Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:24.

On May 15, 2008, in a 4-3 decision, California's Supreme Court ruled in favor of two dozen gay couples, and the city of San Francisco, who argued that the 2000 state law banning same-sex marriage in California was discriminatory. The decision makes California the second U.S. state to legalize gay marriage. Currently four states recognize gay marriage and thankfully that number doesn’t include Oklahoma. In his written opinion, California Chief Justice Ron George said, "limiting the designation of marriage to a union 'between a man and a woman' is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute." Those who penned California’s state constitution must be spinning in their graves. It never occurred to the framers to include a definition of marriage as being between exclusively a man and a woman. That fact seemed so obvious that it didn’t need defining. Once again activist judges have moved from interpreting the law to legislating from the bench.
Gay marriage opponents in California are collecting signatures to place the same sex marriage issue on the November ballot in hopes of striking down the measure. It's unclear at this time whether the initiative has enough strength to be successful. In the meantime, same-sex California couples, gay rights organizations and gays across the country are celebrating the landmark victory. In a written statement, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi- D, California, wrote, "I welcome the California Supreme Court’s historic decision. I have long fought against discrimination and believe that the State Constitution provides for equal treatment for all of California’s citizens and families, which today’s decision recognizes."

California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called the ballot initiative “a waste of time.” “I personally believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but at the same time, I think that my, you know, belief, I don’t want to force on anyone else.”

Back in September 2005, Schwarzenegger vetoed a gay marriage bill but said at the time that gay couples are entitled to full protection under the law and should not be discriminated against based upon their relationship. The Guvanator said "I am proud that California provides the most rigorous protections in the nation for domestic partners.” Arnold is a RINO (Republican in name only), so his illogical statement on this issue was not unexpected. The Republican platform has a plank that calls for a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, so Schwarzenegger is out of touch with his party.

California does tend to be getting more tolerant of the gay lifestyle. According to Gregory Lewis of Georgia State University and Charles Gossett of California State Polytechnic University, "Californians born in each decade tend to be more accepting of gay relationships and more willing to grant them legal recognition than those born the decade before," But accepting something that is wrong because you’ve become insulated to it doesn’t make it right.

Former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, has said the laws in this country are built upon a certain worldview, and it is the Judeo-Christian worldview. Santorum says that worldview has been expressed in our laws on marriage for 200-plus years and this issue was never an issue until about 25 years ago. To even consider legalized same sex marriage would have been beyond the pale. And so it is clearly a dramatic departure from the Judeo-Christian ethic that is reflected in our laws that say marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman.

Christians believe that the homosexual lifestyle is sinful and as Americans, they should have the right to be able to express their religious beliefs without fear of being branded as hate-inciting criminals. The truth is, the most hate-filled people in this debate are the homosexual activists who are forcing their worldview on others. Christians should have the right to protest the “gay” agenda that is being forced onto their children via the schools (teaching four-year-olds about same sex relationships) and television shows. Just last week, Heinz pulled an ad that showed a homosexual male couple kissing, but whenever anyone states a position that differs from the gays, they become intolerant.

A fence is a structure serving as an enclosure, a barrier, or a boundary. It offers a means of defense or protection. Before a fence is removed, one should ask why that fence was erected in the first place. There is a societal and Scriptural fence that was erected by Almighty God 6,000 years ago. Many in our culture are seeking to tear down that fence of "Traditional Marriage" which was built by God. While they may think they can get by with ripping down the fence, the fence builder doesn’t take kindly to destruction of His property.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Meet the Republican VP Prospect:
Tim Pawlenty
by Brad Haynes- The Wall Street Journal

Joining Tim Pawlenty at a Minnesota event on June 19, John McCain drew further talk that the two-term Gopher State governor might soon ride shotgun on the national ticket. When it comes to loyalty, McCain couldn’t do much better. Pawlenty has backed the senator’s presidential bid since late 2006, became his campaign’s national co-chairman in January 2007 and stuck with the candidate even when his campaign was near collapse last summer.

The son of a Teamster truck driver and the first in his family to attend college, Pawlenty’s blue-collar appeal could help Republicans lock up the white, working-class vote, which Barack Obama struggled with in the primaries. During his first campaign for governor, Pawlenty vowed to make the GOP the party of “Sam’s Club, not just the country club.” Read the entire article at:

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme court confirmed that Americans have a right to defend themselves. Read the entire story at:

Fellow blogger Bobby Cleveland has a clever video with "voters" explaining why they will vote Democrat in November. You can access it at

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tax policy and the election
by George Porter
Barack Obama frequently criticizes the Bush tax cuts and suggests that under an Obama presidency, many will be scrapped. Robert Mundell, Nobel laureate and Columbia University Economics professor, is quoted in the June 21 issue of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) predicting “If that happens, the U.S. will go into a big recession – a nosedive…This would be devastating to the world’s economy, to the United States, and it would be, I think, political suicide in a general election.”

Mundell recounts how the last century experienced a titanic struggle over tax rates: from 3% on only the few of the wealthiest Americans in 1913; up to 60 percent during WW I; down to 25 percent before Congress and Herbert Hoover raised taxes back to 60 percent in 1932 and “sealed the fate of our economy for a long, long time;” all the way up to 92.5 percent during WW II before falling in three steps, reaching 28 percent under President Ronald Reagan; and back to nearly 40 percent under Bill Clinton before George W Bush lowered them to their present level. “The most important thing that could be done with respect to tax rates now is to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Eliminating that uncertainty would be more important than pushing for a further tax cut -- in the income tax, anyway.”

He does recommend lowering our corporate tax rate from its current 35 percent down to 25 percent to increase American competitiveness.

Robert Mundell, a Canadian now living in New York, is considered the father of the European euro. He recommended a common European currency for 30 years before it came into existence in 1999. He currently advises China on monetary policy, and has been suggesting an Asiatic version of the euro. Long term he recommends one common world currency, possibly the U.S. dollar – “the global economy needs a global currency…I look on the United States still as the main sparkplug of economic growth in the world.”

Mundell was a participant this past May at the Copenhagen Consensus 2008 Conference. He is now pushing for a monetary conference of the world’s leading nations in 2010 at the Shanghai World Fair. Given Mundell’s past record and his global influence, one common world currency may come in the not so distant future.

The Democrat party is split on fiscal and tax policy. The big spenders, higher tax faction within the party, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Harry Reid is the dominate Democrat group. More conservative “New” Democrats number only about 40, but were the big gainers in 2006 when Democrats took control of Congress.

“New Democrats” were born in the 1980’s in response to the Reagan Revolution, as the Democratic Leadership Council. Bill Clinton ran on their platform that included economic centrism. The far left despised President Clinton’s embrace of free trade, his accommodation to welfare reform, and his pronouncement that “the era of big government is over.” But Bill Clinton gave the Democrat Party its’ only two full terms in the White House since FDR.

