Here is an excellent observation about seat belt laws:
If a seat-belt violation causes a low-income man to be pulled over, searched, fined and fined again for nonpayment, then results in a suspended license, and then arrest and incarceration for driving on a suspended license, the state is no longer protecting him — it's ruining him.
The "christians" who condemn Bill Clinton's adultery and womanizing and yet give Donald Trump a pass on the same issue are utterly disgusting and bring shame upon the name of Jesus Christ. I have no patience for hyper-partisan hypocrites who place party loyalty over their faith in their Savior.
I am so sick of the "pragmatic" argument for stopping Hillary Clinton from becoming President at any cost that I literally want to vomit. I see this all the time from "conservatives" who justify voting for any Republican, no matter how flawed and no matter what his ideology, just to oppose Mrs. Clinton.
A friend of mine on Facebook described the argument like this:
This is the statement of someone who has intellectually and morally checked out. This sort of cynical and supposedly pragmatic thinking has left the Republican Party in shambles, with no real leadership or discernible reason for being.
The argument goes something like this:
"Oh, well, I know this Republican is a pro-abortion extremist who defends partial-birth abortion, and he has a long history of being anti-gun, and he is for same-sex marriage, and he openly praises Communist butchers and murderers, and he brags about his plans to murder innocent people including women and children, and he wants to strictly limit free speech."
"I know he is also a nasty, foul-mouthed bully, and he is a thin-skinned crybaby who throws a temper tantrum any time he gets even mild criticism, and he donated $50,000 to Rahm Emanuel and tens of thousands more to other far-Left Democrats, and he praised ObamaCare, and he has repeatedly abandoned his wives for younger women. However, he is just a shade better than Hillary Clinton so I will vote for him. Any Republican is better than a Democrat!"
This is not just a case where someone has sold out his principles. No, this is much worse both in this life and eternally, and someone has to say it. This is idolatry, and it is shocking and disgusting to see self-proclaimed Christians making this argument. This is making the Republican Party into a god, and I have no patience for it. The Republican Party is not god. Jesus Christ is God and we know from 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 that if you worship anything else you worship demons. Repent!
People love to complain about "partisanship" and the resulting inability to "get things done" but I do not think many of them realize what they are saying or asking for when they complain about it. In fact, "partisanship" is a good thing, and should be applauded. The inability to "get things done" is actually a feature built into the Constitution, not a flaw in the document.
Of course, I am not defending pure partisanship and the slavish devotion to a particular party that comes along with it. I am a Republican, and political alliances are necessary in order to operate effectively in our political system. But few things frustrate me more than double standards and hypocrisy. It is thoroughly disgusting to see Republicans condemn Democrats for doing something and then either defending or even applauding Republicans for doing the exact same thing. This, of course, works both ways.
No, what I am actually talking about is principle, which is why "partisanship" is in quotes above. People of good faith can disagree on policy out of principle, rather than the need to defend a particular clique. Many times, the end goal for two sides might be different, but even people with the same end goal might disagree on how to get there. Conservatives and liberals largely agree that it is good public policy to reduce childhood obesity, for example, but conservatives would not favor action by the federal government to achieve that goal.
There is a reason that the Constitution broke the legislative branch into a higher and lower chamber, and gave the President veto power that can only be overridden after meeting the high supermajority hurdle. Treaties must be approved by a supermajority as well. There is a reason that Supreme Court justices must be approved by the Senate, instead of giving the President authority to do as he pleases. The legislative process was always intended to be slow and deliberate. We have seen what happens when things are rushed through, from the significant expansion of federal power in the so-called "Patriot Act" to the debacle of ObamaCare.
More importantly, there is a reason that power was originally designed to be split between the sovereign states and a very limited federal government!
Instead of condemning "partisanship" (more often principled opposition or legitimate disagreement) we should be thankful for it. "Partisanship" has often restrained the urge to "do something" that would have been ineffective, counterproductive or even destructive. "Partisanship" helps cool the passion to "do something" in the heat of the moment without thinking it through. "Partisanship" is one of the most important tools we have to defend our liberty, and it has worked to protect us when practiced by both Republicans and Democrats.
