Another year, another Earth Day

For those of you who were pressing your carbon footprint into Mother Earth’s jugular, Earth Day has come and gone. Fret not, dear friends. While you were busy being busy, the global warmists swarmed out of their dorm rooms, activist meetings and parents’ basements to shout to the rafters about the impending doom that haunts humanity. And when I say “shout,” I mean “roar like a crowd at a medieval public stoning.”

While Earth Day is nominally a day of celebration of all things earthy, it has devolved into the same shrieking hatefest that replays every time more than a few liberals occupy the same real estate. This year’s event featured pretty much the standard menu. Demands were made, speeches were given, warnings were levied, press conferences were held and enough non-recyclable garbage was piled up to shove the Styrofoam industry into the black for the rest of the year. There were concerts and cultural events attended by celebrities who were so moved by the plight of Mother Earth that they gathered their posses, ventured out of their Malibu compounds, landed their private jets and rolled up in their limos to lend their voices to the caterwauling. President Obama was so distraught that he flew 2,000 miles round-trip in a 747, burning nearly 10,000 gallons of jet fuel, to declare: “[C]limate change can no longer be denied. … And action can no longer be delayed.”

Say what you want about the American left, they are nearly as hysterical about “climate change” as they are about making sure no one derails the “climate change” express. What these guys lack in conclusive evidence, they more than make up for in sheer volume. Granted, a theory that is less than 50 years old and has already undergone multiple name changes to patch over five decades of being woefully wrong isn’t likely to gain much ground on merit. Perhaps that’s why the global warmists need to stage rock concerts and press conferences. Presumably, they’re hoping to make enough racket to drown out the considerable, and considerably growing, science that threatens their beloved theory.

They certainly can’t rest on their academic laurels. Even without counting the multiple scandals in which leading warmist researchers have been caught doing to their data what reputed Earth Day founder Ira Einhorn did to his girlfriend, these guys have a worse track record than an apocalyptic cult. After five decades of unbelievably dire prognostications, global warming remains farther from validation than I am from the guest list at the White House. The world didn’t cool off radically, relegating icebound cities to Dennis Quaid movies. The crops didn’t fail on a global scale, leading billions of people to not starve to death. The atmosphere’s balance of oxygen to nitrogen didn’t tilt, touching off a worldwide respiration epidemic. The icecaps stubbornly refused to melt, inspiring the seas to refuse to rise in solidarity. Legions of class-5 hurricanes failed to conduct endless bombardments of North American coasts, producing a boon for citrus farmers, insurance brokers and Disney World.

In fact, even a cursory examination of the so-called “science” behind the global warming industry reveals that global warmists are almost as reliable as one of those late-night TV psychics. “Call me now!”

That the climate is changing is a matter of scientific fact. However, the cause thereof is anything but. The big secret of the global warming industry is that it literally cannot prove anything more than an anecdotal relationship between human activity and weather patterns. The warmists are fond of pointing out that “97 percent” of scientists agree that “climate change” is real. While that figure is dubious in and of itself, it leaves out the rather important fact that the research used to “prove” that number has been conclusively proven to be as seriously flawed as the hackneyed theory it was constructed to defend.

Planet Earth has undergone radical climatological changes on a globally catastrophic scale on no fewer than five occasions over the course of 4.4 billion years. Of those five incidents, not one of those mass extinction events was tied to the exhaust from your SUV. Even if humanity were engaged in a conscious effort to murder Mother Earth, our results suggest we should have hired a specialist. We’re terrible at it. Despite what the warmists would call our best efforts, humanity has barely dented the biosphere.

In the five extinction-level events that have scarred the planet, somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 percent to 75 percent of species shuffled off to the natural history museums. Outside some weird cultural affinities for powdered rhinoceros appendages or what have you, we actually make coordinated, multinational efforts to protect species deemed “at risk.” I can promise you the meteor that packed in T-Rex and his gang made no effort to gauge the environmental effects of whacking the Gulf of Mexico at 45,000 mph.

Unfortunately for those of us too informed to spend a perfectly good Wednesday bloviating about whatever they’re calling global warming this week, the warmists do not exist in a vacuum. Because “climate change” replaces science with politics, it also replaces scientists with politicians. And politicians replace the pursuit of knowledge with the pursuit of power.

Among the throngs who have turned “Earth” Day into “Global Warming Is Real Because We Say It Is” Day are more than a few activists who believe laws should be made to not only ensure that Global Warming Is Real Because They Say It Is, but punish people who don’t believe in it. Obama even considers warming the single greatest threat to humanity’s survival — even though the number of people killed by a political ploy masquerading as science is significantly lower than, say, the number killed by the beneficiaries of Eric Holder’s arms trafficking program.

Lust for power plus dishonesty plus willful ignorance almost always means trouble for the rest of us. And the warmists are as flush in all three categories as Al Gore is in cash ever since he sold Global Warming TV to Big Huge Oil. If there’s one thing Obama’s disastrous occupation of the White House has taught us, it’s that there is no lie the Democrats won’t tell, no crime they won’t commit, no pseudoscientific claptrap they won’t push as gospel in order to expand their control over your life.

According to more than a few of the warmists’ high priests, dissenters — currently known to warmists as “climate deniers,” a moniker that makes as much sense as the rest of their “science” — shouldn’t just be shouted down; they should be made to suffer — or worse. If you forget the actual science that has forced global warming to undergo more name changes than Prince, remember that next Earth Day. The warmists are willing to kill you to save the Earth from an imaginary threat: “Happy Earth Day, Climate Denier. Hope you die.”

–Ben Crystal

Death, but not taxes

Daniel Defoe said it first, and Benjamin Franklin rather famously reminded us that there is little in this world as certain as “death and taxes.” Those twin ghouls haunt every home from the meanest hovel in Detroit to the grandest palace in Malibu. With the possible exception of Keith Richards, no one escapes the reaper. And with the possible exception of the “Reverend” Al Sharpton, there’s no escaping paying his government goons beforehand. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Anyone who thinks they can stave off dying indefinitely is probably sillier than a chubby intern who accepts an invitation to hang out in Bill Clinton’s hotel suite. Despite the equally low odds of escaping the long arm of the tax man, I still run across people who claim to know of some method by which Americans can escape forking over a goodly portion of their hard-won dough to the Internal Revenue Service. My response is always the same. Try to avoid the latter long enough, and you’ll meet the former sooner than you might expect.

As I’ve noted before, all government mandates carry with them the implicit threat of force. The government operates in virtually the same manner as a crime syndicate. You pay more than you should for less than you deserve in order to line the pockets of people you don’t know. If you refuse, you dramatically increase the likelihood that armed goons will be deployed to “help” you find your wallet.

Now that we’ve put April 15 in the rearview mirror for another year, let’s take a moment to examine why we should all be embarrassed that we allow it to continue to darken our days. The truth we so often either forget or ignore is that the government that so intimidates us does so with our explicit consent. We employ people we know we can’t trust and then bemoan our fate when they betray us. “Jeez, we got these rabid dogs, and they keep trying to bite us!”

I have neither the time nor the bandwidth to list even a fraction of myriad ways in which the federal government flushes away our cash like a Beverly Hills trophy wife. But I don’t need to slog through a budget infested with fiscal deer ticks like IRS agents who unwind from a hard day punishing taxpayers for donating to Tea Party groups with a nice workout on their $8,000 stair climber while admiring their new Thomas the Tank Engine wristbands. All I need to do is offer a couple of suggestions that will lighten the load on us while tightening the leash on them.

Firstly, it’s time to eliminate the IRS. If there is one agency that serves nowhere near the purpose it was intended to, it’s the IRS. Tasked with collecting the nation’s taxes, the agency’s glowering thugs have become the ultimate boogeymen. And Obama’s war on liberty has turned them into the federal version of mob enforcers, a role made possible by a comprehensive lack of competent oversight. When disgraced IRS stooge Lois Lerner took the 5th to protect the IRS’s political targeting scandal, she should have immediately been not only disavowed but denounced by IRS honcho John Koskinen — if not Barack Obama himself. Instead, Koskinen sneered at congressional investigators with the full backing of Obama. At this point, it’s entirely likely that no one will ever face justice for Obama’s strong-arm tactics.

