Friday, April 17, 2015

The Uncivil War to End All Wars

There is a war taking place in the Middle East that pits Muslims against Christians, Jews and those Muslims who belong to a different cult.

Here in America, there is a war taking place that pits liberals and homosexuals -- to the extent there exists a smidgen of difference between them -- against Christians.

One merely has to look at every situation in which Christians attempt to defend their religious rights. Whether it’s companies that don’t wish to provide birth control in the form of contraceptives or provide funding for abortions; or devout individuals, who are even willing to accept homosexuality as an optional life style, but draw the line at playing any role in a same-sex wedding, the gays and their journalistic, corporate and political, henchmen will unite to put them out of business.

If you don’t feel that Christians are singled out for attack, why is it that Muslim florists, photographers and bakers, are never pressured to act in opposition to their religious beliefs? There is ample evidence that one would be hard-pressed to find a Muslim who would agree to provide any of the same-sex wedding wares or services that Christians are condemned for not providing.

Wouldn’t it make for a nice change if just once the gays gave the business to Muslims? Or are they simply terrified that they, who so love to label those who are put off by anal sex “homophobic,” would suddenly find themselves hoisted upon their own petard, tarred as “Islamophobic”?

The question that comes to mind is what makes homosexuals, lesbians and the transgender crowd, so heroic in the eyes of liberals, while devout Christians, who are far likelier to be numbered among their friends and neighbors, are so casually dismissed, written off as bigots and haters?

Furthermore, when it comes to haters, it is hard to get any nastier than the creeps who lit up social media threatening to kill or mutilate the Connors, the family that owns Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, simply because the daughter, when questioned by a reporter, said they would happily sell pizzas to anyone, but they would draw the line at catering a same-sex wedding. Apparently nobody thought to ask the reporter when he or she had last heard of a pizzeria catering a wedding.

The good news is that of this writing, the Connors have received over $800,000 in donations from Americans who appreciate their standing by their convictions. The bad news is that I, who also stand by my convictions, can only look on in envy, salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs.

Speaking of money, hardly a day passes that my wife and I don’t receive fund-raising appeals from Ben Carson, and he hasn’t even said he’s running yet. Frankly, I hope he doesn’t. As columnist S.E. Cupp recently spelled out, there is nothing to recommend him as a president. I mean, unless you think that what the office requires is someone with absolutely no political experience, what are his selling points? That he had the opportunity to tell Obama what’s wrong with the Affordable Care Act merely means that he got to attend a prayer breakfast where millions of us who would have said the same thing weren’t invited? That really isn’t much to go on, especially when the Supreme Court will have the opportunity this June to make it a non-issue in 2016.

As Cupp wrote, “Carson thinks the Second Amendment should be applied, well, selectively.”

Furthermore, he has suggested that the Israeli political system should be changed to the one we have. Well, the best argument against that simpleminded notion is that their system has given them Benjamin Netanyahu and ours saddled us with eight years of Barack Obama.

Cupp pointed out Carson told Chris Christie that homosexuality must be a choice “because a lot of people go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay.” Now if he had pointed out that a great many felons are non-violent when they enter prison, but come out as committed jihadists because we foolishly allow Islamic imams to act as prison chaplains, he’d be on far steadier ground.

Carson also decided that Obama must be a psychopath, not because of the things he says and the things he does, but because he is so well-dressed. I know Carson was supposed to be a hell of a doctor, but did he make a habit of diagnosing a brain tumor by looking at a patient’s shoes?

What Ms. Cupp neglected to mention was that one night on Fox, when Dr. Carson was supposed to debate some issue or other with Jesse Jackson, he spent the first few minutes praising Jackson as a great civil rights leader. No mention of Jackson’s being a world-class adulterer and extortionist.

A reader, taking notice of the fact that, even when praising the religiously oriented, I tend to mention I am secular, wondered if I was agnostic or atheistic. I replied that I tend to be repulsed by those whose sole mission in life is to deny God’s existence, and who then take the next step and deride those who are believers.

