January 25, 2020

IMPEACHMENT PLAYTIME

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

IMPEACHMENT PLAYTIME
---
Right now, you are probably asking yourself: Where do senators go first when they get a break in the impeachment trial, called a “recess, subject to the call of the chair”? Do they head for their phones, which have been taken from them so they can pay attention to the squabbling, or do they rush to the bathroom? The question gives new meaning to the terms “No. 1” or “No. 2,” although some of them have figured out how to grab their electronics in one motion as they race by. That way, they can combine both needs at the same time. For a few of them, the answer is “It Depends.”
What does “subject to the call of the chair” mean, anyway? It indicates that the chairperson has had his or her toidy time and perhaps caught up on messages. Otherwise, the senators are supposed to just sit there and ponder in silence whether Donald Trump should be removed from office, while watching the interlopers do battle and largely make total asses of themselves. The Constitution requires that the chief justice presides over this most solemn of government processes, but he really doesn’t have a lot to do, other than take his robes and walk across the street from the Supreme Court building to the Capitol, put on his robes and well ... just sit there.
Chief Justice John Roberts famously described himself as nothing more than an umpire, as opposed to the hard-right ideologue that some of his colleagues are. But finally, even the non-assertive ump had enough of the antics in this Washington Senators game, with attorneys on both sides throwing verbal beanballs at each other:
“I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and president’s counsel in equal terms,” he scolded, “to remember that they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

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January 22, 2020

DALLAS, THE PALACE AND OTHER MALICE

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

DALLAS, THE PALACE AND OTHER MALICE
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For the kiddies, it’ll be necessary to start this rant by explaining that there was an immensely popular TV show called “Dallas” that ran from 1978 through 1991. It traced the antics of a grossly dysfunctional Texas family dynasty. Now we have the soap opera about a grossly dysfunctional British family dynasty. We could call it “Palace.”
Where “Dallas” was fiction, “Palace” is stranger than fiction. But there are similarities: The Ewings of South Fork were caught up in intrigue for their entire 13-year show run. In the case of London’s Windsors, they have a history of plotting and murder that goes back centuries. Both have absolute rulers: the Windsors’ royal QE2, and the Ewings’ JR2, who is a royal pain. So are all their squabbling offspring.
Prince Harry is the latest one to give Queen Elizabeth fits. He and his wife Meghan have basically done a Johnny Paycheck. (For the benefit those who watch too much PBS and wouldn’t be caught dead listening to country music, Paycheck recorded a song called “Take This Job and Shove It.”)

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January 18, 2020

FAIR GAME FOUL GAME

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

FAIR GAME FOUL GAME
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Let’s give a little credit to President Donald Trump: He’s not a plagiarizer. His wife has been known to lift a few passages, but that’s not his thing.
Actually, Twitter has retweeting, so plagiarism is not necessary. You can steal ideas without raising a sweat. Sometimes Trump’s most despicable stuff comes from others, like the doctored picture of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer photoshopped in a hijab and turban standing before a morphed Iranian flag. In this case, the Trumpster was borrowing the work from one of his Islamophobe supporters, but it could just as easily have been from one of his white supremacy backers.
Actually, when it comes to white supremacy, you don’t have to be an “Ever Trumper,” nor even a fan of his. Look no further than the Oscar nominees if you want to see a left-leaning group that’s almost lily white. Or look at the most recent political debate, which by the way was the Democratic presidential debate, you know the Democratic organization, that sanctimoniously bills itself as the party of diversity. The Democrats managed to stage a debate that looked like a loaf of Wonder Bread. Is there not anyone of color who can capture America’s interest, or is America’s interest overridden by bigotry, some of it subtle?

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January 14, 2020

"I" WORDS

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

“I” WORDS
---
Let’s deal with the letter “I.” No, it’s not because we are run by a bunch of self-involved leaders, including the narcissist in chief, President Donald Trump. It’s because, for whatever reason, much of our news right now involves “I” words.
Where do we begin? How about with IMPEACHMENT, which is back to dominating the news cycle now that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stopped IMPEDING the transfer of the articles of Trump’s impeachment to the Senate for reasons that were never clear, no matter how many times she explained them.
Perhaps it’s because the Senate majority leader looks ready to blatantly ignore the oath of IMPARTIALITY that members take before they hold a trial to determine whether the Trump presidency would be INTERRUPTED for good. And yes, I will freely admit that this will quickly become a stretch, but onward and downward.
Where was I? The impeachment narrative was overtaken by the IRAN one, which is fair, given that for reasons only he or his accomplices know, Trump decided to take us to the brink of war by assassinating one of Tehran’s really bad actors, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, leader of proxy forces that have been responsible for killing hundreds of Americans. But Soleimani had been in that murderous role for decades. Why did Trump order his obliteration by drone now? Was it by sheer coincidence that impeachment was about to rear its ugly head or, as the Don Trump and his henchmen claimed, was he bypassing the legal requirements to notify Congress and taking this country into an all-out military confrontation because of an exception when there is an IMMINENT danger to America or Americans. Yeah, that’s the word they came up with ... Soleimani presented an IMMINENT danger. What it was, the Trump mob failed to make clear, either in subsequent congressional briefings or in various public pronouncements. As for the Don himself, his descriptions of the threats spiral with his every telling. His latest version is that unless the Iranian general had been taken out now, an INCREASING number of U.S. embassies would have been attacked. And we should take him at his word, because we all know how INVIOLABLE his word is.

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