Jake Wagner – The Resurgent https://theresurgent.com Committed to Freedom, Faith and Family Fri, 07 Jun 2019 15:50:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 https://theresurgent.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Jake Wagner – The Resurgent https://theresurgent.com 32 32 104855451 Corruption in Campaign Finance https://theresurgent.com/2019/06/07/corruption-in-campaign-finance/ https://theresurgent.com/2019/06/07/corruption-in-campaign-finance/#respond Fri, 07 Jun 2019 16:00:05 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=51446 Campaign Finance is a funny subject. You have blatantly illegal and corrupt behavior or you have violations grounded in arbitrary restrictions on spending. There has been a lot of posturing on the topic of campaign finance violations in the last few years. Some believe that Citizens United and those who support it want a free-for-all […]

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Campaign Finance is a funny subject. You have blatantly illegal and corrupt behavior or you have violations grounded in arbitrary restrictions on spending.

There has been a lot of posturing on the topic of campaign finance violations in the last few years. Some believe that Citizens United and those who support it want a free-for-all in campaign spending. The norms that guide us to eschew corruption would still prohibit some of the more outrageous or blatant campaign finance violations.

While the past few years urged us to look into the campaign policies of Trump and his alleged violations of campaign finance regs, some were able to bring up violations by the Obama campaign. That of course was dismissed as whataboutism.

But whataboutism is useful in drawing distinctions.

Cue Rep Ilhan Omar.

According to Fox,

“Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., repeatedly violated state rules when she used campaign funds to pay for personal out-of-state travel as well as help on her tax returns and must reimburse her former campaign committee nearly $3,500, Minnesota campaign finance officials ruled Thursday.

Omar had called the claims politically motivated. In a statement, her congressional campaign said she is “glad this process is complete” and that she intends to comply with the board’s findings.

Now let’s compare that to Trump and Obama.

Trump: Spends his own money to pay off a porn star. Politicians and lawyers wonder whether this was done to influence the election. Cohen’s testimony said this would have been done regardless of the election.

Obama: didn’t notify the FEC for some stuff, didn’t give excessive donations back to donors in time (excessive amounts that weren’t illegal but for arbitrary caps).

In neither Trump’s case nor Obama’s did anyone actually misuse campaign funds. Trump paying off a porn star is tacky and immoral. Paperwork errors by the Obama campaign are petty.

But! Not all campaign finance violations are so petty. If an employee were to use company funds for something other than company business, we might call that embezzlement. It’s not just an employment finance violation.

Omar’s alleged violations are problematic for that reason.

Fox added,

“Rep. Omar must personally reimburse the Omar committee $3,469.23,” the report concludes. “This reimbursement payment is the total amount of campaign funds that were used for purposes not permitted by statute in 2016 and 2017. Rep. Omar must provide documentation within 30 days from the date of this order showing the deposit of the reimbursement into the Omar committee’s account.”

But the alleged violations are problematic for another reason. That reason is intellectual consistency. I have explained how the Trump and Obama violations were different. While some want impeachment to follow alleged campaign finance violations, they will surely not vote to expel Rep Omar for campaign finance violations.

I’m not saying they should, but they should consider how seriously they take the issue of campaign finance when mixed with corruption. After all, some in the Senate worry about dark money in politics every day and night. They lose sleep at the thought of individuals spending money in politics. Let’s hope the corrupt use of campaign funds makes them lose sleep too.

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John James Is Running For Senate https://theresurgent.com/2019/06/06/john-james-is-running-for-senate/ https://theresurgent.com/2019/06/06/john-james-is-running-for-senate/#respond Thu, 06 Jun 2019 13:35:57 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=51381 He lost to Debbie Stabenow in the 2018 midterm election, now John James hopes to defeat Michigan’s other democratic senator. This morning on Fox News, John James announced that he would be running against Michigan Senator Gary Peters in 2020. According to MLive, James, 37, announced he filed to run “after careful consideration and thoughtful […]

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He lost to Debbie Stabenow in the 2018 midterm election, now John James hopes to defeat Michigan’s other democratic senator.

This morning on Fox News, John James announced that he would be running against Michigan Senator Gary Peters in 2020.

According to MLive,

James, 37, announced he filed to run “after careful consideration and thoughtful prayer” during a Thursday morning appearance on “Fox & Friends.” The announcement comes on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day operation in WWII.

James earned President Donald Trump’s endorsement during an unsuccessful challenge to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, in 2018. Stabenow beat James by 6.5 percentage points.

The senate hopeful posted this on Twitter this morning,

The Michigan GOP issued this statement in support of James,

“John James is a true patriot who has dedicated his life to the service of our nation. I welcome his entrance into the 2020 U.S. Senate race, and wish him well as he begins his campaign for the Republican nomination.”  Cox continued, “I am confident that next year Michigan will send a leader to the U.S. Senate who will get something done for the people of our state. It’s time for a change from Gary Peters, who has been so ineffective that 43% of Michigan voters don’t even know his name.”    

Peters was elected to his first term in office back in 2014. James’ performance against a two term senator made him an ideal candidate for a future run.

MLive added,

After the election, James was considered a rising star. The president twice considered James for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, but he was not nominated.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee told MLive.com this week it was recruiting James to take another run for Senate. Congressional Republican recruitment organizations actively tried to convince James to run for Senate or try to win back Michigan’s 11th House District, which had turned blue in 2018.

