Bob Franken

CRASS ACTION LAWSUIT

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

CRASS ACTION LAWSUIT

Ex-President Donald Trump is up to his old stings. He has turned to the courts to file a class-action lawsuit, waging “a pivotal battle in the defense of the First Amendment.”
At the head of the lucrative “class” is Trump; the defendants are the sprawling social media networks and their heads. He claims that Facebook, Twitter and Google have operated in cahoots with the Democratic Party and Dr. Anthony Fauci, among others, to suppress conservative voices, in particular his.
Trump has been thrown off of Facebook and Twitter for constantly peddling misinformation, which, when you think of their track record, is a low bar. And considering many factors — that Trump governed by tweet, the number of extreme right-wing charlatans that still have a presence on social media, similar legal actions that judges of all political persuasions have tossed out — it’s difficult not to conclude that he’s trying to bamboozle his gullible base. Notice the prominently displayed “Donate” button on the website streaming his remarks, if you get my grift. (I should point out that “in cahoots with” and “bamboozle” are not legal terms. “Defraud” is. And to play it safe, “allegedly” is, too.)
Now remember, this is the guy who popularized the term “fake news,” which meant unerringly that a story was true. He’s the guy who drove a mob to such an anti-USA fever pitch that the members attempted a coup at the Capitol building, with groups of the marauding insurrectionists assaulting journalists — excuse me, allegedly assaulting journalists. So his citing the First Amendment takes a lot of chutzpah. To refresh his base’s memory, Amendment No. 1 protects citizens against the government taking action that jeopardizes such stuff as the “freedom … of the press.” Arguably, as president he represented government each time he referred to reporters as an “enemy of the people,” which was Josef Stalin’s description of reporters.

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COVID AND OTHER FIREWORKS

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

COVID AND OTHER FIREWORKS

Did you notice on anti-social media how many of the Roman-candles-in-the-sky photos looked like magnified coronaviruses? It is appropriate, unfortunately, because no matter how we protest that we as a nation are past Covid, we’re really not. As long as so many in the American herd refuse to get vaccinated, we will never achieve the “herd immunity” to bury the pandemic once and for all in this country. And in the US of A, there are about a thousand counties where the immunization rate is below 30%.
That’s stupid. If you don’t believe me, would you listen to Tony Fauci, the best known expert in the universe? He says it a teeny bit more politely: “The overwhelming proportion of people who get into trouble are the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we say this is really entirely avoidable and preventable.” At an under 30% vaccination rate, a surge in the deadly Covid could happen at any moment, particularly with the coronavirus variant lurking about, striking down people who don’t need to be struck down. And I’ll tell you right now how we will be able to determine when the nation is out from under Covid once and for all: It’s when Tony Fauci is on none of the SOunday talk shows. That’ll be a dead giveaway.

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THAT PESKY CONSTITUTION

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

THAT PESKY CONSTITUTION

Gloria Allred, who represents more than 30 of Bill Cosby’s accusers, attributed his release from prison by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to “technical grounds.” Another who charged him of sexual assault called it a “legal glitch.”
That “legal glitch” and Allred’s “technical grounds” are not trivial, unless the United States Constitution is of little consequence. Unless the 5th Amendment to the Bill of Rights — which protects, among other things, a person from being “compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself” — is insignificant.
In Bill Cosby’s case, the sexual abuse allegations against him had been circulating publicly for years when a prosecutor worked a deal with him by promising that nothing Cosby said in a civil lawsuit deposition could be forevermore used as incriminating evidence. But a subsequent prosecutor broke the deal, and years later Cosby was indicted and convicted based on exactly that evidence. He served three years of his sentence before the state’s Supreme Court ruled that his conviction was a breach of his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination, or, as the justices wrote, such a “vast” violation of the Constitution that he could never be tried again because also in that same 5th Amendment double jeopardy applied.

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THE ART OF NO DEAL

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

THE ART OF NO DEAL

Here’s a little inside-the-Beltway knowledge (in fact, it’s inside the White House gate): In the executive mansion, where people go only if they have a temporary or a permanent pass issued by the Secret Service, there’s a “drop” in the driveway outside the West Wing. A drop is a permanently installed live camera position. There are hundreds of these drops in official Washington and dozens within the White House complex, sealed off by unfriendly men and women of the Secret Service protective detail who talk into their sleeves.
The driveway drop is one of the places where lesser lights than the president, vice president, cabinet members, etc., usually hold their press “availabilities,” or “avails” inside the “gilded cage,” as President Joe Biden calls it. The commander in chief can go anywhere he wants. Which, long after your eyes have glazed over, is the point.
A senator would be one of these lesser lights who have occasion to meet with Biden all the time. They would be consigned to the driveway drop, while the chief executive could speak inside. Senators have much too fragile egos for that, particularly since it’s only a matter of time, in their minds, until they will run the whole show, unless some foul-mouthed idiot comes along.
You know how the CEO, in a dominant position, will leave his desk barrier on high and join the supplicant on the nearby couch? It’s done when the exec is trying to convince you that he’s a good guy, or mislead you into thinking so.
Guess who joined the senators’ delegation after their all-important meeting on infrastructure legislation at their driveway location. Yes, it was Uncle Joe himself, strolling with the Capitol delegation and announcing, “We have a deal.” It was a blatant example of trying to project a “we’re all in this together” demeanor.
Except that they are not all in this together. Far from it. They have just reached, as the old-timey quiz show described it, “the first plateau.” The reality is that they are several plateaus apart and the valleys are slithering with poisonous snakes heading in all directions.
On the left, there are sandal-wearing water moccasins. (This is a lousy metaphor because snakes wouldn’t wear sandals, would they? For that matter, they wouldn’t wear moccasins either. That’s why they are called “cottonmouths” too, which is appropriate because as politicians, they talk out of both sides of their cotton mouths. But I digress.)
These deadly progressive snakes are predatory. They find many of their natural enemies in their own nest: the moderates. Meanwhile, the GOP reptiles, whose main characteristic is following the dreaded Trumpsnake, wouldn’t vote for any Biden-led or meet-me-in-the-middle proposal.
The progressive snakes want what is loosely described as “soft infrastructure,” paid for by taxing the rich: climate change policies, paid medical leave, “Medicare for all,” every liberal dream and no compromises. But if Biden tries to placate the left, he displeases the right.

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SHOT NOT

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

SHOT NOT

Why do some people refuse to protect themselves from the ravages of Covid by spurning the readily available vaccines that have proven so safe and effective? More importantly, for those who are so bent on individual self-harm, why resist furthering all of America’s herd immunity against the deadly coronavirus that caused such misery in our society?
The only justifiable reason might be skepticism. Largely, what divides us is based on the raw deal most of us riffraff have gotten from the “experts” and other elites who take care of themselves first. That would include the pharmaceutical mega-companies and the do-anything-for-a-buck politicians, which are their easiest enablers. This disgust is exploited by demagogues like Donald Trump.
But sometimes, the experts are not running a scam. Sometimes, like Anthony Fauci, they know what they’re talking about or quickly learn from the bitter experience of confronting something new, like the coronavirus. In fact, when Trump came up with his one contribution to fighting the pandemic — the development of vaccines at “Warp Speed” — it was Fauci and the other experts who made sure he and the program didn’t use its warp speed to run off the rails like most of what Trump said and did.
Once the nation came to its senses and elected Joe Biden, aka “anybody but Trump,” and our various institutions overcame Don Trump’s “Big Lie” — that he had really won the presidential election — Biden and his crew reeled in the chaos and started directing the vials into our arms. Lickety-split, the inoculations began doing their magic.

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