Sunday, January 30, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Last week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement from the high court at the end of the current court session.  Breyer, 83, was nominated to the SCOTUS by former President Bill Clinton and has served 28 years.  He has been a reliable liberal vote on the court. 

     Breyer’s retirement gives President Joe Biden his first SCOTUS nomination.  Biden has vowed to nominate the first Black woman justice to the court.  Biden’s short list reportedly includes three federal court of appeals judges, a federal district court judge, a law professor and a civil rights attorney.  Three observations:

     First, there is no margin for error with this nomination.  The U.S. Senate confirms the president’s nominee.  The Senate is spilt 50 Ds/50Rs.  Vice President Harris casts the tie breaking vote, which gives Democrats majority control.  A power sharing agreement between Senators Schumer and McConnell, has each Senate committee with equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans.   Before the vote comes to the floor, the nominee must be passed by the judiciary committee.  If Republicans hold the line, they could hold up a nominee in committee and prevent a floor vote. 

     In 2016, former President Obama nominated current Attorney General Merrick Garland to the high court, but the nomination never got to the floor because Republicans controlled the Senate.  In 2022 the Democrats in theory control the Senate, but in practice the chamber is evenly spilt.  That means President Biden must include Republicans in his discussion on a nominee and not alienate any Democrats.  With two Democrat Senators recently voting with Republicans to block some of Biden’s signature legislation, it makes getting a nominee confirmed a challenge for Biden.  He is walking a tight rope to get a nominee confirmed before mid-terms.

     Second, affirmative action shouldn’t be a factor in the nomination.  The nomination is Biden’s sovereign decision, but he should be looking for the most qualified candidate, no matter their race, sex, creed or color.

     Senator Roger Wicker, (R-MS) said: "The irony is that the Supreme Court is at the very same time hearing cases about this sort of affirmative racial discrimination (college admissions) while adding someone who is the beneficiary of this sort of quota."

     Senator Lindsay Graham, (R-SC) disagrees with his colleague.  Put me in the camp of making sure the court and other institutions look like America.  Affirmative action is picking somebody not as qualified for past wrongs.  Michelle Childs is incredibly qualified.” Graham told Politco.        

     Graham is promoting Judge Michelle Childs, a U.S. District judge in his home state of South Carolina.  Childs, 55, rulings have been reliably liberal and she is listed on Biden’s short list.  Graham is the on the judiciary committee (Wicker isn’t) and he could be the key vote to getting a nominee through committee.   “She’s one of the most decent people I’ve ever met.  I cannot say anything bad about Michelle Childs.  She’s an awesome person,” Graham said. 

     Likeability and temperament are important traits, but the job of judiciary committee members is to vet potential justices on how they will rule, not grade their personality.  Would Childs rule based on a literal interpretation of the intent of the writers of the Constitution?  That is highly unlikely based on her rulings in South Carolina.

     Third, Biden is being urged to act with a sense of urgency.  Democrats are worried because Biden has a record of missing deadlines.  Former Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle, (D-SD), said, “You don’t know what circumstances may bring, whether it’s the loss of a member(Senator) or somebody crossing other to the other Party. That should be very much on their minds right now.”  An illness, death or retirement of a member could derail a nominee being confirmed. 

          In 2020, Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed within a month of nomination, but Republicans controlled the U.S. Senate.  Biden’s nominee will necessarily require at least one Republican on the Senate judiciary committee to vote with the Democrats to move to a floor vote. 

     Senator Graham may have as much to say who the SCOTUS nominee is as the president.  Graham’s spotty, unreliable, inconsistent record on conservatism has been disappointing to say the least.  Expect it to continue through this tight rope process.


