Monday, December 10, 2018


Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

      A rumor is an unconfirmed, widely spread story or statement. Rumors may or may not contain elements of truth, but their veracity is anyone’s guess—rumors carry no factual certainty. Rumors are also known as gossip, which is nothing short of the devil’s Ponzi scheme for sowing disunity.  In politics, spreading rumors is a stock in trade.  Politician operatives delight in using a ‘whisper’ campaign to discredit a client’s opponent.  Like Willie Nelson they tell people they hear things when silence is all they hear.  Will Rogers said, “The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them.”  Everyone loves a good rumor, especially if it presents them as being part of an exclusive group.  It’s just part of our fallen nature, but the fact is deliberately spreading rumors- either true or unsubstantiated- is unethical and unchristian.    

     Gossip in politics is a huge problem.  It is often marketed under the euphemism like, “sharing our concern,” or “people have a right to know,” when the blabbermouth spreading the scuttlebutt really doesn’t care and people really don’t need to know. 

      In a recent local campaign, a rumor was spread regarding a candidate’s health under the guises of “concern for them.” The fact is the busybody was trying to plant doubt in voter’s minds about the ability of the opponent to carry out the duties of the office, which was completely false.  Shameful, unethical and unchristian behavior.  Two thoughts on rumors and gossip:

     First, the first step to shutting down gossip is to not listen to it.  Instead of being passive, confront those who carry it.  Demand the talebearer to name their sources.  In a court of law, unsubstantiated testimony is not allowed, but in politics a rumor is considered true until the subject of the rumor has proven otherwise.   Choose to not participate in destructive behavior.  When a flibbertigibbet begins to defame someone, simply tell them you don’t want to hear it.  Don’t be passive.   If they have no audience, the effectiveness of their innuendo dwindles.

      Second, the subject of the political rumor/gossip should confront the circulator.  Conventional political wisdom is to not do that, but that is the biblical pattern found in Matthew 18.  The busybody should know they have offended and if they have any integrity, they will seek to resolve it.  Resolution is often not possible, but the wronged shouldn’t allow slander and lies to be spread without confronting the scandalmonger. 

     Gossip- in all aspects of life- is nasty. It is never good and should be despised by all who call themselves a believer. Instead of being passive and tolerating something that is widespread we should be vigilant to remove something that is destructive and vile. We should work to shut down gossip. Socrates said, “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

Monday, December 3, 2018

US Needs Better Trade Agreements!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

     President Trump met with Chinese President Xi  at the G20 meeting in Argentina last week.  They agreed to put their trade war on hold for 90 days.  Additional tariffs on goods were scheduled to increase on January 1st.  Those increases appear to be still under negotiation. 
     Trump had increased the tariffs on Chinese imports from 10 to 25%.  That had impacted $250 billion of goods imported from China.  In retaliation, China did the same thing on $110 billion of U.S. exports.  Many economists feared the trade war would stall the world economy and urged the two leaders to work out a solution. 
     The president tweeted on Monday:  “My meeting in Argentina with President Xi of China was an extraordinary one. Relations with China have taken a BIG leap forward! Very good things will happen. We are dealing from great strength, but China likewise has much to gain if and when a deal is completed. Level the field!”
     Immediately liberals jumped on the POTUS for using the phase, ‘leap forward,’ because China had a program from 1958-1962 called the Great Leap Forward.  The campaign was led by Chairman Mao Zedong and aimed to move the country from an agriculture economy to industrialization.  It was widely considered to have caused the Chinese Famine.  It’s a stretch to believe Trump was endorsing a famine, but liberals seize every opportunity to criticize.     
     The White House released the following statement on the agreement: "President Trump has agreed that on January 1, 2019, he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of product at the 10 percent rate, and not raise it to 25 percent at this time," the statement read. Over the next 90 days, American and Chinese officials will continue to negotiate lingering disagreements on technology transfer, intellectual property and agriculture. Both parties agree that they will endeavor to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days. If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent.”
     President Trump made trade negotiations one of his key campaign themes.  He promised to insure America did better at negotiating trade agreements than in the past.  By delaying the full implementation of the increased tariffs, did the president ‘blink’ as some critics claim?  Two observations:
     First, America needs to level the economic playing field.  For decades, our trade agreements have benefited other countries and cost American taxpayers billions.  From paying for infrastructure to providing start-up capital in developing countries to selling agriculture products at lower prices, America’s negotiators gave away more than the farm every time they sat at the table. 
     Second, Trump must be cautious when dealing with the communists.  Their values are not our values.  Their worldview is not ours.  China and Russia are not our friends.  They don’t like each other much, but they like America less.  A U.S. President must always remember that- whether negotiating a trade or arms agreement.   
    In 2007, the US economy was four times the size of China- in 2011, only twice the size.  At their continue growth rate, China’s economy will overtake America in 2029.  Americans better hope President Trump is as good of negotiator as he claims.  

