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

Powered by Blogger
Subscribe via RSS

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Trying to distract from the facts

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

Ann Boehm is by far the best candidate on the ballot for Monroe County Auditor, which is why Leftists are desperately trying to distract from the discussion of qualifications for that office to anything else, including (and especially) engaging in personality conflicts.

I had a letter to the editor published last week supporting Boehm. The comment section for my letter, as always, attracted people who hate me personally on a visceral level. It speaks volumes that some of my critics are completely incapable of addressing a single argument I made or a single fact I presented in my LTTE.

The problem here is obvious. Monroe County government does not have a qualifications problem. Monroe County government has an integrity problem. This is why Boehm is focusing on integrity, transparency, and best practices. She has the accounting experience needed for this job. Boehm knows any elected official is only as good as his or her staff, which is why she has pledged to end the practice of firing employees without cause. That has happened far too often. With a good staff, one that is not afraid of vindictive firings, the Auditor's Office can be brought back to where it needs to be.

"Independent" candidate Therese Chambers cannot be trusted to do that. She admitted in the Herald-Times that she needs to "restore trust, honesty and integrity to the office" but has totally failed to do that as chief deputy under Amy Gerstman and Steve Saulter. Why should we trust Chambers to do that as elected Auditor? Simple: We cannot. Cathy Smith's management of the Treasurer's Office has been so inept that it cost county government a truckload of cash to fix and resulted in the county commissioners writing a letter to the county bonding agency expressing no confidence in her leadership.

Ann Boehm is the only choice for county auditor. If a human resources director was faced with these three candidates as the candidates for the job, the other two would not even get an interview. Voters need to look past partisanship and instead look at the best person for the job. It does not matter of that person is a Republican, a Democrat or a Democratic "independent" candidate. The auditor does not set public policy. The auditor's only job is to keep track of the county's finances and stand against theft and corruption. Boehm can be trusted to do that. Her opponents cannot.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

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

Despite what you see on social media, allowing kids to refrain from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is nothing new. This has been in place for generations. Chillax.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Ending at-will employment for government

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

The Indiana State legislature needs to add an exception to Indiana's "at-will" employment law to make it illegal for government at all levels (city, county, township and state) to fire employees without cause. This would better serve taxpayers and protect employees who are doing a good job.

Yes, civil service protections can be problematic and a permanent bureaucracy is not the answer. We have all heard the horror stories about government employees who cannot be fired and continue to be paid on the taxpayers' dime despite the fact that they lack the competence, professionalism, integrity and skill set needed to do their work. But because they were hired, it is nearly impossible to remove them.

But the way government operates now is not sustainable, especially as the workload becomes more complex. An elected office changes hands and all of the employees are frightened for their jobs. Employees are terrified to point out wrongdoing because they are afraid to lose their jobs, so outright theft happens without anyone trying to do anything about it or even letting the proper authorities know about the crimes. Elected officials remove qualified employees and replace them with people who cannot do the job through nepotism, cronyism and patronage. This is a system that does not serve the taxpayers at all.

The solution, then, is to professionalize local and state government by implementing basic best practices. If local government cannot be trusted to do this voluntarily, then the state legislature needs to force them to do it. Best practices includes removing bad employees, after progressive discipline and good-faith efforts to bring under-performing employees into line. (Obviously, there are some things that require immediate termination.) Leave the politics to the legislative bodies while focusing administrative offices on actually serving the taxpayers instead of serving their political parties.

Fortunately, we have an opportunity to move in that direction by casting the right votes in the general election. Republican candidates for office - specifically auditor candidate Ann Boehm and treasurer candidate Ann Collins - have pledged to end the "at will" nonsense in their offices and follow basic "best practices" with their staff. Electing Boehm and Collins would help, but that will only help those two offices in one of the state's 92 counties. The rest of the state needs the legislature to intervene.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

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

My very first opinion column in the Indiana Daily Student was published 20 years ago today.

Good grief I am an old man.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

#NeverTrump Republicans need to vote in November

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

The worst thing ‪#‎NeverTrump‬ Republicans can do in this election is stay home. Even if you can't vote for Donald Trump, there are a ton of down-ballot Republicans who are principled conservatives and well qualified for the offices they seek.

