An Independence Day Message From President Garfield

Before being elected President, while serving in Congress, James Garfield stated at the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1876:

James A Garfield 250p“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature … If the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

I’m sure that quote will garner its fair share of “amens,” especially among the political right. However, I expect most of those “amens” will be predicated on the supposition that it’s “the other guy” who has tolerated ignorance, recklessness and corruption in Congress by his vote for, and support of, “the other party.” You might want to hold up on passing judgment just yet, and look at some numbers first.

Over the past 20 years, Republicans have held the majority in Congress 65% of the time, leaving the Democratic Party a relatively disenfranchised and powerless entity that only wielded control of Congress 35% of the time. If this were professional football, the Democrats would have a 6 and 10 record – pretty much time to fire the coach, sell the team and pack it in.

So if, in the words of President Garfield, Congress has been ignorant, reckless and corrupt over the past two decades, it is because the Christian-conservative-right has tolerated ignorance, recklessness and corruption by electing, and reelecting, a party of pachyderms that has perpetually increased the size of government, increased spending, increased the national debt, funded the welfare state, funded the warfare state, funded the police state, funded the healthcare state, never defunded a single unconstitutional or extra constitutional bureau, agency or program, and has generally disregarded the rule of law under the Constitution.

I believe if President Garfield were here today, he would admonish us to declare our independence from political parties, powers and leaders that obviously do not represent our values. When we continue to support, or affiliate with such entities, we become parties to, and responsible for, the ignorance, recklessness and corruption that we authorize by our vote.

It is time for “those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation” to withhold their time, their treasure, and their vote from any who are not clearly and consistently “intelligent, brave and pure,” as President Garfield put it. It is far past the time that we ought to have declared our independence from the established forms of political association that have become destructive of the ends for which they were established, and that we should begin to vote not for party, but for principle, and for men of character who Honor God, Uphold the Constitution and Contend for Liberty.

© 2016 Robert W. Peck

Republish with attribution and link back to http://robertpeck.net

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Special Elections–Where’s The Emergency?

Waste Money 295pIt’s that time again – time for another “special election.” This time, the City of Spokane is looking to renew a levy (i. e., Tax) for emergency medical services (EMS) at an April 26 special election. But why is the city spending taxpayer money to hold a special election for this single measure instead of just adding it to the November general election ballot? Well, it’s for the same reason that every special election is held – it’s because levies, bonds and other tax measures have a better chance to pass at special elections than at general elections.

Voter turnout is far lower at special elections than at general elections. Therefore, if the particular government agency or program that is seeking the funds does a good job of encouraging voter turnout among their employees, employee’s spouses, fellow union members, associated contractors, businesses or special interest groups that will benefit, they will make up a larger percentage of the total votes cast at a special election than at a general election. This is why agencies learned long ago to have their funding measures placed on special election ballots. Continue reading

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The Three Unequal Branches of Government

The Three Unequal Branches 295pI expect we’ve all heard the phrase, “three coequal branches” used to describe the composition of our federal system of government. In fact, we’ve probably heard it so many times that we don’t even pay attention, we just accept it as fact and move on. But, is it true? Are the three branches of our federal government really “coequal?

When that phrase popped up in an article that I was reading a few nights ago, something rose up inside of me and said “no, the three branches are not coequal.” When I found the phrase being used in another article the next day, I started to ponder just how unequal the branches of our federal government really are.

The three branches of our federal system of government are legislative (Congress), executive (President) and judicial (supreme Court 1). This is the order in which they appear in the U.S. Constitution, and it is also their ranking in the power structure. Continue reading

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Endorsements and the Effect of Compromise

Thumbs-Up.jpgWhen we give our endorsement to someone or something, we intrinsically connect ourselves to the object of that endorsement and to the values which it embodies, thus lifting – or lowering – ourselves to the level of the entity we have endorsed.

When we give our endorsement to something moral and virtuous, we elevate ourselves. Our names and our reputations partake of the honor inherent in the object of virtue with which we become associated, and which we acknowledge as representing the righteous standard. Even if our own conduct does not currently embody all of the virtues of the object of our endorsement, our decision to embrace that higher standard will ultimately draw us upward into increasing conformity to it.

Conversely, when we give our endorsement to something of lower morals, or which lacks virtue, we diminish ourselves. Our names and our reputations partake of the dishonor inherent in the object with which we become associated, and which we condone as representing an acceptable standard. Even if our own conduct currently embodies greater virtues than those of the object of our endorsement, our decision to embrace that lower standard will ultimately draw us downward into increasing conformity to it.

You cannot remain on a higher level of virtue than that which you choose to endorse. When you give your endorsement, you make the object of your endorsement the measure of your virtue.

Continue reading

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The Real State of the Union

Darrell-Cynthia-195p.jpgMy friend, Darrell Castle, producer of the weekly Castle Report, was recently interviewed on the Home Front program with former state representative, Cynthia Davis. Their conversation began with a review of some of the key events and issues of the past year that are most effecting our lives. It’s a good interview and worth taking the time to listen to.

However, it was in the later portion of the interview that Cynthia and Darrell brought out what I believe to be some particularly profound insights that reveal the true state of our union and of the Christian and conservative right. What I hear is the story of a people who have placed partisan loyalty ahead of guiding principles, put more trust in man, money and political power than in simply doing what is right and appear to have lost the will to correct the course.

I don’t say these things to be negative. I am actually a very positive, faith oriented person. However, there is a time when it is better to be confronted with the unpleasant truth than to go on in ignorance, or to continue in a state of denial, thinking that if we do more of the same, somehow this time it will turn out better.

Please listen to the interview here (or below), then prayerfully and soberly consider the message and what it says about the real state of our nation.

