Joe Conason from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Fri, 05 Jun 2020 02:20:39 -0700 Joe Conason from Creators Syndicate 2f72a2e01460fdfcc8701be0de3509ab A Timely Warning From the Generals for 06/04/2020 Thu, 04 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Under ordinary circumstances, open dissent from high-ranking military officials, retired and active, against the actions of civilian political leaders would signal a danger familiar to other countries. Such rumblings from the military often indicate that constitutional freedoms are in jeopardy and that martial law, or even a coup d'etat, may be on the horizon.</p> <p>In these extraordinary circumstances, however, all expectations are reversed &#8212; and the usual order of things is turned upside down.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 04, 2020</p> 15abc58970d0e0b274d6c20a0b28ba3b A Case of Negligent Homicide for 05/28/2020 Thu, 28 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A normal president of either political party would have read by now the dark milestone that the country passed this week, when American deaths from coronavirus passed 100,000 in a space of three months. A normal president would have felt compelled to face up to this terrible reality in a spirit of unity and compassion, speaking to us from the Oval Office or a house of worship. A normal president would not brush aside those deaths with a perfunctory tweet, wedged with minimal sincerity into his daily outpouring of poison.</p> <p>But Donald Trump isn't a normal president. He is a perpetrator. And he cannot respond appropriately to this monumental tragedy &#8212; he must instead do anything he can to distract us &#8212; because he is conscious of his own guilt. <p>Updated: Fri May 29, 2020</p> 81f570fefa24ce37e1833aca0288533d The First Scandal of Campaign 2024 for 05/21/2020 Thu, 21 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Do you remember Mike Pompeo?</p> <p>Not the Pompeo who now serves as secretary of state, and who liked to boast that he had restored the "swagger" of the diplomatic corps (even as he served up his own Ukraine ambassador to a White House smear campaign). And no, not the sleazy character who induced the firing of the State Department's inspector general in order to bury an investigation of his own misconduct. This Secretary Pompeo is a flunky of President Donald Trump who lives happily inside the president's ethical vacuum.<p>Updated: Fri May 22, 2020</p> 2c1eed1f4bc7a7b97484aa7821f0753a A Prescription for a Sick Country for 05/14/2020 Thu, 14 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Before June 1, we will almost certainly have lost 100,000 Americans to the coronavirus, along with 25 million jobs. Without powerful government action, this national catastrophe, unlike anything seen here for a hundred years, will continue to ravage the United States. And there is every reason to fear that we will see yet more pandemic disease as this century unfolds. </p> <p>Yet there is still no sign that the Trump administration is prepared to act with the determination, skill and urgency that the hour demands. Instead, the president consistently demonstrates his mental and moral unfitness to lead &#8212; as he did again this week when he idiotically declared that we have so many COVID-19 cases because we have done so many tests.<p>Updated: Fri May 15, 2020</p> fb8336f57d32597745d3df06670dc043 The Travel Ban That Wasn't for 05/07/2020 Thu, 07 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Now that President Donald Trump has surrendered the United States to the coronavirus &#8212; without much available testing, except for himself and his White House cronies &#8212; the toll of illness and death is sure to explode. As America counts the cost of their horrific incompetence, in the midst of his reelection campaign, the president will trumpet his sole attempt to stem the looming pandemic: his closing of the nation's borders to China and later Europe.</p> <p>"I put the ban on China, as you know," he said at a press briefing on April 20, uttering the defensive mantra he repeats whenever anyone mentions his refusal to do anything useful. Lately, he has congratulated himself that way at least once a day. It's an essential element of the administration's policy of deflecting blame toward Beijing. Sometimes he mentions that he "put a ban on Europe" and even says that his courageous actions "saved many lives."<p>Updated: Thu May 07, 2020</p> 1863d6447b254afdb0aa5e99b3867cad Bless Their Hearts for 04/30/2020 Thu, 30 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Nothing angers Andrew Cuomo more than the notion that taxpayers in "red states" should resent or resist assistance for "blue states" struggling against the coronavirus. Hearing that message from Senate Republicans provoked the Democratic New York governor to remind the nation several times of the gross disparity between what his state remits to the Treasury and what their states reclaim in federal benefits.</p> <p>Cuomo noted acidly that New York pays $116 billion more than it gets back annually, while lucky Kentucky, the home of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, gets $148 billion more than it pays. By that reckoning, New York has kicked in far more over the past few decades than any of the states whose Republican leaders criticize supposed liberal profligacy.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 30, 2020</p> ec4d92fa27281e579517a43cf247bb2f Mitch McConnell's True Colors for 04/23/2020 Thu, 23 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If you're listening to politicians, you hear them sing bipartisan praise for the heroes who march bravely into the viral storm every day. They constantly eulogize doctors and nurses, cops and firefighters, but also those who maintain essential services amid the coronavirus catastrophe &#8212; from grocery clerks to delivery drivers to sanitation workers, train conductors and traffic engineers. Suddenly, we have all realized that those good people, whose thankless toil we took for granted, deserve our gratitude and respect.</p> <p>Or so it seemed until Mitch McConnell opened his mouth and proved that, to him at least, those civic accolades mean nothing.