To Be Perfectly Frank

Since he let us in on his future plans, Representative Barney Frank has touched off a firestorm of discussion over his legacy of 40 years living off the largesse of the taxpayers of Massachusetts and the United States. As you might expect, much of the discussion has centered on the factor Frank spent the most time promoting: his sexual preference. (Barney liked girls, but not in that way.) I would be remiss in my duties if I sent Barney packing without so much as a nod to the fact that he is openly gay. In fact, Frank is the first-ever member of the U.S. House of Representatives to live openly as a homosexual. Even a casual glance at the fawning political epilogues being offered to Frank among today’s corporate media reveals that Frank’s sexuality is the most prominent — if not sole — reason he will be remembered.

While he made his sexual identity a sword that he used to help gays ascend to a position of political and social equality, his use of the same as a shield against any criticism may well have slowed the process. Call it a backlash, but I would suggest that Frank, much like some of the so-called black leaders, allowed his most-cherished issue to become his sole defining position. For better or worse, Frank countered criticism with unfair charges of bigotry — even when said criticism was deserved. Frank was never a Congressman; he was a gay Congressman. Something tells me that had Frank gone to cooking school, he would have become a gay chef, as opposed to just a chef. Since I am merely an average guy, I can’t necessarily identify with the difficulties Frank faced early in his career; nor can I necessarily identify with the concept of being a member of a once-disenfranchised minority of any sort. However, I wonder how Frank feels now, knowing that his entire career can be boiled down to the fact that he is gay? It strikes me that, according to Frank’s stated goal, his announcing himself as “gay” would be akin to me announcing myself as “tall.”

For those who dismiss my musings as being somehow driven by the bigotry liberals blindly assign to all conservatives, consider who’s doing the talking. The Washington Post called Frank a “hero… for his role in promoting gay rights, having been the most prominent openly gay member of Congress.” The Associated Press labeled him a “a gay pioneer in Congress” before it noted his home state. And the rusting hulk that used to be The New York Times noted Frank “… has been among the nation’s most prominent gay elected officials.”

The media’s effort to lionize Frank — while tossing out only fleeting (if any) mentions of his considerable missteps, failures and scandals — is entirely transparent. The reason has nothing to do with his sexuality and everything to do with his liberalism. Much like the abominable Ted Kennedy, who left behind a legacy of almost shockingly unrepentant corruption and offense (as well as some extraordinarily bad driving), Frank is one of the more redoubtable travelers from the far left of the American political atlas. As such, he earned a free pass from consequences. From his involvement with a prostitution ring to his well-documented complicity in the housing crisis, Frank skated away from scandals that would sink a conservative’s career.

From my perspective, Frank’s private life means nothing more to me than he wants it to. My objections to Frank are entirely political — a fact I expect would disappoint him, given the enormous effort he has put into trying to make me despise him on moral grounds. Frank has supported the Democrats’ efforts to let millions of illegal aliens dance across our borders, stood steadfast with the far left in attempting to abrogate the 2nd Amendment and pushed for government speed bumps on the information superhighway in the form of so-called “Net Neutrality.” He remains a committed supporter of the unholy profanity that is partial-birth abortion. And there is that dalliance with Fannie Mae when he took center stage in the organization’s failure and subsequent bailout for a sizable fee.

Much as it would pain him to hear it, Frank disgusts me, but only in the same way Representative Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama disgust me — no more, no less. I will remember him as unforgivably liberal. Sorry, Barney.

The Five People You’ll Meet In Charlotte

In 2003, Detroit-based sportswriter Mitch Albom published the much-heralded The Five People You Meet In Heaven. The book spent nearly two years on the bestseller list and was made into a TV movie starring Jon Voight. It told the tale of one man’s life, growth and death as seen through the lens of five individuals with whom he is inextricably linked.

Granted, none of the five folks of whom I speak today offer opportunities for growth beyond the sort achieved by fungus and mold, and their connection to life and death revolves around the former for murderers and the latter for unborn babies. Some might even see my references to Albom’s work as a shameless attempt to hitch my rhetorical wagon to an enormously successful writer. It is. But Albom lives in Detroit, so I’m certain he has suffered greater pain. And Albom has sold about 30 million books, so I’m quite sure he’ll survive the indignity.

This summer, the Democratic Party will hold its quadrennial Presidential nominating convention in Charlotte, N.C. Among the rogue’s gallery who will descend upon that poor city to re-coronate President Barack Obama (or perhaps not; check out Chip Wood’s column The Plot To Make Hillary President) will be the usual coterie of bottom-feeders who populate every large gathering of liberals. While every single one of them will share the dubious distinction of being members of the Democratic Party, they generally will fit into one of five categories (although given the girth of some of their masters, some pushing and/or WD40® will be involved).

With apologies to Albom, I present: the five people you’ll meet in Charlotte.

The Egghead

Distinguishing characteristics of the egghead include: unwashed hair, a ponytail (regardless of both gender and amount of hair remaining atop the head), speaking with eyes closed and spectacular body odor.

Often nominally employed as either a lawyer or college professor (or worse, both), the egghead suffers from an odd combination of low self-esteem and overestimation of his own intellectual import. This psychological stew produces an individual who recognizes that no one really cares what he thinks, and he responds by replacing import with volume.

The egghead carries a dog-eared copy of Rules for Radicals and the latest issue of Mother Jones in the tote bag he earned for donating $25 to his local PBS affiliate. The veterans write for hate-speech blogs like Dailykos; the real all-stars quote their own material in the third person.

Eggheads are fond of making definitive statements about the evils of conservatives, such as: “The Rethuglicans are pushing for immigration reform because they’re racist” and “The ‘teabaggers’ are so stupid.” The egghead laments 9-11, but only because it made life harder for Muslims. The egghead considers Michael Moore a visionary and George Soros a saint, and he has no issue with the fact that both are archetypal hypocrites.

The egghead supports any legislation and/or court decisions which abrogate the rights to offer opinions, pray or own firearms — except for liberal hate speech, Islamofascism and Mexican narcoterrorists. When eggheads dress down, they wear the jerseys of European Premier League soccer teams and refer to soccer as “football” and football as “American football,” though they’ve never been farther east than a whale-watching trip off Nantucket Island, Mass.

The eggheads’ idols are Keith Olbermann and Rob Reiner. Their defining Issue is the establishment of the United Nations as the world government. Their next destination is Occupy Haight-Ashbury.

The True Believer

Distinguishing characteristics of the true believer include: wearing mom jeans (regardless of gender) and bringing “Hillary ’12” and “Obama ’12” buttons (both homemade) to Charlotte, just to be on the safe side.

When the rest of the fleabaggers headed home to mommy’s basement because it began raining, this was the redoubtable martyr who stayed out there, proudly waving a hand-lettered “I am the 99%” sign. The true believer has never led so much as one of those disjointed chants of which liberals are so fond, but he is the rock upon which the Democrats balance. The true believer isn’t mean-spirited like most liberals; but a dearth of intellect – and, therefore, long-term prospects — have left him vulnerable to believing his party’s promises of an easier life with limited effort. Younger true believers will come to Charlotte with their egghead college professors on junkets paid for by their college student activity funds.

In photos of outraged liberal protesters, the true believer always smiles and is never in the front row. Many members of the Service Employees International Union are true believers who believe that verified reports of union thug and/or occupier violence “are overblown.”

The true believers’ idols are Hillary Clinton (because she’s such a strong woman) and Michelle Obama (because she looked great in the latest issue of People magazine). Their defining issue is… um, let them check with the eggheads. Their next destination is a Unitarian Universalist sing-along and drum circle.

The Joiner

Distinguishing characteristics of the joiner include: owning at least a half-dozen cats, wearing T-shirts proclaiming so (even in rather formal settings) and saying “interwebs” without a hint of irony.

