Sunday, July 21, 2024

America has a spiritual problem! Believers should pray more!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair

     Former President Donald Trump was wounded by an assassin’s bullet on Saturday at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.  Just 100 hours after being shot, Trump delivered a 93-minute speech to the Republican National Convention on Thursday night.  Impressive composure! 

     On Sunday, President Joe Biden, still suffering from COVID, dropped out of the presidential race by public letter.  Biden endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris for the nomination.  Biden had stated he wouldn’t withdraw from the race until the Lord Almighty told him to.  Apparently, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) has a new position/title.    Three observations:

     First, the U.S. Secret Service has some serious explaining to do.  The obvious lapses and gaps in the advance security plan for the rally warrant scrutiny.  Were those chinks intentional, the result of incompetence or due to a lack of staffing?    Congressional hearings are scheduled this week and those in Secret Service leadership should be held accountable.  Congressional hearings often hide the truth, and don’t expose it.   Let’s hope this one is different. 

     Second, God spared Donald Trump.  That is not in dispute.  But the idea of divine ‘intervention’ is problematic.  God controls everything all the time.  Nothing happens without God’s will.  God is either sovereign over all things or subservient to His creation.  If He is sovereign (and He is), He doesn’t pick and choose situations or states of affairs He will get involved in. 

     The sparing of Donald Trump is not necessarily a sign from heaven Trump is God’s chosen vessel. Clearly God isn’t finished with Trump yet, but discerning God’s intent in why is soothsaying.  Some Christian believers have compared Donald Trump to Cyrus, the historic Persian king, who delivered the Jews from Babylonian captivity.  Cyrus wasn’t a Jew and didn’t worship the God of Israel, yet the prophet Isaiah paints Cyrus as a conduit through which God accomplished His divine plan.    Donald Trump could be the vessel- or not- that God will use to deliver America. 

     Those who subscribe to ‘vessel theology,’ are often dismissive of Trump’s controversial past and blindly loyal because in their mind, he is God’s chosen vessel.  Since there is no Old Testament prophet, like Isaiah, to reveal God’s thinking, connecting the dots on why God spared Trump is just speculation.      

     Third, God sets up all leaders.  He also brings them down. Throughout scripture, wicked and good kings were used by God to punish, bless, deliver, and teach His people.  Some of those leaders were moral, others immoral.  Some were dishonest, others honest, but every single one came to power by the hand of God.  Biden’s ‘bringing down’ didn’t take God by surprise.  Trump’s deliverance from assassination wasn’t a revelation to the Almighty.  He is omniscient- all knowing. 

     The 2024 general election will still be close.  President Trump has a clear advantage, but the United States is very polarized.   Whomever the Democrats nominate will run a competitive campaign.  That’s because blind loyalty reigns in America and allegiance has become more important than objectivity.  Rational thought is sparse. 

     The solution to America’s problems is not electing Donald Trump.  If God allows that to happen, it is far better than the alternative, but until hearts are changed, America’s moral decline will continue.  America has a spiritual problem and believers would be better served spending more time on their knees praying, and less time on their feet cheering their champion and jeering the opponent.

Saturday, July 13, 2024


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     A political Party platform outlines the principles, goals, and policy positions on a variety of affairs.   A platform resolution in the GOP must originate from the precinct level.  It is then approved at county and state level before being considered at the national level.  Platforms are hammered out and then approved at a quadrennial national nominating convention by the delegates.

     The 2024 Republican platform was whittled down to 5,400 words- the 2016 platform was 35,000 words.  The U.S. Constitution is 4,500 words long.  The Sermon on the Mount 2,300 words long.  Republicans clearly like verbiage.  Republicans can view the 2024 platform at: 

     President Trump said about the platform: Ours is a forward-looking agenda with strong promises that we will accomplish very quickly when we win the White House and Republican Majorities in the House and Senate.” Three observations:

     First, platforms are ignored by elected officials.  Most politicos (at all levels) don’t bother to read their Party platform, much less feel bound to the principles in it. They see the platform as a document from a vocal minority, so disregarding it has no consequences.  Until repercussions are suffered at the ballot box because of their lack of fidelity to the platform, they will continue to turn a blind eye. Far too many just use the Republican ‘brand’ to get elected and ignore the core values of the Party once elected.  Until a majority of voters, at the ballot box, enforce adherence to the platform, it will be impotent.

