I never knew Bob Owens. Given how my Konservative Kool Kidz Klub application was stamped Return To Sender years ago, this is no surprise. He was one of the early conservative new media types, first blogging and later developing a more traditional media business model. He was quite the Second Amendment aficionado. Owens was a family man; wife, three kids. He was known and loved, personally and professionally, by many within CNM, including several people I know as friends.

Earlier this week he left a cryptic note on Facebook about being a coward and a failure.

He then blew his brains out.

An overriding theme in the reactions to Owens’ death is that no one, not even those closest to him, had the slightest inkling this was a possibility. There was nothing in his demeanor, nothing in his words and/or actions, giving any indication he was troubled unto death by his own hand. Owens’ suicide has been met with complete astonishment. The words from those who knew him have both poured out and fallen in shocked silence.

Being one who knows the dark side as something utterly removed from George Lucas’ film franchise, I speak with uncomfortable authority about depression. It is an irrational, illogical assassin; the father of lies’ most hideous, insidious lie. It blinds its victims to reality, convincing them there is no hope when in fact hope abounds. Depression tells the irreplaceable all would fare better without their presence spoiling life’s soup. It declares self-destruction’s broad road as the only road, doing its damnedest to block salvation’s narrow path. Depression is Satan’s scalpel, seeking only to cut out life itself instead of cutting out the cancer it forms on the soul.

While there can be, at least in some cases in part, an understanding of why someone would take their own life, suicide stands in direct opposition to God’s will and Word. No one has the right to dismiss God’s gift of life to us and/or destroy the Holy Spirit’s temple He made for us in His image. The forgiveness made available to each of us through Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross is never a license to sin. While faith alone cannot always completely counteract depression’s lies, it is a vital element in the fight. There are no echoes of throne checks or any other variation on “are you really saved” in asking someone not just how they are, but how is their soul. This said, God alone truly knows the soul. He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion. We are His voice and hands on this earth; we must act and speak accordingly.

John Donne was right; no man is an island and the death of one diminishes us all. It should make us stop and take stock of priorities. Nothing exposes our online world’s triviality, the futility of our pursuit within our phonebooth kingdoms echo chamber of hyperlink and hashtag love as validation, like staring at a loved ones’ headstone. Today, now, is the time to preach in word and deed Christ crucified and risen to family, friends, and strangers alike.

I sympathize with Bob Owens’ friends. I grieve for his family. I pray God will have mercy on his soul. And I pray all the more the next Bob Owens among us will never be known as the next Bob Owens because someone reached out, and the person reached cried out to Jesus for the strength to live.

I really like credit cards. Every card in my wallet has purposes based upon rewards, limits, and due dates. The dollar bills in my wallet are probably the same bills I’ve had in there for weeks because I use cards for everything. Controlling expenditures and making certain my family is covered when life events pop up make credit cards an important tool in my fiscal planning.

The reason I don’t run into trouble with credit cards is that I never buy anything I couldn’t comfortably buy with money in the bank and I always pay in full before the statement is released. In the last decade, I could probably count on two hands (maybe one) the number of times I paid interest on a credit card balance. This is how credit cards are supposed to be used, in my humble opinion.

Where millions of Americans get into trouble from time to time is when they overextend themselves with their credit cards. Some look at their available credit as available cash to spend. Others calculate their monthly bills based upon the minimum payments on their cards and can’t wait until they pay the balances down to a point where they can spend on them again. Many lack disciple. Others lack knowledge. This is why otherwise responsible people around the country end up filing bankruptcy or some other form of debt relief.

Americans who are in trouble with credit card debt are each microcosms of the fiscal status of the United States federal government. Washington DC has been paying off credit cards with other credit cards, transferring balances when it doesn’t make sense, and manufacturing more credit cards because their old ones are maxed out. The interest alone on our $20 trillion debt is more than many countries’ GDPs. This is untenable and unsustainable.