Sunday, January 23, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     On Wednesday, President Joe Biden held a rare news conference that ran nearly two hours.   According to the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Biden has held only nine news conferences in his first year in office.  That is less than half of President Trump, who had twenty-two his first year and one third of President Obama, who held twenty-seven his first year in office. After listening the POTUS for two hours, it’s clear why he doesn’t face the press.  His verbal communication skills are lacking and it appears his cognitive function is questionable.  Three observations from the news conference:

      First, Biden continues to blame Republicans for his inability to get his agenda passed by Congress. “What are Republicans for?”, Biden asked during the news conference.  Well, Republicans are for having safeguards at the ballot box like voter ID to insure those who are voting are who they say they are.  They are for working to ensure votes are counted correctly and honestly.  The voter rights act undermines both of those principles.  It puts the federal government in charge of elections, which is unconstitutional.   

     The reason Biden hasn’t been able to get his agenda passed is not the Republican Party’s fault.  The blame belongs to Democrat leadership who cannot hold their caucus together.  Democrats control both chambers of Congress by narrow margins.  On Wednesday, two Democrat Senators- Sinema of Arizona and Manchin of West Virginia voted with the fifty Republican senators to defeat the controversial so-called voter rights bill.   Biden wants a bipartisan coalition to pass his ideas, but his ideas are so polarizing that even some in his own Party can’t support them, his outrage is misdirected.

     Second, Biden’s foreign policy is murky.  During the news conference Biden said, “I think that Russia will be accountable if it invades(the Ukraine) and it depends on what it does.  It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having a fight about to do and not do,” the POTUS said.   One reporter questioned why Biden was giving Vladimir Putin permission to invade the Ukraine.  Biden tried to walk back the statement in his answer and the White House issued a statement after the news conference that contradicted what the POTUS had said at the podium.  President Biden has been critical of President Trump’s foreign policy.  But Trump’s foreign policy had more clarity and he never publicly granted Russia permission to invade a country.

     Third, Biden admitted inflation is a problem.   “We have faced some of the biggest challenges that we’ve ever faced in this country these past few years.  We need to get inflation under control,” Biden said.  The POTUS went on to blame consolidation in certain market sectors for fueling inflation.  “A handful of giant companies dominate the market in sectors like meat processing, railroads, shipping and other areas.  That isn’t the only reason we have inflation, but it is one reason,” Biden said.  What?

     Consolidation in business has been going on for thirty years.  Most of it was caused by government regulations and tax laws that forced small family farms, food processors, retailers and hundreds of other businesses to sell out to larger concerns.  The lack of diversification in 2022 was created as the result of bad government policy in 1970.  Blaming the monster, you created for the terror it creates is dimwitted and myopic.    

     Biden appeared to be confused, befuddled, and baffled during the two-hour briefing.  He looked like a deer in the headlights.  Those who have known Biden for decades say it was Biden being Biden.  That explains why his handlers keep him away from the press, but the POTUS has a moral obligation to regularly address the American public.  It would be nice if it would was in an understandable, logical way, but that is probably too much to ask. Biden’s press conferences are like his policies-puzzling, and confounded.   


Sunday, January 16, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair


     On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court(SCOTUS) ruled unconstitutional President Joe Biden’s executive order requiring large businesses(more than 100 employees) to insure their employees were vaccinated and tested.   

     "Although Congress has indisputably given Occupational Safety and Health Administration( OSHA) the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category," the majority opinion said.  The vote was 6-3 with the three liberal justices-Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagen- dissenting. 

     In the minority opinion, the three wrote:  "When we are wise, we know not to displace the judgments of experts, acting within the sphere Congress marked out and under Presidential control, to deal with emergency conditions," they wrote. "Today, we are not wise. In the face of a still-raging pandemic, this Court tells the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all the workplaces needed. As disease and death continue to mount, this Court tells the agency that it cannot respond in the most effective way possible."

     In a second ruling regarding vaccine mandates, the SCOTUS allowed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to require health care workers to be vaccinated at facilities that receive federal monies.  In that case, the vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining the three liberals (who vote as a block) to form the majority. 