For my part, I would like to believe that God exists and, if so, how He sees His role. As I understand it, in the old days, He seemed to take an active part in human affairs. At times, He flooded the earth, He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, He turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, He parted the sea, He passed along the 10 Commandments, etc., etc. But He seemed to lose interest along the way, and who can blame Him? So I am left to question if He truly exists and, if so, whether His patience has simply run out and He has decided give up on us in pursuit of other interests, the way a child will eventually lose interest even in the toy he believed he couldn’t live without.

One major fact that emerged from the events in Ferguson, MO, was that all of the black witnesses who initially claimed that Michael Brown had his arms raised in surrender when Officer Darren Wilson shot him later recanted their testimony. When asked why they had lied in the first place, they said they felt intimidated if they didn’t promote the false narrative. Frankly, I don’t blame them.

When you see the amount of violence blacks commit at every resort area they visit on Spring Break – and that’s when they’re having fun! – you can easily imagine how frightened their neighbors must be of young, well-armed, black thugs, who are no more reluctant to kill other blacks than Shiites are to kill Sunnis.

Recently, I have made fun of people who spend their lives critiquing such things as music and art. After all, we are all prone to say something along the lines of, “I may not know what art is, but I know what I like.” And when you do that, the professional critic will dismiss you as an ignoramus, if not a barbarian.

But as far back as 1958, I found myself wondering how it was decided at the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition that a 23-year-old from Texas named Harvey Lavan Cliburn was the greatest pianist in the world. But the judgment call was made and, calling himself Van Cliburn, he went on to enjoy a great career playing to packed concert halls and for every president until he passed away in 2013.

But what about the guy who came in second? Was he really inferior to Cliburn? It was a question I found myself wondering about for several years. Then one day, I had occasion to interview classical violinist Itzhak Perlman. Perlman, who was born in Tel Aviv, in 1945, developed polio at the age of four. He recovered, but walks with crutches, and went on to perform while sitting down.

I asked him, a world-renowned soloist, if he can tell fellow soloists apart if he’s not looking at them, but merely by their technique. He said he often could, but one day while riding in a car he heard a violinist on the radio. He recognized that the fellow was quite good, but he had no idea who it was until the piece ended and the violinist was identified as…Itzhak Perlman.

I felt myself vindicated. But, then, as you may have noticed, I usually do.

©2015 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Deciphering the News

It is still a year and a half until we elect the next president, but if there is one message I would like to convey to every Republican candidate, it is to stop worrying about what the liberal media says about you.

I know that is asking the near-impossible because every last one of the schlimiels insists on reading the NY Times and the Washington Post every morning, and assumes that everybody else in the country has the same nasty habit. But consider that both papers are the equivalent of Tass and Pravda, but instead of being propagandists for Stalin and the Russian Comintern, they carry the water for the Democrats.

In spite of a corrupt media, the Republicans have won the lion’s share of Senate, House and gubernatorial, elections over the past five years. What’s more, in spite of all the sky-is-falling alarms after the government shutdown in October, 2013, a scant 13 months later, the GOP added nine Senate seats and another dozen in the House.

As Newt Gingrich has shown in the past, confronting the media can be a winning tactic for a Republican. The problem for Gingrich was that he overdid it, and then had nothing else to fall back on, or to serve as a counterweight to all his bilious personal baggage.

One way to look at all of the extensions in the negotiating talks with Iran, is that they are -- like all the earlier red lines in the sand -- drawn in Obama’s favorite brand of invisible ink. A second possibility is that Obama simply prefers keeping the horse-faced Kerry out of his sight line.

One remaining mystery is who managed to convince Kerry that it’s a tradition to pack a gnome whenever traveling to Switzerland, and the only one at hand was Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the long-haired midget constantly seated to Kerry’s left at the table in Lausanne. I have no idea what the Iranians make of Moniz. But if he’s not the mascot, but is actually a member of our negotiating team, they would logically assume they have nothing to worry about.

Back in Indiana, it’s God-fearing Christians who are being bullied, as usual. Just like jihadists, homosexuals are always at their best attacking soft targets. For instance, here in California, when Proposition 8, which declared marriage to be the union of one man and one woman, was on the ballot, the breakdown among white voters was roughly 50-50, and it was only because an overwhelming percentage of blacks voted for it that it passed.

