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COMMENTARY BY JOE CONASON

  • On Our Highest Court, a Former Lobbyist Guts Campaign Finance Reform by Joe Conason

    For a large and bipartisan majority of Americans, the increasing power of money in politics is deeply troubling. But not for the conservative majority of the United States Supreme Court, whose members appear to regard the dollar's domination of democracy as an inevitable consequence of constitutional freedom -- and anyway, not a matter of grave concern. Expressed in their decisions on campaign finance, which continued last week to dismantle decades of reform in the McCutcheon case, the court's right wing sees little risk of corruption and little need to regulate the flamboyant spending of billionaires.

  • In Midterm Campaign, Bill Clinton Urges Democrats to Embrace Health Care Reform By Joe Conason

    Defending the Affordable Care Act in his memorable nominating speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton did as he often advises his party's elected officials: Don't run away from the argument; confront it directly instead. During his own political career, the former president has done both.

  • Lying Again? Scholars Detect Deception in Ryan's Poverty Report by Joe Conason

    For the sake of America's poor, a sincere conservative effort to improve the programs that serve them is very desirable -- especially so long as Republicans control the House of Representatives, where they habitually yearn to cut or defund those same programs. For months, Washington has eagerly awaited the latest version of "compassionate conservatism," promised by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his publicists.

    Appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Ryan denounced government programs that serve the poor, including food stamps and free school lunch: "What the left is offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that."

    To find out more about Joe Conason, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

    COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

  • To Defeat GOP's Restrictive Voting Laws, Debunk 'Voter Fraud' By Joe Conason

    Growing up in Jim Crow Arkansas, Bill Clinton saw how the state's dominant political and racial elite maintained power by suppressing the rights of minority voters who threatened its authority -- and as a young activist, worked to bring down that illegitimate power structure. So when Clinton says, "There is no greater assault on our core values than the rampant efforts to restrict the right to vote" -- as he does in a new video released by the Democratic National Committee -- the former president knows of what he speaks.

  • Minimum Truth: The Hollow Argument Against Higher Wages By Joe Conason

    In the midst of a crucial political debate that plainly favored proponents of a higher minimum wage, the Congressional Budget Office dropped a bombshell headline this week. Increasing the minimum to $10.10 an hour -- as demanded by President Barack Obama and Democrats on Capitol Hill -- would "cost 500,000 jobs." At a moment when employment still lags badly, this assertion was potentially devastating.

  • Recycling for Fun and Profit: The Imminent Return of the 'Clinton Scandals' by Joe Conason

    Hillary Clinton may well run for president in 2016. Or she may not. But while the nation awaits her decision, both jittery Republican politicians and titillated political journalists -- often in concert -- will seize upon any excuse to recycle those old "Clinton scandals."

  • To Roger Stone, Bridgegate 'Cover-up' Is Another Watergate -- And He Would Know - By Joe Conason

    Very few Republican operatives knew the Nixon gang as intimately as Roger Stone, the legendary trickster whose back is adorned with an enormous Tricky Dick tattoo. And very few know New Jersey politics as well as Stone, who toiled among the party faithful in many campaigns since 1980, when he first ran the Garden State for Ronald Reagan.   

  • Straightforward? Not The Best Description Of Chris Christie -- Or His Pal Karl Rove By Joe Conason

    When Karl Rove praises a politician's "straightforward" approach to an erupting scandal, it seems wise to expect that something very twisted will instead emerge in due course -- and to consider his real objectives.

  • Cruel Follies: Fighting Poverty the Republican Way, With Fresh (and Not-So-Fresh) Ideas by Joe Conason

    Listening to Republican politicians these days as they talk (and talk and talk) about poverty and inequality can be a poignant experience. They want us to know they're worried about the diminishing economic prospects confronted by so many Americans. They hope we will admire their shiny new solutions. And they are so eager for us to believe they care.

    But however concerned these Republican worthies may be, they still insist on promoting the same exhausted and useless ideas favored by their party for decades. The sad result is that almost nobody believes that they care at all -- and their "anti-poverty initiatives" tend to be dismissed, with a snicker, as public relations rather than public policy.

    To find out more about Joe Conason, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

    COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

  • Rich Catholics Threaten Pope Francis - Because He Frightens Them By Joe Conason

    If anyone wonders whether Pope Francis has irritated wealthy conservatives with his courage and idealism, the latest outburst from Kenneth Langone left little doubt. Sounding both aggressive and whiny, the billionaire investor warned that he and his overprivileged friends might withhold their millions from church and charity unless the pontiff stops preaching against the excesses and cruelty of unleashed capitalism.