December 10, 2019

THAT IS WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

THAT IS WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR
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For a town where friendship is really a matter of expedience, where Best Friends Forever, or “BFF” in kiddie talk, has become “BFT,” Best Friends Temporarily, we sure have conjured up many sound bites about friendship. “You want a friend in Washington?” said Harry Truman, “Get a dog.” Unless, of course, Fido can get tastier kibbles elsewhere.
How about this one? “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” That one captures the transactional nature of geopolitical friendship. Collaborators in one battle can shift to adversaries in an instant. The Middle East is riddled with such shifting sands. We can always turn on yesterday’s loyal ally -- and we do. The United States, under President Donald Trump, has, at Turkey’s behest, just stuck the knife in the back of the Kurds, who were, up until the shiv went in, our fiercest compatriots in the battle against ISIS. Just the latest sad example.
But there is still more insight about friendship and its opposite. One of my personal favorites comes from Pogo, the brilliant cartoon character of whom a whole generation is not aware. Pity, kids, because Pogo, as drawn by Walt Kelly, dropped so many political pearls of wisdom on us; among them, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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December 7, 2019

THE AMERICAN SHORT STORY

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

THE AMERICAN SHORT STORY
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They’re called “lower thirds” or “chyrons.” Whichever term you use, they’re the television news version of bumper stickers, the sometimes-accurate digit reduction of stories to little word spurts. By comparison, tweets are weighty stuff.
But hey, I’m a TV twinkie, meaning an airhead, and my chyron, in this case, would be “Vlad Must Be Glad.” “Vlad” being Russian President Vladimir Putin, a man who doesn’t even bother anymore to hide his chortling at his betting on the right guy to be U.S. president. “Right” for Russia, that is; totally wrong for the United States.
Setting aside any evidence of collusion, no matter what Bob Mueller said, Putin was not only able to manipulate the American election in 2016 -- just ask every intelligence agency -- but his “useful idiots” in the Republican Party are now defending their Great Leader (President Donald Trump) by spreading the thoroughly fraudulent smokescreen that it was really Ukraine that was acting on behalf of Hillary Clinton to sway the voting her way.
In other words, the KGB spymaster has been successful in obscuring his actions by coming up with a counternarrative. It’s an old espionage deception, but the Trumpster and his jesters have spread it around to their unwitting millions of followers. Come to think of it, they count on the fact that few of their followers are witting, except for their superrich puppeteers who have gotten even richer now that Trump is in charge.

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December 3, 2019

BLOOMBERG: THE POWERS AND PITFALLS OF MONEY

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

BLOOMBERG: THE POWERS AND PITFALLS OF MONEY

This will be sacrilege to “Never Trumpers,” but Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump share some similarities. It is true that Bloomberg’s charitable foundation actually does good work, while Donald Trump had to pay a $2 million fine for basically using his for self-promotion. And it is true that Bloomberg has financed gun control efforts, while Trump, as president, has groveled before the National Rifle Association.
It is also true that the Donald now calls himself a Republican — in fact, he’s taken over the party — but he has switched between GOP, Democratic and even independent in his past. The Michael has a similarly checkered past, running as a Democrat in his current incarnation, but he was mayor of New York City as a Republican.
Bloomberg is filthy rich, worth more than $50 billion, and Donald Trump claims to be, although he refuses to release his tax returns, so we just have to take his word on that, and we know how much his word is worth. Bloomberg also has been stingy about making his tax returns public, but what he has shared is enough for the astute accountants to estimate he could buy Trump’s holdings out of petty cash.
It’s what they do with their wealth that is the same — obnoxiously the same. What they do is mishandle what they own. Much has been made of the Trumpster refusing to divest his properties and facing lawsuits charging him with violating the “emoluments clause.” The founders believed that a president must avoid profiting from the office, so much so that they made it part of the Constitution. It sure looks like his administration is for sale, to the point that it’s surprising he doesn’t do TV ads that come with a 1-800 number. What could be worse than that, you ask?

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November 30, 2019

OK ZOOMERS

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

OK, ZOOMERS

OK, zoomers: Here is your trigger warning. What was the name of Roy Rogers’ horse? The answer is Trigger. You were warned.
For those who are wondering who in tarnation is Roy Rogers, he called himself the “King of the Cowboys” and was one of the big stars of Western shoot-’em-up movies. Those films really contributed to the cultural mindset that has made us such a gun-totin’ country today, which results in one automatic weapon massacre after another. The idea that these killing machines are so embedded in the American identity makes it politically impossible to have any meaningful regulation of gun possession today, with deadly results.
The glamorization of killing without consequences had its roots in Roy, the Lone Ranger and others who roamed the Wild West on the screens and into our subconscious. In retrospect, these observations definitely should have had a trigger warning.
If you’re wondering who zoomers are, they make up Generation Z, and have barely made it out of puberty. As well as millennials, who just seem like they haven’t. It’s a snarky reference to those who are too young to have accumulated the mileage necessary to take over, well, just about anything. It’s also an irritable reaction to the “OK, boomer” dismissal of anyone who might offer the benefit of experience to anyone younger who thinks he or she knows everything and doesn’t need the benefit of seasoning that only comes from years of existence.

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CONFESSIONS OF A THANKSGIVING TURKEY

CHARM OFFENSIVE VS.JUST OFFENSIVE

THE CAPITOL'S KING LIAR

HILLARY PLAYING NIXON

ANOTHER BLOOMBERG DALLIANCE

BASEBALL STRIKES OUT

BETO'S EVAPORATION

DOG EAT DOG

A DEADLY GAME

LAWYERS AND LEGISLATORS

FINGER POINTING EVERYWHERE

BASEBALL AND THE POLITICAL GAMES

THE SMOKESCREEN

HAPPY BIRTHDAY VLAD

NOT READY FOR DEMOCRACY

AMERICA-FINLAND FUNLAND

THE SPIT AWARD

PIG LATIN

GAMES WITH NO RULES

THE COMPLETE STORY

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