The Fast And The Spurious X: Oh, Yes, They Did!

Last Thursday’s White House press briefing was a fairly standard affair. Pressed by the few reporters in attendance whose primary concern was neither parroting Democratic talking points nor fixing their hair, President Barack Obama’s chief sock puppet Jay Carney awkwardly attempted to portray the Operation Fast and Furious scandal as a “fishing expedition.” Carney lied, feigned ignorance, sneered, whined and mocked the overwhelming number of Americans who want answers about Obama’s gift of weapons to Mexican narcoterrorists. In other words, it was another Thursday in the Obama White House.

And then, Carney treated observers to what his boss might have called a “teachable moment.” During his faux-casual dismissal of the disastrous OFF and its tragic consequences, Carney forgot border agent and OFF victim Brian Terry’s name.

We already know that neither Obama nor Holder has apologized to Terry’s family for the murder of their son at the hands of narcoterrorists armed by the Obama Administration. We also know from recent events that senior members of the Obama Administration have repeatedly lied to the Nation and to Congress about the development and implementation of OFF. Holder perjured himself — oops, “misspoke” — on at least three separate occasions. And in recent days, we have watched as the Democratic Party has thrown in with Obama and Holder for better or worse (much, much worse) on the whole affair. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi concocted the theory that the entire investigation is a Republican conspiracy:

They’re going after Eric Holder because he is supporting measures to overturn these voter suppression initiatives in the states…It is a plan on the part of Republicans. These very same people who are holding him in contempt are part of a nationwide scheme to suppress the vote.

Pelosi didn’t offer an explanation as to how bringing the Obama Administration to justice for OFF would keep Democrats from voting as early and often as they normally do, but I’m still waiting for her to offer an explanation as to how she sneaks out of the psych ward each morning. The Democrats’ television outlet — MSNBC — said no scandal exists. Of course, MSNBC thinks filming Ed Schultz working out what appear to be some fairly serious issues makes for good television.

Most of this knowledge can be gleaned from simple knowledge of the Democratic Party. Consumed by rage at perceived “unfairness,” guided by obscenely wealthy hypocrites who buy votes and control in the form of what they call “public assistance” and we call “a taxpayer-funded hammock” they see literally everything in political terms. Their by-any-means-necessary theory of political power causes them to react to opposition with distraction, slander and/or outright fraud. But OFF is different. Unlike the other myriad scandals that have defined the Obama Administration — from Obamacare to illegally offered amnesty for illegal aliens — OFF seems ridiculous on its face. Career Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents warned against it. The shop owners forced to assist warned against it. And Obama — well, the as-yet-unnamed sap who will likely take the fall for Obama — ignored their advice and went ahead with the program anyway. It’s hardly a secret that OFF didn’t just fail; it failed like Chris Matthews on “Jeopardy.”

But why did Obama go through with it in the first place? Even if the goal was to create a crisis to which he could respond by clamping down on the Bill of Rights, why hand weapons to members of Mexican drug cartels (hardly a circumspect bunch when it comes to killing)? Moreover, why try to cover it up afterward? Anyone self-important enough to smile while trampling the Constitution as routinely as Obama does should hardly care if he gets caught doing so.

And that’s the lesson Carney offered last Thursday when he demonstrated Obama’s complete lack of concern for the real victims of OFF. They did it all for one simple reason — the reason that drives the Democrats (particularly the current crop running wild in Washington) to visit upon the rest of us virtually every scandal, every violation of our civil liberties, every imperial decree and every crime they’ve gladly committed: because they can. God save us if we don’t disabuse them of that notion in November.

