Sunday, January 28, 2024


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     Up until the early 20th century, the United States had nearly open borders.  Between 1890 and 1924, only about 1% of those trying to immigrate to America were rejected, usually because they failed a mental or health test.  Until The Naturalization Act of 1906 was passed, individual states determined what constituted American citizenship with standards varied state by state.  The federal bill standardized requirements to be a citizen and established the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to manage immigration. 

     Illegal immigration started to became an issue in the 1950s when the U.S. economy was booming and immigrates were drawn to America for a better life.  Quotas (visas and citizenship) established by Congress and enforced by the INS created bottlenecks for immigrants trying to achieve legal status.  Because the legal process was long and cumbersome, many abandoned trying to achieve citizenship, but stayed in the U.S. anyway.   

     In 1986, President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act which allowed illegal immigrants to apply for legal status, provided they paid fines and back taxes.  Three million illegals paid $185, vowed to learn to speak English and demonstrate good moral character.  In exchange, they were given a path to citizenship.  The unintended consequence of Reagan’s action was it encouraged more illegals to come to America.  The population of illegals has risen from 5 million in 1986 to an estimated 11.1 million today.  Three observations:

     First, America is under invasion.  What is happening at the southern border is not immigration, it’s invasion.  At least two million people are illegally entering the United States annually at the southern border.  The storming was triggered by President Biden.  In his first 100 days in office, Biden stopped the construction of the border wall, halted deportations, and cut border security funding.  The action resulted in a marked increase in illegal border crossings, creating not only a security crisis, but a health one as well. 

     Fentanyl is coming into the U.S. in record amounts.  According to the DEA, fentanyl is made by cartels in Mexico with chemicals from China.  Last year, the Border Patrol seized over 11,000 lbs of fentanyl at the border, which is equivalent to ½ million lethal doses.  Overdoses of fentanyl are now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45. 

     Second, President Biden should immediately secure the border.  He opened it with an Executive Order(EO) and it can be closed with an EO.  On Friday, Biden promoted a bipartisan Senate bill, authored by U.S. Senator James Lankford, (R-OK), that pairs southern border enforcement with Ukraine aid.  If the bill makes it through the Senate, it is not likely to go anywhere in the House.  Lankford has taken a lot of heat from Republicans for championing the bill.  He has urged lawmakers to refrain from passing final judgment on the bill until they see the actual text of the bill.  Lankford claims some conservative media are ‘spinning’ what is in the bill.  Former President Trump has attacked the bill and claims it is a gift to the Democrats.  Biden’s support of the Senate bill does raise a red flag since he ignored Congress back in 2021 when he created the current chaos by signing the EO. 

     Third, Texas isn’t waiting on the feds.  The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled 5-4 last week Texas had to remove razor wire from Shelby Park in Eagle Pass.  The park is a popular crossing spot for illegals from Mexico.   Governor Greg Abbott says Texas has a right to defend itself from invasion and defied the ruling.  Texas National Guard and state troopers continue to roll out wire and prevent federal agents from accessing the park.  Abbott has vowed to ‘hold the line.’  He has been applauded by every Republican governor in the country, including Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. 

     Kicking the illegal immigration issue down the road has been a bi-partisan practice.  Congress has been relucent to take on the hot button issue, so each president, from both Parties- via Executive Orders- has dictated America’s immigration policy.  It is past time for Congress to address immigration.  It’s a matter of national security.       

Sunday, January 21, 2024


 Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair


     Wasteful government spending is not new or a surprise.  The Heritage Foundation says the federal government has lost almost $2.4 trillion in simple payment errors over the last twenty years.  Improper/incorrect payments cost taxpayers $247 billion each year.  From 2011-2014, the late Senator Tom Coburn, (R-OK) published “The Wastebook.”  Coburn found taxpayers funded an $856,000 federal grant to train mountain lions to walk on treadmills.  During the war in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense erroneously bought $28 million dollars of forest camouflage uniforms to be used in the deserts of Afghanistan.  Opps! Squandering taxpayer money by not being a good steward is one thing, but when the government uses taxpayer money to attack political ideology and free speech, that’s something else.

