Wednesday, June 29, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     After the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) overturned Roe vs. Wade, liberals claim the three justices appointed by President Trump defrauded them.  Senators Susan Collins, (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski, (R-Alaska) and Joe Manchin, (R-West Virginia) all claim two of the justices in meetings during the confirmation process told them they wouldn’t overturn Roe vs. Wade and would rule based on legal precedent. The senators cried betrayal.  That seems to be standard protocol for the SCOTUS. 

     During the past 62 years in American history, Republicans and Democrats have each had seven presidents, but Republicans have named 12 of the 20 Supreme Court justices appointed during the period.  Five of those GOP presidential nominees turned into left-leaning justices: Earl Warren (Eisenhower), William Brennan (Eisenhower), Harry Blackmun (Nixon), John Paul Stevens (Ford), and David Souter (GHW Bush).  Each of the five claimed during their confirmation they would rule based on the ‘original intent’ of the Constitution, but they hoodwinked, double-crossed, and bamboozled conservatives. Many of the liberal rulings from the court in the past fifty years were accomplished with the aid of these five deceivers.  In fact, Harry Blackmun, Nixon’s appointee, wrote the majority opinion in the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.  Three observations:

     First, determining how a SCOTUS justice is going to rule is next to impossible- at least for Republican nominees.  In addition to the examples cited above, President Reagan appointed three justices to the court: Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy.  Of the three, only Scalia was a reliable conservative vote.  Kennedy and O’Connor were as unpredictable as the Oklahoma weather.  President George H.W. Bush appointed Clarence Thomas and David Souter.  Souter, who retired in 2009, was a disappointment and became a centrist.  Thomas has been one of the most conservative members of the SCOTUS.  Justices appointed by Democrat presidents have ruled consistently from the left- just as they said they would.  It seems dupery is only on the right.

     Second, Democrats have missed opportunities on the SCOTUS.  In the last 50 years, only 6 of the most liberal justices have retired when the president was a Democrat.  On the conservative side, 6 of the most conservative justices have resigned with a Republican was president.  Justice Thurgood Marshall would not retire when President Carter was president and Justice Ruth Ginsburg did the same thing when President Obama was POTUS.  They were both replaced on the court by Republican nominees. 

     Third, the SCOTUS ruling did not make abortion illegal.  The ruling pushed the issue back to the states.  In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote: “Roe vs. Wade was egregiously wrong from the start.  It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”  Some elected representatives/legislatures have already taken up the issue.

     At least seven states have ‘trigger laws.’  Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin are among those that will restrict or outright ban abortion.   

     The SCOTUS ruling will force most- if not all- state legislatures across the country to take up the issue of abortion in the near future.  Their policy on life will further ideologically divide the United States along lines that might not be reconcilable.   Two can’t walk together except they be agreed.  The view on the importance of unborn life is the issue that could disjoin the union.  Agreeing to disagree may not be possible on this issue. 


Sunday, June 26, 2022


Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair


     Dark money in politics refers to advocacy spending by 501 (c) non-profit organizations.  Dark money organizations can receive unlimited ‘tax deductible’ contributions from corporations, individuals and unions.  They set up an advocacy group, hire a political consultant and get involved in political races.  Dark money groups are not required to disclose their donors.  Unlike the contributions made directly to a candidate, dark money donors have no maximum contribution amount.  Dark money advocacy groups campaign either for a candidate or against, all without revealing to voters who is paying the bill.

     More than $1 billion dollars in dark money was spent in the 2020 election cycle.  Only about 20% went to Republican candidates.  President Joe Biden received $174 million in anonymous dark money contributions, more than six times Donald Trump.  The 1630 fund spent $410 million helping Democrats take back control of the US Senate and defeating Trump.  Half of the money reportedly came from just four donors.  Dark money has infused unlimited money into politics.  Three observations about dark money:

     First, voters have a right to know who is lobbying for their vote.  Dark money mailers, TV, radio ads are for the most part negative.  They usually attack a candidate they oppose, using unflattering photographs and edgy language, innuendos and insinuations.  The disclaimer (paid for by) or postage markings on dark money printed pieces reveal little to the voter.  The anonymity and invisibility of who is picking up the tab allow the undisclosed to remain in the darkness.