–Ben Crystal

Lawyerball: The First Thing We Do

Two years ago, a woman named Elizabeth Lloyd sat down at a picnic table next to a Little League field in Manchester Township, N.J. Not long after, an 11-year-old catcher named Matthew Migliaco began warming up a pitcher in the bullpen next to Lloyd. And then, tragedy struck. Well, perhaps not tragedy. Tragedy implies human suffering on a grand scale. Had young Master Migliaco suddenly fired a rocket-propelled grenade at Lloyd, that would have been tragic. If the young backstopper had lept the fence with a bat and set to Lloyd the way Trayvon Martin — ahem, allegedly — set to George Zimmerman, that would have been tragic. No, what happened was purely an accident. An errant toss by Matthew hit Lloyd. Oops! A bad throw by an 11-year old. Bummer. The normal response would likely entail wincing, spitting out a stream of verbiage one would normally want to keep from using next to a Little League baseball field, an angry return throw and then a trip home to put a bag of frozen peas on the affected area.

But Lloyd is one of an increasingly large number of Americans who thumb their rhetorical noses at “normal” on their way to the courtroom. Two years after Matthew accidentally hit her, Lloyd and her husband are demanding $150,000 for medical costs and punitive remuneration for pain, suffering and something her husband, a party to the suit, calls a loss of “services, society and consortium.” I’m no lawyer, but I’m going to guess that means Lloyd, once viewed by her husband as the Gisele Bundchen to his Tom Brady, is now less appealing to him than a week at a nudist colony with Roseanne Barr.

Lloyd took a baseball in the kisser while sitting next to a baseball field in use by a group of 10- and 11-year-old baseball players. As anyone who’s watched The Bad News Bears is already aware, 10- and 11-year-old baseball players tend not to possess the talent — much less the aim — of Derek Jeter. Therefore, sitting next to a field on which a game between two teams loaded with the best talent the local plumbing-supply house can sponsor would carry with it what one lawyer friend of mine described as “an assumption of risk.”

Yet Lloyd believes Matthew targeted her with the malice of Randy Johnson staring down a rookie who’s crowding the plate, and she and her husband managed to find a lawyer willing to charge the proverbial mound. Their attorney is the kind of roach-with-a-briefcase who illuminates the reasoning behind Shakespeare’s famous line from Henry VI, Part II, Act IV, scene ii: “The first thing we do is kill all the lawyers.” The Lloyds’ lawyer is merely the latest in a long line of ambulance chasers who tear this country apart bit by bit — another galling example of the parasites who ply the emergency rooms and emblazon bus stop benches and phone book covers with their grinning mugs, looking for their next slip-and-fall payday.

These are the foot soldiers in the liberal campaign to turn us into a Nation of squabbling twerps who can turn even the most innocent mishap into a battle royale of mistrust, resentment and recrimination. While the Lloyds’ decision to abduct Matthew’s innocence and dump it in a ditch is appalling, it’s hardly isolated. Of course, the granddaddy of all idiotic lawsuits would be the infamous case in which a woman sued McDonald’s after she spilled hot coffee in her lap and burned herself. That she won close to $3 million is testament only to the perverse courtroom skills of her attorney and the frighteningly high number of exceptionally stupid people in the jury pool. Perhaps the most famous of the practitioners of this sort of law would be former Democratic Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards, who made an estimated $50 million pile while convincing juries to reward his clients for all manner of questionable ills.

And the Lloyds’ lawyer, much like Edwards and the rest of their legal-beagling siblings, are sucking the life out of us all. When someone takes the case of Lloyd vs. Migliaco, America’s Pastime, et al., a little of the joy in all of us dies. Baseball fields get shrouded in protective rubber matting to protect picknickers. Then the players themselves get wrapped in the stuff as well. Baseball begins to (as an 11-year-old might put it): “like, totally suck big time.” They go home and play Xbox all day. They get fat, and then their parents sue Microsoft for making the Xbox. Little League folds, and the commissioner gets so upset that he spills his coffee in his lap and burns himself. He sues McDonald’s, and the cycle continues.

Someone sits down next to a Little League field, gets hit by a baseball and sues the ballplayer. Someone else spills hot coffee in his lap and sues McDonald’s. Someone else slips in your driveway and sues you, the driveway contractor and anyone else their attorney can hit with a tsunami of paper.