     In February of 2023, the University of Rhode Island’s Media Education Lab (URIMEL) was awarded a $700,000 federal grant by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) counterterrorism program to use propaganda to attack conservatives.    “Propaganda can also be used for socially beneficial purposes,”  URIMEL’s grant application read.  “The U.S. has long made use of beneficial propaganda during WWI, WWII, and the Cold War.” 

     URIMEL has used the grant money to write blog posts attacking former President Donald Trump and his supporters.  They conduct seminars (Courageous RI) for the stated purpose of countering disinformation, enhancing civic participation and improving media literacy.  They used tax dollars to pay young people to post on social media attacking conservative policies.  Three observations:

     First, tax dollars used to attack free speech should be a non-partisan issue.  No matter what political ideology, all Americans should be outraged their government is using tax dollars to attack free speech.  In America, a fundamental basic right is for each citizen to have a right to their opinion/values/convictions.  Their view may be wrong in other’s eyes, but the right to be wrong should be respected.  URIMEL’s stated mission is to prevent rising violence and extremism in Rhode Island with authentic and respectful conversation.  But who determines what is extreme?  What is considered authentic, respectful conversation and who makes that judgment?  If it is the Party in power, then extremism changes with who is in charge. 

      Second, it is not government’s function to dispense propaganda.  In America, government’s job is to make laws, implement and execute those laws and adjudicate them as necessary.  Government’s purpose doesn’t include publicizing a particular political point of view, promoting a political cause, or attacking fellow American’s perspective.  Governing policies may contradict one another from administration to administration, but using taxpayer dollars to brainwash fellow citizens is improper. 

     Third, politics has become an echo chamber.  Americans live in an environment where they encounter only beliefs and opinions that coincide with their own.  Alternative views are never considered.  Graciously allowing someone to disagree with a viewpoint is considered weak and lacking in character.   People are placated and told what they want to hear by media and politicos.  Considering a differing view could be right is considered sacrilegious and inexcusable.  People who agree 80% of the time are political enemies because they focus on the 20%.  Nothing gets done because no one will concede any ground or barter. 

     Edmund Burke said, “All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.”  Compromise and barter are dirty words in modern American politics.

      Taxpayers should be up in arms tax dollars are being used to attack conservatives.  The URIMEL grant should be revoked/repealed/canceled and the DHS officials who approved it should be held accountable.  Those bureacrats are the extremists.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Many conservatives are tired of the drama!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     A recent Gallup poll found that 43% of adults in America identify as political independents.  This is a new high.  Those identifying as Republican or Democrat are at 27% each.  Those identifying as Democrat are at the lowest level ever.  More independents lean Republican than Democrat.  Gallup says the implications are the Democrats are in a weaker position in 2024 than they have been in recent election years.  They conclude the Parties need to nominate a candidate who can appeal to independent voters.  Politicos call those voters the mushy middle.  Because of the noise on both sides of the political spectrum, conventional wisdom is the mushy middle is shrinking, but apparently not.  Appealing to voters who are angry and believe allegiance is more important than objectivity is futile.  It’s those open-minded, ready to consider something without prejudice voter that sway elections- the swing voter.  Three observations:

     First, those in the middle are not always unprincipled.  They can be uniformed on an issue.  They can be very well informed on an issue.  Many just want personal freedom, individual responsibility and have a compassion for those in need.  Most all Americans- liberal or conservative- agree with those traditional Judeo- Christian ethics.   Why are those in the middle considered compromisers and accommodators by both liberals and conservatives until election time?  Because that is when the middle’s vote is needed.  Campaigns and candidates praise the mushy middle and say virtually anything in an attempt to get their vote.   

     Second, the middle represents the majority.  The Gallup results are not surprising.  Americans are fed up with their government.  Liberal thinkers don’t believe the country is liberal enough.  Conservatives believe America is too liberal.  The middle isn’t sure what they think.  They do recognize what is going on with their government isn’t working.  The majority of voters are fed up with politicians who promise and don’t deliver, ignore real issues, spend too much taxpayer money and will not admit failure- ever.  But those same midway Americans fail to see they get the government they deserve.  A Pew research poll several years ago found 75% of Americans do not actively engage in politics.  That is why the middle is branded mushy and pliable.  The middle is manipulated and exploited for political gain because they are the low information voter who can be persuaded with a clever ad or fancy mail piece.

