Sunday, October 30, 2022

Legislators don’t fund anything- taxpayers fund everything.

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Public money is defined as money that has been collected by government from citizens, usually through taxation.  During a recent TV interview, a two term GOP Oklahoma state legislator, running for re-election, proudly proclaimed he would protect public money.  He went on to say that ‘we’(assuming he meant the legislature) funded this program and that program.  That would have been a sight to below- 149 legislators pulling out their personal checkbooks to fund state government.  That, of course, is absurd and preposterous, but sadly most voters don’t see the error in his statement.  Three observations:

     First, there is no public money.  Government doesn’t generate any money, it consumes.  The private sector generates money.  The so-called public money is taxpayer money.  It doesn’t cease to belong to the taxpayer once the government collects it.  It is still taxpayer money.  It isn’t laundered like drug money and can be used however government is inclined.  When naïve, inexperienced, airheaded elected officials arrogantly proclaim they are funding anything, they expose their stupidity.  Legislators don’t fund anything- taxpayers fund everything. 

     The late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, “The state has no source of money, other than the money people earn themselves.  If the state wishes to spend more, it can only do so by borrowing your savings, or by taxing you more.  And it’s no good thinking that someone else will pay.  That someone else is you.  There is no such thing as public money.  There is only taxpayers’ money.”

     Second, taxpayers should pay attention to how their money is being spent.  The majority of taxpayers view their taxes as a necessary evil.  Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said, “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”  The problem is most taxpayers don’t watch how their money is spent after it has been collected.  The money doesn’t stop being their money once the government has collected it.  It is the responsibility of the taxpayer to make sure that money is being spent in a proper manner.  The reason there is so much government waste, fraud and corruption is because taxpayers take so little equity in their money.  If more citizens required elected officials, at all levels, to provide a detailed accounting of where their money was being spent, perhaps America’s out of control government spending could be halted. 

     Third, no publicly funded entity is ‘entitled’ to taxpayer money- they should earn it.  When secondary education, public employees, or state agencies haughtily declare they are entitled to ‘public’ money, without accountability, they are poking their finger in the taxpayer’s eye.  Oklahoma should require zero based budgeting, a system that requires that every penny appropriated be justified.  The current system of just bumping up last year’s allocation doesn’t identified waste, and rewards agencies that cheat. 

     No doubt the legislator knows where the government gets their revenue.  No doubt he knows he did not personally fund anything, but words and terminology matter.  The mindset tax dollars cease to be ours once collected flies in the face of self-government.   Anyone who believes otherwise is a socialist.  Pay attention to how your money is being spent.

Sunday, October 23, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     One thing both Republicans and Democrats can agree on- the other Party’s stance on issues, if left unchecked, will destroy America.  In a recent NBC News (a liberal leaning organization) poll, 80% of those polled believed the other side is a precarious threat to democracy.  America is more polarized and divided than ever before and it boils down to one thing- how they view the U.S. Constitution.  Three observations:

     First, liberals hate the Constitution.  They believe the 2nd amendment is about duck hunting and the Electoral College too complex.  They advocate direct election of the president, ignoring state rights.  They believe the Constitution is broken and should not be reclaimed or amended, but discarded.

     In an August New York Times op/ed, two liberal law professors-Ryan Doerfler (Harvard) and Samuel Moyn(Yale)- wrote: A politics of the American future like this would make clear our ability to engage in the constant reinvention of our society under our own power, without the illusion that the past stands in the way. To liberals, the Constitution is the past and cannot be applied to today’s complicated problems.  According to liberals, America should be constantly ‘reinventing’ itself with no rules as a guide.

      President Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

     Second, the Constitution exists to limit the power of government and to insure our freedom.  It codifies the freedoms of speech, association, assembly, press religion, equal protection under the law, the right to due process and the right to privacy.  It’s not just a yellowing old document under glass at the National Archives.  It is what keeps government in check and insures our individual freedoms.  Without it, America isn’t America. Liberals want America to become more like Europe, with government being more involved in citizen’s lives. 

     Third, public schools are required by law to teach about the Constitution each year.  Most Americans don’t know that.  In 2004, Congress passed a law that requires schools receiving federal funding to provide education on the history of the Constitution each Constitution Day.  The bill was introduced by the late Senator Robert Byrd, (D-WV)Sadly, most schools don’t offer a comprehensive overview of the U.S. Constitution.  Rick Green has a video series titled, ‘Constitution Alive,’ that is available online that provides an excellent overview of the Constitution.   Every American citizen should know what the founding document says. 

