Caught In The Sunlight

On the scale of Presidential scandals, I would hardly rank the unfolding “Solyndra-Gate” at the top of the list. I’m not even sure it holds the top spot on President Barack Obama’s personal disgrace chart. The growing pile of evidence indicating Obama either did know or should have known about improper ties between his Administration and the Democratic fat-wallet – and the evil genius behind Solyndra – George Kaiser doesn’t reveal any murder victims; meaning it places second in my book to the still-unfolding Operation Fast and Furious debacle.

But the Solyndra bankruptcy did manage to flush a half-billion taxpayer dollars down the drain, so it certainly merits examination. Consider it: Solyndra chewed up $500 million. For what Obama burned on his accomplices’ failed solar experiment, he could have simply given every (legal) American about $1.65. To put it another way: For the cost of the Solyndra scam, we could all enjoy a soft drink and a lottery ticket. The soft drink is more refreshing than photovoltaic cells; and the lottery ticket would be more likely to pay off.

Assessing blame for Solyndra is a fool’s errand; mostly because Solyndra is simply the latest example of the scams politicians have foisted on the taxpayers since well before President Warren Harding got his Teapot Domed in 1923. The question betrayed by Obama’s “Solyndra-gate” is not how the Washington elite managed to flimflam the taxpayers again, but why.

The answer comprises more than the usual “because we can” which normally motivates the wire-pullers we foolishly keep dispatching to Washington. The roots of Solyndra-gate are firmly embedded in the pseudoscientific manure intellectual cult leader Al Gore has been shoveling since he wandered off his daddy’s tobacco farm and invented the Internet: so-called global warming. Actually, we have been swallowing the various iterations of “green living” for about 50 years at this point — generally to the detriment of improved economies, better living and enhanced opportunity for everyone except the snail darter and the guy who prints those “think globally, act locally” bumper stickers.

Rachel Carson’s seminal eco-babble Silent Spring certainly provoked the world to cut back on sending the noble mosquito to that great bayou in the sky; and we had to consign only a few million Third World children to the land of the eternal Deep Woods Off®. Of course, given American liberals’ distaste for dark-skinned tykes, I suppose they consider the saving of the most annoying bug on the planet a moral victory. Drawing a line from Carson to lunatics like Al Gore and on to Solyndra-gate requires far less time than, say, sitting through Gore’s Inconvenient Slide Show.

The Obama Administration appears to have willfully ignored a series of red flags in order to rescue Solyndra. Department of Energy emails (which have been partially redacted) reveal that at least one official warned that Obama’s Presidency could end up trapped in the Solyndra coffin: “Questions will be asked as to why the administration made a bad investment, not just once (which could hopefully be explained as part of the challenge of supporting innovative technologies), but twice (which could easily be portrayed as bad judgment, or worse)… The timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up.” God forbid anyone worry about the 1,100 jobs, half-a-billion dollars in taxpayer money and time wasted. I wonder how far down the liberal list those minor points might be found.

Solyndra-gate is purely bad governance spurred on by global warming hysteria and political paybacks. What people miss while focusing on the 1,100 Americans who just received their pink slips, the half-a-billion in taxpayer dollars which just went up in a cloud of carbon-neutral exhaust and President Obama’s latest adventure in stupidity is the human cost of the global warming industry. Barack Obama invested a huge pile of our money in a bad scheme based on even worse reasoning: junk science combined with good, old-fashioned back-scratching. As the economy sputters like a Government Motors bailout-mobile, Obama is playing footsie with liberal moneybag types like George Kaiser. Real people really suffer real consequences when crackpot scientific theories meet greedy liberal politicians, but they are never the ones who deserve them.

–Ben Crystal

Skin-Deep Politics

Forget reality television; we have the seemingly interminable pre-primary segment of the 2012 Presidential race to watch.

Critics unload heaps of inane trivia. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau wants you to compare former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota: Who has the better front end? Meanwhile, candidates display themselves like peacocks, trying to distract potential supporters from whatever flaws they may be squirreling away with magnificent displays of political plumage. For example, Mitt Romney has real executive experience fighting intransigent liberals within sight of the Kennedy Compound; but he hopes you won’t notice that during his Gubernatorial reign in the Bay State, he developed the State-level precursor to the abominable Obamacare.

