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Monday, October 31, 2011

Stop lying about Herman Cain's position on abortion!

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

In an interview on CNN, Herman Cain reiterated his position that abortion is wrong and should be banned. He got a cheap shot "question" about what he would do if his daughter or granddaughter were raped, and whether abortion in that case should be illegal. Cain took the traditional Republican stance - that abortion should be illegal except for "hard cases" such as rape and incest. This is the same position taken by Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain.

In response, fellow GOP candidate Rick Santorum claimed that Cain's position is "pro-choice." Rachel Maddow claimed that Cain does not understand that abortion is not a choice if it is illegal. Both Santorum and Maddow are liars.

I disagree with Cain on exceptions. A child does not lose his/her humanity because of the crimes committed by his father and that child should not be executed for those crimes. But that is neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that Herman Cain's pro-life position covers 95% of all abortions in America.

I expect Rachel Maddow to lie about Cain's position on abortion. After all, Maddow is infamous for intellectual dishonesty, such as "confusing" libertarianism with anarchism. It is especially disappointing, however, to see a good and honorable man such as Rick Santorum flagrantly lie about his opponent in the Republican primary. Republicans should be above spreading lies for political gain. That Santorum is a devoted Christian makes his disobedience of Exodus 20:16 even more disappointing.

It is true that Herman Cain was not as clear as he could have been on the question of rape and incest exceptions, and those who do not listen closely to what he said could misinterpret it. But that's not what happened with Rick Santorum - he knows full well what Cain said and what he meant. Santorum has been lagging in the polls and he is getting desperate as we get closer to the primaries, so he is hoping to shave off some of Cain's supporters for himself. But what Santorum is really doing is discrediting himself.

I do not like attacking Santorum, and (while I am supporting Rick Perry) I would be thrilled if Santorum was the Republican nominee for President. But lying about Cain's position is a strike against Santorum's qualifications to be President. Character matters, and these lies indicate a character defect. Santorum should repent, retract and apologize.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fourteen years ago today

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:20 PM (#)

Fourteen years ago today, environmentalists ran a chainsaw in the doorway of Congressman Hostettler's office to protest logging. They filled the office with smoke and sickened the staff. They had taken the chain off the chainsaw, so an Indiana Chainsaw Massacre was averted.

Friday, October 28, 2011

No corporate welfare for the merchants of death

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Note: The following is an open letter to the Monroe County Council.

For over a month now, the "Occupy Wall Street" protest has been gaining media attention and has spread to cities around the nation. There is even a local version of the protest that has set up tents in People's Park. So with all of this talk of corporate greed, don't you think it is time to stop handing out corporate welfare to Planned Parenthood?

The economy continues to struggle and there are local social service agencies that could legitimately use the grants you will be distributing. These local charities do not have the backing of a nationwide network of "clinics" that enjoys a total of over one billion dollars in annual revenue. That's right - one billion dollars.

Councilors, you know that this request has nothing to do with need. Planned Parenthood does not need the handout they are asking you to give them. This has nothing to do with serving people in need. This is about getting a political endorsement from county government. They have no respect for you, for the taxpayers, for the other social service organizations or for the process.

Planned Parenthood already got $5,000 from the city council in June. They need to step aside and allow the limited social service funds to go to a legitimate charity. Since they are without shame, you should emphatically reject their request. Planned Parenthood managed to survive for ten years only getting grants from the city. Why now do they now demand funding from county government? Does their greed know no end?

Testing for HIV is a good thing, but there is no reason this cannot be done through a less objectionable organization - one that does not murder unborn children at their "clinic" a few blocks south of the county courthouse every week. One possibility is having the county health department administer HIV tests. It is time for this charade to end.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thoughts on the death of Moammar Gadhafi

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

It has been my position from the beginning that we have no business engaging in a military adventure in Libya. Nonetheless, the death of Moammar Gadhafi is a positive development for the world. He was a mass murderer, a terrorist and a war criminal. He's responsible for the murder of American soldiers in a night club bombing and the Pan Am 103 bombing - plus many other acts of terrorism and mass murder.

The world would have been a much better place the last 25 years if we had not missed Gadhafi when President Ronald Reagan ordered the bombing of Libya in 1986. Now, Gadhafi is suffering in horrible burning agony in Hell, where he will continue to suffer in horrible burning agony for all eternity.

That said, I do not agree with the way Gadhafi was killed. He deserved to die, but his execution should have taken place after a fair trial. Instead, he was captured and beaten by rebels before being summarily executed. The people of Libya deserved to see him stand trial. He deserved to be condemned publicly in a trial before he was killed.

He should have been shown that justice works. A lawless war criminal allowed a fair trial, then executed, would have shown the world that Gadhafi's opponents are better than he is. It would have proved that the rule of law is stronger than the actions of terrorists and war criminals.

