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Conservative candidates to look out for in Illinois Primary

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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.

Culture and Religion

$.02: When is it OK to quit church?

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Chris Sonsken of South Hills Church and founder Church BOOM penned a piece on Fox News that caught my attention on Twitter. It was a good column. Read the article here. The article addressed a Pew Research finding as to why people change churches. There finding as shown by Sonsken are:

  • Sermon quality
  • Welcoming environment/people
  • Style of worship
  • Location

Sonsken does a great job in arguing that there are biblically sound reasons for leaving a church and finding a new one.

1. It’s OK to leave if God calls us to leave.

2. It’s OK to leave for family and marriage.

3. It’s OK to leave a church if you have moved too far away to conveniently drive to your church.

4.  It’s OK to leave if you cannot follow the church’s leadership.

5.  It’s OK to leave if heresy is being preached.

Sonsken even mentions that unethical practices like abuse are reasons to leave, though not the norm for the majority of church swapping.

The reasons Sonsken gave are no cause for disagreement, and I’m sure his book Quit Church probably better articulates them.

Where I want to add my two sense on the matter is that I disagree with his assessment sermon quality is not a biblical reason for changing churches. The supposition that sermon quality is inherently a result of the person treating church like an object of consumption, as Sonsken suggests is not true. I believe sermon quality is an umbrella term for several reasons for not liking a Sunday message.

Too often people leave a church because of disagreement, not getting their way, or because the sermons are no longer deep enough. Often when we dig into the reason the sermons are not deep enough, it ultimately goes back to the person being offended or not having their faulty theologies endorsed from the pulpit. The same pastor who was previously deep enough becomes shallow once there is an offense. It’s incredibly difficult to hear from God in a sermon when we are offended by the person delivering the sermon.

This is true in many cases. A sin that is personal gets preached on and the offended party leaves. I don’t deny this to be the case. But I believe we should look deeper into the current trends of worship and focus on the mission of the church.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-21 ESV

The church is to preach the gospel, but people accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior is only part of the mission. The Church is tasked with making disciples. The church is meant to teach. Not every follower is at the same level in their spiritual maturity or theological depth. Some churches, larger churches in particular dumb down the bible. In public education, this would be seen as lowering the bar. In church this practice could hold back believers in their growth. Small groups are a way to supplement this, and every church should employ bible study as a means to grow discipleship.

Many churches now are focused on metrics. This can lead to theologically watered down sermons and worship. Why risk offending that person who may leave with a sermon? But if a church is more focused on using a Sunday message to give a motivational speech using an out of context passage, what does it matter if they are doctrinally sound (in their written beliefs)?

There are a lot of heretical churches in America. We have issues like gay marriage to separate the sheep from the goats. But what about the sheep that suck? If a church has the right doctrine but is more focused on metrics than the power of the Holy Spirit, their head is in the wrong place. So it is biblically sound to change churches so that your head to remains in the right place.

That is not treating church like a consumer product. That is treating church like one’s means to grow spiritually, better recognizing the mission of the Great Commission.

That is my $.02 on the matter. I hope I added some meaningful word to this topic.


This post was originally publishd on Startup Christ. Startup Christ is a website for business and theology articles and columns.

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Guns and Crime

Liberty Control (aka Gun Control) Dead at 501 [1517 – July 10, 2018]

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Today we celebrate the passing away of one of the Left’s worst legacies: Liberty Control

Liberty Control (aka Gun Control), the absurd idea that depriving the innocent of a means of self-defense will protect them from criminals and the government died on July 10, 2018, after a protracted illness. The past few months saw it suffer multiple degradations, but the final cause of death was a settlement between the Department of Justice and Second Amendment Foundation in SAF’s lawsuit on behalf of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed over free speech issues related to 3-D files and other information that may be used to manufacture lawful firearms:

Significantly, the government expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber – including modern semi-auto sporting rifles such as the popular AR-15 and similar firearms – are not inherently military.

“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ‘weapons of war,’ and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort.

This curse on freedom began with the nonsensical label ‘Gun control’ but like a mutating virus, it morphed into ‘Gun safety’ or ‘Gun reform’ as people began to understand it’s true liberticidal nature. The final proper designation for this statist abomination helped seal its fate: Liberty Control.

In recent years, Liberty control had suffered a number of potentially fatal maladies ranging from the Heller and other Pro-Liberty decisions of the Supreme court to the virtual explosion in gun ownership with untold numbers of new adherents joining the ranks. Despite valiant attempts by the Left to resurrect this absolutely horrid idea from a bygone era, most imbued with common sense came to realize that more guns equaled less violence.

