Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Boots on the Ground

by Steve Fair
On Sunday forty seven (47) patriotic Oklahomans boarded a large charter bus in Oklahoma City to begin an eleven hour trip to Denver, Colorado.  They are members of Oklahoma’s ‘Boots on the Ground’ deployment team.  I have the opportunity to lead this diverse group of citizens who primary goal is to help turn Colorado from a blue to a red state next Tuesday.  They will do that by spending a minimum of eight (8) hours knocking doors for four days in four counties.  It is estimated the group will touch 25,000 plus voters before we load back on the bus on Thursday evening at 8pm for a red-eye trip back to the Sooner state.

After traveling over 700 miles on the bus, watching four movies including 2016-Obama’s America, the team arrived at the hotel at 3 am on Monday morning.  After getting some sleep, they assembled for an orientation/ training meeting at 11am.  After receiving instructions on how to make a quality contact, the group, ‘hit the bricks.’  A large banner in the deployment room reads, “The voter is not in the hotel- hit the bricks!”  Another banner says the deployment is dedicated to the memory of Skip Healey, a political activist from Davis, Oklahoma who passed away a week ago.  Healey was the first person to make a monetary contribution toward the Boots on the Ground deployment effort. 

The Romney Ryan campaign team, the Colorado Republican Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee, determined the area where the group’s efforts would be most effective were Arapaho, Douglas, Elbert, Jefferson and Adams counties.  After the orientation meeting, the group was spilt into four groups and loaded onto 15 passenger vans for transport to the neighborhoods.  Each walker is given a list of infrequent Republican voters who they are to contact.  In Colorado over seventy (70) percent of voters cast their ballot early, so the walkers are also given a list of the early voting site locations.

After arriving back at the hotel on Monday evening after dark, the group went to On the Border for dinner.  During dinner, it was obvious most were weary, but the conversation centered around their experiences on the street the first day.  Most still remained excited and energized.  In fact four ladies decided to walk back to the hotel- a half mile trek.  Some are gluttons for punishment.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the group will assemble at 9:30am and walk the streets from 10am-6pm.  Tuesday night, Congressman Mike Coffman is hosting a BBQ for the deployment team at his campaign headquarters.  Coffman is in a dog fight of a battle for re-election and since the battleground counties for Governor Romney are also critical for Coffman, the group is passing out material for him.

During our ride in the van to the neighborhoods, I found out that Duncan native Bob Harris is on the trip.  Bob graduated from Duncan High School and now runs a computer company in Edmond.  Bob parents are the late Bob and Phyllis Harris, both who were active in the local GOP for years.  Bob Sr. was a trailblazer in local Stephens County politics.  He ran for the state legislature as a Republican back when Republicans just didn’t field candidates south of I40.  Bob didn’t win, but his efforts made it possible for others to win later, including former State Rep and Corp. Commissioner Ed Apple. 

The group is diverse- an RN from the Oklahoma Heart Hospital, a CPA/documentary producer, a retired Chemist, the State Auditor, but all have the same goal- to help make President Obama a one term president.  Their backgrounds vary, the average age is probably over 40, but they all gave up a week of their lives to make a difference in their government.  It’s ironic when you stop and think about it-this dedicated group of people traveled for hours to knock the door of people who seldom take part in the political process.  As one volunteer said, “Can’t these people see how critical this election is?”  Some do, but mistakenly believe their vote will not make a difference, but as George Allen says, “the world is run by those that show up.”  The volunteers for Boots on the Ground showed up.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Romney/Ryan- America's Comeback team!

