E-mail Scott
Scott's Links
About the Author
Opinion Archives
Social Media:
Google Plus
Monthly Archives:

January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017

Powered by Blogger
Subscribe via RSS

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I shop at Wal-Mart. I do not and will not apologize for that.

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

Last week, Bob Zaltsberg's "Monday morning" column drew over 150 comments because of a debate over one of the Left's favorite targets: Wal-Mart.

The elitism of the Left was on full display, with Leftists deriding Wal-Mart and the people who shop there. Even Zaltsberg, who argued that some in Monroe County would consider Wal-Mart a positive contribution to their quality of life, felt compelled to write that he has "never even been in Walmart." What purpose does that serve?

In the comments, an anonymous poster said he was "happy to hear Bob say he's never been inside a Walmart." A member of the Monroe County economic development commission responded to an argument in favor of Wal-Mart by saying "Bedford is still open. Move there." Is this the kind of intolerant elitism that we want from our government officials? If you cannot afford to patronize businesses on the square you do not belong in Monroe County?

A lot of people argue that our unique economy, with a wide variety of local business, is what makes Bloomington special. It is great that we have so many thriving local businesses, in addition to the national chains. But I would counter that there is one very big factor that makes our economy as vibrant as it is: Indiana University.

The reality is that IU is the economic engine of Monroe County. The students provide a huge boost to the local economy (including the local businesses the elitists brag about while they dismiss Wal-Mart) and IU employs a huge number of people in the city. Without IU, Bloomington would be just another small city in south-central Indiana, just like Bedford or Bloomfield or any number of small rural cities and towns.

The academic elite can look down their noses at other communities that that embrace "low-cost big-box retail, retail monoculture, and low-wage employment" if they choose, but it is not the policies of local government that makes Bloomington a vibrant place to live and work. That would be Indiana University.

The reality is that many people choose to shop at Wal-Mart because the store offers a huge selection and competitive prices. It is convenient for many to be able to get electronics, home supplies, groceries and gasoline all at the same place. Arguing between Wal-Mart and local businesses, though, is a false choice. The two can coexist!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Effective political yard signs

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

It's campaign season again, and yard signs for candidates are starting to pop up around Bloomington. The only contested races are in the Democratic primary, so all of these signs are for Democrats. For anyone running for elective office, here are my thoughts on how to make the best use of your signs.

(Hopefully, only Republicans will follow this advice.)

So what makes a good political yard sign? To answer this question, we need to establish the purpose of the signs, which is to increase the name ID of a candidate for elective office. A yard sign needs two primary things: the name of the candidate and the office that candidate is seeking. There are legal requirements on reporting who paid for the sign and so forth depending on jurisdiction, but the purpose of this post is political strategery, not election law.

On a political sign, you have a few precious seconds to get your message across. This means your sign needs to be simple and easily read by motorists whipping by at 40 miles per hour. If your name and/or the office you seek is in small, obscured or otherwise unreadable font, you are wasting your money.

Because you have so little time to get your point across, the only thing that should be on your sign is your name and office. Do not bother with slogans, because the point of a yard sign is not to make a policy argument. Save that for your literature, advertisements and campaign website. Keep illustrations, graphics and photographs to a minimum - or better yet, remove them. The goal is to advertise your candidate, not to be artistic.

I've seen some good and bad yard signs. Mark Kruzan's signs are some of the best I have seen. (Kruzan is running in a contested Democratic primary for re-election as mayor.) Big bold white letters on a bright red background catches the eye of the passing motorist. The name and office sought are easy to read, and those are the only things on the sign. The signs are simple, effective and to the point.

Other yard signs are not so good. Chris Sturbaum's signs feature his name and office (city council) wrapped around a large illustration of a tree. The sign is too cluttered and the text is too difficult to read in the precious seconds passing motorists have to read it. As a political junkie, I make an extra effort to notice yard signs, but if I was not specifically looking for them I would be much less likely to know what those signs are advertising.

While they cannot win an election by themselves, there are a number of advantages to yard signs. In order to get the maximum value from your signs, you have to get the most critical message across in the shortest possible time. As part of a larger political campaign, yard signs can help you win, but only if those signs are effective enough that people know your name and what you are running for.

Friday, March 25, 2011

End the military operation against Libya

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

Note: I sent the following letter to President Obama on Monday.

Dear President Obama,

I write with great concern over your decision to use military force in Libya.

