April 20, 2019

HOLIDAY DUMPING GROUNDS

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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2019

HOLIDAY DUMPING GROUNDS

Editors: Please note use of profanity in Trump quote, graf 4.

Before we get too worked up at Attorney General William Barr for his cheesiness in scheduling the release of the partially full report of Robert Mueller’s investigation for when very few people would be around to pay attention, let’s remember that it could be worse. It’s true that Barr is quickly establishing a reputation for being just another Donald Trump shill. He conveniently decided that the intensely controversial document could be put out only right before the Easter weekend, smack-dab in the middle of spring break, when members of Congress and so many others are out partying.
This is worse timing than the usual “Friday night dump,” which is when sleazy politicians make public information about their unseemly activities when others are distracted by weekend time off. Even with a couple of days warning so all the reporters and analysts could break their family plans (remember, in D.C., water runs thicker than blood), it was still a big cluster scramble for us to go on TV and/or write our columns after absorbing all the available documents. Frequently, we did so before we had read the stuff, or thought about it, meaning we didn’t have any earthly idea what we were talking about.

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April 16, 2019

PRESIDENTIAL CON

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, APRIL 16, 2019

PRESIDENTIAL CON
---
We should do better, but how can we? By “we,” I mean media wretches -- the purveyors, so President Donald Trump charges, of “fake news.” The reality is that we constantly deal in his fake spews of outrageous controversy, which he concocts to feed his insatiable need for attention, and our perpetual need to have something to feed our beasts.
Astronomers made a big deal about actually photographing a black hole; we all know that it doesn’t compare with the black hole that is Donald Trump’s desperate inner child. But what can we do? As journalists, we can’t just ignore the guy. He is, after all, our emperor. Thankfully, he does have clothes -- one dark suit and a red tie that’s too long -- but imagine the alternative. If the expression “Don’t go there” ever had meaning, this would be it.
The point is that he sucks us into the fake ooze of his latest contrivance. No matter how preposterous, we run with it, breathlessly reporting the absurdity du jour, while various news networks convene a panel of “experts” who chew on whatever nonsense he has dreamed up until it’s mush. What does it all mean? Is he really going to do that? What would be the impact if he actually did? What will the courts say? How will Congress react? What about big business, which bribes Congress? After a few hours, or until he is alone in the dark recesses of Twitter, the Trumpster will tire of that heap and create new garbage. This not only starts a new cycle, it also allows him to control the entire news agenda.

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April 13, 2019

THE TOADY SHOW

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2019

THE TOADY SHOW
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Mike Pence had better watch his back. There may be others in the Trump orbit who are aiming to take over his SSS role. That stands for "Shameless Simpering Sycophancy," and Pence has excelled as the Don's best ring-kisser in an administration mob where the key to keeping your job is a willingness to kiss the boss's whatever, if you get my drift.
It's Pence's most important role. In fact, as vice president, it's really his only role. And he has embraced it. (Can we say "embraced" these days?) Who will ever forget the recent Cabinet speech where he buttered up the Trumpster every 12 seconds? He was "humbled" to work for him; it was a "blessing" to do so. He is the SSS kisser in chief.
Not that he doesn't have to constantly guard against competition. Steve Miller comes to mind; he's the White House speechwriter and anti-immigration fanatic who is constantly whispering in the president's ears and inciting his darkest impulses, which are his only impulses. Another Steve, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, is someone else who has survived by blowing smoke all over POTUS. There are many, many others in the groveler category who keep their jobs that way. Mnuchin's latest is to refuse to turn over the Trump tax returns, legally demanded by the new Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. In effect, he's saying "so sue me," which delights the boss man. When the chief says "jump," they say, "How high?" Perhaps that's why they call it toadying.

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April 9, 2019

TOUCHY-FEELY TOUCHY

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, APRIL 9, 2019

TOUCHY-FEELY TOUCHY
---
And here I thought that “tactile” was something you did while playing football. Silly me. In the contact sport known as politics, it suddenly means “trouble.” The online dictionary defines it as “of pertaining to, endowed with, or affecting the sense of touch.”
Here’s how to use it in a sentence: “Joe Biden is really tactile.” Or, if you believe his video: “Joe Biden WAS really tactile.” After a lifetime of grip-and-grin campaigning -- where the cuddle or nuzzle was the way you showed compassion, phony or not -- now he is learning the hard way that so much of his warm and fuzzy hair-sniffing and nose-rubbing was unwelcome, intimidating, an invasion of space and paternalistic, particularly when the recipient was female. In this day and age, even when everyone insists that they never suspected anything sexual, some have stepped forward to say that he was creepy or they were bugged when Biden hugged them or otherwise showed physical familiarity.
There are several perspectives to this. Among them is that it’s generational. Joe Biden is an old-school politician, the kind who always puts his hand on your back or around your shoulder. Just look at wide shots of the U.S. Senate floor on C-SPAN; you’ll still see the members doing it. It is often insincere, but let’s stipulate that it’s preferable to holding a knife and backstabbing their colleagues in public. They can do that when they’re off camera. That’s been Joe Biden’s world and the way that politics has been done for eons. Until now, that is.

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TRUMP WHACK ATTACKS

TRUMP AND HIS REPORTER BUDDIES

OFFENSIVE TO DEFENSIVE

ANOTHER WEEKEND BUSTED

THE TWITTER DIAGNOSIS

THE FINAL FOUR

THE REAL AMERIICAN ECONOMIC LESSSON

FIRING LINES

THE POLITICAL KENNEL

REFORM SCHOOL

FAQ NEWS

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY SKEPTICISM

KISSING GOODBYE

PRESIDENTS' DAY HUSTLE

BS WORDS

SMARMY VS. SMART

THE HYPOCRATS

IGNORING THE HYPE

ANNOUNCING NOTHING

COLLATERAL DAMAGE

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