     The October NBC News poll found Americans are angry.  Liberals are angry at the Supreme Court because they disagreed with the Roe vs. Wade reversal.  Conservatives are angry because Joe Biden is president.  Both are angry about the economy.  But anger or zeal without knowledge or resolve accomplishes little.  The outcome of the midterm elections in November will come down to which side is enraged the most.


Sunday, October 16, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     Most Oklahomans know the Five Civilized Tribes were relocated from the southeast U.S. by the federal government to Indian Territory in the 1830-40s.  Those five tribes are the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw and Seminole.  In 1851, Congress passed the Indian Appropriations Act, which created the reservation system and provided funds to move Indians onto farming reservations.  The Dawes Act of 1887 granted private land ownership to tribal members, but the net result was tribal member’s land being reduced by one half.   

     In 1906, Congress passed the Oklahoma Enabling Act, whose stated intent was to disestablish the afore mentioned reservations of the five tribes.  The action was required by Congress so Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory could merge and be admitted to the union in 1907.  The 2020 McGirt decision ruled the reservations were never disestablished and are still intact.  That decision has created a legal quagmire and could ultimately spilt the Sooner state in two. 

     This week, the five tribes endorsed Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister for governor.  Hofmeister is the Democrat Party nominee.  She was elected twice to her current post as a registered Republican, but changed political affiliation to run for governor.  Some recent polls show the race close between her and GOP nominee, Governor Kevin Stitt, an enrolled member of the Cherokee tribe.  The only reason the race is competitive is the monies the tribes are pumping into Hofmeister’s campaign.  Three observations:

     First, the tribe’s issue with Kevin Stitt is about money.  In 2004, Oklahoma voters approved State Question #712 by a 60-40% margin.  712 enacted a Tribal Gaming Compact allowing tribes to operate slot machines and card games.  The 15-year compact, negotiated by former Governor Brad Henry and then State Treasurer Scott Meacham, required 6-13% of the money casinos take in go to the state.  88% of the amount is earmarked for education.     

     The compact was set to expire in 2020.  After he took office, Stitt proposed the tribes give the state a higher take than the original agreement, but the tribes balked.  The tribes claimed the original compact rolled over and they are under no obligation to renegotiate.  In 17 years, the state’s tribal gaming industry  has grown to over 150 casinos.  Hofmeister agrees with the tribes and has no problem with their sweetheart deal.  The tribes want a puppet in the governor’s mansion, not a partner.  They are happy with the current spilt because after all- the house always wins.

     Second, the tribe’s formal endorsement will not likely impact the election.  Tribal membership in Oklahoma is less than 14% of the population and Native Americans have a history of not voting.  In a study by Steven Doherty, he found they were 51% less likely to vote than other races.  The tribes spend a lot of money on politics.  They fund campaigns for candidates that will promote their agenda (like Hofmeister).  They employ an impressive lobbying apparatus at the State Capitol.  The public endorsement, while impressive optically, is doubtful to influence their rank-and-file tribal membership.

     Third, Hofmeister wants to be governor of the State of Sequoyah.  Hofmeister said if she was elected, she would just an equal participant at the negotiating table with the tribes, not the head.  Oklahomans don’t need a governor who doesn’t lead and believes representing 14% of Oklahomans is justifiable. 

     In 1905, the State of Sequoyah was proposed to Congress.  It would have composed the eastern part of the state- about 44% of the land mass of Oklahoma.  A Constitutional Convention met in Muskogee.  A vote was taken in Indian Territory.  The constitution was approved by a 6 to 1 majority.  President Teddy Roosevelt opposed admitting two states.  The Rough Rider proposed combining the two territories into one state, gaining widespread support in Congress.  The State of Sequoyah evaporated and the State of Oklahoma was born.  With the McGirt decision and the recent attitude/endorsement of the five tribes, it appears the State of Sequoyah has been resurrected.

