Friday, February 27, 2015

The Buck Stops Way Over There


Harry Truman, who apparently really didn’t wish to be President, but was thrust by FDR’s death into the job, had a sign on his desk that announced “The Buck Stops Here.” It meant that if you had a problem with his administration, you took it up with him, not one of his underlings.

So, if you didn’t like the fact that dropping two atom bombs on Japan brought World War II to a quick and satisfactory conclusion, your problem wasn’t with Secretary of War Henry Stimson or Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, but with the man who ordered them dropped. It was Truman’s way of saying that if you can’t take the heat, stay the hell out of the Oval Office.

In Barack Obama, we have a man who never takes responsibility when something goes wrong, such as ISIS filling the vacuum he left behind in Iraq, but credit for anything that goes right, such as the execution of Osama bin Laden. When he reported the good news to the world, judging by the number of times he said “I,” “me” and “myself,” you would have thought that, like Brian Williams, he had been the first Navy Seal, guns blazing, into bin Laden’s compound.

I will now confess that I am so bourgeois in my taste when it comes to art that I really only like paintings or pictures that have recognizable people in them. Whereas I understand that some people hate it when their friends bring back snapshots from their trips that show themselves standing in front of the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal, in my case, I prefer to see the friends.

That, no doubt, is why I prefer, say, Rembrandt and Norman Rockwell to Picasso and Pollack.

On the other hand, it might explain why I can never recognize embryos in sonograms or archers, scorpions and crabs, in the evening sky.

Moving on, I hope you all understand that nobody holds the Second Amendment in higher regard than I do. But why on earth did Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield think it was a good idea to take Eddie Ray Routh to a gun range and stick a loaded gun in his mitts, especially in light of the fact that during the drive to the range, they exchanged text messages agreeing that Routh was obviously a dangerous loon?

I get it that they were two terrific guys who wanted to reach out to a fellow veteran, one suffering from PTSD, and let him know that he wasn’t alone. But was the zoo closed? Were there no bowling alleys in town? Was taking him for a quiet walk and talk in the countryside out of the question? Would playing a game of gin rummy have been in violation of the macho code?

Long before Routh murdered the two Samaritans, I was confounded by the fact that Andrew Tahmooressi, who wound up spending months in a Mexican jail, and had also been diagnosed with PTSD, had set off on a hunting trip with three loaded guns in his truck.

We are repeatedly told that these victims of battle stress can be set off by loud noises, so don’t their friends and loved ones have a responsibility to keep guns out of their hands the same way they would do everything in their power to protect a child?

Speaking of Eddie Ray Routh, why is insanity a legitimate defense against murder? Whether a person kills you because he wants your money or because he hears voices telling him you’re in league with the devil and are trying to steal his eternal soul, you are still dead as a doornail. To me, that simple fact would trump his motive, no matter what it was.

Speaking of which, the lawyers for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are naturally seeking a change of venue, feeling that he might not be able to find an impartial jury in Boston. To my way of thinking, if he didn’t want to be tried in Boston, he and his brother should have set off explosions somewhere else. Preferably, I’d suggest, in Teheran.

In addition, the Sixth Amendment states, among other things, that "...the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed..."

Defense attorneys will insist that it would be impossible to find an impartial jury in the district where a particularly heinous crime has taken place. Well, it may take a tad longer to find 12 people in the specific area who are genuinely unaware of what's been going on around them, but eventually they'll turn up. And inasmuch as 70 million Americans voted to re-elect Barack Obama, I'm betting it won't take long at all.

There are times when liberals say such silly things when trying to defend their sleazy actions, I’m almost willing to give them a pass because I find their excuses so pathetic and so amusing.

For instance, when Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her husband were discovered having used her congressional campaign funds to attend the recent Grammy Awards, Rep. Wasserman-Schultz, head of the DNC, announced she just happened to be in L.A. on a fact-finding mission to learn the issues most important to the music industry. And of course, being a congresswoman in Florida, which isn’t all that far away from Nashville, that would be of utmost concern to her.

I expect that the main fact she carried away that evening was that Kanye West didn’t think that Beck David Campbell, who calls himself just plain Beck, should have accepted a Grammy that West was convinced Beyonce deserved. When West ran on stage to make his objection known, Beck, who looks like a combination of Don Knotts and a used mop, must have thought West was after his milk money.

Proving himself to be one Beck that you can judge by its cover, Mr. Campbell quickly assured Mr. West that he, too, thought Beyonce deserved the award.

Once she realized that there were no Republicans involved in the contretemps, Mrs. Wasserman-Schultz saw no reason to take sides, and went home.

©2015 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? BurtPrelutsky@fastmail.com.


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