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 24, 2020</p> e0e2da2d06c1ac07effd0a043c1ff2e3 There Is Nobody Else to Blame for 04/16/2020 Thu, 16 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When he isn't watching Fox News or tweeting insults at his perceived enemies, President Donald Trump spends a lot of time hunting scapegoats. Always preoccupied with escaping responsibility, Trump's lifelong delinquency is suddenly a matter of life and death, as coronavirus claims thousands of American lives on his presidential watch. And as it becomes clearer that the United States might have easily avoided the worst consequences of the pandemic &#8212; and failed because of federal inaction &#8212; it is Trump whose historic reputation will plummet.</p> <p>So will his chances of reelection. The latest Gallup poll shows his approval rating, now mired in the low 40s, has slid six points during the past month.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 16, 2020</p> 689a37e57c8cee636a97afa2df9dcce6 Correcting Trump's Lies in Real Time for 04/09/2020 Thu, 09 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">For weeks now, the nation's broadcasters have faced a moral dilemma every time President Donald Trump mounts the White House podium to deliver his "coronavirus briefing." While ordinary journalistic standards compel coverage of any president's remarks &#8212; especially during a national crisis &#8212; this president's relentless utterance of falsehoods, propaganda points and potentially deadly disinformation mocks those same standards.</span><br></p> <p>Should media outlets meekly give Trump hours of free airtime to mislead and misinform their audiences? Can they cut short or even ignore his destructive rants without violating their own principles? When the president's speech poses a daily menace to human health and American democracy, how should responsible TV networks present him? <p>Updated: Fri Apr 10, 2020</p> 73eecf41f90ec00e60e8e21bf8870201 We Need a 9/11 Commission to Probe Coronavirus for 04/02/2020 Thu, 02 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Americans are now living &#8212; and many, many are dying &#8212; with the consequences of a truly historic governmental failure. The administration of President Donald Trump, which bears all the responsibility it is trying to escape, has collapsed in the face of a global pandemic that scientists have long warned would someday arrive. Now it is here, threatening to kill hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions. </p> <p>Sooner, rather than later, we must learn why this catastrophe occurred, why the United States government neglected to anticipate and prepare for it, and how the nation can prevent or at least mitigate its recurrence. That's why we will need a coronavirus commission to provide answers, along with the same kind of deep and thorough investigation performed by the 9/11 Commission after that disaster.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 02, 2020</p> 8de9a1a4c0ecb8fa82bca26e5d72c157 The Virtues of Andrew Cuomo for 03/26/2020 Thu, 26 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">Every day, as the novel coronavirus spreads lethally across the nation, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is conducting a televised master class in government that has drawn a wide and admiring audience. Lauded for his elevated and candid leadership, he is underlining the absence of any such qualities in the president of the United States right when they are needed most.</span><br></p> <p>Where President Donald Trump so often sounds feckless, egomaniacal and terribly uninformed, Cuomo appears serious, determined and fully in command of the facts. While Trump dithers and tries to escape responsibility, Cuomo asserts his authority and then accepts the inevitable blame for wrenching decisions. It is all too obvious which one is the adult in the room. Trump boasts of his phony greatness, while Cuomo can rattle off a long list of real achievements.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 27, 2020</p> 6cf167ed1f3023e675eb4a9857efe935 What the Pandemic Tells Us for 03/19/2020 Thu, 19 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When Americans are confronting the most threatening national crisis in a generation or more, it would be uplifting to offer a few encouraging words about the president of the United States. And a few is about as many as can be offered at this point. Not only is his performance to date far below what his country needs but he also shows no sign of having learned the lessons that might allow him to improve.</p> <p>To watch President Donald Trump preside over a coronavirus briefing must depress the most cheerful viewer. By now it should be obvious that Trump is no Franklin Delano Roosevelt; he doesn't even achieve the minimal standard of leadership set by George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks. Instead of aiming to inspire confidence and trust, Trump shines the spotlight on himself. He insists on groveling praise from all of his subordinates. He spins crucial facts into useless misinformation. He repeats ridiculous boasts about his own brilliance. And he seeks above all to blame others rather than accept responsibility. That includes any reporter who dares to pose a question that doesn't flatter him.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 20, 2020</p> 6f64cad2b7a916af75380330355c26bc Trump Fails. Biden Steps Up for 03/12/2020 Thu, 12 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Is Joe Biden president yet?</p> <p>Biden certainly sounded like the commander in chief on Thursday morning when he addressed the pandemic crisis in a sobering televised speech. Calmly yet firmly, he called the American people to action, proposed a substantive and detailed plan to mitigate the new coronavirus outbreak, and promised to protect the nation from future threats in cooperation with our overseas allies.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 12, 2020</p> 5a0dcc2939235d63db3fa3908737c07c What a Sane Government Would Do for 03/05/2020 Thu, 05 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>As the new coronavirus casts a frightening shadow across the nation and the world, it is glaringly obvious how poorly prepared we are for the pandemic &#8212; despite many warnings we should have heeded over the past two decades. Perhaps we will again escape without catastrophic consequences, although that is by no means certain.