Sunday, May 30, 2021

Democrats believe 'Eligible Voter' is anyone who votes their way!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     On Sunday, just before the 2021 session adjournment, the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill #7(SB7) along Party lines.  SB#7 is an election reform bill that cuts back on early voting hours, bans drive-through voting, makes it a jail felony for local officials to send mail-in ballots to voters that didn’t request them and expands access for poll watchers in the Lone Star state.  It further adds new identification requirements for mail-in ballots. 

     SB#7 was aimed at Harris County (Houston), a Democratic stronghold, where during the 2020 general election 140,000 people voted from their cars at 24-hour polling places.  Critics of Harris County’s practices said there was little effort to insure those who voted were who they said they were.  Proponents said the practices allowed many who had never voted before to cast a ballot.  Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign SB#7 when it reaches his desk.  Similar election reform measures have passed in Iowa, Georgia and Florida’s state legislature.  On Sunday, after it was passed, President Biden called SB#7 ‘wrong and un-American.  Four observations:

     First, it is past time Republicans took on election reform.  In their 2008 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the state of Indiana’s voter ID law by a 6-3 vote and said there were ‘fragrant examples of voter fraud throughout U.S. history,’ thus the need to insure those who were voting were who they said they were.  Democrats have consistently opposed voter ID laws.  Why would anyone oppose such a common-sense idea as voter identification?  The only logical answer is they could care less about election integrity, only winning.

    Second, early voting should be limited.  Until the last decade, early voting was very limited.  A person could vote by absentee ballot, but otherwise, they had to show up on election day and cast their ballot.  In order to accommodate our ‘convenience/consumer driven’ society, early voting was implemented.  Initially, early voting was a couple of days before the actual election, but then some states expanded it to weeks before the election.  T

     There are two potential issues with early voting; (1) there must be a fool proof way to insure no one casts two ballots- one early and one on election day, and (2) in many elections, something major happens late in the campaign that might change a voter’s mind, but they have already cast their ballot. Oklahoma’s three days before the actual election early voting system is convenient enough. 

     Third, voter fraud is real.  On their website, the Heritage Foundation cite eleven examples, starting back in 1983 forward of election fraud.  They list nine methods of voter fraud- from voter impersonation at the polls to fraudulent use of absentee ballots.  In Harris County, Texas unsolicited absentee ballots were sent out and then allowed to be sent back with no voter identification verification.  SB#7 makes that a felony in Texas.  That should be the case nationwide.

     Fourth, Democrats are working on election reform as well.  HB#1, proposed by President Biden would implement Harris County’s 2020 ‘wink and nod’ practices to every voting precinct in the country.  That, Mr. President is ‘wrong and unamerican.’ 

     “In the 21st century, we should be making it easier, not harder, for every eligible voter to vote,” the president says.  The two key words are eligible voter.  Just who determines who is eligible to vote?  According to Democrats, it is anyone who votes straight Democrat. 

     The Heritage Foundation is right when they say: “Election integrity is essential and the security of the ballot box cannot be left to a simple honor system. It is incumbent upon state governments to safeguard the electoral process, and ensure that every voter’s right to cast a ballot is protected.


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Oklahoma Government is growing twice as fast as taxpayers!

Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair


     Last week the Oklahoma legislature passed the 2022 fiscal year budget.  The total budget is $8.8 billion, an increase of +14.3% over last year’s $7.7 billion.  Oklahoma has a ‘balanced budget’ amendment in the state constitution.  The legislature can’t spend more than revenue than they take in, but in the past five years the legislature has passed historical tax increases that have resulted in an increase of over $1.1 billion in revenue. 

     Oklahoma is heavily dependent on sales tax revenue.  45% of tax revenue comes from sales tax. 40% more comes from state income tax.  The new budget includes $3.2 billion for common education- up more than $210 million over last year.  That doesn’t include an increase of $27 million for textbook funding and school activity funds.  Over the past five years, the education funding in Oklahoma has increased by $776 million.   The education lobby shouldn’t complain about funding, but rest assured they will. 

     The budget does include a slight tax cut.  Personal income tax in the Sooner state will be reduced a whopping ¼ of 1%(from 5% to 4.75%) and corporate income tax will be reduced from 6 to 4%.  The decrease will place Oklahoma in the Top Ten for lowest corporate and personal income taxes in the country.  It also includes funding for the Attorney General to represent the state in legal challenges associated with the McGirt case.  Three observations:

     First, the legislature doesn’t fund the budget- Oklahoma taxpayers do.  In press releases by both chambers, lawmakers bragged about funding core services (and some not so core) with taxpayer money.  Taxpayers should never lose sight of the fact government has no money to fund anything.  Every dime government gets comes out of taxpayer’s pockets.  That simple fact is often forgotten, but it shouldn’t be.

     Second, the Oklahoma government budget has grown at twice the rate of Oklahoman’s income.  In five years the state budget has grown by +23%.  In 2017, the state budget was $6.78 billion.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, during the same period, Oklahomans per capita income grew +12%.  It is not healthy for government to grow at twice the rate of those that fund it.

