Friday, December 23, 2022

Jan. 6th committee recommendations could have been written the day the committee was established!

Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair


     After 18 months, the U.S. House select committee investigating the January 6th U.S. Capitol breech released an 845-page report based on over 1,000 interviews.  The nine-member committee had just two Republican members.  Rep. Liz Cheney, (R-WY) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, (R- Il) were the two GOP members.  Both Cheney and Kinzinger have been strong public critics of former President Trump.

     The committee alleges President Trump oversaw the effort to put forward an alternative slate of electors in seven states he lost.  Citing the 14th amendment (equal protection under the law), the committee recommends the former president be barred from holding any future government office- federal or otherwise.  They also recommend Congress pass laws with stronger criminal penalties for those who obstruct a peaceful transfer of power.  They also recommended Congress pass laws that give select committees be given subpoena power.    A number of individuals the committee subpoenaed did not appear including former President Trump.  Steve Bannon was convicted in federal court for refusing to provide testimony to the committee and was sentenced to four months in prison.  Three observations:

      First, the committee’s findings were predetermined.  The January 6th committee was not as concerned with investigating the breach of the Capitol as they were getting President Trump.  None of the members of the committee went into the process with an open mind.  Cheney and Kinzinger were handpicked by Speaker Pelosi because they are Trump critics and they were elected Republicans.  The Democrats needed a couple of token Republicans on the committee so they could call it ‘bipartisan.’  Rest assured; the conclusions were preestablished.  The goal is and remains to prevent Donald J. Trump from ever holding office again.

      Second, the January 6th breech of the Capitol should have been investigated by Congress.  The U.S. Capitol is the people’s house, but individual citizens don’t have a right to vandalize and destroy it.  Thus far, 964 people have been charged in the breech- over half have pled guilty.   Some were just ‘caught up in the moment,’ and acted on impulse.  Others wanted to overthrow the government.  Still others, just love conflict and like to tear up stuff.  Whatever the reason, those who bum rushed the Capitol on January 6th didn’t use good judgment and their actions didn’t further their cause for liberty.

     Third, the committee wants to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887.  They want Congress to pass a law that prevents a Vice President from questioning a state’s electors.  They advocate for the VP’s role to be largely ceremonial.  The U.S. Constitution is clear; the VP presides over the process.  It is not ceremonial. 

     They recommend raising the number of votes needed in Congress to question a state’s election results.  This recommendation contradicts HR1, a proposal by Democrats to federalize elections.  But perhaps it doesn’t conflict with HR1?  The goal of the Democrats is to control the process by taking voters out of the equation.

     The committee’s recommendations ignore average Americans.  They want to manage/control the election system after the voters have spoken.  America is a Republic.  The power is held by the people and their elected representatives.  The January 6th committee wants an oligarchy, a system of government where a small group of elitist rules.  The creditability of their report is questionable at best.  Eighteen months and a ton of tax dollars wasted!  The recommendations could have been written the day the committee was established.


Sunday, December 18, 2022

Americans celebrate Christmas in a big way!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     The birth of Jesus Christ will be celebrated this week.  Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States in 1870.  It was an attempt by President Grant to unite the nation after the civil war.  Most private companies in the United States close on Christmas and give their employees the day off.  Three observations about the Christmas holiday:

     First, early Christian believers didn’t celebrate Jesus’ birth.  Celebration of Christ’s birth started in the fourth century when the church fathers in Rome decided to set December 25th (winter solstice) in order to ‘Christianize’ the popular pagan celebrations on that date. 

     Winter solstice is the day of the year with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year.  This year winter solstice is December 21st.  In the ancient world, winter solstice was celebrated with gift giving, feasts and festivals.  Sound familiar? 

      It is unlikely Christ was born on December 25th.  Most Bible scholars say shepherds would not have been in the fields with their flocks in the winter, implying a warmer month as the actual date of Jesus’ birth.  But Jesus Christ was indeed born and His birth should be celebrated by believers.  How that is done should be a matter of personal liberty.  Scripture neither commends or condemns celebrating Christ’s birth. 

