10 Years After

I almost decided against writing a column about the upcoming anniversary of the darkest American day in the past 60 years or so. After all, what could I possibly say that hasn’t already been said? I remember 9/11 in vivid detail, but so does everyone born before 1996. I could scribble some maudlin verse, pulling the drapes on your soul for the day; but with the possible exception of the management of Dailykos.com and some of the population of Dearborn, Mich., everyone finds the memories of that foul day miserable already. Between now and Sept. 11, you’re going to be bombarded with every horrifying image the media can dredge up and plaster across your television screen.

Instead, I’m going to lighten the mood by speaking directly to the perpetrators of those dastardly deeds on that deadly day. Here’s hoping they have Wi-Fi in the caves of Waziristan, Pakistan.

All right, Islamofascists, pay attention when I say 9/11 was a big moment. I’ll admit it: You cleaned our clocks. Your act of bloodthirsty savagery brought the world to a halt. Even the Japanese, who still think World War II ended badly, had to have been impressed. And you have certainly marked us up since then. However, to deploy some of that sports colloquia of which we Americans are so fond: Have you looked at the scoreboard lately?

You blew it. If your goal was to divide us to the point of collapse, then I’ve got bad news, boys: All you did was change the subject. Sure, we’ve wrapped the rope of paranoia around our own necks, but we’ll never choke ourselves out; we’re pulling the noose in both directions. Our intramural fight has been roaring across the fruited plain since long before you waged your first jihad against the kid who took your falafel money back at the madrassa.

You also fumbled in the backfield when it came to scouting. You placed 19 of your best jihadists inside the United States. They learned to fly passenger jets; and even without bothering to learn superfluous details such as taking off and landing, that left a lot of time for strip clubs (which Mohammed Atta and the gang evidently exploited with vigor). Then, they commandeered four airplanes and hit the eastbound prayer rugs one last time before dragging 2,973 accursed infidels into the inferno.

I hate to burst your bubble, guys, but was that the best you could do? Years of planning, doubtless millions of dollars (in singles, of course) and down-to-the-minute execution, and your plan to bring Western society to its knees by striking at the heart of its greatest city couldn’t net a body count higher than the seating capacity at a minor league ballpark? Even factoring in the military heroes who have fallen since we began mowing you down, we’ve still given up fewer people than a good night at Madison Square Garden. In fact, you clowns are no longer a guaranteed sell for the lead story — especially if we’re taking one of our politicians down a notch.

We kill each other over a good place in line for the Thanksgiving doorbuster sale at Best Buy™. About a century and half ago, we fought a war during which we would bury 9/11’s worth in an hour. And that war was an intrasquad scrimmage. For that matter, take a look at our murder rate. For that matter, notice how many of your compatriots we’ve martyred in the past decade. From my perspective, the last thing you want to do when you see two guys outside your weight class throwing punches is to convince them to stop pounding on each other and come after you.

It took us 10 years (actually longer), but we finally treated your MVP to the proverbial dirt nap. Osama bin Laden hid from us in his gilded cage, but despite a national debate which makes your soccer riots look like an argument over who gets the last petit fours at the Junior League social, we still managed to air condition his cranium. We never quit. And we multitask: We stopped swatting at each other only long enough to start swatting you.

Add to that the fact that you’ve pretty much stamped your own expiration date. You either die when the plane hits the building, or you die when your explosives-laden van gets lit up by some Ranger sharpshooter, or you die when the Ranger sharpshooter pings you before you can start the explosives-laden van or, worse, we capture you. Waging jihad against the United States creates a pretty short career arc.

While it is certainly true that our nation is as divided as it has been since perhaps the end of the Civil War, I would venture that that division, while magnified by differing attitudes regarding the best response to Islamofascism, is just that: magnified, not created.

Perhaps that’s the best lesson for the potential terrorists — although, I expect their learning curve is flatter than the ratings curve for a Charlie Sheen comeback. We already hate each other, so trying to spook us with the Islamofascist version is merely going to grab our attention. And trust me, Akbar (or whatever), once you grab our attention, you might as well don the Semtex waistcoat — because not even Allah will save you (not that he was particularly interested to begin with). In a best-case (by your twisted standards) scenario, you only get waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay.

Ten years have passed, and look at what you’ve gained. Thousands of your fellow misfits are ululating in front of Allah. Actually, they probably aren’t ululating in front of Allah, unless he has taken a field trip to the underworld. You’re either living in caves or some godforsaken desert. Every time you leave your yurt, you have to look both ways for cruise missiles before crossing the goat path. The only countries willing to talk to you are hardly countries at all — unless someone did some serious cleanup in Somalia. We’ve made some errors since 9/11, but we can fix those with a relatively nonviolent election next November. I don’t like your odds of surviving to next November.

When I was a wee lad, my grandfather took me down to lower Manhattan to see the World Trade Center. Poppy and I stood underneath one of the towers and marveled at the illusion created by the stupendous height of the building: The tower was actually curving back over us. That was 35 years ago. You knocked down the building, and yet, I still remember that day with my grandfather as if it happened yesterday. You tried to take that memory from me, and you failed.

In response to 9/11, we took some steps which constitute overreaction. We scared the kids — and ourselves — a good bit. We even turned more of our rage against ourselves than is particularly healthy. Some Americans even cheer your madness. But we survived 9/11, and we will survive anything else you might try to hurl in our direction.

So, happy anniversary to Islamofascists near and far. We got you a present. If you peek outside the cave, you’ll probably see the delivery truck. It’s marked “U.S. Marines.” Enjoy.

–Ben Crystal

The Imperfect Storm

As Hurricane Irene barreled toward the East Coast, millions of Americans whose only prior experience with tropical storms was watching that hilarious clip of Al Roker falling down on YouTube were forced to contend with a whole new definition of “a bad day.” As expected, while the old hands in the Outer Banks region of North Carolina hightailed it for higher ground, some of the city folk in New Jersey and New York City panicked like Moammar Gadhafi on the last day of the plus-size caftan sale at Kaffiyehs-R-Us.

Hurricane Irene turned out to be more hot air than rain and wind, but combined with the response to the recent earthquake near Mineral Springs, Va., which “rocked” the Mid-Atlantic, we all got to take a really good look at how well some of our fellow countrymen respond to Mother Nature’s wrath. To be fair, Irene did cause some significant damage, but in terms of devastation, she didn’t even register a “Tom Cruise” on the “Disaster Movie” scale. The storm, the earthquake and their recent predecessors, including the infamous Hurricane Katrina, inspired me to prepare a primer of my own. As you make your way through it, remember to keep one thing in mind: The fact that global warming is silly doesn’t mean natural disasters are.

1. Hurricanes are caused by:

a. A combination of low atmospheric pressure, water vapor and minimal wind shear.
b. Global warming.
c. The Tea Party.
d. George W. Bush (duh!)

2. The Virginia earthquake was caused by:

a. Tectonic activity.
b. Insufficient pledges to Pat Robertson and The 700 Club.
c. President Obama hitting his approach from the third fairway a little fat.
d. A newly discovered fault line located under Central Virginia called the “George W. Bush.” (Sure, it’s already hackneyed, but I had to work it in.)

3. If the storm’s sustained winds are above 74 miles per hour, then:

a. It’s a Category 1 hurricane.
b. We’re all going to die!
c. Al Roker is going to fall down on YouTube again.
d. Someone left the windows open at MSNBC.

4. An earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale carries a force equivalent to:

a. The “Little Boy” atomic weapon dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. (It should be noted that the Virginia Earthquake did significantly less damage, because it occurred below ground. Hence: “earthquake,” not: “skyquake.”)
b. Michelle Obama doing the “Dougie” in clogs.
c. Ed Schultz falling down the stairs.
d. An SEIU thug with a baseball bat.

5. If a major storm approaches your area, you should:

a. Tune to the local emergency broadcast frequency.
b. Buy a kite and teach your kids how to have fun with electricity.
c. Bring Fluffy in from the backyard.
d. Haul ass to the nearest electronics retailer before all the really cool stuff gets looted.