But the real tragedy isn’t the abuse we suffer at the hands of our own public servants; it’s the fact that there’s no need for any of it. The institution of a FairTax-style consumption-based system would bolster both personal and corporate income and boost government revenues. There is literally no reasoned argument against it, which is probably why the Democrats won’t discuss it. The elimination of the annual April crushing of the souls would boost national morale, as would the elimination of an agency that has proven to be dangerous when guided by the wrong principles. At the very least, it might be nice for our government to stop treating everyone except Obama’s cronies like they’re the same sort of criminals as so many of Obama’s cronies.

Declare a general, onetime tax amnesty. Lerner walked away from her role in the IRS targeting scandal with a full pension. Why not give Americans a taste of that honey? Obama is rather fond of issuing illegal executive orders when the law and/or the people get in his way. If he can wave a magic wand and turn millions of illegal aliens into “Dreamers,” he can wave the same wand for a good cause. And — bonus — he’d actually be doing something for the people instead of to us.

Given the fact that Obama has managed to add nearly $10 trillion to the national debt in 238 fewer years than it took his 43 predecessors to ring up the same amount, it’s hard to argue that we’re not getting much return on our forced investment. With Americans owing somewhere between $80 billion and $300 billion, such a move would be expensive; but we could make up the shortfall with relative ease. The annual budget for the IRS runs north of $100 billion. Since IRS agents clearly are not all that good at their jobs to begin with, the binning of the IRS would cover one-third of the amnesty bill in one fell swoop. If you want to make sure we stay in the black, then consider the fact that the so-called “war on poverty” has cost close to $25 trillion and produced Detroit. That kind of math isn’t complicated.

Obviously, those two ideas barely scratch the surface. The Feds will always find a way to waste money faster than they can steal it from those of us who actually work for a living. But in an America in which the next presidential campaign will end up costing billions of dollars, I’m quite comfortable saying that not only is the system bent to the advantage of the wrong people, but it’s beyond repair.

Americans have been paying income taxes since at least the Civil War, with peacetime income tax a reality since the passage of the Revenue Act of 1894. The 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913. The IRS has existed in its current form since 1953. In all that time, Americans have managed to fund a fully operational government that has spent wildly in excess of revenues and then shaken down Americans for more cash. Rather than fix the obviously broken system, we keep shoveling more money at it. Scrap the IRS, stop treating Americans like criminals while treating criminals like Americans and, for God’s sake, tell Sharpton to break out his checkbook.

–Ben Crystal

White man’s burden

Allow me to offer my condolences to the friends and family of Rolling Stone magazine. In these final weeks before the once-respected magazine is presumably taken over by the brothers of the University of Virginia chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, try to focus on the good times. Remember the good old days of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. Take solace in reminiscing about how Rolling Stone reporters used to write about music and musicians, although those efforts seem as far gone as the days of MTV showing the music Rolling Stone used to write about. Hell, there was even a time during which the magnificent P.J. O’Rourke contributed short bursts of sense.

Sadly, those days are as long gone as cassettes, hair metal and “reporter” Sabrina R. Erdely’s credibility — soon to be joined by a sizable chunk of RS publisher Jann Wenner’s sizable personal fortune. As of Monday, Rolling Stone, Erdely, Wenner and the usual players to be served later are likely facing a lawsuit bigger than the budget for Metallica’s next tour. And unless the courtroom is filled entirely with disgraced pseudo-journalists and man-hating abortionista-types, they are going to fork over more cash to the men of Phi Kappa Psi than a Saudi sheikh buying influence from the Clinton Foundation.

As it turns out, running a more than 9,000-word story without bothering to see if it contains more facts than Lois Lerner’s congressional testimony is generally frowned upon — a memo Rolling Stone clearly forgot before publishing the very publicly debunked “A Rape on Campus.” But Rolling Stone didn’t stop there. It ran Erdely’s now completely discredited hoax as a direct result of what an independent investigation by the Columbia School of Journalism termed “journalistic failure that was avoidable” and followed up with a months-long effort to hide from its own culpability.

While Erdely busily dug her own journalistic grave by attempting to frame her critics as part of a so-called “campus rape culture” and complained that scrutiny of cases like hers might serve to frighten potential victims of sexual assault into silence, Rolling Stone dawdled over acknowledging the systemic failure of their editorial chain and then responded to the CJS report by changing absolutely nothing. The magazine libeled the living crap out of dozens of boys whose only crime was being selected as dupes in an insane scheme cooked up by a lovesick girl, did everything it could to avoid admitting it and then demonstrated a total lack of contrition. Indeed, Wenner has publicly announced that Erdely and her colleagues will not be facing any real disciplinary actions.

The question remains: How could this happen? Granted, Rolling Stone isn’t exactly the Wall Street Journal; but surely one or two of the staff members should have wandered past an ethics lecture during their six years in college. While Erdely’s own post-disgrace performances leave little doubt as to her motivations, the entire Rolling Stone organization won’t fit behind the “narrative is more important than facts” excuse. So how, exactly, does a team of people from proofreader to publisher and back fall into what will probably be a stupendously expensive trap?

The answer is as simple as Vice President Joe Biden, and it ought to be as recognizable to liberals like the Rolling Stone staffers as process servers are about to be. This whole situation — from the still-unidentified mastermind “Jackie” to Erdely’s feeble attempt to fit facts into a narrative instead of vice versa to the “king of rock ’n’ roll”-sized check everyone’s going to have to write to Phi Kappa Psi — is a consequence of racism.

And I mean “racism,” not some one-off like “reverse racism.” No matter how you spin this record, the tune is the same. The original perpetrator picked the Phi Psis because the Phi Psis look like the stereotypical, out-of-control, spoiled frat boys we’ve all loathed since the Omegas gave Bluto and the gang a hard time in “Animal House.” Erdely turned “Jackie” into a heroic stand-in for all the unheralded victims of all the Omegas everywhere. Rolling Stone let it reach the newsstands without asking either Erdely or “Jackie” to provide anything even approaching actual evidence beyond an accusation. Rolling Stone and Erdely appear to have met every legal definition of “libel” in the dictionary, and they did it all because their targets were college fraternity brothers at a Southern university. Throw in a couple Justin Beiber-style haircuts and a few pairs of boat shoes, and the Phi Kappa Psi boys might as well be the models for the next Ben Silver catalog. They’re white. And as the sad saga of Rolling Stone’s rather public journalistic suicide revealed, they neither received nor deserved a presumption of innocence.

Truth be told, Rolling Stone will probably get away with simply writing a check with more zeroes than their newsroom contains. After all, the left-wing media’s descent into malpractices like the UVA rape hoax is neither new nor unexpected. And the perpetrators in this case have no more reason to fear for their futures than their fellow flacks who flunked basic reporting. The victims of Rolling Stone’s and Erdely’s fraud fall into the same category as the 2006 Duke Lacrosse team and Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson: AWW, accused while white.

Mumia Abu-Jamal gets a legal defense fund and the adulation of liberal icons like terrorist Bill Ayers. The Tsarnaev boys were driven to bomb the Boston Marathon by rampant Islamophobia. Christopher Dorner was a “black superhero.” Michael Brown had his hands up. Even O.J. Simpson was framed. And criticism of Barack Obama is, of course, racially motivated. But the Phi Kappa Psis are guilty as charged — if not of the crime of which they were falsely accused, then certainly of “white privilege.”

–Ben Crystal

A large pizza with extra tolerance

(Scene: Interior. Hakim’s Halal-Hut. Daytime.)

HAKIM: How may I help you?

CUSTOMER: I’m a transgendered Zoroastrian, and I’m marrying my omnisexual Ba’hai boyfriend. We love your food, and would like to have you cater our nuptials. By the way, we’d like bacon-wrapped scallops served, as well.

