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Death & taxes: What’s so American about plunder?



We’ve all heard the old line about the certitude of death and taxes. It’s a bit telling about the nature of human beings and how they will use power, even if just a little, to try and extract the fruits of their neighbor’s labor for their own gain that we consider taxation as just another inevitable aspect of life. However, are taxes something that we should so readily come to expect?

Yesterday was the 4th of July, where we celebrated our forefathers’ decision to extricate themselves from British rule because of the many abuses by the crown, foremost among them, what the colonials considered excessive and unjust taxes. When independence was won, so loathe of taxes were the Founders that, under the Articles of Confederation, there were no national taxes; Congress had to scrounge what it could thru voluntarily contributions -contributions that were unsurprisingly lacking. Veterans of the War could not collect their pensions, and the infant nation could do nothing to keep British merchants from harboring in its bays and running roughshod over American vendors. The ensuing chaos from such a government resulted in the Constitution being ratified, creating a new, strong but limited central government whose powers included the ability to levy taxes nationally.

Presently in American politics there are two prevailing perceptions on taxation: on the Left, there is the misguided belief that taxes are the “price we pay for living in a free(?) and just society”. Per this narrative, we all pay taxes because we all benefit from living in a democratic society and thus must all share in the burden. This wouldn’t be a half-bad sell for taxes if half the people in American didn’t pay effectively zero taxes. (The Left’s reasoning also has the unfortunate trait of being utter bullshit.) It’s interesting to note: the people most attached to this narrative also hold the honorary title of “tight-fisted jerkwads who refuse to pay more to Uncle Sam than what the law requires.” If taxes are such an honorary patriotic duty, why don’t those on the Left pay more?

On the Right, we have the “taxation is theft” mantra. While truer to the nature of taxation -which is, money taken by force from unwilling payers- it has a major glaring weakness: if taxation is theft, why do we let the government “steal” from us while punishing individuals for doing the same thing? Why is theft illegal in most cases but not some, and if we allow theft to occur at some levels, why not others? Moral and reasonable people can agree: immoral acts do not become moral simply because the majority agree to engage in the act; government is an extension of the individual -of the People…what a person has right to do, the government may do also and nothing more. The problem with “taxation is theft” is that it implies that all taxes are inherently bad, and thus should be eliminated. Ask the Founders how easily a time they had funding even a small basic government with a Congress and an army under the Articles of Confederation.

The reality is taxes, when done properly and equitably, are somewhere in the middle. They are a necessary evil that funds government -government which is necessary and vital to secure and protect our rights from those who would take them from us. To call them theft is disingenuous, to call them “the price we pay to live in a free(?) or just society” is a lie. Taxes are the price we as citizens pay -in theory equally- for goods and services that only the government can provide, such as national defense or trade infrastructure and courts, that we all benefit from. Taxes pay for those services both necessary for the preservation of liberty and our rights and inadequately provided for by free markets because of market weaknesses like externalities or the free rider issue. And the American default is -or at least ought to be- to err on the side of letting free markets handle the care and provision of the goods and services necessary to preserve the public good and peaceful order.

To do more or less than this is tyranny, slavery, & theft. To tax one group to service another group is legalized looting, it is plunder on a national scale on behalf of the politically favored. For taxes to be fair, they must apply equally in cost and benefit. All must pay “their fair share” -i.e. equally burdened, and all must benefit equally and have equal access to the fruits of tax spending. That is what is meant by “the common good” and the “general welfare”.

As Jefferson so eloquently stated, “Whether property alone, and the whole of what each citizen possesses, shall be subject to contribution, or only its surplus after satisfying his first wants, or whether the faculties of body and mind shall contribute also from their annual earnings, is a question to be decided. But, when decided, and the principle settled, it is to be equally and fairly applied to all. To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, ‘the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.’”

Let us remember that overly burdensome taxes are why the Founders rejected British rule and sought independence and self-governance. Let us also remember that what they considered heavy and burdensome are peanuts in comparison to the taxes we pay today…those of us who pay taxes anyways. Liberty cannot exist where one man is taxed so that another may eat of his labor, or where one group is shouldered with a greater burden because of political favors bestowed upon another group.

And without liberty, there can be no justice. Without justice, there can be no peace. Without peace, life is little more than waiting around for death and taxes.

