FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019 CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236 BOB FRANKEN FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, JAN. 19, 2018 UNHAPPY ANNIVERSARY --- As we arrive at the first anniversary of Donald Trump’s ...

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"Franken Sense" - 5 new articles

  1. UNHAPPY ANNIVERSARY
  2. OBSCENE DISTORTIONS
  3. POTUS (PROFANITY OF THE UNITED STATES)
  4. "FIRE AND FURY" FIRE AND FURY
  5. TWEETY BIRD TRUMP
  6. More Recent Articles

UNHAPPY ANNIVERSARY

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, JAN. 19, 2018

UNHAPPY ANNIVERSARY
---
As we arrive at the first anniversary of Donald Trump’s presidency, we cannot really say that it has been a manic-depressive year. That would suggest that there had been some highs to accompany the low points. Maybe depressive-depressive is more like it.
Whatever you call it, the United States of America is now occupied by an administration led by a man with severe emotional problems. A cognitive test that he took the other day, amid concerns that POTUS’s mind is deteriorating, was focusing on the wrong concern: It’s not dementia that’s worrisome, particularly given his erratic behavior. It’s not that his brain is rotting; it’s more like it’s been rotten the entire time. We are being led by a crazy man -- if not mentally impaired, then objectionable to the core.
Our chief executive is a stupid bigot. Are there any smart bigots? We didn’t need his “sh*thole” outburst -- or, if you prefer, “sh*thouse” -- to demonstrate his severe prejudice; he’s blatant about it. He has a history of it that he’s carried into his campaign and now into the White House. His declarations that he’s “the least racist” human we’ll ever encounter, or words to that effect, are contradicted by his actions, opinions and policies that would restore the Jim Crow era. That’s what he means when he bellows, “Make America great again!” His supporters, the millions of people in his precious “base,” are divided between the outspoken white supremacists and those more polite ones who are willing to accept Trump’s hate-filled policies. By implication, they, indeed, are “deplorable.”
On the other side, you have gradients of a “resistance” that has lost steam since it manifested itself on Day One of the Trump rule, promising to challenge his every toxic move and work toward driving him out of office.


 

That hasn’t happened, in spite of a determined special counsel investigation to find whether Trump or accomplices colluded with Vladimir Putin (definitely part of the Donald Trump “base”) to alter the U.S. election. On the Trump side, we hear him bleating “no collusion, no collusion” every chance he gets. And it is possible that it was just a matter of Hillary Clinton being such a terrible Democratic candidate that she merely forfeited. Or it could have been a combination of both.
Even more profuse than his “no collusion” mantra is his “fake news” rant, the one he reflexively shouts each time some media organization reports a story that displeases him. As we approached his one-year anniversary, President Trump, ever the huckster, started touting his “Fake News Awards.” When he made his selections known via Twitter (of course), they landed with a soft thud. Nobody cared. For the record, CNN received four, The New York Times two, while ABC, The Washington Post, Time and Newsweek got one each. Yawn.
Some take his media attacks seriously, such as Sen. Jeff Flake, who likens Trump to the murderous Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Stalin would describe journalists as “enemies of the people,” just as Trump has. The independent press is just one of the institutions that define the American experiment. Another would be the court system, which he relentlessly attacks each time there is a ruling to challenge his personal conduct or, more importantly, his autocratic excesses. Flake, by the way, is a Republican, one of a few who has stood up to Trump.
Actually, the history still is being written. Donald Trump still is president. Barring any disclosures too outrageous to gloss over or any cataclysm he causes, he will observe a second anniversary a year from now. True, the midterms conceivably will drive the Republicans from power in Congress, if the Democrats don’t blow that too, but Donald Trump still will be president -- both the chief executive, and the nation’s chief embarrassment.

© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

    

OBSCENE DISTORTIONS

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BY BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, JAN. 16, 2018

OBSCENE DISTORTIONS
---
Is it me, or has anyone else noticed that when someone is exposed for wrongdoing, the responses all seem similar? No matter whether someone is overheard saying something racist, credibly accused of sexual harassment or caught in some incredibly egregious act, if the person decides that it’s futile to dispute the charge, his (or her) apology looks like it came from the same mea culpa template.
Somewhere in each one, there will be words to the effect that he or she has had a lapse in judgement, is sorry that he or she caused harm or distress and, this is my favorite of all, “This is not the person I am.” It’s not just individuals who eat the very same humble pie, but corporations, too, when they’re caught in some awful act.
Let’s take a certain hospital in Baltimore, the University of Maryland Medical Center, which on a very cold night was taped “patient dumping.” A passer-by shot video of an incoherent woman being taken out by security guards, wearing only a flimsy convalescent gown, and abandoned at a bus stop. Had the guy not interceded, there’s every reason to believe that she would have frozen to death. Sure enough, when the facilities administrator realized that the inhumane treatment had been inescapably proven, he had no choice but to face a news conference. And what did he say? You guessed it: “We firmly believe what occurred Tuesday night does not reflect who we are.”
I’m left with the impression that when someone uses the “not who I am” phrase, that’s exactly who he or she is. All the person is trying to do is wriggle out of the mess. And that explains why everyone’s grovels all resemble each other. Many, if they can afford it, quickly go out and hire a crisis manager. That’s a glorified PR person who has contrived a specialty in Crisis Response Altering Perceptions. (I’ll let you figure out what the acronym is.) Their loads of Crisis Response Altering Perceptions all sound the same. For that they get big bucks.

Then we have those who never say they’re sorry. They have decided never to show any remorse about their disgusting comments or conduct. I’m thinking, of course, of a certain president of the United States, whose constant repugnant stream of unconsciousness reveals a really creepy individual. He has concluded that even hinting at second thoughts, or first thoughts, for that matter, shows weakness, and from a tactical point of view, he’s usually right. So when he states something that’s blatantly racist, he can swat the outrage away by denying he ever said what he said, even when there are witnesses. “I’m not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you.” Yup, he’s said that. And his base laps it up.
The most ardent supporters argue that Trump is simply being straightforward. Forgetting for a moment his and their bigotry, they do have a point. Our language is corrupted these days by those who find polite ways to justify their injustice. Making the wealthy wealthier through tax cuts becomes “job building.” Xenophobia is “protecting the nation’s safety.” A return to Jim Crow discrimination is merely a quest to “Make America Great Again.”
Then you have the accessories before and after the fact, accomplices who filter their every utterance through their ambition. They are the ones who curry favor with the current president because they’ve calculated that it will be in their self-interest. First, two GOP senators who were in the room -- Tom Cotton and David Perdue -- had Sudden Hearing Impairment Trauma (again, you can figure out this acronym), insisting they “do not recall the president saying those comments specifically.” Now Perdue has gotten braver, declaring that Trump didn’t say “sh**hole”; it was a “gross misrepresentation.” Apparently, he heard “sh**house” not “sh**hole.” How absurd is that?
Our social and political discourse has gotten that moronic. Polite or impolite, it’s still pathetic.

© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

    

POTUS (PROFANITY OF THE UNITED STATES)

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, JAN. 12, 2018

POTUS (PROFANITY OF THE UNITED STATES)
---
Warning to parents: You might consider this column unsuitable for your children. It is riddled with asterisks that provide flimsy cover for obscenities. We pretend that we are family friendly by using these asterisks. Never mind that our little darlings use the foulest language the moment they're out of your earshot -- and so do you the moment you're out of their earshot -- because we're hypocrites, this here will be shot full of the hated asterisks.
For this, you can thank our current president, Donald Trump. Once again, he has demonstrated that he's a crass racist by referring to El Salvador,Haiti and African nations as "s***hole countries." Let's not get distracted by any sanctimony about profanity and instead stick to what this illustrates about our fearless leader: The guy is a bigoted ***hole, who is such a dumbs**t that he doesn't realize he can't insult developing countries in public.
He made the "s***hole" comment during a meeting in the Oval Office with a group of senators who were there to discuss immigration. Why, he asked, couldn't more of those seeking a life in America come from nations like Norway--translate "white"-- instead of places that aren't so white and are therefore "s***holes"?
Once again, he was reinforcing the argument that he is a crazy bas***d whose ability to restrain himself is in the cra**er. The charge that he's mentally defective has gotten new energy, particularly after the publication of Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury" bestseller in which various high-level associates have questioned whether the bowels of Trump's brain are plugged up, at least the part that controls inhibitions.
El Trumpo denied saying what witnesses reported. He went on Twitter, as usual: "The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used ..." meaning "sh**hole." Yeah, right. Remember that he's a da**ed liar, a pathological one.