In the aftermath, however, gays displayed their rage by demonstrating at white churches because they knew that if they started trouble at black churches, the congregants would hand them their heads on a platter.

So it is in Indiana. Because the legislature dared to suggest that observant Christians at least had a legal basis for refusing to offer their wares and services for same-sex weddings, the gays and their hypocritical supporters lowered the boom on the Hoosier state.

Now if it were a Muslim merchant refusing to sell the gays a wedding cake or objecting to cater an Easter dinner, do you think for a second the gays would dare take to the barricades?

For that matter, the gays welcomed corporations such as Apple and Walmart to the free-for-all, even though they both do an enormous amount of business in countries where being a homosexual means imprisonment or death.

Then there was Gov. Andrew Cuomo showing his solidarity with gays by announcing that no New York state employee would be allowed to visit Indiana on official business. In the meantime, this paragon of virtue was taking off for Cuba, where homosexuality is a felony. But, then, when hasn’t a Democrat preferred Communist despots to Republican governors?

But consistency is never required of those on the Left. So in spite of the fact that the late Sen. Robert Packwood was notorious for groping his female staffers, he continued to be supported by the ladies of NOW for no other reason than that he could be relied on to vote for federal funding for abortions.

Today, we have Hillary Clinton receiving standing ovations from the bimbos at Emily’s List, even though everyone knows that the Clinton Foundation constantly accepts contributions (bribes) from any number of nations that abuse women in the name of Islam.

Speaking of bimbos, when Patricia Arquette took the opportunity at the Oscars to condemn Hollywood for paying actresses less than actors, every woman at the Kodak Theater gave her a standing ovation. So I decided to do a little research.

It seems that until the late 1930s, five or six of the 10 biggest grossing stars each year were female. As a result, actresses such as Mary Pickford, Joan Crawford, Marie Dressler, Norma Shearer, Janet Gaynor, Ruby Keeler, Shirley Temple and Greta Garbo, were among the best-paid stars in Hollywood.

But actors then began to dominate at the box office with the likes of John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Alan Ladd, William Powell, Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Bob Hope, Marlon Brando, Bing Crosby, Tyrone Power, William Holden, Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood, and they kept dominating.

There are occasionally actresses who show up among the top 10 box office champs – people like Betty Grable, Barbra Streisand, Demi Moore, Sandra Dee, Elizabeth Taylor, Doris Day, Susan Hayward, Jane Fonda, Julie Andrews, Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep, Sondra Bullock, Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie – but they don’t often stay there for more than a few years. And in some years, such as 1957, 1983 and 2006-2007, there wasn’t a single actress among the top 10 moneymakers.

But that didn’t stop the ladies from getting up on their hind legs and applauding the drivel uttered by Ms. Arquette, who would have you believe that Hollywood is run by misogynists who care less about making money than they do with keeping women in their place.

As you must have heard, for no other reason than that he parted company with Obama over Cuba and Iran, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has been indicted on a bunch of cocked-up corruption charges. I have no doubt that he will eventually be exonerated, but by that time, like Alaska’s late Sen. Ted Stevens, who underwent an equally outrageous persecution, his political career will be left in tatters.

When Harry Reid was recently asked if he regretted lying in 2012 about Mitt Romney’s not paying twelve years of taxes, he shrugged, smirked and said, “Well, he didn’t win, did he?” Not a nice way for one Mormon to treat another.

The voters in Nevada must be equally proud of themselves. After all, they spent 30 years electing and re-electing the lap dog of unions and casino owners. In his younger days, I’m reminded, Harry was an amateur boxer. One has to suspect that even then, his fighting style relied on kidney punches and low blows.

As the saga over Mrs. Clinton’s vanishing emails continues, I find myself wondering where are Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden when you really need them?

Finally, a news flash: Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem, have been nuked. In other news, John Kerry says he feels confident that negotiations with Iran “are headed in the right direction.”

©2015 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?