Friday, October 7, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Clean Up Oklahoma(CUO) is an organization that claims to want to stop politicians from abusing their power.  They urge Oklahomans to ‘get their mop’ and clean up Oklahoma politics.  They have an anti-corruption pledge they want every candidate to sign.  The three major points in the pledge are to: (1) Prevent politicians, their staff, and donors from profiting at the taxpayers’ expense, (2) Strengthen open records laws to stop secret deals and gifts from special interests, (3) Stop the rigging of our elections and return power to the voters.   Sounds good, doesn’t it, but who exactly is Clean Up Oklahoma and who is funding them? 

     Clean Up Oklahoma attests to be a non-partisan grassroots movement, but that isn’t true.  The Director of Clean Up Oklahoma is Jay Williams, a former staffer for Kendra Horn, the one term defeated 5th district Democratic Congresswoman now running for U.S. Senate against Mark Wayne Mullin.  Williams also was an active member of the Bernie Sanders campaign.  That is partisan. 

In the pledge CUO wants candidates to sign, they advocate for open primaries, taxpayer funded political campaigns, and a non-partisan (appointed) redistricting commission.  All of these ideas are directly from the Democrat Party playbook.  That’s partisan.  Three observations:

     First, Oklahoma could use some cleaning up.  The recent Epic school debacle is a good example that corruption is alive and well in the Sooner state, but signing a pledge (especially this one) will not eliminate corruption.  Mankind is born with a sin nature and unchecked, that nature will produce corruption. As long as man is on this earth, there will be corruption, deceit, and duplicity.

     Oklahoma is not nearly as corrupt as it was the first 100 years of statehood- all under Democrat control.  The Oklahoma county commissioner scandal was the largest in American history.   In the late 1990s, Democrat legislators put their family on state payrolls as ghost employees and state tax dollars were appropriated for non-existent dog food plants.  Both those scandals were uncovered by the federal government because Oklahoma state officials were unwilling to expose their good ole boy buddies.  That has changed.  The most recent corruption in Oklahoma has been investigated by state officials. That is progress.  At least our state leaders are willing to expose corruption, unlike in the past.   

     Second, Clean Up Oklahoma isn’t really against corruption- just corruption that doesn’t include them.  CUO wants open primaries because they are losing elections in Oklahoma.   Winning an election in Oklahoma means you have to run as a Republican.  Democrats know the only way to change that is to change the rules.  Clean Up Oklahoma doesn’t want fair elections- they want to tilt the table to help them win elections.  Open primaries are a petri dish for corruption.

     Open primaries would allow Democrats to vote in a GOP primary, which makes about as much sense as the Baptists letting Presbyterians vote in their business meetings.   Their other ideas are just as foolhardy.

     Third, there is no truth-in-labeling in politics.  All consumer goods are subject to laws that require the manufacturer to disclose net contents and the name of the producer.  Food items are required to provide nutritional information.  When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says the ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.  Violations can result in action from the Federal Trade Commission.  Sadly, no such law exists for politics.  In politics, you can call a baloney sandwich crème brulée without liability. 

     Because there is no accountability, Clean Up Oklahoma is playing dirty politics without consequence. Only their non-existent conscience guides them.  They run false and misleading television ads and flood social media with delusive messages- all while claiming to take the high road.  Low information, unenlightened voters are their target audience.  The only cleaning up in Oklahoma Clean Up Oklahoma wants is to elect liberals in November.  Don’t be fooled by clever branding- they are not mopping up corruption- they are polluting.  Candidates that sign their pledge should be avoided, not lauded.


Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Oklahoma's judicial system needs reformation!


by Steve Fair

How are Oklahoma’s appellate court judges and justices appointed?

All judges and justices on the three courts of last resort in Oklahoma are appointed by the Governor of Oklahoma.  But they must first go through a ‘nominating’ process conducted by the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission.  The commission submits three candidates to the governor, who must select from the three.  After nomination by the governor, they must be confirmed by the State Senate.

Who is on the Judicial Nominating Commission?

There are 15 members- six appointed by the governor (must not be lawyers or have lawyers in their family).  No more than three of the governor’s appointments can be people with the same political party affiliation.  The Oklahoma Bar Association appoints six members (a lawyer from each Congressional district).  There is one appointment by the Speaker of the Oklahoma House and one by the Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore (cannot be a lawyer)and the last member selected by the other 14 members.   Commission members serve 6 year terms.  The Chairman of the Commission is elected by the membership and serves a one year term.  Commission members cannot be an official within a political party or an elected official during their term and for five years after their term ends.  They are not paid, but are reimbursed for travel expenses. 