Whether it be county government positions like commissioner or Auditor, state representative, U.S. Senate or governor, there are many good candidates who should not lose votes because #NeverTrump Republicans don't turn out at all.

Get out there and vote for good candidates, no matter what you do at the top of the ballot.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Use discernment before sharing on social media

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

Before you share something online (on social media or elsewhere) you should think about what you are sharing. Asking yourself the question "does this make sense?" will prevent you from sharing things that are false and may save you some embarrassment in the future. Recognizing how your inherent biases may make you more susceptible to being hoaxed will help too.

Unfortunately, I speak from personal experience. Someone showed me this YouTube video a while back and I thought it was hilarious. In my foolishness, I shared it. However, while the video is real the way it is presented is not. Obama was not being snubbed. He was introducing someone to a group of people. Yes, I got hoaxed. No, that is not the only time I have been hoaxed. It is far from it, and far from the only time I really should have known better. I will probably get hoaxed again and will allow myself to be hoaxed because of my own foolishness and complete lack of discernment.

If I had used even the tiniest, un-measurable amount of discernment my nonsense detector would have been blaring when I saw that video. Would a group of people really disrespect and snub the President of these United States? Sure, one person may do that, but would a whole line of people do that? No. Even if people do not like the individual, they will not disrespect the office of the President like that. It was stupid for me to be taken in by this. I should have known better, and I should have known better from the second I saw the video. I did not think about it. Worse yet, I allowed my own anti-Obama bias to reinforce my foolishness. I cannot stand Obama, so obviously this is real, right? Wrong!

This brings me to a fabricated tweet where Tim Kaine said he and his wife are in an "open marriage." Now, do what I did not do with the "snubbed" video, and think about this for a minute. If a sitting U.S. Senator and the former governor of Virginia were to Tweet this via his official account this would be a huge story. It would be all over every cable news channel, every mainstream news website, the lead above-the-fold headline on every newspaper and the lead story on the nightly news. If the first place you're hearing about this is some anonymous Facebook page, and the source is a very obscure website, how likely is it that this is legitimate?

Here's a hint: It is probably a hoax. And what makes this particular hoax so very bad is while it does reflect badly on Tim Kaine, it is much more harmful to his wife. It is one thing to attack a politician or to attack that politician's high-profile supporters. It is another thing entirely to spread a smear about a politician's family. While everyone gets hoaxed from time to time, this is an area where extra caution is required and extra humility is needed when you are discovered to be wrong.

Yet some people are so slavishly devoted to Donald Trump that they are predisposed to believe nearly any claim advanced by his surrogates, especially negative claims about Hillary Clinton or Tim Kaine. I did a quick search on Facebook and a lot of people have shared this article - and that is just the public posts I can see from people who are not my friends. I can imagine how many times that article has been shared by people who are not my friends and are sharing it only with their friends. Things can spread quickly when all you have to do to blast it to three hundred people is click one button.

You do not even need to fact-check every post before you share it. If you see an outlandish claim, think about it and use some of the discernment that we all have. If the claim is really outlandish, fact-check it before you share it. If you are called out on it, be humble and admit you made a mistake - something that I recognize is very difficult to do. And no, let's not blame Facebook for this. Before Facebook, this stuff would get spread around via e-mail or newsgroups. (Remember those?) E-mail hoaxes are what created Snopes. If Facebook never existed, this would spread via Google Plus, MySpace or Yahoo 360. The root of the problem is the people sharing, not the platform used to share fake stories.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ann Boehm is the only choice for county Auditor

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:30 PM (#)

Bloomington Herald-Times, August 25, 2016

To the editor:

Is there any option other than voting Republican this November for county Auditor? The following statement in the August 10 Herald-Times caught my eye:

"According to a letter from the commissioners' office to the elected officials' bond agencies, both former county Auditor Steve Saulter and current county Treasurer Cathy Smith failed to properly perform their duties as laid out in statute."

Smith, of course, is the Democratic candidate for Auditor. If anything shows that she is not qualified to be Auditor, this is it. Therese Chambers, the "independent" candidate, was chief deputy during this time and during the failed administration of Amy Gerstman. She admitted in the Herald-Times that she needed to "restore trust, honesty and integrity to the office."

