Sunday, October 24, 2021

EVEN CONSERVATIVE OKLAHOMA IS NOT EXEMPTED FROM DEGENERACY!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


ILLOGICAL TOLERANCE

by Steve Fair

          On October 7th, the Oklahoma Department of Health issued a non-binary gender birth certificate to an Oregon resident, Kit Vivien Loreleid.   Lorelied, who was born in Oklahoma, sued the state to have the original birth certificate modified and the action was part of the settlement of the lawsuit.  Health department officials said former Attorney General Mike Hunter advised them to resolve the suit by accommodating the request.

     Non-binary is an umbrella term for gender identities that are neither male or female.  Those who call themselves non-binary believe it is a third gender.  Fourteen other states provide a non-binary designation on reissued birth certificates. 

     There was an immediate uproar from elected officials with Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt calling the action by the state Department of Health the work of ‘rogue activists.’  “I wholeheartedly condemn the purported OSDH court settlement that was entered into by rogue activists who acted without receiving proper approval or oversight.  I believe people are created by God to be male or female- period,” Stitt said.  On Friday, the state Health Commissioner, Dr. Lance Frye resigned, even though he did not reference the birth certificate issue as the reason for stepping down.  There is speculation that Stitt had asked for Frye’s resignation because of the action.  Three observations:

     First, state health department bureaucrats did not have the authority to add a third gender designation.  If such a change was going to be made, it should have been done by the state legislature.  The legislature should conduct a thorough investigation of the health department to determine who authorized the settlement and hold them accountable.  Usurping authority by bureaucrats should not be tolerated.

     Second, there are only two genders.  God said that in Genesis and no matter what a man or woman believes, there are only male and female genders.  The governor is right- you are either XX or XY.  That is science- that is reality.  In the interest of tolerance, our culture has become illogical.   Those who identify non-binary believe gender identity is one’s own internal experience and perception of self.  It doesn’t take into account what their Creator (God) thinks.  

     Third, rejecting birth biology is an assault on God and His sovereignty.  John MacArthur calls rejecting one’s original gender a kind of personal suicide.  “It is cutting oneself off from the way God designed you,” MacArthur says. Those who identify as non-binary should understand God made them and made them exactly as he wanted them to be.    

     There is a wide chasm between the biblical view of sexuality and the secular view.  Social media and many celebrities celebrate gender fluidity.  Advocates want males who identity as females to compete in women sports and use girl’s restrooms.  Parents are increasingly allowing their underage children to chemically and surgically alter their bodies and some states permit minors to do it without parental consent. Those who disagree are said to be unenlightened and narrow minded. 

     Oklahoma is considered to be a very conservative state.  The citizens in the Sooner state vote overwhelmingly Republican.  Republicans hold all statewide elected offices and super majorities in the legislature.  The federal delegation is all Republican. But last November, the first openly non-binary state legislator in America was elected in the Sooner state and last week a non-binary birth certificate was issued.   Clearly no place is exempted from degeneracy.

     

Sunday, October 17, 2021

RECESS IS GOOD ACCORDING TO TAXPAYER FUNDED STUDY!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


TAXPAYERS PAY FOR WAGGISH STUDY!

by Steve Fair

     An interim study is a study of legislative and policy issues by members of the legislature.  An interim study is requested by members of the Oklahoma House or Senate to the leadership of their respective chamber. They often address issues that have been the subject of legislation during the session that failed to pass or subjects that a lawmaker deems worthy of more in-depth consideration.  The two chambers of the Oklahoma legislature handle interim studies differently.  In the Senate, the President Pro Tempore assigns the requests to the appropriate standing committee. The committee chair of the standing committee then decides which studies will be conducted. In the House, the Speaker of the House sovereignly decides which studies to approve or disapprove. In some cases, House study requests on similar subjects are combined into a single study to avoid duplication. On occasion, some interim studies may be considered jointly by the House and Senate.

