Sunday, September 24, 2023


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll 44% of Americans said they are worse off financially during President Biden’s presidency than they were before he took office.  That is the worst number for any president since ABC/Washington Post started asking the question in 1986.  Only 37% of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance and 56% disapprove.  When it comes to immigration at the southern border, Biden’s numbers are lower.  Just 23% of Americans approve of how Biden is handling immigration.  74% of Americans believe Biden,80, is too old to be president, compared to 50% for former President Trump, who is 77.

     The poll found President Trump’s job performance rating while he was in office has improved since he left office.  When he left office 31months ago, only 38% of Americans approved of his performance.  Now that number is up to 48%.  62% of Democrats are not happy with Biden being their nominee next year.  Only 33% of Ds support him for the nomination.  Three observations:

     First, Americans have proven they traditionally vote with their pocketbook.  James Carville was former President Bill Clinton’s political consultant back in 1992.  Clinton was challenging George H.W. Bush’s re-election.  The U.S. was in the midst of a recession.  Carville famously coined the phrase, “it’s the economy, stupid!” when describing why Clinton should be elected.  The strategy worked and Bush was defeated.  Bush had successfully pushed Saddam Hussin out of Kuwait and enjoyed an approval rating at over 80% just months before, but the economy went south and so did his reelection.  In 1980, Ronald Reagan highlighted President Carter’s policies that had created double digit inflation and cruised to a landslide victory.  Clearly, Americans vote with their wallet.

      Second, Americans are not buying Biden and the mainstream media’s spin on the economy.  In spite of Biden’s claim Americans are better off under Bidenonomics, the facts show otherwise.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, grocery prices are up +20%, gasoline is up +52%, utility prices up +26% since Biden took office.  The stock market has lost -1.2% during his tenure in office.  Most economists blame Biden’s $2 trillion American Rescue Plan for contributing to the surge in inflation.

     According to Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, “the typical American household spends $768 more on monthly purchases and services compared to 2020 because of high inflation.” 

    Third, it’s a long way to November 2024.  Most political prognosticators predict a Biden/Trump rematch next year and the odds are that will happen, but you never know.  Trump has problems with multiple indictments, ballot access challenges, twelve opponents, and age.  Biden, who has no viable opponent, has a son under indictment, clear communication and cognitive issues, a stalled economy, and an age problem.  When the primary season starts in Iowa in January, primary voters might just seek a fresh face instead of a retread.

     Biden’s attack on what he describes Trump’s, ‘failed trickledown theory,’ is not rooted in fact.  Trump’s failure wasn’t the across-the-board tax cut for all Americans.  It was the cut increased the national debt.  It was his spending.  Both Biden and Trump pushed Congress to help them spend tax payer money America did not have.  Neither exercised fiscal restraint. Until America gets a leader in the White House whose primary goal is to balance the federal budget, Americans are mortgaging their great grandchildren’s future.  

     In 1915, Robert Frost wrote a poem as a joke for a friend who was often indecisive about which route to take when the two went walking.  The Road Not Taken became one of Frost’s most popular works.  America should heed Frost’s admonition and change paths.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

“We are a nation of laws, not of men.” ~John Adams

 Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

     General Douglas MacArthur famously said, “Rules are made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind.”  There are lots of rules in society.  They can be those as important as the laws/rules of how people are governed to rules in fashion and manners.   Organizations, political Parties, governments have rules. If everyone ignored the rules and refused to submit to any authority over them, the result would be anarchy/disorder/chaos.  Three observations:

     First, believers who ignore rules/laws to accomplish their objective reject the sovereignty of God.  They have no confidence the Creator of the Universe possesses the ability to move the heart of the king or change the mind of an elected official.  They believe the only hands, feet, or mouth God has is theirs. In their mind, Yahweh is powerless, unless they act.  The arrogance and pride they exhibit has to be laughable to an omniscient God.  They believe by working harder, jumping higher and running faster, they will change the world.  But these superhumans regularly violate the two great commandments(rules) given by Christ- love God and love your neighbor- in their quest to distinction.  These professors of Christ show little evidence of possession.  They treat those who don’t agree with them with disdain, contempt, and hatred. 

