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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Judy Sharp should apologize for wasting tax money

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:30 PM

Bloomington Herald-Times, August 19, 2014 (Comments)

The comments section for John Kirtland's July 24 letter is a sad reflection on the state of modern politics. Hyper-partisan defenders of Judy Sharp did everything they could to defend her irresponsible and wasteful decision to spend tax money so her employees could stay at a hotel in Brown County for a conference.

Keep in mind that many people commute that same distance to Monroe County to work every single day, including over 3500 from Lawrence County, over 2900 from Greene County and over 2200 from Owen County. See Geoff McKim's blog post at http://bit.ly/1qH77c7 for more.

According to Google Maps, the trip to Nashville takes about a half hour. See http://goo.gl/rfmtZG for more. Employees should be trained, but there was no need to stay in a hotel.

There is simply no way to justify this. Sharp should apologize for this abuse of her authority and reimburse county government for this waste of money.

Why was this revealed to Herald-Times readers in a letter to the editor instead of a news report? The Herald-Times' stubborn refusal to cover this scandal was a betrayal of this community's trust. The news media is supposed to hold government accountable, not cover up scandals.


Monday, August 18, 2014

"What about black on black crime, huh?"

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

In the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown, a number of conservatives have shown their ignorance of a basic premise of logical argumentation, in addition to at least appearing uncaring and callous about the violent death of a man made in the image of Almighty God. These nonsensical "arguments" about black on black crime need to stop.

Obviously, black on black crime is monstrous. The number of young black men murdered by other young black men is a national tragedy and we need to do more to oppose and fight against this bloodshed. The fact that black babies are aborted at a rate far above the black percentage of the population - and the fact that 60% of black babies in New York City are murdered by the abortion industry - is absolutely horrific.

But the conservative movement as a whole seems to only be worried about blacks killing blacks when it can be used as a distraction from discussions of police brutality, racial profiling, and the general relationship between law enforcement and blacks, especially in poor areas and the inner city. Too many conservatives smugly point to the black homicide rate and proclaim, "What about that, huh? Why don'cha talk about that, huh? Don't those victims matter to you? Why are you silent on this, huh?"

Grow up.

A discussion of police brutality and unjustified use of force is not the time for discussions of black on black crime. While those issues do deserve to be discussed, they are irrelevant to the question of whether the fatal shooting of Brown was justified. It is childish and callous to seek to derail a discussion of use of force by bringing up issues that have nothing to do with that use of force. Those issues should be dealt with separately.

We should not forget the unique position of the state in the use of force, if for no other reason than the firepower at the state's disposal. With police getting more and more military equipment, that firepower is growing by the month, and it is quite frankly more than a little frightening. We trust the civil magistrate to protect us, so use of force used by the civil magistrate needs to be very carefully monitored.

We should always remember that a government that does not abide by the rule of law is more dangerous to our liberty than any terrorist, foreign aggressor or common criminal could ever hope to be.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Obama's open rebellion against the Constitution

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 10:30 AM

As students arrive at universities around the nation and an effort is made to prevent sexual assault, we need to guard civil liberties against the Obama regime's illegal, unconstitutional and anti-American effort to introduce a "preponderance of the evidence" standard over the accepted and just standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt." The Obama regime's open rebellion against the Constitution and the rule of law must be opposed.


Friday, August 15, 2014

A shooting and civil unrest in Ferguson

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

The shooting of an unarmed black man last weekend was certainly a tragic event, not only because of the potential that was snuffed out but (more importantly) because a precious life made in the image of God was violently destroyed. Details have been slow to come in this shooting, and there are wildly different accounts of what happened.

First, let's get this out of the way. Michael Brown was not a "child" and portrayals of him as such are wildly irresponsible. He was 18 years old and a legal adult. Saying he was a "teenager" is accurate but can be misleading due to his status as a legal adult. Saying Brown was a "child" is a flagrant and shameful lie designed to do nothing more than whip up outrage. Brown was a man, and should be described as such.

Dorian Johnson was with Brown in the moments leading up to the shooting, and his account of the events is absolutely horrific - portraying this as a cold-blooded execution of a nonviolent man. Because the account is so horrific, I have serious questions about its authenticity. If Johnson's story is true, this is clearly a crime worthy of the death penalty.

We do not know the full extent of what really happened here, so we should be careful about making a final judgment based on the limited facts we have now. That said, one claim that has not been disputed is that Brown was shot while he had his hands in the air and was surrendering. It is difficult to imagine how a shooting in that case could be justified, especially if (as Johnson claims) Brown had already been shot while he was fleeing from the police officer.