While the Democratic Party has a long record of candidates who possessed the intellectual depth of Tupperware (does anyone know where Senator John Kerry can “get me a huntin’ license?”), the Republicans generally shied away from cosmetic appeal in place of legitimate competence. Witness Senator Bob Dole’s loss to President Bill Clinton in 1996: Clinton won with only a plurality of the vote, due in part to the fact that Dole was nearly as captivating a stage presence as shower mold. Of late, the GOP has begun to play the electoral version of “The Dating Game,” offering up candidates like President George W. Bush, whose folksy charm and 80s-action-film attitude supposedly made up for his mercurial policy directives, if not his tortured enunciations.

Taken to a logical extreme, this sort of political pageantry ratchets up the degree of difficulty for a quality candidate with strong ideas and sound principles, especially if the candidate in question looks like an aging college professor (Representative Ron Paul) or a guy who cuts his own hair (former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson).

As 2012 approaches like the T-Rex chasing the Jeep in “Jurassic Park,” we are welcomed to the aforementioned logical extreme. For those who think I’m overstating the case, say hello to the current field of Republican candidates and the two men leading the way: Governor Rick Perry of Texas and former Governor Romney. The very idea that the GOP is seriously considering these two men for the post of Leader of the Free(ish) World is testament to the barely subcutaneous levels to which most voters are ostensibly willing to venture in search of a true statesman.

Watching the remarkably telegenic Perry and Romney tear into each other during the course of the past two Republican Presidential debates has been the political version of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em ROBOTS®.  Oh, they got testy with each other, but I kept wondering if there was someone behind the curtain, furiously tapping on a video game controller. “The Corporate Media and the Current State of American Politics Present: The Republi-Ken Dolls!”

Both offer curricula vitae chock full of crony capitalism and flashes of statism. Romney’s infamous “corporations are people” miscue was a telling moment, while Perry’s political appointee roster shows an almost 1-in-4 ratio between campaign donors and appointments. And perhaps Perry really didn’t try to force STD inoculations on the preadolescent female population of the Lone Star State on behalf of Merck Pharmaceuticals; let’s just say it sure would have been convenient for Merck’s profit margins – not to mention Perry’s campaign coffers.

That sort of backscratching is common in Democratic circles. Nearly 200 of President Barack Obama’s heavyweight “bundlers” are now enjoying the sweet taste of plum patronage. As an example, the current U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom is Democratic whale and former Citigroup exec Louis Susman, whose previous experience with the Brits is limited to the bar at the Connaught Hotel. But the Republicans ought to be running from such backscratching like Donald Trump would run from a crowd of helpful citizens after his limo breaks down in South Central Los Angeles.

If it comes down to a choice between Romney or Perry and the current tenant squatting in the people’s crib on Pennsylvania Avenue, I will obviously vote for – um – “change that matters.” But there are better choices than any of those three. They are easy enough to spot, if we’re willing to look a little deeper.

–Ben Crystal

How I Spent 9/11

I would have thought that — outside macabre celebrations in the Islamofascist sandboxes — there was no “wrong” way to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11. Among those with whom I share relationships, a variety of methods took shape. Some people took to social media outlets, sharing thoughts or memories or posting those ubiquitous pictures of the Twin Towers either standing tall or crashing down.  Many people seemed to find solace in the photo montages of varying sentiment — either tragic or uplifting — set to music ranging from Lee Greenwood’s staple “God Bless the USA” to Jay Z and Alicia Keys’ modern anthem “Empire State of Mind.” Still, others chose to pause only briefly before cruising through what would otherwise have been an ordinary Sunday.

I spent part of my day yelling at the television as my favorite NFL team coughed up an early lead and lost, looking terrible in defeat. I also followed the progress of my two fantasy football league teams, both of which performed on the electronic gridiron about as well as my team did on the actual gridiron. As the afternoon wore on, my attention wandered back to the reams of information, news and commentary I peruse every day in order to keep Mr. Livingston from replacing me with a twice-weekly recipe column.

No matter how you spent 9/11, it’s unlikely you did so poorly. It seems unlikely that anyone could fail to do otherwise. Even if a person chose to ignore the maudlin and the merry, I can’t imagine someone marking the day with behavior which qualified as wrong.

