Author

Joel Kurtinitis

Joel Kurtinitis has 41 articles published.

Joel Kurtinitis

Joel Kurtinitis is a columnist for the Des Moines Register, contributing editor for The Liberty Conservative, and operations director for the US Federalist Party.

Joel was a Regional Director for Ron Paul 2012 and served on the State Central Committee of the Republican Party of Iowa. He co-founded Liberty Iowa in the wake of the Paul campaign, and organized the Free DC Project during the government shutdown of 2013.

When not busy setting the virtual world aflame with controversy, Joel is actually an okay guy who enjoys reading, cooking, chess, bluegrass music, and an occasional foray into fiction writing. Joel and his family live in Des Moines, IA.

News

WATCH: Purdue Professor Accuses Pro-Life Group Of Child Pornography For Showing Fetus Pics

West Lafayette, IN – It’s not often that a topic as well-worn as abortion finds a new angle, but last week saw one Purdue professor take the pro-abortion argument in a strange new direction. During  a public debate at Purdue University, Dr. David Sanders, associate professor of biology at Purdue, was in the middle of a rebuttal to abortion activist Seth Drayer‘s opening statement when he unexpectedly leveled child pornography charges at Drayer’s organization, Created Equal. “He thinks fetuses are children, and he belongs to an organization that likes to show images of fetuses – and that’s something that’s a trademark,”… Keep Reading

Culture

WATCH LIVE: Purdue University Hosts Abortion Debate

  CLICK HERE to watch the debate starting at 7 pm Eastern. West Lafayette, IN – Today, as Israel marks another Holocaust Remembrance Day, Purdue University’s Forney Hall will host a debate on what many consider to be a modern holocaust – abortion. Seth Drayer, Director of Training for the pro-life group Created Equal, will square off against Dr. David Sanders, Associate Biology Professor at Purdue.  According to a press release from Created Equal, The pair will debate the question of whether abortion is a moral injustice, with Drayer taking the affirmative side and Sanders arguing in opposition. Keep Reading

Politics

Federalists Don’t Want a New Conservative Party. We Want a Federalist Party.

Political ideologies are like gas prices – everybody has an idea of what they should be, but in reality they are constantly moving to reflect the priorities of the surrounding marketplace. In today’s hyperpartisan culture, trying to pinpoint someone’s ideological niche seems of utmost importance. Most folks act like their property value depends on whether the new neighbors’ car sports a “coexist” bumper sticker or an NRA decal. But as Trump’s brand of moderate populism permeates the GOP and Bernie Sanders takes the reins of the Democrat rebuild, it’s apparent that the goalposts are moving again. Keep Reading

News/Politics

Meet The Iowa Senators Who Hold The Future Of The Pro-Life Movement

Pro-lifers are perhaps more accustomed to disappointment than any other reliably Republican constituency.  For years, the needle has stayed static on abortion regardless of which side holds power – the Bush administration managed no more significant limitations on abortion than did Obama. Given the inability of federal legislators to move the ball on abortion, many pro-life activists have turned their attention to the states, where increasingly red legislatures present the opportunity to drastically limit abortions and legally recognize the personhood of the preborn. Iowa is one example of a purple state whose legislature turned deep red in 2016, and the… Keep Reading

Politics

If You’re Serious About Starting a Dialogue On Race, Talk To White People – Not At Them

I made it through the entire 2016 electoral cycle without writing a single article on race. I wrote nothing on Trayvon and Zimmerman, Ferguson, Baltimore, Black Lives Matter, or the KKK celebrating Trump’s election. I managed to avoid being targeted online by either BLM racists or alt-right “race realists” as I tried to navigate the turbulent waters of the most contentious election in recent memory. But the streak dies today, because after reading Rev. Derrick Keith Rollins Jr.’s article titled “What white people should do about systemic racism,” I realized we need to turn this decades-old race monologue into a… Keep Reading

Politics

Lawyer For Man Ticketed In Own Driveway: Cop “Has No Heart Or No Brain”

