Newsreels

Fox Movietone News logoWhen I was a kid, next to the cartoon, one of my favorite things at the movies was the weekly newsreel. In fact, unless the cartoon starred Tom and Jerry, I often enjoyed the newsreel more.

For those too young to remember, in the days before TV, these 10-minute films generally included some politician, usually FDR or Harry Truman, giving a speech or tossing out the first ball at an All Star Game; celebrities showing up for a movie premiere; bathing beauties water-skiing in Florida; highlights from an Army-Navy football game; an exhibition of trick bowling or pool shooting by Andy Varipapa or Willie Hoppe, respectively; and, on their birthday, an update on the status of the Dionne Quintuplets of Canada. At its conclusion, we would all be urged to buy War Bonds or, once WWII ended, to contribute to the March of Dimes in order to stamp out infantile paralysis.

Something else I recall from those long-ago movie-going days is how often movies had priests in feature roles. Just a short list of the major stars who took their turn wearing a turnaround collar were Bing Crosby, Gregory Peck, Spencer Tracy, Barry Fitzgerald, Montgomery Clift and Pat O’Brien. Some wag once observed that in those days, Jewish movie moguls told American Protestants how to be better Catholics.

Because my parents started taking me to the movies when I was just three or four, it was inevitable that I would sometimes draw the wrong messages from the newsreels. On one occasion which has become family legend, although I don’t recall it, my folks looked outside our Pine Grove Avenue apartment in Chicago and saw me doing the goosestep on the sidewalk. One or both of them ran out and grabbed me before the neighbors saw me and decided that we weren’t really Jewish, but were actually members of the Nazi Bund. I guess while watching newsreels, I had decided that it was a very amusing way to walk.

It’s hard to imagine now, when, between TV and the Internet, we get our news 24/7, that there was a time when newspapers, Time, Life, and such producers of newsreels as Hearst Metrotone, Pathe News and Fox Movietone , were all we had. In a way, I miss those times. These days, the bad news bombards us so relentlessly, there’s barely time to catch our breath.

For instance, when the rapes, murders, anti-Semitic posters and drug use, at the Occupy Wall Street events were called to the attention of Rep. Maxine Waters, she said, “That’s life and it happens.” She felt that even mentioning such matters “is a distraction from the mission of calling attention to the unfairness of the system.” I’m trying to recall if she ever said similar things about the Tea Party movement, which has a similar mission, but one they manage to conduct without the rapes, murders, drugs and anti-Semitism.

Tom and JerrySometimes, when tragic events such as the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, even religious people must find themselves wondering if God fell asleep at the switch. But then along comes the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and all doubts vanish. I mean, who else but God could have created such a dilemma for Obama? And what could be better than seeing Obama caught between a rock (wealthy environmental zealots) and a hard place (blue collar unions)? By kicking the oil pipeline all the way into 2013, Mr. Pass-My-Jobs-Bill-or-Else sends the message that 20,000 good-paying jobs and American energy concerns aren’t nearly as important as keeping his big money Hollywood contributors happy.

It’s not just Obama, Waters and their Washington cronies, who are in line for distemper shots. Consider PETA. Where do these people come from? I mean, nobody likes animals more than I do. But when the head of the group was a guest on Dennis Prager’s radio show, she seriously insisted that even cockroaches have rights. When Prager asked her how she felt about abortions, she said that PETA doesn’t have a position on the unborn. So, as Mr. Prager concluded, according to PETA, a cockroach has more rights than a human fetus. And these people aren’t embarrassed to be seen in public.

When Jon Corzine was running for re-election as the governor of New Jersey, Obama went there countless times to campaign for him, and Joe Biden referred to Corzine as his favorite financial expert. After Chris Christie defeated him, Corzine went on to be the CEO of MF Global, which not only went bankrupt nearly as quickly as Solyndra, but managed to misplace $1.2 billion of its investors’ money before going out of business. Makes you wonder what the “MF” stood for. And how do you manage to lose track of over a billion dollars? I mean, sometimes I forget where I put my car keys, but I’m pretty sure that even I could keep track of that large a pile of money.

Finally, am I the only person who appears to notice a strange pattern forming in our nation’s capital? It appears that nobody involved with this administration will read anything but a menu. Several Democrats who voted for the trillion dollar Stimulus admitted they hadn’t read the bill. Eric Holder confessed, after filing a federal lawsuit against Arizona’s immigration bill, that he hadn’t bothered to read the 13-page document. More recently, the Attorney General claimed he hadn’t read any of several memos his underlings had sent him regarding “Fast & Furious.”

