Thursday, May 26, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

      On Tuesday, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 students between the ages of 7 and 10 plus 2 teachers.  17 more were wounded.  Ramos, wearing body armor, crashed his car in a ditch near the school and then got into the school through an unlocked door. Armed with an AR15 rifle he purchased just last week and 375 rounds of ammo, Ramos locked himself in a fourth-grade classroom for ninety minutes before he was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent.   Before he came to the elementary school, Ramos shot and wounded his grandmother, who was able to call police. 

      Uvalde is located 80 miles west of San Antonio and 54 miles from the U.S.- Mexico border.  It has a population of 15,214.  Before Tuesday’s tragic shooting, Uvalde’s claim to fame was it was the birthplace and hometown of actor Matthew McConaughey.

     According to reports, Ramos made three posts to Facebook before the elementary school shooting.  The first was to say he was going to shoot his grandmother.  The second was to state he had shot her and the third, made less than 15 minutes before he arrived at the school, that he was going to shoot up an elementary school. 

     The shooting renewed the debate on gun control.  At a news conference on Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was outlining the mental health resources the state has for the families of the victims when he was interrupted by Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat nominee for governor.  O’Rourke claimed Abbott was responsible for the shooting and was escorted out of the building.  President Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday night saying, “As a nation, we have to ask when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?  I am sick and tired of it- we have to act.”   Three observations:

     First, passing more laws is not the answer to stopping mass shootings.  Ramos ignored the ‘Gun Free’ signs posted at the school.  He ignored the guideline to check into the office before preceding to a classroom.  He ignored the law against assault and murder.  Criminals don’t follow the rules.  Passing stricter laws only punish those who obey the law and make it harder for the law abiders to defend themselves against the lawless.    

     Second, security at schools should be stepped up.  The security at a school should be at least as good as that in a government building.  Those providing security should be armed with weapons and trained to use deadly force if necessary.  They should carry more than a can of mace and a walkie talkie.  Evidently Ramos encountered a school security officer at the elementary school who was not armed.  That’s not a security officer, that’s a hall monitor.  

     Third, America has a mental health crisis.  That has to be addressed.  Many states, including Oklahoma and Texas, dismantled their antiquated mental health programs(sanitariums/institutions) because of misuse, abuse and lack of effectiveness.  Instead of tweaking, they tore down.  Mental health issues are on the rise nationally.    The most common mental health issues in the U.S. are anxiety disorders, affecting 40 million (18.1% of the population) adults 18 years or older.  Only about 1/3 of those with anxiety disorders receive treatment.  Suicides are up 31% in the past 20 years.  Addressing it community wide with partnerships with faith based and non-profit organizations must be a priority.

     This is a time for prayer, not politics.  We live in a broken and fallen world and evil exists.  No man made law will change that.  It’s wrong , whether it’s Beto, Biden or a Republican, to use the shooting as a opportunity to score points with voters.  The families of these young children and teachers need comfort from God.  They don’t need political debate.  One of the teachers who was killed husband died of a heart attack on Thursday, leaving their four children orphaned.  This is a tragic time.  Believers of every political affiliation should be interceding for these families and those impacted by this terrible event.    May God wrap His arms of comfort around those families in the coming days.

Sunday, May 22, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of gas in the United States rose to a new record last week- $4.48 per gallon.  That is up $.15 from the previous week and $1.43 higher than the same day last year.   In California, the average is $5.98 per gallon.  In Oklahoma, it is $4.04. 

     From January 2021 to January 2022, crude oil prices increased 45%, blowing past records set in 2008. Gasoline and diesel prices are the highest on record since the Energy Information Administration (EIA) started keeping track in 1993. Natural gas prices are up 46%. Average household electricity prices haven’t grown this fast since 2008.  Coal prices have ticked upward after years of policy-driven decline.  Most of this comes after a series of orders by President Joe Biden to combat climate change. 

     Immediately after taking office, Biden issued Executive Orders(EO) cancelling the Keystone XL oil pipeline project and temporally suspending oil and gas permits on federal lands and waters.  The administration had to resume issuing new leases after the EO was struck down in federal court, but the Biden administration has appealed.  Three observations: 

     First, rising fuel costs impact everything.  Prices of food, clothing, and every other consumer good is higher because of increases in freight.  America’s freight rates have increased +43% in the past two years, primarily driven by fuel increases.  Businesses must pass through those fuel costs to survive. That is a major reason consumers are seeing higher prices at their local grocers shelf.   

     Second, fundamental economics dictate the way out of high prices and high demand is increased supply.  President Biden’s idea to increase supply has been to persistently reject allowing U.S. energy companies to ‘drill baby drill.’   Instead the Biden administration has been in negotiation with Venezuela to import oil to the U.S. Back in 2012, President Obama and then Vice President Biden said that America could not drill its way to lower gasoline prices, but U.S. energy companies proved them wrong.

