Back To The Whine

My apologies for rousting you from your post-“bin Laden sleeps with the fishes” reverie (or not, depending on your perspective); but the Democrats are apparently not done with “The Donald.”

If you’re carrying what the industry calls “heat” — show up at the annual festival of self-congratulations known as the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and you’ll find yourself the virtual belle of the ball. That is — unless you’re ostensibly Republican and ostensibly running for President. In that case, prepare to get savaged like you were the new guy on the cellblock.

Just ask Donald Trump. Trump was an invited guest, but gate-crashers at exclusive parties in Vegas receive classier—if not better—treatment. Trump sat through a ream of snarky material by the master of ceremonies, “Saturday Night Live” head writer Seth Meyers. Meyers did the usual liberal dance on Trump:

“Donald Trump has said he’s running for president as a Republican—which is surprising because I thought he was running as a joke.”

Meyers later went back to the well for a cheap hair joke.

“(Trump) often appears on Fox, which is funny because a fox often appears on Donald Trump’s head.”

Granted, I abuse the make-fun-of-Trump’s-hair gag as much as anyone, but that one was weaker than the logic at a global warming conference. Trump should have been aware that his presence in a room filled with the unabashedly liberal flacks who pass for the White House Press Corps would put the crosshairs squarely on his… comb-over. But Meyers spent more time on Trump than Nancy Pelosi does on her face.

And Meyers was far from the biggest player in the room to take Trump to the woodshed. President Barack Obama himself put the crosshairs on The Donald:

“Donald Trump is here tonight… no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald… because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter, like, ‘Did we fake the moon landing?’ ‘What really happened on Roswell?’ And ‘Where are Biggie and Tupac?’

Oh, dead gangster-rapper jokes. Even Meyers didn’t stretch that hard. Mr. President, the 1990s called, ACORN has an opening for a “community organizer.”

Here’s something most people missed amidst the mirth and merriment: Donald Trump just became the most important person in American politics. It’s one thing for Meyers to devote special attention to The Donald, but the President went in front of the other most powerful person in politics—Oprah—to acknowledge that Trump accomplished what no one else could for more than two years in forcing Obama to release a birth certificate. If I had just been forced by a reality television star to fight out of my weight class, the last thing I would do is shine a light on how badly he hurt me.

While the supplicant sycophants who pass themselves off as the corporate media gasped, giggled and guffawed at Obama’s Trump-centric stand-up routine, Trump sat tight-lipped, managing a grin despite being the butt of a joke which went on far too long. As the blogosphere lit up with liberal celebrations—and conservative condemnations—of the ersatz roast of Trump, many missed the best line of the weekend:

“I don’t think the American people are having a good time with $5 gas.”

While gas prices rise to record levels, tornadoes turn much of the Deep South into a pile of kindling wood and April provided the highest number of American war casualties in two years, the President of the United States returned from a command performance at the Court of Oprah to… make fun of Donald Trump’s hair. And Trump countered with an EF5 haymaker.

As many of you are well aware, I am seriously NOT on board The Donald Express. But The Donald has pushed around The President with surprising ease. I hope the truly conservative aspirants to the highest office in the land are paying attention.

Perhaps it’s a result of his sheltered political career, protected from the slings and arrows of deserved fortune by the thick-walled monolith of liberal dogma; but Barack Obama is surprisingly thin-skinned; and if his WHCA dinner performance was any indication, he reacts to rhetorical beatings like a preteen girl.

For what it’s worth, the very first joke I heard following the reports of bin Laden’s execution:

“BREAKING NEWS: Donald Trump demands Osama Bin Laden’s death certificate.”

That’s funny. Mr. President, maybe you could start making jokes after you stop being one.

No Politics In Perdition, Please

This won’t take long, kids. And it won’t be all that funny, either. Last night, as I was polishing a piece on an entirely different topic, the Drudge Report ran the headline. Then CNN began screaming that a Presidential address to the nation was expected for sometime after 10:30 EDT. Without seeming immodest, I knew it was coming. The President — any President — wouldn’t ask for a few moments of our time at that hour except under extremely unusual circumstances.

Say goodbye to Osama bin Laden, everyone. Say hello to Damnation, Osama.

In the coming days, weeks and probably months, the theories will fly, the credit will be claimed and the blame will be assigned. While most Americans celebrate the liquidation of one of the most perfect examples of globally influential evil since Stalin purged his last dissident and/or Mao issued his last little red book, there are other residents of our big blue marble who will react in an entirely different manner.

Islamofascists worldwide have already begun issuing messages of rage:

Oh God, please make this news not true… God curse you, Obama… Oh Americans… it is still legal for us to cut your necks.”

Of disbelief:

How can you convince me that all these years American could not kill or even reach him. Americans knew bin Laden suffered from health problems. Maybe he was approaching his death and they wanted to exploit it.”

And of revenge:

We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood… (bin Laden was a) holy warrior…

The first two were “man on the street” remarks. That last one is the official statement by the terrorist organization HAMAS. It should be noted that HAMAS has a stateside support group in CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations). CAIR has released a statement ostensibly cheering the news of bin Laden’s execution; meaning either they’ve broken away from HAMAS, or the next jihadi reunion is going to be a little awkward.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out that according to WikiLeaks, al-Qaida has promised to “Unleash a nuclear hellstorm on the West if bin Laden is killed.” Presuming WikiLeaks is credible — a debatable point — the War on Terror is far from finished.

But let me offer everyone a brief thought. For the time being, enjoy the news. A man who literally lived as the proud avatar of modern-day terrorism was hunted down and eliminated. Focus on the fallout tomorrow. Today, congratulate the men and women of our Armed Forces for forcing an animal like bin Laden to spend his twilight years running like a scalded camel. Praise the operators in Seal Team Six for flattening bin Laden like roadkill — without a single American casualty during what is being reported as a 40 minute (!) operation.

Osama bin Laden devoted nearly a quarter century to Islamofascist bloodshed, terror and mayhem. While the hunt took almost 15 years (bin Laden was the prime suspect in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings), in the end, Seal Team Six devoted less than an hour to hosing bin Laden down with .223 bug spray.

Today, bin Laden takes his place in Perdition alongside the worst aberrations of human nature. The time for recrimination, for bitter epilogues and politicization is tomorrow.

And They’re Off!

In my recent column 15 More Minutes, I noted that I possess moderate-to-grave concerns about Donald Trump’s potential Presidential candidacy. I offered my take on “The Donald” for “The White House.” And I got “flamed” like a 5-cent steak on a napalm-fueled grill. But I have to live by the old sage: “If you can’t stand the heat, don’t get sideways with the readers of the Personal Liberty Digest™.” While I’m not a dedicated fan of Trump 2012, I am one of the world’s biggest fans of Almost Anyone Who Lacks An Actual Felony Record 2012. In addition to my remarks about The Donald’s political aspirations, I also suggested:

“Closer to November 2012, I’ll share my thoughts on my choice for President.”

Although I meant sometime IN 2012, I suppose it’s fair for me to offer a few thoughts on the field. President Barack Obama has already announced his intention to run for another four years.

With the upcoming Presidential race attracting candidates like the proverbial moths to the flame, there’s no shortage of material to examine. This early in the season, the field is as crowded as the first round of the NHL playoffs.

So, once more unto the breach goeth I, in a manner of speaking.

