Despotism By Any Other Name. Daniel Hannan is a member of the EU parliament from the UK and a thoughtful, articulate and outspoken conservative. Recently, he addressed the CPAC conference in Washington, DC with a stern and dire warning of the path that we are traveling on as a nation. His speech can be found HERE:

Daniel Hannan/CPAC

His words at CPAC dovetails with an op-ed piece that he wrote almost a year ago in March 2011 for the WSJ. His astute and prescient words still ring as true today.

If you repeat our mistakes, we know exactly what lies in store for you. — Daniel Hannan

We ignore his warning at our own peril.

It Is Better To Receive Than To Give. A twist on the old saw to be sure, but truer words have never been spoken, I assure you. Approximately 50% of our society is on the receiving end of things, in one form or another, from the federal government. Whether it’s inflated benefits from a lifetime of forced contributions (contributions plus presumed interest that only account for a fraction of what is received), subsidies in the form of housing and food or benefits like a monthly check in the mail for whatever reason, contemporary Americans are increasingly and sadly becoming more co-dependent upon government for their living. So it’s not unexpected when those who productively contribute to society (read: WORK) clamor for reforms and changes to the system to encourage (read: FORCE) others to toil and contribute as well that those who receive show their ire through demonstrations and other overt displays. A prime example is the “Occupy” movement with its numerous squatters campsites scattered throughout the country. This movement was a microcosm of “slacker nation” on full display for all to see and hear. Our nation was regaled with this nonsense for over three months in the fall and early winter of 2011 as the “Occupiers” took to public parks with their protests and succeeded to foul them with human waste and refuse. And we were also treated to an amusing hodgepodge of demands and proposals from a group of protestors who obviously have too much time on their hands and who haven’t worked in a meaningful way in far too long. But isn’t this what it’s like with American society writ large? Our nation is running up record debt and burdening ourselves with record deficits, and we all know that the party must end at some time (lest someone else turn off the lights for us) but we cannot bring ourselves to elect and command our representatives to do what is best for our nation — decrease spending. It is instructive to note that we will find the will to decrease spending on those things constitutionally-mandated, like the military, but we cannot find the will to even broach the subject of entitlement reform or benefit reduction. I guess it really is better to receive than it is to give…that is until there’s no more to receive or to give. But that’s where we are inexorably going as we’ve recently passed the 100% GDP point in our national debt; this number growing every day. With all the “receivers” out there and their high expectations (they voted, now they DEMAND results from Obama’s “stash!”), I imagine we all will have hell to pay when the gravy train derails and the goodies stop flowing. This will all be good, though. It took a long time to learn to be hopelessly co-dependent with the government, so it will take some time for those who are in some cases the results of multi-generational dependence to muster the initiative to go to work each day for their living. We better discover soon as a nation that it is better to give than to receive or else we will have no future to give to our children. And we will be despised by our heirs for our treachery and selfishness.

Obama’s Budget Jackpot! Barack Obama released his 2013 budget without much fanfare last week. As predicted, it maintains the spending tack that has been the hallmark of his past budgets. But critical analysis of the budget by the public at large was overhshadowed in the news by a bit of overt and controversial (to say the least) political maneuvering by Obama and HHS regarding Obamacare and “free” contraception as it relates to the Catholic Church. But as Mark Steyn points out in his brilliant opinion piece in the NRO this weekend, there is a telling component to this budget that is being little talked about:

My favorite bit is Chart 5-1 on page 58 of their 500-page appendix on “Analytical Perspectives.” This is entitled “Publicly Held Debt Under 2013 Budget Policy Projections.” It’s a straight line going straight up before disappearing off the top right-hand corner of the graph in the year 2084 and continuing northeast straight through your eye socket, out the back of your skull, and zooming up to rendezvous with Newt’s space colony on the moon circa 2100. Just to emphasize, this isn’t the doom-laden dystopian fancy of a right-wing apocalyptic loon like me; it’s the official Oval Office version of where America’s headed. In the New York Times–approved “responsible budget” there is no attempt even to pretend to bend the debt curve into something approaching reentry with reality.

As for us doom-mongers, at the House Budget Committee on Thursday, Chairman Paul Ryan produced another chart, this time from the Congressional Budget Office, with an even steeper straight line showing debt rising to 900 percent of GDP and rocketing off the graph circa 2075. America’s treasury secretary, Timmy Geithner the TurboTax Kid, thought the chart would have been even more hilarious if they’d run the numbers into the next millennium: “You could have taken it out to 3000 or to 4000” he chortled, to supportive titters from his aides. Has total societal collapse ever been such a non-stop laugh riot?