My first and most urgent concern is with the legality of your decision. The text of the Constitution is very clear that Congress, not the President, has the authority to declare war. While no reasonable person questions the President's authority as commander-in-chief to initiate military action in the event of a national security emergency, this is by no means a national security emergency. While Muammar Gaddafi is a mass murderer, terrorist and war criminal, his regime represents no imminent threat to our national security.

While your stated goal of protecting noncombatants is laudable, the justification of using military force for humanitarian purposes grants the President unlimited power to intervene anywhere in the world for any reason. After all, many regimes around the world mistreat their people. Do you claim the authority to intervene in any or all of those places? Furthermore, given the epidemic of sexual abuse of inmates in our nation's prison system, would you agree that another nation has the moral authority to strike us militarily in an effort to force us to more effectively safeguard human rights here at home?

I am not a pacifist, but I recognize that war is a terrible thing. Therefore, I believe that military force should only be used to protect national security, and then should always be the last resort. We should be very reluctant to engage in combat.

When we bombed Libya in 1986, that was in retaliation for a terrorist attack on a night club in Germany that was tied directly to Gaddafi. That was necessary to protect our national security, and it should be obvious that military retaliation is necessary and proper whenever we are attacked. I believe it was a failure of leadership that we did not respond with overwhelming military force when Gaddafi ordered the bombing of Pan Am 103. Gaddafi committed a war crime, plain and simple.

As much as we may sympathize with the plight of the Libyan people, the current air strikes are not necessary to protect our national security. In fact, our military intervention will likely encourage more terrorism from the truly evil Gaddafi regime. With these air strikes, we are inserting ourselves militarily into the middle of another nation's civil war, which is why I oppose them. As terrible as Gaddafi may be, we simply cannot be the world's policeman.

Bombing Libya in the 1986 was a good idea, but bombing Libya in 2011 is not. I strongly urge you to immediately end military operations in Libya.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A limited federal government - principle, not partisanship

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

Working to reduce childhood obesity is a good thing, right? Of course it is. So why are conservatives opposed to the President's efforts to curb the problem? It must be partisanship, says New York Times columnist Charles Blow.

I have another explanation. It is about principle.

Conservatives believe that most matters of public policy should be left to the states, rather than being decided by the federal government. Conservatives distrust a powerful central government, which is why many conservatives were dissatisfied with President Bush, who gave us several significant expansions of federal power.

The primary issue is not whether steps to reduce obesity are good policy, the primary issue is whether the federal government should be setting the policies. For example, I enthusiastically support policies to reduce bullying in schools, but not at the federal level. The federal government simply does not have the constitutional authority to be setting policy on obesity or bullying, no matter how good that policy might be.

It may make Blow feel better about himself to reflexively accuse conservatives of reflexively opposing Obama's policies, but it does little to advance the discussion about the proper role of the federal government. If Blow considers himself to be a serious pundit, he should think more deeply about the philosophical reasons why conservatives might oppose it. Until then, his own partisan rantings are going to be dismissed as he dismisses Obama's opponents.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Looking back on the "Bluebird" tree sit, ten years later

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

Ten years ago, an environmental activist climbed a tree in Brown's Woods on the west side of town in an ultimately failed effort to prevent an apartment complex from being constructed. "Dolphin" would be the first to live in a tree that spring and summer, but she would not be the last. Eventually, police invaded the tree-sit and forced the activists out, clearing the way for the apartments to be completed.

The Bluebird tree-sit and the events that surrounded it had a significant impact on local politics. One of the opponents of the Canterbury development went on to challenge an incumbent Democratic county councilor and defeated him in the 2002 primary. No Republican bothered to file against David Hamilton, but the GOP couldn't wait to challenge Lucille Bertuccio - and they won in the general election. One of the other tree sitters, Mike "Moss" Englert, narrowly lost to Joyce Poling in a race for county commissioner in 2004.

The Bluebird tree-sit was a big event in a series of more aggressive environmental activism, but it was also one of a series of events- including arsons of homes under construction, the firebombing of a poultry distribution plant and spiking of trees in Yellowwood State Forest - that turned off more moderate voters and helped the GOP gain control of county government in the 2002 elections. Republicans unseated an incumbent county commissioner for a 2-1 margin. In January of 2003, the Republican Party also held five of seven seats on the county council.

While concern about plans to remove trees was laudable, the tree sit was not morally or legally justifiable. The activists did not own the property, and therefore did not have the right to prevent development on it. So long as they are not harming anyone else, property owners should have the right to develop their own land without interference from government or "activists" who stand in the way of their rights.