Donald Trump: I’m nothing if not persistent. I still don’t take him or his candidacy seriously.  Even if his purported search for Obama’s birth certificate weren’t just the latest in the long line of publicity stunts which have defined most of The Donald’s public life over the past three decades or so, I still don’t take his candidacy seriously. I’m still unclear as to whether his candidacy is any more real than that thing on top of his head. Trump is also a bit of a political chameleon, and we should all be concerned about his actual policies. On the plus side, the French wouldn’t have the hottest first lady anymore. Maybe the GOP could placate Trump with a new cabinet-level position: Secretary of Hot Blondes. Although Trump should be advised: I’m submitting my resume, as well. I do have a lingering question: If Trump wins, will he trade in the U.S. for a younger country before his term expires?

Mitt Romney: Between HillaryCare and Obamacare, there was RomneyCare. Back in the days when Romney served as an unlikely Governor of Massachusetts, he introduced a healthcare plan which bore a striking resemblance to both the erstwhile First Lady’s misdirected package and Obama’s Quixotic gallop down the same path. Romney is experienced in both public and private sector success; he is comfortable in the glare of public scrutiny; and he’s a fundraising machine. However, RomneyCare is going to stick to him like a trial lawyer to a speeding ambulance. In addition, he’s telegenic to the point of being almost plastic. From time to time, I feel an odd compulsion to peek at his back to see if there’s a pull string.

Newt Gingrich: Oh, the Democrats want him to lead out of the gate. Gingrich, who is likely the most well-versed candidate in issues domestic and foreign, is the man who proved that Democrats can’t really hold a lead on actual policy. In 1994, Gingrich forced the Democratic Party to run its midterm elections on being Democrats. That worked as well for them then as it did in 2010. However, Gingrich is toting more baggage than a Park Avenue heiress packing for a month in the Hamptons.

Mitch Daniels: Before you dismiss him as a governor of a marginally important State with limited public recognition, consider this: In 1991, Bill Clinton was that fat guy from Arkansas with the angry-looking wife and a taste for… er… cigars.  Daniels wasn’t even in the running until he dismembered “Cap and Trade” in the pages of The Wall Street Journal. On the down side, he’s hinted at a willingness to raise taxes; in the age of Tea Party ascendency, that’s tantamount to suggesting a tax cheat for Secretary of the Treasury. Not that anyone would ever do that.

Allen West: Watch Representative West carefully. For his resume to be more impressive, it would have to include multiple commendations for excellence and bravery while serving in uniform. Oh right… it does. The lone criticism liberals have managed to concoct so far? He got sideways with the Uniform Code of Military Justice during an interrogation of a possible terrorist in Iraq. West’s statement about the incident:

“If it’s about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I’d go through hell with a gasoline can.”

I don’t doubt that he would. He’s a military hero, a fiscal and social conservative and an unrepentant patriot. To be honest, I’m surprised Democratic Party-endorsed Common Cause hasn’t called for him to be lynched yet. If his candidacy gains steam, grab some popcorn and turn on MSNBC. I can’t wait for putty-faced Democrats to call West an “Uncle Tom.” Furthermore, I can’t wait for West to make them take it back.

Michele Bachmann: Her biggest advantages? She’s smart and unafraid of conflict with the liberal hordes, and she can raise money with the best of them. Her biggest drawbacks? As a conservative woman, she jumps right to the top of the list of Democratic — hence, Democratic media — targets. Liberals are not fond of conservatives in general. Liberals become positively apoplectic at the idea of conservative women. If you ever want to see the definition of sexism in motion, watch Chris Matthews devote an hour to Representative Bachmann. Additionally, Bachmann suffers from the inevitable comparisons to…

Sarah Palin: She’s bright, conservative, determined and easy to look at. Unfortunately, to the hypocrites who run the show at the Democratic Party, a woman with those credentials might as well be the Queen of the Damned. No one outside prison has attracted pure vitriol from the Democrats in the volume to which Palin has been subjected. In fact, given the Democrats’ fondness for certain people currently confined to correctional facilities around the country (Mumia Abu-Jamal for President, anyone?), she might suffer by comparison in the eyes of George Soros’s little friends. On the downside, Palin is ubiquitous to the point of being trendy. Trends fade. Imagine if a V.P. candidate from a losing ticket tried for the big chair four years later. Now imagine having to spend the rest of your career as the “female Walter Mondale.”

Mike Huckabee: Is it possible to be too nice and too earnest to be President? Huckabee is everything Obama isn’t: honest, forthright and competent. I’m also quite sure that he’d be perfectly comfortable thumping our enemies on the head with the proverbial brick. However, Huckabee lacks across-the-board support from conservatives, and the religious undertones of his message will push moderates away. Here’s a moment for the ages: Should Huckabee win, look for Representative Keith Ellison’s expression when Huckabee takes the oath of office on the Bible. Even money says Huckabee will smile at Ellison the whole time. However, the smart money says that Huckabee will sit out 2012, electing to make a whole lot more money — with a whole lot fewer headaches — in a television studio.

Herman Cain: I never liked Godfather’s Pizza. But I love a successful business model. As a resident of Georgia, I’ve seen and heard a lot of and from Herman Cain, and none of it gives me pause. He’s intelligent, erudite and competent. He’s also proudly outspoken about his conservative attitudes. He will face an uphill battle for recognition in a crowded field, but Jimmy Carter emerged from Georgia to win the White House… maybe Carter isn’t the best example. At the very least, Cain would have won the Battle of the Chattahoochee Bunny.

Tim Pawlenty: The former two-term Governor of Minnesota. Pawlenty has a chance, although that chance is likely smaller than the odds of running through Tehran with an Israeli flag and surviving. He would lose his home state. That’s never good. Even Mondale won Minnesota in ’84.

Barack Obama: It’s noteworthy that the incumbent has managed to do such a bang-up job in what looks increasingly like his only term that he’s not even the front-runner. I’m not going to belabor the point. But I will say this: I couldn’t help but notice that every time soon-to-be-ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declares she’s not a candidate, her husband smiles like a chubby chaser finding the latest issue of Big Beautiful Babies in the mail.

Hillary Clinton: Obama isn’t whispering sweet nothings to Michelle. He’s just repeating his personal mantra: “She’s not running. She’s not running. She’s not running.” Go to your happy place, Barack. Just think of the speaking fees you’ll collect from the New Black Panther Party.

There are surely other candidates, some of whom aren’t so bizarre that they’ve earned The Huffington Post Seal of Approval. Governor Haley Barbour’s years as RNC chairman and a lobbyist have earned him connections in every wing of the GOP. Rep. Paul Ryan has experience and a solid conservative resume, and he makes liberals foam at the mouth with hatred. However, Ryan seems content in his current position.

And don’t discount another Democrat running for the 2012 roses. Obama is staggering like a punch-drunk fighter who’s years past his prime. And the Democratic Party is well known for pulling out the proverbial rifles when their horses pull up lame.

No matter what the outcome, the stage is set for one hell of a sprint to the line. Thanks to Personal Liberty Digest™, you get a front-row seat.

