Sunday, January 17, 2021

A Movement Doesn't Die With One Person!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


BIGGER THAN ONE PERSON!

by Steve Fair

     On Wednesday, President Donald Trump became the first United States president to be impeached twice.  He was charged with ‘incitement of insurrection,’ in conjunction with the overrun of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) had given Vice President Mike Pence an ultimatum to invoke Section 4 of the 25th amendment within 24 hours or the U.S. House would precede with impeachment.   Pence said he wouldn’t invoke the 25th.  After little debate, the vote to impeach was 232-197 with 10 Republicans joining all the House Democrats, with 4 Republicans not voting on the resolution.   All 5 Oklahoma House members voted against impeachment.  Four observations:

     First, impeachment is a ‘political,’ and not legal action.  While seldom used in the past, Democrats have used it twice in one year.  Alan Dershowitz, one of Trump’s lawyers at his first impeachment, but who endorsed Biden for election in 2020, said, “Trump has not committed a constitutionally impeachable offense.”  Dershowitz said the Democrats had ‘weaponized’ the impeachment process, which is not its purpose.  During her speech presenting the charges, Speaker Pelosi quoted Abraham Lincoln and the Bible.  “He(President Trump) must go.  He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said.  Rep. Tom Cole, (R-OK) spoke on the floor Wednesday.  “I can think of no action that is likely to further divide the American people than the action we're contemplating today.” Cole said.    Now the articles move to the Senate, where Sen. Chuck  Schumer, (D-NY) said he will push to convict Trump, even after he is gone from office.  Why?  Because a conviction would prevent Trump from seeking federal office.

     Second, why do the Democrats (and some Republicans) want Trump out of politics?  They claim its because of his loud mouthed, shoot from the hip, in your face behavior but that is just part of it.  The establishment fears the movement Trump has created- one that puts America First.  They hate his policies as much as they do his personality.  What they fail to understand, it that whether Trump is the leader of the movement or not, Washington has likely changed forever.

     Third, no effectual, successful movement is greater than one man.  Donald Trump is clearly a cult of personality.  There may not be a populist to ever recreate what he has done.  His ability to fire up people who haven’t been engaged in politics/government is unprecedented.  But the truth is many involved in the MAGA movement have zeal but not according to knowledge.  If they stay hooked up and their involvement results in changes in government- at all levels- over the next decade in America, then the movement has been successful.  The proficiency of an effective movement is it doesn’t die when the excitement dies down.

     The accomplishments of the Trump four-year term were impressive:  Appointment of three members of the SCOTUS, over 200 federal judges confirmed, multiple successes in foreign policy, strong economy, and reduction of government regulations on businesses.  But the national debt under Trump increased at its highest rate ever.  The federal government footprint grew by 20%.  That isn’t conservative.  Republicans need to be objective and realistic and not practice blind loyalty to a cult of personality.   A movement is bigger than one person- or it should be.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

RNC has lost its objectivity!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


What a Week!

by Steve Fair

  What a week! On Wednesday, a joint session of Congress convened to certify the 538 Electoral votes in the 2020 presidential race.  Outside thousands of President Trump supporters gathered for a rally.  After being warmed up by Eric and Donald Jr, President Trump spoke to the passionate crowd just as the proceedings in the House chamber started.  “We will never give up; we will never concede. We will stop the steal. We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol…We’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones…the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”  After the Electoral votes for Arizona were challenged, the two chambers went into debate.  At that point, several hundred of the crowd breeched the security blockades and begin to push their way into the Capitol.  Some took to breaking windows out of the Capitol and crawling into the building.  An Air Force combat veteran was shot and killed by Capitol police crawling through a broken window.  Lawmakers were rushed to secure locations and tear gas was used on those inside the Capitol.  It took until late in the evening to clear the Capitol and get Congress back in session.  The National Guard was called out and set up a perimeter around the Capitol.  At 3:30am, Vice President Mike Pence announced that Joe Biden was the winner of the 2020 president election. Four observations:

     First, there is no justification or excuse for desecrating the U.S. Capitol.  Video of people hanging from the gallery balcony or sitting in the Speaker’s chair were disturbing and showed incredible disrespect for the building.  It made America look like a third world country.  Breeching security should result in consequences and it appears many have already been charged.