Don’t mistake my intent. I would part with The Bard and acknowledge that not all lawyers need killin’. Beyond the defenders of decency in the civil courtrooms, our justice system needs someone to stand up for society in the criminal docket as well. If we abandon the legal profession to the Johnny Cochrans of the world, who will guide the jury to recognizing that the only real choice should have been about into which of O.J. Simpson’s arms to stick the needle? In fact, the Simpson murder trial is a perfect example: Simpson had the master showmen Cochran and Robert Shapiro. And justice retorted with Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden.

We need decent people to stand in a courtroom when one of Edwards’ colleagues demands $3 million for pain and suffering caused by spilled hot coffee to respond with a legally appropriate version of: “The plaintiff is a doofus.” For every Edwards, we need an Antonin Scalia to talk the jury off the roof. For every ambulance chaser whose chosen profession has pushed malpractice insurance — hence, healthcare costs — into the stratosphere, we need a dignified jurist to remind people that “yes, the patient has a reduced quality of life following his heart surgery, but he is alive, and it’s a good thing the surgeon didn’t go to law school instead.” And for every Elizabeth Lloyd and her attorney, there must be someone with an understanding of both basic decency and the law who can stand up and remind the jury that she was sitting next to a baseball field on which 11-year-olds were playing — of all things — baseball, a sport in which baseballs are routinely used and often leave the field of play.

It would be a dereliction of duty if I didn’t note the political bent of the sort of people who sue Little League baseball players when their clients are hit by flying baseballs. They’re the same attorneys who filed the lawsuits against McDonald’s for hot coffee and the same who filed suit against McDonald’s on behalf of parents with fat kids. They’re Edwards, Cochran (were he still alive) and Shapiro. They’re also Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama. They bend, twist and deform the law to assuage their greed for money and/or power. And they crush the dreams of Little League players, force doctors into the poorhouse, deny justice to murder victims and diminish the quality of the lives of virtually everyone with whom they cross professional paths.

Even if Matthew successfully fends off the Lloyds’ abominably frivolous lawsuit, they and the lawyer who took their case have stolen a big chunk of Matthew’s childhood. We all lost a little bit when Matthew was served with the papers for this suit. We all lose a little bit every time some lawyer plays the lawsuit lottery like this. All of us, that is, except the lawyers.

Maybe Shakespeare was right all along.

–Ben Crystal

Someone’s In Your Kitchen

Recently, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg infamously burst forth from Gracie Mansion to deliver a new set of culinary commandments to the citizens of the Big Apple. While many people grumbled at the politician’s parental behavior, many Democrats applauded “hizzoner” for caring so much. Of course, they applauded Bloomberg’s successful incursion into our cup holders — not Bloomberg’s concern for his subjects.

Unfortunately, this sort of nanny-statism is spreading. This week, the city of Cambridge, Mass. — home to some of the most annoyingly smug Bay State liberals outside the Kennedy Compound — announced it was considering a ban on soda sales in restaurants.

Of course, Cambridge offers merely the latest on a list of obtrusive efforts to reach much further into our lives than most of us would prefer. In fact, for those of us who consider our homes — and, by extension, our lunch — sacrosanct, politicians who mandate food and beverage guidelines have not simply invaded our homes, they’re in the kitchen and rooting around in the fridge. As an aside, I would caution these self-appointed guardians of the public waistline to keep their distance from the liquor cabinet, lest gunplay erupt.

I despise governmental dietary dictates for the same reason I despise their equally-egregious siblings: so-called “sin taxes.” When bureaucratic bugaboos begin decreeing what’s allowed on my table, they’ve stopped behaving like government officials and started behaving like prison wardens. As is the case with “sin taxes,” I’m doing time absent a crime. Instead of being sent to bed without dessert for refusing to eat my vegetables, I’m being sent to bed with my vegetables for thinking about dessert. Taken to the extreme, such enforced restriction leaves everyone from the most sanctimonious vegan to the most voracious omnivore choosing which flavor of soylent green they’d like for dinner.