6. If authorities order you to evacuate, you should:

a. Grab the kids, throw them in the minivan and drive to Grandma’s house.
b. Do nothing. Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin will pick you up in a school bus. Probably.
c. Go to the nearest public building and blame the Federal government for not rescuing you sooner.
d. Begin planning how to invest the cash the Feds will give you for being too stupid to leave.

7. The safest place during a hurricane is:

a. Away from doors and windows in a sturdy house above the flood stage.
b. In the upstairs bathtub.
c. Saskatchewan, Canada.
d. The Superdome.

8. The safest place during an earthquake is:

a. In the nearest sturdy doorway.
b. Away from unsecured heavy objects. (Sorry, Michael Moore, you’re on your own.)
c. Saskatchewan.
d. Mars.

9. The best source of information during a hurricane is:

a. The Weather Channel.
b. NOAA weather radio.
c. The woman in line in front of you at the dry cleaners who begins every sentence with: They say…”
d. Al Gore.

10. Had the Virginia earthquake been as powerful as the 1964 Good Friday quake:

a. The age and nature of the geology in Virginia would have magnified the seismic waves, creating apocalyptic destruction.
b. Chris Matthews would have been forced to shriek even louder at Michele Bachmann.
c. President Obama would have been forced to skip the back nine.
d. It would have leveled Washington, D.C. (I didn’t say they were all bad consequences.)

Before the bell sounds, I have one more piece of knowledge to drop on you: If Jim Cantore shows up with a Weather Channel TV crew, run.

–Ben Crystal

 

No, Baby!

During Vice President Joe Biden’s trip for Chinese takeout, he managed to entangle himself in the ChiComs’ infamous “one child policy” (OCP). While addressing a crowd at Sichuan University, Biden warned of the potential approach of an entitlement crisis in the Land of the Panda:

Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family… The result being that you’re in a position where one wage-earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.

Er, Mr. Vice President, you “fully understand” the enforcement of a policy which includes forced abortions, fines and even jail time for people who produce multiple offspring without permission from the government? That’s as crazy as fining people for not buying something… ooh, awkward. I’m afraid to ask where Ol’ Plugsy comes down on the subject of slave labor, government-controlled information and mass executions of dissidents. Given Biden’s remarkable ability to blunder into rhetorical minefields, I presume his answer would be: “Whatever Mr. Kinnock says.” Besides, we already know how the ChiComs will combat the problem of a 1:4 worker-to-entitlement-collector ratio — although they’ll probably call it the “one grandparent policy,” since “shoot old people who are not Central Committee members” is a little wordy (outside the Service Employees International Union).

The ChiComs’ enforcement of the OCP isn’t Biden’s first brush with an old concept, although he might be unfamiliar with its other name: eugenics. Granted, the ChiComs have never admitted that the OCP has anything to do with racial purity, but their treatment of non-Han ethnic groups suggests it’s intended to address more than just a surplus of people who pirate Blu-ray Discs™.

History is littered with intellectual detritus which considered viable a plan culling undesirable members of the species. And not all of them were the Athenians’ badass neighbors or looked like Charlie Chaplin’s evil twin. In fact, one of Biden’s best buddies is a proponent of cutting down on the number of rugrats underfoot — as long as they’re the right color.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who may well be the last person on Earth who takes thoroughly self-discredited alarmist Paul Ehrlich seriously, is of the opinion that there are way too many brown people on the Blue Marble. In his ridiculous, forest-consuming manifesto Earth in the Balance, Gore mused Malthusian repeatedly. As recently as this June, he ventured out of one of his mansions to discuss freely available birth control for the Third World: “When that happens, then the population begins to stabilize and societies begin to make better choices.” Al wants to cut back on babies, but not the cute, pink kind. He routinely refers to his plan as “empowering women.” And what could be more empowering than a fat white guy stepping off a private jet and telling girls to dump Junior in a bucket? It’s worth noting that Gore, who lectures about nonsense like “carbon footprints” while his own are bigger than the impressions Godzilla made on Tokyo, has four kids.

Considering the racism which goes hand-in-hand with liberal thinking — whether it be a presumption that black people are incapable of fending for themselves without “affirmative action” or “Jesse Jackson,” or claiming black conservatives are “paid” to be so — I suppose it should come as no surprise that people like Biden can “understand” the OCP. It should also come as no surprise that people like Gore can think a global cure-all exists in the form of reducing the number of people in places where people use less sunscreen. However, suggesting darker-skinned folks love their children less — and, therefore, would be more likely to want fewer of them around — is monstrous.

The reality is that China’s OCP is as much about creating a controllable population which bears certain — ahem — ethnic characteristics as it is about the ChiComs trying to “live green” (or whatever). The idea that the Vice President of the United States would publicly acknowledge OCP’s validity is stupefying. The idea that a great many Democratic Party leaders believe that the OCP should be implemented globally is horrifying in its hypocrisy, albeit unsurprising. These are people who think government schools should be sacrosanct cathedrals of union-controlled indoctrination, but send their own brats to private school.

Malthus was wrong. Ehrlich was more so. The Spartans didn’t survive, and neither did Hitler. It’s possible that Gore’s repeated losses in the Presidential arena have driven him insane. Biden, who eventually issued a halfhearted retraction of his remarks, is just stupid. China’s OCP is its bastard child — and one abortion I would have cheered.

–Ben Crystal

The Getaway

For the amount of controversy it has generated, you might think President Barack Obama’s latest vacation involves 10 or so days in the sunny climes of Havana or Caracas, Venezuela. Everyone from Jon Stewart to Pat Buchanan has noticed the fact that if the President plays hooky one more time, he’s going to have to take a vacation from all the vacations he’s taking. Predictably, rather than suggest Obama hightail it back to the office and put in a little time culling the stack in the in-box, the Democratic spin machine is redlining the RPMs in response. Spend more than a few moments enduring the shrieking slander monkeys on MSNBC, and you will find yourself inundated with excuses for the President’s jaunt to the millionaire’s playground of Martha’s Vineyard (wedged in between comparing Republicans to every odious character in the annals of history short of Vlad the Impaler, of course).

However, while the President and his family enjoy their vacation time in “The Vineyard,” a retreat for New England blue bloods which is nearly as lily-white as Buckingham Palace on Boxing Day, I will refrain from joining in the chorus demanding Obama focus more on the welfare of the nation and less on saving par from the bunker. After all, Obama is highly unlikely to inflict further damage on the rest of us if he’s preoccupied with deciding which wine goes best with lobster. As long as Obama avoids doing his job, how much worse off can we possibly be?

In the past month alone, Standard & Poor’s downgraded our national sovereign credit rating to “at least you’re not Belarus.” The national debt, if expressed in dollar bills, would make a stack which stretches from here to the Oort Cloud. (For victims of teachers’ unions: That’s, like, totally mega far away! OMG!) The national unemployment rate is nearly five points higher than it was the day Obama took office. And the dollar has declined in value to somewhere between Charmin™ and coupons for 50 percent off your next meal at the local E-coli King.

Meanwhile, Obama has dealt a stunning blow to those who believe in the sovereign borders of the United States. Just before departing D.C., he announced a plan to suspend deportations of illegal aliens. His edict circumvents both the courts and Congress, a fiat decree of what amounts to general amnesty. The only upside to Obama’s decision to validate the illegal parking of the millions of illegals squatting within our borders involves cheaper landscaping for his Martha’s Vineyard cronies and extra votes for Democrats in Chicago.

In the Mideast, the so-called “Arab Spring” so roundly cheered by liberals has produced the very real possibility of an Islamofascist government takeover in the Arab world’s most populous country, Egypt. While Obama settled into his luxe Massachusetts digs, “someone” used Egyptian territory to launch a terrorist attack on Israel. Given Obama’s vague hostility toward our most redoubtable Mideast ally, perhaps it should come as no surprise that he didn’t react. Venturing deeper into the Muslim world, we find the Russians — whose President Putin termed the United States “a parasite” — negotiating to build more nuclear power plants in the Islamofascist regime of Iran.

