Sunday, August 29, 2021


Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair

     On Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had a difficult news conference.  When asked about the criticism leveled by Rep. Susan Wild, (D-PA) of how the Biden administration botched the Afghan withdrawal, Psaki responded, “It is harder to be in the arena and make difficult decisions and the decision that a commander-in-chief has to make include among difficult options.

     She also had a tense exchange with a reporter after stating President Biden only had two options regarding Afghanistan- (1) send tens of thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan or (2) to pull out and not put anyone at risk.  When the reporter challenged her and said another option was to pull out earlier- in May- and not to close Bagram Airfield last month, Psaki conceded no one anticipated the Afghan government would fold so quickly and that hindsight is always 20/20.  Three observations: 

     First, the withdrawal from Afghanistan has been a disaster.  It’s not just Republicans critical of how the POTUS has handled the Afghan evacuation.  U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, (D-PA) said, “This has been as far from orderly as it could possibly be.”  Rep. Joaquin Castro, (D-TX) said, “This administration should have been working a lot earlier to evacuate a lot of the people who are desperate to flee now. That’s a point that I think almost everybody agrees with, that these preparations, these evacuations should have started more urgently and earlier.”  President Biden disagreed and said in a Friday news conference, I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years, I've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces.”

     Second, why was Bagram Airfield closed last month before the withdrawal began?  Bagram was the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan.  During it’s twenty-year history controlled by the United States, Bagram provided a base of operations for the air support necessary to keep order in the country. 

     President Biden blames the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the base closure, but he (as Commander in Chief) sets the perimeters of what the military does.  General Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said Biden told the military the primary task was to protect the US Embassy in Kabul.   With the limited number of personnel left in Afghanistan, keeping both Bagram open and protecting the Embassy were not possible.  It would have made sense to run the evacuation from a secure military installation (Bagram) instead of a civilian airport, which the Taliban controls.

     Third, Biden’s promise to change America’s reputation in the world is coming true.  When running against Trump, Biden said he would ‘restore America’s image’ on the world stage.  He has certainly changed it.  Now the United States is seen as a country who will cut and run, bolt, abandon and skedaddle, leaving their American citizens and their friends to figure it out themselves.   It’s not likely the Taliban would have made their aggressive move if President Trump had been reelected.  They have taken advantage of weak, indecisive, irresolute leadership by President Biden.  Sadly, that void of leadership has cost thirteen Americans their life.  Psaki is right that leading is easier than critiquing, but during Trump’s presidency, Biden did plenty of appraisals of Trump’s decisions.  Now he is in the hot seat and continues his 40 plus year track record of being on the wrong side of foreign policy.


Sunday, August 22, 2021


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Oklahoma state government is getting $1.87 billion of the $350 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act(ARPA).  This is the spending bill signed back in March by President Biden.  In addition, the 77 counties in Oklahoma will spilt up $728 million.  Cities and towns in the Sooner state will divide up $553 million.  Just the ten largest cities will get to independently decide how to spend their portion of the windfall.  The state will decide how the money will be spent for the smaller towns.  The Indian tribes across the U.S. will spilt up $20 billion, but no decision on how that will be divided up has been made. 

     The states can’t use the money to fund pension plans, build up their reserve accounts, or finance debt.  ARPA can be used to support public health, provide premium pay for essential workers, or invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.   The governor must decide how to spend the money by the end of 2024 and ARPA monies must be spent by the end of 2026.  Three observations:

     First, the spending of these monies will not go through the normal legislative appropriation process.  Governor Stitt has the sovereign decision on where to spend the monies so long as it meets the federal guidelines.  He has enlisted former Labor Commissioner Melissa Houston, the head of a political strategy company, to sort through all the applications for funding.  A 24-member joint legislative committee on Pandemic Relief Funding will develop a list of recommendations.  There are 12 members from the House and 12 from the Senate, 20 Republicans and 4 Democrats.   The committee recommendations will then be sent to another committee made up of 6 legislators and 5 executive brand officials.  That group will then compile a list for the governor to consider, but the final decision to fund or not to fund is ultimately the governors alone. 

     Second, the money should be spent on permanent long-term infrastructure.  ARPA should fund projects that last longer than a pair of socks.  Governor Stitt has publicly stated he wants to spend the money on strategic onetime investments that will benefit future generations.  That is a worthy objective and hopefully the vetting process will bear that out. 