     Second, individuals, corporations and unions have a right to advocate.  The First amendment guarantees the right of free speech, which includes advocating for issues and policy that is important to them.  But does the US Constitution guarantee the right to anonymity to advocate?   The SCOTUS has ruled that way.  Some disagree, but until prior rulings are overturned, anonymous advocacy appears here to stay.  

     Dark money started to flourish after the passage of McCain/Feingold in 2003.  It regulated the financing of political campaigns, limiting how much a person/family could donate to a campaign.  The wealthy contended McCain/Feingold was a violation of free speech.  Setting up dark money organizations was a way to circumvent donation limits and get a tax break along the way, using the 501c tax laws.    

     Third, dark money in politics promotes the buying of elections.  The growth of dark money in politics has allowed trade associations, unions, business groups and wealthy individuals to coalesce behind a candidate and get them elected.  Once they are in office, the sometimes-unsuspecting elected official has to dance with the group that bought/brought them.  If they tango, they get reelection money.  If not, the group goes looking for someone else to foxtrot with. 

     Dark money groups bank on low information voters to believe all the crap their slick, glossy, polished mailers promote.  Political consultants make big bucks running dark money campaigns.  Publicly, these so-called principled, ethical political marketers condemn dark money advocacy, but privately they embrace it.  Hypocrisy is the order of the day. Jesus said men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.  That is very applicable to dark money advocacy.    

     Voters should ignore/dismiss dark money campaign material.  Any group unwilling to disclose who is paying the bill should be regarded as lily-livered, chicken-hearted, gutless cowards.  If they are so proud of their stance, then come out of the darkness into the light.     

     If trash were dumped on your front lawn, law enforcement would be called.  The cops would dig through the trash trying to find something identifying who had left the rubble.  In the past two weeks, that has happened to Oklahoma GOP primary voters.  Garbage/trash/refuse has been dumped in voter’s mailboxes in the form of dark money mailers.  Voters have a right to know who the dumper is.  The political consultant, organization and the donors responsible shouldn’t be allowed to hide in darkness, behind the curtain, and play the great and powerful Oz.  Dark money groups: come forth proudly and take credit for your work.


Sunday, June 19, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     A person is called two-faced when they are pleasant when they are with you, but say unpleasant things about you to other people.  Two-faced people are duplicitous, deceitful, dishonest, and willing to do anything to get ahead.  Their value system (if they have one) lacks a true north.  They practice situational ethics.  Two-faced people are universally despised by principled people.  They are hypocrites!

      No where do you see more two-faced people than in the political arena.  From unprincipled candidates, unscrupulous political consultants, and unethical volunteers who pull up opponent’s yard signs, their goal is to win at any cost. The truth is sacrificed, dismantled and disfigured to fit their narrative.  Half truths and lies are thrown into the public square with the goal to convince the low information voter to vote their way with little or no regard for veracity.

     The increase of money into politics has created a huge secular industry.  Political consultants make mega bucks to raise money, formulate a message, and get a candidate elected.    A century ago, candidates ran their campaigns on much smaller budgets, because voters paid attention. 

     Until Senator Mark Hanna became a full timer campaign advisor to President William McKinney in the late 1880s, political consulting was done by close friends on a volunteer basis.  That changed in modern times, with every successful political campaign- at every level- hiring political operatives to manage their campaigns. Political science is offered at every major university and the business of politics flourishes.  The lack of constant, continual engagement by voters has created the current political swamp.  The political business thrives because of voter apathy.  Three observations:  

     First, it reveals a total lack of character to knowingly deceive voters.  In the past week, voters in Oklahoma received direct mail pieces from a candidate running for State Auditor and Inspector (SA&I).  In the mailer, the candidate claimed he was going to help stop illegal immigration and would help former President Trump build a border wall.  Neither of those are within the jurisdiction/authority of the SA&I’s duties.  Nothing less than deceitful, deplorable trash sent to mailboxes- all done by a political consulting firm owned/operated/managed by so-called Christian believers.  Shame on them!