But another problem looms, and it most severely affects a group liberals pretend to care most about: the “poor.” Inside the supposedly good intentions of nanny-staters exists a logical gap wider than Michael Moore slow dancing with Ed Schultz, and I examined it up close recently at the grocery store. As I waited to check out, I stood in line behind a woman whose cart was filled with all manner of stuff that would elicit tears from the eyes of the San Francisco busybodies who tried to ban Happy Meals™.  She had four different flavors of soda, those delicious Little Debbie™ cakes and a host of other items that are on the “only slightly more nutritious than Styrofoam” list.  And she paid for it all with an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.

If the government wants to move in on my menu, shouldn’t there be even more significant restrictions on people whose menus are dependent on my dime? The woman in front of me bought a cartload of crap that would make a nutritionist compulsively start doing crunches, and you and I paid for the whole mess. So, I have to listen to lectures from Bloomberg, et al. while every trailer park Cleopatra and ghetto Nefertiti whose fertile reach exceeds her financial grasp stuffs her squalling progeny’s pieholes with high-fructose garbage, and I don’t even get invited over for cake and grape soda? Perhaps the nanny-staters should focus on the well-being of the less-well-off before checking to make sure I have enough broccoli in my crisper drawer. (I don’t have any broccoli in my crisper drawer. That’s where I keep the emergency 12-pack of beer.)

To be sure, most of us eat and drink far less healthfully than we should. As I’m writing this, I’m downing a “scotch coffee.” It’s like an Irish Coffee, except instead of Bushmill’s, I use Famous Grouse; and instead of coffee, I use more Famous Grouse. I’m grilling steak for dinner later. That’s my choice. Before the government decides to swoop down on me for living more like Michael Moore and less like Michael Phelps, perhaps it should narrow the restrictions on the EBT recipients whose grocery bills I’m also paying.

I’m not suggesting we limit food stamp purchases to Unimix and chewable vitamins; in fact, I neither want nor deserve any say in what EBT recipients feed themselves or their kids. But it’s worth noting that governmental busybodies seem more worried about what I’m buying for myself than what I’m buying for others. Of course, they’re already dependent on governmental largesse. At this rate, the rest of us will join them soon enough.

–Ben Crystal

Si Se Puede!: The Imperial Presidency of Barack Obama

Had I been present in the Rose Garden when President Barack Obama issued his royal proclamation decreeing essential amnesty to 1.4 million illegal aliens, I would not have interrupted “his majesty” the way The Daily Caller’s Neil Munro did on Friday. Toward the end of Obama’s announcement that he would be further ignoring the Constitutionally mandated separation of powers, Congress, the will of the American people, pre-existing laws regarding immigration, his own previously stated position on the issue and basic common sense, Munro recognized Obama wasn’t kidding about his refusal to entertain any questions about his latest crime against the Nation. And Munro acted, asking why Obama favored “foreigners over American workers” before Obama could hightail it off to his next multimillion-dollar fundraiser.

Kudos to Munro for at least trying to do what the sycophants who make up the rest of the White House press corps either can’t or won’t. But I wouldn’t have remained mum out of any sense of respect for the office of the Presidency. After all, during the eight years of George W. Bush’s Administration, the Democrats not only murdered respect for the office, they dismembered it and buried it in the Rose Garden. Besides, if Obama wants my respect (and I doubt he cares much, one way or another), he should consider earning it. I know, I know: “Earn” is a curse word to liberals — much like “Constitution” or “law.”

But I would have stayed quiet for two reasons:

  1. The longer the tyrant of the teleprompter speaks without interruption, the more likely he is to do exactly what he did: garrote himself with own tongue. In announcing to the world that he would grant amnesty to more than 1 million illegal aliens, Obama reminded the Nation that he considers blowing perverse political kisses to criminals and their liberal enablers far more important than the rule of law and national social and economic security.
  2. By giving the Democrats something to whine about — in this case, the sort of tactic they routinely deploy with much more fervor against their conservative betters — Munro allowed them a chance to change the topic of discussion away from the Obama regime’s latest crimes and toward a perceived lack of respect for the President.

