After Boston, Life Goes On

It’s always difficult to pen a column in the wake of a nightmare like the Boston Marathon attack earlier this week. On the one hand, it would be relatively easy to write about the righteous fury I’d dearly love to drop like a wrecking ball on the skulls of the perpetrators. That would give me an opportunity to explore the further reaches of my inner avenger. I could rhetorically bellow at the top of my lungs, using lots of similes involving words my mother taught me to avoid and seriously improper use of construction equipment. But any shrieking I might do would be wasted. The victims have bigger worries. The perpetrators either don’t care or enjoy the effect. And life would go on.

I could scratch out some maudlin lament bemoaning the tragedy of innocent lives cut short or damaged forever. I could wail about the damnable unfairness of a world in which such monsters are allowed to prowl. But any crying I might do would be wasted. The victims know how much pain they’re in. The perpetrators think it’s marvelous. And life would go on.

I could point fingers at suspects. I could pick out ideological differences and make wild, cruel, defamatory and even stupid guesses about the identity of those behind the abominable deed. But only a fool would allow his own partisanship to blind him to the real suffering of real people. And only a complete boor would take advantage of such misery to press an unrelated agenda or bloviate about his own bigotries. That’s almost as bad as celebrating a crisis as a chance for self-aggrandizement rather than being respectfully somber. And life would still go on.

Instead, I’ll focus on the heroics of the people at the scene. I’ll cheer those who selflessly rushed toward the catastrophe. I’ll express my wishes that the perpetrators are identified, apprehended and punished in short order. I’ll offer my prayers for those who grieve and for those who suffer. And life will go on.

And I’ll say to those who commit such dastardly acts — and to their fans and enablers — only this: Laugh it up, scumbags. Whether on this plane or the next, you’ll get yours. And it will make ball bearings, nails and forced amputations look like 71 virgins. And despite your best efforts, life will go on.

–Ben Crystal

Guns And Loafers

Ninety percent of Americans want President Barack Obama and Congress to mandate background checks on any and all Americans who purchase firearms. And if that overwhelming tide of public sentiment isn’t enough to sway your opinion on restricting the Bill of Rights, consider this: 40 percent of all gun sales are conducted without any sort of law enforcement or governmental oversight. Still can’t see the error of “clinging to your… guns?” Here’s another logic bullet upside your dome: 100,000 Americans are killed by guns every year. Are you still fingering the trigger on your “death machine?” Dig this: Each year, more American children are killed by guns than are killed by cancer. If you’re still holding out, you must be a “domestic terrorist.”

I have personally heard and/or read every one of the above statements presented as irrefutable facts by the “low-information” set (loafers) in the just the past week. Of course, not one of them is true; but damn it, you gun zealots, we’re talking about children’s lives! Besides, liberals have no compunction about fudging the facts when it comes to politics. To put the liberal disdain for honesty before ideology in terms even loafers can understand: “by any means necessary” or “the science is settled.”

Ninety percent of Americans clearly don’t support further infringements on the Bill of Rights. Ninety percent of Americans comprise somewhere in the neighborhood of 290 million people. That many Americans couldn’t agree on free beer. Come to think of it, 290 million Americans couldn’t agree on the Presidency, and that’s despite the loafers’ deification of President Barack Hussein Obama. Even CBS News acknowledges:

Currently, support for stricter gun control laws stands at 47 percent today, down from a high of 57 percent… Thirty-nine percent want those laws kept as they are, and another 11 percent want them made less strict.

In recent days, anti-Bill of Rights crusaders from Obama and New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg on down to the lowest-level loafer have claimed 40 percent of gun sales are conducted without background checks, the so-called “gun show loophole.” The 40 percent number was bogus to begin with (it was based on a poorly sourced 1997 study using questionable data from 1994), and it has disintegrated under scrutiny to such a degree that even The Washington Post noted:

Interestingly, while people often speak of the “gun show loophole,” the data in this…survey shows that only 3.9 percent of firearm purchases were made at gun shows.

Mark Twain (who claimed to be quoting British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli) said: “There are… lies, damned lies and statistics.” The 40 percent claim is only two out of three.

Much like the grammatically twisted phrase “gun violence,” the loafers’ insistence on assigning malicious intent to firearms is not only intellectually dishonest, it’s just plain silly. As I’ve pointed out before: Without an operator, a gun is merely an overengineered paperweight. Since the first 13th century Chinese partisans faced off over a bowl of rice, no firearm has killed anyone ever. Anthropomorphizing guns might make it easier for MSNBC to write spooky ledes, but it won’t make those ledes legitimate. Blaming Newtown on guns is like blaming Chappaquiddick on the Oldsmobile.

Likewise, remarks suggesting guns have killed more children than cancer belong in the rhetorical dustbin. The same loafers who loathe the Bill of Rights the way Vice President Joe “Shotgun” Biden loathes dignified public appearances ought to consider redirecting their rage to something that actually kills more kids than cancer; like abortion. There’s a spectacularly macabre example of my point unfolding in Philadelphia. Plenty of prime seating remains available in the media section.

And the loafers certainly don’t help their cause by equating Bill of Rights defenders with terrorists, domestic or otherwise. Not only does that sort of defamatory fearmongering diminish the pain inflicted by actual terrorists, it makes the fearmongers seem sillier than Biden at a spelling bee. Bill Ayers is a terrorist. Wayne LaPierre is not.

The loafers insist a serious discussion on so-called “gun control” is long overdue. But half-truths and outright lies do not make for a particularly worthwhile discussion. I’m perfectly willing to engage in discussion. They should let me know when they’re ready to get serious.

–Ben Crystal

The Same Old Story

I took the liberty of rendering the dialogue fairly generic. After all, I wouldn’t want our anti-Bill of Rights readers to miss the point.

The Day After:
Criminals and the Washington Gun-Grab.

FADE IN

EXT. SECLUDED ALLEYWAY IN A LARGE CITY.
A young man (GANGBANGER) wearing ill-fitting clothing sidles up to an equally shoddily dressed individual (BLACK-MARKETEER). The second man leans against an open-trunked 1988 Buick LeSabre with after-market rims the size of manhole covers.