Here are two short thoughts on two different issues.
Back in 2001, I said that "cutting or reducing the rate of growth in (government social programs) does not actually take money from the poor." The second part of that statement is obviously true on its face. Reducing the rate of growth is not a cut - the amount of spending is still increasing, though it is increasing by a smaller amount.
But even if you actually did cut benefits, it would not actively take away anything. This is because social welfare spending is by definition something that is not earned. It is something given to beneficiaries. They are still getting a benefit, they are just getting a smaller one. That clearly does not take away money the poor already have.at.
Laws that work
Is it intellectually inconsistent for gun-rights advocates to argue that gun laws do not keep criminals from getting guns, but support laws that attempt to make voter fraud illegal or criminalize things like murder and rape? The distinction we need to think about here is a morally neutral activity like owning guns or buying pseudoephedrine is very different from an activity we want to eliminate or at least greatly reduce.
Murder, rape and voter fraud are things that are wrong on their face. While no law will ever eliminate crime, we make these things illegal anyway because we recognize they are wrong and do our best to minimize the behavior.
Buying guns or pseudoephedrine are morally neutral activities. Laws restricting the right to own guns or buy pseudoephedrine will not keep criminals from getting guns illegally or manufacturing meth, but will restrict the liberty of law abiding citizens. That is what is unacceptable about unreasonable restrictions on both.
The case of Robert and Addie Harte is completely outrageous. The family was terrorized by a SWAT raid despite the fact that the "probable cause" for the raid was flimsy at best. (Radley Balko has written extensively about this case.) But the raid would have been completely outrageous even if they were guilty.
The police mistook loose-leaf tea for marijuana, and raided the Hartes' home in an April 20 publicity stunt. For the sake of argument, let's assume that the Hartes were actually growing marijuana. (They were not, of course.) Was a paramilitary SWAT raid, complete with a battering ram to knock down the door if the Hartes did not answer, a prudent use of police power? No, it was not - and that should be obvious to everyone.
The purpose of SWAT is to go in with overwhelming force to deal with high-risk situations that are too dangerous for traditional police tactics. These include things such as terrorist attacks, barricaded suspects, active shooters and hostage situations. But these situations are rare. SWAT teams are increasingly used on non-violent suspects, and often create violence. One such case was a 92 year old woman in Atlanta who thought she was the victim of a home invasion and was gunned down by SWAT officers.
The Hartes had no history of violent crime. There was no need or justification for a SWAT raid. The police could have showed up unannounced with a search warrant and went through the house. A traditional search warrant would have been much less traumatic and would not have carried the potential for violence. The real question here should not be whether the search warrant was justified. The real question here is why the police are conducting paramilitary raids on suspects with no history of violence instead of simply serving a search warrant.
No, I am not running for office this year. I will, however, be on the ballot in the May 3 Republican primary election.
I filed my papers last week to run for state convention delegate. The state convention delegates will vote on the state party's platform and we will also choose the Republican nominees for attorney general, superintendent of public instruction and lieutenant governor. So while Republican primary voters do not get to choose the candidates for those offices directly, the voters to get to choose indirectly by choosing state convention delegates.
A little about myself. I have been a Republican activist for twenty years, starting with the IU College Republicans in 1995 and multiple election cycles since then. I am the incumbent Republican precinct committeeman in Perry 5, having won elections in 2008 and a close three-way contest in 2012. I ran for Bloomington Township Board in 2006 and I ran for an at-large seat on the Bloomington City Council last year. I have been an active writer, promoting conservative values in the public square for two decades.
It is important that we elect conservative delegates to the state convention because of current pressures on the party to compromise conservative values. It is especially disappointing to see this with Republican supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature. Because delegates vote on the party platform, Republican primary voters can have a voice on that process by electing conservative state convention delegates.
If you live in Perry Township, I will be on your ballot in the May 3 primary election. I humbly ask for your vote.
With the release of The Force Awakens, I have decided to go back and watch the first six Star Wars movies in the order they were released. I have made it through Episode IV and Episode V thus far. I am going to be posting some observations as I go through the movies. Here are my thoughts on the first two:
The first thing I noticed is that the Stormtroopers are actually formidable, described by Ben Kenobi as good shots and very precise - their shots were much too precise for Sandpeople. They were put over strong, not like the jokes they became later on. They overwhelmed the rebels in the opening scene.