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Guns and Crime

When gun control failed, SRO saves Maryland school



2 students and a suspect were injured in a shooting that took place in southern Maryland. The shooter has since been announced dead. He used a handgun which are highly regulated due to Maryland’s strict gun control. Following the Parkland shooting, Governor Hogan proposed putting a lockbox on casino revenues to be used to fund security in school. This would be the first serious attempt to use the casino money, which was supposed to be for schools, for their intended purpose. In response to today’s incident, other counties, such as Carroll County, are placing deputies in schools as a direct response to the shooting in St. Mary’s County.

The Story

ABC: Student suspect dead, girl critical, boy stable after shooting at Great Mills HS in Md.

The suspect, a student, is dead after a shooting Tuesday morning at a high school in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, that has left a girl in critical condition and a boy in stable condition, according to authorities.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office says it happened at Great Mills High School and that police are on the scene. ABC7’s Brad Bell said sources first told him that the shooter was a student, as were the two victims. Police later confirmed that the shooter was a student. Police also confirmed that a school resource officer took action to end the threat and authorities confirmed the incident has been contained.

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital identified the victims as a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. They say the two were taken to them at around 8:15 a.m. and that the girl was later taken to the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center.

The Takeaway

Being uninformed, deliberately or ignorantly, many on the left will use this as a rallying point for gun control. But as a Marylander, I can attest to Maryland having some of the strictest laws in the country. These laws failed to prevent this incident, as they have failed to curb Baltimore’s crime. Too many on the right, as well are just as uninformed about current laws. We can’t begin to talk about gun control when the population is so desperately malnourished of facts. We can, however, contemplate the issuance of SROs in schools or other means of security such as allowing teachers to voluntarily undergo concealed carry training.

Alas, leftists are saying the SRO went in knowing that an AR-15 wasn’t being used. No, the SRO did his job unlike those cowards in the corrupt Broward Sheriff’s Office. They are trained to engage whatever the gun, because confrontation saves lives. This SRO is a hero. I look forward to knowing his name. Thankfully, only the perpetrator is dead, and together let us pray that the two students recover.


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Fundamental transformation of USA: Donald Trump edition



In the age of Trump where the GOP has become the party of Republicrats and Trumplicans, there are those who claim that Donald Trump hijacked the party of Reagan. And while there’s some validity to that point of view, I have to slightly disagree.

A hijacking is usually an act of force where the hijacker seizes control against the will of those being hijacked. But in the case of today’s Republican party, we have a group of volunteer hostages suffering from Stockholm syndrome:

  • Hostage’s development of positive feelings toward their captor
  • No previous hostage-captor relationship
  • Refusal by hostages to cooperate with outside forces
  • A hostage’s belief in the humanity of their captor, because when a victim holds the same values as the oppressor, they cease to be perceived as a threat

Regardless of how it happened, it’s become clear that the party of Reagan no longer represents conservative values, and they have replaced those values with the values of Donald Trump.

As we approach the 2018 election season, this reality is giving rise to the “mini-Trumps” people who are running for office not to save America, but to reshape the GOP into the image of Donald Trump. We’re beginning to see what this looks like at the national level, and now we’re seeing it in state races as well.

In Nevada, Dennis Hof, the self-described pimp who runs a house of prostitution called the Love Ranch just announced his candidacy for the District 36 State Assembly seat. His motivation for running? Donald Trump.

Following an appearance at the annual Lincoln Dinner hosted by a Republican women’s group, Hof shared how he considers Trump a sort of kindred spirit:

“We’re both famous-and infamous. We’re both high-profile. We’re both celebrities. We’re both successful businessmen. We both have reality television shows. We both have written books. We’re both rich and can’t be bought. There’s a lot of similarities.”

He left out “we both have had sex with an unknown number of women,” but I guess he didn’t want to brag about that. Although, if he had, that would have given him two more things he has in common with Trump (the sex and the bragging).

Speaking of multiple sex partners, since the evangelical community gave Trump a “mulligan” concerning his sexual escapades, I’m expecting Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Robert Jeffress to issue their endorsement of Hof as a man made in the image of Trump (idol worship reference intentional on my part).

Donald Trump wrote The Art of the Deal while Dennis Hof wrote The Art of the Pimp. Ironic how these similar titles prove how Trump, to paraphrase Barack Obama, is fundamentally transforming the GOP and America.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Conservative candidates to look out for in Illinois Primary



The traditionally though of as blue state, does fallow the trend of other blue states where more rural counties vote more Republican and urbanized areas vote Democrat. That being said, Illinois has a lot to offer in the 2018 Primary. What’s remarkable about Republicans in this state is that they are keeping the Democrats honest fielding a candidate in most races. What is highly disappointing is the lack of Republicans that aren’t RINOs running in the race. So many are just as uninformed on guns as liberals in the media. And too many have ideas for healthcare other than repealing Obamacare. DACA is a split issue, and Trump, surprisingly, is a nonissue in most, if not all, of these races. Another side note, is that Illinois has a very low presence of 3rd Party candidates, so the Libertarian Party wasn’t put into much consideration. Nor were endorsement all that meaningful.