Energy Chief Steven Chu, while defending the half billion dollars given to Solyndra, claimed he hadn’t read any of the memos his underlings had sent him, warning him that Solyndra’s chance of success weren’t half as good as that snowball that somehow found itself in Hell.

The most egregious example, though, is Barack Obama, who, rumor has it, once started reading the Constitution, but quit as soon as he saw that it didn’t deal with the redistribution of wealth.


©2011 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com!
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The World’s Gone Mad

Some of us imagined that Barack Obama couldn’t possibly have a lousier, more corrupt, circle of friends and advisors in Washington than he had back in Chicago.  But is it possible that we simply underestimated the man’s uncanny ability to attract vermin?

For instance, there is Eric Holder.  He’s the knucklehead who kicked things off by accusing white people of being cowards because they wouldn’t honestly address racial matters.  But when he demurred from prosecuting the Black Panthers for intimidating voters, and told his Department of Justice staff that under his watch only white people would be prosecuted for such crimes, some of us were dying to have an honest discussion with him.  In fact, for his convenience, it could have been in the alley behind his office.  But he was nowhere to be found.

Then, in the wake of “Fast and Furious,” he told a congressional committee under oath that he knew nothing about hundreds of guns being sold to Mexican gangsters.  When it turned out that he had been receiving memos about the operation for months before his testimony, his response was along the lines of “I’m the Attorney General.  I write memos, I don’t read them.”  On balance, that probably beats, “I was going to read them, but our dog buried them in the backyard before I had a chance.”

If there’s any justice in the world, Holder will wind up in the hoosegow where he can have all those honest conversations he was just dying to have; this time, with his cellmate, Bubba.

Another of Obama’s appointees is Jeffrey Immelt, the head of General Electric.  Because Immelt is Obama’s good friend and America’s Jobs Czar, some of us were confused when Obama started whining about millionaires and billionaires flying on corporate jets and not paying their fair share of taxes.  G.E., as we all know, paid no corporate taxes last year.  And, really, just between us, does Obama think that when Mr. Immelt commutes to Washington, D.C., he does it on a Greyhound Bus?

To compound matters, Immelt, apparently unclear on his job description, seemed to think that by transferring a large part of G.E.’s industrial capacity to China, he was fulfilling his obligation to increase employment.   In fact, one can easily imagine this exchange between Immelt and Obama: “You’re telling me I was supposed to create jobs in America?” “Well, yeah, I guess so.  Is that a problem?”  “Well, duh!  Do you have any idea how much money I’m saving by using slave labor?”  “Did you say slave?”  “Don’t get your undies in a knot, Barack.  We’re talking Chinese.”  “Oh, that’s right.  Never mind.” 

And so it goes.

In San Francisco, otherwise known as Bedlam by the Bay, there is a legislative proposal to make convicted felons members of a protected class, so that landlords and employers would be prohibited from asking applicants about their criminal past.  I swear, folks, you can’t make up this kind of stuff.

That brings me to Rand Paul.  I had assumed that Sen. Paul was at least 50% saner than his old man, Rep. Ron Paul, the fellow who doesn’t worry about a nuclear Iran, but is having a cow, perhaps a herd of cows, over our execution of the Yemen-based, American-born, jihadist, Anwar Al-Awlaki.  I was listening to Hugh Hewitt’s radio talk show when he asked Sen. Paul if he really believed, as he had stated, that the reason we are hated in the Middle East is simply because America supports Israel.

As I said, I had assumed that he possessed the lion’s share of common sense in the Paul family.  That was until he replied, “Well, that’s what they say.  That’s what they write.”

They say a lot of things, Senator Paul.  They write a lot of things.  That doesn’t make it so.  Inasmuch as the jihadists have slaughtered innocent people in England, Russia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, the Sudan, Holland, India, Lebanon, China, Nigeria, Armenia, Spain, Japan and the Philippines, I would think that even a U.S. senator could grasp the simple fact that most of these countries are not allies of Israel.  In fact, a number of them despise Israel.

Perhaps, I dare say, every bit as much as he and his father do.


©2011 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write Burt!
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Arguing the Case for Assassination

Assassination has unfortunately gotten a bad rap in this country, not because it is immoral or even impractical, but because our own victims have, for the most part, been popular figures, such as Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King and the Kennedys, Jack and Bobby. But I say it’s time to reassess the practice.