         GANGBANGER
Pardon me; but are you the fellow who operates a black-market gun shop out of his car?

         BLACK-MARKETEER
Indeed, I am. Given your attire and demeanor, I presume you wish to purchase a gun but are precluded from doing so either because you are legally prohibited from possessing firearms, are conducting an illegal straw purchase or simply do not wish to have your possession of a firearm noted by law enforcement. Of course, as a black-marketeer, I eschew any sort of legal restrictions in favor of facilitating criminal weapons purchases.

         GANGBANGER
As a criminal who routinely and deliberately breaks any laws I wish, I appreciate your services. Might you have any fully automatic weapons?

         BLACK-MARKETEER
I can accommodate your request. And you are clearly aware such a purchase constitutes a further violation of the law, since possession of fully automatic firearms without proper Federal approval has been illegal for many years. However, since we are both criminals, violating pre-existing weapons laws is entirely inconsequential to us.

         GANGBANGER
In fact, President Barack Obama and his accomplices’ attempts to further restrict the Bill of Rights benefit us both. By passing so-called “gun control” laws, they have not only rendered my potential victims even more vulnerable, they have also increased your sales. The war on the Bill of Rights very closely mirrors the disastrous Prohibition efforts of the early 20th century.

         BLACK-MARKETEER
It has been a pleasure doing illegal business with you, fellow criminal. I look forward to further interactions with you and the rest of the violent criminal element as we all continue to flout the laws that burden our law-abiding brethren in the name of state control over the people.

         GANGBANGER
Look what their ideological idols did to Russia: a murderous, behemoth government working hand in glove with a homicidal, monstrous criminal underworld. And the law-abiding citizens –helpless against those twin terrors –died by the tens of millions to benefit them both.

         BLACK-MARKETEER
“When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” It might be clichéd, but it is indubitably a fact. By the way, I need you to sign this Federal form for your background check before I sell you any firearms; it’s the law.

         GANGBANGER
I beg your pardon?

         BLACK-MARKETEER
Just kidding.

FADE OUT

–Ben Crystal

What’s In A Name?

To the best of my recollection, sometime in the 1990s, the corporate media welded “gun” to “violence,” creating a rhetorical Frankenstein’s monster. With the exception of former Attorney General Janet Reno’s occasional combat operations against her fellow citizens, anytime a firearm featured into a crime, “gun violence” was blamed. People actually began falling victim to “gun violence” or “gun crime” or even “assault weapons.” Somehow, the Democrats managed to eliminate the perpetrators of crime, conjuring up images of walking, talking inanimate objects that loaded themselves and then hit the streets like the marching hammers in “Pink Floyd The Wall.”

And the American left sat up, brushed the crumbs off their bellies and began howling for someone to save them from the evil hordes of guns that had ruined their reverie. Not one ever noted the most important trait of phrases such as “gun violence,” “gun crime” and “assault weapons”: They’re idiotic deformations of the language.

To be sure, violence, crime and assault are certainly not idiotic. Anyone who has served in combat, worked in law enforcement, been victimized by a criminal or even observed unsupervised union thugs interacting with senior citizens who oppose Obamacare knows that real violence is really not funny. Nor should it ever be taken lightly. Therefore, when liberals attach “gun” to “violence” in an overt effort to demonize the implement by which violence is visited upon a victim, they’re diminishing not only the actions of the offender, but the suffering of the victim.

I often hear my fellow conservatives respond to liberal, anti-Bill of Rights activists by asking, “What about ‘knife violence?'” or positing some similar rhetorical argument. I say that kind of response is mistaken on two fronts:

  1. By demanding further qualifications (i.e., “knife violence,” “car violence” or “bat violence”), conservatives are ceding ground liberals don’t actually occupy. Once you say “knife violence,” you’ve acknowledged “gun violence” is a legitimate classification. It isn’t. Violence is violence.
  2. By ceding said ground, conservatives are allowing liberals to define the issue as being about inanimate objects rather than people. It may be clichéd, but “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” is indubitably accurate. Indeed, it’s a far more accurate assessment of the nature of crime and violence than mealymouthed platitudes liberals might form to cast blame on the wrong culprit.

From the dawn of recorded history until this very moment, no gun has ever inflicted violence on anyone, harmed anyone or killed anyone. Even in the rare cases of accidental discharge, the gun was merely a means of conveyance, like a car is to transportation. People hurt each other and themselves. Since guns are just hunks of metal and polymer, they can’t form intent, much less cause harm. Left to their own devices, guns are overengineered doorstops, paperweights and/or art.

Recently, The Associated Press announced the elimination of “illegal immigrant” and “islamist” from its stylebook. Evidently, that once-respected organization worries about the feelings of, well, illegal immigrants and islamists. By my own reckoning, both phrases lack a certain lyrical accuracy; I prefer the more legally accurate “illegal alien” and “islamofascist.” But I can’t help but notice that while The AP – and, hence, the corporate media — tries to adjust the lexicon to reflect the delicate sensitivities of criminals, it possesses no such compunction about the legitimate concerns of law-abiding Americans.

Pro-Science

I highly doubt many of you are unaware of my stance on so-called “global warming” (aka “global cooling,” “climate change” or “ManBearPig”). I suspect most of you share my rather dim view of former Vice President Al “The Oilman Goeth” Gore and his “inconvenient slide show,” though I am aware that some of you still cling bitterly to the last vestige of his fading glory.

Of course, my refusal to bow to the low-information set and their invective-laden insistence that ManBearPig is as real as actual stuff does seem to elicit some red-faced tirades. Gore and company’s increasingly suspect belief that something bad is going to happen has become religion to liberals. And like any zealots, our Democrat friends get more than a mite testy when their dogma is challenged. Thus have I observed the newest epithet in the ever-growing liberal lexicon of hate: “anti-science.” For refusing to swallow the global warmists’ anecdotally based pseudo logic, I am apparently “anti-science.”

That sort of ad hominem pabulum might pass for discourse in the White House or the studio audience of a Bill Maher telecast, but it isn’t actual debate — just as ManBearPig isn’t actual science. Allow me to demonstrate.