Best Picks: Max Rice, Jitendra Diganvker, Connor Vlakancic, Preston Nelson, James Marter, Bill Fawell, Donald Rients
Worst Picks: Author Jones, John Morrow, John Elleson, D. Vincent Thomas Jr., Jeremy Wynes, Sapan Shah, Mike Bost, Adam Kinzinger
Best Race: District 16
Worst Race: District 10
Favorite Candidates: Connor Vlakancic & Preston Nelson

District 1

Standing in the red corner is Jimmy Lee Tillman II facing off against Bobby Rush. This isn’t his first time making a run for the seat, but this time he is unopposed in the GOP Primary. Though it seems he runs to serve as an opposition to Rush rather than to win. Tillman seems like a different kind of Republican which one would have to be running in Chicago. For his willingness to shut down underutilized military bases and government offices, Tillman seems fiscally responsible. Either way Chicago conservatives don’t seem to have much other alternative than Tillman who is the founder of the MLK Republicans.

District 2

This is a solid blue district also, but conservatives should steer clear of John Morrow. If Conservative ideals are to gain traction in the district they ought to be led by someone who isn’t a RINO. From this online interview, he opposed eliminating the Obamacare mandate, thinks there’s a gun show loophole, opposes Israel, and is open to accepting North Korea as a nuclear power. I’ll take a Democrat over this guy. David Merkle is a better pick for Conservatives as he is more focused on working for constituents and not the system.

District 3

No Republican decided to oppose Arthur Jones, so I would urge Conservatives to write in a nomination. Please coordinate if you want to vote Republican. Otherwise it seems as though Daniel Lipinski is the candidate of choice. He is one of the few pro-life Democrats in Congress and has one of the most interesting primaries of Democrats this year. A pro-life Democrat is better than a neo-nazi.

District 4

Longtime swamp-dweller, Luis Gutierrez announced retirement. Mark Wayne Lorch is the only Republican in the race. Meanwhile three Democrats eagerly thirst to replace Gutierrez in this highly gerrymandered seat. Lorch seems like a good choice, in the sense that he is running on a tax cuts friendly platform. Not too much other information can be gathered, not even a website.

District 5

Tom Hanson appears to be the only Republican running, but he’s just a placeholder.

District 6

Here we actually have a Republican incumbent, Peter Roskam. Roskam is a run in the mill Republican, reliable on votes and Democrats are mounting an attack for his seat. Roskam is unopposed in his primary. He is also the best hope of thwarting the Blue Wave.

District 7

The GOP front runner is likely Jeffrey Leef. Leef is strong conservative on a multitude of issues, Israel, immigration, and is quite knowledgeable on economics. However on two polarizing issues, I see weakness. He’s weak on protecting the 2nd Amendment despite stating that gun control does not curb violence and states we need background checks, something we already have. He also indicated being in favor of laws capping people’s ability to stockpile. On matters of healthcare, he seems more focused on replacing Obamacare, than repealing it. But his “replacement” is a lot of fluff. He talks about phasing out the ACA and moving it towards a more fiscally responsible system which hardly explains what he wants to do. Meanwhile his opponent is Craig Cameron. On the issues, Cameron comes off as a Big Government Republican, though his heart may be in the right place. He wants more jobs, believing that will make a safer community(Chicago). His means of getting that are merely scaling back government and its regulations. Rather he’s in favor of tax incentives and limited subsidies (a step-up from most of Capital Hill.) On a local level, I think Cameron would make an excellent politician. On a national level, he doesn’t stand out as particularly strong. This is a tough choice for conservatives.

District 8

Another unopposed Republican going up against an incumbent Democrat. Jitendra Diganvker or JD is looking to take back the seat once held by social media commentator, Joe Walsh. JD seems like he would be a solid representative of his district seeing his emphasis on not making the financial lives of his constituents harder. This shapes his positions on both taxes and the national debt. JD is a solid choice for Conservatives, and if he plays his cards right, he can make this a competitive race.