The joiner shows up at Democratic rallies because Democrats need warm bodies, and the joiner has nowhere else to go. The joiner will listen in on conversations of which he is not a part and later misquote the speaker thusly: “They say..” as in: “They say the Koch brothers are funding attacks on the Occupiers!” The joiner seems incongruously cheered by fairly mundane news, as in: “One of Nancy Pelosi’s staffers just told me to step aside.  She was that close to me!”

The joiner watches MSNBC’s nightly tirades and nods the whole time. The joiner reads the eggheads’ blogs, but never writes his own. Male joiners gravitate toward the most outraged female they see. Female joiners gravitate toward the first rock star or movie star they see.

The joiners’ idols are Madonna and Leonardo DiCaprio. They have two defining issues. Older joiners want increased Federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Younger joiners want Federally subsidized weed. Their next destination is determined by their age. Older joiners will go home alone. Younger ones will go back to the vegan dorm.

The Outraged Minority

Distinguishing characteristics of the outraged minority include eight-button suits (male), awesome hats (female) and wardrobe colors not found in nature (both).

The outraged minority Democrat stands apart from the rest of the rabble, partially because he doesn’t like noisy white people and partially because he doesn’t like quiet white people. Outraged minorities will vote for any black Democrat and will subsequently consider any opposition to black Democrats racist. Outraged minorities stood with Marion Barry, O.J. Simpson, Kwame Kilpatrick and William Jefferson, but they consider conservative blacks “Uncle Toms.”

The outraged minorities’ idols are R. Kelly and Johnnie Cochran. Their defining issue is re-election for Obama (and Marion Barry). Their next destination is church; Jeremiah Wright is delivering a special homily.

The Thinker

Distinguishing characteristics of the thinker include: being groomed (but not overly so) and being mortified by his surroundings (but keeping quiet about it).

The thinker is a rare liberal. The thinker is likely socially liberal, but harbors fading hopes that his party can be rescued from the clutches of the aforementioned people. The thinker has studied the issues from multiple angles, and his objections to some positions tend to be fairly well-informed and based on principle — as opposed to ignorance or hate.

Older thinkers voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984 and backed Hillary Clinton in 2008. When Obama loses next November, a large part of his defeat will be due to thinkers abandoning him for Ron Paul.

The thinkers’ idol is President Harry S. Truman. Their defining issue is saving their party from their fellow characters. Their next destination is returning home to their families, followed by work the next morning.

Of course, these categorizations are far too broad. There are many subcategories within each of the aforementioned categories. Unlike the characters in Albom’s bestseller, heaven-bound souls are few and far between; although it would be enormously entertaining to watch a personal injury lawyer try to argue his way past Saint Peter.

Liberals are fond of overly simplistic generalizations; I am fond of making liberals sputter like preteen girls whose parents confiscated their iPhones. What better way is there to do so than to hold up the mirror and give them (and you) a look at themselves, warts — or fleas — and all?

MSNBC Should Keep Sharpton

As I perused the endless reams of material required for Outside The Asylum, I happened upon a piece on The Blaze in which Mike Opelka asks: “Should MSNBC fire Al Sharpton for making (well documented) racially insulting and insensitive comments in public?” Opelka goes on to offer a broad outline of Sharpton’s disgraceful dash for cash and fame and also highlights the well-established liberal hypocrisy required to allow a valueless parasite like Sharpton to continue to pollute the public discourse. In truth, Sharpton has made such a spectacle of himself in the same cottage industry exploited by fellow bottom-feeder Jesse Jackson that Opelka went over his word count without even touching on what I consider to be Sharpton’s career-defining moment: the Tawana Brawley hoax.

I have an answer for Opelka: No. Of course, I agree that Sharpton is a cartoonishly accurate exemplar of the anti-intellectual vacuum which consumes liberals. But I’m also a conservative with libertarian stripes. It is MSNBC’s prerogative to immolate its own ratings with the sideshow refugees it features, if that’s what it wants to do. It is its choice to employ the hate-spewing buffoons who have turned their channel into a perennial ratings loser. It is our choice as viewers to watch something more compelling. Check out the drama of the Knitting Channel, where there is almost no chance any teenage girls will end up smeared with feces.

MSNBC certainly seems excited about Sharpton’s presence in its laughingstock of a lineup. If you’ve endured one of its simpering “lean forward” promos, then you have noticed Sharpton is the star of the newest edition; signaling MSNBC’s plan to continue his tenure. For those of you who chose the Knitting Channel, MSNBC’s latest marketing effort involves one of their hosts babbling incomprehensibly for 30 seconds or so, followed by on-screen graphics reminding viewers that the channel exists. “Lean Forward” replaces MSNBC’s previous strategy: “We let Keith Olbermann in the building unsupervised.” That plan worked well enough to earn Olbermann a spot at the foot of Al Gore’s bed.

It’s worth noting that MSNBC is offering Sharpton significantly more support than it did former morning-show host Don Imus, in whose dismissal for racially tinged comments Sharpton played a central role. Imus even offered a private apology to Sharpton, although I don’t understand how Sharpton routinely manages to position himself as the recipient in such cases. Most, if not all, of the victims of Sharpton’s bigoted slander are still waiting for his contrition.

Should we not all long for a day when the most noxious of our political refuse is as isolated as possible? Let MSNBC continue Sharpton’s employment. Of course Sharpton is vermin, but would you rather have the rats isolated in one terrarium or loosed among an unsuspecting public? I vote for the former, and I bear proof. Consider MSNBC’s energetic promotion of the Democrats’ so-called “Occupy” loafers. Just as rats carry fleas, MSNBC carries fleabaggers.

I hope MSNBC never decides to fire Sharpton. I’m a conservative; therefore, I do not share the liberal belief that free speech should be restricted to those who earn liberal approval. Plus, as long as Sharpton is in the spotlight, I am guaranteed material for The Great Eight. Is Sharpton racist, dishonest and crude? Of course he is, but so are his cretinous co-workers. MSNBC should keep Sharpton in the lineup for the same reasons it should keep his network cellmates, The New York Times should keep Frank Rich and Newsweek should keep nearly everyone on its payroll: It keeps them away from the rest of us — and none of them deserve better.

–Ben Crystal

A High Five To History

Late last week, the boss sent me an email reminding me of my Thanksgiving-week deadline changes. “Perhaps you could write about something you’re thankful for” was a really gentle way of saying: “Remind us why we don’t replace you with Mr. Livingston’s grocery list?”

Duly inspired, I decided to employ some of the lessons I managed to retain from my days as a history major and raise a drumstick to a list of five entities that made Thanksgiving a holiday, as opposed to “30 shopping days until Christmas” Day:

Leif Ericson and the Vikings of circa 1000 A.D. Long before Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, Leif Ericson and the boys from Norway blundered onto the northeastern coast of North America — specifically Newfoundland, Canada. As it turned out, Leif and his father Eric were less than honest with the folks back home about the hospitable environs to the West, and the Vikings went back to being the scariest people in Europe. Nonetheless, had Leif Ericson not rowed the longboats to Vinland, our tale might have been very different. There is strong anecdotal evidence that Columbus knew of the Vikings’ journeys. At the very least, the people of the upper Midwest might not have those cool accents.

Don Christopher Columbus. It is hardly politically correct to praise the man considered by every good liberal to be the vanguard of the invaders who raped the New World and its people, but expecting political correctness from Outside the Asylum makes as much sense as expecting wit on MSNBC. Backed by the financial wherewithal of the Spanish crown, Columbus delivered the permanency of European domination of the Western Hemisphere. Although things didn’t work out well for the Spaniards (among others), what kind of Nation would we be if Columbus had never made his fateful voyage? The Vikings might have returned, and my name would be Sven. Still, Columbus’s establishment of sea-lanes between Old World and New set the stage for later visitors and the United States. Thanks, Chris.