HAKIM: Um, no.

CUSTOMER: Bigot!

THE IRS AND JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: We will be calling soon to schedule your rectal exam.

Such a scenario is supposed to be impossible in this lad’s America. That isn’t because an American Muslim wouldn’t object to serving non-halal food at an event that pretty much douses the Koran in gasoline and sets it on fire. It’s because an American Muslim shouldn’t have to face legal repercussions for his refusal to violate his religious convictions. Yet some rather unfortunate cases in New Mexico, Oregon and elsewhere have demonstrated that not only would Hakim face civil liability, but he could face far worse. If Hakim were a Christian serving pizza, he almost certainly would.

As I’ve pointed out before, anything that involves the threat of government force is conducted at gunpoint. Even matters as pedestrian as parking tickets can put you on the business end of the barrel, if you dodge the meter maid for long enough. Therefore, if Hakim refuses to go non-halal for the apostate’s wedding, he faces fiscal and personal ruin — not to mention potential loss of not only his civil freedoms, but his physical freedom.

Enter the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was first introduced by then-Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and then-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Chappaquiddick). The federal version of the act read: “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.” It rocketed through a Congress dominated by Democrats in both Houses and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton (D-Jeff Epstein’s private island). The act engendered little objection at the time. In fact, it lived a fairly quiet legislative existence until someone pointed out that the 10th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited federal imposition of such a law on the states.

Meanwhile, multiple states enacted similar laws on their own. In some cases, the laws read almost verbatim like Schumer’s and Kennedy’s federal version. Among the states that enacted such legislation was Illinois, in which a then-unheralded state senator from Chicago supported it. The 1st Amendment guarantee to freedom of religious practices, which ought to have been law enough, was reiterated by a federal statute and state-level statutes.

And then, a New Mexican photographer and Oregonian baker got sideways with the LGBT crowd. Suddenly, the RFRA returned to the public consciousness, only the social environment had changed drastically. The Democrats who had conceived and pushed identical laws suddenly forgot their prior positions. In some cases, prominent Democrats found themselves unintentionally decrying laws on the books in their own backyards. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat whose state made RFRA a law in 1993, called his Indiana gubernatorial counterpart Mike Pence “incredibly stupid” after Pence signed the Indiana version into law. Putting aside the fact that Indiana’s version is essentially identical to the Democrats’ own federal edition, Malloy’s declamation of Pence also constituted a kick to the face of the Constitution State (Connecticut).

The sudden shift in scrutiny on RFRA laws also trapped some business heavyweights in their own corners. Mega-corporations like Volvo and Apple, among others, announced that they were reconsidering doing business in places that pass — or even consider — RFRA laws. Never mind that both companies have deep financial ties to some of the biggest human rights violators on Earth in the personae of China and Saudi Arabia; they were outraged — outraged, I say — at the troglodytic behavior of the Hoosiers and others.

The Democrats’ reversal on RFRA laws also puts their “foreign policy” in the crosshairs. Liberals found themselves in the position of attacking American Christians for their perceived intolerance, while simultaneously cheering Islamofascists who make the most rock-ribbed Christian fundamentalist in America look like a Unitarian “pastor” by comparison.

Of course, the newly anti-religious-freedom left couldn’t stop at venting their righteous indignation at the idea of small-business owners refusing to participate in events they found religiously objectionable. A restaurant in Walkerton, Indiana, became the first Hoosier state business to invoke the RFRA to protect themselves from legal action over their refusal to cater a same-sex wedding ceremony. Within hours, the liberals’ tolerance brigades donned their rhetorical jodhpurs and jackboots and goose-stepped Memories Pizza into submission.

The small-town pizza joint was attacked online. And increasingly wild threats to profit, property and person drove the shop’s owner to shutter the place, thereby reminding us that, according to the left, the proper response to perceived intolerance is actual arson and/or murder. Imagine how much we’re all going to have the first time the aforementioned gay Zoroastrian says, “Because intolerance,” when asked, “Why did you firebomb Hakim’s Halal Hut?”

In one noteworthy example, the golf coach at a high school not far from Memories Pizza took her tolerance to Twitter. “Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down #memoriespizza w me?” That particular steward of the nation’s future was suspended with pay — a significantly better fate than the one she planned for Memories.

Unfortunately, anytime those on the left whip themselves into a fervor over some alleged affront to one of their preferred, perpetually aggrieved faction, they deploy propaganda to cover the shock troops. But Indiana’s RFRA, like the other RFRA laws nationwide, allows for no discrimination. In fact, because the RFRA is a totally passive law (legal armor but not a legal sword), it can be invoked only in a defensive manner. Business owners cannot compel customers to purchase their wares (restrictions may apply; see federal government/Obamacare for details). Therefore, the true power remains in the hands of the potential clients, since potential clients can simply choose to take their business elsewhere.

I warned people this would happen. If our port-side compatriots began systematically abusing and encroaching on liberty through nefarious fiats and judicial wrangling, someone would object.

The best part is: The Democratic Party is at both ends of this snake. Democrats are fighting against laws they created. They deserve no better; but it’s a bit of a shame that decent, hardworking people are once again caught in their crossfire. Maybe Memories Pizza and the like should consider offering falafel and abortions. Then they could cater the next White House State Dinner.

–Ben Crystal

Black Brunch in America

On Palm Sunday, a restaurant worker confronts shouting protesters who entered an Atlanta-area restaurant and shouted at diners as part of #BlackBrunchATL.

I don’t live in Atlanta. It’s not that I bear the “City too busy to hate” any personal animus. I even lived there for a stretch, in a tiny place in Midtown. Its limited benefits included a rooftop deck from which one could reach Piedmont Park with a 5-iron, presuming one was so inclined.

But Atlanta has become one of those cities with a subpopulation of self-important, “socially conscious” types. They all have the same three-step M.O.:

  1. They gentrify the hell out of an urban area surrounded by gut-wrenchingly poor, minority-dominated neighborhoods.
  2. Then they talk with their eyes closed about the plight of the people in the gut-wrenchingly poor, minority-dominated neighborhoods.
  3. And they desperately hope none of the people from the gut-wrenchingly poor, minority-dominated neighborhoods actually come to visit.

Essentially, Atlanta has become the East Coast’s answer to San Francisco, or, more accurately, the Southeast’s answer to Brooklyn.

Perhaps that’s why I couldn’t resist the urge to smile just a bit Sunday afternoon as I watched news footage of the latest left-wing temper tantrum disguised as “activism” streaming in from the Peach State capital. Since their first engagement was such a rousing success, the “Black Brunch Atlanta” mobs swarmed the cafes of the Greater Atlanta area again Sunday. Following in the footsteps of those great social ground shakers as the self-proclaimed “Occupiers” and the original disrupters-of-midday-meals, “Black Brunch NYC,” the Black Brunch Atlanta mobs took to the streets to vent their frustrations over mistreatment at the hands of evil white racists by forcing those evil white racists to closely examine their own inherent white racism while listening to righteously indignant recitations of crimes against black people, such as the murder of angelic, innocent Michael Brown by evil white racist Darren Wilson of the evil white racist Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department.

Well, that’s sort of what happened. To be sure, there were swarms of angry mobs. But they didn’t exactly take to the streets. Once again, they invaded private property with the sole intent of harassing guests therein. Unless I missed a memo, that’s not “protesting.” That’s “criminal trespass.” And throw in a couple of the unsubtle remarks I picked up from some of the voices in the din — my favorite being, “Why is #BlackBrunchATL so disturbing to white people? They’re lucky blacks are just interrupting their brunch and not killing them” — and Black Brunch Atlanta graduates to “terroristic threats.”