Where do you find information on the judges/justices?

It is very difficult to find information on the judges and their ideology.  Two of the courts of last resort have websites where they publish their decisions.  The Oklahoma Supreme Court website is:  The Oklahoma Court of Criminal appeals website is: The Oklahoma Court of Civil decisions can be viewed at Justia.  That website is:  Their political affiliation is not public information.  The judicial conduct code prevents the judges/justices from campaigning, which limits voter information on their individual ideology/values/philosophy.  

How many judges/justices are up for retention in November?

There are eleven up for retention.  Four on the Supreme Court, five on the Court of Civil Appeals, and two on the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Has a judge/justice ever not been retained?

No, since Oklahoma began judicial retention, no judge/justice has not been retained.


Sunday, October 2, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


      A gaffe is an unintentional act or remark-a blunder- causing embarrassment to its originator.  Everyone makes gaffes because no one is perfect. Politicians in both Parties make gaffes all the time.  Michael Kinsley, former host of CNN’s Crossfire, coined the term ‘Kinsley gaffe’ to when a politico tells the truth- some obvious truth- they weren’t supposed to say.  Politicos don’t make many of those.

     One of the most famous political gaffes was in 1984 when President Reagan, while prepping for his weekly radio address, decided to make a joke, unaware his microphone was on.  “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever.  We begin bombing in five minutes,” the Gipper said.  Given this was during the peak of the Cold War, the comment sparked fear among U.S. citizens and panic among Russian authorities. All-out war was averted when those in control of both militaries took the remark for what it was…an ill-conceived attempt at humor.

     The mainstream media loves gaffes, especially when the politician committing it is a Republican.  In 2016, then candidate Donald Trump confused 9/11 with 7/11 and it made headlines.  In 2019, Trump confused Toledo and Dayton, Ohio as the site of a shooting and the mainstream media made it the lead story.  Trump’s often outrageous flamboyant statements, provides mainstream media with plenty of ammunition.  Three observations:

     First, everyone makes mistakes.  No one is perfect.  A scribers error by a speechwriter or a misspoken word by a candidate/elected official in a speech will happen.  It is not always reflective of their cognitive ability or mental health.  Citizens shouldn’t get so energized and worked up over miscues and bloopers.  They should be more concerned with policy and issues.

     Second, the media has a double standard in regard to gaffes.  President Trump’s mistakes and gaffes were spotlighted and headlined, while those by Biden and the Democrats are largely ignored.  For example, this week, speaking from the White House, President Biden tried to acknowledge the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), despite the fact she died in a car crash in August.  The gaffe was largely ignored by the media.  If Trump had made that mistake, it would have been the lead story for a month.     

     On Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris mistakenly touted the United States ‘alliance with the Republic of North Korea’ in a speech from the DMZ.  Clearly, Harris meant South Korea, but little was made of her lapse by the media.  When then VP candidate Sarah Palin said America should stand with our North Korean allies, networks broke into regular scheduled program to point out the error.  The media ignores Democrat gaffes and sensationalizes Republican ones- a clear double standard.

     Third, Biden’s recent gaffes appear to reveal cognitive decline.  Republicans and Democrats alike have questions about the POTUS’ cognitive ability.  In July, Rep. Ronny Jackson, (R-TX), sent a letter to Biden’s physician asking Biden to undergo a cognitive test and to share the results with the American people.  Jackson is a former White House physician, serving in the administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.  A cognitive test for a POTUS is not unprecedented.  In 2018, following calls from Democrats and the mainstream media, Jackson, as WH physician, gave President Trump a cognitive test and the results released to the public. 

     “I have long said there would come a time when I was not the only one discussing Joe Biden’s cognitive decline. That time is now. As Democrats in the West Wing and the broader Democrat Party express discontent about his age-related decline, it should be clear now more than ever to President Biden, Dr. O’Connor, and Dr. Fauci that it is time to submit to a cognitive test. This is not a political issue, it’s common sense,” Jackson said.  The American people have a right to know if the POTUS is in cognitive decline.  Biden should submit to the test. 

     Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables said, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.” Nice to think that way Anne, but unrealistic- everyone makes mistakes/gaffes/errors.  Americans shouldn’t focus on lapses or misspeaks.  They should be fixated on policy- specifically on how much of their money the government is spending in these challenging economic times.