Monday, September 30, 2019


Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

     Impeachment of President Trump appears to be on the horizon.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who has opposed impeaching Trump in the past, said, “We could not ignore what the president did. He gave us no choice. So it wasn't any change of mind. I always said we will follow the facts where they take us. And when we see them, we will be ready. And we are ready.”   According to a CNN poll of U.S. House members, a clear majority- 223(all Democrats) of the 435- support impeaching the president.   

     Impeachment does not remove the president from office.  In our nation’s history, only two presidents have been impeached- Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.  Neither were removed.  Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body levels charges against a government official.  It is the equivalent to an indictment in criminal law, and thus is only the statement of charges against the official.  If the House votes to impeach, a trial will take place in the U.S. Senate, where a 2/3 majority is needed to remove from office.  With Republicans having 53 of the 100 members, getting to 67 is a tough hill to climb. 

     First, Pelosi and the Democrats are not concerned with facts.  In spite of her claim the House will conduct a fair and through investigation into Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, their track record indicates otherwise.  The Democrats- in lock step- have opposed everything Trump has done.  They practice ‘group think’ and are blindly loyal to their cause.  They are willing to excuse bad behavior in the name of unity, which is a form of collusion- the very thing they condemn in Trump.  It is true that no one is above the law, but Pelosi seems willing to turn a blind eye to misbehavior on her side of the aisle.

     Second, the Senate trial could hurt Biden and Democrats more than Trump.  With Republicans in control, they will likely investigate Hunter Biden’s association with the Ukrainian company and if he violated any U.S. laws.  If they go back far enough, they could look into Joe Biden’s brother, James and Hunter purchase of a hedge fund-Paradigm Global Advisors in 2006.  According to an unnamed executive quoted in Politico, James Biden told employees the first day:    “Don’t worry about investors. We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden. We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s filled with cash ready to invest in this company,” At that time, Joe Biden was months away from becoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and launching his second bid for president.  Was the purchase made to work around campaign- finance laws? 

     Third, the 116th Congress will not get much else done in 2020.  Expect the impeachment and subsequent trial to consume the legislative calendar.  The people’s business will be pushed to the next year.  That could backfire on the Democrats in the 2020 elections.
     Citizens of all political stripes are fed up with the bickering, polarizing, positioning, partisan behavior on both sides.  Their predictability is boring and doesn’t move the country forward.  Expect it to get worse before it gets better.

Steve's note: A reader said Pelosi's statement reminded him of the scene in Thelma & Louise where they drove off the cliff.  For those who haven't seen the movie, here is a clip:

