The Rosetta mission: What if?

Repeat visitors to my little corner of Personal Liberty already know that I fancy myself a bit of an amateur astronomer. Let’s face it: Space is cool, and the science involved in moving around outside the cozy confines of our pale blue dot is even more so. Even the math required to successfully put a man-made machine anywhere beyond the next county over is fascinating stuff. I like science. I like math. You can keep your “Star Trek.” I’m more interested in the effort to go actual places where no man has gone before.

Earlier this week, the European Space Agency (ESA) completed a 10-year mission to fly the Rosetta spacecraft to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and deploy the Philae lander to give humanity its first worm’s-eye view of an environment that makes Detroit seem like Club Med. And the Rosetta mission is no small feat. Built, launched and controlled by a consortium of European counties, Rosetta didn’t so much land on 67P as it docked with it at hypersonic velocities, all in what spacecraft engineers refer to as “less than optimal conditions” and the rest of us refer to as “hell.”

Perhaps humanity’s visceral need to explore really is best served by cooperative effort. After all, while NASA spends its budget on combating so-called “global warming” and paying the Russians for serving as a taxi service to the International Space Station, the Europeans managed to park a spaceship on a comet. Perhaps man’s reach to the stars is simply too great a task for one country to handle on its own. But what if the ESA didn’t exist? What if the space race of the 1960s had never ended and every country capable of building a model rocket decided it, and it alone, were going to conquer the firmament solo? Here are my best guesses.

The Germans

The German Rosetta would be grossly overengineered, complete with confusingly labeled buttons that serve no discernible purpose. It would be sleek, cosmetically flawless and extraordinarily fast; but it would also get impatient during gravity-assist maneuvers. The mission would fail after the planet Mars was late arriving to a rendezvous. Frustrated by the solar system’s refusal to cooperate with a planned timetable, the German Rosetta would end up flying to Jupiter, annexing the four Galilean moons and then promising it had no plans to expand its territory.

The French

Their version would fly only in reverse and would surrender to the German Rosetta after hearing the Germans were still in Mars orbit.

The Russians

Built largely from derelict 1960s-era scrap metal, held together by spot welds and duct tape, the Russian Rosetta would manage to reach the comet but then miss its target by a few miles. It would eventually float into a lazy elliptical orbit around the sun, transmitting coded images of a shirtless Vladimir Putin on an unmonitored frequency.

The British

The British Rosetta would look fabulous, right down to the hand-finished interior. Though unmanned, it would boast a state-of-the-art stereo system with mislabeled controls that gets only one station. It would also feature a car alarm that goes off at random times for no particular reason. Eventually, it would reach its target, thanks to some nifty engineering patches designed by Canadians and implemented by Australians.

The Italians

The Italian Rosetta would be shaped like a nuclear-powered arrowhead with functionless side strakes and oversized intakes. Its engines, which they mounted amidships for no good reason, would produce approximately the same amount of thrust necessary to reach Pluto in less than a decade; but they would break down every time the craft required a small vector adjustment. After delaying the launch due to the threat of rain, the Italians would eventually give up on the project when they learn someone will have to work weekends in order to keep the thing on target.

The Swiss

The Swiss Rosetta would be flawless in form, fit and function. It would make all its markers within one-tenth of a second of their predictions and arrive at 67P at the exact moment it was expected to. It would then transmit all of its findings back to Mission Control on time, at which point the program scientists would lock the data in a subterranean vault and refuse to even acknowledge they had it in the first place.

The Japanese

The Japanese Rosetta would be the size of a toaster, perform without a hitch and transmit its findings back in perfect sequence. Unfortunately, it would also be obsolete the moment it lifted off, and wouldn’t be compatible with the next year’s model, rendering its data — which transmits only in Japanese — worthless.

The South Koreans

Their Rosetta would look, sound and function almost identically to the Japanese version — except that it would transmit its data only in Korean and would have enough exterior lighting to be visible to the naked eye from Earth.

The North Koreans

The North Koreans wouldn’t need to build a Rosetta, since Kim Jong Un has already flown to CS and declared it to be North Korean territory. They would, however, attempt to build a missile to shoot down the Japanese and South Korean efforts, but it would end up at the bottom of the East Sea/Sea of Japan 10 minutes after launch.

The Mideast

Funded by the Saudi Arabians, built by Pakistani and Filipino laborers from Russian parts, and overseen by French scientists, the Arab Rosetta would be taller than the Eiffel Tower and would feature an almost all-glass exterior and an interior that looks like it was designed by Liberace’s interior decorator; and it would sit on a palm-tree-shaped launch pad. After discovering 93-octane gasoline isn’t a particularly useful fuel for space missions, the Saudis would abandon the project while Wahhabi clerics claimed it was just as well, since Allah forbids space travel.

The Chinese

They would deny building a Rosetta and send the scientists who designed it to re-education camps.

The Americans

The American Rosetta would be named “Chuck Norris 3000” and would be four times larger than necessary. Featuring an array of functionless parts that were added post-design by government functionaries hoping to placate Big Labor, the American version would be covered in sponsors’ logos. And though unmanned, it would have reclining bucket seats and cup holders installed where control surfaces would have been. While its data collection and transmission gear — designed and built by the Japanese and Taiwanese subcontractors — would work, half the information would be lost because someone in Mission Control missed the linkup because they were down in the cafeteria, discussing last night’s episode of “Walking Dead” with the guys in accounting. Meanwhile, the Philae lander would have oversized tires and mud flaps with little Yosemite Sam pictograms. Instead of flags, both the Rosetta and Philae would deploy mechanical middle fingers every time another country’s spacecraft flew by.

All kidding aside, I congratulate the ESA on its success. I remember when the United States used to do cool stuff like that. Perhaps we shall again, someday. In the meantime, we’re waiting for the Russians to swing by and pick us up.

–Ben Crystal

Friday morning quarterbacking

Midterm elections are routinely nightmarish for the party that occupies the White House, but Tuesday’s turnout was epic in scope and brutality. Mike Tyson didn’t give Michael Spinks the kind of beating the party of President Barack Obama endured earlier this week. Of course, Spinks knew what he was getting into; and if he didn’t, he didn’t suffer very long. Though one might presume the Democrats had a sense of their own coming visit to the back of the woodshed, their teeth-gnashing, clothes-tearing, “Woe is me!” response suggests otherwise.

Of course, the GOP already held a majority in the House, so their annexation of extra real estate came as no surprise. A few gubernatorial races earned a glance, as well. Among them are the following:

  • Red-tinged Larry Hogan took solidly blue Maryland.
  • Obama’s home state of Illinois fell to Republican Bruce Rauner, thanks to Obama’s close association with Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn.
  • And Greg Abbott finally closed the Lone Star State’s book on Wendy Davis, who ran what may well have been the most horrendous campaign to gain national attention in years, if not decades.

But the real action was in the Senate, where suitably outraged citizens finally shut down outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid’s culture of corruption. A couple of races caught my eye: some because they were “close,” some because they were not close at all, some because they involved a candidate who was comically unprepared for the campaign and others because I found them fascinating.

Kentucky

The race: Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell versus Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The outcome: McConnell by a couple of furlongs.

The summary: By the time the precincts opened, this one was already over. The Democrats, sensing a coming defeat, pulled final ad-budget funding before the final weekend. In a state with hundreds of thousands of potential Democrat candidates, the best they could come up with was Grimes, the poor sap drafted to replace an apparently unbalanced actress named Ashley Judd. She drifted through a campaign that featured only one consistent message: “I’m not Barack Obama.” Bluegrass State voters, evidently aware of that fact, sent her packing.

The moment: Grimes, attempting to distance herself from her party’s increasingly anti-Bill of Rights rhetoric, released an ad featuring her firing a rifle. She wore neither eye nor ear protection in the shot, reminding everyone not of sport shooting, but of Obama’s bizarre “skeet shooting” photo op. Authenticity? Nope.

New Hampshire

The race: Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen versus Republican Scott Brown.

The outcome: Shaheen in a Granite State stomping

The summary: I hope the GOP has finally learned to stop pushing Scott Brown. He won a special election in Massachusetts, and then lost to the borderline-Maoist millionaire Sen. Elizabeth Warren. If he couldn’t beat Warren and her “high cheekbones,” I have no idea why anyone thought he could beat Shaheen in the next state over.