Nick Somberg, representing attorney for Taylor Trupiano – the Michigan man recently ticketed for warming up his car in his own driveway – isn’t mincing words when it comes to his feelings about the case. In a statement to The Liberty Conservative, Somberg said he feels it is his duty to take the case – pro bono – and ensure that the citation is dismissed. “I find the conduct of this police officer reprehensible,” said Somberg. “He either has no heart or no brain.” The Rochester Hills attorney also objected to Roseville police chief James Berlin’s suggestion that the ticket… Keep Reading

Culture/Politics

The Death Of Definition: How 2016 Reset America’s Political Spectrum

Among the many time-honored structures left in ruins by the 2016 presidential process, perhaps nothing has suffered more than our comfortable set of political labels. Terms like “conservative”, “progressive”, “liberal”, “libertarian”, and even “classic liberal” (courtesy, Speaker Paul Ryan) have been growing dull for years, but this year seems to have become so useless that warring activists under each label were forced to drop their weapons, crawl out of their respective trenches, scratch their heads, and try to figure out which side they really belonged on. Who can blame them? Every election has its share of word-bending, but 2016 dropkicked… Keep Reading

Culture/Philosophy

The Enduring Importance Of Privilege

I am privileged. Despite growing up in a poor family in one of the most impoverished counties in rural North Florida, in a century-old farmhouse with no air conditioning and a woodburning stove that we all had to huddle around in the winter. Despite the fact that after high school I worked construction for $11 an hour with no insurance, sleeping in my car and running the heat ten minutes at a time when the cold of the Iowa winter got too unbearable. Despite the fact I couldn’t afford to finish college, and was too busy making ends meet to exploit some of my talents or… Keep Reading

Culture/Politics

Five Observations About The Cruz Endorsement And The Future Of #NeverTrump

When NPR hit me up earlier today asking about Cruz’s endorsement of Trump, I was asked to give an opinion before I even knew for certain it was happening. I was hoping that Ted would hold out, and give #NeverTrump the public face it needed to continue to effectively project between now and November. Needless to say, I was disappointed. As someone who supported Ted through a number of significant policy disagreements – though I did call him out on them – this disappointment is more personal. When people have bled with you the way we have with Ted, you… Keep Reading

Politics

WATCH: Trump Vs. #NeverTrump

Something sorely lacking in the Trump/#NeverTrump debate is, well, debate. Most people only sally out briefly on social media to make their case, before quickly retreating back to their support group – and that doesn’t help anyone sort out the truth of the matter. But as the specter of Hillary rises over the nearing November election and Trump continues to trail in the polls, the urgency of winning over #NeverTrump Republicans is becoming apparent. The problem for Team Trump is that some people really mean never. This debate addresses the questions of the Supreme Court, Trump’s “outsider” status, viable options… Keep Reading

Politics

Death With Dignity: The Principled Insanity Of Conservative Electoral Strategy

“We don’t win anymore.” If there’s one overwhelmingly applicable truth that conservatarians can glean from the deranged ramblings of Herr Trump, it’s the one his campaign has helped reinforce this cycle at the expense of the constitutional right: we don’t win anymore. Conservatives have become the Cleveland Browns of American politics. Sure, on a good year we can string together a few regular-season wins, but the most we can hope for by the postseason is a high draft pick and a new coach. Only we don’t ever get a new coach. We just keep trying the same failed plays over and over… Keep Reading

Culture/Philosophy

It’s Time Libertarians Started Caring About Religious Freedom

One of the most impeachable derelictions of the modern libertarian movement is its blatant disregard of – or support for – government attacks on religious liberty. The Gary Johnson complex, as I’ve come to call it, is not grounded in any libertarian ideology – a fact that fellow candidate Austin Petersen ripped the proverbial fig leaf from during the Libertarian Party’s presidential primary debates.  There’s nothing remotely libertarian about forcing a Christian pastor to wed a gay couple against his convictions, or in forcing business owners to provide products and services for a ceremony they fundamentally object to, regardless of… Keep Reading