     Second, a platform is a product of those who draft it.  Many who participate in the platform process are laser focused on one issue.  Their sole goal is to get their issue included in the Party platform, reflecting their values.  Fiscal conservatives concede social conservative issues to get their plank in the platform.  Social conservatives do the same.  That explains the garrulity of the document. The platform may or may not reflect the views of the majority of the members of a Party.  It is more often a work of self-gratification and little more than spuddle (to work ineffectively and achieve nothing).  Activists would do better educating the general public on the features, advantages and benefits of conservatism than drafting a manifesto no one reads.

     Third, the 2024 GOP national platform de-emphasizes abortion.  The abortion issue is not included as part of the platform’s prioritized 20 principles.  The 2024 platform only mentions abortion once in the document and removes a call for a national ‘right-to-life’ amendment.  That plank has been in the GOP platform for fifty years and is a major reason many GOP activists are involved in politics. 

      President Trump’s position on abortion is to push the issue down to the states, but are state rights more important than protecting life in the womb?  Are Republicans only concerned about the babies in their individual state?  Trump appointed Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe vs. Wade, which has saved millions of babies’ lives.  But removing a pro-life plank that has been in the GOP platform for fifty years risks offending Christian voters who oppose abortion. The 2024 GOP platform is pro-life, unlike the Democratic platform.  It just a more watered down than it was in 2016.

     Brent Leatherwood, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, said this about the 2024 GOP platform: “Now is the time to advocate for a robust vision for life — at all levels of government — not retreat from it. A moment when the abortion industry has been knocked on its heels is no time to shrink from a full-throated commitment to protecting preborn lives.”

      The 2024 platform was approved by the Platform committee by a vote of 84-18.  Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a strong pro-life advocate and a member of the committee, issued a minority report condemning the removal of the right to life amendment plank.   It is unclear if Perkins will bring it to the floor.  Sometime Monday, all 2,429 GOP delegates from all 50 states and 6 U.S. territories will vote on the proposed 2024 platform. 

     Once approved, the 2024 platform- like those before it- will be filed away, to be ignored for another four years.

Sunday, July 7, 2024


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     After President Biden’s disastrous performance at the presidential debate, he sat down with George Stephanopoulos Friday night for a 20-minute exclusive interview.  Biden appeared spryer and more aware of what was going on than he did at the debate, but the bar was pretty low. 

      When Stephanopoulos asked if he was going to drop out of the race, Biden responded, “If the Lord Almighty came down and said, “Joe, get out of the race,’ I’d get out of the race.”  Biden’s performance did little to stop calls for him to quit and let someone else run.  On Sunday, Democratic political operative David Axelrod said Biden is out of touch and doesn’t understand he is not winning the race against former President Donald Trump.  “He’s fought his way back from political defeats and against the odds. And so, his psyche is that he can beat anybody and any long odds. What he can’t beat his Father Time. And that’s really the concern here. It’s not about his record,” Axelrod said.  Three observations:

     First, Biden’s aging is not the only issue.  His advancing age and frailty should be of concern to all Americans, but his policies are the real problem.  A failed border security plan, economic policies that have resulted in record inflation, and a murky foreign policy strategy have Americans in much worse shape than they were four years ago.    Stephanopoulos, Axelrod and others have tried to hype the president’s dismal record, but polling shows Americans aren’t buying the con.  Biden’s approval numbers hover in the mid-30s.  He trails Trump in most polling with likely voters.  Biden is not just old, he is wrong.      

     Second, the main stream media is fake news.  Stephanopoulos repeatedly praised Biden’s pristine track record and how much of a humble statesman Joe is, while urging him out of the race.  George allowed the president to make an uninterrupted stump speech without challenging him.  Fellow liberals in the mainstream media called Stephanopoulos ‘tough’ on Biden and quite the journalist, but the fact is, the interview was nothing more than an infomercial.     

     On Friday, it was revealed two radio hosts this week were given ‘approved’ questions to ask Biden before he was interviewed.  Biden’s handler’s clearly fear spontaneity.  They script his every move.  

     Journalism is non-existent in main stream media.  Propaganda and advocacy upstage fairness, impartiality and integrity and liberal media doesn’t have exclusivity on one-sidedness.  There is a market to be told what you want to hear and modern media is happy to fulfill that demand.

     Third, Democrats are in a dilemma.  Polls indicate their presumed presidential nominee should withdraw, but publicly he refuses to comply.  Expect that to change in the next week.  Vice President Kamala Harris awaits in the wings and is already sounding like the nominee.  But Harris has been a part of Biden’s failed administration.  Her polling numbers are no better than Bidens and she is not popular with blue collar Democrats in key battleground states.  While she may be able to string together a discernable sentence, defending her own track record might be a tougher test. 

