If It’s Really About Conservative Purity Then Endorse Darrell Castle or Shut Up

17 August 2016
Dan Phillips, EconomicPopulist.org

 

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CP COMMENTARY: Boehner Resigns and Conservatives Cheer

by Robert W. Peck, Constitution Party of Washington state chairman

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Conservatives of late have been openly bemoaning Boehner’s performance in office.  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 live tears for the camera as conservatives joined in with tearful joy that “we’re saved!”

I had already been fooled by George ‘”new world order” Bush 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 to not be able to predict the outcome.  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 the hope that something good will come of replacing Boehner.  Meanwhile, the current Presidential circus, and infatuation with Donald Trump, would seem to indicate 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 to not get fooled again and realize that to change our government we have to change our vote.

Read the Washington Times article about Boehner’s resignation here.

A Conservative Defense Budget Should be A Conservative Cause

A Conservative Defense Budget Should be A Conservative Cause

20 March 2014

– by Peter B. Gemma – National Executive Committee member –

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Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asserts that the “most significant threat to our national security is our debt.”

The money we spend on weaponry — and the fingers that fire them — is staggering. For example, the 2012 Department of Defense budget (more than the annual defense budgets of the 10 next largest military spenders combined, including Russia and China) was almost 100 percent of the U.S. deficit that year.

Neo-con foreign policy is expensive — we are shooting a quarter million bullets for each dead Afghani and Iraqi insurgent — however those military excursions “only” cost Uncle Sam about $90 billion in 2013, and these war-making expenditures fall outside of Defense Department budget accounting.At first look, spending on defense and homeland security appears to be about 20 percent of the government’s budget, or about $552 billion in 2013. But wait, there’s more.

The Pentagon spends an additional $63 billion for the Veterans Administration, $35 billion for Homeland Security, and $10 billion for military construction. There’s also $14 billion for what’s called “international security assistance”— armaments and training the U.S. offers foreign governments — plus $2 billion for “peacekeeping operations,” tax dollars sent overseas to help fund military operations handled by international organizations and our allies.

There are additional expenditures that would make this accounting more comprehensive and complex, but this sub-total — $766 billion — is accurate enough to make my point.

Well, accurate may be a stretch. In 1995, the General Accountability Office (GAO), the federal budget independent investigative agency, estimated the Pentagon’s financial oversight to be at “high risk.” In 2000, the GAO found that nearly a third of the accounting entries in the Defense Department’s budget were untraceable. In 2009, the GAO said its auditors “have continued to report significant weaknesses in the department’s ability to provide timely, reliable, consistent, and accurate information for management analysis, decision-making, and reporting.” The next year, the GAO found that half of the Pentagon’s $366 billion in contract awards were never even completed.

And yes, the outrageous procurement fumbles, dubbed “golden hammers” in the ‘80s (the Pentagon was caught spending $485 for a hammer), continue without embarrassment:

  • Since 2004, the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan spent $370 million on spare parts for vehicles operated by the Afghan National Army, but it can’t account for $230 million worth of the components.
  • A defense contractor that made millions off the Iraq war, charged American taxpayers $4,500 for a circuit breaker that cost $183 at an appliance store, and $900 for a control switch that cost seven dollars.
  • The Pentagon spent a cool $100,000 for a 2011 workshop on interstellar space travel that included a session entitled, “Did Jesus die for Klingons too?” The session probed how Christian theology would apply in the event of the discovery of aliens.

Now the Obama administration is proposing some budget cuts for the military that include saving seven billion dollars over a 10-year period by a one percent reduction in cost-of-living adjustments for working-age military retirees. The House killed that measure by a lopsided 326-90 vote. (Incredibly, only 20 percent of the defense budget is actually spent on defense and security: almost all the rest goes to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, housing, and other personnel benefits.)

So where were those liberal Democrats with the knee jerk reaction of opposing the GOP-Pentagon-Industrial complex? Well, not so fast. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) pleads, “Although Iraq is over (huh?), and the war in Afghanistan is winding down, we can’t allow Congress to dismantle the programs they created over the past 12 years.” Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) insists, “We have to make sure we evaluate what the cuts are to make sure they don’t make us weaker,” but he admits (probably looking over his shoulder at his District), “you also have to look at the jobs.”

