October 15, 2019

THE SMOKESCREEN

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

THE SMOKESCREEN

President Donald Trump and his accomplices are really busy deflecting all the damning charges against them by using every misleading tactic available. They are putting the “con” in “Constitution.” When he doesn’t flat-out lie, his lawyers are utilizing that time-dishonored tactic of obfuscation, muddying up the clear meaning of the nation’s fundamental user guide.
It’s all meant to cause everyone’s eyes to glaze over by putting forward bogus arguments for why they don’t comply with the rules as they were written back in 1787. The House, unambiguously, is given the sole power to impeach. Still, you have the White House counsel, under order from his boss Trump, writing that neither Trump nor his underlings will cooperate because the House of Representatives is conducting an “unconstitutional” investigation. It’s totally contrived, but they’re counting on the probability that those who have not taken a Con Law course will get bored really quickly with a process argument. That includes the vast majority of Americans and certainly the members of his base.
But there are some cracks in the crackpot wall they’ve constructed. Some of those who report to the Don Trump or his other capos -- in this case, his Secretary of State -- have defied the orders from on high. Notably, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled and basically fired as ambassador by Trump. All because she wouldn’t play ball with his shenanigans aimed at discrediting Joe Biden. Also Gordon Sondland, Trump’s buddy and ambassador to the European Union.
Features Syndicate, Inc.

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October 12, 2019

HAPPY BIRTHDAY VLAD

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

HAPPY BIRTHDAY VLAD

Vladimir Putin is not a Facebook friend of mine -- that I know of, anyway. He could be, perhaps registered under an alias put out by the Moscow Troll Department, but to my knowledge, I didn’t send a “Happy birthday to Vlad” greeting to mark the Russian president’s 67th.
Nor did Donald Trump send his good wishes, at least not on Facebook, even though Mr. Putin had a lot to do with his being the American president in the first place.
But he didn’t really have to mark the occasion. For Putin, Trump has been the gift who keeps on giving by tattering the United States of America and its already frayed tapestry of democracy. The U.S. political system is supposed to be an intricate knit of balancing powers that are woven into the legislative, executive and judicial branches of federal government, as any high school student is taught. Apparently, Trump missed class that day, or he simply chooses to ignore it. The same way he chooses to ignore any time-tested rule or moral standard that gets in his way. His conduct, both before he assumed the chief executive role and since, is splattered with the stain of corruption and hateful demagoguery.

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October 8, 2019

NOT READY FOR DEMOCRACY

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

NOT READY FOR DEMOCRACY

In his “Gettysburg Address,” Abraham Lincoln described a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” The problem for any democracy is that those people can make a mistake -- a dangerous mistake -- by electing someone who’s severely unqualified or a bloomin’ nutcase.
Look no further than Donald Trump, our current president, who possesses the power to wreak terrible damage. In fact, he’s doing just that, both with his policies that roll back decades of progress, returning America to a menace to the planet, and even more so with his rhetoric, which has exposed wounds to the nation that might never heal.
By the way, didn’t Trump refer to our 16th president as “the late, great Abraham Lincoln,” sounding like some sleazy lounge singer performing on a world stage? Those lined up against Trump in the impeachment fight hope that he will go down in history as the 45th president who was forced to prematurely step aside for the 46th president, Mike Pence. Actually, the get-rid-of-Trump forces shudder at the thought of replacing the deranged current act with his smarmy sycophant, but that’s how it works in our democracy. Unless, of course, they can make it a twofer.

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October 5, 2019

AMERICA-FINLAND FUNLAND

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

AMERICA-FINLAND FUNLAND
---
Pity the poor head of state who visits the White House. This time around, it was the Finnish president watching another fight to the finish by his host, American President Donald Trump.
Finland’s Sauli Niinisto was the latest human prop, maintaining a stone face and keeping his thoughts to himself, but perhaps worrying whether his U.S. counterpart had rabies. Trump has been foaming at the mouth more than normal these days, going bonkers before our very eyes, as his attacks against anyone and everyone involved in his impeachment probe get increasingly vicious, seemingly with no regard to the safety of those who stand in his way.
First, one of his milder tirades: He accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of handing out subpoenas targeting his accomplices “like they are cookies.” Perhaps that’s his half-baked response to getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar, a whistleblower charge that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine’s new leader, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to reopen an investigation against Joe Biden and his son Hunter for corruption in Ukraine, even though a probe was already concluded with no charges. Trump is accused of seeking foreign help for his reelection bid -- which by the way is a crime -- after a transcript of his July call with Zelenskiy provided strong evidence that he was holding back more than a quarter-billion dollars in military aid until he was satisfied that Zelenskiy was playing ball. Apparently, Donald Trump considers Joe Biden his greatest barrier to reelection. But now there is a threat that his term won’t make it to re-election, because the heretofore timid Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, have launched their aggressive impeachment process.

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