Weekly Opinion Editorial

ROMNEY/RYAN- America’s Comeback team!
by Steve Fair

Governor Mitt Romney has an impressive resume.  He was born in Detroit in 1947.  Romney graduated from BYU, then went to Harvard where he earned a law degree and an MBA. 
In 1984, Romney started a venture capital company called Bain Capital.  Bain supplied financial and management resources for companies like Staples and The Sports Authority.  In the fifteen years, Romney ran Bain Capital, they helped hundreds of companies across America create thousands of jobs.
In 1999, the U.S. Olympics in Salt Lake City were in trouble financially.  The committee asked Romney to step in to help save the event.  The event had been bogged down in a bid-rigging scandal, sponsors were fleeing, and the budget was bleeding red ink. The attacks of September 11, 2001, just months before the start date of the games.  There was talk of scaling back the competition or even moving it out of the U.S.
In a remarkably short period, Romney revamped the organization's leadership, trimmed the budget, and restored public confidence. The Salt Lake games are considered one of the most successful Olympic games ever held on U.S. soil.
When Mitt was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, the state was in severe disarray, its budget was out of balance, spending was soaring, and taxes were high.   The state economy was in a tailspin, with businesses cutting back on investment or even closing, and high unemployment. Mitt made hard decisions that brought state spending under control. He restructured and consolidated government programs, paring back where necessary and finding efficiencies throughout state government.
Romney cut red tape for small businesses, signed into law job-creating incentives, and fought hard to bring new businesses to the state. He eliminated a $3 billion deficit without borrowing or raising taxes. By 2007, at the end of his term, Massachusetts had accumulated a $2 billion rainy day fund.
Here are three reasons why voters should vote for Mitt Romney? 
1)      Because you want to have the opportunity to get a good job.  According to a study by Rutgers University, only 51% of College graduates since 2006  have jobs.  We have high unemployment in America.  Businesses are cautious and are not expanding because of the economic uncertainty.  Mitt Romney has the background, the plan and the ability to get America back to work..  That is critical for college graduates and young people in college. 
2)      Because America has too much debt.  The American government spends too much.  The US government doesn’t have a revenue problem- they have a spending problem.  The major reason there are no jobs is because our government has too much debt.  The national debt is now over 16 trillion, which is $51,000 per citizen.  The debt crisis has created a business environment that is uncertain.  Business capital is a coward and will migrate to where there is the least resistance.  Mitt Romney has stated he will work to reign in America’s spending and reduce our national debt. 
3)      Because he picked Paul Ryan as his VP.  This pick showed he was serious about tackling the issues that must be taken on if our country is to survive economically.  Ryan is a bean counter, a numbers guy.  He understands the simple principle that you can spend more than you make.  Romney didn’t make a safe pick.  He went after a person with substance. 
Bill Bennett former Secretary of Education, says, “If Romney can thrive in the private sector, where half of small businesses fail within five years, and the public sector, where regulations and inefficiencies often stifle success, surely he can help the U.S. economy back to its feet.”
I wholeheartedly agree with Bennett.  Romney’s track record is one of success. Vote for Romney/Ryan on Tuesday November 6th.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Biden is the Joker!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

The truth is just a handful of voters mark their ballot in a presidential election based on the running mate, but perhaps they should.  Last Thursday’s debate between Congressman Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden presented a stark contrast between the two philosophies of the campaigns. 
Ryan presented Mitt Romney’s five-point economic plan that calls for creating four million new jobs in America.  Romney’s five points for economic recovery are:
  • First, take advantage of U.S. domestic energy resources and make America energy independent. 
  • Second, improve education and job training, in part by increasing school choice and changing the way teachers are hired and evaluated.
  • Third, curtail unfair trade practices by other countries, especially those of China who are manipulating currency and killing American jobs.
  • Fourth, cut the federal deficit by reducing federal spending below 20% of GDP.
  • Fifth, champion small business in America by cutting taxes and regulations, and by overturning Obamacare.
“Don’t raise taxes on small businesses because they’re our job creators,” Ryan said.  He also said that President Obama “thinks that the government ought to be able to take as much as 44.8 percent of a small business’s income,” but that he and Romney would limit the small business tax rate to 28 percent.
On his website, President Obama lists six tenets of his economic plan, but the Vice President really never presented any of them.  Biden spent most of his time interrupting Ryan and attacking Romney’s plan.   The Obama camp doesn’t spend much time talking about their plan, so for your information, the six points of Obama’s economic plan are:

  • Invest in education, research and technology to grow the economy for the long term.
  • Reform the tax code (tax increases) to create jobs and pay down the deficit.
  • End wars and rebuild America. 
  • Invest in clean energy made here in America(less oil/gas).
  • Lead the world in college graduates by 2020.
  • Expand access to affordable health care for all Americans.
One of the most interesting moments in the debate came when Martha Raddatz asked the two men about the issue of abortion.  Both are Roman Catholic.   “I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith,” said Ryan. “Our faith informs us in everything we do.”  Biden appeared to agree.  “My religion defines who I am,” said Biden. “I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life.”

But their positions on abortion were very different.  Ryan said his faith – combined with “reason and science” – led him to oppose legalized abortion, and that “the policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.”

