Monday, January 21, 2013

The Curse of the Second Term!

Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

On Sunday President Obama became the seventeenth President to be sworn in for two terms.  The US Constitution requires the President be sworn in on January 20th, so Obama was officially sworn in at the White House on Sunday.  On Monday a public ceremony was held that included celebrities, a parade and lots of pomp and ceremony.

As the President starts his second term as the fourty fourth President of the Republic, the question is; Will he avoid the second term curse?  The term ‘second-term curse’ refers to a phenomenon where the second terms of recent  Presidents are less successful than they were in their first terms.  The second terms of recent presidents have usually been plagued by a major scandal, policy inertia, some sort of catastrophe, or other problems.  Instead of a ‘mandate’ which many second termers think they have after reelection, they instead face challenges from both the opposition Party and their own Party.

The President’s second inaugural address was only nineteen minutes long.  In his short speech, he recapped what he has done thus far and set forth his planned future agenda when he said,  “It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began.  For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.”

President Obama clearly pointed out he wants to forge ahead with climate change legislation and gun control.  He will face major opposition on both issues in the U.S. House.  The President also articulated a theme he has been preaching for over six years:  the rich must pay more taxes, and it is the government’s function to take care of their citizens from cradle to the grave by providing food, clothing, and health care.  It’s not likely the President will change his tune, but Christians should remember two things:
First, it’s important we understand God hasn’t lost control.  He sets up kings and rulers and brings them down.  President Obama’s election didn’t catch God by surprise.  Christians must recognize this simple fact and recognize the authority of the president because he is God’s appointed servant to preserve order and punish evil doers- the primary purpose of government.  You don’t have to agree with the President morally, theologically or politically, and you should point out those areas of difference and stand up against anything that is unbiblical, but throughout the process we should be respectful.

Secondly, Christians should commit to praying for the President daily.  We are commanded to pray for those in authority.  1 Timothy 2:1-2 says,  “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”  Christians should pray the President will make decisions based on the principles and precepts in God’s Word.  We should pray that he take spiritual inventory everyday and recognize that God has His way in the whirlwind. 

It remains to be seen if the President falls to the curse of the second term, but his outlined agenda on Monday is one that failed to address the most pressing issue in our country- our out of control spending and national debt.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Water War continues to Rage!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
Water War Continues to Rage!
by Steve Fair

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the water rights case brought by the Tarrant Regional Water District against the State of Oklahoma.  The Obama administration took the Texans side and asked the Supreme Court to take the case which gives Oklahomans another reason to not like the President.   Tarrant Regional Water District (“TRWD”) provides water to more than 1.7 million Texans in an 11-county area of North Texas, and wants to buy water from Oklahoma. However, Oklahoma isn’t selling. The Oklahoma state legislature enacted statutes back in 2006 that impose restrictions on water sales across state lines which, as a practical matter, prevent the interstate sale of Oklahoma water to the TRWD.
In 2007, TRWD sued in federal court to have those restrictions lifted, arguing that under the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, state laws that discriminate against other states regarding water are unconstitutional.

The North Texas group has contended that water in Oklahoma is theirs and should be diverted to their growing area.  According to a 1980 compact among Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, each of the four states would share in the water that flows through the Red River and its tributaries.
The Tarrant County Water District contends the Red River compact agreement gives Texas the right to twenty five percent share even if it has to get water from inside Oklahoma’s borders. The Obama administration’s U.S. Justice Department agrees, saying that section of the compact makes no reference to state boundaries.  But two federal courts have agreed with Oklahoma's argument that the state has the right to enact laws protecting water within its boundaries.  TRWD has lost in both federal district court and the Tenth Circuit Court. 

The Appellate Court decided that Oklahoma statutes which precluded water being sold to users in Texas did not violate the Commerce Clause because the Red River Compact preempted it. The Red River Compact, which was signed by Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas in 1978 and approved by Congress in 1980, divided the water from the Red River and its tributaries among the states involved.  The Compact grants the four states authority over the water allocated to them within their borders.  The Tenth Circuit held Texas to its bargain on the Compact and agreed with Oklahoma that the refusal to sell Oklahoma water to Texas users does not violate the Commerce Clause. But the Texans and the Obama administration will just not let it go. 