Why has she not done that as chief deputy? More importantly, why would we continue this failed leadership?

Fortunately, we have a highly qualified candidate with the relevant experience and, most importantly, the integrity needed to manage this department. Ann Boehm is the Republican candidate for Auditor.

We need to elect Ann Boehm in order to break with the failed leadership (and corruption!) of the past. Electing Democrat Cathy Smith, or "independent" Democrat Therese Chambers, will not get that done.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tim Kaine should not cave on military force

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

"The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." -- Barack Obama, 2007

One of the worst things about politics is the assumption that people must abandon their principles for the good of the party. Taking a position at odds with your party's candidate for whatever office damages that candidate and you must fall in line. That is why it will be interesting to see how the Tim Kaine deals with the War Powers Act as Hillary Clinton's running mate. In the Washington Post earlier this month, Democrats said that Kaine "must adhere to whatever posture Clinton takes on this issue."


This represents everything that is wrong with politics and why so many people do not trust or respect politicians.The view is they have no principles and will say whatever it takes to get elected. Sometimes those principles articulated in the campaign are adhered to, and sometimes those principles are discarded - like with Obama's statement in 2007 that he disregarded in his aggression against Syria.

Kaine had taken a principled stand in favor of restoring Constitutional authority over war to Congress, away from the executive branch that has continually broadened its powers when occupied by both Republicans and Democrats. Kaine had taken a position that is popular with his party's base and is echoed by many on the Right who worry about executive overreach and the rule of law. For Kaine to adopt Clinton's position would be a betrayal of his own principles and his supporters on both ends of the ideological spectrum.

There is no good reason why Kaine has to adopt Clinton's position on this issue. His stance was well known before he was ever nominated and it would be good to know that there is a moderating influence on Clinton's warmongering ways if and when she is elected President. Allowing Kaine to maintain his principles would show the Democratic Party welcomes differing viewpoints, respects those who disagree with the nominee, and is thoughtful about matters of policy. All of that also applies to Republicans in cases where their vice presidential candidate has differing opinions from the party's nominee.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Wake up Republicans! A 93% ally is not a 7% enemy!

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

Demands for absolute purity and total party loyalty need to stop. This is something I have been saying for many years now, but it is at the forefront more this year than at any time in my memory. Cultists are destroying the Republican Party with these unreasonable demands, driving voters, volunteers and candidates away either to the Democratic Party or out of politics altogether. This is foolish.

Between county, state and federal elections, there will be 14 Republicans on my ballot in the general election. I plan on voting for 13 of those Republicans. Moderates have been telling me for years that a 70% ally is not a 30% enemy. In my case, I am a 93% ally of the Republican Party, or at least I will be when I walk into that voting booth. But for far too many people, it is not enough that I am standing with the party 93% of the time. No, I must be 100% pure or I am all kinds of depraved things and I am responsible for the destruction of my nation and my family.

This is what I mean when I talk about cult-like behavior. I have always faced this attitude to some extent, but it is far worse this year thanks to the cult following of Donald Trump, who far too many Republicans view as some sort of messiah. I imagine it would not be much different talking to Branch Davidian cultists before their compound burned to the ground in 1993. This time, it is not a cult's compound that is burning to the ground, but a political party that controls both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate and a majority of governors and state legislators.

I said on Facebook last week that I will be so glad when this blasted election is over. This is the kind of year that makes me want to be permanently done with politics. I am tempted to completely drop out of doing anything for candidates, never write another letter to the editor, never comment on anything political on Facebook or any website comment section, expunge all political commentary from my Facebook and Twitter profiles and take down my blog and website archives. This has been, by far, the most frustrating year I have had in 20 years of being politically active.

When will the Republican Party stop immolating itself and start respecting that not every single Republican has identical convictions and may not agree 100% with everything the GOP wants and every single candidate the GOP puts forward? The Republican Party can be perfectly unified, with absolute purity, but it will no longer be a major political party. The choice the Republican Party now faces is between relevance and purity. Choose the former.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The wicked idolatry of Trump cultists

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 10:21 AM (#)

I saw this image on Twitter and as a Christian it angered me.

In Trump we trust? Like "In God we Trust?"


