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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Marriage is not a contract. It is a covenant.

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 6:00 AM

Rachel Marsden preemptively defends Rick Perry in case the fishing expedition to find a sexual liaison finds something of substance. Her editorial is completely wicked and depraved. Those of us old enough to remember the Clinton sex scandals of 1992 and 1998 remember conservatives arguing that Clinton was unqualified to be President because he broke his sacred marriage vows. This column does not belong on conservative TownHall.

Now, we do have to keep in mind that there are false accusations, such as the smears against Nikki Haley in 2010. We should be immediately suspicious of allegations against Perry because of the fact that Leftists are openly looking for people to claim they had sex with him.

Let's examine her arguments a little deeper. Marsden says that we and our spouses change over time and sometimes those changes cannot be reconciled. Who is to say that a change in personality is different from a change in appearance? After all, everyone gets older. Is a husband justified in playing the whore because his wife puts on a few pounds or develops some wrinkles? What about men who gain a pot belly and lose their hair - going gray in what they have left?

Marriage is a picture of Christ's relationship with the Church. Will Jesus Christ abandon His church? Would it be OK for the church to abandon worship of the God who died for our sins to worship the demons Moloch and Gaia? Jesus preached an intense sermon in Matthew 19 against divorce. Marriage is not a contract subject to termination on a whim. Scripture lays out very specific clauses for escaping the marriage covenant, and those are very limited. If a man's wife cannot trust that he will not leave her for younger flesh, then how can we as voters trust that politician?

There is a reason that idolatry is so closely tied to adultery throughout Scripture. Suggesting that adultery is OK is terribly wicked. Saying that a married politician who cheats on his wife before leaving her for another is comparable to someone test driving a new car before selling their old one is damnable. Again, if a man's wife cannot trust him, how can the voters? How do we know his word on tax reform or entitlement reform can be trusted when he casually breaks a covenant made before God?

Yes, people fail. People sin. King David, a man after God's own heart, committed adultery and then murdered his close friend to cover it up. The fact that someone fell into sin would not keep me from voting for him, provided he is truly repentant for his wicked actions - as King David obviously was in his Psalms of confession. Churches are filled with broken sinners who need to grace of Jesus Christ. The reason to go to the cross is not because you are good, but because you are evil and you have no hope apart from the unmerited grace and mercy of our Lord.

But forgiveness and mercy do not make wickedness and depravity OK. Failing and repenting is fine. Casually brushing aside wickedness and betrayal as something that is OK because "we are all human" is not anywhere close to fine.

0 Comments

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Facebook tightens privacy settings

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 6:00 AM

Facebook has made a change to tagging photos, wall posts and notes: Users can now pre-approve tags, so they don't show up without the consent of the person being tagged.

There are definitely advantages to this. First, I have seen people lose control of their account to spammers. Those spammers then post pornographic pictures and tag the hacked person's friends as a means of distributing their pornography. Usually, those pictures have absolutely nothing to do with the person being tagged. They are simply a way to distribute filth. I had to de-friend a couple people who lost control of their account because of inappropriate tags.

The only problem I see is the tagging feature in wall posts and notes contribute to some free-flowing discussion on Facebook that would be impeded by forcing the tags to be pre-approved. Hopefully Facebook will allow users the option of permitting tags without pre-approval. That way, each user can decide on a case-by-case basis whether they want to control all of the tags that link to their profiles.

What I found interesting is the lede for the story: "drunken revelers rejoice." Now, those embarrassing pictures taken at a party will not be connected to your account unless you approve them. I have a better idea though. Don't allow those pictures to be taken in the first place and don't put yourself in such an inebriated state that you could have photos taken of you without your consent or knowledge.

Here's the reality that people need to recognize. Not one single thing on Facebook is truly private. You should never post anything on your wall or in your photo albums that you would be horrified to see on the front page of the newspaper or on the 6:00 news. True, you can limit who sees your stuff to your friends, or even specific groups within your friends list. But once something is on a website, it is in the public domain. You have completely lost control of it.

Social networking has made our lives much more open to the public than they were even ten years ago. What is posted on social networking sites can affect your marriage, your family, your political ambitions and even your present or future employment. Think carefully about what you want to share and what would be better left offline.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Poverty in America vs. income inequality

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 6:00 AM

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. -- Exodus 20:17

We're hearing a lot about poverty, especially in an economy that is admittedly terrible. But what is poverty? Is poverty defined in absolute terms (such as the ability to have enough food) or is poverty relative to income statistics? If it is the latter, then poverty means nothing. In America, our poor are rich compared to the rest of the world. (For more, see Heritage Foundation studies from 2007 and 2011, along with columns by Walter Williams and John Goodman.)

First, let me say that real poverty exists. There are people who are legitimately poor in measurable terms. So please don't accuse me of denying the reality of poverty. I don't.

But it is absolutely critical that we have firm standards by which to judge poverty, rather than worrying about one of the Left's boogeymen, "income inequality." A quick Internet search reveals a mountain of commentary about "income inequality." (See here, here and here for examples.)

But the reality is that poverty and income inequality are not the same.

As an example, let's say Bubba makes $250,000 a year. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will make an average of $18 million a year over the next few seasons. That's certainly income inequality. But does anyone feel sorry for Bubba? I don't.