Much has been said about the nature of local government in Ferguson, and how it increases the frustration of a community with a huge black majority being governed by an almost entirely white local government. For example:

As black families moved into Ferguson, the whites fled. In 1980, the town was 85 percent white and 14 percent black; by 2010, it was 29 percent white and 69 percent black. But blacks did not gain political power as their numbers grew. The mayor and the police chief are white, as are five of the six City Council members. The school board consists of six white members and one Hispanic.

Source: New York Times, August 13, 2014

This leads to one very obvious question: Who elected these people? Clearly, no one can get elected in Ferguson without at least a significant portion of the black vote, and yet black voters continue to elect whites to represent them in local government. There is no legitimate room to complain about the racial makeup of local government, when the voters chose that government. If there is a problem, it is with the voters.

The frustration with the choices of black voters in Ferguson, the makeup of the police department, the alleged racial profiling by police, or this particular shooting cannot justify the people who are acting like mindless savages. Rioting, looting and setting fires is never a legitimate response, and only deepens the divide with police while making the rioters look like little more than thugs. This was about getting free stuff, not because people are legitimately angry.

Matt Walsh made a good point this week: Do not blame all police officers because of the actions of one man. It is true that there are bad police officers, there are corrupt police officers, and there are abusive police officers. This is because all of humanity is cursed by the Fall, and that all men are wicked and corrupt by nature. But we should not assume that every police officer is bad because of some bad actors - or that every black person in Ferguson is a thug because of the actions of some mindless savages who are desecrating Mike Brown's memory.

Also, conservatives need to stop spouting foolish and childish non sequiturs about black on black crime. That is a terrible tragedy, and it does need to be addressed, but this is not the time to address it. In addition to stirring anger by being callous about the real pain caused by this killing, these childish non sequiturs miss the point.

A killing by an agent of the state is a unique situation, because of the power wielded by the civil magistrate. Government is much more dangerous and can do much more harm than criminals, which is why we need to aggressively hold government and its agents accountable for crimes and misbehavior.

What we need to do here is let the process play out while closely monitoring the actions of Ferguson's government. The federal government's intervention is appropriate here to ensure justice is done, and to ensure this is not swept under the rug. However, we should also closely watch the federal government to make sure they do not overstep their authority and deny due process in a politically-motivated rush to judgment.

The best place to resolve this is the courts, not the streets.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Praying for the oppressed in Iraq

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The shooting of a black man in Ferguson

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:30 PM

This is a really good perspective on the mess in Ferguson: "The Right's wrong reaction to the Missouri shooting."

Black-on-black crime has absolutely nothing to do with whether the shooting was justified or not, and it is childish to point to an unrelated issue.

Let's not rush to judgment on this shooting, and let's let the process play out - but we must be absolutely sure that if there was a crime committed the government must be held accountable.


Obama's anti-constitutional war on sermons

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

The Obama regime is at it again, illegally using the Internal Revenue Service to threaten and blackmail pastors into silence on moral and cultural issues from the pulpit if those sermons are politically inconvenient.

Christians have always been vocal on political issues when conscience and a clear commandment of Scripture is at stake. Christians rescued babies left to die by exposure by the pagans in the Roman Empire, and Christians were loud and frequent critics of slavery as practiced in these United States. (See Deuteronomy 24:7 and Exodus 21:16 for more.) Christianity has a long history of empowering women's rights, especially in pagan lands where women are subjected to being mutilated as part of cultural tradition. Today, Christians are the primary opponents of the horrific system of mass murder we call "reproductive choice."

But Christian witness against the slaughter of the unborn, the sexual libertinism that has so degraded and debased our culture (especially women) and the efforts to redefine the institution of marriage are all inconvenient for Obama's Democratic Party. Obama's illegal rebellion against the Constitution, therefore, is designed to silence people speaking Biblical truth when that truth in in conflict with his policies. Obama's rebellion is similar to King Herod having John the Baptist beheaded after John rebuked Herod for taking his brother's wife.

Christians need to stand up and say "no" to this illegal usurpation of power by the Obama regime. Pastors are obligated to disobey the Obama regime and preach as they are called - both because of Acts 5:29 and in submission to this nation's ultimate authority, the United States Constitution. If Obama persists in this illegal scheme to violate the First Amendment, he should be impeached.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

No matter how unjustifed a police shooting may be...