This what I mean by cult-like behavior. There are good arguments to be made for Trump, but treating him like some sort of messiah is pure idolatry and terribly wicked.

Trump cultists look at Trump the way the Branch Davidians looked at David Koresh. This idolatry must be rejected and rebuked.

I should not have to say this, but this disclaimer is needed anyway for hypersensitive crybabies who see this post: Most Trump supporters are not cultists. But some absolutely are.

And yes, there were Obama cultists and there are Hillary cultists. There most certainly were Bernie cultists. There were Bush cultists and Reagan cultists.

I am condemning ALL cults. I am condemning ALL fanatical devotion to a single person. We are NOT to worship human beings. We are to worship God.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The danger of sexting, and non-consensual sharing

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

Here's a not-surprising but nonetheless sobering line from the Herald-Times report on a sexting study:

  • Of those receiving photos, 23 percent reported sharing them with, on average, more than three friends.

Think about this for a second. High school sophomore girl sends a topless picture of herself to a senior, who just happens to be an (expletive deleted). The senior, because he is an (expletive deleted), sends the picture of the girl to three friends... and how many friends do they send it to? How many friends does the third tier forward the picture to? And the fourth? Suddenly the girl's reputation is ruined and she is contemplating suicide. Maybe she attempts suicide. Some of the teens might be criminally prosecuted.

This is why parents need to carefully train their children on the appropriate use of technology, well before they reach the teenage years when hormones, peer pressure and emotions cloud judgment and lead to life-altering decisions made in the span of less than ten seconds. Parents also must carefully monitor their children and teens' use of technology, because even the best can do really stupid things.

This does not just mean teaching girls to be modest. This means teaching young men to be respectful and responsible. It means teaching them to be gentlemen and that one thing a gentleman would never even consider doing is forward a topless picture of a girl to anyone else. A gentleman would never pressure a girl - in a relationship with him or not - to send him a sexual picture of herself. That young man needs to know that the worst backlash for behaving this way will not come from the girl or the girl's father, but from his own parents - especially his own father.

Smartphones are here to stay, but unfortunately society was not ready for the implications of the power these devices have. We cannot undo the damage that has already been done. We can, however, do our best to prevent future damage. There is not a single government program that has any hope of fixing this problem. This is for the family and the church, and the latter has failed miserably in this area.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Temperament matters!!

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

We entrust our elected leaders with an incredible amount of authority over our lives, and that authority can be terribly destructive if it is misused. This is why a candidate's temperament matters. The more powerful an elected official's office possesses, the more important it is to elect someone with a good temperament.

For example, when a candidate for office is asked a completely fair question and then flies off the handle, encouraging his followers to viciously personally attack the journalist who asked that question, it raises serious questions about his ability to handle the stresses of the office he seeks. When that candidate has another meltdown months later over that same question, it raises even more doubts about whether that person has the temperament necessary to serve.

This is especially important for an office that has authority in the realm of criminal justice. A malicious prosecution of a political enemy can ruin lives, even if the target of that malicious prosecution is completely exonerated. Investigations by regulatory agencies can destroy a business, as can foot-dragging on necessary permits and approvals for tax benefits. Whether it is the mayor of a small city or the President of these United States, someone with a bad temperament can do a tremendous amount of damage.

This is also why "voting with your middle finger" is a foolish, self-destructive and unpatriotic answer to the problems faced by your nation, state or city. If our country is to thrive, we need to elect the people with the best ideas, an even-handed temperament, strong personal morals and the necessary experience to hold office. Voters who choose someone because they are angry are likely to choose an angry candidate. Anger is not a substitute for substantive ideas and a strong personal character. We need to do better than we have done.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The long term health of the country

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

I keep hearing from my Republican friends that this is the most important election in American history. Of course, we hear that every four years. It was absolutely critical that we end Obama's rule in 2012, we had to stop Obama from becoming President in 2008, we had to continue the leadership of Bush in 2004, etc. This propaganda becomes easy to tune out, because it comes off as fear-mongering. But there is a real danger in this election, and must confront it for the long-term good of the nation.

Over the long run, America cannot survive the transformation of the Republican Party into a pale imitation of the Democratic Party. We cannot afford to have the Republican Party abandon the conservative principles that have protected our liberty, our security, our social order and our economic growth in order to become a populist, nativist, big government authoritarian party. The GOP cannot be the party that moves us toward totalitarianism just a little bit slower than the Democrats. If we have no opposition party then our nation is doomed.