I shed no tears for that wicked mass murderer, because he was pure, undiluted evil. But if the rebels are serious about setting up a democratic society based on the rule of law (which is by no means certain, given that there are Al Qaeda terrorists in the group) then a trial for Gadhafi would have been the perfect start.

On one extreme is the death of Gadhafi, killed in an act of vigilantism and vengeance by his enemies. On the other extreme is the case of Pan Am 103 bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who was released by a thoroughly corrupt Scottish so-called "judge" on the grounds of a depraved, wicked and fraudulent "compassion." Allowing a war criminal to escape punishment is not compassion.

This man should have been exterminated. We are not given permission to practice capital punishment. We are commanded to practice capital punishment. The Bible commands that al-Megrahi be killed. By saving him alive instead of killing him, the corrupt so-called "judge" is in direct rebellion against God. (See Ezekiel 13:19.)

And yes, Kenny MacAskill is completely corrupt. Releasing the Pan Am 103 bomber is prima facie evidence of that corruption. The next time there is a terrorist bombing in the UK, the blame should fall directly on this corrupt so-called "judge" for encouraging terrorism through weakness. It will be his fault.

Previous Editorials:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Herald-Times whines about challenge to Lugar

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

The Bloomington Herald-Times published a typically whiny editorial last week, warning that the attempt to unseat Senator Richard Lugar could "backfire" and make it easier for Joe Donnelly to win.

First things first. Donnelly is not going to win no matter who wins the Republican primary. It was a fluke when President Obama won Indiana in 2008, and he will almost certainly lose by the same margin Democrats traditionally lose by every four years. 2012 will not be a good year for Indiana Democrats with Obama leading the ticket.

Look at the 2010 election and the fact that Republicans hold 60 of 100 seats in the Indiana House (they were in the minority before that) and 37 of 50 seats in the Indiana Senate. Donnelly himself is only in Congress because the Indiana Democratic Party actually sent a mailer endorsing the Libertarian candidate in a desperate attempt to split the conservative vote. It worked. The Libertarian candidate got 5% and Donnelly won with a plurality of 48%.

The H-T again whined about the 1998 Republican primary for the District 60 state representative seat. But the heavily Republican District 60 is a poor example of how a conservative primary challenge can elect a Democrat. This is because the Democrat in question is Peggy Welch, who has not only voted for but sponsored legislation to restrict abortion and ban same-sex marriage. After Welch, the Democrats have no one who can win that seat.

It is amusing that the Herald-Times is whining about a Republican primary from 13 years ago. Why did the Herald-Times not bother to mention the challenge by Lucille Bertuccio against longtime County Council member David Hamilton? That is certainly more relevant than the 1998 primary. After all, the Republican Party has not been relevant in Monroe County since 2006. Why bother kicking the Republican Party over a long-dead race when the Democrats control all the levers of power in both city and county government?

It is absurd for the H-T to label the effort to unseat Lugar as a movement of "extremists." Richard Mourdock got 60% of the vote in last November's election. Did 60% of Hoosiers vote for an extremist? Does this mean that 60% of Hoosiers are extremists? By definition, 60% is not extremist - it is a majority. The Herald-Times - which called for one party rule over the summer - has been insulated in Bloomington for too long. It's time to expand your horizons and learn something, H-T. You know, actually do your job.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lugar the Liar distorts property tax issue

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Richard Lugar has a reputation as a distinguished statesman. He's knowledgeable about foreign policy and has done valuable work securing the former Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal. He's respected by both Republicans and Democrats. He's in danger of throwing all of that away with an underhanded, highly dishonest attack on his opponent. Lugar looks like a typical politician desperate to keep his seat.

At issue is the property tax exemption that Richard Mourdock got for his Indianapolis home. This is an issue that flared up over the summer, and was settled months ago. A property tax exemption had been mistakenly applied to Mourdock's home by the Marion County Auditor's Office. Channel 13 reported on June 23 that he "has a form from the Marion County auditor's office admitting to the mix-up." The Indianapolis Star reported a month ago that the auditor's office said Mourdock would pay the back taxes due when his next statement is mailed.

Lugar's campaign sent a particularly nasty e-mail last week bringing up the dead property tax issue, accusing Mourdock of illegal behavior and bashing his donation to his own campaign. Lugar's campaign wrote:

Richard Mourdock had taken a homestead exemption on two homes, one in Indianapolis and one in Evansville, which is illegal under Indiana law.

This is simply shameful and well below what we should expect from someone like Lugar. Mourdock did not take two homestead exemptions, and Lugar knows it. It was a mistake by the Marion County Auditor's Office. Lugar is claiming that Mourdock had intentionally broken the law. Lugar should be ashamed of himself for this deliberate distortion.

This is a dead issue. The error by the Auditor's Office was discovered months ago, and the explanation is more than sufficient for anyone not looking to take a cynical cheap shot. Mourdock has already made arrangements with the Marion County Auditor to pay the back taxes and penalties he owes as a result of the Auditor's mistake.