Barack Obama’s tax rate proposals would take us back to those in effect under President Carter. He wants to increase taxes on payroll, capital gains, dividends and death in a redistribution philosophy and the largest tax increase in American history.

John McCain has proposed making the Bush tax cuts permanent, phasing out completely the Alternative Minimum Tax, cutting the corporate tax gradually from the present 35 percent to 25 percent, and doubling the personal exemption for dependents – a move that would lower taxes for all and remove many from having to pay income tax.

While details change weekly as both candidates compete for voter approval, the tax policies advocated by McCain and Obama are radically different and part of packages that embrace two different philosophies of government.

Economist Kurt Hauser 15 years ago published data that documented that federal tax revenue has been a relatively consistent 19.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) since 1950, under ever changing tax rates. Tax rate hikes have produced lower GDP. Houser concludes: “Higher taxes reduce the incentives to work, produce, invest and save, thereby dampening overall economic activity and job creation.”

If Robert Mundell and Kurt Hauser are correct, lower taxes will promote economic growth and a higher GPD, and more government revenue. It’s part of the McCain package.

Tom Coburn, McCain’s co-chair in Oklahoma, wrote in a recent article in the WSJ “John McCain, for all his faults, is the one Republican candidate who can lead us through our wilderness. Mr. McCain is not running on a messianic platform or as a greart healer of dysfunctional Republicans who refuse to help themselves. His humility is one of his great strengths. In his heart, he’s a soldier who sees one more hill to climb, one more mission to complete.”

George Porter is a retired insurance company executive and a Duncan Banner columnist. He may be contacted at

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair
Can Barrick Obama be America’s next President? That remains to be seen, but the young Senator has defied the odds and beaten Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, but can he beat John McCain? Granted, the forty six year old Obama can string a sentence together. He is an inspiring speaker who can work a crowd with the best. He also inspires young and old alike with his message of change. The problem is that Obama speaks in such generalities that it’s hard to determine what he actually stands for. Anyone can advocate change, but unless there is a detailed execution strategy to bring change about, it’s just talk. A better indicator of Obama’s true values is not the speeches he delivers at campaign rallies, but how he has voted in the U.S. Senate.

According to the National Journal Senator Obama was the most liberal senator in the storied body in 2007. The insurgent presidential candidate shifted further to the left last year in the run-up to the primaries, after ranking as the 16th- and 10th-most-liberal during his first two years in the Senate. He is even more liberal than Hillary. Senator Clinton ranked as the 16th-most-liberal senator in the 2007 ratings. Obama is a classic liberal. He energizes young educated professions- many with limited political knowledge or experience. As a liberal, Obama and his followers believe the government should be more involved in people’s lives. They also believe those who disagree with them are uninformed hillbillies.

An example of how Obama feels about the average working class Democrat was revealed in the statement he made in Pennsylvania during the primary campaign. The Senator said, "it's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." The “they” Obama was referring to were average working class Americans.
Syndicated columnist George Will wrote in response. Obama's dismissal is: Americans, especially working-class conservatives, are unable, because of their false consciousness, to deconstruct their social context and embrace the liberal program. Today that program is to elect Obama, thereby making his wife at long last proud of America.”

The condescending attitude Obama and his liberal followers have for working class Americans defies conventional wisdom. They arrogantly proclaim that only their liberal ideas of change can save America. But this characteristic of arrogance is nothing new to liberalism. In 1952, Illinois liberal Adlai Stevenson was the Dem’s nominee for President after a brokered nominating convention. With nine candidates on the ballot, including Oklahoma US Senator Robert S. Kerr, Stevenson finished second on the first ballot. The party bosses were convinced the young liberal would do well in the general election and pressured the delegates to nominate the grandson of President Cleveland’s Vice President. They did so on the third ballot of the convention. But Stevenson failed to connect with the average American and was soundly beaten by General Dwight D. Eisenhower- not just in 1952, but in 1956 as well.

The similarities between Obama and Stevenson are striking. Both came to national prominence after delivering stirring speeches at the Democratic National Convention. Like Obama, Stevenson was young and was an Ivy League graduate. He was considered an intellectual like Obama. In fact, Stevenson’s nickname was “the egghead.”

But Stevenson’s electability problem was his inability to connect to the average man. According to David Greenberg, “to mainstream Americans, Stevenson was an odd bird. He was divorced, and a Unitarian, and he talked funny. Mort Sahl joked that Adlai believed in the "Ten Suggestions" and that if Stevenson were in the Klan, he would burn a question mark on your front lawn.

Stevenson’s primary problem was that he thought he knew more about what Americans needed than they did. That is a classic characteristic of liberalism. Liberals believe they are smarter, can jump higher, and run faster than the average man. The liberal’s favorite book is Humility and how I mastered it. Liberals don’t subscribe to personal responsibility and accountability. They believe the government is the answer to every problem. Liberals don’t believe in absolutes. To a liberal, behavior is dictated by the situation, not by solid concrete principles of right and wrong.
Obama is cut from the same piece of cloth as Stevenson. Like Stevenson, Obama fails to recognize, respect, and appreciate the people of middle America. He cannot understand that owning a gun or practicing ones faith doesn’t make them bitter. It defines who they are and what they stand for. To imply otherwise reveals a lack of understanding of what made America great. Obama is disconnected from middle American and for that reason, Abe Lincoln, the first Republican President, will continue to remain the only person ever be elected President from Illinois.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Steve's comments appear in red
Gary Jones’ Five Most Shameful Lies
Written Wednesday, November 01, 2006
by now convicted felon Lori McMahon

Republican Gary Jones is running for State Auditor of Oklahoma with the motto “an auditor you can trust.” So just how much can he be trusted?I’m Lori McMahan, and I’m tired of the trash-talking, headline grabbing nonsense about my husband coming from Gary Jones and his supporters. Jeff has been advised to ignore these frantic efforts to tarnish his reputation since they’re an obvious attempt to gain traction in a race where Jones is hopelessly behind. They’ve told Jeff to remain on the positive message of his exceptional accomplishments as State Auditor. But I’m not going to sit by and let Jones drag a courageous, honest public servant through the mud with appalling lies and outlandish innuendos. It would be almost impossible for me to respond to them all, but here are Gary’s five most shameful lies, along with the truth. Shame on you, Gary!Jones

Lie #1: The Abstractor Issue. Jones says he’s behind in fundraising because he’s not accepting any donations from abstractors. Although the donations are not illegal, Jones said, he doesn’t think they’re right. “We are not taking any money from anybody we regulate,” Jones said. “When you regulate somebody, you need to make decisions based on the best interests of the citizens. When a large part of your contributions come from an industry you regulate, you may put yourself in a position to be influenced.”