Tell It To The Bunny

Last weekend, more than a billion Christians around the world observed the passing of Good Friday and Easter. Well… MOST Christians observed Good Friday and Easter. Rumor has it that some of us were observing the passing of a Good Hangover and/or an Easter discount at the golf course. (Well, that’s what I heard.) For the 234 million self-identified American Christians, the weekend was marked by traditional religious observance, traditional meals, children imprisoned in those traditional — albeit horrendous — pastel Easter outfits their parents think are so ADORABLE, and more than a few traditional three-putts on the greens.

This year, one tradition ended. President Barack Obama — who retroactively proclaimed his attendance at an Easter church service (presided over by Wallace Charles Smith, a sort of junior varsity Jeremiah Wright; peace and love, indeed) — neglected to wish better than three-fourths of the populace a “Happy Easter.” Granted, Obama did mention Holy Week, but he did so in a private prayer breakfast the Tuesday before Easter and then again in his weekend address, but only in passing. And there was an Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn, but that didn’t happen until Monday morning. According to Scripture, the Son of Man rose on Sunday.  (As if The Savior would ever have visited America’s Gomorrah-by-the-Potomac to begin with.)

Many people have expressed everything from disappointment to outright mortification that Obama would omit Nos. 2 and 3 of the Top 10 Days God Says You Better Remember. Obama has issued Presidential proclamations for most of the major Muslim holidays, excluding the ones only certain Muslims celebrate: Behead an Infidel Day, Firebomb a Synagogue Day and the ever-popular Beat the Crap Out of Your Wife for Showing Too Much Ankle Day. Obama has also noted some of the major Jewish holidays; we can’t blame him if Helen Thomas ruined one of them by doing her Hitler impressions for the kiddies.

I, for one, am just fine with Obama’s deletion of a national Easter-specific message. It’s not that I doubt his faith — provided he observes my Constitutional right to worship freely (and that’s one humongous “if”) — I don’t care about his faith. I am, however, secure enough in my own that I hardly require reaffirmation from a mendacious, self-serving socialist. So, while some among my fellow conservatives are outraged by Obama’s omission of a nod to the Son of Man’s final and finest hours, don’t count me among them.

White House spokespuppet Jay Carney reportedly “laughed off” questions about the lack of a Presidential “Happy Easter,” leaving many of Obama’s critics — and they are legion — murmuring about the President’s own religious identity. For all I know, Obama is a Zoroastrian. My educated guess is that he’s about as Christian as many who proclaim themselves so, meaning he goes to church on Christmas and Easter, and maybe Ash Wednesday. (Wouldn’t it be magnificent if for Lent 2012, Obama were to give up talking to George Soros?) The lingering question about Obama’s faith is yet another in the long line of eyebrow-raisers created by Obama’s tragicomic inability to handle even the simplest elucidations without the assistance of a teleprompter and Valerie Jarrett.

Obama is a babbling, Alinskyite buffoon an astronomical distance down the list of people with whom I’d wish to share a religious greeting. I suspect his piety is on a par with someone who “earned” the title of “reverend” by answering an ad in the back of Rolling Stone or one of those televangelist women with drag queen makeup and fright-wig hair.

I neither want, nor need, to hear Obama wish me a “Happy Easter.” Given his flashes of fascist flair, I’m more concerned that he might order me to have one.

The Sins of the Mother

No one ever wrote it down; mostly because common decency dictates that it didn’t need to be written down. No matter what your objection to (insert name of political figure to whom you object here), their kids were always out of bounds. Granted, George W. Bush’s children’s antics were as hard to miss as — say — Secret Service agents trying to look innocuous while standing outside the same 7-Eleven where Jenna and Barbara were trying to pass themselves off as 25.

I expect it never occurred to anyone that the liberal element in this country would be so thoroughly consumed by their own rage that they would begin to verbally assault children. And yet, whether it’s Nina Totenberg using the taxpayer-funded airwaves to wish AIDS on Senator Jesse Helms’s grandchildren, or cartoonish depictions of the Bush daughters, welcome to open season on conservative’s children. 

If you thought Totenberg’s comments crossed the border between indignation and indecency, let me quote no less a revered sage than Bachman Turner Overdrive:

“Baby, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”

Witness last Monday’s swan dive into the deep end of disgrace executed by Democrat-leaning blogsite Wonkette. While most of Wonkette’s material is fairly rote — the same dull-witted and spiteful drivel which passes for humor amongst a movement that considers Bill Maher funny — a piece by some low-level liberal called Jack Stuef has plumbed previously unexplored depths. The bizarre (even for a Democrat) rant, which carried the subheading “A Children’s Treasury of Trig (Palin) Crap on his Birthday,” is a few hundred words’ worth of unrepentant hatred, politically-motivated venom and unadulterated filth. And all of it is directed at that individual who is evidently viewed with fear and fury by the Democrat Party: Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome-afflicted son, 3-year-old Trig.

Almost unbelievably, it took the better part of a week of constant outrage — although not from the corporate media, which didn’t think it was worth more than a brief mention — before the bottom-feeders at Wonkette finally deleted the posting. True to form, however, they took to Twitter in a series of remarks which made clear their utter lack of remorse:

We beat up on Sarah Palin’s craven use of her son as a POLITICAL PROP. Child protective services should take Trig away.”

Trig is a political prop? Was she supposed to lock him in a room in Wasilla with a few dozen cans of strained peas and condensed milk? “See you at the inauguration!”

Much of what comprised Stuef’s offal is so vile that I refuse to subject my fellow Bob Livingstonians to it. To give you a sense of the tone:

“”What’s (Trig) dreaming about? Nothing. He’s retarded…”

Evidently, that’s clever in Democrat circles. Stuef also resurrected the 2008 Democrat campaign saw of questioning Trig’s lineage, overtly implying Trig is a) Sarah Palin’s grandson, b) the victim of child abuse, and/or c) the product of incest between Todd and Bristol Palin.

Those of you who regularly peruse my production for the Personal Liberty Digest™ are already well aware that I, like most who ply the pundit’s trade, consider very little beyond the pale when it comes to skewering those who inhabit the halls of power. But there ought to be limits, people.

Somewhere beyond the breathtakingly inept President Barack Obama, but short his children, a line exists. Perhaps some of you might think less of me for my reluctance, but I’m not going to step on some kid’s neck just to knock the wind out of his or her parents. An examination of Wonkette’s repellent violation of Trig Palin reveals that the Democrats know no such border; or if they do, they have as much respect for it as they do for any border. (Look! An immigration policy joke!) 

Wonkette is far from the only soldier in the liberal media elite’s battle for the hearts and minds of… some extremely ill-mannered and stupid people. Z-list “comedienne” Kathy Griffin has essentially built her public persona around a creepy obsession with the Palins. And let us not forget the creepy pseudo-reporter Joe McGinniss, who actually rented the house next door to the Palins so he could conduct an “immersive journalistic investigation.” (As opposed to: “stalk Palin like a deranged lunatic.”)

I’m still not going to make fun of the Obama daughters, if for no other reason than it seems wrong to pick on little kids. Someone ought to send the same message to the Democrats — although I suspect they wouldn’t listen.

15 More Minutes

Truth be told, there are worse choices for the White House; some of whom aren’t even Democrats. It’s not as if the guy has committed murder; as long as you don’t count the intellectual tenor of primetime television—which was on life support anyway. I just think there are some candidates who are a great deal less… cartoonish. So, someone please pull the plug on the Donald Trump experiment.