The Patuxent Indians. The Patuxent Indians were a tribe local to the New England coastal regions. Tisquantum — known to the kids in the third grade Thanksgiving pageant as “Squanto” — was one of the few (possibly only) Patuxent who survived the early 17th century plagues that gave white men the sniffles and red men a one-way ticket to the happy hunting grounds. Tisquantum held the Pilgrims’ hands in those early days. In return, the Pilgrims opened the door to the endless wave of settlers who wiped tribes like the Patuxent off the planet. We got North America, but we let them keep some of the really crappy parts. Don’t mistake this for a genocidal, white-eyed rant. I never handed anyone a smallpox-infused blanket. The Indians were brutal before we showed up; we were just more efficient about it. And should you count the take at the Mohegan Sun Casino’s blackjack tables, revenge is theirs. Nonetheless, thanks. Sorry about the leptospirosis.

The Pilgrims/Puritans. Thanksgiving Day is their day, after all. In the interest of the sort of historical accuracy no longer offered in government schools, I should tip my hat to King Charles I of England. Chuck was a devotee of the divine right of kings, an attitude which the Puritans found less than godly. He persecuted them mercilessly, inspiring them to board the Mayflower, sail West, survive with considerable assistance from the locals and ultimately found the Massachusetts Colony and some lovely country clubs. They received a lot of help, but they made it. Without them, the Eastern half of the United States would be New France. We’d be eating pommes frites. Thank you, Puritans.

Almighty God. Barring His Divine guidance, this entire piece would be either moot or written in German. At the dawn of the Age of Exploration, Europe was a miserable place. The Black Plague had done to the people of the continent what smallpox and cholera were about to do to the Native Americans. The major religious influences had strayed far from His Word. The Old World was positively Hobbesian; life was indeed “nasty, brutish and short.” But the aforementioned hardy souls braved the unknown and discovered the other side of His incredible creation. And they gave thanks to Him, a worthwhile tradition I join you in continuing today.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

–Ben Crystal

Welcome Back, Carter

I know remakes are all the rage in Hollywood these days, but when did former President Jimmy Carter get written into the script at the White House? It has been three decades since American voters — exhausted by his epic incompetency and appalled by a supporting cast that made the Sweathogs from “Welcome Back, Kotter” look like the board of directors at the Cato Institute — canceled Carter’s show. I hardly expected a comeback three decades after it went off the air.

To be fair, President Barack Obama is more Carter’s evil twin than his reanimated political corpse. Carter never employed an Attorney General who may have been an accessory after the fact to the murder of two Federal agents. Griffin Bell’s worst offense during his tenure at the Department of Justice involved sneaking rooster pepper sausage into the White House. And Carter never kissed up to oil-rich Islamofascists by selling out Israel. But Carter did deliver us to a rather infamous national malaise. If Obama’s recent statements and actions are any indication, he is determined to march us back there.

In a recent speech to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit (which took place in his home state of Hawaii, which is not “Asia” — unless Brunei is the 58th state), Obama described us as “lazy.” It’s offensive to hear a profligate, socialist buffoon blaming us benighted taxpayers for the economic doldrums he and his liberal accomplices created. We shouldn’t have to endure direct insults such as:

We’ve been a little bit lazy I think over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — “Well, people would want to come here” — and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new businesses into America.

Unfortunately, that was hardly the first time Obama has channeled the bumpkin from Plains, Ga. Last month, Obama told a ballroom filled with well-heeled liberals: “We have lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge.” Where did I leave my ambition? It’s probably in the other room, with my religion and my guns.

Of course, our current national plight is in no way related to his crony capitalism — including, but not limited to — his political relationship with General Electric Co. CEO Jeff Immelt, who shipped 36,000 jobs to China while exhorting American corporate executives to hire more Americans.

And Obama’s politically motivated protection of dead-end schemes like making a loan guarantee of $500 million to Solyndra Inc. couldn’t possibly have contributed to our current situation. After all, who’s going to miss a half-billion taxpayer dollars flushed down the rabbit hole of unproven and unnecessary technology? At the same time, Obama killed more than 200,000 energy industry jobs on the altar of environmentalist dogma. If this keeps up, we will all have to drag that scooter we bought during the 1978 gas crisis out of the back of the garage.

Obama even told a group of Australian kids that their American counterparts have “fallen behind.” The President’s union thug brethren have choked the life out of our government schools despite record funding levels, a problem which has grown exponentially since Carter cut the ribbon on the Department of Education. Yet the union thugs (and, therefore, Obama) have stood steadfast in opposition to every idea to improve the stewardship of future generations — except for the ones that included more money for the union thugs and fewer chances for the kids. It’s worth noting that Obama, like many of his fellow upper-echelon Democratic pals, sends his brats to private school.

Obama says the Nation’s problems are the fault of everyone but him and his Democratic accomplices. By Obama’s reckoning, we taxpayers are stupid, immobile, unimaginative and superstitious. We linger in the economic swamp because we’re a bunch of gun-toting, Bible-thumping rubes who drag our dull-witted whelps about in the backs of pickup trucks (as opposed to, say, a Chevy Cruze).

I say: “Why, President Carter! Wow, you are really, really tan!”

Judging Obamacare

Surely, no one could be silly enough to think that a nation built on free enterprise would ever allow a group of unelected lawyers to start making decisions about their doctors. And surely, no President in his right mind would risk the proverbial smack upside the head which would result from a Supreme Court review of the Constitutionality of a second attempt to dig nationalized healthcare (think Hillarycare, Cuba and/or the Soviet Union) out of its grave. And just as surely, no liberty-loving American would stand for this sort of Presidential nefariousness — would they?

Wrong, wrong and wrong again. As we all know, President Barack Obama has gleefully dragged Hillarycare back into the light of day under the busy moniker “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” A vocal — albeit breathtakingly ignorant — minority has rallied to the cause. And thanks to the extraConstitutional nature of Obama’s undead healthcare albatross, the Supreme Court of the United States has set it up on the block for their next term.

Obama has kept his version of Hillary/Castro/Lenincare on his platform. Although detractors have dubbed it “Obamacare,” the goal is the same: allow unelected lawyers, bureaucrats and other shadowy functionaries control of your medical decisions. And Obama has carried new lumber to the plate: a gross misunderstanding of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution. In pushing the resurrected monster of socialized medicine (including death panels and rationed care), Obama has decided that the Interstate Commerce Clause allows the government to force American citizens to purchase something they might not want.

While that seems at best counter-intuitive (the Constitution generally enumerates citizens’ rights and governments’ responsibilities, not the reverse), and at worse Stalinist, Obama remains undeterred to this day. Federal courts have ruled unConstitutional Obamacare’s key section 1501 b, a/k/a: the Minimum Essential Coverage clause, which reads thusly:

An applicable individual shall for each month beginning after 2013 ensure that the individual, and any dependent of the individual who is an applicable individual, is covered under minimum essential coverage for such month…If an applicable individual fails to meet the requirement of subsection (a) for 1 or more months during any calendar year beginning after 2013…there is hereby imposed a penalty with respect to the individual in the amount determined under subsection (c).”

Translation: the taxpayers must pay for the privilege of not paying for insurance. And there’s the rub. The Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution in no way allows the government to penalize anyone for NOT buying anything. Some liberals have tried to draw a vertex between Obamacare and auto insurance requirements. However, no one is required to drive a car. Obama’s own ambulance-chasers have actually tried to hide his intent with doublespeak; alternatively claiming §1501 b called for a tax or a penalty, depending on which judge they were trying to fool.