The NRSC expects James to enter the Senate contest as a well-established candidate, allowing him to build on momentum generated during his last campaign.

We’ve got over a year until the 2020 election. One has to wonder if James will be the only one running in the GOP primary.

The logical move for the Michigan GOP would be to dissuade others from entering the primary. Last year, the Pensler vs. James primary probably did more harm to their long term goal of unseating Stabenow.

Starting early is a wise move.

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Legislature Distraught Over Executive Wielding Legislative Power https://theresurgent.com/2019/06/05/legislature-distraught-over-executive-wielding-legislative-power/ https://theresurgent.com/2019/06/05/legislature-distraught-over-executive-wielding-legislative-power/#respond Wed, 05 Jun 2019 04:30:06 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=51360 Mitch McConnell and others are expressing their apprehension regarding Trump’s threat of tariffs against Mexico. In law, ultra vires is the concept of an entity exercising power it does not have or going beyond the power it does have.  Our past as a nation tends to focus on the executive going beyond its power or […]

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Mitch McConnell and others are expressing their apprehension regarding Trump’s threat of tariffs against Mexico.

In law, ultra vires is the concept of an entity exercising power it does not have or going beyond the power it does have.  Our past as a nation tends to focus on the executive going beyond its power or we are now concerned about the judiciary going beyond its power.  Yet ultra vires is not always characterized by a hunger for increased power.  It can be exhibited in a body that is apathetic and weary of its own work.  Instead of seeking more power, it delegates its already substantial power to the other branches of government.

My title then is a bit misleading.  Some are sure to critique Trump for his use of power, but the blame lies with those who now complain about Trump having that power in the first place. 

Let’s start with the basics.

In our form of government, the judiciary is the least powerful branch.  The executive is next, having been reduced in power out of fear that this branch would be the most likely to abuse power.  And then we have the legislative branch.  In Federalist 51, Madison says that the legislative branch necessarily predominates.  Because it is so powerful, its power is divided even further in a bicameral body.  The power that congress wields is laid out in Article I.

We look to Article I, Section 8 for the delegated and enumerate powers.  Among them is the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises.”  This is the power to impose tariffs.  This is a legislative power.  Article I opens with this, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”

You’ve got to wonder then, how does the president have the power to impose tariffs on a whim?

The answer: Because congress delegated that power, unconstitutionally, to the president.

Jay Cost of National Review said this last year,

FDR brought with him to office the old Democratic favoritism toward free trade, but also decidedly Wilsonian views on the relations between president and Congress. He encouraged Congress to transfer authority on trade matters (as well as most regulatory matters!) to him. This time, the legislature agreed. It was as if Congress threw up its hands in exasperation and said to the president, “We cannot handle our authority responsibly. Please take it off our hands, for we will screw things up and lose reelection.”

So more and more over the past 80 years, authority over tariffs, as well as over all manner of properly legislative functions, has migrated to the executive branch, away from the legislative — even in instances (such as this aluminum-and-steel case) where there is no compelling or immediate foreign-policy mandate.

So now let’s get back to McConnell.  Mediate ran a story about his disdain for the idea of imposing tariffs on Mexico.  Trump has even lost Ted Cruz on the issue.  Though Rubio tweeted this,

Rubio makes a good point that actually undermines this idea that the executive should be imposing tariffs.  Rubio asks what alternative is available to his colleagues.  That is an excellent question because they should be the ones making the decision.

In Federalist 53 and 64, Madison and Jay respectively make several arguments about the foreign policy power and the interaction between the executive and legislative branches.  Jay discusses the power to make treaties and the utility of having secrecy and dispatch in a single executive. The senate’s involvement thus adds a measure of caution and steadiness that is lacking in the fast moving executive.  Why does Jay call it “well provided?” Because foreign affairs must be “carefully maintained.” And while this refers to the power to make treaties, Federalist 53 brings it back to the role of congress as a whole in foreign trade.  Madison says,

“A branch of knowledge which belongs to the acquirements of a federal representative, and which has not been mentioned is that of foreign affairs. In regulating our own commerce he ought to be not only acquainted with the treaties between the United States and other nations, but also with the commercial policy and laws of other nations. He ought not to be altogether ignorant of the law of nations”

This ties in well with the idea that foreign trade is a complicated issue that must be maintain by the people’s House.

Cost’s article in National Review opened with this,

Trump’s decision to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports set off a rash of commentary over the last week — most of it on the economics of the action. Though I’m dispositionally a free-trader, I do not presume technical expertise on the economics of the matter, so I’ll leave that to others.

This is a pretty good description of my views on the subject as well.  

David Thornton addresses a few aspects of the economic concerns with the possible tariffs against Mexico.  He says,

Other Republicans at the meeting included John Cornyn (R-Texas), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). All three states would be hit hard by tariffs on Mexican imports. Texas shares a long border with Mexico and the many manufacturers in the industrial Midwest have supply chains that run south of that border. The president’s net approval rating is already underwater in Ohio and Pennsylvania and in single digits in Texas. After Ted Cruz’s close electoral call in 2018, many other Republicans in affected states will be looking over their shoulders.

I am inclined to have some sympathy for the way tariffs harm American consumers and producers.  And I am inclined to have some sympathy for those affected by outsourcing, globalized trade, and the possible effects of a negative trade balance (as described in the 10th Edition of American Public Policy). But I don’t particularly care, mostly because none of it should be occurring.  This wouldn’t be happening but for congress’ abdication of its constitutionally enumerated powers.