     The attack on current State Auditor Cindy Byrd reveals the sleazy, wicked, corrupt underbelly of politics in Oklahoma.  Byrd has done a good job as SA&I and deserves a second term.  She is not the only person to be the target of deceitful campaign material this cycle, but she is the most vulnerable for a statewide office that is critically important for the citizens of the Sooner state. 

     Second, informing, not manipulating, of voters should not be the goal of candidates and campaigns.  Campaign material and media should enlighten voters on what the aspirant stands for.  Candidates should identify issues and solutions.  Reasonable people can honestly disagree on solutions to issues.  Lying, misrepresenting and caricaturing an opponent’s position speaks to the lack of character of a candidate or consultant.  Oklahoma GOP primary voters and Party leaders should demand substance, not nothingness from candidates running on the Party brand. 

     Third, let the voter beware!  Be leery of every claim made by political candidates.  Sadly, the Truth-in-Labeling Act doesn’t apply to politics.  Don’t believe everything you get in the mail, see on social media or on TV.  Before you vote, seek wise counsel from those you trust.  Pay attention to public policy all the time!  Confront and condemn candidates and consultants who regularly lie, cheat and steal to win.  Until that is done, dirty politics will continue.    

     It’s disappointing when Republicans display a lack of integrity in the public square.  It is especially disgusting when that deceitful behavior is coupled with quoting scripture and singing O How I Love Jesus.   In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, no man can serve two masters (Matt 6:24).  When man tries, he becomes two-faced.  May God convict the two-faced of their chicanery.


Sunday, June 12, 2022

"We ain't one-at-a-timing here!"

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     The date of the primary election is Tuesday June 28th.  In-person absentee voting, more commonly known as ‘early voting’ in Oklahoma is available to all voters.  No excuse is needed.  You can vote early in your county at your designated early voting location from 8am to 6pm on the Thursday(6/23) and Friday(6/24) preceding the election.  You can also vote on Saturday(6/25) from 8am till 2pm.  Increasingly more Oklahoma voters are taking advantage of the early voting option, with some counties having up to 25% of the vote being cast before Election Day.   Three observations:

     First, vetting candidates has been difficult in 2022.  A major reason is the short amount of time between filing and the primary.  For the 2022 elections, filing was April 13-15 in the Sooner state.  The primary was just 75 days later, which leaves little time for voters to sort through the campaign propaganda that floods their mailbox.   There are nine (9) statewide races on the 6/28 GOP primary ballot, with over 40 candidates.  The average voter is confused who is running for what office and are often relying on candidate supplied propaganda (mailers/TV commercials) to make their voting decision.  Name recognition, incumbency, and the ability to raise money from donors become a huge advantage in a short campaign season.  Voting record and policy take a back seat.  Candidate avoid ‘pressing the flesh,’ because they don’t have time because the timeline is so short.  To quote Pappy O’Daniel: “we ain’t one-at-a timin’ here.  We’re mass communicating!”   

     Candidates are running ads and sending mailers that paint themselves in a positive light and their opponent as a pinheaded, incompetent, socialist, liberal who hates Oklahoma, America, baseball and apple pie. Campaigns bank on voters being too busy worrying about the price of food and gas to actually pay much attention.  Exaggeration, amplification, and hyperbole reign.   Voters should do their homework before they cast their sacred vote. 

     Second, an elected official’s voting record is a matter of public record.  Incumbents often claim it is dirty campaigning if an opponent goes after their policy positions, but honest elected officials should be willing to run on their voting record.  If the challenger to an incumbent honestly attacks their opponent’s voting record, that’s fair game.  The key is ‘honesty.’  Distorting or perverting an elected official’s voting record reveals unethical character traits. 

     Third, every candidate is flawed.  Until Jesus Christ in on the ballot, voters are always electing the lesser of two evils.  Every candidate/elected official will make mistakes, no matter what they tell you.  Because, man is born with an inherent sin nature, voters will never find the perfect candidate.   Voters need to pick candidates they can turn their back on. 

     President Thomas Jefferson said, “we do not have government by the majority.  We have government by the majority who participate.”  Normally about 50% of those eligible to vote in midterm elections show up.  Many of those who show up are uninformed and don’t do their homework before they get into the voting booth. 