     The majority opinion concluded the Secretary of Health and Human Services(HHS) routinely imposes conditions of participation (COPs) relating to the qualifications and duties of healthcare workers.  They said the vaccine mandate fell into the duties of HHS. Three observations:

     First, the SCOTUS got the OSHA ruling correct.  Telling private employers, the conditions of employment (COPs) for their employees is not a function of the federal government.  The feds are already overregulating private business to death.  Establishing guidelines on workplace safety is why OSHA was created in 1970, but requiring employee jabs has never been a function of that agency.  Biden’s executive order was over the top- even for the federal government.

     Second, the SCOTUS got the HHS ruling wrong.   Holding hospitals hostage by withholding federal monies if workers don’t get vaccinated is nothing short of extortion.  Healthcare workers should have the same liberty and choice as the private sector employees in the OSHA case.  They should be allowed to make up their own mind about the vaccine in the same way.  This ruling will create more pressure on the health care system in the U.S. as hospital operators across the country expect it will create manpower shortages. 

     Third, the spilt decision by the SCOTUS on similar cases is puzzling.  Why did Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh vote for liberty for some Americans, but not others?  They cited the authority/mission of the federal agency-HHS- as their justification for requiring the jab for healthcare workers.  Were the ‘rights’ of Americans working in the healthcare sector considered?  It appears not.  When the high court places the duties/mission of a federal bureaucratic agency over the rights of individual Americans, they are violating their commitment to rule based on the Constitution.

     America’s republic system of self-government empowers individual citizens.  The United States government is given power by the people, not the other way around.  The founding document- the Constitution- is the rule book.  It states every American has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  When a citizen’s rights or liberty is taken away- for whatever purpose- it violates the rule book.  When the liberty of one is taken away for the overall good of the whole, America ceases to be America.      

Sunday, January 9, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Consumers in the United States spend an average of 8.6 percent of their disposable personal income on food.  That is divided between food at home (5.0 percent) and food away from home (3.6 percent).  Americans spend a smaller share of their household budget on food than any country in the world.  In Pakistan, the average person spends 41.4 percent of their money to buy food, Nigeria 56.6 percent.  Even the countries that border the US spend more- Canadians spend 9.6 percent, Mexicans 23.3 percent.  The reason Americans spend less of their income on food is due to the competence of the U.S. food supply chain. 

     Efficient U.S. producers, processors and retailers are unequaled in the world from taking food from the field to the plate.  That efficiency has resulted in reduced shelf prices for American consumers vs. the rest of the world.  2022 begins with carry over logistic challenges, labor shortages, inflation and ever-changing weather from 2021.  The pipeline in the food industry supply chain continues to trickle, not flow.    Three observations:

     First, Americans are spoiled.  They are not used to seeing empty shelves at their grocery store or having to wait for products to get back in stock.  In other parts of the world, out of stocks are commonplace.  The American food industry has been so reliable and efficient for so long that consumers have taken it for granted. 

     One of the primary reasons for the current empty shelf situation is wholesalers/retailers keep their inventory of warehouse stock to bare minimum levels.  This allowed them to keep their monetary investment lower.  Food processors mirrored that philosophy and embraced a ‘just in time/produce to order’ strategy.  They also maintained little or no floor stock.  That worked for years until there was a major disruption in the logistics process.  When millions of people stayed home and isolated due to the pandemic, they hoarded and consumed more food.  That depleted what was in the supply pipeline and it has never recovered.  Moving forward, the food industry must embrace a different inventory model.   

     Second, food prices will go up in 2022.  Weather plays a significant factor in commodity prices of most crops(oil seed, grains, fruits, vegetables).  Most of the crop prices are up.  Cost to produce for food manufacturers is significantly higher (ingredient costs, labor).   Wholesalers and retailer’s freight and labor costs have increased. When those in the supply chain have increases, they have to pass them through and consumers ultimately pay the higher price at the shelf. 