McConnell and company need to stop complaining about what Trump is doing with their powers and just take them back.  It’s that simple.

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Apocalypse Not Quite Yet https://theresurgent.com/2019/06/04/apocalypse-not-quite-yet/ https://theresurgent.com/2019/06/04/apocalypse-not-quite-yet/#respond Tue, 04 Jun 2019 15:00:17 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=51296 The world is going to end in 2050 If you were preparing for the apocalypse twelve years from now, I have good news for you. The world is actually going to end in 31 years. This good news comes from a report by Vice. The analysis, published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, […]

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The world is going to end in 2050

If you were preparing for the apocalypse twelve years from now, I have good news for you. The world is actually going to end in 31 years.

This good news comes from a report by Vice.

The analysis, published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, a think-tank in Melbourne, Australia, describes climate change as “a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization” and sets out a plausible scenario of where business-as-usual could lead over the next 30 years.

The paper argues that the potentially “extremely serious outcomes” of climate-related security threats are often far more probable than conventionally assumed, but almost impossible to quantify because they “fall outside the human experience of the last thousand years.”

Newsflash: Climate change think-tank says climate change is a problem. Who would have guessed? Next up, Moms Demand Action says guns are a problem.

The Vice article says,

While the Breakthrough scenario sets out some of the more ‘high end’ risk possibilities, it is often not possible to meaningfully quantify their probabilities. As a result, the authors emphasize that conventional risk approaches tend to downplay worst-case scenarios despite their plausibility.

It’s this last segment that sheds the most light on their methodology. This discussion of probability and plausibility convinced me to look into the actual policy paper instead of relying on Vice’s summary.

I half expected to find a 400 page study hidden behind a paywall. Instead, I found an eleven page PDF that was extremely unconvincing. In terms of intellectual heft, it’s difficult to make a clear argument for something as complicated as climate change predictions in eleven pages. But it gets better. The first three pages are the cover, table of contents, and the forward. Then the last page is blank. Suddenly, an eleven page “analysis” is now a seven page report.

It’s easy for Vice to say that global warming is going to result in devastating circumstances for billions of people when they defer to the study produced by a climate change think-tank. Despite relying on other works, this study is woefully lacking in substance.

Reliance on existing climate data and the “scientific consensus” only gets you so far, especially when you are not satisfied with the “conservative estimates” of the climate science community. This analysis thinks that the Paris Agreement doesn’t go far enough. The burden then is on these researchers to explain why, but they admit that they are simply interested in what might be possible.

I understand that there is little need to rehash all the data when everyone is assumed to agree with what has been established by the “scientific consensus,” but their analysis specifically states that they are going beyond what is to be anticipated, which leaves the reader wanting to understand how we get from data accepted by the scientific community to all hell is going to break loose by 2050.

When the conclusion is the exhortation to begin massive scale policy regimes designed to bring us to a “zero-emission industrial system,” I think it is wise to ask for something more than seven pages of appeals to authority and theorizing about possibilities.

Vice does a disservice by not discussing the analysis as a whole. Vice reports that the world might end by 2050. The analysis they cite shows that this is likely a fringe opinion that goes further than other climate alarmist assessments.

Still, it’s better than getting only twelve years out of the future.

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Illinois’ Legislative Procrastination Extravaganza: A POTpourri of Issues https://theresurgent.com/2019/06/03/illinois-legislative-procrastination-extravaganza-a-potpourri-of-issues/ https://theresurgent.com/2019/06/03/illinois-legislative-procrastination-extravaganza-a-potpourri-of-issues/#respond Mon, 03 Jun 2019 15:00:30 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=51233 Before the legislative session ended, the Illinois General Assembly addressed legalizing recreational marijuana and several other issues. While some say that puns are the lowest form of humor, my personal view is that legalizing pot is the lowest form of legislative achievement. So a pun is appropriate here. Eleven states have now legalized recreational marijuana. […]

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Before the legislative session ended, the Illinois General Assembly addressed legalizing recreational marijuana and several other issues.

While some say that puns are the lowest form of humor, my personal view is that legalizing pot is the lowest form of legislative achievement. So a pun is appropriate here.

Eleven states have now legalized recreational marijuana. Obviously, Illinois is the most recent addition to this list.

According to WGN, the bill “would allow those 21 and older to buy marijuana at licensed dispensaries beginning next year. Residents could possess up to one ounce (30 grams) and non-residents could have 15 grams. [Governor] Pritzker called for legalization in his campaign for governor. He has pledged to sign the law.”

Last year, I wrote several articles on Michigan’s push to legalize the devil’s lettuce. I will draw one main distinction between the two states.

Michigan legalized recreational marijuana through ballot initiative. Illinois did this via statute.

If you remember, one of my complaints about the process in Michigan is that the direct democracy approach, on it’s face, is less likely to result in wise policy for the simple fact that the whole mass of the people cannot conduct hearings, hear evidence, and listen to expert testimony regarding issues that may become law. That is one of the many benefits of having a representative constitutional republic. It is the job of elected officials to grow in their understanding of issues and to be able to make wise decisions in light of evidence, logic, and other information that the general public might not be considering. It’s not that elected officials are smarter than the average person, it’s just that elected officials are paid to make law.