I'm frankly disturbed by the rhetoric about "income inequality" as if that's something bad in and of itself. I do not make a Peyton Manning income and never will, but I am more than satisfied with what I have. I don't begrudge Manning his mega-millions. After all, the Colts are willing to pay him that salary and no one forced them to do so.

But to many on the Left, the fact that there is a large income gap between rich and "poor" is a huge problem that threatens our economic system and even our liberty.

Balderdash.

There are many people who are so obsessed with the fact that someone else has more that they are unable look at what they actually have and enjoy the blessings that they have been given in this life. Someone may have a nice computer, cable television with 100 channels, high-speed Internet access, a nice home with central air conditioning, and plenty of food in the pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Yet he or she is still unable to enjoy it because he or she cannot afford the bigger and better things someone else has.

This whining about income inequality should be rejected. Class warfare rhetoric leads to bad economic policy. Instead of doing what is actually economically beneficial, opportunistic politicians promise to "soak the rich" - as if punishing someone for having more actually helps anyone. All that does is ferment social unrest that actually does threaten liberty.

As Christians, we should recognize that using "income inequality" to stir discontent is a direct violation of the 10th Commandment. Furthermore, we are commanded to be thankful throughout Scripture. How can we be thankful when we are constantly unhappy that someone else has more than we do? It is shameful - and sinful.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pat Buchanan: Why are we baiting the Russian Bear?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 11:30 AM

A very good editorial:

What is wrong with Senate Resolution 175?

Just this. Neither Abkhazia nor South Ossetia has been under Georgian control for 20 years. When Georgia seceded from Russia, these ethnic enclaves rebelled and seceded from Georgia.

Abkhazians and Ossetians both view the Tblisi regime of Mikhail Saakashvili, though a favorite of Washington, with contempt, and both have lately declared formal independence.

Who are we to demand that they return to the rule of Tblisi?

Source: TownHall.com

0 Comments

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Zero pollution? Really?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 8:00 AM

Take a look at the picture of Julie Thomas' car over at Pin The Tail. "All electric vehicle. Zero pollution."

Zero pollution? Really? Where does she get the electricity to run it? Is there an Electricity Fairy I don't know about? Or could it be from a (gasp!) coal fired power plant?

0 Comments

Friday, August 26, 2011

O'Donnell's walkout suggests she is "not ready for prime time"

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

If you are a former candidate for federal elective office taking stands on public issues, then you need to be willing to answer questions about those issues when asked by reporters. Walking out on an interview is not the proper way to handle it and illustrates a lack of maturity.

That's exactly what Christine O'Donnell did last week when she walked out on an interview after repeatedly refusing to answer questions about homosexual marriage.

I've supported O'Donnell in the past and have blogged in support of her. (See here, here, here and here.) I still think she was a better candidate than the establishment Republican she defeated in the 2010 primary and certainly better than the Democrat who defeated her last November.

However, she knows she's been a controversial figure and she can expect questions she may not want to answer. One of the things I find most annoying about politicians is when they refuse to give a straight answer to a question, and O'Donnell behaved like a typical politician. If she doesn't want to answer those questions she should not consent to interviews. I don't think she should disappear from politics or the arena of ideas, as Brent Bozell does, but she does need to handle herself better and avoid any further episodes like this one.

0 Comments

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The H-T has it wrong on canceling elections

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

The Herald-Times published another shameful editorial yesterday, attacking county clerk Linda Robbins and calling on her to "uphold the law" by leaving names off the ballot. The problem with this argument is that people had been posting all day before the editorial was posted to HeraldTimesOnline on Tuesday evening making good points about whether the law actually prohibits including the names of unopposed candidates on a general election ballot.

First, the way the "newspaper" dealt with Robbins was inexcusable. When Robbins told the H-T she did not know how much the election would cost, the "newspaper" got snarky, editorializing that her answer "shows either a lack of candor or a lack of knowledge she really should have." Robbins responded in the comments:

I was interviewed about this subject while driving in my car. I would rather shoot an "I'll get back to you" than guess, and the article was written prior to my ability to get back to the office.

This is simply not acceptable. Is this what "journalism" has sunk to in a city that hosts the Ernie Pyle School of Journalism? This was a pure "gotcha" moment, nothing more. The Herald-Times needs to apologize to Ms. Robbins for calling her dishonest in print, and H-T editor Bob Zaltsberg should apologize to Ms. Robbins face-to-face.

With the way the H-T is treating Robbins, you would think she is a Republican rather than a Democrat.

As was pointed out in the comments, the word may has a different meaning than the words shall and must. But the real kicker is the legislative summary (see here and here) which very clearly states that removing municipal candidates from the ballot is optional. The summary reads that the bill "provides that uncontested municipal offices are not required to appear on the ballot in a municipal or general election."

Obviously, "not required" is very different from "not allowed" for any reasonable person.

Of course, the Herald-Times had access to that language because it was already posted in the comments for an earlier story. Any freshman journalism student at Indiana University - or a high school student, for that matter - could have very easily found the legislation and read the legislative summary. Clearly, the Herald-Times has an agenda, though I cannot imagine why a newspaper would want people to take office without even getting one single vote.