About 17 billion years ago, it happened. Better minds than mine have wrestled with the nature of it, what preceded it, what caused it and what exactly it produced. What we all seem to agree upon is the fact that it wasn’t, and then it really was. What captivates me isn’t what it was. I expect many eons more will pass before anyone figures it out. What really inspires my inner science geek is what happened after it.

In the first few moments after it, there wasn’t much to look at. Within a millisecond or two, hydrogen atoms had formed; but stable hydrogen and helium atoms didn’t debut for nearly a half million years. The first star didn’t begin to shine for nearly 100 million years. The first galaxy didn’t coalesce until nearly a billion years had passed since it. Our own sun didn’t rise and shine until almost 10 billion years had passed. And the first human didn’t do his first Fred Flintstone until mere moments ago, from an astronomical perspective.

Everything in between it and now has been the product of a crescendo of creation and destruction. From atoms to galaxies and everything in between, now exists as it does only because everything that happened before it not only happened, but happened in a fairly precise order. A series of almost ludicrously unlikely events followed one another throughout all those years like dominoes on a cosmic table: seemingly random yet magnificently structured, unfolding on scales from the infinitesimally small to the infinitely huge. From the first buzzing subatomic particles to the galactic superclusters spanning the entire universe, it led unexpectedly, yet inexorably, to now. In the words of One far greater than I: “without form, and void” (Genesis 1:2).

From the aforementioned timeline of the universe, I can divine two inescapable truths:

  1. The idea that a collection of perfectly ordered coincidences of almost astronomical unlikelihood happened despite incalculably bad odds without assistance from an entity that exists beyond all of it defies logic.
  2. The idea that any of those perfectly ordered coincidences could be altered, stopped or started by a creature that has existed for less than 1/100,000th of all of history — and has never ventured farther from its home than a few hundred thousand miles — defies basic common sense.

On my side, I have a geological and astronomical record that dates back close to 20 billion years. I have the inescapable certitudes of math and physics. And I have what my old Western civilization professor, the incomparable Dr. Stegemann, referred to as “the accumulated wisdom of the tribe”: the sum total of tens of thousands of years of humanity’s progress toward answering the ultimate questions.

My detractors have a fluidly anecdotal theory based on 150 years of observations that trades fact for folly and has required no fewer than three name changes in four decades due to climatological cycles it has yet to predict correctly. If that’s “pro-science,” then color me “anti-science,” I suppose.

–Ben Crystal

Safe At The Gun Show

One of the larger of the touring gun shows came through town recently; and being the sort of fellow I am, I gladly paid the entry fee and spent a few hours browsing the wares. I’ve written about my affinity for gun shows before, and I’m often asked by my non-“gun guy” friends to explain my regular attendance. I find my “it’s a traveling carnival of awesome” description elicits more confusion than understanding. The best way I can explain it would be through the magic of simile.

Ben is to gun show as:

  • Gearhead is to auto show.
  • Woman is to one of those gigantic shoe stores in the outlet mall.
  • Union member is to ugly mob.

But those of you who find firearms and firearm ownership either uninteresting or appalling would be both mortified and surprised by the goings-on at a gun show. The rows upon rows of firearms and firearm-related accoutrement would mortify you, while the complete lack of hatred and shouted invective would surprise you. After all, the image that the liberals and their corporate media flacks have conjured suggests a deafening collection of goose-stepping whackjobs, backwoods hillbillies and lunatic doomsday prophets. Of course, like every caricature created by the Democrats in their endless war on the Bill of Rights, the aforementioned stereotypes are no more valid than the liberal assumption that black people are incapable of fending for themselves without government assistance.

To be sure, there are some oddities floating through the gun show atmosphere. There’s the guy wearing army-issue body armor that doesn’t even come close to covering his non-army-issue beer gut. There’s the dude hawking EOTech™ clones that are only slightly more believable than Attorney General Eric Holder’s Congressional testimony on Operation Fast and Furious. And more often than not there’s a guy selling fake World War II memorabilia who hopes you won’t notice the “made in China” sticker until after you get home.

But there isn’t a lot of yelling. There isn’t a great deal of voiced outrage. There are no mobs of indignant women’s studies majors waving placards and marching about in no particular direction. In an atmosphere in which the headlines are dominated by ludicrous attempts by liberals to demonize firearms as possessing an innately sinister nature unto themselves, no one was so much as mildly surprised by a gun. With everything from those trendy pink-handled .22s to a fully functional, semi-automatic replica of a Goryunov machine gun, the gun show represents a chamber of horrors to those shrieking Brady Campaigners; yet shoppers and vendors alike were as comfortable as Michael Moore at all-you-can-eat night at the local Krispy Kreme.

There were no shouts of blind hatred for those who don’t share the assemblage’s political ideologies, no demands for free stuff at the expense of someone else’s hard work, no cheers for the misfortune of others, no screams for the maiming, murdering or general demise of anyone. There were no beatings, no stabbings and — contrary to deliberate misconception — no shooting rampages.

There are thousands of firearms and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition in room filled to the rafters with firearm enthusiasts. If the gun grabbers’ slander is to be believed, such a tableau should have naturally progressed to a rolling horde of wild-eyed barbarians and the kind of body count usually reserved for a Third World civil war. Yet even Piers Morgan would have been safer than the crown jewels. At least until he got a load of that Goryunov; that would have sent him running for the nearest “gun-free zone.”

–Ben Crystal

Skool Is Goodest

Nestled close by the beautiful beaches of Florida’s famed Boca Raton lies an institution of higher learning in which young minds are nurtured in an academic embrace as warm as the Gulf Stream breezes that flow gently through the campus. Inside the magnificent-yet-comfortable buildings, world-renowned for their architectural perfection, one of the finest collections of minds ever assembled imparts its encyclopedic wisdom to rising generations of future accomplishment.