It seems the only real principles of the populist, nativist "republicans" is a fervent opposition to immigration. They are willing to abandon the Republican Party's stand for the unborn, surrender to radical Leftist redefinitions of marriage and the elimination of all distinctions between men and woman, make our country weaker by abandoning our alliances, pursue economically devastating trade wars, and crack down on dissent and free speech by, among other things, "opening up" libel laws.

The Republican Party needs to be the party of limited government, individual liberty, states' rights, and restrained federal power. We must reject any candidate who seeks to move is away from that and we must fiercely oppose any Republican elected official who advances policy that moves us away from those guiding principles. It would be far easier to survive Democrats in power in the short term than the destruction of conservative principles over the long term.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hillary Clinton's defense of a demonic child rapist

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 10:00 AM (#)

Hillary Clinton's (mostly) successful defense of a man who brutally raped a twelve year old girl in the early 1970's has come under increased scrutiny, but we as conservatives must NOT over-correct as we examine both this case and the larger issues surrounding it. We run the risk of obliterating due process protections in our Constitution and handing even more power to a government that too often abuses the power it already has.

Every criminal defendant deserves a defense attorney. That principle is a critical element of our criminal justice system, our liberty, and our desire to be protected from a tyrannical government that will run over even innocent people in order to advance its own interests. Abandoning this principle is most certainly not conservative, and it runs directly counter to the "rule of law" that "law and order" conservatives claim to support!

Why is this so important? First, think about all of the innocent people who have been exonerated. Think about Christopher Clugston, who was literally murdered by prosecutors. Clugston was convicted of a crime he did not commit and went to prison. While he was in prison, he was raped and infected with AIDS. The false conviction was murder, because that false conviction led directly to him contracting a fatal disease.The prosecutor is both a murderer and a rapist.

That is far from the only example. Consider the Central Park Five, innocent youths who spent many years in prison for a crime committed by someone else. Consider Bernard Baran, who went to prison on completely fabricated accusations of child molestation. While he was in prison, he was violently raped more than 30 times. Consider Daryl Kelly, who was fraudulently convicted of raping his daughter. The young woman has contended nearly two decades the abuse never happened.

An uncompromising defense of due process for accused criminals does not and will never minimize the heinousness of crimes like murder and rape. Instead, due process protections uphold the principle of how serious those crimes are! Crimes of that nature are so wicked that we must be careful that people we convict actually are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We must not allow the guilty to go unpunished by convicting someone who is innocent. We must not demean the horrible trauma of real victims by allowing corrupt prosecutors and quack "doctors" to browbeat and bully children into making false accusations - creating trauma where none exists.

One could certainly argue that Hillary Clinton' behavior in that case decades ago was reprehensible. (Let's not forget she was acting as a public defender.) But no matter how legitimate the outrage against her may be, we must never compromise on due process for accused criminals, and we must take an uncompromising stand in favor of civil liberties and against abuse of power by prosecutors and law enforcement. Our conservative principles demand no less.

Monday, August 15, 2016

A federal death penalty for killing cops?

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

A proposal floating around that the federal government should mandate the death penalty for cop killers is a fundamentally anti-conservative idea, attacking conservative principles on multiple levels. Conservatives need to categorically reject this idea in the interest of preserving our Constitution.

First of all, a mandatory federal death penalty for cop killers embraces Leftist "hate crime" logic. Most of our police officers are good, dedicated public servants but their lives are not intrinsically more valuable than the lives of everyone else. Just as "hate crime" laws make certain victims more valuable than others, a mandatory death penalty for cop killers gives police special legal status not available to anyone else.

Even if this was a good idea, it is a terrible idea for the federal government. This proposal is yet another dramatic expansion of federal power at the expense of state sovereignty. The federal government has no constitutional authority to be regulating crimes committed on the local level. That is up to the state legislatures. If we are truly committed to devolving federal power to the states, then we cannot support policies that expand federal power, even if those policies support an alleged "law and order" agenda.

