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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Blogger.com comments

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

I've decided to go back to Blogger's native comment system. All of the old comments are there, through June 2015. Unfortunately, all of the comments made on Disqus are gone.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Enough with the "all politicians are liars" meme

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

All politicians are liars. We hear it all the time. We need to stop believing it and we need to stop spreading this meme. It is cynical and lazy, and erodes trust in and respect for government in an unjustified way.

Let me start with a personal note. I have a lot of friends who have ran for and served in elective office and they are not liars. Most of those people have ran for office and served in local government, but I have friends who have served in the state legislature and even in Congress. Because it unfairly insults my friends, I get a little peeved at the "all politicians lie" meme.

One of the big problems with the meme is that it is cynicism for the sake of cynicism. If they are all liars, and they are all crooked, then why should we bother voting at all? Why should we bother paying attention to what government is doing? If we are going to have a healthy society, we need to have some level of trust in our institutions and the people who lead us.

Furthermore, it is intellectually lazy. People are people. Some people are honest and honorable. Some are dishonorable, some are corrupt, some are thieves and some are liars. By just assuming that they are all dirty, we do not have to do the hard work of discerning which ones are good and which ones are not. It takes all responsibility away from those who just throw everybody into the "liar" pile.

This is not how we should operate. If we want to have a good government that represents us well and protects our liberty, we cannot give in to cynicism and laziness. We need to sift through the good and bad. We even need to sift through the good for problems we may not see and the bad for benefits we may not see. In our system of government, our leaders will only be as good as the people we elect them, and we ultimately get what we deserve. We need to show we deserve better.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Popular vote observations

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote over Donald Trump by a large margin, but Trump is still the President-Elect and will be sworn in as President in January. That has generated a lot of discussion, but here is the cold reality about the popular vote: It does not matter.

Candidates play the game by the rules in place. Neither candidate was were trying to win the popular vote. They were trying to win a combination of states to get them to 270 votes in the Electoral College. If the POTUS race was decided by the popular vote, both campaigns would have ran very differently. Trump, for example, did not have any reason to put a lot of resources into California and New York, the first and third largest states in the Union. He never had a chance of winning either state.

But there are a lot of Republicans in both of those states, who could have turned out to vote (and would have been targeted by Republican get-out-the-vote efforts) if the race was decided based on the popular vote. Democrats can complain about Clinton winning the popular vote while losing the election, but if the election was actually decided by the popular vote the campaign would have looked very different.

I am not saying she would not have won the popular vote under those circumstances, and I am not saying she would have won it. I am saying it would have been a very different campaign because the two candidates would have operated under different rules and a completely different system. Ultimately the popular vote is like a side quest in a role-playing game. It is nice, but is not needed to win.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Honey attracts more flies than vinegar

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

The big man on campus: Every man wants to be him, and every woman wants to date him. Sounds innocent, right? Sounds harmless, right? Nope. A decade ago, a letter to the editor whined that the Indiana Daily Student "silenced every lesbian woman on campus by implicitly denying her existence." The IDS denied lesbians "the right to express their love." The letter ends on a dark note: "Silence can be deadly."

Let me be clear: This is why Donald Trump is the President of these United States. People are sick of being scolded for completely innocent comments that are attacked as "micro-aggressions." People are sick of being treated like garbage. People are sick of being demonized for having a different opinion. People are sick of being told they have "white privilege" and therefore their opinions are invalid. People are sick of virtue signaling, moral posturing, and social media lynch mobs. People are sick of falsely being called racist, sexist, bigoted hatemongers by social justice warriors.

But Leftists clearly do not understand the real anger and frustration with political correctness. That is why they are viciously attacking people who voted for Donald Trump as people who voted for white nationalism, racism, sexism and even homophobia. (That last one is laughable.) All of the other reasons someone would support Trump are tossed aside, because if you voted for Trump you must be a bigot or you find racism to not be a disqualification.

But here is the problem: Many Trump supporters do not think he is a racist. But let's concede for the sake of argument that Trump is a racist. Leftists have cried wolf so many times for so many years that they have lost credibility in claiming someone is "racist." When you cry wolf thousands upon thousands of times for decades, people tend not to believe you when the wolf is actually devouring the sheep. Does anyone remember the vicious personal attacks on George W. Bush for not supporting "hate crime" laws after the brutal murder of James Byrd? Two of his killers got the death penalty. The third got life in prison.

