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Absolute truth cannot be refuted by temper tantrums

By Scott Tibbs, March 4, 2008

Last week, Greg Travis (husband of Monroe County Commissioner candidate Sophia Travis) threw a temper tantrum in response to my blog post regarding the 2008 Monroe County primary election match ups. Yesterday, I mailed the following open letter to Monroe County Council member Sophia Travis, who is challenging Iris Kiesling in the Democrat Party's primary for her seat on the Monroe County Commissioners. I sent a carbon copy of this letter to the Herald-Times, the Indiana Daily Student, WFHB Bloomington, WTIU and AM 1370

Mrs. Travis,

Last week, I posted an article on my blog regarding the final match ups for the 2008 Monroe County primary election where I discussed some of the political activity of your husband, Greg Travis. Two days later, Mr. Travis threw a temper tantrum which has now gone on for five days. During this time, he has posted some very brazen lies and has shown how nasty he can be when challenged. Mr. Travis hysterically objected to the following four claims, which are absolute truth.

  1. That Mr. Travis "is already attacking (Iris) Kiesling on the Herald-Times web site."
  2. "Mr. Travis once said that the Holocaust was not fundamentally immoral."
  3. Mr. Travis "even went so far as to say that the Pedigo Bay fire in 2002 was not an arson".
  4. Mr. Travis "posted personal information of county voters on the Internet after the 2006 election".

Despite the extended temper tantrum that Mr. Travis has engaged in, these statements are absolutely true.

Claim #1: Consider the following posts, from the HeraldTimesOnline.com forum:

Saturday, February 23, 2008: 11:36 am

Iris has served Monroe County and Bloomington well during the 1980's and 90's. Unfortunately the times and issues have changed. I don't believe Iris has picked up on the fact that the citizens of the County no longer feel the need to continue subsidizing shopping choices.
Saturday, February 23, 2008: 11:45 am

Exactly, Jake. If the "ain't broken" status quo means widening more roads into/out of the county, thereby encouraging more commuting by non-residents, at the expense of residents. If it means subsidizing more big-box corporate colonialism, at the expense of resident's tax dollars and resident's businesses (WalMart is, after all, a constant crime scene and the #1 destination of the already overburdened Monroe County Sheriff's department). If it means expansion of and duplication of the westside sh*tscape, again at public expense and via public (resident) tax dollars, then I say it's broken. And, as we Hoosiers say, needs fixed.

Emphasis is mine. It is abundantly clear that Mr. Travis was attacking Iris Kiesling for her policies. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, and substantive debates about public policy (however undiplomatic the tone might be) are at the heart of campaigns for elective office. For Mr. Travis to proclaim that pointing this out is a "lie" scrapes the bottom of the barrel of political discourse. Proclaiming that I "lied" is in and of itself a lie, and is well beneath the standards you set for your campaign and your supporters.

Claim #2: It is a fact that Mr. Travis did say that the Holocaust was not fundamentally immoral. Unfortunately, the quote is long gone, because phpBB forum the Herald-Times once hosted at talk.hoosiertimes.com is long gone. I am unable to reproduce it, but I stand by what I said. Ironically, Mr. Travis (posting on MOBtalk.net under the pseudonym "Mimicus") responded to the claim by affirming it is true! See the post below:

It's thus very hard, even for a die-hard liberal atheist like mimicus, who doesn't believe in absolutes of "good" and "evil" not to believe in subjective criteria of "good" and "evil." No, there's no such thing as "fundamentally" (i.e. absolute) good or evil, but one can nonetheless make a judgement oneself about the moral condition of something such as the holocaust.

Your husband is clearly claiming that the Holocaust was not fundamentally immoral, yet he calls me a liar for pointing out the plain and simple truth. As above, proclaiming that I "lied" is in and of itself a lie, and is well beneath the standards you set for your campaign and your supporters. But that was not the last of his lies. Posting under the pseudonym "Mimicus", your husband claimed that I said he "believed that the Holocaust, in which six million people were exterminated, was a good thing." I never said anything of the sort, and Mr. Travis knows it.

Claim #3: It has been well established that the Pedigo Bay fire was an arson, as I demonstrated in a post on the ConservaTibbs.com blog last September.

♣ http://scott.sstibbs.com/opinion/editorial_2007_18.html

Furthermore, Monroe County Democrats, including Scott Wells, Chris Gaal, Andy Ruff, Jeffrey Willsey, Brian O'Neill, Mark Stoops, Bill Hayden and Lucille Bertuccio held a press conference where they all strongly denounced the Pedigo Bay arson. Does Mr. Travis believe all of these people "liars"? Is Mr. Travis going to demand that all of them retract their statements about Pedigo Bay?

Claim #4: It has been well established that Mr. Travis posted personal information of county voters on the Internet after the 2006 election. I documented that as well on the ConservaTibbs.com blog.

♣ http://www.sstibbs.com/conservatibbs/2006_archives/blog_2006_181.html
♣ http://www.sstibbs.com/conservatibbs/2006_archives/blog_2006_182.html

On the MOBtalk.net forum, Mr. Travis (posting under the pseudonym "Mimicus") repeatedly defended his posting of such personal information.

But that as not the end of the lies Mr. Travis has posted attempting to smear my character, claiming that I threatened to send "employment threats". I did not threaten anyone's employment, and he knows it. He is desperately flailing, hoping to damage my credibility because he knows his political history could be damaging to your campaign. Perhaps Mr. Travis should accept responsibility for the things he has written, said and done over the years rather than personally attacking and demonizing those who would expose his behavior.

Four years ago, one plank in your platform for County Council was civility. You promised to "publicly repudiate any such attacks made on their behalf by supporters or interest groups", according to the August 25, 2004 Herald-Times. It is in the spirit of your 2004 clean campaign pledge that I call on you to repudiate the lies written by your husband on your behalf. You have the opportunity to set the tone for a clean campaign, and I urge you to take that opportunity by denouncing the uncivil and dishonest behavior of your husband, Greg Travis.