It would appear that the Illinois approach has more legitimacy than a ballot initiative, but then we see that the democrat controlled state government sat on its hands for most of the session and waited until the last minute to enact this for easy political points.

While some commenters took issue with my piece on Alex Berenson’s book on marijuana, citing the correlation/causation problem that Berenson himself addressed in his book, the marijuana debate is fraught with lousy data. Not in quality, but in quantity. We just don’t have a whole lot of information on it. And when we do get it, potheads indignantly trot out the “correlation is not causation” bit as if we are all children who don’t already understand that. Like smokers who insist that smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer. The existence of a link between the two is not causation by any means, but a lack of causation does not mean that one never contributes to the other.

The mere possibility that marijuana *MIGHT* contribute to the progression or development of mental illness and psychotic violence should be enough for state governments to pause and say, “you know, we are going to sit back and watch for data coming out of Colorado, Michigan, Alaska etc. and look at crime rates, accident rates, healthcare costs, and prevalence of mental illness and related violence, before we make a decision that would put our public at greater risk for an assortment of issues related to legalizing recreational pot.”

A body like the Illinois General Assembly would have been able to do that sort of fact finding. It instead made a partisan push for legislative achievement.

The Potpourri of Issues

In addition to legalizing pot, the General Assembly also passed bills on public works, minimum wage, sports betting, gambling, and reaffirming their commitment to the pagan god Moloch.

It’s all been done in the spirit of procrastination, where the democratic controlled legislative and executive branches waited until the end of their legislative session to pass anything of significance.

WGN said this, “Big decision are being made all in one day. As one Republican pointed out the General Assembly is being asked to spend $80 billion on bill that they’ve had less than 12 hours to read.”

At least when Rauner was Govenor, nothing got done. That kept the state from screwing over its people. Now, Pritzker and Madigan can do so with ease.

Welcome to the Land of Lincoln: Where you can smoke pot, kill your baby, and accrue governmental debt all in a matter of days.

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Jordan Peterson Doesn’t Claim to Believe in God Because He Doesn’t Understand God https://theresurgent.com/2019/06/03/jordan-petersen-doesnt-claim-to-believe-in-god-because-he-doesnt-understand-god/ https://theresurgent.com/2019/06/03/jordan-petersen-doesnt-claim-to-believe-in-god-because-he-doesnt-understand-god/#respond Mon, 03 Jun 2019 12:48:46 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=51226 Jordan Peterson is probably best described as a Christianity sympathizer without any real conviction on the matter.

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Jordan Peterson is probably best described as a Christianity sympathizer without any real conviction on the matter.  

On Friday, DailyWire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo wrote an article about a PragerU interview with Jordan Peterson.  Jordan Peterson has been influential over the past few years due do his common sense approach to many issues that have divided society.  Young conservatives have been interested in his politics and philosophy.

For Christians, his worldview may seem acceptable in terms of politics and a general inclination toward espousing the benefits of Christianity, but we know that his worldview is based on an aberrant and frankly deficient theology.

Peterson is supposed to be someone who represents that objectivity of the conservative viewpoint.  That worldview is based on a real, tangible, and common sense approach to issues that have been flipped upside down by the left.

Yet Peterson’s views on religion abandon that scientific approach and instead venture into metaphysical obscurity and nonsense.  He has more in common with Soren Kierkegaard, but at least it can be argued that Kierkegaard wasn’t completely outside of orthodoxy. 

Peterson’s existentialist psychology and theology come into conflict with the revealed truth of God.

Here is the exchange according to the DailyWire,

Prager sparked the comments by noting that “one of the most important things” Peterson repeatedly says is that he “lives as if there were a God.”

“People ask me if I believe in God … people kept asking me that question, which I really don’t like,” Peterson responded. “I don’t like that question, so I sat and thought about it for a good while and I tried to figure out why. And I thought, well … who would have the audacity to claim that they believed in God? If they examined the way they lived, who would dare say that?”

“To believe, to believe in a Christian sense, to actually — this is why [Friedrich] Nietzsche said there was only ever one Christian and that was Christ — to have the audacity to claim that, means that you live it out fully. And that’s an unbearable task in some sense,” he continued.

Peterson then referenced a recent event with Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, and noted that he “said something very brilliant” about God.

“He talked about Christ’s moment of crises on the cross, when he cried out to God that he had been forsaken,” Peterson explained. “And what Žižek said, was that what that meant was that the conditions of human existence are so tragic that even God himself in human form lost faith for a moment in the goodness of being.”

“I thought that was a remarkable observation, because, well, if even God himself were to lose faith under such conditions, what would you expect from normal human beings confronted with what we’re confronted by?” said Peterson.

“And so I’ve never been comfortable saying anything other than, I try to act as if God exists, because God only knows what you’d be if you truly believed,” he noted. “That’s the central idea in Christianity, that if you were capable of believing it would be a transfiguring event, a truly transfiguring event. And I know people experience that to one degree or another, but we have no idea what the limit of that is, and we have no idea what the possibility is within each person if they lived a life that was maximally courageous and maximally truthful. … God only knows what you’d be if you believed.”

“So while I try to act like I believe, I never claim that I manage it,” concluded Peterson.

Peterson’s understanding of God and Christianity is grounded in something other than scripture and doctrine derived from it.