     Down ticket races are impacted by the top of the ticket and Democrats running for Congress are already distancing themselves from Biden.  It’s called the contamination factor.  Even if Ds are able to persuade Biden to quit, nominate Harris, 2024 is not looking like a strong election cycle for Ds.

     In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson withdrew from the presidential primary elections.  Challenged by several candidates, including Robert Kennedy, LBJ saw he was dragging the ticket down, wasn’t likely to win and pulled out for the good of the Party.  RFK was assassinated, VP Hubert Humphrey won the nomination at the violent, fractured convention in Chicago.  President Nixon won in a landslide.  Who the Democrats nominated in ’68 probably wouldn’t have made a difference.  It wasn’t their year.  ’24 is looking a lot like ‘68. 

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Caricatures, distortions, and exaggerations are now the norm in politics!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Mumbles was one of the featured villains in the Dick Tracy comic strip.  He was a con artist and had a voice that was completely incomprehensible.  Mumbles made an appearance on Thursday evening at the presidential debate and it wasn’t pretty.  

      President Joe Biden and former President Donald took the stage for the first debate of 2024.  It was the earliest general election debate ever.  Most election cycles the debates are in the Fall and much closer to the election.   Thursday’s event was held in Atlanta, moderated by CNN, and had no studio audience.  President Trump spoke 40 minutes, Biden 35 minutes.  Even though both had the same amount of time to respond to questions, they did not have to take all their allocated time.  The rules for the debate required their respective microphones were muted when the other was speaking, preventing their ‘talking over one another.’  Three observations:   

     First, Biden’s performance was dismal.  That critique is universal and bi-partisan.  From the beginning of the debate, Biden delivered hoarse, mumbled, incomplete responses.  A CBS News poll released Sunday found 72% of Americans believe Biden does not have the ‘mental and cognitive health to serve as president.’   Since the debate, Democrat Party leaders have openly urged Biden to withdraw from the race and let the Party convention delegates choose another nominee.  The New York Times editorial board has urged Biden to withdraw from the race.  The problem is Biden is the presumptive nominee with 3,894 pledged delegates.  Until Biden releases those delegates, they are bound to support him for the nomination.  At a campaign rally in North Carolina on Friday, Biden pledged to stay in the race. 

     On Sunday, Sen. Raphael Warnock, (D-GA), and a possible replacement for Biden said bad debates happen and Biden should not step aside.  Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, (D-NY) said Biden will make a comeback at the next debate and that he has his full support.  The second debate is scheduled for Tuesday September 10th.  Time will tell if Biden stays in the race or quits.    

    Second, Trump’s performance was uninspired.  Short on policy specifics and long on generalities, the former president missed a great opportunity to outline what his economic and foreign policy would be if granted a second term.  Ambiguous, inexact answers insult citizens seeking to know what a candidate plans to do if elected.  Until the American public demand to know what a candidate stands for, presidential debates will be nothing short of a reality show: personality and sensationalism will be the order of the day.  Golf handicaps and driving prowess shouldn’t be determining factors in whom one will vote for. 

     Third, the debate format worked.  While both candidates largely ignored the questions posed to them by the moderators, muting the mics was a good idea.  Enforcing allocated time is a good idea.  In 2020, Trump talked over Biden during debates, and Americans were not afforded the opportunity to see Biden’s inability to think on his feet.  That probably cost Trump the 2020 election.

          Much of Thursday’s debate was two candidates accusing each other of being the worst president in American history.  Neither need worry- Jimmy Carter is the undisputed worst.  Caricatures, distortions, and exaggerations (positive and negative) are now the norm in politics.  Policy has taken a backseat to entertainment.  If golf handicaps and driving distance are part of the decision tree for voters, it’s time to yell FORE!

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Liberty is in jeopardy because dodging and sidestepping rules is an artform!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Parliamentary procedures are the rules, ethics and customs governing the meetings of an assembly or organization.  Parliamentary procedure has been around since the 16th century and is used to bring order to meetings and allow for civil debate. 

     In 1876, Henry Robert wrote Robert’s Rules of Order, the most widely used book on parliamentary authority.  Robert wrote it to address chaotic, tumultuous meetings where no order was apparent.  Parliamentary procedure is supposed to protect the rights of the minority, maintain the rule of the majority, and promote efficient proceedings. 

     Often parliamentary procedure is used by a vocal minority to delay meetings, circumvent the will of the majority, and promote disorder.  Rumor is that could be happening at the upcoming Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

     News sources claim the 43 GOP national delegates from Arizona have hatched a plan to attempt to ‘release’ all 2,429 delegates from their commitment to vote for Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, aka ‘suspend the rules.’  In parliamentary procedure, a suspension of the rules allows an assembly to set aside its normal rules to do something that could not be done otherwise.

