Missing The Message

Now that the Nobel Prizewinning President Barack Obama—who campaigned for the White House on fervent opposition to two wars—is leading the United States into a third conflict involving the “Religion of Peace,” perhaps this isn’t the best time to bring this up.  However, timing has never been my strong suit.

While the U.S. started lobbing cruise missiles into Libya over the weekend, another story, one which didn’t involve the Obama Administration campaigning for the Nobel Prize for Duplicity, broke across the newswires:

For the first time in human history an object sent from the third rock from the sun has entered orbit around the first rock from the sun.  The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) probe, which departed these climes in 2004, signaled its successful orbital insertion around the planet Mercury. 

mercurysunThis is Mercury as viewed from the Earth.  Actually, this is the Sun, with Mercury in transit across its face (it’s the TINY round dot in the lower middle-right of the image.)

If nothing else, that image ought to give you a sense of humility; a glimpse of the idea that on a cosmic scale, we are smaller than the higher-order thinking section of Lawrence O’Donnell’s brain.

MESSENGER cost $280 million.  Should it have been proposed for these tight economic times I suspect it would have disappeared from the budget as quickly as a box of Ho Hos® disappears from Rosie O’Donnell’s kitchen.  But consider this: I’m glad we went. 

While it is fair to suggest that a mission to Mercury may not solve the crises of the world, I would posit that MESSENGER, like much of the space program, serves a metaphysical purpose.

The space program reminds us of limitlessness.  Seven centuries ago civilization was barely aware of the world outside its own door.  In some cases, even guessing at the unseen could result in ridicule, arrest, or even earthly perdition.  But some were undeterred, and the Age of Exploration bore out their dreams to the great benefit of the same world which questioned their goals.  As recently as 1969, when Neil Armstrong took those fateful first steps, Man was still reaching beyond his grasp. 

From Polo to Galileo to Aldrin, the real explorers delivered human “firsts” on an eternal scale.  And while MESSENGER was expensive, it’s another first which is worth celebrating. 

In the age of the media-invented superstars, in which Paris Hilton and Barack Obama can climb to Olympian heights on the backs of—not to mention in the rightful place of—the more talented, the more qualified and/or the more deserving; moments like MESSENGER hearken back to those heady days of the Age of Exploration, when accomplishment meant more than sound bites and photo-ops.  Missions like MESSENGER remind us all of the big dreams which carried humanity through far darker times.  There are no “K-Feds” in the heavens.  “Jersey Shore” isn’t on; and “The Situation” and the gang couldn’t fix their hair in zero-gee.

Out THERE, Hollywood blowhards can’t lecture us on our lack of compassion while they teeter around on the red carpet dressed in clothing which could feed a family for a year.  Oliver Stone and Sean Penn can’t vomit their venomous vitriol out there—there’s no air.  Al Gore’s junk science sideshow wouldn’t last amidst the real warmth of the solar wind.

And while the effort “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield” is enormously expensive, so is the Department of Education; and I don’t remember anyone saying “When I grow up, I want to be a layabout union thug.”  Of course, I don’t remember anyone saying “I want to be a mouth-breathing parasite who’s famous for being famous,” but “Snooki” got a book published, meaning she has admirers.

During his State of the Union speech in January, Obama said “we do big things.”  Actually, Mr. President, we do an astronomical number of small things, and occasional medium-sized things. And we don’t do most of them particularly well. But we can.

I believe we can return the triumph of the human spirit to the American vocabulary. I believe that while exploration can sometimes be irrational, discovery is ALWAYS magical.  At the very least, let’s return to our children the sense of wonder that comes from dreaming big and doing bigger. 

Call it “the audacity of hope.”  Actually, don’t call it that.  That sounds like some hackneyed Democrat campaign slogan. 

At the very least, let’s remind them there are greater aspirations than being a community organizer.

–Ben Crystal

Duty Calls

As Japan faces a long, costly road to recovery, battles continue to rage across the Middle East, the American economy continues to flounder and Democrats are beginning to threaten active violence against their opponents—including death threats against Wisconsin’s governor and legislators and Tea Party leaders who have committed the unpardonable sin of standing up to the Democrat Party’s union thug accomplices. 

That menu of misery ought to provide enough to keep any chief executive busy for two or even three whole days.  Certainly, one might expect an engaged President of the United States to be putting in a solid couple of hours of work per week.  There are those across the fruited plain who would certainly clear their calendar of social, mundane or just plain silly scheduling conflicts to give their full attention to matters which require intense scrutiny. 

Then, there’s President Barack Obama.

During the eight years of George W Bush’s Presidency, Democrats and their flacks in the corporate media mercilessly flogged the nation’s 43rd President every time he scanned the sports section.  In fact, in August of 2005, The Washington Post devoted 16 paragraphs to the President’s vacation schedule.  According to a Democrat National Committee spokespuppet:

“The White House stonewalling operation is moving to Crawford for the dog days of summer, but they can’t hide from the legitimate questions dogging the president…”

Evidently, brush-clearing in Crawford is nowhere near as worthwhile an endeavor as working out your NCAA hoops brackets for ESPN, hitting the links (for the 61st time) and getting your crunk on with your homeboys at the Gridiron Club.

It used to bother me when Bush would take extended vacations.  I knew that despite Democrat-authored complaints about his lack of connection to his duties and his constituency, he remained very much in command.  But his remoteness seemed a bit on the cavalier side.  It’s all about the appearances, kids.  And given the fact that above-cited Washington Post story was hardly unique in its scope, Bush’s summer sojourns clearly bothered the hell out of the Democrats. 

Oddly, I have yet to hear a peep from the corporate media carnival about Obama’s oddly high number of non-natural disaster, economic collapse or Democrat sympathizer-issued death threat-related activities.  But they covered his congratulations to the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.  (As a Rangers fan, I say “boo.”)

Before those of you who list too far to port start emailing my address to the SEIU’s Department of Leg-Breaking, hear me out.  I love the idea of a thoroughly detached Obama. 

Play 36 instead of 18, Mr. President.  Don’t just wear the Blackhawks’ jersey with “Da Prez” emblazoned on the back—head out with the boys for their next road trip.  After you finish making out your brackets for ESPN, stick around and anchor SportsCenter for a while—you’re already familiar with the teleprompter.  Spend the rest of the week partying with your sycophant liberal “journalists” at the Gridiron Club. 

The disaster in Japan, the roaring fires in the Middle East and the economic morass at home are serious business; to be dealt with by serious people.  While some of my conservative friends might suggest Obama’s soft-shoe of a schedule distracts him from serious Presidential obligations, I’d like to point out that distracting Barack Obama from serious Presidential obligations is like distracting your toddler from the power tools in the garage.

Obama has hemmed and hawed on Libya.  He’s been a ghost in recent Capitol Hill discussions regarding the economy.  And he was so dismayed by the almost cosmic-scale disaster in Japan that he… hit the links, partied with his yes-men and chose between Gonzaga and St. John’s.

And that is all fine by me.  I’d rather have an absent President than a present imbecile.  Suggesting that Barack Obama is out of his depth is like noting that Rahm Emanuel is a little bit on the creepy-looking side.  Party on, Mr. President; and don’t forget about that enormously important White House conference on bullying.  Oh, right—that was last week.

This week is his big trip to Brazil.  Play to your strengths, Mr. President.

One Tough Mother…

To listen to the kids at Greenpeace, Earth First! and the International Philosophers for Peace and Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide, we (but not they) are the single greatest threat to life (and magnificently monikered hippie groups) on our big blue marble in space.

After all, we’re addicted to fossil fuels, which pollute the air, smell bad (although not as bad as a gathering of International Philosophers for Peace and Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide), and sometimes makes cute little sea creatures yucky. We have nuclear energy, which leads to radiation leaks, nuclear waste and racially insensitive movies starring rampaging, supernatural dinosaurs.

Then, there are our weapons. The most powerful weapon ever devised by our fiendish minds was the Soviet-era nuclear device nicknamed “Tsar Bomba.”  At close to 50 megatons, Tsar Bomba packed a wallop more than 1000 times the destructive force of all the bombs with which we slammed the door on World War II COMBINED.

Seen from inside the eco-freaks’ environmentally-sensitive yurts, we are just plain bad news, man. However, seen from outside the asylum, it’s easy to spot someone whose catastrophic competence makes every ICBM look like a potato gun by comparison:

It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

As of this writing, Japan is facing the long recovery from last week’s Sendai earthquake, a seismic event which registered 9.0 on the Richter scale. That’s the energy equivalent of almost ten times the force of Tsar Bomba. The quake which produced the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was almost 3 times as powerful as the Sendai Quake. And the impact event which sent T-Rex to that Jurassic Park in the sky was good for about 100 teratons. That’s a right cross 20,000 times as heavy as Tsar Bomba. If that doesn’t give you a sense of humility, then try this on for size: In 2004, astronomers observed a starquake on a neutron star which expelled 4.2×1029 tons of energy. That’s “Michael Moore, Rosie O’Donnell and Ed Schultz fall down an elevator shaft together” power.

In the wake of the Sendai disaster, much like Hurricane Katrina, the Indonesian quake, and every other natural disaster which befalls us fragile tenants of this planet, liberals have attempted to appropriate the carnage for their own delusional purposes.

According to Staffan Nilsson, president of the European Economic and Social Committee:

“Has not the time come to demonstrate on solidarity—not least solidarity in combating and adapting to climate change and global warming?  Mother Nature has again given us a sign that that is what we need to do…”

So, liberals are so desperate to maintain their façade of cosmic strength that they’re pinning the Sendai event on an anecdotal (not to mention unrelated) theory invented by the same guy who just hired Keith Olbermann? Get over yourselves; you’re really not that impressive.

Some have even endeavored to blame the ongoing nuclear crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant on the dangers of nuclear power, as opposed to—say—the dangers of monster earthquakes. According to one poster at the leftist website Huffington Post:

“This proves nukes are too dangerous.”