They were easy to spot, too. All I had to do was look for the people not wearing heavy-framed glasses, ironic T-shirts and jeans cut for 9-year-olds. I noticed many of the pro-Black Brunch Atlanta types on Twitter gloating about intimidating the diners. I also noticed no one seemed to have the heart to tell them that the urban hipster subspecies can be intimidated by my Labrador retriever. For that matter, screaming at the top of your lungs about perceived bigotry in a place that takes pride in free-range, farm-to-table, organically grown anything is as worthwhile an endeavor as passing out Black Panther flyers in Nancy Pelosi’s ritzy San Francisco neighborhood. Sure, most of them are “down for the struggle,” right up until the moment “the struggle” crosses the bridge from Oakland and interrupts their soy lattes.

Frustrations were indeed vented. Only, the frustrations that were being vented were largely imaginary. One of the uncomfortable realities from which our Black Brunch pals seem intent on hiding is this: From a statistical standpoint, the greatest physical threat to black people is other black people. To put it another — and probably equally uncomfortable, but no less true — way: From a statistical standpoint, a black male between the ages of 16 and 49 is safer in the whitest neighborhood in America than in virtually any majority-minority neighborhood from Bedford-Stuyvesant to Compton.

To further belabor the uncomfortable truth, the worst examples of gut-wrenching poverty, whether they be the Atlanta neighborhoods that don’t have a Williams-Sonoma or the spots in Oakland from which Pelosi’s house isn’t even visible, all share things for which even the most socially conscious hipster in the whole coffee house can’t be blamed:

  • Stunning rates of black-on-black crime,
  • Stunning rates of fatherless households,
  • And deeply entrenched Democratic Party political control.

And to stick a pin in their other “frustrations,” even President Barack Obama’s own Igor, Eric Holder, has acknowledged that Brown was a thug who committed suicide-by-cop by forcing Wilson to fight for his life. “Hands up; don’t shoot” is as legitimate a narrative as “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

And white people were forced to examine stuff. Video from one of the eateries invaded by the Black Brunch Atlanta folks showed white people, along with black people, Asian people, Hispanic people, Indian people and probably a few Muslim people, examining their menus, their cellphones, their bills, the exits and their decision to start eating Sunday brunch at home. Other white people, along with black people, Asian people, Hispanic people, Indian people and probably a few Muslim people who work themselves to the bone keeping up with packed houses full of demanding yuppie customers, get to wonder if they’ll soon be examining pink slips while other people of all colors examine whether they can stave off bankruptcy if the Black Brunch Atlanta mob targets their restaurant again.

I noticed Black Brunch Atlanta and their fellow racist “slacktivists” never show up at truck stops or the roadside diners, only in the mid-to-upscale eateries with parking lots filled with Priuses. The left is fond of claiming that white conservative men are the cause of so many of their perceived troubles. If they were serious about confronting their tormentors, they wouldn’t storm upscale Atlanta eateries; they’d storm the Cracker Barrel. They’re not only blaming the wrong people; they’re doing it in the wrong place. It’s the rhetorical equivalent of looking for your car keys a block away from where you lost them because the light is better there.

I’m sure Black Brunch Atlanta, just like its ideological siblings in the “Occupy” movement, will return. More “racism” will need decrying. More “oppression” will need exposing. And more meals will need ruining. In the meantime, I’ll just be over here, enjoying the “white privilege” of dining in relative peace and quiet. The Black Brunchers should try it. I’d invite them to join me, but they would refuse. I’m white and conservative, and they are the ones with their eyes and ears shut to the world. They are blind to any other view or opinion. Better they stick with the hipsters.

Happy anniversary, Obamacare!

Has it been five years already? With, ahem, absolutely nothing else of consequence clogging up his schedule, President Barack Obama took center stage at a Wednesday party celebrating Obamacare’s fifth anniversary. The White House put together a ceremony only slightly less choreographed than his Rose Garden victory dance with the parents of alleged deserter Bowe Bergdahl.

I watched Obama brazenly congratulate himself for perpetrating a fraud on the American people like some gangsta-rapper wannabe braying about knocking over a 7-11. “This law is saving money for families and for businesses… This law is also saving lives. It’s working, despite countless attempts to repeal, undermine, defund and defame this law. It’s not the fiscal disaster critics warned about for five years.”

As has become customary for this administration, Obama’s minions even produced one of their nifty little hashtags, “#ObamacareIsWorking,” to commemorate the event because self-congratulations in 140 characters or less are much easier that way. I must admit, at first I found his unmitigated gall almost impressive. Claiming a disaster like Obamacare as a signature domestic-policy achievement would certainly require nothing less than spectacular hubris, if not outright sociopathy. But then, something occurred to me. Obamacare is Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.

Obama has certainly stumbled through his tenure so far. His watch has sent a record number of Americans into permanent unemployment and sentenced unprecedented masses to life on the welfare rolls. He’s engaged in a pattern of abuses of Americans’ civil liberties that would make the KGB blush. His accomplices, including such worthies as Lois Lerner, John Koskinen, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder, have clearly committed breaches that normally end up in front of juries, while fouling the public discourse with the sneering mendacity that made MSNBC every bit the “success” Obamacare has been.

While liberals continue to crow about Obamacare and its rather dubious “successes” like the oft-repeated claim that “(insert grossly overinflated number here) people who didn’t have insurance now have it” or something to that effect, they’re very carefully not discussing the side effects, which in many cases are far worse than any of the myriad diseases Obamacare won’t — and can’t — cure. Someone ought to remind Obama that it’s not really an accomplishment if you forced the subjects to buy something you didn’t really plan on offering and that they didn’t want in any case. It’s even less so if you forced them at gunpoint. And let’s not beat around the bush, kids. Anytime the federal government makes you do something, it’s at gunpoint. A group of Americans who had no choice in the matter are currently learning that lesson the hard way as they discover their Obamacare subsidies are headed back to D.C. via the Internal Revenue Service.

Someone should also remind Obama’s devoted followers that Obamacare and actual healthcare are not — nor were they ever supposed to be — the same thing. If you had cancer before Obamacare, you still have cancer. The only difference is that you might need to see a different oncologist — in the event that your previous doctor was on the surprisingly long list of those whom you couldn’t keep, even if you did like them. However, if you were a fit, healthy, nonsmoking triathlete whose plan was suitable for your needs, you’re now not only paying more for the same thing, thanks to Obamacare, you’re paying more for less, since you still don’t need the extra coverage and the doctors whom you did like left their practice thanks to Obamacare.

Of course, even when Obama makes a mountain out of a fraud-riddled molehill, he can’t do it without making a fool of himself in the process. During his remarks, Obama jabbed at conservative opposition to his criminal enterprise, presumably joking when he asked: “Kicking millions off insurance will somehow make us more free?” Evidently, the president forgot the millions who were kicked off their insurance by Obamacare, despite his promises to the contrary. The Democrats are fond of discussing Obama’s “presidential” demeanor. And nothing says “presidential” to me like sophomoric jabs from a lame-duck has-been whose paper-thin ego is more important to him than his own party’s future.

Notably, among the hordes of attendees — and by “hordes” I mean “number lower than Joe Biden’s IQ score” — were three whole Democratic legislators. Despite their professed admiration for the lumbering legislative behemoth, the bulk of our port side legislators skipped the big day to attend a speech to a joint session of Congress by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. It’s not that they didn’t want to be there for the big anniversary photo op; it’s just that they were dying to hear from a guy whose name Obama apparently can’t remember on a bet. Say what you want about most Democrats, but they’re smart enough to shore up their alibis.

Unfortunately for them, those alibis are thinner than Obama’s delicate self-image. Last fall, Obamacare extracted a heavy toll from the legislative side of the Democratic machine. With their party trapped in a death spiral heading into 2016 — their top contender remains the laughably unelectable Hillary Clinton — the last thing they need is Obama nailing a copy of Obamacare to the electorate’s door. And yet that’s precisely what he’s doing. Happy anniversary, Obamacare; you’re the gift that keeps on giving.