Biden admitted his views on abortion are in conflict with his church. “In the church’s judgment, life begins at conception, but I refuse to impose that view on equally devout Christians, Muslims and Jews, Biden said. 
“The next president will get one or two Supreme Court nominees,” Biden said. “That’s how close Roe v. Wade is. … Don’t you think Mitt is likely to appoint someone like Scalia or someone else on the court that is far right that would outlaw legalized abortions?”  Let’s hope so.  Legalized abortion in America is something that should be stopped and is a sin against our Creator. 
Throughout the debate, Biden was rude, condescending, unprofessional and generally a cranky old man.  Ryan was polite and at times a little reserved.  He did not get rattled by Biden’s over the top antics, but kept his head and answered the questions thoroughly.
The VP debate probably didn’t move voters much either way, but it should have.  The Vice President is just one heartbeat away from the Oval Office and Biden’s performance proved he would be a complete disaster as President.

Monday, October 8, 2012

You may want to move to another topic

Weekly Opinion Editorial

“You may want to move to another topic”
by Steve Fair

The first presidential debate was held last Wednesday evening in Denver and by all accounts Governor Romney won.  In a CNN poll conducted immediately after the debate, 67% of those polled said they thought Mitt won with only 25% saying President Obama won.  
“Mitt Romney won the election tonight,” said former Clinton adviser and liberal James Carville. “President Obama looked like a little boy next to Mitt Romney,” said Diane Sawyer. And in a surprising tweet, leftist Bill Maher said, “I am donating one million dollars to the Romney campaign. He’s far better than I ever could have imagined.” Fat chance Maher will donate to Mitt, but it was apparent the prez to his clock cleaned in the mile high city.
One reason Obama did so poorly is because the president has flatly refused to adopt the stance of the incumbent in this campaign.  He has tried to position himself as the insurgent challenger- the Washington outsider- even after nearly four years as President.  He has attempted to run as if his own record were not subject to debate. Thankfully Governor Romney refused to let him get by with that strategy.  When they begin to actually discuss the economic numbers Obama began making multiple blunders and looked confused and annoyed. 
One of the bizarre moments in the debate came when President Obama turned to Moderator Jim Lehrer, a liberal, and said, “Jim, you may want to move to another topic.”   
That’s something you don’t see in a debate- a participant saying.” let’s quit.”  That’s like saying,” I lost.”  The topic that was being debated was the national debt.  It was clear the President didn’t want to discuss the national debt problem.  The reason is because Democrats have spent the last four years borrowing money from other countries including China to pay for their spending spree at home.  America’s national debt has nearly doubled in four years with four straight years of trillion dollar deficits.  The ballooning national debt crisis is a subject that must be discussed but it appears the president is unwilling to address it.
When the subject moved to health care, President Obama stated he had conversations with Americans about their health care “four years ago,” which would indicate he hasn’t talked to the average Joe about health care since he has taken office. That seems accurate since the Democrats said they would have to pass the health care bill to really know what was in it.  Obamacare is not a popular program.  A Rasmussen poll last week found that 52% of Americans want ObamaCare repealed and only 42% support it.   As Governor Romney corrected pointed out during the debate,  Obamacare has actually increased the cost of insurance so far.  The best comeback the president could come up with on the health care issue was to remind voters--as if they did not already know--that Romney had passed a health insurance law in Massachusetts.
The president even turned his frustration on Jim Lehrer at one point, accusing him of ‘interrupting’ him.  The fundamental problem Obama had during the debate was this was the first time he had been publically challenged on his ideas and policies.  The president is used to having the press throws him slow pitch softball questions so he can hit it out of the park.  In this debate, that wasn’t the case.  He was in the big leagues and when a ninety mile an hour fastball question came his way, he couldn’t get the bat off his shoulder. 
Some Democrats offered excuses, among them former Vice President Al Gore who said Obama was possibly suffering from altitude sickness which results from breathing air with lower oxygen content.  Denver’s elevation is 5,280 and it is true that it takes some time to adjust to the higher altitude.  However, that is not why the president lost the debate.  He lost because Governor. Romney had the facts on his side.  Romney addressed the issues, was decisive and came across as a problem solver.  The next debate is in New York at sea level.  Let’s see if the president rebounds from a terrible showing.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tolerance is not Compromising!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair     