The moment: The day Brown’s moving van crossed the border between Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Colorado

The race: Republican Cory Gardner versus Democrat Mark Udall.

The outcome: Gardner gets Rocky Mountain High (in a manner of speaking).

The summary: If you’re going to strike a one-note campaign (a common error made by Democrats), make sure that note doesn’t make a nickname like “Uterus” seem perfect. Colorado’s leftward turn in the past couple of years has cost the state big money, big prestige and big jobs. So, while so-called “women’s issues” — and by “women’s issues” I mean “abortion” — are worth discussing, they’re hardly an electoral haymaker. Women are people. People like prosperity. That’s a women’s issue, as well. Udall forgot that, and it cost him.

The moment: The redoubtably leftist Denver Post endorsed Gardner. Ouchie.

Arkansas

The race: Republican Tom Cotton versus Democrat Mark Pryor.

The outcome: Cotton feeds Pryor to the Hogs.

The summary: There was no reason for this race to appear on anyone’s “tight” list. Since the days when then-Governor Bill Clinton molested state instead of federal employees, Arkansas has transformed from light bluish to crimson red. Pryor had the same chance as the Razorbacks do of winning the national championship.

The moment: The day Slick Willie left the governor’s mansion. It’s been downhill ever since.

Georgia

The race: David Perdue versus Michelle Nunn.

The outcome: She’s gone with the wind.

The summary: The Democrats managed to convince themselves they could turn Georgia blue. Even as the sun rose on Election Day, Nunn was expected to make a show of it. And then Perdue painted the Peach State Bulldog red. Georgia has a sizable number of black voters. According to the Democrats, black voters vote for Democrats. Either they overestimated the actual number of black voters, or they underestimated the ability of black voters to make up their own minds. It’s also possible that Nunn’s campaign message of “Vote for me ’cause you liked my old man” didn’t resonate.

The moment: When Perdue beat longtime GOP heavyweight Congressman Jack Kingston in the primary.

Iowa

The race: Joni Ernst versus Bruce Braley.

The outcome: Joni loves victory.

The summary: Ernst mounted what I suppose could be counted as a surprise, since she and Braley were vying for the seat being vacated by longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. Furthermore, Iowa is no red state redoubt; it went to Obama in both 2012 and 2008. Nonetheless, Braley ran a lackluster campaign and paid for it. Someone probably should have told Braley that suing your neighbors over wandering chickens sounds — to borrow a phrase from the current presidential regime — “chickensh*t.” It certainly didn’t help that first lady Michelle Obama, stumping for Braley, couldn’t bother to learn either his name or the position he sought.

The moment: Ask the pig. He knows.

North Carolina

The race: Thom Tillis versus Kay Hagan.

The outcome: Close, but no Tar Heel.

The summary: The fact that this one stayed so close is likely more a testament to soft support for Tillis than anything else. Hagan’s campaign plodded along like her senatorial performance. When she bothered to show up, she either did nothing to inspire her constituents, or she annoyed them. Had Tillis been more dynamic, he could have run up the score like Duke playing basketball against the Durham under-10 squad. North Carolina went to Obama in 2008, but Mitt Romney in 2012. The moment: Hagan skipped the debate. Or maybe it was when she skipped the ISIS hearing.

It’s probably worth noting that Tuesday’s record-breaking beating represented as much a repudiation of the Democrats’ six-year reign of terror as it did any particular endorsement of Republican promises. Indeed, Tuesday’s seismic smackdown revealed as much about the Democrats’ enforced intellectual monolith as it did about the fact that Americans are clearly beginning to recognize the GOP’s growing ideological diversity. And though some serious conservatives threw their opponents off the proverbial roof, some marginally moderate types also managed to give their Democratic opponents a solid shove. Rock-ribbed conservative South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott buried his challenger under a mountain of ballots, while RINO McConnell certainly shellacked his.

The Democrats’ six-year-old strategy of lying to Americans and then calling them stupid, racist or some combination of the two for noticing has borne seriously bitter electoral fruit. If they hope to return to the majority, they might consider ending their war on liberty. At the very least, they might want to think about the quality of the candidates they recruit.

The Democrats are surging toward defeat

Barring the sort of electoral fraud normally reserved for elections involving previously unheralded “community activists” or members of the Kennedy family, Election Day 2014 is going to be a tough outing for President Barack Obama and his Democratic accomplices.

Poll after poll indicates that not only are the majority of Americans tired of the noisy — and noisome — Obama freak show, but they’re going to do something about it this coming Tuesday. And the Democrats, rather than learn from their mistakes, are pre-emptively pointing fingers over the coming whipping.

As the campaign races close on the finish line, the Democrats have issued a clarion call to their base, exhorting them to turn out on Election Day or suffer dire, albeit nonspecific, consequences. And they’ve identified the need for enhanced black voter turnout without once acknowledging the unspoken bigotry of presuming all black people vote — or do anything — unanimously. Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said: “If the black vote, and the brown vote, doesn’t turn out, we just can’t win. It’s that simple.” Translation: “If we lose, it’s because ‘those’ people didn’t get out for us.”

And the supposed “black electorate” isn’t the only group hearing the Friday morning quarterbacking. After a swing through so-called “black media” outlets, including Al Sharpton’s radio show, Obama appeared at a rally for Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke. “It don’t make no sense… We need to strengthen the middle class for the 21st century. That means we need leaders from the 21st century who actually believe women should get paid the same as men.” Perhaps it was his folksy use of double-negatives which kept the carefully selected audience from remembering that Obama, who is the ideological scion of failed 20th century ideologues, pays female White House staffers less than their male counterparts. That may also explain how Obama fell under the misapprehension that all — or even most — women vote the way they’re told to by men.

The same could be said for so-called “women’s issues,” also considered a key to the Democrats’ electoral strategy. Having failed to convince the fairer sex that “taxpayer-funded, late-term, partial-birth abortions for anyone who mentions ‘Sandra Fluke’ at the check-in desk” and “women’s issues” are one and the same, the Democrats didn’t abandon their macabre devotion to legalized infanticide. Instead, they attacked any woman who dared speak out against the left’s death culture.

Blacks have been voting majority Democrat since the late 1960s. Women have been a key liberal demographic nearly as long. Both groups are presumed to be monolithically liberal to the extent that the same Democrats who treat them like foregone conclusions consider racist and sexist assaults, including actual assaults, against conservative blacks and women acceptable and even funny.

Even after making nonexistent racism and imagined bigotry the excuse for every one of Obama’s unprecedented string of failures, disgraces and outright crimes, the Democrats simply cannot bring themselves to admit that their string of failures, disgraces and outright crimes has consequences. The Democrats’ politics of division have failed them. But rather than learn something constructive from what may well be a record-breaking electoral beat down that they absolutely brought upon themselves, they’ve spent their time alternatively quaking in their onesies and identifying the fall guys whom they’re going to blame.

If they win, they won! If they lose, they lost to racism, sexism, classism or an insufficient turnout by the voters whom they consistently take for granted because they’re black, female and/or poor. And then they can — and clearly will — blame blacks, women and poor people.

–Ben Crystal

One czar to rule them all

Until the next medical professional goes for a post-Liberian visit bowl and beer, it’s likely that the hubbub over Ebola and President Barack Obama’s almost laughably confused handling thereof is in the rearview mirror. If you’re not already Ebola-positive, you probably won’t contract it — unless you do … maybe. Actually, if there’s one group of people who clearly has no idea whether you should worry about Ebola, that group would be Obama and his retinue. Among them is Ron Klain, assigned to the newly created post of Ebola response coordinator (aka Ebola czar). For all the qualifications Klain brings to the job of ostensibly leading the Obama regime’s counteroffensive against Ebola, he might as well be a used bedpan. It’s almost as if Obama simply tabbed the first person he saw after the people running his perpetual campaign told him he needed an Ebola czar.

Obama: “You, there!”

Klain: “Yes, Mr. President?”

Obama: “Do you have any sort of medical or crisis management training?”

Klain: “No, Mr. President.”