But while property rights should be protected, there was no need for the county council to approve $10 million in tax-free bonds. I spoke against the bonds at the June 12 county council meeting, joining with environmentalists in an interesting (if rare) alliance. If a project is economically feasible, a developer should not need a financial boost from government to help it along. The council's vote was seen as adding insult to injury by people already bitterly opposed to the project, which is one of the reasons why it sparked so much outrage.

Even so, the near-riot that shut down the meeting was inexcusable. There are always times when public policy votes do not go the way we want them to go. I have rebuked the city council every year since 1999 for giving money to Planned Parenthood. I've spoken against decisions to designate a property as "historic" over the objection of the property owner and I've spoken against efforts to restrict smoking in "public places." But while I am tilting at windmills virtually every time, I am obligated to maintain basic civility. Those of us involved in politics will win some arguments and we will lose some, but we cannot shout down elected officials and shut down meetings.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shameless lies used to support .xxx domain

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

Soon, people will be able to buy a .xxx domain for their web sites, much as we can purchase .com or .net domains today. There has been a heated debate over this change, with many expressing fears that the top-level domain would legitimize internet pornography by creating a space just for those sites.

While I am opposed to creating the domain, that is another argument for another day. What irritates me is the flagrant dishonesty being used to support the new domain.

BBC News reports that "supporters say the domain will make it easier to filter out inappropriate content." Peter Dengate Thrush of ICANN told the Washington Post said "it will be easier for people to filter" internet porn.

The people who say this are either fools or liars, and almost certainly the latter.

It has been well-documented that a huge percentage of Internet traffic is dedicated to pornography. Does anyone think that existing sites are going to give up their current domain names and move to a .xxx domain? You will sooner see Osama bin Laden waving an American flag and chanting "USA" in his cave somewhere in Pakistan. The existing sites will stay exactly where they are.

If supporters of the .xxx top-level domain want to advance their argument for it, we can have a reasonable discussion about the merits and drawbacks of the proposal. But at least have enough respect for those hearing your argument to not make a claim that is so obviously false to anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of the Internet. Shameless lies only discredit your position and weaken your argument.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Universal morality requires a Primary Source

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

Was Saddam Hussein wrong when he ordered the gassing of innocent people in Kurdish villages in the late 1980's? Were the massacres of innocent people in Bosnia and Rwanda wrong?

"Well, yeah. Of course those things were wrong."

Why? Why are those things wrong?

We know there are fundamental moral standards that teach us that things like murder and rape are wrong. We know it's wrong to steal from someone. But why do we know this? What is the source of these moral standards? If there are universal standards of morality, then there has to be a Primary Source for that morality.

What if, as some say, there is no God, and we are all here through random chance and billions of years of evolution?

If that is the case, there are and can be no universal moral standards. If there is no supernatural being governing our lives, there can be no universal standard of morality to guide us. This is because the source for any moral code would be the imaginations and beliefs of individual people or groups of people. One group of people may believe that killing innocents is wrong, but another might believe it is perfectly fine.

If there is no God, how can we declare that the actions of Nazi Germany were absolutely morally wrong? We can't, because the moral code of the Nazis and the moral code of the Allies are simply different standards brought forth by different groups of people. There is no objective way to compare the two.

If there is no God, there can be no absolute moral standards. Instead, there are only competing human values. We cannot declare that Adolf Hitler's morality is superior or inferior to Mother Teresa's morality unless we have an objective higher standard to compare them to. An atheist on a forum I used to visit recognized this when he said that the Holocaust was not fundamentally evil because there is no absolute right and wrong.

This is not to say that "morality" cannot exist in a godless world. Individuals can live by personal moral standards, and groups of people can agree to a set of moral standards to live by and perhaps even enforce by law, but they cannot declare anything to be fundamentally good or evil.

But if there is a God, we can point out what is universally good, or what is universally evil. This is because we have a Primary Source of morality to look to and measure ourselves with: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. II Timothy 3:16-17

I am a Christian, and therefore I believe there is a universal standard for right and wrong: the Bible. I can declare that the Holocaust was fundamentally immoral because it violates the laws that a Supreme Being has put in place for His creation. I appeal directly to a Higher Power that holds ultimate authority over all mankind, regardless of culture, national history or anything else.