     Second, frustration with their government fueled most of the protestors.  That’s understandable, but it doesn’t justify breaking the law.  Taking the law into your own hands is anarchy.  Many Americans share the frustration with an out of control, non-responsive government, but choose to not break the law. 

     Third, the Trump supporters are a persistent, dedicated group.  Some call them crazed- others committed, but clearly they are not going away.  Elected official’s actions in the coming days are going to be under more scrutiny than in the last 50 years.  That is a good thing and people paying attention to their government- at all levels- will improve it.

     Fourth, Trump is not going away.  Like it or not, he has maintained control over the national GOP.  His handpicked Chair and Vice Chair at the RNC were reelected in Florida, two days after the riot at the Capitol.  Donald Trump Jr. screamed, “This is Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” at the Capitol rally and it appears he was absolutely right.  The RNC will be nothing more than Trump’s PR and fundraising arm for the next four years.  That is unfortunate because the primary job of the national Party(Party leadership at all levels) leadership is to ‘conduct fair primaries’ and to help get the GOP nominee elected, not tilt the process to favor one candidate.  When they do that, they lose all creditability with other Republicans.  By keeping the Trump team intact at the RNC, it sends a message the fix is in for 2024.

           May God have mercy on America.  Only He can heal this broken nation.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Sometimes a Grandstander gets in the Game!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


MATTERS WORTHY OF CONGRESS!

by Steve Fair

 

     Wednesday’s opening of the Electoral College votes before a joint session of Congress will be a lesson in U.S. government, so tune into C-Span or set your VDR.  On Saturday eleven Republican senators indicated they would vote to not seat the Electors from four contested seats until an Electoral Commission with full investigatory and fact-finding authority conduct a 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Thune, (R-SD) said any objection to seating Electors from the disputed state, ‘would go down like a shot dog.’  Four observations:

     First, it would not be the first time an Electoral Commission has been appointed.  In the 1876 presidential election between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel J. Tiden, there were serious allegations of election fraud in three states.  One of the states- South Carolina- reported an impossible voter turnout of 101%- more people voted than were registered.  Congress appointed a 15-member commission consisting of 5 senators, 5 congressman, and 5 members of the Supreme Court.  The commission voted 8-7 to award the contested electoral votes to Hayes, giving him a one Electoral vote victory over Tiden.  Democrats agreed to Hayes being president if Republicans would pull troops out of the South and Hayes was sworn into office on March 5, 1887.  The republic survived that very contentious election and it will survive this one.

      Second, Congress has an obligation to verify contested states followed their own election laws.  Congress is not given constitutional authority on how individual states conduct their elections, but it is the duty of Congress to insure states follow their laws.  There are many questions that at least 4 and up to 7 states ignored their own election laws.  Without integrity at the ballot box, the republic is doomed. 

      Third, by conducting an audit, perhaps future fraud can be avoided.  At this point, it doesn’t appear there are enough votes to get a commission appointed.  The lip service many Republicans give to root out fraud and corruption is just that- lip service.  The ‘swamp’ is afraid an audit might uncover something they don’t want uncovered.  Cheating at the ballot box has been going on for 150 years, but the cavalier, indifferent, dismissive way Congress has avoided investigating it may have come home to roost.  Until 2020, the average American wasn’t paying much attention, but a recent poll showed 40% of Americans believe the 2020 election was stolen and it is not just those wearing tin foil hats.  Congress may be forced to actually do something this time if those Americans keep paying attention.

     Four, some elected officials are clearly using this as a political opportunity to appeal to the GOP base.  Senators Cruz and Hawley are ambitious grandstanders and are likely 2024 Republican presidential candidates.  By their own admission they have little chance of getting the Commission appointed.  Contesting the seating of the Electors- even if it is long shot- boosts their stock with the hard-core rank and file GOP activists and kickstarts their 2024 campaign.  Sometimes the grandstander gets into the game.

 

     In their press release, the eleven Senators said: "These are matters worthy of the Congress, and entrusted to us to defend. We do not take this action lightly. We are acting not to thwart the democratic process, but rather to protect it. And every one of us should act together to ensure that the election was lawfully conducted under the Constitution and to do everything we can to restore faith in our Democracy."

