Monday, August 27, 2018
Weekly Opinion Editorial
McCain & Trump Continue Feud!
by Steve Fair
Senator John McCain died on Saturday. McCain served as U.S. Senator from Arizona for 31 years, succeeding the legendary Senator Barry Goldwater. McCain’s father and grandfather were both Navy Admirals. Like they, he graduated from the Naval academy. He then served in Vietnam as a Navy pilot, was shot down, captured and was a prisoner of war for five years. After he came home, he went into politics, first in the U.S. House, and then in the Senate. In Congress, McCain cultivated the image of a rebel and considered himself a maverick, often going against the GOP on issues. He ran for president twice and gained the nomination in 2008, eventually losing to Barrack Obama by a 2-1 Electoral College margin.
Both of Oklahoma’s U.S. Senators praised McCain. Senator Jim Inhofe said: “John was a fighter for the causes he cared deeply about—most notably our military and democratic values around the world—and a passionate advocate for Arizonians. I’m honored that I could call him a friend and colleague. Our prayers are with his wife, Cindy, and the entire McCain family as we join the nation in mourning and honoring a true American hero.” Senator James Lankford said: “I’m grieved to hear of the passing of Senator John McCain. Few Senators have made a greater impact on the nation. He is an American hero who never stopped serving our country. I pray for peace and strength for his wife, Cindy, and their family as they mourn in the days ahead.”
President Trump tweeted condolences to the family, but the White House didn’t issue an ‘official statement’ on McCain’s death. Flags were ordered to half-staff, but then raised back to full staff after just one day. The mainstream media has been having a field day criticizing the POTUS for his not praising McCain’s military and political service.
The feud between Trump and McCain wasn’t one sided. McCain told his family he didn’t want President Trump to attend his funeral. He requested former Presidents George W. Bush and Barrack Obama to eulogize him. McCain took special glee in casting the deciding vote to reject repealing and replacing Obama care, a key Trump initiative. This was after he had won re-election campaigning he would vote to repeal it. He criticized Trump for complimenting Vladimir Putin. In his final written public statement, he took a shot at the President’s plan to build a wall, so this feud wasn’t one-sided.
President Trump’s actions toward McCain in death are no different than they were in life- he despised him. The feeling was mutual- McCain had no use for Trump. McCain was a deal maker, like Trump, but with less flair. McCain opposed everything Trump proposed.By ignoring McCain’s military and public service years, Trump is showing disrespect, not just to McCain, but to a nation that values sacrifice. He is defining himself and not in a positive light. President Trump should follow tradition, issue an official statement on the death of McCain, lower the flags to half-staff through the burial, and move on. Continuing a feud with a dead man serves no meaningful purpose.
Monday, August 20, 2018
Weekly Opinion Editorial
MIDTERM ELECTION PREDICTION
by Steve Fair
Midterm elections normally don’t go well for the political Party of the president. The Party of the incumbent president tends to lose ground during midterm elections. In the past 21 midterms, the President's party has lost an average of 30 seats in the House, and an average of 4 seats in the Senate. The last time the Party of the sitting president did well in the midterms was in 2002 when George W. Bush was president. Republicans gained 8 seats in the House and 2 in the Senate. The last time that was done was in 1934 when FDR was president.
Real Clear Politics(RCP) is a Chicago political news and polling data aggregator run by former options trader John McIntyre and ad executive Tom Bevin. RCP tracks all 435 House races and the 33 Senate races on the ballot in November 2018 using polling data from multiple sources. They currently say that 199 seats in the House are safe Democrat seats and 194 are safe Republican, with 42 seats too close to call. On the Senate side, they have 48 safe GOP seats and 45 safe Democrat seats with 7 as toss ups. RCP did predict that Hillary would win by 3.3% in 2016, but virtually everyone else missed that race as well. In the Congressional races, Republicans outperformed RCP’s prophecies by 3.3% in the 2014 mid-term, so they haven’t always been the best barometer for what will happen on election day.
Fivethirtyeight, a website owned by ESPN/ABC, is also a polling aggregator. Founded by Natt Silver, a statistician and writer whose parents are partisan Democrats, he started out as a number cruncher for Major League baseball. Fivethirtyeight’s name is the number of presidential electors. They predict a 75% chance the Democrats will take the House. They also claim some Democrat Senate seats are going to be decided on whether the candidate backs President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Depending on the district, that vote could sway voters.
There are currently 247 Republicans in the House and 188 Democrats. 218 is the magic number needed to be the majority Party of the body. That means the GOP can lose up to 29 seats and still retain control of the House. In 2006, when GWB was president, Republicans lost 30 seats in the midterms so it is very possible the Democrats could flip the House. On the Senate side, it is highly unlikely the Democrats can gain control. Of the 33 Senate seats up for election in 2018, only 8 are Republicans, 23 are Democrats, and 2 are Independents who caucus with the Democrats. It appears very likely Republicans will gain seats in the Senate. That could mean a spilt Party Congress, which normally means gridlock.The only poll that really matters is the one on Election Day. The 2018 general elections will ultimately come down to who votes. The ‘generic’ Congressional ballot has Democrat voter enthusiasm at a much higher level than Republican, but President Trump is the master of building excitement among supporters and driving up voter turnout. At this point in 2016, pundits had him losing to Clinton by double digits and we know how that turned out. I predict Republicans will maintain control of both chambers in November
Monday, August 13, 2018
Weekly Opinion Editorial
CIVICS IS NOT THE ANSWER
by Steve Fair
On Saturday, the SW Oklahoma Republican Women held their annual Beans & Baskets fundraiser in Altus. The keynote speaker was Nick Adams, a 33 year old Australian native, who has written four books on American exceptionalism. Adams is a Fox News commentator and a highly sought speaker. President Trump is one of his biggest fans. The POTUS has twice tweeted that out his admiration for Adams and has been photographed carrying one of Adams’ books aboard Air Force One.
