Mysteries Worthy of Sherlock Holmes

Because Barack Obama repeats himself so often, I’m never sure when I see him on TV insisting that his energy policy involves “all-of-the-above” whether I’m watching one of his 2008 campaign speeches or one that he delivered yesterday afternoon. Either way, I know he’s lying.

The reason that he gets applause from an audience of college students or public sector union members is because these trained seals know that whenever he pauses in the middle of a sentence, it’s their cue to begin clapping. These dolts have no idea that “all of the above “ theoretically refers to gas, coal, oil, nuclear, solar and wind. If they actually understood that the only two options he favors are the last two, they might stop cheering long enough to wonder why he doesn’t just say so, instead of pretending that the other, more realistic options are actually on the table.

They might even wonder why he stopped the Keystone oil pipeline in its tracks, or why he insists on taking bows for oil drilling in the U.S. that’s only taking place thanks to George Bush’s long term policies. Or, for that matter, they might even question why he has done everything in his power to destroy the coal and oil industries in America, while at the same time sending two billion tax dollars to help Brazil finance their offshore drilling efforts.

In a saner world, they might even ask each other why he has funneled billions of our dollars to solar companies that, in the natural course of things, quickly go bankrupt. Then again, they might be curious why the American taxpayer had to pony up hundreds of millions of dollars so that Chevrolet could give birth to the Volt, a car that is every bit as unappealing as the Ford Edsel was in its day. In fact, the only major differences between the two automotive lemons is that the Ford Motor Company came up with the Edsel on their own dime, and that the Volt, with its $40,000 price tag, costs several times as much.

Moving on, if Staff Sgt. Robert Bales did what he is accused of having done in Afghanistan — namely massacre 16 civilians, nine of them children — he deserves to be punished. I have heard all the possible rationales for the crimes, which include a war-related brain injury, money woes, marital woes and a drinking problem, but I wouldn’t buy those excuses if those vile crimes had been committed by a civilian in Chicago or Kansas City, so I’m not going to cut him any slack just because they took place halfway around the world in Kandahar.

That being said, the notion that, as a result of the carnage, the Al Capone of Afghanistan, otherwise known as Hamid Karzai, had the gall to tell America that our soldiers weren’t to be allowed off their military bases, makes me question once again why we are propping up his corrupt regime. For good measure, this tinhorn douchebag also insisted that when Defense Secretary Panetta addressed several hundred U.S. servicemen, they had to leave their weapons at the door. Although it is still early in the year, Vegas odds makers are already making Karzai the schmuck to beat in the 2012 Chutzpah Man of the Year competition.

This is the same Hamid Karzai, by the way, who insisted that Sgt. Bales stand trial and get a taste of what passes for justice in an Afghan court, but who has not, so far as I can tell, even arrested the treacherous Afghan guards who shot seven American soldiers in the back over the past couple of months.

For my part, I would pull our troops out of Afghanistan tomorrow morning, let the Taliban deal with Karzai, and come back in the afternoon if we felt the need.

Finally, in a recent piece, I committed the sin in some readers’ eyes of paying respect to Abraham Lincoln. Even though I know that Lincoln did not fight the Civil War in order to free the slaves, but in order to preserve the Union, and that some people are still upset that he suspended habeas corpus during the conflict, I had to take exception to those who accused him of being a dictator and who likened the Civil War to our American Revolution.

The Founding Fathers did not wage war in order to free themselves from an overreaching federal government, but to free themselves from the government of a foreign power in which they had no representation. The Confederate States, on the other hand, were fully represented in Washington, D.C.

A few readers pointed out that there was nothing in the Constitution that prevented the 11 Southern states from seceding. My response was: Why would there be? After fighting the Brits in order to gain their independence, why would Washington, Madison and Adams, ever dream that 80 or so years later, half the nation would decide to go its separate way? It would be like parents leaving the house and having to remind their 12-year-old son to be sure not to remove his own appendix while they’re at the movies.

Finally, while I fully acknowledged that Lincoln was not a saint who sacrificed his own life in order to free the slaves, the South fought a war in which 620,000 Americans died for no other reason than to retain slavery. Even speaking as one who favors states’ rights and a smaller federal government, habeas corpus or no habeas corpus, that’s really not a motive I’d ever care to defend.


©2012 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com!

Get your personally autographed copy of Liberals: America’s Termites or Portraits of Success for just $19.95, postpaid.
Get both for just $39.90.
Liberals: America’s Termites Profiles of Success (60 candid conversations with 60 Over-Achievers)

Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
Author website: http://www.burtprelutsky.com/
  • BurtPrelutsky

    Drew: As I’ve written in earlier articles.

    Burt

  • Drew Page

    The reason Obama sent two billion dollars to Brazil for oil exploration is simple, his benefactor, George Soros, has major holdings in Petrobras, Brazil’s leading oil producer.