Lest you think the Constitutional argument against Obamacare is self-evident, witness a key ally on Obama’s side of the death panel: Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Kagan, who served as Solicitor General for Obama prior to his naming of her to the high court, has stated her support for Obamacare. In an email exchange with ex-Obama flunky and current Harvard professor Laurence Tribe entitled “Fingers and toes crossed today” Kagan celebrated: “I hear they have the votes, Larry!! Simply amazing.” Obama is heading into the Supreme Court’s review of Obamacare with a guaranteed vote in his pocket; barring Kagan recusing herself — which should happen, but probably won’t.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas may well form more than a bulwark against Obama and the Democrats’ unConstitutional power grab. Should they drive a Constitutional stake through Obamacare’s heart, Obama’s reelection hopes may die with it. But it should never have gotten this far.

The Fast And The Spurious II

Last week, while many Americans tuned in to watch the Democrats’ racist cage match with Herman Cain — not to mention what ought to have been Governor Rick Perry’s final few moments of national prominence — Attorney General Eric Holder stopped by the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss Operation Fast and Furious and cemented himself as the most corrupt and incompetent (the smart money is chasing the latter) head of the Department of Justice since Janet Reno stumbled back to Florida.

Some of my fellow pundits have pinned the disastrous Operation Fast and Furious on Holder’s (and by proxy President Barack Obama’s) gross ineptitude. Others have gone so far as to suggest that Fast and Furious was designed to create the exact scenario it produced — a flood of untracked firearms and the murder of Border Agent Brian Terry — in order to push gun control onto the table for 2012. I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle: Holder is sinister, but also incompetent. He is cartoonishly evil, a bumbling sociopath.

For those of you who possess attention spans as short as adolescent fleabaggers, Fast and Furious was an integral part of a continually unfolding scandal involving hundreds of millions of dollars wasted by Obama’s Administration. It proved only that the Federal government can funnel illegally obtained firearms to Mexican drug cartels despite warnings not to do so from multiple sources.

Of course, the irrepressible Holder already has been caught lying about his involvement in the ill-fated and idiotic operation. On May 3, Holder said during a Judiciary Committee hearing: “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” Documentation reveals Holder was sent briefings on the operation in July 2010. But Holder (and by proxy Obama) was hardly finished playing his outrageous role in the unfolding tragedy of errors, which infamously included the murders of two Federal agents, including Terry. Holder repeated the lies he told Representative Darrell Issa’s House Oversight Committee, even managing to resurrect the claim that Fast and Furious was a “local” program about which he had no knowledge. Documents reveal that assertion to be entirely untrue.

This afternoon, the 39 Congressmen who have called for Holder’s resignation will hold a press conference to publicly air their demand. Unsurprisingly, nary a Democrat will stand with them. Instead, doddering liberal goon Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) continues his efforts to distract from the scandal with demands for unrelated hearings. Meanwhile, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has called the examination of Holder’s misdeeds “politically motivated… a meritless distraction from the important work of the Department of Justice.” Far be it for me to note that as long as a bottom-feeder like Holder is in charge at the Justice Department, distracting him from his “important work” is akin to distracting a bear from eating your child or even distracting Mexican narcoterrorists from murdering Border Patrol agents.

Holder’s tenure at the Justice Department has been lamentable on its best days. He finally apologized to Terry’s sister last week via email, and then he leaked a copy of the afterthought to Democrat-friendly POLITICO in time for the next day’s front page. Small wonder interested parties from the Terry family and friends all the way to Congress have remarked on Holder’s “coldheartedness.” In addition, Holder has ignored invitations to Terry’s funeral and associated memorials. Then, in his latest attempt to shrug off the Fast and Furious fallout, Holder refused to acknowledge that the operation led directly to Terry’s murder — a denial which makes even less sense than the decision to give the go order for the disastrous operation in the first place.

Whether he’s refusing to even acknowledge culpability for what was either active malfeasance or gross incompetence in his handling of Fast and Furious or demonstrating breathtaking arrogance in lying about details of the operation that already have been exposed, Holder has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that his continued presence in the Attorney General’s office is an affront to basic decency. He has proved himself to be an inveterate liar, and he may have committed perjury in front of Congress not once, not twice, but thrice (and counting). Granted, Democrats tend to consider those mild offenses business as usual. But Obama promised the Nation a “transparent” Administration. So why, oh why, does his Attorney General continue to try to hide the truth from us all? And why does this supposedly “transparent” Administration stay silent on Holder and Fast and Furious?

–Ben Crystal

At The (Term) Limit

I never supported mandatory term limits. I am well aware that the vast majority of those who hold elected office could better serve their constituents by taking a long stroll off of an appropriately short pier (unless they’re Kennedys). I am also aware that many of us live with precisely the government we earned at the ballot box. To put a fine point on it: We already have term limits. Every election represents the potential end of the term of the corrupt, the incompetent and/or the just plain undeserving.

Unfortunately, far too few of my fellow Americans share my attitude; especially when it comes to accomplishing more at the ballot box than picking up one of those fun little “I voted” stickers. Far too many of our Senators, Congressmen, commissioners, mayors, aldermen and such hold their positions for far too long. The re-election rate in the U.S. House of Representatives in the sea change year of 2010 still hit 85 percent, tying 1970 for the lowest mark in half a century. Your Congressmen managed to best their beleaguered Senate colleagues by a whole percentage point, with Senators returning to their taxpayer-funded digs to the maudlin tune of 84 percent.

Last Tuesday, the county I live in offered a ballot initiative to eliminate the current two-term limit on the position of Chairman of the County Commission. Although the current chairman is a nice enough old fellow, the initiative suddenly appeared in the final weeks before municipal election day, engendering fair questions about the timing and intent of the ballot measure. Despite my long-held view that political longevity should be bestowed by the voters alone, I voted “no.” I have concluded, after a couple of decades of soul-searching, that we in the electorate simply can’t be trusted with the task of keeping our elected officials honest.

Look again at the re-election rate for incumbents at the Federal level. Those rates change at the State and local levels only in those places that have instituted term limits as a matter of law. Elsewhere, taxpayers lay prostrate under the thumbs of the same wire-pullers and career loafers who gave birth to the exact disenchantment we’re discussing here today — and almost exclusively by their own hands.

Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) has served in the U.S. Senate since 1963. Inouye became the longest-serving current U.S. Senator 17 months ago, when Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) died. Representatives John Dingell and John Conyers, both Democrats from Michigan, have dishonored their constituents for more than a century combined. Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) left office in 2003 at the age of 100. He was the oldest-serving Senator and, until Byrd beat his record, he was the longest-serving Senator in U.S. history.

For those who muse that mandating term limits might discourage the best and brightest from running for office, the five aforementioned gentlemen serve as warning enough. The best and brightest among us want nothing to do with the electoral process, primarily because they might have to contend with petrified remnants like the five men mentioned, among others.

Some people worry term limits will drive out the few politicians who actually serve their constituents. Granted, mandated term limits would send Ron Paul for the exit, but Congressman Paul respects the voters enough to have abandoned a re-election bid in order to focus on his Presidential aspirations. As my grandfather might have said: “Ya gotta admire that kind of moxie.” And people like Paul find ways to contribute to their fellow man, Congress or not. The problem is that for every Paul, there’s an Alcee Hastings, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Henry Waxman, Sheila Jackson Lee, Zoe Lofgren, etc.

Of course we can do better at the polls. We can elect thoughtful people who will pursue a course of action purely out of a sense of dedication to their Nation and its people. But we don’t do that. Time after time, offered the opportunity to improve our lot through intelligent balloting, we re-elect Charles Rangel.

Our Republic is slipping away from us. Term limits would hardly solve the problem. But they would be a start.