Obama: “Whatever. You’re my new Ebola czar. Valerie Jarrett here will see you’re fitted out with — um — whatever stuff an Ebola czar needs.”

Klain: “Yes, Mr. President.”

Clearly, the Democrats didn’t think appointing an Ebola czar was a worthwhile endeavor, which explains the abysmal choice Obama made. The appointment of a stuffed suit like Klain isn’t a throwaway paean to the “bitter clingers.” It’s a bird-flip to everyone who pointed out that Obama has literally failed to substantatively address any challenge without finding a way to fail, albeit dressed up as level-headed leadership. In naming Klain as opposed to any one of the millions of candidates who match Klain’s qualifications by being alive and by not currently serving time in prison, Obama is throwing a blanket of craven political opportunism over a real problem. How little must the Democrats think of us if they’d go through the motions of addressing a possible crisis without actually addressing the possible crisis.

Klain is a political flack. He’s a taller Karl Rove, a less creepy David Axelrod, a James Carville with hair and a normal-sized head. And while he certainly answers the question “Do lifetime political hacks make good medical emergency managers?” with a resounding “No,” he also answers the question “Does the United States need an Ebola czar?” in a similarly negative manner.

Speaking only on my own behalf, I have yet to discern an actual need for an Ebola czar. Given that Obama’s response to Ebola — much like Obama’s responses to every other crisis with which he’s contended — involved waiting until just after the simplest solution has expired, it’s hard to imagine that Klain will serve any purpose other than closing the proverbial barn door after the cow has died of hemorrhagic fever. His business cards might as well read “Director of the Office of Hindsight.”

Given that the history of American political “czardom” is pretty much a tale tragicomic futility — we’ve had a drug czar for nearly 30 years; anyone having trouble finding drugs? — it’s hard to imagine that Klain is worth whatever salary we’re going to pay him.

Besides, we technically already have an Ebola czar. The position of assistant secretary for preparedness and response has been filled since July 2009 by Nicole Lurie, M.D., although she has become more elusive than an Ebola-positive airline passenger at the Kennedy International Airport baggage claim.

Lest you dismiss this as some partisan rant, the Republicans deserve just as much scorn as Obama for every professional paper shuffler, partisan wire-puller and political hornswoggler who ever drew a federal paycheck for an ill-defined gig named for a defunct Eurasian autocrat. In the days after Obama’s nonexistent border security introduced Ebola to American soil, Republicans lined up to stick their snouts in the crisis trough. Outgoing Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) kicked up quite a fuss, penning a suitably outraged opinion: “We need an Ebola czar.” The president of the United States did everything but personally stamp the passport and call a taxi for a deadly hemorrhagic fever from West Africa, and the loyal opposition wants to beat it back with more politicians.

Perhaps, as we prepare to cast our ballots in one of the more important midterm elections in recent memory, both parties’ response to a scary disease that so far has inspired more heart palpitations than actual fatalities ought to provide us with one of those “teachable moments” Obama often yammers on about instead of doing something constructive. When the Democrats’ unprecedented failures of leadership, foresight and basic preparedness led to a life-threatening disease gaining a foothold on American soil, the Republicans didn’t call 911; they called the lawyers. We have had a drug czar, a faith-based czar, an AIDS czar and even a green energy czar. Despite all those czars, we still have drugs, faith, AIDS and “green” energy. And now, some of us have Ebola. Maybe the czars are the problem. They’re certainly not the solution to anything.

–Ben Crystal

Obama who?

It’s not as if President Barack Obama is the first chief executive to get the cold shoulder from his party subordinates during election season. President George W. Bush wasn’t swamped with invitations to come rally the troops during the 2006 midterms. And the Democrats treated President Bill Clinton like the proverbial creepy uncle in both 1994 and 1998 — although he was probably too busy during both occasions to care much. In 1994, he was chasing chubby interns around the Oval Office. In 1998, he was perjuring himself in front of a grand jury about chasing chubby interns around the Oval Office.

But I can’t recall a time like this. At the depths of Bush’s popularity in 2006, GOP senators and congressmen might not have been ringing the Oval Office phone off the hook; but they weren’t pretending they didn’t even know the number. And they certainly never tried to convince an already-skeptical electorate that they didn’t vote for him. Even as Clinton was facing impeachment — and later, disbarment — for his peccadillos, the Democrats might have forgotten to add him to the invitation list; but they never barred the door to the ballroom.

Fast-forward to 2014, and it would appear Obama has once again blazed a new trail through the pitfalls of politics. Because this time around, his own party is doing everything but messing with his GPS in order to keep him from showing up at their increasingly desperate rallies. In Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes, the liberal functionary drafted by the Democrats to face the seemingly beatable Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has spent at least as much time trying to convince Bluegrass State voters that she doesn’t even know this Obama guy as she has expressing any sort of meaningful platform. In fact, after weakly dodging questions about her presidential votes with remarks about her proud vote for Hillary Clinton in a primary, Grimes not only refused to admit voting for Obama, but she told a debate audience that asking her about it violates her “constitutional right for privacy at the ballot box.” Even leftist media shill Chuck Todd laughed at that one, suggesting that Grimes had “disqualified herself.” Just to be sure, Grimes ran an ad proclaiming, “I’m not Barack Obama.”

In New Hampshire, Senator Jeanne Shaheen stopped short of the full “Grimes,” playing it coy over her presidential support. When asked if she approved of Obama’s presidential performance, Shaheen responded: “In some ways I approve, and some things I don’t approve.” Her half-answer was met by a crescendo of laughter from an audience well aware that she has voted according to Obama’s dictates 99 percent of the time. In the event anyone wasn’t convinced of her fealty to the incredibly unpopular Obama, Shaheen did note she is “absolutely proud” of the multitrillion-dollar Obamacare disaster.

Further south, Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn (Mrs. Ron Martin) has alternated between her main campaign message of “Vote for me, I’m the late Senator Sam Nunn’s kid; honest!” and “I worked for Republicans!” When her opponent David Perdue ran an ad with a picture of her cavorting with Obama, the Democrat raced out to remind voters that she wasn’t chilling with Barry; she was hanging with George — meaning former President George H.W. Bush, who was also present in the photo. Presented with the opportunity to stand proudly behind a man for whom she voted twice in the past six years, Nunn (Mrs. Martin) tried to align herself with a Republican who hasn’t been president in 22 years. Nunn (Mrs. Martin) is locked in a tight race, mostly because her opponent, Perdue, is a borderline RINO who has profoundly failed to energize the conservative base in the Peach State. While she eventually confessed to her electoral support for Obama, her plan to win involves playing off her connections to Obama and playing up her connections to the GOP.

The anti-Obama refrain repeats itself across the nation. In Colorado, embattled Senator Mark Udall skipped a presidential visit to his state. It’s hard to imagine that a candidate as virulently pro-abortion as Udall could be mistaken for anything other than a liberal, but his fear of the Obama drag is enough to send him scurrying away. In Louisiana, Senator Mary Landrieu can’t stop reminding her constituents of her opposition to Obama’s stance against American energy independence. In Arkansas, Senator Mark Pryor has done everything except pose with an AR-15 in order to convince Arkansans that he’s a stalwart opponent of Obama’s anti-Bill of Rights policies. Following first lady Michelle Obama’s disastrous campaign swing for Iowa candidate Bruce Braley, a senior Democrat told the National Journal: “The ineptitude of the White House political operation has sunk from annoying to embarrassing.”

To some extent, Obama himself is to blame for so many Democrats trying to jump ship. As he noted in an early October speech at Northwestern University: “I’m not on the ballot this fall. But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot, every single one of them.” As recently as Monday, Obama told Al Sharpton that the Democrats are “folks who vote with me. They have supported my agenda in Congress.” From the perspective of Democrats in close races, he might as well have welded himself to their campaign buses just as they peeled the “Obama/Biden” stickers off the bumpers. And his refusal to yield the limelight, despite the fact that the electorate has nearly booed him off the stage, has sent his party into the weirdest tailspin in recent memory.