“Yeah, right.” replied Ryan. “We cut it off at the end of the century because the economy, according to the CBO, shuts down in 2027 on this path.”  — Mark Steyn

The graph that Mark mentions does not simply suggest dereliction of duty by Obama and his financial functionaries, it illustrates it in a textbook manner. I have included a thumbnail of it for your viewing pleasure:

Critical analysis reveals that Chart 5-1 suggests two things: the first is that the Obama administration is under some delusion that we can somehow obliviously spend ourselves into penury without a flitting care in the world; and unfortunately the second is that that graph represents the pinnacle of inter-generational treachery whereby we are spending at such an irresponsible level that we are willfully burdening our children and their children’s children with our debt. This isn’t much of a legacy and birthright to pass on to future generations, huh? But what is all this debt as compared to the worship and adulation that one man, Barack Obama, can reap with his willful disregard of our nation’s future prosperity? Politics, and free rides, are indeed messy things.

The New Nominal. We are on the road to unsustainability at an unsustainably unsustainable rate of debt accumulation as a nation. This is no more evidenced than by our switch of scale when it comes to discussing the federal budget of the United States. We have now eclipse billions and have left that paltry magnitude in the ash heap of history. We are now blazing a new frontier into the domain of trillions. A trillion dollars may not seem like a lot to you, but to me that’s A LOT of walking around money. And considering that our national debt passed the 15 trillion dollar level, we are talking serious shekels here. I recently read a comparison where if we were to stack one million dollar bills atop each other that it would take a stack over a mile high to represent a trillion dollars. So, our present debt puts us safely into low Earth orbit.

How’s the view??

This begs the question: How long before we start talking interstellar levels of debt using billion dollar bills as our reference? At some point it doesn’t matter. At some point the sheer magnitude of the debt number is so huge, it defies comprehension by an individual. But sit and think about this for a moment. One million dollars represents the average LIFETIME earnings of an average citizen (if said citizen is inclined to work in the first place.) There are approximately 150 million wage earners in the USA at the present time — a sad fact given our population is just a touch over 310 million folks. All things being left constant, if we were to give the government 100% of our earnings over our lifetimes, we could indeed service the debt…and perhaps have a little left over for paving roads and groping travelers at airports. But as in our discussion of Chart 5-1 previously, where does that leave our kids? If we are to do anything about this unsustainable debt and associated budget deficits (where our borrowing  from foreign adversaries to service it is out of control) we need to reject the “new nominal” that is being forced upon us by the government and this administration. The only reason we even discuss budgets at the 15 trillion dollar level is because we have become a hopeless welfare state, and engaged in a federal spending spree that would even make drunken Russian sailors blush. If we accept the new budgetary vocabulary, the new nominal as it were, then we cede our control and our comprehension of the magnitude of the problem. At some point, the problem becomes too large to adequately grasp because of its sheer size. It literally becomes the immoveable object. And if we are not careful, then we will be trapped beneath its crushing size and weight.

Barack Obama’s recent assault on the Catholic Church and the 1st Amendment proves that the man has no consideration for the deepest held religious beliefs of American citizens and that he couldn’t care less about the US Constitution. With the exception of the outrage displayed by Catholic bishops regarding this religious and constitutional affront, it was difficult to tell if any rank-and-file Catholics, particularly Democrat Catholics, share a similar outrage and anger.

All we need to do is listen to the “explanation” put forth that self-declared Catholic Nancy Pelosi offered:

“And so this is an issue, 98 percent of Catholics, they tell us, use contraception, overwhelming numbers of people in our country support the president’s decision, including, they tell us, at least you all tell us, a majority of Catholics,” said Pelosi.  “So I support it.  If it comes to the floor we’ll use this as a welcome debate to talk about the importance of women’s health.”

“And it’s not just about the women,” Pelosi said.  “It’s about their children and the health of their families as they make serious decisions and use contraception to determine, as I said, the size and timing of their families.  That will be a debate that we welcome.”

“It’s a sad one,” she concluded.  “We shouldn’t have to be to a place where people are saying—when the overwhelming practice is going in favor of women’s health—‘we want to pull that back.’  And use the excuse of religious freedom, which, of course, this is not.”