     While the Grand Canyon state delegation’s objective hasn’t been publicly revealed, some believe their end game is to have a continency plan should Trump be sentenced to prison.    Reportedly, they want to have retired General Michael Flynn in the queue for nominee should that happen.  They plan to ID each other by wearing black jackets. 

     Under RNC rules, a motion to ‘suspend the rules’ requires the majority of delegates from three (3) state delegations to get a motion and second to move it for a vote on the floor.  Currently, it does not appear other state delegations are signing on to the scheme.   Three observations:

     First, most delegates are bound.  Oklahoma GOP delegates are bound by Party rules and State law to vote for whom they are bound.  Oklahoma held a presidential preference primary on March 5th.  The result of the election binds delegates to a candidate.  40 of Oklahoma’s 43 national delegates must vote for Donald J. Trump at the convention so long as he remains in the race.  They must sign an affidavit affirming that fact.  The three RNC members from Oklahoma are not bound and can vote for whomever they wish.  If the bound delegates refuse to fulfill their duty, they are removed and an alternate then fulfills the will of the primary voters.  Even if the RNC voted to suspend the rules, the Sooner delegates would still be bound until Trump exits the race. 

     Second, the national GOP convention should be about trying to unite, not divide.  Due to the binding of delegates, the modern political Party nominating convention has become a coronation.   But it is an excellent chance for Republicans to point out President Biden’s failed economic policies, which have resulted in record inflation.  Instead of grandstanding and showboating, highlighting Biden’s immigration and foreign policy failures should be at the forefront.  Americans want substance, not sensationalism, tangibility not theatrics. 

     Third, Donald Trump is the 2024 GOP nominee.  He has 2,260 delegates to Nikki Haley’s 97 and Ron DeSantis 9.  Wasting time and energy on a foolhardy plan hurts the cause.  The focus should on winning in November and not aliening like-minded voters in a close election.  But stunts and antics are the order of the day, so watch for the black jackets July 15-18 in Wisconsin to frustrate the process. 

     Henry Robert paraphrased Proverbs 21:12 in the preface of Robert’s Rules: “Where there is no law(rules), but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty.”  Liberty in America is under attack because rules and laws are not considered absolute.  Liberty is in jeopardy because dodging and sidestepping rules has become an artform.  All you need is a black coat.

Sunday, June 16, 2024


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     How did America get in the shape it is in? $34 trillion in debt ($103,065 per person), government interference and regulations that intrude on citizen’s lives.  Elected leaders who regularly violate the founding document they are sworn to uphold.  

     Americans are increasingly disgusted with their elected officials.  Over 25% of voters polled in May by Pew Research had a negative view of both political Parties.   The source of these problems has to be the work of the establishment, but just who is ‘the establishment?’

     In 1841, Ralph Waldo Emerson gave a speech to the Masonic Temple in Boston entitled, ‘The Conservative.’  Emerson described those in control of government, ‘the establishment,’ and concluded the speech with; ”amidst a planet peopled with conservatives, one Reformer may yet to be born.”  We need a true reformer!      

       In the 1960-70s, the establishment was ‘the man.’  Vietnam draft dodgers and anti-war activists used ‘sticking it to the man’ as their battle cry.

     Fighting for Barry Goldwater in 1964, Phyllis Schlafly wrote, A Choice, not an Echo,” a series of anecdotes illustrating how the GOP had a group of kingmakers who had chosen moderate presidential candidates for seven election cycles and state primaries, while held, were largely ignored.  It was the beginning of the end for the Eastern elite who controlled the Republican Party.  Schlafly called the elitist ‘the establishment.’  Goldwater won the nomination and broke the establishment’s hold over the Party.  The GOP has never been the same.

     Many of those involved in politics have been sticking it to the man for years.   They were toiling in the trenches alone while their fellow citizens were paying no attention.  They were talking about out-of-control spending, an expanding government footprint, and too much money in elective politics.  They kept on keeping on, even when they lost most elections.  They celebrated small incremental gains.  They unselfishly invested their time, talent and treasure for a cause.  But now those grey hairs are branded political establishment and their ineffectiveness is the reason America is in the shape it is in.   What a crock!  America is in the shape it is in because of three things:

     First, Americans are apathetic and indifferent.  The number of candidates for elective office who don’t vote is staggering.  President Trump had not voted in a primary election for 21 years before he ran for president.  Governor Stitt had never voted in a primary before he ran.  People roll out of bed and decide they want to ‘get involved’ in politics, but shouldn’t involvement start by showing up at the ballot box before your name is on the ballot?  Not voting used to be a kiss of death to a candidate, but Americans don’t care anymore, because they vote with less frequency.  Reliable, faithful voters are ignored by candidates, because those voters pay attention and they vet the candidates themselves.  In today’s America, apathy is justified and celebrated and dedication and commitment is for fools.