     Third, staying in the middle is not a good strategy.  When you stay in the middle of the road, you can get run over.  Those in the middle should align with their core, fundamental values.  Most are principled people who aren’t afraid to take a stand in every other area of their life- except politics.  That is why they should take the stand.  Their laissez faire attitude might look objective, neutral and impartial, but it doesn’t result in good government.  Government by the people requires eternal vigilance.

    Saul Alinsky wrote a book in 1971 titled, “Rules for Radicals,” Alinsky outlined ten ways to artificially stimulate conflict and promote disunity to further a cause.   Both political Parties embraced those rules, resulting in polarization, strife, discord, and division within their ranks.  The mushy middle is growing and leaning more to the right because conservatives are tired of the drama.

Sunday, January 7, 2024


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) agreed this week to decide whether former President Donald Trump can be barred from the ballot.   The Colorado Supreme Court voted 4-3 to remove Trump from the primary ballot over his actions surrounding the January 6, 2021 Capitol incident.  In Maine, the Democratic secretary of state unilaterally made the decision to keep Trump off the ballot- a politically driven decision.    The SCOTUS will hear oral arguments February 8th on the Colorado case.  Both states cite the 14th amendment’s insurrection clause as justification for bumping the former president off the ballot.  Three observations:

     First, primary elections determine delegates, not the Party nominee.  Delegates determine the nominee.  Both major political Parties use a variety of presidential preference primaries and caucuses to bind delegates to their national nominating conventions.  Colorado, like Oklahoma, conducts their GOP presidential primary on March 5th- Super Tuesday.  Each state Party then uses the results of the primary to bind convention delegates to the results of the primary preference election.  That means a delegate can’t vote for whomever they want.  They are bound by Party rules and state law to cast their vote at the nominating convention for the candidate who won the primary. 

     During a caucus, participants gather at a meeting to discuss issues and debate among themselves.  They align themselves with a candidate and support tallied.  Those with the least amount of support are eliminated and their supporters are given the chance to realign themselves with one of the remaining candidates.   Caucuses attract enthusiastic, more engaged voters.  In contract to the simple and private act of marking a ballot in a primary, a caucus has more interaction with candidates and their passionate supporters.  A primary is inclusive of the general public- a caucus more exclusive.  Debates on which system is best have been raging for decades.  

     The Colorado GOP leadership has already announced they will move to a caucus system to determine their convention delegates if Trump’s name doesn’t appear on the March ballot.     

     Second, voters should determine Trump’s future, not the courts.  Liberals fear the former president is going to win and will do anything they can to prevent that.  They will go to any length to insure he is not elected, even violating the fundamental liberty of their fellow Americans to vote.  Trump is leading in the polls and is the front runner for the GOP nomination, but there are no guarantees in politics.  That is why elections are held. 

Trump’s legal team has argued that he personally did not take part in an insurrection and even if he had, the insurrection clause of the 14th does not apply to the presidency.  They claim ballot access and candidate eligibility determined by the courts would lead to nationwide disputes and ‘nebulous’ insurrection claims. 

     Third, use of the insurrection clause appears to be a misapplication of the 14th.  The 14th amendment was drafted after the Civil War.  Its’ purpose was to prevent Confederate elected officials/officers from seeking Congressional seats- people who had personally fought against the U.S.  Congress was charged with determining whether a person was eligible to seek office, not the courts.   Of the eight public officials who have been disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th, six were immediately after the Civil War.  The most recent use of it was when a New Mexico county commissioner was removed from office last year by a NM state court for his participation in the January 6th Capitol protest. 

     The Iowa caucuses are just a week away.  On Monday January, Republicans in the Hawkeye state will gather by precinct.  There are 1,678 total precincts in the state.  About 30% or 170,000 registered Republicans are expected to participate.  Iowa’s 40 delegates to the Republican National convention will be awarded to candidates on a proportional basis based on the caucus results. 

     Normally, the date of the Iowa caucuses are the date to watch in a presidential year, but the date to watch this cycle is February 8th when the SCOTUS hears arguments on Donald Trump’s ballot access eligibility.