When an individual gets into major credit trouble, the first thing they should do is stop spending on anything that’s not absolutely necessary. While I’m not a proponent of literally cutting up credit cards, it’s important for those with debt issues to pretend like there’s no money that can be spent on anything other than essentials while they do everything they can to pay down their balances.

We’re well past the time for the U.S. government to take the same approach. They need to tighten the belt in a big way and take the necessary actions to embrace fiscal responsibility for the first time in decades.

There’s a challenge with this. One of the reasons not mentioned above that some people get into deep credit card debt is addiction. There are those who are simply addicted to spending, shopping, buying, whatever. Even when they know they’re drowning in debt, they continue to make it harder to swim by continuing to spend. This is the problem with both major parties right now. They have this belief that if they go down the fiscally responsible route and start slashing the budget, they’re going to lose elections as a result. They feel they need to essentially buy votes by continuing to fund programs that are unnecessary. They believe they’ll gain votes by spending more of our tax dollars on departments, agencies, programs, and subsidies that get people pumped up because they’re the direct benefactors. A cruel but accurate way of presenting the current mentality of most DC politicians is that they think we’re all too stupid to understand the mess they’re building and we’re so simple that if they give us things, we’ll vote for them.

Ted Cruz demonstrated that this isn’t necessarily the case when he won the Iowa Republican Caucus. Most pundits thought he was dead in the water when he said he intended to pull the ethanol subsidies that helped many farmers in Iowa. Donald Trump and just about every other candidate doubled down on keeping the funds flowing in abundance, but Cruz said no. What did everyone other than Cruz get wrong about Iowa? They all thought the only way to get votes was to buy them. Iowans demonstrated that many Americans aren’t as simple-minded as politicians often think.

Unfortunately, that lesson will be marked down as an anomaly by the two major parties. The Democrats will push even further to the left in an effort to bring real socialism and even communist principles of government control over everything. The Republicans will continue to redefine “conservatism” by telling us it’s okay to spend more as long as the expenditures are justified. Of course, justification is easy for the GOP to manufacturer on pretty much any topic. That’s why they don’t have to blink when they attempt to replace Obamacare with Trumpcare. It’s why they can proudly accept Chuck Schumer’s and Donald Trump’s trillion-dollar infrastructure dreams. It’s why they scream loudly when they cut some budget from the EPA while hiding the asterisk in small print at the bottom that admits the money “saved” is simply being redirected to fund other programs.

I don’t recommend for individuals with credit card debt to literally cut up their credit cards because the scale is usually manageable and bankruptcy is an option when the scale is too large. However, I definitely recommend cutting up as many of the U.S. government’s credit cards as possible. They have too many and have demonstrated a complete inability to control themselves. It’s an addiction. They’re beyond the ability to even make the minimum payments which is why we’ve needed “stimulus” packages for the last two Presidents and we may see another one from the current President in the not-too-distant future.

Republicans are right in one regard. It’s time to redefine conservatism, just not the way many of them are hoping. Steve Deace over at Conservative Review brought some points to light in his article earlier this week titled “Needed: A new conservatism.” One of the things he touched on was the Federalist Party, of which I am a part. Here’s what he said:

A wise man once said something about the foolishness of pouring new wine into old wineskins. After all, this country is a living example that once paradigms embrace corruption, independence from the corruption must be declared, whether it is the Pilgrims fleeing corruption on the Mayflower or the Founding Fathers loading their muskets to stand up to it. Therefore, as students of history, if we’re going to spend years changing the paradigm, choose the strategy history says has the best chance of success — something new. Besides, wasn’t the Republican Party itself originally founded by those who fled the corruption within its predecessor, the Whig Party? This is the rationale behind the effort to launch the Federalist Party.

With the GOP in full control in DC, one of two things needs to happen. Either they get their act together and start reining in the power, bureaucracy, and out-of-control budgets that have been growing incessantly for decades or they need to admit they’re no longer a party that embraces smaller government. Unless things turn around very quickly, the latter is the only viable possibility. We know they won’t admit it, but the real question is whether or not conservatives are going to call them out on it or continue to fall for the same tired sales pitch.

