November 14, 2016

THE TRANSITION CHARADE

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BY BOB FRANKEN
THE TRANSITION CHARADE
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For those millions of Americans who haveawakened to discover that their Donald Trump nightmare is not just a bad dream, the question is, What to do now? Do they accept the platitude about national unity from a stunned Hillary Clinton that “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead”? That begs the question: What is it we should be open-minded about?
Should we become amnesiacs and simply forget all the hateful rhetoric that defined his campaign, the personal vindictiveness that he simply couldn’t keep under control? Or instead, should we remember another cliché, which is certainly relevant: “Words matter,” meaning the constant spew of poisonous comments about women, Hispanics, African-Americans, Muslims (even Muslim war heroes), the disabled, the list goes on and on? Should we hope that his brain is somehow cleansed of such toxic thoughts, replaced by wisdom, knowledge and truthfulness that had been completely absent?
What we’re getting now is the pro forma national-unity choreography, like President Barack Obama sitting next to the man who will replace him at the White House, showing warm hospitality to the guy who raised the racist “birther” question about him for years. We witnessed Trump, who suddenly has gone into a contrived mellow mode, describing as a “great honor” his meeting with the man who just days before called him “unfit” for the office.
On Jan. 20, Donald Trump and his forces will be taking over our government. So forget the enforced cordiality. The question is, How can they be effectively resisted? For starters, ritualistic protest demonstrations don’t cut it. Talk about clichés. Inevitably, they turn violent, which is counterproductive, to say nothing about flat-out wrong. Plus, setting a few fires or shouting shopworn slogans might get you on TV, but it won’t change the Trump administration from stomping all over social progress.
So, what might work? Another of those banal comments we always hear at this point goes something like this: “We need to look to the future. Dwelling in the past isn’t a good idea.” But looking forward can work only if we indeed look back at what mistakes were made and, yes, who made them. In fact, we should play the Blame Game.

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November 11, 2016

THE JOY OF BOB AND DONALD

I'm appearing with Joy Reid on MSNBC Sunday morning during the 11:00 hour, Eastern. Any guesses about what we'll discuss? Or who?

November 10, 2016

PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BY BOB FRANKEN
President-elect Trump
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There are two ways of looking at this: Donald Trump’s astonishing victory was a devastating repudiation of the status quo, an angry demand for change in a system that average Americans fervently believe is “rigged” in favor of the wealthy and corrupt establishment. But Trump’s strength came primarily from the resentment of white American men, less-educated ones. So, the other way of looking at the startling result is that it was an acceptance of bigotry, misogyny, religious intolerance and the leadership of a cruel man who has conducted his business in shady ways. He certainly was uncharacteristically gracious in victory: “Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” he declared. “It is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time.”
The only thing is, he and his campaign magnified the gaping wound of division. It worked.
Perhaps it wouldn’t have had he run against a different opponent. But Hillary Clinton was uninspiring, even though she represented history in the making. She was done in by the distrust of so many in the nation, who were worn down by the perception that she was truthful only when it suited her purposes. They were turned off by her obsessive demand for privacy, even secrecy. She was never able to sell herself as genuine, even with a massive campaign operation awash in money from the same contributors who had financed her six-figure paid speeches that constructed a Clinton family fortune. She never was able to get past the whiff of scandal that has fairly or unfairly followed the Clintons since forever.
So now it turns out that the nation has chosen as president of the United States the man who simply won the battle of the undesirables. The race has been like an earthquake that has left our foundations in rubble. The aftershocks are just beginning. Financial markets tanked. They hate uncertainty, and the future is uncertain.
The best hope for the U.S. is that Donald Trump, as he takes office and is forced to recognize its awesome power, will modify his approach to issues, and more importantly, will rely on aides who understand how government and geopolitics work -- and even more importantly, will somehow be able to rein in his vindictiveness. In his all-powerful position, hair-trigger impulses can mean calamity on a worldwide scale. Terrorists are not intimidated by the threats of a blowhard. Adversaries like Russia and Iran are certain to exploit Trump’s naivete -- certainly his bud Vladimir Putin will.

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November 7, 2016

THE PAST IS GROTESQE BUT THE FUTURE GROWS WORSE

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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BY BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2016

THE PAST IS GROTESQUE BUT THE FUTURE GROWS WORSE
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I'm hearing some variation of this wherever I go: "Thank heaven the campaign is finally almost over. I can't stand any more of this ugliness! I so look forward to Nov. 9."
My response is always along the lines of: "The ugliness will just get worse. No matter, which of these two becomes the head of our federal government, that government will have trouble functioning. We'll constantly be facing a choice between paralysis and actions that continue the deterioration of our nation."
How's that for perky? Actually, how's that for reality? If we even know the winner of the Nov. 8 election by Nov. 9 -- or more likely, if the loser actually accepts that the other side won -- we almost certainly will be bogged down in bitter, hard feelings that threaten the remaining shreds of national unity. There will be no coming together, no rallying around Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Each has already established him- or herself as among the most unpopular people in the formerly United States of America. There's no chance the grudges will dissipate.
Various Republican leaders have made it clear that their obstructionism to the Barack Obama presidency will only intensify in a Hillary Clinton presidency. Leading dismal lights like Sens. John McCain and Ted Cruz say they will do everything they can to stop Hillary from elevating any nominee to the Supreme Court. Never mind if that turns the constitutional principle of "advise and consent" upside down; who cares as long as it appeals to the GOP base?
Not only that, but House leaders state explicitly that they will continue their harassment campaign by holding continuous oversight hearings on the Clinton emails and every other scandal, real or imagined. No matter how hard the executive branch tries, cooperation will be next to impossible. It will be the same government by crisis that has gotten us into a deep mess, with no visible plans to work together to climb out.
As a matter of fact, some Republicans, even before Election Day, are outright predicting without hesitation that if Hillary Clinton wins and becomes president, she will be impeached.

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THE UNITY MIRAGE

NOT A GIGGLY BIGLY

THE UNCIVIL WAR OF WORDS

SLIMEBALL POLITICS

THE TRUMP FANTASIES

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ILLS

CHEERING FOR COLIN KAEPERNICK

LABORING ON LABOR DAY ON MSNBC

FOR ALT WE KNOW

THE NATIONAL UNREALITY SHOW

LYING NAKED

COMIC STRIP POLITICS

POO POO POLITICS

NOT SO FAST HILLARY

THE NATIONAL SPLIT

IF TRUMP QUITS, THEN WHAT HILLARY

CONSPIRACY THEORIES

GOING STEADY

JULY 4th DISAPPOINTMENT

JULY 4 ON MSNBC

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