So why bring it up now? Despite his cash advantage, Lugar knows he is in trouble. He has been hoping for a second conservative to jump into the race and split the conservative vote, and that has not happened. Lugar knows that national Tea Party groups will likely move in to back Mourdock as we move closer to the primary.

Lugar also knows he cannot defend his record in a Republican primary. Lugar voted for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and both of Barack Obama's nominees to the Supreme Court. Lugar has a long history of supporting gun control measures like the assault weapons ban and the Brady Law. Because he knows he cannot win the argument on substance, Lugar has decided to get nasty and personal, deliberately lying about his opponent four months before the filing deadline.

Lugar proved yesterday that it is time for him to retire. In the meantime, he should at least attempt to retain some of his dignity instead of basing his campaign on political dirty tricks.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Freedom preserved at University of North Carolina... for now

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

It is good news that the University of North Carolina declined to punish the Psalm 100 singing group for submitting to Scripture and removing a homosexual member of the group. But there are dark clouds on the horizon for freedom of association, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The North Carolina state legislature should carefully monitor this controversy as it progresses and stand up for liberty.

The university had "investigated" Psalm 100 before deciding that the group was allowed to remove members who do not agree with their beliefs. In this case, this belief is submission to Scripture's very clear teaching about the sinfulness of homosexuality. But it is not over because there are already calls for the university to amend its nondiscrimination policy to more strictly ban "discrimination" by student groups. (See this letter to the editor as well as editorials by the Daily Tar Heel and the Durham Herald-Sun.)

There is a wrinkle in this story, because Psalm 100 got $152.20 from student fees. Homosexual students and those who support homosexuals should not have to subsidize a student group that holds views in opposition to their own. The same principle should apply to Christians who do not want to pay for things like the Miss Gay IU event every year. This is why universities should not give any funds to any student groups. Let them raise their own money.

Clearly, student groups should have the right to remove members for serious violations of the group's beliefs. Freedom of association necessarily includes the freedom to not associate. Should the UNC Young Democrats be forced to keep a member who donates to and campaigns for Herman Cain or Rick Santorum? Should a campus abortion rights group be banned from removing a member who regularly pickets the nearest abortion clinic?

Since UNC is a public university, they cannot legally force a Christian student group to accept members who are in rebellion against Christian doctrine as established by Scripture. If UNC caves to pressure from militant homosexuals and makes the "nondiscrimination" policy more onerous, the North Carolina state legislature should use the power of the purse strings to "persuade" UNC to follow the Constitution.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dr. Alveda King to speak in Bloomington

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 11:45 AM (#)

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., will be speaking in Bloomington on October 25. She will address abortion from a civil rights perspective.

The speech will be on October 25 (Tuesday) from 7:00pm to 9:00pm in the Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union (900 E. 7th St.) on the IU Bloomington campus.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Time to eliminate subsidies for pro sports teams

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Bob Zaltsberg actually raises a good point about whether "Occupy Wall Street" should "occupy Madison Square Garden" where the New York Knicks play.

I said back in July that I have little sympathy for NBA owners in the labor dispute: These teams sign bad contracts and then complain that they cannot be profitable because of the heavy load of those contracts. One of those players is Eddy Curry, who has shown that he simply does not care about earning his pay. But even in 2005, the New York Knicks should have known he was overrated (as many fans and his former team did) and that it was foolish to sign him to a huge deal. They signed him to a stupid contract and suffered the consequences.

The NBA should think seriously about the anger at Wall Street, especially given the TARP bailouts that have greatly irritated both the Occupy Wall Street activists on the left and Tea Party activists on the right. This is because the NBA is in a similar situation. (The same could be said of the NFL and Major League Baseball.)

For decades, local and sometimes even state governments have spent millions of dollars confiscated by force from taxpayers to provide arenas for billionaire owners. If we don't get what we want, the owners say, we will take our ball and go to another city that is willing to put us on the dole. Pro sports owners are some of the most extravagant welfare queens around, even including the hated banks.

Government, fearful of losing the economic activity stimulated by the pro sports teams, shell out truckloads of cash to give the billionaires what they want. (Never mind that the economic impact of pro sports is overblown.)

But in an economy that has been unable to break out of the deep recession (can we call it a depression now?) that started with the crash of the financial sector three years ago, should we really be spending so much taxpayer money to subsidize billionaire owners and millionaire players - especially when local sports bars, restaurants and others that rely on the economic activity stimulated by the Indiana Pacers will now go without the money that would be generated in the first two weeks of the NBA season?

It is understandable that people would be frustrated that, after all the taxpayers have poured into professional sports over the decades, local businesses that rely on those teams to stimulate business will now go without as players and owners squabble over how to split billions of dollars in revenue - especially when much of the economic difficulties that NBA teams are facing is a direct result of stupid deals signed by owners that even casual fans know are foolish.