–Ben Crystal

Losing the war on poverty

As I scrolled through Twitter the other day, a blurb on the Democratic Party’s feed caught my eye.

tweet031915

Fifty-one years later, and the Democrats took time out of their busy schedule of lying, cheating, stealing and calling everyone who notices “racist!” to raise a soy latte in honor of LBJ’s war on poverty. Obviously, if the Democrats manage to squeeze it into 140 or fewer characters a half-century after the fact, they must consider LBJ’s grand vision for a more prosperous America a real highlight on their resume.

And who can blame them? While marking the 51st anniversary of anything other than a wedding seems a bit contrived, the rest of the 1960s hardly represent a high water mark for the Democrats. They turned Southeast Asia into a killing field that consumed nearly 60,000 American souls. They double-talked on race following Republican President Dwight Eisenhower’s policy of using federal might to force an end to racial segregation, while simultaneously “drawing the line in the dust” to protect the Jim Crow laws they created. By 1968, their national convention descended into chaos as protesters turned Chicago into a massive cage match. So I suppose it’s fair for them to focus on President Johnson’s Special Message to the Congress, a footnote in Johnson’s larger Declaration of War. Of course, Johnson never declared war on North Vietnam, nor their Soviet backers, nor the globalist banksters who used the carnage of Southeast Asia to diversify their ever-thriving death industry. In 1964, Johnson declared war on poverty.

In 1964, the United States was indeed a war-weary nation. Four generations of Americans had bled on battlefields from France to the Pacific Rim and back to France and back again to the Pacific Rim. Meanwhile, the “bloodless” Cold War filled everyday life with the excitement of knowing the other half of the world was being run by guys who’d piled up Black Death-sized body counts in fewer than 50 years without leaving their own countries. And the aforementioned Vietnam situation was beginning to show signs of making Korea look like a cakewalk. So Johnson brought war home.

Using the Democrats’ own calendar, America’s war on poverty has now gone on longer than every other war in which America has been involved since the American Revolution, combined. Sadly, that fact dovetails rather neatly with the fact that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 poverty report, America’s war on poverty has consumed an inflation-adjusted total of nearly $23 trillion — triple the money we’ve spent on the actual wars in which we’ve fought since the American Revolution.

Moreover, our return on investment is worse than the last guy who cut a check to Bernie Madoff. According to the federal government’s own numbers, the poverty rate in America is just under 15 percent. A look back through the annals of the war on poverty reveals that the poverty rate is actually on an upswing, but it hasn’t wandered more than a few points in any direction since LBJ fired his opening salvo in 1964. Essentially, the war on poverty, which the Democrats consider one of their greatest victories, is, at best, a tie.

And I’m not the only person who’s noticed poverty remains a real problem five decades after LBJ put it in his crosshairs. The darling of the far left, Massachusetts multimillionaire Sen. Elizabeth Warren, thinks endemic poverty lurks around every corner. According to the Democratic Party’s rising Bay State Star, “a momma and a baby on a full-time minimum-wage job cannot keep themselves out of poverty.” And Warren’s not alone.

Another prominent Democrat also missed Tuesday’s big anniversary. None other than President Barack Obama said:

If poverty is a disease that infects an entire community in the form of unemployment and violence, failing schools and broken homes, then we can’t just treat those symptoms in isolation. We have to heal that entire community. And we have to focus on what actually works.

I’d feel just awful if I set the Democrat dogs a-yapping at one another, but it seems as if they’re having some internal communications issues. They’re simultaneously celebrating and lamenting the expenditure of 23 trillion bucks to fight a disease for which we have yet to dent the symptoms, and that’s according to their own people. Keep in mind, the figure I’m citing does not include government schools, Medicare, Social Security the war on drugs, green-energy boondoggles, amnesty for illegal aliens, the various incarnations of “global warming” or the current Democratic president’s signature “achievement,” the abominable Obamacare. Add it all up, and the federal government has spent dozens, if not hundreds, of trillions of dollars on programs specifically touted as social benefits.

Yet society, arguably more socially fractured than ever, is largely economically unchanged — unless you’re black or (in a paradox that could be engineered only by liberal action) supremely wealthy. After more than 50 years of pitched battle against poverty, not only has the percentage of Americans living in poverty remained unchanged, the percentage of black Americans living in poverty now stands at nearly double the rate of their white compatriots. Meanwhile, the concentration of wealth in the hands of the mega-wealthy few has actually increased, with the Obama “recovery” actually producing a net gain for the “1 percent” and net loss for the “99 percent” since Obama took office. Give Obama credit; no other president since the dawn of the industrial age actually managed to take from the poor and give to the rich as effectively.

It’s been 51 years since LBJ declared “war” on poverty, and little has changed for the better; for blacks, the situation has gotten worse. A visit to any one of the most depressed and violent cities in America reveals the Democrats’ war has created massive casualties, almost all a result of friendly fire. So why are they celebrating? LBJ already told us: “I’ll have those n*****s voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” Congratulations, Democrats. You won the election; America lost the war.

–Ben Crystal

President Grahamnesty: The losing choice

The biggest price the Democrat Party will have to pay for their devotion to President Barack Obama is roster depth. Our man Barry has made quite a mess of things; and his soon-to-be-erstwhile accomplices have spent nearly all their political loot just keeping his head above water.

In a bit of electoral déjà vu, the woman whom Obama whipped in 2008’s battle of the 3 a.m. phone call is back for another beating; and it’s already getting ugly. As Hillary Clinton’s Presidential aspirations disappear faster than her husband at a plus-size models convention, it’s difficult to discern which of her junior varsity teammates will step up and fill the pantsuit.

I suppose Hillary’s demise might signal the rise of ultra-left wing multimillionaire, college professor, Massachusetts Senator and possessor of some of the finest cheekbones east of the Mississippi: Elizabeth Warren. Of course, Warren’s track record might sing arias to the left; but to anyone right of the Berkeley “Gender Studies” Department, Warren’s Marxist caterwauling sounds as soothing as Howard Dean bellowing his version of “I’ve Been Everywhere” at a crowd full of abortionistas.

Determining the understudy for a diva like Hillary is a fool’s errand. The list of people who have no shot – real or imagined – at the Democrats’ 2016 nomination is longer than the list of emails Hillary deleted from her illegal server. I’m sure Senator Bernie Sanders (Actual Socialist – VT) thinks he has enough game to make the starting roster. I’m also sure I’m probably as likely to nab the Democrats’ nomination as a hoary old communist throwback from the land of Ben & Jerry’s. The rest of their field looks like a random sampling of the late-night crowd at an “Occupy” riot.

Oddly, the Republican field, while only slightly less repellent, is no less clear. Fortunately, one Republican whose name has been floated did everyone a favor this week by disqualifying the crap out of himself. South Carolina’s senior Senator Lindsey Graham, during an appearance at the Concord, New Hampshire, City Republican Committee, shared his plan for how best to handle the growing threat presented by the terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS). According to Graham, not only are ground troops are an absolute necessity in order to defeat the Islamofascists, they’re an absolute necessity in order to make Congress obey him.

(I)f I were President of the United States, I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to.

A South Carolina Senator doesn’t visit New Hampshire during mud season because he’s got a sudden jones for the world’s best maple syrup. Graham’s Granite State tour is a clear signal that he’s at least in the presidential chute. But remarks like that one make me think he should stay out of New Hampshire – and Presidential politics – forever. And if Graham ends up winning the 2016 Republican nomination, then the GOP ought to, as well.

Look, I’ll be the first guy to agree that a nuclear-armed Iran represents nothing but bad news. Islamofascists + AK47s = trouble. Islamofascists + nuclear weapons = radioactive trouble. Obama’s ham-fisted handling of the aftermath of President George W Bush’s all-thumbs approach to the Mideast has made a bad situation tragically worse. And the reemergence of Russia as a regional player in the vacuum created by Obama’s dithering adds only more intrigue, especially considering Russia’s central role in Iran’s nuclear aspirations. But Graham’s threats are insane.

A candidate for the Presidency in 2016 just said in 2015 that he would not only deploy the full force of the U.S. military in 2017 to a highly volatile region, but he would deploy them against his own People in order to accomplish the task. There’s a lot of real estate between appeasement and total war. Just because Obama has proven the former makes no sense doesn’t mean the next Republican contender for the office formerly known as the Leader of the Free World needs to immediately try out the latter.