Of course the very idea of reducing the Pentagon’s budget has neo-con Republicans running about with their hair on fire. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sputtered, “Every American, Republican, Libertarian, vegetarian, Democrat – we all love the troops, but your Congress is expressing that love in a very strange way. How far have we fallen? Do we have no shame?”

In reality, politicians of both parties have funded tanks and aircraft the military doesn’t even want and fought against home turf base closings despite any strategic necessity. They have consistently approved bigger pay increases for service members than the government has requested.

The heart of the problem is transparency and accountability. Last December, Reuters News Service published investigative reporter Scot Paltrow’s series, “Unaccountable: the high cost of the Pentagon’s bad bookkeeping.” Paltrow wrote:

With its efforts to build reliable accounting systems in disarray, the Pentagon isn’t likely to meet a congressionally mandated 2017 deadline to be audit-ready. All other federal agencies are audited annually, in accordance with a 1990 law, and with rare exceptions, they pass every year. The Pentagon alone has never been audited, leaving roughly $8.5 trillion in taxpayer dollars unaccounted for since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited.

Last summer, a bill to force an audit of the Pentagon was introduced by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). It requires the Department of Defense to obtain a clean audit opinion in 2017 — if it fails, the agency that cuts the checks for the Pentagon would move to the Treasury Department. Coburn agreed with Admiral Mike Mullen when he noted, “Auditing the Pentagon is critically important not just because it is the law, but also because our ignorance of how we spend defense dollars undermines our national security.”

However, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) cautions, “They’ve been talking about having an audit for 30 years probably. They’ve now said it’s coming in 2017. And my guess is that in 2016 it’s going to be 2024, in 2023 they’ll tell us it’s going to be 2030. But I bet you if we said next year you’ve got to meet this sequester, maybe then all of a sudden they’ll say ‘Well why don’t we jettison some of the crap here we’re doing we don’t need?’ They’ll never do it unless their top line number is reduced.”

Perhaps the key to breaking the Defense Department’s hold on the U.S. treasury is just a matter of manipulating egos. There’s a story about Defense Secretary Neil McElroy warning Dwight Eisenhower that budget cuts would harm national security and the president replies, “If you go to any military installation in the world where the American flag is flying and tell the commander that Ike says he’ll give him a gold star for his shoulder if he cuts the budget, there’ll be such a rush to cut costs that you’ll have to get out of the way.” Short of that approach, those who believe in reducing the size, cost, and aggressiveness of government — conservatives — should be leading the charge when it comes to pruning the Pentagon‘s budget.


 

Peter B. Gemma has been published in a variety of venues including USA Today (where more than 100 of his commentaries have appeared), Military History, the DailyCaller.com, The Washington Examiner, and the EconomicPopulist.org.

What is a Conservative?

What is a Conservative?

18 March 2014 –

by HOME FRONT with Cynthia Davis –

HFront_googleYouTube_image1 A lot of “Tea Party Movement” sympathizers consider themselves to be conservative, yet the future of the Tea Party Movement is in question. Recently two tea party candidates lost their elections and some are wondering what that means.One of the criticisms of the Conservative Political Action Committee, (CPAC) is that they did not include a pro-life panel or a marriage panel in their latest conference.  Many are now wondering how this organization can ignore these two major social issues.  CPAC is a collection of those who are considered the best and brightest conservatives in our county.  The direction this group goes is a good barometer of our national commitment to conservative values.

Read more of the HOME FRONT with Cynthia Davis e-newsletter here:  What is a Conservative?

Stop Fighting the Fruit – Start Chopping the Root

Stop Fighting the Fruit – Start Chopping the Root

– 8 March 2014

 – by Robert W. Peck, Constitution Party of Washington state chairman –

axe-to-root-295 I’m always looking for the principle behind a thing, the key thing, the root thing, the thing that makes it all work. I can’t walk into a building without starting to analyze the structure to figure out which is a load-bearing wall, which is a facade, what holds this up and what supports that.I’m that way with politics and government too. I want to find the foundational principles that make for good government, the eternal truths that can tell me which policies are right or wrong. I want to make sure I’m getting to the root of the matter and am not being distracted by something superficial.