Monday, September 23, 2019


Weekly Opinion Editorial
By Steve Fair

     A whistle-blower is a person who exposes information or activity deemed illegal, unethical or not above board within an organization.  It can be activity that violates company policy, the law, or general moral code.  There are a number of laws that protect whistle-blowers from retaliation from those they expose.  In early August, an unnamed whistle-blower allegedly said President Trump encouraged Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter for money laundering and implied that federal aid might be withheld if Zelensky didn’t comply. Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson(a Trump nominee) found the whistle-blower’s complaint credible and sent it to Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence.  When Maquire didn’t report it to the House and Senate Intelligence committees, Atkinson wrote a letter directly to the committee chairs advising them of the complaint.   
     Trump has admitted he discussed Biden with Zelensky, but said he didn’t violate the law.  Democrats have seized the opportunity and are calling for Trump to release the recordings/transcripts of the phone conversation.  "It will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness" if the resistance persists,”  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) said.  Some Democrats see blood in the water and are calling for hearings and some want to impeach.  Three thoughts:
     First, Trump’s ‘word to the wise’ was not unfounded.  Rudy Giuliani, who now serves as President Trump’s private legal counsel, alleged on Twitter Hunter Biden was “making millions on the board of one of the most corrupt companies in Ukraine.” He also hinted that the younger Biden’s company laundered $3 million by transferring the money from Ukraine to Latvia, then to Cyprus, and finally to the U.S.  Democrats haven’t talked much about the apparent Biden corruption and there is no talk of holding hearing or investigating the allegations.
     Second, there is no evidence of quid pro quo(Latin meaning: something for something).  Trump flatly denies that he offered $250 million in military aid in exchange for an investigation, but even if he did that it still would not violate the federal bribery statute, which prohibits public officials from taking or soliciting bribes.  While it may be bad judgment for a POTUS, who just underwent a three year investigation for Russian interference in an election, to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political foe, it is not illegal.  Donald Trump does push the envelope. 
     Third, Trump loves to disrupt the status quo.  Giuliani says he wakes up every day planning to disrupt.  Four years ago, he disrupted the GOP primary.  In his first term, he has disrupted the political process.  He has disrupted China, Iran, North Korea and the established foreign policy.  Some of his disruption has been good- others not so good, but America could use some disruption.  We are drowning in national debt, a growing government and a political class that is out of touch with normal people.  Disruption can divide and separate, but rest assured, Trump is not doing business as usual.
     Time will tell if Trump’s disruption tactics will work with voters in 2020 or if he pushed the envelope too far in his conversation with Zelensky.  Right now, his Democrat opponents can only attack his tactics, because his policies are working.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Attack Threatens Stability in Region & World!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair
     On Saturday, oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia were bombed using drones, cutting the kingdom’s oil production in half.  Houthi rebels, who are battling Saudi from Yemen, claimed responsibility, but US officials believe Iran was behind the attack.   Satellite photos show at least nineteen points of impact at two Saudi facilities, including at a crucial oil refinery.  It also shows the attacks came from the direction of Iran or Iraq, not from Yemen.  The attack went largely unnoticed, but rest assured Americans will become aware of it’s consequence in the coming days.  Three observations:
     First, consumers of oil related products will immediately see increases.  Crude oil futures shot up +9.5% to $60 per barrel just on the news of the attack.  Some speculate oil could reach $100 a barrel.  Saudi Arabia has promised to dip into their reserves until the damage is repaired, but clearly the price of petroleum based products will rise.  The price at the pump is the most obvious place, but many consumer products are packaged in PET, made from petroleum.  Those products will go up. 
     Second, expect more drone attacks.  Technology can be used for good and bad.  Drone aircraft have amazing applications in business, personal security and recreation, but they can also be used for evil.  With drones being inexpensive and accessible, even the most budget conscious terrorist can and will wreak havoc. 
     Third, the bombing escalates the tensions in the region and could draw the U.S. into a war with Iran.  Senator Lindsay Graham, (R-SC), tweeted: “It is now time for the U.S. to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocation or increase nuclear enrichment.”  Iranian General Amir Haijizadeh, in an attempt to defuse the situation said, “Because of the tension and sensitive situation, our region is like a powder keg.  When these contacts come too close, when forces come into contact with one another, it is possible a conflict happens because of a misunderstanding.” President Trump tweeted that America was ‘locked and loaded,” which would indicate there will be some retaliation against Iran.  Some have described this drone attack as an economic “Pearl Harbor.” 
     There has been speculation President Trump would meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during his upcoming trip to New York City for the U.N. General Assembly meeting to discuss the US imposed economic sanctions.  On Sunday night, the POTUS tweeted that he would not meet with Rouhani unless he agreed there were ‘no conditions” for removal of the sanctions.  It is unlikely that meeting will take place after the attacks.
     Who knows how long this shortage of oil will last.  In Oklahoma when the price of oil goes up, our state’s economy normally does well.  Oklahoma government gets funded more because oil production (and the related taxes) goes up.  Unemployment goes down because the oil patch is looking for workers.  The big negative is the higher prices paid for petroleum related products- and of course our unstable world. 

Monday, September 9, 2019

A Sovereign God ALWAYS WINS!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

     Drew Brees is the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints.  He has played eighteen years in the NFL and won the Super Bowl in 2010.  Brees is a committed Christian. "I live for God, for the faith that I have in Him. Knowing the sacrifices that Jesus Christ made on the cross for me and feeling like it’s in God’s hands, all I have to do is just give my best, commit the rest to Him. Everything else is taken care of.  That takes the weight off anybody’s shoulders. It’s to give you confidence to know that you’ve got somebody looking out for you," Brees says. 

     Focus on the Family, a Christian organization, promotes a ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day’ each year.  The event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ. This year the event is on October 3th.   Drew Brees recorded a short video promoting ‘Bring Your Bible to School,’ and was immediately attacked by the LBGT community.  Jenn Bentley of Big Easy magazine wrote: “Focus on the Family supports and promotes the practice of ‘conversion therapy, which uses a combination of shaming and manipulation to cure LGBTQ people of their sexual orientation.”  Brees responded: "I’d like to set the record straight: I live by two very simple Christian fundamentals, and that is love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul and love your neighbor as yourself."  Three observations:

     First, Drew Brees never mentioned sexual orientation in the video.  The video simply encouraged students to bring their Bible to school and share their faith.  The video didn’t promote anti-gay behavior or conversion therapy. "I do not support any groups that discriminate or that have their own agendas that are trying to promote inequality," Brees said. 

     Second, Drew Brees wasn’t the real target of the critics.  It was the Bible.  It teaches homosexuality, adultery, fornication, stealing, lying, murder, and covetousness is sin.  The natural man doesn’t receive the things of God(2 Cor. 2:14), hence the unconverted hate the Bible.  They don’t want the Bible read or promoted because it condemns them.  To the converted, the Bible is a source of light and life.  It is God’s word.  In a very classy move, many New Orleans Saints fans are planning to bring their Bibles to the next home game in support of Brees.

     Third, those who preach tolerance don’t practice it.  The ‘guilt by association’ mentality is rampant  in our country.  Drew Brees exercised his constitutional right to share his faith.  Those who disagree with that have a right to disagree, but they shouldn’t condemn intolerance while practicing it. 

     Christianity is clearly under attack in America, but followers of Christ facing persecution is nothing new.  It was foretold in scripture.  It will likely get much worse before it gets better.  Believers should take comfort knowing that in the end, the Creator always comes out on top.