The problem with Ms. Pelosi’s analysis is that the opinions of individual American Catholics do not constitute Church doctrine. She knows that…but she is willing to place her fealty to her ideology before her faith. From the lead up to Obamacare, when Ms. Pelosi was House Majority Leader, we understand that this woman is an unprincipled liar and propagandist. And she will indeed unhesitatingly place her party before the United States, the Constitution and the American people she purports to “care” about.

After the bishops’ outcry, we see that Obama and Pelosi are satisfied with turning the debate away from a blatant government intrusion on religious freedom to the red herring of “women’s health.” And American Catholics may be just brainwashed enough to buy this hokum wholesale. Even Obama’s recent so-called “compromise” with the Catholic bishops to force the cost of contraceptives and abortions onto insurance companies was seen as acceptable by many American Catholics ostensibly concerned over women’s health.

This raises the question about the true faith of American Catholics and, again, Democrat Catholics. These folks seem comfortable with the likes of Nancy Pelosi speaking on their behalf from a position of political power. Yet she (in what must be a conscious decision) spits in the face of the Catholic Church with her words. As such, do American Catholics think that the Church is a democracy…whose deepest held doctrines and precepts may be changed according to the vagaries of public opinion (as Ms. Pelosi apparently believes?) If this is so, the Church in America and any hope of a return to constitutionalism are doomed because of the passive acceptance of such anti-Catholic viewpoints like Ms. Pelosi’s and government programs like Obamacare.

It used to be that Catholics worried about the fate of their immortal souls once they shed their mortal coils. That concept, it seems, is passé now. Because for over a century the government has enabled a free-for-all in terms of self-indulgence and self-gratification…all at no cost to the recipient. A free-for-all provided or aided and abetted by the likes of Ms. Pelosi. The following question begs asking: If one doesn’t have to worry about their next meal, shelter, cell phone, etc. because of a beneficent, generous government, why is there the need to thank a generous God for those necessities of life? After all, what did God have to do any of this? Better still, what did the Church and an individual’s faith have to do with the government’s largess?

In a statist, non-secular society God and souls don’t matter as much as voting for the “right” candidate. The condition and fate of an eternal soul pales in comparison to the instant, worldly gratification of “benefits.” So why worry? Why not live it up and exploit the ‘quiddiest’ of quid pro quos?

I betcha a lot of “good” practicing Catholics have more than a spark of doubt in the existence of an afterlife…so why not hedge those bets and make the most out of things while one can? This probably explains why Catholics have replaced God-fearing behavior with the craven idol worship of Obama and the federal government. Unfortunately they are Burger King Catholics…they want their faith and their religion their way. They also want  their “stuff” from the government, no strings attached.

Entitlements über allis…at least until God has his say…

President Barack Obama stands astride the American economy like a modern Colossus. Except instead of a beneficent and understanding giant holding a lantern and guiding ships into safe harbor, he is akin to a modern paperweight…pressing down upon business and prospective prosperity, atop a mountain of regulations and restrictions.

As this election year progresses look closely at Mr. Obama trying to cast himself as being a Colossus…looking out for the “interests” of the average American with his guiding light. You know, the “working” stiff with no other advocacy. Also look for the incredible yet predictable support of the Colossus persona by Obama’s lapdog MSM. They are poised to pull out all the stops in their support and image honing of this immensely flawed man.  The subtle and overt propaganda will be nauseating to the trained and careful observer.

Obama and Progressive minions…and the MSM may have their opinion of our struggling POTUS, and his accomplishments and capabilities.

The rest of us who have to live under the weight of his rules, regulations and restrictions will unfortunately see and feel a man more equivalent to a massive boat anchor than as an effective leader.

I read a news story today that the US budget deficit had “dipped” to 1.1 trillion dollars. Exceuse me if I don’t break out into my version of the “Happy Dance” but I can’t seem to get to thrilled with such ominous news. A deficit of that magnitude threatens our stability as a nation and our viability as a people. But the most frightening bit of analysis came later in the story when the author wrote:

The Congressional Budget Office report also says that annual deficits will remain in the $1 trillion range for the next several years if Bush-era tax cuts slated to expire in December are extended, as commonly assumed.

