Bob Franken

NEW HORIZONS IN CLICHES

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

NEW HORIZONS IN CLICHES

The latest catchphrase that trendy Defense Department briefers and the usual background “reliable sources” are using is “over the horizon.” It’s designed to give an exotic spin to technology that can be deployed from far away, at least the 3 miles or so of land or water that a human can see before the horizon takes over; it’s simply because the planet curves.
Unless you are a member of the Flat Earth Society, that rudimentary explanation suffices. But Maj. Gen. William “Hank” Taylor, who is an Army Joint Staff member, was one of the most recent to use it as part of Army cyberjargon at a recent Pentagon briefing:
“Without specifying any future plans, I will say that we will continue to have the ability to defend ourselves and to leverage over-the-horizon capability to conduct counterterrorism operations as needed.”
He was speaking about taking out two leaders from the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State referred to as ISIS-K, for Islamic State Khorasan. They were in their car riding in faraway Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan when they were bombed from a drone as part of President Joe Biden’s vow of vengeance for the ISIS suicide bombing attack that killed 13 U.S. armed forces and nearly 200 Afghans, including women and children:
“We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay. Whenever anyone seeks to harm the United States or attack our troops, we will respond.”
Then, as President Biden and first lady Jill Biden joined the families in Dover, Delaware, for the “dignified transfer” of the military victims of the first ISIS attack at Kabul International Airport, another U.S. drone obliterated even more of the attackers. It fired from on high just over Kabul’s airport gates, as announced by Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban:
“U.S. military forces conducted a self-defense, unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamid Karzai International Airport.”
Note the “horizon” reference. Whatever the terminology, the drone rained down missiles on the latest “imminent threat,” a vehicle reportedly filled with explosives and suicide bombers.

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WHAT’S IN A NAME? NOTHING

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

WHATS’S IN A NAME? NOTHING.

Americans do love our abbreviations and acronyms. So when we talk about the FDA, we mean the Food and Drug Administration, not the Foot Dragging Administration, which is what some people call it because it takes such an unnecessarily long time to make a decision about the safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals.
When the FDA goes from emergency use authorization (EUA) to full regulatory approval of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine in months instead of years, that’s something for the company’s PR department (yeah yeah, I know, “public relations”) to brag about. And that’s no BS.
But then the corporation’s marketing executives decided to attach a brand name, probably because they were trying to justify their existence, and the best they could come up with was Comirnaty. Comirnaty? What’s a Comirnaty? Is that like a “Covfefe,” Donald Trump’s contribution to the English language back when he was allowed on Twitter?
Was “Comirnaty” a typographical error? No, there was a method to the marketing department’s madness. As Brand Institute executive Scott Piergrossi told a trade publication:
“The name is coined from covid-19 immunity, and then embeds the mRNA in the middle, which is the platform technology, and as a whole the name is meant to evoke the word ‘community.’” Now we know! Did your eyes glaze over?
Here’s more, from the National Human Genome Research Institute, on mRNA, which stands for Messenger RNA: “Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a single-stranded RNA molecule that is complementary to one of the DNA strands of a gene. The mRNA is an RNA version of the gene that leaves the cell nucleus and moves to the cytoplasm where proteins are made. During protein synthesis, an organelle called a ribosome moves along the mRNA, reads its base sequence, and uses the genetic code to translate each three-base triplet, or codon, into its corresponding amino acid.” And so you know, the National Human Genome Research Institute is part of NIH (National Institutes of Health), which is part of the Health and Human Services department (HHS), which is part of the administration of any president (POTUS).

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LOST CIVILIZATION

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

LOST CIVILIZATION

One thing about anti-social media: It may be a spreader of misinformation, but the responses in the comments sections give us a rough idea of the nastiness that has spread over the United States like toxic sewage. The political debate gets uglier and uglier. On both sides.
For instance, both sides celebrate when misfortune falls on their political enemies — note that’s “enemies,” not “adversaries.” So when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a resister of mask mandates, tests positive for Covid, too many liberals cheered, at least in private. Now, that’s not very progressive, is it? And to spread the poison around, when Jesse Jackson and his wife were hospitalized for the same disease, a big cheer went up from too many conservatives. That is not conduct worthy of a civilized country.
So when withdrawal from a war in Afghanistan blows up in our faces, we think of it mainly in political terms — as in “Joe Biden is going to get his.” The blot of blame spreads over four administrations, as well as the blot of deceit. Never mind the mourning of another military defeat for our country or the hit to our national reputation for abandoning those Afghans who sustained the American cause there as interpreters and other civilian support staff. And never mind the pro-government fighters who expected top-of-the-line training from their U.S. armed forces counterparts; both were betrayed when corruption ate up so many of the tens of billions of dollars that were supposed to make the Afghans a first-class fighting force.
For those who did escape as promised, the “Welcome to America” mat was unevenly woven. On the one hand, some U.S. citizens have volunteered to help the latest “huddled masses yearning to be free.” They have gone out of their way to organize rudimentary living necessities for the flood of refugees and their families — food and a roof over their heads.
At the same time that illumination was spreading its warmth over our country, commentators and plain ‘ol anti-Muslims were charging up the atmosphere with the harsh lightning of their bigotry.
Within days, the bitterest combat started heating up in an unfamiliar battleground, a long-valued sanctuary for peace and knowledge — that would be our schools, where we send our tots. Already, some parents are reacting violently to mask mandates for their enrolled kiddies. Reports from Texas and California tell of enraged grown-ups ripping masks off of the faces of educators and slugging others. Or we have heard about some people taking the same sort of action when it comes to vaccination requirements, refusing to comply in a misguided understanding of legal rights.

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TRUMP VS. BIDEN

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

TRUMP VS. BIDEN

“DO YOU MISS ME YET?”
Those words came last week in a statement from former President Donald Trump, released on Twitter via a surrogate because Trump was thrown off the service in January. But there was no doubt it was his. The blowhard tweet was vintage Don Trump. And the reaction was scathing, in spite of the Biden Afghanistan debacle.
Let’s paraphrase, because this is a family publication: No, sleaze-bag. And we don’t miss his smarmy cast of characters, like Mike Lindell, the MyPillow guy, who has gone over the edge of the bed by predicting Trump’s “reinstatement” by the end of this month.
Not that Biden is having an easy time of it. In fact, the polls show that his approval rating has slipped beneath 50%, and that’s before recent political losses as U.S. forces withdraw from Afghanistan. They will come down more sure as shooting, or really, our allies not shooting and turning tail and running.

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AMERICAN IGNOMINY

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

AMERICAN IGNOMINY

So far, the American withdrawal from Afghanistan has been a chaotic and even deadly abandonment. We leave behind so many Afghans who helped us over two decades and are now desperate to escape the Taliban.
Why are Taliban troops having such an easy time with pro-government forces, who either surrendered at their first encounter or simply deserted? The Taliban militias cut through them like a knife through butter, in spite of 20 years of training and an estimated $88 billion of the United States’ money to formulate an Afghan-armed military.
Actually, it’s a story of three governments — the Taliban, the puppet government installed in Kabul and the U.S. government — one of them living in the dark ages but emerging victorious yet again.
Ragtag though it was, the Taliban governed Afghanistan before the United States invaded and drove them out. The Muslim militants’ support of Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks was given as the reason. In December 2001, the U.S. attacked Tora Bora after intelligence pinpointed bin Laden there. But he escaped to Pakistan and went into hiding for several years, until the Obama administration flushed him out and killed him.

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