An atheist cannot do that. An atheist can say he personally despises the killing of innocents, and he or she may even argue that killing innocents goes against established human morality. An atheist cannot argue, though, that the Holocaust was fundamentally immoral, because there ois no objective standard to say that his morality is superior to the morality of Nazi Germany. It is a horrible way to live.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The human rights crisis in American prisons

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

The New York Review of Books points out a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics 216,600 people were sexually abused in prisons and jails in 2008. This means that every single hour of every single day, 25 inmates were sexually abused in prisons and jails - some by staff and some by other inmates.

Rape and sexual abuse in prison is a serious problem, and Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act in 2003 to attempt to finally take steps to deal with it. It was not until 2009 that the committee established by the act delivered a report to Barack Obama's attorney general, who had a year to revise the recommendations and issue nationally binding standards. The Obama administration missed that deadline.

In the meantime, tens of thousands more prisoners have been raped and sexually assaulted in our nation's prisons. The Obama administration knew well in advance of ever taking office that this was coming, so there is simply no excuse for foot-dragging on this issue. This is an President who campaigned on a platform of respect for human rights and properly treating prisoners of war, so why the lack of action on American citizens who are abused?

Our nation was rightly shocked by the obscene abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib facility in Iraq. But even as we are shocked, we should not be surprised. After all, this is a nation that has turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of our own people in our prisons and jails for decades, so what are a few abusive pictures of terrorists on top of that?

It is a basic duty of our criminal justice system to ensure the safety of the prisoners under society's care. While our unsustainable budget deficits are a genuine cause for concern, cost containment should not prevent us from doing what is necessary to protect those prisoners and prevent these crimes. The Obama administration talks a good game on human rights, but the time for talk is over. It is time for action.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mike Nifong is a rapist - Five years later

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

On March 13, 2006, the Duke University lacrosse team held a party at a house off-campus. They foolishly invited strippers to perform for the party. Little did they know that their foolishness would have dire consequences, when a vengeful bitch named Crystal Gail Mangum falsely accused them of "raping" her.

The accusation was a complete fabrication. False accusations of criminal activity do take place, but what happened next should be of great concern to every American who loves his country and wants to preserve the liberties this nation was founded to protect. A thoroughly corrupt prosecutor named Mike Nifong entered into a criminal conspiracy with Mangum to railroad these men for a crime they did not commit.

Over the course of the next year, Mike Nifong urinated and defecated on the Constitution and on the graves of every American soldier who ever died defending liberty. Mike Nifong raped the reputations of men who committed no crime, raped the taxpayers who pay his salary, and worst of all he raped he justice system. There was a rape in Durham, but Mike Nifong is the rapist. Innocent men lost a year of their lives to a corrupt politician's quest for personal gain.

We should never forget the criminal actions of disgraced, disbarred ex-prosecutor Mike Nifong. He should forever be a reminder that a government that ignores the rule of law is far more dangerous to our liberty than any terrorist or foreign aggressor. This scandal should serve as a reminder that we must uphold the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" without exception and without compromise.

Mike Nifong is far from the only prosecutor who is guilty of suppressing evidence that proves that someone accused of a crime is actually innocent. In the name of liberty and justice, we must hold prosecutors and police accountable - with the possibility of criminal charges and harsh criminal penalties - for violating civil rights. Our "war on crime" mentality is too often a war on civil liberties, and justice is a forgotten casualty. That must end, and it must end now.

Previous Articles:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Real vs. virtual killing: An open letter to Joe Lieberman

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

Dear Senator Lieberman,

I am watching the movie Moral Kombat, a documentary about video game violence. You were quoted very early in the movie and you have been a vocal critic of video game violence for nearly 20 years.

First, let me tell you about myself. I have been an avid gamer for 30 years. I have owned the Atari 2600, ColecoVision, NES, Super NES, Atari Lynx, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS. I follow the industry and the games themselves. I have written a number of articles on the social and political issues surrounding games.

I am also an anti-abortion activist. I have stood in front of Planned Parenthood and pleaded with women not to allow that clinic to kill their unborn children. I am a former president of Monroe County Right to Life and I have been working to oppose abortion and public funding of abortionists for nearly 15 years.

You and I disagree on both issues.

You are vehemently opposed to virtual killing, represented by pixels and polygons on a monitor or TV screen. Yet you support the real killing of unborn children. You have supported and voted to give taxpayer money to a damnable industry that has murdered 50 million people since 1973.

I simply cannot see the logic in your position, Senator Lieberman. You become morally outraged by representations of killing in a video game, where no real person is so much as scratched. But you support real killing of real human beings. You support killing babies by dismemberment for profit.