That statement represents the stilted thinking of a government-favoring progressive who sees tax cuts as harmful expenses that must be eliminated rather than as desirable and beneficial to citizens. The reason this thinking exists is because liberals/Progressives/Democrats think that government is immune to the vagaries of reality. In fallow times, when the rest of us tighten our belts and cut our budgets, government cannot be expected to do the same. It is impossible for us to imagine or, more boldly, demand that government downsize for any reason.

We now have government for government’s sake. Government has become a powerful god…a false idol that must be worshiped and accorded all power and glory. After all, if one treats government good, good things come from government. This is a particularly beneficial truism for those who have traded their vote for generous goodies…and their life’s sustenance. It is the ultimate symbiotic quid pro quo, and an unfortunate individual-government co-dependence. And it is the nourishing substrate upon which many political parasites feast. Self-serving pols who seek power, riches and glory insinuate themselves into this co-dependency, promising and then delivering more, and then reaping the rewards. Chief among these rewards is political longevity. After all, who is going to be foolish enough to bite the hands that feed them?

So, accordingly, politicians have rigged our system. They have configured social programs and “entitlements” as mandatory, untouchable spending. This is important because even considering changing these taboo expenditures is akin to sticking ones wet finger into a power outlet. It is tantamount to political suicide!! Just look at what has historically happened to courageous politicians who have suggested tweaks or, ohmigod, the complete elimination of these socio-political sacred cows. They are fist ridiculed by the Progressives…and then run out of town on a rail by “angry” (read: greedy) voters. Those lucky enough to survive the maelstrom never, ever broach that subject again.

What happens? We all suffer because government is treated as sacrosanct. It must never be changed or reduced, else all manner of evil will befall us. The implication is that there is a fair percentage of us who simply can’t take care of themselves without the doting of a nanny government. If we were to prohibit government’s role in social programs like Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid then the sky would literally fall. Because we all know that government is the fairest arbiter of services and has the purest of intentions. Right?

So rather than eschew the yoke of control placed on us by government or reject the liberty-stealing government dictates and regulations, we have become inured to being killed with kindness. But the only fatality is our free, independent spirit. Unfortunately, we’ve traded traded this spirit for a 1.1 trillion dollar deficit. It is the ultimate self-serving dirty deal that we’ve done. Why? Because we can never hope to pay off this intergalactic-sized burden, so by default that responsibility is deferred to our children and grandchildren (and perhaps great-grandchildren.)

Until we can change our thinking to cherish liberty in all its forms and reject statism in all its forms, then we are, I’m afraid, doomed. How unfortunate and perverse that there are a fairly large portion of our society that believes that a lowering of taxes is a bad thing, and a “cost” to our government. This is truly a form of mental illness…or the ultimate manifestation of greed, envy and covetousness. Because many of the folks who feel this way pay little or no taxes, and yet receive their livelihood from the government. They’re willing to do anything to keep this situation the same — so long as anything is defined as voting for vote-whoring pols who promise the recipients of government-confiscated largess that the gravy train will go on forever.

There are two ways that this sinful thinking will change: We can “educate” the freeloaders and over time hope that they see the error in their ways and in their thinking, or we can just wait until the defective system implodes and fails. If I were a betting man, I’d bet my money on the latter. But since I’m a realist…I’m putting my money into precious metals, supplies and water. Because old, ingrained habits die hard and an all-powerful government operates under the delusion that it can control everything, including the laws of nature and the realities of fate.

Unfortunately, the lesser angels of man’s existence tend to rule the day. Sin is always easier than virtue. And government is like a storage battery for the zeitgeist energy of the contemporary society. Right now our government is being charged by sin. It’s not a good situation of the upright and virtuous. Or for those who value the Constitution.

For your own sakes, keep your eyes open and your morals strong. It is going to be a bumpy, tumultuous ride to where we’re going.

A wide open window was provided into the minds of college students by the apparently deep-thinking students who attended Rick Santorum’s Q&A session at New England College yesterday. On full display was the sclerotic and stilted thinking that is typified by our new liberal, progressive indoctrination and propaganda immersion. Simply put, the students in the audience were so fixed in the precepts of the liberal ideology that they have been inculcated in that they cannot reason or debate with any effectiveness. Just listen to the pathetic stance that the “students” take vis-a-vis Rick Santorum trying to have a measured debate/discussion with them. And to add class upon class, they boo and jeer him at the end. How very adult and mature of you all.

watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CGzsHURVE7Q

I was always under the impression that the purpose of education was to transform empty minds into open ones. But the real mission of education nowadays, colleges and universities in particular, is to turn out Progressive ideology clones who will unquestioningly tow the party line, regardless of facts to support contrary conclusions. The student’s reasoning has been conditioned upon how they feel (or more importantly, how they are *expected* to feel), and they tend to shut down their thinking if the discussion strays from comfy-cozy self-serving ideological territory. Again, school is supposed to instill an inquisitiveness in students, and prepare them for the real world where issues and problems are not so cut-and-dried.