Liberty Control is barely survived by its one year older half-brother in statist tyranny Collectivism, born when the book ‘Utopia’ was published in 1516.  This ancient idea remains in critical condition having been transferred to the Bronx on life support. It is not expected to survive, despite the best efforts of the Socialist-Left. As is usually the case when a free-people can properly assess the liberticidal ideas of the Left.

Libertas [The ancient Roman personification of liberty] Celebrated the death of one of its intractable foes down through the centuries. “There must have been some viral affliction in the water of the early 16th century to have created these two horrible curses upon mankind.”

Services will be held on July 27th, 2018, and after August 1 Cody Wilson plans on re-launching Defcad.com with ‘a treasure trove of 3D-printed gun files for download.’  In Lieu of flowers, those of the Liberty loving public are encouraged to visit https://ghostgunner.net/ after that date and download the files for future use as well as donate to the organizations that defend this critically important freedom.

Please note that while we are using this ‘obituary’ form to prove a point, it should be patently evident that the dreams of the Liberty grabbers of banning and confiscating guns are now dead. Even if by some freakish turn of events whereby the defenders of Liberty forget history, agree to the requirement of governmental permission to exercise a commonsense human right, and then have their guns confiscated. The technology will still exist for everyone to produce their own weapons. It should perfectly clear to everyone including the cadres of Liberty Grabbers out there that the genie is out of the bottle, that there is no way they can ever ban guns, knives or even the odd spanner here and there. It should also be evident that such groups should move on to other causes that actually have a chance of coming to fruition. Also, note that it was very proper that this took place during #Gun Pride Month.

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Opinions

Why Do We Have Judges?

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With the Democrats in full scream over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, it’s worthwhile to consider just why we have courts and judges.

The earliest record of judges is in the story of the Exodus. Moses, the prophet and leader of Israel, “judged between a man and his neighbor, and made known the statutes of God and His laws.” (Exod 18:16 NAS) He was overworked, since there were many disputes. At the urging of his father-in-law, Moses appointed “able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain” (Exod 18:21 NAS) as judges for these minor disputes.

These judges applied God’s laws to the disputes brought to them. This required absolute loyalty to the law and the truth (they “feared God”). They were also supposed to avoid accepting bribes. In short, they were the model of what we should expect a judge to be.

It took a long time to get from Moses to modern courts and judges. Our current system started under Henry VIII in 1178, when the king appointed five members of his household to “hear complaints and do right.” Over time, judges became more educated, and laws enacted by Parliament became a firm standard for their decisions. Even the King was bound by the law.

In the 17th century, it became clear that it was necessary to forcibly separate the functions of making law, executing law, and adjudicating disputes under the law. If the King was able to make law by decree, carry out laws he decreed, and remove judges at will, the King was the law. He could rule with a pen and a phone.

The three independent functions of government became our American separation of powers doctrine. Congress writes the laws, the President makes sure that the laws are “faithfully executed,” and the Courts apply the laws to disputes. Within that structure, we added one key element: the Constitution.

The Constitution is our highest law, and is the standard by which all other laws must be measured. A law contrary to any part of the Constitution is unconstitutional, and can properly be ignored. The question is, “By what standard do we assess constitutionality?”

The Left pushes a theory called “the living Constitution.” That is, the Constitution is subject to change as society changes, without any need for the inconvenience of going through the amendment process. As the late Justice Brennan said, judges must “give meaning” to the Constitution, implying that it has no meaning until the Court declares it. The appeal of this view is that it responds to political pressure. It turns the Courts into what the Wall Street Journal calls the Left’s “preferred legislature.”

The Right prefers an approach that is variously called “originalism” or “textualism.” That is, the Constitution is a document that had a very specific meaning when it was adopted. If we wish to apply it properly, we must understand what its text meant to the Framers. If we wish to change it, we must go through the difficult process of amending it.

That tedious process makes amending the Constitution really hard. Six amendments that were submitted to the states, including one still pending from 1789, haven’t made it. Even with a great popular push, the Equal Rights Amendment didn’t make it. This difficulty stands directly in the path to fundamentally transforming America the way the Left wants to do. So they love it when judges adopt legal theories that let them ignore the original understanding of the law. And that brings us to our next question.

What is “the Law?” Conceptually, the law is a set of principles and statutes that allow us to have an orderly society. In short, if you act in a proper manner, your actions will be lawful. But to know what is proper, you must have public standards of behavior that do not change from day to day. The easiest way for this to happen is to have recorded laws. These are specific, written documents that describe what is and is not acceptable. Short of such statutes, all of us look to what “The Average Reasonable Person” might do. Common law embodies this TARP standard, which often makes its way into written statutes.