The first issue we encounter is an inclination toward a human-centric belief expressed in both his expectations for himself and for religion as a whole.  His main hang-up here is that he must live as if there is a god and people shouldn’t dare claim that given how they live.  This implies that there is something within humanity that is capable of pleasing God. It implies that it is solely a matter of personal choice as to whether a person believes in God or not.  While he is certainly right to point out that many do not honor the God to claim to believe in, his human-centric viewpoint denies the power of regeneration.  We can profess faith in God with boldness because our sin is no match for God’s grace and the effects of justification and sanctification.  Christians who fail are still being made more like Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Peterson thinks that it is solely up to him to manage his “living as if there were a god.”  His agreement with Nietzsche highlights that he does not understand the nature of Christ in salvation.  To say that Christ was the only Christian is to say that Christ is a liar.  Why?  Because salvation is not based on our own ability.  Every believer is a true Christian because salvation exists outside of ourselves.  Peterson effectively denies imputed righteousness where our sin is placed on Jesus and He credits us with His righteousness.  Every believer is righteous because Christ is.

The second and final issue is that Peterson mischaracterizes the nature of Christ in His death.  Peterson claims that God the Son lost faith in God the Father when Jesus asks, “my God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”  Peterson ascribes a sinful motive to Jesus i.e. not trusting God.  He implies that God did not in fact forsake Jesus.  Odds are Peterson’s existentialist views cannot account for the nature of sin.  Jesus wasn’t losing faith when he asked why God would forsake Him.  Jesus was accurately identifying that God the Father was in fact forsaking Him.  Because of sin, God the Father had to forsake Jesus.  A Holy and Just God cannot permit sin to exist in His presence.  On the cross, Jesus became sin.  It’s this idea of imputation.  Our sin was imputed to Jesus.  It’s a grand legal exchange.  Jesus takes the entirety of our guilt and receives the full punishment that we deserve.  That is why God had to forsake His Son.  On the cross, sin deserves the eternal wrath of the Father.  Fortunately for us, we weren’t on that cross. Jesus was.

Christians have to be careful.  Differing worldviews may seemed aligned to our cause, but getting the Gospel wrong and misunderstanding the nature of Jesus will inevitably lead to problems down the road. At the end of last week, I wrote about the religious left. Conservative Christians have to be aware that scoring political points for the religious right is not the end goal.  Peterson may help you achieve those goals, but you will find the truth of God distorted and that harms the only real goal we have… making disciples of all nations.

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The Religious Left’s Lack of Political Power https://theresurgent.com/2019/05/31/the-religious-lefts-lack-of-political-power/ https://theresurgent.com/2019/05/31/the-religious-lefts-lack-of-political-power/#respond Fri, 31 May 2019 18:15:42 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=51181 The term “religious right” is synonymous with a monolithic voting group defined by its shared religious views and the political views that are derived from it. The “religious left” on the other hand, has not reached the same heights in terms of political power.

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Liberal theology has been present in American Christendom for over a century.  And despite working its way into a variety of denominations across that time period, it has failed to, as FiveThirtyEight puts it, mobilize a throng of democratic voters in the same way that the religious right has. 

This modern alliance between Christianity and democratic politics is weak.

FiveThirtyEight says this:

For the past four decades, the notion that religious beliefs should guide voters’ decision-making has been largely monopolized by the Republican Party. But the partisan “God gap” hasn’t gone unnoticed by some religious Democrats, who have urged candidate after candidate to make appeals to religious values and beliefs in the hope of turning the “religious left” into a politically relevant force.

First Cory Booker — who was literally anointed by his pastor ahead of his presidential announcement — was touted as a possible candidate of the “religious left.” Then Pete Buttigieg stepped in to claim that mantle, telling reporters that the left “need to not be afraid to invoke arguments that are convincing on why Christian faith is going to point you in a progressive direction.” Meanwhile, several other presidential hopefuls, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, are all talking openly about their religion on the campaign trail, even making arguments for why their policy positions — whether it’s abortion rights or income inequality — are linked to their faith.

As Erick pointed out during the whole BootEdgeEdge Episcopalian debacle, one issue with the left’s use of Christianity is that their version of it is increasingly heterodox or outright heretical.  Consider the Emergents from a few years ago… You have individuals in the movement claiming that the red letters are more inspired than others.  You have individuals who embrace universalism while trying to twist the exclusivity of Jesus Christ in a way that supports their personal belief that Jesus will be sneaking unbelievers into heaven.  You have individuals who deny the existence of hell.  And a specific point from Erick’s articles, you have individuals who deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Liberal theology has gotten so far away from orthodoxy that most attempts at connecting Christianity with liberal policy goals are inevitably going to be achieved by twisting scripture and doctrine. 

Now, that is not to say that all Christian arguments for liberal policies are heretical.  You are just more likely to run into heresy in doing so.  And it’s that likelihood that makes it difficult for some Christians, who may be left leaning, to commit to this idea of a religious left even if they still vote for democrats. 

FiveThirtyEight adds:

And to some extent, forging connections between faith and politics makes sense for Democratic candidates — a majority of Democratic primary voters are religious. But there are several big hurdles facing any Democrat looking to use the language of faith to marshal voters in the primary. For one thing, the Democratic coalition isn’t dominated by a single religious group. In fact, the Democratic Party has been growing steadily less religious over the past 20 years… But in a diverse and increasingly secular party, religious rhetoric alone may not get the candidates very far.