But not as dangerous as selling out to AOL, right?

What is happening in Sendai was a damnable, tragic shame. But what happened in Japan, like what happened in Chernobyl, wasn’t a result of man’s careless tinkering with the power of the atom—well, Chernobyl actually was a result of SOVIET man tinkering with the power of the atom. But Japanese nuclear power isn’t run by Igor, who’s spending work hours trafficking in illicit Levi’s or Nikita, who’s been sloshed since before Brezhnev’s eyebrows took over his face.

What is happening at Sendai is too BIG for Man… but not for his Mother.

I’m not taking a cavalier stance about the environment. There’s no reason to pour Pennzoil in the Gulf of Mexico. It doesn’t make the Gulf run more smoothly after 70,000 miles and it makes the kids tough to catch when it’s time to go back to the hotel. Nor is there any good reason to throw your THIRSTBUSTER 64OZ on the side of the road. (Fill those things with sand and they make for great ashtrays. Look at me recycle. I’m living green, baby!)

But there’s also no good reason to elevate ourselves above our station in the universe. Our dear Mother Earth reminds us of our infantile prowess from time to time and she did again in Sendai. She’ll probably do it again. Actually, if we hang on for about 5 billion years, the Sun is still going to evict us with more energy than has ever existed on earth.

Take Dad’s advice: Don’t mess with your mother.

Give The People What They Want

In the March 7 edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, liberal columnist Eugene Kane fired another salvo at the Democrat Party’s target-du-jour, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In the piece “Scott Walker, Charlie Sheen: In the same boat?” Kane compares Walker to the erstwhile star of the sitcom “Two and Half Men.”

While Kane’s method is a bit hackneyed, his vertex from the poster boy for “Just Say No” to the Cheesehead State’s Horatio at the Bridge—fending off the Democrat/SEIU Etruscan Horde—is somewhat understandable. Being a liberal, Kane is writing for liberals. Being a Wisconsin liberal, Kane is writing for the same teachers’ union layabouts, professional protesters and run-of-the-mill thugs serving in the Democrats’ ongoing war against the children of Wisconsin.

The fact that Kane reached for this particular metaphor should serve as a cautionary note about the growing acceptance of otherwise marginal personalities as cultural icons. While political bloviations from ill-informed (George Clooney), deliberately duplicitous (Dan Rather) or just plain crazy (Rosie O’Donnell) celebrities isn’t new, the establishment of an intellectual equivalency between them and those whose prestige is based on some semblance of accomplishment beyond starring in some ham-fisted sequel (Clooney), destroying an entire news organizations’ credibility (Rather), or being just plain crazy (O’Donnell) appears to be gathering steam.

I’ll call it the celebutization of America. While it might not necessarily portend the decline and fall of our civilization, it does serve to lower the nature of the national discourse. When Oprah’s endorsement of President Barack Obama is considered momentous, real examination of his presidential acumen falls by the wayside.

For the sake of balance, when Mike Huckabee takes to the airwaves to decry unwed Natalie Portman’s pregnancy, Huckabee is diminishing the real issue of broken homes and fatherless children. When Lady Gaga is asked her (his? its?) opinion on… well… anything, we lose collective IQ points. Actually, I suspect the mere existence of Lady Gaga may be costing us a few in that column.

Be honest. When was the last time you heard some Hollywood talking mannequin offer a pronouncement on anything bigger than makeup and hair care that wasn’t mind-numbingly stupid?

“I am like so like glad you know that um… like Obama is totally like the President, you know? Cause like I am soo bummed that there’s like… war for oil and stuff. Oh, and go see Babez’n’Wheelz 4!”

We can do better than the absurdity of celebrity support of Obama for President, environmental protections for the Endangered Northern Idaho tree ferret and/or free abortions for Gabonese 8-year-olds.

In the 1960s, noisy liberal entertainers were… noisy. By the 1990s, they were making policy. Remember the infamous Alar hearings in 1989? Hey, Meryl Streep—stop it. While you’re at it, stop with the ABBA movies, as well. Ted Danson and Laura Dern are afraid the human race will die in a global warming inferno? Laura, you already look sickly. Ted, feed her an organic… something.

In 1997 a truly decent woman passed away after years of service to those in need. Although she was famous, she never sought the limelight and indeed seemed somewhat uncomfortable in its glare. She bore without complaint the deprivations of life with those whom she sought to comfort. She even won a Nobel Prize back in the days when it was worth more than an after-dinner mint at Spago. When she passed away, stories of her death were overshadowed by a bigger headline from five days prior.

If only Mother Theresa had looked better in a Versace pantsuit she might have been more celebrated than Princess Diana.

The world is afire with battles between oppressors and the oppressed. Our economy teeters on a precipice. Our President is the most colossally inept executive since Carter, if not Harding. These stories and more, coming up!

But first: Lindsay Lohan is drunk, Paris Hilton is silly and some rapper is dead.

The Rush Is On

On the afternoon of March 2, Arid Uka murdered two American service personnel during an attack at the Frankfurt International Airport. In the days following the attack, German officials identified Uka—who evidently shouted “Allahu Akbar!” as he fired—as a “quickly radicalized” Muslim and a part of a known network of al-Qaida sympathizers.

As information filtered out, President Barack Obama responded through a State Department mouthpiece named P.J. Crowley, cautioning against a rush to judgment:

"…look at the evidence and look at the motivation and then you make a judgment.”

A Muslim with known al-Qaida connections targeted and murdered Americans. I can see how Obama/Crowley might be confused about the motivation.

So what does it take to earn a terrorist designation in the opinion of the Democrat Party? Is there a jihadi decoder ring? Does the shooter have to show his autographed Ayman al-Zawahiri baseball card? Maybe Uka is merely a gentle shepherd, pushed over the edge of sanity after Ellie the ewe broke it off, and he wasn’t yelling Allahu Akbar, but “Ellie, you broke my heart!” (I’m leaving that one in, even though I know I shouldn’t. Sometimes, I like to see if Mr. Livingston is awake.)

Being a magnanimous sort, after a fashion, I thought I might offer my fellow Bob Livingstonians a primer on recognizing real terrorists when you see them.

The middle-aged woman waving the Tea Party sign protesting against union thugs and Obama’s now globally-recognized ineptitude before heading home to put pot pies on the table for her husband and two obnoxious tykes isn’t a terrorist; even when’s she’s holding up the line at the grocery store because those tykes are squalling for candy.

The guy with the rifle slung over his back at the Obama appearance in Arizona isn’t a terrorist; he’s not even breaking the law. The guy with the rifle slung over his back guarding the entrance to the Northern Nihilist’s Campground and Bomb-making Academy probably is.

People who donate to the Tea Party are not terrorists. To be fair, neither are donors to Media Matters for America or Moveon.org. The latter groups might be overrun by pathologically dishonest hypocrites, but they’re not terrorists.

Glenn Beck is not a terrorist, nor is Rush Limbaugh. Lawrence O’Donnell is also not a terrorist, nor is Rachel Maddow. The latter two are simpering idiots, which isn’t a crime, just a requirement for membership in the mainstream media.

Michael Moore is not a terrorist. He’s a corpulent gasbag who profited off the same nation he’s made a huge pile criticizing, but the only person who should be TERRIFIED of Moore is the guy who just bought the last triple-bacon megameal at the local McFatburger. I’ll bet Moore is deceptively quick when bacon is involved.

The guy who prays five times a day to Allah is not necessarily a terrorist. The guy who prays five times a day to Allah for success in his suicide bombing of the local Pizza Hut is. Speaking of religious crackpots; Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps isn’t a terrorist. His creepy acolytes also don’t meet the terrorist standard; although they certainly do meet the “makes observers nauseous” standard.

When exactly did we start worrying about the feelings of actual terrorists? Whose feelings are we trying to spare? Liberal mouthpieces began bloviating about the likelihood of psychopath Jared Loughner’s political motivations while the scent of gunpowder still hung in the Tucson air, but when some fruitcake shouts “Allah Akbar!” while firing on a couple of American service personnel at an airport, we have to avoid a “rush to judgment.”

A YouTube video is currently making the rounds amongst those who list to port politically. It displays a crowd shouting at mostly Muslim attendees at a fundraising event in California. The video purports to display racism, xenophobia and the basic evil which lurks in the hearts of conservatives. The protesters are perhaps a bit on the outrageous side, but none of them compares to the group which posted the video: a sub-cell of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Unlike the Tea Party, CAIR has well-established ties to the terrorist group HAMAS.

I have heard liberals condemn the Tea Party as “American Taliban.” But where’s the condemnation of CAIR? For that matter, where’s the condemnation of Arid Uka?

Take your time, Democrats. There’s no rush.

Peace In Our Time

In 2009, the Nobel Committee awarded that year’s coveted peace prize to President Barack Obama of the United States of America for:

“…his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”

At least two nations have brazenly begun developing nukes since Obama took up residence in the White House. So… how’s that world without nukes working out for you, Mr. President?

Keep in mind, at the moment Obama snared the Stanley Cup of Statesmanship he had been playing above the minor league level for a solid four years — placing him in the esteemed company of such noteworthy dignitaries as Jimmy Carter (presumably, Obama doesn’t hate Jews quite as much as the Bumpkin from Plains, Ga.).

It should be noted that the Nobel Prize has also been handed to ex-Vice President and globetrotting hypocrite Al Gore for his inane and pseudo-scientific lecture series: “An Inconveniently Manipulated Mass of Purely Anecdotal Evidence.” Sadly, much like the cash prize which accompanies it, the Nobel Prize just ain’t worth what it used to be.

Hell, they even buried Islamofascist terrorist Yasser Arafat with a Nobel. If Osama bin Laden gets photographed shaking hands with Jerry Seinfeld, will his Nobel be in the mail?

 Flash forward to March, 2011, and Obama’s Season of Hope has degraded into the spring of his discontent. The man who was hailed by Leftists foreign and domestic as everything from the savior of earthly peace to the savior of mankind itself (thereby usurping the Savior of Mankind) now faces a planet which is rapidly spinning out of control.

