Nicholas Lamons is charged in his mother’s fire death.
A teen murder suspect admitted setting the Morgan County fire that killed his mother and sent two others to the hospital, court records state.
Nicholas Lamons, 16, is charged in the Tuesday-morning fire death of his mother, 32-year-old Kimberly Lamons, at their Alabama 67 home in the Joppa area.
“Nicholas was located a short time later asleep in the van in Somerville,” Investigator Jeff Reynolds wrote in an arrest affidavit. “Nicholas was questioned and admitted that he had started a fire in his bedroom prior to leaving the residence. Nicholas also stated that he came back by the house a short time later and saw the trailer burning but did not make an effort to notify anyone.”
Former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama is trying to raise money by pointing to the Pulitzer Prize that The Washington Post won for its investigation of him.
In a Friday fundraising email to supporters, Moore’s legal defense fund, said The Post won for “lies and slander.” The email sent by the Moore for U.S. Senate Legal Defense Fund then asked for people to help replenish his legal fund.
The Post won a Pulitzer for investigative reporting for its stories revealing allegations that Moore pursued teenage girls sexually decades ago while he was in his 30s. Moore denied any misconduct.
Birmingham is going after another Democratic National Convention, but the city says this time the committee asked to make a pitch.
Last month, the Democratic National Committee reached out to Mayor Randall Woodfin about the city applying to host the 2020 convention.
In a statement to WBRC, Mayor Woodfin says he’s considering applying.
“We are very excited that the Democratic National Committee has recognized the City of Birmingham as an attractive, possible site for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Such recognition shows how much progress our city is making when we receive these kinds of unsolicited invitations,” Woodfin said.
"Frontier Airlines will begin direct flights from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on April 11, the airline announced today. Frontier Airlines will start by offering direct service to Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia from Birmingham. Introductory prices will start at $39."
"At 87, Clint Eastwood is not only trying new things, he’s trying daring new things, and his new film 15:17 to Paris represents one of the most audacious gambits of his career. To dramatize the tale of three Americans who tackled and subdued a heavily armed Islamist terrorist on a train out of Amsterdam in 2015, Eastwood cast the young men, none of whom had professional acting experience, as themselves. It’s a decision with little precedent in the entire history of motion pictures."
“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria.’ We convinced him it was necessary to stay.”
Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday, adding, “We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term.”
Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian civil war “for the long term”?
If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons would not again be used by Bashar Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.
Translation: Whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump’s commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is “inoperative.”
The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy. Monday’s Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans:
“The better U.S. strategy is to … turn Syria into the Ayatollah’s Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves.”
Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.
But suppose that, as in our Civil War of 1861-1865, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, Assad and his Russian, Iranian and Shiite militia allies go all out to win and reunite the nation.
Suppose they choose to fight to consolidate the victory they have won after seven years of civil war. Where do we find the troops to take back the territory our rebels lost? Or do we just bomb mercilessly?
The British and French say they will back us in future attacks if chemical weapons are used, but they are not plunging into Syria.
Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a “one-shot” deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: “The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will.”
The Journal’s op-ed page Monday was turned over to former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon: “Next time the U.S. could up the ante, going after military command and control, political leadership, and perhaps even Assad himself. The U.S. could also pledge to take out much of his air force. Targets within Iran should not be off limits.”
And when did Congress authorize U.S. acts of war against Syria, its air force or political leadership? When did Congress authorize the killing of the president of Syria whose country has not attacked us?
Can the U.S. also attack Iran and kill the ayatollah without consulting Congress?
Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.
We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush’s war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMD.
The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.
But where is the evidence for this?
What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?
As for Trump’s statement Friday, “No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East,” the Washington Post Sunday dismissed this as “fatalistic” and “misguided.”
We have a vital interest, says the Post, in preventing Iran from establishing a “land corridor” across Syria.
Yet consider how Iran acquired this “land corridor.”
The Shiites in 1979 overthrew a shah our CIA installed in 1953.