In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators.

William F. Buckley Jr Up From Liberalism (1959)

A few days ago talking about Prager U’s excellent video on Nazi’s vs communists I wrote about the 180 the left did on the US entering WW 2 as soon as Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, we saw a perfect example of this on CBS yesterday.

As I and other noted the firing of FBI director James Comey forced a sudden 180 on the part of the left. For the last six months had been portraying him as public enemy number one on every TV show and social media platform that exists, and suddenly that same left decided getting rid of the said villain was prima facia evidence of our living in a police state.

Unfortunately nobody told Stephen Colbert’s audience that the meme had changed as Rush explains:

So anyway, Colbert goes out there. He says, “A huge story broke just moments ago, less than 10 minutes ago, FBI Director James Comey has just been fired by Donald Trump,” and his audience cheered!

His audience practically gave it a standing O, and Colbert didn’t know what to do. The audience, which is indicative of liberals and leftists all over the country, thought it was the greatest thing they could have heard because that’s what they’ve been conditioned to do: Hate Comey. They have been told that Comey stole the election from them by dumping all over Hillary. They’ve been told that Comey showed all kinds of favoritism to Trump, so they have been conditioned to literally hate Comey.

The Hillary camp has played a role in that; the Drive-By Media has led that charge; the Democrat Party got their digs in. So Colbert goes out there, and he’s fully expecting for his audience to boo and hiss, and what did they do? They cheered it! They gave it a standing ovation because that’s what they’ve been programmed to do. They’ve been told to hate Comey. Colbert was totally taken aback, and he said something like, “Wow, wow. Huge, huge Donald Trump fans here.”

As Jim Treacher put it:

 

It’s akin to Pavlov kicking his dog for coming when he rings the bell, or for those without a classical education the Good Wife episode: What’s in the Box where two sides in a courtroom are fighting over a ballot box one claiming it should be thrown out due to evidence of fraud and other other saying the votes should count, then suddenly word comes that the box has been opened and once the contents are known the two sides do an instant 180

Diane: Your Honor, we ask that these ballots be immediately counted to determine whether a fraud…
Patti: The sanctity of the voting booth must not be breached, Your Honor.

[then word comes out the votes in the box have been counted and it turns out the box contains exactly the opposite of what both sides expected it to be]
Diane: We… Your Honor, um…
Judge: Would you like to change your motion?
Diane: Yes, we– actually, we are going to withdraw the motion out of respect for the voting process.
Patti: We’d like to make a motion, Your Honor.
Judge: Of course you would.
Patti: These ballots are fraudulent and should be thrown out.

Alas unlike the cast of CBS’ The Good Wife the Audience wasn’t given the script.

Even better Jon Stewart who was the guest that night (it was a comedy central reunion show) ended up illustrating the absurdity of the situation: (commentary via newsbusters)

 

COLBERT: I got a question for the audience. When I said (previously) that Comey was fired by Trump, you all cheered — w-why? (more laughter) Is it because of what he did to Hillary? (cheers and applause from audience)

STEWART (pointing finger at audience): No!

COLBERT (reminding audience of proper response to Comey firing): But you know he’s investigating Trump’s campaign’s ties to Russia …

STEWART: Yes!

COLBERT: … which will now evaporate like cotton candy in the ocean.

STEWART (aware that Colbert is losing audience): No, you know what you got? You got, they were riding a wave. That was like a beginner’s surfers class where they were like (mimicking a struggling surfer), I’m standing up! Oh no, wait! (audience laughs after being insulted) Oh no, now I’m on my knees! Hold on! Which it was — I hate that guy, I love that guy, but Trump did, and they didn’t

 

In other words, how dare you ignorant masses not realize that the meme has changed.

Cue Gene Wilder:

This is what the left is reduced to, the cool kids being told what they have to think, when they have to laugh and when they are supposed to cheer.

And the really fun part of it? They think they are free thinkers.