Robert Scheer from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 29 Sep 2020 23:25:39 -0700 Robert Scheer from Creators Syndicate 1ee2b1a2b2a02a1dfc951d0120784467 Does Morgan Freeman Know He Lied to Us at the Democratic Convention? for 08/01/2016 Mon, 01 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The title of the film about Hillary Clinton that actor Morgan Freeman narrated at the Democratic National Convention should have been "Escape From Accountability." Of course, the same could be said &#8212; far more so (a pathetic comfort) &#8212; of the GOP convention propaganda depicting Donald Trump's ascension to power. What we have in this election is a race to the bottom in what once was regarded as adult behavior. </p> <p>But while the deep venality of Trump's record should be obvious to anyone old enough to read, that is not the case with his opponent, safely ensconced as the very much lesser evil. Now that America's version of Margaret Thatcher is poised to become president, the obvious value of breaking that glass ceiling has to be tempered by the prospect of increased belligerence in foreign policy and a Wall Street-manipulated, heartless economy at home. </p> <p>For all of the Democrats' denunciation of Citizens United and the role of big money, that is what saved Hillary Clinton in this campaign, and the fat cats toasting over at the Ritz-Carlton were delighted with the outcome. It is the Democrats, first Barack Obama and now Clinton, who turned their backs on public financing because, thanks to their sellout to Wall Street, they can look to big money to smash populist sentiment, as expressed so dramatically this time by the incredible outpouring of small contributions that financed the Bernie Sanders campaign. <p>Updated: Mon Aug 01, 2016</p> fb946ed869b198c92c40aa180d6f0b22 Et Tu, Bernie? for 07/15/2016 Fri, 15 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>What an embarrassment for Bernie Sanders and those, myself included, who thought he would not descend so cravenly into the swamp of political sellout.</p> <p>It is one thing to hold one's nose and vote for Hillary Clinton as the lesser evil. It is quite another to suddenly absolve the Clintons and other top Democrats who have, as Sanders repeatedly pointed out during his campaign, contributed so much to the national crisis.</p> <p>At one point in his otherwise uniformly obsequious endorsement speech, he sounded like the old populist Sanders, warning of the excesses of unregulated finance: "As a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, our economy was in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression."<p>Updated: Fri Jul 15, 2016</p> cf3a14ee26c6b09207f53c233b4af42f Crisis of Faith and Football for 02/05/2016 Fri, 05 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>As a recently suffering Oakland Raiders fan, I greeted the death of Kenny "The Snake" Stabler with a cocktail of fond memories of being in the Pasadena Rose Bowl Stadium delirium as he led the Raider Nation to victory in the 1977 Super Bowl. </p> <p>But it's a cocktail laced with the bitter news from this week that Stabler, like so many of his peers, had suffered terribly for years from the effects of concussions incurred during those glory days. The posthumous medical autopsy of his tortured brain, and the accounts of his longtime partner about his suffering, confirmed what the NFL and its slavish fandom camp followers had long denied as to the barbarism of the sport.</p> <p>I haven't had a chance to fully survey the reaction of my fellow Raider Nation fanatics, no longer being a habitue of the once exquisitely seedy Oakland bar scene now boringly gentrified by the spillover of the Silicon Valley elite, so I can only rely on the inanity of Raider radio chitchat to take the pulse of a fan base that, like all others, tends to glory in rather than be repulsed by excessive violence. <p>Updated: Fri Feb 05, 2016</p> bf3b0f3fe25c29a520acf1572b248551 An Idiotic GOP Is Looking at the Wrong Thing in Its Clinton Probe for 10/26/2015 Mon, 26 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The Republicans on that committee investigating Hillary Clinton are idiots for focusing on decisions about consulate security that are technical, clearly below her pay grade and have nothing to do with the bipartisan zeal for creating military mayhem throughout the Middle East. </p> <p>The real issue, and one on which they are far more culpable than the Obama regime, is the insanity of backing Islamic fanatics &#8212; the very ones who killed our ambassador &#8212; in the overthrow of secular dictator Moammar Gadhafi. </p> <p>The ugly reality of the Benghazi investigation is that the Republicans hawks investigating Clinton are fully complicit with the former secretary of state for the murderous pandemonium in Libya that led to the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and to the failed state that followed. It is simply immoral to now focus on whether Stevens was properly protected instead of on the nutty bipartisan arrogance of a U.S.