     Second, Americans celebrate Christmas in a big way!  A whopping 75% of annual retail sales in the U.S. are during the Christmas season.  In 2022, holiday retail sales are forecast to reach $942.6 billion dollars. 41% of Americans are willing to take on debt due to gift giving.  The average American family spends $1,000 on Christmas.  Americans spend $6 billion on Christmas trees. 93% exchange gifts and 74% attend holiday parties.  According to USA Today, 10% of people return their gifts to the store and 47% of those who got gift cards didn’t get the full value from the card. 

     Third, most celebrating Christmas miss the reason for the season.  The number of Americans who worship Christ is declining.  According to a poll by Pew Research, Christians will be a minority in America by 2070 if current trends continue. Sociologists call the people who are shelving their Christian roots, nonverts.  These young adults(30 years and under) are more secular than their parents and grandparents.  42% of young adults do not consider themselves religious.  They miss the true meaning of Christmas and Christianity because they don’t realize they are sinners.  They don’t show any interest in Christ because they don’t understand their need of salvation.  They don’t understand the wages of sin is death and plummets people into an eternal hell.  They ignore the remedy/treatment because they don’t even realize they have the disease. 

      The trend toward atheism and agnosticism has been a slow but steady decline in Europe.  In the U.S., it has been steep and quick, starting in the early 2000s.   To compound the problems, churches have resorted to secular tactics to fill their pews.  They have sought relevance and ditched reverence.  The Gospel has become secondary to schemes, activities, and programs. 

      Two thousand years ago, the Creator of the universe, the eternal God, took on humanity. With Christ’s birth, God and man were fused together in indivisible oneness.  The real significance of the birth of God in human form is overlooked, trivialized and minimalized in the very holiday created to celebrate His birth.   

     Theodor Seuss Geisel was a children’s book author and cartoonist.  He wrote 60 books under the pen name, Dr. Seuss.  In “The Grinch who stole Christmas,” the title character says in anapestic meter: “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.” You are right, Mr. Grinch!

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Sinema’s change will change nothing in the Senate.

Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair

           On Tuesday, Republican Hershel Walker was soundly defeated by Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia.  It was the final U.S. Senate race of 2022.  Warnock was elected to a full six-year term.  His win gave the Democrats a 51-49 edge in the upper chamber- at least for a while. 

     Three days later, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, (D-Arizona) announced she was leaving the Democratic Party and registering as an Independent.  Sinema evidently will continue to caucus(meet/cooperate/vote) with the Democrats since they announced she will keep her committee assignments.   Sinema joins Senators Bernie Sanders, (I-VT), and Angus King, (I-ME) as an Independent.  All three caucus/meet/cooperate/vote with the Democrats.

     Sinema is serving her first term in the U.S. Senate and is up for re-election in 2024.  She is the first openly bi-sexual woman in the Senate.  Sinema is considered a centrist on fiscal issues and is often aligned with Sen. Joe Manchin, (D-WV) on key votes. 

     Sinema’s change of course wasn’t met with enthusiasm by fellow Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.  Sanders said Sinema’s decision was driven by ‘political aspirations for the future in Arizona.’  Sanders said, “I think Democrats there(Arizona) are not all that enthusiastic about somebody who helped sabotage some of the most important legislation that protects the interests of working families and voting right and so forth.”  Sinema countered, “Registering as an independent and showing up to work with the title of independent is a reflection of who I’ve always been….Nothing is going to change for me.”   

     Democratic leaders in Arizona said they felt betrayed by Sinema’s flip flop.  A sitting Democratic Congressman had already announced his plan to run against Sinema in the 2024 Democratic primary challenge.  Three observations:

     First, changing Party affiliation in the U.S. Senate has happened before.  In the last eighty years, there have been twelve flips by sitting Senators.  Most didn’t mean much, but one in recent memory did.  One of the most dramatic defections came just after President George W. Bush was elected in 2000.  The Senate was evenly split coming into the 107th Congress, with Vice President Cheney set to cast the tie-breaking vote.  Then Sen. Jim Jeffords, a senator from Vermont announced he was flipping to Independent and would caucus with the Democrats.  It changed the balance of power in the Senate.  Jeffords took great pride in the shift, proudly declaring himself ‘not conservative.’  Jeffords never appeared on the ballot again, choosing to retire from the Senate when his term ended.