I realize not everyone is like me and I don’t expect you to be. However, there are times in life when we absolutely must understand what is at the root of a matter and make sure we are dealing with it at the source. If not, we’ll be destined to futility in our dealings with it and we’ll never be able to fix it when it’s broken. Think about it – you don’t go to a doctor just to talk with him about how you feel, then have him give you something to relieve those symptoms. You go to a doctor to have him correctly diagnose the root cause of the symptoms so you can fix the problem at its source.

Likewise, in matters of politics and civil government, we cannot afford to become distracted with superficial things that are mere symptoms of a more systemic, root matter. We risk getting caught up in treating the symptoms of our political ailment and failing to fight the disease at the root.

I was recently reminded of the importance of understanding key issues, principles and underlying causes while reviewing an article by Memphis attorney and 2008 Constitution Party Vice Presidential nominee, Darrell Castle. In his article on “How the Republic Became a Monarchy,” Darrell went all the way back to President Woodrow Wilson, the 16th Amendment (the income tax) and the establishing of the Federal Reserve in order to show his readers how key things that happened 100 years ago are at the root of much of what we are dealing with today. I highly recommend a review of Darrell’s article, both for the sake of the information provided in it and as an exercise in learning to identify key issues that are at the root of our nation’s maladies. If you prefer, the same information is available as a four part series of audio podcasts (about 5 mins. each) at www.castlereport.us (Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4).

While I say this in love, seeking the best interest of my friends, brethren and fellow countrymen, I have to point out that the Christian-conervative-right has, in great part, lost sight of the key issues, root matters and foundational principles. We have become distracted with the symptoms of the diseases that plague our land and have come to devote the majority of our time and effort to suppressing the symptoms instead of eradicating the disease.

The conservative movement has become like a man with a tree in his backyard that is producing poisonous fruit. His strategy is to grab a stick and start swinging at whatever piece of fruit happens to catch his eye, hoping to knock some of it off the branch before it matures. But no matter how frantically he swings at the fruit, it keeps coming back faster than he can knock it down. He has become so distracted by his frenzied fight with the fruit on the branches that he fails to notice the root feeding the tree. If he would just take an ax and start chopping off the roots instead, he could rid himself of all the toxic fruit.

Through a combination of distraction and a forgetfulness of the foundational Biblical values, strict Constitutional limits and key principles of liberty, the conservative movement has come to a place of counting a slower loss as a win and the partial alleviating of a symptom as a major victory. Today’s conservatism appears to only be playing defense and is singularly devoted to the strategy of trying to slow the spread of the disease and ease some of the symptoms. My friend, former Montana State Representative, Rick Jore, refers to members of his former party who follow this strategy as, “Slow Death Republicans.”

Let’s look at just a few examples of key issues, root causes and foundational principles versus distractions and treating the symptoms.

THE INCOME TAX

How much time and energy did the conservative movement expend fighting to get, and later to keep, the so called “Bush tax cuts”? By the attention given to them, those tax cuts would appear to have been the conservative event of the decade and probably were the high water mark of conservative achievement during that period. But how much difference did those tax cuts actually make in your everyday life? How much more disposable income do you have now?

The fact is that those tax cuts only made a few minor adjustments to a huge, complex and evil system of taxation that a Republican President and Republican controlled Congress had it in their power to abolish – possibly by repealing the 16th Amendment, but at least by defunding and dismantling the IRS. Conservatives heralded as a tremendous victory this barely discernible relief brought to just one of the nation’s multitude of maladies. But the conservative movement, as represented by those to whom it had handed the reins of power, utterly passed up the opportunity to lay the ax to a major root providing the revenues that feed a plethora of un-Constitutional branches of government.

THE FEDERAL RESERVE

Conservatives spend massive amounts of time and energy fighting policies and agendas that come down through a vast maze of un-Constitutional and extra-Constitutional bureaus, agencies and programs. All forms of federal taxation combined are not sufficient to support the heavy load of all these agencies and programs. In other words, these can only exist through deficit spending – deficit spending that is facilitated by the existence of the Federal Reserve and its ability to create fiat funny money out of thin air, backed by nothing. During the conservative reign of complete Republican control from 2000 to 2006, the President and Congress had it within their power to repeal the Federal Reserve Act and restore Constitutionally authorized money coined by Congress and backed by gold. This would have chopped off another major root that feeds the branches of un-Constitutional government through deficit spending. But who in the dominant conservative movement or the Republican Party even alluded to this possibility, much less called for it?