     Third, Oklahoma taxpayers may be pleased with the ’22 budget.  If so, that’s great, but the vast majority of citizens have little or no knowledge of how much of their money the state spends.  The ’22 budget has a plenitude of funding for a plethora of programs- some worthy- some not.  It’s the responsibility of the taxpayer/voter to call their respective legislators into account for how their money is being spent.

      Four fundamental economic principles should guide elected officials when they consider fiscal issues: (1) Every dime of spending must undergo a cost vs. benefits evaluation, (2) Government spending affects the growth of the private sector.  Every dime spent by the government in effect competes with private sector monies, (3) The private sector always delivers services in a more effective way than the government, (4) Government spending should work to spur individual responsibility, not discourage it.    

     The late U.S. Senator Tom Coburn said, “Republicans should simply focus on first principles and give the American people what they want-an honest Party dedicated to common sense, fiscal responsibility and limited government.”

Monday, May 17, 2021


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals voted unanimously last week to strike down the conviction of Miles Bench for the brutal murder of Braylee Henry. The five-member court found Bench was a tribal member (Choctaw tribe) and the crime happened on tribal land (Chickasaw reservation) and therefore Bench should have been tried in federal court and not state court. The ruling came about because of the July 2020 U.S. Supreme Court McGirt vs. Oklahoma decision. Judge Gary Lumpkin said while he doesn’t agree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on McGirt, he is still required to follow it. “This despicable crime occurred in Indian Territory and was carried out by a tribal member, so it left us no choice but to rule to strike down the conviction” Lumpkin said.

     Braylee Henry was just sixteen years old when Bench attacked her on June 6, 2012 at the Velma, Oklahoma convenience store where he worked. Henry went to the store to get a soda and candy. Her body was found on property owned by Bench’s grandparents. Bench was twenty-four at the time. Bench was tried, convicted and sentenced to death in 2015.

      At this point, Bench will not be released from jail. The U.S. Attorney’s office charged him in April with kidnapping resulting in death. Bench will face trial at the federal level for the crime, but the death penalty may not be on the table. According to District Attorney Jason Hicks, “the tribes have not consented to allow their tribal members to be executed by the federal government.” Two observations:

     First, the McGirt decision had/has serious implications for Oklahomans. When the SCOTUS ruled against the state of Oklahoma to exercise criminal jurisdiction over Native American tribal members who perpetrate violent crimes, or are the victims of them committed within the boundaries of the Creek Nation, they opened up a can of worms. The court claims the 1866 treaties with the Five Civilized Tribes remains intact and Congress failed to ‘disestablish’ the reservations of the tribes. Dozens of tribal members who are serving time after being convicted in state court have appealed to have their convictions struck down because the state didn’t have jurisdiction. Did Congress flub up in 1907 when they combined Oklahoma territory and Indian Territory into one and granted statehood to Oklahoma? Did Congress fail to ‘disestablish’ the reservations? If so, it should be fixed. According to a SCOTUS nineteenth century ruling known as the ‘plenary power doctrine,’ Congress has supreme supervisory authority over tribes. They should exercise that authority and disestablish the reservations.

     Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Robert Hudson called on Congress to make a ‘practical solution’ to the issues of the McGirt ruling. Congressman Tom Cole, (R-Moore) has proposed legislation that would allow compacts between the state and the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes.  It’s not likely to be fast tracked so long as Democrats control Congress.

     Second, victims of crimes and their families shouldn’t have to endure this another trial.  That is a miscarriage of justice. Bench was tried and convicted by a jury of his peers in 2015- three years after the crime was committed. Where is the justice for Baylee Henry? Nine years after her death, her family will have to relive the nightmare of a second trial. “It is just heart wrenching that we have to re-live this again. I believe we are making heroes and lifting these criminals up instead of the victims and the lives they took,” Renee Henson, Baylee’s mother said after the court’s ruling.

     Sadly, that is where we are in America- criminals are victims and their victims are forgotten. May God have mercy on our country.

Sunday, May 9, 2021


 Weekly Opinion Editorial

Major on the Majors!

By Steve Fair

     Oklahoma’s Book of Statutes is growing!  Oklahoma has 90 categories/titles of laws ranging alphabetically from agriculture to workers compensation.  Oklahoma has some doozies- for example: (1) whaling is illegal, (2) you can’t eat another person’s hamburger, (3) No spitting on the sidewalk, (4) it’s illegal to sleep with your boots on, (5) you can’t make ‘ugly’ faces at dogs.  Each year, hundreds of laws are added to the books- some necessary, but many added are not essential to the survival of the Sooner state.   