I don’t have a real problem with The Donald, but I don’t have a real problem with Trump’s fellow reality TV star Bret Michaels. They’re both marginally entertaining, both surrounded by weird people and hot women and both were bigger in the 1980s. That doesn’t mean I think moderate-to-severe financial issues, tabloid-fodder living and pitiful attempts to hide profound baldness are any higher on the list of Presidential qualifications than—say—being a “community organizer.”

Of late, Trump has been polling in the 30s against a low-to-mid 40s showing for President Barack Obama. Now, before those of you who have climbed aboard the Trump express begin shouting “It’s EARLY, Ben! Give the guy a chance!”—jump back to the 1990s with me for a moment.

About 15 years ago, NBC (which airs Trump’s program “The Apprentice”) aired a sitcom called “NewsRadio.” One of the players on “NewsRadio”—a billionaire named Jimmy James—ran for president. While his prodigious wealth makes his campaign newsworthy, it soon becomes abundantly clear that James is running for President because he “wants to meet girls.”

I doubt Trump joined this fray in order to meet girls. The guy seems to be catnip to women with Winter Olympics-type accents. Plus, Trump may be a player, but he’s not grossly stupid. He surely remembers Bill Clinton’s eight years treating the Oval Office like Craigslist, and all Bubba got was a perjury record and lifetime status as a punch line.

But I cannot shake this nagging feeling that Trump, who has essentially played himself in every modern venue from the gossip pages of the lower-rung tabloids to the upper echelon of primetime television, is playing himself onto the greatest stage of the modern age: The campaign for Leader of the Free World.

Trump self-promotes the way politicians lie. Given his visceral desire for media attention, I suspect that even if he is serious about running and even if he managed to win—a mighty big if—he’d spend more time posing for Presidential photographs than he would actually BEING President. Looking at the sanctimonious buffoon who has the job now, we certainly don’t need another empty chair behind the Resolute Desk.

Many of you have offered an ear to Trump because of his “investigation” of Obama’s citizenship. (Obama’s ham-fisted mishandling of this one has kept it in play. However, barring a miracle, it’s never going to happen for the “birthers.” Knowing what I know about liberal logic, even IF someone were to irrefutably prove Obama was born on Pluto, the Democrats would probably ignore the Constitution… again.)

Trump may be a lot of things, but stupid is not among them. By provoking the “birthers,” he is likely hoping to gain their trust, and galvanize their Presidential blessing. But there are three flaws in his logic:

  1. The “birthers” don’t represent a large enough subset of voters to swing even a primary.
  2. He’s making the same mistake as the Democrat Party; he’s underestimating the “birthers'” intelligence.
  3. The birth-certificate (or lack thereof) issue isn’t going to be enough to hold together a long-run campaign. Obama’s unrivaled incompetence has left the economy idling at the stoplight, the military stretched even thinner than it was when he took office and the nation more divided than it has been since U.S. Grant made Robert E. Lee say “uncle.” Obama’s 2012 successor will need a lot more than just an affidavit from a stateside hospital to grab the political brass ring.

Throw in Trump’s rather checkered past vis-à-vis monetary donations to some seriously shady Democrat characters, and the recipe for a Presidential soufflé falls very flat. Lest you require further assurance, Charles Krauthammer and our own John Myers—two of the smarter cats on the planet—aren’t necessarily buying what Trump’s selling, either.

Closer to November 2012, I’ll share my thoughts on my choice for President. For now, someone call Trump and tell him his latest 15 minutes are up.

Because We Say So

From time to time your kids “wander off the reservation.”  They do things which you verbally deplore, but laugh about with your friends: “back when we did (whatever you just grounded your brat for), we didn’t get caught.”

On occasion, your children will do things which actually appall, enrage or just plain terrify you. On those occasions, you likely mete out more severe discipline; but share no giggles afterwards. And on still OTHER occasions, your little monsters step over the line between the children you want them to be, and the adults you wish they’d never become.

From what I’ve observed—including observing from the “defendant’s chair”—the latter incidents often produce that all-time great kid-logic: “Why not?  YOU do it!”  And the parental response almost ends up being some version of “because I said so.” 

I remember from my childhood days that phrase also tended to work well on me; if only because if my old man fired that one off, the next step was the dreaded “fingerpoke of doom.”  Parents deploy “because I said so” because they can. And kids accept it because they must—Mom and Dad outrank them. Plus, Mom controls the dinner menu; and Dad has that fingerpoke thing. 

While you were willing to accept that kind of parental precept, there is no way you’d endure such guff from an employee. And yet, we all take it from President Barack Obama as often as your kids test your patience. Whether it’s an in between golf getaways command for more taxpayer belt-tightening; or another of those “Michelle-is-in-Majorca-and-I’m-dining-with-Oprah-but-the-rich-don’t-pay-their-fair-share” accusations, Barack boasts archetypical “because I said so” bombast.

Last Thursday, Obama, who chose to announce his re-election bid in the midst of his party’s near-submarining their beloved government, was at it again. During a fundraiser in Chicago, Obama proffered another of his “do as I say, not as I do” pontifications. What struck me was not his smartest-guy-in-the-room act; mostly because I can see right through it.

For all Obama’s efforts to avoid any sort of transparency, he’s paper-thin. His play-acting at gravitas is belied by the fact that he can’t order a Happy Meal without a teleprompter. Moreover—if you’ll pardon the expression—he sucks at his job. 

What kills me is that he delivered yet another smug sermon about tough times requiring tough sacrifices—and by the way, Republicans are evil—while standing in a restaurant which would bar the door at the sight of the very people about whom Obama professes to care so very deeply. N9ne is a part of a group owned by the billionaire Maloof family—the same folks who own the trendy Palms Hotel in Las Vegas. Enjoy one of the steaks for which N9ne is famous, and be ready to set yourself back about 50 bucks—presuming you drink water and skip dessert.

During Obama’s royal repast, he regaled his sycophants with the usual spiel:

“Right now, there are folks in the Chicago-land area who are… trying to figure out “…how am I going to fill up my gas tank?”  And all the tax cuts that we provided to help working-class families… they’re worried about those tax breaks being entirely eaten up by $4 a gallon gas.”

Really, Mr. President?  Did you consider asking your devoted acolytes—not one of whom likely arrived in a used car—to skip the $50 steak, order the chicken and give the difference to those “working-class families?” 

To be fair, I will stipulate that all Presidents—even the ones who are NOT the darlings of the effete NPR listener set—attend 5-star cash grabs like the one which Obama headlined the other night. (I suspect President George W. Bush never enjoyed them. For all Obama’s laughably stilted “man-of-the-people” posing, W. always seemed more comfortable in the sorts of places where eating with your hands is the norm; whereas Obama looks as out of place in such downscale diners as Rahm Emanuel in direct sunlight.)

Mr. President, your 2008 campaign haul was a record even before you broke your promise to stay within the bounds of public financing. The way you and your Democrat accomplices have performed of late, you’re going to need every nickel. 

Quit lecturing us, you supercilious twit. You’ve never met a payroll, never sweated the end of the month because you’re short on rent, and never had to choke down the kind of food they don’t serve in the places in which you and Oprah dine. For that matter—we’re the taxpaying citizens of the United States. Stop talking at us like we work for you, and not the other way around. 

Why? Because we said so.

Grading On A Curve

Teacher [tee-cher]—noun: one who teaches or instructs, especially as a profession; NOT “supporter of those who murder police officers in cold blood.”