Furthermore, even if the Constitution granted the federal government the authority to regulate local crime, that would have to be a law passed by the U.S. Congress. The President would be radically exceeding his authority by signing an executive order mandating the death penalty for police officers. The President cannot write and pass legislation by himself. Conservatives who decry President Obama's executive orders cannot turn around and support an executive order like this and maintain credibility.

As conservatives, we need to maintain our conservative principles and not be blown about by the winds of populism. This means adhering to the rule of law and the wise limits on federal power in our Constitution. These limits exist for a reason, because our founding fathers recognized that the federal government will always be trying to expand its own power. That is the road to tyranny.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Breaking down - or bypassing - "The Blue Wall"

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

Can Donald Trump win the Electoral College? It will not be easy. No matter who won the Republican nomination for President in 2016, the Republican candidate was going to have to overcome a significant obstacle to winning the Presidency: "The Blue Wall." These states (plus the nation's capital) represent 242 electoral votes: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Washington D.C. and Wisconsin. Once a candidate hits 270, he (or she) is President.

It is not impossible to for Trump win, even assuming the "Blue Wall" remains intact. After all, George W. Bush was elected President twice without breaking the "Blue Wall." Instead, he went over the wall by winning other states. But if Clinton holds the wall and wins Florida, it is game over for Trump. Clinton is the President of these United States. (I hope you have a hurl bag handy!)

Also consider this: The Blue Wall is not invincible. New Jersey has an incumbent two-term Republican governor. Michigan also has a Republican governor in his second term. Both states have voted Democratic in Presidential elections since 1992 but Republicans can obviously win statewide in both states. Can Trump flip either to his side? If he flips both, he rips 30 "safe" electoral college votes away from Clinton.

It will also be interesting to see what happens in Wisconsin, which (like Michigan and New Jersey) has a two-term Republican governor. Prior to Obama, the margins for Democrats have been razor-thin. Clinton is not Obama, and she is not nearly as charismatic or likable as her husband. That is a state Trump could win.

It will not be easy to break the "Blue Wall," though, and elections for governor in off-year or midterm elections are very different from Presidential elections. A big reason for this is different voters turn out, and mid-term election demographics tend to favor Republicans. New Jersey has consistently given the Democrats big margins. It has been closer in Michigan, but Obama widened the margins there.

So, no, the Electoral College is far from a lock for Hillary Clinton - especially if Trump can peel off one or more "Blue Wall" states. If the wall holds, though, Trump's path to victory is very narrow. Keeping Clinton from picking up another 28 electoral votes beyond the "Blue Wall" will be difficult. If Obama's get-out-the-vote machine is in place for this election, that makes Trump's chances even smaller.

Both Clinton and Trump are very fortunate to be running against each other. They are two deeply flawed candidates who are disliked by wide swaths of their own parties - even by Republican and Democrat voters who plan on voting for their respective party's nominees. Hillary Clinton is favored to win because of the Electoral College math, but her victory is by no means assured.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sorry Democrats. Hillary Clinton is a warmonger.

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

A letter to the editor recently suggested what people angry with Hillary Clinton over the Benghazi massacre are hypocrites for not having the same level of outrage over the Iraq war. This argument ignores history and Clinton's record on matters of war and peace. If you're looking for a candidate committed to non-interventionism, that candidate is not Hillary Clinton.

First, Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq war. She now claims her vote was a mistake based on false information. I also supported the Iraq war and, like Clinton, I realize I was wrong. In fact, even with the knowledge that I had in 2003, I would have opposed the war if I had it to do over again. But has Clinton really learned her lesson? No, she has not. She is to this day supporting the exact same policies that led us to war in Iraq in different parts of the Middle East.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama used American military force to bring about "regime change" in Libya. Moammar Gadhafi presented no threat to our national security. Like in Iraq, Clinton was totally unprepared for the aftermath of "regime change" - a power vacuum that devolved into chaos. Had there been no "regime change" in 2011 there would have been no Benghazi massacre in 2012. Clinton and Obama have weakened and threatened Bashir Assad's regime in Syria, and weakening Assad has strongly contributed to the rise of the Islamic State.

Hillary Clinton is an interventionist to her core. She fully supports using American military force all over the world where there is no national security interest. One of these - the utterly foolish invasion of Somalia in 1992, fully supported by the last Clinton administration - led directly to the massacre of American troops in Mogadishu. There was, of course, no national security interest in Somalia. Sound familiar?