It is disheartening to see students in so-called “higher education” act like they did at NEC last night. No only do they need to be taught proper manners and social graces, they need to be instructed as to how to comport themselves in a structured debate…where the free exchange of ideas is favored over the desperate clinging to per-conceived notions and ideological totems. Unfortunately Rick Santorum was treated to this boorish and disrespectful behavior by some of the spoiled brats who attend NEC, and from this treatment his views on gay marriage and other salient social topics will continue to be twisted, distorted and misrepresented in order to take a bite out of the guy’s hide.

This is the Progressive political playbook in full bloom! So don’t be at all surprised that this happens, and that the mainstream media encourages this bad behavior and wrong conclusions. These students just don’t know how useful as “useful idiots” they were last night…and how their naivete will be similarly exploited in the months and days leading up to the election of 2012.

Apparently our, ahem, Commander-In-Chief doesn’t take his responsibilities quite so seriously. Otherwise, why would he be pushing for such dramatic budget cuts and downsizing of forces in his plan to save money? Could it be that cutting the military is the political equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel? I mean, making hard decisions regarding cutting back social “benefits” and “entitlements” would only serve to inflame the passions, and not in a good way, of his core constituency — the layabouts and goody-grabbers. And in an election year, that’s like taking a big simultaneous gulp of NyQuil, Tylenol and Quaaludes. It just won’t end pretty.

So, our White House-bound Captain Courageous isn’t likely to suggest any cuts in social programs. None at all! It doesn’t fit with his “fundamental transformation” of America from a meritocracy to a cesspool of government-individual co-dependency, so why risk re-election chasing rainbows while all hopped up on phony virtue? But cutting the force size of the military and curtailing military spending — that’s a casual swipe at the ‘Easy Button’ of politics. But it seems that our misguided POTUS, and the Congress if it lets him do this, are shirking the only actual, authentic constitutional prerogatives that they have: The defense of our nation.

Now, Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution states: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States…,” and nothing more regarding his powers is mentioned. There is no ability to cut the size of the force, nor alter the budget of the armed services. Only the Congress may do these things. In fact the majority of the actual, authentic duties and powers of the Congress relate to the military. Article I, Section 8 details these powers: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States…To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water…To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years…To provide and maintain a Navy…To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces…To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions…To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress…To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

These very limited powers of the presidency and expansive powers of the Congress in regards to the military begs the question: Is Obama overstepping his constitutional authority when he ostensibly makes “cuts” to the military? We don’t need Supreme Court justices to come up with corrupt and contemptible “rulings” based on some specious and politically self-serving interpretation of the Constitution when we can trust our lying eyes having read the passages in question ourselves. We need our elected and appointed representatives to step up to the plate and act in strict accordance with the Constitution as well as in our very best interests.

I propose that gutting our military in favor of preserving the welfare state is not in our best interests. This action will serve to put us in double jeopardy: It will serve to bankrupt us in the long run by preserving programs and benefits that do not contribute to the financial viability of our nation and it causes us to be vulnerable and open to threats from foes worldwide. These two situation do not indicate to me that our president, Mr. Obama, takes his oath of office very seriously: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

If anyone can claim Obama’s faithful execution while holding a straight face, they are quite an actor or actress. I hope and pray that even the most ardent Obama supporters see this folly for what it is — the weakening of the United States and the commencement of our downward slide towards third-world mediocrity. My only hope is that we leave our children something that they can rescue and call a nation themselves, although each passing day I doubt this more and more.

