Sunday, January 27, 2019

It's a HEART issue, not a HEAD issue!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

     On the anniversary of the Roe v Wade Supreme decision, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Reproductive Health Act (RHA).  The legislation permits abortions to be performed up to the 24th week of pregnancy.  It also creates lenient exceptions essentially sanctioning elective abortion up to the moment of birth.  “Today we are taking a giant step forward in the hard-fought battle to ensure a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own personal health, including the ability to access an abortion. With the signing of this bill, we are sending a clear message that whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body,” Cuomo said. 
     Not only will RHA preserve access to abortions for residents of New York, but it will remove abortion from the state’s criminal code. This would protect doctors or medical professionals who perform abortions from criminal prosecution. The law also now allows medical professionals who are not doctors to perform abortions in New York. “The old law had criminal penalties. It was written that the doctor or professional could be held criminally liable,” Cuomo said.  Cuomo supports placing this on the ballot to amend the New York state constitution.
     Critics were quick to condemn the new law.  Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan said: “Our Governor and legislative leaders hail this new abortion law as progress. This is not progress. Progress will be achieved when our laws and our culture once again value and respect each unrepeatable gift of human life, from the first moment of creation to natural death. Would that not make us truly the most enlightened and progressive state in the nation?” Cuomo is Catholic.  Three observations:
     First, abortion is murder.  It is the taking of a human life.  Life has a beginning and that is at the moment of conception.  Abortion doesn’t terminate a pregnancy- it murders a baby.  Many disagree, but their argument is against their Creator, not man. 
     Second, abortion violates the U.S. Constitution.  Every person in this country is guaranteed the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  When a baby is aborted, their constitutional rights are permanently violated.    
     Third, bad legislation is not the issue- a depraved nature is.  Attempting to regulate abortion- less or more- doesn’t deal with the fundamental issue- the depravity of man.  Man is born with an inherit sin nature and until God regenerates their dead heart, they will call bad good and good bad.  Arguing with a pro-choice person who doesn’t believe in the sovereignty of God is futile.  Making it against to law to kill won’t prevent killing, just like putting up speed limit signs will not stop speeding.  That doesn’t mean believers should abandon the cause, but it does mean they should recognize the fundamental problem is one of the heart, not the head.  May God have mercy on a state or country that ceases to respect the fundamental right to life. 

Monday, January 21, 2019


Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair
   As the government shutdown enters the second month, it appears no end is in sight.  President Trump offered concessions to the Democrats for the ‘dreamers,’ the young illegal immigrants brought to the country as children, in exchange for funding of a border wall.  Thus far, no Congressional Democrat- House or Senate- has expressed support for Trump’s proposal.  The POTUS has vowed to continue the shutdown until funding is agreed to.  Democrat Congressional leaders have refused to negotiate with the president and vowed to not give in.
     First, Democrats have agreed in the past to most of Trump’s proposals.  Fox News delights in showing clips of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) and Charles Senator Schumer, (D-NY) publicly advocating for border barriers before Trump was president.  To a degree, that paints them into a corner.
     Second, President Trump has taken ownership of the shutdown. Unlike the Democrat congressional leadership, Trump admits his part in the shutdown.   According to the Washington Post, that is translating into the loss of support from Trump’s political base, but there is little evidence his supporters are abandoning him.  One of Trump’s primary campaign promises was the building of a border wall and to his credit he is trying to deliver on that promise.  The Democrats are committed to making sure he doesn’t succeed.  Like him or not, the POTUS doesn’t back down from a fight and is not the typical politician.  That has to be unsettling for career politicos.
     Third, Trump’s proposal on Saturday is eerily similar to one he criticized during the primary campaign.  During the GOP debates, Senator Marco Rubio, (R-Florida) was a frequent target of the other candidates for his views on illegal immigration, which included a ‘pathway to citizenship.’  Rubio’s ideas were attacked and Trump was the primary critic.  Just goes to show you that the theoretical often differs from reality.  Governing is more difficult than campaigning. 
     Fourth, a shutdown may be an opportunity to prune the federal government.  The POTUS has amazing leverage when it comes to putting the civil service workforce back to work.  If Trump wants to really shake things up, he could hold out for only partial reopening of the government.  Clearly, the federal government is bloated and a workforce reduction in one stroke of a pen would be painful, but it may be the only way to deal with it.  Just rip the bandage off!  The national debt is out of the control.  Pruning government would be a good thing and while ‘across the board’ is not the ideal way to do it, it is a way.
     The Democrat congressional leadership and their rank and file have shown remarkable solidarity through the shutdown.  They hope voters in 2020 will blame President Trump for the shutdown, and give them credit for opposing the wall.  That is risky because polls show most U.S. citizens are very concerned about border security.  The POTUS may get more credit than blame.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Governor will need the legislature to turn around state!