Religious Democrats may not get as much attention as their counterparts on the right, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. About 65 percent of Democratic primary voters in 2016 reported having some kind of religious affiliation, compared to 84 percent of Republican primary voters.

The result is that Democratic candidates are trying to reach a smaller and more splintered religious audience than Republican candidates are targeting in their own primary. “Talking about religion is a much more complicated task when you’re trying to simultaneously address white Catholics and black Protestants and Muslim and Jewish Americans,” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI, a research organization that studies religion and politics. “They may not have all that much in common, other than the fact that they identify as religious, which makes them harder to appeal to and organize.”

I started this article by discussing how the religious right is monolithic.  FiveThirtyEight does an excellent job explaining how the religious left is not.  And if we dig a little deeper, we see that this fractured nature of what might be the religious left is not limited to the different groups themselves, but we find that fractured nature within groups.   

That is what the left has to overcome in order to be a political force in the same way as the religious right.

Religion and Politics in America: Faith, Culture, and Strategic Choices by Robert Fowler et al offers us several chapters on the discussion of Hispanic and African American faith as it relates to political choices.  FiveThirtyEight notes that about a fourth of the religious left is non-white and Christian.  Fowler makes several points regarding the religious views of minorities.  One, African Americans are overwhelmingly protestant.  Two, religious African Americans are liberal on many issues yet find themselves agreeing with conservatives on some social issues even if they don’t vote that way.  Fowler notes that African American women are a driving force in the religiosity of this demographic.  Three, Fowler makes similar observations regarding Hispanics and their voting habits especially in terms of the relationship between government programs and social issues.  But Fowler makes one distinction.  Whereas African Americans are protestant and liberal, the split between GOP ID and Dem ID among Hispanics flips depending on denomination.  Hispanic Catholics tend to be liberal.  Hispanic Protestants are more likely to be conservative.   

It is this chunk of the religious left that weakens the potential power of a unified religious left. The flavor of liberal theology found among white liberals like the Emergents and the old mainline protestants comes with some degree of universalism. This allows them to praise the religiosity of Jews, Muslims, Hindus etc. (also what kind of electoral strategy focuses on 3 million Hindus? Not to be rude, but it’s kind of pointless numerically).  Yet that universalism and even some other aspects of their liberalism may alienate the more devote liberal Christians.  How does an African American Christian, who believes in the exclusivity of Jesus, is opposed to gay marriage, but supports government assistance programs, react to an increasingly preachy gay white liberal Episcopalian? How does an African American Christian, who sees his or her faith in terms of their historic struggle against slavery and God’s concern for the oppressed, react to candidates who are more than willing to provide assistance to individuals who weren’t historically oppressed by our government?  How does a devout Hispanic Catholic react to a candidate who has expressed anti-Catholic bias?  Or how would a devout Muslim or Hindu react to a democratic candidate who discusses the exclusivity of Jesus Christ?   

My guess is that practicality will win out, as it usually does.  But if this idea, that there needs to be a religious left as a political force, makes any ground among the current candidates, the splintered nature of the would be religious left sort of defeats the very purpose of having a monolithic group.  

It just can’t be done.  Even among white liberals, the religious left is so diverse, in a bad way.  You can go from simply wanting more governmental compassion in immigration all the way to a Lutheran “pastor” who melts purity rings into vagina sculptures.   Somewhere along the line, the authority of scripture is diminished and doctrine is thrown out.  It’s the inevitable slide of liberal theology.  It turns into nothing more than a social club for people who don’t mind the idea of a higher being who is a nice guy even if they can’t be bothered to commit to the idea one way or another.  Or it’s moralism based on liberal policy, using scripture when convenient.   Or it’s a yoke of works righteousness where we are judged by how we treat the oppressed and the poor. 

That variance does not exist on the right to the same degree.  It is overwhelmingly protestant.  We draw from the principles of historically protestant thinkers and governments.  And regarding core doctrinal issues, there is little disagreement.  Sure we may have to rebuke the prosperity gospel and the excesses of the charismatic movement, but even that insanity pales in comparison to the heresy that is promoted by the religious left.  

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Concealed Carry Renewal Error Might Not Make You a Felon in Michigan Anymore https://theresurgent.com/2019/05/31/concealed-carry-renewal-error-might-not-make-you-a-felon-in-michigan-anymore/ https://theresurgent.com/2019/05/31/concealed-carry-renewal-error-might-not-make-you-a-felon-in-michigan-anymore/#respond Fri, 31 May 2019 17:48:55 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=51179 Gun owners have to be meticulous. Small errors and oversights can lead to felony convictions. Gun owners must know the law and must be careful to abide by every minute provision of they could wind up in jail.

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State Representative Matt Hall of Emmett Township introduced a bill earlier this month to reduce the penalty for carrying a concealed firearm with an expired CPL.  Last week, the Michigan House passed the bill. 

According to the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, the bill was passed 90-19. For those who don’t know, the GOP only has a slim majority in the Michigan House so this bill was passed with broad bipartisan support.  

MLive reported some of the details regarding the bill and made sure to note opposing views. 

House Bill 4434, introduced by Rep. Matt Hall, R-Emmett Township, would reduce the penalty for carrying a concealed pistol on an expired license from a felony to a civil fine, if the license expired within the year.

Hall presented the bill as “common-sense” criminal justice reform.