Furthermore, this was a status quo election on the Republican side. As the Republican nominee, Trump got about as many votes that Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush did in 2012, 2008 and 2004. Unless you are willing to say that 60 million people are all racists and have been voting for racism for four election cycles in a row, you will need to explain why that group of 60 million people is so different from the people who voted for Romney, McCain and Bush.

And while I am defending Trump voters, I will point out again that I did not vote for Donald Trump and I do not regret that decision in the least. I would make that same choice a million times over.

If Democrats want to win elections, demonizing sixty million people as deplorable racists, bigots and hatemongers is not the way to do it. This is exactly the kind of elitist arrogance that fueled so much resentment this year. If you cannot accept that sixty million people simply had a different opinion than you do, and if you cannot treat them with respect, then you cannot hope to convince them and you may even turn off many moderates in their own base. Democrats are heading down a politically dangerous road here.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trump voters decided that racism isn't a deal breaker?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Some people have completely gone off the deep regarding the election of Donald Trump as President of these United States, to the point that they have become hysterical. Here is one such comment on Facebook, posted by a Republican who lives here in Bloomington:

  • Not all Trump supporters are racist, but all of them decided that racism isn't a deal breaker. End of story.

My comment on that post is below, though I have removed the name of the person who originally posted the meme. I think it is useful to keep perspective with people who vote for someone we find reprehensible, so that is why I am re-posting it on the blog.

#####################
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Do you really believe that 20,527 people in Monroe County consciously decided that "racism is not a deal breaker" when they voted for President?

Forget about the more than 60 million people nationwide who voted for Donald Trump.

Do you really believe that 20,527 people in right here in Monroe County - our friends, our family, our co-workers, the people in our churches, the parents of our children's friends, and so forth - consciously decided that "racism is not a deal breaker" when they voted for Donald Trump for President?

Because I am going to be blunt with you. That is offensive.

As you know, I did not vote for Trump, and I stand by that decision. If I had the 2016 election to do over a million times, I would have made that same decision a million times. I have taken a whole lot of crap for that.

But I have a lot of friends that did vote for Trump, and these are not people active in the Republican Party.

I am talking about people who have no use for Trump as a person and think he will be a terrible President but who voted for him anyway because Hillary is so awful. Or people who have no use for Trump but voted for him because of personal loyalty to Mike Pence. That includes people who have adopted black children from Africa. And that includes some white folks who think we need MORE immigration from Mexico, not less.

That is who you are smearing. You have gone way, way over the line here and frankly I think you need to apologize for this post.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

The county council's war against transparency

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Bloomington Herald-Times, November 19, 2016

To the Editor:

The Monroe County Council's social services funding process is a farce and needs to be reformed immediately. The county council has continually attacked transparency and open government, and does not respect taxpayers.

Here is a little history. Back in 2011, the county council website advertised for several weeks that the council would be voting on the social service funding package on November 22. They actually voted on November 9. It should be illegal for any unit of local government to behave this way.

Then in 2012, the county council passed the social services funding package two days after Christmas and the day after a blizzard that had snarled the county.

The council fast-tracked the vote in 2015, trying to sneak through a vote that had always taken place later in the year.

This month, the county council voted on the funding package on November 9, the day after the election after putting it off for nearly three months. It did benefit Shelli Yoder to not have to vote to fund Planned Parenthood until after the election.

This fund has existed since 2008, so the learning curve is over. Taxpayers deserve a predictable process that is the same every single year.