The Shiites control Iraq because President Bush invaded and overthrew Saddam and his Sunni Baath Party, disbanded his Sunni-led army, and let the Shiite majority take control of the country.
The Shiites are dominant in Lebanon because they rose up and ran out the Israelis, who invaded in 1982 to run out the PLO.
How many American dead will it take to reverse this history?
How long will we have to stay in the Middle East to assure the permanent hegemony of Sunni over Shiite?
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”
Are there racists? Of course, and where they are found, the label should indeed apply. The Alt-Right’s Richard Spencer is a racist. So is Jared Taylor.
But you’re not a racist if you believe our country should have borders. Or if you support law enforcement. Or if you believe in school choice.
Calling you a racist for supporting those things is the left’s attempt at shutting off debate and banishing those who advocate for such ideas.
Is there fake news? Of course, and just like the word “racist,” when it’s found, the label should apply. Dan Rather’s infamous story about George W. Bush’s record in the Air National Guard is a perfect example. It wasn’t true.
But news isn’t fake if it’s simply something you don’t like or would rather not hear. Or if it challenges your perspectives. Or if it, heaven forbid, says something unflattering about the president.
A racist is someone who actually hates people of another color and wishes them ill. Most people called ‘racist’ today are nothing of the sort.
Fake news means the story is a total fabrication. A lie. Complete fiction. Most stories called ‘fake news’ are also nothing of the sort.
In both cases, people making the charge simply want to delegitimize their opponent’s argument rather than make the mental and emotional effort to challenge their ideas.
The casualty of such total weakness is not just words, but thought itself.
As our fellow Alabamian Helen Keller wrote in her memoir, she wasn’t able to really think until words entered her mind that day at the water pump.
For some reason the popular consensus in Alabama politics is that now-Governor Kay Ivey single-handedly killed the Alabama’s Prepaid Affordable College Tuition in cold-blood. That would be impressive if it were true, but it is not. But this is politics, and sometimes the ends justify the means. Ivey’s opponent, Mayor Tommy Battle of Huntsville is seizing on this widespread perception with a new attack on Governor Ivey:
As many of you know, Kay Ivey continues to refuse to debate me. All Alabamians deserve to hear what our vision and plans are for the state. I personally reached out to her to try to coordinate schedules but heard nothing back. So, I thought we’d put together a series of videos to give Alabamians a taste of what a debate might look like. Here are our views on the Alabama budget. Watch and share. #BattleforGovernor
Why this matters: Alabama’s Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program was not prepaid, affordable, nor did it cover college tuition. It was a boondoggle passed in 1989 (14 years before Ivey entered public office) that did not take into account tuition hikes, stock market fluctuations, reality, or Alabama’s lack of unicorns. If everything worked perfectly, every child involved would be GUARANTEED a paid-in-full college tuition when it started. This was in the original plan, the guarantee was removed in 1995 (8 years before Ivey was Treasurer) from all the documents, and in 2001 (2 years before Ivey was Treasurer) state law was explicitly changed. The market proceeded to tank, the dollars were lost, and the program was busted. Ivey was at the helm when this happened, but is it her fault? Not unless you blame her for the Great Recession.
The most legitimate gripe that anyone can level at Ivey over the PACT is that she continued to push people towards this collapsing Ponzi scheme in order to keep it going, but the collapse was not her fault.
Does this suck? Yes. Is it terrible? Yes. Were real people hurt? Of course.
Paul Ryan is understandably ‘bone-tired’ — but I do wish he could stay
(Speaker P. Ryan/FB)
Listen to the 10 min audio
Read the transcript:
WHY IS SPEAKER RYAN STEPPING DOWN: PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY?
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, last week, Paul Ryan decided he would call it quits and that he would not run for reelection — he would step down as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
I want to take you to two articles. One, out of The Christian Post, which really dealt with the personal reasons Ryan said he was leaving, that being he said, “My kids aren’t getting any younger. If I stay, they’ll only know me as a weekend dad.” His children were all born after he was elected to Congress and now they’re teenagers.
