September 15, 2016

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ILLS

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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, SEPT. 13, 2016
BY BOB FRANKEN

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ILLS

What a terrible weekend Hillary Clinton had! First she stepped into needless controversy, calling half of Donald Trump’s supporters “deplorables.” The next day, she gave a mealy-mouthed statement of “regret” -- not for using “deplorable,” but for the “half” part. How dopey did that look? But it was the video of her stumbling or nearly fainting when she got overheated at the 9/11 ceremony in New York that looked nothing short of alarming.
Let’s face it. The “overheated” explanation of her campaign and assurances that she was just fine simply didn’t ring true. And they don’t ring true for a candidate who has tried to wave off innuendo from Rudy Giuliani and the other Trump-supporter crazies that she is suffering serious health issues and concealing them. Her credibility issues haven’t helped her, and her organization did her no favors by hiding her from her traveling reporters.
Then her representatives waited hours before releasing what I like to call an “Oh, By The Way” statement, as in “Oh, by the way, Hillary has been treated for pneumonia for the past couple of days.” PNEUMONIA!? That is not incidental. We Americans have a right to know when a candidate for the office that can determine the life or death of the planet is feeling even the slightest bit puny.
The weekend before, she had been seized with a coughing fit during a Labor Day appearance in Ohio. Her allergy explanation seemed plausible, particularly when she quipped that she really was allergic to Donald Trump. But this latest episode -- when video shows her wobbling, at best, and lifted into her van by Secret Service -- cannot be laughed off.
To put it bluntly, her campaign is also wobbling. She received a lot of flak for her “deplorables” remark about Trump supporters: “To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables.’ Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.” But after Trump and his partisans squealed in outrage, she had to weigh in with a kind of apology, saying she felt “regret” that she had specified “half” of the Trumpsters, even though she went to great pains to exclude those who are “people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them ...”
While that may be true, Trump’s supporters have embraced a candidate who certainly has earned all those labels. So they are deplorable by association. Donny himself outlandishly labeled what Clinton said as “SO INSULTING” (his caps). What a cruel joke, that. Donald Trump has made Don Rickles look like a sycophantic flatterer. His entire campaign has been like a roast of anyone who opposes him, be they the other candidates, Mexicans, Muslims, the disabled, women -- you name them; Trump has flung crude hatred at them.

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September 5, 2016

CHEERING FOR COLIN KAEPERNICK

weekend.
Amy

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, SEPT. 2, 2016
BY BOB FRANKEN
CHEERING FOR COLIN KAEPERNICK
---
It was refreshing, in a way: Finally we have a player in the United States who has become a target of the haters and who is not Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. And this player actually is one, a football quarterback named Colin Kaepernick who has had the audacity to remain seated while the national anthem is playing during pre-game ceremonies.
While everyone else robotically stood as usual, fidgeting and wondering whether his or her hand was supposed to be placed on the heart, Kaepernick refused to get up. It was, he explained over and over, a protest against this country’s sorrowful record of violence by police against minorities. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Kaepernick knowingly thrust himself into the middle of a cyclone generated by the outrage of millions of infuriated people. In fact, the super-patriotism backlash has threatened his NFL career. “To me, this is bigger than football,” he told one interviewer, “and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
How dare he be so ungrateful, his angry critics exploded. How dare he belittle the sacrifices of our military! Kaepernick didn’t back down. In the next game, he refused to stand. Instead, he and a teammate kneeled as the national anthem was played. Meanwhile, miracle of miracles, the debate suddenly included some reflection that started scratching away at all the jingoism. Wasn’t Colin Kaepernick really honoring the military by demonstrating what they fight for -- the right of Americans to freely express themselves? Besides, didn’t we eventually honor Muhammad Ali for his refusal to participate in the Vietnam War, even when he was banned from boxing as a result? And, oh yeah, what about that “Star-Spangled Banner,” whose third verse passionately advocates for slavery? Shouldn’t we consider replacing it? It’s a tortured melody to begin with. Anyone who has suffered through it being screeched at a game can attest to that.

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September 2, 2016

LABORING ON LABOR DAY ON MSNBC

As you end your extended weekend of sun and fun, watch me talking politics on MSNBC during the 3PM Eastern hour, your transition from frolic to folly.

FOR ALT WE KNOW

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FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, AUG. 30, 2016
BY BOB FRANKEN

FOR ALT WE KNOW

Forget about the anti-everyone-else zealots, the so-called white nationalists who hang on Donald Trump like a hooded robe. They like to refer to themselves as “alt-right,” which is all right with Hillary Clinton and her peeps, who argue that the Trumpster has pulled the crazies out of their dumpster and spewed their noxious garbage into the mainstream of politics. He’s even made one of their most outspoken haters his campaign chief. Still, Donny responds to her charges with his usual finesse. He’s now calling Hillary “a bigot.” It’s great entertainment. If you like horror movies.

But “alt-right” is nowhere near as much fun as that other characteristic of this campaign, the constant litany of conspiracy theories. Let’s call them alt-wacko: The election is rigged; a judge of Mexican heritage can’t give Donald Trump a fair hearing; Vladimir Putin is in cahoots with Trump, so the Russian government is releasing private emails that embarrass Hillary Clinton and the Democrats so much that the emails will sway the election toward Trump. After all, look at all the nice things Vladimir says about Donald. And look at the experts citing evidence that hackers attached to his government are the ones dumping material that discredits Hillary, though she does a good job of that herself.

Yes, look at that stuff. But also consider how blatant it is, how heavy-handed, how widely accepted it is that Putin wants to put his guy Trump in the White House. Except that maybe it’s too neat, too obvious. So let me show you a double-cross conspiracy theory, one that will demonstrate that I, too, can play the nutcase game.

Consider the possibility that it’s really Hillary that Vlad wants to win. What if he’s floating all the assumptions that he’s a Trump guy, because of a public perception that he’s manipulating Donald like a puppet — actually, it’s more like the Trumpette Show. If his geeks at the Kremlin really wanted to humiliate the Democrats, would they be so transparent about it? In this case, the Russians have done everything they can to take credit, short of tagging their hacks with “I’m Vladimir Putin, and I approved this message.”

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