Last Thanksgiving Kim Jong Il, who splits his time between owning North Korea and shopping for track suits in the big’n’tall section at Tinpots’R’Us, decided to ring in the ascension of his “son” Kim Jong-un by shelling South Korea. Even the Chicoms, the only real friends Jong Il has left (in this dimension), were a bit concerned. Nobel Prizewinner Obama “deplored” the evil dwarf of the North’s actions, then… flew to Indiana to visit an auto plant.

Speaking of creepy little dictators, when thousands of Iranians took to the streets Tuesday in Tehran to protest both the continued repression of liberty in that Islamofascist republic and as a continuation of the 2009 protests of Dictator Ahmadinejad’s bald-faced theft of the elections, the hard-liners again opened fire. Obama kept to the theme established by his administration during the recent upheaval across the Middle East, and responded by… asking Americans to stop “vilifying” the union thugs running rampant in Wisconsin.

Libya is falling apart, and beginning to show signs of becoming an al-Qaida Caliphate. According to Al Arabiya:

“Al-Qaeda (sic) has established an emirate in Derna led by Abdelkarim al-Hasadi, a former Guantanamo detainee… they have begun to impose the burqa and have executed people who refuse to cooperate with them."

Obama has responded with murmurs of financial sanctions, including freezing Libyan assets (which worked so well against Castro, Botha, Mugabe, Assad and North Korea’s Kim boys, to name a few). During the presidency of George W. Bush — who never won a Nobel — Moammar Gadhafi shut down his weapons of mass destruction program and hid under the table. Now, likely emboldened by Obama’s transparent rhetoric, Gaddafi is mowing down opponents with impunity.

Islamofascism is threatening to topple regimes from Tunisia to Pakistan. Even the Saudis just wrote a “please don’t kill us” check for $36 billion last week.

Granted, the Saudis can probably dig $36 billion out of their couch cushions, but the fact that they felt compelled to do so is noteworthy. Oman, Yemen and cute little Bahrain are facing possible revolutions.

While the unrest in those locales serves to give network talking heads a chance to employ Google Earth at a whole new level — not to mention the opportunity to name-drop King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (which never gets old, by the way), it suggests a geopolitical situation which has spiraled beyond our grasp.

We’re still fighting in Afghanistan. Actually, we’re still fighting in Iraq, despite Obama’s lamentable efforts to convince us otherwise.

When Obama was elected, his sycophants assured us that his ascent would restore America’s good name across the world. If Obama’s Operation Restore Prestige is going to start, it had better happen soon. Perhaps he should focus on the declining respect his ineptitude has engendered in the Middle East; as opposed to defending union thugs in the Midwest.

The way he’s going, he might as well open discussions with the Islamofascists about annexing the Sudetenland.

A Koch And A Smile

I set a task for myself this past weekend. Well, I set a couple of tasks for myself this weekend; but one of them did not involve drinking beer and eating food which would so enrage Michelle Obama that she would get up from her 1,500 calorie plate of ribs and fly back from her latest luxurious sojourn to lecture me on the evils of eating… well… like she does.

I thought I might sift through the rage which the Democrats and their union thugs spew at the schoolchildren and concerned residents of Wisconsin and pick out the most creative epithet which has made its way into the repertoires of the mass of mouth-breathers fronted by Service Employees International Union gangsters and backed by President Barack Obama himself.

Regular patrons of the Personal Liberty Digest are well aware of the mendacity with which liberals from the lowliest knuckle-dragger in the SEIU battalion to the millionaire sock puppets in the mainstream media defame conservatives. My personal favorite: “teabagger.” Listening to some self-important, liberal-talking hairdo use a sexualized epithet to describe people who don’t live according to Democrat Party talking points is always such a treat.

Of late, however, the drones have been issued a new pejorative to propel at their intellectual betters. I caught it tumbling out of the blowholes of some of the union thugs trying to do to Wisconsin what they’ve done to Detroit:

“Koch whore.”

Hey, it’s a little double entendre! See—because there are people who sell their bodies for cocaine, but the conservatives fighting to save the children of Wisconsin, jobs for their neighbors and American prosperity from the Democrat/Union thug Axis have sold their souls to the Koch Brothers—get it? How marvelous! How artistic! How obvious it is that most of the Democrat/Union thugs have no idea who the Koch Brothers are (much less what a “double entendre is”) beyond “evil because Rachel Maddow says so.”

Of late, the Democrats have had their media working overtime to enlighten their masses. An obviously coordinated smear campaign has stretched from the usual outlets like The New York Times to more isolated corners of the media world; like the moribund remains of The New Yorker and the racist lynch mob at Common Cause.

One Democrat named Ian Murphy, noted for an online rant entitled “F*** The Troops,” even went so far as to place a prank phone call to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker while posing as David Koch. After a reported 20 minutes of indelicate prodding by Murphy-as-Koch, Walker revealed that he wants the best for his State; which is anathematic to the Democrat/Union cabal.

Rather than feel deflated by Murphy’s failure to flimflam Walker into making a comment reflecting their own increasingly unhinged and violent rhetoric, or even deplore Murphy’s underhanded (and unsuccessful) duplicity; Democrats managed to convince themselves that story was all about Koch’s ties to Walker.

None of the mainstream media focused on the fact that Koch never actually called Walker—the caller was a de facto Democrat operative. So, a liberal lied (again), failed in his objective, and they all declare victory? Um… congratulations?

Just who are the Koch Brothers? Who are these bugaboos who inspire liberals to check under their beds and sleep with the lights on? Charles and David Koch are, in actuality, the primary owners of Koch Industries, a privately-owned conglomerate with roots in industries ranging from paper to petroleum. Their multibillion dollar business currently provides jobs to nearly 100,000 people.

Likely spurred by their enormous success (not to mention the success their efforts have delivered to others), the Kochs have donated time and resources to the conservative movement in order to facilitate a push for greater economic prosperity for people beyond their circle of cronies. Given the Democrat Party’s increasingly strident opposition to free markets and free people, the Kochs have earned proverbial—and literal—crosshairs on their backs.

In a sense the Kochs are similar to Democrat sugar daddy George Soros, except none of the recipients of the Koch’s largesse have:

  • Called for the murder of Supreme Court Justices and their families. (Common Cause)
  • Claimed perjury by a Democrat President should not be a cause for legal action. (Moveon.org)
  • Provided material support to Islamofascist terrorists. (Lynne Stewart)
  • Provided funding to eco-terrorist groups. (The Tides Foundation)
  • Murdered police officers. (Mumia Abu-Jamal and Troy Anthony Davis)

Maybe I should work on my Soros impression; then phone the White House. I’ll bet the President takes my call.

Give Us Enough Rope

Believe it or not, the partisan style of American politics is a blessing. Granted, we all have moments when we yearn for a more civilized discourse; or at least, one that doesn’t involve Lawrence O’Donnell trying to convince viewers that he’s earnest. (I thought he had a weird facial tic.) But even a casual glance at the madness which has spread across the parts of the world which most Americans can’t find with a map and a copy of Fodor’s should serve to remind you that you’re pretty damned lucky you don’t live in Jihadistan; or one of the growing roster of countries which shoot people with an affinity for jasmine (the Chinese are going to have to stop pirating DVD’s of Disney’s Aladdin).

In the wake of lunatic Jared Loughner’s attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), President Barack Obama issued a call for “civility.” Americans heeded that call for about the same length of time it took the Democrats to formulate “Sarah Palin did it” talking points for the corporate media. By the time Obama delivered his annual “it’s STILL Bush’s fault” address, the interaction between Left and Right was back from somewhat muted rumblings to full-throated cacophony.

Now Americans are witnessing the Democrat Party/Big Labor Operation Sour Milk (author’s note: The DNC is free to use that one, with proper citation) in the Cheesehead State. Union thugs, perhaps emboldened by their recent victories in rumbles with the patients at Shady Acres Senior Stop, are roaring in unison with everyone from the actual Communist Party to House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi to Obama himself.

There are the usual — and becoming somewhat clichéd — depictions of Governor Scott Walker as… well, I’m guessing Hitler; but possibly Charlie Chaplin. Either some of these protestors received their artistic instruction from one of those late-night television “drawing schools,” or the Service Employees International Union has a huge number of fans of the Little Tramp.

Last weekend, I posted a link on Facebook to a report in The Washington Post about the Wisconsin Democrats’ cowardly — and enormously unproductive — bail jump to a bar in Illinois. The attendant discussion started in the usual manner: Fun and friendly digs at Democrats, followed by comical and calm-headed retorts to Republicans.

And then all hell broke loose. Again.

Around 50 remarks into to the thread, two of my friends were planning to meet up and — as one put it: “Beat the sh*t” out of each other. I actually know both of these cats, and they’re both pretty good guys, even though one of them is a hardcore liberal, and therefore has his head politically crammed into his posterior. Their war of words — and almost more — got me thinking:

“In ‘Jihadistan,’ we’d all be shot.”

Then, I mused upon the fact that I have quite a few friends who have it completely wrong about politics. Some of these pals are rather open-mouthed about their liberalism. Some of them are even funny — on purpose; which in no way diminishes their wrongheadedness.

I have never wished to shoot, stab, garrote, or throat-punch any of them; although I freely admit that I’ve considered the old backhand upside the head on occasion. But they’re all like brothers and sisters to me and I would happily lay the proverbial smackdown on anyone who tried to step into them. I’d like to think they’d do the same on my behalf. (That’s a presumption. Some questions are better left unanswered, and all that.)