     Second, Sinema’s change will change nothing in the Senate.  She will keep her committee assignments.  Sinema will still caucus/meet/vote with the Democrats.  The move helps her avoid a contentious primary in her upcoming re-election bid.  Sanders is right(for once)- she is driven by political ambition. 

     Third, when elected officials change Party affiliation, most of the time it is for convenience, not conviction.  That’s true at all levels of government- not just at the federal level.  As the Sooner state has become increasingly Red, ambitious, zealous candidates have registered Republican so they can use the GOP brand to further their aspirations.  They know being a registered Democrat is a liability with Oklahoma voters.  Most of these new converts have never read the Republican platform.  They could care less about Party beliefs and values are.  They only want to win.  After all, if these indispensable individuals can’t win, they can’t govern and serve in humility/conviction/meekness and bless us with their superior intellect and insight.

     In 1983, the late U.S. Rep. Phil Gramm from Texas was serving in the U.S. House.  He came to the conclusion he wasn’t a Democrat anymore.  Gramm resigned his seat in Congress.  A special election was held to fill his seat.  Gramm ran as a Republican and was elected to the seat he resigned.  Gramm said the voters should decide if he was who they wanted to represent them and if they disagreed with his Party change, he should lose.  That took conviction.  No other switcher- before or since- has followed that model. 

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Can Americans express their opinion in the public square without fear of retaliation or censorship?

Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair

      The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

     The framers of the Constitution understood the importance of protecting the freedom of individual conscience.  James Madison, the father of the Constitution, called man’s conscience ‘the most sacred of all property.’  Thomas Jefferson said no ‘provision in the constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the government.’ 

     Is free speech being suppressed in modern America?  Can Americans express their opinion in the public square without fear of retaliation or censorship?  If social media is considered the public square, perhaps it is.  On Friday, Elon Musk released internal documents from Twitter files that revealed the social media giant restricted the sharing of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s shady dealings.  Hunter is President Biden’s son. Musk said he released it to expose what he claims is the political left’s grip over Big Technology.  Three observations:

     First, social media is not the public square.  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others are private businesses and have the right to set up guidelines and policies on how they do business.  While it is true that 3.5 billion or 45% of the world’s population use social media to keep in contact with others, social media is still free enterprise.  Users are social media consumers and have a choice as to whether they post or not.  The platforms have a choice on what they allow. 

      Second, social media engages in censorship and suppression. As Musk’s release revealed, Twitter restricted the widespread distribution of information that would have been damaging to the 2020 Biden campaign. 

     Some conservative lawmakers have attempted to pass legislation prohibiting platforms from censoring posts based on a person’s viewpoint and users who have been censored would be able to sue a site for it.  Restricting the right of free enterprise to operate without government interference is what Republicans have traditionally stood for. 

     Third, actions have consequences.  As the big social media giants have ramped up their ‘thou shalt not’ philosophy with users, they have lost users and thus important advertising revenue.  Advertisers of goods/services don’t traditionally seek controversy.  Twitter advertising is down -30% vs. last year.

      Last month, Elon Musk told Twitter staff the companies’ financial problems are so serious that ‘bankruptcy is not out of the question.’  Facebook revenue is down and profits are less than half than one year ago.  Protecting fellow Americans from themselves has cost Big Tech’s bottom line.

     The loss of free speech in the public square has evolved because of three clear deficiencies in modern America: (1) The void of in-person interaction among people.  Courageous keyboard warriors now communicate with their friends without looking at them eyeball to eyeball.  That has resulted in comments and insults that in years past they would never say in person, but now do.  The perceived importance of interpersonal skills is at an all-time low.  (2)  Respecting a differing opinion and being humble is considered weak.  Exaggerating another’s position and attacking them personally is fashionable and celebrated.  Civility is dead. Ideological purity is demanded.  (3) The intolerance of the tolerant.  Those who demand respect for their opinion don’t respect those who disagree with them.   The problem with the first amendment is it protects the speech we hate and tolerates the speech that offends us.  Until Americans recognize others have a right to be wrong, the first amendment will be subdued.