     Interim studies are typically held when the legislature is out of session and usually meet at the State Capitol. Depending on the study, a committee may devote anywhere from one hour to several full meetings to each study. Experts are often invited to testify at interim study meetings. Interim studies rarely generate a formal report to the public.

     This year 136 requests for interim studies were made by member of the Oklahoma House.  121 of those were approved.  In the Senate 71 interim studies were conducted. Two observations:   

     First, interim studies have a purpose.  They can result in a lawmaker crafting a more well thought bill that addresses a real issue.  Taking time and tax payer money to have round table discussions to consider all the ramifications of a bill before it is filed makes sense.  Too often during session, legislation is edited on the fly, which can result in laws with unintended consequences.

     Second, there are far too many interim studies.  The number of requests for studies are up in both chambers and frankly some interim studies are simply frivolous.  An excellent example is Rep. Jacob Rosecrants’, (D-Norman) study on the benefits of recess to Oklahoma secondary students. In a press release, Rosecrants said his study found, not surprisingly, that recess is beneficial because it allows students to decompress and relate to other students.

     Rosecrants, you may recall, is the same lawmaker who ran the ‘Play to Learn’ bill this past session, which makes it illegal for Oklahoma school administers to prevent early childhood teachers from using play to learn in their classroom. 

     Conducting an interim study on the importance of recess sounds like a joke, but no Oklahoma taxpayer should be laughing.  When legislature leadership accommodates such frivolous, flippant, meaningless and ill-considered studies like this, they waste taxpayer dollars.  Rosecrants was accommodated by the legislature and the governor on ‘Play to Learn,’ which resulted in a totally unnecessary law on the books.   It appears he plans to run a bill in the upcoming session ‘mandating recess.’ 

     Legislative leadership needs to stop indulging and obliging waggish interim studies and unnecessary laws.  Oklahoman’s tax dollars shouldn’t be used for such nonsense.  Our state has far more pressing issues to address.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Hofmeister's move like a cup of insipid coffee- Tasteless!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial

CONVICTION OR CONVENIENCE?

by Steve Fair

          On Thursday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) Joy Hofmeister announced she is changing her political party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.  She also announced she is running for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2022.  “Governor Stitt is running the state into the ground.  Though extremism, partisanship, ineffective leadership, he is hurting our education system, our health care and our infrastructure.  Governor Stitt has hijacked the Republican Party in Oklahoma,” Hofmeister said.  Hofmeister, 57, was elected in 2014 after defeating incumbent Janet Barresi and is termed out next year.  She was a former public school teacher and was a member of the state board of education(appointed by Gov. Fallin) when she decided to seek the SSPI office.   

     Hofmeister claims Gov. Stitt mishandled the COVID-19 response and has disrespected health care workers.  She said he ignored expert advice and failed to set a good example to protect Oklahomans.  She accused him of being too partisan and hasn’t worked with the tribes in the state.  Three observations:

     First, political party affiliation is a citizen’s first vote.  Registering and aligning with a party means they fundamentally agree with that party’s platform.  The Republican and Democratic Party platforms differ on many issues.  For example, Democrats favor gun control and abortion on demand.  Republicans support the 2nd amendment and are pro-life.  Hofmeister claims she hasn’t changed so when she used the Republican brand to run in 2014, was she lying when she indicated she agreed with the GOP on those issues.  Did she just say what people wanted to hear to get elected?   Party affiliation and registration matter.  It’s a citizen’s first vote.  Clearly, Hofmeister’s decision to change parties is one of convenience and not conviction.  She would have little luck running against Stitt in a Republican primary, so she chose to flip to the Democratic Party.  It remains to be seen how Hofmeister will be received by Democrats after being a Republican statewide elected official for eight years. 

     Second, politics is always partisan.  Partisan simply means someone is a strong supporter of a party, cause or person.  Every elected official, and for that matter, every citizen should be partisan.  They should be resolute and committed to their convictions.  The term is often misused and has come to mean that the minority view is not being held. 