Politics/Tech/World

Brexit Showcases The Obsolescence Of Big Government

By now Brexit has been analyzed from approximately every point of view, by everyone who wants to make a point with it; but amid the fear and festivity, one of the simplest points seems to have been overlooked. At its core, the choice of the British people was between union and autonomy, with experience informing both sides, and they chose the latter. Everyone is using the word historic to describe the Leave vote, because of its outsized impact on the world economy and the metaphorical cap it busted in the crown of the European Union (EU). It’s unclear how many have… Keep Reading

Politics

Ninth Circuit Court Guts The Second Amendment

Anyone who has argued with a teenager knows that facts can evaporate and definitions can become fluid with enough motivation. Such immaturity and posturing is to be expected from a child. We don’t expect the same sort of reasoning from adults, let alone federal judges. Maybe it’s time we start. In a 7-4 vote, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that you have no constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon in public – period. Per the recently-delivered majority opinion of Peruta v. City of San Diego, “The right of a member of the general public to carry… Keep Reading

Politics

The Allied Liberation Of Europe Was Just And Right, And Saying So Doesn’t Make You a Warmonger

On June 6th, 1944, thousands of Allied soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy and began what we know as the liberation of Nazi-occupied Europe. One the eve of D-Day, as those soldiers, sailors, and airmen prepared to take part in the largest amphibious invasion in military history – an operation that would see thousands of them give the last full measure of devotion on the beaches of Normandy – they read the following words from the Supreme Allied Commander, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower: “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The… Keep Reading

Culture/Politics

Conservatives Under Siege – Why The 10th Amendment Is The Last Hope For Traditional Marriage

Late in the autumn of 1943, German fighter general Adolf Galland headed to the opulent estate of Luftwaffe Reichsmarschall and Hitler’s second-in-command, Hermann Göring. Galland, a decorated combat ace, had seen extensive action on the western front, and by this point in the war, he could see that the odds were turning against the Third Reich, as British and American bombers made regular raids deep into fortress Europe, escorted by new, long-range allied fighters that had started to thin his distinguished ranks. Galland’s mission on this night was to convince Göring that Germany must re-tool their air force for a… Keep Reading

Culture/Politics

Dear Austin Petersen, Personhood Is The Ultimate Liberty Issue

Dear Austin, As a Libertarian Presidential Candidate, I know you’re busy with a lot of interviews and meetings with conservative media and voters looking for a way out of the coming Trump/Hillary nightmare, but I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out to you and try to iron out some of the wrinkles in your pro-life messaging. See, protecting life is an utterly non-negotiable issue for a slew of Libertarians as well as Republicans, and polls show that the nation as a whole is moving in an anti-abortion direction, with the highly-libertarian Millennial generation leading the way. Many of… Keep Reading

Culture/Politics

Conservatives Under Siege – Transgendered Bathrooms And The Brilliance Of The Left’s Decoy Strategy

This article is the first in a three-part series titled “Conservatives Under Siege”. Subscribe to Liberty Conservatives Magazine or follow Joel on Facebook or Twitter to be notified of subsequent articles. From the explosion of outrage and hyperbole that violated my social media newsfeeds in the last two days, I gather that gender-confused individuals are now trying to use bathrooms to which they are not assigned. That’s unfortunate. I expect it to complicate some social norms, and potentially produce awkward situations.  It may even force some businesses or public buildings to go back to the barbaric unisex individual bathrooms still used… Keep Reading

Politics

Freedom Caucus Leader Raul Labrador Endorses Ted Cruz

Idaho Representative and Freedom Caucus leader Raul Labrador has endorsed Senator Ted Cruz for President, National Review reported yesterday. Labrador joins fellow Freedom Caucus members Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who previously indicated support for the Senator from Texas. Labrador, long viewed as an ally of the Liberty Movement, earned support from liberty icon Rep. Justin Amash for house speaker in 2013 and until recently served as Western State Chair for Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign. Cruz, the only candidate to contest Paul for the liberty vote over the course of the 2016 cycle, has drawn strong… Keep Reading