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:30 PM


Do we have the moral high ground?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 6:59 AM


Monday, August 11, 2014

Following up - No corporate welfare for Planned Parenthood

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

My most recent letter to the editor was printed in the Herald-Times a few weeks ago. I've been meaning to address some of the things said in the comments section but I am just now getting around to it. So here we go.

htuser posted at 10:57 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

Scott - What makes your opinion the ONLY right opinion? Step back and take a deep breath. I have one (opinion that is) and it is quite different from yours.

That is true - we all have our own opinions. I am not the one forcing my opinion on anyone here. That is being done by the Bloomington City Council, which has for fifteen years forced anti-abortion taxpayers to subsidize Bloomington's abortion "clinic." That objection should be directed to the Bloomington City Council, not to me.

jimshackelford posted at 11:15 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

I think your case is very weak, and therefore must rest on the implied myth that Planned Parenthood does 100 abortions per week, and is there to entrap vulnerable young women.

Where exactly is this response coming from? I did not say anything of the sort in my letter to the editor. (By the way, between 2007 and 2009, Planned Parenthood in Bloomington performed an average of 16.25, 16.44 and 15.73 abortions per week.) There are hundreds of abortions per year in Monroe County, of course. Between 2010 and 2013 there were 809, 731, 811, 753 abortions.

DRM posted at 12:22 pm on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

The irony here is that Tibbs' constant inflamed rhetoric and contestable claims may provide our local Planned Parenthood's yearly request a comparative advantage in the council's decision making.

This, of course, is a perfect parallel to Councilor Spechler's admission that the decision to subsidize Planned Parenthood is a political decision. The council's job is to distribute a huge sum of money every summer based on what would most benefit the community, not on their perception of the people opposing certain grants.

Furthermore, if the council is actually deciding to fund Planned Parenthood based on their dislike for a loudmouth blogger with no real political influence, that is an incredibly childish and petulant decision-making process that is a real disservice to this community. DRM is Don Moore, husband of Bloomington City Clerk Regina Moore. Given his closeness to the nine Democrats on the City Council and Mayor Kruzan, one would hope he is simply trolling and not actually reflecting what Kruzan and the City Council are actually doing.

Bleeding Red posted at 8:31 am on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

The vote to distribute funds to PP from the Jack Hopkins account was unanimous as it has been for years. If the local tea party patriots can't field and elect candidates who favor cutting off funds, it's just too freaking bad.

This is a typically petulant and childish response.

"We won the election, nyah nyah nyah!"

It speaks volumes of the arrogance of Leftists who refuse to debate the merits of subsidizing Planned Parenthood and instead gloat about winning the election.

The basis for this childish gloating is not even factually accurate. The vote was not unanimous in 2007, 2008, 2010 or 2011. Furthermore, with a 9-0 Democratic majority in 2012 (the year after the city election) Planned Parenthood's request for funding was denied - as it should have been every year since 1999.

MJE posted at 6:22 pm on Thu, Jul 17, 2014.

I respectfully disagree. His letter is designed to implement his religious values as public policy. That is known as Taliban politics.

Once again, I am not the one forcing my beliefs on anyone here. I am arguing that people who want to fund Planned Parenthood should do so by voluntarily donating their own money instead of forcibly confiscating money from the entire community to give to their favorite political cause. I am the one taking a truly pro-choice position, while the city council is forcing their views on everyone else.

There is simply no justification for continuing to subsidize Planned Parenthood through the city's social services fund - or the county's social services fund, for that matter. PP does not need the money, they are only seeking a political endorsement, and there are many truly local organizations that could use the money much more.

This annual farce needs to stop.


Friday, August 8, 2014

A commuter tax in Monroe County?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

County Council member Geoff McKim wants Monroe County to consider a "commuter tax" on people who live in surrounding counties but drive into Monroe for work. McKim complains that Indiana's tax system is unfair to counties that import workers because the system "has all income tax collections going to the county in which an individual resides, regardless of where she or he works."

Whether a commuter tax is a good idea or not depends on what it is. A revenue-sharing agreement would be reasonable, but an added commuter tax would not be fair or reasonable. People should not be taxed extra simply because they commute into another county for work. Workers should not be punished for living in the "wrong" place.

As McKim points out, people who work in Monroe County but live elsewhere are using services and infrastructure provided by local government (city and county) but do not contribute to those services and infrastructure through their county option income tax (COIT) payments. All of that money goes to their home county. I actually agree that this is not equitable and the state legislature should consider what can be done to distribute the income taxes more fairly.

A better system would be revenue sharing, where counties like Monroe capture a portion of the existing COIT contributions from workers who live elsewhere. Since local government in both counties provide services and infrastructure to commuters, both should get a portion of the commuter's county option income tax payments. A commuter's home county should still get most of the COIT, of course, but it is reasonable to split that money.