As the sage says: “famous last words, pal.” Late in the day, as I prepared to fire up the grill and crack open an ice-cold beer, I happened upon Democratic Party sock puppet Paul Krugman’s latest reminder of how the Nobel Prize has become a million-dollar Cracker Jack trinket. Writing for the desiccated liberal corpse you might remember as The New York Times, Krugman chose to mark the occasion of the biggest bloodbath on American soil since the Civil War with his 9/11 commemorative, “The Years of Shame.” The blog post is devoid of hope, robbed of civility and abandoned by decency. More importantly, it is absolutely pointless.

Krugman wrote: The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror.” Those evil conservatives, always politicizing terrorism to push an agenda and attack their ideological adversaries – how dare they! Nothing gets by Paul Krugman; politicians politicizing tragedy, you say? What’s next: an unConstitutional social engineering program which penalizes citizens for failure to purchase something?

Of course, Krugman also takes the obligatory shot at the Republicans at the fore of the 9/11 response. Granted, Kerik was a crook, but that’s “rain tends toward the damp” stuff. It’s hard to fault Rudy Giuliani for his 9/11 actions. Say what you want about Rudy’s other days — and I could say plenty — he was absolutely America’s Mayor then.

Even on 9/11 itself, Krugman didn’t want to discuss the potential greatness of the nation. He didn’t want to discuss a brighter future for America. He didn’t even want to discuss how much he despises the animals who perpetrated the terrible deeds forever welded in our minds to 9/11. No, Paul Krugman wanted to discuss how much he hates his fellow countrymen.

Actually, Krugman doesn’t want to discuss anything; he wants to sneer without interruption: “I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.” “Obvious reasons” meaning “because someone might out that I’m a simpering ninny who decided to rain on a national funeral.”

I understand Krugman is one of those liberals for whom everything is simultaneously political and emotional. But, surely, “The Years of Shame” could have waited — well, forever — but at least until Tuesday.

–Ben Crystal

President Zero (Jobs, That Is)

None. Goose egg. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Zero. That’s the total number of jobs added to the American economy during the month of August. During his Presidency, Barack Obama has continually managed to surprise me — but almost always in the a-satellite-fell-out-of-the-sky-and-landed-on-my-car manner never in the oh,-look,-I-found-a-quarter manner. Obama has certainly taught me to lower expectations. Well, congratulations, Mr. President, here’s a new low!

I hardly need to remind you that allowing Obama to spend one moment in the White House after January 2013 – unless he’s taking the tour – borders on national suicide. And you certainly don’t need me to tell you not to touch the third rail; the entire nation electrocuted itself in November 2008.  Most of you get it: Another four years of President Obama may well cook our collective goose.

For those among you who still don’t get it: Obama’s economic plan led the nation to produce nary a new gig in August. The domestic economy hasn’t managed to post a doughnut on the jobs scoreboard for an entire month since 1945. Even President Jimmy Carter’s dreaded malaise never spawned an employment whitewash quite so bleak; and he was outsmarted by the White House tennis court schedule (not to mention one fierce bunny). The United States comprises more than 300 million souls. Those 300 million (minus the babies, the infirm and the bulk of the population of Detroit) combine to produce a gross domestic product of $14.6 trillion. That’s a lot of scratch, especially considering how poorly we all fared in 2010.

And 2011 is worse. The economy, strangling in the grip of Obama’s Keynesian madness, is spiraling downward faster than the ratings for a television program hosted by a disgraced race pimp who once engineered a hoax which included smearing a teenage girl with actual feces – not that any channel would ever allow such offal in its studios. The national unemployment rate is still hovering above the 9 percent mark; that’s 4 points above the mark at which it stood on the day of Obama’s inauguration. The national underemployment mark – denoting people who work part time because they can’t find full-time work – is close to 20 percent. The latest figures from the Congressional Budget Office suggest that we may wait nearly a decade before the jobs picture brightens; although, the CBO was too polite to add “longer if we let Obama keep the keys to the Oval Office.”