     Third, ARPA monies are taxpayer dollars.  They don’t belong to the legislature, the vetters or the governor.  Every dime sent by the federal government to Oklahoma is tax money.  The government has no money.  It consumes- the private sector produces.  Some states have said they will use their ARPA monies to make tax cuts, which appear to be outside the federal guidelines.  The guidelines are broad and could allow cuts.  It doesn’t appear tax cuts for the average Oklahoman is on the table.  Perhaps it should be. 

     Including the ARPA, the federal government has spent $6 trillion dollars on pandemic relief- money American taxpayers didn’t have.  The national debt is now over $26 trillion dollars.   Leaders should be through and prudent in how they spend your tax dollars.  After all, your great great grandkids are paying for it.

Sunday, August 15, 2021


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


By Steve Fair

     Afghanistan is a country in Central Asia, bordered by Pakistan to the east, Iran to the west and China to the north.  It is mountainous and landlocked.  40% of the economy is based on agriculture- much of it opium and cannabis.  Afghanistan has been the source of many military campaigns and has been called ‘unconquerable’ and nicknamed ‘the graveyard of empires.’ 

     The United States went to war in Afghanistan in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.  The U.S. and our NATO allies successfully drove the Taliban from power to deny al-Qaeda a safe base of operations.  For the past twenty years, America and a coalition of over 40 countries have performed a security mission in the country to maintain order.  Before he left office, President Trump started to draw down U.S. troops in Afghanistan.   

     On Sunday, the Taliban took back control of the Afghanistan government.  Abdul Baradar, 53, a Taliban leader that was freed from a Pakistani jail three years ago at the request of the Trump administration, is likely to be the new leader.  Three observations:

     First, this move by the Taliban is not what was agreed to by the Trump administration.  Baradar, considered a moderate as opposed to a hardliner, was part of a ‘power sharing’ agreement hammered out in 2019 before Trump left office.  Allowing the Taliban to take over complete control of the government wasn’t part of the deal.  The Taliban has used Biden’s weak foreign policy to their advantage.

     Second, President Biden should take responsibility for this development.  His administration was caught completely by surprise by the speed the Taliban took control of the Afghan government.  At some point, Biden has to act like he is the POTUS.  He is eight months into his term and he is still using Trump as his scapegoat.

      Third, the Afghan people must take equity in their own government.  Over the past 20 years, U.S. taxpayers have spent nearly a trillion dollars to help train 300,000 Afghan military.  Those trained fighters were defeated by a smaller force of more dedicated Taliban warriors.  The reason the Taliban can take power is because many Afghans believe they understand their history, culture and values better than the U.S.  They could care less about having foreigners interfere in their affairs.   

     On Sunday, President Biden released a statement saying, “When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. Forces. Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. Forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500. Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our Forces and our allies’ Forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict. I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.” President Biden said.

     President Biden is being disingenuous.  He has overturned a multitude of Trump’s executive orders.  He hasn’t had any issue moving in a different direction on Trump’s economic, domestic and foreign policy.  He is simply using Trump as a scapegoat to deflect the blame for not seeing this disturbing development in Afghanistan. 

Monday, August 9, 2021


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair 

     Article 1- Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution requires a census be conducted every ten years for the purpose of determining representation in Congress (House).  The founders of America broke from historic tradition as to the purpose of conducting a count of citizens.  In the past, when government counted their citizens, it was to tax or confiscate property.  The census in the United States ‘empowered’ the citizens.  It is conducted by the US Census Bureau (USCB), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  The Director of the Census Bureau is appointed by the president.  There are four regions and seven divisions of the Bureau.  Oklahoma is in Region 3, Division 7.   

     In April, a group of U.S. House Republicans led by Rep. James Comer (R-KY), sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Ralmondo raising questions about political interference in the final census numbers.  They argued there were inconsistencies in the number of seats Republicans were expected to gain.   

     “We write today with concerns about the apportionment count released by the Census Bureau, and whether the process which derived the count was fair, accurate, and independent from any White House interference,” the letter said.  “Given the extra time it took to complete the 2020 Census – including not meeting the statutory deadlines by months – we have questions about the methodology and the role the Biden White House may have played in releasing these numbers, especially as the results differ from evaluation estimates released mere months ago in ways that benefit blue states over red states.”  The group alleges  illegal immigrants were counted in liberal states to help Democrats maintain control of the U.S. House.  Three observations 

     First, the census in the United States is an important tool of self-government.  No other modern country uses their count like America.  In Canada, the census used to plan services like schools, housing, police and fire protection.  The data gathered in the US Census is used for that, but the primary purpose is to determine representation in government.  The census should be conducted with the utmost integrity accuracy.  It should be devoid of political shenanigans. 