Adams heads up a 501c3 organization- FLAG- that is publishing America’s founding documents, The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, in simple easy to understand formats for elementary students. Adams claims over 500,000 students in all 50 states have copies of their version of the Constitution. Adams is a very organized, articulate, polished, impressive speaker. His analysis of what is wrong with America- in particular the ‘political correctness’ movement- is right on target. Adams believes restoring ‘civics’ to America’s classrooms will save the country. While commendable, expanding civics and stopping political correctness will not save America.
America school children should study civics. Civics is the study of the rights and duties of citizenship. If you are a citizen in a country, you should know something about the country’s founding, the system of government the country uses, and how it works. Sadly, many schools across America do not teach civics and if they do, it has a liberal slant. That has resulted in widespread ignorance in millennials. In 2006, The National Assessment Governing Board, found that only 24% of fourth-graders, 22% of eighth- graders and 27% of twelfth graders were proficient in U.S. history and had working knowledge in how America’s government works. In a more recent study carried out in 2015 for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), more than 80 percent of college seniors at 55 top-ranked universities tested on their knowledge of American history and government received grades of D or F. It’s tragic that we have failed to teach a generation of children anything about our country.
Adams also advocates for the teaching of American exceptionalism. The concept of American exceptionalism was first mentioned in 1831 by Alexis de Tocqueville. Exceptionalism is a concept that the United States is founded on principles of personal liberty, capitalism, and a belief that all rights are God given, not granted by the government. As long as it is understood that every American, like every other human being is a fallen creatures and fallen creatures create flawed systems of government, it’s fine to refer to America as exceptional as compared to other nations. The problem is many who talk about American exceptionalism are talking about patriotism, not our system of government.
Nick Adam’s assessment of what is wrong in America- apathy and political correctness- is right, but his solution treats the symptom, not the disease. The only thing that truly will change America is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The real void in this country is not the lack of teaching of civics in the classroom- it’s the lack of preaching of truth from pulpits. Americans want their ears tickled, but not their hearts pricked and consumer driven churches have accommodated them. Until that changes, it won’t get any better.
Saturday, August 4, 2018
Weekly Opinion Editorial
POTENCY OF POT SHOULD BE LIMITED!
by Steve Fair
This week, the Oklahoma Board of Health voted unanimously to repeal some of the regulations passed just three weeks ago. They voted to eliminate the ban of smokeable marijuana and the requirement to have a pharmacist on site at dispensaries. They also removed the limitation on THC content, the requirement to have a pregnancy test before getting a license, and to lower the age of workers at dispensaries from 21 to 18.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of over one hundred chemical compounds found in marijuana and is clearly the most potent. THC reaches the bloodstream more rapidly when smoked than when ingested. When ingested as an edible, the effects of THC take longer but tend to be stronger and last longer than smoking. THC is activated by heat, either by smoking or the cooking process.
By voting to remove the THC potency limit in marijuana sold in Oklahoma, the board of health likely created potential problems down the road. According to a Dutch study, conducted over a sixteen year period, the more potent the pot, the more people sought treatment for marijuana-related problems. The study found that 15% THC was the highest level that should be sold because higher levels resulted in addiction and health issues. In a February 2018 editorial, the Washington Post, citing the Dutch study, said marijuana potency should be as regulated as drugs and alcohol potency.
Ron Durbin, the attorney for Green the Vote, the Oklahoma group who ran SQ #788, said the health board’s changes were worse than the previous rules. “Lack of careful attention to detail has created these problems. These regulations are worse than the old ones,” Durbin said. Durbin has asked Health Department interim commissioner of the Health Department to hold off a week so the so-called ‘rule conflicts’ are addressed. Durbin has sued the state, claiming the health board commissioners violated Oklahoma’s Open Meeting Act by having secret discussions in regard to how SQ #788 will be implemented.
The real ‘lack of attention to detail’ was those who ran SQ #788. By being vague in their language, they granted the legislature and state government a great deal of latitude in how medical marijuana will be grown, sold and used in Oklahoma. Make no mistake Green the Vote knew what they were doing. By cloaking #788 in a ‘medical marijuana’ package, they gained the support of many who suffer from chronic pain or have family who do. When you couple that with the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma among the elderly, it gave medical marijuana justification in many voters mind.On Thursday the Health Department posted applications for licenses to grow, sell and use medical marijuana. No application can be submitted until August 25th. Licensees must be Oklahoma residents and no more than 25% of their company equity can be held by non-Oklahoma residents. Legal medical marijuana sales reached nearly $10 billion last year in the U.S., so it is big business and there is no doubt there will be no shortage of applicants to grow process and distribute.