The H-T whines that holding an election in Ellettsville with no contested races "will be an unnecessary expenditure of taxpayers' money." Elections are not a waste of tax money, unless you are an authoritarian who believes people should not have any voice in who represents them. Apparently, that describes the Herald-Times editorial board.

There is also the issue of the the right to vote as protected by the state constitution:

Section 1. All elections shall be free and equal.

Section 2.
    (a) A citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen (18) years of age and who has been a resident of a precinct thirty (30) days immediately preceding an election may vote in that precinct at the election.
    (b) A citizen may not be disenfranchised under subsection (a), if the citizen is entitled to vote in a precinct under subsection (c) or federal law.
    (c) The General Assembly may provide that a citizen who ceases to be a resident of a precinct before an election may vote in a precinct where the citizen previously resided if, on the date of the election, the citizen's name appears on the registration rolls for the precinct.

Source: http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/const/art2.html

The state constitution trumps state law, so any law that allows (much less forces) counties to cancel an election is null and void. County clerks are not permitted to disenfranchise voters. Canceling elections is disenfranchisement.

Game, set, match, H-T. You lose again.

Previously: All candidates should always be on the ballot

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

All candidates should always be on the ballot

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

The Indiana Legislature has decided to make a large number of elected officials illegitimate with an astonishingly stupid law removing the names of unopposed candidates from the ballot.

The good news is that Monroe County Clerk Linda Robbins has decided the county has some wiggle room and is permitted to place unopposed candidates on the ballot. This is a good thing. If this was not an option, it would drastically reduce the confidence of voters in their elected officials. In the upcoming Bloomington city election, Mayor Mark Kruzan, City Clerk Regina Moore and 5 of 6 Democrats running for district seats on the City Council would be "elected" to their positions without getting even one single vote.

But while counties have this option, that is not nearly good enough. What were the legislators in Indianapolis thinking?

I understand that not printing the names of unopposed candidates would save money in areas that use paper ballots, and at a time when many counties are struggling financially saving money is a laudable goal. But is having a mayor, city clerk or city councilor be "elected" to public office without even one single vote really a good idea? Do you think this helps or hurts the relationship between government and citizens?

Much like the Tea Party faction of the GOP, I am a philosophical libertarian. I believe government should be as limited as possible, and that government should spend as little as possible. But I am not an anarchist. Government must exist to provide a basic structure for society, provide basic ground rules for the market, and defend those who cannot defend themselves from predators and criminals.

Paying for elections and making sure that all of the candidates for elective office are on the ballot - whether they have an opponent or not - is a basic function of government that we need to find a way to finance. Even permitting (much less requiring) local government to remove the names of people from the ballot and have them automatically "elected" with absolutely no input from the citizens is a recipe for disaster. This removes the most important transparency we have in government - the right to know who we are electing.

The legislature needs to immediately come back into session and repeal this foolish and anti-democratic law.

0 Comments

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tomorrow...

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:25 PM

The post about removing the names of uncontested candidates from ballots will go up tomorrow instead of Friday. Tune in early tomorrow morning...

0 Comments

Unopposed candidates to be removed from ballots?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 7:45 AM

A story that should be of great interest to everyone in Bloomington: County clerks disagree over whether state law allows elections in uncontested races. Read the story comments too.

Watch ConservaTibbs.com on Friday for my take on this issue.

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Trust in parents isn't the issue. Trust in politicians is.

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

The Indianapolis Star argues for private school vouchers because we should trust the parents of children getting vouchers. I would submit that trusting parents is not the issue. Trusting politicians is the issue, and a reason why supporters of Christian schools should be wary about giving taxpayer money to those schools.

I've said this before in letters to the Star. I trust the parents, but I don't trust the politicians. I do not trust that the fact that private schools get tax money will not be used to force those schools to operate the way the state sees fit. Will Christian schools be forced to hire atheists, homosexuals or Muslims as teachers? Will Christian schools be forced to eliminate Bible classes and chapel services, or use secular science textbooks that focus on evolution?

This is not to say I agree with all of the arguments of voucher opponents.

I do not see a problem with the constitutionality of vouchers. The question is whether the money is used for the benefit of religious institutions (as prohibited in Article 1 Section 6) or whether the state is simply subcontracting work to the private sector - as the state did with the lease of the Indiana Toll Road. Simply subcontracting education to the private sector without discriminating on the basis of religion is not a violation of the state constitution, in my opinion.

Furthermore, as the Star points out, the predictions of dire financial consequences to government schools are a little overblown. There are many legitimate questions about whether government schools need as much money as they get, in any case.

The primary reason conservatives should oppose vouchers is because of the potential for government interference in private schools. Twenty years ago, I began my senior year at Grace Baptist Academy in Angola, Indiana. I am very thankful for this experience and I do not want to see today's students lose the opportunities I had through meddling by politicians. If Christians want to see more students in Christian schools, then private scholarships are the answer - not the narcotic of government money.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Replace Smith-Ille on Monroe County Election Board

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

Note: A correction and a clarification to this LTTE. I made an error regarding the satellite voting sites reducing cost. They don't. I regret the error. To clarify, the proper terminology is "satellite voting sites" instead of "vote centers" but that's really a distinction without a difference. Even the newspaper called them vote centers last fall. I should have called them "satellite voting centers."

