Friday, December 19, 2014

I Love A Mystery

Sometimes people are surprised to learn that my favorite books are mysteries, many of which are written by Brits. I particularly enjoy those that are leavened with humor, but those are extremely rare. The reason I like the genre is because mysteries tend to be logical and they invariably end well with justice being meted out to the guilty -- unlike real life.

I also prefer mystery novels because, unlike most non-fiction, which is either ghost-written if it has a politician’s name on the cover or is the work of an historian or an academic, mysteries are written by actual writers with an eye to style, not by those whose long suit is research.

I can’t possibly list all of my favorite mystery writers, but my English short list includes Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Barnard, Simon Brett and Agatha Christie. Among the Americans, I like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Aaron Elkins, Lee Child, Donna Leon and Elizabeth George.

I have a special regard for Daniel Silva who, through his protagonist, Gabriel Allon, art restorer and sometime Israeli assassin, acts as the Elie Wiesel of the mystery world. His targets are invariably Islamic terrorists or neo-Nazis out to do Israel, the U.S. and England, great harm. Along the way, acting as a witness for the victims of the Holocaust, Silva shines a spotlight on those nations, mainly France, Holland, Austria, Poland and Switzerland, where huge portions of the population collaborated with the Nazis, either because they agreed that Europe’s Jews should be exterminated or, in the case of the Swiss, because they stood to gain so much financially through the looting and killing of six million Jews.

But there are other mysteries whose solutions often elude me. For instance, I recently wrote a piece titled “Dear Chairman Rogers…” in which I admitted being confounded by the whitewash of the Obama administration by his House committee’s report on Benghazi. Fortunately, a couple of readers quickly solved the mystery for me. It seems that his wife, Kristi Clemens Rogers, who is now the CEO of Aspen Health Care, was at the time of the Benghazi attack the President and CEO of Aegis Ltd., an English-based company that had a $10 billion contract with our federal government to provide security at U.S. diplomatic posts around the globe! That would definitely include Benghazi.

Mike Rogers is leaving Congress this January. Apparently he has always had his heart set on hosting a radio talk show. I hope that once he’s settled in, you’ll all call the show and ask him a few of those embarrassing questions that he neglected to ask the members of this administration.

Recently I watched an old movie on TCM called “The Dark Horse.” It’s a 1932 political satire that starred Warren William as a political fixer and Guy Kibbee as the nitwit William has been hired to get elected governor. At one point, William describes his client as “the dumbest human being I’ve ever known. Every time he opens his mouth, he subtracts from the sum total of human knowledge.” It definitely rang a bell for me because every time Barack Obama opens his mouth, I feel he subtracts from the sum total of human decency.

These days, parents and grandparents are often dismayed to discover that many youngsters are no longer taught cursive writing in public schools. Combined with the fact that so much of what now passes for communication takes place on some sort of electronic gadget that only prints words, cursive writing may soon go the way of cave paintings. The mystery in this case is why we actually pay public school teachers more than we pay babysitters.

God knows that by the time the kids reach college, where 63% of professors admit to being liberals and only 12%, mainly those in the hard sciences, are conservative, they are already propagandizing on behalf of global warming, abortions on demand and same-sex marriages and against Christianity, capitalism and Israel… I, for one, say it’s time to start sending the young blighters to trade schools before we sacrifice yet another generation of Americans to the untender mercies of academic pinheads.

After the GOP takes control of the Senate in January, one of the first items on their agenda should be to rein in the EPA. I don’t happen to believe that those who churn out thousands of regulations, most of which result in the loss of jobs and property rights, are evil. Instead, because Obama has granted these environmental zealots unlimited power, they assume they are doing God’s work.

As a result, they end up behaving like spoiled brats, but instead of running up and down store aisles, eating too many sweets and making minor, but noisy, nuisances of themselves, they manage to destroy the nation’s economy while doing irreparable harm to individual property owners.

Someone wrote to me last week and asked why black urban dwellers – generally the least educated and least productive members of society -- representing a mere 14% of the population, garner so much of our time and attention, not to mention our hard-earned tax dollars.

The answer is pretty simple. It’s because the Democrats and the liberal media have colluded to make them our answer to the sacred cows of India, and the obvious motive behind this hanky-panky is to ensure that 95% of them continue to give their votes to the party of slavery.

The fact is that not since 1964 has any Democratic presidential candidate received a majority of white votes. Without that lopsided black vote, Carter, Clinton and Obama would be mere footnotes in the history books, just like Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry.

Without that dependable vote from the modern plantation dwellers, the Democrats would have long ago joined the Whigs, the Greenbacks and the Prohibitionists, in the political boneyard.

Still, at the rate they’ve been losing elections since 2008, it’s just possible we’re getting close to the reading of the last rites of the Democratic Party. That will be one burial service I won’t want to miss.

Because I suspect seating will be at a premium, I’ll plan to get there early and hope to God it’s a closed casket so I don’t have to view Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Charley Rangel, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, Elijah Cummings and the rest of the sorry crew, lying in state.

I shudder and my blood runs cold at the mere thought of the undertaker’s assuring me that they look absolutely lifelike.

©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Connecting The Dots

I suspect I'm not the only person who looks around these days and feels as if the United States fought a war I wasn’t aware of and is now under the thumb of a foreign dictator named Barack Hussein Obama. You must admit that even sounds like the name of a foreign dictator.