     Third, the path to becoming ‘green’ has been painful.  President Biden is clearly committed to America becoming a nation that is not dependent on fossil fuels.  Government subsidies(your money) to wind and solar power companies totaled $158 billion last year.  Without those tax dollars those industries would be unprofitable. Shutting down the Keystone and stop drilling on federal land have been goals of the left for years. 

     Pushing Americans to buy electric vehicles doesn’t really make us green, because most electric power is coal (a fossil fuel) generated.  It’s all about optics, not reality. Biden has blamed Putin’s invasion of Ukraine for the high prices at the pump.  The truth is Biden’s failed energy policy is the problem.

     Two things need to take place to help drive down inflation and high fuel prices.  First, drill baby drill.  America has enough oil and gas in the ground to supply our fuel needs.  With the stroke of a pen, President Biden could open up drilling and within months, the supply issue would be solved.  Second, the EPA needs to reduce the percentage of soybeans produced used to make biodiesel and the percentage of corn earmarked for ethanol.  Americans are putting their food into their fuel tanks, resulting in higher food costs on products using soybean oil and corn. 

     Continental Resources Chairman Harold Hamm said, “The Biden administration’s failed policies on energy are not working and it doesn’t appear they intend to do anything different than what the president has stated repeatedly.”  Hamm described Biden’s energy policy as ‘ridiculous,’ and said the administration has increased regulations on the energy sector. 

     Midterm elections are just four months away and Democrats can ill afford to have record inflation and historical prices of food and fuel.  According to Project 538, Republicans already have a +2.3-point advantage over Democrats with the American people.  That margin will widen further if Biden sticks to his failed energy policy and that will result in a bloodbath for Democrats in November.


Sunday, May 15, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     Last week, Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Justice Clarence Thomas was interviewed at a conservative conference in Dallas.  Thomas said the recent leak of a draft opinion regarding abortion may have irreparably damaged trust at the SCOTUS.  “What happened at the court was tremendously bad.  I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them.  I wonder when they’re gone or destabilized, what we’re going to have as a country,” Thomas said.  Thomas described the court as place, ‘where now you look over your shoulder.’

     Thomas, 73, was appointed to the SCOTUS by former President George H.W. Bush in 1991.  He was just the second African-American to be nominated to the SCOTUS(Thurgood Marshall was the first).  Legal experts describe Thomas’ jurisprudence as an originalist.  He stresses the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution and statutes.  Thomas is widely held to be the most conservative member of the SCOTUS. Three observations:

     First, respect for established institutions is in decline.  In a Gallup poll from 2021, only 37% of Americans have a great deal of confidence in church and religion.  That’s half of what it was thirty years ago.  Only 12% of Americans have a high opinion of Congress, compared to 30% twenty years ago.   Only 35% of Americans have a high opinion of the SCOTUS, compared with 55% twenty years ago.  Gallup polled Americans on many other institutions and that information is available on-line, but virtually every traditional institution(health care, organized labor, criminal justice, media) was  viewed as unfavorable and down significantly vs. two decades ago.  The younger generation doesn’t view traditional institutions with the same affection as their parents. 

     Second, the institution of the family has changed in America.  From 1970-2012, the share of households consisting of married couples with kids was cut in half.  In 1960, only 9% of households were single parent.  In 2020, nearly 19 million children, amounting to 25% of all children under 18 in the U.S. were living in single parent homes.   In Canada that number is 15%, China, 3%, Russia 18%.   The U.S. has the highest percentage of children in single parent homes. While Gallup doesn’t include the institution of the family in their survey, clearly the respect for that institution has declined.

     Third, respect, confidence and appreciation for institutions must be restored for America to survive. Believing an institution has no merit, function or purpose will doom it.  When those believers are in the institution, it’s worse.  Thomas implied during his remarks the leak likely came from a law clerk from one of the newer members of the court.  He said that would never have happened in years past. Thomas described his relationship with late Justice Ruth Ginsberg as ‘an easy colleague for me.’  He said she was a nice person to deal with and while they seldom agreed, they both respected the institution.  Thomas said the leak was a kind of infidelity that you can explain it, but you can’t undo it.

     Respect is earned.  Many traditional institutions deserve the loss of respect because of misbehavior and failure to perform.  But when those in the institution disrespect it, it is the height of sanctimony. President Abraham Lincoln said, “If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.”


Sunday, May 8, 2022

The intolerance of the tolerant is magnanimous!

Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair


    On Monday May 2nd, Politico, a Virginia political journalism organization founded in 2007, obtained and released a 98-page draft document that indicated the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is poised to strike down the landmark Roe vs. Wade(1973) and Planned Parenthood vs Casey(1992) decisions. 

     On Tuesday morning, SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the draft opinion was authentic, but stressed the opinion was ‘not a final decision by the court.’   Roberts vowed the leak would not undermine the integrity of the court’s operations and vowed to have the U.S. Marshal service investigate the leak.         

     The draft opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito. Alito, 72, was appointed to the SCOTUS by President George W. Bush and has served on the high court since 2006.   Alito is considered one of the more conservative members of the SCOTUS. 

