March 26, 2017

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE THERE'S LIAR

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE THERE'S LIAR

Before Donald Trump and his language manipulators can really plan to “drain the swamp,” as they like to say, he and his cohorts need to stop fouling the air. The “swamp,” as we well know, is Washington and its stagnant slime of corruption, combined with an atmosphere of deception. The stench of D.C. air is particularly bad these days, worsened by the constant smoke screens deployed to manipulate reaction to the outrages that permeate the infant — make that infantile — Trump presidency.
Blatant lies pile upon blatant lies, followed by buffoonish rationalizations designed to obfuscate — smoke screens, in other words. None of them was more obvious than the attempt by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes to confuse the folks about the overwhelming evidence that Trump’s Twitter tantrum was utterly false when he banged out on March 4: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.”
Since then, Trump and his accomplices have tried to wriggle out of that one, but each attempt has been met with increasingly authoritative rejection of the entire claim. None was more devastating to Trump than the testimony of FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, who is in charge of the government’s electronic surveillance, that nothing of the sort happened. They were appearing at a rare public hearing of House Intelligence to discuss the allegations that Donald Trump and/or his people colluded with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government to throw the election Trump’s way. We learned that the FBI is taking that charge seriously enough to be engaged in a full-scale investigation. We also learned from the ones who would know that the surveillance accusation against President Barack Obama was total bunk.

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March 22, 2017

SKINNY BUT OVERWEIGHT

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN

SKINNY BUT OVERWEIGHT

It’s called a “skinny budget,” because it’s just a president’s blueprint for where the federal money goes, and it doesn’t get into details. Those will be fleshed out later. Actually, this one is anorexic, containing the usual bullet points that Donald Trump always prefers rather than getting tangled in the weeds of messy specifics. That would require concentration, which has definitely never been The Donald’s strong suit. However, even these budgetary bullet points target the entire notion that the United States has a kindhearted government.
The money largely affirms the idea that this is a nation in a defensive crouch. There are huge increases for our armed forces and homeland security, including that wall that has become Trump’s trademark. Somebody has to pay for all that, plus the tax cuts for the super-rich he envisions, and that would be the non-super-rich. Just like always. The programs that will be gutted feed the poor and elderly, and address the extensive hunger in children that is a shame on America. In the past, the funding has gone to support education, and protect against fouling our nation’s and the world’s environment.
It is a concoction whose recipe compiled by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney whose rationalization for abandoning the malnourished, for instance, twists the normal language into tangles of meaninglessness and, might I add, meanness. We have gotten used to the Orwellian absurdities from the Trumpsters, but try this on for size, as Mulvaney is facile about the absence of compassion in this budget. He feels too “compassionate” toward the taxpayers “to go to them and say, ‘Look, we’re not going to ask you for your hard-earned money anymore.’”
To pay for the Meals on Wheels program, that is a lifeline for the shut-in elderly and disabled. Or the program that would be cut that provides out-of-school meals to the children who would otherwise not eat: “We can’t do that anymore. We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good.”
This is a budget proposal that sounds good to the fat cats who will become obese. Everybody else who relies on the federal government not just for nutrition, but for consumer protection against predator banks and corporations, for basic medical research that can save millions of lives by potentially curing or eradicating killer diseases, and even for the arts, which define our culture, well, see you around.

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March 15, 2017

THE NATIONAL ILLNESS

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, MARCH 14, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN

THE NATIONAL ILLNESS

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Many Republican leaders are leery about having their name attached to the GOP’s replacement for Obamacare, a health care overhaul they have demonized since it was passed seven years ago. But they’re having a devilish time coming up with one of their own that doesn’t make things worse.
It’s hard to blame them for preferring not to be identified with their American Health Care Act, which is the official title of their slapped-together replacement. They have to come up with something now that they have a lock on our government. After all, they promised incessantly to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In fact, they are actually obliterating overall about a century’s worth of progress, but let’s focus on how they are gutting health care.
White House officials made it clear that their boss doesn’t want it to be called “Trumpcare.” On down the line, those who created it also don’t care to be held responsible. After all, it manages to take all the problems of the ACA and make them worse. Still, “AHCA” could be mistaken for a sneeze. So we have to come up with a better name.
This hodge podge was prepared under the guidance of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is really into arcane policy. He’s also into maintaining the myth that there are ways to deliver health care in the United States, given our bought-and-paid-for politicians, that are more effective and less expensive than Obamacare. So he’s coceived his own scheme. Apparently he doesn’t want it to be called “Ryancare,” but it is his baby, so how about something like the Speaker’s Contrivance for Access to Medical care: SCAM?
It is a scam. While it’s presented as a more effective approach, it really provides health care coverage to fewer people and will be more expensive with most of the financial benefits going to the wealthy.

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March 13, 2017

OPEN MOUTH, TALK STUPID

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 41st FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN

OPEN MOUTH, TALK STUPID
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I’ve hesitated to do this, but the time has come to catalog the truly dumb comments uttered by our great leaders. There is so much material, it’s an embarrassment of embarrassments.
We have to acknowledge Ben Carson, who’s now our housing secretary because, well, Donald Trump had to put him somewhere. Secretary Carson was seeking to rally his department’s troops, to inspire them with a speech about the country as a “land of dreams and opportunity.” Even if we ignore how dicey it is for any member of this administration to speak at all about immigration, Carson caused an uproar when he referred to slaves as immigrants, specifically “other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships ... they, too, had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”
Carson’s supporters point out that Barack Obama had expressed something similar in December 2015: “So life in America wasn’t always easy. It wasn’t always easy for new immigrants. Certainly it wasn’t easy for those of African heritage who had not come here voluntarily, and yet in their own way, were immigrants themselves.” So let’s be bipartisan about this: It was as stupid when Barack Obama said it as it was when Ben Carson did a year and a half later.
But, that was then and this is now, when Donald Trump is the main man, the supreme leader, the apprentice president himself. Unfortunately, he can’t help himself either; he’s a compulsive tweeter, a paranoid twitt-so-phrenic who communicates really crazy stuff every time he gets near a smartphone. Rambling on about President Obama wiretapping him might strike some as being little different from those who hear voices or radio waves. He's not well. So let’s be compassionate and give him a break. Like he would do if he had all his marbles.

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WASHINGTON SWAMP QUICKSAND

WHO CARES WHAT WE THINK?

THE INCOMPLETE ENEMIES LIST

HOW MUCH DO YOU TIP THE SPY?

THE SUPREME GAMES

BRASHMAN'S EGO

MA'AM'SPLAINING "RESISTANCE"

THE PRESIDENT TRUMP WAGER

CIRCUS MINIMUS

TWITTER OF THE UNIVERSE

POLITICS IS A MUCH TOUGHER GAME

2016 PRE-POST MORTEM ON MSNBC

MSNBC AND ME

THE FRIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

NAMING RIGHTS NOW!

THE TRANSITION CHARADE

THE JOY OF BOB AND DONALD

PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP

THE PAST IS GROTESQE BUT THE FUTURE GROWS WORSE

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