Finally, we should acknowledge the elephant in the room. At least some of the complaining about Monroe County being a net importer of labor is resentment and bigotry by elitists (especially in academia) against "dirty foreigners." Elitists in Bloomington despise people who live in surrounding counties as being less educated, less "enlightened" and less cultured than the people of Bloomington. That same bigotry applies to people who live west of State Road 37, but is more intense toward people who do not live in Monroe County. Let's not pretend this is only an issue of equitable revenue sharing instead of bigotry and xenophobia.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

No one wins when pulpits aren't free

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

No one wins when pulpits aren't free.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The law, the world, and salvation

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

The Law can be a tricky subject for Christians. The following is my understanding of the Law and its application to the life of the Christian as well as how it applies universally.

There are three segments of the Law: The ceremonial law, the civil law for the theocratic nation of Israel and moral law. The ceremonial and civil laws were fulfilled by Jesus Christ, while the moral law reflects God's holiness and therefore predates creation. An example of the ceremonial law that was fulfilled is God's commandment to Apostle Peter in Acts 10:9-16. The Apostle Paul's statement on this in 1 Timothy 4 is even more striking, writing that those who would forbid eating of meats are advancing a doctrine of devils. This is why there is no logical basis for accusations of "hypocrisy" against Christians who do not follow things like the Old testament dietary laws.

Moral law is binding on all people at all time, regardless of whether or not they accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or not. So when I refer to the Law from this point forward, I am referring to God's eternal and unchanging moral law.

While we are commanded by God to keep the moral law, keeping the law cannot save us. In fact, it is impossible to keep the Law. The Law is to show us our sin, our helpless state, our impending damnation and our need for the grace of Jesus Christ. But the fact that it is impossible to keep the Law does not negate our obligation to keep it, and a true Christian will strive to avoid sinning against God's Law.

Some would immediately be taken aback by this statement, saying that I am reverting to legalism. In answer to that, I ask a very simple question: Can Christians still sin? Obviously, the answer is yes. Christians fall into sin all the time. Jesus assumes that Christians will sin against each other, and provides a method for dealing with that sin in Matthew 18:16-22. We are all fallen men and women and sin will be committed, even in the church.

Not only is the Law binding on Christians, it is binding on all men and women. We are all creations of God and are subject to His divine authority. This is why Jesus Christ orders His disciples to go into the world and teach all of the nations "to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" after He declares that all authority has been given to Him both in Heaven and on Earth.

The Law is a good thing. It keeps the peace, protects the innocent and restrains the evil in men's hearts. We should treasure God's Law, while remaining thankful that our inability to keep it does not condemn us to His wrath.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Wisdom from Dr. Sowell

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM


Monday, August 4, 2014

Pointless PC pandering by Marvel Comics

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

When Marvel Comics recently announced that they would be replacing Captain America with a black man, Marvel hoped this would get them credit for being trailblazers and bringing diversity to comics. What actually happened is that Marvel took the natural progression of a storyline and evolution of their characters and made it needlessly politically correct, actually making themselves look like they are decades behind the times.

It was more than thirty years ago, after all, that a black character (John Stewart) filled in for and temporarily replaced Hal Jordan as a Green Lantern. Eventually Stewart would become a Green Lantern full-time and was the primary Green Lantern in the DC Animated Universe more than a decade ago. Marvel is not exactly breaking new ground here.

What is really happening here is a natural progression of the Captain America mantle. Marvel had already temporarily replaced Steve Rogers in the 1980's with a character formerly known as the Super Patriot. Bucky Barnes, Captain America's sidekick in World War II, replaced Steve Rogers while he was temporarily dead following the events of Marvel's Civil War storyline. Dick Grayson (the former Robin who later became Nightwing) replaced Bruce Wayne as Batman while Wayne was temporarily dead following the events of Final Crisis.

The Falcon (Sam Wilson) has been Steve Rogers' crime fighting partner and close friend for decades. While Rogers is sidelined, it makes sense that Wilson would take the mantle of Captain America - not because he is black but because he is Rogers' close friend and is one of the few characters in the Marvel Universe who can fill the role of Captain America while Rogers is temporarily on the shelf.

By making this a politically correct gimmick instead of the natural progression of the story, Marvel Comics is actually diminishing the importance of Sam Wilson taking the mantle of Captain America. It would have been better to completely ignore Wilson's race and place him into the role his character would fit into naturally. Fans of Captain America are not going to take this seriously because it is being advanced as political correctness instead of a genuine (and worthwhile) elevation of the Sam Wilson character. That is a shame.