     Second, Americans major on the minors.  When citizens do politically ‘wake up,’ they are often monolithic.  They tend to focus on one issue that is important to them.  Few are concerned about major issues like the national debt and the size of government.  Republicans campaign as fiscal conservatives and after getting elected spend more money than Democrats and no one blinks an eye. 

     Third, Americans are polarized.  There is no unity.   Devil Anse Hatfield and Ole Ran’l McCoy agreed more than Republicans and Democrats.  Within the Parties themselves, ideology purity is required.  Tolerance for a differing view is considered weakness.  Voting records and policy positions are distorted and caricatured.  Faith and religion are exploited for political gain.  Secret handshakes and code words help identity the like-minded in order to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Respect for the independent thinker is non-existent.  It is unsustainable-a house divided against itself cannot stand.

     The problem in America is not the establishment.  In a self-governing system of government, Americans get the government they deserve.  They stuck it to the man, but unfortunately the man is us!

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Oklahoma legislature fails to pass state income tax cut!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     The Oklahoma legislature adjourned sine die the Thursday before Memorial Day.  The state legislature is required to complete their business by the last Friday in May and the lawmakers just made it.  After a very public budget process instigated by Governor Kevin Stitt, the budget was finally agreed upon at the last minute.  Stitt attempted to get public sentiment stirred up for a cut to the state income tax by holding public negotiating sessions.  Senate President Pro Tempe Greg Treat, (R-Edmond) opposed the cuts and ultimately Stitt agreed to back off for the cut and sign the budget.  Treat termed out of the Senate.  Speaker of the House Charles McCall, (R-Atoka) is also term limited, so the legislature will have new leadership next year.  Here are three pieces of legislation they passed this session.

     First, impermissible occupation is now a crime in Oklahoma.  HB 4156, authored by Treat and McCall passed the House 77-20 and the Senate 39-8.  It is similar to Texas Senate Bill #4 which permits local police to arrest people they suspect may not have legal immigration status.  Treat and McCall say Attorney General Gentner Drummond wanted the legislation to help crack down on illegal marijuana grows and human trafficking.  Many of the state’s law enforcement community oppose HB#4156 because revenue to add manpower to enforce the law wasn’t included.  It is an unfunded mandate.  It is set to become effective July 1st.  The federal government has threatened to sue the state if they don’t agree to not enforce the law.  AG Drummond says he welcomes the lawsuits. 

     Second, Stitt did get concessions from Treat.  To get the governor to sign the budget, the legislature agreed to (1) give District court judges a +7% salary increase- from $145,567 to $155,756 annually, (2) appropriate $20 million to the Quick Action Closing Fund, a slush fund used by the governor to convince companies to move to Oklahoma, (3) keep funding the State-Tribal Litigation Fund, (4) Implement a task force to potentially a business court system in Oklahoma. 

     What are business courts?  Good question.  Senate Bill #473, authored by Sen. Lonnie Paxton, (R-Tuttle) creates an 11-member task force to study implementing business courts in OKC and Tulsa.  Over half the states have business courts that specialize in resolving business disputes.  Stitt contends corporations tend to not locate to states without business courts and they are needed to compete for new businesses. 

     Third, Oklahoma will not be using ranked voting.  HB 3156, authored by Sen. Brent Howard, (R-Altus) prohibits the use of ranked choice voting in elections at any level in Oklahoma.   Nine other states have similar laws.  Ranked choice voting is a system in which voters rank candidates in preference from their first choice to last.  Advocates say it eliminates runoffs and saves money.  Critics point out the person who gets the most votes could actually lose and the process itself is too complicated.

     Oklahoma taxpayers received tax relief when the legislature and Stitt agreed to eliminate the sales tax on groceries (HB#1955).  The cut only applies to the state’s 4.5% state sales tax, so consumers will still pay the local sales tax, which is as high as 7% in some municipalities.  The cut goes into effect in November. 

     The 2024 legislature failed to (1) identify government waste, (2) implement zero based budgeting, and (3) return the excess revenue collected to taxpayers.    

     All in all, the legislature earned a B.  Until they get serious about rightsizing government and remembering the taxpayer, that is a generous grade. 

     Will Rogers once said about the Oklahoma legislature: “When those boys are in session, neither man, beast or property is safe.”  Okies are safe until February 2025.