     Third, voters shouldn’t be fooled by political opportunists.  When an elected official (at whatever level of government) change their political party affiliation, they should be questioned as to why.  In most cases, they changed because the Party they flipped to is in the majority and they fear getting defeated in the next election.   They change party affiliation because they are more interested in staying in office than what a political party stands for.

     Hofmeister’s flipping parties to run was not done out of conviction, but out of convenience.  It is like a mug of insipid coffee.    It has no taste.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

America is a Republic with a clearly defined Chain of Command!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial

MILLEY’S CONCEIT!

by Steve Fair

     General Mark Milley, 63, is the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He has served in that capacity since 2019.  Milley was appointed by former President Donald Trump.  In their recent book, Peril, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, claim Milley,  in a telephone conversation with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelsoi, agreed Trump was crazy.  Last week, he denied saying that.  While being questioned by the House Armed Services Committee, Milley was asked about two calls he made to his Chinese counterpart- one four days before the 2020 general election and the other two days after the January 6th Capitol breech.  During his testimony, Milley admitted he would give China a heads up if the US planned to launch an attack against them.   Three observations:

     First, the role of the military in the United States is clearly defined.  According to Section 7062 of Title 10 of federal law the purpose of the military is to ‘preserve the peace and security providing for the defense of the United States, the commonwealths(states) and possessions and any areas occupied by the United States.  The military is overseen by the Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS).  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the President, Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council (NSC), however, all JCS members are by law military advisers, and they may respond to a request or voluntarily submit, through the Chairman, advice or opinions to the President, the Secretary of Defense, or NSC.

     According to the JCS website, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have no executive authority to command combatant forces. The issue of executive authority was clearly resolved by the Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act of 1986: "The Secretaries of the Military Departments shall assign all forces under their jurisdiction to unified and specified combatant commands to perform missions assigned to those commands..."; the chain of command "runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense; and from the Secretary of Defense to the commander of the combatant command." The military commanders are to take orders from the President and the Secretary of Defense, not undermine or ignore orders.

     Second, giving aid and comfort to the enemy is treason.  It is punishable by death or at the very least imprisonment of no less than five year and a fine of $10,000. Miley has admitted to giving America’s #1 enemy aid and comfort by calling his counterpart in China behind President Trump’s back.  At the very least, Milley should be removed as Chairman of the JCS and trialed for treason.    

     Third, the U.S. Constitution addresses presidential disability.  There is no provision for the Chairman of the JCS to unilaterally make that decision.  In 1965, the 25th amendment was added to the Constitution.  It mandates that a majority of the president’s cabinet (12 members) have to agree the president cannot perform the duties of the office before they are removed. Since the president selects their cabinet, getting that done is a high bar.  Milley allegedly told the other members of the Joint Chiefs to ignore Trump if he ordered an attack.  Milley does not have that option. In America, the military is to follow orders.  America is a Republic, not a military junta(a government led by a committee of military leaders). 

     Powerful leaders often are conceited and have big egos, but in our system of government, there is a clearly defined chain of authority.  Milley violated that chain.  C.S. Lewis said, “If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed.” Milley’s actions need to be dealt with by Congress.

 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Out of Control Government Spending will annihilate America before COVID does!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), has scheduled a vote on Thursday on the Senate passed bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill.   The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 69-30 last week.  Nineteen (19) Republicans joined fifty (50) Democrats to push the bill over the top.  Both of Oklahoma’s U.S. senators voted no.  President Biden claims the money will add 2 million jobs per year over the next ten years.  The money is earmarked for roads/bridges, modernizing of public works, and boosting broadband internet. 