The usual suspects in the Democratic Party rocketed out of the gate with the predictable — and predictably spurious — charge of racism. Some pencil-necked junior varsity Al Sharpton type who calls himself “Touré” led the way with the tinfoil hat brigadiers at MSNBC, definitively stating: “This disrespect of this human being cannot be disconnected from the fact that he’s black.” His remarks are silly, but Touré simply might be upset about getting short-changed on a last name. While others in the corporate media — including Sam Donaldson, who made a habit of shouting questions at President Ronald Reagan and who (I was surprised to learn) is still on this side of the grave — chimed in, few examined the content of Obama’s revelation.

While hysterically assigning racist motives to Munro’s interrogative in particular and conservatives in general (a laughably predictable tack for people who cry “racism” when the barista over-soys their lattes), the Democrats are also mincing around the latest example of Obama’s increasingly imperial regime. Obama’s suspension of immigration law by fiat will not only grant essential amnesty to nearly 1.5 million illegal aliens, it will grant them a leg up against legal citizens in areas including higher education, social services and job opportunities. By engaging in such a craven political maneuver, Obama has signaled to the actual citizens of the United States that votes mean more than a populace already staggering under the weight of his enormously bad economic policies. Even The Washington Post cautioned: “the policy could create significant new competition for jobs and university slots at a time of nationwide recession.”

And let us not forget the fact that Obama himself opposes his move: “…there are laws on the books that I have to enforce…perpetrating the notion that somehow, by myself, I can go and do these things. It’s just not true…” It is hardly news when Obama defies Constitutional and legal dictates in the name of politics. It ought to be news when he defies his own tenuous principles in the name of same. Then again, hypocrisy defines liberalism. Perhaps the liberals and their corporate media consider it newsworthy only when Obama actually sticks to principle. When he does, we’ll let you know.

–Ben Crystal

Too Cool For Obama

Well, color me mortified. Here I was, operating under the assumption that despite his faults — and they are legion — President Barack Obama is the coolest cat ever to strut through the hallowed halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He hangs out with all the right people. Hollywood stars like George Clooney line up to not only rub shoulders with Obama, but to throw money at him the way he throws money at union thugs and liberal layabouts. Hip-hop superstars like Jay-Z and Beyonce chillax with him for movie night in the White House situation room. He slow jams the news with Jimmy Fallon in the wee hours. He gets down with awards show jackass Kanye West. Even the first lady is a fashion icon, with designers clamoring to swaddle her in the finest togs taxpayer money can buy. If that’s not the resume of a cool President, then the hell if I know what is.

Fortunately, the Congressional Black Caucus has arrived to instruct me. As it turns out, not only is Obama not cool, but I am a racist for thinking so. Except that he is cool, and I’m racist for not thinking so. Or something. If you’re confused, allow Angela Rye, executive director of the CBC, to straighten everything out. During a sit-down with C-SPAN, Rye said:

This is probably the toughest presidential term in my lifetime. I think that a lot of what the president has experienced is because he’s black.

It’s certainly not because he’s a profligate, borderline socialist paper tiger with the political mores of Joseph Stalin. The fact that Obama’s poll numbers are falling like Piers Morgan’s ratings must be due to the color of his skin. And God (sorry, Democrats, “unknown force that may or may not exist and may or may not be the creator of the universe”) forbid anyone note that Obama is the sort of fellow with whom you might want to hoist a cold one or two.

Lest you remain uncertain about Obama’s “coolness,” Rye snaps the notion with a wet towel, attacking an ad by the conservative group American Crossroads that calls attention to Obama’s cool factor:

… it was just very racially-charged. They weren’t asking if Bush was too cool, but, yet, people say that that’s the number one person they’d love to have a beer with. So, if that’s not cool, I don’t know what is… even “cool,” the term “cool,” could in some ways be deemed racial.

There you have it, you miserable right-wing racists. According to the always evenhanded CBC, calling the coolest President in the history of the Nation “cool” is racist. However, call him anything less complimentary than “cool,” and see if the arbiters of sensitivity at the CBC are “cool” with your criticism.