Surely a duly-elected American president wouldn’t be bending over quite so far to accommodate a vile theocratic state such as Iran while simultaneously doing everything in his power to throw a traditional ally like Israel to the Islamic wolves.

Come to think of it, though, Obama only throws a baseball like a little girl. When it comes to tossing allies and underlings under the bus, you would think the schmuck was trying out for a spot on the pitching staff of the NY Yankees.

He first exhibited this tendency towards disloyalty by dumping Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the man he was proud to call his friend and religious mentor after 20 years of faithful attendance at his racist church until the day he thought the relationship might cost him a handful of votes.

Then, in relatively short order, he sent General Shenseki, Kathleen Sibelius, David Petraeus, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel, packing. Even after being publicly humiliated by Obama, James Clapper hung on, but that was only because Clapper is a gamer who doesn’t seem to mind eating poop so long as he can keep his corner office.

After Bill Cosby was accused of drugging and raping 26 women, Hugh Hefner said he was saddened if the accusations were true. “I would never tolerate this kind of behavior, regardless of who was involved.”

What provoked Hefner’s response was that one of the latest of Cosby’s accusers, Judy Huth, claimed the drugging and raping took place in 1975 at the Playboy Mansion when she was just 15 years old!

Now unless Ms. Huth was there as part of a ninth grade tour of L.A. landmarks, it sounds as if Hefner was providing jailbait for those of his celebrity buddies who like them young, although not necessarily drugged. I suppose there’s a statute of limitations on pandering, although I can honestly say I have never understood the logic behind a law that says if you can get away with a crime long enough, you’re home free. And that’s the case even if your home happens to be the den of iniquity known as the Playboy Mansion.

Thanks to recent events in Ferguson, MO, and Staten Island, NY, every liberal in America feels entitled to scapegoat the police. You’ll never see Obama or any of the current crop of so-called civil rights leaders point a finger at urban blacks, who have opted for a societal norm that is not only terrible for America, but resembles an asylum run by the inmates for its inhabitants.

If anyone had intentionally set out to ensure that blacks would fall further and further behind every other group in the country, including illegal aliens, they couldn’t have had more satisfactory results.

First, you get the fathers out of the homes, threatening to cut off welfare to the women and children if they don’t leave. Then, having removed a father’s discipline, thus forcing young black women to try to curb the natural aggression of young males, and inevitably failing, you watch as the boys drop out of school and pursue a life of crime, drugs and unbridled promiscuity.

That, in turn, guarantees that the next generation will also be raised with an inherited contempt for education, women and all forms of authority, be it in the form of teachers or, especially, the police. Add to that the constant torrent of hate speech directed towards white society by bottom-feeders like Obama, Holder, Sharpton, Jackson, Farrakhan, Wright and Mayor De Blasio, and it doesn’t take much to set off the smoldering powder keg.

What makes it all the more tragic is that in fact it was all planned by Lyndon Johnson, who predicted that he would wrap up the black vote for the Democrats for the next hundred years, although instead of “black,” he used the “N” word, as this hero of the civil rights movement so often did. It’s only been 50 years so far, but the schmuck’s prediction looks pretty solid at the halfway point.

As Polish novelist Joseph Conrad once observed, “A belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men are capable of every conceivable wickedness.”

Everything about liberals is terrifying. One of the scariest things about them is the ease with which they lie. Whether it’s Obama insisting on two dozen occasions that he didn’t have the constitutional authority to grant amnesty to five million illegals and then doing so, or Nancy Pelosi denying she had ever heard of Jonathan Gruber in spite of videos showing her praising him to the skies, these people treat the truth with the same contempt they exhibit towards Republicans. Whoever came up with the line “Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?” clearly had Democrats in mind.

Speaking of which, Chuck Schumer now rues the day that Obama pushed the Affordable Care Act on America. Unfortunately for Sen. Schumer, we all got to see a jerk named Schumer standing behind Obama the day he signed the bill and applauding like a trained seal. He then spent the next few years selling ObamaCare with the same zeal with which Henry Winkler, aka The Fonz, now peddles reverse mortgages to us old guys.

To give you some idea how evil and how powerful the EPA has been under Obama, in the past year, Congress passed 72 bills, the bureaucrats -- those Washington pashas that nobody gets to elect or boot out -- imposed its will in the form of 3,659 regulations.

Although I have always regarded myself as a movie fan, and for 13 years was a movie critic, I very rarely go out to see them these days. With few exceptions, I’m not very interested in what Hollywood has to offer. However, because I am a member of the Writers Guild of America, the studios continue to send me DVDs at year’s end because I get to vote for the writing awards my guild bestows. Still, even for free, I often find the price in terms of time wasted too steep to pay.

One of the recent turkeys was called “Whiplash.” For reasons even I can’t figure out, I watched it to the bitter end. It’s about a young drummer enrolled in a prestigious music school, where, for reasons I also could not fathom, a sadistic, tyrannical, instructor is allowed to make every student’s life a living hell.

After watching it, I sent email to my friends warning them that it was two hours of loud drumming interrupted occasionally by a bald man shouting obscenities at his young charges. To my shock, one of my friends wrote back to say he might see it anyway because, as he explained, “I like drum music.”

After getting over my initial shock, I congratulated him on coming up with “drum music,” which I regarded as the first totally original oxymoron I’d come across in years.

©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?