Please explain this to me. Please explain why pixels and polygons depicting the dismemberment of a fictional character requires hearings in the U.S. Senate, while the unmitigated evil of abortion requires the federal government to subsidize the most notorious abortion providers. I legitimately want to understand your position.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Defunding Planned Parenthood is a moral imperative.

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

The opening of the Indiana Daily Student article on the demonstration in Indianapolis supporting Planned Parenthood was informative, in that a PP supporter made the best argument for defunding the baby-killing organization:

Rachael Richter was 15 years old when she visited the Planned Parenthood in her hometown, Ithaca, N.Y., for the first time. It was the IU junior’s second time having sex, and the condom broke. Rachael’s boyfriend was out of town soon after the fact.

Rachael hadn’t told her parents yet. Her body tensed as she put on jeans and a T-shirt. Rachael called her best friend, who came over right away. Planned Parenthood was within walking distance of her house.

In the Planned Parenthood waiting room, Rachael filled out forms about her medical history. Though Rachael’s parents always stressed the importance of body and health awareness, it was the first time she’d ever taken herself to a health facility.

Rachael got Plan B One-Step free of charge. Plan B is the emergency contraceptive designed for mornings after situations like these.

Richter's story is a perfect example of why Planned Parenthood should not get one penny from the taxpayers.

According to the Indiana Code, the age of consent in Indiana is 16 years old. If Richter's partner was 18 years old, he was committing a Class C felony. If he was 21 years old, he was committing a Class B felony. (The age of her boyfriend is not listed.) Without her parents' knowledge or consent, Planned Parenthood gave an abortafacient drug to a 15-year-old girl. Depending on the age of her boyfriend, they might have been conspiring to cover up a felony.

Planned Parenthood is a thoroughly corrupt criminal enterprise. The fact that they have murdered 332,000 babies in 2009 alone is more than enough reason to stop the flow of taxpayer money to them. But while they are breaking God's law by committing mass murder, they are not breaking man's law. Abortion, evil as it is, remains legal in all 50 states under our perverse legal system.

Planned Parenthood has taken it farther, to the point that they are actually assisting felony child abuse. Live Action has caught Planned Parenthood on many occasions covering up and enabling felony child abuse.

It is time to end the flow of tax money to Planned Parenthood. It is time for Peggy Welch, Democratic state representative from Bloomington, to stand by her pro-life principles and work with the Republican majority in the Indiana House to eliminate all state funding for Planned Parenthood. If Leftists want to support this damnable organization, they should do so out of their own pockets.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

We need to change our focus on government schools

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

I often hear a story about someone who is asked to give money to the poor and refuses, saying "that is what I pay taxes for." I think this sums up the foundational problem with the government school system.

A major aspect of the 2011 legislative agenda is education reform. I respectfully submit that while there are certainly things that can be improved, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the government school system itself. In most schools, the majority of students can get an excellent education.

The problem with the government school system is that we have allowed the foundations to crumble. The problem is not with the schools themselves so much as that parents have abandoned their God-given responsibility to educate their children and have instead handed all of the duty of educating their kids to a government bureaucracy. A large government bureaucracy (which describes our "public school" system perfectly) is inherently incompetent for that job.

Ultimately, the primary God-given responsibility for educating the nation's children falls with the parents of those children. If the parents care about their child getting a good education, work with their children and discipline the child to study, work and learn, most children can excel in the majority of schools in the country.

I am 100% convinced that the reason we have so much ignorance despite spending mountains of cash on education is that our entire focus is corrupt. As a nation, we have abdicated our God-given responsibilities as parents because "that is what we pay taxes for." Until we shift our orientation back to where it should be, we can implement as many reforms as we want and continually increase funding for schools, but we will always fail.

This sounds like a screed against the entire concept of the government school system. It isn't. This is a call for parents to reclaim their God-given responsibilities as parents to "train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) The government school system (or private schools, or homeschooling) should be viewed as the means to getting a good education, with the parents shouldering the responsibility for seeing it gets done.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A critical victory for free speech

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

The Supreme Court delivered a critical victory for free speech in protecting the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to picket the funerals of fallen American soldiers with the message that God is punishing America for being too accepting of homosexuality. I was surprised and encouraged by the 8-1 margin of the decision.

