The Edmond Sun


June 21, 2013

HEY HINK: Coincidence? Don’t think so

EDMOND — Like it or not, coincidence is the mother of suspicion. This, of course, is the main source of oxygen that fuels the flaming fervor of conspiracy theorists of all stripes. Any two events occurring in relative proximity can be connected by a series of imaginary dots to create the impression they’re really related in some meaningful way.

But, then there are times when two apparently unconnected situations really are part of a unified whole we can’t see until someone connects the dots for us.

Let’s take a look at a couple of situations and consider whether they’re connected or whether they’re just an odd coincidence.

The first is the IRS program of obstructing the efforts of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election. No need to rehash all the details here. A brief summary will do for our purposes.

In 2010, the United States Supreme Court issued the Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Commission decision recognizing the First Amendment free-speech rights of corporations, associations and trade unions.

Thereafter, conservative and liberal groups around the country applied for tax-exempt status in order to facilitate issue-advocacy campaigns. The Internal Revenue Service initiated a plan of delay and intimidation targeting conservative groups. This plan prevented many of those groups from fully participating in the 2012 election process. Most of us had no idea this was going on at the time.

What most of us did know, however, was that during this time there appeared to be an effort to discourage or prevent members of America’s military from voting in the election. Recall that members of the Armed Forces voted mostly Republican in the 2008 election. Recall also that the Military and Overseas Empowerment Act mandated that voting centers be set up in most military installations to assist service people in securing and submitting absentee ballots.

However, in the weeks leading up to the election, the Military Voter Protection Project released figures showing that military applications for absentee ballots declined by as much as 70 percent. This drop-off in applications appeared to be most dramatic in battleground states, particularly Virginia, Ohio and Florida.

Review of the situation revealed that “voting assistance offices” on military installations were frequently moved to new locations without adequate notice of the location change. Some of the relocated facilities were situated in difficult-to-find places which created frustration, difficulty and disappointment in many who were ultimately unable to secure or submit absentee ballots.

A Department of Defense Inspector General conducted an investigation into the situation and determined that the statutorily mandated voter assistance offices were not operating “as intended.”

There was, of course, a chorus of denials insisting the precipitous decline in military applications for absentee ballots didn’t result from an orchestrated attempt to discourage service people from voting. The drop-off in applications was merely “coincidence.” While many of us were aware of and alarmed by the situation, we were in the dark concerning contemporaneous complaints that conservative groups were also encountering official obstructions.

When “Obama for America,” the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party joined forces to sue Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine challenging the Ohio statute facilitating military absentee voting, the challengers insisted they didn’t intend to water down Ohio’s military vote. Any such impact would be, simply coincidental.

Let’s review the series of coincidences. It was merely a coincidence that conservative groups were the victims of gross bureaucratic meddling. It was purely coincidental that government offices established to assist America’s military personnel in casting absentee ballots were not doing their job. It was an unfortunate coincidence that the challenge to Ohio’s statute relative to military absentee voting reduced the number of service people casting ballots. If the combined effect of these coincidences was to reduce the number of conservatives and service people voting, and if those numbers assisted in re-electing the President, we marvel at such a series of odd coincidences.

If, instead, these facts are indicative of a shameful and successful scheme to manipulate the electoral process, the damage is not confined to our borders.

We must face the fact our enemies are on constant lookout for evidence that the United States is weakening. Any support we voluntarily furnish in this regard aids and abets their cause.

At this very moment, our President is planning to enter talks with men determined to bring America to its knees. Unless this country rededicates itself to the peoples’ rights and the sanctity of honest government, it won’t be a coincidence if our enemies wind up with the upper hand.

I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

MIKE HINKLE is a retired attorney and Edmond resident.

Text Only
  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • RedBlueAmerica: What should the U.S. do about illegal immigrant children?

    The crisis along the southern U.S. border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all.
    President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in borrowed money from taxpayers to cover the growing “care, feeding and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups” when our own veterans are not taken care of. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized the president’s plan, saying more money should go toward securing the border.

    July 17, 2014

  • VA scandal highlights the need to change Pentagon spending priorities

    The ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal raises an important question: When our veterans are being denied access to basic health care, why is the Pentagon squandering billions of dollars on programs that do not benefit our military forces? Is there a link in organization attitudes?

    July 16, 2014

  • For better politics, it’s time for some raging moderates

    Like more than 20 percent of my fellow Californians, I am now classified as a no-party-preference voter, registered to vote but with no affiliation to any of the state’s political parties.
    I am for lower taxes and for marriage equality. I am tough on crime and I am anti-abortion. I believe that a pathway to citizenship is a necessary part of immigration reform and that student test scores should be a critical component of teacher evaluations.

    July 15, 2014

  • Father on mission to stop gun violence

    Since his son died six weeks ago as collateral damage to a troubled young man’s wish for vengeance, Richard Martinez has been asked whom he holds responsible.
    “I’m responsible,” the California lawyer answers, referring to most Americans’ failure to push harder to change gun laws after earlier mass shootings. “All those kids died and none of us did anything.”

    July 14, 2014


If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
     View Results