What does it say when a political party that has stood shoulder to shoulder with a president through a catalog of offenses, crimes and misdemeanors against the people that rivals the most Orwellian days of the Soviet Union suddenly develops a case of what I like to call “Bamnesia?” Some might conclude the Democrats, not known for their honesty, are simply lying. Others might discern a possible fracture in the enforced monolith of liberal politics. But I have a different take, courtesy of Alaska Senator Mark Begich. During an exchange with Washington Examiner reporter Rebecca Berg, Begich finally admitted to voting for Obama, but then added the caveat: “The president’s not relevant. He’s gone in two years.” Thanks to Obama, some Democrats — possibly including Begich — will be gone a lot sooner.

–Ben Crystal

Barack Obama is a conservative plant

Before you break your keyboard while angrily pounding out a complaint email to Mr. Livingston, hear me out. There is no way a rational human being can observe nearly six years of President Barack Obama’s executive efforts and derive any other conclusion. If the Republican Party wanted to bring an end to partisanship by destroying the Democratic Party from the inside, I’m not certain they could build a robot in a secret lab in the bowels of Republican National Committee headquarters that could do the job more effectively than our man Barry.

“What if we program it to make it to high office and then turn into a gibbering idiot?”

“We tried that with the Biden-bot. It scares the children.”

An examination of Obama’s tenure reveals that not only has he failed to properly exercise his authority, but he has done so in ways so spectacularly awful that they must have been deliberate.

To date, his “signature” achievement remains the survival of Obamacare. Sprung fresh from the copilot’s seat in Illinois’ Senate delegation, Obama rolled into the White House promising a government takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. Then, he engineered nothing of the sort. Instead, he essentially nationalized the insurance billing system, inserting a layer of bureaucracy into an already paper-heavy industry. Obamacare exerts no positive effect on the care received, nor could it. The remedies are the same, although they now cost more.

Moreover, since Obama spent some time post-passage illegally tinkering with some of the provisions set forth and approved by Congress, healthy Americans who might otherwise have used extra cash to pay down debt or make a purchase now have to budget for the federal fee for not being sick (aka the individual mandate).

Obama promised lower premiums. They jumped into the stratosphere. Obama promised “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” When that proved false, he told us we remembered it wrong. When Healthcare.gov turned into the biggest computerized disaster since Time Warner merged with AOL, Obama tried to assuage concerns by pretending to enroll through the site.

Obamacare never gained the approval of the majority of Americans. So he shoved it down our throats anyway. Obama should have said: “While I believe this is what’s best for America, my employers (that would be you, dear readers) want the plug pulled, pronto!” What a secret GOP double agent might have said: “You’ll eat it, and you’ll like it.”

After getting punked in Syria by Dr. Evil’s cousin, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama moved on to arming both sides of the ISIS-pressed war. Obama could have stood up to both. A secret GOP plant would have issued contradictory statements in between rounds of golf and visits to the Hollywood cash trough.

Even situations that, while tragic and outrageous, were fairly straightforward proved too hot for Obama and his accomplices to handle. When Islamofascists attacked the Benghazi compound and murdered four Americans, Obama could have said something like: “Let me be clear. Terrorists murdered our fellow Americans. We will bring them to justice.” But a secret GOP double agent might have said: “Who’s this ‘Ben Ghazi’ dude everyone’s yapping about? I was in Vegas. By the way, how about that YouTube; they’ve got crazy evil stuff on there? Sure hope someone doesn’t see it and attack one of our diplomatic compounds.”

A competent chief executive would have laughed at the idea of exchanging Taliban serial killers for an unrepentant deserter. A GOP plant would have proudly announced the trade from the Rose Garden, all the while ignoring the plight of a Marine being unjustly held in Mexico.

Rather than hire a competent, or even semi-competent, attorney general, Obama tabbed soon-to-be-ex-AG Eric Holder. It’s hard to imagine someone being so openly hostile to justice that his performance would compare poorly to his days as a student radical, but Holder found a way. It went through Mexico and required selling guns to narcoterrorists, but Holder figured it out. What Obama should have said the moment the Fast and Furious debacle erupted: “Holder’s subordinates made a series of poor decisions which led to tragedy. His refusal to be forthcoming to Congress is unacceptable. I have asked for his resignation.” What a secret GOP double agent might say: “I have full confidence in Attorney General Holder.”

After promising to be “the most transparent administration in history,” Obama pulled the shades the moment he stepped into the White House. Simultaneously, the senator who opposed the Patriot Act on grounds that it infringed on civil liberties became the president who wiretapped, bugged, hacked and/or surveilled pretty much anyone who used the words “tea” and “party” in the same conversation.

Murders committed by Islamofascist psychos like Nidal Hassan and Alton Nolen are “random incidents of workplace violence.” Meanwhile, anyone who openly carries his .45 is a possible “domestic terrorist.” Obama could have said: “The overwhelming majority of Muslims are peaceful people who have — and want — nothing to do with Islamofascist barbarism.” A secret GOP plant might have said: “The future does not belong to people who slander the prophet of Islam,” while mocking a sizable portion of his own electorate for “clinging to their guns and religion.”

When racial strife arose, Obama could have called for calmer, cooler heads to help lead the nation back to some semblance of comity. A secret GOP plant would have chosen a side — usually the one looting the Gas’n’Go or posting the wrong person’s address on the internet.

Of course, it goes without saying that Obama’s handling of the Ebola situation would need a booster seat just to see “abysmal.”

Obama’s approval numbers swim with the political fishes these days. With midterm elections approaching like a runaway freight train, Obama has done everything but tie the Democrats to the tracks. His own party seems to be developing a pretty severe aversion to him. Alison Lundergan Grimes, the understudy to Ashley Judd in the role of “candidate so uninspiring she can lose to an old wire-puller like Mitch McConnell,” practically dove out the window rather than admitting merely to voting for Obama. And Michelle Nunn, whose campaign used to involve reminding people she’s Sam Nunn’s kid and fundraising with the first lady, now centers more on reminding people she’s Sam Nunn’s kid. They’re not merely running away from the President; they’re actually pretending they don’t know him and hoping we’ll all buy their “Bamnesia.”

It is possible Obama is a hapless hack, borne aloft only by the desperate partisanship with which the left has replaced patriotism. But it’s also possible Grimes, Nunn and their many fellow office seekers who suddenly can’t remember Obama’s number know something we don’t.

–Ben Crystal

Is Ebola a racist plot?

Mamie Mangoe, a friend of the Duncan family, wipes a tear away during a memorial service for Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. (Nathan Hunsinger/Dallas Morning News/MCT)

Wednesday morning, Thomas Eric Duncan stamped his name in the history books as the first American to die of Ebola. Duncan, who arrived in the United States from Liberia on Sept. 20, passed away while isolated in a special unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, 10 days after he was admitted and 13 days after he first sought care at the same hospital. All things being equal, Duncan’s death is sad. He was only 42; he was attempting to reunite with his estranged family; and he reportedly contracted the deadly virus while assisting a neighbor seeking care for the same disease. I have no doubt he’ll be missed by those who knew and loved him.

In and of itself, Duncan’s case seems fairly straightforward. A man from an Ebola-stricken country contracted Ebola, and it killed him. Given that Ebola victims’ survival prospects are relatively dim under the best of circumstances, it can’t be all that surprising that Duncan didn’t survive. But Duncan didn’t die in Liberia; he died in America. In America, nothing — even fatalities caused by fatal diseases — is straightforward.

Before Duncan’s body began to cool down from its feverish temps, the Rev. Jesse Jackson brought his considerable medical expertise to bear on Duncan’s death. Jackson said: “Whether you are white in Atlanta or whether you are white in Nebraska or black in Dallas — we know there’s different treatment among blacks in this country.” It wasn’t a jacked-up tropical super disease that cut short Duncan’s mortal coil; it was racism. And Jackson would know because he used to watch “ER.” Apparently, Jackson failed to convince others, including Duncan’s nephew, Josephus Weeks, who had nothing but praise for the THPH staffs’ efforts. “No amount of thanks in the world I can give you. [I am] forever in my debt for treating a man who had no means. He had no ways. But you treated him like a diamond. I appreciate all the efforts you’re putting in. Thank you on behalf of my family.”

Following Jackson’s diagnosis, the regressive clown car disgorged a horde of other self-professed medical experts. A CNN anchor named Ashleigh Banfield suggested “Doctor” Jackson might be on to something: “You cannot rule out the notion that he had no Social Security number when he went to the hospital, and had a strong, thick West African accent. And his partner even said he’s from Liberia.”