Among these “traveler” pals of mine:

  • A lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer, at that. But he knows good scotch and good cigars. He does suck at golf, but you have to love him for getting out there. At least he’s not one of those pansies over on the tennis courts.
  • A dyed-in-the-wool liberal who ran for office as a Democrat. He often talks about soccer as if it’s interesting. It isn’t — but he is. He does root for Notre Dame with the same eternal (and recently unrewarded optimism) with which I cheer on the Irish. He’s also about the coolest cat I have ever met, other than my own father. If I ever met someone who didn’t like him I wouldn’t want to meet that person twice.
  • A newspaper editor. Here’s a guy who once managed to work his hatred of George W. Bush into an editorial about a local homicide. I think his writing is hackneyed and whiny. He thinks my writing is… well… he doesn’t think it’s good. Meanwhile, his views on “looking for the union label” are not too different from mine. He’s also an avid gun guy and would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with many of us if the “time” came. When the stuff hits the fan, I suspect shooting straight is going to be a much more valuable piece of talent than writing political tracts, on either side.
  • An old school 60s retread-type who thinks all conservatives are GOP-Bots programmed by Roger Ailes. This guy actually once told me the United Nations is a WORTHWHILE organization. The UN is about as worthwhile as the Department of Education. UN-apologist though he might be, he has successfully hit a major league curveball, driven an actual race car over 200 mph and partied with some legendary rockstars and lived to tell some amazing stories about it.
  • A gay couple. They’re not even AMERICANS. However, they’re worldly, erudite, and incredibly interesting. A visit to their dining room table means a BIG step up from mac ‘n’ cheese. I only see them once a year, but I look forward to it throughout the rest of the calendar’s pages.

Not one of these guys is stupid. Each of them is worthwhile, in their own way. I debate with them, make fun of them, mock them and occasionally fight with them. I do NOT draw pictures of them made up as Hitler, nor do I Photoshop crosshairs over their faces.

Look, people: I’m not asking for some new-agey nonsense. Go ahead and drop the rhetorical hammer on those whom you deem deserving of a nail or two. I know I will continue to do so until Mr. Livingston decides he could fill my column inches with old “Family Circus” reprints. But there’s no reason for us all to behave like SEIU thugs, teachers’ union layabouts, and Nancy Pelosi.

There’s a big difference between:

Obama is a babbling, Alinsky-ite boob who is to the Presidency what the quarter pounder is to a kobe steak burger at Morton’s. He is grossly incompetent, elitist and appears to be almost pathologically mendacious.”

And:

“Obama is a goose-stepping, modern-day Hitler.”

That’s a bad allegory, given how the goose-steppers in question would have taken a dim view of someone of Obama’s complexion in their ranks. Plus, Obama’s chicken-legged frame would look ludicrous in jodhpurs.

Fight on, my friends, my countrymen, my fellow Bob Livingstonians. But remember the sage advice attributed to Benjamin Franklin (who would doubtless be appalled by the goings-on of late):

“If we don’t hang together, we will surely hang separately.”

State of Disunion

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States. During the depths of the Great Depression, Roosevelt’s New Deal, inaccurately credited with rescuing the nation’s economy, threw open the United States Treasury in an outpouring of feel-good, make-work programs which would have put even John Maynard Keynes (not to mention FDR’s pal Papa Joe Stalin) to shame.

Of course, students of mid-20th Century history are well aware that Roosevelt’s efforts to restore economic sanity to a nation reeling from the twin calamities of disasters man-made (the stock market crash and attendant economic fallout) and natural (the dust bowl) failed. The re-recession of 1937 proved that conclusively. FDR managed to hang on in office until World War II came along and a wartime economy ramped into full swing.

However, despite his socialistic — although not when it came to his own financial circumstances — attitudes, FDR did have a basic grasp of one theory: Government jobs. He certainly should have, since the New Deal put more than 15 million people on the government payroll. In a letter to Luther C. Steward, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees in 1937, FDR wrote:

"… the process of collective bargaining… cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people…”

Translated from the “excessively verbose politico-babble”:

“People whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers should treat their employers with a little respect.”

I suspect a casual poll of the union thugs, Democrat Party operatives and “teachers” currently engaged in the President Barack Obama-approved Operation Sour Milk in Madison, Wis., would reveal an almost unanimously positive opinion of the Hero of Hyde Park. Given that most of them likely don’t know more about economics than whatever’s printed on the cocktail napkins at AFL-CIO conventions, I further suspect that none have ever heard FDR’s prescient condemnation of their current actions.

Whether it’s Madison Teachers, Inc., the National Education Association or the International Brotherhood of First Ladies’ Food Tasters, a government-employee union demanding collective bargaining rights is essentially asking for the right to demand perks without input from their employers.

Hence, FDR’s warning: Unlike companies in the private sector, a government-employee union collectively bargaining with our elected representatives leads to — at best, a standoff in which both sides are employed by the taxpayers; at worst, collusion between two of the three interested parties. The Democrat/Union attacks on the taxpayer (and schoolchildren of Madison) manage to be both.

In essence, we’re paying our employees to rail against us. We’re also paying the freight to bus in their communist compadres, the Democrats who decided they would bounce to Illinois, the prosecutions of the doctors who committed fraud by issuing fake sick-out notes, any substitutes who have to be called in so the kids don’t forget where Wisconsin is on a map of… Wisconsin, and — and this is my favorite part — the people who will have to clean up the mess from Operation Sour Milk.

Before some of our port-side participants begin panting about the union employees’ fair claim to representation, allow me to point out that union labor represents less than 12 percent of the workforce, with fewer than half of those unionized members of a government employee union. Nevertheless, Obama and the Democrats have sided with this admittedly noisy minority out of deference to their own political passions (not to mention their job security). They’ve taken an active physical, financial and rhetorical role in the Madison melee — an admission of their complicity. Our (the taxpayers’) interests have taken a backseat to those of the unions.

A look at the Democrats’ donnybrook in Madison tells the story: Democrat legislators are skipping the State and union thugs are skipping work (just imagine how many naps, snack breaks and beatings of senior citizens are being missed while the Democrat Party’s Service Employees International Union stormtroopers are kicking the tar out of the taxpayers in the Cheesehead State). And the whole thing has the Obama seal of approval.

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan warned the members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers union not to strike. They did, and he fired them. Despite their mass termination, the airlines continued losing passenger baggage without interruption.

It’s time for Governor Scott Walker to take the handoff from the Gipper and spike the ball in the Democrats’ end zone. Come on, Governor Walker, win one for the Taxpayer!

The Teachable Moment

Welcome to Madison, Wis., the capital of Cheesehead Country. Sorry about the mess.

Backed by money, volunteers and rhetoric from Democrats ranging from the ill-kempt professional protestor types all the way to President Barack Obama himself (“assault on unions”), the far left is out in force in Wisconsin’s capital bearing placards ranging from the now-ubiquitous “Republican-as-Hitler” mock-ups to images of sniper’s crosshairs superimposed over Governor Scott Walker’s face. So… I guess we can assume that Obama’s calls for “civility” were more of a guideline than an actual rule.

Among the thousands of Democrats loafing, lollygagging and otherwise doing nothing productive — no, I do not consider making “Walker = Mubarak” signs in what appears to be crayon productive — is a sizeable contingent of teachers. Note I didn’t say TEACHERS’ UNIONS, although Big Labor has spent thousands busing in on-call shriekers to join in the Big Wisconsin Whinefest; I said “teachers.”

Despite averaging a little more than $100,000 per year in compensation, the stewards of Madison’s youth are taking a little field trip. Wisconsin public schools are currently sitting idle as a result of a coordinated sick-out staged by the teachers. According to local teachers’ union executive director John Matthews:

“We have only one day where we can make a difference, and it’s because of the ridiculous means by which the governor tried to shove this down the throats of public employees…"

Here I was under the impression that teachers are supposed to make a difference EVERY DAY. Evidently, that maxim gets defenestrated (find me a teachers’ union victim who knows what THAT means without a dictionary and two wrong guesses) when the Governor of Wisconsin asks them to cover insurance premiums at a still-paltry 12 percent instead of their current 5 percent. By the way, the 12 percent number would still place the exceptionally well-compensated Madison teachers in the best-covered 15 percent of regional employees. I suppose the teachers could figure that out, but that might require basic math skills. Perhaps the sick-out participants are all social studies instructors.

But the Madison teachers are doing a great deal more than simply walking out on their charges. They’re also indoctrinating them. According to Madison school system policy:

“…teachers shall refrain from exploiting the institutional privileges of their professional positions to promote candidates or parties and activities…”

It would appear Madison-area teachers were playing hooky the day they taught “rules by which you must abide to keep your job” in union school. These fine folk are also forbidden from taking a personal day with less than three days’ notice. And as far as tantrums go, wait until all the sick-out-ers find out that their paychecks will be docked for their fake sick days.

Some of the teachers did go the extra mile, taking Matthews’ suggestion that their hissy-fit provided what he called a “teachable moment.” According to one teachers’ union victim at Madison East High School:

“…some (teachers) were telling students they wouldn’t be marked absent if they walked out.”

Get ‘em while they’re young, right? Other teachers actually dragged their charges to the protests where the fragile youth acknowledged their guides through the pitfalls of academe had done just as good a job teaching them about labor issues as they have teaching them the three R’s. East High students acknowledged they had been brought along on the walkout, but with a government school understanding of why:

“…You know, I don’t really even know! I guess we’re protesting today!”

OMG! Our teacher is so, like, you know, kickass?

“Um… we’re trying to stop whatever this dude is doing.”

Totally.

The students are far from the only participants failing “outrank Albania in academic achievement.” Big Labor has developed some serious delusions in Madison. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2412 President Gary Mitchell actually thinks the kids are getting involved in the demonstrations because they just love their teachers:

“The students have been so energized…”

I’m sure the students are in no way motivated by the fact that they’re getting extra “make out in Betty’s basement while her parents are at work” time.

Former teachers’ union president Albert Shanker said:

“"When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children."

What happened to: “The children are our future?” Hey, Big Labor — you’re late for class.

Cards On The Table

As soon as President Barack Obama ascended to the White House through a campaign of overt race-baiting, the Tea Party ascended to wield real clout in the conservative wing of American politics. Simultaneously, the economy headed South for the winter (cold weather brought on by sport-utility vehicles.)