      Second, undocumented illegal immigrants should not be included in the apportionment count.  One of President Biden’s first executive orders was to undo President Trump’s order to not count them for apportionment.  A statement on the U.S. Census Bureau’s website confirm citizens and non-citizens (documented and undocumented) are included in the resident population for the census and are therefore included in apportionment.   The flood of illegals entering America through our southern border can sway an election and change congressional representation.   

     Third, the dishonesty in the political process starts before the ballot box.  Much has been made of the 2020 election being stolen, but to get voters who are not eligible to vote, it’s important to count them first- and that starts with the Census. Republicans are right to question the Census Bureau on their inconsistent methods of data collection.     

      The old adage goes, “Cheaters never win and winners never cheat.” Gaining a reputation of a cheater used be quite damning in politics and was hard to overcome.  In today’s political environment, it seems the more you lie, cheat and steal, the more you are admired.  But politics is a temporal game and in the eternal realm, cheating matters- principles matter.  Our nation’s history is full of people who cheated and won elections, but they weren’t winners.  America will never be great again until it becomes a nation of people of integrity, not just political winners.


Sunday, August 1, 2021


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     The Holocaust aka the Shoah refers to the killing of over six million European Jews during WWII by Nazi Germany.  Approximately two thirds of Europe’s Jewish population was killed between 1941-45.  It remains one of the most brutal, depraved acts in human history.     In order to readily identify Jews, the Germans required them to wear a badge in the form of a yellow star of David.  The badges were printed on coarse yellow cloth and were a garish yellow. 

     Last week, the OKGOP Facebook page had a post comparing Oklahoma business owners who are requiring their employees to be vaccinated before they come back to work as being required to wear a yellow star.  A yellow star was photoshopped in the post to read ‘unvaccinated.’  The post encouraged readers to contact Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell and ask him to call a special legislative session to address private employer vaccine mandates.  Governor Kevin Stitt is out of the country and when he is not in the state, the Lt. Governor is the state’s top elected official.  The post has been commented on 2,500 times and shared 1,000 times.

     Some took offense at the post.  Roberta Clark, the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater OKC said, “It’s sad and ironic that anyone would draw an analogy from one of the largest recorded genocides in the 20th century with public health attempts to save lives.”  In a combined statement, several elected officials; Governor Stitt, Lt. Governor Pinnell, Senators Inhofe and Lankford, Congressman Mullin and Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat said, “It is irresponsible and wrong to compare an effective vaccine- developed by President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed- to the horrors of the Holocaust.  People should have the liberty to choose if they take the vaccine, but we should never compare the unvaccinated to the victims of the Holocaust.”  Three observations:

     First, no individual should be mandated to take or excused from taking the vaccine by government.  That is an individual choice.  There is a significant percentage of the U.S. population who are hesitant and have resisted taking the vaccine.  They have a right to not take it and not be harassed by the vaccinated or the government.  Conversely, those who take the vaccine have a right to take it without being harassed by the unvaccinated or the government.    Each person should make up their own mind regarding the vaccine.  Government has done enough by making the vaccine available.

     Second, private business owners have a right to require employees to take the vaccine.  Republicans believe businesses should not face regulations/restrictions on their business.  If a business owner is trying to keep his business viable and believes mandatory vaccinations are necessary to accomplish that, it is their right to require it.  Businesses must be pragmatic.  They can be charitable, but they are not a charity.  If they don’t remain profitable, they don’t stay in business and in turn don’t create jobs.      Requiring employees to be vaccinated may put an employee in a tough situation.  If they feel that strongly about not being jabbed, they may have to find another job. 

     Third, there should not have been a comparison between the Holocaust and being unvaccinated.  The Jews in Europe were exterminated/murdered/slaughtered.  The worse the unvaccinated in Oklahoma would face is the possibility of losing their job.  That’s not the same. 

      Opinions vary on the vaccine.  Some believe the government is injecting poison into people.  Others believe the government is injecting a microchip that will be used in the future to track people.  Still others believe the vaccine is the solution to returning to a normal life.  Take the shot or not- it’s your choice.  But business owners should also have a choice.  They must be afforded autonomy, freedom and liberty to operate their business without government interference, to remain viable.  That is a fundamental Republican principle.