I also found it interesting that the first two characters with speaking lines we see are droids. We spend a lot of time with R2-D2 and C-3PO before the story moves along to the main characters. If I had never seen this before and knew nothing about the story I would think the droids were going to be our main characters.
The Empire Strikes Back
Just like the first one, the Stormtroopers are put over strong. They were not hapless losers, and Lando had to resort to deception to beat them. Lando only stopped the Stormtroopers when he "betrayed" and ambushed them.
The Imperial Walkers are still awesome, though I am not sure why blasters that could not dent the armor when they were standing could destroy an AT-AT with one shot after it fell down. Maybe the fall opened a crack in the armor?
What is the big deal about Han Solo leaving the rebels? Who is to say Han will not come back to the Rebellion after he pays off Jabba the Hut? He seems to be committed to the cause, but having bounty hunters chase him is a pretty big distraction to doing his job. This is not him taking his money and running like he did in the first movie, this is him trying to get a death mark off his head.
Luke's fight with Darth Vader starts off with the two fairly evenly matched even, but only because Vader is toying with Luke. Vader only has one hand on his lightsaber, easily fending off Luke, who uses both hands. When Vader puts both hands on his lightsaber, the fight is over pretty quickly. It is also interesting that it is Luke (not Vader) who strikes first, just like in the first movie when Ben Kenobi strikes first.
It is utterly disgusting and repulsive for someone to mock the pain of those who have suffered miscarriages, but we see this on a regular basis from Leftists who think they are making some sort of "clever" point about abortion rights. It is not clever. Mocking people's pain is sick, depraved, perverted and evil and anyone who engages in this demonic behavior should be condemned by all decent supporters of abortion "rights" and then shamed into silence.
These trolls present their so-called "argument" in the form of a question: "Do you have funerals for miscarriages?" The so-called "point" they are trying to make is that abortion opponents do not really believe that an unborn baby is the same as a baby who has been born, and if we did we would have funerals whenever there is a miscarriage. Setting aside the fact that I personally know people who have had memorial services for their miscarried or stillborn babies, the so-called "question" rests on a flawed premise steeped in arrogance and ignorance.
Different cultures mourn their dead in different ways. Some cultures cremate their dead and some cultures bury their dead. The burial and cremation procedures vary wildly across and even within cultures. We saw with the Ebola epidemic a couple years ago how the fact that west Africa has different burial practices than east Africa contributed to the spread of the disease. In our culture, we generally do not have funerals for miscarriages, although some do. That is not right or wrong - it is simply the way our culture operates.
I would never presume to judge someone because they might mourn their dead in a way I personally would not, and I have no right to do so. I do know that the pain of losing a baby is real and it is heartbreaking, because I have had friends and family who have experienced that pain. How they choose to mourn that loss is their business, and we should support them and help them through their grief and pain.
It is sick depraved, perverted, demonic and evil to condemn as hypocrites those who do not follow the exact same procedure for mourning a miscarried baby as for mourning a two year old. The loss of a child is a deeply personal, matter, and making that grief and that mourning process into a political cudgel so you can make some sort of satanic "argument" demonstrates the person asking the so-called "question" to be a sub-human puddle of slime and filth who is not worthy of anything other than disgust, disdain and scorn. This should not be a political issue and those who make it so should be silenced.
Followers of Jesus Christ should be on guard against and praying for God to protect us from the love of money. Given how incredibly wealthy we are as Americans, it should shake us to the core when we read Jesus explaining that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven.
Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for more than 40 years.
Yes, this is true, and slavery was the law of the land for more than twice that long. (The difference is that slavery was explicitly allowed in the Constitution while the "right" to abortion was fabricated by the Supreme Court in 1973.) It was evil to allow slavery, just as it is now evil for over one million babies to be slaughtered every year with those acts of murder protected by the federal government. The fact that something is the "law of the land" does not mean it should stay that way and certainly does not make it just.