Prep an OR STAT! America needs a racist-ectomy! Banfield — who is whiter than line dancing at a northern Montana goat rodeo — went on to opine that Duncan’s allegedly poor treatment could precipitate a “wrongful death” lawsuit against THPH. While I’m certain the lawyers were already lined up at the hospital doors like dogs waiting for soup bones, it’s a hell of a stretch to suggest the hospital staffers acted with any malice or neglect — unless the accuser presumes they’re all sociopaths. “OK, Mr. Duncan. You might have a potentially fatal hemorrhagic fever, or it could be allergies. Take two of these and hopefully don’t die.”

Of course, Jackson and his backing chorus of race-baiters are carefully minimizing a few salient facts. Duncan had Ebola. It wasn’t allergies; it wasn’t even SARS. The man contracted a disease that regularly kills people. And Ebola isn’t new, even if its current iteration seems so. Ebola outbreaks have been recorded back as far as 1976, with an associated virus originating in Africa striking a town in Germany as far back as 1967. The idea that Duncan is the victim of a racist conspiracy stretching back at least 40 years is sillier than CNN’s idea of “journalism.” If Ebola is the product of a racist conspiracy, then the white people who have contracted it — including a doctor who risked his life to help fight Ebola and a cameraman for NBC News — must be collateral damage. If Duncan’s treatment were a consequence of racism, then THPH would sport a rather high ratio of black-to-white patient deaths, something that would have been noticed before now.

It’s also worth noting that Duncan lied about his exposure to Ebola in order to get here. I’ll be the first to admit that if I were exposed to Ebola, Liberia would be pretty far down the list of places in which I’d want to be marooned. Of course, I’m an American who would be trying to get home. Duncan was a Liberian trying to leave his. I know President Barack Obama has relaxed immigration standards to “you can enter if you pinkie-swear you’re not in ISIS,” but “exposed to Ebola” ought to fall into the “Do NOT pass go” category.

The current Ebola outbreak is far too serious to drown in a sea of ludicrous sound bites. While Jackson needs the race card in order to secure a paycheck, putty-faced talking hairstyles like Banfield and the rest of Obama’s cheering section are motivated by simple partisanship. A real African disease joins ISIS, Obamacare and the Internal Revenue Service in actively threatening Americans, and the Democrats are busy blaming imaginary causes.

Unfortunately, Obama and his regime have handled the Ebola outbreak with the same double-talk and bumbling which have marked every other gaffe, scandal and/or outright crime they’ve created. Actually, Obama has been largely absent from the proceedings, a consequence of his busy schedule of golf and fundraising. Fortunately, his surrogates have been more than up to the task of embarrassing themselves and the rest of us.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden, M.D., fresh from an appearance on CNN in which he managed to argue both for and against heightened Ebola protocols, continued his confused coordination of anti-Ebola efforts. During a Tuesday press conference, Frieden argued both for and against travel restrictions to and from Ebola-stricken countries in Africa, announcing measures that could include questionnaires and temperature readings, precisely the measures that Duncan defeated to deliver Ebola to Dallas. However, he opposes travel restrictions, which might have been more effective than: “Do U have Ebola? Check ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”

Said Frieden: “We’re not today providing the steps that we plan to take, but I can assure you that we will be taking additional steps, and we will be making those public in the coming days, once we can work out the details.”

Right, they don’t know what they’re going to do; but they’re going to do something, and soon-ish. I just hope we can survive their efforts.

–Ben Crystal

The Ebola world tour stops in the U.S.

Bad news, kids. You’re going to die. Despite the womb-to-tomb security blankets of Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, preventive care, regular screenings, mammograms, prostate exams, proper nutrition, plenty of exercise and enough daily water intake to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, the reaper is going to get you.

It’s probably going to happen like this: You’re walking down the street, minding your own business, hurting no one, and — BLAM! — you contract Ebola. You’ll start to feel run down. Then you’ll run a fever. Then the real fireworks will start, culminating in a death as miserable as anything Stephen King could imagine after a three-day absinthe bender. Death from Ebola is that bad.

Kent Brantly, M.D., who survived the dreaded import from the Dark Continent, detailed his experience at a joint Senate hearing last month:

I experienced the humiliation of losing control of my bodily functions and faced the horror of vomiting blood — a sign of the internal bleeding that could have eventually led to my death.

But, wait, that guy couldn’t have described the horrors of Ebola without surviving the horrors of Ebola. And if you can survive Ebola, you can avoid Ebola. Even the worst diseases ever to rampage through the human population like Rosie O’Donnell hitting the all-you-can-eat buffet line at the Glutt’n Hutt didn’t kill everyone around. In fact, the Black Death, probably Mother Nature’s most famous knockout punch, killed less than one-third of the people who knew about it. The Spanish Flu epidemic of 1920 was one of the pound-for-pound contenders, mostly because it killed otherwise healthy people in enormous numbers, and it managed to bury “only” about 3 percent of the worldwide population. AIDS can’t do better than an infection — not fatality — rate of 26 percent of adults in countries like Swaziland. I’ve actually been to Swaziland. They’d need an interest-free IMF loan merely to fund pipe dreams of one day rising to Third World status. Even cancer and heart disease, which are much more likely to finish you off than all of the aforementioned ailments combined, will probably wait until you’re older and slower before peeling you off the herd.

Truth be told, no superbugs, bacterial serial killers or monster maladies can touch the records set by humanity itself. Stalin, Mao and Hitler needed about 50 years to murder somewhere between 75 million to 150 million people. The multiple diseases that shared the “Black Plague” nom de maladie — mostly bubonic and pneumonic plague — needed 3,000 years to rack up similar numbers. So maybe Ebola won’t get you.

However, if the federal government has anything to do with it, it might. Now, before you roll your eyes, consider this: I don’t think the regime of President Barack Obama has any plans to deploy Ebola, West Nile, SARS or the East Asian Hemorrhagic Death Virus against Americans. Like most Democrats, Obama despises most Americans. But even a spray-and-pray president like our man Barry isn’t that twisted. Attorney General Eric Holder maybe, but not Obama — I hope. However, while the feds have busied themselves with spying on, auditing and/or otherwise harassing everyone who didn’t vote for Obama, Ebola has deplaned at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Less than a month after Obama called Ebola’s American travel plans “unlikely,” A man named Thomas Eric Duncan, who boarded the first leg of his trip in the Ebola-ravaged country of Liberia, managed to carry what amounts to a biological weapon through an international air travel security network designed to keep people from carrying any weapons anywhere. Let me rephrase that. Duncan, who got his passport, secured a travel visa, bought a ticket and boarded multiple flights, walked off the plane in Dallas with Ebola in his carry-on. He presumably had no criminal intent in doing so.

Meanwhile, not far south of Duncan, there are people who pretty much base their existence on getting here without so much as a consideration for laws of the United States. Some of those people intend to do a lot more than just ignore our laws. In fact, according to the government’s own security intel, some of them are members of the Islamofascist terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL or “guys who would just love to send a bunch of human dirty bombs into every booming metropolis and small town from sea to shining sea.”) Considering Obama’s current immigration policy basically entails showing even wanted murderers from our southerly neighbors to their new, taxpayer-funded accommodations, I wonder if any ISIS psychos have traded in their suicide-bomb vests for a quick shot of Ebola and a ticket to Mexico City.

What’s worse, the government agency that exists solely to deal with serious diseases appears to be operating at the same standard of excellence as the rest of the Obama regime. In an appearance on CNN Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden managed to both confirm and deny that Ebola didn’t actually need direct physical contact to jump from one victim to another. “(Ebola is) not like the flu, not like the common cold. It requires direct physical contact. … if you’re within 3 feet, that’s a situation we’d want to be concerned about.”

Frieden later took to Twitter to share his thoughts on protecting Americans from further Ebola fear:

Of course we should. Look what a wonderful job our other “tried & true public means” have done stopping it. Fortunately, Obama has stepped in to stem a possible American influx of Ebola-infected people by doing nothing. According to a Wednesday briefing by Obama spokeshole Josh Earnest, the government will not be imposing any travel restrictions on passengers originating from Ebola’s home field in West Africa.