</p> <p>If we do, it will largely be a function of lucky circumstance. But we may not be so lucky again. And there are many things that a competent and intelligent government can do &#8212; could have done &#8212; to prevent the worst.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 05, 2020</p> 7107162fd78e6511fc6ab59860ba46aa How 'Conservatism' Could Kill You for 02/27/2020 Thu, 27 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Nothing confirms the human need for strong, honest and competent government like a looming pandemic. The possibility that thousands, or even millions, could die from a randomly transmitted virus reminds us of our species' vulnerability &#8212; and why society cannot exist without institutions that can protect us from such staggering existential threats.</p> <p>Only government can impose quarantines and precautions when necessary. Only government can trace contacts, control transportation and monitor communities. Only government can ensure that drugs, medical devices and care will be adequately distributed &#8212; and that sufficient resources will be directed toward production of a vaccine as soon as possible, without regard to profit.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 27, 2020</p> 86d355d596dcb9c1ff114a6f7337b1f6 Trump's Corrupt Pardons for 02/20/2020 Thu, 20 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The power of the president to grant pardons as stated in the Constitution is unconditional, as President Donald Trump has observed. But as he prepares to bestow that favor on Roger Stone and perhaps other felons who have protected him, someone should advise him that a corrupt pardon is nevertheless a crime that can be prosecuted, if not overturned.</p> <p>So Bill Clinton learned soon after he pardoned Marc Rich on the last day of his presidency, Jan. 20, 2001. Public anger exploded within days after Clinton granted a conditional reprieve to the infamous "fugitive financier," who had skipped to a Swiss chateau, evading trial on charges of tax evasion, sanctions violations and conspiracy. Among those most infuriated by Clinton's surprise decision were the federal prosecutors who spent years chasing Rich.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 20, 2020</p> 2651e19e10e22b3b904ac25774ae3180 Authoritarians Are Always Gangsters for 02/13/2020 Thu, 13 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Authoritarian governments almost always operate in a style that resembles organized crime outfits. Despite their ostentatious populism, such regimes exist to enrich thuggish rulers and enable corruption in high places. The Trump administration is a perfect example.</p> <p>But in order to maintain an aura of legitimacy, especially in a country with democratic norms and traditions, authoritarian bosses constantly proclaim their devotion to justice, their determination to right wrongs, and their adherence to law and order. So even as President Donald Trump and his attorney general, Bill Barr, pervert the legal system to cover up official crimes and protect presidential cronies, they are creating a narrative of justification for those acts.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 13, 2020</p> 7a520d8a14743da16100b82beeefcf16 Just the Facts, Madam Speaker for 02/06/2020 Thu, 06 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>President Donald Trump didn't wait long to humiliate the Republican senators who voted to acquit him with wan assurances that impeachment might check his worst impulses. Far from learning that he should not have extorted the Ukrainian authorities to interfere in our politics &#8212; as Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, says she hoped he would &#8212; the president instead found out that he can abuse power without fear.</p> <p>That is why Democrats in Congress must continue peeling away the layers of concealment and corruption to expose the truth about Trump, not only in the Ukraine affair but in all of the scandals under investigation by House committees. That is their constitutional responsibility, made all the more urgent by the abdication of the Senate Republicans who covered up Trump's offenses. Having sworn an oath to act impartially, the Republicans colluded in his stonewalling defense.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 06, 2020</p> adf4392e47ac77d01902d5cc40c671e4 Dershowitz's Poisoned Defense for 01/30/2020 Thu, 30 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Americans ought to thank Alan Dershowitz for his scintillating defense of President Donald Trump. Carried away on a crescendo of bluster, the retired Harvard law professor broadcast the true meaning of the acquittal preordained by crooked Senate Republicans: This president is exempt from any legal consequences, even if he seeks foreign assistance to rig his own election.</p> <p>While the Dershowitz defense provoked an eruption of astonished guffaws and jeers &#8212; with "preposterous" the most frequent term of derision &#8212; it is significant precisely because it is so absurd and so blatantly disdainful of American constitutional values. It is also important to understand why the professor found himself advancing such a claim as senators prepare to vote on witnesses.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 30, 2020</p> fff7da71d587ade5b8742d23e22067fb The Shame of the Senate for 01/23/2020 Thu, 23 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Well before completing his first term, President Donald Trump firmly established himself as the worst president in American history, which should surprise nobody. What we have seen this week suggests that many of the senators now hearing his impeachment trial will join him in historic infamy.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">From the very beginning of Trump's impeachment, a majority of Republican senators have indicated that they would not dare to sanction his unmistakable wrongdoing.</span><p>Updated: Thu Jan 23, 2020</p>