–Ben Crystal

The 33 Percent

During the genesis of the Tea Party, the corporate media could barely contain their desire to apply to that group the most defamatory labels possible. No matter how dubious, politically motivated or demonstrably dishonest the source, the hacks in the MSM raced to print spurious tales of racism, violence and hatred. The slander reached such a comically fevered pitch that Tea Partiers began carrying signs reading “It doesn’t matter what this sign says, MSNBC will call it racist.” And MSNBC, among others, was more than happy to oblige — all while carefully ignoring authenticated video of union thug violence in Wisconsin, Common Cause racism in California and the fact that nobody produced a shred of evidence proving the Tea Party was guilty of anything more than recognizing that MSNBC is an overloaded clown car.

The media coverage of the so-called “occupiers” has been markedly different, although equally suspect. But who are the “occupiers?” We know they don’t like being called “fleabaggers.” I might care more about their delicate sensibilities if they had spent the past few years calling Tea Partiers something other than repulsive names. Plus, accounting for proportion, fleas run far, jump high and lift many times their own bodyweight.  No flea ever held up a sign demanding the fleas who found the rats’ nest share the blood. Fleas work hard. “Fleabagger” is unfair to the fleas.

Perhaps we should consider who they are not. They are not all refugees from their parents’ basements. There are the kids who hang out at the coffee shop (which is a franchise of a global chain). There’s also that kid with the hair and the facial piercings who won’t look you in the eye at the copy store and the ones who piled up a quarter million dollars in debt while completing their women’s studies degrees. And there are the ones who are high on acid and think this whole thing is the worst Phish concert ever.

Examine their professed identification with the poor, homeless and those in need of special care. Just the other day, I watched the homeless guy on the corner stop talking to the voices in his head in order to take a call from his mother on his iPhone. Oh, wait; that was an “occupier.” Actually, the occupiers appear to react poorly to the homeless. Disturbed people seem to annoy them, as well. Witness the epic beat down delivered unto the homeless and disturbed guy who woke up the occupier in Zuccotti Park last weekend. I’m still trying to figure out what the occupier was so angry about. Sure, the homeless guy woke him up; but it’s not as if he was late for work.

They do hate the rich — except for George Soros. And it would appear Michael Moore gets an exemption, as well. Or maybe they believe him when he claims reporters who point out that he’s banked millions of dollars are lying tools of the 1 percent. Of course, at $50 million, Moore is part of an even smaller group: the 1/10th of 1 percent. Alec Baldwin seems cool with the kiddies, as well. And he hawks credit cards on television, when he’s not calling for someone to kill Republican Congressmen. Susan Sarandon is hardly suffering, and she’s… well… she used to be semi-married to Tim Robbins.

Not all the occupiers are pasty-faced suburbanites, either. In Atlanta, members of the Nation of Islam have begun wearing their cute little bow ties to the Occupier rally. Say what you wish about those racist — albeit dapper — wannabe storm troopers, at least they have style.

The union thugs have been spotted bringing their particular panache to the proceedings. Who didn’t get a kick out of watching United Steelworkers’ Union President Leo Gerard crying “…we need more militancy… We start occupying the banks, places themselves.” So, that whole “occupier” nonviolence thing was more of a guideline than an actual rule.

Don’t forget the run-of-the-mill filth who always seem to show up at liberal shriekfests: the pimps, dealers, thieves, rapists and Al Sharpton. That was quite a number they did on Oakland, Calif. We learned the one aspect of government the Occupiers don’t want more of: police.

The so-called “occupiers” are an amorphous melange of criminals, parasites, layabouts, spoiled brats, Hollywood morons, millionaire and billionaire hypocrites, racists and MSNBC hosts. Wait a second; I recognize these guys. They’re the Democratic Party. They’re the 33 percent.

–Ben Crystal

The Noose Is Loose

I am intrigued by Herman Cain’s campaign. It continues to break virtually every rule in the book regarding successful Presidential quests; yet it continues to roll full steam ahead, despite the flagrant violations of political sense.

The YouTube ad featuring Cain’s extraordinarily non-telegenic chief of staff smoking on camera was nothing short of bizarre, but it worked precisely as intended. Cain’s debate performances have been inconsistent at best, but he has managed to avoid any Walter Mondale moments. While many of the other candidates have more-established bases of support, better-founded fundraising teams and much stronger ties to the Republican establishment, Cain has played up his outsider status without deliberately insulting as-yet undecided Republicans.

And, on the off chance you missed it, Cain is a black man. Cain is a conservative black man. To the Democratic/liberal elite, which snares the black vote in a web of taxpayer-funded governmental dominance and the exaltation of bloviating transparencies like President Barack Obama, the conservative black man is less appealing than a churchless reverend–turned-cable-host who took part in a conspiracy which involved smearing feces on a teenage girl (not that such an aberration exists or anything).

When the liberal elites dislike something, they ignore it. If it gains in stature, they deplore it. And if it begins to threaten their death grip on their beloved governmental power, they break out the big guns (except for the Brady Campaign guys; theirs are make-believe). Hence, the escalation of the already appalling blitzkrieg on Cain from mundane racist remarks by low-forehead types like Lawrence O’Donnell to the pure-hit piece that appeared on POLITICO and has since become the key talking point across the corporate media. Entitled “Herman Cain accused by two women of inappropriate behavior,” the story was a vague mashup of nonspecific allegations, unconfirmed documents and faceless sources.

The sources — including the recollections of close associates and other documentation — describe episodes that left the women upset and offended… There were also descriptions of physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship.

“Not overtly sexual but that… made [them] uncomfortable…” Really? What’s the matter, ladies? Did mean old Mr. Cain suggest those vertical stripes don’t suit you? What a cad.

Granted, the National Restaurant Association did settle complaints against Cain, reportedly for five figures. But such small settlements in the age of vermin like John Banzhaf and John Edwards are more indicative of the fact that it’s cheaper to pay vermin to leave than it is to try to exterminate them in the courtroom.

Although the POLITICO hit piece is already unraveling, the usual liberal suspects are clinging desperately to its weak threads. As expected, MSNBC took the lead with Democratic mouthpiece Chris Matthews actually congratulating one of the POLITICO “plumbers” for the drivel. The rest of the liberal media legions have followed suit, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the tinfoil-hat wing of the blogosphere. Actually, they’re noteworthy for having spent more than a year ignoring the absolutely true allegations against Edwards.

A button-man scrap of quasi-journalism is directed against a rising black conservative at a time when the liberals’ alleged savior is stumbling like a Kennedy leaving a partially submerged car in a creek near a Massachusetts town. I’m sure the timing is purely coincidental and not in any way by design. After all, the corporate media would never trot out some cellophane-thin tale of this nature for political or — horrors — racial reasons.

The real lesson in this full court press against Cain is an old one. The same liberals who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the truth about their idols — Kennedy (pick one), Bill Clinton, Edwards, Eliot Spitzer and David Patterson, to name but a few — only to promptly excuse and/or forgive them stand at attention at the front of the line to tie the noose around Cain’s neck. Maybe they still have the one they tried on Clarence Thomas.

–Ben Crystal

The Lawyer, The Liberals And The Law

When I first saw the headline: “Muslims Sue to Remove Crosses at Catholic University,” my common sense-alarms began shrieking like Democrats trying to shout down an intelligent guest speaker.

Granted, one could remove the identifier “Muslims” and still have a headline which would deliver a frown to the face of virtually anyone above Ed Schultz on the human evolutionary scale. But the idea of a bunch of Muslims who willingly chose to matriculate to the private Catholic University are actually suing because the place just seems too “Christian-ish” is the sort of stupid you can usually only catch on MSNBC. Keep in mind that “Catholic University” is not a reference to an individual Catholic university; “Catholic University” in this case is the NAME OF THE FREAKING SCHOOL!

 “My, Akbar! What a marvelous university we have chosen!”

 “Indeed, Mustafa. If only there were fewer infidel symbols about. It really offends my delicate sensibilities.”