Back on the home front, if the graffiti left on Ohio contractor John King’s car is anything to go by, the union thugs have stopped slashing tires, throwing bricks through windows and beating up old people. Instead, if the bullet lodged in King’s arm is anything to go by, they have started shooting. I suppose the Democrats’ aversion to the 2nd Amendment was more of a guideline than an actual rule.

Even some of Obama’s most dedicated fans are showing signs of turning from parrots to boo-birds. The Godmother of the Rodney King riots, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, took a break last week from avoiding an ethics trial to exhort a crowd of disaffected black voters to “unleash us” to attack the President over the black unemployment rate, which is nearly double the national average. Granted, Obama need hardly sweat over the votes of people who consider Maxine Waters worthy of attention, but the fact that Waters publicly expressed dissatisfaction with “The One” is bad news for Barack.

Do us all a favor, Mr. President. Ignore the complaints. Stay on vacation. Work on your latest memoirs. Get a head start on the next chapter in your life. It’s going to start next year either way.

–Ben Crystal

Out Of Iowa

The dust from the Ames Straw Poll and corndog eating contest continues to settle, and the outflow from a big weekend in politics is decidedly worth a gander. Texas Governor Rick Perry, who skipped the main festivities, cast a long shadow over the rows with his announcement that he would seek the GOP Presidential nomination. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty cast a much shorter shadow with his announcement that he would no longer be seeking the same. Congressman Ron Paul of Texas finished a strong second in the contest and was finally recognized for what he has become: a real, viable and serious candidate for the nation’s top office. And President Barack Obama took a break from his exhaustive vacation schedule to squeeze in a taxpayer-funded bus tour through the hinterlands to remind people that the nation’s economic woes would be mere memory were it not for a string of bad luck which is in no way his fault.

Meanwhile, back in Iowa, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who won the Straw Poll, also won the corndog-eating contest, if a now-infamous picture of her is anything to go by. A decidedly non-conservative friend of mine (who’s not even American! Egads!) sent a link to the shot of the Congresswoman chowing down on that ubiquitous Hawkeye State treat. I presume he intended to poke fun at the Congresswoman, but I think I can speak for most of the men who have seen the photo in question when I say: “Works for me.”

Think about it. Liberals despise Michele Bachmann as if she’s Sarah Palin, 2.0. They scurry through Byzantine logical alleyways in an effort to portray her as crazy, stupid or both. Democratic Party mouthpiece Chris Matthews spends so much time shrieking at her that the untrained observer might think he’s carrying a torch for the congresswoman. Liberal glossy Newsweek even took a low-angle poke at her with a recent cover story which did everything but hold up a sign saying: “Look at the crazy lady!”

We’re all used to the liberals’ desperate hatred of people who don’t talk with their eyes closed — especially if those people are women and even more especially if they’re women who look like women. But why are Democrats so horrified by the idea of a badass soccer-mommy type (who’s fairly attractive) wielding White House power? They certainly thought it was acceptable from 1993-2001 (except for the attractive part, of course — maybe I’m onto something here). Including Obama, the past four Presidents have been: a skinny, jug-eared pansy; a clean-shaven version of Yosemite Sam; Larry the Cable Guy with better hair; and a doppelganger for Mr. Rogers, respectively. Their foreign policy accomplishments have included: costive shooting war, costive shooting war, costive shooting war and costive shooting war, respectively. Pardon the overt chauvinism, but maybe a decent-looking broad with a temper is a better choice. Think of it, President Bachmann hikes up the hemlines a bit, and peace breaks out in the Middle East, Russia crawls back into its bottle and China stops running people over with tanks and starts doing that spiritual tai chi with the Falun Gong and churning out more counterfeit golf clubs.

On the home front, the aforementioned gang of four former Commanders in Chief certainly didn’t manage to sustain an economic happy face, either. Obama is so breathtakingly incompetent on matters of finance that he’s actually managed to accomplish the dubious feat of making people wistful for Jimmy Carter’s Presidency. The uber-conservative Bachmann might not win any fans at the Service Employees International Union banquet, but they’d be able to afford better champagne.

Before you all dismiss this piece as an endorsement of Bachmann’s candidacy, let me point out that I’m merely demonstrating the availability of better alternatives to another four years of listening to Barack Obama blaming his failures on everything except space aliens (or lack thereof, according to Paul Krugman). Plus, she won in Iowa. However, while the Ames Straw Poll — a pay-to-play beauty pageant with all the electoral validity of a prom queen ballot — ended up in Bachmann’s column, note the man who finished right behind her: Congressman Ron Paul.  Paul has suddenly been “discovered” by the corporate media and is one of the more intelligent human beings to run for the Presidency in decades. And Mitt Romney — who still makes me a bit nervous — is out-polling Obama at the national level.

Of course, as demonstrated by his weird little bus tour, Obama is all flake, no corn.

–Ben Crystal

Just A Jealous Guy

Most of us will agree that American elections tend to run about as smoothly as a Detroit-built automobile with bald tires. But some of us seem to be missing the real reason our balloting is more Chrysler (ranked by Consumer Reports as the least reliable brand) than Scion (ranked most reliable). Last week, NAACP President Ben Jealous, in Los Angeles to address the group’s 102nd annual convention, railed against voter ID laws, claiming that efforts to ensure ballots are not cast fraudulently are racist.

According to Jealous, voter ID laws are among “the last existing legal pillars of Jim Crow” and are pressed by “the worst and most racist elements” among conservatives. Of course, Jealous also thinks jailing cop-killers like Mumia Abu-Jamal and Troy Davis is racist; but I suspect Mr. Jealous thinks late newspaper delivery, runny eggs and bald tires are racist, as well.

How unfortunate for Mr. Jealous and his increasingly irrelevant organization that situational irony is paying a visit. While the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People excoriated the racist conspiracies that are voter ID laws, Mississippi NAACP officer Lessadolla Sowers peered through the bars of a prison cell, staring down a five-year prison term for convictions on 10 counts of voter fraud.

That’s right, kids. While Jealous castigated conservatives over efforts to introduce voter ID laws to prevent exactly what Sowers did to earn a stretch in the pokey, Sowers began a stretch in the pokey for doing exactly what voter ID laws are designed to prevent. And while I suggested that situational irony is merely paying a visit, it has actually moved in, put up its feet and raided the fridge. For all Jealous’ bluster in L.A. last week, Lessadolla’s lament is hardly the only example of the NAACP and similar liberal groups proving their opponents’ cases.

Elsewhere last week, three Democrats in Wake County, N.C., were placed on $10,000 bond each after admitting to combining for six pro-Obama votes during the 2008 election. Even a teachers’ union victim will recognize that kind of bad arithmetic. It should be noted that North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue vetoed the most-recent attempt by the North Carolina State Legislature to institute a voter-ID law.

In Ohio (the site of the infamous 2004 incident in which a manufactured Democratic talking point led to howls of injustice over the election results) the NAACP was pegged for dozens of verified instances of electoral fraud, including at least one instance in Lake County, Ohio, of the old Democratic ploy: the voting corpse.

I would be remiss in leaving out the supposedly-defunct Democrat group ACORN and its fairly remarkable record of vote-rigging, a record which followed that august group into its “new” iteration earlier this year with a conviction in Nevada.

If I actually recounted the details of every confirmed case of Democrat-leaning groups and individuals turning voting into three-card monte, I would run out of bandwidth faster than the local salons run out of relaxer every time Al Sharpton comes to town.

Obtaining basic, legal identification isn’t particularly complicated. In fact, you have to work to fall completely off the grid. If you succeed, maybe voting isn’t really something you’re cut out for. Do we really want to exhaust ourselves chasing down every moody loner, crack-addled scarecrow and backwoods psychopath to ensure they’ve cast their ballots? “Pardon me, Mr. Nihilist V. Anarchyston. Will you participate in the election and… um… what’s with all the fertilizer?”