The answer is to let the pro sports teams - in the NBA, NFL and MLB - take care of themselves. Don't put a gun in the face of the taxpayers and force us to subsidize these spoiled brats.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The overuse and abuse of paramilitrary SWAT teams

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Printed in the Herald-Times, October 19, 2011

To the editor:

The trial of a Detroit police officer for shooting and killing a 7 year old child is a sobering reminder of why we need to have stronger oversight of and regulations on the use of paramilitary SWAT teams.

The Detroit police needed to apprehend a murder suspect. But was it really necessary to use a dangerous flash bang grenade and go charging into a home in the middle of the night wielding assault rifles? Could the suspect have been apprehended without using overwhelming force? Keep in mind that Reason.com reports that flash bang grenades - technically "less lethal" weapons - can cause fatalities.

When you hear about police using military-style weaponry raiding homes in the middle of the night, you would think this happened in the former Soviet Union, not the United States.

There are occasions where SWAT teams are appropriate. But as I pointed out in my August 2010 letter to the editor, they are overused, and the overuse of SWAT teams creates unnecessarily confrontational and dangerous situations.

There is no reason that Aiyana Stanley-Jones should be dead. Aiyana might be alive today if the police served a warrant for the arrest of Chauncey Owens through traditional means.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mormonism is a cult. Mitt Romney is not a Christian.

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

There has been some discussion of Mitt Romney's faith, and whether he is a Christian. He is not, because Mormons are not Christians. I'm a little disappointed that the Republican candidates for President who claim the name of Christ have not explicitly stated that Mormonism is not Christianity. The good news is they simply refused to answer the question (which I understand) rather than spout the hate speech that "we all believe in the same god."

Before I go any farther, let me say that if Romney is the Republican nominee, I will have no problem voting for him in 2012. Romney is not a Christian, but neither is Barack Obama. Frankly, I would rather have a President who worships the false religion of Mormonism than someone who worships the demon Molech - and that's what we have as President right now. That may sound radical, but abortion is modern Molech worship and Barack Obama is the most radically pro-abortion President we have ever had.

There are many reasons why Mormonism is a cult. The first and most obvious is the Book of Mormon. The canon of Scripture is closed, consisting of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. God warns in Revelation against adding to or subtracting from Scripture. See Revelation 22:18-19 for this sobering warning.

Mormons teach that God is an elevated man, and that Mormons can become elevated men by following their teachings. Eventually, Mormons will become gods themselves, and have their own planet to rule over. As such, there are many gods in the universe. Scripture is clear that there is only one God, and that He has always existed as God.

The heresy that we can become gods is as old as the Garden of Eden itself. Satan promised Eve that she would become a god if she ate of the forbidden fruit. Both Adam and Eve gave into the temptation to acquire godlike powers. Mormonism is the same heresy that brought about the curse and brought death to all mankind. For most, this is spiritual death, but physical death awaits all of us because of Adam's sin.

Scripture is clear that there is one God, Who exists in three persons. Mormonism teaches that Jesus is not one substance with the Father, but that he was the "firstborn" of spiritual children. The Bible teaches that Jesus and the Father are one, and have always been one.

Mormons (like all false religions) also concentrate on works as a path to salvation, which is in direct conflict with Scripture. We are saved by grace through faith, as a gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9) There are other differences as well, but it is clear that Mormons are not Christians and do not worship the same God that we worship.

Here is why this is important, and why Christians must be crystal clear about the fact that Mormonism is a false religion: Eternal souls are at stake. It is not "loving" to gloss over or cover up the very real differences between the Mormon heresy and true Christian faith. It is the most hateful thing imaginable. If someone is on the road to eternal damnation in Hell, you do not tell them they are OK and that "we all worship the same god." You tell them the truth with the hope that God will call them to saving faith. Those who say that Mormons are "christians" out of some misguided "tolerance" are not only liars, they are leading souls to Hell.

While I would vote for Romney in the general election, it would be better to have a Christian as the Republican nominee. It would also be much better if there are no questions about the conservative credentials of our nominee. I thought Romney was a better choice that Mike Huckabee or John McCain in 2008, but he was never my #1 pick. He is not my #1 pick this year either. He seems to have a ceiling of Republican support in most national polls.

Hopefully the conservative base will rally around one alternative so we nominate someone we can trust to be a genuine conservative to face Obama.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Operation Chaos revisited: See, I told you so!

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Back in 2008, Rush Limbaugh came up with something called "Operation Chaos." The idea was to prolong the Democratic primary race by having Republicans vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary. I opposed Operation Chaos then, for two reasons.

First, primaries should be for political parties to choose their nominees. Republicans and Democrats should not be monkey-wrenching each other's primary elections. In Indiana, the law is clear that you are not supposed to vote in a primary unless you intend to support a majority of that party's candidates in the November election.

But my secondary reason is now coming to pass. I said back in 2008 that if Republicans are crossing over to extend the primary fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, those Republicans will have no credibility to complain when Democrats do the same thing in our primary.