However, before you begin spitting epithets at poor Akbar and Mustapha, a caveat: they have nothing to do with this scurrilous outrage. In fact, not ONE Muslim is a complainant in the lawsuit against Catholic U. So, who possesses the unmitigated gall required to defile an American courtroom in such a manner it requires a particularly abominable character — someone of such low moral fiber, with such a clouded soul they would give Hannibal Lecter pause?

Meet John Banzhaf, George Washington University law professor, infamous uber-litigator and an ambulance-chasing, frivolous lawsuit-bringing parasite who is so deservedly reviled for his litigious ways that he makes even former Democrat Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards look like Clarence Darrow.

If you haven’t heard of Banzhaf, count yourself lucky. In addition to being a prominent member of the American liberal movement — in itself a refuge for many of the most twisted and deficient cretins in the nation (see also: fleabaggers), Banzhaf is essentially the living embodiment of the reason Americans hate trial lawyers.

Think of the guys who advertise on buses, phone books and late night television. The guys who promise should you slip and fall in your neighbor’s driveway, he’ll get you a “SUPER SETTLEMENT;” even if that means bankrupting your neighbors, the contractor who built the driveway, the company which makes the asphalt the contractor used, and your city for approving the installation of such a slippery place.

Now think of that briefcase-toting slug on steroids. Banzhaf is the bottom-feeder who sues pretty much anyone from whom he thinks he can abscond with money; no matter how devoid of merit his actions might be.

Of course, Banzhaf is pursuing this latest legal-beagling for the same reason Democrat leaders do anything: good, old-fashioned hypocritical greed. His actions, though revolting, are no different than liberal icon, Halliburton investor and war profiteer Michael Moore urging his followers to abhor the wealthy while he sits on a pile of money.

Banzhaf is suing Catholic U. for the same reason Nancy Pelosi shrieks about the plight of the poor from her multi-million dollar palace in San Francisco. Banzhaf’s motives are the same as those of President and Mrs. Obama, who can call themselves “warriors for the middle class” while spending millions on Spanish vacations and separate planes to Martha’s Vineyard (where Michelle will nag people about their diets in between spoonfuls of Crisco® straight from the can).

In the case of Banzhaf’s latest assault on dignity, there are real victims beyond the mindless drones who offer fealty to filth like Moore and the Obamas: the students in whose name Banzhaf filed the suit.

There are moments when the actions of SOME Muslims border on the cringe-worthy. And as I have noted before, most of the basic tenets of Islam really don’t work for me. The often brutal subjugation of women, the pre-industrial attitudes of many Muslims and the ban on bacon cheeseburgers are all deal-breakers for me.

However, not all Muslims are terrorists. Not all Muslims are troglodyte repressors. And absolutely NO Muslims are suing Catholic University over the ubiquity of Christian imagery at that well-respected institution. Instead, they’re being used as props in the same appalling hypocrisy which marks virtually every liberal action.

 Now they know how we feel.

–Ben Crystal

The Dream Team

During the run-up to the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination, the relationship between the competing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns plumbed impressive depths, culminating in now-Secretary of State Clinton’s poorly worded intimation that Obama might not serve out his entire term.

But President Obama managed to bury the hatchet (although perhaps not in the precise spot for which he was aiming). The two camps put aside their differences with Obama’s nomination of Clinton to the Nation’s top diplomatic post. With Clinton relegated to the State Department, Obama could focus on his top priorities: blaming others for his failures, remaining “unaware” of malfeasance in his cabinet, grubbing for cash with Lady Gaga and playing golf.

Nonetheless, with America waking to the reality that Obama makes Jimmy Carter look like Andrew Jackson, Obama better start bringing his A game. Otherwise, he and Hillary can discuss what might have been over coffee in the Berkeley poli-sci department. Meanwhile, I thought it might be fun to imagine what might be. Therefore, I humbly present my ideal version of the leadership of the nation post-2012.

I did not include the entire cabinet in my musings. On one hand, I suspect most of you share my opinion that the Office of the United States Trade Representative can be filled by almost anyone who recognizes that prostrating ourselves before the ChiComs is a bad idea. On the other hand, in my utopian Presidency, there is no Department of Education, so the Secretary thereof can go back to colluding with teachers’ union thugs.

Meet the Presidential ticket: Cain/Paul 2012. That’s right, I said Herman Cain and Ron Paul, not the reverse. Cain’s close ties to questionable institutions like the Federal Reserve will be reined in by his close proximity to the brilliant Paul, and Cain will present a much more electable face than Paul, who is less palatable to moderates. Cain also possesses a certain presence which Paul — who looks every one of his 76 years — lacks. Additionally, Cain is better suited to the diplomatic obligations of the Presidency. I understand that many of you are die-hard Paul supporters and will, therefore, curse a blue streak at my conjecture. To you, I say: Think of it as a co-Presidency. It could hardly be worse than the last one; Hillary isn’t involved.

Serving at the pleasure of President Cain and Vice President Paul will be the following:

White House Chief of Staff: I could go the same route as Obama did and select a spectacularly profane man who looks like an extra from a zombie film. However, Rahm Emanuel is busy in Chicago, and Carl Paladino would scare off all the interns. I suggest the anti-Rahm: Representative Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Cantor is bright, direct and reliably conservative. He possesses the same grit and determination that Emanuel displays, with neither the crippling liberalism nor the visage of Nosferatu’s younger brother.

Secretary of State: Ambassador John R. Bolton. Bolton possesses diplomatic acumen forged through years of foreign service, and he is specifically versed in the worst of growth industries: weapons of mass destruction. As an added bonus, Democrats so abhor the man for his unwavering belief in American greatness in the global arena that they filibustered his U.N. nomination, forcing President Bush to recess-appoint him. That has to be a plus in any conservative’s estimation.

Secretary of the Treasury: Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.). With both Paul and his father close to the top of the Administration, the American economy will benefit from the presence of not one, but two Horatios at the bridge. Senator Paul is the type who would assign his Secret Service protection detail to keeping a 24/7 watch on the national checkbook. Something tells me he would also revoke the Fed’s visitor passes. At the very least, I’ll bet he can navigate the logical labyrinth that is the TurboTax® software.

Secretary of Defense: former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. If you thought Donald Rumsfeld was tough, say hello to his iron-willed sister. Rice has already proved she knows no fear, and her presence in the Administration will make our more-organized enemies (think the ChiComs and whoever is in charge of the increasingly unhinged Russian Federation) remember their place. Rice engenders universal respect, which is a powerful resume addition when dealing with both military leaders and the lowest-ranking service members.

Secretary of Homeland Security: Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona. Give Sheriff Joe six months, and the 38th Parallel in Korea will have to hand over the Most-Heavily-Militarized-Border-on-the-Planet belt. If Arpaio gets the nod, buy stock in electric fencing and anti-personnel mine manufacturers. And gone will be the days of airport security personnel who are fat guys with mustard stains on their shirts. Instead, the guys at the metal detector will be Navy SEALs who will look twice at the dude wearing the dishdasha, but won’t molest your 4-year old.

Secretary of the Interior: former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. We’ve all seen the helicopter-coyote-hunting videos. Who better to handle the trials of wildlife policy than someone who has actually seen wildlife in places other than documentaries? As for resource exploitation: “Drill here, drill now.” Yes, ma’am, Madame Secretary.

Attorney General: For the nation’s top cop, I initially considered former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. However, his views on the 2nd amendment don’t necessarily jibe with mine, and that’s a deal breaker. I want an Attorney General who is tough on crime, tough on terrorism, tough on immigration and will pursue real bad guys without wasting time and tax dollars on harassing the enemies of the President and his cronies.  I wonder if former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez would consider returning to the Justice Department?