     The American people need to keep the pressure on their federal representatives to take on (1) Ballot box integrity and (2) Introduction of a Constitutional amendment standardizing the election procedure in electing the president and vice president in all states.  Those are ‘matters worthy of Congress.’

Sunday, December 27, 2020

2020 is a year to forget, not remember!

Weekly Opinion Editorial 

by Steve Fair


     2020 comes to a close on Thursday.  It has been a year to remember.  In the not so distance future, there will be books written and movies made about 2020.  Americans have become more acquainted with Zoom and on-line video meetings than they wanted to.  They have eaten at home more.  They have learned to recognize people by their eyes, since masks are the fashion statement of the year.  Let’s recap 2020 by month.

     In January Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they were stepping aside from their royal duties.  The next day COVID-19 arrived in the United States when a Washington state man who had traveled from Wuhan, China tested positive.  Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a plane crash on the 26th.  Britain officially left the European Union on the 31st.

     In February, the impeachment of President Donald Trump dominated the news.  Impeached by the U.S. House in January on a partisan vote, Trump was acquitted by the Senate February 5th on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.  Parasite dominated the Oscars, the first time a non-English speaking movie won Best Picture.

     In March, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.  Experts claimed that up to 70% of the world’s population could ultimately be infected by the virus.  The stock market reacted negatively and had its largest single day point drop in history on the 9th.  Americans stocked up on toilet paper (not normally an expandable consumption product), and other staples creating shortages on retail shelves.

     In April, armed militia members took to the Michigan State Capitol to protest stay-at- home orders by the governor.  Tensions got high as local elected officials across U.S. imposed mask mandates and prohibited certain businesses to remain open.

     In May, George Floyd died and the media focus moved to racial injustice and inequality.  Protests were held across America, many turning into riots and looting.

    In June, President Trump declared himself the ‘president of law and order’ in front of a church across the street from the White House.  Former Vice President Joe Biden was chosen as the Democratic nominee for president.

     In July, Major League Baseball started their shortened season, but fans weren’t allowed into the stadiums.  The games were played in front of cardboard cut-outs.  California Gov. Newsom shut down churches in the state by banning in person worship, prompting lawsuits from several.

     In August, hurricane Laura struck the Louisiana coastline, killing six and a large swath of destruction.  The hurricane season in 2020 was one of the most active with twelve(12) named storms. President Trump accepted the GOP nomination for president.  Joe Biden announced his vice president choice- Senator Kamala Harris, (D-CA).

     In September, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court. 

     In October, President Trump was diagnosed and briefly hospitalized with COVID.  Judge Amy Barrett was confirmed by the Senate in a 52-48 partisan vote.

     In November, America voted and former Vice President Joe Biden was projected the winner by the media.  President Trump disagreed and vowed to expose voting irregularities across the country.  The state of Texas (along with 17 other states) sued four states, challenging their seating of their Electors.  The Supreme Court refused to hear the case.  Alex Trebek died after a long battle with cancer. 

     In December, two companies- Pfizer and Moderna- were approved to administer a vaccine to combat COVID.  The arrival of the two vaccines were developed in less than a year after President Trump had initiated Operation Warp Speed.  The media gave him zero credit.  A mutated strain of COVID shut down the United Kingdom fueling fears a second wave could be more challenging than the first.

     On Thursday at midnight some Americans will sing Auld Lang Syne, a poem written by Robert Burns set to a folk song melody.  Auld Lang Syne means ‘days gone by’ and is normally reserved for looking back on a year with fond memories.  For most Americans, 2020 can’t be gone soon enough. R.E.M’s ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It’ might be a better selection.  Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Romney hasn't supported Republican principles!

Weekly Opinion Editorial 

MITT THE TWIT!

by Steve Fair

     On Sunday, U.S. Mitt Romney, (R-Utah) said on CNN’s State of the Union the Republican Party has changed.  He said most of the 2024 GOP presidential contenders are pivoting toward emulating President Donald Trump.  “The party that I knew is one that was very concerned about Russia and [Vladimir] Putin and Kim Jong Un and North Korea, and we pushed back aggressively against them,” Romney said. “We were a party concerned about balancing the budget.”   