The fundamental question concerning the water issue is: If you own something someone else wants and needs, but you don’t want to sell it, are you within your rights to keep it and not sell it?
 According to the Obama administration, you do not have a right to not sell.  We have always known the President is passionate about redistributing wealth, but now it appears he favors redistributing natural resources that rightfully belong to our state. 

Oklahoma needs to keep our water.  In their Comprehensive Report on Oklahoma’s Water published in October 2011, ( the Oklahoma Water Resources Board pointed out that statewide consumption and demand for water in the state will increase by one third in the next 47 years.  Crop irrigation is forecasted to be the largest water use, about 36% of the total demand.  Oil and gas water use will experience the largest growth statewide, triple what it is currently.  The report goes on to state that Oklahoma has been in a prolonged state of drought and that trend is expected to continue. 

The bottom line is Oklahoma doesn’t have ‘excess’ water to sell off.  For the federal government to attempt to force Oklahoma to sacrifice a precious natural resource like our water is unconstitutional and socialist.  This issue is about states rights and let’s hope the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the lower court’s rulings. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Shootout is looming in Congress!


"When you all go home and you're talking to your buddies and you say, ah 'He wants to take my gun away.' You've heard it here, I'm on television so everybody knows it. I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in people's lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won't take your handgun away,” said then U.S. Senator Barrick Obama at an 2008 Virginia campaign event.

But President Obama’s position on the second amendment has certainly changed since that event. According to sources, the White House is considering a broad approach to stopping gun violence. Plans are to do more than just reinstate the assault weapons ban and high capacity magazines.

Led by Vice President Joe Biden, the ‘Biden Group’ is considering asking Congress to pass legislation for universal background checks for people who buy firearms, a tracking system that will monitor the location of weapons through a national database and tougher penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors.

They also want to reinstate the expired federal assault-weapons ban that prohibited the manufacturing of nineteen (19) models of semiautomatic guns classified as ‘assault’ weapons, including certain rifles and shot guns. The law also banned ammunition magazines capable of holding more than ten(10) rounds. In addition to potential legislative proposals, Biden’s group has expanded its focus to include measures that would not need congressional approval and could be quickly implemented by executive order. According to sources, the Biden group plans to encourage President Obama to change federal mental-health programs and to empower the ATF to track weapons. The group plans to submit their recommendations to President and Congress before the end of the month.

Obama’s advisers have calculated the longer they wait and the more time that elapses from the Newtown massacre, the greater the risk Congress will have the political will to tackle gun control. “This(Gun Control) is not something that I will be putting off,” the President said on last Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

The administration plans to get gun retailers like Wal-Mart to get on board by requiring background checks for all gun purchases, even those made at gun shows or through a private transaction. That could result in more people buying guns in retail stores.

But the administration knows it faces a fight in the court of public opinion. A significant number of Americans recognize that gun control will not stop violence. The NRA has been somewhat quiet since Newtown, but at a news conference on December 21st, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, said that schools should have armed police officers in every school. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said. LaPierre is absolutely right and a recent incident in San Antonio illustrates that point.

On Sunday December 30th, a person entered a movie theater with weapons after shooting at a San Antonio police unit. The shooting immediately sparked thoughts of a mass slaying like the one in July that killed twelve people and injured fifty eight at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. But after the suspect reached the theater, an off duty County Sheriff officer, who was working at the theater, shot him. Only two were wounded. A good guy with a gun stopped a potential tragedy like Aurora. You likely didn’t hear much about the San Antonio incident because it didn’t fit the message the liberals wanted are pushing.

Three things to remember on this issue; First, bad guys are going to get guns no matter what. Secondly, guns protect the weak from the strong and finally more laws are not the answer.

I predict a shootout in the upcoming Congressional session over gun control. Make your voice known. Write your Congressman and Senator and tell them to stand firm and support the second amendment.