  • BurtPrelutsky

    Michael–For me, it’s not so much a matter of questionable morality on the part of the Secret Service agents, but of stupidity.  I mean, how dumb could those guys be!  To risk their careers for a little Colombian nookie, and then to have the scandal come to light because one of them was too cheap to pay his hooker the $47 he owed her?

    But I had not heard about Hillary’s dancing.  Who was she dancing with? A man or a woman?

    Burt

    • Michael

      I agree about the sheer stupidity of the SS agents.  Their selection process and/or leadership must not be what they used to be.  It really was stupid, cheap, and completely unprofessional.  You don’t volunteer for a job like that and then act like some undisciplined college kid or traveling salesman.

      As for Hillary, the articles I read said she danced with some of the women in her entourage, but based on the fourth of the 1-4 photos near the bottom of the article I link to, she seems to be surrounded by typical Dept. of State gender-neutrals, so who knows?  

      http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/16209295

    • Drew Page

      Not only dancing, but pounding down brewskis at the bar.   In both cases, her companion appeared to be another woman.

  • Michael

    Burt, I really want to read your take on all the cavorting in Cartagena.  No, I’m not talking about Hillary Clinton’s evening of dancing in an allegedly pro-Cuba Cartegena nightclub.  I’m talking about the Secret Service agents and their prostitues.

    • Michael

      prostitutes.

  • BurtPrelutsky

    Nancye: The problem is that the South was deeply invested in slavery.  Had it been otherwise, the North would not have possessed the moral high ground.  That fact makes all of Lincoln’s shortcomings of secondary importance.  You can either accept that or not, but no matter how many historians you drag forth, it will not change that basic fact. 

    Germany, after all, had a good reason to rail at the Versailles Treaty; it left the Germans  economically destitute.  Unfortunately, the Germans decided that Hitler was the man to provide salvation.  That fact alone makes everything that France, England and the United States, had done to Germany after WWI inconsequential.

    Burt

  • NANCYE

    Part II
    In Lincoln’s own words:
     
    Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln, September 18, 1858 “I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, -that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people.” Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln, October 7, 1858 “I will say then, that I am not nor never have been in favor of bringing about in any way, the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not nor never have been in favor of making voters of the free negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them to marry with white people. I will say in addition, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which, I suppose, will forever forbid the two races living together upon terms of social and political equality, and inasmuch as they cannot so live, that while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, that I as much as any other white man am in favor of the superior position being assigned to the white man.” Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln, September 16, 1859, Columbus, Ohio “I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races–that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, or intermarry with white people.”  

  • NANCYE

    I’m including parts of articles written about Lincoln.  This is one of them written by a historian:     
    As dispassionately as I can say, Lincoln was a great politician, but not a great statesman. He looked after the interests of his party, above and beyond the interests of his country. He was one of America’s greatest rhetoricians, but not its greatest political philosopher. The man could turn a phrase.On the other hand, he launched the war which killed more Americans than all others put together. He ran roughshod over the limits the Constitution placed on the Federal government. One of his leading motivations, in his own words, was to protect Federal revenues and northern Republican business interests. He ordered the arrest of members of a state legislature before they could even commit the crime of voting the wrong way. He ordered the arrest and banishment of a (northern, US) political opponent for what he said. He ordered the closing of newspapers because of what they printed. He committed these acts in order to preserve the Union, which is not a bad thing, but his means do not justify his ends. I tend to agree with John Randolph of Roanoke, who said “It was always my opinion that Union was the means of securing the safety, liberty, and welfare of the confederacy, and not in itself an end to which these should be sacrificed.”The bottom line is that Lincoln’s legacy is not an unmixed one.
     

    • Drew Page

      NANCYE  —   Who is this historian to whom you refer?  I would like to look uphis/her credentials.    There are ‘authors’ and then there are authors.  I would put a lot more credibility in the writings of a Doris Kearns Goodwin than some unknown person.

  • BurtPrelutsky

    Joe G–I understand that there were other reasons for the War.  But the bottom line is that one side was opposed to slavery and the other side wasn’t.  All other reasons pale beside that indisputable fact.

    I bet you noticed “Cival” at the very same moment that your finger hit the Post button. That’s generally when I notice my own typos.

  • Joe G

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS, I spelled Civil wrong!
    Please forgive.

    Joe G

  • Spmpoolguy

    Burt, Burt, Burt. I am most surprised that you said these words …. ‘the South fought a war in which 620,000 Americans died for no other reason than to retain slavery.’

    If I felt like wasting my time with the likes of such a comment, I would invite you to read my many books on our Cival War. There you would find ALL of the reasons why the South fought.