Well, we're just a couple months away from the start of the 2012 primary season. President Obama will be unopposed in the Democratic primary, but the Republican field is wide open. So what is to prevent Democrats from crossing over and supporting the Republican who is either the most liberal or the easiest to defeat in November of 2012?

Absolutely nothing.

To Republicans who supported Operation Chaos: I warned you that your own monkey-wrenching in 2008 would be used against us in the future. Those of you who supported Operation Chaos now have little room to complain when the Democrats conduct a reverse Operation Chaos. If the Democrats mess up our primaries, I want you to remember these somewhat ironic five words. See, I told you so.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Schedule for 2011 Community Service grants

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 6:00 AM (#)

Following is the schedule for the distribution of the 2011 Community Service Grants distributed by the Monroe County Council. Because of budget hearings, this has been pushed back and is taking place later than normal.

  • Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 8:30 a.m. at the Bakehouse -- Initial Committee Review
  • Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 5:30 p.m., in the Conference Room 100 B, Monroe County Government Center, 501 N. Morton, Bloomington -- Public Meeting for Presentation for Top Applicants
  • Monday, November 7, 2011 at 1200 p.m. -- Meeting for Final Decision
  • Wednesday, November 9, 2011, in Court Room 213, Justice Facility, 301 N. College Avenue, Bloomington -- Announce Selection Committee Results to Council Work Session
  • Tuesday, November 22, 2011, in Court Room 213, Justice Facility, 301 N. College Avenue, Bloomington -- County Council Votes on Awards

For the past two years, Planned Parenthood has requested a handout from county government, and has gotten the money despite the well-documented fact that Planned Parenthood has much more money available than smaller, truly local charities. Planned Parenthood's gravy train from city government has been going for 12 years, but the subsidies from county government are fairly new.

I don't know yet if Planned Parenthood has applied for a handout from county government, but I expect they will. This community needs to stand up and say "no" to corporate welfare for the merchants of death.

Here is the contact information for members of the committee:

Name Title E-Mail
Dorothy Granger Community Member dorothyg@mail.com
Warren Henegar County Council whenegar@co.monroe.in.us
Geoff McKim County Council gmckim@co.monroe.in.us
Cheryl Munson Community Member, Chair munsonc@indiana.edu
Sam Allision County Council sallison@co.monroe.in.us

Previous editorials:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yet another silly attempt to block Interstate 69

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

They're at it again. The Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization is endangering federal funds to pay for the construction of Interstate 69 in Monroe County.

The issue is whether local, long-range transportation plans should include I-69. Construction of the new terrain highway has reached the Monroe/Greene county line, and federal highway officials have given approval to begin work on what is called Section 4 across southern Monroe County.

However, construction cannot go any further than the edge of the MPO’s jurisdiction, which would be 1.75 miles from the interstate’s intended link with Ind. 37 at Victor Pike, unless that is included in a long-range transportation plan approved by local officials.

Source: Bloomington Herald-Times.

While local input is important, we need to have some reforms in the process. Interstate highways should be decisions made between the federal and state government. It makes no sense to give one community the power to monkey wrench a highway that the rest of the state has wanted for decades. Local communities need input on things like interchanges, but they should not have the authority to effectively veto a highway project.

The hypocrisy of Bloomington Democrats is glaring. While they support Barack Obama's "jobs" bill that relies heavily on infrastructure spending, they oppose and are actively trying to stop the construction of an interstate highway that will create the very construction jobs that have become a focus of Obama's 2011 policy agenda and 2012 campaign. So is Obama's plan good enough for Bloomington Democrats provided it is "not in my back yard?"

Here is what will probably happen. INDOT will withhold state and federal transportation funds from Monroe County, and the local obstructionists will relent. Interstate 69 is coming whether the obstructionists in Monroe County want it or not. The best thing to do now is to plan for it and maximize the highway's positive impact while minimizing any negative effects. It is simply irresponsible to try to block the project any further.

Previously: MPO makes irresponsible political statement.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Time to limit the use of SWAT teams

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Imagine this scenario: Agents of the state storm a home in the middle of the night. They toss a flash bang grenade in through the window, and break into the home holding the family at gunpoint with assault rifles. In the confusion of the raid, a seven year old girl is shot and killed. Is this the Soviet Union in 1955?

No, this is the United States of America in 2010.

Welcome to the consequences of the increasing militarization of aw enforcement. Instead of going to the home and serving a warrant for the arrest of a murder suspect, Detroit police conduct a raid on the home in the middle of the night. The suspect is brought in, but an innocent child is killed in the process.

Did the Detroit police have raid the home, complete with a dangerous flash bang grenade, or could they have simply served a warrant for the arrest of Chauncey Owens? Was it necessary to burst in with overwhelming force? Most importantly, will there be a review of how often paramilitary force is used by law enforcement?