Ironically, he and his handlers had just enjoyed some limited success when they allowed TV cameras to capture nearly an hour's worth of bipartisan budget/immigration negotiations at the White House. POTUS had managed to stay, uh, loose, throughout, although he did almost get rolled by Democrat Dianne Feinstein. Sen. Feinstein suggested that they agree to "clean" legislation to resolve the Dreamer problem. Trump was aware of the issue. Thanks to him, 600,000-plus young people who were brought here when their parents came to the U.S. illegally stood to be deported from the only country they've known. However, he was naive as h**l ... clearly not aware that a "clean" bill only deals with one subject. Republicans have insisted on using the Dreamers as pawns as they negotiate a budget deal. So when the president indicated that he was fine with Feinstein's approach, the GOP leaders in attendance went bats**t crazy, correcting Trump for all the world to see.
Perhaps all of this explains how Oprah Winfrey's well-received speech at the Golden Globe awards ignited an "Oprah for President" firestorm on Twitter. It not only illustrated the horror that so many millions of people feel about the current occupant of the White House, but it revealed the pathetic state of the Democratic Party, which is even less organized than usual. So Oprah Winfrey looked pretty enticing as a candidate.
It's a ridiculous idea, if for no other reason than we are witnessing what can happen when we elect someone with no experience in politics or governing. Unfortunately for Oprah, the highs of highest office speculation came in the same week as her mansion in Montecito, California, was severely damaged by the tragic mudslides that ravaged the same area that had been so devastated by fires just weeks ago.
Back at the White House, the Trumpsters were once again shoveling up the s**t after their president's "s***hole" comment, trying, among other things, to quell any diplomatic problems. Yes, Donald Trump has become the asterisk president, who is constantly putting our country at risk.

(c) 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

    

"FIRE AND FURY" FIRE AND FURY

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, JAN. 9, 2018
BY BOB FRANKEN

"FIRE AND FURY" FIRE AND FURY

Any producer will tell you that one key to a successful story — whether it’s in a book, on stage, in the movies or on TV — is having at least one sympathetic character. The “Fire and Fury” saga proves that rules are meant to be broken. The new release from Michael Wolff is a highly entertaining account of the Trump administration that is already a best-seller, even though all the leading characters are decidedly unsympathetic.
There’s Steve Bannon, the slovenly right-wing extremist who was Donald Trump’s brain for a while, but is now on his snit list. Trump has even slimed him with a nickname: “Sloppy Steve.” Of course there’s Trump himself, who was portrayed as being, in the words of one Cabinet-level member of his administration, “dumber than s--t.” Other top staff people used words like “dope,” “idiot,” “moron,” “a child” and all sorts of other colorful descriptions that came down to his being mentally defective.
While we’re at it, let’s not forget the author, Wolff, who personifies to many the stereotypical smarmy journalist who gets people to confide in him, but then breaks their trust by going public with their off-the-record comments. He’s also been long accused of making things up when necessary. Apparently, he didn’t make up all the comments from Steve Bannon, who was fired a few months back from the Trump White House and now is definitely in the Trump doghouse. In fact, the initial reaction to his quotes in the book brought a typically subtle reaction from the president: “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.” As I said, subtle as usual.