Graham’s lieutenants have since explained that Graham was merely making a joke. If that’s the case, Graham needs not only new material, he needs new writers. With Obama demonstrating an almost total disregard for the Constitution, making jokes about ordering a military crackdown are less “ha-ha” funny and more “re-education camp” funny. It certainly doesn’t burnish Graham’s Presidential qualifications in my estimation.

Graham, who also thinks granting amnesty to everyone who successfully coyotes their way across the border is a swell idea, thinks that sending our service personnel into a powderkeg carrying a lit match is equally brilliant. Moreover, he thinks the using those same service personnel to roll heavy on anyone who stands in his way is – wink,wink — hilarious.

In 2012, Obama won reelection thanks in no small part to the Republicans’ decision to counter him with a candidate who had virtually indistinguishable political ideals, albeit better hair. If the GOP heads into 2016 with yet another “RINO” leading the charge, they deserve no better than a repeat of 2012. Unfortunately, we the People deserve better; a fact both parties have either forgotten, or are willfully ignoring.

– Ben Crystal

Boehner did it

House Speaker John Boehner probably thought he would get away with it. I’m sure he expected the noise surrounding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Congress would allow him to surrender the fort on immigration without anyone noticing. He could simply wait until the Democrats started hitching up their panties and goose stepping around in front of the cameras because that dirty Israeli hurt the delicate feelings of their beloved President Barack Obama, and then he’d wave through Obama’s 5 million or so new best friends. I’m certain Boehner and his fellow globalists-first-Republicans-second-and-Americans-a-distant-third honestly believed we’d be so transfixed by Netanyahu’s rather public thumb in Obama’s eye that we wouldn’t notice the sudden green light at the border.

As has been the case more often than not, Boehner was wrong. And his assent to Obama’s amnesty-by-fiat has served to remind me that Boehner’s single strongest attribute may well be his ability to reach down victory’s throat and yank out defeat. With the Senate’s Democratic minority using every procedural trick in the book to block progress on funding the superfluous-at-best, dangerous-at-worst Department of Homeland Security, Boehner could have simply dug in. He could have told House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to take a powder and Sen. Harry Reid to get bent and left the increasingly self-destructive Democrats to bang their heads against the wall of public opinion.

The Democrats responded to the drubbing they endured last November by throwing the kind of tantrum that earns kids a few minutes in timeout and a Ritalin prescription. They called Americans “stupid,” and then began acting as if they’d actually won a majority. Emboldened by Obama’s clear lack of compunction regarding ruling by fiat, they dug in on everything from the Obamacare Ponzi scheme to Obama’s other signature achievement: crippling our border security for votes through decrees like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Boehner could have stopped them with relative ease. The Democrats were the ones holding the DHS funding bill hostage; and their tendency to use Twitter hashtags as negotiating ploys was alienating everyone who’s ever dealt with, or even observed, a petulant teenager. The Republicans didn’t have to move on immigration or on any of the president’s harebrained and/or criminal scheming. The Democrats were — and still are — campaigning down their noses at the electorate, somehow unaware that’s precisely the attitude that sent Americans reaching for the “Not Obama” lever last fall. Boehner and his Republican cronies, who were elected on promises of putting an end to Obama’s and the Democrats’ war on liberty, needed only to let the Democrats blow themselves hoarse while the public continues to watch their histrionics with bemused disgust. The talking point was pre-written: The Democrats are willing to shut down Homeland Security in order to deliberately make the homeland less secure.

Unfortunately, our man John might be a Republican; but he’s a globalist pawn first and foremost. So Boehner, with the Democrats dead to rights on Obama’s plan to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens with a wave of his imperial scepter, folded like a cheap lawn chair. By herding his — not our — Republicans in line, Boehner gift-wrapped a yes vote on a clean bill to fund the increasingly ill-named Department of Homeland Security, thereby giving the go-ahead to DACA.

Amnesty for illegal aliens, along with its even-uglier sister Obamacare, defined the 2014 election. The American people cried out in a resoundingly clear voice for an end to Obama’s increasingly virulent lawlessness, and Boehner and the Republicans swore up and down that they had the cure. And now, when the symptoms threaten to overwhelm the host, they’re withholding the medicine we so badly need.

Boehner can’t really justify the betrayal — at least not to the betrayed. His corporate donors will be pleased to know their supply of cheap labor will actually increase, even as Americans’ prospects for anything better than a “McJob” decrease in virtually direct proportion. His deep-pocket backers will be pleased to know that their grip on the reins of power — and the throats of Americans — will tighten as those corporate profits rise. In globalist gatherings like Davos, Switzerland; the boardrooms of finance houses like Goldman Sachs; and the palaces of supranational billionaires across the world, Boehner’s backstabbing brought tears of joy. And of course, the mood at Democratic Party headquarters is undoubtedly somewhere between “Onesie Friday” and “Transgender Slam Poetry Night at the Sustainable Coffee House” now that Boehner sent them a love note.

It’s entirely possible that Boehner, without realizing it, may well have done more than simply waved the flag in front of the electoral bull. By approving the Democrats’ naked vote grab — and let’s not delude ourselves into assigning any noble intentions to the people who call their own countrymen “American Taliban” and “domestic terrorists” — Boehner may well have signed the Republican Party’s electoral death warrant. At the exact moment the Democratic brand is circling the drain — their best hope for a 2016 White House victory is Hillary Clinton’s email server — Boehner and his party boys just shoved millions of potential new voters into the Democrats’ clown car. At best, it narrows the margins of victory. At worst, it could precipitate a terrorist attack on our soil. If Hollywood can envision Islamic terrorists sneaking across our increasingly porous borders, then ISIS and al-Qaida certainly can. And now, Boehner is essentially an accomplice.

But Boehner’s perfidy has served to remind an increasingly liberty-minded populace that the while some Republicans are quickly becoming indistinguishable from their left-leaning colleagues, others are standing firm. With the Democrats struggling with their own crisis of confidence, perhaps this is the perfect time for a changing of the guard in the GOP. At the very least, it might be nice if the Republican leadership wasn’t embodied by a guy who practically glows in the dark but somehow thinks he’s stealthy. I saw you, Speaker Boehner. And I’m not the only one who did.

–Ben Crystal

The truth of ‘net neutrality’ and Obama’s Internet takeover

The deadline for this column fell before the Federal Communications Commission’s historic vote on so-called “net neutrality.” However, barring an unforeseen “global warming” catastrophe, the Democrat-dominated, yet supposedly independent-by-statute, regulatory agency will have voted, probably 3-2, that the federal government should envelop the Internet in its smothering embrace. In a world where the Internet is freely and easily employed by everyone from President Barack Obama to the lowliest jihadi warming the bench for the “junior varsity” Islamic State, the Democrats have decided that they need to step in, lest “@AkbarUlulates4Allah” has to wait an extra millisecond to post to his Twitter feed.

Through a misinformation campaign conducted with almost breathless expertise, Obama, backed by groups funded by nearly $200 million of George Soros and Ford Foundation resolve, has managed to convince an inordinate number of Americans that a lack of so-called “net neutrality” will result in evil, faceless telecom companies forcing you to wait hours to upload the family Kwanzaa pics to Instagram, while evil, faceless telecom executives can log on to evilfacelesstelecom.com in the blink of an eye. Of course, anyone who is reading this is rolling down the information superhighway at speeds that were unimaginable just a few years ago. Those speeds, which would presumably continue to improve on the same curve they’ve followed since the days of AOL dial-up, are possible only because of the continued improvements made by the same companies that are now being accused of throttling the life out of the Web. As FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai noted earlier this week, net neutrality is “a solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

“Net neutrality” isn’t what you think it is. It won’t “level the playing field.” It will introduce government regulation to a nearly flawless model of free-market growth. Telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon and content providers like Netflix push an almost geometrically higher amount of traffic onto broadband than they accept. As a result, the broadband providers have responded by raising rates and/or lowering speeds (aka “slow-laning”) some content. Essentially, monster telecoms and content providers — Netflix is the most famous example — are demanding first-class seating in a 747 while paying jump seat-in-a-Piper prices. And they’ve managed to convince millions of people — not to mention the Democratic Party — that they’re the proverbial little guy, standing up to the corporate fat cats. Having successfully played themselves into the hearts and minds of every selfie-posting hipster from Brooklyn to Berkeley, they’ve further pushed the idea that the FCC should force the broadband providers to adhere to a federally structured framework of service and fees. Gigantic content delivery networks (CDNs) will now be able to dictate the terms of their agreements to broadband providers upon pain of civil — or even criminal –prosecution.