The recent annual convention of the California Federation of Teachers—a cell of the American Federation of Teachers—passed a resolution at their annual convention extolling the virtues of the cop-killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal. Jamal murdered Philadelphia police officer Danny Faulkner back in 1981 and has since become a hero to Democrat Party travelers from George “Owner” Soros to the second grade art teacher at Santa Monica Elementary. (Or whomever.)

One might presume the CFT would spend their time at their latest junket constructing a plan to ensure that their young charges would receive the best academic instruction possible. At the very least, it would be reasonable to think that they’d at least resolve to ensure the kiddies learn that “2+2″ does not = “Senators Boxer and Feinstein.” (Especially considering that Boxer + Feinstein = 0; not 4.)

If only reason played a part in their conduct. While some educational matters were discussed, including continued opposition to charter schools (damned local accountability!); the CFT also made a principled stand on one of the most important issues confronting educators in the Golden State: Cop killers.

Most of Resolution 19, which passed at the 2011 convention, is the usual empty rhetoric and defamatory innuendo the Democrat Party normally substitutes for REASON. Resolution 19 ultimately calls for the release of the “journalist” Abu-Jamal, whom they rather predictably claim is a victim of police coercion and judicial and prosecutorial malfeasance. It even elevates the REPROBATE murderer to the level of political prisoner.

“Whereas, the continued unjust incarceration of Mumia Abu-Jamal represents a threat to the civil rights of all people…”

Although I feel fairly certain that the continued incarceration doesn’t represent a threat to MY civil rights—mostly because I have yet to murder a police officer; I suppose I’m glad to see the CFT is on the case for civil rights; although they must have run out of ink before they expressed any support for the victims of communist oppression in places like Cuba—the CFT resolved at their 2010 conference to support five of Castro’s spies who were caught in Miami.

Oddly, not one word about the ChiComs’ unrelenting harassment of dissidents made it into this year’s CFT agenda. They didn’t make room for the victims of Iran’s violently repressive regime, nor any of the rest of the targets and victims of Islamofascism worldwide (a number which is substantially higher than the number of cop killers currently awaiting execution in Pennsylvania). And evidently, the good professors of California didn’t think it important to proclaim support for the widow and children of Abu-Jamal’s victim, Officer Danny Faulkner.

Frankly, I would expect the CFT to focus on… well… teaching. Californians now rank 49th out of the 50 States in adults who have at least achieved a high school diploma.

The CFT DID pass a resolution (No. 30) decrying “bullying.” However, they specifically noted that they were not talking about the nerdy kid who suffered an atomic wedgie on the way to social studies this morning. No, the CFT is concerned about:

“…aggressive communication, excessively harsh criticism… false accusations, public discrediting, defamation, insults, personal attacks, taunting, hostile glares, yelling, shouting, screaming, terrorizing, threatening behavior or acts… designed to drive the target out of a job;

Screw the brats. They don’t pay union dues. And no matter that the aforementioned language is a spot-on description of the union thug-led violence and hate speech — officially endorsed by the Democrat Party — currently on display in Wisconsin.

American students are falling further and further behind their peers in academic performance. Liberals breathlessly pin the blame on everyone but themselves. Meanwhile, a cell of the second largest “teachers'” union in the country made room in their recent convention for a man who shot a cop in the face at point blank range.

Here’s a suggestion for the CFT: Next time you want more money, consider whether your students can name the victim of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s crime. After all, who’s a better role model for the students in the Golden State — cops, or cop killers?

A Whole New Ballgame

Note to the Democrat Party: Don’t let the tears fool you. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) can play hardball, and he can bring the lumber. And there he was Friday night, with the clock ticking down on the Democrats’ incredibly ill-advised gambit, taking President Barack Obama and Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over the wall.

While there are still I’s to dot and T’s to cross, Boehner has managed to marshal the widely disparate ranks of the Republican Party into just enough of a politically irresistible force to break the lines of the Democrats’ eminently moveable object. While fair criticisms of Boehner can be—and often are—voiced by conservatives, consider his burden in the battle which unfolded last week. While the Democrats enjoyed the placid compliance of sheep, Boehner had to herd lions.

The Republicans lack the blind devotion upon which Obama and his accomplices rely. There is no Republican Service Employees International Union (SEIU), no Republican New York Times and no Republican Michael Moore. The Democrats are about as diverse as the Farrakhan family reunion—not counting the space aliens.

But from the rank-and-file Republicans to the Tea Partiers to the Libertarians, the conservatives are fueled by something the Democrat Party neither knows, nor understands: Righteous outrage (as opposed to mere outrage).

Righteous outrage is a conservative reaction to the President’s willingness to hold military paychecks hostage to abortion-on-demand. Mere outrage is Democrat-endorsed union thugs sending death threats to Obama’s political adversaries. Righteous outrage is conservative recognition that the corpulent bureaucracy of Obamacare is to functional healthcare as so-called “anthropogenic global warming” is to actual science. Mere outrage is a shrieking liberal harpy like Representative Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) spewing out the kind of defamatory drivel which calls to mind the pedantic pabulum normally vomited up by the idiot gasbags at MSNBC:

“In ’94 people were elected simply to come here to kill the National Endowment for the Arts. Now they’re here to kill women.”

Slaughter was referring to conservative insistence that the Federal Government cease funding abortion outside extreme cases. That’s a fair stretch from Eric Cantor (R-Va.) with a high-powered rifle firing at the Des Moines Ladies’ Auxiliary while they pose for pictures in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

The sort of hubris demonstrated by Slaughter is clearly born of comfort. Democrats from safe districts have become so content that they’ve forgotten most districts are more variegated than the sorts of places which elect crooks like Representative Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and hypocritical millionaires like Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Perhaps the Democrats’ overconfidence was born of rosy recollections of 1995. In the months following the Republican Revolution of 1994, then-President Bill Clinton’s refusal to interact with the GOP beyond “triangulating” their message led to the kind of shutdown Boehner and the GOP managed to avert Friday night. Back then, the corporate media was no less prostrate before their Democrat masters than they are now. However, the access to real information was much more limited, thereby producing a population which was far easier to fool. Most Americans still thought the nightly network news was a legitimate source, not DNC-conceived editorials masquerading as unbiased coverage.

Moreover, Clinton had something Obama will never have: Likeability. Clinton is the “buddy you love drinking with even though you know you can’t leave him alone with your wife;” whereas Obama is more of the “buddy you hate drinking with because he sneers at your beer over the rim of his white wine spritzer glass; and your wife hates him because he reminds her of your neighbor who drives a Prius and talks with his eyes closed all the time” type.

And unlike the 1995 shutdown showdown, which Clinton won, the 2011 shutdown showdown will cost the Democrats dearly. Sure, Boehner didn’t get the kind of spending cuts most conservatives were hoping for (taxpayer funding for the now-completely-exposed NPR lucked into a stay of budgetary execution); but he wrangled a widely disparate group into breaking the Democrat Party’s normally solid lines. More importantly, he forced the President and his accomplices to pitch them over the plate, where the conservative bats “took them yard.”

Boehner didn’t get $60 billion plus, but he did force a President who spends money like he’s trying out for a spot on the “Real Trophy Wives of Beverly Hills” to give up more than $30 billion. And according to Boehner’s new editorial in the USA Today, “the next fight will be about trillions, not billions.”