With multiple Nobel laureates in nearly every department, the quality of instruction is augmented not only by the state-of-the-art learning facilities, but an average student-to-professor ratio of 10-to-1. This school’s every discipline is enhanced by the finest equipment available to mankind. The working fusion reactor will light up prospective physics majors, while language majors will surely be talking about the immersive foreign-language-only dormitories. For the historians: A library with original copies of each of the Founding Fathers’ memoirs will transport them into the past. For the ecologists: A fully self-sustaining bio-dome will feel like home.

This school’s athletic programs produce multiple national championships in multiple sports and challenges among the elite each season, while the 4 million-square-foot field house staffed with certified personal trainers and the latest technological advances and comforts makes fitness a reality for every student. In the dormitories, the school’s world-renowned design and engineering majors have created a living environment that not only is as comfortable as home, but also is optimized for the ultimate combination of ergonomics and academics. And when refueling is required for the rigors of study, the dining hall is Michelin-rated 4 stars and operates 24 hours a day.

What aspiring young mind wouldn’t dream of earning a degree from such a place? What parent wouldn’t dream the same for his child? Armed with a degree from such an esteemed
university, a young person could do nearly anything. The benefit to society of multiple graduates of the place would be almost incalculable.

Of course, no such college exists. However, one could matriculate to Florida Atlantic University, which offers courses such as “Intercultural Communications” under the watchful eye of Palm Beach Democratic Party Vice Chairman Deandre Poole. Until last week, the class included the following exercise (from the teachers’ manual that accompanies the textbook Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition):

Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper. Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence, instruct them to step on the paper.

Just think of the career paths open to a survivor of such a school. Seriously, think of them. Because all I can come up with involves either working for the government or not working at all. After all, the Democratic Party can’t pay everyone to make House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s lattes; and MSNBC isn’t hiring writers these days.

–Ben Crystal

Liberty 101: Exam Time

All right, everyone; take your pencils out and put away your books. Professor Ben is here to take stock of just how much you’ve managed to retain from the reams of knowledge proffered by the rest of the faculty here at the Personal Liberty Digest Institute for Higher Learning and General Awesomeness. I’ve tried to cover as wide a range of topics as possible, all the better to gauge your progress. You’ll find the questions tough, but fair. Of course, some of you will fail to earn a passing grade and will be furious with me for refusing to “level the playing field.” That’s a tough break, kiddies. This is our field; we don’t move the goal posts to make it easier for the junior varsity.

Try to remember: There are no stupid questions, but there are some really stupid answers and some really, really stupid people:

Q: The $6 trillion rise in the national debt is a direct result of:

  1. President Barack Obama’s wildly ill-advised attempts to nationalize huge swaths of America’s economy.
  2. The fuel bills for greedy conservative’s private jets.
  3. Dick Cheney’s evil plans.
  4. Michelle Obama’s shopping habits.

Q: The “sequester” was created by:

  1. President Barack Obama.
  2. Speaker of the House John Boehner.
  3. Dick Cheney.
  4. Evil rich people. (But not the really cool ones like Al Gore and Sean Penn.)

Q: Because of the “sequester”:

  1. White House tours have been canceled.
  2. Michelle and Barack Obama are taking the girls on a “staycation” to the East Wing this year.
  3. Vice President Joe Biden is staying only in motels that charge by the hour.
  4. Obama has cut back to using Pinnacle™ golf balls instead of the Titleist ProV1x’s™ he prefers when he plays The Floridian™ with Tiger Woods.

Q: People’s health insurance premiums are rising because:

  1. Obamacare’s costs are untenable at current rates.
  2. Insurance companies are, like, totally evil and stuff.
  3. Doctors are mean.
  4. There’s a secret plot to help Donna Brazile maintain relevancy.

Q: As a direct result of Obamacare:

  1. Birth control pills are pretty much taxpayer-covered.
  2. Planned Parenthood is retraining abortionists to dispense IUDs.
  3. Senator Bob Menendez is thinking about moving to Las Vegas.
  4. Sandra Fluke is constantly out of breath.

Q: Hillary Clinton reversed her position on same-sex marriage because:

  1. She’s a calculating political animal who shares her husband’s penchant for governing by opinion poll.
  2. She figures gay couples should suffer just as much as she has.
  3. Her husband did, and she has yet to secure his 2016 endorsement.
  4. May Day at Janet Reno’s house last year was really awkward.

Q: A nuclear-armed North Korea:

  1. Seriously threatens the balance of global power, given the nature and associations of the Pyongyang regime.
  2. Gives the Chicoms something to do besides torturing dissidents.
  3. Gives the Chicoms something to do besides counting the IOUs we’ve written them.
  4. Gives the Chicoms something to do besides enabling the Pyongyang regime’s nuclear ambitions.

Q: Iran’s increasing belligerence is caused by:

  1. The fact that the only thing worse than an islamofascist is nuclear-armed islamofascist.
  2. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s attempts to make up for being a tiny little man.
  3. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s attempts to make up for being a tiny little man, in more ways than one.
  4. Something President George W. Bush did in the country next door.

Q: The so-called “Arab Spring” has produced:

  1. An increasingly dicey Mideast with war nearing virtual certainty.
  2. Wild hijinks like Benghazi.
  3. Iran’s totally not-weapons-related nuclear program.
  4. More for former President Jimmy Carter to blame on Israel.

Q: Benghazi is:

  1. A town in Libya where four Americans were murdered by islamofascists while Obama and his aides did less than nothing and then created a cover-up that continues to this day.
  2. A town in Libya where a YouTube video made everyone go temporarily insane with rage six months after the video was released.
  3. Something you can get from drinking the water in Libya.
  4. Totally no big deal, because… shut up.

Q: Obama’s approval rating has sunk below 50 percent because:

  1. Instead of showing constructive leadership on the economy, diplomacy or society, he has whined and griped about how those poopy Republicans are mean to him.
  2. Somewhere between 50 percent and 55 percent of the American people are racist.
  3. Somewhere between 50 percent and 55 percent of the American people are really racist.
  4. He drank the water in Libya and got a scorching case of the Benghazis.

Q: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to dictate the size of beverage containers because:

  1. He actually thinks people’s dietary habits fall under his authority.
  2. The only carbonated beverage he considers worth drinking is Veuve Clicquot™.
  3. Soda makes his armed bodyguards gassy.
  4. The uniforms he picked out for his minions are not particularly slimming.

