Monday, May 18, 2015
Weekly Opinion Editorial
GEORGE IS A POLITICAL HACK!
by Steve Fair
George Stephanopoulos is the well-known anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America and the host of This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Many Americans may not remember that before he became the chief political anchor for ABC, George was one of President Bill Clinton’s top advisors. Stephanopoulos was the 1992 communication director for Slick Willie’s first presidential campaign. He, along with James Carville is prominently featured in the 1992 Clinton campaign documentary, The War Room. After Clinton was elected president, Stephanopoulos was given the title of Senior Advisor and given the office right next to the Oval Office. When he left the Clinton administration to become a broadcaster, he was replaced by Rahm Emanuel. Stephanopoulos is a graduate of Columbia with a BS in political science. He also has a Masters in Theology from Baliol College, a part of Oxford University. George is the son of a Greek Orthodox priest, Robert Stephanopoulos, who reportedly wanted his son to follow him into the priesthood, which is probably why George studied theology.
George left the Clinton administration shortly after Clinton was re-elected and joined ABC in early 1996. Roone Arledge, President of ABC said at the time: “Stephanopoulos is one of the best known and most articulate presidential advisers this country has ever seen. His vast knowledge of Washington politics and policy will be an enormous asset to ABC News.” ABC initially said he would not be used as an analyst and not report news or question guests. Because he was viewed as a partisan at that time, ABC said he would never question guests or report on politics. Stephanopoulos’ role was to be nothing but a commentator, but after nearly twenty years, George’s role changed at ABC. He became the face of the network and the chief political anchor.
On January 7, 2012, Stephanopoulos and Diane Sawyer co-moderated a Republican primary debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. There were six GOP candidates on the stage and during the debate; Stephanopoulos repeatedly asked Mitt Romney whether the former Massachusetts governor believed the U.S. Supreme Court should have overturned a 1965 ruling that a constitutional right to privacy bars states from banning contraception. Stephanopoulos would not accept Romney’s answer that it was ‘state’s rights’ issue and asked Romney nine questions on the issue. Romney finally said the question was, ‘preposterous.’ During the fall general election campaign, the Obama campaign used the question and Romney’s answer to imply Republicans were waging a ‘War on Women’ and wanted to ban contraception.
Last week it was revealed that George has given $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation during the time he was supposed to be a ‘nonpartisan’ at ABC. When it was discovered, George went on the air and apologized. “Over the last several years, I’ve made substantial donations to dozens of charities, including the Clinton Foundation. Those donations were a matter of public record, but I should have made additional disclosures on air when we covered the foundation,” Stephanopoulos said. What he didn’t reveal is that he not only gave the Clinton Foundation money, but he participated in three panel discussions sponsored by the Clintons- all while presenting himself as a neutral party in politics.
It has been reported that Stephanopoulos was pulled as moderator for a scheduled GOP debate in New Hampshire next year because of his ties to the Clintons, but that is simply not true. Reince Priebus said, “George Stephanopoulos was never going to moderate a Republican debate anyway. I’ve made it very clear, and I’ve made public statements about this, that the issue for me, even more so than the donation, was the fact that he worked for Bill and Hillary Clinton.”
The RNC has taken control of the Republican primary debate process. The days of using liberal moderators in Republican debates, whose sole goal is to embarrass GOP candidates and further the liberal cause are gone. There will be nine(9) sanctioned debates in the 2016 GOP primary with three other possible debates. The first debate is in August 2015 in Ohio and Gorgeous George will not be moderating any of them.
Stephanopoulos’ memoir is, “All too Human: A Political Education. The title most likely is a nod to Friedrich Nietzsche’s, “All too Human.” Nietzsche was a German philosopher in the late 1800s whose best known quote is that, “God is Dead.” But Nietzsche IS dead and most certainly rejected that philosphy shortly after breathing his last breath. Much of Nietzsche’s work is reveled in liberal circles. In his book, Stephanopoulos says , “ Í came to see how Clinton’s shamelessness is a key to his political success, how his capacity for denial is tied to the optimism that is his greatest political strength. He exploits the weaknesses of himself and those around him masterfully, but the taps his and their talents as well.” He loves the Clintons. Bill is his mentor.
Fact is, George Stephanopoulos is nothing short of a Hillary Clinton surrogate and a political hack. As long as ABC allows him to masquerade as an objective journalist, host political news shows and interview candidates, their creditability is questionable.