Secretary of Health and Human Services: former Senator Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). He’s a doctor, not a lawyer, which means he’s head and shoulders above anyone associated with Hillarycare, Obamacare or any of the other socialist systems the Democrats seem to have lifted from the let’s-be-just-like-Cuba playbook. Judging by his performance during the regrettable Terri Schiavo affair, he’s also capable of delivering diagnoses via photograph and video. All right, that’s silly; but it’s no sillier than letting the ambulance-chasers take control of the people waiting for the ambulances.

Secretary of Agriculture: Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. Daniels possesses real executive experience at the Federal level as the former Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He’s the Governor of a grain and farm belt State. In addition, he stood up to the Scientologists, which has no bearing on his potential effectiveness as Agriculture Secretary, but it does mean he’s not big with the Hollywood crowd. That must count for something.

Secretary of Labor: Raymond J. LaJeunesse Jr. Who? Vice President and Legal Director of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, that’s who. In the Cain/Paul Administration, the focus will be on productive and working Americans, not union thugs. It’s about damned time someone sat down in the Secretary’s chair who knows that Taft-Hartley isn’t a prep school in New England.

Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs: How many of you were even aware that Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs is a cabinet-level post? The way the Democrats treat the military, I suspect Secretary Eric Shinseki spends a fair amount of time polishing his medals. Let’s replace him with the war hero whom the Democrat-controlled Senate promised not to reconfirm as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Retired Gen. Peter Pace. As the old sage says: Send in the Marines.

I am aware that I left a few cabinet posts unaccounted for. Some were excluded for lack of space. Others didn’t make the cut because President Cain and Vice President Paul took the proverbial axe to their departments. Who needs an Ambassador to the U.N. after we evict the U.N. from its cushy Upper East Side digs? And with the Cain/Paul Administration wresting control of the Nation’s education from the grasping paws of bureaucratic functionaries, the Department of Education is rendered as useful as Joe Biden at a Mensa conference.

You’re all welcome, as always, to offer your own suggestions. Mr. Livingston doesn’t delete even the remarkably absurd remarks from the comments section below. After all, this isn’t I am aware that many of you will take umbrage with some of my choices. Keep in mind, mine is a somewhat utopian concept of what government might look like after 2012. Think of it as hope… for a change.

–Ben Crystal

This Is My Country

Every year at this time, I pack up my blaze orange, my snake boots and my 12 gauge, and I travel to the sort of place in which the average Democrat would be as comfortable as Janet Napolitano in a bikini contest. By the time you read this, I’ll be stomping through fields of corn and sunflowers, surrounded by nature’s bounty in the plains of South Dakota. Deer will frolic, coyotes will skulk and pheasants — well — pheasants will die. Quite a few pheasants will die.

My father accompanies me on this trip each year. Actually, I am still allowed to accompany him, even after that regrettable incident with the truck a few years ago. (To this day, I maintain that I did not bury the truck side well-deep in the mud. The trail wandered, and I had to swerve to miss that combine that someone foolishly left in the middle of that huge field — also, I was trying to light a cigarette at the time.) While on our trip, my father and I eat red and brown food, drink red and brown booze, smoke cigars and generally act in exactly the manner my mother thinks we do.

But the annual “Crystal boys” retreat has come to mean a great deal more than simply spending a week acting like an overgrown fraternity brother with men who either have reached the age at which they should know better (my father is in his mid-70s) or men who know men who know men who should know better (I am considerably younger). Truth be told, my own purpose actually overshadows even the lofty goal of allowing my mother a few days of peace and quiet. Amid the general carousing and camaraderie, I find something I miss throughout the rest of the year.

The lodge in which we stay sits in a town of about 150 people. To get there, we fly into the airport in Bismarck, N.D., and then proceed to drive south for a couple of hours through some of the most blessedly magnificent land in our great Nation. There are vistas which can claim greater grandeur: the towering majesty of the Rockies, the Lord’s palette which is an Atlantic coastal sunrise, and even the gargantuan geometry of the Manhattan skyline, to name but a few. The high plains are fairly flat and almost ubiquitously beige. There is no hum of traffic, no roar of industry and no urban glare. Nearby Lake Oahe is fine for fishing, but it’s hardly the stuff of an Ansel Adams photo. The Black Hills are hours to the west. The Missouri River rolls through, but without much whitewater fanfare. The fields run off to the horizon in every direction. Yet, it is as beautiful a place as God in His infinite wisdom ever created. Out here, hundreds of miles from anywhere most people will ever visit, I see America.

Some might think this place — and its people — simple. But they are far from it. The people out here are what the sage might call “the salt of the Earth,” although even that phrase fails to do them credit. These are the people whom liberals deride as “hicks” and “hayseeds.” President Barack Obama isn’t going to visit anytime soon; there are no smug Hollywood millionaires about. The people who work this land work hard; the union thugs would hardly recognize them. Plus, getting a stretch limousine through a sorghum field is nearly impossible. Farming is everything here, the alpha and the omega of the regional economy; and these people understand the value of their labors. Trying to abscond with their hard-won earnings and handing them off to the bottom-feeders in the basement of the Democratic Party would be, in a word, unwise.

Much like this land, the people out here are tough, but they are humble. They give thanks at every meal and celebrate every day as a gift from the Almighty. This is America is it was and still can be. I don’t mean we should all trade in the minivan for a John Deere and sell the townhouse for a few acres of loam. Most of us would starve to death, and the liberals would go stir crazy once they realized the nearest Starbucks® is 200 miles away. But there’s a valuable lesson to be learned out here: This is a great Nation, populated by great people.

Thank You, God, for letting me live in this country. And don’t worry, Mom. Pop is fine.

–Ben Crystal

President Two-Face

I’ve seen the Democrats’ latest attempts to recast President Barack Obama as some kind of latter-day Alexander the Great. I’ve observed from Outside The Asylum as the same liberals who castigated President George W. Bush, President George H.W. Bush and President Ronald Reagan (but not President Bill Clinton) for their warlike ways have suddenly tried to recast themselves as latter-day Gen. George Pattons.

Obama, for whom they voted based on a tenuous combination of racism, hatred and shared opposition to securing freedom against the onslaught of Islamofascism and socialism, has taken to strutting around the golf course like the conquering hero in the wake of the brutal execution of Libyan dictator and terrorist benefactor Moammar Gadhafi.

Democratic mouthpieces far and wide are bleating their continued fealty to his belatedly bloodthirsty Presidency. Even infamously battle-averse Obama court jester Bill Maher took a break from his usual public displays of what appear to be some serious mommy issues to praise Obama as “President Badass.” Maher even went so far as to praise the use of unmanned drones of late, an interesting departure from his claim that the use of cruise missiles after 9-11 was “cowardly.”

Far be it for me to point out that Obama had as much to do with the execution of Gadhafi as Maher has with women who don’t charge by the hour. But Obama took victory laps through the corporate media in the wake of the executions of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, so it should hardly come as a surprise that he’s shined up his jack boots following Gadhafi’s death at the hands of Libyans. My real confusion centers on the Democrats who were positively aghast when Bush directed the effort to clear the planet of Islamofascist vermin are now positively aghast that Obama isn’t amassing praise for the same.

Don’t mistake me here. I fully support the prejudicial termination of pretty much every Tariq, Dhakir or Haji who dreams of killing Americans (or coaxing Akbar from the falafel stand into doing it). I say so despite disagreement with people for whom I have the utmost respect, even Bob Livingston himself. I believe the world is a better place without bin Laden, al-Awlaki and Gadhafi, three ticks who gleefully embedded themselves in the hide of humanity — and encouraged others to do the same — for decades. But why in the name of Allah are liberals so excited? What happened to the “war criminal” charges they heaved at Bush and Dick Cheney? Who hit the mute button and stifled their cries of freedom for the poor jihadis currently (still) cooling their heels in Gitmo?