Q: The Democrats want to ban so-called “assault weapons” because:

  1. If law-abiding citizens can defend themselves, tyranny can be a mite tricky to impose.
  2. Guns are secretly imbued with an innate evil that drives people to kill people; but only liberals can see it, so it’s up to them to save the rest of us.
  3. They’re worried Joe Biden might get ahold of a “tacticool” Ruger 10-22 and massacre the White House squirrel population.
  4. All of the above.

Q: Despite the Democrats’ demonization of semi-automatic rifles, the only actual military that deploys soldiers with semi-automatic rifles as standard practice is:

  1. Trick question; no national military equips regular front-line soldiers with semi-automatic rifles.
  2. A couple of those “–stan” countries that got sprayed all over the map after the Soviet Union exploded.
  3. One of those Eastern European countries with too many consonants in its name.
  4. The security force at Michael Moore’s country estate.

Q: The Department of Homeland Security is planning to buy 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition because:

  1. They’re stockpiling five rounds for every man, woman and child in the country for some reason they’re refusing to divulge.
  2. They’re too lazy to reload their own brass.
  3. Secretary Janet Napolitano is thinking about turning “pro” and needs the target practice.
  4. Who wants to know?

Q: Dr. Ben Carson is:

  1. A world-renowned neurosurgeon who is standing up publicly to Obama’s bullying and fearmongering.
  2. “…the right wing’s go-to black token.”
  3. “…a pawn to get more black votes and change that image of the racist party.”
  4. “…the Negro du jour.”

Q: The recent spate of wintry weather has been caused by:

  1. Winter.
  2. High-capacity rifle magazines.
  3. Spider goats.
  4. A mythical creature which is half-man, half-bear and half-pig.

Well, how did you fare? For those of you who haven’t wandered off to compare your NCAA tournament brackets to the one the President filled out instead of doing his job, the correct answer to every question was (a). For those of you who actually needed me to tell you which answers were correct, you’re going to need some remedial coursework. I recommend the Personal Liberty Digest™.

–Ben Crystal

Meet The ‘Press’

There’s a grave somewhere in which Tim Russert is spinning like the smart meter on Al Gore’s mansion during Masseuse-apalooza. Russert spent decades building NBC News’ “Meet the Press” into the benchmark of Sunday morning appointment television. Not only did viewers flock to the Peacock network to watch Russert conduct a weekly symphony of journalism and celebrity, the roster of guests was a veritable who’s who of the movers and shakers of the world.

Perhaps it’s the pressure of trying to fill the oversized footprints of a legend like Russert. Perhaps it’s the relentless drumbeat of liberal malarkey that has replaced actual discourse. Perhaps President Barack Obama promised him a spot in his next foursome with Tiger Woods. Whatever the reason, David Gregory has fallen into the same pit of partisanship that has turned the rest of NBC’s news apparatus into a weird little carnival of mealymouthed mendacity.

On Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press,” Gregory hosted yet another in the seemingly endless series of increasingly fruitless Democratic efforts to dismantle the Bill of Rights. While discussing so-called “gun control” with National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, Gregory coughed up an old and debunked “loophole” statistic: “[I]sn’t that preferable to a big loophole where you have all these — 40 percent of sales, private sales, one-on-one, where you’ve got no ability to trace it?”

Gregory was trying to make a point about what liberals believe is an epidemic of unregulated and unregistered sales of firearms between private citizens. For the gun-grabbing tyrants of the left, two law-abiding Americans conducting a simple business transaction free of the withering gaze of the government, President Barack Obama and/or NBC News is simply too much to bear. Thus did they concoct the aforementioned “40 percent.”

To be honest, I wouldn’t mind if that number were accurate. After all, Americans don’t require government approval to exercise their 1st Amendment rights; so they neither want nor need the Democrats’ approval to exercise their rights under the 2nd Amendment. However, the real percentage of gun sales conducted between consenting citizens is around 10 percent, an admission even The Washington Post was forced to make following Obama’s use of the number in a ghoulish speech on so-called “gun violence” more than a month after the Newtown massacre. It’s worth noting that not only was Obama lying during his January fearmongering session, but he also omitted the fact that Connecticut already has the sort of anti-freedom laws the Democrats want to force upon the rest of us — for all the good they did the victims of Newtown.

While I don’t condone liberalism’s leading lights deliberately fabricating anti-Bill of Rights talking points for the sole purpose of, well, abrogating the Bill of Rights, I do understand that people so completely bent on control of The People will lie like Attorney General Eric Holder testifying about Operation Fast and Furious. But Gregory is supposed to rise above petty partisan dishonesty.

Democrats lie; it’s what they do. Obama deploys the “40 percent.” Congressman Charlie Rangel, disgraced but re-elected anyway, claims: “[W]e’re talking about millions of kids dying, being shot down by assault weapons.” Piers Morgan and Michael Moore jabber like cracked-out orangutans on basic cable television, blaming inanimate objects for everything except Morgan’s weak chin and Moore’s lack of self-control around fatty foods. But they’re politicians. Gregory is, ostensibly, a journalist.

In December, Gregory displayed a standard-capacity magazine during an attempted interrogation of LaPierre. His actions violated a local ordinance which bars possession of any magazine with a capacity exceeding 10 rounds. Though he escaped prosecution for his televised crime, Gregory did succeed in proving that anti-gun laws have no bearing or effect on people determined to break them, even pencil-necked media hacks who couldn’t actually use a firearm without wetting their pants.

Gregory’s murdering his own credibility is shameful, but not unexpected. Too bad “Meet the Press” got caught in the crossfire. Of course, the real estate between liberals and their goal of comprehensive gun control is as dangerous as your average Democrat-run city. Tim Russert would be mortified.

–Ben Crystal

All Hail Hillary!

According to The New York Times, it’s official: Former Secretary of State and presumptive 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has flip-flopped on support for same-sex marriage. In the annals of staged campaign events disguising a lack of principle, Clinton’s policy reversal is no President Barack Obama debt ceiling turnaround (it’s “unpatriotic”); but it’s certainly a hall-of-fame pandering effort. To be honest, I had no idea Clinton was ever against same-sex marriage. She clearly had no issues with a no-sex marriage. (Not that I can blame her for that; her husband was having enough for both of them.)