All of us depend on the fundamental premise that law is reliably fixed. It doesn’t change when the wind blows. It isn’t necessary to bring policy preferences to the process the way a “wise Latina” might. The text of the law tells us how to (not) behave. Questions only come when the text is unclear.

Suppose that the law is whatever a particular judge decides it is. If I’m called before a racist judge because my trash talking on the basketball court offended someone, I might expect to experience harsh penalties. If the judge is a conciliator, he might take the two of us out to lunch and expect us to “get over it.” How should I know how to behave?

But if I’m taken before a judge who reads the law carefully, I’ll receive whatever treatment the law regards as just. Thus, when Congress passed mandatory sentences for crack cocaine possession that were ten times those for powder cocaine, judges who hated the law found themselves imposing the harsh sentences on lots of young black men. No “wise Latina” could get around the plain text of the statute.

The remedy for this inequity in cocaine sentencing could not properly come from the bench. Our separation of powers does not allow a judge to rewrite the law. No executive with “a pen and a phone” can do it, either. Only the legislature has the power to change laws.

How does a judge determine what a law means? The first step is to read the text. Most of the time, that’s all that’s needed. But what if the language is unclear? The President may be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Does this term of art mean that the President must have committed an indictable offense under criminal law? President Clinton perjured himself. That was indictable and impeachable. But is Tweeting personal insults impeachable? Alan Dershowitz argues that it is not. Even researching what the Framers thought leaves us with questions.

Most laws aren’t that big a problem. But administrative law-making is a real problem. Congress has become fond of passing vague laws that will say “XYZ agency shall implement this by regulation.” And XYZ agency goes to town. Since 1984 (George Orwell, can you hear us?) the Supreme Court has let them expand their powers through a doctrine called “Chevron Deference” (Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 468 U.S. 837 (1984)). The Supreme Court declared that if an agency was not unreasonable in its interpretations of a statute, its rulings should be accepted by the Courts.

As Judge Cavanaugh notes, Chevron encourages agencies “to be extremely aggressive in seeking to squeeze its policy goals into ill-fitting statutory authorizations and restraints.” “Chevron is nothing more than a judicially orchestrated shift of power from Congress to the Executive Branch.” Administrative agencies have used it to make rules that stretch the law to the breaking point. A classic is the “Waters of the USA” rule, where a farmer who cleared brush out of a ditch was fined for “destroying wetlands.” But the statute only addresses “navigable waters.” The EPA had become a super-legislature, an unaccountable fourth branch of government that cannot be found in the Constitution.

Should the farmer have expected that his fully reasonable act of maintaining his farm would be illegal? Of course not. But when the Courts accept interpretations that fall outside the text and meaning of the law as enacted, the rule of law vanishes. Policy preferences now create “law” that no one can know and punishes even the most law-abiding.

But this is exactly what the Left demands. They have been unable to get their policy preferences translated into law. So they demand that they be allowed to transform the law to match their policy preferences. Yet at the same time, they demand that a judge be bound firmly by stare decisis.

This Latin phrase means “let the decision stand.” It says that once a question has been decided by the Courts, that decision should govern how we understand the law. The Left demands that stare decisis is crucial to a judge. And why should we argue? Stare decisis creates a stable understanding of the law so an ordinary person can know how to act. But the Left only wants stare decisis in certain areas.

Roe v. Wade is sacrosanct. No judge should ever, ever, ever consider overturning it. But where in the Constitution do we find Roe’s “right to privacy?” It’s not there. And how does a “right to privacy” excuse the destruction of unborn life? Those are real questions that aren’t answered in Roe.

But what about Dred Scott, which protected slavery, or Korematsu which legalized FDR’s imprisonment of US citizens of Japanese heritage? Those decisions were stare decesis and overturned, with nary a peep from the Left. But when Janus overturned Abood, the Left went into full cry. Why? Janus took away money that unions could use to support Democrats.

Let’s put this in simple, declarative language. The Left supports a stable set of laws when it suits their policy purposes. Stare decesis is wonderful when it protects a Leftist legal standard. But when the clear text and meaning of the Constitution won’t let them do what they want, suddenly we have to have a “living Constitution.”

Americans must have a set of laws they can understand. Those laws cannot change because some bureaucrat or judge wants a different outcome. There is a prescribed way for laws to be changed. Laws must be rewritten by Congress or the Constitution amended by the States. There is no other way for ordinary citizens to be able to obey the law.

It is crucial for judges to protect the law as written. Anything else leads to the destruction of civil order and ultimately destroys America. No judges should be allowed near any court if they do not faithfully apply the text of the law to the questions before them. Fortunately, Judge Cavanaugh has shown himself to be fully committed to the law. He deserves our support.

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