Politics

Iowa Just Destroyed The “Rand Or Nobody” Narrative

Iowa was the final act for a number of presidential candidates, including liberty candidate Sen. Rand Paul – but the reason Paul dropped might come as a shock to many. Though the Rand campaign made many overtures to his father’s base in the final months, Rand Paul did not carry the Iowa libertarian vote. Among the chief victims of the dramatic Ted Cruz win Monday night was the “libertarians won’t vote for Cruz” narrative pedaled for the last year by the Rand Paul campaign. The caucus results have been sliced and diced a hundred ways, and with Sen. Rand Paul’s… Keep Reading

Politics

Three Reasons Every Libertarian Should Celebrate a Ted Cruz Iowa Win

Much of the libertarian interest in next week’s Iowa Caucuses is focused on Rand Paul – and rightfully so.  Since his apparent decision to drop the middle-of-the-road rhetoric and go full libertarian early this year in the face of declining money and support, many of his father’s sidelined activists have taken renewed interest in his campaign. Rand’s numbers in Iowa have seen a slight uptick, and his campaign has released some impressive organizational numbers. Still, Rand is a longshot to pull off a win in a state where the competing candidacies of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have reshaped the… Keep Reading

Politics

The Debate Republicans Deserve

As we approach tonight’s Republican debate, sure to be a spectacle similar to the last three awkward attempts to manage the political equivalent of a starting football lineup, it’s worth mentioning that debates don’t have to be this way. Late last week Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal challenged Senator Ted Cruz to debate Obamacare mano y mano in a response to the latter’s assertion that he would debate “anyone, anywhere”.  Though the move was a clear attempt by Jindal to lash his sinking dinghy to the surging Cruz ship, he served the ball directly into Cruz’s court in such a way… Keep Reading

Politics

Wanted: Dead Or Alive – What The RLC Vote Really Says About The Liberty Movement

It turns out the death of the Liberty Movement has been greatly exaggerated. At the first sign of some sputtering from the presidential campaign of “libertarian-ish” Sen. Rand Paul, critics and pundits gleefully took to the web to declare the so-called “libertarian moment” over. But those seeking evidence of the continued relevance of America’s youngest and most vibrant political faction may just be looking in all the wrong places. Of course one shortfall in the arithmetic of those waiting to dance on the grave of libertarianism is that it attempts to judge the fate of a movement by the electoral… Keep Reading

Culture/Politics

Three Really Dumb Abortion Arguments You Should Stop Making

As the series of shocking videos released by the Center for Medical Progress continues to land body blows on Planned Parenthood, fewer and fewer abortion advocates can be found to defend them.  They are even slowly disappearing from the typically safe comments sections of traditionally left-leaning sources like Slate and my state’s resident MSM outlet, the Des Moines Register.  Articles from pro-choice folks condemning the abortion giant seem to have knocked the legs out from some of the most vulnerable arguments lately, like the thinly-veiled falsehood that abortions only comprise 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services, or the notion that being… Keep Reading

Politics

No Wonder Ted Cruz Hates DC – He’s a Marvel Fan (VIDEO)

Last week I had the chance to interview Senator Ted Cruz backstage after his “Believe Again” event at Drake University in Des Moines. Considering Cruz’s reputation as an avid gamer, I decided to spice things up by challenging him to a chess match during the interview – doing my best to keep the former Princeton debate champ in check, while also hitting him with questions ranging from campaign strategy to comic book wars. It turns out that when he’s not haunting the nightmares of Capitol Hill Democrats, the conservative firebrand enjoys swimming, science fiction, and the irreverent political satire of “Team… Keep Reading

Economics/Politics/World

Why Do TPA Opponents Trust Obama?