     Second, it can take equal courage and strength of character to follow the rules or break them.  Being a loyal conformist or a rebel can take the same mettle.  It is a misconception that not playing by the rules takes more resolution than not submitting.    Those who thumb their nose at the rules believe they are superior to those who submit.  They fail to see that submitting to authority requires character, humility and meekness- all attributes showing evidence of a regenerate heart.

     Third, there are rules lazy people hide behind.  MacArthur was right that often people lack the courage to challenge the status quo.  Bad rules are often met with apathy or blind compliance.  There are bad rules, but because of passivity they remain in effect.  It’s often because people believe it just isn’t worth the effort to fight.  It’s a lack of involvement, not a lack of courage.  If principled people stayed engaged and involved in their government, those bad rules/laws would fade away like smoke.

     All rules are not equal.  Wearing white after Labor Day is not as great an offense as committing murder.  Both are rules, but one is a subjective guideline- the other a cardinal principle.  But rules are in place for a reason.  They help us maintain a level of fairness, order and justice.  Rules should be based on truth and when they aren’t they create a value system that results in no settled certainty.  Pilate asked Jesus, ‘What is truth?”  Many rule breakers mistakenly today believe there is no truth.

     During the nation’s founding, John Adams said, “we are a nation of laws, not of men.”  Adams was referring to the Rule of Law principle, which was established in ancient Greece.  The principle holds all people are accountable to the same set of laws and equally enforced.  Adams was saying the exact opposite of MacArthur.  Rules/laws are made to be followed.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Why would Free Speech for People care who the GOP nominee is?

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     The 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1868.  It is one of the three amendments in the founding document known as the Reconstruction Amendments.  The 13th amendment abolished slavery, the 14th amendment has what is known as the ‘insurrection/disqualification clause’ and the 15th amendment granted voting rights to citizens no matter their race.  Of the three, the 14th was the most controversial and contested.  The states of the defeated Confederacy were forced to ratify the 14th before they could regain representation in Congress.

     The 14th has recently come under discussion in regard to section 3- the so-called insurrection/disqualification clause as it relates to former President Trump.  Section 3 reads: No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

     Last week, a DC group- Free Speech for People(FSP)- sued to block former President Trump to be included on the GOP primary ballot in Colorado.  They contend Trump violated the 14th amendment’s section 3 provision and therefore cannot hold elective office.  It is likely the first of several similar lawsuits.  The Trump campaign said the suit is stretching the law and has no legal basis.  Three observations:

     First, who is Free Speech for People?  Established in 2010 by John Bonifaz and Jeff Clements, after they lost a case before the Supreme Court (Citizens United vs. FEC), FSP advocates a new constitutional amendment that would clarify the Bill of Rights applies to people, not corporations.  FSP wants to cap the amount of money that can be spent in political campaigns(at least on the candidates they don’t support).  They advocate not allowing corporate contributions to campaigns.  Free Speech for People has also embraced a left-of-center agenda, and lobbied for President Donald Trump’s impeachment from the day he took office in 2017. 

  Why would a left-wing organization get involved in a Republican primary?  Why would FSP care who the GOP nominee is in 2024?  Why are they trying to keep Trump off the ballot?  Trump’s ability to energize his base and get his vote out presents the biggest challenge to Biden and the Democrats.  FSP is for neither free speech or the people.

     Second, using the 14th to disqualify Trump would be politically ludicrous.  Trump is charged with 91criminal counts in four different jurisdictions, but none are inciting a riot or seditious conspiracy.  Most legal scholars believe Trump would have had to physically been at the Capitol for the 14th Section 3 to come into play.  If FSP is successful at keeping Trump off the GOP ballot, his supporters might do more than just post on social media.  Politically, using the 14th to prevent Trump from being on the ballot would be devastating for the country.