So according to those who purport to be our leaders and leading thinkers, Ebola isn’t coming to America, except when it is. Ebola is no real danger to otherwise healthy Americans, except when it is. Right, and ISIS doesn’t represent Islam; Obamacare is working perfectly; and Obama has a handle on everything. And on that note, I’m headed to the store to buy a few thousand gallons of Purell.

–Ben Crystal

Terror in the heartland due to ‘workplace violence’

It wasn’t an act of terrorism; it was “workplace violence.” It wasn’t motivated by Islam; it was motivated by the loss of a job. It wasn’t racism; it was rage. When Alton Nolen roared through the door of Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma, last Friday, he wasn’t bent on inflicting the sort of inhuman violence Americans consider abhorrent and Islamofascists consider an afternoon at the office. He was merely expressing his indignation at the brutal treatment of today’s workers by evil plutocrats. Heck, Nolen isn’t a terrorist; according to such leading lights as MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, he’s a “gentleman.”

So rest easy, America. There is no threat of a wave of Islamofascist terrorism crashing upon our shores. The fact that a radicalized Muslim beheaded one innocent woman and stabbed another in a fit of religiously inspired rage does not mean that radicalized Muslims will behead, stab and/or murder any other innocent women. Just because a Muslim angrily replicated identically abominable acts to the ones demonstrated by the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL and those guys who totally don’t represent Islam) doesn’t mean you should worry that any other Muslims who think Sharia law sounds like a party are lying about why they just bought a new GoPro. So stop worrying. You’ve got nothing to worry about. Even though ISIS and other Islamofascist rats’ nests — not all of which were armed by the regime of President Barack Obama — consistently shriek demands that all Muslims rise up and kill as many Americans as they can, Nolen’s Oklahoma killing spree was an aberration.

I’m guessing we’re supposed to believe that Nidal Hassan’s rampage through Fort Hood — which our Democrat pals assured us was also “workplace violence” — was also an aberration. As were those wacky Tsarnaev boys up Boston way. Plus, the kids thought the Tsarnaevs were just dreamy! Did you see Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone? OMG!

But if Islamofascists had any chance of spreading animalistic butchery across the planet, they would need to establish footholds in major population centers worldwide. And the idea that 7th century religious dogma would not only resist evolving like the rest of the world’s major religions, but metastasize globally in the 21st century is ludicrous. Yet the charred remains of Islamofascist “workplace violence” smolder in the memories of people from London to Paris and from Berlin to Madrid, while those who aim to visit it upon the planet are popping up like tumors in places like Detroit, New York and Moore, Oklahoma.

The Brits recently arrested Islamofascist blowhole Anjem Choudary after years of his openly proclaiming jihad against every non-Muslim in the UK. And here in the United States we offer tax-exempt respect to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a hate group that has already been caught consorting with Islamofascist terrorists. By the way, pay no attention to the reports from inside the federal government indicating the operation of ISIS cells in the increasingly unguarded southern border. I’m sure they’re just taking in the idyllic charms of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Those ISIS guys are suckers for shellacked frogs dressed up to look like mariachi bands, rosaries made from mismatched neon beads and mezcal that makes hillbilly hooch look like Dom Pérignon.

Look, I am not suggesting we meet jihad with jihad. In fact, I wholeheartedly support the opposite idea. Civilization seems to struggle with the century-old lesson that the places where Islamofascism has firmly planted its flag are ratholes. But Islam clearly still struggles with the centuries-older lesson that religiously inspired warfare is a losing proposition. That’s why there are no longer armies of Christian soldiers, marching off to war. The country that expends the most in life and limb dealing with Islamofascism is the United States, and we’re constitutionally nonsectarian; ask any Democrat, if you can catch one on a break from parsing words to avoid offending the Religion of Pieces. There are no platoons of Jews sawing off people’s heads and posting videos of their barbarism so their friends can get their jollies during Hannukah. American soldiers don’t use children as human shields. British soldiers don’t rig buses with Semtex. French soldiers don’t shoot up shopping malls. And none of them behead innocent women in food-processing facilities.

The idea that we, meaning the civilized world, are at war with Islam is ludicrous. There are more than 1 billion Muslims on the planet. The overwhelming majority of them are just trying to get through the day, just like the rest of us. They have kids to raise, jobs to work and bills to pay. However, the minority has openly declared war on us. Rather than playing a seriously painful game of whack-a-mole from Aleppo to Kabul, perhaps we should consider calling the exterminator on the infestation here at home.

There’s nothing wrong with most Muslims. I expect quite a few of them are mortified by what animals like Nolen, Hassan and ISIS do in the name of their religion. Heck, one of the coolest guys I know is a practicing Muslim from Tunisia. It’s vitally important that we stop contorting ourselves because we’re worried about offending the hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims worldwide. People are dying in Oklahoma just like ISIS abductees in Syria. What Nolen did was nothing short of terrorism. What Hassan did was nothing short of terrorism. What ISIS does is nothing short of terrorism. And what Islamofascism has planned for the rest of us is nothing short of terrorism, despite the fact that President Obama and his Democratic accomplices insist on calling it “workplace violence.”

–Ben Crystal

#StopRush and the Democrats’ War on Free Speech

As Wednesday passed gray, breezy and decidedly non-global warmish, I sat on the couch, trying to make sense of President Barack Obama’s address to the U.N. General Assembly. As is often the case when I have to fight through Obama’s tortured enunciations, I got bored. Don’t judge me; the guy needed close to 4,500 words and 40 minutes to tell the U.N. that he was committing the United States to a war against the same islamofascists he helped arm. At least, I think Obama meant to tell the U.N. about his plan to go to war with the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL and those guys who totally don’t represent Islam). After Obama’s rambling soliloquy — which included references to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, whatever they’re calling “global warming” this week, the Internet and his grandmother’s village in Kenya — I remained as mystified as a newly arrived U.N. diplomat trying to drive in Manhattan before they tell him his parking is free.

I needed to clear my head. So I steered onto the information superhighway. I checked my email, adjusted my fantasy football rosters for the weekend and then wandered over to Twitter to see what the cool kids were compressing into 140 or fewer characters. Under “trending,” I noticed the return of the long moribund hashtag “#StopRush.” Bemused by our regressive friends’ tendency to be distracted by simple ideas, I decided to see what had revived such an odd Twitter tangent. Obama was launching cruise missiles in the opening gambit of a war that even Democrats are acknowledging is every bit as ill-defined and open-ended as nearly every major conflict to which presidents have committed us since the late 1940s. Given the left’s declared opposition to war, I assumed Limbaugh must have done something far worse than make fun of a phony congressional “witness” and her demands for taxpayer-funded promiscuity to draw their fake outrage. To my surprise, #StopRush was the same weird little hate nugget it had always been. It was just Democrats calling for a boycott of Limbaugh and his advertisers, a recurring theme throughout more than a quarter century of Limbaugh’s eating liberals’ lunch.

Surely, Obama’s sudden sprouting of hawk feathers would drive even the bluest of blue-state liberals to panicked clucking. After all, the resolutely anti-war left wouldn’t abandon their most committed beliefs just because the guy calling the shots has a “D” next to his name, would they? And even if they would ditch their unicorns for war horses, they wouldn’t circle back to an anti-free speech campaign that has failed as completely as an MSNBC host on “Celebrity Jeopardy” (Chris Matthews, hello!), would they? And even if their hatred of differing opinions drives them to tear up their flannel onesies in outrage, people who claim to consider free speech sacrosanct wouldn’t orchestrate a fake, bot-assisted war to deprive a guy of his livelihood, would they? As it turns out, they really, really would.