Most of the recent discussion surrounding Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) has focused on the overwhelming distrust of the President from, well, pretty much everyone. Many fear that the President plans to use trade agreement back-doors to compromise US sovereignty and ram through environmental and immigration policies that would not have a chance of making it through the GOP-controlled congress. The most consistent critique of those who support TPA (other than the criticisms mistakenly applied to TPA, that were intended for the TPP… read this to clear up that confusion) is that we should not trust this President with more power… Keep Reading

Politics/World

4 Things You Didn’t Know About The TPP… Or Is It The TPA?

The Far Left and the Far Right finally have something to agree on: opposition to the package of legislative endeavors leading up to what has been dubbed “Obamatrade”. The issue has given rise to the most bizarre coalitions, with Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee joining Harry Reid and Elizabeth Warren in opposing the deal, and Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Rod Blum siding with President Obama and John Boehner to support it. Broad criticisms have been matched against vague praise, and nobody really seems to know what’s going on. Meanwhile, social media has gone become a political Chernobyl –… Keep Reading

Politics

I’m a Ron Paul Guy, And I’m Supporting Ted Cruz

The other night as my wife Kelsey and I were getting ready for bed, we were talking about the 2016 presidential race and discussing how things would shape up for the first-in-the-nation caucus state – our home state – of Iowa.  We had both heard that Ted Cruz was set to announce his candidacy at midnight, and were keeping a finger on the pulse of the reaction within our liberty-heavy political circles. My wife’s phone buzzed, and then I heard her groan. Another of our friends had asked her who we would be supporting for president in the state where… Keep Reading

Politics

Rand Returns To His Roots

Nobody thought that former US Representative Ron Paul would show up in Iowa this week to stump with his son, Kentucky Senator and likely 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul; but when Rand took the stage to deliver the keynote at an “Audit the Fed” rally hosted by Liberty Iowa, there was a whole lot of Ron in the room. Ron Paul shirts, Ron Paul hats, and Ron Paul stickers adorned many of the roughly 120 people that gathered in Des Moines to hear the younger Paul speak. Even the speech itself sounded a lot more like the fiery Texas Congressman… Keep Reading

Politics

Cruz To Liberty Movement: No Softballs

Nearly two weeks ago, just prior to his appearance at Steve King’s Iowa Freedom Summit, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz carved out some time to meet with leading liberty activists from around Iowa. The low-key meeting, held in Des Moines, was many activists’ first time to meet the libertarian-leaning Tea Party firebrand. It was also Cruz’s first time fielding questions from a crowd comprised almost exclusively of members of the thriving Iowa Liberty Movement. Cruz opened with high praise for former Rep. Ron Paul’s rapidly-maturing political army. “The power, the energy of the Liberty Movement is inspirational,” said Cruz. “I think… Keep Reading

Politics

Cruz Courts Liberty Movement In Iowa

Tea Party champion and conservative firebrand Ted Cruz may be ready to embrace his libertarian side – and he may need to, if he hopes to find a path from Iowa to the White House. As it turns out, the death of the Liberty Movement in Iowa may have been greatly exaggerated. While an establishment resurgence in 2014 spearheaded by Governor Terry Branstad succeeded in purging the Ron Paul element from the leadership of the Republican Party of Iowa, members of the state’s robust and often-boisterous Liberty Movement are turning their attention to greater things – namely, the 2016 presidential… Keep Reading

Politics

America Isn’t Strong Enough For Torture

Torture. Just hearing that word is enough to give one pause. It’s a bit of a superlative for pain – a word reserved for those times when “hurt”, “suffering,” and “agony” just don’t cover it. The word carries with it images of gory slasher films and whispered stories from Soviet gulags. It’s a vestige of darker times, undeserving of any place in the greatest nation in the history of the world. It’s something that is at least as universally-condemned as child molestation and cold-blooded murder. Or was, until a few weeks ago. With the release of classified CIA documents detailing… Keep Reading

Economics/Politics

The Problem With Amnesty, Isn’t Amnesty

A couple weeks ago, President Obama announced that he would disregard the Constitutional process and grant executive amnesty to over five million illegal immigrants living in the states, surprising exactly no one. Equally predictable was the conservative uproar, and the ensuing accusations of racism from the Left. Much of the conservative reaction rightly centered on President Obama’s executive end-around on Congress, but the back and forth of “you’re buying votes with American jobs!” and “you’re a racist!” are again saturating politics the way Kirk Cameron saturates Christian filmmaking. Unfortunately, the bottom line of the immigration problem is often lost behind… Keep Reading