There seems to be a gentleman’s agreement not to whack someone else’s national leader, and if I were a president, prime minister, emperor, king or run-of-the-mill despot, I could certainly see the attraction of such an arrangement. But, as I’m not, I think it’s a pretty lousy policy.

For instance, why shouldn’t we try to find an efficient way to remove Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the imams who, thanks to Jimmy Carter, run Iran? After all, we know, based on the 2009 uprising in Tehran, that these are not universally beloved figures. We also know, as Churchill prophesized about Nazi Germany, that a future war, possibly of the nuclear variety, with Iran is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be worth killing a handful of Iranian tyrants today than risk the lives of untold thousands at some time in the future?

Besides, in spite of all the high-minded claptrap about assassination being a terribly unenlightened alternative to diplomacy, it seems pretty obvious that England, France and the U.S., have been trying to blow Gaddafi to Kingdom Come for the past several months. They’re just not doing a very good job of it.

Although it was apparently the Taliban who knocked off Ahmed Wali Karzai, Hamid Karzai’s half-brother, I’m sure that Eric Holder is scared stiff that the gun used in the assassination will be traced back to yet another ATF “Fast and Furious” snafu.

Holder’s enabler, Barack Obama, is boasting that during the last quarter, even as our unemployment numbers continued to soar, he managed to raise a shocking $86 million for his political war chest. No wonder the goofus-in-chief is so confident that the economy has turned around. For my part, I think that anyone who kicked in to Obama’s slush fund should be ashamed of himself, and should, like Hester Prynne, be branded with a scarlet “S” for schmuck.

What I have come to understand about Democrats is that they’re pack animals. It explains why, in spite of all objective evidence, they remain convinced that Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are a pair of dumb bunnies, and Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer are regular little Einsteins.

It also explains why they don’t raise any serious objections to anything the alpha dog does. So, whereas they had conniption fits when George W. Bush misspoke, they didn’t even wince when Obama mentioned our 57 states, and they thought it was downright adorable when he repeatedly referred to the Marine Corpse.

When Bush passed the Patriot Act, sent terrorists off to Gitmo and increased the national debt, Democrats insisted he was a loose, fascistic, cannon. However, when Obama extends the Patriot Act, keeps Gitmo open and sends the national debt soaring off the charts, they somehow conclude he belongs on Mt. Rushmore.

Perhaps we should all have realized how deranged Obama was when he claimed that, thanks to his charisma, America would once again be the most respected nation on the face of the earth.

Once elected, he mainly displayed his grasp of foreign policy by bowing and scraping. The world hadn’t seen such an obvious pretense of humility in decades, at least going back to Roland Young’s Uriah Heep in David Copperfield.

As Obama toured the globe, he seemed to take delight in denigrating America’s decency and generosity, while berating us for a few real and a great many imaginary faults. In the years since, he has insulted such allies as England, Poland and Israel, while bending his knee to any number of tyrants. Along the way, he broke the astonishing news that Muslims played a major role in the creation of the United States.

He has gone so far overboard in playing up to our sworn enemies that millions of Americans are now convinced he’s a Muslim. I don’t happen to share that belief. Judging by the ministers he is drawn to — racists such as Jeremiah Wright and Wallace Charles Smith — I believe that, like Jesse Jackson, Van Jones, Eric Holder and Al Sharpton, he is simply a garden variety black bigot.

Moreover, the irony of his constant curtsying to the Arab and Muslim world is that recent polls show that America is disliked even more vehemently in the Middle East in 2011 than it was in 2008.

Speaking of Allah’s faithful, the one thing that all the uprisings that have taken place over the past several months in Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Libya, prove is that these people are quite capable of staging massive demonstrations once they put their mind to it. And that’s even when other people are using them for target practice!

I bring this up because, post 9/11, whenever I pointed out that I never saw a single instance either in America or anywhere else of peace-loving Muslims demonstrating against Islamic terrorists, I was scolded by liberal loons. They kept insisting that most Muslims were wonderful people who simply feared for their lives if they showed their true feelings.

Am I the only person who finds it odd that the folks demonstrating in the streets of Cairo, Lebanon and Tripoli, apparently think they have less to fear than their relatives living in Dearborn, Michigan?.


©2011 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write Burt!
Get your personally autographed copy of Liberals: America’s Termites or Portraits of Success for just $19.95, shipping included.
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Liberals: America’s Termites Profiles of Success (60 candid conversations with 60 Over-Achievers)