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Weekly Opinion Editorial
JADE HELM 15?
by Steve Fair
Jade Helm 15 is a large military exercise planned for this summer in seven(7) western states, including Texas. According to the U.S. Army website, Jade Helm is a multi-state training exercise taking place July 15 through Sept. 15 with members of U.S. Army Special Operations Command and service members from the military’s four branches. While the exercise is taking place across seven states, the Special Operations Forces are only training in five states: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.
The exercise has caused many to become concerned that President Obama is planning to declare martial law and use the military to keep the more conservative areas of the country in line. Social media and the internet is full of those who say the mere size of the exercise should be questioned. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm. “During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed,” Abbott said. The Pentagon has acknowledged this is the largest exercise of this type they have conducted. Some parts of the operational details have been disclosed, including the fact that there will be 1,200 troops participating, and according to CNN, "mainly Army Green Berets, but also a small group of Navy SEALS and Air Force special operations troops as well as conventional Army infantry." At a town hall meeting in Bastrop, Texas, Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria, said the exercises will helps soldiers adapt to unfamiliar territory, but critics say if the exercise were about the war in the Middle East, they would be conducted in the desert, not near populated areas.
After Wal-Mart shuttled three Supercenters, including one in Tulsa and one in Texas, there was speculation the stores were going to be used in the military exercise, perhaps as FEMA processing centers after martial law is declared. Wal-Mart has denied that is the case.
Martial law is the imposition of the highest-ranking military officer as the military governor or as the head of the government thus removing all power from the previous executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. It is usually imposed temporarily when the government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively (e.g., maintain order and security, or provide essential services). If President Obama declared martial law, he could theoretically suspend the constitutional rights of Americans until ‘order is restored.’
Walker Texas Ranger star Chuck Norris supports Abbott’s concern about Jade Helm 15. Norris said, “Concerned Texans and Americans are in no way calling into question our brave and courageous men and women in uniform. They are merely following orders. What’s under question are those who are pulling the strings at the top of Jade Helm 15 back in Washington. The U.S. government says, “It’s just a training exercise.” But I’m not sure the term “just” has any reference to reality when the government uses it.”
While it is unlikely that Obama will declare martial law and attempt to stay in office when his second term expires, the mere size, scope and objectives of Jade Helm 15 should concern Americans. It is certain that individual property rights are going to be violated. At the town hall meeting, Col. Lastoria said the exercise would be conducted on public and ‘private’ land with no compensation to land owners. That might be a little risky in Texas, even for heavily armed military types. Texans- or Oklahomans- don’t take too kindly to being told the government is going to use your land without your permission.
There are more questions than answers about the Jade Helm 15 exercise. Why is it so large? Why is it being conducted in specific geographic areas? What are the military Special Forces training for? The lack of information on the large scale operation fuels wild theories- or maybe not so wild theories? President Obama has proven he has little or no regard for the Constitution and the rule of law. That makes the conspiracy theorists not so unbelievable. At the very least, the public should have answers to these simple questions before Jade Helm 15 proceeds.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair
Uranium is a very heavy metal that is naturally radioactive. It is found in low concentrations( a few parts per million) in soil, rock, and surface and groundwater. Uranium in its pure form is a silver-colored metal nearly twice as dense as lead. Uranium was discovered in 1789 by Martin Klaproth, a German chemist. Kaproth named the new element after the planet Uranus. Thirty percent of the world’s uranium is in Australia; the United States has only four percent, Russia nine percent.
For many years, uranium was used primarily as a colorant in ceramic glazes, producing colors that ranged from orange-red to lemon yellow. It was also used for tinting in early photography. Its radioactive properties were not recognized until 1896, and its potential for use as an energy source was not realized until the middle of the 20th century. Today, its primary use is as fuel in nuclear power reactors to generate electricity. One ton of natural uranium can produce more than 40 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. This is equivalent to burning 16,000 tons of coal or 80,000 barrels of oil. There are currently 104 operating U.S. nuclear power plants using uranium as a fuel source that produce over 20 percent of U.S. electricity. Worldwide, there are 441 nuclear power plants that supply about 16 percent of the world's electricity. Uranium has numerous industrial uses in the health care and other industries. It also has military applications. The major application of uranium in the military sector is in high-density penetrator ammunition. Tank armor is hardened with depleted uranium plates. Highly enriched uranium can be used to construct an atomic bomb.