If these people actually believed in what they were doing I might be able to respect the courage of their convictions even as I find their message depraved. But this has nothing to do with homosexuality. This is about getting on TV and in the news as much as possible. They are nothing but attention whores. In fact, church member Margie Phelps admitted as much during an interview on Fox News Sunday:

But at the end of the day, call us a cult, call us anything. Just publish the words. At this point, all of that name-calling has become white noise, as the entire world looks over at this message. And, in fact, this case put a megaphone to the mouth of this church.

The tiny "church" had made a name for itself in the 1990's by picketing the funerals of homosexuals and stirring up a great deal of anger in the process. While this made headlines, they were not as well known nationally as they wanted to be. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, they had a new target, that they exploited for maximum media coverage: the funerals of American soldiers. This has led to a number of states looking at ways to restrict these protests.

But we have to be careful of unintended consequences that could potentially restrict peaceful and respectful First Amendment activity. In January 2008, the annual Rally for Life at the Monroe County courthouse - which is always scheduled months in advance - happened to be a few blocks away from a funeral. Due to this unfortunate coincidence, an admitted former abortion clinic escort compared the rally to the depraved WBC funeral protests.

It is not difficult to imagine Christian Citizens for Life being subject to harassment by government should such an unfortunate coincidence take place in the future, especially in a city like Bloomington. Because of the proximity of several downtown churches to the county courthouse and the IU Sample Gates, it would not be surprising if funerals and political protests have often been in relatively close proximity.

Of course, the basic issue here is whether government has the right to impose content-based restrictions on speech. The answer should be a resounding "no." Virtually any political speech can be deemed hurtful or offensive, if people observing have a personal stake in the outcome. As a cancer survivor, I find protests against biomedical research to be personally offensive, but I do not have the right to prevent animal rights activists from protesting against it.

As depraved as the Westboro attention whores may be, it is cases like this where me must take a firm stand in favor of free speech. Defending the right of someone to convey an inoffensive or popular message is easy, because there is little reason to restrict that speech. But once government establishes the precedent that the most vile and despicable speech can be restricted, that same precedent can be used for less and less offensive speech.

If we value our free speech rights, we must not accept any compromise.

Previous articles:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jesus was not a hippie. Jesus was Lord.

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

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The Jesus we read about in the New Testament is the same God we read about in the Old Testament. (See John 1:1, Philippians 2:5-6, and Colossians 1:15-17.) It is important to establish that there is only one God as our foundation when we tackle a wicked heresy of modern times.

That heresy is that Jesus completely rejected violence. Many in modern society have thrown away the bloody parts of Scripture to worship a fabricated "jesus" that never existed - a long haired, dope smoking, tree hugging, maggot infested, good time rock and rolling FM type. But the reality is that the Bible is overflowing with the violent judgment of God on His enemies. A few examples:

  • God ordered King Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15.
  • The execution of Jezebel in 2 Kings 9:30-33 was particularly brutal.
  • Jesus used a whip to violently drive the moneychangers out of the temple in John 2:13-16.
  • God struck Ananias and Sapphira dead in Acts 5.
  • God struck down King Herod in Acts 12.

There are many more examples, from the incineration of Sodom and Gomorrah (and everyone in those cities) to the prophesies of the Book of Revelation. It is impossible to honestly read Scripture without coming across the violent judgment of God. The statement that Jesus rejected violence is a lie straight from Hell.

I find this offensive because these people are committing blasphemy against the Savior who shed His blood for my sins. First, they are straight up lying about Jesus Christ. Second, they are holding Jesus to a "standard" He did not meet but they do, meaning they declare themselves more righteous than God. I am offended by this for the same reason I am offended by hippies who spew lies from Hell that Jesus was a vegetarian. (See here, here and here.)

I am not saying that we should engage in violence to emulate God. After all, the Bible forbids us from taking vengeance for ourselves, because that belongs to God. We are to live at peace with all men if possible. (See Romans 12:18-19.) And it is true that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and eventually all war and violence will be eliminated - but that peace will come after He has completely destroyed His enemies.

But the fact remains that the "jesus" that rejected violence never existed. The people who worship this false, fabricated so-called "jesus" worship a false god, meaning they actually worship demons. (See 1 Corinthians 10:20-21.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

The corrupt social services funding process

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

Last week, I spoke at the Bloomington City Council's meeting regarding the Community Development Block Grants program, arguing that the council should simply send back the money to the federal government. In my comments, I said that the social services funding process has become corrupted and because of that I cannot trust the city council to make appropriate decisions regarding how to distribute the funds.