Printed in the Herald-Times, August 19, 2011

To the editor:

The missed opportunity for vote centers in the 2011 election provides a chance to revisit last year's debacle, when Republican Election Board appointee Judith Smith-Ille blocked vote centers for the 2010 election.

Her obstructionism was motivated by shortsighted and counterproductive partisan politics, not policy. Smith-Ille explained that ex-Congressman Baron Hill supported vote centers because he wanted "extra votes." (H-T, 9/21/2010)

This is wrong. Republicans should support making voting easier and expanding the voter base. Vote centers will allow county government to save a significant amount of money and will make it easier for people to participate in democracy.

This position is also politically short-sighted. If Republican candidates are to have a chance of winning, we need to reduce the Democrats' margin of victory among IU students. How can Republicans expect students to vote for our candidates when we are telling them we don't want them to vote at all? Republicans should be providing a positive vision to get students to vote Republican in local elections.

It is time for Republicans to break with the counterproductive obstructionism of the past. New GOP chairman Steve Hogan should remove Smith-Ille from the Election Board and replace her with someone who supports vote centers.

0 Comments

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Genocide in America

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 10:00 AM

Source: Maafa21.com

0 Comments

Friday, August 19, 2011

Monthly Archives partially restored

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:00 AM

OK, I know I said I wasn't going to restore the monthly archives. I changed my mind. The monthly archives are partially restored to January 2011. I plan on working on restoring all of 2010 as well, though that will take a little longer. Unfortunately, the old comments are gone.

0 Comments

Big government Republicans and private property rights

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

In an era where Republicans are re-energized by limited government ideology, why are Republicans in the Indiana Legislature even considering a statewide smoking ban?

Last November, the Tea Party movement energized conservatives with the message that we need government out of our lives and out of our wallets. This surge of conservative ideology resulted in Republican gains across the ballot, from the federal level (where the Republicans won 60 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and a handful of seats in the U.S. Senate) to the state level, where Republicans gained several hundred seats in state legislatures.

We saw the impact of this conservative ascendency in Indiana. In the aftermath of 2010, Republicans control 60 of 100 seats in the Indiana House and 37 of 50 seats in the Indiana Senate to go along with the Republican governor elected two years earlier with a huge majority of the vote.

So with the Republican gains brought about by Tea Party conservatives to the point that we have supermajorities in both houses, why is it possible that we could see a significant expansion in state government that restricts the freedom to run a business as the owner chooses, individual choices of customers and private property rights?

Welcome to the Bubble Wrap Caucus, circa 2011. Mitch Daniels said last weekend that (despite supermajorities of what should be the party of limited government in both chambers) we could see a statewide ban on smoking in "public places" pass in the 2012 legislative session. Democrat Charlie Brown of Gary promised to introduce it again next session, after it failed this year due to being bogged down by exceptions.

Is this really necessary, given that we are seeing businesses voluntarily ban smoking to draw in more nonsmoking customers? More importantly, does the Republican Party really want to be identified as the party that tells businesses they may not allow a customer to choose to use a legal product on their property? Does the conservative party really want to be micromanaging how Hoosier businesses are run, even in this small way?

This is simply wrong. Government should respect private property rights and the choice of business owners to operate their business as they see fit. The dangers of smoking are well known by now, so people can freely choose to avoid patronizing (or working for) an establishment that permits smoking. If this ban were passed a decade ago, when a Democrat was governor and when Democrats controlled the House, this would have been bad enough. But for this to pass under Republican super-majorities adds insult to injury.

The message of 2010 could not be clearer: Leave us alone. Did Hoosier Republicans miss that memo?

0 Comments

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Abortion, state sovereignty and the Tenth Amendment

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will He not repay everyone according to what they have done? -- Proverbs 24:11-12

If one of the states decided that random lynchings should be legal, would the Tea Party movement suggest that the federal government refrain from interfering on the basis of respecting the Tenth Amendment?

Of course not. While states have wide latitude to government their own affairs under the Tenth amendment, they are not permitted to infringe on the basic right to equal protection under the law, not to mention basic human rights. While the Tea Party movement has been a strong advocate for a limited federal government and more state sovereignty, virtually no one in that movement would argue the states should have the right to allow random lynchings.

In fact, this nation decided after the War Between the States that slavery was enough of a violation of basic human rights that it needed to be banned federally, and the 13th Amendment was ratified to eliminate this evil institution.

This is the principle, then, that makes it silly for Leftists to suggest that a federal ban on abortion is somehow inconsistent with the Tenth Amendment advocacy. The Los Angeles Times tried to raise this issue and suggest that the Tea Party movement is somehow in conflict with social conservatives over issues like abortion and homosexual marriage. Never mind that many people in the Tea Party movement are socially conservative themselves.

The real issue is not the Tenth Amendment. The real issue is the humanity (or lack thereof) of the fetus. If the fetus is an "unviable tissue mass" there is no moral issue with removing it. In that case, there is no justification for a federal ban on abortion - or any state ban, for that matter. Women should be allowed to do with their bodies as they see fit.