GREAT SOCIETY” PROGRAMS

This isn’t just happening at the federal level. The distraction from key issues and fundamental principles is taking place in the states too. Today’s brand of conservatism at the state level seems to consist of contending for performance audits and better management of the state’s many Great Society, welfare and social services programs. Conservative law makers tout it as a great victory whenever they can sustain the current state programs and agencies without raising taxes. But if the conservative movement were remembering its origins in the principles of liberty and limited government in the spirit of the American founders, it would be contending for the complete defunding and dismantling of every one of those socialist programs. And in case you think it’s the Democrats that won’t let them do it, keep in mind that fully half of the states are currently under complete Republican control with a majority in both houses and the governorship.

EDUCATION

Today’s brand of conservatism thinks it is really taking a stand when it answers the education establishment’s demands for increased funding with timid suggestions that maybe we should audit the government schools first, or evaluate teacher performance. But the Bible teaches that the education of children is the sole responsibility and jurisdiction of parents. When government mandates and regulates the educating of children, it comes between parent and child, violates the God ordained order and is outside of its God given jurisdiction. When government taxes one man for the education of another man’s child, it now engages in legalized plunder, violation of that man’s liberty and establishes socialism. If conservatives were discerning the root matters and committed to fundamental principles, they would be calling for the abolition of government run education, not trying to “fix it.”

BEING “CONSERVATIVE” SOCIALISTS

Just the other day, I received an email from a “conservative” legislator representing one of the most conservative districts in my state. One of the bragging points in his legislative report was that he had brought home the bacon to the tune of $1million for a “skills center” (aka vocational school). This is a foray by government into an area of education where many privately operated vocational schools and technical institutes have been meeting the need quite well. This is governments’ making the conscious choice to go into competition with existing private sector business and doing so with the advantage of being taxpayer-subsidized. Today’s “new conservatism” boasts that it brings home the bacon, gets us our “fair share” from the bucket of socialist slop and, by the way, it pats us on the back for being fiscally responsible, bragging that our “skills” center has the lowest cost per square foot of any similar socialist program across the state – boy, aren’t we conservative!

The Republicans are not in the majority in my state and may not have had anything to do with funding this particular program, but it’s sad when the best that the new conservatism can do is to congratulate ourselves as to what fiscally responsible socialists we are. Even if a legislator is not in a position to eliminate such socialistic programs from the state’s budget, couldn’t he, we, or the conservative movement, at least use an occasion like this as an opportunity to share a lesson on fundamental principles of liberty, limited government, private sector free enterprise and Biblical jurisdictions? How is anyone going to learn to discern socialism from liberty, or know that it’s bad and why it’s wrong when “conservative” legislators don’t speak out against it?

These are just a few examples that show us that the conservative movement has become distracted from the key issues and root matters and has ceased fighting the disease and settled for treating the symptoms instead. The new conservatism, as manifested by the Republican Party at least, now accepts socialism and prides itself on being able to make un-Constitutional, secular humanist, socialist, big government work better than the other party.

We need to learn to think like Americans again because we’ve obviously forgotten. May I recommend the short weekly commentaries of Institute on the Constitution co-founder and 2004 Constitution Party Presidential nominee, Michael Anthony Peroutka, at www.theamericanview.com. Subscribe today and in no time at all Michael will have you thinking like an American again and believing that “there is a God; our rights come from Him; government exists to protect those rights.”

May I challenge us to begin scrutinizing every political issue to discern the difference between key issues and mere distractions. Darrell Castle’s news and commentary podcsats can help with this. It only takes 5 minutes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at www.castlereport.us.

Then, once we’ve learned to tell the difference between the root and the fruit, let’s grab our ax and start chopping at the root.


Bob Peck is the writer of the American Perspective blog – Politics, government and society from a Christian and Constitutional perspective.   He is currently serving as Chairman of the Constitution Party of Washington, and is the Senior Coordinator of the national CP Multimedia Group, his specialties being videographing and podcasting.  You can read more of his work at: bobpeck.wordpress.com.