And the Democratic rhetoric that voter ID laws are a racist attempt to suppress minority (read: Democratic) turnout is belied by those pesky facts that never seem to make it into a Ben Jealous sermon. Studies by the University of Delaware and the University of Missouri and a 2006 study in which 37 schools participated showed that, in some cases, turnout actually increased in Democratic-majority counties where voter ID requirements were implemented.

Voting isn’t complicated. Stupid and/or illiterate people vote; consider Detroit. The very fate of the Nation depends on a legitimate electorate exercising legitimate balloting. Again, consider Detroit. Ben Jealous and the NAACP say voter ID laws inherently contrast with that exercise. But Ben Jealous and the NAACP are not going anywhere, so I say we keep voter ID laws around for a while.

–Ben Crystal

Cracks In The Wall

You might have missed it amid the roar of Democratic rage over the past couple weeks, but someone said something interesting that disappeared in the din. Super-liberal activist Ralph Nader took a break from his eternal campaign to make the world safe at any speed to suggest that President Barack Obama may well have parked his proverbial Corvair in a very tight spot. According to Nader, a challenger to Obama is essentially guaranteed to emerge from the great mommy’s basement that is the holding tank for Democratic Presidential candidates: “I would guess that the chances of there being a challenge to Obama in the primary are almost 100 percent.”

While Nader didn’t let on to any specific inside knowledge about the identity of the potential Democratic mutineer, the fact that he’s dropping broad hints describe the development of further cracks in the Democratic monolith. A left-of-Friedrich Engels candidate in each election from 1996 to 2008, Nader may just be trying to boost back-catalog sales of his odd treatises.  But his statement ought to raise a few eyebrows as 2012 looms on the electoral horizon.

As anyone who reads more than The New York Times knows, Obama’s Administration is staggering like a punch-drunk prizefighter. The man hailed by the Democrats as the next-best thing to a savior has disintegrated under the pressures of Presidential duty. Epic economic and diplomatic disasters, paired with the rise of well-organized conservative opposition groups, have exposed him as the neophyte he is, rather than the heroic figure he was touted to be.

Even on the left, the rumblings of dissatisfaction are growing louder. Democratic mouthpiece Bill Maher, who generally describes women in, ahem, less-than-gentlemanly tones, chaired an impromptu panel of fellow liberals on a subject which ought to give Obama real pause: Hillary Clinton 2012.

Maher suggested Obama has inspired little more than “buyer’s remorse,” a far cry from the now-laughable “Hope and Change.” He went on to opine that the current Secretary of State and erstwhile Obama primary challenger Hillary Clinton might have a leg up on Obama because: “She knows how to deal with difficult men.” Not to mention difficult interns in blue dresses.

Meanwhile, The Times offered another dim assessment of the President’s acumen. In his essay “What Happened to Obama,” Emory University professor Drew Westen suddenly discovered the same reality conservatives have been trumpeting since at least 2007:

Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted “present” (instead of “yea” or “nay”) 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.

Welcome to the club, Professor; better late than never.

And consider the potentially impending candidacy of former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel. While Gravel would likely be yet another mosquito on the windshield of Presidential politics (again), it’s worthwhile to note that he has collaborated with none other than Ralph Nader. Gravel’s possible entry is another solid indicator that Obama has lost the support of the tinfoil-hat brigadiers of the very far left, virtually all of whom were solidly in the Obama camp in 2008.

In 1980, incumbent President Jimmy Carter faced a primary challenge from then-Senator Ted Kennedy. Kennedy, believing that Carter’s malaise-filled four years in the White House had opened the door for a run at the title, failed to swing the Democrats to his side. Kennedy’s candidacy severely weakened the already-teetering Carter Presidency and played at least a part in handing the Oval Office keys to the Republicans for the next 12 years.

I’ll admit there are a few Republican candidates who would hardly be my first choice for the highest office in the land (I’m looking at you, Jon Huntsman). But compared to Obama, even Huntsman is Teddy Roosevelt by comparison. It would appear some of the Democrats are starting to learn the same lesson.

–Ben Crystal

A Poor Standard

I must admit, as appalling as I find most of what the Democrats pass off as political rhetoric, I do enjoy when they start repeating talking points in perfect unison. Granted, the port side of the body politic generally presents an outward face as seamless as Representative Nancy Pelosi post-Botox®, but there are moments when Democratic leaders, mouthpieces and sock puppets in the corporate media literally sound like they are all reading off the same teleprompter.

Witness, if you will, the aftermath of Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade America’s credit rating from AAA to AA+. Liberals immediately blamed the fiscal fail on the Tea Party in specific and the GOP in general.

President Obama’s lackey David Axelrod told the doddering Bob Schieffer on what’s left of CBS’s venerable Face the Nation: “The fact of the matter is that this is essentially a Tea Party downgrade.”

Axelrod’s sentiments received a resounding echo from his table mate, former Democratic National Committee Chairman, former Vermont Governor and bellowing lunatic Howard Dean: “I think they’ve been smoking some of that tea, not just drinking it.”

Gee thanks, guys. We were all waiting with bated breath for the pronouncements of a White House hack and the ex-Governor of Ben and Jerry’s. As for “smoking it,” perhaps someone at the DNC should tell Governor Dean that he, of all people, should refrain from making “smoking” jokes. We all saw your Iowa meltdown in 2004, Governor Dean. I certainly hope that was drug-induced.

Meanwhile, noted yachtsman and 2004 Presidential loser Senator John Kerry emerged from below to pronounce to the remaining viewers of NBC’s once-relevant Meet the Press: “I believe this is, without question, the Tea Party downgrade.” Thanks for the input, Senator Kerry. I believe you are still the second-most important Senator from Massachusetts.

The reality of the S&P downgrade is that we’re no longer as fiscally respectable as The Netherlands, and are instead relegated to slumming with such reprobates as New Zealand.  According to S&P, our national credit rating dipped because the deficit-reduction plan passed last week didn’t cover enough bases to reassure markets that our fiscal situation was entirely stable. The Democrats — sans President Obama, who was cutting a 50th birthday rug with Al Sharpton — raced out to proffer desperate attempts to shift the blame to someone other than Obama.

However, we can dismiss the Democrats’ wailing for what it is: simple political maneuvering to avoid the electoral disaster that awaits them in 2012. Consider S&P’s logic:

We could lower the long-term rating to ‘AA’ within the next two years if we see that less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case.

Translation: “Stop spending like you’re auditioning to be Donald Trump’s next ex-wife, or you may have to pawn the title on Air Force One.” Well aware that anything Obama might sign would be as devoid of logic as, well, the scheme Obama signed, S&P responded with deserved skepticism.

While the Democrats were shrieking about conservative intransigence, Senator Lindsay Graham, who is only mildly more conservative than Axelrod, Dean and Obama, actually made a sensible remark: “The Tea Party hasn’t destroyed Washington… Washington was destroyed before the Tea Party got there.” Note to Democrats far and wide: If Lindsay Graham is schooling you on fiscal matters, you’ve been downgraded to remedial-level economics.

The Democrats have always been long on promises and short on plans. Throughout the entire debt-ceiling debate, they deployed defamation, but offered no direction beyond tired class-warfare applause lines. There are some cracks appearing in the liberal wall, however. While the vast majority is holding fast to the “blame the GOP” talking point, one or two liberal lackeys have evidently wandered off the reservation. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner claimed the S&P had “no justifiable rationale” for the downgrade. I suspect Obama and his minions didn’t stop to think that by claiming the S&P’s logic was inherently flawed, Geithner precludes the Democratic argument that the Tea Party is responsible.

Now, in the face of the first credit rating downgrade in American history, the Democrats are blaming both conservatives and S&P for a debtor’s prison they designed and built themselves. Unfortunately, they expect us to serve their sentence for them.

–Ben Crystal

The Moral Equivalent Of Boor

If I wrote film scripts, I might simply transcribe this week’s events in Washington. Actually, if I wrote film scripts, I’d be drinking champagne on the French Riviera with Cameron Diaz (because she seems really nice). Mere days after I penned the column The Oslo Discord, comic serendipity served the Democrats with a come-to-Jesus moment.