The conservatives are on the field. Let’s play ball!

The Burning Question

Let’s all take a moment to welcome Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center. He’s back for his second 15 minutes of infamy. Now, let’s all wave goodbye to Pastor Terry Jones. Outside a bush-league Sam Elliott lookalike pageant, Jones doesn’t deserve another moment of our attention.

But his notoriety does. Jones is an aberration created in retort to the almost gleefully murderous tendencies of Islamofascism. He’s a religiously-twisted court jester. But the animals who kill and maim actual people (something neither Jones nor his flock have done) are a threat to a great deal more than just the scripture section of the Gainesville, Fla. library.

In an analysis of the violence supposedly touched off by Jones’ little campfire, the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail identified what they considered:

“…clear evidence that his actions have led to multiple murders and widespread violence in the Middle East… (Jones’s actions have) been directly responsible for a wave of violence that began last night and has left 30 people dead…”

What about the actual Islamofascists doing the actual killing? Are we that desperate to avoid upsetting savages who use 21st Century media and weapons to try and force the entire world back to the 14th Century on behalf of their funhouse-mirror image of a 6th Century historical figure? When do we tire of making excuses for the inexcusable?

If Islam works for you—as it does for more than 1 billion people worldwide—then have at it. I won’t be joining you for a number of reasons, including a serious devotion to bacon cheeseburgers. But I’m not going to cower under a dishdasha because you don’t like it. And you should learn to live with that. It’s not as if I’m pursuing romantic interludes with preteen girls, a predilection which Mohammed indulged.

Recently, backup bloviator Chuck Todd sat in for talking hairdo Chris “Tingle-boy” Matthews on Matthews’ unintentional comedy program on MSNBC. Todd allowed TIME Magazine reporter Aparisim “Bobby” Ghosh on the program to discuss Jones’s barbeque. If Ghosh’s name rings a bell, it might be because he’s the same sock puppet who helped fabricate the infamous story alleging a Marine Corps-perpetrated massacre in Haditha, Iraq. Outside the asylum which is liberal faux-journalism like the sort practiced at TIME and MSNBC, Ghosh is worthy of little more than: “How is this guy doing more than reporting ‘Sled Dog of the Week’ stories in Nome?”

But Todd brought Ghosh in to raise Jones’ cache to new heights:

“The thing to keep in mind that`s very important here is that the Koran to Muslims… it is not the same as the Bible to Christians. The Bible is a book written by men. It is acknowledged by Christians that it is written by men… But the Koran… if you`re a Muslim, the Koran… is transcribed, is directly the word of God. That makes it sacred in a way that it`s hard to understand if you`re not Muslim.”

Actually, there’s a great deal wrong with that statement, but given the total lack of credibility earned by Ghosh—well—let’s just move along.

Ghosh’s point, like the Daily Mail’s point, is that Jones is somehow responsible for the violent rampages of Islamofascists. While I would agree that Jones isn’t helping the situation, I disagree vehemently that his Koran-burning misadventures are the moral equivalent of “yelling ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded movie theatre,” or yelling “defenseless Israeli teenager” in a crowded Nablus mosque.

Jones isn’t yelling “FIRE,” he’s yelling “ARSONIST,” albeit in a supremely stupid manner. But those who focus on what Jones is doing are missing something more important: That Islamofascists don’t need anyone to point out the defenseless Israeli teenager in the Nablus mosque, nor the Dutch cartoonist who drew a parody image of Mohammed, nor the guy who was riding the elevator to the 81st floor of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

About a year ago, a New York group which calls itself “Revolution Muslim” threatened to murder South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone should Comedy Central air an episode of the cartoon which purportedly depicted Mohammed. Comedy Central heavily edited the episode in response to the threats. If a group of Islamofascists had used the South Park episode as justification for murder, neither Parker nor Stone would have been responsible; just as Jones isn’t now.

In blaming clowns like Jones, we’re treating Islamofascists with kid gloves, while they treat us like victims. More importantly, we’re blaming the wrong people.

Pop Goes America

Regular visitors to the Personal Liberty Digest™ have likely noted my tendency to reference popular culture. Although I feel like the day was wasted if I missed an opportunity to use “J-Woww” or “Snooki” in a sentence, many of my fellow Bob Livingstonians waver between head-scratching confusion and outright disgust that such pathetic personas garner even mocking attention.

The truth is: I agree wholeheartedly with those of you who find the mere mention of such soft-underbelly-of-society types as those fine ladies demeaning to Mr. Livingston’s august endeavor; if not absolutely nauseating. Nonetheless, personalities created from whole cloth by MTV (or MSNBC, which carries slightly less prestige) not only exist, they’re enormously popular despite lacking talent, intellect or—in the case of the cast of “The Jersey Shore”—a vocabulary of more than about 50 words.

There’s a lesson in the meteoric rise of such marginal individuals; and it’s a lesson which Americans have failed to grasp despite more than a century of instruction: We like to watch stupid people behaving stupidly, strange people behaving strangely and awful people behaving awfully. The only difference between “The Situation” and P.T. Barnum’s sideshow freaks—as an exemplar—is the immediacy of their availability to us.

Hundreds of channels, thousands of websites and an endless number of media outlets great and small saturate our consciousness with images of the obscene, the horrific… and Rachel Maddow. Against that parade of grotesqueries, real knowledge, real information and issues of real import fade into the background; obfuscated by the sound and fury—none of which signifies much. And I, being of sound mind and body, wholeheartedly encourage the transmission and availability of every last bit of it.

Late last week, the Parents Television Council announced an effort to lay siege to Comcast over NBCUniversal’s production of a pilot entitled “The Playboy Club.” Evidently, this latest shlock includes contractual obligations that the actors included therein agree to appear in even less clothing than one of the fine ladies of “The Jersey Shore.” Although “The Playboy Club” is merely a pilot, and may never be seen outside some studio screening room, the PTC is concerned that should it make to the small screen, it will further damage the intellectual progression of the nation.

It may well do precisely that. But I would posit that “The Playboy Club,” like “The Jersey Shore” before it, the “Jerry Springer Show” before that and their progenitors like Mr. Barnum’s gathering of the gauche are merely as impactful as we allow them to be.

I have always been uncomfortable with the idea of limiting the production of even repulsive forms of entertainment in the name of protecting the fragile minds of our fragile children. My discomfort stems not from some misplaced allegiance to lowbrow entertainment, nor the cheap thrills evinced by watching scantily-clad morons do things people used to have pay to see. While I certainly object to most of the programming described herein, I object more stringently to the idea of anyone elevating themselves to the position of cultural policemen.

As much as I agree with the PTC that “The Playboy Club” is undoubtedly offal, I prefer the idea of allowing those who seek a path of righteous intelligence to find it amidst the endless cacophony of crap which is most of what passes for culture.

An old professor of mine used to wax rhapsodic about the “limitless availability of the accumulated wisdom of the tribe.” It’s out there, hiding in plain sight amongst the sitcoms, the webcast-rantings of Charlie Sheen and the mendacious babble of Ed Schultz. Should people allow their children to watch “The Playboy Club,” or Lawrence O’Donnell, then they deserve no better than the ultimate product of their folly. I have no interest in listening to the complaints of people who employ television as an ersatz nanny, and are subsequently appalled by the upbringing television (or music or film) provides.