-backed policy of regime change that left Libya in chaos, with much of its population in desperate flight from a country now ruled by three competing bands of Islamic fanatics. <p>Updated: Mon Oct 26, 2015</p> 5c89f2927eb715f2bf85960cf7b5195a Bernie Blew It: He Sold Out Instead of Confronting Clinton for 10/19/2015 Mon, 19 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Bernie blew it. By embracing rather than confronting Hillary Clinton, Sen. Sanders fell into the trap of sellout mainstream politics, improving his personal brand as an appealing but ultimately nonthreatening advocate for the downtrodden while studiously avoiding any suggestion that the smiley-faced woman standing next to him is deeply complicit in Wall Street's rape of the nation. </p> <p>In Tuesday's debate he pointedly ignored the Clinton family's role in deregulating Wall Street, and in doing so he allowed Hillary Clinton to cast gun regulation as the key issue that divides her from him. Forgotten was Bill Clinton's selection of Goldman Sachs honcho Robert Rubin to be his treasury secretary, an appointee who with President Clinton's complicity presided over the dismantling of New Deal limits on financial greed. </p> <p>The Clinton family tradition of sucking up to Wall Street is why Hillary and Bill and the foundation their daughter heads have been rewarded with millions in lecture fees and donations that are the basis of Hillary's rags-to-riches fairy tale. When she says she wants every child to have the opportunity that her grandchild has, that presupposes a father set up in the hedge fund business by Goldman Sachs chairman and Clinton buddy Lloyd Blankfein. <p>Updated: Mon Oct 19, 2015</p> 07fdb87b248029e4bd7777656c8c285e Go Ahead, Back Hillary Clinton and Forget All About Her Record for 10/12/2015 Mon, 12 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Go Ahead, Back Hillary Clinton and Forget All About Her Record </p> <p></p> <p>Go ahead and support Hillary Clinton, those of you for whom having the first female president is the top priority. She is by far preferable to Carly Fiorina, though of course no match for likely Green Party candidate Jill Stein (I know: You want to win). Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a principled and electable person, is not available, and political integrity be damned. <p>Updated: Mon Oct 12, 2015</p> 12f5918f01370c4fabca549e35657e86 Amid the Crowing of the GOP and Clinton, Sanders Is on the Rise for 10/05/2015 Mon, 05 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0700 <p>How easy it is to mock the Republican candidates. They're the gang in the clown car climbing all over each other to offer a reactionary message of disarray that has all but destroyed the chances of the Bush family dynasty continuing. But isn't that a grand achievement for the democratic process? </p> <p>Why continue a political legacy that has failed in so many dramatic ways to serve the needs of the American public, instead giving us irrational but high-tech wars dealing death from the skies, heartless banking deregulation boosting the fortunes of the rich at the expense of the vast majority, and a vast state apparatus of surveillance enforced by the imprisonment of any whistleblowers who dare reveal its existence?</p> <p>Good riddance to bad rubbish, except that the alternatives of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina or Ben Carson only make Jeb Bush look stunningly reasonable in comparison. The other problem is that Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate, is not fundamentally different from the scion of the Bush dynasty. She is instead a perfect stand-in for Jeb Bush if, as appears likely, the Republican Party should reject him for the sin, as with House Speaker John Boehner, of appearing too moderate. For Democrats, appearing moderate is quite easy, as Clinton proved as a senator and secretary of state: Just carry water for the military-industrial complex and Wall Street while pretending to be concerned about the ordinary folks who suffer from those costly policies.<p>Updated: Mon Oct 05, 2015</p> 2f4bb9b04c3098a7fb8fd717c8b4da51 Pope Francis: He Told Them! for 09/25/2015 Fri, 25 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0700 <p>He told them! Any religious leader who is considering sainthood for the "Servant of God" Dorothy Day &#8212; the crusading editor of the Catholic Worker and heroine of my garment-worker parents during the Great Depression &#8212; gets my vote.</p> <p>I know that, sadly, he's not running for president, but the pope's excellent example provides the essential measure of what's important for those candidates who are. It's simple: Follow the Golden Rule.</p> <p>One need not enthuse over every specific point of style and substance in the pontiff's remarks to recognize that he is possessed of a moral energy that has been largely absent in our political discourse. Whether it concerns the plight of the poor and immigrants, climate change and the fate of the earth, or the chicanery of the super-rich and powerful, so much of what we have heard in the opening of this election season now seems tawdry and small in comparison.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 25, 2015</p> 3e87b287c8f765413d22ba9973d12656 Fools, Fascists and Cold Warriors: Take Your Pick for 09/18/2015 Fri, 18 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Are they fools or fascists? Probably the former, but there was a disturbing cast to the second Republican presidential debate, a vituperative jingoism reminiscent of the xenophobia that periodically scars Western capitalist societies in moments of disarray.