While the appalling “conservatives = terrorists” rhetoric reached hysterical volumes, something important happened. I am decidedly not referring to the ridiculous budgetary “deal” struck by the suits in Washington, by the way. Granted, the “deal” is important, in the sense that political histrionics followed by a gross dereliction of duty are important. But the serendipitous event to which I refer took place Monday afternoon on the floor of the House of Representatives. Amid the cacophony of virtually every liberal in the country trying to smear his or her opponents with the fecal falsehood of terrorism charges, there was a smile: Representative Gabby Giffords walked back onto the House floor and cast her first vote since Jared Lee Loughner tried to kill her.

You’ll recall the Democrats blamed conservatives for that. When it turned out that Loughner had nothing to do with conservatism, not only did the Democrats and their media accomplices drop coverage of him, they dropped their coverage of Giffords, as well. After all, she was no longer useful as a prop for their freak show. They’re still trying to work with the Anders Breivik-conservative simile, but it’s fading quickly. It’s tough to sell semi-literate teachers’ union victims — and members — on anything involving a mass murderer whose name they can’t pronounce, from a country they’ve never heard of, across an ocean they can’t locate on a map of… the Atlantic Ocean.

Against this backdrop, I ventured into that digital Tower of Babel, Facebook, and posted a link to a story recounting Democratic mouthpiece Chris Matthews’ latest stream of venom. As I perused the attempt by Matthews to claim conservatives are the moral equivalent of terrorists, I realized he was concluding a discussion of Giffords’ return. Even the two sock puppets he’d invited on set to watch him spew invective seemed uncomfortable.

Giffords made a miraculous recovery and retook her place among her colleagues in a remarkably short span, and Matthews celebrated her return by resurrecting the rhetoric of conservatives = terrorists. It’s almost as if he didn’t read last Thursday’s column (horrors!).

Meanwhile, a liberal acquaintance of mine reacted to the link with a torrent of tripe as virulent as a Jeremiah Wright “sermon.” Within a few lines, I had been accused by proxy of being a “terrorist,” a “thug” and — this one never gets old — a “teabagger.” The discussion turned academic as quickly as any attempt to convince a hardened liberal to remove his or her cranium from his or her rectum ever does. But it gave me a chance to engage in the sort of reflection most liberals seem incapable of conducting.

And I have a question for them: What the hell is wrong with you people? Gabby Giffords is back on the House floor. Our spendthrift Congress just worked out a “deal” to essentially play hot potato with the Nation’s financial security. Absolutely none of the economic problems we collectively face has been addressed in any substantive way, and it appears neither hope nor change will be heading our way anytime soon. And the Democrats, from Vice President Joe Biden all the way down to my wayward associate, are still trying to draw a parallel between people who disagree with their politics and people who fly planes into buildings.

Democrats, have you no shame? Do you even wince before you lump a fellow citizen into the same category as Ayman al-Zawahiri for the great crime of political disagreement? Is that really an appropriate equivalency? President Jimmy Carter infamously referred to the 1970s energy “crisis” as “the moral equivalent of war.” His remarks were met with the same derision as virtually everything else the losing admiral from the Battle of the Chattahoochee Bunny said or did. We don’t need a moral equivalent of war; we have actual war. Likewise, we don’t need a moral equivalency of terrorism; we have actual terrorists. It disturbs me that the Democrats can’t tell the difference.

If anyone needs a moral equivalent, here’s one: The financial scheme crafted in Washington this week is the moral equivalent of combating drunk driving by raising the legal blood alcohol level. And the supporters of this bill are the moral equivalents of Ted Kennedy.

–Ben Crystal

Father knows best (and so does Mother)

Last week, Chip Wood detailed his disgust with the ongoing budget “crisis” in his column Lies Our Leaders Tell Us. In his unassailable examination, Chip pointed out the basic mendacity with which the Democrats approached every aspect of fiscally managing the Federal coffers. I happen to agree with Chip. I’m also meaner than he is, so I’ll go one step further: Grow up, Washington.

The budget/debt debate which nearly paralyzed our government filled the airwaves with the usual blather. It was partisan rhetoric instead of productive dialogue. It was defamatory invective in place of constructive number-crunching. More than that — and Chip is too nice to say this — it was incredibly, offensively and spectacularly juvenile.

Yes, I said “juvenile.” The solution to the nation’s fiscal issues is so simple it’s actually trite: Don’t spend more than you have. Don’t have enough to make monthly payments on an S-Class Mercedes? Drive the Honda. Not enough in the account to afford a bigger flat screen? Move the couch closer to the television. Can’t afford a night at the Ritz? The light is on at Motel 6, not to mention at your house. Try that logic on a teenage girl with an unsecured Visa™ card… or the Department of Education.

The entire debate over whether to raise the debt ceiling centered on our elected officials’ refusal to manage the Federal budget in a sensible manner. The real tragedy has nothing to do with the Democrats’ profligate spending, nor is it related to the Republicans’ only marginally less profligate spending. The real tragedy is the basic simplicity of the solution: We taxpayers must break ourselves of the habit of being treated like children by the government and instead treat the government like children.

Someone has to be the adult around here. It’s time for John and Joan Taxpayer to become Dad and Mom — and start treating the President, his Cabinet and Congress like wayward teenagers. This country is one big house. Time to work the nation’s budget the same way one should work a household budget — albeit with bigger numbers.

Liberals are fond of demanding budget shortfalls be remedied with tax increases. Granted, liberals demand tax increases because they hold sway over their ignorant voting blocs with fear and class envy. But tax increases are entirely unnecessary if we take the mantle of national parents. When your son wants to go hang out with his friends, the responsible parent says: “You’re not going to the beach until you’ve taken out the trash.” When President Obama wants to immerse the military in another armed escapade, the responsible taxpayer says: “You’re not bombing Yemen until you’ve finished repaving I-20.” When your daughter whines: “Mom, I need money to buy the latest hip, cool thing (which will probably show off more of her than you’d like),” the responsible parent says: “You should have thought of that before you spent your allowance on something else.” When Obama says: “We need to raise taxes in order to fund a high-speed rail line from New York to L.A.,” the responsible taxpayer says: “You should have thought about that before you bailed out General Motors.”

For those of you who are rolling your eyes and thinking “the liberals will never go for this,” I have a compound response:

  1. The liberals stopped reading the moment they figured out I wasn’t going to blame this manufactured fiscal crisis on (insert current most-hated conservative here).
  2. Who gives a damn? Do you really want to include the people who not only elected Obama, but fully intend to re-elect him? To revisit the “parental” simile: When planning your household finances, do you ask your kids to cut into the XBox LIVE budget?

The current wire-pullers in Washington are well aware how simple the budget solutions are. They use phrases like “quantitative easing” and “American Taliban” because the strength of the liberal stranglehold on their soft-headed supporters depends on their soft-headed supporters remaining terrified. If they suddenly acknowledged the simplicity of our fiscal situation, many more taxpayers might realize we can send the entire government to its room without Obamacare: “Just because all the other governments are saddling their citizens with sprawling bureaucracies doesn’t mean you get to, as well.”

–Ben Crystal

Semper Paratus (I’ll handle the liquor)

I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoy the recent spate of zombie and/or space invader films. While each has small-to-gaping plot holes (Tom Cruise saves the world?), they’re good fun. While I lose no sleep over someone’s great aunt rising from the grave to try and nibble on my spleen, and I suspect E.T. isn’t likely to blaze in with a few million of his terraforming friends, there are real dangers out there. Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons, for example. A well-placed EMP, and everything with solid-state circuitry which isn’t case-hardened is toast. No more zombie movies on your television and no more phone calls to the Air Force because Representative Dennis Kucinich thought he saw an alien. Your world just became a sequel to Hurricane Katrina; only this time, even if the Democrats wanted to help, they couldn’t.