     Romney, a persistent critic of President Trump, was the lone Republican in the Senate to vote to convict the president on impeachment charges in January.  “I think, ultimately, the Republican Party will return to the roots that have been formed over — well, the century,” he said. “So, we’ll get back at some point and, hopefully, people will recognize we need to take a different course than the one we are on right now.” Four comments:

     First, Romney is right about the budget.  There was a time when smaller budgets, fiscal responsibility and smaller government were a cornerstone to what Republicans believed.  Gradually Republicans- at all levels- embraced a tax and spend philosophy.  The election of President Trump didn’t start government’s out-of-control spending, but during his four-year term, the national debt increased by 36% to $26 trillion.  While he fulfilled many of his 2016 election promises, Trump was not successful in reducing government’s footprint.  If America doesn’t get government spending and the national debt under control, our country is doomed.

    Second, Romney is wrong about foreign policy.  Trump’s ‘America first,’ foreign policy was successful.  It kept the US out of foreign wars and the nation building that Trump’s globalist predecessors (including Joe Biden) embraced.  Before Trump took office, North Korea was on the verge of invading South Korea.  China was taking advantage of the US in trade.  The Middle East was a hotbed with US troops in three different countries.  While unorthodox, Trump’s style of foreign diplomacy was effective, because he insisted the US not be treated as a doormat or an ATM machine by foreign governments. 

     Third, Romney is right about the GOP needing to return to their roots.  Elected Republicans at all levels have drifted from the Party’s founding principles of personal responsibility and limited government.  But Mitt Romney never embraced those principles or roots.  For Romney to question the direction of the Republican Party is laughable.  He has consistently been on the opposite side of most traditional Republican platform positions.

     Fourth, Romney is right about candidates emulating Trump.  His style of campaigning and governing inspires and energizes voters.  No political leader in the history of the country has been able to fire people up like Trump.  His politically incorrect-no clutch- full speed ahead style is fruitful.  He says what most Americans are thinking.  That is why candidates are copying his tactics.  Good or bad, Trump changed the political arena forever. 

     Mitt Romney has little or no creditability with rank-and-file Republicans.  He has been an unreliable vote for Republican policies and frequently votes with the Democrats.  It takes a lot of chutzpah to lecture the Party on principle and character when you haven’t exhibited either.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

EVERY VOTER FOR PRESIDENT SHOULD BE PLAYING BY THE SAME RULES!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


A FRUIT MEDLEY

by Steve Fair

     On Friday, the United States Supreme Court voted unanimously to not hear the Texas vs. Georgia/Pennsylvania/Michigan/Wisconsin lawsuit.  Seventeen states, including Oklahoma, joined Texas in the lawsuit.  All nine SCOTUS justices voted to not hear the suit, that aimed to prevent the Electors in those four states from casting their vote on December 14th. 

     If the suit would have been successful, it would have dropped Joe Biden’s Electoral count to 244, below the 270 needed for election.  The race would then have been thrown into the U.S. House of Representatives where each state’s delegation would vote en bloc, with each state having a single vote.  The District of Columbia would not have a vote.  Republicans are the majority in 30 of the 50 House delegations, so it would be very likely President Trump would be re-elected.  Two observations:

     First, the counting of the Electoral vote is set for Wednesday January 6th at 1pm before a joint session of Congress.  Vice President Mike Pence will preside over the proceedings.  Normally, the process is a formality, but not in 2021.  With so much controversy over claims of cheating, the opening of the Electoral votes will be a lesson in government every American should pay attention to.  Expect C-Span to set a record for viewership.  Here is how it will work:           

     The President of the Senate(the Vice President) will open and present the certificates of the electoral votes of the states and the District of Columbia in alphabetical order.   Four Members of Congress(2 from each chamber) called tellers, will read the Electoral votes from each state and report them.   At that point, Vice President Pence will call for objections, if any.  An objection must be presented in writing and signed by at least one Senator and one Representative.  If there is an objection, the joint session would adjourn and each chamber would then meet and after debate(no more than 2 hours) vote on whether to allow the challenged state’s Electoral votes to be counted or not.  The two chambers then reconvene and report their vote to the President of the Senate.  It is certain the Electoral votes from the four states sued by Texas will be challenged.   This normally routine proceeding will be far from routine.