We should be engaged in the world economically and diplomatically, but the use of military force should always be a last resort, only when our vital national security interests are directly threatened. With Hillary Clinton, we can count on four more years of the same kind of military interventionism we have seen under both Republicans and Democrats for generations. This is not a path we should continue to travel.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The cult of Donald Trump

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

I wonder if some Donald Trump cultists are secretly hoping that Hillary Clinton is elected President and are trying to sabotage Trump's campaign from the inside.

There is a principled conservative case to be made for voting for Donald Trump. His history aside, he has advanced some conservative policy proposals in this election. Mike Pence is by far the most persuasive argument for voting for Trump. Pence represents a steady hand, a wide knowledge of public policy, a strong Christian faith, and a principled conservative stance on issues. There will be good people within the Trump administration that may be able to tempter his worst instincts. None of that can be said about Hillary Clinton.

However, calling me a liar, a traitor to my country and a danger to my family because I will not be voting for Trump is absolutely not how to make your case. That is not how rational political actors make an argument for their favored candidate. That is how a cult treats those it views as heretics. This kind of cult behavior will not only fail to convince me to vote for Trump, it will harden my determination to never vote for the man. You might as well be campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

If you have an argument to make, then make it. Personally attacking me, calling me names, falsely attacking my motives and spreading false accusations about me will not work. It will harden my opposition to Trump and increase the volume of that opposition. I am not going to be bullied, intimated or browbeaten into supporting a man who has a long history of supporting policy I vehemently oppose, is a complete moral degenerate, and is emotionally unstable. I am going to vote for every other Republican on my ballot, but I will never vote for Donald Trump.

Monday, August 8, 2016

That pornographic New York Post cover

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

The New York Post was wrong to put a photo of a naked Melania Trump on its cover, but not because Melania or Donald Trump were somehow wronged. In fact, neither of them has anything to complain about.

This is really simple: If you do not want nude photographs of yourself to be distributed, then do not accept money for a photo shoot that will be published in a magazine. This is not a case of someone who had her iCloud account hacked, with the stolen photos distributed across the Internet. That sort of thing is indefensible on every conceivable level. That is not what happened here. Mrs. Trump knowingly and intentionally posed for those pictures with the full knowledge that they would be published for public consumption. She accepted money for that photo shoot. So no, neither Trump was wronged by what the Post did.

However, it was still in terrible taste for the photos to be published. For a major newspaper to literally be publishing pornography on its front page illustrates how far we have been degraded as a culture and how little we as a society value and respect women. It also shows how little we hold to basic standards of modesty that were seen as mandatory just a couple decades ago.

People sharing the image on Facebook - whether to attack Trump or because they are aroused by it - are very foolish. Do people not think about what they post before they post it? There are a lot of people in your "friends" list who do not want to see porn in their news feed. They may be in a place where an unwanted and unexpected pornographic picture showing up on their computer screen could be embarrassing or even harmful.

This is not about Republicans and Democrats. This is not a political issue at all - or at least should not be. This is a cultural matter, and it should make us think very seriously about where we are as a nation.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Nobody likes a snob, except for other snobs.

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

If people who oppose Donald Trump's bid for the Presidency want to sabotage their own position, the easiest way to do that is to mock and insult working-class whites who support him.

You have probably seen the memes are floating around social media. Trump supporters are white trash, inbred redneck know-nothings motivated by hate and bigotry. They are clueless about the facts. The memes are often accompanied by unflattering photographs along the lines of what you see on "The people of Wal-Mart" or other websites that exist to mock America's favorite target group.

But let's face a bit of reality: Trump has struck a chord with working-class white voters. In fact, Trump is dominating Hillary Clinton in polls among voters without a college education. Working-class whites feel they have been ignored while politicians - especially the elites of both parties - are looking out for everyone but them. Many of those people see Trump as their hero and the one candidate who will look out for them. Whether that support is justified or not, it is there and is a political reality.