Fortunately for you and me, there are abundant resources available to help us prepare for the worst, while hoping for the… less worse. Our own site has Peggy Layton’s food and storage tips plus an entire section on emergency preparedness here.

But if you’re like me, you’re still trying to figure out whether you can get a solar still to make hooch that won’t blind you. So I read a few sources, talked to a few folks who will probably live a couple of steps up the food chain from me in what the “prepper” community calls a “TSHTF” scenario, and I’ve come up with a basic plan to live past my next birthday should the proverbial merde hit the ventilateur.

Location, location, location!

While we all love a nice beachfront view, being near the coast is a poor choice. Higher ground is a good goal. Actually, I’m thinking of heading for Mr. Livingston’s place (probably should have told him that before now). Arable land is important. Defensible land is equally so. Do a little research and find a place that fits both bills.

Getting there is half the misery

If an EMP is deployed against us, your minivan is a 2 ½-ton doorstop. Unless your vehicle is at least 50 years old, it’s not going anywhere. And something tells me you don’t have a mule team in the shed. Buy a bicycle and keep it maintained. That reminds me: I need to air up my tires.

Gimme the cure

Try to get a medical professional into your group. If not, kidnap one (just kidding, doc!). No matter what, you’re going to need basic first aid supplies. And you’re not going to be able to knock over the Rite-Aid and tote it with you. Have a ready supply of rubbing alcohol, bleach and iodine (they purify water, as well).

Where there’s smoke

Without fire, you’re just a heavy squirrel. Parasitic infections are awful. You’re going to need to cook your food and boil water. Buy a fire-starter.

Eat ’em and smile

Every “prepper” I know talks about their “bugout bag” and the canned food they’ve stored. That’s terrific if you’re already in a good location. If not, canned food is heavy, and it runs out fast when you’re feeding people traveling on foot. Learn to field dress an animal and cook it properly. Yeah, it’s nasty work; but in an extreme situation, you either eat or you’re eaten.

Lock’n’load

This is the single most contentious issue I’ve encountered among “preppers.” What weaponry to bring? My suggestion is to avoid the endless “AR vs. AK” debates, and find a weapon with which you’re comfortable. The weapon (and the ammunition) should be portable, easily wielded and reliable. Sure, that Barrett .50 is awesome; but in a severe scenario, it’s a millstone around your neck. Plus, if you use it on anything smaller than an elephant, you’ll need a straw.

The rest of the story

Durable clothing and footwear are a necessity, obviously. That Armani suit will have to wait for the archaeologists. Also, leave that uber-cool katana sword at home, and get a machete and a decent field knife. Paracord and portable shelter are also vital.

I know I’ve left out a great deal. Feel free to add your suggestions; hell, I welcome them. I figure my rank amateur’s take on emergency preparedness won’t help, but it might make you think about how well prepared you are. We live in an increasingly disturbed world. Better to be safe than — well — dead. Also, anything I forget, I can pick up at Mr. Livingston’s house.

–Ben Crystal

The Oslo discord

When a lunatic named Jared Lee Loughner killed six people and injured 13 more last January, liberal accusations of conservative complicity in the assault emerged faster than the sedatives could slow Loughner from “wild-eyed mass-murderer” to “Chris Matthews.” As the twisted tale unfolded, it became readily apparent that Loughner was inspired not by Sarah Palin (nor any other conservative), but by the voices in his head. With the revelation that among Loughner’s victims was not only U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), but a staunchly conservative Federal judge named John Roll, who died shielding another victim from Loughner, the coordinated liberal effort to pin the actions of a madman on people who don’t read The New York Times evaporated as quickly as liberals’ feigned concern for Giffords (but not Roll). By the way, Giffords is improving at a nearly miraculous rate. She may never return to Congress, but she returned to her husband, family and friends. I’ll wager that being discarded by the Democrats the moment she stopped being an effective political prop is meaningless to Giffords’ loved ones; they’re probably just overjoyed to have her home.

Following the failure of Loughner to provide an effective brickbat with which liberals could defame conservatives, the left went back to its usual litany of hate speech, slander and outright dishonesty. President Barack Obama and his racist minion, Attorney General Eric Holder, weathered a few storms of their own creation. Narcoterrorists from Mexico to Honduras obtained guns from the U.S. through an almost impossibly ill-conceived program called “Operation Fast and Furious.” While the cost of the program reached tens — if not hundreds — of millions of dollars, the human cost was even higher. Fortunately, Obama and Holder had the corporate media to bury the story; and with corporate media outlets ignoring the carnage, the liberal rank-and-file missed it through either ignorance or obscene partisanship. Liberals are perfectly willing to shriek at the top of their lungs about terrorism that they can claim is inspired by conservative women or talk radio, but terrorists who were literally armed by a Democrat President are evidently less useful in a campaign than — say — throwing grandma off a cliff.

And then, last Friday afternoon, the monotonous buzz of liberal mendacity, gender bias and racism was shattered by the roar of a terrorist attack in Oslo, Norway. Once it became apparent that the perpetrator was not striking a blow for Muhammad — despite The New York Times’ latest bout with erroneous reporting (“Helpers of the Global Jihad?” What is that, the Hamas junior varsity?) — I started counting the moments until someone tried to link the actions of some fruitcake in the land of the midnight sun to the Tea Party.

As expected, the wait was shorter than Jayson Blair’s post-scandal career. Knowing that the corporate media’s big outlets would need a few moments to figure out the best way to spin the tragedy to some twisted advantage, I took an off-ramp from the Information Superhighway to the seedy part of town: the Democrat-friendly hate speech site Dailykos.com. As expected, the cacophony was full-throated in the maximum-security wing of the liberal movement. But the wing nuts were trying an interesting new tack; they were actually accusing American conservatives of being more terrifying than the alleged Oslo shooter, Anders Behring Breivik. According to the lead tinfoil hat brigadier Markos Moulitsas:

…in the United States, (the Tea Party) movement is indeed fundamentalist Christian, populated by sects of millions that would seem strange to an Europeanist of the sort Breivik is. Those people are the actual mirror image of Al Qaeda, or more correctly the Taliban, and they don’t need to go around putting car bombs and driving planes into buildings because they have the US Armed Forces do that for them.

A comment like that (which apparently has been removed from the website) is made doubly interesting given the fact that Moulitsas is on record excusing Islamofascist murder of Americans. I’m half surprised he didn’t retroactively blame the Tea Party for the 2004 Fallujah incident he infamously celebrated. And not that I’m going to be a stickler for accuracy from the bottom of the blogosphere barrel, but when did the “US Armed Forces” start driving planes into buildings? Something tells me ol’ Kos might want to avoid Fort Stewart forever.

Meanwhile, my favorite verse from the Tea-Party-did-it chorus turned up in the least likely of places: www.personalliberty.com. Buried in the comments section attached to our latest “Great Eight” was this beyond-tangential nugget: “BRAVO THE FAR RIGHT WING – YOU JUST KILLED 90 NORWEGIANS, SHOT MOST OF THEM POINT BLANK IN THE HEAD.” No wonder I was so tired on Saturday.

I’m actually fascinated by the ability liberals possess to abandon logic on the altar of their political prejudices. They can accuse Grandpa and Grandma Kettle of Anytown, U.S.A., of being somehow complicit in the Oslo horror because they have a Gadsden flag bumper sticker on the back of their ’99 Grand Marquis, while simultaneously suggesting that the Islamofascists who dress their women like freak show beekeepers and stone people to death are merely misunderstood.

Meanwhile, the sole factor identifying Breivik as “right wing” is his apparent aversion to the spread of Islam. Imagine the logical contortions necessary for liberals to simultaneously claim not only is Islamofascist tyranny like the Taliban “right wing,” but so are the people who most vehemently find it objectionable. To put that in American terms: “Charles Rangel is a scumbag; let’s make him President.”