      The Bible says a wise person seeks out counsel.  Voters should seek out people they trust, who are constantly engaged in the political process, and ask them for advice on races.  They should seek out candidates and question them on policy.   Ask them precise, pointed, specific questions and let them answer.  Don’t take their answers at face value.  Seek candidates who are capable, component, trustworthy, and want to serve.  Above all, pray God will guide you in the vetting process.   Never in America’s history has there ever been a greater need for godly, honest, ethical leaders.

Sunday, June 5, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial

Bon Appétit

by Steve Fair

      The Oklahoma legislature adjourned their 2022 regular session sine die (Latin for with no appointed date for resumption.) on Friday May 31st.  The state constitution requires legislative regular session end by the last Friday in May. Lawmakers are still in ‘special’ session to consider how to spend the $1.87 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds (federal tax dollars) under the American Rescue Plan Act(ARPA).   Reportedly, there are $17.8 billion in requests from Oklahoma agencies, municipalities, and other organizations. 

     430 bills made it to Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk for signature during the regular session.  The governor vetoed a few bills, including part of the budget, which is unusual when the governor and legislature are from the same Party. 

     Stitt claims he wasn’t a part of the budget process, criticized the tax relief measures in the record $9.8 billion dollar state budget (+9.7% over last year) and took issues with the tax rebates proposed by the legislature.  Calling the plan to send $75 to all single tax filers and $150 to couples, ‘a political gimmick,’ Stitt said it was a page out of President Joe Biden’s playbook.  “I never expected to see Republicans waste $181 million sending government checks out,” the governor said. 

     Stitt also vetoed a bill to eliminate the 1.25% tax on all vehicle sales and the attempt to override it failed in the House.  Governor Stitt has issued a call for a special legislative session starting June 13th  (2 weeks before the primary election) to discuss cutting the state income tax by .25% and eliminating the state sales tax on groceries.  Three observations:

     First, eliminating the sales tax on vehicles is a good idea.  Oklahomans currently pay 3.25% excise tax on vehicle purchases.  In 2017, the legislature removed the 1.25% vehicle sales tax exemption, meaning Sooners paid 4.5% when they brought a vehicle, which cost hard working Oklahomans about $165 million a year.   The governor claims he wants real tax relief for Oklahomans, but vetoed a proposal that would do just that?  Restore and make the exemption permanent!

     Second, everyone but Oklahoma taxpayers got a raise.  This year, the legislature appropriated more money for every state agency, gave raises to law enforcement, the judiciary, and other state employees.  Of the nearly $10 billion budget, about $2.5 billion is going into the rainy-day fund.  In other words, Oklahoma taxpayers ‘overpaid’ their tax bill by $2.5 billion but the state government is going to keep the money just in case it’s needed (which it always is). 

     The Oklahoma legislature is required to balance the budget every year.  The state constitution requires the legislature not spend more than Oklahoma government take in.  Unfortunately, the constitution doesn’t require taxpayers get back any excess- and they seldom do. 

      The governor proposes elimination of tax on food and cutting the income tax by .25%.  Stitt claims it would save the average Oklahoma family about $500 a year.  But based on estimates, both the governor’s proposal and the legislature’s plan would reduce state revenue by the same amount. 

     Third, the governor and the legislature don’t seem to be getting along.  House Speaker Charles McCall, (R-Atoka) said the governor has made some ‘inaccurate and misleading’ statements about the state budget.   Governor Stitt said he was ‘cut out of the budget process,’ and that he is looking for the ‘smoke filled back room,’ where the budget is crafted.  He says he did not see the budget until 9pm before it was released to the public the next day.  

     In Oklahoma, the legislature has responsibility to craft the budget, but the governor has the right and responsibility to review and veto.  The governor proposes and the legislature deposes legislation.  Both sides would be well served to recognize the need to cooperate and avoid expensive and time-consuming multiple special sessions that cost taxpayer’s money.

     According to the Consumer Price Index, the price of beef in the U.S. is up +21% over last year.  The cost of a good steak dinner at a nice restaurant is about $75 with tip. 

     The Oklahoma legislature proposes giving you back enough of your tax dollars to have a nice steak dinner.  The governor wants to string that dinner out over a year.  Bon Appétit!