     Oklahoma legislators collectively proposed over 2,200 new laws in 2021.  About 350-400 will make it to the books, many that are unnecessary.  The unjustified ones try to fix problems that don’t exist.  Others fix something that should be a local issue- classic government overreach.  Most of the extraneous ones pass the legislature with near unanimous votes because legislators are trading favors with fellow lawmakers in order to get their legislation supported.  It’s not just in Oklahoma.  Over legislating is rampant across the country.  From Congress to state legislatures, lawmakers believe they must have a bill signed into law to be an effective representative, so they run bills that do little more than clog up the process.  Instead of spending precious time on meaningful legislation and the budget, feel good, heartwarming bills take up time and effort.  Three observations:

     First, Oklahoma legislative leadership should cut back on the number of bills run each year.  Twenty years ago, the Oklahoma legislation had less than 1,000 proposed bills each session.  That number has more than doubled in two decades and the increase has come under Republican leadership.  Instead of majoring on the majors, the budget is often passed in the last days of a legislative session and isn’t afforded the time for scrutiny it deserves. 

     Second, constituents should press their legislators to major on the majors.  If enough voters asked their legislator about the state budget when they interacted with them, legislative leadership would eventually get the message.   Ask your representative or senator where is the budget in the process?  How big is it?  How much will it grow Oklahoma government?  Were cuts made where needed?  Instead of lobbying to pass or kill a meaningless, unnecessary bill, hold your representative and senator accountable for the budget.  Currently in the Oklahoma legislation, a very few select legislators work on the budget and the rest are marginally involved.  The legislative leadership deny such an oligarchy exists in regard to the budget, but any honest legislator will tell you it is the truth.

     Third, individual legislators need to stop running uncalled for legislation.  That takes discipline and may require telling a constitute no, but until they grow some iron rail up the shirt tail, the only party benefiting from Oklahoma’s growing Book of Statutes is the printer.

     HB #1569- the Play to Learn bill- passed both chambers with veto proof margins.  It is now on the governor’s desk, awaiting his signature.  Seriously, do we really need a state law on the books allowing Play to Learn in local school districts?  How about one allowing recess in local schools or blackboards in the classroom?  Is the Oklahoma Highway Patrol going to enforce it?  This is a perfect example of majoring on the minors.  Please contact Governor Stitt’s office and ask him to veto HB#1569.  Ask your legislator to vote to not override the veto.  Passing this kind of laws won’t get Oklahoma to a top ten ranking in the nation.  Lawmakers need to refocus on necessary legislation and a state budget that right sizes Oklahoma government, not feel good, heartwarming bills.


Sunday, May 2, 2021

Governor should sign HB#1775! Students should be taught CRITICAL, not PASSIVE thinking skills!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Critical race theory (CRT) is an academic movement of civil rights activists who seek to critically examine the law on issues of race.  The advocates of CRT believe social problems are influenced and created by society and culture because racism is inherent in skin color.  Critics of CRT say CRT elevates storytelling over absolute truth, revises history and automatically assumes white supremacy by whites.  CRT dates back to the 1970s when law school professors, activists and attorneys examined why civil rights victories had stalled and in their estimation were eroding.  The ‘hate crime’ legislation that has made its way into law was birthed in the CRT movement. 

    HB #1775, authored by Rep. Kevin West, (R-Moore) and Sen. David Bullard, (R-Durant) prohibits Oklahoma public schools, colleges and universities from incorporating certain messages about sex and race into any course instruction.  The bill would also prohibit requiring mandatory gender or sexual diversity training or counseling in the schools.  HB#1775 passed the House 70-19 and the Senate 38-9.  It is now on the governor’s desk. 

     On Sunday, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission requested Governor Kevin Stitt veto HB#1775.  "If this bill becomes law it will have serious implications on teaching the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in schools, as well as much of the history of the U.S. which is rife with racism, sexism and discomfort," said Phil Armstrong, project director for the Commission.  Two observations:

     First, racism is not an inherited trait.  There is no evidence there is a racism gene.  Every person is born with an inherit sin nature.  They got it from their father, who got it from his father, all the way back to Adam.  That depravity/wickedness/sin can manifest itself in racism, but not every white person is a racist simply because they are white.  To condemn every person as racist because of the color of their skin is the height of racism.

     Second, HB#1775 does not stop the teaching of history.  Armstrong is being intellectually dishonest with that statement.  The language in HB#1775 doesn’t state or even infer that incidents of race riots and violence be ignored.  The bill specifically states that no teacher, administrator or other employee of a school district, charter school or virtual charter school shall require or make part of a course the following concepts: (a) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex, (2) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, (3) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex.

     “This bill will in no way stop the teaching of history or anything currently in our Oklahoma education standards, including curriculum that shows historical examples of racism or genocide. This bill simply says that teachers can’t force a student to answer that they are inherently racist or sexist or that they must feel personally responsible for things perpetrated in the past by people of a similar race or gender,” Rep. West said.  

    HB#1775, if signed by the governor, would go into effect immediately and would require the state Regents and the state Board of Education to implement the changes in the bill. 

       Contact the governor’s office and encourage him to sign HB#1775.  Children should be taught critical thinking skills. CRT is passive thinking and rooted in Marxism.  Oklahoma students shouldn’t be subjected to it.