Sixty years ago, many Americans shuddered at the thought of Elvis Presley swivel-hipping his way into their homes. The nation survived, as it can now. Consider this: As the bulk of our population sinks into the swamp of stupidity, the cream will rise to the top. For every episode of “The Playboy Club”, every fakeumentary vomited up by Michael Moore, every op-ed spewed by The New York Times, there are inspired and intelligent ideas from Mr. Livingston, Chip Wood, Robert Ringer, John Myers and Dr. Mark Wiley, among others.

Despite rumors to contrary, the revolution will NOT be televised.

Operation Odyssey Wrong

 

To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and—more profoundly—our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are… Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.” –President Barack Obama, March, 28, 2011.

In last week’s column “The Desert Rat,” I explained my issues with the idea of President Barack Obama leading us into a third global conflict with the “religion of peace.” The truth is that I generally like the idea of introducing homicidal autocrats to the business end of the most advanced fighting force in the history of the species. But I must also admit that sticking a cruise missile into the blowhole of every Islamofascist, tin pot and dictatorial screwball would turn the Middle East into a sheet of glass so reflective that John Edwards would move to Damascus just to fix his hair. (The ruined landscape of a sizeable portion of the Earth is the downside in that allegory, not the prolonged absence of the Ayatollah of Ambulance-Chasers.)

So, while many of my conservative colleagues are lambasting Obama for his mission to the Maghreb in general, my concerns are more detail-oriented. The obvious interrogative: “How can a President who has yet to keep his promise to extricate the U.S. from a pair of wars now involve us in a third?”

Less obvious, but no less important:

  • If America has a “responsibility as a leader,” then why is Obama so determined to put our assets under NATO control, a la Clinton in the Balkans?
  • If turning “…a blind eye to atrocities in other countries” is so abhorrent to Obama, how did LIBYA jump to the top of his list? I don’t mean to insinuate that Gadhafi isn’t a bad guy, but he’s hardly leading the league in D.R.A. (Dissidents Rendered Absent.)
  • Were it not for Libya’s sizeable oil reserves, would the decidedly anti-war Obama be so gung-ho to spend at least $100 million dollars a day to… well… to do to Gadhafi what George H.W. Bush did to Saddam Hussein?

I have noticed the port-side pabulum projectors have been pointedly silent on Obama’s justification for the NATO-led, U.N.-(mostly)-approved, big-budget, mysteriously open-ended Kinetic Military Action. The same folks who couldn’t seem to pass up a chance to bloviate about President George W. Bush’s “illegal war for oil” can’t seem to find their keyboards—much less their consciences—for Obama’s extra-legal battle for petroleum.

All I’m asking for is a little clarity. If we stipulate—for the purpose of discussion—that wars which begin during Republican administrations are about oil, while Democrat wars are entirely humanitarian, then explain the selection process. Is there some sort of vetting? How does a population targeted for extermination qualify for the Democrat Party’s rescue program?

On second thought, forget about clarity—I’ll accept a little honesty. A glance at the energy deposits across the Libyan landscape, when overlaid with foreign concession interests, reveals the reason why Libya got airstrikes and arms shipments to rebel factions while Iran got empty rhetoric, China got the Olympics, Darfur got George Clooney and Rwanda got forgotten.

I grew up in an era when Ronald Reagan was President, patriotism wasn’t a punch line, and “kinetic military action” was a complicated way of describing Arnold, Bruce or Sly wiping out some third-world dictator’s militia. I don’t reflexively oppose military intervention, provided it has a noble purpose. But the same President who doesn’t think the people of Iraq, Iran and Sudan (not to mention China and North Korea) are worth an airstrike has gone gung-ho for Gadhafi.

My apologies, Mr. President; but “Obama 2012″ is NOT sufficient justification.

Flunking Liberty

A story in a recent edition of Newsweek detailed an effort to determine the civic pride of our fellow Americans. The left-leaning journal offered 1,000 readers—they borrowed a few hundred from US Weekly—the opportunity to take the same citizenship test required of all prospective ingredients in our ever-expanding melting pot.

Keep in mind, with President Barack Obama’s dereliction of duty in dealing with illegal immigration, I’m not certain if that many people have actually taken the citizenship test recently.

I have no interest in burdening you with another maudlin monologue about Americans’ lack of civic pride (not to mention civic understanding). Lectures about the need for the people of the fruited plain to make time in between episodes of “Jersey Shore” to learn about the Bill of Rights are boring, depressing and trite.

Besides, anyone who really cares about the travails of “Pauly D.” and “J-Woww” is unlikely to give a damn how many voting members are part of the U.S. House of Representatives. The answer, by the way, is 435. If you answered correctly, then congratulations are in order. You just wrecked the national grade curve. I’d make some teacher’s pet crack, but something tells me most of the teachers’ union layabouts drew the same blank as the rest of the class.

Never let it be said that Ben Crystal isn’t as helpful as he is suave, debonair and quick-witted. Instead of standing on the dais and acting as if I have suede patches welded to my elbows, I’m going to invite each of you to partake of a little academic challenge. Call it: The Personal Liberty Digest’s™ Super-Citizen Survey. There’s no time limit, and you’re welcome to cheat. Think of it as an exercise in “outcome-based education.” If you don’t know the answer, just do as Obama does: Lie.

And remember, kids: There are no stupid answers, only stupid people. I wouldn’t worry too much about the stupid people. They’re over at Dailykos.com telling each other how tolerant they are for hating everyone who isn’t just like them.

To wit:

Question 1:
Sarah Palin is:

  1. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
  2. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
  3. Capable of making a kill shot from a moving helicopter. (AWESOME!)
  4. Pretty hot.

Question 2:
Michelle Bachman is:

  1. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
  2. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
  3. Terrifying to Democrats who are unused to women who still look like women.
  4. Pretty hot.

Question 3:
Hillary Clinton is:

  1. The Secretary of State (for now).
  2. Not running for President in 2012 (honest!).
  3. Dean Rusk, compared to her boss.
  4. Less hot.

Question 4:
Libya is:

  1. A nation in North Africa.
  2. A nation in the throes of civil war.
  3. A nation with which the United States is NOT currently at war.
  4. A rash which can be cleared up with a non-prescription ointment.

Question 5:
Moammar Ghadhafi:

  1. Is the dictator of Libya and a sponsor of the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing.
  2. Keeps a bedroom decorated just in case his special friend Louis Farrakhan drops in for a romantic evening.
  3. Dresses like Elizabeth Taylor (the late 80’s-onward version, not the Cleopatra version).
  4. Has to be the front runner for the Keith Richards look-alike contest.

Question 6:
Scott Walker is:

  1. The duly-elected Governor of Wisconsin.
  2. Standing up to Democrat-sponsored union thugs on behalf of children.
  3. A union-busting hero.
  4. Obviously related to Hitler somehow.

Question 7:
The Service Employees International Union:

  1. Is a group of dangerously violent thugs officially endorsed by the Democrat Party.
  2. Puts the “hug” in “thug.”
  3. Wears purple because it’s so slimming.
  4. Is probably watching me from across the street.

Question 8:
Sendai is:

  1. That new sushi joint down the street.
  2. A Japanese city devastated by a recent tsunami.
  3. Nowhere near Rio, Mr. President.
  4. Still nicer than Detroit.