Weekly Opinion Editorial

Turning Around Oklahoma!
by Steve Fair

     On Monday, J Kevin Stitt was sworn in as governor of Oklahoma.  Stitt, 46, is the first Native American to serve as a governor in the United States (he is an enrolled member of the Cherokee tribe).  He started Gateway Mortgage in Tulsa in 2000 and now it has 1,200 employees in 41 states.  This was Stitt’s first run for public office.  He bested six viable candidates to win the GOP nomination and then beat the Democrat nominee by twelve percentage points.  His election is very much like President Trump’s- unpredicted, unexpected and by a true political outsider. 

     At his inauguration address, Governor Stitt, the son of a Baptist preacher, emphasized his business background.  He said he would hold state agencies accountable, make them more efficient, and taxpayer friendly.  Stitt’s tag line during his campaign was: “Oklahoma’s turnaround starts right here-right now.”  In an inauguration speech that sounded more like a campaign speech, Stitt said he wanted to make Oklahoma a top ten state in all the categories that mattered.  Currently the state ranks in the bottom third of most major economic indicators.  Three observations:

     First, Oklahoma needs a turnaround.  The Sooner state ranks low in per capita income when compared to other states and has for decades.  The infrastructure (roads and bridges) need work.  Oklahoma government needs modernization.  There is little accountability of state government to taxpayers.  The Sooner state has languished in the bottom third for too long.

     Second, Stitt can’t turn the state around by himself.   The fact is the office of governor in Oklahoma has defined authority under the State Constitution.  That authority has been expanded in recent years with the cooperation of the legislature, but the office is still not as powerful as other states.  Stitt will need the legislature and the support of all Oklahomans to accomplish a turn around. 

      Three, Stitt’s approach to governing will be different.  The new governor, with a private sector bent, has appointed a chief operating officer as a liaison between himself and state agency heads.    He has said he will order comprehensive audits on every organization/agency that gets state tax dollars and supports needs based budgeting.  That is a radically different approach to governing than in the past.

    In his speech, the new governor said: “We need to change how Oklahoma’s 400 agencies and commissions are comprised. Our current system gives agencies too much independence from the voter – they have the ability to ignore executive orders, skirt around laws passed by the legislature, hide pockets of money, and protect their own interests by hiring lobbyists.” Stitt will need the legislature’s cooperation to reform state agencies.  Time will tell whether he will have it.
     Every turnaround or movement has a beginning.  It remains to be seen if Oklahoma’s started on Monday.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Genius of the Electoral College!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
The Electoral College is Under Attack- Again!
by Steve Fair
     Last week, Congressman Steve Cohen, (D, Tennessee), a vocal critic of President Trump, introduced a bill to eliminate the Electoral College.  “In two presidential elections since 2000, including the most recent one in which Hillary Clinton won 2.8 million more votes than her opponent, the winner of the popular vote did not win the election because of the distorting effect of the outdated Electoral College,” Cohen said in a statement. “Americans expect and deserve the winner of the popular vote to win office. More than a century ago, we amended our Constitution to provide for the direct election of U.S. Senators. It is past time to directly elect our President and Vice President.”      
     At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, the Electoral College came about as a compromise between large and small states. The large states wanted presidential voting to be based on population, as in the House of Representatives, while the small states wanted each state to have the same number of votes, as in the Senate (and the Constitutional Convention itself, for that matter). So they split the difference by giving each state a number of electors equal to its combined total of seats in both houses of Congress and establishing the Electoral College. 
     Critics of the Electoral College point out that five times in our nation’s history (twice since 2000), the winner of the popular vote did not win the electoral vote.  What they neglect to point out is that fifteen times the winner did not get a majority of the vote.  President Clinton did not receive 50% of the vote in either of his presidential elections.  Most of those who want to eliminate the EC are liberal, since both of the presidents elected in modern times and lost the popular vote were Republicans- George W Bush and Donald Trump. Funny there isn’t the same outcry for a clear majority for election.  Two thoughts to consider regarding the Electoral College:
     First, America is a representative republic, not a democracy.  The Electoral College is consistent with that representative republic model. Our founders rejected a pure democracy because as James Madison said, “democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives, as they have been violent in their deaths.” A democracy is mob rule.    
     Second, we are the United STATES of America.  Vertically Americans are one people living under a rule of common law, but horizontally we live in sovereign states.  If the Electoral College were eliminated, the rights of sovereign states would disappear with it.  The college was established to protect state rights and to insure each state had a voice in electing the POTUS.  Under the Electoral College, every state is relevant.  If it were eliminated, candidates would ignore smaller states in favor of the larger metro areas.
     Cohen’s bill has little chance of success this year.  To pass, it would require a two thirds majority in Congress and ratification by three fourths of the states, and that won’t happen, but conservatives should be diligent.  The Electoral College and state’s rights continue to be under attack and liberals won’t rest until both are eliminated.