</p> <p>While the entire world was riveted by the sight of millions of refugees in terrifying exodus attempting to save drowning and starving children, we were treated to the darkly peculiar spectacle of scorn for the children of immigrants here illegally and celebration of the sanctity of the fetus.</p> <p>Marching to the beat of that mad drummer Donald Trump, the GOP candidates have taken to scapegoating immigrants here illegally, particularly the young, blaming them for all that ails us. Most of the GOP contenders appeared as a shrill echo of the neofascist European movements of late, adopting the traditional tactic of blaming the most vulnerable for economic problems the most powerful have caused.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 18, 2015</p> 2b3c53530d9f5948021ce2d30ca78def Fred Branfman Risked His Life for Ordinary People for 10/22/2014 Wed, 22 Oct 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Fred was one of the bravest and most decent journalists I ever encountered. </p> <p>He exposed the terrorism of the U.S. "carpet bombing" over Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia that was explicitly aimed at "drying up the sea" of millions of innocent village people that the U.S. government claimed were providing cover to the enemy during the Vietnam War. And when those people refused to accept our definition of their enemy, and return the love offered by our fragmentation bombs shredding their children's bodies, we bombed them more still.</p> <p>That immense tragedy was all the more poignant in Laos, one of the most underdeveloped and isolated nations in the world. It had nothing to provide but its bewildered population to serve as possible targets for Pentagon planners. I had been to Laos before Fred and after he did his brave, epic reporting on the devastation of that country by U.S. bombing of technologically primitive villagers, whom I had delighted with gifts of pencils. We shared many sorrowful discussions about the madness of U.S. policy and the immense suffering that our country had visited upon a people who were barely aware of what the bombers were up to.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 22, 2014</p> 5693fee6b53257464869d70bde87ffb3 Open Letter on Censorship for 10/02/2014 Thu, 02 Oct 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The following letter is written by Zuade Kaufman. </p> <p></p> <p>George Orwell was right: "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." <p>Updated: Thu Oct 02, 2014</p> e09362d5ee67b5b2188551528fa5337b Citigroup: The Original Gangsta for 07/15/2014 Tue, 15 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Barack Obama's Justice Department on Monday announced that Citigroup would pay $7 billion in fines, a move that will avoid a humiliating trial dealing with the seamy financial products the bank had marketed to an unsuspecting public, causing vast damage to the economy. </p> <p>Citigroup is the too-big-to-fail bank that was allowed to form only when Bill Clinton signed legislation reversing the sensible restraints on Wall Street instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt to avoid another Great Depression. </p> <p>Those filled with Clinton nostalgia these days might want to reflect back on how truly destructive was his legacy for hardworking people throughout the world who lost so much due to the financial shenanigans that he made legal.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 15, 2014</p> d17f0faf7427825312f31561adbb8117 Hillary Clinton Flaunts Her Surveillance State Baggage for 07/08/2014 Tue, 08 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Who is the true patriot, Hillary Clinton or Edward Snowden? The question comes up because Clinton has gone all out in attacking Snowden as a means of burnishing her hawkish credentials, eliciting Glenn Greenwald's comment that she is "like a neocon, practically." </p> <p>On Friday in England, Clinton boasted that two years ago she had favored a proposal by a top British General to train 100,000 "moderate" rebels to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria, but Obama had turned her down. The American Thatcher? In that same interview with the Guardian she also managed to get in yet another shot against Snowden for taking refuge in Russia "apparently under Putin's protection," unless, she taunted, "he wishes to return knowing he would be held accountable." </p> <p>Accountable for telling the truth that Clinton concealed during her tenure as secretary of state in the Obama administration? Did she approve of the systematic spying on the American people as well as of others around the world, including the leaders of Germany and Brazil, or did she first learn of all this from the Snowden revelations? <p>Updated: Tue Jul 08, 2014</p> 7304725a2342fce3411d10107af0373c One Court, Indivisible, Votes Liberty and Justice For All for 06/26/2014 Thu, 26 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>This week's unanimous Supreme Court decision affirming a robust Fourth Amendment protection for cellphone data is an enormously important victory for privacy rights in the digital age. It is also a reminder that support as well as opposition to civil liberty these days can come from unexpected quarters. Or maybe it is no longer much of a surprise that our constitutional law professor turned President cares so little for the protections enumerated in the Bill of Rights.