Friday, October 23, 2015

A Different View of Authority!!

Jeremy Fair, pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Tulsa Oklahoma is preaching a series through 1 Peter.  This message, entitled, "A Different View of Authority," is a 30 minute message every American Christian should listen to.   It will challenge your conventional thinking about divine authority as he answers three questions: (1) WHAT IS OUR CALLING?, (2) WHY HAVE WE BEEN GIVEN THIS CALLING?, (3) WHERE DO WE GET THE PERSPECTIVE & POWER TO FULFILL OUR CALLING? Click on the link:  A Different View of Authority

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

     Nebraska is the only state in the U.S. that has a unicameral legislature.  Unicameral means there is only one chamber.  There are 49 members of the Nebraska legislature, who are referred to as Senators, even though this is no Senate.  The members are elected non-partisan, which means they do not have to declare their political Party affiliation.  Nebraska was like the other states until their U.S. Senator, George Norris, traveled to Australia and saw a unicameral parliament at work in Queensland.  Legend has it that after Senator Norris retired he made it his mission in life to move Nebraska from the two chamber system to unicameral.  The ‘Unicameral,’ as it is referred to by Cornhuskers, met for the first time in 1937.  Norris answered those who said the two chamber system provided checks and balances with this quip: "They say we have a system of checks and balances," Norris would say. "Well, we do. The politicians cash the checks and the lobbyists keep the balances."

     Some in Oklahoma agree with Norris and are promoting the idea for Oklahoma to move to a unicameral body and send one half of the state legislature packing.  Currently there are 101 members of the State House and 48 members of the State Senate.  Supporters of Unicameral want to whittle the number of lawmakers down to 70.  Advocates for unicameral concept say eliminating half  the legislators will not only save money, but that Oklahoma government will be more efficient. 

     If Oklahoma were to move to a unicameral legislature, first the people would have to approve it in a statewide vote.  That would require an initiative petition drive, requiring 123,725 signatures of registered voters gathered in ninety days.  The unicameral is not a good idea for the following reasons:

     First, there is no such thing as a non-partisan race or office.  Every candidate and elected official stands for something and while they sometimes don’t like to wear the label, they should identify which side they are on.  For the most part, Republicans believe in smaller government and lower taxes, Democrats, larger government and more taxes.  If a liberal Democrat runs as a conservative to get into office, but governs as a liberal, voters didn’t do their job.  Non-Partisan races are nothing but opportunities for elected officials to hide their values and beliefs.  Every race should be partisan- from Dog Catcher to President, including the judiciary.  

     Second, reducing the number of state legislators will drastically decrease the amount of influence each Oklahoman will have with their local lawmaker.  Currently a House member represents 38,396 Okies.   Under the unicameral proposal, a legislator would represent 55,400.  In 1975, an Oklahoma legislator represented 27,475 Okies.  Today that number is 30% higher.  Accessibility to local legislators by average citizens is critical for good government.  Today's Oklahoma House members represent 12,000 more Oklahomans or 30% more than their 1975 counterparts.  Instead of decreasing our representation, perhaps its time to add to the legislature.  

     Third, reducing the number of legislators will increase the amount of influence lobbyists and bureaucrats will have on Oklahoma government.  Influence peddlers would love to have less lawmakers to buy lunch for and give free tickets to.  Bureaucrats would love to have less oversight over their agencies.  Reducing the number of legislators makes it more easier for them to influence the process, increasing the possibility of waste and fraud.   

     Fourth, reducing the number of legislators will simply not save that much money.  Sure, some monies would be saved by reducing the number of representatives, but the savings would be little compared to the overall size of the state budget. The savings would be less than .03% of the state budget- a minuscule amount.

     Fifth and most important; legislation tends to move very quickly in a unicameral.  That means bad legislation can be passed and signed into law before it has been properly vetted.  A unicameral legislature provides little opportunity for revision of bills. The single chamber could pass ill-considered bills with ‘unintended consequences,' with no safeguard.  Our founders were wise in having a two chamber legislature.   As Will Rogers said, “the reason we have a Senate and House is because if the House passes a dumb bill, the Senate can fix it.”         
     Oklahoma government does need to be streamlined, but there are far more places in Oklahoma state government that need cutting before we start trimming our representation.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