The rise of the Tea Party movement inside, or at least attendant to, the Republican Party, has carried with it the predictable response from the Left:

“Racist.”

Talk about sensible economic policy (a national debt lower than 13 FIGURES) and you must hate black people. Push for sensible immigration policy (an illegal immigrant population lower than the population of Guatemala) and you hate Hispanics. And should you dare suggest that Obama isn’t the modern incarnation of the Son of Man himself, prepare for rhetorical stones the size of Mount Everest to rocket in your direction.

The Democrat party is quite fond of describing itself as “the party of the big tent.” Lately, it occurs to me that the “big tent” is fairly fragile.

Here at Personal Liberty Digest, we have demonstrated the essential hypocrisy at the heart of liberalism. While the Left has generally shrugged off such accusations with that eyes-closed scoff they evidently learn in liberal school, their own words are even harder to ignore than a thoughtful essay by Bob Livingston, a detailed analysis by Chip Wood, a brilliant thesis by John Myers or a well-timed crack by yours truly. (I would have described my commentaries as “thoughtful,” “detailed,” or “brilliant,” but Bob, Chip and John get first dibs on modifiers.)

Liberal hypocrisy has become so ubiquitous that acknowledging it is clichéd. Whether it’s Al Gore demanding we adopt luddite lifestyles while he leaves “carbon footprints” the size of the Grand Canyon; Nancy Pelosi bloviating about the plight of the poor while living like Croesus; or Obama lecturing about belt-tightening while his wife lounges with a few dozen of her closest friends at a lush five-star resort, the watchwords of the Left always seem to boil down to a mockery of the old parental saw: “Do as we say, not as we do.”

At the bottom of the liberal barrel is their ace in the hole: The race card. Of all the oratorical outrages visited upon us by the Democrats in the Age of Obama, the race card is the most aggravatingly overused. Even Jon Stewart, who is no more conservative than the editorial board of The New York Times, suggested in a recent skit that the race card has been “maxed out.”

And yet, professional parasites like Al Sharpton continue to wield power; and putty-faced Democrats continue to use “racist” as an ersatz punctuation mark in debates over everything from Obamacare to immigration policy.

Two weeks ago, Common Cause held a demonstration at which their members were videotaped proudly calling for the lynching of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. During last week’s CPAC conference, millionaire businessman Herman Cain delivered a stirring call in support of true conservative values, only to be lambasted on liberal website Alternet in shocking terms. According to self-described “respectable negro” Chauncey DeVega:

“…I find black garbage pail kids (black conservatives) fascinating not because of what they believe, but rather because of how they entertain and perform for their White Conservative masters.”

Herman Cain may be a lot of things — I am certainly no fan of Godfather’s Pizza — but “garbage pail kid” seems a bit off the reservation. DeVega was far from finished:

“…Herman Cain’s shtick is a version of race minstrelsy where he performs ‘authentic negritude’…”

I believe the kids would call that a “facepalm” moment. DeVega went on to describe the immensely successful and respected Cain as a “monkey.” I “Googled” “Chauncey DeVega Herman Cain.” After a seventh page of results which included absolutely no mainstream media outlets, I gave up. Granted, there are some pressing issues which deserve attention. However, I suspect if a prominent conservative compared Obama to one of our simian cousins, their career would be in DeVega’s “garbage pail” faster than you can say “respectable negro.”

The conservative movement probably contains some racist elements. But, conservatives with IQ’s higher than teenage pop stars abhor, marginalize and ultimately shun bigotry when they encounter it. Liberals won’t acknowledge the same among their ranks; even when it’s calling a respected American a “monkey.”

We need to have a real conversation about some serious issues in this country. But until we can be honest with each other — we will never be “free at last, free at last, great God almighty, free at last.”

God’s Little Acre

As 2010 became 2011, the people of Tunisia, spurred on by a random incident of police brutality, awoke from the slumber of oppression and took to the streets. Within days their government was high-tailing it for quieter climes.

Then the 30-year old regime of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak was beset by thundering masses. Despots in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Algeria warily eye similar rumblings. Even the quietude of Amman, Jordan, ruled with a reasonably light touch by benevolent monarch King Abdullah II, has been interrupted by ominous rumblings of late.

Meanwhile, the United States, tied to the region through multi-billion dollar aid to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and regional pariah Israel, has responded with… well… Leon Panetta is still watching CNN.

Now, the governance of Egypt has fallen to the military; meaning the new boss may be no better than the old boss. The takeover, seen by many as a coup, has spawned not only a new round of concerns about the direction of the most-populous nation in the Arab world, but a veritable tsunami of cheap jokes based on Who lyrics.

Egypt’s military have issued opaque “communiqués” promising their ultimate goal is to:

"…discuss what measures and arrangements could be taken to safeguard the homeland… and the aspirations of the great Egyptian people."

That would presume that the Egyptian military, which until recently held out Mubarak as an icon (Mubarak is a former Air Force commander and is considered a hero from Egypt’s second place finish in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war), has the same idea about the aspirations for “the great Egyptian people” as do “the great Egyptian people.”

Behind this whole tableau is the shadowy hand of an increasingly important group named the Muslim Brotherhood. Though the Obama administration’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has described them as a “"largely secular" group that has "eschewed violence," the reality is that an influential Muslim Brotherhood is nothing approaching good news for Western interests, or even Egyptian interests which don’t share the same aspirations as the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a worldwide organization, the oldest active Islamist group in the world. Though there is some debate about their goals, there is no ignoring the mountain of evidence suggesting that those goals are nefarious by non-nefarious standards. There are reputable reports of ties to terrorist groups like HAMAS and Hezbollah. In the words of former White House counterterrorism Chief Juan Zarate:

"The Muslim Brotherhood is a group that worries us not because it deals with philosophical or ideological ideas but because it defends the use of violence against civilians."

The Brotherhood’s key figures also have ties to Osama bin Laden through Youssef Nada and the Al Taqwa group, which is alleged to have served in a financial advisory capacity to al-Qaida for some time.

With the Brotherhood taking the potential foray in upheaval in the Middle East, the question turns to the role the United States might play in the unfolding drama. Although some might immediately suggest that the United States should stay the hell out of internal affairs in the region, I would counter that that camel has already strolled. Moreover, an isolationist U.S. leaves an influence/intelligence gap wider than the Suez Canal.

With recent polling indicating that the majority of respondents would appreciate a more stringent type of Islamist system. A recent Pew poll showed that 95 percent of Egyptians would prefer Islam play a “large role in politics.” Read: No separation of mosque and state. The same poll also revealed “84 percent favor the death penalty for people who leave the Muslim faith.” Get thee to a mosque, Mr. President, and make it snappy.

President Barack Obama, like Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter before him, is operating under the misapprehension that freedom and democracy mean the same thing to Akbar, Haji and Muhammad as they do to Tom, Dick and Harry. The Islamist beliefs of many in the Middle East color their worldview to include Sharia, stoning and the subjugation of women; all anathematic to Americans (except perhaps that last one — relative to ex-wives).

Somewhere between George W. Bush’s “shoot first, ask about a transitional government later” style of diplomacy and Obama’s “WHAT happened in ‘Tunafish-ea’?” obliviousness is the likely proper path. Obama and his minions “diplomacy via television” has trapped America in God’s little acre:

East of the rock, west of the hard place.

Forgetting Ronald Reagan

All right, this needs to stop before it gets completely out of hand. Even President Barack Obama is doing it these days: “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America…” And you’re hard at work changing it back; right, Mr. President?

I met Reagan once. I was a kid, barely old enough to reach the copies of National Review at the book store. It was 1980, and he stopped in my town to remind us how much worse off we all were than we had been four years ago. To the best of my recollection, dark-horse Presidential candidate John Anderson came through town the following week, but by then he might as well have been a zebra on the track at the Kentucky Derby. The real jackass in the race never visited my town.

His physical stature paled next to his ineffable presence. He filled the room, and when he spoke to you, even if you were a snot-nosed kid who was never going to be able to vote for him, he was speaking to you. I immediately liked him.

He reminded me of my father.

Ronald Reagan reminded everyone of their fathers. At least, he reminded them of the fathers they grew up watching on television. Reagan would have understood that there was NO WAY you were the one who sliced a three-wood off the back porch into the neighbors’ garage; and besides, the neighbors were jerks anyway — putting their house right there.

As evidenced by the stampede of Democrats who cast ballots in Reagan’s favor in 1984, he was nearly everything to everyone. Reagan was the proud patriot who eulogized the heroes of Pointe Du Hoc. He was the indestructible superhero who shrugged off an assassin’s bullet while being wheeled into surgery. He was the soft-shouldered father-figure who held us in his warm embrace as we mourned the Challenger crew. He was also the glowering Titan who warned off danger, punished those who threatened our safety and made the bad guys rethink their career paths.

He was, of course, far from perfect. But, given that the last perfect guy who trod these earthly climes ended up nailed to a tree, I suppose we can and should forgive him his humanity.

While Reagan made patriotism stylish again, evoking Heaven itself in his effusive homage to America; he made life a living hell for Democrats. Even as they made gains in Congress in both 1982 and 1986, the Democrats couldn’t conjure up a candidate who could believably stand in the shadow of the Great Communicator without disappearing entirely. In 1988, George H.W. Bush had merely to run on his record of standing next to Reagan on a couple of choice occasions and Michael Dukakis was cooked. However, eight years of life as Reagan’s boy Friday meant only four years for Bush the elder. In fact, it could be fairly said four years of reminding us that he was not Reagan cost Bush four more years in the White House.

Reagan left the White House 22 years ago and this mortal plane seven years ago. But his legacy still lingers. The mere fact that everyone who could spell “Gipper” took a moment to observe the passing of his 100th birthday last Sunday is testament to his lasting influence. No one put together a special for LBJ’s 100th. Even Obama has tried to stroll in Reagan’s oversized shoes of late.