     Pelosi is struggling to get the votes necessary to get the bill passed.  She delayed the floor vote to work on getting some of the more moderate Democrats to vote for it.  They wanted the much larger $3.5 trillion relief bill passed first.  It would pay for new family, health and education programs, among other liberal priorities.  Since March of 2020, over $7 trillion dollars of tax dollars has been spent in the name of COVID.   Three observations:

     First, the economic response to the virus may economically kill the U.S.  Spending we don’t have on programs we don’t need will result in mortgaging our grandchildren’s future. Handing out money to able bodied Americans to not work has resulted in a labor shortage for businesses all over America.  Employers hiring entry level/minimum wage employees are struggling to find workers who will show up.  Rewarding inactivity and nonproductivity is never a good strategy. 

     Second, there is just so much a government can borrow without raising interest rates and crowding out private investment.  Because of the federal response to the pandemic, the national debt as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product is now over 100%.  In times of war and crisis, spending more than revenue may be necessary, but the wild, crazy spending the government is doing is shortsighted and reckless.

     Third, spending tax dollars is a non-partisan activity.  It doesn’t seem to matter the political Party designation.  Republicans spend at a lesser rate than Democrats, but they still spend.  ‘Bringing home the bacon,’ or earmarks help keep incumbents in office.  Taking credit for spending our money is what most politicians do best.  There doesn’t seem to be the political will to cut spending and reduce government’s footprint.  President Reagan was right when he said, “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size.  Government programs, once launched, never disappear.  Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal lie we’ll ever see on this earth!”

     2022 elections are coming up and candidates are emerging.  When interacting with a candidate, don’t editorialize or present them with your opinion or solution on an issue.  Ask them direct, concise questions and let them answer.  Don’t tip them off as to how you want them to answer.  Zig Zigler said, “Take time to be quiet.”   It’s the voter’s job to vet candidates and you can’t do it talking- you have to listen.  Until we get leadership with resolve, out of control government spending will continue and it will annihilate our country as we know it.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Taxpayers should know where their money is being spent and elected officials should welcome audits!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


THE BALL BOUNCES!

by Steve Fair

     In the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, then candidate Kevin Stitt promised to have the State Auditor and Inspector audit every major state agency if he was elected.  He wasn’t the only one- every candidate followed then State Auditor Gary Jones’ lead and said they would audit every dime of taxpayer dollars, but then the campaign ended and the promises forgotten-until this week. 

      On Thursday, Governor Stitt announced he has asked Cindy Byrd, the Oklahoma State Auditor to audit the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE).  The governor said he wants all revenue sources flowing into the ODSE identified.  OSDE has many buckets of revenue- state funds, federal funds, state appropriations, taxes, and fees.  The audit is also to determine whether OSDE and Oklahoma school districts are complying with financial transaction reporting requirements. 

     “I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would clean up state government to make it more transparent and accountable and I am keeping that promise. As we make record investments in our public education system, students and parents deserve to know that their schools are spending our tax dollars appropriately and in accordance with the law,” Stitt said in a press release.

     “This type of audit has never been conducted in the history of Oklahoma and, perhaps, the nation,” State Auditor Cindy Byrd said. “As always, these audits are about transparency and accountability to taxpayers. I commend Gov. Stitt for requesting this audit. People want to know how their tax dollars are spent on education.” State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) Joy Hofmeister says the audit is an attack on public education.

     "As the Governor should already know, the OSDE has undergone more than 20 financial, compliance and programmatic review audits by the state auditor’s office in the last 6-1/2 years. Additionally, the Governor’s hand-picked Secretary of Education approves every agency expenditure over $25,000 on a weekly basis. Every single spending request has been personally approved by Secretary Ryan Walters. The Governor’s call for an audit is yet another attack on Oklahoma’s public education system,” Hofmeister said in a press release.  Three observations.

     First, better late than never.  Education (secondary and higher ed) receive more of Oklahoman’s hard earned tax dollars than any other state agency. It is long past time for a comprehensive audit of the OSDE.  It should be regularly audited and it shouldn’t require special action to get it done.  All state agencies, not just OSDE, should face the same scrutiny.    