This is not something I wanted to say. I am very sad that I said that. I do not regret saying what I said, but I regret that I had to say it. Sometimes, you just have to call a spade a spade.

For 11 of the past 12 years, the Bloomington City Council has distributed social service funding in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with need. Instead, they abused the process to spend thousands of dollars for the sole purpose of providing a political endorsement to Planned Parenthood. Over $33,000 that could have gone to organizations that actually need it have instead been used for political purposes.

This is simply shameful.

But the city council reached new depths of depravity last summer when they approved $5,000 to help Planned Parenthood cover up felony child abuse. Planned Parenthood asked for funds to give birth control to girls as young as 13 years old. As I pointed out on February 25, if the 13-year-old girl impregnated by a 26-year-old man had only gone to Planned Parenthood to get some taxpayer-subsidized birth control provided by the Monroe County Democratic Party, her abuser never would have been caught. He was only caught because her pregnancy was prima facie evidence that a felony had taken place.

But some of the same people who are furious that the criminal was sentenced to time served would gleefully support this despicable grant to Planned Parenthood. Even though they are swimming in the sewer, they are unable to smell the feces that is coating their skin, clothes and hair.

One of the Democrats was offended by what I said and was "sad" that the council was called "corrupt." I did not say that the councilors themselves are corrupt, but that the social services funding process is corrupt - because that is exactly what it is. I have a suggestion for the Monroe County Democratic Party: Stop sending thousands of taxpayer dollars to the local branch of an organization with over $1,000,000,000 in annual revenue and a profit of over $85,000,000. Never spend another another dime of taxpayer money to cover up felony child abuse, and apologize to your constituents for your misallocation of funds.

If the Democratic members of the city council do not want the social services funding process to be characterized as corrupt, then they should stop proving that the process is corrupt with their votes.

Friday, March 4, 2011

John Hopkins social services funding schedule

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

Following is the schedule for distributing grants to social service agencies via the John Hopkins fund. With two exceptions, Planned Parenthood has gotten a handout every year since 1999 from this fund. The two exceptions were 2000 (when PP got a grant from the Community Development Block Grants program instead) and 2009, just a few months after the Bloomington branch was rocked by a sex abuse scandal.

Now is the time for concerned citizens to write to the city council and let them know that we oppose any funding for Planned Parenthood under any circumstances. The e-mails for the city council are as follows: Andy Ruff (at-large) Tim Mayer (at-large), Susan Sandberg (at-large), Chris Sturbaum (District 1), Brad Wisler (District 2), Mike Satterfield (District 3), David Rollo (District 4), Isabel Pidmont (District 5) and Steve Volan (District 6).

Brad Wisler has voted against funding Planned Parenthood every time he had the opportunity to do so. All of the Democrats have voted to fund Planned Parenthood.

Event:Date, Time & Place
Deadline for agencies to submit proposalsMonday, March 28, 2011
Council office distributes application packetWednesday, April 13, 2011
Committee discusses and eliminates some applicationsMonday, April 18, 2011 at 5:00 p.m., McCloskey Room (RM 135, City Hall)
Committee hears presentationsThursday, April 28, 2011 at 5:00 p.m., city council chambers
Committee members submit rating of applicationsWednesday, may 4, 2011 by noon.
Committee discusses funding recommendationsMay 10, 2011, at 5:00 p.m., council library (rm 110, city hall)
Committee makes funding recommendationsMonday, May 16, 2011, 5:00 p.m., council chambers
Agencies complete the funding agreementsTuesday, May 31, 2011,
Committee evaluates the programWednesday, June 8, 2011, 6:00 p.m., council library (rm 110, city hall)
City council action on the recommendationsWednesday, June 15, 2011, 7:30 p.m., council chambers

All of the meetings listed above are open to the public. Unfortunately, the only meeting that will allow public comment is the final meeting on June 15. We should stand against corporate welfare for this damnable organization.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Abolish mandatory donations

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

In 1998, members of Indiana University Students for Life objected to a grant given to a student group advocating for abortion rights. Also in the 1990's, a group called Students Against Fee Excess objected to the university's decision to allow INPIRG to collect donations through the bursar system. Christian students have objected for many years to the university's subsidies of the "Miss Gay IU" event.

I was reminded of these controversies (and a few others) when the Herald-Times reported that IUSA has reversed its policy and will now give money to eligible religious organizations in the wake of a complaint by the Alliance Defense Fund. People complained about the decision in the comments and suggested that "satanists" apply for funding.

Of course, there is a simple solution. Do not give any money to any student groups.