THE TRUTH:Jones’ sanctimonious stance on this issue conveniently materialized only after it dawned on him that not a single abstractor in the state was willing to support him. In 2002, Jones burned those bridges when he bragged loudly and repeatedly that, if elected, he would “do away with abstracting,” and was openly soliciting and receiving funds from individuals and industries supporting the idea. Jones had also personally solicited abstractors for funds numerous times, but finally gave up when none would contribute, even after he threatened them. Who can blame abstractors for heavily supporting Jeff after Jones viciously attacked their industry and threatened their livelihood?McMahan contributors are reminded when they contribute to Jeff’s campaign that what they’ll get in return is a public servant who will treat everyone equally and fairly. Jeff actively voiced his support to Governor Henry and the state legislature for the collective efforts of the Oklahoma Land Title Association and the Oklahoma Realtors Association to overhaul state laws regulating the abstracting industry. This finally led to the passage of House Bill 3009, which takes effect July 2007, and gives the Auditor the tools he needs to improve customer service and to prevent abuse of consumers by a few companies that give the rest of the industry a bad reputation.

THE REAL TRUTH The McMahans took money from Steve Phipps and did him and his partners favors that benefited them financially. McMahon stalled an application for a new abstract company that would have competed with Phipps. Presented with the facts at the trial, Phipps(an abstractor) said they "stole the election" from Jones. The "sanctimonious stance" Lori McMahan writes of is her and her husband.

Lie #2: The Stipe Factor, Part A. Jones has incessantly repeated the accusation that my husband accepted campaign donations from former Senator Gene Stipe and his family members and associates.

THE TRUTH:In this well-crafted invention, Jones carefully words his accusation in a manner that implies Jeff willingly seeks and accepts campaign contributions from people he knows to be convicted felons or targets of an ongoing investigation. In 2002, Jeff gratefully accepted legal campaign contributions from a wide variety of supporters, including Senator Stipe, with the unmistakable understanding the donations were an investment in nothing more than good government.However, during Jeff’s 2002 campaign, Gene Stipe was not a felon and was not a former senator. He was a senior member of the Oklahoma Senate; revered by some, reviled by others. At that time, it had not been disclosed by investigators or by the media, and it was not known by the McMahan campaign or by any of the dozens of other statewide and local candidates who accepted Stipe-related contributions, that Stipe was even under investigation. During the 2006 election cycle, Jeff has neither solicited nor accepted any campaign contributions from Gene Stipe nor any of his family members or business associates.

THE REAL TRUTH: Jones was right! Period!

Lie #3: The Stipe Factor, Part B. Jones says Jeff gave special treatment to associates of Stipe in exchange for financial support of his campaign, that Jeff allowed his office to be used for meetings involving “shady business deals that are currently under investigation” and has even suggested that Jeff has business ties to Stipe.

THE TRUTH: The record is clear with regard to how all contributors to Jeff’s campaign have been treated by the State Auditor in his first term; if any of them ever secretly thought they might benefit directly from contributing campaign funds, they now know they were sadly mistaken. No one has ever requested any favors or special treatment by Jeff or his staff, with or without an offer of financial consideration. The suggestion that Jeff would even consider such a request is absurd.My husband is not, nor has he ever been financially involved or in business with, and has not received any form of compensation from anyone connected with these ludicrous allegations. Jeff has neither allowed his office to be used for any business deals, nor has he attended any such meetings. It’s difficult for me to comprehend the nerve Jones has to make these ridiculous allegations when he knowingly solicited and received contributions, in this election cycle, from multiple persons who have been burned by Jeff’s fearless audits. For instance, Jones' own contribution reports show he took money from a western Oklahoma official named along with several other Hinton residents in a scam to bilk taxpayers of over $7.5 million in a fraudulent get-rich economic development scam. Months after the investigation became public knowledge and even after his grand jury indictment was announced, Kenneth Doughty handed over a contribution to help fund Jones' lie-filled campaign against Jeff. Why? Because it was Jeff who uncovered the Doughty scheme and turned the information over to prosecutors.Accepting legal campaign contributions from individuals who later become the targets of an investigation or are later indicted is one thing, but it’s quite another to knowingly solicit and accept money from someone after it’s known they have already been indicted by a grand jury, which is exactly what Jones has done.

THE REAL TRUTH: Lori says, "It’s difficult for me to comprehend the nerve Jones has to make these ridiculous allegations." Sure she can- in her own testimony she confirms exactly what Gary was accusing the McMahans of doing.

Lie #4: Imaginary Employee Arm-Twisting Jones has said as State Auditor and Inspector he will not accept donations from anyone he employs. He claims Jeff and others harassed employees in the office to support his campaign, and that they would be fired if they didn’t.

THE TRUTH: A few disgruntled, unproductive and disruptive former employees have fueled this lie. But Jeff’s had no takers on his offer to open personnel files and/or discuss the termination circumstances of any former employees who are willing to sign a privacy release. It was easy for these malcontents to make phony allegations about their former employer when they knew all along Jeff couldn’t prove they lied without breaking laws barring employers from disclosing information about employees, former or otherwise. But it now appears the former employees who misrepresented themselves are unwilling to risk exposure of the truth behind their departures from the State Auditor’s office.Jeff’s primary employment policy has always been to hire and retain qualified, industrious, effective public servants. Many dozens of long-term agency employees currently work for my husband, even though they have never volunteered any time or money to his campaign. Jeff has not, nor would he ever condone any form of pressure on anyone to support his campaign. While Jeff’s flattered to know that some agency employees believe in him so strongly they are supporting his campaign, they know it has no impact on their employment status.Examples of Jeff's impartial treatment of employees who didn’t support his campaign include the fact that after he was elected, he retained Rod Dillard - an honest, hard working and very competent employee. Yet, Rod had actually run against Jeff for the 2002 Democratic nomination for the office. Rod remained at the State Auditor's office for more than a year after Jeff took office, before leaving on good terms for better opportunities.Angie Welch is another case in point. She supported John Fodge for the Democratic nomination for state auditor in 2002. Yet Angie remains a member of Jeff’s staff today, and was recently promoted to a supervisory position due to her exemplary work in the performance of her duties.

THE REAL TRUTH: Gary was right!

Lie #5: Jeff’s Qualifications.Recent TV campaign ads aired by Jones assert Jeff “can’t even count to ten” and offers as evidence a video clip showing Jeff counting his fingers, skipping the number six. The ad goes on to say that Jeff isn’t qualified to be the auditor because he isn’t a CPA.