“If this is the only reason you’re a felon, because you forgot to renew (the license), I don’t think that punishment is proportional to the offense,” he said.

Michigan State Police legislative liaison Sgt. Chris Gerard testified against the bill on the grounds that it would make penalties for certain driving offenses more strict than a weapons violation.

“That’s kind of a drastic change,” he said. “People can’t get lazy with something that has the potential to possibly kills somebody. It’s more important to make sure that we’re understanding this is something we take very seriously.”

Gerard said citizens are notified months before their license expires, and renewing the license takes a quick visit to the county clerk’s office.

The NRA added specifics,

[the bill] reduces the offense of carrying a handgun on an expired CPL from a felony under current law to a civil fine of $330 as long as it’s within one year of expiration and the person is still legally eligible for a CPL.  Permanently stripping Second Amendment rights from an otherwise law-abiding citizen who forgets to renew their CPL does not improve public safety.

I am inclined to disagree with the State Police on this one.  With states moving away from requiring concealed carry licenses and with the Michigan House introducing another bill to get rid of the CPL all together, it seems pointless to resist the move. 

It is also extremely problematic to restrict a constitutional right indefinitely for a paperwork offense, as the NRA noted.  

But it is to be expected.  States and the federal government have a history of over-criminalizing minute firearm related offenses while under-criminalizing the ones that might actually lead to serious harm or increased violence. 

Did you know that if you put a fore grip on a pistol, you’ve committed a felony

ATF has long held that by installing a vertical fore grip on a handgun, the handgun is no longer designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand. Therefore, if individuals install a vertical fore grip on a handgun, they are “making” a firearm requiring registration with ATF’s NFA Branch. Making an unregistered “AOW” is punishable by a fine and 10 years’ imprisonment. Additionally, possession of an unregistered “AOW” is also punishable by fine and 10 years’ imprisonment.

Obviously, the nation is overrun by criminals who add fore grips on pistols, which changes how the pistol was design to be fired. Instead of using two hands to hold the pistol grip, they now use one hand at the back and one at the front. The horror!

Similarly, the state of Michigan must be overrun by otherwise law-abiding firearm owners who didn’t fill out the right paperwork in time. 

Wise government measures balance public safety with the goal of staying out of the lives of citizens.  This bill removes the heavy hand of government from those who wish to exercise a constitutional right.

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Democratic Debate Criteria Changed for Next Round of Debates https://theresurgent.com/2019/05/29/democratic-debate-criteria-changed-for-next-round-of-debates/ https://theresurgent.com/2019/05/29/democratic-debate-criteria-changed-for-next-round-of-debates/#respond Wed, 29 May 2019 17:00:27 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=50971 I guess having 20/24 candidates on stage is too much? Getting older in this political era is quite interesting.  I was in college for the 2016 election  and I don’t really remember the media focusing so much on the minutia of election politics in 2016 or 2012 for that matter.  I couldn’t tell you about […]

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I guess having 20/24 candidates on stage is too much?

Getting older in this political era is quite interesting.  I was in college for the 2016 election  and I don’t really remember the media focusing so much on the minutia of election politics in 2016 or 2012 for that matter.  I couldn’t tell you about any of the primary debates in 2008 or 2004. I have no idea if the DNC and RNC felt the need to compress the field then.

2016 set a new standard for the absurdity of a crowded field.  Just when we thought it couldn’t get any more insane, 2020 popped up and said hello.

Now, the party seeking to defeat President Trump finds itself in a numerical quandary.

How do you give every candidate an opportunity to speak while at the same time stirring the masses toward a viable candidate? Are the candidates just clumps of cells right now?

The Associated Press is reporting that the DNC revamped its criteria for making the debate stage in the next round of primary debates.

The Democratic National Committee is upping the ante for its second round of presidential primary debates, doubling the polling and grassroots fundraising requirements from its initial summer debates.

The parameters, announced Wednesday, are likely to help cull a crop of 24 candidates and, in the process, intensify scrutiny on Democratic Chairman Tom Perez and his pledge to give all candidates a chance to be heard .

The DNC’s outline for its September debate — the third of at least a dozen promised matchups during the 2020 nominating fight — decrees that candidates can participate only by reaching 2% in four approved polls released between June 28 and Aug. 28 while also collecting contributions from a minimum of 130,000 unique donors before Aug. 28. That donor list must include a minimum of 400 individuals in at least 20 states. The qualifications would remain the same for an October debate, though the party hasn’t set the deadline for measuring fundraising and polling.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how Cory Booker was urging others to help out Gillibrand’s campaign so that she could make it onto the first stage.  What sort of knight-in-shining-armor stories will we find in the future?  Will Sanders’ campaign urge his followers to keep Marianne Williamson afloat since we need to hear her opinion on the spiritual energy of the life energy of those who want to be set free from their fear of the astral plane and the evil that comes from not actualizing their full potential as inherently good children of the universe?

But that collective spirit might wear thin.  Who do the front-runners help?  How long are they willing to help bring others up to their level?  Or at least to the level required to make it on to the next debate?

Will the communists suddenly embrace free market competition?

The AP adds,

As the race stands, the top of the field likely would not be threatened by upping the threshold. That includes former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas; and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.

However, the other candidates, including more senators and several governors, remain jumbled at or near the lower thresholds set for the first two debates.