     Third, government can’t fix it.  President Biden and Congress are debating how to fix logistics and the broken supply chain, but while energetic, it is worthless.  Throwing money at it will not work.  The administration claims the inflation Americans are experiencing is ‘transitory’(not permanent.), but there is no sign it is going away.  Most economists believe inflation is here for at least a year.

      Government interference in the food business is part of the issue.  The best hope Americans have to get back to normal is food processors, farmers, and the trucking industry to find solutions to fix the supply chain.  Farmers have a choice what they plant and their choice impacts what American consumers pay for products.  The best thing the government can do is roll back mandates and get out of the way.

     In 1970, Joni Mitchell, a Canadian folk singer, wrote and recorded, “Big Yellow Taxi.”  The chorus asks, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?”  Americans are asking that question every time they go to their local grocery store in 2022. 


Sunday, January 2, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     In 1555, Michel de Nostredame aka Nostradamus published a book titled, “Les Propheties,” a collection of 942 quartrains (4-line poems) that predicted future events.  The Frenchman was an astrologer, physical and reputed seer.  Nostradamus has been credited with predicting the rise of Hitler, the assassination of JFK, both world wars, the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Great Fire of London.  Skeptics suggest no Nostradamus quatrain has actually predicted a specific event before it occurred, other than in vague general terms that could apply to any number of other events but that doesn’t deter his believers.   For 2022, Nostradamus predicts the invasion of France from the east (again), inflation and starvation, global warming, the rise of artificial intelligence.  Three predictions for 2022:

     First, inflation will get worse before it gets better.  Wages will rise, but costs of food, housing, cars, and everything else will go up even more in the coming year.  The shipping port, and supply chain disruption will continue.  Government interference, regulations, mandates, and overspending will not help the situation.  A shortage of workers will continue.   

     Second, Americans will become more disillusioned with their government.  In a recent Washington Post-University of Maryland poll, one third of Americans said violence against the government is sometimes justified.  That number is up significantly over previous years.  40% of Republicans, 41% of Independents, and 26% of Democrats endorsed violence in certain situations.  Dissatisfaction with politics is not just restricted to the U.S.  In a Cambridge University poll ran in October 2020, over 50% of the world’s millennials are dissatisfied with democracy.    

     The apathy of baby boomers, as a whole, toward politics and public policy has resulted in the loss of economic opportunity, liberty, and personal freedom for themselves and their children.  Many boomers recently awoke from their decades long slumber to curse the darkness and to criticize those who lit a candle.  If they had been vigilant and faithful in their early years, the country wouldn’t be in the shape it is now.

     Third, Republicans will gain control of Congress in the 2022 mid-term elections.  According to, a composite of five polls show the generic congressional ballot favors Republicans over Democrats 42.8% to 42% in the 2022 November midterms.  The tendency of the president’s Party to lose seats in Congress in midterm elections is one of the regularities in American politics.  Since WWII, the president’s Party has lost U.S. House seats in 17 of the 19 midterm elections.  The average loss in the Senate is between three and four seats.  34 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats are up for re-election- 14 Democrats and 20 Republicans.  There is also a special election in California to fill the unexpired term of Vice President Harris.   Gaining seats in the Senate in 2022 for Republicans will be difficult, due to Republican retirements.  Most incumbent Democrats are seeking reelection, but Americans are not happy with the direction President Biden has taken the country.  That doesn’t bode well for the Democrats, even if they are incumbents.

     These three predictions for 2022 may or may not come to pass.  They are just an educated guess based on information known.  Gratefully, Christian believers don’t have to worry about what is going to happen politically or economically in 2022.  God has got the whole world in His hands.  He isn’t dependent on a political Party, political activists, elected leaders or midterm elections to accomplish anything.  He sovereignly works all things according to His will.  He is limitless in power and knowledge.  His prophecies aren’t like Nostradamus’ vague, hazy, murky prognostications.  They are absolute and will happen. 

     President John Adams said, “We recognize no sovereign but God and no King but Jesus.”  America would do well to get back to that committment.