THE TRUTH:As an elementary teacher, I can assure you Jeff can actually count to ten. In fact, he’s occasionally even counted higher than that – let’s take a quick look at some of the more notable counts Jeff has made:200,000,000 = Approximate dollar amount in government fraud, waste and abuse exposed by Jeff’s audits in the last 4 years.1,300,000 = Approximate dollar amount cut from Jeff’s budget in his first year in office.1,400 = The number of audits produced by Jeff’s office during his first term, more than any other 4 year period in state history, in spite of those cuts to his own budget.14 = Number of years experience Jeff gained under previous State Auditor Clifton Scott, who endorsed Jeff as his replacement, recognizing Jeff’s hard work, outstanding abilities and tough mentality in performing hundreds of audits across the state.7 = Number of years Jeff served as manager of the Investigative Audit Division under Mr. Scott.2 = Number of times over the last 4 years Jeff has been honored by his peers with national recognition for his accomplishments as Oklahoma’s State Auditor.To be completely fair, I have noticed Jeff has lost the ability to count the number of toes he’s stepped on or enemies he’s made as a result of his tough audits. Now let’s look at a few numbers with which Gary Jones should be quite familiar:160,000 = Approximate dollar amount Comanche County Commissioners were forced to strip out of the district's general operating funds in 1999 to replace federal grant money that mysteriously disappeared or was mismanaged under Jones’ watch in a brief stint as District 3 Commissioner.100,000 = Approximate dollar amount Gary improperly paid himself from corporate funds over a two-year period, according to court-ordered audit in a lawsuit filed against him by a former business partner.100 = Approximate dollar amount left in reserve after Jones’ apparent mishandling of public funds nearly bankrupted the Comanche County district he served, leaving it far short of the amount required by law to be maintained in the fund.1 = Number of terms Gary Jones served as Comanche County Commissioner before voters realized their mistake and voted him back out of office.0 = Number of government audits conducted by Gary Jones. Also, the amount of experience Jones has in public practice as a CPA.As for that video clip, in December 2002, Jeff and I were present at what Jones describes as a “family Christmas party,” although attended by more than 1,100 people (wow, big family!) at which master hypnotist Dr. Don White was a paid entertainer. Jeff good-naturedly agreed to join about a dozen volunteers on stage, where Dr. White induced hypnosis and then suggested to Jeff that the number six was not in his vocabulary. It was one of many effective and entertaining stunts performed that evening, one which Dr. White has said is most humorous when he has a “victim” with an accounting or math-related profession. However, Gary Jones knows this material is the proprietary property of Dr. White. He also knows the tape was acquired underhandedly. Jones is now broadcasting a segment he’s taken out of context, and has twisted it in a pathetic attempt to gain unethical advantage in a race for a public office that, by its very nature, requires strong ethical standards.

THE REAL TRUTH: McMahan is not a formally trained accountant. He was elected largely based on the recommendation of Clifton Scott- who Steve Phipps said was on board with the straw donor contribution scheme. The TV commercial was a clever spot that featured McMahan under hypnosis. Whether it garnered Gary more votes or hurt him can be debated, but the jest of the spot was McMahan's lack of qualifications- not his inability to count.

EDITORIAL COMMENTS: The McMahans STOLE the 2002 and 2006 elections from Gary Jones. Lori McMahan admitted that in court- Jeff said he didn't realize it(they were stealing the election) at the time, but it looked like that's what had happened. So Phipps and both McMahans have confirmed what Jones had alledged for years.

If Governor Henry has a bi-partisan bone in his body, he will right the wrongs of the past and appoint Gary Jones because HE IS THE MOST QUALIFIED! All evidence indicates Jones would have been elected State Auditor- not once, but twice-had the McMahans not lied and cheated!

To email Governor Brad Henry and urge him to appoint Gary Jones, click on link

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
Poverty in Oklahoma!
by Steve Fair
Oklahoma is a poor state. We rank 43rd in the country in per capita income. The average Oklahoman earns $5,000 less per year than the average American doing the same job. For a state centrally located in the heart of the country with a good climate, it’s apparent the reason we have not prospered has been a lack of progressive principled leadership in our state government. Democrats controlled our state legislature for the first one hundred years. Their lack of vision and leadership, coupled with a multitude of political scandals got us to this point. Economic challenges tend to lead to social challenges such as poverty. In a recent study, Oklahoma came up short in providing for our children.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation annually rates states in ten categories in child well-being. Last year, Oklahoma was 42nd in the U.S. overall, but this year we slipped another notch to #43. One of the disturbing items in the report was that twenty four percent of the kids in Oklahoma live in households with income below the poverty line. When the report was issued, the education lobby in the state seized the opportunity and blamed the problem on Oklahoma’s lack of education. To the educators’ way of thinking, if we could just get everyone educated, poverty would disappear. Evidence does support the theory that states with more educated citizens have less poverty, but many states with education levels similar to Oklahomans are doing much better. Opportunity and jobs increase income, not just education.

Oklahoma has made some flawed decisions through the years concerning education. A major one was seeking education funding solutions by becoming partners with the gambling industry. The increase in the availability of gambling in our state is one of the main contributors to the poverty problem in our state. It’s a statistical fact that gambling negatively impacts a state by increasing social problems. Gambling produces nothing- it consumes and the more frequent gamblers are usually those who can least afford it. Gambling is a classic example of self-inflicted poverty, yet in Oklahoma education has formed an unholy alliance with the gambling industry to increase funding.

If we want to get serious about poverty in Oklahoma, the state legislature must address and deal with some hard issues. A couple of those issues are tort reform and workers compensation. There are others, but these two are a good place to start. State legislators must get serious about creating a more positive business climate in the state. By doing that, existing business will expand and potential business will consider relocation to the Oklahoma.

If we want to combat poverty in Oklahoma, educational leaders must get serious about educating our state’s children. Their solution is always to ask for more money, but throwing money at education has proven to not be the answer. If the education establishment really cares about moving the state forward, they must start thinking outside the box and get off the “give us more money” soapbox. It’s been a drum they have beat for decades and we are still poor and uneducated. They can start by embracing concepts like administration and infrastructure sharing by school districts.

If we want to combat poverty in Oklahoma, men must become the leaders of the family. Instead of being satisfied to let the government provide the basic necessities of life, they should take some personal initiative and get a job. Our state government using our tax dollars has created an environment that rewards laziness and inactivity. When energy based employers in the Sooner state are begging for help, there is no excuse for any able bodied man to be on the government dole. The Bible teaches that a man who doesn’t provide for his family is worse than an infidel. It also teaches if a man won’t work, he shouldn’t eat. Oklahoma males must step up to the plate and take more personal responsibility and equity in their families.

Poverty is a universal problem. Christ said the poor would always be with us, so permanently alleviating poverty will never be achieved no matter how generous a public policy toward the poor. And just because an Oklahoma kid lives in a home without an X box, that doesn’t make them poor. What makes them poor is living in a state where educators use them as pawns to try to justify more funding. What makes them poor is living in a state that fails them by having not creating a business environment that creates jobs for their parents. What make them poor are parents who spend more time at the casino than they do with their kids.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More to follow........