     Alito wrote, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”  He said nowhere in the U.S Constitution does language exist that supports the right to abortion and the issue should legislated by the states.  While Alito wrote the draft, it can safely be assumed the draft represents the view of the majority of the conservative justices.  Three observations:

     First, liberals leaked the draft.  Pro-abortion advocates clearly have the most to lose.  Firing up their crowd was the objective and it has been effective.  Since the leak, the SCOTUS building has been surrounded by pro-abortion demonstrators.  President Biden has condemned the draft, calling it a radical decision.  Liberal talking heads claim if killing babies in the womb is outlawed, it will be the end of life as they know it.  The intolerance of the tolerant is magnanimous.

     The most likely source of the leak is a law clerk for one for the court’s liberal justices who wants to make Alito’s majority opinion public in the hope that public backlash could change one of the conservatives on the court to change their vote.  Liberals are floating the idea the leak came from the conservative side to put pressure on the conservative judges to lock in their vote.  The total number of people who had access to the draft is about 50.  The liberal justices most likely to leak are Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer.  Whatever the source, a leak like this is unprecedented.  If the leak can be traced back to a justice, they should be impeached.  Expect a thorough investigation into the source of the leak, investigators to reach no definitive conclusion and thus no punishment for the leaker.

     Second, if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, it came too late for 63 million babies.  That is the estimated number of children who have been killed in the womb since the 1973 decision.  The U.S. aborted more than 1 million annually between 1975 and 2012.  Abortion on demand helps foster a culture that devalues life.  Mother Teresa said, “The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child.  If we accept a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”

    Third, the leak strategy could work.  Chief Justice Roberts said the draft is not the final decision, which could indicate further deliberations on the case could be in the works. Justice Brent Kavanaugh is said to be the least conservative of the conservatives on the court and the pro-abortion crowd will do everything in their power to get him to flip his vote.  Conservatives should hold off on celebrating until the actual decision is released (expected in June).  Conservatives have been stabbed in the back by so called conservative judges before. 

       With high fuel and food prices and the stock market in decline, Democrats needed an issue that will get their vote out.  Nothing fires up liberals and gets them to the polls like killing unborn babies in the womb.   

Sunday, May 1, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Last week, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed SB#1100, authored by Senator Michael Bergstrom, (R-Adair), and Representative Shelia Dills, (R-Tulsa).  SB#1000 requires the biological sex designation on a birth certificate be either male or female and prohibits a nonbinary or any symbol representing a nonbinary designation, including the letter “X.”   The bill passed the House by a vote of 75-16 and the Senate by a vote of 38-7.  Oklahoma is the first state to pass legislation dealing with birth certificate gender designation.    

     ″We want clarity and truth on official state documents.  Information should be based on established medical fact and not an ever-changing social dialogue,” Dills said.   Bergstrom added: “We must stand up and put a stop to this nonsense regarding biological sex. It’s not a complicated issue — biologically, you’re either a male or female. There should be no other option to choose from on a birth certificate.” Critics of the SB#1100 claim it is an attack on their personal identity and creates barriers for housing and employment. 

     SB#1503, authored by Senator Daniels and Representative Todd Russ, (R-Cordell), creates the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act.  It provides a physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion unless they have determined whether the unborn child has a detectable fetal heartbeat.SB#1503 was approved by the state House by a vote of 68-12 and the Senate by a vote of 33-11.  SB#1503 will now go to the Governor’s office for his signature. Three observations:

     First, the need to pass laws on both of these issues would have been unthinkable just fifty years ago.  American culture has moved further and further away from common sense and more to the bizarre.  Accepting wrong as right and doing what is right in your own eyes is the order of the day.  Civility is out the window.  The tolerant are intolerant.  Respect for a differing opinion is considered weakness.  The times, they are crazy.

     Second, expect the birth certificate bill (SB#1100) to be ruled unconstitutional.  The U.S. State Department lost a federal suit to have only two gender designations on passports.  The State Department recently issued a passport with the gender designation of X.    

        Third, motives are not always pure.  An Oklahoma Democrat legislator publicly declared Republicans are using these issues (gender identity/abortion) to ‘grandstand’ for their upcoming 2022 campaign.  In certain case, that may be true.  Just like Mr. Democrat using these same issues to ‘grandstand’ to his base. Mr. Pot- meet Kettle.  Motive is what moves people to induce a certain action.  It is impossible another person’s motive, but in politics, it is universally self-serving.

     In the coming days, the state Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of these two bills- and others.  The court is composed of nine (9) justices, who are nominated by a state commission and then appointed by the governor for life.  Justices face voters every six years on a retention ballot. Since Oklahoma went to a retention ballot, no judge has been removed from office.   

     Expect inconsistent, unpredictable, varying, incoherent rulings that don’t square with Oklahoma values for the high court.  Oklahoma needs radical judicial reform, because the judicial retention system does not work.  The result is a judiciary not being accountable to the people.