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hypocritical virtue signaling

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 3:00 AM (#)

If Mayor John Hamilton had the courage of his convictions he would cancel the Columbus Day and Good Friday holidays instead of renaming them. Since he didn't, this is just hypocritical virtue signaling.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Romans 8:38-39

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 3:00 PM (#)

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

A few verses from God's holy Word for Thanksgiving:

  • Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. -- 1 Chronicles 16:8
  • Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. -- Psalm 18:49
  • Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. -- Psalm 30:4
  • Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare. -- Psalm 75:1
  • Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. -- Psalm 106:1
  • But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -- 1 Corinthians 15:57
  • Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. -- 2 Corinthians 2:14
  • Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. -- Philippians 4:6
  • And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. -- Colossians 3:17
  • In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. -- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

May God bless you as you enjoy this holiday.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving week

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

There will be no new blog posts this week.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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Friday, November 18, 2016

In defense of Donald Trump's voters

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

I have made no secret of the fact that I opposed Donald Trump, and did not vote for the man. That said, there are many people of good conscience who did vote for Trump and are unfairly being smeared and maligned by Leftists bitter abut his victory. I understand the frustration but these smears need to stop.

Let's be real here. Trump's victory was not a victory for bigotry, xenophobia, racism and whatever other sins you want to pin on Trump's voters. Trump's victory was a rejection of Hillary Clinton, who got about five million fewer votes than Barack Obama did in 2012. Meanwhile, Trump got about the same number of votes that Mitt Romney did when he was the Republican nominee four years ago.

  • 2008 -- Barack Obama got 69,297,997 votes and John McCain got 59,597,520 votes.
  • 2012 -- Barack Obama got 65,446,032 votes and Mitt Romney got 60,589,084 votes.
  • 2016 -- Hillary Clinton got 60,467,601 votes and Donald Trump got 60,072,551 votes.

Obviously, Trump was a deeply flawed candidate and is a deeply flawed person. But this was not about bigotry. It was a status quo election. Republicans who voted for Romney and McCain also voted for Trump. Meanwhile, millions of Democrats who voted for Obama did not vote for Clinton. The 2016 election followed normal political patterns: It is rare for a party to win three Presidential elections in a row.

Crying wolf will not help matters. What the Democrats said in 2016 about Trump is virtually identical to what they said about Mitt Romney, John McCain, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. Eventually people start to tune it out. If Democrats believe that Trump is uniquely dangerous, they should regret damaging their ability to make that case by using such absurd hyperbole against Republican candidates for President (and Congress and all the way down to local government) for generations.

Because this was basically a status quo election, smearing Republicans who voted for Trump as people who "reached into their soul and found there, after all its conceits were stripped away, a grinning white supremacist" will not work. Instead, it will harden opposition to Democrats and motivate those people (who are not white supremacists) to continue to vote for Republicans. After all, why would sixty million people ever want to vote for a political party that thinks they are all a bunch of hate-mongers?

If you are going to be angry about the 2016 election, you should direct your anger to the appropriate place. Instead of being angry at Republicans, be angry that Democrats nominated a deeply flawed, thoroughly corrupt, uncharismatic liar who could not hold the Obama coalition together.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Donald Trump and homosexual rights

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Putting aside all of the other attacks on Donald Trump, the fear and terror about what Trump will do to homosexual rights when he takes office is completely and utterly absurd.

Donald Trump is, by far and away, the most pro-homosexual Republican nominee of all time and will be the most pro-homosexual Republican President of all time. Trump was advocating for same-sex marriage a full 13 years before Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton "evolved" on the issue and came out in support of same-sex marriage.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Encouraging news for Monroe County Republicans

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

One of the things I found most interesting about the 2016 election here in Monroe County was how the down-ballot races broke regarding county government races. This should provide some encouraging news for Republicans going forward, with a major caveat.

That interesting fact is this: With only one exception, all of the Republican candidates for office in county government outperformed the Republican candidates for U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, Governor and President by at least two thousand votes. All of the Democrats running for office in county government under-performed relative to the Democratic candidates for the same four offices, by at least a couple thousand votes each. The biggest vote-getter among Republicans was Ann Collins, who was running for county Treasurer.

This should be encouraging for local Republicans. It has not been that long since Republicans were winning elections here. What was different then was that Republicans were either winning Monroe County at the top of the ballot or reducing the margin of loss enough that county candidates were within striking distance. Had the difference between the Democrats at the top of the ballot not been so extreme, Republicans could have won several county government offices.

They key for Republicans going forward, then, is to reduce that margin of loss. It simply does not matter how great our candidates are or how terrible the Democratic candidates are (and some of them were abominations) if the margins at the top of the ballot are too great to give local Republicans a fighting chance at winning anything. This will not be easy, and the Democrats' dominance of Monroe County elections will not be turned around for at least a couple of election cycles, but I truly believe it can be done.