So when working-class whites see Democrats, Libertarians, independents and #NeverTrump Republicans insulting Trump supporters as white trash, what do you think their reaction will be? Do you think they will rethink their support for Trump or that they will be hardened in their support of him? What about working-class whites who are on the fence but considering Trump? Do you really think insulting them will convince them Trump is a bad choice? It is much more likely that Trump will gain their votes.

I suspect the cultural antipathy toward working-class whites is at least some of what is driving the backlash against "political correctness" among those voters. They feel (and this is justified) that they are the only group that it is culturally acceptable to bash, ridicule, stereotype and mock. Working-class whites (especially white men working in industries like construction) took some of the hardest hits during the 2008 recession. It is not surprising when they embrace someone who positions himself as their hero. And again, it does not matter whether that support is justified. You have to deal with reality.

I am not a supporter of Donald Trump. I have expressed frustration with his voters during the primary election. But disagreements on ideological or strategic grounds is a far cry from the hateful rhetoric and stereotyping of working-class whites we are seeing from some on the anti-Trump side. That sort of attitude plays into Trump's hands and he is a master at exploiting it. It is really simple, actually: Nobody likes a snob, except for other snobs. Embracing snobbery is the most effective way to support Trump that I can think of.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tera the Beagle

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

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The typical coward's way out

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

Tim Kaine's position on abortion is fraudulent. He pretends to be "personally opposed" to abortion but has 100% ratings from both NARAL and Planned Parenthood. It is the typical coward's way out for a politician who wants to have it both ways.

If Kaine legitimately believes that abortion is the murder of an innocent baby, he is by his own words admitting that he opposes criminalizing murder. He is by his own words admitting that he is willing to accept over one million murders per year - a total that makes the death toll of the Holocaust tiny by comparison - in order to advance his own political career. Kaine - by his own admission - is no different from a member of the Nazi Party who had a problem with Auschwitz but did not want to hurt his advancement with the party. Hey, maybe he can be vice-Fuhrer!

This is nothing new. Hillary Clinton's husband, disgraced ex-President Clinton, pretended he wanted abortion to be "safe, legal and rare" but opposed any and all efforts to actually make it more rare. This included even banning the horrific late term procedure known as "partial birth abortion." What happens in a PBS is gruesome: The baby is delivered feet first, until only the head remains inside the mother. The "doctor stabs the baby in the back of the head, rips her brain out, and crushes her skull.

But even with Kaine's full support, some feminists were unhappy with Hillary Clinton choosing Kaine. This is because they brook no dissent whatsoever on their pet issue. It is not enough to vote with them 100% of the time on policy grounds: You must define abortion as essential health care and presenting no moral qualms whatsoever. The fact that this wing of the Democratic Party adopts this extreme position is something that Republicans should exploit in down-ballot races, especially for Congress.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Same disaster, different name on the office door?

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

In a statement to the Herald-Times when she announced her candidacy to finish the term, of replace outgoing Monroe County Auditor in a Democratic Party caucus, independent candidate Therese Chambers said she will "restore trust, honesty and integrity to the office."

By saying this, Chambers admits that there is a problem with "trust, honesty and integrity" in the Auditor's Office where she currently serves as Chief Deputy. Chambers served under both Saulter and Amy Gerstman, who left office in disgrace after it was discovered that she used her county government credit to pay for personal expenses. Why has Chambers not managed to "restore trust, honesty and integrity to the office" as Chief Deputy? Can someone tell me why she is qualified again?

This is to say nothing of the extremely strange circumstances surrounding the caucus. Chambers is an independent candidate running against the Democratic nominee, Cathy Smith. Yet the Democrats are prepared to give Chambers the advantage of incumbency to the political detriment of their own party's candidate. Are you telling me that not a single Democrat could fill that seat for five months?

If the Republican Party asked me as a precinct committeeman to place an independent candidate into office who was opposing the Republican candidate for that office, I would revolt. What does this say about Cathy Smith, and how even her own party views her?

We need to clean up this mess in county government, and continuing to put the same group of people in charge will not get the job done. If the voters elect Cathy Smith (who has had enormous problems balancing her books as County Treasurer) or Therese Chambers (who stood aside and allowed Gerstman and Saulter to engage in very shady deeds) we will have the same mess with a different name at the top.

The only chance we have to clean up this disaster is to elect someone who is not in the middle of it. That would be the Republican candidate, Ann Boehm.