But then, Bannon had just trashed the Trump kids: Ivanka “dumber than a brick,” but wants to run for president one day; her husband Jared totally sweating investigations into money laundering; his son Don Junior’s meeting with Russians “treasonous.” And then there is Daddy Trump himself, described throughout as pathetically over his head intellectually. Sloppy Steve now has been bullied into groveling, expressing “regret” for all that he said. He doesn’t deny any of it, possibly because he was taped by Wolff.
President Trump and his peeps have gone into overdrive. His personal lawyers predictably threatened legal action, which is boilerplate Donald. When he’s not amused with what someone says, his legal team threatens litigation, usually sending out a “cease and desist” letter. That is where the attorneys demand that someone, anyone, immediately “cease and desist” saying whatever has displeased Trump. Or else. In this case, the letter also demanded that the publisher not release the book, which hadn’t even come out yet. Naturally, the publisher moved up the release to take full advantage of all the free publicity.
Take it from me, as a newsman who has done tons of stories about all manner of political sleazebags: A “cease and desist” letter is generally absolute proof that my coverage was accurate and struck a nerve. It’s sort of like declaring an unfavorable report “fake news,” which means it’s right as rain. Or when press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denies something. Anything. She calls Wolff’s book “tabloid trash.”
That proves still again that one person’s trash is another one’s treasure. But she needn’t bother defending the boss. He’s perfectly capable of embarrassing himself. When it came to the charges that he’s erratic and not smart enough, the president assured us in a tweet that he was a “genius ... and a very stable genius at that!” Speaking for all Americans, I’m certainly glad he cleared that up.
The other geniuses in his stable might want to learn a lesson from all this, which is that when you’re in public life, anything you do and anything you say is potentially public. Duh. But because they didn’t heed that obvious warning, they have provided us some great entertainment. It’s a wildly successful situation comedy — or situation tragedy.

© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

    

TWEETY BIRD TRUMP

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, JAN. 5, 2018
BY BOB FRANKEN

TWEETY BIRD TRUMP
---
Tweety Bird Trump is at it again. Actually, he never really stops. I’m referring, of course, to President Tweety Bird Trump. One has to show all the due respect, and that is all I can muster. So Tweety is pecking away as he starts off the new year with his Twitter bombast bomb blasts.
Most of his output is the routine ridiculous stuff: He suggests that another political opponent -- in this case, Huma Abedin, who has been attached at the hip to Hillary Clinton her entire adult life -- should be jailed for her sloppy handling of classified emails, at least in President Tweety Bird’s mind. He also takes credit for the significant aviation achievement that there were no commercial airline fatalities in 2017. Of course, he had little to do with it.
And then there’s his running trash-talk battle with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who would be a clown, except for the fact that he’s developing a nuclear arsenal that threatens world annihilation if not expertly finessed. Tweety obviously is not a finesse kinda guy. He ridicules the North Korean tyrant by calling him “Rocket Man.” They’re well-matched, and it’s not just their small, pudgy hands. They both have fragile egos that they try to cover with bluster. So when Kim makes a speech taunting the United States by saying, “The nuclear button is always on my desk,” Tweety Bird Trump can’t resist: “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
Besides the fact that Tweety is once again displaying that he’s always very insecure about size, he’s also playing with fire at the very moment Kim also was hinting he might be willing to lower the temperature

Pollyannas might delude themselves into thinking that it’s just some grand presidential negotiating tactic, the same one he is utilizing for his faceoff with congressional Democrats. They’re trying to reach accommodations on a variety of contentious issues that, for starters, would keep the government open. Maybe the Trump belligerence is part of an “Art of the Deal” scheme.
I know -- let’s do the cliche-ish thing like everyone else and search for clues in that 1987 bestseller “Art of the Deal.” Yes, it was written by someone else with little input from Donald Trump, but let’s look anyway. How about this quote: “I never get too attached to one deal or one approach.” That might explain why Tweety Bird constantly contradicts himself. It keeps his adversaries off balance as they’re trying to bargain with him. The other side of that is that his word means very little because he can’t be trusted to mean what he says, and has little or no impulse control.
Here’s another insight worth pondering: “You can’t con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”
That’s the thing: His base, those millions of people who were conned into thinking he’d be their champion, should have figured out from his actions that he was blatantly ignoring the reasons that alienated them in the first place. Instead, he has constantly promoted the interests of the same robber barons who have cheated the system and obliterated economic fair play. That’s what has left them frightened and angry. He was supposed to be an agent of dramatic change. If “people will eventually catch on,” they certainly haven’t yet.
That other Tweety Bird, the cartoon figure, always exclaims, “I tot I taw a puddy tat.” When he looks at Trump, he’ll say, “I tot I taw an autocrat.”

© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

    

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