     As we move into the 2016 primary election cycle, the focus turns to who the nominees for the two major parties will be in next year’s open presidential race.  Former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming favorite on the Democrat side.  On the GOP side where the field is large and the campaigning is spirited, the favorite is not yet clear.  Donald Trump continues to lead most polls, but four months before the first primary(Iowa caucus), it’s still too early to declare the Donald the nominee. 
     Much has been made about poll results and while polls are historically accurate, they obviously only reflect the views of those polled.  Many of the polls being referenced in the media today are not concentrating on the ‘primary’ voter and are polling all Republican voters. 
     Primary voters are a very special group.   They show up and vote in every election, including primaries.  According to the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, turnout in the 2012 presidential primaries were the lowest on record- only 15.9 percent of the eligible citizens to vote in the primary actually showed up.
     “Turnout reached record lows for presidential election years in 15 of 41 states which held statewide primaries in both parties. Democratic turnout dropped to record lows in 26 of 41 primaries. In the 46 states where Republican primaries were held, there were eight record lows and three record highs,” the group said.  What is driving the apathy in voters?  Why are they staying home?  The simple answer is that many don’t see any difference in their government no matter who is elected.  But those primary voters still show up and vote.  Who are these primary voters and what is important to them?   
     According to the United States Election Project, the typical primary voter is 50 years or older with a college education.  In the GOP, the primary voter is often motivated by their values.  Traditional marriage and abortion are important issues to the typical GOP primary voter.  They are concerned about the economy and the overreach of government, but their top issues are values oriented.
     That is why you will often see GOP presidential candidates quoting scripture at a debate or in a speech and citing the importance of their faith.  You seldom see that on the Democrat side.  That doesn’t necessarily mean the Democrat is not a Christian or that faith isn’t important to them, but that is not important to the Democrat primary voter.  Value voters are almost exclusively on the GOP side.  Trying to connect/identify with the voter is the ultimate goal of a presidential candidate, so you will see more Republican presidential candidates talking about their faith than Democrats. 
     Two weeks ago, a Value Voters Summit was held in Washington D.C. and Senator Ted Cruz won the straw poll, for the third year in a row, with Dr. Ben Carson finishing second.  That makes sense because many of the attendees identify with both of them.  For Cruz, the son of a Baptist preacher, and Carson, a devout Seventh-day Adventist, talking about their faith comes natural and not rehearsed. 
     Value voters can detect a ‘panderer’ very quickly, but that doesn’t stop every GOP primary candidate- at all levels- to try and convince ‘values voters’ they attend church three times a week, tithe, read the scriptures, pray, and that God is the most important thing in their life.  Sometimes the attempts by candidates are humorous when it becomes apparent their devotion is nothing but theatre, but it is more tragic when primary voters are taken in by people with less than stellar ethics and or convictions. 
     Truth is, everyone has a belief system and that belief system is primarily what guides their decision making process.  The job of the every voter is to determine what a candidate’s belief system is- what is their worldview?  Elected officials should be basing their decisions on the principles and precepts found in God’s Word.  They should be for the things He is for and against the things He is against.  If our elected leaders let that be their guide, perhaps God will forgive America of our wickedness and heal our land.      

Monday, October 5, 2015


I was asked to post this op/ed from almost eleven years ago.  Here it is!  Enjoy!
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, EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS VIDEO TAPE EVIDENCE. 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 infamous BIG DADDY article. Enjoy!
Is Big Daddy McMahan’s Sugar Daddy?

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.


Weekly Opinion Editorial
Second Amendment under Attack
by Steve Fair

     If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns!  No one knows who said that for sure, but those words have been printed on billboards, bumper stickers, and t-shirts for decades.  The point the quote makes is that criminals ignore the law anyway and the only person that is harmed by disarming the public is the law abiding citizen who will turn in his gun.  In the old west, when the local sheriff would confiscate weapons, invariably some ne’re do well would ignore the law and refuse to give up his gun.  Violence would break out and because the criminal was the only one with a gun, it was like shooting fish in a barrel- the law abiding citizen had no way to fight back.
     Once again in America the debate over guns is being waged after another depraved lunatic shot up a small college in Oregon.  It was a ‘gun free’ zone, yet somehow there was a gun.  How does that happen? See above.  Immediately the liberals said the only logical answer is to take guns away from every American because guns kill people, but they forget that knives kill people and so do fists and feet and rocks and baseball bats.  Yet no one is calling for outlawing any of those items.  By the way, five times more people are killed with knives than with guns in this country. 
     This week, the White House confirmed that President Obama was preparing a series of ‘executive orders’ on gun control to match his recent outrage after the shooting in Oregon.   “It’s a high priority and will continue to be until we start to see more progress on this issue in this town,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday.  Earnest pointedly criticized the “gun show loophole” for allowing criminals and people with mental problems to buy weapons.  He blamed organizations like the National Rifle Association for blocking action in Congress on the issue.
     After the latest mass shooting, the President said,  “We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings.  Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours.  So we know there are ways to prevent it.” What Obama didn’t say was that Australia’s ‘solution’ to stop mass shooting was confiscation of guns.  After an attack in 1996 in a tourist area where 35 people were killed and 23 wounded, the Australian government confiscated 650,000 guns via a ‘mandatory gun buyback’ program.  They forced gun owners to hand their firearms over for destruction.  Unfortunately, the Aussies didn’t have this pesky little item in their constitution known as the right to bear arms.  Did the confiscation of weapons work?  Did Australia’s plan reduce firearm homicides?
     University of Melbourne researchers Wang-Sheng Lee and Sandy Suardi concluded in a 2008 report on the matter with the statement, “There is little evidence to suggest that [the Australian mandatory gun-buyback program] had any significant effects on firearm homicides.”
     Throughout American’s history, there have been enemies of the second amendment.  The very first gun laws were enacted in Virginia in 1640.  The laws were specifically targeted toward blacks.  It provided that blacks, even freemen, could not own guns. Everyone has heard of Dred Scott vs. Sandford, the landmark decision by the SCOTUS back in 1857 that ruled that blacks could not be citizens of the U.S.  What most don’t know is that gun ownership was a part of the debate.  Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote that blacks could not be citizens because if they were citizens, they would have the right to own guns: "Giving them citizenship would give them the full liberty," he said, "to keep and carry arms wherever they went,"  Taney wrote.   
     What happened in Oregon (and other places) is tragic, but banning guns would not prevent such tragedies.  It will only prevent law abiding citizens from owning a weapon to defend themselves.  As another famous quote goes, “Guns don’t kill people- people kill people.”  Sin is in the heart before it’s in the hand.