God bless America. God bless our brave and courageous military. God help us all…

Well, another year has flown by at nearly supersonic speed. Bye, bye 2011…we hardly knew ye. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

Welcome, 2012! Lots of unrealized expectations, dreams, resolutions and goals to be had. Perhaps 2012 will be a bust out year for the US; a year when we as a nation finally wake up and realize that we cannot spend our way to prosperity and that virtue is demonstrated, not conferred. Hopefully by the time November rolls around we will send a plurality of serious adults to the polls and set things straight, once and for bloody all. We need to admit our grand mistake that we made in 2008 and put the past behind us. We need to embrace principles long ago abandoned, and hope that there is enough time left to rescue a future for our children and heirs. It will be tough work, but like they say — anything worth doing is always tough.

Cheers, 2012! May we enjoy a healthy, safe, profitable and rational time together. We can only hope.

And here’s to spending a LOT more time typing opinions and venting my aching spleen! You WILL see more of me here in 2012, I promise.

I was subjected to severe bullying when I was a child in the early and mid 1960′s. I went to Catholic parochial school, so you would have thought that the students there would have had more scruples or have been more humanistic because of their religious education. But let’s be realistic, kids will be kids. And vicious kids will be vicious.

My problem was that I was born with prominent, “Dumbo” ears. From the age of six I was subjected to humiliation and calls of “Ears!” by the older kids. This was usually followed by other insults and flicks of my ears. There was absolutely nothing I could do about this bullying and taunting…my ears were my ears. And once the bullying and name calling started, it didn’t take long for all the kids, of all ages, to chime in. So, I tried as best I could to accept the catcalls and the torture. My parents were as understanding as they could be…but I guess their options were limited in that situation. I also didn’t see much comfort and succor from the nuns at school. They would stop it when they could, but they never laid down any ground rules, etc.

Being kids, the taunting kids were crafty about their humiliation of me…and if one were caught and punished, I bore the wrath. Sure, I had close friends…BUT, even they would occasionally sneak in the “E” bomb to pick at me, for whatever reason. They were after all dopey kids.

When I reached nine years old, my parents and I couldn’t take any more…so they arranged for me to have surgery that would essentially pin my ears back in a more “normal” position. This would make me less of a target of opportunity for the idiots who, unfortunately, were my peers. I underwent my first surgery by a local ENT at a local hospital. The operative word is “first.” The first surgery didn’t go to plan — I ended up with infections of both ears and hearing damage from the infections. I had to wear bandages that looked like giant white earmuffs…and even though the surgery was done in the summer, I still was a kid and insisted to go outside and play. Bad choice! More humiliation due to the complications.

It took MONTHS to heal properly, and after the ear muffs came off the results were hideous. My ears were disfigured…and they were grossly asymmetrical. Good God, the worst case scenario had landed upon me! Add to this the incredible pain, the constant putrid discharge and my inability to sleep much, it was a mind bending experience for a young child. And guess what? The taunting and catcalls increased exponentially. After what seemed an infinite wait, we saw another doctor in Boston (this was a hardship for my parents because we lived 45 miles from the city and they were lower middle class folks, but at this point they would have done ANYTHING for me), another surgery was scheduled with this doctor to repair the damage done in surgery #1. The second surgery was performed at Children’s Hospital. Notice I said “second.” Once started, the doctor decided the damage was so great and the scar tissue so thick that he could only do one ear at a time. This surgery ended with no complications, and after four weeks, I had the other ear done. Again, no complications.

This time the doctor in Boston used new-fangled metal staples behind my ears so I wouldn’t have to suffer the indignity of the earmuffs again. But the disadvantage of these staples was the PAIN that they caused. It was like having hot pokers driven into the sides of my head and into my ears. But thankfully I only needed the staples for 3 weeks or so…and the ears healed just fine.

But the results were less than spectacular. The Boston doctor only had so much he could work with given the damage done by that first local doctor. Although he was able to make my ears bend closer to my head, the accumulated surgeries left them noticeably asymmetrical.

However, after the healing, POOF, the taunting and bullying ebbed and eventually stopped. Occasionally I would get a spurious call of “Ears”, but I would rejoin with a similar physiological insult…and thus I achieved a Mexican standoff with my taunters.

But this whole ordeal really worked on my mind. I would exhibit tics and other habits — like incessantly licking my lips or blinking my eyes. The bullying and taunting left me a train wreck mentally as it really tamped down my self-confidence. But I had a strong will and a loving family, and I was able to rationalize my way through this difficult time in my life. However, I’m left with both emotional and physical scars from my bullying experience. And this bullying has definitely made me a different person than I would have been if it had not happened. No one can be absolutely sure of anything, but I’m quite sure of this.