But that's not the case, is it? We know what abortion is and we know what abortion does. We know that what is growing inside the mother's womb is a human being. That human being is at a different stage of development than those who have been born, (although as the line of viability has moved backward, that is less true today than in decades past) and that human being deserves the same legal protections that born human beings take for granted. Chief among those protections is making it illegal to kill that person.

Banning abortion at the federal level is not in conflict with the Tenth Amendment and is certainly not in conflict with civil liberties. It is the basic responsibility of government to protect those who cannot protect themselves from those who would harm them. If the states shirk that responsibility and allow the unborn to be murdered, the federal government has a God-given mandate to step in and protect the most vulnerable among us.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Free speech and the Internet

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

Should people be allowed to make death threats in the comments on Facebook fan pages? That's the question WebProNews asked last week when extremists were saying members of American Atheists should be killed for opposing display of the "Ground Zero Cross" in a museum.

It is true that the threats didn't target a specific person, though staff and volunteers of AA would be right to be concerned about their safety. Whether these threats crossed a legal line and can be prosecuted isn't a question I can answer.

As far as whether the comments should stay on Facebook, the answer is no. It is likely that Fox News staff were working to delete the comments on the fan page, and if they didn't Facebook would be well within their rights to remove the content. The primary responsibility for removing such content, however, rests with the fan page administrator. With the huge number of people on Facebook, they can't be expected to police the comments on every fan page.

Facebook is not under a legal obligation to remove offensive posts and is not legally liable for those posts, because federal law is clear that interactive content providers are not responsible for what is posted on their sites. Depending on how the Terms of Service are written, I could see how an interactive content provider can be sued for breach of contract for not deleting offensive posts, especially on a site with paid subscriptions.

However, interactive content providers should take down offensive content on their own. Fox News was right to remove the death threats from their Facebook fan page. While free-flowing and often heated debate is important and healthy, moderators and administrators should have a set of guidelines - whether it be for a blog, a forum, or a Facebook fan page. For comments on ConservaTibbs.com, I have a few rules, including no obscenity. Different administrators have different ideas about what should be permitted, but there should be boundaries.

It was interesting that anonymity was brought up in this discussion. After all, the comments that were captured and posted to WebProNews and the AA site had a first and last name attached to them. I see no reason to believe that those are not the commenters' real names. But there's no question that (recognizing that politics has always been a blood sport) anonymity has greatly coarsened political discourse in this nation.

The bottom line is that a forum, blog comment section or Facebook fan page is only as good as the moderators and administrators maintaining it. If the moderators and administrators set no rules - or worse, if they are trolls themselves - legitimate discussion of issues and events is impossible.

0 Comments

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The problem is spending, not revenue

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

In the debate over raising the debt ceiling, President Obama talked a lot about "shared sacrifice" and a "balanced approach" to balancing the budget. What this demonstrates is that Barack Obama either does not understand the federal budget after two and a half years in office or, worse, that he is a collectivist who believes that all money belongs to Washington.

Arguments that we cannot expect those who get government benefits to "bear the burden" of the deficit while the rich do not pay their "fair share" ignores the fundamental distinction between the two. The first group is paid by the government. The second group helps fund the government. You simply cannot honestly talk about "shared sacrifice" when you are taking money from one group to give to another.

That is, unless you believe that all money belongs to Washington. More on that later.

First, can we finally lay to rest the notion that the rich do not pay their fair share of income taxes? According to the National Taxpayers Union, the top 1% of wage earners paid 38% of federal personal income tax in 2008. The top 5% paid 58.7% of federal personal income tax that same year. Obviously, the rich do pay their "fair share."

But Barack Obama talks about how lower tax rates are "generous" to the rich. How can this be, Mr. President? When someone earns money, how is the government being "generous" to take less of that person's earnings by force? Are muggers "generous" when they don't take all of the money in someone's wallet?

This suggests that Obama believes that all money automatically belongs to Washington and whatever we are allowed to keep of the money we earn is Washington's gift to us. This collectivist mentality is at odds with traditional American values of limited government and individual liberty.

The problem is not that we are taxing too little. The problem is that we are spending too much. According to the historical tables published by the White House, federal tax revenues in 2001 were $1.99 trillion. Seven years later, federal tax revenues were $2.52 trillion, after a temporary dip.

Government spending, however, has increased dramatically. We were spending $1.86 trillion in 2001. By 2008, that had jumped to $2.98 trillion. That exploded to $3.51 trillion in 2009. In 2011, we will spend an estimated $3.82 trillion.

We are on a course that is simply not sustainable, folks. Obama needs to recognize that we cannot simply take more revenue out of the economy to finance his spending. It is irresponsible to pretend that we can solve this problem without deep and drastic cuts in spending - not spread out over ten years (which is a sham) but immediately.

0 Comments

Monday, August 15, 2011

No, we cannot all just get along!

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

If an elected Congressman or Senator believes that a policy would be harmful to the nation, why should that legislator be expected to "compromise" for the sake of "getting things done" and ending "partisan gridlock" in Washington? Should the goal of "getting things done" be the reason to implement destructive policies?

This is one of the things that drives me crazy about the mainstream media's coverage of political debates in Washington. All we hear from the mainstream media is "can't we all get along?" No, we can't base our public policy on Rodney King's words during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

Republicans believe that Policy X is necessary in order to ensure the economic and financial solvency of the United States. They believe Policy Y, supported by Democrats, would be destructive to our future economic and financial solvency. Why should Republicans compromise with Democrats and implement part of Policy Y for the sole purpose of "getting things done" when they believe that Policy Y is destructive?