A little background might be in order. #StopRush is not the grass-roots, mass media campaign its creators would have you believe. Begun by a blogger named Angelo Carusone (Twitter handle: @GoAngelo) for the Soros-funded hate group Media Matters for America (MMFA), #StopRush attracted the attention of a horde of leftist Twitter-philes, eventually growing so large and powerful that even Limbaugh’s own network honchos pulled the plug. By “horde,” I mean “fewer than a dozen people.” By “large and powerful,” I mean “fewer than a dozen people.” And by “pulled the plug,” I mean “continued to pay Limbaugh a salary commensurate with his unprecedented success.” As has been recently reported by multiple outlets, including Limbaugh himself, #StopRush is less grass-roots and more Astroturf. In reality, #StopRush is mostly the work of about 10 left wing anti-free speech activists who use multiple Twitter accounts and automation software to harass small businesses that advertise on stations that carry Limbaugh’s program. In fact, most of the poor consumer ratings, spam attacks and pseudo-petitions thrown at people targeted for destruction by Carusone and his accomplices can be traced back to these half-dozen or so regressives.

In the interest of full disclosure: I’m not a big Limbaugh guy. I harbor no resentment toward the man; but his show is on in the middle of the day, at a time when I — like most productive Americans — am working. I also have little patience for terrestrial radio. I think my years in the industry soured me on the business. The hours are lousy, the pay for minor leaguers such as I was is abysmal and the glamour fades not long after you realize that the sales manager isn’t kidding when he asks you to apologize to the local Dominos franchisee for saying their tomato sauce reminds you of off-brand ketchup. (It did; I didn’t.) Nonetheless, I certainly don’t harbor Limbaugh any lasting animus; nor do I think he deserves to lose his career simply because his rhetoric upsets hysterical regressives who are really just looking for a new distraction from Obama’s endless series of crimes and misdemeanors.

To be honest, I wouldn’t even begrudge Carusone, MMFA and similar Soros-funded yet tax-exempt hate groups like Dailykos — whose own blogger, Carol Wallin (Twitter handles: @FlushFools and @hrhprincess), is also one of Carusone’s fellow anti-Bill of Rights spammers — their right to repeatedly slam their heads against the talk radio wall. The 1st Amendment not only guarantees Limbaugh’s right to free speech, it also guarantees the #StopRush agitators’ right to oppose it, counterintuitive though that might be. If they want to spend their time bemoaning the perceived evils of talk radio, they’re welcome to it. After 25 years, Limbaugh is still rolling, while liberal attempts at counterprogramming — remember Air America? — end up buried next to Al Gore’s presidential aspirations.

As night fell on Wednesday, I found myself face to face — well, tweet to tweet — with three of Carusone’s anti-free speech trolls. Jason Rey (Twitter handle: @FranticQuark), Dennis Rohner (Twitter handle: @ShawToo) and the aforementioned Wallin. Of the three, I thought Rohner did the best work representing the #StopRush “movement” when he asked me “Are you Kochsuckers?”

By the way, Obama did declare war in his U.N. speech, albeit not on ISIS, ISIL, the Islamic State or anyone else who totally doesn’t represent Islam. He declared “war on war.” Maybe we’d find more success if we abandoned the cruise missiles and went after ISIS with the big guns: artificially inflated hashtag campaigns run by 10 people. Look how well it worked against Limbaugh.

–Ben Crystal (@Bennettruth)

Is President Obama An Accomplice To Murder?

I doubt the Foley and Sotloff families foresaw this outcome. Granted, their sons, combat correspondents James Foley and Stephen Sotloff, worked as combat correspondents. So the families knew — or should have known — about the occupational hazards inherent in reporting from the “shootier” parts of the globe. Nonetheless, no parent actively imagines his own child’s demise — unless he works for Planned Parenthood or NARAL, in which case such unnatural thinking probably earns him a paycheck. But the idea of losing a son to the medieval brutality of a bloodthirsty death cult like the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) isn’t unnatural; it’s insane, especially centuries after such madness became passé in the civilized world.

Even if the Foleys and Sotloffs did consider the shocking way in which their sons met their fates, I find it highly dubious that they expected to see videos of the murders on the Internet. The digital age has made life vastly simpler, easier and even more fun. Unfortunately, the animals who slaughtered Foley and Sotloff define “fun” differently than do the Foleys, the Sotloffs or even the Obamas. Even now, following the efforts by major social media networks to scrub the ISIS murder videos from their sites, they remain available to any budding jihadi with an Internet connection and a dream.

Even if the Foleys and Sotloffs — knowing the dangers inherent in meeting journalistic deadlines while dodging personal deadlines in places where “deadline” and “flatline” mean roughly the same thing — actually expected their sons to end up as props in islamofascism’s endless theater of the macabre, I’d throw a pile of cash at the idea that they’d spare absolutely no expense in trying to save their sons’ lives. Given a chance to pay a ransom to ISIS or lose their sons to some expat-Brit jihadi with an overdeveloped medulla oblongata and underdeveloped cerebrum, I’m sure the Foleys and Sotloffs would have begged, borrowed, stolen, mortgaged their homes and/or sold their own kidneys to scrape up the cash.

And even if the Foleys and Sotloffs somehow managed to look into the future far enough not only to catch a glimpse of their children’s misadventures but to construct a response plan involving avoiding more than a few off-ramps from the information superhighway while simultaneously scrounging up enough dough to buy their sons’ freedom in the event they were abducted by Muslim serial killers, I am close to 100 percent certain that they never planned for their efforts being thwarted by a Nobel Peace Prize-winning president of the United States.

That’s precisely what happened. Both the Foley and Sotloff families faced cajoling, harassment and outright threats from an Obama regime bent on keeping them from negotiating for their sons’ releases.

James Foley’s mother, Diane, recounted the rough treatment she faced for her efforts. “I was surprised there was so little compassion… We were told we could do nothing… meanwhile our son was being beaten and tortured every day.”

And a spokesman for the Sotloff family tells a similarly horrifying tale. “We had meetings with the administration… and basically he [an official] bullied and hectored them [the family], and they were scared.”

Think about what that means: Obama secretly — and very illegally — traded islamofascist serial killers for alleged deserter Bowe Bergdahl, even though Bergdahl willingly sought out his Taliban captors. But when Foley’s and Sotloff’s parents tried to raise private funds to save their sons from a terrorist group that Obama helped arm, Obama threatened them with prison.

I’m sure the Foleys and Sotloffs dreamed of success for their sons. I’m sure they prayed for safe, healthy, comfortable lives filled with love, work and — if they’re anything like my parents — grandbabies, lots and lots of grandbabies. In retrospect, I’m sure they would prefer the relative security of life as a convenience store clerk in Detroit over the risk of spending too much time too close to an army made up of some of the darkest souls outside a maximum security prison. But I’d wager all the money George Soros plans to donate to the Democrats in his life that they never thought they’d lose their children to islamofascists, that those islamofascists would be armed by the President of the United States and that the President of the United States would intervene in order to stop them from saving their sons’ lives.

Foley’s mother recently told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “Our country let Jim down.” She was being kind. From my angle, the President of the United States is an accomplice to her son’s murder.

–Ben Crystal

Coach Obama And The ISIS Varsity

As I’m writing this, President Barack Obama has just wrapped up a prime-time address to us, his loyal subjects. The topic of his latest proclamation: the islamofascist brushfire in the Mideast that Obama’s bumbling fanned into a five-alarm inferno. What was once a civil war between the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebel opponents has now metastasized into a regional nightmare. And while Obama once dismissed the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) as terrorism’s “junior varsity,” apparently, the terror team has been called up to the big show.

In his address, Obama outlined a four-point program to arm and train “forces fighting these terrorists on the ground.” Presumably, those “forces” would then use their newly acquired weapons and training to destroy ISIS and then what? Join hands and sing “Kumbaya?” You’ll pardon me for asking, but I have a few questions I think deserve more than the usual White House fade, especially in light of the fact that Obama’s newest attempt at meaningful foreign policy is — by his own admission — more open-ended than an Internal Revenue Service audit.

Obama accomplices like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have been providing cover for Obama’s latest misadventure by referring to “moderates” in Syria and Iraq. Who are these “moderates,” and where were they when Obama’s plan for pacifying a restive Mideast involved arming ISIS against Syrian President Bashar Assad? Are we now supposed to accept that not only do such people exist, but that they have earned such largesse? Are we supposed to forget that ISIS used to be the very “moderates” we supported? Are we further supposed to forget that Obama’s policy regarding the very real threat of islamofascism has gone from “arming islamofascists to fight against other islamofascists” to “arming islamofascists to fight against the islamofascists we armed to fight against other islamofascists?” Are we even further supposed to forget that some and/or all of the people — islamofascist or “moderate” — have spilled from Syria into Iraq to fill a vacuum Obama created? And are we even further supposed to forget that the current crop of islamofascists hail not only from the Mideast, but from such exotic locales as London, Paris and Minneapolis? For that matter, has it occurred to anyone within earshot of the president that giving money and materiel to everyone who writes “moderate” on his nametag has led to nothing but heartbreak so far?

