dr-seuss Thu, 04 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It is hard to imagine anything more exhausting than the constant indignation of so-called conservatives, who somehow sustain a state of rigid, barking anger over the state of American culture. To them, every advance for human rights represents the imminent end of civilization, and every small effort to assuage historical injuries signals the twilight of liberty.</p> <p>These crank crusades always have multiple objectives, both political and commercial. On the political side, the Republicans are desperate to distract us from the roaring successes of President Joe Biden's administration, whose program of vaccine production and distribution and pandemic relief legislation are about to rescue the nation from former President Donald Trump's lingering disasters. And on the commercial side, there is nothing like a cultural jihad to separate fools from their money.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 04, 2021</p> 82cb90b5e88dd1f0d2735eb1307fca27 Republicans Will Try to Kill Bipartisan Probe for 02/25/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/02/21/republicans-will-try-to-kill-bipartisan-probe Thu, 25 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Despite all the lamentations over the Republican Party &#8212; the respectable party that supposedly existed before you-know-who ruined everything &#8212; it would be more honest to admit that the Grand Old Party wasn't so grand even way back when. </p> <p>To take one timely example, Republicans have always resisted investigation of their leadership failures, even when the security of the nation was at stake.<p>Updated: Fri Feb 26, 2021</p> e98780584c5dc21b03f270cda3f00695 They Fear Trump More Than They Love America for 02/11/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/02/21/they-fear-trump-more-than-they-love-america Thu, 11 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Despite the compelling facts and arguments mustered by the House impeachment managers during their presentation to the Senate, it is depressingly clear that Donald Trump almost certainly will escape conviction for encouraging, inciting, allowing and then praising his mob's assault on the U.S. Capitol.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">A courageous handful of Republican senators will vote to hold him accountable, but the rest remain deeply fearful of the former president and his most violent followers. </span>The timeline of his conduct on Jan. 6, which proved his perfidy beyond any doubt, surely proved his guilt &#8212; as some will no doubt privately confess. What they also learned, however, is just how far Trump will go to punish any politician who places loyalty to the Constitution over fealty to him. He will enforce the Fuhrer principle, and they will bow down.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 11, 2021</p> 709846e548438086654199edf87d1f51 Is Marjorie Taylor Greene a Conservative? for 02/04/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/02/21/is-marjorie-taylor-greene-a-conservative Thu, 04 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>With their cowardly refusal to discipline Marjorie Taylor Greene, the House Republicans' retreat from integrity is now complete. Only under the threat of sanctions against Greene by House Democrats did House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., even pretend to address the Georgia representative's many offenses against decency, comity and sanity. And when the Republican caucus met behind closed doors, McCarthy's weak leadership allowed Greene to take over the meeting, which reportedly concluded in applause for her.</p> <p>What were the Republicans applauding? The gun-toting Greene has not apologized for any of her endorsements of violence, including those spittle-flecked threats to assassinate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She hasn't withdrawn any of her racist slurs against Blacks and Muslims, or her gutter excursions into anti-Semitic fantasy. Only under duress has Greene admitted the reality of the 9/11 attack and the school shootings upon which she had cast paranoid doubt, after inflicting renewed grief on the families of the dead. She didn't apologize to them either.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 04, 2021</p> 7172f4f3e397bb2add53803421c9347c Trump's Criminal State of Mind for 01/28/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/01/21/trumps-criminal-state-of-mind Thu, 28 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>For the senators who will sit in judgment of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment, a crucial question will be his state of mind on his day of rage, Jan. 6, and his days of rage leading up to the attack on the Capitol. </p> <p>Trump's defense cherry-picks a few of his words that day, pointing out that he used the word "peaceful" while speaking at the White House rally that preceded the insurrection. They ignore that he told them to "fight." Immediately after a Proud Boys rally in Washington that ended with knifings and beatings in the streets, he urged his rabble to come to Washington for a "wild" demonstration to prevent the congressional certification of Joe Biden's victory in the Electoral College.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 28, 2021</p> 7bfdbeed8e28562412e2cbfed1c95dee No More Fiscal Hypocrisy, Please for 01/21/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/01/21/no-more-fiscal-hypocrisy-please Thu, 21 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Nothing is more predictable than Republicans complaining about budget deficits and federal spending &#8212; as soon as a Democrat enters the White House. </p> <p>Wasteful fiscal decisions, especially cutting taxes for their wealthiest donors, never trouble these self-proclaimed "conservatives" in the slightest. But let a liberal spend a few dollars on a hungry child's breakfast or a teacher's salary and suddenly their hair catches fire.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 22, 2021</p> aefb7b262bd11531646cc43fafd6c406 Uncovering the Plot Against America for 01/14/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/joe-conason/01/21/uncovering-the-plot-against-america Thu, 14 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Investigations of the terrible crimes committed against the United States at the Capitol last week had scarcely begun when the usual suspects launched a right-wing cover-up. Rather than blame the motley swarm of #MAGA fanatics, white nationalists and habitual criminals whom we all witnessed storming into the citadel of democracy to stop certification of the 2020 election, they pointed the finger to the antifa and Black Lives Matter movements. </p> <p>But such a preposterous political alibi, premised on nonexistent evidence, won't stand up to the kind of scrutiny that must now be brought to bear on these momentous events. Long after President Donald Trump's impeachment is over and done, and regardless of whether he is convicted or not, the myriad investigations and trials of the perpetrators of the Capitol insurrection will go on for years. Justice will be done; the truth will be revealed; and the breadth of the assault on our constitutional democracy will stun even the jaded and cynical.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 15, 2021</p>