For those who will accuse me of being unfair, consider Obama’s performance so far. The bailouts have flopped like fish on a dock. The decision to hand General Motors over to the union thugs who destroyed it in the first place left the taxpayers holding the note on a multibillion-dollar boondoggle. Obama’s “green jobs” campaign has not only provided no boost to the economy, it has tied the proverbial millstone to its neck. Solyndra swallowed more than half a billion taxpayer dollars only to choke to death. Democratic crony-run corporations such as GE ship jobs overseas while Obama and the Democrats whine about the lack of gainful employment. The union thugs openly threaten violence, and their anointed savior refuses to condemn their borderline-treasonous hostility. America teeters on the edge of a yawning chasm of depression, yet rather than come up with a plan to pull us back, the President of the United States will deliver… another speech. The only plus side to tonight’s latest edition of Obama’s Alinsky-ite blather lies in the sweet relief of knowing most Americans won’t be watching. The President’s popularity has plumbed such depths that he has fallen to the undercard for a football game.

Maybe this is his plan: babble endlessly enough to bore us all into submission. Offer inane ideas with all the forethought of throwing darts while blindfolded: “Hey, maybe this will work.” Judging by past performance, it won’t.

–Ben Crystal

Berkeley Course Demands Students Be Liberal

The biggest punch line in American higher education just got a whole lot funnier (or a whole lot more terrifying, depending on whether you have children approaching college age). One might fairly presume that at some point, churning out graduates who parrot leftist babble while lacking fundamental academic and societal skills will drag the University of California, Berkeley’s reputation lower than Vice President Joe Biden’s self-esteem after an hour at a Mensa meeting. If I took a spot as a senior administrator at Berkeley, I might even try to rescue the institution before it begins running late-night TV ads offering classes in TV/VCR repair.

Alas, I am not a senior administrator at Berkeley, and I am quite certain I won’t be showing up on their short list for hires anytime soon. Among other qualities which eliminate me from contention for future openings at what amounts to an incubator for the noisy brats who populate most left-wing whinefests, I am well aware of the old adage: “Those who can’t, teach.” Also, I bathe regularly.

Since I wield no influence over Berkeley’s curriculum, I cannot stop it from offering what may well be the first course which expressly demands students move up the grade curve by being as liberal as possible. Beginning this semester, Berkeley will offer students credits for course work in a class entitled: “Fighting to Learn, Learning to Fight: Building the Movement for Public Education and Equality.” According the syllabus, coursework includes “…an auto biography (sic) focused on one’s own poltical (sic) development.”

The course is conducted under the auspices of an ultra-liberal group named “BAMN.” BAMN is the spectacularly discursive acronym for the equally discursively-named The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrants Rights And Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary. As if someone outside BAMN is likely to mistake the “professors” — a pair of student instructors and a BAMN activist — for anyone in the English department (witness the above citation from the syllabus).

A perusal of BAMN’s website reveals standard Democratic Party rhetoric, albeit more grandiloquent than normal.  BAMN credits itself with “building the new civil rights movement.” Imagine the disappointment of the “old” civil rights movement. Among their predictable aims, BAMN supports the DREAM Act, which would grant amnesty to illegal aliens. Despite BAMN’s stated goal of opposing racism and some vague horror they call the “New Jim Crow,” it opposes California’s Proposition 209, meaning it subsequently supports racism and discrimination in public-institution admissions, which were rendered illegal by Proposition 209. BAMN even dedicates a section of its website to defaming former Berkeley regent — and BAMN opponent — Ward Connerly, even suggesting he is the “Spokesperson for the Campaign to Resegregate America.” Connerly is black, meaning BAMN is essentially calling him an “Uncle Tom.” Hey, maybe he’s the “New Jim Crow.”

I wouldn’t trust BAMN apparatchiks with walking a group of preschoolers through the adventures of Dick, Jane and Spot. The tykes would come home claiming Jane was running because Dick was trying to date-rape her, while Spot was the victim of animal cruelty. Yet BAMN is in charge of granting academic advancement to the kids whom Berkeley claims will “make key contributions to the economic and social well-being of the Bay Area, California, and the nation” at least until the illegal aliens sprung by the DREAM Act vacuum up all the paying jobs.

One hardly requires a MacArthur grant to recognize that higher education is rapidly falling victim to political indoctrination masquerading as instruction. And Berkeley has certainly earned its reputation as the ground zero of fatuous liberalism masquerading as intellect. To add insult to injury, according to the Berkeley website, close to 60 percent of the school’s nearly $2 billion revenue stems from State and Federal funding. Add to that the 18 percent derived from tuition and fees, and the taxpayers are footing more than three-fourths of the tab for nonsense like BAMN.