    My name is Joe Gallagher, born and bred in the briar patch of the north, but with the rare gift of being interested in learning much about little!!

    A long time fan, Joe G

  • BurtPrelutsky

    cmacrider: You are of course correct about the Civil War.  I simply get very tired of southerners going nuts every time that Lincoln’s name is mentioned.  Whatever his motivation was, and we all know it wasn’t to abolish slavery, the end result was that one side was fighting those who, among other things, were fighting to preserve slavery.

    Aside from Israel, that entire part of the world is a cesspool, and no decent human being should ever be called upon to squander blood or treasure for those who pray to Allah.

    Among all of his other multitude of sins, one of Obama’s most grievous is that he refuses to unleash our enormous oil, natural gas and coal reserves, prolonging our dependence on the swine in the Middle East.

    Burt

    • cmacrider

      Burt:  In my opinion. all three of the above points you are quite justified.  

      It seems obvious that Mr. Obama rode to victory by playing the anti Bush card and the race/slavery guilt card to sow self doubt among Americans.  All of this had lead to the stunningly absurd situation where (a) a foreign policy designed to preserve decency and freedom is replaced with some dithering subservience to the U.N and (b) a domestic policy designed to denude American power , affluence, and influence.

      For your reader’s benefit, allow an average Canadian to point out some very widely held beliefs by reasonable people throughout the Western world;

      1.  Without having to agree with everything which America does, America is NOT viewed as some overbearing arrogant bully.  Canadians spend no time worrying about being invaded by the U.S.A. (which is not the case for Poland vis a vis the U.S.S.R) and neither does the rest of the Western World.  (ask the Japanese about their post war experience)

      2.  Americans are perfectly entitled to view people like Lincoln as great statesmen.  The rest of us see the 7 minute Gettysburg address as one of the great speeches in the English language which rivals anything of Churchill’s. What seems to be overlooked in the parochial demonization of Lincoln was that he was an outstanding decent human being — a very tortured soul — compelled to take up arms against fellow Americans.  He is but one example of many Americans who the rest of the world recognize as world statesmen.  Incidentally a British military historical society has just named the person they consider the most skilful and feared general the British Empire ever encountered … and it was not Napoleon or Rommel …  it was George Washington.

      3.  Americans are no good at playing small ball.  They are at their best when they are swinging for the fence.  For you own sake and for the rest of the free world, stop laying down bunts and set you sites on the right field fence.  The deciding game in the series will not be in October but is being held in November.

  • cmacrider

    Burt:  Your comments on Afghanistan and Karzai couldn’t be more cogent.  Although Canadian soldiers will not say so publically, privately they admit that Afghanistan is so corrupt and backward that it has never been worth the cost in blood and treasure.

  • cmacrider

    Burt:  Although I do not profess expertise in American history and do not read your comments as simplifying the Civil War into simply a “war to end slavery”, I suggest American’s should recognize that the Civil War was a conflagration of many conflicting forces.  It was a philosophical struggle between the emerging classical liberal society of the North and the feudal agrarian society of the South.  It was an economic struggle of the industrialized mechanized North against an agricultural society highly dependent upon manual [slave] labour.  It was a constitutional struggle between the idea of a modern nation state vs. a confederacy of independent states.  All of the foregoing was complicated as Britain and France saw it as a theatre in which their struggle for world dominance could play out and both did their best to increase tensions by covert interference.  In many respects the conflict between the feudal world and the new Industrial Age was fought on the battlefields of America at the cost of innumerable lives.

    What I suggest is that many Americans forget that by circumstance or otherwise they were at the cutting edge of establishing the new industrial age and putting an end to the organic/feudal concept of society.  One of the results of this conflict was that never again would slavery, as an institution, have any real credence anywhere in the Western World.

    If Americans would remember that it was America, and no other country, that brought all these forces to a head and ushered in the new industrialized modern state,  they may end this national guilt trip over slavery.  They could then calmly and rationally look at the community organizer and serenely suggest he go back to Chicago.

    • Sahyan

      I suggest the Civil War was in essence a battle between our two founding documents. The issue was whether the Declaration’s “All men are created equal” or the Constitutions “No person shall be deprived of…property (in this case slaves) without due process….” The Declaration won, as it should have, in my view. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, “insofar as it serves and implements in real terms the principles on which our independence is based.*

  • BurtPrelutsky

    Michael: I would make it national policy that never again will we risk a single American life to defend Arabs and Muslims against anyone.  Anyone who has lived through the so-called Arab Spring and holds out any hope for those people is a loon.  As for nation-building, the only nation that we need to work on is our own.

    Burt

  • Michael

    “the Al Capone of Afghanistan, otherwise known as Hamid Karzai”

    Exactly.  As you said, Karzai needs a day or two of special care in the hands of the Taliban.  Then he’d stop mouthing off about Americans, and beg us to rescue him.  Meanwhile, I can’t think of a single American – not even a liberal Democrat – I’d wish to die fighting for that two-bit thug.