For that matter, step outside the bread box of liberal dogma on any issue of national significance and see how most of the Democratic Party responds. Take issue with abortion and you’re fighting a “war on women.” Suggest reining in runaway Federal spending and you hate poor people. Hell, point out that America’s economy might function better if the so-called “Occupiers” take a shower and go to work, and you’re one of the “1 percent” (a very bad thing to be, unless you’re Obama, who has salted away an eight-figure pile without ever holding a private-sector job).

Welcome to the very heart of liberal thinking. During the scandal-plagued disaster that has been the Obama regime, liberals have endeavored to define the parameters by which all political discourse is conducted. By their standards, not only are all disagreements determined to be “racist” or otherwise biased, but overexamined compliments (“cool” used to be a “cool” word by which one might be described) are deemed biased. Take this concept to its logical conclusion, and you recognize that by eliminating all comments by people outside the liberal cabal’s approval, they’ve silenced everyone except themselves.

It’s the return of the undead ghoul Saul Alinsky — only with a much broader reach. And a Nation under the sway of Alinsky’s acolytes would be a most “uncool” place to be.

–Ben Crystal

The Fast And The Spurious Forever: Eric Holder’s Excellent Adventure

Although it strains credulity farther than a White House Press briefing, Eric Holder remains the Attorney General of the United States. Furthermore, despite Holder’s central role in a scandal that involved shockingly bad decision-making, an overt hostility to the Bill of Rights, Mexican narcoterrorists and the murders of two Federal agents and an unknowable number of innocent Mexican nationals, Holder continues to enjoy the full faith and credit of the President of the United States. Granted, the full faith and credit of the biggest buffoon to sit in the Oval Office’s big boy chair since Jimmy Carter “lusted in his heart” is about as valuable as a fistful of Greek drachmae. Nonetheless, the fact that Holder hasn’t been reduced to advertising on bus stop benches for slip-and-fall cases is an affront to every American wise enough to recognize just how far down the rabbit hole Obama has dragged us in three short years.

Late last week, Holder returned to the hot seat in the chambers of Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Confronted with a mountain of evidence proving almost everyone in the Department of Justice chain of command north of the guy who cleans up the cigarette butts President Barack Obama leaves behind after his visits knew about the disastrous “gunwalking” Operation Fast and Furious at least a year before any details of the scandal came to light, Holder stuck to his — forgive me — guns.

Under pressure from a righteously outraged Issa, Holder continued to pretend he was on the straight and narrow. “We believe that we have responded to the subpoena,” Holder said. At the moment he made that remark, Holder’s Department of Justice had failed to comply with nearly two dozen aspects of the subpoena in question. Responded? Perhaps. Complied — which Attorneys General are legally bound to do in the instance of Congressional subpoenas — hardly. Of course, Holder is an accomplice of Obama, who has made it clear that he is well above such irritants as Constitutional dictates and the separation of powers.

Most remarkably, Holder’s Presidentially backed stonewalling is nothing compared to the abject dearth of attention paid to the OFF scandal by the leadership of the liberal horde. Out of curiosity, I dragged a hook through two of the leading liberal hate speech sites, Dailykos and Democraticunderground. Democraticunderground gave OFF passing note, repeating the false notion that OFF is related to the vastly different (and less fatal) George W. Bush-era Operation Wide Receiver. Dailykos, owned by terrorist celebrant and liberal Svengali Markos Moulitsas, remained mum.

Perhaps liberals are avoiding discussion of OFF because it’s simply too complicated for the sort of folks who vote for people like Obama. The Obama Administration designed a gunrunning operation over the strenuous objections of career agents and gun retailers. The operation itself was designed to create crimes in Mexico which would in turn create the need for a response which would, of course, require the Democrats to take the shears to the 2nd Amendment. That’s a lot to process, especially for the soft-underbelly types who support vermin like Obama and Holder.