Friday, June 13, 2008

by Ed Moore
Includes Tom more at:
Homosexuality takes Congress by storm!
by Jeff Johnson- OneNewsNow-6/13/08

The two openly homosexual members of the U.S. House of Representatives have recruited 50 of their colleagues(including two Republicans?) to officially join them in promoting the homosexual agenda in Congress...... Read more at:
Read more at:

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Ivan Holmes, the State Chairman of the Dems responded to the Oklahoman's editorial today with the dribble below. Ivan says if the Dems got control of the State House and treated "R"s like they have been treated in the past 4 years, he would be THE MOST DISAPPOINTED DEMOCRAT IN OKLAHOMA. Ivan concedes that Democrats in the past treated "R"s like they have been treated since the Republican took control of the House. Welcome to politics Ivan- if you are in the majority, your agenda and your issues take precedence over the minority's issues and agenda. The Dems controlled our state government for almost 100 years and their lack of leadership got us to 47th in the country in per capita income. One of the reasons the Dems lost control of the state house was their unwillingness to deal with the issues and agenda the "R"s had proposed for years. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, Ivan says WE HAVE CHANGED- WE WANT TO WORK TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF OUR STATE. FAT CHANCE! Democrats just want to be back in power. If Ivan believes the Dems have changed he is a hoot- drunker than a hoot owl smoking a cigar! Steve
In the Tuesday, June 10th editorial in the Daily Oklahoman titled, "Ivan the Funny" it stated the "Democrat party boss is a hoot."
I might agree with you that I am "a hoot." However, I don't believe I am a hoot because I believe there has been a lack of democracy in the House leadership on hearing bills during the current session.
The editorial said that the Democratic campaign theme that our party will run on this year will be the lack of democracy in the Republican controlled House. The editorial said I "didn't like Democrats having done to them what Democrats did to Republicans when the GOP was the minority party."
Gary Jones, Oklahoma Republican Party Chair, has said on numerous occasions that similar complaints were made when Democrats controlled the House.
It is my opinion that two wrongs don't make a right. I cannot go along with the philosophy that because Democrats did something wrong in the past it is alright for Republicans to do something THEY KNOW IS WRONG now. So Ivan concedes that in the past Dems treated "R"s bad?
This "pay back" philosophy has caused Oklahoma voters to lose faith in our political system.
Last week I met with a number of the Democratic House leaders and during the meeting I told them that if we are able to take back the House leadership in November I hoped they would not do to the Republicans what the current Republican leadership has done to them for the last two years. They assured me that they will open up the House to include Republican input if Democrats re-gain control of the House. Their word means nothing. They promised to hear right-to-work for years but stonewalled it and never got it to the floor.
If Democrats do take back the House in November and don't allow Republicans to have the right to hear and debate their bills I will be the most disappointed Democrat in Oklahoma.
Prepare for disappointment Ivan- you will lose at least 3 seats in the State House and control of the State Senate for the very reason you cite above- Democrats are unwilling to work with "R"s on issues that matter. You had the first 100 years- we'll take the next 100.

Ivan Holmes

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

George Porter is a fellow columnist at The Duncan Banner.
This well written column desires wide distribution.
Global warming and fiscal reality
by George Porter
The Senate was to take up a cap-and-trade greenhouse gasses reduction bill last week, but gas prices around $4 a gallon helped defeat the measure before it got started. Only 48 senators voted to bring the issue up for a vote – 12 shy of the 60 needed. The Lieberman-Warner bill had no chance of being passed this year, and President Bush had promised to veto any cap-and-trade bill that might reach his desk. But backers had hoped to elevate carbon dioxide reduction as a major campaign issue and for the passage of a bill in 2009 under an Obama or McCain administration.

Both McCain and Obama have endorsed cap-and-trade greenhouse gas reduction legislation, but their proposals differ widely and this difference needs far greater publicity than the media has so far provided.

Under cap-and-trade, the government sets emission standards and issues permits at no charge to companies that produce greenhouse gas emissions. Those companies that are able to produce less greenhouse gasses than they have permits for may sell the permits to companies that would otherwise exceed the government imposed limits. This is how western European nations have operated under the Kyoto treaty.

The McCain plan essentially copies the European system. Obama proposes to auction these permits to the highest bidder, which would bring in an estimated $7 trillion to the U.S. treasury by 2050. That $7 trillion is a tax on business that would have to be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report stated: “Most of the cost of meeting the cap on CO2 emissions would be borne by consumers, who would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline. These prices would be regressive in that poorer households would have a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households.”

Senator Jim Inhofe in an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) commented we don’t need a climate tax on the poor, citing that while most Americans spend about 4 percent of their incomes on heating their homes or other energy needs, the poorest fifth of Americans spend 19 percent.

How to spend this $7 trillion of new tax revenue is the new game for Washington politicians, and this would be the largest redistribution system since the adoption of the income tax in 1913.

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Clinton, had a novel recommendation in the June 4 WSJ – to return all the new revenue to every adult citizen in the form of a check from the U.S. Treasury. If in the first year the revenue were $150 billion, each of the 150 million adult citizens would receive a check for $1,000. If that revenue were 300 billion, the check would be for $2,000. An IRS that pays you annually, based solely on what companies have paid the government for greenhouse gas emission permits!

Problem is, more and more scientists are speaking out – there is no scientific basis to believe changes in CO2 levels in the atmosphere is the cause of global warming. Other non man-made factors determine the earth’s warming and cooler patterns.

Further, most of the recent growth in CO2 emissions comes from rapidly expanding economies in China, India and Brazil. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lieberman-Warner would reduce world levels of CO2 by 2050 by only 1.4 percent if the U.S. were to act alone.

A June 7 WSJ column reported on the recently concluded Copenhagen Consensus 2008 Conference, where about 50 leading world economists including five Nobel laureates ranked about forty of the world’s problems that could be fixed with an “extra” $75 billion spread over four years. Supplements of vitamin A and zinc for the world’s undernourished children ranked first – with an annual cost of $60 million yielding benefits in health and cognitive development of over $1 billion.

The entire rankings are receiving world media coverage. It is irritating to some that global warming as a world problem came in dead last on this list. The report of the Copenhagen Conference 2008 concludes the cost is astronomical for an insignificant reduction in temperature.

Inhofe is a leading opponent of the global warming alarmists, and concluded his WSJ column “Tomorrow’s energy mix must include more natural gas, wind and geothermal, but it must also include more oil, coal and nuclear power – which is the world’s largest source of emission-free energy. Developing and expanding domestic energy sources will translate into energy security and ensure stable supplies and well-paying jobs for Americans.”

The debate on greenhouse gas emission will return to the Senate in 2009. It first came up when the Kyoto protocol was being drafted in the 1990’s, and the Senate voted 98 to 0 against considering the treaty. Last week they again voted not to consider. Next year may be the third straight loss for environmental alarmists as the world continues its’ present cooling trend.

George Porter is a retired insurance company executive and a Duncan Banner columnist. He may be reached at
Wallbuilders has an excellent article on this issue. Click on link to read:

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fellow blogger and former radio talk show host Georgia Williams has an interesting post about abstracting(real estate) from The Tulsa World. Read the entire post at:
Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair

Retail gasoline prices reached a record high of $4 per gallon this week. Part of the reason is because Congress under the leadership of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been unwilling to bring to the floor a bill that would open domestic drilling and increase refining capacity.

