Bob Franken

NEXT DECEMBER’S DILEMMA

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

NEXT DECEMBER’S DILEMMA

How could it be that even though reservations have been open since mid-June and it’s nearly six months away, sales for Donald Trump’s Florida and Texas appearances in mid-December have been blah. You’d think they would have been sold out by now, particularly since Trump will be paired with … wait for it … Bill O’Reilly!
The reaction has been underwhelming, even though the Trumpster promises that the four-appearance conversation tour will be “fun, fun, fun for everyone who attends.” O’Reilly adds, “It will not be boring.”
Tickets run between $100 each for the cheap seats and $300 for the not so cheap ones. There is a package available for $8,500 — the VIP Meet and Greet combo — which includes pictures and a 45-minute reception. It’s tempting.
Apparently, not tempting for enough people. A promoter at one of the four venues says that sales should have been higher. “It hasn’t been [selling] like crazy.” This would have been unheard of in the good old days, like a few months ago. The pace of sales and the state of mind of those scooping up all the rally tickets could have been counted on to be frenzied, particularly for a Donald Trump-Bill O’Reilly extravaganza. Is this a case of out of sight out of mind?
Perhaps the erosion has imperceptibly started, taking its baby steps. To be sure, the Donald Trump magic is still there in Republican circles. Among GOP diehards, defying Trump would seem to be displaying a death wish.

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THE DEMOCRACY PLATITUDE

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

THE DEMOCRACY PLATITUDE

In a democracy, the majority rules. Well, that platitude is only partially true. We get what we elect only if the choice is a stacked deck. And in the US of A, our government is replete with stacked decks.
The Republicans are trying to add a few cards to that deck to make sure they maintain their clout. They are choking off access to the ballot box for those out of power; people of color, the poor, the elderly and the unhealthy — anyone who could be expected to vote Democrat.
As anybody who reads this column (both of you) knows all too well, the GOP has a two-pronged attack that involves two levels of government: the red state legislatures and the federal. Right now, the state battle is being fought in the best little madhouse in Texas, the state capitol building in Austin. And elsewhere.

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TRUMP TRUMPS BIDEN

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

TRUMP TRUMPS BIDEN

When talking to FOX News Sunday about the deadly Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol invasion, former President Donald Trump described the participants this way: “These were peaceful people; these were great people.”
Now, I’m as guilty as the rest of my reporter tribe in that I give former President Donald Trump far too much attention and what’s-his-name far too little. That interview snippet demonstrates all too well what Trump knows: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” The guy has had a lifetime of bad publicity, the kind that only a bigoted, ignorant, con man demagogue can have. And he became president of the United States.
But in the media, that repulsiveness trumps Joe Biden’s competence every time. Ho hum. This is particularly true because Trump never ceases to show his brazenness, starting and ending with the “big lie” that he actually won the 2020 presidential election when he decisively lost. That whopper resulted in a mob going wild at the Capitol, where several died, and likely hundreds of his base will serve serious prison time for participating.
Meanwhile, Uncle Joe just plods: rescuing us from a pandemic and righting all the wrongs that Trump somehow got the millions of people in his base to blindly accept, probably because he pushed their xenophobia buttons. But Joe gets the short end of the stick.

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CRASS ACTION LAWSUIT

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

CRASS ACTION LAWSUIT

Ex-President Donald Trump is up to his old stings. He has turned to the courts to file a class-action lawsuit, waging “a pivotal battle in the defense of the First Amendment.”
At the head of the lucrative “class” is Trump; the defendants are the sprawling social media networks and their heads. He claims that Facebook, Twitter and Google have operated in cahoots with the Democratic Party and Dr. Anthony Fauci, among others, to suppress conservative voices, in particular his.
Trump has been thrown off of Facebook and Twitter for constantly peddling misinformation, which, when you think of their track record, is a low bar. And considering many factors — that Trump governed by tweet, the number of extreme right-wing charlatans that still have a presence on social media, similar legal actions that judges of all political persuasions have tossed out — it’s difficult not to conclude that he’s trying to bamboozle his gullible base. Notice the prominently displayed “Donate” button on the website streaming his remarks, if you get my grift. (I should point out that “in cahoots with” and “bamboozle” are not legal terms. “Defraud” is. And to play it safe, “allegedly” is, too.)
Now remember, this is the guy who popularized the term “fake news,” which meant unerringly that a story was true. He’s the guy who drove a mob to such an anti-USA fever pitch that the members attempted a coup at the Capitol building, with groups of the marauding insurrectionists assaulting journalists — excuse me, allegedly assaulting journalists. So his citing the First Amendment takes a lot of chutzpah. To refresh his base’s memory, Amendment No. 1 protects citizens against the government taking action that jeopardizes such stuff as the “freedom … of the press.” Arguably, as president he represented government each time he referred to reporters as an “enemy of the people,” which was Josef Stalin’s description of reporters.

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COVID AND OTHER FIREWORKS

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

COVID AND OTHER FIREWORKS

Did you notice on anti-social media how many of the Roman-candles-in-the-sky photos looked like magnified coronaviruses? It is appropriate, unfortunately, because no matter how we protest that we as a nation are past Covid, we’re really not. As long as so many in the American herd refuse to get vaccinated, we will never achieve the “herd immunity” to bury the pandemic once and for all in this country. And in the US of A, there are about a thousand counties where the immunization rate is below 30%.
That’s stupid. If you don’t believe me, would you listen to Tony Fauci, the best known expert in the universe? He says it a teeny bit more politely: “The overwhelming proportion of people who get into trouble are the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we say this is really entirely avoidable and preventable.” At an under 30% vaccination rate, a surge in the deadly Covid could happen at any moment, particularly with the coronavirus variant lurking about, striking down people who don’t need to be struck down. And I’ll tell you right now how we will be able to determine when the nation is out from under Covid once and for all: It’s when Tony Fauci is on none of the SOunday talk shows. That’ll be a dead giveaway.

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