Look, people. There are different kinds of terrorism. Among them: religiously inspired terrorism, which involves flying planes into buildings (which the Democrat Moulitsas says is a common tactic of the U.S. military), or murdering four people, dismembering them, burning the corpses and hanging them from a bridge (to which the Democrat Moulitsas says: “Screw them.”). There’s governmental terrorism, which involves running people over with tanks, or forcing them to spend 30 years in a Siberian diamond mine in return for suggesting Lenin was a jerk, or shooting their wife and children in Idaho because they didn’t vote for Bill Clinton. There’s narcoterrorism, which lately involved drug dealers shooting people with guns supplied by the Obama Administration. And there’s American terrorism, which involves a Gadsden flag sticker on the bumper of your Grand Marquis — at least that’s what Mr. Soros says.

Despite the best efforts of the Democrats to smear conservatives with the tar brush of terrorism, the Tea Party has yet to bomb a single government office, shoot a single person or fly a single plane into a single building. In fact, the most the Tea Party has deployed is the occasional strong condemnation; it’s not as if the Tea Party is the Service Employees International Union or anything. And the tendency of liberalism’s leading lights to suggest the alternative is either true or is simply a “matter of time” isn’t just defamatory, it’s — well — rude.

The very same New York Times which erroneously issued the initial report that the Oslo attacks were the work of Islamofascists got back in line with the rest of the liberal stormtroopers breathlessly assigning American bloggers like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer complicity in Breivik’s actions. As Geller pointed out, this is paper-thin logic on a par with suggesting the Beatles were responsible for Charles Manson’s murder spree. To shine a current light on it: It’s akin to suggesting the Quran is responsible for… hmm.

Let’s be honest with each other for a moment. Anders Breivik is a Norwegian Tim McVeigh, not a Norwegian Osama bin Laden. Putting aside liberal mendacity, his actions don’t relate to the political ideology of anyone but the perpetrator. Breivik’s brand of terror is spooky-loners type stuff. It’s obviously devastating, but it’s terror with a finite growth curve, a career path with no long-term prospects. It’s sad, tragic and painful for the victims and those who seek a more peaceful world. While Breivik may identify himself as a “Christian,” even the bats in Fred Phelps’ Westboro belfry aren’t blowing up buildings and shooting kids (although someone should keep an eye on Fred and his flock).

What’s worth noting in the wake of the Oslo attacks is an apparently visceral need for liberals to link Breivik to their fellow citizens. Granted, with Obama on the ropes just eight months after the GOP dropped a hammer on the Democrats in the House of Representatives, the Democrats are understandably desperate. But the implication that American conservatism is any way the birthplace of Anders Breivik borders on schadenfreude.

I recognize the liberal addiction to authority. But 76 people are dead in Norway. Surely, the Democrats in the United States could have waited for the funerals before turning this tragedy into a campaign slogan.

–Ben Crystal

Lose One With The Gipper

Last week, the liberal stars once again aligned, as a Democratic effort to tie the increasingly irrelevant President Barack Obama to the dearly departed President Ronald Reagan was swallowed up by the black hole of liberal ignorance. The starship MSNBC, staffed as always by the crew of misfit liberal sock puppets, went down first.

Citing 1987 comments by Reagan, five of MSNBC’s primetime inmates claimed that Reagan spoke in favor of a tax hike remedy to the nation’s deficit problems. To bolster their Democratic masters’ case, each showed a video clip which seemed to support their party’s talking points: “… I am going to meet with the leaders of the Senate because it is high time to bring down the deficit and get us on a path… toward a balanced budget.” Taken by itself, that quote certainly sounds more like Obama than Reagan. But there was a teensy little issue for the Democrats’ lead cable communicators, and it involved a serious breach of journalistic ethics and… all right, you caught me… MSNBC’s tinfoil hat brigadiers wouldn’t recognize journalistic ethics if they came up and stole Ed Schultz’s Thorazine.

If your sole source of information is an entirely discredited propaganda outlet like MSNBC, you might not know they were lying to you. What the airheads in Obama crony Jeff Immelt’s cage did with that clip was a serious sin of omission. Here’s what Reagan actually said that day: “I have not changed my opinion about ever accepting a tax that will have a deleterious effect on the economy, and most tax increases do. Taxing is not the policy, or the problem, with the deficit. The deficit is due to too much spending… every dollar of increased revenue has been matched by a dollar and a quarter of increased spending.”

Oops.

The situation for MSNBC actually gets worse. The cherry-picked Reagan pronouncement reportedly started its life in the creepy confines of the so-called Congressional Progressive Caucus, a gathering of about 80 of the most blatantly corrupt (Rep. Bernice Johnson, Rep. Charles Rangel), most unhinged (Rep. Dennis Kucinich) and most appallingly stupid (Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Hank Johnson) members of the House. The CPC got the ball rolling, and MSNBC, followed by the usual rogue’s gallery of corporate media sideshow rejects, used it to rile ignorant charges into a righteous — albeit wrongheaded — fury.

But there’s a deeper subtext involved. It’s not exactly news that MSNBC’s prime-time lineup consists of feckless liberal sycophants who gladly carry the water for Democratic overlords. But five talking hairdos regurgitating the same misleadingly edited snippet provided gratis by the batty bloc of the Democrat Party, all in an effort to link Obama to Reagan? Liberals hate Reagan. Of course, liberals hate everyone who isn’t liberal, but Reagan? It’s the equivalent of the Personal Liberty Digest™ toasting the anniversary of the October Revolution. Surely, the Democrats’ desperation to hold onto their fading vision of a socialist utopia ushered into existence by The Savior (the one, not The One) hasn’t forced them into such dire circumstances that they’re willing to identify with the most reviled (by liberals) political figure of the past three decades.

Unless it has: TIME Magazine’s Feb. 7 issue marked the Gipper’s 100th birthday with a cover featuring a Photoshopped image of Obama together with Reagan. The Obama-as-inheritor-of-Reagan’s-mantle fable, which has been manufactured by liberals, is gathering steam as 2012 approaches.

Here’s the thing: I knew Ronald Reagan (well, I met him once — big day for me, not so much for him). Barack Obama: You, sir, are no Ronald Reagan.

–Ben Crystal

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

Sometime after June Cleaver turned in her apron and retired to guest spots on “The Love Boat,” the feminist movement took center stage in what some called “the gender wars.” I wasn’t around during the nascent years of feminism, but I’ve always thought that the boys lost to the girls right about the same time we started pretending we liked movies with Sally Field — and without the Trans-Am.

Like any conservative, I’m of the opinion that skills and dedication ought to determine merit, and merit ought to determine advancement. As an example: When self-described “journalist” Joe McGinnis rented the house next door to Sarah Palin in order to conduct “research” on her family, liberals cheered the move, while reasonable people saw it as exceptionally creepy. If someone set up camp next door to Rachel Maddow, liberals would shriek “stalker!” or “sexist intimidation!” while conservatives would assume the poor sap lost a very big bet.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case with socially activist philosophies, one side of the political spectrum has convinced itself that it is the only appropriate partner for the movement. And as is so often the case with one side of a political spectrum “claiming” a social ideology as its own, the cause has been grossly perverted. Thus, the message of the current “feminist” movement, co-opted by the left as it is, isn’t one of “equal opportunity for women,” or even “gender should not be the sole factor in (whatever) decision.” Instead, feminism shouts from the rooftops about equal — or superior — treatment for liberal women. And they don’t mean: “The dumb broads who think raising a family is empowering are on their own.” They mean: “The dumb broads who don’t think the way we do are beneath scorn.”

And not only does the Democratic-feminist cabal despise women who don’t share their particular brand of lunacy, they rarely take issue when Democratic men make spectacularly misogynist remarks about conservative women. On those oddly frequent occasions when a party mouthpiece like Bill Maher (who evidently struggles with some serious mommy issues) channels… well… Bill Maher, the liberal community erupts in debate. It strikes me that when a conservative mocks Secretary of State Hillary Clinton without so much as a nod to her gender, the liberal community stands shoulder-to-shoulder in levying sexism charges against him.