Let’s be honest with each other, kiddies. Clinton’s announcing she is now for something that most Americans already assumed she supported is about as Earth-shattering as Michelle Obama coming out publicly in favor of junk food and the taxpayers’ American Express card. Clinton’s statement didn’t — couldn’t — deliver her any wavering support. And it’s difficult to imagine all that many conservatives saying: “I was pretty mad about that whole Benghazi nightmare. And I remember what a Lady MacBeth she played as a first lady. But if she thinks Steve and Frank can tie the knot, I guess I’m good.”

There is no doubt that same-sex marriage is one of the more bitterly contested issues in the country. While it doesn’t rise to the level of the debate over the government-subsidized genocide of abortion, it’s difficult to imagine many issues on which Americans disagree more sharply. My own attitude is based on my own experience: I’ve been divorced. I’m as useful in marital politics as I would be in outer space. Nonetheless, if Hillary feels a need to goose her base three years before the green flag, she’s welcome to it.

But, in watching her weirdly fireside-style address, I couldn’t keep the following thoughts at bay:

  • This is a campaign speech. Of all the issues pressing down on us as a Nation and a world, you’re yammering about same-sex marriage. Your former boss has shoveled so many IOU’s onto the national debt that it’s the size of a Martian volcano. Any thoughts, Madame Secretary?
  • Your tenure as the Nation’s chief diplomat has coincided with everything from a nuclear-ambitious Iran to a nuclear-accomplished North Korea. The Mideast is tearing at the seams. How will you steer the ship of state off the foreign rocks upon which Barack Obama has foundered it?
  • How about the resurgence of al-Qaida and the islamofascist terrorists who think Obama is about as scary as Winnie the Pooh?
  • Europe’s economy is plunging faster than Ashley Judd’s neckline. Our own is staggering like a punch-drunk prizefighter. Will your Presidency be as filled with monetary hijinks?
  • With apologies to Senator Howard Baker, what did you know about the events of Sept. 11 in Benghazi, Libya; and when did you know it? Your former boss’s Administration concocted no fewer than four different versions of the story, each radically different from the others. While the corporate media has covered up the cover-up and the liberal rank and file have swallowed each tale whole without complaint; you’re now running for President. How can we trust you, since we clearly can’t trust Obama?

There are other questions Clinton will need to answer — unless she plans to continue the Obama policy of obfuscation and outright dishonesty. As I mentioned in the wake of her staged policy reversal on same-sex marriage:

Whatever your opinion on the issue in question, have no doubt: Hillary Clinton’s… every move is dictated by raw ambition. For those who oppose it: This is just another example of the soullessness which has defined her career. For those who support it: She is no ally of yours. As always, she will reverse course again the moment she thinks it’s politically expedient to do so.

Reminds me of, well, pretty much every Democrat out there — although none of them can match Clinton’s look in a pantsuit.

–Ben Crystal

The Democrats’ Minority Problem

During a CPAC panel discussion on the Democrats’ divisive racial politics, an attendee made the following remark: “Blacks should be happy that the slave master gave them shelter, clothing, and food.” That’s a remarkably silly point of view, and it would be best left to the Democrats who continue to espouse such policies under the guise of governmental assistance in return for votes.

Although the speaker was roundly jeered by the assemblage, he ended up in a personal discussion with the panel host, a black man named K. Carl Smith. Smith later said of the man, “[W]e left as friends.”

What Smith could have said was: “I’m sorry, sir. This is a conservative meeting. If you’re looking for inveterate and ignorant racism, you should try the nearest Democratic confab. Just look for the hoods.” But conservatism doesn’t recognize race as a character trait the way liberalism does, and Smith proved so by counseling the man and attempting to show him the error of his ways.

While Smith and the rest of the assemblage shut down the “slave master” nonsense, liberals let their racist freak flags fly on Twitter. Following a rousing speech by Dr. Ben Carson, the Democrats renewed their bigoted assault on the world-renowned physician. Carson actually mentioned during his remarks that detractors had treated him to a barrage of racial epithets in the wake of his critique of President Barack Obama. Subsequently, Carson was likely prepared for the racist animus liberals launched at him in return for daring to step off the liberal plantation. Among the barbs the left jabbed at Carson:

 

 

And the real winner of this week’s Robert Byrd Memorial Grand Dragon Award:

 
Carson, the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, is one of the most respected neurosurgeons on the planet. Only an idiot would call him “dumb.” Only an almost irredeemably stupid person would call him a “nigger.”

And then, American University professor Deen Freelon gave us a glimpse at his own racial syllabus:

 

 
Evidently, Freelon thinks people who object to his attempts to marginalize Carson — and any black man who doesn’t toe the liberal line — are the “lunatic fringe.” I wonder how many parents of American University students are rethinking that tuition check.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Congressman Allen West, self-made success story Herman Cain and others have dealt with the left’s racism, mostly with the sort of grace that Freelon wouldn’t recognize if it extinguished a burning cross in his front yard. For a political movement that Freelon and his ilk cast as out of touch with minorities, conservatism sure seems to attract a sizable number of serious — and seriously intelligent — people.

Democrats routinely manage to find the rare racist apples in the conservative barrel and then suggest that the whole lot is rotten. But conservatives criticize liberals over policy, not skin color. I wish Obama were a markedly different person. But I wish the same about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, both of whom are as white as the sheets Byrd used to wear to his Klan meetings.

During his own speech at CPAC, West told an enraptured audience: “I’m speaking from experience when I tell you that there is nothing on this green earth that a liberal progressive fears more than a black American who wants a better life and a smaller government.” The liberal progressive reaction to him, Carson and others proves him right.