Economics/Politics

Dear Oatmeal, Net Neutrality Just Isn’t Fair

Dear Oatmeal, As I was scrolling through my social media news feed yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice a letter you wrote to Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Your letter, in response to Mr. Cruz referring to Net Neutrality as “Obamacare for the Internet”, portended to explain to the Senator just how Net Neutrality works. I am not Ted Cruz, but I do happen to write for a couple of reputable online publications and put a considerable amount of thought into current events and policy issues. As I read your letter, two concerns formed in my mind: 1) I’m not sure you’ve really thought through the ramifications of the… Keep Reading

Politics

Rand Paul’s Plan “A”

  Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack. – Sun Tzu   Last week, Kentucky Senator and likely presidential candidate Rand Paul got in a highly-publicized spat with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council over the Senator’s answer to a question on abortion and contraceptives. Paul – a medical doctor – was asked directly whether the Plan B pill should be legal, to which he responded, “Plan B is taking birth control… I am not against birth control, and I don’t know many Republicans who would be indicating that they are against birth control.”… Keep Reading

World

A Time For War: How Foreign Policy Can Make Or Break The Liberty Movement

The Middle East is in flames again, and for once, Liberty people seem unsure what to think about it.  For years our only rallying cry was “no more nation-building – bring the troops home!” And for a while, that was enough.  Our foreign policy ideals were so diametrically opposed to those in play for the last few administrations, we didn’t need to nail down all the details of our ideology.  Mere assertion sufficed. But the situation in Iraq has brought the Liberty Movement to a crossroads. On one side, Ron Paul’s steady non-interventionism is what first drew many people to… Keep Reading

Economics

I’m a Conservative, And I Care About Income Inequality

“The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.”   As a young man growing up in a conservative home in the ‘90s, I must have heard this cliché thrown around by liberals a thousand times.  I really never gave it much thought. Even though my family often toed the poverty line, we worked hard to be self-sufficient and never accept government aid.  To me, income inequality was just a talking point used to attack hard-working business people, and a way to prime voters for the goodies the Democrats planned to buy votes with next election cycle: free health care, free… Keep Reading

Politics

A Movement To Maturity

  Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults. – Socrates Last week I wrote an open letter to social conservatives, in the interest of broadening communication between two groups that both have a vital interest in stopping the socialist slide engineered by people who benefit from government expansion.  As a homeschooled Christian conservative who chose to plant my flag firmly within the Liberty Movement, I think I can offer some perspective to those on both sides who don’t see an avenue of cooperation. But as I pointed out in last… Keep Reading

Politics

An Open Letter To Social Conservatives

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” – St. Augustine Dear Social Conservatives, I hesitate to address you by that name in a political sense, because being socially conservative isn’t really a theory of government, it’s a theory of culture.  One could be socially conservative in a totally stateless environment.  That’s why there’s been a high degree of overlap between your endeavors of late and those of the Liberty Movement, and that’s why many of us can comfortably identify ourselves as socially conservative libertarians. Now of course the Liberty Movement is incredibly diverse, and has shown an… Keep Reading

Politics

Things You Can’t Do In The Land Of The Free

Independence Day has always been one of my favorite holidays.  In fact, if Thanksgiving didn’t land squarely on the intersection of food, football, hunting, colorful leaves, hoodies, and cool weather, the 4th of July would be the undisputed champion of my holiday list. Independence Day is one of only a couple holidays that hasn’t yet been completely adulterated by irrelevant mythical beings or stained by a liberal re-telling of history. Better yet, the copious commercialism surrounding this holiday is actually cool. Ask any red-blooded American to choose between easter eggs, plastic Santas, and roman candles, and see which one brings out the… Keep Reading

Politics

The Enemy Of My Enemy

Since the Branstad-led moderate takeover of the Iowa GOP in April of this year, social conservatives have found themselves pushed into the same corner of the room as the Liberty Movement – unwanted by the very party whose base they form.  Several social conservative and tea party groups worked together with my organization, Liberty Iowa, to try to stem the tide of the establishment pushback, but to no avail. It was too little, too late, to hold our ground in 2014. But there’s no faster way to build alliances than being thrown into the same foxhole together when the bullets… Keep Reading

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