The same question could be asked for Democrats, with X and Y reversed.

I have intentionally avoided mentioning any specific policy because the point of this post is not about policy. This is about honest reporting. This is about the news media behaving as adults. The news media bemoans the idea that the political parties cannot "get things done" and cannot "work together" to solve problems, but the media dishonestly ignores the fact that there are very real philosophical differences between the parties and very real differences about what policies each party believes is helpful and harmful.

I expect my elected Congressman and Senators to work for what they believe is best for the nation, not to "compromise" for the sake of ending the dreaded "partisan gridlock." Frankly, I would much rather see partisan gridlock than destructive policy, because doing something harmful is worse than doing nothing at all. If I disagree with the policies advanced by my representatives I will vote against them.

I have much more respect for an elected official who sticks to his principles than one who compromises his beliefs for the sake of "getting things done" - even if I vehemently disagree with the policies of that elected official.

One of the reasons most people are disgusted with Washington is because of the news media's lazy "reporting" on national politics. The mainstream media would do the nation a great service by focusing on policies, the impacts of those policies and the reasons for elected officials to support those policies instead of simply whining that the two sides cannot come together and get things done.

But then again, that would require actual work and analysis. Lazy "reporting" is much easier.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Kennedy Countdown

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 10:00 AM

Only 1,238 more days until Monroe County Sheriff Jim Kennedy is out of office.

What a wonderful day that will be!

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Friday, August 12, 2011

The wrong race at the wrong time for Mike Delph

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

When Mike Delph told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that he was considering challenging Richard Lugar in the 2012 Republican primary, the Lugar campaign must have been doing cartwheels for joy.

I have a great deal of respect for Delph. He is a solid fiscal and social conservative and would provide another much-needed voice of sanity to the debate in Washington, D.C. over the Obama administration's reckless and irresponsible deficit spending. I have been involved in the anti-abortion movement since my days as a college student in the 1990's, so Delph's commitment to opposing abortion is something I admire.

But let's be realistic here. If Delph jumps into the U.S. Senate primary, the best he can hope for is to be a spoiler. Richard Mourdock is already in the race and has been actively campaigning for the last 6 months. He has raised impressive amounts of money for someone challenging an entrenched incumbent, and as Scott Fluhr pointed out he is already leading Lugar in a poll by the Club for Growth.

But all of that changes if Delph makes this a three-way race. If the conservative vote is split between two credible challengers, Lugar is virtually assured of another half-dozen years in Washington. We saw this in 1998, when Peter Rusthoven and John Price split the conservative vote and allowed Paul Helmke to squeak past both on the way to a crushing loss to Evan Bayh. We saw this in 2010, when John Hostettler and Marlin Stutzman split the conservative vote and allowed Dan Coats to return to the Senate after an absence of 12 years.

Mourdock is a credible challenger and can defeat Lugar in a one-on-one contest. Mourdock has proven he can win statewide, having been elected Treasurer of State in 2006 and cruising to a dominating re-election win in 2010 with over 60% of the vote. Some of the conservative upstarts in 2010 were criticized by the Republican establishment as being unable to win a general election campaign, but that can't be said of Mourdock. His record and resume are proven.

I respect Delph's desire to have a positive impact in Washington, but that ship has sailed. If Delph jumps in the race and causes Lugar to win, there are conservatives who will remember this and Delph's ability to get support for future runs for elective office will be damaged. Delph needs to sit this one out and wait for another opportunity. One possibility is running for the U.S. Senate in 2016 if Coats retires, or even challenging Coats in a primary if he does not have a conservative voting record in this term. Running against Lugar and Mourdock is the wrong race at the wrong time.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Boards and commissions hiding from the public

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

If the city of Bloomington is interested in expanding public participation in government, why do so many of their boards and commissions meet during the work day?

The city of Bloomington has a number of boards and commissions, and several of those meet after the traditional work day is complete to allow citizens the opportunity to attend their meetings. But that is unfortunately not the case for several key boards and commissions. The following is a partial list of meeting times for city government's boards and commissions, all taking place during the normal work day:

  • Utilities Service Board - 5:00 pm
  • MPO Technical Advisory Committee - 1:30 pm
  • MPO Policy Committee - 1:30 pm
  • Housing Trust Fund Board of Directors - 3:30 pm
  • Commission on the Status of Black Males - 4:15 pm
  • Board of Park Commissioners - 4 pm
  • Board of Housing Quality Appeals - 4 pm
  • Historic Preservation Commission - 4 pm

In addition to the list above, the city's Economic Development Commission has held meetings at various times throughout the day (which is problematic in and of itself) and many of those meetings are between 8 and 5.

Bloomington city government is, for the most part, superior to Monroe County government in terms of public access. For years, the county council (under the control of both Republicans and Democrats) held their meetings at 4:30 pm, before most people get off work. The council recently made their meetings more open by moving the start time to an hour later.

The county commissioners continue to hide their meetings at 9 am on Fridays when most people have to be at work. This has been the case when the commissioners were controlled by both Democrats and Republicans.

