Bob Franken

REVIEWING TRUMP’S FUTURE

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

REVIEWING TRUMP’S FUTURE

Could it be that Donald Trump is losing his touch? “Who?” you ask, and that’s exactly the point. With the Trumpster sliding from the main stage to lounge act, we may soon imagine a world where he’s traveling from small town to small town in a rickety old bus, playing before a handful of seats in a shabby motel with a dwindling number of old white guys as an audience, all that’s left of his massive base.
The rest will have turned their attention elsewhere, died off or be among the right wing extremists still in prison for their crimes stemming from the Jan. 6 siege of the United States Capitol building. Although the participants who had been released still might be spotted mumbling QAnon theories about the Capitol invaders actually defending the building from antifa.
Nevertheless, for those convicted of conspiracy, the planners of the most violent tactics, their crimes would be considered so serious that they’d end up serving their sentences at the “Supermax” penitentiary in Colorado.
If so, it’d be the rare case where the punishment fit the crime. However, to see the danger in that scenario, we have to go back nearly 20 years, to Iraq and Camp Bucca, a U.S. prison base plopped right in the desert. It grew into Buccamax, where the worst Iraqi POWs were held. Unfortunately, it also threw together a bunch of hard-nosed anti-Americans with substantial military experience. Their organizing abilities contributed significantly to the formation of ISIS. When they were released, they went on a sweep across the vast sands of the Middle East, capturing huge chunks of territory and oppressing the population, particularly women, with their capricious moral laws.

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PUPS AND PERVS (ALLEGED)

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATES
BY BOB FRANKEN

PUPS AND PERVS (ALLEGED)

Up until now I haven’t written about Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) because he’s too pervy for my taste. And by now you know how warped my taste is.
Besides, he is ALLEGEDLY pervy, so there might be a perfectly good explanation for why he’s being investigated by the feds and the House Ethics Committee for, among other things, taking a minor across state lines to have sex with her — a minor, a girl, a kid. That would make him a pedophile, excuse me, an alleged pedophile. That’s why I have not been interested in discussing Matt Gaetz like the rest of the voyeuristic journalists.
Besides, Gaetz closely associated himself with Donald Trump, so to me he’s already a certified scumbag. At one point he tried to intimidate Michael Cohen, Trump’s former legal go-fer, via twitter. He threatened to disclose Cohen’s alleged extramarital affairs and make his existence a living hell, presumably because Michael Cohen was about to spill the beans on Donald Trump.
To the best of anyone’s knowledge, Cohen’s “girlfriends” do not include anyone underaged, so when it comes to allegations, Gaetz still, uh, trumps Cohen.
But back to why I resisted writing about Gaetz, even though I’m obviously having so much fun. It’s just that I should be focusing on more important stuff. Like, the Biden puppy, Major. At 3 years old, he’s the younger of the two Biden dogs and, might I add, a rescue. Unfortunately, he has a bad habit of biting people. He keeps on getting in the doghouse as he roams the halls of the White House. Major has bitten two people so far — a member of the Secret Service and a Park Service employee.

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WOKE THIS WAY

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

WOKE THIS WAY

The way it usually works out, organized labor is aligned with the Democrats, and big business is closely connected to the GOP. And it is true that the Dems still march in lockstep with those who are the employees, by and large and the Republicans who step out with the employers. . However, it’s both Republicans and Democrats who are slugging it out with the corporations.
First of all, when I say “Republicans,” I mean the Trump party. When I say “ultra-conservative,” these days that means “Trump-inspired.” You never hear of ultra-conservative Democrats; their opponents describe them as radical liberals and moderates. I happen to think that’s unfair; those on the far left should be titled the “Immoderates,” but that’s another discussion.
We were talking about the Trumpsters and how they are currently trash talking the decision-makers at the conglomerates. It’s regarding Republican voter-suppression efforts. GOP state legislators in 40-plus states are racing to return to the Jim Crow glories of yesteryear. And who has created the biggest uproar about that? The corporations.
The state of Georgia has passed the most egregious suppression law, making it a crime, for instance, to bring food or water to those poor folks, a natural Democratic constituency, standing in too-hot lines at their too-few polling places. Then, the mega-companies got in on the act.
Traditionally, “corporate responsibility” has been the ultimate oxymoron. In the name of profits and outrageously high compensation for their top executives, they stood for polluting too much, paying their workers too little and cutting back on the quality of their consumer products and services as much as possible.
But suddenly, the top executives have decided to get a conscience, or they have done market research that shows they should pretend they have one. In Georgia, for instance, Coca Cola and Delta Airlines, headquartered in Atlanta (sorta Georgia), made it clear to Major League Baseball that they would look with displeasure on continued plans to play the All Star Game in the Braves’ spiffy new stadium outside Atlanta. Ever mindful of who the big advertisers are, MLB decided to pull the game and place it in Denver.