     Blasphemy is defined as, “The act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.”  Many counties, especially countries where Islam is the state religion, they regard blasphemy as a serious offense.  In Pakistan, for example, execution is the penalty for blasphemy. In fact, Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has called on the United Nations to adopt blasphemy laws outlawing criticism of religion worldwide. But those that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  Ashraf should be investigating the impact of Pakistan’s blasphemy law in his own country.
     Just recently, a 14-year-old mentally impaired Christian Pakistani girl, Rimsha Masih, was imprisoned after being accused by a Muslim cleric of burning pages of a children’s religious book. It turned out the cleric just wanted to drive Christians out of the village and  had ‘fabricated the evidence’- aka lied. The case became so notorious that the charges were eventually dropped. But not until about 600 of the girl’s friends and family who were professing Christians had to flee the village out of fear of repercussions.  It has been reported she is not going home for fear Islamic vigilantes would kill her.
     In Egypt, the new president, Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has instructed the Egypt ambassador in Washington to bring legal charges against the Calfornia filmmaker Nakoula Basseley for blasphemy.   Nakoula, is the the alleged director/producer of Innocence of Muslims and a convicted identity thieve felon.  Morsi and most Muslim leaders clearly have a limited understanding of free speech.
     An exception is former Indonesian President and Muslim scholar, Abdurrahman Wahid aka Gus Dur.  Dur says that blasphemy laws “narrow the bounds of acceptable discourse in the Islamic world and prevent most Muslims from thinking ‘outside the box,’ not only about religion but also about vast spheres of life, literature, science, and culture in general.”  
     In the United States, a person cannot be prosecuted for blasphemy because it would violate the first amendment to the Constitution- the right of free speech.  That was determined in a landmark Supreme Court decision from 1952- Burstyn, Inc. vs. Wilson.  
     In the early 1950s, film distributor Joseph Burstyn appealed a blasphemy decision to the US Supreme Court over a short film called "The Miracle".The film’s plot centered around a man, "Saint Joseph" who impregnates a disturbed peasant who believes herself to be the Virgin Mary.
     The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Burstyn’s favor.  Justice Clark said in the majority opinion, “The basic principles of freedom of speech and the press, like the First Amendment’s command, do not vary. Those principles, as they have frequently been enunciated by this Court, make freedom of expression the rule. There is no justification in this case for making an exception to that rule.”
     Blasphemy laws have largely disappeared in America.  Currently only six states, including Oklahoma, have them on the books.
      Oklahoma State Representative Randy Grau, (R-Edmond), plans to introduce a bill in the 2013 legislative session to repeal Oklahoma’s blasphemy law.  “Most Oklahomans would be surprised to find out that they could be charged with a crime for insulting a person’s religion,” Grau said. Grau reports the UN to establish a worldwide blasphemy law that would prohibit a person’s freedom to criticize or question another’s religion.  While I do not support the gratuitous disparagement of another’s religious views, I do believe it is necessary to stand up for free speech even when it is unpopular to do so,” said Grau.
     Support for these U.N. ‘anti-hate speech’ blasphemy laws are coming from the Obama administration.  The President has expressed support for anti-blasphemy measures that are completely inconsistent with freedom of speech.  As recently as December 2011, the U.S. voted for a UN Resolution against ‘religious intolerance.’ The resolution condemned the stereotyping and stigmatization of people based on their religion. While this may sound fine on the surface, the resolution was presented by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, by countries where religions other than Islam are not tolerated.
     D.A. Carson, a Baptist professor of New Testament, has written a book entitled, "The Intolerance of Tolerance," which addresses this issue very well.  In the book, Carson says, "Now, tolerance means that you must not say anybody is wrong.  That’s the one wrong thing  to say. But, now notice, under this view of tolerance, you are tolerant, not of individuals, you are tolerant of all positions. The tolerance is now directed toward all views that are articulated because you are not in a position to say that any view is wrong.  The one thing that is not tolerated is the view that this view of tolerance is wrong.  And thus you have the intolerance of tolerance." For a review on the book, go to http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2012/06/review-of-carsons-the-intolerance-of-tolerance/


     In their 2012 annual report, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom wrote; “Across much of the Middle East, Christian communities that have been a presence for nearly 20 centuries have experienced severe declines in population, aggravating their at-risk status in the region.” To read the entire report, go to http://www.uscirf.gov/images/Annual%20Report%20of%20USCIRF%202012%282%29.pdf. 
     President Kennedy said, “Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”