By contrast, the Bloomington city council has held their meetings at 7:30 pm for many years, as far back as I can remember.

But it should be clear that more can be done to make city government more accessible to the general public. This includes moving all meetings of the various boards and commissions to at least 5:30 pm, both to allow members of the public to attend and also to allow the general public to serve on those boards and commissions without worrying about rearranging their work schedule around the meetings - something that simply is not possible for the average employee.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Moving to a monthly archive

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:47 PM

I figure I owe my readers an explanation for wiping the blog clean.

I ran into some problems yesterday with the blog layout. First, the byline and date were running together. When I tried to fix it, Blogger somehow deleted all of the comments on the posts and messed up the format of new Disqus comments. Then, I couldn't get Disqus to go back to the correct login format. This was more than a little frustrating.

I don't even know what the problem was, much less how to fix it. So rather than try to clean all of this up, I wiped the entire archive hosted on Google's Blogger and went with a completely "new" blog with a clean template. From this point forward, all of the individual post pages will be on the the home page and will be linked from the blog. ConservaTibbs.com will be a monthly archive of all new posts. Comments are still enabled, but only for new posts. Comments will use Blogger's native comment system and will be in their own page.

I looked into hosting the blog on WordPress.com but I am not familiar with WP and I'm not up to learning a completely new platform, especially on short notice.

The comments may be gone, but all of the archives back to 1997 are on the home page, as before. Unfortunately, a large number of links to posts on ConservaTibbs.com are now broken.

Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

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Reformatting the blog

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 6:55 AM

After the many problems I had with the previous version of this blog, I have decided to change the format. The archives here will be monthly, while all the post pages will be on the home page. Comments will be on a separate page. Older posts will be added shortly.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

The crisis in Somalia is not a famine. It is genocide.

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

When the Allies liberated Nazi concentration camps in Europe, scores of emaciated Jews and other persecuted groups were found, along with bodies of those killed by the Nazi war criminals. These people were walking skeletons barely clinging to life, but not because there was not enough food. The evil Nazi regime was murdering people by starvation. The world was shocked to see these images and how evil and cruel man can be.

The humanitarian crisis in Somalia began as a famine, but it has now ceased to be a famine. It is genocide. Muslim terrorists are intentionally blocking aid groups from delivering food to people in desperate need of it. For more, see recent stories in the Washington Post, CNN.com and the BBC's website.

Generally, comparisons to Nazi Germany are frowned upon. Because what the Nazis did was so unspeakably evil, we should be careful to not water down the term by using it recklessly. But the horrific war crimes being committed by Muslim terrorists in Somalia are no different than the unspeakable atrocities committed by the Nazis. Words simply cannot describe how evil these terrorists are.

Back in 1992, President George H. W. Bush sent the military into Somalia to stop another act of genocide. In response, evil terrorists slaughtered American troops in what is now known as the Mogadishu Massacre, prompting the US to leave the battered country. These monsters dragged the corpses of American soldiers through the streets of Mogadishu, gloating about their war crimes on worldwide television.

I do not believe we should have ever been in Somalia to begin with. But once we were there, withdrawing in the face of these modern Nazis was a terrible mistake. By showing weakness, we encouraged Muslim terrorists to strike at us. Osama bin Laden himself mocked our weakness, demonstrating that the road to September 11 goes through Mogadishu. Today, Somali pirates terrorize ships near the horn of Africa, feeling invincible.

Generally, I am not in favor of using the military for humanitarian ends. But given the fact that our enemies in Al-Qaeda are very active in Somalia and given the threat to Western ships from Somali pirates, it may be time to consider going back to Somalia to put an end to the genocide being committed by these modern Nazis. But we must never treat genocidal Muslim terrorists as legitimate. If we go in, we have to treat this as a war, and the genocidal terrorists should be expected to surrender or be exterminated.

And as a special bonus, we can look to get a little payback for the Mogadishu Massacre.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Perry Township Board discusses how to use vacated space

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

The Perry Township Board decided to open up space vacated by My Sister's Closet on Wednesday night to other community organizations that may be interested in the space instead of giving it to My Brother's Closet.

The Monroe County council and commissioners and the Bloomington City Council get much more attention, but township government generally does not get a great deal of attention by the local media. Since I live in Perry Township, I wanted to find out more about how my tax dollars are being spent. I actually ran for Bloomington Township Board in 2006 and was steamrolled by the Democrats, crushed by a margin of more than 2 to 1.

First, the meeting time could be improved. Holding a meeting at 5:15 makes it difficult for many average citizens to go to the meeting if they get off work at 5, especially if their workplace is on the east or west side of town. A 5:30 start time would be an improvement, and 6:00 would be better.

The first item on the agenda involved a decision on what to do with space being vacated by My Sister's Closet which provides free or low-cost clothing to poor women. They wanted to use the space for an expansion of their mission, a men's clothing mission called My Brother's Closet.

Board members Barb Sturbaum and Susie Hamilton wanted to give the space to My Brother's Closet, but trustee Dan Combs and board member Jack Davis wanted to open it up to others. Combs pointed out that the contract for the space was specifically for the sale or donation of women's clothing. It was decided that the township will take proposals from other charitable organizations in addition to My Brother's Closet in order to provide a wider opportunity for use of the space. Combs said two organizations had inquired about using space.