To this day I’m still hyper-sensitive about the appearance of my ears. I don’t like my picture taken. I wear a baseball cap to deflect attention away from my ears. The “ears” ordeal has left me non-assertive and I tend to shy away from confrontation. And it has left me with an inferiority complex that I constantly work on to overcome. But I am bolstered by the fact that I was able to work my way through the bullying with my head held high. I ended up being the physically biggest kid in my class for a time, so that one simple fact of nature guaranteed that I didn’t have to suffer any longer after seventh grade. But six years can take its toll.

Bullying is not a victim-less endeavor, unworthy of notice by adults. It isn’t just kids play, but it can be a cruel, life-altering ordeal for the recipient. I think it might be hard for someone who hadn’t been bullied to understand what the bullied individual went through. But I assure you that there are many damaged folks out there, and many diverse stories of how they’ve dealt with the consequences.

This was just mine…

OWS — Obvious Willful Stupidity or Rebels Without a Clue? The “Occupy Wall Street” movement is being put forth as some kind of organic, serious protest over greed in the US and world financial sectors and capitalism in general. Somehow, between a sympathetic MSM and Progressive politicians who find a distracting simpatico with the tent, bongo drum and need-a-bath set, we are led to believe that this is a BIG movement, encompassing many millions of participants. But I’m loathe to count up more than several thousand die hard participants at any of the “events.” One thing is for sure — given that there is no cohesive aim or ambition, and the fact that many of the participants are willing to go on the record with inchoate ramblings — this is a put up rebellion. But put up by whom? And why? And why now? I believe those questions will become clear as time goes on because getting paid to camp out in an ever-increasing-in-filth outdoor venue soon becomes tiresome, and the continued prospect pales in comparison to the fold away bed in mom/dad’s living room. Besides, these fractious neo-hippies are unlikely to garner much support or sympathy from the average working Joe or Jane who has to actually work for a living to, in part, support the right of these selfish nutbars to continue to protest.

Solyndra. I think that the House has finally hit a nerve in the Obama administration with their investigation of the Solyndra scandal. There is something fishy afoot with the incredible sums of money involved in what increasingly appears this green-for-votes/political support scheme. That Solyndra was so very close to bankruptcy/insolvency, teetering on the edge as it were, and the administration saw fit to bankroll this outfit for over half a billion dollars of taxpayer’s money is both troubling and suspicious. I’m convinced that Solyndra represents the pinnacle of crony capitalism that is the hallmark of the corruption of the self-proclaimed “transparent” Obama administration and presidency. We’re being played for fools, and with their rejection of the House subpoena, Obama and his Corruptocrat cronies are thumbing their noses at the law and at us.

GOP Presidential Candidates. I’m presently underwhelmed by the current crop of GOP presidential candidates. Don’t get me wrong, for a staunch Republican and rock-ribbed conservative, there are some jewels in the rough. Like Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Only Mr. Cain has gained any traction among the purported “conservative” candidates. But Newt has seen somewhat of a resurgence, climbing to 3rd place in most of the national polls, after Cain and Romney. And by the way, Mitt Romney needs us more than we need him. It may be “his turn” to be the GOP standard-bearer, but as a nation we don’t need the medicine that he’s offering. I firmly believe that he’s a go-along-to-get-along candidate, who will unfailingly support the tax-and-spend infrastructure…while making ceremonial and for show only cuts here and there. Of all the candidates, Santorum and Gingrich speak for constitutionalists and conservatives. Through past actions as legislators and through their words while on the stump, they have unflaggingly preached the need to tip the status quo on its head — even though it is to their detriment. I sure hope one of these two prevails in the tough slog ahead, but I’m not holding my breath. Now, don’t get me wrong. I really like Herman Cain and I think he’s a smart, experienced and articulate man. If he is the GOP candidate after the primary winnowing process, I will enthusiastically vote for him! What I don’t like is his 9-9-9 plan…