On reaching the historical high of $4 gasoline, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R- Ohio said, “Today marks another dubious day for this Do-Nothing Democratic Congress,” “On their watch, gas prices have soared to new heights, and by refusing to schedule a vote on a plan to increase American-made energy to help lower gas prices, congressional Democrats are complicit in this unprecedented surge in fuel costs.”

On April 24th, Pelosi stated on Larry King Live the average price of a gallon of gas was $2.59 when in fact it was $3.50 a gallon. King corrected her, but her misstep received little mainstream media attention. Pelosi’s wrong answer revealed how out of touch she is with the average American. Being out of touch is common with politicians- no matter their party affiliation, but Pelosi’s lack of knowledge on this critical commodity is frightening.

When you pay $4 a gallon at the pump, what are the components that contribute to that price?
Forty five percent of the price of a gallon of gas is tied directly to the price of crude oil. Crude oil pricing is over $130 a barrel and continues to rise. That is because worldwide supply is tight and gasoline demand in the US and the world is up despite high prices. U.S. consumers use 20 million barrels of crude a day and we are importing 55% of the crude oil we use. When you consider that America has only 5% of the world’s population yet consume 45% of the gasoline produced in the world; it’s apparent we are the market that controls the price.

Twenty five percent of the price of a gallon of gas is federal and state taxes. In Oklahoma, our state gasoline tax is seventeen cents and ranks 5th lowest nationally. The federal gasoline tax is 18.4 cents per gallon. Senator McCain has suggested the federal tax on gasoline be suspended for the summer to give consumers a break, but Congressional Democrats and Senator Obama have balked at the idea, saying it would not make that big of dent in the overall price.

Fifteen percent of the price of a gallon of gas is refining and profits. Refinery capacity in the US is near peak capacity. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita impacted some refineries and reduced our capacity by about ten percent. We have not built a refinery in the United States in 29 years. Over the last quarter-century, the number of refineries in the United States dropped to 149, less than half the number in 1981. Any comprehensive energy policy in the United States must address refining capacity.

Fifteen percent of the price of a gallon of gas is marketing and distribution. Since most gasoline is trucked to it’s final destination, the price of diesel fuel also impacts the price at the pump. Over 50% of gasoline is refined in the Gulf Coast, so transportation costs become a major factor.

Other factors that impact the price at the pump are the US deficit, which has caused the value of the dollar to decline. Because oil is priced in dollars, no matter where in the world it comes from, producers want higher prices in order to maintain their income.

Another factor is the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which mandated the incorporation of 7 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol into the American fuel supply in an effort to reduce gasoline consumption. Ethanol production, suddenly buttressed by a federally guaranteed demand for its product, overnight became an extraordinarily profitable venture.

Even as we reach the milestone of $4 per gallon gasoline, the true price of gasoline has fallen more than 40% from its inflation- adjusted price of $3.11 per gallon in 1980-81. Americans pay about one half to one third of the price western Europeans and others have paid for many years. According to John S. Herold, Inc. the price of gasoline is cheaper by volume than many other household products, and the cost has not risen as quickly over the years. "On a per-barrel basis, gasoline is America's bargain liquid: 10 percent cheaper than bottled water, a third the cost of milk, a fifth the cost of beer, and less than 2 percent the cost of a bottle of Jack Daniel's," the study said. While that information is of little comfort to those with gas guzzling SUVs, the long-term solution to high gas prices is a comprehensive energy policy that includes domestic drilling and the building of refineries.

Leaving office early?
by Steve Fair
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life, you will have been all of these.”
~George Washington Carver

Why are so many Oklahoma GOP House members leaving office before they are termed out? There are a variety of reasons, but here is my "spin" on why a record number of Republican members are bailing in 2008.
Some Oklahoma House Republican members are leaving because they are young and ambitious. They are chasing the dollar or the next rung on the political ladder. Those members have never been dedicated to helping Oklahoma move forward and their departure will not leave a ripple in the political pond. Their selfishness and “me first” attitudes have not endeared them to the GOP grassroots or to Oklahoma voters as a whole. That may partially account for their early departures, but a more likely factor will be their own selfish interests. Twenty years from now their impact in the legislature will be little more than a notation in the Oklahoma Political Almanac. They ran for office because it looks good on their resume. They could care less about the issues or the average Oklahoman- it's all about them.

Other members are leaving because they have become disgusted with the process. After serving in the minority for the early part of their tenure in the House, optimism was high in 2004 when the GOP gained a majority. These “gray hairs” thought they would be called upon for advice and counsel, but instead many were passed over for newly elected, younger, more aggressive members. The new leadership rebuffed their experience and ability to work across the aisle with their Democrat counterparts in a gracious manner.

The situational ethics practiced by the new “principled” leadership was inconsistent with what was being press released to the public. The older members concerns on how business was being conducted was ignored and berated. The new GOP mandate was not working for the benefit of Oklahoma, but staying in power and increasing the number of “R”s. Any and all campaign methods- right or wrong- was on the table, if it won elections. Seeing no real difference in the policies and actions of the new GOP leadership and the old Democrat leadership, these members opted to leave early. Their departure is not a positive one and their experience will be missed.

Some legislators have more personal reasons for leaving. They have sacrificed time with their family to serve and it’s time to mend that fence and get their priorities straight Others have health issues or business concerns. That happens every election cycle and their departure is not out of the ordinary.

But there is hope. Some of the newly elected GOP House members are older, seasoned people with more life experience than those departing. That doesn’t mean young people don’t ever have good innovative ideas. In fact, some of the best ideas come from sharp young minds, but ignoring the older members because of age is a mistake that reveals arrogance. Some of the newly elected members with some years on them have a “point of reference” that gives them a different perspective than their younger counterparts. All of us can look to our youth and regret some of the decisions we made. The same can be applied to public service. Some of these members have lived longer and can help their younger counterparts avoid those mistakes they made.

House Democratic leader Danny Morgan, D- Prague has been quoted as saying Democrats will make gains this election cycle. “We’re going to be very pleased when this election cycle is over with the gains that we make,” Morgan confidently states. But if that is the case, it will certainly go against conventional political wisdom. Oklahoma Republicans do well in Presidential years. Oklahoma has not gone for a Democrat presidential nominee since 1968, so it’s a safe bet that John McCain will carry the state. I predict we will gain three seats in the House and take the Senate for the first time in state history.

But what Oklahoma Republicans in the state legislature do with that power depends on how well they learned their Sunday school lesson on the subject of respecting their elders. The leadership should listen to those who have traveled the road before.
Two passages of scripture the young leadership should study and commit to memory:

With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.
Job 12:12
Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:32

Friday, June 6, 2008


Governor Blackjack Henry today vetoed Senate Bill 1865, by Senate Co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee- R, OKC, that would have created an Office of Accountability and Innovation at the Legislative Service Bureau.