There will be a meeting on September 7 to make a decision about use of the space.

The township is also looking at options to renovate the space vacated by the Community Kitchen of Monroe County for use as a shelter. It has not yet been decided what organization will run the shelter or what the rules will be - for example, if it will have more strict rules or if it will be a "low barrier" shelter.

In other business, the board discussed what improvements can be made in the security cameras, since the building got "tagged" and the vandal was not caught by the security camera. The problem is that traffic from Walnut Street activates the motion sensor and the hard drive had filled up. The cameras may be upgraded in 2012.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Bible's central role in the Christian faith

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

Last month, I pointed out that you cannot argue Christian doctrine without the Bible. Why is this so important? Primarily, the Bible is critical because without an objective set of standards, we are left to the whims of sinful men for how to practice our faith. History shows us this can be incredibly destructive, from the Inquisition to modern cults where a single person rules without question, such as the Branch Davidian cult.

We see throughout the New Testament that it is critical to be faithful to Scripture. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for not knowing Scripture in Matthew 21:42 and Matthew 22:29. Keep in mind that these were the people who were supposed to know Scripture better than anyone. That would be like Jesus rebuking seminary professors today.

Submission to Scripture is key in preventing abuse of power by sinful men. While the law of God is perfect, men are sinners. Jeremiah 17:9 teaches that the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked. Even the early Christians were described as "noble" in Acts 17:10-12 because they searched the Scriptures to confirm that what the Apostles were teaching was true. How many Christians today can say the same thing when they listen to sermons?

Now, this is where we as Americans fall into our own heresy, in that we deny the authority of the church, and the authority of specific men set apart by God as elders and pastors. If you read the New Testament, the context of worship is never "me and Jesus." It is always within the context of a church with flesh and blood pastors and elders - not a video screen or MP3 files. We hate authority, especially within the church. But we should remember that God could have had us taught directly by angels rather than sinful men, and He instead chose to have us taught by sinners.

So, we are to strike a balance. We should seek out churches where the pastors and elders are in submission to the authority of scripture, and then submit cheerfully to the authority of those pastors and elders.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

When heat advisories become irresponsible

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

It is hot outside. Did you know it is hot outside? Well, it is hot outside! In case you don't realize that it is hot outside the moment you walk out your door, the Herald-Times will remind you three times a day if you subscribe to the newspaper's "severe weather alerts" e-mail list.

I am in no way diminishing the importance of alerts like this. It is a good thing to warn people about the dangers of the heat. People can become overheated very quickly and may not even realize they are too hot. It is critical that children, pets and the elderly be protected from this heat. People who leave pets in hot cars during this weather are depraved monsters, and I cannot describe people who leave children in hot cars without using obscenities.

That having been said, the H-T is quickly becoming the boy who cried wolf here. The severe weather alerts are devalued when you get three warnings every day about how hot it is outside when it has been dangerously hot for a couple weeks. I stopped reading the severe weather alerts because I already know it is hot outside and I do not need to be reminded again.

But what happens if there is a severe thunderstorm coming, especially one capable of producing one or more tornadoes? I will not be notified of the impending severe weather because I will delete the severe weather alert without reading it.

Clearly, the H-T needs to modify its approach on these email alerts. One possible solution is to change the subject line on the heat advisories to indicate it is a heat advisory, while reserving the "severe weather alert" line for other inclement weather such as severe thunderstorms, flash flooding or tornadoes. But this is quickly becoming a joke, and the service is too valuable to allow that to happen.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Michelle Bachmann's legislative accomplishments

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

A number of conservatives have been taking potshots at Michelle Bachmann for her lack of legislative accomplishments.

I don't see how it's productive for Republicans to simply attack Republicans, especially when those Republicans have consistently strong conservative voting records - which is the case with Bachmann. This is not someone who runs a booth at the county fair alongside a Democrat (as former Republican state representative Jerry Bales did in the 1990's) or campaigns for Democrats, or votes with Democrats the majority of the time. Bachman is not Alan Simpson, who took a completely unprovoked shot at the Republican base a few months ago.

Bachmann was first elected to Congress in 2006, so shaming her for a lack of legislative accomplishments simply ignores the structural realities of Congress. When Bachmann took office, Nancy Pelosi was the Speaker of the House. In Bachmann's second term, the Democrats had a supermajority in the House. Can anyone really expect any conservative Republican to have a chance of getting any legislation through the House in that environment?

Even in the last 6 months with Republicans in charge, you have a Democratic Senate and a Democratic President with a veto pen if you by some miracle you manage to get legislation through the Senate. That is still not a favorable atmosphere for putting together a string of legislative accomplishments.

What were Obama's accomplishments before becoming President? I can tell you what his accomplishments have been since then: The destruction of the US economy, a jobs-killing health care bill, attempting to pass cap & trade, and causing the budget deficit and national debt to skyrocket with his reckless and irresponsible spending. And that's just to start. I would vote for any Republican currently in the field over Obama in a heartbeat. (Except for Fred Karger and Gary Johnson.)

Can any Republican honestly tell me that any of the credible Republicans in the field would not be a dramatic improvement over Obama? At this point, Jimmy Carter would be an improvement.

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