Last weekend, ABC’s John Berman whined that the observance of Reagan’s 100th was sending politicians over the edge:

"There is Reagan Airport, the Reagan Building, the Reagan Library. Then there is the church of Reagan, where candidates worship."

Hey, they ALL get libraries, John. There’s even a Clinton library, but you have to be 18 to get in. And have fun reading back issues of Juggs by the light of a purple neon moon.

With the 2012 Presidential race already heating up as everyone with an eye on the Oval Office begins making “I’m just sightseeing” trips to Iowa and New Hampshire, allow me to offer some advice to the prospective candidate:

Stop comparing yourself to Ronald Reagan. Although the media’s goal is to diminish you by comparison — which is itself an acknowledgement of Reagan’s greatness — they have this one right. I met Ronald Reagan; you’re no Ronald Reagan.

The Cure For The Common Cause

At the Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage, Calif., opulence permeates air which practically reeks of luxury — or at least that really expensive carpet freshener that you can’t get at Costco.

There’s 5-star dining, golf, a spa with all the… stuff a refined lady could hope for (I’m guessing a Brad Pitt doppelganger in track shorts) and something called Splashtopia. I don’t know what Splashtopia is. If I ever get to Rancho Las Palmas Resort, I’m going to find out; presuming security doesn’t find me first.

No wonder those burgeoning bugaboos of liberalism, the Koch Brothers, chose Rancho Las Palmas to host their recent gathering of the rich and Republican. And no wonder the liberal group Common Cause showed up outside the gates to vent their collective spleen at the Koch Brothers and their conservative-minded guests. It is a wonder that the commanders of this bellyaching brigade convinced their foot soldiers to leave their tinfoil hats at home.

Common Cause’s awkwardly-named “Uncloaking the Kochs” rally seemed standard for a large gathering of liberals. Some hair was uncombed. Some faces were unshaven, even for the boy liberals. Bathing certainly appeared optional. Everyone was livid. How dare these conservatives discuss conservative values! And how DARE Clarence Thomas be black AND conservative!

I know — you just pulled your intellectual handbrake. You’re wondering how that’s even germane to this narrative. Common Cause claims their mission is:

“to forge a democracy by and responsive to an engaged public, and committed to progress in the struggle for social, economic and environmental justice for all.”

All except conservative black jurists, evidently.

In post-Tucson America, we have to struggle as a nation with a great deal more than overused modifiers like “post-Tucson.” Democrat-leaning media outlets offer unyielding, albeit impotent, rage on a non-stop basis. Liberal commentators, unable to match their conservative counterparts on an academic level, instead hurl withering invective which is often unrelated to (ahem, Chris Matthews) not only the issue at hand, but to (ahem, Rachel Maddow) the truth.

And then, there’s Common Cause. Videographer Christian Hartsock ventured into their melee with a camera and captured the madness:

“He (Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas) is a dumbsh*t scumbag, put him back in the fields.”

“Cut off his toes, one by one.”

“String him up!” (Really?)

Where’s the civility? Where’s the tolerance? Where’s the bus to haul these clowns back to their big tent? Bit of a shame Justice Thomas lives in the 21st Century, or Common Cause would likely find common cause with those irascible characters from the Ku Klux Klan. And I’m sure Mrs. Thomas will be overjoyed to find out she’s made their hit list:

“Let’s get rid of Ginny (Thomas).”

All women are equal, but some are more equal than others. Common Cause didn’t seem to think Ruth Bader Ginsburg was noose-worthy. Actually, I’m in complete agreement with them on that point, although that could just be the laziness talking.

Justice Samuel Alito also ended up in the none-too-proverbial crosshairs:

“Alito should go back to Sicily!”

Um… Justice Alito is from Trenton, N.J.

They lobbed less clichéd and/or geographically misdirected threats at Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes and Glenn Beck. Beck even earned an invitation for a Burr-Hamilton style duel from a woman who warned, “I pack Glock.”

Among the people who did NOT make the Common Cause hit list:

Oprah Winfrey and George Soros. Perhaps the Koch Brothers would make a less inviting target if they gave everyone free minivans; or joined Soros during his Nazi ride-alongs.

Democrats are fond of saddling the Tea Party in specific and conservatism in general as racist and violent. To date, they have yet to offer a single shred of evidence to back up those charges. Meanwhile, a well-funded liberal group dragged its carnival sideshow to California to call for the murder of — at last count — four Supreme Court justices (jealous, Justice Kennedy?), three media moguls, and a Supreme Court justice’s wife. I DID notice they didn’t mention Sarah Palin — probably because she’d plug them long before they got in range.

When the videos of Common Cause members making violent and racist threats began filtering out, the group released a statement disavowing their virtually shocking vitriol:

“We condemn bigotry and hate speech…”

Starting NOW, right?

Approximately the same time the Koch Brothers were hosting their gathering in California, billionaire Soros’s minions were attending a gathering of the rich and liberal — in Davos, Switzerland. Common Cause was nowhere to be found. I suppose planes don’t fly on biodiesel and hate.

Dr. Obama, Heal Thyself

Back in December, in my piece Obamacare’s Paper Tiger, I noted that while Judge Henry Hudson’s ruling in Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius inflicted blunt-force trauma to Obamacare, it did not send the behemoth bill to the great bureaucratic beyond. Hudson stopped short of striking down the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; suggesting that the proposed Minimum Essential Care penalty, while clearly an executive overstepping of constitutional bounds, was severable from the rest of the Obamacare bill.

At the time of the ruling, I suggested that Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling in Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services could ultimately be the one which would “…stuff Obamacare back in the Democrats’ pieholes.”

Monday, Vinson vindicated me; ruling that section 1501 (the MEC penalty) is not severable from Obamacare as a whole, voiding the PPACA.

In addressing President Barack Obama’s contention that the government had the authority to force Obamacare on the people through the powers enumerated in the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3), Vinson demurred:

“It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause. If it has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party merely by asserting… that compelling the actual transaction is itself commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce, [see Act § 1501(a)(1)], it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted.”

Vinson’s warning is well-taken; or at least, it should be. The statement here is that once Congress takes the stance that inactivity — not buying something — is the Constitutional equivalent of activity — they position themselves as the sole arbiter of virtually any activity; presuming they can draw an economic vertex to it. Taking this concept to its logical extreme, the government could require you to exercise, since fat people tend to place more stress on the healthcare system. Short of that, you might have to step on a scale before you can buy ice cream.

“Sorry, Mr. McBiggenhuge. Your BMI is 26. Put down the Rocky Road.”

The PPACA is the bastard child of the Democrats’ lust for power; and only tangentially related to healthcare. By decreeing that Americans must abide by Obamacare’s tenets — specifically section 1501 — Obama is creating the first tax in history levied against a non-existent transaction. You’re being taxed on a purchase you DIDN’T make.

Or, in the words of the Obama Administration:

Individuals who choose to go without health insurance are actively making an economic decision that impacts all of us… every year millions of people without insurance obtain health care they cannot pay for, shifting tens of billions of dollars in added cost onto those who have insurance and onto taxpayers."

The President says eat your brussels sprouts; and from now on, you can drive any car you want, as long as it’s a blue Chevy.

While every observer worth his salt was aware that a loss in Vinson’s court would propel Obama to press his case to the Supreme Court of the United States, few suspected that Obama would personally overrule Vinson in advance of his administration’s appeal to the high bench. It’s worth noting that Vinson — according to 208 years of precedent — outranks the President on Constitutional matters in this arena.

Obama advisor Stephanie Cutter said:

"We don’t believe this kind of judicial activism will be upheld and we are confident that (Obamacare) will ultimately be declared constitutional by the courts.”

Well, Ms. Cutter, you’re down to your last Court. And if the Supremes find 5-4 against you — a real possibility — then the single biggest moment of Obama’s Presidency will be remembered as a defeat suffered at the hands of the Constitution.

The White House is calling Vinson’s ruling “an outlier,” suggesting that they can continue to force implementation of Obamacare as if Vinson’s ruling was some mock trial judgment. Someone in the White House Counsel’s Office should read United States v Nixon; a case which ultimately concluded with the President boarding a non-stop flight to San Clemente.

Ultimately, Obama’s argument in favor of the PPACA is rendered false by his own hand. As Vinson pointed out in his ruling, back in 2008, then-Senator Obama opposed the idea of an individual mandate. Vinson quoted Obama directly:

“‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,'”

Mr. President, it’s time for your medicine.

The Perfect Sandstorm

The Middle East is once again shrouded in the abaya of upheaval. Given the Byzantine nature of Middle Eastern politics, it’s difficult to predict whether the region will emerge from the current disarray with an improved push toward freedom, or a reactionary plunge toward Islamic fundamentalism.

The game may ultimately be the same — the quest for wealth, or power, or both — but the Middle Eastern version is played with far too many wild cards. In Tunisia, a self-immolating street vendor set the government alight. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorial attitude, combined with a resurgent Islamofascist element, has become a perfect storm of destabilization.

While he’s no friend of freedom, Mubarak has been a redoubtable ally to the United States over the last three decades. Westerners who point to his autocratic manner tend to forget that truly democratic and/or republican leaders outside the Western world are as few and far between as truly democratic and/or republican countries; despite the overwhelming number of nations with names including one or the other adjective. And as wholly unprepared as President Barack Obama was for Tunisia, the situation in Egypt may become a far larger stain on his already-tarnished foreign policy legacy.

In 2009, as brigades of young people took to the streets of Iran in search of liberty, Obama hemmed and hawed. He proffered platitudes about Iran’s potential march toward freedom. But when Iran’s hard-line Islamofascist clerics, fronted by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the Persian Ringmaster, unleashed their own version of Tiananmen Square, Obama lost the notes to his “Iranian Freedom” speech.

And the collapse of the Lebanese government, thanks to the machinations of Iran- and Syria-backed Hezbollah terrorists, has gone essentially uncommented-upon by Obama. Beirut, once nicknamed “the Paris of the Middle East,” is headed back to being the “Beirut of the World.”