Democrats - Top of the ballot

  • President -- Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (D) -- 34,183
  • U.S. Senate -- Evan Bayh (D) -- 34,198
  • U.S. Congress -- Shelli Yoder (D) -- 36,049
  • Indiana Governor -- John Gregg and Christina Hale (D) -- 36,303

Democrats - Monroe County government

  • County Treasurer -- Jessica McClellan (D) -- 30,199
  • County Coroner -- Joani Shields (D) -- 31,324
  • County Surveyor -- Trohn Enright-Randolph (D) -- 30,735
  • County Commissioner, D-2 -- Julie Thomas (D) -- 32,674
  • County Commissioner, D-3 -- Amanda Barge (D) -- 32,301
  • County Council At Large -- Lee Jones (D) -- 28,527
  • County Council At Large -- Geoff McKim (D) -- 24,533
  • County Council At Large -- Cheryl Munson (D) -- 27,535

Republicans - Top of the ballot

  • President -- Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence (R) -- 20,527
  • U.S. Senate -- Todd Young (R) -- 20,994
  • U.S. Congress -- Trey Hollingsworth (R) -- 19,314
  • Indiana Governor -- Eric Holcomb and Suzanne Crouch (R) -- 19,866

Republicans - Monroe County government

  • County Treasurer -- Ann Collins (R) -- 25,562
  • County Coroner -- Eric S. Powell (R) -- 23,772
  • County Surveyor -- Russell J. Stanger (R) -- 23,809
  • County Commissioner, D-2 -- Nelson Shaffer (R) -- 22,238
  • County Commissioner, D-3 -- Paul White Sr. (R) -- 22,416
  • County Council At Large -- Hal Turner (R) -- 22,779

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start.

Remember, it's only cheating if you get caught!

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Positives of President Trump

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

There is no question that I am very unhappy with the election of Donald J. Trump. We picked an orange-skinned buffoon who is wholly unqualified to be President. We picked a clown who is a complete moral degenerate. I just pray there are enough principled conservatives left in Congress to resist Trump's dangerous authoritarian impulses once he takes office. There are many reasons why Trump will be a disaster. However, let's try to look on the bright side for a moment.

It ought to be obvious to conservatives that Trump is not one of us. However, there will be many people within the administration who we can work with, starting with Mike Pence. Conservatives cannot possibly ask for a better #2 man than Mike Pence, who is not only a solid fiscal and social conservative but is a genuinely upstanding Christian and a devoted family man. There will be others, in the cabinet and down the administration who will listen to conservatives and will have some influence on Trump.

The Supreme Court is the big prize. If Trump nominates justices who simply interpret the law as written, we have an excellent chance of reversing some of the terrible decisions by activist Leftist judges who have been legislating from the bench. (The Supreme Court should not be the big prize, because SCOTUS has way too much power. It needs to be disciplined. That is another issue, though.)

Republicans have majorities in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, so if they take the lead on policy and send good conservative legislation to Trump's desk he will probably sign it. We should be pressuring our legislators now to resist Trump's dark authoritarian impulses and present him with good legislation he can sign.

The power of the President to issue executive orders has often been abused, but Trump can do good here simply by reversing many of Obama's terrible orders. Trump should start with the transgender bathroom "voyeurism" mandate and reverse the mandate "interpreting" Title IX to strip away all due process rights for men accused of sexual assault on college campuses.

If there is one thing I like about Trump, it is his reluctance to engage in military interventionism. His approach is deeply flawed, but it will be refreshing not to have a bloodthirsty warmonger like Hillary Clinton getting us into one military conflict after another.

I am very glad that I stuck with being a #NeverTrump voter, and I am convinced Trump will be a disaster for the Republican Party and the nation. Republicans will get obliterated in 2018, but the worst danger is that Trump will destroy the last vestiges of the GOP as a small-government party oriented to individual liberty and states rights. If we have two big-government parties, with no loyal opposition, America is doomed. Our liberty cannot endure two parties that are openly hostile to limited government. That said, there are positives to a Trump presidency. Let's pray that the positives are big and the negatives are limited.

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