Monday, November 26, 2018

Trump is being hammered for doing what others promised to do!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair
     On Sunday, U.S. Border patrol agents fired tear gas into a crowd of 500 Central American migrants at the southern border near San Diego.  The migrants had thrown rocks and bottles at agents.  As a result, the border was closed for several hours both ways.  After the incident, Mexico announced they will deport 100 of those who stormed the border back to their home country.
     On Monday morning, President Trump tweeted: "Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!"
     Washington Post opinion writer, Greg Sargent wrote on Monday: “Let’s be clear on the real meaning of the latest mayhem: It doesn’t give Trump “ammunition” at all. Instead, it shows that Trump’s immigration agenda is a total and abject failure and that he is covering up this glaring reality with lies.” Is the POTUS’ immigration policy a failure or is America about to be invaded?
     First, these migrants are not really seeking asylum in America.  They are demanding it.  Storming the border with rocks and bottles isn’t the way to get it. According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are two ways to apply for asylum in the U.S.: The affirmative process and the defensive process, both requiring the person to appear before an immigration court and prove they meet the definition of a refugee. They must also demonstrate either past persecution or prove they face future persecution in their home country. These migrants are simply a tool of the liberal ‘no borders’ movement and are not interested in following prodigal for seeking asylum. 
     Second, the immigration issue is not new.  Illegal immigration has been around as long as the republic, but in the past 40 years, there has been a huge increase of those who are illegally entering the U.S.  Instead of taking a hardline stand, the last four presidents paid lip service to the issue and coined the phrase ‘undocumented’ immigrants instead of calling them what they are- illegal. They kicked the can down the road and Trump is getting hammered for handling an issue they should have.
      According to Ronald Reagan, “a nation without borders isn’t a nation at all.”  America is a nation of immigrants, but there is no record of those 19th and 20th century immigrants storming the border, under the guise of asylum. 
      Third, the POTUS(no matter their Party affiliation) has an obligation to protect the United States from invaders.  America is a nation of laws and those who ignore them are criminals, even if the claim to be seeking asylum.  The last four presidents have all claimed they were going to secure the southern border and deal with illegal immigration, but they failed to do it.  Trump is being unfairly attacked for doing what he promised.
      Those who do not respect America’s physical border and ignore its’ boundaries (laws) don’t deserve asylum in this great country.

Monday, November 19, 2018

America's blessings come from the hand of a sovereign Creator!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair
     On Thursday, Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving.  What we commonly call Thanksgiving was a harvest feast celebrated by Pilgrims in October 1621 in what is now known as Plymouth, MA.  According to eye witness Edward Winslow, there were 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims who attended the three day affair.  They likely did not serve turkey.  The Smithsonian says they would have been feasting on wild foul, corn for bread or porridge and venison.
     Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday also celebrated in Canada, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia. Other countries- including Germany and Japan- have festival holidays that give thanks for the blessing of the harvest.
     George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving Day proclamation in the United States in 1789: “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” 
          Americans tend to do more eating than being grateful on Thanksgiving.  According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American will consume between 3,000-4,500 calories at Thanksgiving dinner.   That is about twice what the average daily calorie count should be.  Oh well, it only comes once a year, so enjoy.  In 2018, Americans have a lot to be thankful for, but here are two reasons: 
     First, America is still the nation that has more liberty than any country in the world.  Make no mistake- liberty is under attack, but the United States  still affords more personal freedom, economical opportunity and less intrusion into your personal life than any other place on the planet.  That freedom isn’t there because Americans are smarter, run faster or jump higher than people in other countries; it comes completely by grace from the hand of a sovereign Creator.  Americans should recognize that and be very thankful.   
     Second, America still has a form of government with a non-violent transfer of power.  In his first Inaugural Address, President Ronald Reagan called that nothing less than a miracle.  As Democrats regain  control of the U.S. House, the gavel will be passed without violence.  That is not the case in many countries in the world.  Non- violent transfer of power is something to be thankful for.  Hopefully that will continue.  Candidates- in both Parties- who challenge legitimate election results and claim they couldn’t have lost unless the election was rigged threaten that.  Like a little kid, they want a do-over when the results are not what they want.  That mentality fuels distrust and gins up their supporters.  It’s akin to anarchy (no government).  If Americans don’t learn to accept defeat, agree to disagree and debate policy in a civil manner, our form of government is doomed.
     America is a blessed nation.  Somewhere between the turkey and the pumpkin pie, humbly acknowledge that before God, and in the coming year live out thanksgiving.  President Teddy Roosevelt said: “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”