–Ben Crystal

A Cool Day In Texas

Maybe it’s the nature of large annual festivals. Entropy is a law, after all. It happened to Lollapalooza right about the time Metallica showed up. Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of skiing in Park City, Utah, during the Sundance Film Festival knows how much “indie cred” is left in that annual Hollywood hobnob hoedown. Hell, even CPAC, which hosted President Ronald Reagan a dozen times, is featuring Donald Trump this year. It’s not that I think “The Donald” is a self-serving buffoon who is tailor-made to be a ringmaster for the twisted freakshow that is reality television; it’s just that I think… Well, that’s pretty much exactly what I think.

But down Austin, Texas, way, the ultimate cool-annual-gathering-gone-bad story is unfolding right in front of us. Once an almost painfully hip music and arts festival, South By SouthWest (SXSW) has morphed into another faux-hipster snotfest at which corporate-backed liberal icons indoctrinate smug twerps who might as well sport nametags that read “Hello, My Name Is: Low Information Voter.” In all honesty, SXSW is welcome to invite, feature and obtain enormous corporate sponsorship deals from whomever the organizers wish. But I’m afraid the cool factor has melted away in a sea of liberal hypocrisy. Either that, or SXSW is actually what passes for hip these days, in which case the whole country is seriously screwed.

I’m willing to admit I’m not the coolest cat on the block. Not only was I alive when that reanimated corpse they’re passing off as Madonna was “Like a Virgin,” but I’m pretty sure I was alive when she still was a virgin. But I’m Jay-Z’s next Grammy compared to one of the headliners at this year’s SXSW.

Global warming inventor, alleged massage therapist-molester and foreign oil beneficiary Al Gore hit the stage to a roar of approval. While banners for Samsung, AT&T and other corporate giants fluttered in the Texas breeze, the nine-figure-fortune holder and private-jet traveler proffered leftist bons mots; and the evidently irony proof audience lapped up the tired platitudes like thirsty kittens.

The multimillionaire former Vice President and self-proclaimed Internet inventor took to lambasting income inequality, something he called the “stalker economy,” so-called “global warming” (or whatever they’re calling it this week) and even the coming plague of “spider goats.” And then, in a moment that could happen only at a mass assembly of liberals, Gore fired off this non-sequitur: “The NRA is a complete fraud…” I guess it takes one to know one, right, Albert?

Instead of jeers, Gore’s attack on the NRA earned a standing ovation. The epicenter of American cool, version 2013, got on its feet to cheer the greatest living exemplar of liberal hypocrisy for attacking a group he used to support over an issue with which it is unconnected in a place in which it would never be welcomed.

Either SXSW has declined into an orgy of corporate-co-opted pop entertainment or members of the next generation of American style makers and trendsetters are skinny jeans-wearing drones who honestly believe pabulum puked out by eco-nerds like Gore is manna from heaven. Now that I’ve thought about it, I think we might be screwed.

–Ben Crystal

The Kentucky Derby

Let me call time-out for a moment and address the liberals who skulk around the dark corners of our comments section. Hey, kids. It’s your pal, Ben. Since we have this moment together, I just wanted to offer my gratitude for your continued readership. If I’ve offered you half the entertainment you’ve given me (and your remarks suggest I have), then you’re — well — welcome. Now, I wonder if I might ask you for a teensy little favor in return for the daily slices of awesome we provide you free of charge here at the Personal Liberty Digest™: Please support Ashley Judd’s prospective candidacy for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky.

Now, I’m not asking just for myself. Think of the endless material the second most attractive and third most talented of the Judd ladies will provide not only for me, but for all the pundits and commentators who need a few kickers to slip into their routines in between lines about President Barack Obama’s penchant for murdering Americans and Vice President Joe Biden’s penchant for mortifying them.

Judd is a multimillionaire Hollywood bubblehead whose lone political “accomplishment” is a graduate degree from the same university that boasts masters-level alumni like President George W. Bush, and we know how she probably feels about “W.” Beyond that, she’s been in some marginally successful films — although generally opposite someone who possesses enough talent to make up for her wooden performance.

I don’t just want to hear Judd tell the people of a State that produces the third most coal in the Nation and is home to the single most productive coalfield about her belief that coal mining is the equivalent of “rape” and “the era of coal plant is over, unacceptable.”

I don’t just want to hear Judd tell the people of a State that has seen a net growth in population during every decade since we sent King George’s boys packing about her belief that “it’s unconscionable to breed.”

I don’t just want to hear Judd tell the people of a State in which nearly 40 percent of the residents self-identify as evangelical Christians that “… Christianity… gives us a God that is like a man, a God presented and discussed exclusively in male imagery, which legitimizes and seals male power. It is the intention to dominate, even if the intention to dominate is nowhere visible.”

I don’t just want to hear Judd tell the people of Kentucky that a harpy from Hollywood who vacations in Scotland and represented Tennessee as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention is the right person to speak for the Bluegrass State in the Senate.

And I don’t just want to hear some bloviating Tinseltown super-liberal tell a State whose other Senator is Rand Paul — and which gave Republican milquetoast Mitt Romney a 23-point win over Obama in the most recent election — that she’s the best choice in 2014.

I don’t even want to hear Judd campaigning with her “2012 citizen hero” and fake Congressional witness and apparent sex addict Sandra Fluke among the aforementioned Kentuckians. Actually, I really, really do. I want to watch her turn herself — and the Democrats who will be forced to back her — inside out in an effort to sway the votes of people who positively despise her kind of arrogant, sanctimonious hypocrisy.

I want Judd to roll through the primaries uncontested so she’s well-rested for the general election. And then, I want her to run smack into the legitimate conservative who ousted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Republican primary. She’ll lose by 25 points — maybe 15, if she agrees to do full-frontal nudity.

–Ben Crystal

Adios, Hugo!

I’m still trying to make sense of it. Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, darling of the American left, has passed away. Today, Democrats from San Francisco to Midtown Manhattan struggle to come to terms with their grief and disbelief. How can there be justice in the universe if a people’s hero like Chavez has been taken from us so soon?