But the veneer may be cracking. During last week’s testimony, Holder asserted that the White House had offered advice on how to spin the scandal. On Sunday morning, David Axelrod told CNN’s Candy Crowley that no such exchange had taken place. Under normal circumstances, such a discrepancy would hint at a coming pink slip for the embattled Attorney General. Unfortunately, in an Administration that is as comfortable lying as I am pointing out when it’s doing it, normal circumstances are the exception rather than the rule.

Perhaps that is the greatest lesson Holder and Obama will teach us during their disgraceful tenure in the uppermost branches of the Washington tree. When the usual race-baiting, distraction and even killing (sorry, Agents Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata) fail, lie.

–Ben Crystal

A Foreign Affair

No one can blame you if you have missed reports of some of the more distasteful characters on the geopolitical stage huddling together in some of the darker corners of the globe. After all, President Barack Obama and his Democratic accomplices have swamped the Nation in a socialist tsunami that rivals even the splash made by Ed Schultz when he jumps into the White House pool. And the corporate media would rather cover Big Fat Eddie’s cannonball technique than alert you to the fact that Obama’s domestic incompetence is nothing compared to the mess he’s made abroad.

Putting aside the fact that the man who won a Nobel Prize on spec has infuriated our allies (Mr. President, the Nazis were the bad guys in World War II — not the Poles), Obama is twiddling his thumbs while a couple of the bigger villains on the world stage twirl their mustaches.

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin — on a good day, just a Nehru jacket and bowler-hatted henchman away from being the next James Bond film villain — enjoyed some downtime in Beijing. Among those who also made the trip behind the Great Wall was Iranian President and evil oompa loompa Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The neighborhood drunk visited with the neighborhood psycho at the neighborhood bully’s house — what could possibly go wrong? What they discussed is far less important than what Obama and the corporate media are not discussing: Under the direction of our Nobel Laureate President, the United States has gone from hero to just above zero.

Obama has hardly earned his Nobel Prize. Following the guns-blazing diplomatic approach of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton (at markedly different targets: Bush aimed for center mass, whereas Clinton tended to shoot at the ground nearby), Obama promised more carrot and less stick in response to what the Democrats assured us all was an American image tarnished by years of American-led warfare.

Instead, the global audience has borne witness to a superpower that has remained just as powerful, but far less super. Under Obama’s leadership, the United States has morphed from the free world’s protective big brother to the crazy uncle seen only on major holidays. While checking off the names on his unbelievably creepy personal kill list, Obama has made time to quietly extend our involvement in the empire’s graveyard of Afghanistan for at least another decade, proving he needs a refresher on not only basic economics, but also history (as if his “Polish death camp” gaffe left any doubt about that).

The U.K. is consumed by inner turmoil, largely born by its Pollyanna-ish approach to violent splinter groups and Islamofascists residing within its own borders. The rest of Europe — trying to right a badly listing regional economy — has essentially told Obama to butt out. Even the French, who normally agree with the biggest army in the room, have told Obama to lose their number.

And now, Russia has returned to the dark side, with Putin openly canoodling with the always-spooky ChiComs and the always-crazy Iranians at the same moment he issues none-too-subtle threats about the fallout from potential U.S. intervention into Syria. The bright spots in this triumvirate’s get-together: Putin and Ahmadinejad can’t imprison or kill as many of their own people while they’re in another country, and Obama won’t have to mouth half-hearted condemnations of such in between campaign fundraising stops.

The Russians have stopped pretending they like us. The Iranians are building nukes, which is the geopolitical equivalent of a methhead getting his mitts on a tank. The Israelis are shaking their fists in response. The rest of the Mideast is wobbling on the edge of an Islamofascist blackout. Europe won’t return our calls. And the ChiComs are as inscrutably sinister as ever — and wealthier by the minute.

Perhaps Obama thought that world peace would magically spring forth in response to his Nobel honor. I suppose no one ever told him that the Nobel just ain’t what it used to be (they gave one to Yasser Arafat, for chrissake). But the world is an angrier place than it has been in decades, and Obama — who has delivered nothing but failure at home — has turned a bad image into an unforgivable one.

–Ben Crystal