It is also true that abortion was practiced before it was legalized, but there are a lot of things that are illegal now that are still practiced. Should we eliminate all laws? No, that would be silly. Furthermore, the number of illegal abortions performed before Roe v. Wade (and the number of mothers who died from those illegal abortions) is highlydisputed and NARAL founder Bernard Nathanson admitted he knew those numbers were "totally false."
As I knew would happen (because this stupidity is always brought up) another commenter whined that natural spontaneous miscarriage is "the worst genocide against humanity ever committed." I have addressed this stupidity before. (See here and here and here and here and here.) And as I have said dozens of times (in story comments, on forums, on the blog and so forth) every single human being who has ever lived or will ever lived either has died or will die. Because God allows this, does that mean we should decriminalize drive-by shootings? After all, God "kills" more people than abortion ever has or will, so why not decriminalize murder?
No, that is stupid. Cancer does not justify drive by shootings and natural spontaneous miscarriage does not justify abortion. That is an extremely childish non-argument vomited by trolls and even some supposedly intelligent people who really ought to know better. Plus, it is extremely cruel to women who have suffered miscarriages to make light of their pain by using it as a "humorous" political argument. This so-called "argument" needs to be permanently silenced.
There is no "true" answer to when human life begins; the definition is ours to make.
This is a political answer based on moral relativism, not a factual one. The reality is that we know from science where life begins. That happens when sperm and egg join to create a completely new entity - a one-celled organism that resides in the mother's body but is not part of the mother's body. That new human being has a unique DNA code and only needs nourishment and shelter to develop through the various stages of life. The argument is not where "life" begins because that is settled science and has been for decades now.
The real argument, then, is where "personhood" begins. Any point after fertilization is going to be inherently subjective. One can say that "point X" is the point where we should assign "personhood" and protect that life, but what about one day before? What about one week before? Why is a human life worthy of protection at "point X" but not a mere 24 hours earlier? It makes no sense. The only logical place to protect human life is the moment that human life is created - at fertilization. Any other point is going to be a political decision, not a scientific determination.
This is because God has placed His image on mankind, and therefore He has forbidden us from ending a human life. As our Creator, God is sovereign over all human actions whether we submit to His authority or not. We have governments as agents of God, therefore, to protect the weak from being oppressed by the strong. There is no greater example of this than the wickedness of legalized abortion.
It is more important than ever that we make this rally a big one. The anti-abortion movement has gained a lot of steam over the last seven months with the revelation that Planned Parenthood has been selling the body parts of aborted babies for money, and there have been several large rallies at Bloomington's Planned Parenthood.
The Monroe County Council faced stiff opposition from the largest crowd ever when they gave several thousand dollars to our local abortion mill in August - despite the fact that they dishonestly tried to sneak it though under cover of darkness. This is not new: The council did the same thing in 2012 two days after Christmas and the day after a blizzard.
Let's keep this momentum going. Let's tell local government to stop funding Planned Parenthood. Let's tell our community that the brutal slaughter of unborn babies must stop.
What: 2016 Rally for Life
Date: Sunday, January 17, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Place: The Monroe County Courthouse, at corner of Walnut and Kirkwood Ave.
The Powerball lottery jackpot has reached unprecedented heights, in excess of $900,000,000 as of this past Saturday night. When the jackpot starts to get even one third of that amount, people start to lose their minds and spend ridiculous amounts of money in the vain hope to strike it rich. But while the eventual winner will be rich beyond his wildest dreams, many more will make foolish and sometimes extremely harmful financial decisions.
Lotteries have been a financial windfall for state governments, both the state lotteries and the multi-state games that reach absurdly high jackpots. But should we really be financing state governments on the backs of the poor? Should we be financing schools and roads by exploiting the dreams of people who are harming themselves? Back in 2001, Michelle Malkin reported that this was part of the Ohio Super Lotto's marketing plan:
"Schedule heavier media weight during those times of the month where consumer disposable income peaks. ... Government benefits, payroll and Social Security payments are released on the first Tuesday of each calendar month."
It is one thing to have legalized gambling. It is something entirely different for state governments to avoid making the hard choices of raising taxes and/or cutting spending by shuffling the load of the budget onto those who make self-destructive decisions, especially when those are our most vulnerable citizens who often need help from the very governments their poor choices are financing. (Note that I do not have a problem with buying lottery tickets, if done responsibly.)