This isn't the first outrage resulting from the increasing use of overwhelming, military-style tactics by law enforcement. The mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland was held at gunpoint for hours by a SWAT team that shot and killed his two dogs. An Atlanta SWAT team gunned down a 92-year-old woman in her own home and then planted drugs to cover up the botched raid. Cory Maye spent time on death row for killing a police officer during what turned out to be a completely unnecessary SWAT raid on his home, but was released this year.

Many conservatives were horrified by the government's use of force to bring down the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas. The sight of tanks breaking into the compound - which was soon engulfed by a fire that destroyed the compound and killed 76 people - was seen as an overreach of federal power. But why do so many conservatives not object to overwhelming force used by local law enforcement?

If we conservatives believe in limited government and individual liberty, it is time to start placing limits on what law enforcement is permitted to do and restrict the use of SWAT raids. There is a time and place for the use of SWAT teams, but it should be clear to everyone that they are being overused, and that overuse results in unnecessarily confrontational situations as well as tragic and preventable deaths.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ABC "News" shamelessly lies about Ron Paul

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

On ABC's This Week on October 2, political "reporter" Jonathan Karl said that Ron Paul was a political "loser" this week because he said that the death of Anwar al-Awlaki was "sad." Except that is not what Paul said. What Paul actually said was that it is sad that the U.S. is engaging in extrajudicial assassinations of American citizens, without the benefit of a trial. While the other Republicans lined up behind President Obama, Paul (and Dennis Kucinich) stood on principle against it.

It was incredibly dishonest to paint Paul as somehow soft on terrorism or sympathetic to terrorists because of his concerns about targeted assassinations of American citizens. Paul's concerns were about whether government should have the power to kill American citizens without judicial review, and the precedent this establishes for further erosion of civil liberties. As I asked yesterday, is there really a fundamental difference between Tim McVeigh and al-Awlaki? Can we execute American citizens without a trial on American soil if we designate them as enemy combatants?

This is why we cannot have a reasonable conversation about where the limits should be in our prosecution of the War on Terrorism. Both opportunistic politicians and cynical journalists spin legitimate concerns about government power into something that bears absolutely no resemblance to what was actually said. The same can be said for civil liberties concerns in the War on Crime.

Jonathan Karl is a shameless, despicable liar who should be fired from his position at ABC News. It greatly undermines the credibility of ABC News to have him on staff after Sunday's shameful display of yellow journalism. Rather than honestly examining Paul's views and offering viewers a reasonable, honest and factual discussion of this killing, a so-called "reporter" decided to smear and lie about what a candidate for President said about a major foreign policy decision.

Keep in mind that I am not a Ron Paul supporter; I am supporting Rick Perry. Paul is not in my top five choices of Republicans running for President. What I have a problem with is "journalists" who shamelessly lie rather than report the facts. This should serve to remind Republicans why we cannot trust the mainstream media. Now that Jonathan Karl has revealed his true colors and complete lack of integrity, Republicans would be wise to freeze him out , refusing to talk to him about anything.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Paul and Kucinich are right: Targeted assassinations are wrong

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

When Timothy McVeigh set off a fertilizer bomb in Oklahoma City, he did so as an explicit act against the U.S. government. One could argue that McVeigh's crime was not just mass murder and terrorism, but treason as defined by the U.S. Constitution. Would it have been acceptable, then, for a police officer to simply put a bullet in McVeigh's head when he was arrested, rather than send him to trial for his crimes?

Most people would say that would not be acceptable. (At least, I hope that is the case.) As evil as McVeigh was and as much as he deserved his execution, we knew we had to follow due process and give him a fair trial by a jury of his peers. So why are Republican candidates for President (Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry) lining up to praise President Obama for the targeted assassination of an American citizen?

National Review compares Anwar al-Awlaki's assassination to the case of Herbert Hans Haupt, a U.S. citizen who was tried in a military tribunal and executed for treason during World War II. The major problem with this argument is that Haupt was tried and convicted for his crime, not summarily executed when he was captured.

Al-Awlaki was clearly a traitor, because he gave aid and comfort to our enemies and inspired terrorist strikes against America. He deserved to be punished to the fullest extent of the law, which means he deserved to be executed. However, that execution should have came after al-Awlaki was convicted in a fair trial by a jury of his peers, not in a targeted assassination carried out by a drone strike.

I shed no tears for al-Awlaki's death. The world is a better place without him. But Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are right that this raises serious questions about where we are going with the War on Terror and the precedent it establishes. Is there really a fundamental difference between McVeigh and al-Awlaki, both sworn enemies of the United States? What makes an extrajudicial assassination appropriate in one case but not appropriate in the other?

The reason we have limits on government is not because we sympathize with the guilty. The reason we have limits on government is because as we give government more and more power, it is inevitable that those increased powers will be abused. This is because we live in a fallen world corrupted by sin, and that corruption reaches even into those we trust to protect us. (See Romans 3:10-12.) We have these limits to protect the innocent from abuses by government.