There is no reason that viable student groups cannot raise their own money, either from the community or from alumni who were active in the organization during their college careers. In the case of Christian groups, this should be even easier. Campus parachurch organizations should be directing Christian students to a local church anyway, so there is no reason they should not be able to get some financial help from some of the numerous churches in Bloomington.

This way, no students are forced to fund an organization or event that is in conflict with their ideological or theological beliefs through the mandatory student activity fee. Student groups that are strong enough to fund themselves will do well, while those who are weaker will not be artificially propped up by forced donations.

The advantage for the university is that it can truly can remain neutral, and avoid any conflicts that necessarily come when picking and choosing between organizations competing for limited funds.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Community Development Block Grants to be distributed tonight

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

Tonight, the Bloomington City Council will distribute a little over $900,000 in community development block grant monies from the federal government. The money will be distributed as follows:

Community KitchenSocial Service Programs Funding$15,608
Hoosier Hills Food BankSocial Service Programs Funding$15,507
Mother Hubbard's CupboardSocial Service Programs Funding$15,255
Stepping StonesSocial Service Programs Funding$15,204
Middle Way House Emergency ServicesSocial Service Programs Funding$14,750
Martha's HouseSocial Service Programs Funding$14,548
Big Brothers Big SistersSocial Service Programs Funding$14,194
MCUM – Child CareSocial Service Programs Funding$14,043
Boys & Girls ClubSocial Service Programs Funding$13,891
Abilities Unlimited/HANDHome Modification for Accessible Living$75,000
Bloomington Housing AuthorityCrestmont Exterior Renovations$110,000
HANDEmergency Home Repair$59,000
HANDDown Payment & Closing Cost$20,000
Community KitchenFacility Improvement – New Facility Renovations$48,000
Shalom Community CenterFacility improvements$32,000
Public WorksCrescent Road & Vernal intersection improvements$211,000
HANDCurb & Sidewalks $45,000

On top of this, there is $177,333 for the administration of the Housing and Neighborhood Development Department.

The obvious good news is that the criminals at Planned Parenthood are not included in the list of agencies getting a grant from city government. Of the 11 times city government has given money to PP, the money has come from the CDBG funds only once. That was a $2000 grant for "teen education" in 2000.

The larger question is whether government should be giving grants to social service agencies at all. I do not believe that it is appropriate for city government to be deciding for the citizens of Bloomington what charities we will support. Even though the CDBG funds come from the federal government and not local property taxes, city council members should be no less vigilant in spending the funds as wisely as possible. The city council should allow us to choose for ourselves which social service agencies we will support.

This is especially true at a time of record federal deficits. Our federal government is running a deficit of well over $1 trillion dollars. That is not the size of the national debt, folks. That is the amount of debt we will add to the already staggering national debt in just one single year. We do not have the money to do what we are doing. While the CDBG funds are insignificant to the overall deficit, we have to cut somewhere. The Bloomington City Council could show leadership in sending the money back to the federal treasury rather than distribute it to local charities.

Furthermore, when it is elected officials who are deciding how to appropriate money to social service agencies, these decisions are inherently political. Even if it were true that city government is attempting to use the most objective criteria possible, the reality is that politicians make political decisions. And, quite frankly, I do not trust the Bloomington City Council to be fair and objective in distributing these funds without political influences. This is because the John Hopkins social service program has been corrupted by politics, with the councilors giving Planned Parenthood money that they clearly do not need in order to make a political endorsement of the organization.

If I were on the Bloomington City Council, I would vote "no" tonight for these reasons.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

With government money comes government strings

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

Printed in the Herald-Times, February 25, 2011. (Comments)

To the editor:

Governor Daniels proposes to allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any school of their choice, including private or religious schools. The idea is that it would encourage competition and allow students to be placed into the school that best fits their needs so they can get the best education possible. This sounds good on paper, but life often does not go as we plan.

The primary reason I oppose vouchers is the fact that with government money comes government strings. When private schools get tax-funded vouchers, will "separation of church and state" be invoked to prevent students using vouchers from attending chapel services or Bible classes? Will it be mandated that science and history textbooks be from a secular perspective?

What happens if the government attempts to force Christian schools to hire homosexuals, atheists or Muslims? What happens when schools that make investments or hire staff because of the influx of government money must now choose between their faith and those funds?

I graduated from a Christian high school in 1992, and I am very thankful for that opportunity. I do not want to see today's youth lose the opportunity I had through meddling by government.