August 15, 2017

"MANY SIDES"

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FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, AUG. 15, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN

"MANY SIDES"
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Finally President Donald Trump acknowledged in a statement that “Racism is evil,” and described the “KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups” as “criminals and thugs.” Put that in the “too little too late” file. It had taken two days before he could denounce the extremist bigots responsible for the deaths in Charlottesville, Virginia. Still, his immediate response was the one that matters, because it reveals what a toxic force he is.
Originally he had condemned “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides -- on many sides.” On many sides? Was the current president of the United States suggesting that counter-protesters shared equal blame with the fascist terrorist who drove his car into a crowd and mowed down more than a dozen people, killing an innocent woman? Apparently he was dismayed by those who dared to resist his crowd of fellow fringe fanatics in Charlottesville.
This president seemed to be suggesting that fighting against those advocating violent racism is morally comparable to the actions of the violent racists. One can argue that physical force is misguided from either side, but the motivation is nowhere near equivalent. It’s easy to surmise that Trump doesn’t comprehend that. Or one might conclude instead that he absolutely understands that the core of his support comes from the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazis and other white supremacists who have exploited white lower-middle-class angst in the United States and turned it into their irrational hatred. He couldn't offend them. And obviously he didn’t.

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August 13, 2017

DOWN IN THE "FIRE AND FURY" FLAMES

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, AUG. 11, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN

DOWN IN 'FIRE AND FURY' FLAMES
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Is it me, or does “Fire and Fury” sound like the name of a rock group? President Donald Trump apparently made up his
own lyrics when he trash-talked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” he blustered on live TV. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Aides insist that the “fire and fury” words were Trump’s own, although they had agreed that he needed to convey a “no more Mr. Nice Guy” message. What Trump really accomplished is scaring the daylights out of just about everybody on the planet --
everybody but Kim. It wasn’t very long before Pyongyang fired back with another threat, this time to loft missiles at Guam, in effect, to make the little U.S. territory “Guam With the Wind.”

For good measure, North Korea called the “fire and fury” warning “a load of nonsense.” As usual, Trump then proceeded to double down, insisting his language “maybe wasn’t tough enough.” Still, his national-security people tippy-toed away from the harsh, bomb blast bombast: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made it a point to make an appearance before cameras aboard his plane while flitting around Asia. He offered a reassurance that “Americans should sleep well at night,” and insisted that the boss was only trying
to be crystal clear: “I think what the president was doing was sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un would understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language.”

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August 6, 2017

ACRID ACRONYMS

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, AUG. 4, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN

ACRID ACRONYMS
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For those of us who thought that “acronym” was a city in Ohio, it is not. It’s an abbreviation formed from initials used to describe something that’s then pronounced as a word. SCUBA, for example, stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Did you know that? Most divers are simply happy to make SCUBA do when it comes to clearly labeling their underwater pursuits.
Unfortunately, many acronyms are really tortured and designed to mislead. Wait -- “tortured and designed to mislead” defines the American political system, so it’s no surprise that many of these clever abbreviations are political and therefore deceptive, contrived to disguise some ugly intention in pretty platitudes.
So it is with the RAISE act, brought to you by the ultraconservative sponsors of legislation that would cut in half legal immigration to this country and replace family considerations with meritocracy standards, among them already speaking English. Critics would say that it effectively shuts out millions of people whom the white right would consider undesirable, and that it flies right in the face of this country’s historic welcome to “huddled masses yearning to be free.” Backers of the proposal, including the president (of course), argue that it’s a way to preserve jobs for U.S. citizens. Although hundreds of studies have disputed that, it plays to the fears of unemployment and many prejudices of the frightened millions of Trump supporters who would be afraid of their own shadows if their own shadows came from another country.
So the proponents of the cutbacks call it the RAISE Act. That’s Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy. Get it? It’s a crock, but there it is. What’s regrettable is that there are other acronyms to use. How about the Bill Intending to Gut Our Tradition, or BIGOT. Isn’t that a more accurate acronym?

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July 26, 2017

THE THEME SCENE


FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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BOB FRANKEN

THE THEME SCENE

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People, we have an attitude problem to discuss: It has come to my attention that too many of you are mocking President Donald Trump and his “Made in America” theme week. Perhaps it’s because it takes some nerve for Donald Trump to champion
“Made in America,” since so much of the merchandise hustled by his family’s many enterprises is definitely not made in America.

A little thing like that didn’t stop POTUS from turning the White House grounds into a display of domestically manufactured products. Shameless, he’s not. He even wandered around the stuff, playing with a firetruck and allowing himself to be photographed in a cowboy hat. Words cannot convey how he looked in his Stetson.

It’s not the first time this administration has concocted one of these. Who can forget “Infrastructure” week, “Technology” week or “Energy” week? “American Heroes” and “American Dreams” are up next. Weak, but lest you haters out there jump at still another opportunity to ridicule this president, he’s not the only one; George W. Bush had them all the time.

My main quibble is that they don’t reflect reality. Yes, I know that’s being picky, but the administration’s branding geniuses can come up with more cutting-edge themes that really capture the Trump experience. First of all, it’s likely you’re scratching your head right now (or whatever you do when you have no idea what someone is
talking about). Perhaps you thought that it was actually “Russia Investigation” theme week or, more specifically, “Presidential Pardon” week, since Trump and his lawyers are reportedly discussing his pardoning whomever of his associates gets accused of criminal activity in connection with the probe into whether his side sold out the American election to his buddy Vladimir Putin. Some accounts, by the way, included discussions about whether he could pardon himself. There’s a real heated debate about that one, although the Trumpster claims he has “complete” power to pardon.

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A HELPING HAND

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THE TWITTER TANTRUM SUBTERFUGE

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WHO CARES WHAT WE THINK?

THE INCOMPLETE ENEMIES LIST

HOW MUCH DO YOU TIP THE SPY?

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