</p> <p>In an opinion endorsed by all factions on the court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. summarily rejected the assertion of the Obama Justice Department and the liberal Attorney General of California, defending that state's top court's view, that a warrantless search of the vast data contained on a cellphone is comparable to looking into a detainees cigarette pack or reading a few pages tucked into his pocket. Limited searches that the court has previously accepted as consistent with the Fourth Amendment. </p> <p>Instead of treating "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" as an irrelevant antiquity of the pre-computer age Roberts turned the argument on its head insisting that a cellphone's data requires greater constitutional protection because the personal information it contains is so vast. As Roberts wrote in dismissing the U.S Justice Department and California's equation of cellphone data to previously acceptable incidental body searches:<p>Updated: Thu Jun 26, 2014</p> dc192ca8e637255b117282db66868f0f Where's Saddam Hussein When the US Needs Him? for 06/24/2014 Tue, 24 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>John Kerry was doing his best "Casablanca" impersonation, pretending to be police Capt. Renault and was just shocked that Egypt is still a brutal military dictatorship despite our newly revived "historic partnership." </p> <p>A day after chatting it up in Cairo on Sunday with now-elected dictator Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, who, Kerry assured the world, "gave me a very strong sense of his commitment (to) a re-evaluation of human rights legislation (and) a re-evaluation of the judicial process," the secretary of state felt compelled to release a statement condemning that process.</p> <p>Although the U.S. government has managed to overlook the Egyptian military's brutal destruction of the Arab world's most significant attempt at accommodating religious, ethnic and tribal differences through representative government, the stiff sentences meted out Monday to three Al-Jazeera journalists, all veterans of Western news organizations, have finally shocked the media establishment. They also embarrassed Kerry, who had come to Cairo to curry favor with the military dictatorship. The State Department released the following statement of condemnation under his name: <p>Updated: Tue Jun 24, 2014</p> f77c7f4811c93160bd38e953093d6655 Up Close and Personal With George W. Bush's Horrifying Legacy for 06/18/2014 Wed, 18 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The Iraq disaster remains George W. Bush's enduring folly, and the Republican attempt to shift the blame to the Obama presidency is obscene nonsense. This was, and will always be, viewed properly as Bush's quagmire, a murderous killing field based on blatant lies. </p> <p>This showcase of American deceit, obvious to the entire world, began with the invented weapons of mass destruction threat that Bush, were he even semi-cognizant of the intelligence data, must have known represented an egregious fraud. So was his nonsensical claim that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, when in fact he was Osama bin Laden's most effective Arab opponent.</p> <p>Yet Bush responded to the 9/11 attacks by overthrowing a leader who had banished al-Qaida from Iraq and who had been an ally of the United States in the war to contain Iran's influence in the region. Instead of confronting the funders of Sunni extremism based in Saudi Arabia, the home of 15 of the 19 hijackers and their Saudi leader bin Laden, Bush chose to attack the secular leader of Iraq. That invasion, as the evidence of the last week confirms, resulted in an enormous boon to both Sunni extremists and their militant Shiite opponents throughout the Mideast.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 18, 2014</p> 577ce6c6a40dd525dffb99e780a08a1b Feinstein vs. the CIA: A Moment of Truth for 03/12/2014 Wed, 12 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>It was a truly historic moment on Tuesday when Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein took to the Senate floor to warn that the CIA's continuing cover-up of its torture program is threatening our Constitutional division of power. By blatantly concealing what Feinstein condemned as "the horrible details of a CIA program that never, never, never should have existed," the spy agency now acts as a power unto itself, and the agency's outrages have finally aroused the senator's umbrage. </p> <p>As Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, chair of the Judiciary Committee that will be investigating Feinstein's charges noted, "in 40 years here, it was one of the best speeches I'd ever heard and one of the most important." That was particularly so, given that Feinstein's searing indictment of the CIA's decade-long subversion of congressional oversight of its torture program comes from a senator who previously has worked overtime to justify the subversion of democratic governance by the CIA and other spy agencies. </p> <p>But clearly the lady has by now had enough, given the CIA's recent hacking of her Senate committee's computers in an effort to suppress a key piece of evidence supporting the veracity of the committee's completed but still not released 6,300-page study that the CIA is bent on suppressing.