Maher is particularly interesting given that he relates to women only slightly less dysfunctionally than Ted Bundy. For the sake of decency, I will refrain from repeating his remarks about Sarah Palin. Suffice it to say, if I used language like that — even about Hillary Clinton — my mother would fly down just to smack the fool out of my mouth. MSNBC’s morbidly obese lunatic Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a “slut,” and MSNBC needed 48 hours of navel-gazing before deciding Fat Eddie needed some time in the corner. The evening of President Obama’s State of the Union speech, Chris Matthews spent the better part of an hour talking about how much he hates Representative Michele Bachmann. Given the content of the speech Matthews was supposed to be analyzing, he needed something concrete and defaulted to 45 minutes of woman-hating.

Even the gals get nasty when the target isn’t the right kind of “strong woman.” Late last week, Janeane Garofalo, who manages to make a living as a comedienne despite being about as funny as a colonoscopy, took shots at Bachmann by attacking Bachmann’s husband — a man who has in no way tried to insert himself in the national political discourse. Try to imagine the liberal response should a conservative commentator make cruel and unfounded remarks about — say — Representative John Conyers’ wife… oops, the Federal courts have killed any chance of that.

If Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, Markos Moulitsas, Lawrence O’Donnell, Paul Krugman or even Janeane Garofolo wants to take issue with conservative women on a political level, then they’re welcome to it. Their fact-deficient rants usually offer great material for our weekly Great Eight. But they should keep the hypocrisy to a dull roar, focusing their disapproval on their targets’ politics — not their genitals.

–Ben Crystal

Oh, Sheila!

Few people could suggest with a straight face that the U.S. House of Representatives includes the best and brightest among us. In fact, most of the denizens of the august climes of the Personal Liberty Digest™ are already well aware that the members of the U.S. House of Representatives struggle to represent anyone but themselves.  That said, even among a group nearly as exclusive as the membership at Augusta National Golf Club, there’s always going to be one or two who manage to allow remarks to escape their flapping blowholes that are so breathtakingly stupid they make the usual jacklegs, grifters and string-pullers who stink up the Capitol look like Cincinattus by comparison.

Enter the lovely and talented Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). The Hon. Ms. Jackson Lee has already locked up the title of “Most God-awful Boss in Congress.” Since she first took her seat in 1995, her staff has sported a higher turnover rate than the Crips. One staffer quit after Jackson-Lee threw a phone at him. And Ms. Jackson Lee evidently cut geography class (among others) at liberal demagoguery school: “Today, we have two Vietnams, side by side, North and South, exchanging and working. We may not agree with all that North Vietnam is doing, but they are living in peace. I would look for a better human rights record for North Vietnam, but they are living side by side.” For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that some of her defenders claim she meant to say “two Koreas,” in which case, she’s… still wrong.

Last week, Jackson Lee was back at it, raging from the people’s pulpit about her favorite topic: racism. Granted, ever since the beginning of the Presidential campaign of a little-known junior Senator from Illinois, liberals have endeavored to use the specious charge of racism to explain everything from President Obama’s lack of executive experience to his comprehensive incompetence as Commander in Chief. Normally, any criticism is immediately dismissed by the owners of the liberal movement as racist in nature.  But “normal” and “things done, said or even imagined by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee” rarely collide in the same universe, much less the same sentence. This is a woman who once accused The Hill of racism for printing an article noting she had asked NASA staffers if the Mars rover would visit the flag planted by Apollo astronauts… on the moon.

And in her logic-impaired tirade late last week, Representative Jackson Lee suggested that opposition to Obama’s economic “plan” is a result of… well… let’s let Sheila speak for herself (as if she requires any prompting): “I do not understand what I think is the maligning and maliciousness (toward) this president…Why is he different? And in my community, that is the question that we raise. In the minority community that is question that is being raised. Why is this president being treated so disrespectfully?  I am particularly sensitive to the fact that only this president — only this one, only this one — has received the kind of attacks and disagreement and inability to work, only this one.” Of course, she and her fellow Democrats treated President George W. Bush with the utmost in collegial regard. To be fair, Bush deserved some of the barbs he faced, given his profligate spending, harebrained schemes like No Child Left Behind, and his tendency to do things to the English language for which you pay extra in Vegas.

I often wonder if liberals, including Jackson Lee, consider the fact that by laying the exhausted race card on the table every time Obama slows for a political roadblock, they are essentially saying that Obama is nothing more than some helpless racial avatar, incapable of accomplishment — or, in Obama’s case — failure as anything other than a black man. Therefore, playing the race card in order to defend his every misstep is either an admission that he needs to be rescued with prosaic hokum, a revelation that liberals — bereft of meritorious ideas — have no other cards to play, or that they’re just plain silly.

Of course, Jackson Lee in particular resides in the latter category. Her amateur astronomical observations hardly represent her only ventures beyond her limited intellectual capacity. I would be willing to venture a guess that she’s not even aware that she’s calling Obama’s critics racist for agreeing with him: “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.”  (Senator Barack Obama, D-Ill., March 20, 2006)

Of course, the whole thing could just be Marvin the Martian’s evil plot. Perhaps NASA can clue her in to the fact that the Illudium Q-36 is an equal opportunity Explosive Space Modulator.

The Capitol Circus

P.J. O’Rourke once noted that “the whole idea of politics is to achieve power without possessing merit.” If a better description exists of 21st century American politics in general and the Obama Administration, I have yet to read it. (All right, besides: “Obama sucks!” That’s too obvious.)

Here at Personal Liberty Digest™, we watch the Capitol Circus because we’re paid to do it. But even a casual glance Washington-ward reminds the most dispassionate observer that these guys are clowns. Unfortunately, they’re not the kind who make balloon animals and juggle milk bottles; they’re the kind who show up in Stephen King novels and live in a sewer.

In 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama vocally opposed President George W. Bush’s plan to raise the United States’ debt ceiling. And he was right to do it. I’ve said before that George W. Bush spent money like a second wife. Unfortunately, now-President Barack Obama spends money like a second wife with a shopping compulsion who just found a Centurion Card, aka the American Express black card. And while Obama throws everything but that national debt clock in Times Square at the increasingly resolute Republicans in an effort to persuade them to hike the debt ceiling into the stratosphere, it’s clear that Obama expects someone else (preferably our grandchildren) to pay the bill.

What our profligate politicians fail to recognize is that a nation with a debt closing in on $15 trillion is like a poor sap who is in way over his head with the loan sharks. Hiking the debt ceiling to cover Federal spending is the political version of pawning your car title to make your car payment. Sure, you’ll keep the car for a few more days; but eventually, a guy named “Big Lou” is going to show up at your door. Truth be told, anyone who’s stretched his paycheck to the point of breaking knows this simple lesson. Perhaps our Harvard-educated President missed that day in life-outside-the-public-sector class.

With Obama growing increasingly frustrated with what he considers GOP intransigence — and what responsible people consider the reason conservatism is the most dynamic political movement — he is delivering increasingly desperate assaults on the forces of fiscal fitness. When the public didn’t bite on his demand of tax hikes on people who earn more than $250,000 per year, he claimed the GOP was sacrificing our security on behalf of the “private jet” set. When that class-warfare tack misfired, Obama started channeling our mothers: “… pull off the Band-Aid; eat our peas.” Sorry, Mr. President, Obamacare doesn’t offer Band-Aids; and when was the last time you ate peas? I doubt Oprah serves them in her palace. When the imperious tone flew like a stone kite, Obama took the expected tack for a liberal with strong ties to union thugs: threats.

Tuesday, Obama announced that thousands, if not millions, of Social Security checks due out in early August might meet Big Lou somewhere between the Treasury and your mailbox. After his Democratic Party produced an Obamacare ad that claimed conservative opposition would throw Grandma off a cliff, the Democratic President is threatening to starve her to death if he doesn’t get access to the cash under her mattress. Furthermore, it appears Obama broke into the Social Security “lockbox,” only to find a note which says “IOU $15 trillion, xoxo! —  Al Gore.”

Obama has risen to the pinnacle of power in meteoric fashion. But therein lies the problem: He didn’t earn it. All power, no merit not only makes Barack a bad President, it makes America a poor country.