It's easy to see how this power could be abused, and it is troubling that there are so few voices outside of Paul and Kucinich raising objections to killing an American citizen without a trial and certainly without a conviction. Had al-Awlaki been killed on the battlefield or while resisting capture, that would have been appropriate. But simply killing him was wrong and should be condemned.

There should be a bright line between targeting foreign terrorists for death (such as Osama bin Laden) and killing an American citizen. When we're dealing with an American citizen, we should be careful to safeguard constitutional rights and due process to the greatest extent possible. The Constitution's protections for American citizens shouldn't be cast aside simply because it is easier to eliminate them by remote.

See articles about this controversy here, here, here, here, here and here.

Previous post - Extrajudicial assassinations of U.S. citizens: simply wrong.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Upcoming pro-life events

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

The following is a list of several events sponsored by Students for Life at Indiana University.

October 12 (Wednesday)
Film: Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st-Century America (Mark Krutcher, 2009, 138 min.)
7:00-10:00pm, Ballantine Hall 005, IU Bloomington

This exposé of the racist eugenics agenda of the abortion industry in the United States makes the case that, although abortionists claim to advocate privacy, women’s rights, and reproductive choice, their true motive is racial genocide and ethnic cleansing. For more information contact IU Students for Life (iustudentsforlife@gmail.com).

October 22 (Saturday)
Film: Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st-Century America (Mark Krutcher, 2009, 138 min.)
2:00-5:00pm, Ballantine Hall 005, IU Bloomington

October 25 (Tuesday)
Whittenberger Auditorium, Indiana Memorial Union (900 E. 7th St.), IU Bloomington campus
Niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Speak on Abortion as THE Civil Rights Issue of Our Time

“How Can the Dream Survive? A talk by Dr. Alveda King"

Dr. Alveda King is the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. She is also a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, sharing her testimony of two abortions, God’s forgiveness, and healing. She sees the pro-life movement as a continuation of the civil rights struggle.

This talk is sponsored by IU Students for Life with additional support from Christian Citizens for Life; Knights of Columbus Council 1096, Bloomington,IN; St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church; St. John the Apostle Catholic Church and others.

No tickets are required. The event is free and open to all.
For more information contact iustudentsforlife@gmail.com, or go to http://www.facebook.com/IUSFL

Parking for the Indiana Memorial Union (IMU) is available in two surface lots east and north of the IMU. There is a fee to park in either of these lots, but half-price discount coupons will be available at the event. The nearest free parking lot is the Von Lee parking lot at the corner of 6th St. and Dunn, a short walk west of the IMU.

October 26 (Wednesday)
Prayer vigil led by Dr. Alveda King, followed by Silent No More rally
11:00am-12:00pm, Planned Parenthood (421 S. College Ave., Bloomington)

See previous posts:

    ♣ Barack Obama's missed opportunity on civil rights.

    ♣ Abortion, racism and civil rights.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

There's no need to use the F word in the newspaper

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

The Associated Press style book instructs journalists to avoid using profanity, unless that profanity is necessary for the story. This style book is used to teach journalism students in the same building where the Indiana Daily Student newsroom is located. Why, then, did the IDS feel it necessary to include the F word in the top news headline in the September 29 print edition, directly above the IDS logo?

This is not just a newspaper that is read by college students. This is a newspaper read by many in the community and is distributed throughout downtown Bloomington. Do you really think this is appropriate content for the front page of the second largest newspaper in Monroe County - a student newspaper that often has better coverage of local events than even the city's professional newspaper?

This is not new. I counted eight uses of the F word between March and August of 2010 alone.

The obscenity could have easily been replaced, as it was not necessary for the story. The offending line could have easily read as follows: "A plea for someone to call the police echoed down the hall from the freshman victim's room. 'I think my roommate committed suicide.'"

Publishing obscenities in the newspaper is not hip or edgy or cool. It is juvenile. This is something I expect to see on a poorly-disciplined teenager's Facebook page, not in one of the most highly respected college newspapers in the nation.

Think about this for a minute: If your body of work includes publishing obscenities in your articles, how do you think this will impact your future employment prospects, especially when many newspapers are already having difficulties and will have many qualified applicants for a position? Do you think this will help or hurt chances of getting the position you want?

Publishing the F word on the front page - especially in the prominent position of the paper's top headline - reflects badly on the IDS. Think about what you publish before you publish it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Needless obstructionism from Green Democrats

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Repeat after me: There is absolutely nothing that Bloomington can do about peak oil. Got it? Good.

Three Bloomington city councilors are working to reduce the scope of proposed roundabouts because they encourage "urban sprawl" and because they conflict with the vision of the Peak Oil Task Force.

One of the roundabouts is at 17th and Arlington and the other is at Tapp and Rockport. The first I travel occasionally and the second one I travel through at least weekly. The 17th Street roundabout is badly needed to improve safety, because the abominable design of that intersection leads to confusion about right of way and has caused accidents. The Tapp and Rockport roundabout would significantly improve traffic flow at one of the worst intersections in Bloomington, especially during evening rush hour. Sare and Rogers is also a mess.