In 2003, the price of uranium was $10.75 per pound.. By mid 2006, the price had risen to approximately $45.00 per pound. The price peaked in 2007 when the price approached $100.00 per pound. The price today is around $39.00 per pound, but it has been up as of late(+11% in the last week) because Japan announced they were going to start using uranium to power their power plants.
In January 2013, the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, took over a Canadian company, Uranium One. The company has uranium mining operations throughout the world, including in the United States. The takeover gave the Russians 20% of the uranium being mined in the U.S. Uranium is considered a strategic asset in the U.S, with implications for national security, so the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, headed by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Shortly before the deal was completed, former President Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock. And after the deal was completed, money began to flow into the Clinton Foundation from several people who benefited from the sale.
Uranium One’s chairman, Canadian used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation and in total has donated $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with President Obama when she was being considered for Secretary of State to publicly identify all donors to the Clinton Foundation.
Even liberals are asking questions about these foreign donations. The New York Times did an exclusive story last week questioning the Clinton’s judgment in accepting donations from foreign governments. CBS is doing an investigative report. These are not the right wing news outlets. As they say, Hillary has some ‘plaining to do.’
Clinton Foundation spokesperson Molly Pally, admitted the Foundation had ‘mistakenly combined’ government grants with other donations. "Yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don't happen in the future," Pally said.Some liberals will try to make this just about the Clintons getting money and that Republicans are simply making a mountain out of a molehill. Money is certainly part of the issue. The Clintons are all about padding their own nest, whether it is charging outrageous speaking fees or getting insider trading information, but this goes far beyond money. This is about national security. This goes way beyond politics. Putin has made no secret of his desire for Russian to control the world’s uranium supply and you can bet he will not use it just for cleaner cheaper energy. Was there quid pro quo("something for something" in Latin)? America needs to know, particularly since Mrs. Clinton wants to be our next president.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Weekly Opinion Editorial
CLINTON HAS IMPRESSIVE RESUME,
BUT SHORT ON ACCOMPLISHMENTS!
by Steve Fair
On Sunday, Hillary Clinton announced she is a candidate for the Democrat Party’s nomination for President. It came as no surprise, since she has been hiring campaign staff and mapping strategy for quite some time. “I’m running for president,” she said with a smile near the end of two minute video. “Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion,” Mrs. Clinton said. “So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote — because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.” Clinton is the presumptive nominee of the Democrat party and leads VP Joe Biden in early polls 65% to 12% among primary voters. For those in the Republican Party who think that Clinton can’t win the presidency, consider the following: 53% of the voters in the 2012 election were women. Women turn out and vote. In the last eight presidential general elections, women have a higher turnout percentage than men. Hillary is touting her gender this time around, unlike when she ran against Obama in 2008. Women tend to vote more readily for women. Clinton has a built-in definitive advantage simply because of her gender. She also has the ability to raise massive amounts of money. It’s reported she plans to have a 2.5 billion dollar campaign budget. But while Hillary can win, she does have significant negatives.
First, a recent CNN polls showed the public don’t view her as “honest and trustworthy,” after it was revealed that she has used a personal email address and home-based server to conduct U.S. State Department business. Hillary’s excuse that she used one email account so that she could carry just one phone for ‘convenience,’ is inconsistent with what she said just two weeks ago. She is quoted as saying she now ‘carries two phones.’ Hillary also claims she didn’t send any classified information over her personal account during the years she was SOS, but that can’t be verified because she will not allow an independent examiner look at the server that stores her email because it also has Bill Clinton’s on it. Reportedly, Bill Clinton doesn’t use email at all, so that story is inconsistent.
Second, the killing of four Americans at the U.S. Embassy compound in Benghazi in 2012 while Clinton was Secretary of State is viewed very negatively by the general public. Clinton’s lack of a timely response to a request by the American ambassador for more security resulted in Congressional hearings where she was viewed as condescending and arrogant. That might play well with her base, but the general public saw her as heartless and dismissive to legitimate questions from members of Congress.