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Wrong-Way Republicans

Wrong Way 295pThe Conservative Right seems to operate from a general assumption that things keep getting worse because liberals are in power and democrats win all the elections. However, I got curious and did a little research on the topic. I discovered that over the past 20 years, republicans have held 57% of the control of our federal government – 68% if you add in the Supreme Court – that’s a 68/32 split in favor of the republicans. Among the union states, the elephant party holds complete control (legislature and governor) of nearly half the states (23) – more than three times as many as the dreaded donkeys (7). It turns out that America is overwhelmingly republican-controlled.

So why hasn’t so much as one unconstitutional federal agency or program been abolished, or defunded, or even had its funding reduced, or at least not had its funding increased? And why haven’t any of the states begun to dismantle their social welfare programs, eliminate regulatory bureaucracies, significantly reduce taxes or implement anything remotely resembling what was once known as the conservative agenda? Continue reading

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Thoughts on Islam

Thoughts on IslamCertainly not all Muslims are terrorists who are going around blowing people up. In fact, many can be said to be living at peace with their non-Muslim neighbors. Some people contend that the problem is with just a few “extremists” who engage in acts of terror. Clearly, that was the view that George W. Bush was promoting when he called Islam “a religion of peace.”

I could work with that premise if there were a sufficient number of Muslims standing up and denouncing jihad and Sharia Law and joining the civilized world in protecting society against the terror, murder and slavery that seem to follow Islam wherever it goes. However, there seems to be a deafening silence emanating from the Muslim community on these matters.

Perhaps some Muslims do oppose jihad and Sharia Law and are silent due to peer pressure, fearing rejection by their fellow Muslims. Perhaps they are silent because they are currently in the minority and are waiting for their numbers to grow before pursuing jihad and Sharia, as seems to happen everywhere that Islam gets a substantial foothold. Whichever the reason for their silence, the question is, “How can anyone seriously ask us to trust, and even accept into our country, adherents to a religion that is consistently accompanied by violence and oppression, and who fail to denounce or take any meaningful stand against such acts?” Continue reading

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High-Tax, Big-Government Republicans

Big Government 230When the 2015-17 Washington state budget was finally passed back in June of this year, I heard boasts emanating from the Republican Party about how they held the line against democrats and managed to pass a budget without raising taxes. My first reaction was incredulity. My next response was to question whether I had been misjudging republicans and being unduly critical of them. However, a little research quickly revealed that I was being lied to, though it wasn’t until this past week that I heard an actual price tag placed on the cost of that lie.

In a radio program featuring Washington State Representative David Taylor, and former Representative Jason Overstreet, Representative Taylor revealed that the new state budget (which was passed with the support of 90% of republican legislators) increases taxes on Washingtonians by $17.5 billion over the next ten years. As Overstreet points out, Republican leadership, in order to conceal their deed, has resorted to deceit, calling this a “no new taxes budget.” Click here to begin listening to Taylor and Overstreet’s discussion of this topic at the 7:00 minute mark and continue through 11:30.

With an actual dollar amount for this tax increase now in hand, I thought it was time to spread the news far and wide and let my state’s higher taxes, bigger government republicans, bask in the warm glow of the light of truth shining on their deeds. Continue reading

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Boehner Resigns – Conservatives Cheer

Boehner 295p

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Conservatives of late have been openly bemoaning the performance of Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and now are cheering the news of his resignation. However, I remember watching the live election coverage with a friend back in 2010 when Boehner and the republicans won control of the U.S. House. It was called a “Tea Party victory” and conservatives were all aflutter, believing, “we’ve won, we’ve taken our country back!” Tiny-Tears Boehner was crying real, live tears for the camera as conservatives joined in, also, with tearful joy: “we’re saved!”

I had already been fooled by George “new-world-order” Bush back in 1988, and Newt Gingrich’s Republican Revolution in 1994; then watched as the conservative right bought into GW “record-deficit-Bush” as being a true conservative in 2000. By the time Boehner came along, I just felt like I’d seen this movie too many times not to be able to predict the ending. There’s a saying about, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Nevertheless, the conservative right seems to be once again getting aroused with hope, this time, with the hope that something good will come of Boehner’s resignation and subsequent replacement as Speaker of the House – replacement with a “conservative?” Meanwhile, the current presidential circus, and infatuation with Donald Trump, would seem to prove that we like being fooled and are ready to buy a ticket for another elephant ride.

I don’t mean this as discouraging negativism in the vein of “nothing will ever get any better, there’s no hope; let’s all sing another chorus of, ‘Gloom, despair and agony on me.’ ” What I do mean is that nothing is going to get any better until we start paying attention, determine not to get fooled again, and realize that to change our government we have to change our vote, not just accept the next person in line with an “R” after their name.

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Why Do People Fight to Justify Sin?

FightPeople can usually have a polite discussion about differences of opinion on issues that are of a nonmoral nature (what color to paint the house, should the new highway be two lanes or four), but when the conversation turns to a topic that is of an inherently moral nature (right vs wrong, something that must be labeled as either “moral” or “immoral”), one party usually becomes inflamed and will go on the offensive attempting to justify their chosen conduct. The current attempts to justify, and even normalize, homosexual conduct is a prime example.

Why do people feel the need to justify their conduct? If they really believe that what they’re doing isn’t wrong, then why care what other people think? Well, they do it for the same reason that a child caught with their hand in the cookie jar makes up excuses to justify what they’re doing – a guilty conscience. The heart (inner-man, or spirit-man) knows that what they’re doing is wrong and is condemning them. However, their natural man (flesh, or outer man of body, mind, emotions) likes what they’re doing and is determined to do it anyway. The natural man tries to shout down the voice of the spirit so they don’t have to admit that what they’re doing is wrong, so they can even excuse, or justify, the acts in their own mind, and continue their conduct in a state of self-deception. Continue reading

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