In vetoing the bill, Governor Blackjack said, "While it is critical for the state to conduct regular performance reviews of state agencies and programs, state law already assigns those responsibilities to the Oklahoma Legislature, the Office of State Finance and the State Auditor and Inspector. Creating a new layer of bureaucracy to perform the same duties is duplicative and unnecessarily increases the size and cost of government. In 2003, the Legislature established a joint zero-based budgeting committee, also known as the Legislative Oversight Committee on State Budget and Performance, to conduct state performance reviews. State law specifically charged it with reviewing a specified number of agencies and programs each year. Rather than establish a new state entity, the Legislature should use the existing zero-based budgeting committee to conduct performance reviews and accountability assessments not already duplicated by other state entities." Read more at

I wrote an article that was posted May 26th entitled CREATION OF A NEW STATE AGENCY A MISTAKE. It addressed the foolishness of our creating a new state agency to police the agency charged with policing other government agencies. I seldom agree with Blackjack, but in this case, he was right.- Steve

If you are not familar with Rev. Ed Moore and his ministry, click on the link. Ed believes God has called him to call America back to prayer and he is doing it in a creative way. Check out his website at:

I was the first Oklahoma GOP National Delegate elected in 2008! I was first delegate elected at the first district convention held. After reading Tim Arbaugh's testimony about Jeff McMahan's solicitation of money from Steve Phipps to go to the Democratic National Convention, I thought if its good enough for the Dems, it would work for me. I am now soliciting NATIONAL DELEGATE sponsorships for myself and my wife (also a delegate). But instead of political favors, I am selling space on our official blue blazers at a very affordable rate. Email me for the economical cost effective rates. Want to increase your brand awareness? Are you introducing a new product or service? This is the marketing vehicle to consider. The Gross Rating Points and impressions you or your business will generate by being a FAIR sponsor could potentially exceed NASCAR. Political candidates will be given preferential consideration in placement of patches on blazers.
Read about Arbaugh's testimony at the McMahon trial at fellow blogger Mike McCarville's site-
Fellow blogger and political activist Bob Cleveland has an interesting post outlining some "inconsistencies" about Senator Barrick Obama. Take time to read because the information reveals a lack of character in Obama that disqualifies him from being the leader of the free world. That lacking characteristic is integrity. Steve

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In February 2005, I wrote the following article for THE DUNCAN BANNER. After it appeared, State Auditor Jeff McMahan wrote a full page response that appeared in a Sunday edition. In his rebuttal, he falsely claimed he didn't know Steve Phipps. He has since said that he did know him and took campaign contributions from him. Jeff said I was the mouthpiece for the State GOP. He was right about the MOUTHPIECE part, but not for the State GOP. By special request, here is the BIG DADDY article. Enjoy!

Is Big Daddy McMahan’s Sugar Daddy?
by Steve Fair
In the 1970s, a popular television show was The Dukes of Hazard. In every episode, Bo and Luke Duke battled the local political boss- appropriately named Boss Hogg. It was not your classic case of good vs. evil, because sometimes the Duke boys bent the law a little to suit their taste, but fundamentally they were the good guys. Boss Hogg had his dirty work done by Roscoe the dim-witted sheriff and Cletus, the Deputy. Roscoe never worried about re-election so long as the Boss was happy. The Boss reigned sovereign in Hazard County! It was good entertainment because we knew that in every episode, the Dukes would win out over Boss Hogg. It wasn’t set in Oklahoma because in the Sooner state unfortunately, the good guys don’t always win.
For decades when one thought of sleazy, backroom politics in Oklahoma, Gene Stipe instantly came to mind. Stipe was at one time the longest serving elected official in America. Serving over 50 years in the Oklahoma state legislature, he was the poster boy for term limits. During his reign, Stipe abused his office as State Senator by using his power to build what can only be described as an empire in Southeast Oklahoma. Senator Stipe was so notorious that he earned the nickname “The Prince of Darkness”- a real-life Boss Hogg. It seems the Prince has left his mark on many associates and partners that will perpetuate the Good Ole Boy network for decades to come in Oklahoma. Stipe followers have watched their idol rule over the State in a way that only a mafia boss could appreciate. The good Senator manipulated and abused the system so effectively that his personal wealth is estimated to be over 26 million dollars. Many Oklahomans were hopeful that the day of Good Ole Boy politics in Oklahoma had come to an end when Stipe was forced to resign in shame. He pled guilty of violating federal campaign laws by illegally funneling $50,000 into Walt Roberts failed Congressional campaign, but it appears he hasn’t learned his lesson yet.
Now, one of Stipe’s minions, Steve Phipps along with the former Senator are being investigated for what appears to be a scam to open a dog food plant in McAlester. The plant, which was financed by state and city tax dollars, has not produced a single can or bag of dog food. It has not created the 25 jobs that were promised. However: the facility has been utilized to service Indian gaming machines. Phipps owns a business that provides that service to the tribes and he evidently, is using the facility to work on one arm bandits, but not to make pet food.Who is Steve Phipps? His nickname is “Big Daddy.”
It seems that the dog food factory isn’t the only connection Big Daddy has to the Prince. Phipps and Stipe are partners in abstract companies across Southeast Oklahoma. Anyone selling or refinancing property in Oklahoma are required to have titles brought up to date within a 90 day period. Abstract companies are the only place to get that done in the state. In many counties, Phipps and Stipe own the only abstract office in town. To add insult to injury, abstractors set their own rates. What an industry-to have customers that have to do business with you- on your terms- at your price?One has to ask how such a system could be allowed to exist in Oklahoma? Who is responsible for watching the abstractors? That responsibility falls to the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector.
The author of the bill that gave the Auditor’s office that job? That’s right- Senator Gene Stipe.The Bellamy Brothers sang, What you need is a Sugar Daddy. It looks like Jeff McMahan has found one- maybe two. Now we learn that Big Daddy, The Prince and many of their employees and associates contributed to the 2002 campaign war chest of State Auditor Jeff McMahan. When asked about the contributions McMahan stated that he would take any “legal campaign contribution.” He went on to say that anyone contributing to him was doing so because they “believed in good government.”
The average Oklahoma taxpayer’s idea of good government and Phipps’ and Stipe’s idea might be a much different. To accept campaign contributions from any and everyone shows a serious lack of judgment on McMahan’s part.Who says that contributing to campaigns doesn’t pay dividends? It has paid excellent dividends for Phipps and Stipe. McMahan has refused to audit the Private Economic Authority that gave the money to Phipps to build the phantom pet food plant. The land the authority gave to Phipps was purchased from Gene Stipe at more than 2 ½ times the assessed value. This whole multi-pronged transaction doesn’t pass the “smell” test. And when Steve Phipps-aka- Big Daddy- feels the need to meet with someone at the State Capital to try to get laws passed, who does he call?. He calls his good buddy Jeff McMahan. Evidently, Steve Phipps has used the State Auditor’s office to meet with legislators and others on numerous occasions while trying to influence legislation. He may have gotten some wording inserted into a bill that gave him a competitive advantage to produce Indian Gaming machines. As private citizens and taxpayers, we may not be able to do much about Stipe and Phipps and their shady dealings. That will be left to the investigators and prosecutors, but McMahan is another matter. His ties to Stipe and Phipps are troubling. We need to change our image in Oklahoma. McMahan is up for re-election in 2006 and we need to McFIRE him.