This, then, would be the “Obama Doctrine.” George W. Bush’s cowboy diplomacy, a one-off of Ronald Reagan’s enormously successful style, is horrendously expensive. But Obama has turned too far in the other direction, instead emulating Carter, the losing admiral in the Battle of the Chattahoochee Bunny.

Lebanon and Tunisia, followed by Egypt, are potentially bad signs. Should fundamentalist Islamic groups like Hezbollah and Muslim Brotherhood gain control, they could destabilize — for example — the already-shuddering regime of King Abdullah II of Jordan. To cement the idea of Abdullah II as non-threatening, keep in mind that he’s such a fan of Star Trek that he once took a walk-on role on one of the spin-off shows (set phasers on AWESOME!) Hardly the stuff of jihadi dreams, considering the Enterprise fires photon torpedoes, not B-40 RPG’s.

Just to the east of Jordan sits the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are enormously wealthy and have territorial control over the heart of Islam. However, they’ve spent decades pacifying extremist Muslims with money and concessions, while maintaining friendly-ish relations with the West. Essentially, the House of Saud has been robbing Peter to pay Mohammed. If that camel lurches to a halt, the offshoot would be both economically and politically devastating.

Elsewhere in the Middle East there sit a variety of monarchies and oil-soaked baronies which would soil their dishdashas if the bad guys moved in heavy. Morocco is a fine spot, but it’s only geopolitically noteworthy for attracting filmmakers and Western tourists who want to say they’ve “been to the Middle East” without actually having to go to the more “shooty” parts. Scattered around the rest of the region are golf resorts like the United Arab Emirates, and tiny oil drums like Qatar and Bahrain: Allies, but with militaries which couldn’t stand up to a determined Girl Scout troop during cookie drive season.

Vice President Joe Biden recently told Jim Lehrer: “I would not refer to (Mubarak) as a dictator.” Imagine the response of every Tom, Dick and Akbar on the street. Obama has repeatedly been behind the curve on foreign policy. It’s high time he gets out in front, and ensures friendly relations with whatever rises there.

Let me leave you with this caveat: If Obama doesn’t encourage them to play nice, the Israelis (thought I’d forgotten them?) will definitely try. If you think the situation in the Middle East is bad NOW — just you wait.

No Thank You, Mr. President

When I talked to Mr. Livingston on Tuesday morning, I suggested that today’s edition of Outside the Asylum could be a stream-of-consciousness look at the State of the Union address and its attendant hoopla. “Sort of a ‘Twitter feed with verbs‘ thing;” I offered. Bob was thrilled with the concept. (Well, he didn’t specifically say “no.”) When I looked at my first draft, it was longer than a Democrat mayor’s rap sheet. Bob did say he wanted it to be shorter than, say, the State of the Union.

The State of the Union took 62 minutes. This should only take you about three minutes (I checked):

6:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time: I’m settling in for the annual Presidential Dog and Pony show. I have a big cup of water and some cookies. Given the entertainment value of past States of the Union, I’d probably be better off with a fifth of Scotland’s finest and a brick to throw at the TV. However, this effort needs to be marginally coherent, and the Super Bowl is coming up; so — no scotch, no brick.

7:01: MSNBC. Chris “Tingle-boy” Matthews is calling Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) stupid. He’s totally non-partisan, of course. He’s got White House spokesmodel Robert Gibbs on. Gibbs is smirking while Matthews rants about Bachmann.

7:10: Switching to Fox. Carl Cameron is talking to Shepherd Smith about bipartisan seating. MSNBC. Matthews still hates Bachmann. Fox. The Moscow airport bombing. MSNBC. Matthews STILL hates Bachmann. Why do his ratings suck?

7:16: MSNBC. Representative Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) wants to talk about the SOTU. Matthews still wants to talk about how much he hates Bachmann. Israel looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. Awkward.

7:22: Matthews is talking education with Pat Buchanan. Wait for it… wait for it… Matthews says Bachmann is stupid. Where’s that brick?

7:31: John King on CNN. King just asked David Gergen about the impact of Twitter. Gergen looks perplexed. I’ll bet his Betamax still flashes 12:00.

7:42: Quick MSNBC check. Matthews still hates Bachmann. He’s got some harpy on with him who — shocker — also hates Bachmann. *sigh*

8:00: Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC. President Barack Obama and black actors have it tough in this racist country, according to Larry. It’s rich white people decrying the plight of rich black people. Is it me, or does Larry look a lot like the Sony PlayStation® 3 guy?

8:32: MSNBC emptied the clown car: O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, Matthews and Ed Schultz. Schultz just blamed the I-35 bridge collapse on the Republicans. Michele Bachmann is from Minnesota. Where was she that day?

8:50: Fox. The Senate is filling the chamber. I’m calling for a moratorium on “prom date” references to this bipartisan seating plan.

8:59: The Supreme Court and the Cabinet are filing in. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner looks uncomfortable; but I can’t tell if that’s because he’s about eight inches shorter than Attorney General Eric Holder, or if he’s thinking about this year’s 1040.

9:03: Hello, Mr. President.

The State of the Union:

  • Obama congratulates House Speaker John Boehner. Where’s Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi?
  • Obama wants a return to civility. Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) must be hiding under his chair.
  • Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) is sitting with Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.). Chambliss has the patience of Job. Either that, or all the hot Senators were taken.
  • Obama just cited the stock market as proof of an economic recovery in progress. What happened to Democrats saying “that’s Wall Street, not Main Street?”
  • Now, Obama is proud of the tax cuts he opposed. The “hostages” have been freed, folks.
  • Obama laments that China and India are ahead in science and math education. Yeah, but OUR kids are way better at putting on condoms — USA, BABY!
  • Obama cites the Internet revolution. Vice President Joe Biden, sitting right behind Obama, looks confused. I think Boehner just whispered: “In-ter-net. I’ll tell you after.”
  • The “Sputnik moment.” Obama calls for investment in… he didn’t say, exactly. “Technology.” Uh-oh. His big rhetorical bomb, and he cites a 54-year-old achievement by a country that doesn’t exist anymore. Brilliant.
  • Obama points out the Allen brothers. They’re roofers who got a government loan to make solar shingles. Obama doesn’t mention that we’d have to pave the Midwest in solar panels to light up Chicago.
  • 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. And 1 million doorstops by 2016.
  • Obama wants to pull subsidies from oil companies and give them to… the Allen brothers? He took the same shot at the oil industry last year and a Democrat-run Congress did nothing. Take THAT, stupid proven technology!
  • By 2035, Obama wants 80 percent of America’s energy to come from clean energy sources. The Allen brothers look ecstatic!
  • Switching gears to education. Obama wants 100,000 new science and math teachers. I’m thinking, we don’t have that many now.
  • Did he just say “We’ll show you the money?” Yes, he did.
  • Children of “undocumented workers” deserve to stay. The President of the United States just endorsed amnesty for anchor babies.
  • Transportation and infrastructure. Oh, joy; more “high-speed rail” babble. So now, instead of driving to Atlanta in four hours, I can… let someone else drive me to Atlanta in… four hours. But there is no functional high-speed rail here. Crap. I hate driving to Atlanta.
  • He’s calling for a Works Project Administration-sized public works project; all without laying out how we’ll fund it. How do you spell “Boondoggle?”
  • “A patient…can have a face-to-face video conference with their doctor.” Under Obamacare, it might be with someone whose first name is “Doctor.”
  • He just compared Representative Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) $2.5 trillion cuts plan to making an airplane lighter by removing the engine. Plane crash jokes? Who wrote that, Franken?
  • Obama says, “screw the millionaires.” Those jerks, they’re only paying 40 percent of the tax bill.
  • Cutting duplication and waste. This was supposed to be Al Gore’s job during the Clinton years. Al was too busy inventing the Internet, or global warming.
  • He’s going to veto every bill with earmarks. That’s a win — presuming he’s not lying.
  • “The Iraq war is coming to an end.” Still.
  • “We’re going to deny al-Qaida the stronghold which served as the launching pad for 9/11.” Saudi Arabia just peed in its dishdasha.
  • “We stand with the people of Tunisia.” Half the chamber is on their handhelds, trying to figure out where the hell Tunisia is.
  • “No American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.” The end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I’m all right with this, although I know I’m going to get flamed for it in the comments section.

Charles Krauthammer said he thought the speech was “flat.” It was more — and less — than that. It was hollow, contrived and often self-contradictory. Obama said “We do big things.” And we will again in 2012, Mr. President.

Big Budget Bingo!

By the time you read this, President Barack Obama will have delivered what may well have been his penultimate State of the Union address. While my deadline fell before this year’s Presidential Kennel Club Dog (and Pony) Show, I have no doubt that it was the usual running of the proverbial bull. (For Ben’s analysis of the SOTU, check out his Outside the Asylum column below).

Empty promises, veiled threats, and meaningless calls for civility from a Congress which is as likely to behave as I am to earn a spot in the Mets’ bullpen… let me amend that — I can reach the plate on the fly. Indubitably, the President will also tip his cap to the newly elected Republican House majority by sprinkling a few table scraps of budgetary sanity amongst his equally predictable calls for expansion of… every harebrained social program he and his liberal allies have unleashed upon us during his tenure.

Last week, the 165 members of the Republican Study Committee, led by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, threw the gauntlet of fiscal responsibility at the President’s feet. Jordan introduced a bill in the House which would — if passed — lop $2.5 trillion from the Federal budget over 10 years. That’s a 13-digit bill for surgery. Even Obamacare won’t cover that.

To be sure, a review of the programs and spending targeted by Jordan’s bill reveals a Chinese phone book of wasteful spending. However, Jordan, along with his Senate counterpart Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), are going to find that the old-line GOP is about as excited about real budget trimming as Obama is about Hawaii Governor Abercrombie working “birth certificate” into every other sentence.