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 12, 2014</p> b50c2a3cef52ad27f49bd8385d8411ef Honoring the 'Accomplices' to Truth Who Caught Clapper in a Lie for 02/18/2014 Tue, 18 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The tide is turning. Yesterday's traitor is today's hero, and the brave journalists who helped Edward Snowden get the word out are at last being honored for their public service. Or so one hopes.</p> <p>On Sunday it was announced that the prestigious George Polk Award for National Security Reporting would be given to the four journalists &#8212; Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras and Barton Gellman &#8212; most active in reporting about the content of the NSA documents leaked by Snowden. The award, named after a CBS News correspondent killed in 1948 while covering the civil war in Greece, is intended to honor journalists who "heightened public awareness with perceptive detection and dogged pursuit of stories that otherwise would not have seen the light of day."</p> <p>That is, of course, the very purpose of the First Amendment's guarantee of a free press, an indelible standard of freedom subverted by figures like James R. Clapper Jr., the president's director of national intelligence, who condemned those reporters as "accomplices" to Snowden's disclosures and suggested that telling the truth should be treated as a serious crime. Of course, Clapper's own blatant lies to the Senate Intelligence Committee, denying mass-scale surveillance of the American public under his direction, are to be presumed virtuous. <p>Updated: Tue Feb 18, 2014</p> ec58063c42a56748caef22d3d4a4f2cb The Super Bowl of War: Three Decades of Failure in Afghanistan for 02/04/2014 Tue, 04 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0800 <p>A Budweiser commercial during the Super Bowl, that annual celebration of violence as sport, featured a most joyous homecoming for a U.S. veteran of the Afghan War. It was a fitting tribute to the fact that he survived, but you would have to be drunk on Bud not to notice that the three decades since the United States first meddled in Afghanistan have been an unequivocal disaster and that those who did not survive &#8212; NATO combatants and far larger number of Afghan natives &#8212; died in vain. </p> <p>This was a point made clearly but largely unnoticed on that day of obligatory patriotic flag waving in an interview with Hamid Karzai, the U.S. anointed leader of Afghanistan, who told British newspaper The Sunday Times of London that "I saw no good" resulting from yet another American adventure in imperial democracy:</p> <p>"This whole 12 years was one of constant pleading with America to treat the lives of our civilians as lives of people," Karzai stated, continuing his denunciation of the terror of anti-terrorism exemplified by George Bush's orgy of torture followed by Barack Obama's drone attacks that traumatize the Afghan countryside. Karzai, no stranger to corruption and contradiction, has refused to sign a pact authorizing a continued and much reduced U.S. presence in his country unless all such unilateral military attacks on his people are ended. As for the Taliban enemy that the U.S. invasion had temporarily deposed, Karzai referred to them as "brothers" while he dismissed his erstwhile American sponsors as "rivals," indicating that Obama now has his own "mission accomplished" embarrassment.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 04, 2014</p> a698f80f3de5cfbba1247b6245e84fe9 Who Needs the Gestapo When You Have 'Angry Birds'? for 01/28/2014 Tue, 28 Jan 2014 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Somewhere in the lowest reaches of hell, Adolf Hitler and his coterie of lesser dictators must be tormented by the knowledge they did not live long enough to get their hands on "Angry Birds." How much diabolical power they would have had, not playing the game, but rather mining the data freely volunteered by its billion unsuspecting customers. </p> <p>"When a smartphone user opens 'Angry Birds,' the popular game application, and starts slinging birds at chortling green pigs, spy agencies have plotted how to lurk in the background to snatch data revealing the player's location, age, sex and other personal information ..." The New York Times reported, based on the latest of Edward Snowden's leaks.</p> <p>No need then for the Gestapo to go crashing through apartment doors to brutally interrogate citizens as to the most guarded moments of their personal lives when a vast amount of private information from gaming, mapping and social networking sites is pirated by the government. No totalitarian leader could ever imagine such surveillance power over his populace.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 28, 2014</p>