First, we need to recognize the structural realities of our economy. One of those realities is that the automobile not going anywhere. Even if we move away from gasoline-fueled automobiles eventually, there will be alternative technologies that will allow continued use of automobiles in the future - because the market demands it. Whether that is the electric car (though range will have to be significantly improved) or hydrogen fuel cells or something else, there will be something that will allow continued fast and long-distance autonomous transportation via the automobile.

The 17th Street roundabout, in my opinion, is not even about allowing more traffic flow, but making it safer for traffic and reducing the number of accidents. Anyone who has attempted to travel from west 17th through that intersection knows how dangerous it can be. I can't imagine what the reasoning was behind creating that mess in the first place. This is a basic safety issue and should not be held hostage by an environmentalist agenda that does not consider the brick-and-mortar needs of Bloomington's population.

Even having a Peak Oil Task Force in Bloomington, Indiana is a waste of time. There is absolutely nothing Bloomington is going to do about peak oil, and it is the typical arrogance of academia that we think we actually matter on an issue of global reach like this one. Anyone who wants to have a meaningful impact on peak oil needs to do so at the national level, because a city of 70,000 is completely irrelevant.

The good news is that one of the obstructionists will be gone after the election, as she is not running again. The bad news is the other two obstructionists are unopposed in the city election due to the utterly pathetic state of the local Republican Party. If the local GOP can be rebuilt, perhaps we can at least get a little more influence to help move these necessary infrastructure improvements forward.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Mist - an utterly wretched movie

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

I watched The Mist last week. The premise looked interesting and held a lot of promise, but the movie was just utterly wretched. This could have been much better than it turned out to be.

Mrs. Carmody (the caricature "christian" heel character) was laughable in her one-dimensional insanity. She is a hate-filled bitter old hag who sees herself as superior to everyone else and thinks she is God's messenger on earth. It would have been easy to include a sane, legitimate Christian character for balance, and that would have made this movie far more watchable. Instead, having Mrs. Carmody as the only representative of "christianity" causes The Mist to come across as anti-Christian propaganda

Any Christian with any knowledge of Scripture could have completely neutered Mrs. Carmody's perversion of Christian doctrine. Once she gets the people trapped in the store to join her "instant cult in a box" (more on that later) she has her followers sacrifice a soldier to the monsters. Then she demands that a woman she dislikes and a nine year old child be sacrificed to "appease" the monsters.

Human sacrifice? Really? Besides the fact that Jesus Christ is the one-time sacrifice for sin, Jeremiah 32:35 alone is more than enough utterly annihilate her "argument" that "god" is calling for blood to appease the monsters waiting outside the store. That's in the Old Testament, by the way.

Are we really to believe that this woman, who is established as the town crazy, would so easily turn the majority of the people trapped in the store to her wicked prophecies? Are we to really believe that over the course of a couple days they would be ready to engage in human sacrifice, especially when a child is the victim? The "explanation" for this - that people will do anything when scared - was weak at best. They might as well have broken the fourth wall and admitted they needed crazy townspeople for the next scene.

The Mist could have ended on a high note, but the final scene was rushed and unnecessarily cruel to the protagonist. Having run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, with monsters nearby, our main protagonist (David Drayton) executes the three adults and his own son to prevent them from being killed painfully by the monsters.

Immediately thereafter, the army comes through, having rescued the people in the store and turned back the invading monsters. So Drayton is left screaming because he has just murdered his son for no reason. The ending was by far the worst part of this movie - even worse than the Christian-bashing and the unrealistic "instant cult in a box."

The origin of the monsters could have - and should have - been more deeply examined. Basically, the military had broken the barrier between dimensions, and the monsters had spilled through. It was a very interesting concept, and only mentioning it in passing leaves too many loose ends.

The Mist could have been so much better. The heavy handed anti-Christian propaganda, the unrealistic brainwashing of most of the crowd, and the heartless and depressing ending ruined it.

Final Grade: F

Monday, October 3, 2011

CCFL sponsors 2011 Life Chain on Bloomington's east side

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Christian Citizens for Life sponsored the fourth annual Life Chain on Bloomington's east side yesterday.

We had between 200 and 250 people at the chain, stretching from Clark Street to Rose Avenue. We got the usual reaction, with some people yelling in opposition (along with a few obscene gestures) to a number of "thumbs up and supportive waves. The crowd reaction was better this year than in years past, at least at the west end of the chain where I was standing.

It's important to have this witness each October, to make sure people do not forget about the injustice of abortion. Simply seeing that 200 people are willing to stand along Third Street and witness against abortion is encouraging.

See pictures from the 2011 Life Chain on the post page. Also see reports on the 2010 Life Chain and 2008 Life Chain.