Third, Clinton’s political shelf life is close to expiration. If elected, Hillary would be 69 when inaugurated. That would be the same age Ronald Reagan was when he was first elected, but Hillary isn’t Reagan. She doesn’t have his charisma or communication skills. Reagan was in great physical shape for a man his age- Hillary has experienced numerous health issues. Younger voters are not going to be energized by Hillary and increasingly milleniums(voters between 18-26) are becoming a critical demographic to winning an election. Hillary isn’t ‘new’ and that is an important characteristic for a successful political candidate. She has been on the political scene for 25 years and that is an eternity in politics.
Fourth, Hillary is dull. She is boring. Of all her negatives, this may be the one that will hurt her the most. Her body movements are calculated and she shows little spontaneity. Her speech pattern is monotone. That is why Barack Obama was able to beat her in the 2008 primary. Being more engaging and fun is vital in today’s social media driven campaigns.Clinton has an impressive resume, but her list of actual accomplishments is short. Conversely, her list of scandals is long. Republicans have multiple candidates more qualified and trustworthy to be POTUS.
Monday, April 6, 2015
Weekly Opinion Editorial
GET THE AVERAGE GUY ENGAGED!
by Steve Fair
The November 2014 midterm elections had the lowest voter turnout in seventy two (72) years. Nationwide, only 36.4% of eligible voters bothered to go to the polls. That was down from 40.9% in the 2010 midterms. In Oklahoma 29.9% of the eligible voters cast their ballot in November 2014. That was down from 38.8% in 2010. Some legislators have proposed legislation that would expand voting opportunities in Oklahoma, by adding extra days to vote and voting electronically, but that’s not the answer to Oklahoma’s low voter turnout problem. Allow me to comment briefly;
First, the primary reason Oklahoma’s turnout was low in the general election is because the Oklahoma Republican Party dominated the 2014 elections. Over 70% of Republicans on the ballot in November won! That is staggering. Democrats did not even field candidates for three statewide races- State Auditor, Attorney General, and Treasurer. That was historic! In the statewide races that were contested, Republicans won easily. Many legislative and county officer races across the Sooner state were decided in the primary, thereby negatively affecting turnout in the general election. Until the Oklahoma Democrat Party regroups and begin to field competitive candidates, they will give little reason for Oklahoma Democrats to vote. No legislation, expansion of voting hours, or easing of registration will fix the basic issue; there were no competitive races.
Second, voter apathy is a record level. Young and old people are just not participating in the political process for a variety of reasons. They don’t see any real purpose in voting because there is never a significant change no matter who wins an election. That lack of change reinforces their apathetic attitude and the cycle continues. Conservatives campaign on conservative issues, but never follow-up after being elected. Liberals do the same thing. It’s the old ‘bait and switch’ trick. We will never get young people engaged until they truly see that government impacts their lives. They have to see elected officials are not leaders of society, but servants of society. They must understand the government has no money other than what the taxpayer gives it. Apathy is a hard cycle to break and no amount of prodding or education will work until the politics becomes personal. Until a person becomes painfully aware that a decision by government has negatively impacted their life or pocketbook, they will likely just ignore government. The reason the ‘average guy’ is never heard from by elected officials is because he is too busy working and raising his family. He doesn’t have time to go to the Capitol to lobby his elected officials. He doesn’t care who they are, could care less about getting his picture made with some politician or attending some high dollar fundraiser. He just wants the government to leave him alone. Those are the people who should be involved in politics- the average guys, not the political groupies, lobbyists, activists, and hacks who live and breath politics. The average guys are the backbone of America. If the average guys ever rise up in mass, watch out, because they are about results, not spin.
Third, an ‘unintended consequence’ of the low voter turnout in November will be a reduction in the number of signatures needed to get an initiative petition on the ballot. Oklahoma’s state constitution says a state question can be placed on the ballot if signature totaling 15% of the total number who voted in the Governor’s race can be gathered. The required number was reduced after November from 155,000 to 122,000. That is still a high threshold, but its 21% less than it was. It is time to consider an initiative petition calling for recall elections in Oklahoma. Term limits for elected officials reveal a weakness in accountability to voters and a need for recall. If a person knows they are not going to face voters ever again, they can pretty much do whatever they want. Some termed out legislators have commented to that effect. Lame ducks have no risk, because they are done facing voters. If a termed out elected official thought they might face recall, it might keep them on the reservation throughout their term. Recall is needed to maintain accountability.