Think of it this way:

You run a courier service. You charge customers a rate to run documents across town. As often as not, those documents need to be signed and returned — also a part of your service.

One day, one of your customers, a massive operation many times the size of your company, adds something to the outgoing deliveries. But it’s not a letter; it’s a package weighing close to 20 pounds. The next week, you deliver a few files; the massive operation sends out a filing cabinet’s worth, then a storeroom’s worth and then a warehouse’s worth. All this time, you’re using the same delivery vehicle. As the customer’s outgoing load increases in volume, your delivery times begin to lag. The customer immediately complains. Your slower delivery times are causing its customers headaches. You inform the customer that in order for you to prioritize its increasingly large deliveries — which are also increasingly larger compared to its incoming service — you’re going to have to buy a bigger truck. In order to do so, you’ll have to raise its rate. The only alternative is slower delivery times, a consequence of its (ab)usage.

Rather than either agree to contend with slower — but still extremely quick — deliveries, buying its own vehicles and handling its own courier needs, or paying a higher fee, your customer joins with some of your other heavyweight customers and a consortium of exceptionally well-funded and tax-exempt activist groups to lobby the government to declare your courier “common carriage,” set your fee schedule to benefit the customer and threaten you with fines — or worse — if you fail to comply. And their push is effective, because the top regulator for your industry used to be one of their lobbyists.

Six months later, you’re out of business; and the customer ends up signing with UPS, which had the resources to move in and grab up the local business after “courier neutrality” stomped it out of existence — for a much higher rate anyway.

Or, think of it this way:

Obamacare.

That is “net neutrality.” It’s the ultimate globalist fantasy: corporations and government working together to dictate the flow of a vital resource. in this case, it’s the most vital resource of all: information. By the time this is published, the FCC, chaired by former telecom lobbyist and Obama campaign flack Tom Wheeler, will have voted its version of net neutrality in regulatory existence. Consequentially, and only consequentially, the public will finally have access to the somewhere between 300 and 350 pages that comprise the misleadingly monikered bureaucratic monstrosity. Prior to the vote, Wheeler, who was appointed to his position by Obama, stubbornly refused to allow the public access to Obama’s vision of “free and open.” Furthermore, he refused to discuss it publicly with the people’s elected representatives in Congress. In fact, Obama-by-Wheeler refused to let anyone other than Internet superpowers like Google, which reportedly exerted direct control over some of the final language, see this magical Internet takeover plan until after it was approved without congressional or public oversight. Of course, we all remember how well “pass it to see what’s in it” worked out for us last time.

Net neutrality as imagined by Obama and Wheeler will not result in faster Internet speeds, an expansion of Internet service provider choices available to home consumers, a lowering of fees or even a reduction of lag times for those of you playing “Call of Duty” online. It will add government oversight where it is neither needed nor wanted. In actuality, by reclassifying the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act, net neutrality will add little more to your online experience beyond added fees (federal “common carrier” status always includes federal taxes). Down the road, those taxes fees will indubitably increase, as will government involvement with content. Ultimately, we’ll end up with the Ministry of Information issuing “blogging licenses.” But hey, at least you won’t have to deal with buffering the next time you watch “House of Cards” on Netflix.

–Ben Crystal

Is Obama a Christian?

To borrow a phrase from our beloved leader, President Barack Obama: “Let me be clear.” I actually don’t give a tinker’s damn about Obama’s faith. Today’s column is not about the nature of the God to whom Obama does or doesn’t pray. Whether Obama chooses to acknowledge the facts that a) God exists and b) His only begotten Son died for our sins is of significantly less import to me than — say — his outright refusal to acknowledge the facts that a) our nation is guided by Constitutional dictates and b) he doesn’t outrank them. Obama’s own relationship — or lack thereof — with the Almighty might cause him a few headaches closer to the finale of his mortal coil, but his relationship — or lack thereof — with the rule of law has caused the American people to reach for the aspirin on a fairly regular basis. Simply put: Obama’s belief in God can’t possibly be any less sincere than his relationship with the millions upon millions of Americans who have suffered mightily as a result of his belief in himself. Lying to God is a futile endeavor. Lying to the American people is clearly not.

Indeed, ever since Obama sprung fully formed from the brain of the terrorist Bill Ayers like a minor Greek deity emerging from Zeus’ forehead, any questions regarding any aspect of Obama’s character, whether they wonder about his upbringing, his compatriots, his grades and/or his spirituality have been met with the same response: “That’s racist.” When Americans heard the shocking anti-American and even anti-human bile that passed for homilies in Jeremiah Wright’s “church,” the media dutifully dismissed Obama’s decades of attendance as meaningless. Besides, only rubes, rednecks and embittered gun-owning hicks actually believe in such outdated concepts as “God” and “religion.”

Yet last week, the same media that has dutifully shielded Obama from criticism — or even basic interrogatives — on the topic of religion suddenly decided they simply had to know how Barry got on with God. After more than six years of insisting Obama’s spiritual fiber had no bearing on Obama’s presidential acumen, The Washington Post changed its mind on the topic. And thus did it seek out the ultimate font of all knowledge regarding Obama and religion: the governor of Wisconsin.

While Walker was attending the National Governor’s Conference in Washington, he was asked to render an opinion on Obama’s faith. Said Walker: “I don’t know… I’ve never asked him that… You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?”

In reality, the question was a blatant attempt to “get” Walker. And in reality, the only people who — pardon the phrase — got “got” were the same liberals who consider Obama above reproach. By attempting to ensnare Walker in a rhetorical trap, they made Obama’s spirituality an acceptable topic. By trying to trip Walker, they shone the spotlight on Obama — and not the nice, professional, spot/key/fill lighting they use to stage Obama’s photo ops. In asking Walker about Obama’s religious beliefs, the Democrats have managed to reintroduce spirituality to the list of qualifications a presidential aspirant requires. Furthermore — and this one’s the real doozy — by asking Walker whether or not he believes Obama is a Christian, they’ve made Walker an expert and put Obama’s religion back in the arena. After all, if the governor of Wisconsin is expected to render an informed opinion about the Christianity of the president of the United States, then the rest of us can certainly be expected to render informed opinions about the same.

To his credit, Walker demurred. I doubt he spends much time reflecting on the topic. Walker has been at or near the top of the liberal hate list for a few years now. Given the unprecedented amount of cash the Democrats’ sugar daddies and mommies are willing to shovel into any effort to damage anyone and/or anything that threatens their grip on our collective throats, that has translated into some busy days for Walker. The man has a state to run. When union thugs are actively trying to turn your home — and even your parents’ house — into a cold-weather California, the religious preferences of a lawyer from Chicago are meaningless.

I know a great many people — some of whom are far from stupid — who are convinced Obama is a Muslim. Interestingly, I know of no one, conservative or not, who insists Obama is a Christian. As I’ve noted before, I’m of the opinion that Obama ascribes to no religion of any sort. He was forged in the kiln of socialism; educated at the altar of leftist icons like Alinsky, Davis and Drew, themselves all products of standard communist indoctrination. Add to that mix his deliberately murky background, his Ayers launching pad and the vehemently anti-everyone and -everything babble to which the aforementioned “Reverend” Wright subjects his parishioners, and then top it off with the weirdly egocentric behavior that has produced more presidential “selfies” than national successes. The result is a man who almost certainly must be an atheist. To phrase it the way my grandfather — who, like most of his generation, said only what they meant and nothing more — might have: “Anyone that far up his own posterior has no room for God.” (Papa would not have said “posterior.”)