Unfortunately, “learning” to reflexively vote for Democrats isn’t the same as learning more worthwhile skills. At some point, Berkeley graduates will cease contending with the unemployment created by the ideological brethren of their professors and instead will contend with being simply unemployable.

–Ben Crystal

Family Tradition

The revelation earlier this week that Onyango Obama — likely the same “Uncle Omar” mentioned in President Barack Obama’s oddly premature memoir, Dreams from My Father — was arrested for DUI was just another chapter in Dreams, entitled: “Presidential relatives who were dumber than boxes of hair.”

After all, it’s not as if “Uncle Omar” is the first member of a Presidential bloodline who no doubt forced the President to wince in embarrassment. In fact, Onyango Obama isn’t even the first Presidential relative whose wince-worthy actions stemmed from an inability to hold their sauce. Consider Jenna and Barbara Bush, Ron Reagan (who may simply suffer from garden-variety-liberal stupidity, as opposed to three-sheets-to-the-wind stupidity) and Billy “Beer and Libyans” Carter. In fact, Onyango Obama’s latest brush with Johnny Law is strictly bush-league when compared to Roger “You mean he’s the brother of the President of the United States?” Clinton.

It would be bad enough if “Uncle Omar” were simply another pinhead who thinks getting pickled and then sliding behind the wheel is big-time fun. However, when Framingham, Massachusetts’ finest stopped him the other day, the fun was just starting.

Despite having a nephew in high places, Onyango Obama isn’t on the guest list for the next state dinner. In fact, Onyango Obama isn’t on the guest list for the United States of America. “Uncle Omar” is an illegal alien with an outstanding deportation order. Unbeknownst to the President (of course), when Onyango Obama blew a “blotto” on the Framingham Police’s field sobriety test, he had in his possession a Social Security card and driver’s license. His blood alcohol level was .14. According to the arrest report, Onyango Obama announced that he would use his lone phone call to ring up his nephew: “I think I will call the White House.” Oh, what we wouldn’t give to listen in on that family reunion.

Much like the President’s infamous aunt, Zeituni Onyango, who ultimately evaded justice long enough to permanently affix herself to the taxpayers’ underbelly, Onyango Obama may well embody a real reason President Obama pursues his olly-olly-oxen-free immigration policy. Obama called Arizona’s efforts to stem the flood of illegals racist, even “reporting” Arizona to the United Nations. He and his corporate media mouthpieces suggested taxpayers who want a return to secure borders and decent immigration standards are racist. Though Democrats call anyone racist who disagrees with them on virtually anything at this point, slandering opponents of amnesty with the spurious charge of racism has become as vital to Obama’s method of governance as high unemployment, crushing debt and undervalued currency — or perhaps, those last three are not on purpose. And as we learned recently, the President has introduced a new policy halting deportations of people facing… deportation.

I used to believe Obama opposed sound immigration policy because he’s a liberal. I assumed his goals were the same as the goals of nearly every Democrat who ever blurted out an idiotic remark such as: “We are all immigrants.” (That’s technically true, but it applies to everyone outside the Olduvai Gorge; and I’m certain we can’t all fit there now.) Democrats like illegal aliens because illegal aliens are indispensable to Democrats. They can carry heavy stuff, thereby eliminating the chance that Representative Nancy Pelosi will chip a nail. They can trim the hedges at Al Gore’s mansions with a true horticulturalist’s flair, for far less than minimum wage. A number of them work in the drug trade, making it much easier for Hollywood blowhards to get their next fix: They can go “talk to the gardener.” And some of them — like Uncle Omar — availed themselves of forged documentation, so they can help ACORN (or whatever that prestigious bunch call themselves these days) with the electoral “community organizing.” In the wake of “Uncle Omar’s” drunken swerve into the long arm of the law, I believe it’s fair to wonder whether there might be a familial reason behind Obama’s dereliction on immigration.

Hey, we all have a relative we pretend isn’t hanging off the lower branches of the family tree. Some of us are the relatives in question (which might explain why my brother doesn’t let me baby-sit his kids; mix up the scotch with the formula — one time). But few of us considered allowing an entire criminal class to move in next door just to keep the family disgrace off a one-way flight back to some dirt farm in East Africa. Perhaps it is just a family affair.

–Ben Crystal

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 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