     Three, GOP voters should be given the choice with Trump on the ballot.  Currently, the former POTUS is polling at 52.7% with Republican voters, but the first primary/caucus isn’t until January 15th.    A lot can/will happen in five months.  Let GOP voters decide Trump’s fate

     In politics, it is common practice to attempt to ‘clear the primary,’ but it is usually Party leaders and large donors doing the screening.  They work behind the scenes to clear the field for their preferred candidate.  They justify their action by declaring an extended primary hurts the candidate in the general election.  Their action cuts out/ignores the voter.  Why would a liberal organization (FSP) go all in on keeping Trump off the GOP ballot?  The same reason- they want to cut out the voter!

Saturday, September 2, 2023

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission used to be more crooked than a barrel of snakes!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     In 2024, Oklahoma voters will elect a Corporation Commissioner.  It is the only statewide race on the ’24 ballot.  The current Commissioner is Bob Anthony.  He is term limited and has served 35 years in the same office.  Anthony, 75, was elected in 1989.  He is the longest serving statewide elected official in the United States (not counting US Senators).  When Anthony took office in 1989, the commission was more crooked than a barrel of snakes.  The other two commissioners- both Democrats- voted in 1989 for a plan by Southwestern Bell- now AT&T Oklahoma- to reinvest a tax windfall in operations instead of refunding the money back to customers.  Anthony was the lone no vote.  Anthony cooperated with an FBI investigation and ‘wore a wire,’ which means he knowingly recorded conversations he had with an AT&T lobbyist. 

     Anthony’s cooperation with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office led to a 1994 bribery case against fellow Corporation Commissioner Bob Hopkins.  Hopkins was convicted for taking $15,000 cash from a former Southwestern Bell Telephone lawyer for his vote in 1989.  The attorney/bagman, William Anderson was also convicted.  Both were sentenced to federal prison.

     For his cooperation in the investigation Anthony was awarded the Louis E. Peters Memorial Service Award in 1995 by FBI Director Louis Freeh. It is the highest civilian award given to a private citizen by the Bureau. Three observations: 

     First, Oklahoma taxpayers owe Bob Anthony a sincere debt of gratitude.  Commissioner Anthony is an honest and courageous man.  His sense of honor and integrity is to be commended.  He took his oath of office seriously and has been the rate payer’s watchdog in his time on the commission.  No one can doubt or question Bob Anthony’s honesty. 

     Second, Bob Anthony doesn’t work and play well with others.  He has been at odds with his fellow commissioners- both Republicans and Democrats- throughout his 30 plus years on the commission.  Most often it is because of their reluctance to revisit the 1989 SW Bell decision.  Anthony contends the vote should be revisited because Hopkins was bribed and therefore the vote is illegitimate.  Anthony claims AT&T has overcharged Oklahomans $16 billion the last 30 years. 

     Anthony’s most aggressive effort to revisit the ’89 vote was in 2016, after a group of private citizens sued the state, claiming bribed votes should not be binding.  Then AG Scott Pruitt ruled revisiting the decision was not in the best interest of AT&T ratepayers and the Oklahoma Supreme Court agreed with him. 

     Anthony’s disagreement with his fellow commissions isn’t just about the 1989 AT&T vote. Earlier this year, Anthony filed a 180-page dissent opposing his fellow commissioners-both Republicans- for granting rate increases for the state’s three largest utility providers, saying the increases were, “rotting from a putrid core of greed, public corruption and regulatory capture.”  The other two commissioners contend the rate hikes were justified and disagree with Anthony’s viewpoint. 

     Anthony’s stubbornness and persistence has created hard feelings with other commissioners during his tenure on the commission.  Because of it, he has had to survive a couple of close re-election campaigns with his fellow commissioners campaigning for his opponent. 

     Third, Bob Anthony will be hard to replace, but not impossible.  He is not the only honest person in Oklahoma.  But few have Bob’s tenacious, unshakeable resolve. 

     Thankfully, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission is not the den of corruption it once was.  When January 2025 comes around and Bob Anthony leaves the Corporation Commission, Oklahoma rate payers will have lost a dependable, reliable guard dog on the commission.  His replacement has big shoes to fill.  He has been a good steward of Oklahoma taxpayer/ratepayer’s money.