He did everything right. He stole private property for supposed redistribution and used it to build a personal fortune estimated to be as high as $2 billion. He nationalized Venezuela’s oil industry, simultaneously sticking it to the evil “big oil” companies who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to extract the crude from beneath Venezuelan feet and thumbing his nose at the United States. He crushed opposition by any means necessary, including repeated crackdowns on media that failed to toe his Stalinist line. He demonized freedom and free nations, all the while grinding a once bright and thriving Latin American country into another monotonous and fearful police state. He palled around with all the right people, making bromantic gestures to murderous islamofascist tyrants, terrorist-backing lunatics, communist despots, Hollywood morons and even President Barack Obama.

Despite all his successes in turning Venezuela into the American liberal’s idea of Shangri-La, Chavez developed cancer. Even then, he did everything right. Rather than fly to the United States to receive the very best treatment regimens available (courtesy of a system anathematic to his ideal), Chavez stuck to his socialist guns. He flew to Venezuela’s sister-in-socialism, Cuba, and availed himself of the many modern medical miracles proffered by multimillionaire war profiteer Michael Moore’s favorite healthcare system. (I wonder if they did the bloodletting with leeches?)

Chavez stepped on his people’s necks. He stole everything within reach. He murdered dissent, dismembered freedom of the press and buried personal property rights in the “people’s” backyard. In about a decade, Chavez built exactly the country today’s American Democrats consider the real “shining city on a hill.” He was even friends with Sean Penn, for crying out loud.

Despite it all, he’s gone. The ultimate expression of Obamacare couldn’t save him. All that’s left to do is mourn. Some will publicly bemoan their sadness, such as the people gathering in San Francisco. Others, like the Democratic Party mouthpiece New York Times, will pen adoring eulogies praising the despot’s “energy.” And I will miss the parrot. That bird was the smartest liberal I ever saw.

Vaya con Dios, Hugo. Tell Adolf, Josef and Mao I said: “Hot enough for ya?”

–Ben Crystal

Surviving Obama

If you’re reading this, then you’re one of the blessed few who somehow survived sequestration. By “blessed few,” I mean “everyone on the planet.” And by “sequestration,” I mean “infinitesimally minor reduction in the growth of our already grotesquely obese government.”

So, this is life in post-sequester America. Oddly, it looks remarkably similar to pre-sequester America. Despite dire warnings of horror issued by everyone from sequestration’s creator, President Barack Obama, to such respected Congressional luminaries as Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the world did not end. Our troops from Afghanistan to central Africa (yep, Obama has them there, too) didn’t suddenly find themselves without ammunition. And 170 million Americans didn’t wake up to find themselves unemployed. Highways and bridges didn’t buckle and disintegrate. And the Internal Revenue Service certainly didn’t halt its efforts to extract Uncle Sam’s annual pound of flesh. Hell, the U.S. Postal Service didn’t even stop delivering my Cabelas catalog to the neighbors. Vice President Joe Biden has been downgraded from Air Force to Amtrak on his 120-mile trip from Washington to Wilmington, but that’s mostly because he likes to stick his head out of the window like a Labrador retriever between stops.

I expect a little historical perspective is in order. During the most recent State of the Union, Obama bemoaned what he termed “manufactured crises.” Perhaps that was his motivation in manufacturing the sequester, a silly idea to which Obama finally admitted on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” when his minion Gene Sperling acknowledged Obama’s duplicity regarding the massively overhyped reduction in the increase in future government spending.

All the shouting about Americans sacrificing security, employment and even food was merely a situation cut from the whole cloth of Obama and the Democrats’ own folly. Evidently, the endless recession, the horde of illegal aliens pouring across our borders, Superstorm Sandy, al-Qaida’s African resurgence, the Benghazi murders and cover-up, Attorney General Eric Holder’s criminal and civil offenses in covering up Operation Fast and Furious and even the skyrocketing violent crime in Obama’s own hometown weren’t enough to keep the Democrats focused on the plight their derelictions have created. And with the public beginning to catch on to the usual phantom horrors like so-called “global warming” (or whatever they’re calling it this week), they invented sequester, blamed it on the Republicans, tried to use it to scare the pants off the public, attacked the credibility of anyone who questioned their narrative and then finally owned up to the whole thing.

Here’s a thought: Perhaps if Obama and the Democrats put the kind of effort into doing something constructive that they put into lying, slander and fearmongering, the bleak future of post-sequester America might be decidedly less gray. Then again, given the trail of crimes and misdemeanors (and bodies) left behind by Obama and the Democrats every time they do something they consider constructive, perhaps we’re better off if they stick to manufacturing crises.

–Ben Crystal

The Sequester Follies

I knew the so-called “sequester” house of cards would ultimately collapse. As Wayne Allyn Root pointed out in Sequestration Ponzi Scheme and as and Bob Livingston pointed out in When Cuts Aren’t Really Cuts, the sequester was never more than a pittance, an empty symbolic gesture by the Washington political elite made solely for the purpose of calming the low-information masses who quiver with fear until their masters pat their heads. President Barack Obama and his accomplices thought it up, only to deny their own folly and instead use their corporate media flacks to cast Obama as an innocent bystander to the Machiavellian machinations of the GOP. Fortunately for Obama, the GOP leadership has grown so jelly-spined that playing them for suckers is easier than convincing the Democrat masses that Obama’s latest course-reversal is just the President’s “evolving.”

But Obama and his cronies overplayed their hand this time around. Even casual observers recognized Obama’s poorly disguised duplicity, and the average citizens upon whom Obama’s economic cannonballs always land were too focused on basic survival amid the wreckage of Obama’s failed policies to care much about another liberal scam. And that may well be why Obama himself knocked over the shaky sequester construct.

During a speech at the Newport News, Va., naval shipyard (where they build what Obama equated with “horses and bayonets” during his final Presidential debate with Mitt Romney), Obama whined: “These cuts are wrong. They’re not smart. They’re not fair. They’re a self-inflicted wound that doesn’t have to happen.”

Just to ensure we’re all on the same page: The President of the United States, in an effort to further demonize his perceived enemies, attacked them for compromising on an idea he formulated but in which he evidently never believed, all while standing in an industrial center dedicated to building things he considers antiquated and unnecessary.

Presented with a similar knot of logical self-entanglements, I do believe the kids these days would respond simply: “Facepalm.” Nuff said.