To the average taxpayer, most details regarding the Federal budget are as entertaining as listening to Paul Krugman explain Keynesian economics and the value of active public policy responses to macroeconomic systemic crises and blah, blah, blah…

(zzzz…”And this year’s Nobel Prize for reminding us why the Soviet Union is history goes to…”)

Nonetheless, some of this stuff is easy to figure. After all, how many of you really think $75,000 for the “Totally Teen Zone” in Albany, Ga. is a worthwhile expenditure of taxpayer dollars? No teen worth his baggy, ill-fitting pants would be caught dead in a place called “The Totally Teen Zone.” They’d rather compare nose rings with Paul Krugman.

Studying the entire Federal budget is a fool’s errand; like trying to figure out Al Franken’s appeal to Minnesota voters. You would think they learned their lesson from that whole Jesse Ventura disaster. But being the helpful sort of evil conservative, I thought I would demonstrate how trimming the budget can be at least as fun as meeting your daughter’s new boyfriend; the one with the nose ring and the baggy pants who quotes Krugman. It’s a project the whole family can enjoy!

Grab your scissors, kids! (Yep, they still print this monster out on old-fashioned paper.) Let the cutting begin:

Obviously, Obamacare deserves the ax. Although the House already saw to that; their repeal vote is going to fly like a stone balloon in the Senate. Democrat mouthpieces at The Associated Press claim the job-killer numbers are overstated, culminating in their fabulous “fact-check” piece which stated the GOP was taking a Congressional Budget Office study indicating a loss of nearly 700,000 jobs out of context.

The ultimate point of the piece was to advance the claim that there won’t be fewer jobs, just fewer people working. That’s like saying the victims of Obamacare’s death panels are not dead, just “less vital.” More unemployment means more people on the government dole — which would be good for the Democrats, except that the newly unemployed are professionals, not career parasites. They’ll remember who put them on the street.

Add to that the fact that the Secretary of Health and Human Services has issued a waiver to every union lout and heavyweight Democrat donor like mediaeval papal indulgences, and the price tag rises like the ratings of a Fox News program scheduled opposite Ed Schultz. The elimination of Obamacare represents a savings of up to $1 trillion over the next decade.

But taking Obamacare to the butcher’s block is easy. There are plenty of other areas of the Federal budget which deserve a spot in the blender.

The Department of Education gets a big, fat, red “F.” Flushing this Brobdingnagian budgetary behemoth means everyone keeps their money, and the kids learn math, instead of proper condom application. Of course, the kids will be more likely to know how much they need to steal from mom’s purse to buy more condoms, but now they won’t know how to put them on — meaning more kids. We’ll send them a check for $69 billion annually from the teachers’ unions; post-dated, of course.

Tune in to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I know, the liberals will raise an unholy hue and cry about “Sesame Street.” Bad luck, I don’t have kids. Besides, Disney has entertained legions of children for most of the past century without dining at the taxpayer trough. As for the less kiddie-centric programming, if Garrison Keillor was that interesting to people who don’t close their eyes when they talk, he’d be sorting through offers from the outlets which actually turn a profit. Sending NPR and its ilk into the private sector will save nearly $500 million.

Let’s also send a Dear John letter to the Post Office. Of course, we’ll have to send it FedEx if we want a guarantee that it will arrive as requested. I understand that we’ll all have to spend a little more to send a letter, provided the cost of a first-class stamp doesn’t continue to rise. But it will cost more than that to explain to everyone under the age of 18 what a “letter” is. And your chances of it arriving on time will triple. That will be right about the time the letter gets there. Or, in the case of the USPS, not get there. Wait a minute, Mr. Postman — the USPS is projecting a nearly $250 billion budget deficit for the next decade. Signed, sealed, delivered — you’re gone.

All aboard AMTRAK. Subsidizing the vastly under-traveled national passenger rail lines has brought the taxpayers the pride of knowing they’re paying for a system which is just as much of a joy as traveling aboard a moving fraternity house, only without the sanitation. After nearly $20 billion in taxpayer subsidies, AMTRAK represents less than 1 percent of intercity travel nationally. That’s a subsidy of more than $100 per passenger, per trip. If someone rides the rails across the country, that number jumps above $1,000. We’d be better off buying passengers round-trip airfare.

On that note, consider those multi-billion dollar airline subsidies which have eclipsed $20 billion in the last decade. That’s been a real treat for the taxpayers; and airlines have rewarded their largesse with outstanding performance — as long as you’re not particular about whether you and your luggage (for which you paid extra) vacation on the same continent.

The real joke is on us. By subsidizing both AMTRAK AND the airlines, the government is using our money to prop up two industrial black holes which are in competition with each other; and evidently battling to lose the game. Eliminating both will carve away a potential 11 figures from the taxpayers’ bill.

Many of you will take great issue with these suggestions. You’re welcome to do so — and will doubtless make your feelings known in the attendant comment section. Keep in mind, I managed to slice away nearly $150 billion per year, nearly equaling Jordan’s $2.5 trillion over a decade, and I did it in fewer than 1,500 words, while only looking at six outlays. I never even addressed the endless rogue’s gallery of politically idiotic subsidies (ACORN? REALLY?), duplicate programs and outright waste (true story: Katrina relief funds were used to pay for a SEX CHANGE OPERATION. This one’s for you, then… ma’am… sir… you there.)

The Federal budget is like a wedding, or better yet, those Sweet 16 parties you can watch on cable in which some uber-rich euro trash-type authorizes the budget of a small country for his whiny little princess to ring in her momentous 17th year (because the 16th was such a milestone for humanity).

To be fair, there are areas in which Federal expenditures are not only necessary, but laudable. We need the Federal prisons, the Interstate Highway system (whoops, might have spoken too soon on that one), and the U.S. Army; to cite a few examples. However, far too much of our money goes to programs and projects which deserve nothing more than to be dragged by the 10th Mountain Division down I-70 to Leavenworth.

I’ll tell you what: The next time you find yourself with nothing better to do — say, during the next episode of “My Super Sweet 16″ — think of a use of taxpayer money which is essentially useless. Then, grab the proverbial scissors. You’re welcome to borrow mine — and it won’t cost you thing.

The Keith To Our Hearts

It’s official, kids: MSNBC finally decided to get their heads in the game. After eight years of Democrat talking points, incomprehensible Leftist babble and the most inexplicably smug presentation outside a Michael Moore “documentary,” the official television outlet of the tinfoil-hat set has tossed Keith Olbermann onto the pavement in front of “30 Rock.”

While rumors are flying like the spittle Olbermann used to launch at the camera whenever someone pointed out Bill O’Reilly was tripling his ratings, the real story may never be told. The real reason the higher-ups at MSNBC pushed Olbermann out of the clown car is actually immaterial. Evidently, spending the better part of a decade vying with CNN for the title of “second least-watched cable news outlet” wasn’t going to cut it in the new Comcast/NBC business model.

Olbermann was the lynchpin of a roster which included Chris “Tingle-Boy” Matthews, his own nauseating mini-me, Rachel Maddow, and the worthless Ed Schultz; all helplessly locked in a ratings race with the immensely more appealing and talented crew at Fox News. To be sure, the Olbermann/MSNBC response to Fox’s dominance generally involved insulting Fox viewers, thereby guaranteeing that no one would ever jump the fence to MSNBC’s yard.

But I come not to bury Olbermann; I want to offer him some career advice. After all, I would hate to see him panhandling in Central Park. Imagine Olbermann with a hand-lettered cue card and an empty latte cup, wandering around the reservoir — “Will make fat jokes about Chris Christie for money”. That’s cruel… to the pigeons.

So, what’s next for our erstwhile ranter-in-chief?

Fox News?

Olbermann is a liberal, so pulling a doughnut in the parking lot of principle shouldn’t be a problem. This is the same guy who was pulling down close to eight figures annually while simultaneously decrying the evils of “the rich.” One small problem: Fox has about as much use for a mewling liberal never-was as the vast majority of American viewers had for… well… Olbermann. And Rupert Murdoch terminated Olbermann with prejudice the last time; calling him “crazy.” Oops. Let’s move on.

CNN?

Anderson Cooper is better looking AND better sounding. And there’s no way Olbermann could possibly pull off sincerity while interviewing the “Real Housewives of the Upper West Side.”

HLN?

Joy Behar is just as grating as Olbermann, and she’s a girl, so she looks better in EEOC filings.

PBS?

The darlings on the government dole would love to have him, but at $7 million per year, they can’t afford him. Even if they could, if they hire Olbermann, they’ll be able to time Congressional de-funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in nanoseconds.

CBS?

This one’s highly unlikely, if only because the last time they let one of their “anchors” get out of hand, Dan Rather almost brought the house down. And Andy Rooney will still be funnier after he’s dead.

ABC?

Olbermann’s infamous inability to treat his coworkers with a modicum of decency spelled doom at Disney sister ESPN; once the brass realized Dan Patrick was carrying the show. And Olbermann pretty much set fire to the bridge to Bristol on his way out, earning what even he describes as a “lifetime ban” from their Connecticut campus.

Talk Radio?

Liberals function about as well on the commercial band as Rachel Maddow would at the Miss America pageant. Besides, Ed Schultz can’t spare the listener.

New media start-up?

Look how well that worked out for Al Gore; and Gore invented both the Internet AND global warming. All Olbermann can claim is the invention of the nerdy sneer — not exactly ratings platinum.

Al Jazeera?

All right, that one’s cheap. I couldn’t resist.

O.K., so Olbermann’s days in the media may be at an end. But the world needs him. He’s a valuable contributor to… er… he’s an important part of… um… well, we certainly don’t want to see him abandoned like journalistic integrity in the newsroom he commanded until recently. It’s not as if there’s a “Plan B” for guys like Keith; getting your clock cleaned by Fox isn’t something you put on a job application.

He could always go work for the White House. If they found work for that stoner from “Harold and Kumar Buy More Weed” (or whatever), then they can certainly find work for Olbermann.

They owe him that much.