Monday, June 2, 2008

"Intimidation" of pastors at issue
by Jeff Johnson - OneNewsNow
For almost the first 180 years of American history, pastors routinely addressed political issues and candidates from the pulpit. "Until about 1954, churches were free to endorse or oppose particular candidates from the pulpit -- and, in fact, churches did that," says Erik Stanley with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). "Some pastors opposed Thomas Jefferson as being a deist. Other pastors opposed William Howard Taft as a Unitarian. Some pastors opposed Al Smith in the 1928 presidential election -- and the list goes on and on." But that changed in 1954, says Stanley, when Congress passed a law forbidding churches from endorsing or opposing candidates. The so-called "Johnson Amendment" was passed without any debate or analysis. Stanley says that provision has since been used to keep churches from speaking out when politics intrudes into moral issues addressed by scripture.Read the entire article at:
Steve's comments appear at bottom in red
Cole fires back at ‘hypocritical’ challenge
By Jackie Kucinich
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) fired back at his Democratic counterpart Monday, calling the challenge for a joint call to end soft-money political ads “nothing short of self-serving, insincere propaganda.”
Cole’s comments come in response to a letter sent Monday by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) asking the Oklahoma Republican to join him in demanding that soft-money groups stay out of House races during the 2008 cycle.

Van Hollen first issued the challenge to Cole during a Fox News Sunday appearance May 25. The segment ended directly after Van Hollen’s comment without giving Cole a chance to respond.
"I think that my colleague Tom Cole and I should agree to follow the lead of Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama when it comes to these outside shadowy groups, these 527 attack groups, that come to play in these elections," Van Hollen told the show's host, Chris Wallace. "And I hope he will agree with me today that we should call upon those groups not to run ads in these different races and call upon our supporters not to give to those shadowy attack groups. That's reform that the presidential candidates have called for, and I think that we should join in that effort."

In the letter, released by the DCCC under the banner "8 Days & Counting — Chris Van Hollen Renews Challenge to Tom Cole: No Outside Groups in House Races," Van Hollen asked Cole: “[W]ill you join me in publicly calling on soft money outside groups to not run ads in House races this year and also urge our supporters to not contribute to these groups?”
Cole called the request and the sentiment behind it a “political stunt” and pointed to Van Hollen’s failure to denounce ads currently being run by Americans United for Change — a 501(c)4 that released ads attacking Republicans on the war over the Memorial Day recess — as a clear indication that his request was insincere.

“When and if Chairman Van Hollen ever wants to have a serious discussion about legally reforming 527 organizations, I will take his call and meet with him,” Cole said in a statement. “Better yet, when he puts actions to his flimsy words, I’ll pick up the phone and call him.”
He added, “The press release Van Hollen’s office issued today gives hypocrisy a bad name.”
527s are a result of McCain-Feingold- as they say- UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of legislation. Democrats have benefited from them as much as Republicans. All the restrictions, limitations, rules, and guidelines on how much money a donor can give a candidate are clearly unconstitutional. If Bill Gates wants to give his entire fortune to a candidate, it should be his God-given right to do so, however disclosure is the key. If Gates gives his billions to a Presidential candidate, the voting public has a right to know, so they can ask the simple question- WHY?
Weekly Opinion/Editorial
By Steve Fair

Today filing begins for elective offices in Oklahoma. There will be a number of races that will be decided by the voters in November. Running for public office is not a picnic. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication by the candidates. It requires time and money. Voters expect a great deal from candidates, but what should political candidates expect from the citizens?

First, candidates should expect citizens to be engaged in their government. Pew Research estimates that only 60% of those registered to vote in the U.S. are registered. According to Pew, “Americans who are not registered to vote also are more socially isolated from other people: They're less likely to know people in their neighborhood. They also are more likely to be relatively recent arrivals in their current neighborhoods ­ more than one-in-five (23%) say they have lived in their neighborhood less than a year. People who are not registered to vote also are generally mistrustful of others; just 27% say that most people can be trusted." In Oklahoma, registering to vote is a simple matter. There is no excuse for not registering to vote and casting your ballot. You can pick up the form at the Post Office, local tag agency or at the county election board, complete it and mail it in. If you are not registered, get it done today. Voting is not just your right- it is a privilege and responsibility.

Second, candidates should expect voters to pay attention to the issues. Money and media have always driven politics but in the past twenty-five years that has escalated to new heights. It’s not uncommon to see Oklahoma state legislative candidates now raise and spend six figures to run for an office that pays $38,500 annually. Some blame the big donors, the Political Action Committees, the lobbyists, and special interest groups for the infusion of money into the process, but are they really to blame? The real culprit is the average citizen and/or voter who for a variety of reasons have stopped taking equity in his government. Indifference or only causal knowledge of what is going on in your government leads to “defining” by candidates- both of themselves and their opponents. Elections are now won on popularity and not on issues.

In a survey conducted by Harvard University, one candidate describes campaigning in the 21st century like this. “I've been actively involved in politics for over 19 years now. I've even run for public office. Getting voters to even pay attention to government for 5 minutes is a struggle. Most citizens get their information from either sound bites from the propaganda machine that some people still naively refer to as the media and others get it twisted from others without checking the facts. Dealing with the average voter is like dealing with a dyslexic hyperactive kid on drugs “ In the same survey, a voter says the greatest cause for voter apathy is people feel politicians promise the world and then forget their promises once elected to office. That’s why it’s important to know the facts and not just base your vote on a clever jingle, logo or commercial.

Third, candidates should be able to expect civility from the general public. No matter your party affiliation or political philosophy, candidates must be able to present their message in an atmosphere of civility. If you disagree with a candidate, then politely state you are supporting someone else. If the candidate persists and doesn’t get your initial message, a more firm approach may be necessary. Harassing or berating a candidate because you are supporting their opponent is inappropriate and childish. Candidates have put themselves in the spotlight by running and deserve our respect and admiration- no matter their party affiliation or stance on the issues.

Fourthly, candidates should expect that petty vandalism, harassment, and dirty tricks will not be a part of the political process. Always the work of cowards, this type of action reveal a total lack of respect for the political process as well as serious character flaws in both those that engage and condone such behavior. Spirited, competitive campaigns are a part of the political process, but at the end of the day, candidates and volunteers alike should be able to agree the race was decided on the issues and not swayed by distractions and dirty tricks.

Running for office requires courage and dedication. During the next four months, many candidates will ask you for your vote from the two major political parties. Weigh your decision on which you will vote for carefully. Make your decision on the issues and which candidate best agrees with you on those issues. If the decision is made based on the issues, Republicans will do well. Let the debate begin!