Some would take Obama’s “laser-like focus” on protecting the evidently thin-skinned followers of Muhammad from any sort of offense as proof that Obama is just a Hajj from being a full-on, five-times-a-day, prayer-rug-in-the-Oval Office Muslim. His odd fixation on refusing to identify Islamic terrorists as either Islamic or terrorist does allow for the question to be asked. I would respond by noting that Obama has the same affinity for illegal aliens, tax cheats who work for MSNBC, rappers who use “b*tch” when they mean “woman,” and violent criminals who may or may not resemble his imaginary children. If it runs counter to the basic concepts of decency, tolerance and/or America, Obama reflexively supports it. That’s not religion; that’s politics. And in the world of leftist political thinking, religion is at best a malady, at worst the enemy. Obama is likely no more a Christian than he is a Muslim, Jew or Zoroastrian. Obama believes in Obama.

Walker’s response when asked to assess Obama’s religion was perfect. He deflected the topic to Obama, who will spend the next two years dreading having to provide a response, should anyone actually decide to ask him instead of the governor of a Midwestern state. He furthermore reintroduced the topic of faith to presidential politics. Whether or not America is a spiritual nation will always be a topic of discussion. Whether or not Americans are a spiritual people is settled; we really, really are. And, of course, he sent the Democrats into epic histrionics; and you just can’t put a price on that kind of fun.

–Ben Crystal

Calling terrorism ‘terrorism’

If you missed out on President Barack Obama’s Countering Violent Extremism summit held in Washington this week, then you missed as Obama put on a star-studded show devoted solely to addressing terrorism, during which nearly everyone involved avoided using the word terrorism. The same president who reacts to increasingly common incidents of Islam-addled serial killers by claiming Islam is their real victim staged what amounted to a three-day photo op. The same sort of people who swear that so-called “global warming” is an actual thing purported to offer solutions to terrorism while only mentioning terrorism in passing. Indeed, Obama put everyone through quite the rhetorical gymnastics routine to avoid connecting Islam to the thousands upon thousands of murders committed in the name of Islam. I’m left wondering if the world’s Christians should apologize for allowing some of their adherents to throw themselves neck-first onto ISIS’s machetes.

At one point during Wednesday’s festivities, the president of the United States suggested the rest of the world owed terrorists — ahem, “violent extremists” — a chance to air their “legitimate grievances.” Far be it for me to presume upon his Esteemed Presidential Nobel Prize-winning-ness, but whether they travel under the banner of the Taliban, al-Qaida, the Islamic State, Boko Haram or “Muhammad’s Angels,” the people behind terrorist attacks from New York to London to Paris to Sydney — and most points in between — have only one grievance: You’re not Muslim. Imagine how well that discussion would go. “Chillax, Mahmoud. Put down the AK and rap with me, bro.”

Of course, Obama has had no problem citing religion when Muslims were the victims, even if their religion had nothing to do with the crime. Obama has been so quick to suggest religious hatred was a motive for incidents like the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, shootings that I was surprised he didn’t invoke his oft-cited imaginary son. Meanwhile, virtually every instance of Islamic terrorism comes with the Obama-approved disclaimer that the perpetrators’ religion is inconsequential; and besides, “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” It never occurs to deep thinkers like Obama that anyone whose “prophet” is so thin-skinned that he’s still pushing bloody jihad 15 centuries after he got it started is probably in need of some serious self-examination — just as it never occurs to deep thinkers like Obama that treating Muslims as if they all suffer from a religion-wide lack of compunction presumes that they all suffer from a religion-wide lack of compunction. In doing so, Obama and his cohorts are acting as if Muslims are a separate species, while simultaneously decrying anyone who so much as looks askance at the guy with the “Sharia4Life” T-shirt.

Obama had his shills working overtime to prepare the world for his conference on the subject-that-shall-not-be-named. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf — possibly in an effort to dissuade Americans from noticing her boss’s foreign policy is more confused than Joe Biden on “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” — suggested Tuesday that the cure for what ails the Muslim world is a steady paycheck. “[W]e can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people,” Harf said. In floating that rhetorical air biscuit, she managed to stink MSNBC’s Chris Matthews out of his usual leg-tingling reverie. That’s the ticket: If we can get every Tawiz, Da’hrir and Hakim a gig flipping goatburgers at the Halal Hut, they’re sure to cut back on the infidel-slaughterin’. Besides, look how well close-to-full employment worked out for Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder stopped the world’s longest retirement party to suggest islamofascism is just a figment of Fox News hype. “If Fox didn’t talk about this, they would have nothing else to talk about, it seems to me.” I wonder if Mr. Fast ’n’ Furious would prefer Fox look into Holder’s gun-running operations.

Yet the terrorists behind the attacks aren’t knocking over armored cars or jewelry stores; they’re booking one-way trips to the wrong side of the lawn. You can’t placate a religiously enraged enemy with a job fair; and a jihadi isn’t likely to trade in his suicide vest for a steady 9-to-5, whether the gig requires a paper hat or a pinstripe suit. Furthermore, Obama-by-Harf’s suggestion that poverty breeds islamofascist terrorism is belied by the teeming hordes of grossly impoverished people from deepest Africa to deepest Detroit who manage to get through each day without firing so much as single RPG at an infidel.

Obama did make a special effort to soothe the jangled nerves of Muslim-Americans, suggesting outreach to their communities would increase the likelihood that they would cooperate with law enforcement. He did not note the fact that access to all the fruits of American liberty has yet to inspire such community-mindedness. Nor did he note that the largest Muslim-American group in the nation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has definitive ties to known terrorist organizations. At least he didn’t work in any of his “bitter clinger” material, or throw out one of those “conservatives/Tea Partiers/the NRA are the ‘American Taliban’” lines his minions find so enormously inspiring.

If you’re curious to see a conference about terrorism in which everyone spends more time trying to figure out what to call it than what to do about it, then I’m sure you can catch the tail end of the show. But I expect you have better things to do than watch the same people who can’t bring themselves to call terrorism “terrorism” avoid reality.

The reality — whether we call it “islamofascism,” “violent extremism” or “cotton candy rainbows” — is that Islam is the thread that unites the overwhelming majority of terrorists and terrorism plaguing the world. While the suggestion that all — or even most — Muslims are terrorists or terrorist sympathizers is ludicrous, the suggestion that most terrorists are Muslims is entirely accurate. But while violent elements do exist within America’s borders, they generally represent no greater community than their fellow gang members or the voices in their heads. The reality is that the dominant form of terrorism is inspired by Islam — whether a perversion thereof or not — and has its spiritual, physical and financial roots in the countries in which Islam dominates society. The reality is that in the countries in which society is dominated by Islam, the governments — many of which profess to be our allies — often lack the resources and/or the will to combat islamofascism at its spiritual, physical and financial roots. The reality — seldom though it might ever intrude on such paragons of foreign policy expertise as our esteemed Nobel Peace Prize-winning president — is that the solution to terrorism is obvious.

We all know where the weeds are in the garden. The people in that area need to turn the Terrorism-B-Gone on them full blast and stop forcing the rest of the world to waste time and money on three-day babblefests that ignore the central issue. Moreover, since the price of exterminating these vermin is staggeringly, brutally high, it’s about bloody time the Muslim world stop expecting the rest of the world to foot the bill. It’s worth noting that some fairly unlikely participants are waking up to this reality. In the wake of recent ISIS acts of terrorism, Jordan and Egypt have thrown serious ordnance at ISIS cells. Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi don’t seem to have any trouble figuring out who and where the terrorists are; they even call them “terrorists.” And they didn’t need a three-day seminar to figure it out.

–Ben Crystal