Perez has from the outset of debate planning promised an open, fair process, acknowledging the criticism leveled at the DNC during the 2016 primary process, marred by allegations that then-Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and other party officials favored Hillary Clinton over Sanders.

Besides the increased thresholds, it’s significant that candidates must meet both the polling and fundraising marks in the next round. For the first two sessions, a candidate can qualify by meeting one or the other.

That’ll put pressure on candidates ranging from unconventional hopefuls like entrepreneur Andrew Yang and author Marianne Williamson to established politicians like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Govs. Steve Bullock of Montana and Jay Inslee of Washington.

I am 100% certain that in time, the candidates will gladly turn on each other.  Losers will attack the DNC for shutting out the little guy.  Front-runners will attack the DNC for preserving the chances of nobodies.

Despite the prominence of Biden and Sanders, there is no way to know who the real front-runner is going to be.  And for that reason, changing the debate criteria is going to make this ugly.

The first debate is June 26.

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How Many Nukes Could a Majority Leader Drop If a Majority Leader Is Nuclear Mitch? https://theresurgent.com/2019/05/29/how-many-nukes-could-a-majority-leader-drop-if-a-majority-leader-is-nuclear-mitch/ https://theresurgent.com/2019/05/29/how-many-nukes-could-a-majority-leader-drop-if-a-majority-leader-is-nuclear-mitch/#respond Wed, 29 May 2019 15:00:55 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=50952 Nuclear Mitch might alter the deal. Pray he doesn’t alter it any further. The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is willing to throw away the memory of Merrick Garland in order to drop one more nuke. CNN reports that “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday if a Supreme Court vacancy occurs during next year’s […]

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Nuclear Mitch might alter the deal. Pray he doesn’t alter it any further.

The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is willing to throw away the memory of Merrick Garland in order to drop one more nuke.

CNN reports that “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday if a Supreme Court vacancy occurs during next year’s presidential election, he would work to confirm a nominee appointed by President Donald Trump.”

As you may remember, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to take Justice Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court.  In an event that brought McConnell much flak from the left and renewed support from the right, McConnell refused to schedule a hearing for Garland.  Instead, Mitch argued that any decision regarding the Supreme Court ought to come from the next president since it was an election year.  Keep in mind that this decision was made when Hillary had a 97% chance of winning the presidency.

The McConnell rule is that the senate should not confirm justices in a presidential election year when the current president is term-limited.

The Biden rule is that the senate should not confirm justices in any presidential election year.

Some even wanted to see the McConnell rule apply to midterm elections! As we saw in 2018 with now Justice Kavanaugh.

These three considerations are being invoked today with Chuck Schumer calling McConnell a hypocrite.

Back in June of 2018, The Hill ran an interesting opinion piece regarding the McConnell rule and the legal weight it has.  It is completely off base since it ascribes due process rights to the senate minority and confuses customs with constitutional constraints on legislative power, but it sums up the outrage well.

So let’s look at two issues that are quite simply to understand.  They should assist us in dialing back the fits of rage directed at the majority leader for his apparent hypocrisy.

The first issue is that there is a distinction between an election year where the incumbent can be reelected and one where the incumbent would not be in office to make the post-election appointment.  Our own Steve Berman pointed this out on twitter this morning.  He said this regarding the CNN article I cited, “Sloppy reporting. There’s a difference between a “lame duck” year of a 2-term president and a re-election year of a first term president.”

The second issue is that the constitution gives the advice and consent power to the senate with no limitations on how that power is exercised.  The constitution only specifies a two-thirds vote for treaties, impeachments, and amendments.  Unless otherwise specified, a simple majority vote is sufficient and there are certainly no constraints regarding election years.  Any rule made is strictly a senate custom.  It need not even be codified in any official senate procedures that might fall under Article I.  In Federalist 66, Hamilton says this, “It will be the office of the President to NOMINATE, and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to APPOINT. There will, of course, be no exertion of CHOICE on the part of the Senate. They may defeat one choice of the Executive, and oblige him to make another; but they cannot themselves CHOOSE, they can only ratify or reject the choice of the President.” In Federalist 76, Hamilton describes the infrequent occurrence of the senate opposing a nominee.  While it is clear that we have strayed from that, it illuminates a problem with the idea that there are in fact constitutional constraints on the advice and consent power.  Hamilton speaks to the general form of the our government and the purposes of having the senate involved in the appointment process.   The piece from The Hill wants us to think that there is some due process right bestowed upon the senate when nominations don’t go the way the left wants them to.  But to Hamilton’s point, history shows us that republicans have been closer to Hamilton’s vision than democrats have in recent memory.  Democrat-appointed judges are confirmed if they are qualified.  Republican-appointed judges are confirmed on partisan split votes.  Democrats do everything in their power to stop a nomination.  Republicans oppose nominees on principle and vote for them anyway.  Only when the GOP uses the advice and consent power in a way that disrupts this Democratic advantage are individuals suddenly concerned about the nonexistent constitutional implications.

And let’s just ignore the fact that Senators Harris and Feinstein think that home-state senators wield the entire advice and consent power when they object to a judicial nominee from California.  The senate majority doing its job is a constitutional crisis, but that isn’t?

I suppose a simply response to the outrage regarding Nuclear Mitch can be summed up in a few sentences:

The senate wields the advice and consent power.  There are no constitutional restraints on that power.  If you don’t like how it is being used by the current majority, win the senate back.

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