Taking to the teleprompter, Obama provided answers to precisely none of those questions. But he did declare ISIS to be a “terrorist group” requiring us “to degrade and ultimately destroy” them. That’s a far cry from “junior varsity,” a long bellow from “we don’t have a strategy” and a big shout from “manageable problem.” Keep in mind that the previous sentence reflects only the past few weeks of Obama’s eternal evolution on the appropriate response to islamofascism. Throw in “the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” the Iranian crackdown, the “Arab Spring” (for which Obama was entirely unprepared) and a few murders committed in the name of a phantom YouTube video, and the lack of both coherence and competence emerges.

We’ve gone from 9/11 attacks to attacks on 9/11. We’ve gone from fighting islamofascist murderers in the Mideast to fighting islamofascist murderers in the Mideast. We’ve seen Libya transform from a terrorist haven into a haven for terrorists, albeit terrorists who now use our embassy as a health club. We’ve even managed to regress to operations in Somalia and Yemen, because we’re retro like that. But there is something new under the sun. As we paused to mark the 13th anniversary of the original 9/11 attacks, we were confronted not only by the spreading fungus of islamofascism in the Mideast but by the realization that the infection appears to have spread to our shores. Moreover, even Obama’s own national security apparatchiks are now acknowledging the presence of ISIS vermin within a short swim of our own southern frontier. Given Obama’s avowed plan to let through every thug, gangster and reprobate through with the promise of free lifetime care and feeding, it’s hardly a stretch to think a few Abduls and Zameers might have snuck through amidst the Tomases, Ricardos and Joses.

Since Obama took home the Nobel Peace Prize for promising to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, the world has plunged into outright caterwauling. Russia dug its old Soviet uniforms out of the gulag; China has extended its airspace to include everything west of Obama’s vacation rental on Hawaii; North Korea is developing long distance delivery systems for Kim Jong Krazy; and even our pals in Europe are starting to look at us funny. Of course, they’ve got problems of their own. From the Norwegian capital of Oslo to Madrid and from Paris to Istanbul, islamofascism is whirling like the proverbial dervishes. The most common name for newborns in England is Mohammed, as if our best pals needed another reminder of how much fun the “religion of pieces” can be. And here at home, a growth Obama considered beneath his notice has rocketed past his “manageable problem” to “we should schedule a biopsy.” As Obama acknowledged, “[T]hese terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region — including to the United States.”

I suppose it’s laudable of Obama to actually show up for work, much less offer a strategy. But as he wrapped up his meandering attempt to convince the world that he’s super serious this time, I couldn’t help but think two things: “Welcome to the varsity, ISIS” and “Man, I could have watched ‘World War Z’ on Netflix.”

–Ben Crystal

ISIS And Obama’s Manageable Message

I wasn’t appalled when President Barack Obama strode to the podium Aug. 28 to announce that “We don’t have a strategy yet” for responding to ISIS’s cancer-like spread across the Mideast. Well, I was appalled, but no more or less so than I have been innumerable times since Obama parked his carnival sideshow of a regime on the White House lawn.

To be sure, if you tell your own nation that you forgot to come up with a plan to keep islamofascist serial killers — whom you helped arm — from murdering Americans, that’s bad. If you tell those same islamofascist serial killers that you forgot to come up with a plan to keep them from murdering Americans, that’s worse. Hell, you actually forgot to come up with a plan to keep islamofascist serial killers — whom you helped arm — from murdering Americans? That’s positively embarrassing.

Nonetheless, during Obama’s royal proclamation, I caught a glimmer of some of that hope he used to peddle. Sure, he fumbled the ball and then kicked it around the field for a while, failing once again to provide satisfactory, or even comprehensible, answers to the questions his behavior raises. But Aug. 28 marked the first time I can remember in which Obama was flat-out honest with the world. The poor fellow finally admitted that he’s not up to the task.

Of course, I was paying attention to what the president was actually saying. Some of my pals in the lapdog media missed Obama’s message. They weren’t blinded by a glimmer of hope; they were bedazzled by the glamour of the president’s suit. But I appreciated the president’s rare honesty. Granted, his minions circled the wagons fairly quickly, with current White House spokeshole Josh Earnest “um-ing” and “ah-ing” his way through a clarification that clarified nothing.

… the president was explicit that he is still waiting for plans that are being developed by the Pentagon for military options he has for going into Syria …

Right. That must be why he gave ISIS money and weapons. He was hedging his bets while waiting for the Pentagon to figure it out for him. And by “figure it out for him,” I mean “do his job while he plays golf and makes ill-advised public statements.”

Look on the bright side: At least he didn’t try to act unilaterally. It beats his illegal alterations to previously passed legislation, deployment of federal agents against innocent American civilians and swapping islamofascist murderers for deserters.

Obama may not have a strategy for ISIS, but their second beheading video indicates they certainly have a strategy for us. It may be an islamofascist strategy, filled with beheadings, honor killings, clitorectomies and all the other hijinks that make their world such a party; but it is a strategy, and it did stump Obama. Meanwhile, imagine what Obama’s statement means to heavyweight thugs like Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The ISIS strategy also includes operations on our side of the globe. According to recent federal security bulletins, the already-hellish Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez is now playing host to not only the usual narcoterrorist trash, but ISIS trash as well. Take a moment to let that sink in. ISIS is definitively operating not only in our hemisphere, but right next door. In fact, now that ISIS is filling roster spots with people from as far afield as Minneapolis, they’re essentially operating out of the freezer in the garage.

It’s worth noting that a week has passed since Obama worried most of us with his admission of incompetence and wowed the media with his fabulous tan suit, and he has yet to indicate that he’s formulated a strategy for ISIS. He did announce Wednesday that he intends to downgrade ISIS to a “manageable problem.” But he indicated neither how he’ll accomplish it, nor what he considers “manageable.” A headache is manageable, but so is a brain tumor. In the case of ISIS, Obama’s directionless tangle of a foreign policy created the headache, and now it’s showing signs of becoming a much more serious condition. And that presumes a correct diagnosis.

During the same press conference in which he clued the rest of us into his plans to make ISIS a “manageable problem,” he also threatened to “degrade and destroy” them. So which will it be, Mr. President, aspirin or chemotherapy?

It isn’t news that Obama is a mile out of his depth. This guy has no idea what’s going around him anytime he has to deal with the actual responsibilities of the presidency – hence, his painfully obvious discomfort whenever he’s not playing golf, hitting the beach with the kids or getting his groove on with Jay-Z and Beyonce. His high-handed statism, born of a lifetime tucked into the insular cocoon of academia with its slow-witted stepbrother, “community activism,” resonates as well with people who work for a living as a national anthem duet featuring Roseanne Barr and Bette Midler. Witness not only his ham-fisted attempts to impose his will on the lives of the people whom he clearly considers subjects, but his equally thumb-filled attempts to “fix” the messes his pseudo-imperial tinkering routinely creates.

From Obamacare to the still-unfolding IRS scandal to NSA spying, Obama’s performance on the domestic front has been less than thrilling. Even his oft-touted “jobs” numbers are hollow — with record numbers permanently out of the workforce, others working two or even three jobs to make up the income they lost in Obama’s still-roiling recession and up to 30 million illegal aliens preparing to flood the legal labor force. Yet he’s a veritable superstar at home when one considers his road game record. For a guy who essentially won the Nobel Peace Prize on spec, Obama hasn’t delivered much of a return on investment to the boys in Oslo, much less the folks back home.

And now, as the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks and the second anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on Benghazi, Libya approach, and as the islamofascists ramp up their efforts to establish a worldwide “caliphate,” Obama has finally admitted that he simply isn’t competent.

Look, I’m glad he finally opened up about his own shortcomings. I just wish his timing was better. But, hey. Nice suit, Mr. President.

–Ben Crystal