     Second, how each state and DC conduct their election of Electors does impact other states.  The SCOTUS said the Texas lawsuit did not show Texas citizens had suffered harm by how the four states  handled their election, but that is not true.  When one state cheats in the presidential race, it impacts every state.  Texas was impacted.  Every state was impacted.  Clearly the U.S. Constitution grants authority to each individual state on how Electors are elected, but when some states are still counting ballots two weeks after the election, it is past time to standardize the process for electing the president and vice president. 

    Recent polls show 75% of Republicans believe cheating occurred in the 2020 election.  The same poll found that 20% of Democrats believe there was defrauding.  That is a significant number of Americans that have lost confidence in the integrity of the ballot box.  And there is reason to be concerned.  When you consider twenty-one states have same day registration, and five states will automatically send you a ballot in the mail each election, is there no wonder there is cheating?  Some states have election day registration.  Some have extended early voting- others have no early voting.  Some require identification to get a ballot, others do not.  The variance in how elections are held across the United States is like a fruit medley.  That needs to change.  Contact your Congressman and U.S. Senators and ask them to support election reform that includes standardization of election procedures and timelines for the presidential election.

Monday, December 7, 2020

America will be further divided under Biden!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


EXPECT CHANGE, NOT UNITY!

by Steve Fair

     What can America expect under a President Joe Biden administration?  Will he roll back many of the Trump administration’s policies?  Will Biden forge policy in line with the U.S. Constitution?  Here are six policy changes Biden will make in his first 100 days:

      First, a Biden administration will push state and local governments to ‘lock down’ to slow the spread of COVID-19.  The Trump administration recognized the U.S. Constitution didn’t grant authority for government to close businesses and churches, mandate the wearing of masks, and regulate the number of people who can gather.   Trump’s   laissez-faire approach to government is a far different one than Biden’s state socialism.  That will be very apparent in their differing approaches to the pandemic.

     Second, a Biden administration will raise taxes.  He has stated emphatically the Trump tax cuts would go away.  Those increases will be on everyone, not just the wealthy.  It may be difficult for him to accomplish it if the U.S. Senate remains in GOP hands (which it appears will be the case), but rest assured he is committed to doing it.  He plans to eliminate deductible traditional contributions to 401Ks and IRA and instead provide a tax credit for each dollar contributed.  That will negatively impact virtually every American.

     Third, a Biden administration will fundamentally change Trump’s environmental policy.  Expect the US to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate agreement.  The regulations on fossil fuels will be ramped up and tax dollars will be spent on renewable energy initiatives.  The price of gasoline and heating fuel will go up because of the regulations.  Jobs in the energy sector will be reduced. 

     Fourth, a Biden administration will push increased regulation of firearms.  He has stated he wants to expand the National Firearms Act which imposes a $200 tax on the registration of each weapon.   His website says he believes that gun violence is a ‘public health epidemic.’  He wants to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  He considers the National Rifle Association (NRA) an enemy and states on his website he will ‘take them on.’

     Fifth, a Biden administration will change Trump’s immigration policy.  A likely first step will be termination of the ‘Remain in Mexico,’ program.  That forces migrations to present their asylum case in Mexico, not the U.S.  He has said he will stop work on Trump’s wall.  He has said he would present within the first 100 days a plan to make 11 million illegal immigrates a ‘pathway to citizenship.’ 

     Sixth, a Biden administration will change Trump’s foreign policy.  Biden plans to roll back to the Obama administration foreign policy strategy.  That policy included a secret airlift of $400 million in various currencies being flown to Iran for the release of four American.  U.S. taxpayers paid $1.7 billion total to Iran in an agreement negotiated by former Secretary of State John Kerry to resolve a decades old depute over an arms deal.  Trump’s ‘America First,’ policy will be jettisoned for a globalist blueprint.

     A Biden administration will move America to the left- toward socialism.  It will work to redistribute wealth, regulate carbon emissions, register weapons, and open the borders.  It will be a far different approach to governing than the past four years.  Biden’s policies will be divisive, polarizing, and will further divide America.  Biden’s call for unity is disingenuous, duplicitous, and insincere.  Expect the next four years to be America’s most challenging and inharmonious, because of policy, not personality.