  • BurtPrelutsky

    Michael: Well said.  Clearly, Sgt. Bales should never have been sent back into a combat zone.  And certainly not back into Afghanistan.  No reason on earth for Americans to die defending Arabs and Muslims.

    Doom161: The South didn’t wish to end slavery.  That’s the bottom line.  Lincoln’s motives don’t really matter.

    Bruce A: Every senior officer who provided cover for Maj. Hasan should not merely be booted out of the Army, but should be charged with dereliction of duty and as an accessory to murder.

    Burt

  • DOOM161

    The Confederacy didn’t need a war to keep slavery around, as Lincoln didn’t want to free the slaves (and only did release them in certain states).  So there has to be a different motive for the Civil War.  The problem here is that history is written by the victor.

    • Tsav672000

       One thing you are forgetting Burt is that the South didn’t start the civil war. They didn’t fight to preserve slavery. They seceded as a nation and were perfectly willing to have a sustained peace. The North invaded the South and were the aggressors in the war.
      Another point that has been missed is that when the constitution was ratified many states did so with exclusive rights to leave the union if they so chose. Some of these were even northern states.
      While slavery was probably the biggest issue at the time, there were many other economic issues where the agricultural south were continual losers to the industrial north due to less representation. They  felt they had no choice but to invoke their right to leave the union which many had written in as a condition to joining 80 years before and could be interpreted under the 10th amendment.
      This may be the first time we have had a fundamental disagreement, so I had to speak up.

      • Sahyan

        This hooray for states’ rights stuff started after the war – when the rebels were trying to justify themselves. Read the speeches of Jeff Davis and his so-called Vice President from *before* the war, and it’s utterly clear what “right* they were defending. If they were so dedicated to states’ rights, why did they argue so vehemently for the Fugitive Slave Laws, which compelled federal authorities to trample on the laws of northern states, to recapture and return blacks to slavery in the south? Nonsense.
        And by the way, the argument that the states pre-existed the federal government, and were its creator, not its creation, applied *at best* to Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. The other rebel states were purchased with *FEDERAL* blood and treasure. The whole argument is a retrospective attempt to revise what was said at the time.

  • Bruce A.

    Speaking of mysteries, we haven’t heard much about the Fort Hood shooting lately.
    Why Major Hassan was allowed to practice medecine & remain on active duty is beyond me.  

    • Michael

      Yep, the Obama administration failed from day one on that issue as far as I’m concerned.  But, that’s no surprise, and I’m not even disappointed.  It’s hard to be disappointed in someone you never trusted to begin with.

      But, as I mentioned below, there are Army officers who are more concerned about their careers than standing up for their troops.  The senior officers who should have flagged Hassan were the first line of defense against him, and they failed.  The price of that failure was high.

    • DOOM161

       He has to remain on active duty, in confinement, until his trial.  Why he hasn’t been tried yet is beyond my comprehension.

  • Michael

     As for Sergeant Bales, I think some of “those excuses,” such as the traumatic brain injury, are offered as possible explanations – and not to excuse Sgt. Bales’s actions.

    Traumatic brain injury is one of the most common and troubling injuries arising out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They mostly occur after an IED or, in some cases, a mortar or rocket, explodes in very close proximity to a soldier, often literally rattling their brain inside their head.  Often there is no visual indication of injury, but the injury is so real that in some cases it kills.   

    What pisses me off about all this is that Bales was sent back into a combat environment AFTER being diagnosed with such an injury.  I know from experience that medical records are screened prior to deployment.  Whe the hell didn’t see that in Bales’s records?  Or, if they did see it, why didn’t they flag it?  Or, if they did, and if someone senior to them said to send Bales anyway, who was it?  Why did they do it?   

    Why do we have to send someone with a traumatic brain injury back to a combat zone? Are we that short-handed in the military? If so, why aren’t more senior officers making the point (maybe they are behind the scenes, but I fear they are not), and why aren’t more members of Congress raising hell about it (not a major re-election issue in their district?) 

    I want the truth to come out about the incident, and about why Bales did what he did.  However, I also want the bureaucrats and career-minded officers and NCOs in the Army who are supposed to be “looking out for the troops to be held accountable.   

    I’m really tired of seeing soldiers held accountable while the people who put them in situations they never should have been in are allowed to slip under the fence and be on their merry way. 

    • NANCYE

      Michael said:

      I’m really tired of seeing soldiers held accountable while the people who put them in situations they never should have been in are allowed to slip under the fence and be on their merry way. 

      ******

      I couldn’t agree with you more.  Excellent post!

    • cmacrider

      Michael:  Very well said.