     Second, Stitt’s timing on the request looks political.  An audit will take some time to complete.  Release of the findings will be in 2022, an election year.  The primary election is in June 2022.  Stitt’s Secretary of Education, Ryan Walters is an announced GOP candidate for SSPI- the office Hofmeister is termed out of.  Both Stitt and Byrd have announced they are seeking reelection in 2022.  If the audit finds some shenanigans, they all look good in the eyes of the voters.  Back in November 2020, twenty two(22) legislators asked the governor to request a full blown investigative audit of the OSDE.  Why wait ten months to make that request?  As they say, timing is everything.

     Third, an audit is not an attack.  It is a tool to verify tax dollars are being spent as they should be.  Honest, ethical elected officials should never fear an audit- they should welcome them.  Most auditors are watchdogs, not bloodhounds.  Taxpayers have a right to know where and how their money is being spent.  It is never a waste of tax dollars to look at the books. 

       Lou Holtz says, “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.”  It will be interesting to see which way this ball bounces.

  

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Biden Executive Order will not stand up to Constitutional Scrutiny!

Weekly Opinion Editorial 


PANDEMIC POLITICS!

by Steve Fair

     On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced sweeping new COVID vaccine mandates.  In an Executive Order (EO), the POTUS ordered all business with more than 100 employees to require their workers to be immunized or face weekly testing.  Biden also said he would require health care facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid funding (pretty much all of them) to vaccinate their employees.  The EO also compels all federal employees to get vaccinated- without the weekly testing option available to private business employees.  Biden’s tone was more antagonistic toward the unvaccinated on Thursday.  “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden told the unjabbed.  Three observations:


     First, Biden’s position on mandating vaccinations has changed.  In July 2020, candidate Biden said he would not force anyone to be vaccinated.  “No, I don’t think it should be mandatory. I wouldn’t demand it be mandatory,” he said when questioned by reporters.  In fact, he was critical former President Trump had rushed the vaccine for use.  As late as July 23rd, the White House maintained Biden’s position had not changed on mandatory jabs.  “There will be no nationwide mandate,” WH Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. 

     What changed in six weeks?  “We’re in a tough stretch and it could last a while,” Biden said on Thursday.  The truth is Biden’s position changed because his approval numbers dropped.  He has failed to deliver on his campaign promise to slow the spread of COVID.  According to the CDC, the highly contagious delta variant has resulted in 150,000 cases a day in the U.S. and 1,500 deaths daily.  Biden’s senior advisors believe his not delivering on his campaign promise to stop COVID could derail the rest of his presidency.    


     Second, Biden’s EO will not stand up to scrutiny in the courts.  It is not the job of the federal government to force Americans to take the vaccine.  The Executive Order violates the U.S. Constitution.  That opinion is shared by many that are advising Biden.  Earlier this year, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “We don’t want to be mandating from the federal government to the general population.  It would be unenforceable and not appropriate.”   Psaki said in that same July news briefing, “Mandating vaccinations is “not the role of the federal government.  Our interest is very simple, from the federal government, which is Americans’ privacy and their rights should be protected.”  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), said last month; “We cannot require someone to be vaccinated.  That’s just not what we can do.”    Several governors have already said they would challenge Biden’s EO in court.  Hopefully the SCOTUS will take quick action and strike down Biden’s EO.

     Third, COVID has been politicized.  Politician types never let a crisis go to waste- even a pandemic.  “These ‘pandemic politics,’ as I refer to it, are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die,” Biden said. “We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting a large majority of Americans who have done their part.”  Biden is right.  He has played politics with COVID.  His flip flop on mandatory vaccinations is a classic example. 

     Biden’s EO creates a Constitutional crisis.  If a president can, with a stroke of the pen, force Americans to put something in their body they don’t want to put in it, then America ceases to be America.  If the courts ignore the Constitution and rule in Biden’s favor, America is doomed.  Individual liberty is the foundation of the republic.  It is not the job of the government to protect ourselves from ourselves.  Each person has a right to make their own decision on vaccination.