I have no expectation that this unprecedented jackpot will lead to states rethinking the lottery and the damage it does, but there is no question in my mind that rethinking the lottery needs to happen.
♣ - If you are dropping someone off at his destination, do not stop in the middle of the street. It is rude to hold up and block traffic so you can drop off your passenger, especially if there is a parking lot nearby where you can pull in and let him out. In addition to being rude, it is dangerous because nobody is expecting you to do that. This is not hard to figure out, people. If you can take the time to give someone a lift, you can take the time to drop him off at a safe location.
♣ - Speaking of traffic etiquette, if you pass someone on the interstate. at least go the speed that person was traveling. It is very irritating to see someone pass me and then proceed to drive slower than I was driving before he went around me. Stop doing that. If you want to go faster than me, then go faster than me.
♣ - After midnight on New Year's Eve is not the time to set off fireworks. After midnight is never the time to set off fireworks, unless you are in a rural area where you will not disturb your neighbors.
♣ - If the Herald-Times wants people to follow the comment guidelines, commenters have to know what the rules are. More clear guidelines would make it easier to know what is and is not allowed and would reduce the "judgment calls" that make it seem like the moderators are unfair.
One way to do this is to eliminate the generic ban on "offensive" content. There are very, very few posts on HTO that cannot be deemed "offensive" by someone and subject to deletion. Instead, specify what kind of offensive content will not be allowed. Obviously, it is impossible to foresee every single scenario, and nobody expects that. But the rules certainly could be a lot more clear.
Christian Citizens for Life will be holding the 2016 Rally for Life on January 17 at 2:00 p.m. at the Monroe County Courthouse. This annual event serves as a witness against the barbaric act of abortion, and to sadly remember over fifty million unborn babies killed by America's abortion industry.
Do not let the rhetoric of the "pro-choice" side fool you. These are human beings, not part of the mother's body. For photographic evidence of the reality of abortion, go to Google and search for the Center for BioEthical Reform.
We have seen much progress made in protecting the unborn over the last five years in the state legislatures, but the 2016 election will be pivotal. It is important that we get out and vote, both for candidates who will support anti-abortion legislation and against candidates who support forcing us to subsidize America's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.
We have seen far too much bloodshed and death since the 1973 Supreme Court decision that invented the "right" to kill babies in the womb. Stand with us as we say "no more" to this brutality and "yes" to a culture that values all human life from fertilization to natural death.
Now that 2016 is upon us, allow me to repeat what I have been saying for months now: If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President, I am voting Libertarian.
Would it be better if I did not vote at all, then? No, that is silly. The other Republican candidates on the ballot will get my vote. I will support the Republican candidates for county council, county commissioner, state representative, governor, Congress, Senate, and so forth. Furthermore, in those down-ballot races (especially for county government) my vote matters much more than my vote for President.
So, no, it would not be better if I did not vote at all.
Trump's position on eminent domain alone disqualifies him from getting my vote. There are many more reasons to oppose Trump, but that is an automatic disqualification. It is an unconstitutional power grab by government that never should have been allowed in the abominable Kelo vs City of New London decision a decade ago. Even if using government as a hired thug to steal people's land and give it to private developers was constitutional (it is not) that is still a drastic limitation on our private property rights that cannot be tolerated.
Let me also say this right now: I decided in 2008 that I could not in good conscience support John McCain, but I would vote for McCain a hundred billion times before I ever vote for Donald Trump. Trying to browbeat me into supporting Trump will not only fail to work, it will only serve to harden my opposition to him. Every single time I am accused of helping Huillary Clinton by opposing Trump, I will oppose Trump even more.
Hopefully, it will not come to that. Hopefully, Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee for President. We have a lot of quality candidates running for the Republican nomination, and while I am less than thrilled with some of them I would not hesitate to vote for any of them over Hillary Clinton. But I will never vote for Donald Trump.
