May 22, 2018

ROYAL COUPLE-ODD COUPLE

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2018

ROYAL COUPLE-ODD COUPLE
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Usually, the only place to hear cultured British accents is anytime on PBS, but on the eve of the royal wedding, British experts were flooding the other domestic networks, making the U.S. news personalities sound like American riffraff (pardon the redundancy).
We probably needed them to gush about all the intricacies of the Meghan Markle-Prince Harry coupling. They certainly had their stiff upper lips full explaining all the pageantry, accumulated over centuries of tradition. Even the Meghan Markle father drama was restrained, with Prince Charles taking up the slack. So we were treated to a jolly good show set in the splendor of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. It was even more elegant than Mar-a-Lago.
Perhaps Donald Trump was watching from somewhere and thinking tacky thoughts (another redundancy) about whether he could build a golf course on the property or turn it into a hotel. Or it could be that he was pondering the event’s mammoth ratings -- TVs all over the planet were tuned in with entire households watching, often at ungodly hours. He would be clearly puzzled by how anything so tasteful and civilized could be so appealing, since he has absolutely no experience with that.
Trump’s best chance at ratings will the Singapore Fling with Kim Jong Un, the summit with North Korea next month, which is infinitely more important than any royal wedding, even this one. At least it has the potential to be, if the two leaders don’t blow it. But ratingswise, it won’t get nearly so many eyes. First of all, consider the players: The royal wedding had the dashing Prince Harry starring with beautiful and elegant Meghan Markle. The summit has Kim the Rocket Man and Donnie the Dotard. Compare the supporting cast: in Windsor, Prince William, for instance; Singapore will have John Bolton.

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May 19, 2018

THE ART OF THE GEOLAE

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2018

THE ART OF THE GEOLAE

President Donald Trump makes such a big deal of his advanced negotiating skills, but the tactics he shares in his book “The Art of the Deal” are really so rudimentary that they are just clichés:
“The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.”
Is that profound or what? Such advice was exceedingly obvious long before Donald Trump had his ghostwriter churn out his “Art” best-seller (don’t ask me why it was a best-seller), before he had even stiffed his first vendor or evicted his first tenant. And North Korean leaders, from the first Kim to the present one, had already made push-pull bargaining into an art form. Not only have they always operated on the belief that agreements are made to be broken, but they were masters of cognitive dissonance. Just when hopes have been raised now that they’ll sit down and talk, just when they have engaged in some sweet-talking beforehand, suddenly they turn nasty and threaten to bail out. It’s vintage Kim. Sometimes they actually do cancel. In fact, one could easily believe that they could have written a much more authoritative book, perhaps calling it “The Art of the Geolae.” (If my cybertranslator is correct, that means “deal” in Korean. If not, I hope it’s not something really smutty. )
That explains the Trumpster and the Kimster sliding back and forth between making nice and trash talking. Even before they went through the complicated choreography to set up their first date, they were busy snarling, calling each other juvenile names like “Little Rocket Man” and “Dotard.” Kim was testing more and more powerful nuclear weapons, while Trump was threatening to blow North Korea to smithereens. The entire world trembled at the prospect of human annihilation, but Donny and Kimmy were really just engaging in foreplay, the result of which is a promised extraordinary face-to-face meeting between the two in Singapore next month.
on people ... if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”

© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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May 15, 2018

SLEAZE NEVER CHANGES

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2018

SLEAZE NEVER CHANGES
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A couple of generations ago, there was a popular story about a well-connected Washington figure who encountered a corporate type who was having trouble with government regulatory officials.
“Oh,” said the insider. “I can help you with that.” Sure enough, quickly the bad situation went away. The delighted executive insisted that he be charged for the favor, and very soon thereafter, received a bill for $10,000 (remember, this was way back when).
The businessman was taken aback: “That’s outrageous,” he complained. “I need you to itemize the fees.” It wasn’t long before he received another voucher:
“Phone call: 10 cents.
Knowing who to call: $9,999.90.”

Other than inflation, the swamp never changes. Those who lucked out by attaching themselves to Donald Trump have proven, now that he’s in power, that they’re just the latest gang that couldn’t drain straight. How else to explain the hundreds of thousands -- make that millions -- of dollars that major companies, already employing tons of lobbyists, tossed at the likes of Corey Lewandowski and particularly at Michael Cohen? Neither of them has any policy chops whatsoever. What they had, or what the oligarchs like AT&T and the pharmaceutical behemoth Novartis perceived them to have, was relationships with and understanding of the Manhattan Hillbillies who packed up and took over D.C.
Lewandowski latched on to the Trump whale early on. Never mind that he had been tossed aside in one of The Donald’s nonstop purges. He knew the players like few did, and now it was time for a payoff. So he set up shop, and the money came rolling in from influence peddlers who needed to comprehend those they wanted to influence.
Michael Cohen was another whose entire claim to fame was that he was The Donald’s “fixer,” the one who cleaned up the mess after the Trumpster indulged one of his appetites. Suddenly he, too, was taking on new clients and raking in the bucks as a “consultant,” which is just another word for “fixer,” feeding on the same marsh scum that Trump had promised to eliminate.

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May 8, 2018

TURNOUT IS FAIR GAME

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, MAY 8, 2018

TURNOUT IS FAIR GAME
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It’s not something he does very often, but this time President Donald Trump was telling the truth when, in his rambles before the gun nuts -- aka the National Rifle Association Convention in Dallas -- he pointed out that the upcoming midterms will be determined by voter turnout.
Turnout is always the be-all and end-all when it comes to any election, but it’s particularly vital in this one. The Democrats will get the chance to demonstrate whether they can abandon their usual backbiting and lethargy, and instead channel all the anti-Trump horror into crowds at polling places.
Donald Trump is not even on the 2018 ballot. It’s a race to control Congress, but he recognizes that if Dems take over the GOP-majority Senate or House, or even just the House, his presidency is in deep doo-doo. The opposition will be empowered to constantly harass him and even impeach him if the stars align. The Trumpster by sheer force of his nasty demagoguery has done everything he can to line those stars up so he must now whip up even more intense hate among the millions in his base so they’ll turn up at the ballot box and vote their fears and prejudices. That’s why he was preaching to his NRA choir that “We’ve got to do great in ’18.”
He is well-aware that he needs to create more passion on the right, even for those in the party who are less than enthusiastic about him. They are even less enthusiastic about the Democrats, who are doing everything they can to overcome the divisions that invariably define them.
Already, the D’s are bickering over whether they’ll stick with Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House if they take over. The R’s demonize her nonstop, so many candidates in her party are running away from Pelosi as hard as they’re running for their congressional seat. But they also have to run from their party’s notorious ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. If they can’t channel their anti-Trump frenzy into voter turnout, then in the words of Rep. Jim Clyburn, a member of Pelosi’s leadership team, “If we’re still in the minority, all of us have got to go.” There are those who believe that if the Democratic organization cannot turn the anti-Trump resistance into a “wave” of voters, then perhaps the time really has come to look for a replacement for the Democratic Party.
I

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