District 9

In the ninth, we have broader competition for the nomination, four candidates. John Elleson quickly falls out of serious consideration because he is apparently an avid fan of Joel Osteen, the Prosperity Gospel preacher. He’s a pastor of some presumably apostate church. He has gotten in some legal trouble for thievery which he and his wife pled no contest to. Do not vote for this crooked fraud. Then there’s Max Rice, who by all means is a solid pick. He’s strong on guns, healthcare, and has a sensible grasp on all things Trump. I also believe conservatives will like how he will deal with congressional staffing and budgets. I really enjoyed his interview here. Then we have Sargis Sangari both a veteran and an entrepreneur. though he seems likable on foreign policy and immigration, he also seems to be government heavy on anything criminal justice reform. Last but least is the RINO candidate D. Vincent Thomas Jr. The guy can’t answer a specific policy question head on and has every inclination of supporting social leftism. He’s anti-gun, against repealing Obamacare, but has the balls to run as a Republican. The Conservative pick here is Max Rice.

District 10

The tenth is a swing district, one that a rising red tide may capture pending the right candidate. There is a three way battle among Republicans to take on Democrat, Brad Schneider. First in the ring is Doug Bennett. Bennett is a local public servant looking for to represent his district. He has the endorsement from local organizations and Joe Walsh. However, Bennett was not in favor of Trump’s tax cuts. The tax cuts capped state tax deductions hurting the Illinois population. Rather than lowering state taxes, Bennett would rather raise the cap. This type of thinking is a serious issue. He is also uninformed on guns recommending legislation that already is law. But it looks like we may be desperate to find a quality candidate. There is Jeremy Wynes, the pro-abortion candidate. It’s interesting how many Congressional candidates are running with student debt in their platform and few other issues, and then offer no solutions. There’s also his main rival Dr. Sapan Shah. Both of their websites are filled with fluff, and weak explanation on their policy beliefs. Words like “common sense” are meaningless if you don’t say the solution. Shah is also pro-abortion and like Wynes isn’t strong on healthcare. I guess Joe Walsh’s assessment was right that Bennett was the only Conservative, but I’ll use that word lightly for now.

District 11

This is a particularly weak looking race between Nick Stella and Connor Vlakancic. I thought I wouldn’t like Stella because he was media endorsed, but he seems to have concise policy explanations as well. He surprisingly has a strong stance on the 2nd Amendment. On DACA the two disagree, with Vlakancic in favor of zero path to citizenship. Vlakancic has a surprisingly deeper history in politics with involvement on Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.” The sharped tongue Vlakancic is stronger on guns than the others in the state and also strong on healthcare. As far as Conservatives go, he’s the real deal.

District 12

Incumbent Mike Bost looks to defend his seat. The guy is a proven RINO with a Liberty Score of 35%, a common theme among Illinois Republicans. However Preston Nelson is the Austin Petersen of Illinois. He is a pro-life libertarian running as a Republican. If he doesn’t win and likely won’t knowing seeing how RINOs performed in Texas, I hope he doesn’t give up. Nelson is a top pick out of Illinois.

District 13

Another RINO, Rodney Davis is running unopposed.

District 14

We have another Republican incumbent, perhaps the most conservative, running unopposed. Randy Hultgren is a solid choice over a Democrat counterpart.

District 15

John Shimkus is another unopposed incumbent, but a RINO.

District 16

Adam Kinzinger is the worst rated Illinois Republican on Conservative Review. Thankfully someone is challenging him. This is a safer red district. Rising to the challenge is James Marter, the candidate who in 2016 lost a in the general election for US Senate. Marter is a solid Conservative and hopefully his failed Senate campaign left him with a foundation of supporters. Marter makes it immediately clear that he supports the 2nd Amendment, a recent top priority for candidate selection. He is also for repealing Obamacare, something that should go without saying but doesn’t after 2017. Marter is a top pick in Illinois.

District 17

Bill Fawell looks to have a fighting chance in the Illinois 17th. He is Libertarian leaning and an outsider running on not being bought. Fawell is a solid choice for Liberty lovers everywhere. From his knowledge of the Constitution to his outsider perspective, opposing the system of DC as it currently is. Fawell is a top pick in Illinois.

District 18

Darin LaHood is one of two Illinois Republicans that doesn’t have an F Liberty Score. That being said, he’s not getting a nomination unopposed. This was only LaHood’s first official term, but that’s not deterring Donald Rients. Rients stance’s are centered around small government Conservatism. That is why they are few and principled. If we give LaHood more time, he will likely show his RINO horn. I’d say Rientz is the pick here in the 18th.

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