It may well be that the shooting of Tamir Rice was not a crime, and it may well be that the use of force was justifiable given the circumstances at the moment of the shooting. Nonetheless, it was still a preventable shooting. Now that the officer will not face criminal punishment for the shooting, the question is how to prevent this from happening again.
I will not get into whether or not the officer was legally justified in shooting Rice, but the shooting was certainly unnecessary, preventable, and should be grounds for termination of the officer involved. While the officer cannot control the fact that the dispatcher did not relay critical information about the boy (such as the fact that the 911 caller said the gun was probably fake) he can control how he responds.
We have all seen the video. The police car rolls up right next to a 12 year old boy, a police officer fires shots and the boy dies. This was not an active shooter situation. The police could have parked farther away, behind cover, and ordered Rice to drop his weapon. What if Rice actually had been a few years older, carrying a real gun and drew on the police first? They could be dead or gravely injured because they took an unnecessary risk. The driver and the shooter should have at least been disciplined (if not fired) for that reason alone.
But the "Black Lives Matter" protesters need to be very careful about what they ask for. A Twitter campaign calls for LeBron James to boycott the NBA until the federal Justice Department "imprisons the murderers of Tamir Rice." But this is a terrible idea that will cause much more harm to poor blacks than it will do to punish bad cops. The idea that the Justice Department should simply "imprison" the officer without a trial is a frightening attack on due process.
With all of the abuses we have seen in the War on Drugs and general hysteria over crime, any precedent we set in limiting due process can be guaranteed to harm poor inner city blacks first and worst. Do we really want the same system that has historically treated blacks poorly to be given more power, while the rights of suspects are further restricted? We are already seeing a backlash to the "Black Lives Matter" movement with factually false fear-mongering.
The answer is better training and more accountability within the department. We need to reject the myth that police officers are in more danger than ever (statistically, police are safer than they have been in generations) and police training should reflect that. Civilian leadership, and activist groups, should emphasize deescalation first. The federal government should stop contributing to the "warrior" mentality by giving out military equipment to local police departments. This can change for the better, but it is a long and difficult road to reform.
Above all else, we must resist calls that expand the power of the state. Giving the government even more power at the expense of the rights of citizens is emphatically not the solution to government abuse of power. That is madness.
Well, 2015 has come and gone and it's been a great year. In fact, 2015 was the best year of my life up to this point. What makes that even better is I could say the same thing about every single year since 2007. God has blessed dramatically, and I can honestly say I do not deserve a single blessing I have. The good in my life is entirely from God's kindness and mercy. So here are some thoughts on the year that was 2015:
♣ I became a daddy for the first time in 2012, and 2015 was my first full calendar year with two children. Having two presents some challenges, but it has been an amazing blessing. It is more clear to me than ever before that the Bible is right when it says that children are a blessing from the Lord.
♣ I was a candidate in the general election for the second time in 2015, running for an at-large seat on the Bloomington City Council. (I had previously ran for Bloomington Township Board in 2006.) I had a respectable showing for a write-in candidate, but if I had it to do over again I would have ran as a Republican - especially considering how much press coverage I got. I learned a lot, and I am glad I was able to bring a lot of issues to the table that may not have been discussed otherwise - especially civil asset forfeiture and police militarization.
♣ The anti-abortion movement in Bloomington was more active in 2015 than it has been in over twenty years, spurred on by the body parts selling scandal at Planned Parenthood. I spoke at a couple different rallies and the county council had more people speak in opposition to funding Planned Parenthood this year than in the previous six years combined. I hope we can keep this momentum going, and Christian Citizens For Life will certainly try to make that happen.
♣ We've seen yet another scandal in the county Auditor's Office, with multiple personal charges on the auditor's credit card. The office has seen problem afetr problem since the Democrats took control in 2004. Voters must be convinced that electing someone from that office to be the next county auditor will only continue this mess.
In all of the debate about a recent viral blog post that claimed "godliness is not heterosexuality," Here's a question I have not seen asked or answered. If it is true that heterosexuality is not specifically commended as good by Scripture, how does one explain all of the passages about how children are a blessing? You cannot have children without heterosexuality.
2016 is upon us, and another election year is here as well. One issue that should be addressed is transparency, and that should start with mandating that local government officials only use official government e-mail accounts for official business.