August 29, 2016

THE NATIONAL UNREALITY SHOW

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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, AUG. 26, 2016
BY BOB FRANKEN
THE NATIONAL UNREALITY SHOW
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I must say that I don’t understand why people try to make up stuff about our presidential candidates when there’s so much that’s real and so totally bizarro. For example, let’s consider the phony issue that shameless Trump supporters (excuse the gross redundancy) have created out of thin air that Hillary Clinton’s health is precarious. Trump, of course, exploits this fiction constantly, questioning her “stamina.” His mouthpieces, like Sean Hannity and the gruesome Rudy Giuliani, are constantly promoting the rumor, which is somewhat sexist when you think about it -- that Hillary is weakened by all kinds of maladies. Giuliani even goes so far as to justify his claims by suggesting that one only needs to go online to see that he’s not making this up.

That’s part of the problem, of course. You can find anything online, and that includes wild rants that have no basis in fact whatsoever. So when Hillary moves her head back and forth to mock a reporter’s question, she’s having a seizure. And when she’s helped up the stairs, she’s obviously near collapse. And when those of us in the media show that the facts prove otherwise, we’re only secret supporters of hers, pretending to be journalists.

Of course, we are the very same ones who antagonize the Clintonistas by reporting on the unfolding email scandal. Yes, the ever-spreading indications are that her hidden emails reveal the staffs at the Clinton Foundation and the State Department may well have been involved in some sort of “pay to play” operation. If true, that would, in fact, be a “scandal.” It also might drip out in a way that brings her campaign down. Her people dismiss each disclosure by saying that it’s just another effort to discredit her by Judicial Watch, “a right-wing organization.” They say it so often, we might think we’re hearing an echo. And we’d be correct. It’s been more than 18 years since Hillary Clinton first talked about a “vast right-wing conspiracy” on the “Today” show. That was during the time of Monica Lewinsky, which showed that the right was not always wrong. We’ll see if they’re onto something again.

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August 24, 2016

LYING NAKED

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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, AUG. 23, 2016
BY BOB FRANKEN
LYING NAKED
Sometimes being unfair is totally fair. As the proverb goes, “Turnabout is fair play.” (“Proverb” is the old word for “sound bite,” which is the old word for “tweet.” But I digress ...) The point is that in some instances, people deserve what they get.
So it is with Donald Trump. He has insulted or directed hate at just about everybody except old, ignorant white guys, his constituency. Women? That’s another story. His remarks and conduct would put him in the Misogynist Hall of Fame if there was one. (Maybe that should be a Hall of Shame, but that’s another digression.) His comments about Megyn Kelly are so well-known that it’s not necessary to explain who she is or what he said about her “whatever.” It’s the same with Rosie O’Donnell. He delights in calling her a “fat pig.”
So, even those of us who know that body shaming is wrong believe it was absolutely the right thing to do to place in several cities the naked Donald Trump statues, ones that show him with a fat-pig body that clothing can’t really cover up. Is it accurate? I have no way of knowing for sure, but I want to believe so. I must admit the publicity and ridicule was, in this one case, entirely appropriate. Has anyone heard from Rosie O’Donnell?

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August 22, 2016

COMIC STRIP POLITICS

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FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, AUG. 19, 2016
BY BOB FRANKEN
COMIC STRIP POLITICS
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“I am who I am,” says Donald Trump, getting in touch with his inner Popeye. (I know it’s “I yam what I yam,” but cut me some slack here, Popeye purists.) Trumpy the railer man was assuring his interviewer that he’s definitely not going to get all Wimpy moving forward. That’s both fair and foul.
It’s fair because he’s gotten to where he is with a nasty mix of bigotry and hateful insults, spewing his sewage to millions who have made him their hero. Of course, that toxic mix is cheap-shot demagoguery and is as foul as it can be. But it’s the @realDonaldTrump, so why should he pretend he’s anyone else?
He has been under a lot of pressure to do just that from seasoned Republicans who say that he needs to turn down the spite spigot and try to act like a serious presidential candidate now that he is, in fact, the GOP nominee. Their contention is that while the hard-right-wingers in their party got whipped up enough by his simple-minded belligerence to put him at the top of their heap, the general electorate -- even those who can’t abide the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton -- might be horrified by his repeated crass cruelty.
The campaign brought on a political pro, Paul Manafort, whose job it was to somehow make Donald Trump appear to be at least minimally plausible to be president of the United States. Manafort deposed the first campaign leader, Corey Lewandowski, whose main strategy was “Let Trump Be Trump.” Lewandowski got to be vicariously Popeye, and among the ways he enforced his approach was to harshly grab the arm of a female reporter. He was accused of assault, but the charges were dropped. Later, thanks to Manafort, Lewandowski was dropped.

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August 18, 2016

POO POO POLITICS

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, AUG. 16, 2016
BY BOB FRANKEN
POO POO POLITICS
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If you had any doubts about how juvenile those of us in newsbiz are, put them to rest. Look no further than how much attention we gave pundit Fareed Zakaria after he was asked on TV to characterize Donald Trump. He called him a “bulls**t artist.” Now, Zakaria is considered a serious columnist, perhaps even pompous, and he doesn’t usually get all that much attention. But let him drop the “b” word, and we callow ones can’t stop tittering and talking about him. (And, yes, I’m so immature that I go out of my way to use the word “titter.”)
As for Zakaria, he obviously recognized that he had cussed his way into publicity pay dirt, so he even decided to follow up and write a serious analytical piece on the history and meaning of the term “bulls**t.” Here’s my quick review of that column: totally boring bulls**t.
It’s not that he was wrong. When all is said and done, Trump is a bulls**t artist. His most famous book probably should have been called “The Art of the Bulls**ter.”
To be clear, it’s not that vulgarities offend me personally. When it comes to my private conversations, I swear by swearing. But a lot of people don’t, and they don’t want their precious little tykes to hear such talk, even though their precious little tykes casually use foul language the moment they’re out of earshot of mommy and/or daddy.
It’s just that there are so many clever ways to describe The Donald without being quite so crass. My personal favorite came from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who characterized Trump’s rhetoric as “verbal poo-poo.” Doesn’t that have a nice touch? Donny’s talk of “Second Amendment people” dealing with Hillary? “Verbal poo-poo.” Same for his “sarcasm” about President Barack Obama being the ISIS “founder”: poo-poo. And when he describes the miserable shape the nation is in, he’s poo-mouthing the country.

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