Meanwhile, Obama has suddenly acknowledged we still have troops in Iraq, and that they’ll be coming home soon. As is the case with most Obama proclamations, I’ll believe it when the last soldier disembarks from the plane. Hopefully, the tarmac on which that soldier’s boots gently tread will be in the United States and not in Libya (which has already announced Sharia law as the basis for its developing government), Uganda (yes, we have troops there) or Tunisia (where Islamofascists are poised to take control).

However, now that Obama has abandoned his stand against American military interventionism, I suppose I’ll just have to hope that whichever Republican sends Obama packing next November will deliver — well — change.

–Ben Crystal


The Plane Truth

Just across the Savannah River from the town in which I currently reside lies a blessed land of golf courses and archaic blue laws. South Carolina is home to Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach and some other noteworthy stuff. I kid my Palmetto State brethren, saying that South Carolina is rich with history and ripe with verdant luxury (especially the Bermuda-grass type). I’m willing to look the other way on the booze restrictions if they’re willing to look the other way when I duck-hook a three-wood into Calibogue Sound.

South Carolina wants what every State hopes for in today’s economic wasteland: more jobs. Fortunately for South Carolinians, their State isn’t run by the Democrats. South Carolina operates as a right-to-work State. That means citizens may work without checking their dignity, independence and a good portion of their hard-earned dough at the door to the local labor union offices (from whence it will be disbursed to the Democrats for whom they didn’t vote).

Courtesy of the Taft-Hartley Act, South Carolina disallows the Democrats’ union-thug protection racket in favor of opportunities for its citizens. Unfortunately, many of its citizens have been victimized by that other liberal abomination:  the teachers’ union. Thus, South Carolina, like many places dealing with even a moderate infestation of liberals, sees simultaneous feast and famine. South Carolina residents are free to work without a forced donation to the International Brotherhood of Fat Guys Wearing Track Suits and Gold Chains; but many of them are unable to do so, having had the sense stomped out of them by the International Personhood (I’m sure they’d insist on that) of People Who Finagled Teaching Certificates Despite Being Unable to Spell “Certificate.”

But the teachers’ union/Democratic Party war on our children’s gray matter is a topic for another column. The union/Democratic Party war on our paychecks is on display in South Carolina, where Boeing Co. wants to create thousands of jobs in a 787 Dreamliner assembly plant. The union thugs, outraged that Boeing would decide to build the plane in a State other than decidedly pro-union Washington, have contracted none other than the purportedly pro-jobs Obama Administration as a button man.

The Boeing plant opened in June, but it may well be forced to close, depending on the outcome of a case currently wending through the courts. That case features Boeing facing a fairly well-funded adversary: President Barack Obama. Lest someone claim that Obama himself is not involved, let me point out that the actual malefactor is the National Labor Relations Board. However, the NLRB is guided by Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon, a far-left flunky who — along with fellow job-killer Craig Becker — had to be recess-appointed to his post after Republican Senators indicated they had read their resumes. Solomon = Obama (and vice versa, given Obama’s limited acumen).

The NLRB under Solomon’s guidance is nothing more than an extension of the Obama Administration, which is noteworthy because the Obama Administration is an extension of the union thugs — at least regarding employment law. The NLRB is fighting Boeing on the Dreamliner plant because the union thugs think Boeing opened the plant only to escape their clutches in Washington. From my perspective, that seems like good policy; look what the unions did for General Motors Co. and Chrysler. However, the NLRB has proven no such malfeasance on the part of Boeing, while playing some hanky-panky of its own.

Congressman Darrell Issa subpoenaed NLRB records pertaining to the Boeing case only to be rebuffed by an agency which evidently believes “contempt of Congress” is akin to a parking ticket (it really, really isn’t). Meanwhile, documents obtained this week by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the NLRB’s motives, including two NLRB lawyers openly cheering a union thug press release defaming Boeing: “Hooray for the red, white and blue!” Another features NLRB Region 19 Regional Director Richard Ahearn (the guy who signed off on the anti-Boeing action) evidently promising to defy an Issa subpoena.

Obama is currently on a campaign swing, whining about how the Republican Party is to blame for the Democrat-controlled Senate killing his pretend-jobs bill. Meanwhile, his Administration is threatening the actual jobs of thousands of South Carolinians. A glance at the NLRB website offers statements regarding employee rights to unionize and/or engage in what they call “protected concerted activity” (aka acting like a union). It also mentions protections for unions themselves. I couldn’t find anything about Americans’ rights to simply work. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard that from Obama, either.

Something’s Rotten

I do so love the scent of autumn. The crisp air is rich with the essence of nature’s fireworks, mingling delicately in the breeze with burning logs in happy homes, potpourri cooking on kitchen stoves… and the body odor of overeducated-yet-underinformed college students, their pseudo-academic professors, bloated millionaire and billionaire Democratic donors and fading Hollywood cretins. But noisome as the so-called “occupiers” may be, they’re about as novel a political movement as the Soviet Politburo.

Meanwhile, the redolence of brainless adolescents, ivory tower refugees, babbling Hollywood players and the billionaire liberal hypocrites who bankroll operations like the “Occupy” movement is made all the more rank by another stench: pure political desperation.

During a Sunday afternoon speech, President Barack Obama, who has been blowing kisses to the occupiers from across the political room, began playing the un-neutered puppy to the occupy movement’s exposed leg. Obama faces public dissatisfaction rivaling the sad days of Jimmy Carter’s Presidency: an economy his party has thrown into the deep end chained to a cinder block, a scandal-ridden cabinet whose peccadilloes include a gunrunning operation which involved more dead bodies than a Kennedy road trip, and a crowning achievement — Obamacare — which is dying like a sick old man denied care by a death panel.

The President needs help. He needs votes. He needs someone other than the sideshow freaks on MSNBC to take him seriously. So on Sunday afternoon, Obama turned to the only group of people silly enough to consider voting for his re-election and said he “…will continue to acknowledge the (occupier) frustration that he himself shares… if asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a plumber, a teacher or a bus driver makes me a warrior for the middle class, I will wear that charge with honor.”

Begging the President’s pardon, but to which “frustration” might he be referring? He knocks down close to a half-million dollars a year in salary, dines regularly with billionaire entertainment magnates like Oprah Winfrey and is guaranteed the lifetime of easy excess granted to ex-Presidents. He has ascended the loftiest heights of political fortune in a remarkably short time despite a lack of meaningful experience, and he is backed by a king’s ransom paid by the same people the so-called “occupiers” claim to revile. He’s as attuned to the daily travails of average Americans as Nancy Pelosi is to the sort of real work done by “plumbers.”

And his claim to represent the self-and-grossly-inaccurately-monikered “99%” is laughable. Unless he is doing his taxes the same way Secretary of the Treasury Geithner did his, he is firmly planted in the “1%.” And why not wear the “1%” label like a badge of honor? That 1 percent covers close to 40 percent of the nation’s tax bill each year. Nevertheless, whether one employs the Obama litmus test of owning a corporate jet or earning more than $200,000 per year, Obama is very much one of the occupiers’ hated by “them.”

I suppose he should count himself lucky that the average “occupier” is about as astute as the sheep in the back of the flock. Furthermore, he enjoys the undying fealty of the corporate media, who have simultaneously offered both him and the occupiers underserved legitimacy. Add to that the fact that his party’s money and influence has turned what might have been a voice against injustice into the America-hating, flag-defiling, epithet-hurling asylum the Tea Party was wrongly accused of being, and he has a clear strategy: Identify himself with the Fleabagger mob and beg for their votes.

He may well pull off this “man of the people” charade, although I suspect he’s going to be disappointed that the “occupiers” don’t represent 99 percent of anyone except the audience at the Bonnaroo music festival. And he’s not fooling me for an instant; I can smell him from here.

–Ben Crystal