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DECOYS AND OTHER PHONIES

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

DECOYS AND OTHER PHONIES

When we constructed the interstate system, we simply bypassed much of our country’s intricate variety. Still, in spite of losing this national character, there are those who get their kicks motoring the monotonous I-ways of America. They find a comfortable routine in the coast to coast, border to border ennui of signs for toll collection, motels, chain restaurants and gas stations.
But some blotches of local personality remain, concealed in this national humdrum. For instance, one of the oddball pleasures of driving along I-95 tempts the motorist at Havre de Grace, Maryland.
At exit 89, to be precise, is a billboard for the Decoy Capital of the World. That’s right, there’s an actual museum for hunters who want to kill ducks and other birds, blow them out of the sky. That’s not my kind of thing, but my mind has wandered, curious as I’ve coped with the interstate boredom at exit 89, whether there is an actual decoy museum, or if when you get there it’s nothing but a sign, a decoy fake — a year-round April Fool’s joke.
Such is the state of the demented mind badly in need of a rest stop. (“Don’t worry, if you can hold it just a few minutes, there’s one nearby.”)
I’ve had similar tortured fantasies as I’ve meandered along the information highways of more modern times. I closely embrace a fundamental law of cyber-life: “Never believe anything you see on the internet.” That applies to social media postings that have no constraints on outright lying, along with the commercial advertising that rocks to a deceptive algorithmic tempo all its own and whispers, “You’re being duped.”
Emails are even more underhanded. How many thousands of them have you gotten, pretending to be from royalty and claiming that you personally have received a large inheritance — all you have to do is send a few hundred or few thousand dollars to get it?
Communication has been so corrupted that you can’t even trust the calls you receive from Social Security or the IRS, warning you that you’re about to be arrested unless you send gift certificates to the authorities.
Back to emails, my personal favorites are the ones making some fictitious claim. Then you receive another email, on official looking letterhead, warning you that the original was a fraud. Except that it’s a fraud too, with a link to share personal information or some other cybermarker with a certain secret Russian or Baltic hacker or phisherman lurking out there.

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THE OTHER J-C

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

THE OTHER J-C

Jim Crow is not a real person. He’s a fictional character invented by a white guy for demeaning performances in minstrel shows. But for generations of Black Americans, Jim Crow is very real and ever present in their lives.
The character somehow evolved into the title given to whites’ grudging end to slavery, or almost end to slavery. That is, if you consider an end to slavery separate accommodations — drinking fountains, restrooms, lunch counters, hotels … as if you’re dirty or less than human — separate and substandard schools, racially segregated housing and a lack of equal employment opportunity and the means to really escape economically from bondage. Check that, the real lack of a means to escape were the blockades put up to voting.
All of those denied rights were supposed to end with the abolition of slavery, but really didn’t.
Jim Crow represents the establishment of a network of laws that enforced an American system that called itself “separate but equal.” But it was shabbily unequal, put in place by political entities “elected” by only a portion of the population, the white people. If necessary, these laws were enforced by vigilantes like the hooded Ku Klux Klan, who terrorized the Black community with marauding violence, including lynching. They were followed by their more polite fellow riders along the bigoted trails, who shrouded their prejudice in legalese.
The advent of television news showed the restrictive South to citizens sheltered in the north, who had no idea how oppressive it was or didn’t care. But there were enough people of goodwill to generate political pressure that ultimately led to strong laws that were supposed to guarantee basic rights.
They were coordinated by landmark rulings from a temporarily conscientious Supreme Court. The justices gave teeth to efforts to get rid of a few of the laws that allowed blatant racial discrimination.
Gradually, reluctant racists had to give way, for a while, to integrated schools, integrated housing and integrated opportunity of all sorts. Suddenly they had to swallow hard and accept the right to mixed-race marriages and next door neighbors of color.
Except they didn’t give way. The politicians, mainly Republicans, came up with a so-called Southern strategy of appealing to white voters by promoting their continued advantage. That strategy was a creation of Richard Nixon with the enthusiastic backing of the GOP. It won over Southern voters and restored restrictive laws and that malignant resistance spread all over the United States.
Still their model is Dixie, where the former slaveholders never got over the fact that they had lost their “just cause,” the Civil War, and with it the right to treat people of color as mere animals.
They were encouraged by politicians who used slick language to camouflage their appeals to the racists — the Richard Nixons, Newt Gingriches, the Donald Trumps, all the other demagogues who fan prejudice with their rhetoric.

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