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan. There is so much that troubles me about Herman Cain;s 9-9-9 plan. But my primary objection is that by simply offering this plan, Mr. Cain unwittingly cedes the status quo to the tax-and-spend Progressives who have, for over a century now, conditioned Americans to being unwilling ATM machines for profligate political agendas and programs. See, since the turn of the last century we have become inured to being taxed in an extra-constitutional manner through legislative trickery and political duplicity. And although there is a marginal return on our investment in infrastructure and national security, the majority of our money is used as a votes-for-goodies slush fund by craven, self-serving pols. We don’t need GOP candidates offering up “plans”, like Mr. Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, to help support this profligacy. We need GOP candidates who are willing to play the iconoclast, and propose that before we do anything else, we will cut the federal budget by an ACTUAL 50% — including entitlements. We are taxing and spending our way into oblivion and obscurity as a nation. Restructuring how the government gets its financial fix is akin to debating, just after it struck the iceberg,  whether the Titanic will sink in 5 or 6 minutes. In the end, it doesn’t matter! It’s gonna sink anyway!! A tax and spend “plan” by any presidential candidate, least of all a GOP candidate, puts a willful or worse unwitting fig leaf on the root core problem. And if gives false hope that things will really change with a new administration. We need a candidate and a presidency willing to cut up the roots of the insidious government and make tough but necessary changes to the modus operandi of that government. Any plan that does not include this is really no plan at all.

We live in a nation where the electorate and the administration are apparently stuck on stupid. New statistics regarding poverty and median income have been made available today. These numbers are astounding: According to CNNmoney.com, “The nation’s poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, its highest level since 1993. About 46.2 million people are considered in need.” And other data released by the Census Bureau indicated that the median household income fell by more than 2.3 percent.

How’s that Hope and Change working out for you 33 months into the experiment?

Our current president has spent more money in these 33 months than all other US presidents combined…and certainly many times more than any other national leader on Earth in our recorded human history. And the result is greater poverty and lower income? Not unpredictably, the president and the Democrats want to spend MORE. They want to once again play Robin Hood to the callous “rich” and spread more wealth around. They want to increase the government’s size from tyrannical to ubiquitous.

What I’d like to know is: How much do we have to spend before the poor can raise themselves out of poverty and America becomes the Socialist Utopia that is the ultimate dream of the Progressive Democrats? I’ll give you the short answer — there is no answer! One cannot change human nature with handouts and social programs. Even Jesus said that there will always be poor among us [Matthew 26:11.] As God, He certainly knew and understood human nature and the human condition better than any of we mere mortals. So what makes the Democrats and liberal Progressives think that they can cure mankind’s ills with an endless string of handouts, programs and wealth redistribution?

The short answer is that they are using sin as a motivator — they understand that social programs cannot cure poverty or change the behaviors of those who simply don’t want to help themselves. The Democrats have raised covetousness to a high art…they utilize the greed and avarice of people to achieve their political goals. This explains why they constantly use the “rich” and their trappings to spur on the funding of the very programs that get them elected in the first place. Not only are these programs and entitlements sinful at their core, they are also a political conflict of interest. The Democrats know that desperate people will trade anything — and in particular their precious vote — to improve their lot in life. After all, casting a vote for the right (or should I say “left”) candidate is far easier than sweating at a day’s work for many people.

But I think that there are far more people that would like to set things straight once and for all. They want to break the chains of bondage to an ever-increasing-in-size-and-power government, and do something for themselves using their own blood, sweat and tears…and initiative, pluck and exceptionalism to improve their lot in life and create true, self-generated wealth for themselves and their posterity. I think that many people can see how the grotesque spending agenda of the Democrat Progressives simply isn’t working. Money cannot buy happiness. Money changes everything.

President Obama and his Socialist/Progressive cohort are either insane or rigid tacticians of their ideology. They might be insane, as the classic definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting different results each time they are done. Well, 33 months of ungodly government profligacy hasn’t improved things — the statistics cited previously prove this in spades. In fact,  with all the dire news coming to us on a daily basis, we can see that massive government expansion and spending are killing our national spirit…and depressing our economy.

So, Obama and the Democrats are obviously rigid doctrinaire Progressives who place more trust in their political theory and agenda than they do in common sense and real world results. To me, they’re stuck on stupid. They are also quite wealthy in the wages of sin. They use mankind’s inherent darker side and lesser angels to keep themselves in political power. They may not have to face judgement here on Earth from humans in possession of a naturally flawed nature, but they surely will have to meet their Maker some day and face his wrath.

And their excuses will ring hollow in His ears and in His ultimate judgement of them. They will have some ‘splaining to do — and their alibi that they were only acting in our best interests will put them on an express elevator down to Hell.

Good riddance.

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