Question 9:
Despite a series of bailouts and so-called “stimulus” packages, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is currently:

  1. Lower than it was during the Carter Administration.
  2. Lower than it is in Kenya.
  3. Lower than it is in Detroit.
  4. Higher than it is in George Soros’s front office.

Question 10:
Common Cause, Moveon.org and ACORN are:

  1. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  2. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  3. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  4. About as collectively intelligent as the kids in the Chuck-E-Cheese ball pit.

Question 11:
Kinetic Military Action is:

  1. A euphemism for a limited-scope military engagement.
  2. A nice way of describing the sort of marching done by the New Black Panther Party. (Listen, fellas. I love the berets. But you’re wearing them like mimes, not soldiers.)
  3. Obama’s desperate attempt to look like a wartime leader.
  4. Probably a waste of time, under the current circumstances.

Question 12:
The Huffington Post has banned Andrew Breitbart from its front page because:

  1. Breitbart is a bigot.
  2. Breitbart is a liar.
  3. Breitbart is mean.
  4. Ex-Obama Administration laughingstock Van Jones said he would hold his breath until the Huffpo shunted Breitbart to the even-less-read back sections.

Question 13:
Joe Biden is:

  1. The Vice President of the United States.
  2. Neil Kinnock’s number one fan.
  3. Sy Sperling’s favorite client.
  4. That weird-looking old dude who f-bombed the President last year.

Question 14:
Nancy Pelosi is:

  1. The former Speaker of the House; and now the House minority leader.
  2. Even more surprised-looking in real life.
  3. Still planning to “drain the swamp.”
  4. No longer two heartbeats from the Oval Office.

Question 15:
Harry Reid is:

  1. The Senate Majority Leader.
  2. Deputy Droop-a-Long’s long-lost brother.
  3. Oddly obsessed by hookers in Nevada.
  4. Eminently qualified to hold Pelosi’s purse.

Question 16:
Obamacare is:

  1. A plan to deliver top-quality healthcare to every American, regardless of ability to pay.
  2. A bureaucratic monstrosity which is more about government intervention in your life than it is about healthcare.
  3. Really just the reanimated corpse of the mid-90s “Hillarycare.”
  4. Probably going to force you to watch reruns of “House” to determine whether or not you have cancer.

Question 17:
President Obama’s energy policy entails:

  1. Exploiting domestic resources, including fossil fuels, in order to lessen the economic burden on his constituents without sending billions to corrupt and/or hostile foreign powers.
  2. Signing an executive order requiring all Americans to drive mopeds to work.
  3. Paving Kansas, Nebraska and parts of the Dakotas in photovoltaic cells.
  4. Aiming Ed Schultz at a bunch of windmills.

Question 18:
The national debt of the United States is now:

  1. Worth about 97 percent of the U.S. annual GDP.
  2. Increasing at a geometric rate.
  3. Rapidly approaching one of those numbers that end up being used as a name for a search engine.
  4. Still smaller than Michael Moore’s waistline.

Question 19:
President Obama hails from:

  1. Hawaii.
  2. Kenya.
  3. Chicago.
  4. A secret laboratory in Warren Buffett’s basement.

Question 20:
The current Head of the Executive Branch of the government of the United States is:

  1. John Boehner.
  2. Harry Reid.
  3. Barack Obama.
  4. Oprah.

If you struggled with this exam, fret not. Many of your compatriots are still trying to figure out if Dean Rusk is that guy who’s married to Tori Spelling. In administering the actual citizenship test, Newsweek was likely demonstrating Americans’ lack of civic understanding. But they forgot that civic understanding may not mean the same thing to everyone.

An old colleague of mine used to say that “civic duty” encompasses everything from jury duty to picking up after Rover when he does his business on the sidewalk. That colleague of mine is entirely correct; albeit enormously optimistic.

In the age of Obama, I have learned to set my sights a bit on the low side. Don’t take stuff which isn’t yours. Don’t hit girls. Don’t make your mother cry. And once in a while, learn something useful. You can’t always count on British MP’s to do your homework for you, Mr. Vice President.

I’d tell everyone to go back to school, but there’s no point. The teachers are all cutting class to go scream at the Governor of Wisconsin.

–Ben Crystal

Just Breathe

Should you ever find yourself out for a drive along the Michigan-Indiana border, take a moment to venture by the Kalamazoo district offices of Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.). By itself, Upton’s office is entirely unremarkable; but not far away is a billboard which may arrest your attention like it was the police and you were a kleptomaniacal Hollywood starlet with a coke habit.

The billboard features a preteen girl with her face encased in what appears to be either an oxygen mask or an exceptionally Byzantine—albeit undoubtedly effective—delivery system for the kind of inhalants parents delude themselves into believing are foreign to their preteen girls.

upton-billboard

The billboard campaign is effective, at least on the surface. After all, no one wants to be the bastard whose legislative intransigence imprisoned poor Polly in her respirator.

The American Lung Association (ALA), theoretically a respected retinue of responsible folk, paid for these grim roadside reminders of respiratory distress, carbon dioxide and voting for Republicans. The ALA’s concern centers on the possibility that Upton, who serves as the current chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, may move to “…weaken the Clean Air Act.”

The billboards fail to mention a few fairly salient points. First, Upton has no plans to start pumping raw sulfur dioxide down your children’s throats. Second, Upton has no plans to weaken the Clean Air Act. His committee’s passage of the Energy Tax Prevention Act is designed to rein in runaway bureaucracy and unscientifically-motivated legislation which is in turn detrimental to economic and social progress. And third (and this one’s the kicker), this whole fear mongering campaign by the ALA is paid for by… you.

You read that last part correctly. The American Lung Association, a privately-run, tax-exempt, non-profit group, has received nearly $30 million over the last decade or so from the Environmental Protection Agency, a sub-cabinet-level division of the Federal government with enormous regulatory authority. And the ALA wants to stop Fred Upton from using the Energy Tax Prevention Act to put the kibosh on the EPA’s ability to crush economic development.

What Upton is planning with his Energy Tax Prevention Act—which rocketed through his committee and precipitated the ALA’s latest foray into fear mongering—is to return the Clean Air Act, and consequentially the EPA, to their legitimate purposes: Working toward cleaner air.

The Clean Air Act was most decidedly NOT implemented to institute what amounts to the odious Cap and Trade via a regulatory back door. Last November, the American electorate went to the polls slammed the door on bureaucratic regulatory subterfuge in resounding fashion; sending the Democrat Party busybodies who had spent the previous four years employing legislative authority to treat the American taxpayer like an ATM.

While the Democrat Party’s tendency toward the dictatorial isn’t new, the American Lung Association willingly serving as an accomplice to this sort of authoritarianism is less familiar. It’s terribly sad to see a once-proud organization dedicated to alleviating tuberculosis and other legitimately dangerous ailments sell its soul to a regulatory bridge troll like the EPA. It’s even sadder to see that once-proud organization do so by assigning real health problems to a theory which is the anecdotally-supported equivalent of geocentric astronomy.

And saddest of all: The ALA is either participating in this taxpayer-funded scam for the money—which means they have been motivated by pure avarice; or they’re in it because they really believe a sub-scientific theory is going to clog your children’s lungs, which makes them dupes.

Something is indeed rotten in Kalamazoo; but it isn’t Rep. Fred Upton.