The Politico story took a little bit of a different slant, saying that the 48-year-old Paul Ryan said the thing that bothers him most in today’s political climate is identity politics.
DR. REEDER: I will confess, while not always agreeing with Speaker Ryan, I have been an admirer and been grateful for his presence there and I am sad to see him leave. Of course, he’s, first of all, more than anything else a husband and a father. His children were born after he was elected and they’re now up into his teenage years. I’m grateful that he has made the commitment and has stuck to it to go home on the weekend and has done so — did not get a place to live and stay in Washington, went back every weekend.
Secondly, of course, there are some reasons in terms of the political landscape. Paul Ryan said he is “bone-tired” of dealing with — what he called — identity politics and that is playing out
WHAT IS THE TONE OF THE NATION AND GOVERNMENT HE IS LEAVING BEHIND?
Clearly, there are two movements taking place right now, not only in our nation but internationally. One is the incessant movement toward the sovereignty of the state in socialism that, initially, embraces the sovereignty of the state as the messiah and deliverer of the culture, but has an incessant drumbeat of a globalist view.
And so, this globalist movement, in the corporate world and in the political world, is being met by a reactionary nationalist movement. We’re seeing the nationalist movement in Britain in the Brexit vote, we see it in Scotland in the continued votes for their independence and I think you saw it in the election of President Trump, which was a similar Populist movement. And neither sees compromise with the other as either desirable or permissible.
SPEAKER RYAN, YOU ARE RIGHT THAT SOMETHING HAS BEEN LOST
What I would say to Speaker Ryan is that underneath that has been the loss of a consensus of what makes American culture and the values that you would embrace, by which all movements would have been filtered, read and addressed. And we have lost that undergirding prism through which you look at these movements and address the movements and to which the various proponents of the movements would come together because of a greater ideal in the agreed virtues and values of the nation.
Because that’s been lost, now these two movements, the Populist movement which seems to be taking over the Republican Party and the tactics of pragmatism — no longer any sense of virtue in the leaders, no longer any sense of virtue in the tactics — but pragmatism in the ends justify the means.
And then, on the other side, of course, is the incessant movement to the globalist position and promoting socialism as the religion of the day. The cultural elite have embraced it and they want to eradicate anything that stands against it and, certainly, Christianity, which says that the state and the economic system is not the messiah — there is a Messiah and that’s the One who went to the cross to die for our sins and would change our lives.
Now, from that foundation, let’s debate what is good public policy. Christians need to think their way through this because, on the one hand, I hear Christians say, “Well, President Trump, look at the Supreme Court justice, look at the deregulation.” There is a gratefulness for policy and legislative and deregulation initiatives that would be in line with a Christian world and life view.
COMPROMISE IN THE ELECTION DOES NOT MEAN COMPROMISE ALWAYS
And then many evangelical Christians are almost making the bargain, “Well, since you’re doing that, we will be silent about tactics that are not only distasteful but wrong.” You can argue that an evangelical was put between a rock and a hard place in terms of the last election: “Do I vote for Trump with all of my concerns about tactics, and character, and marriage, etc. or do I vote for Hillary Clinton who is going to take tax money and embed the genocide of the unborn — moves forward with infanticide and has declared the support of infanticide — and then moves forward to active euthanasia, and is a globalist, and is a socialist and is moving even further left on all those? How can I possibly vote for someone who is going to murder the unborn?”
Okay, you can understand that sense, but what the evangelical can’t do is make a bargain that means I’ll be quiet on the verbal sins and moral sins, lest those, unconfronted, now become embedded within the culture.
That’s what Paul Ryan is faced with. He’s bone-tired of dealing with it, so he’s going to go home and work on his family, work within his state, but here’s what we have to understand. We look at a guy like Paul Ryan as an emotional casualty to this. Politically, he was able to be reelected and his seat was not in jeopardy, but he’s just tired. He didn’t even want to be the Speaker — he was drafted to be the Speaker — and I think he knew that this day was coming if he became the Speaker and it has come and so he’s stepping down.
I simply say, “I wish you could stay in.” I think he brings a certain demeanor and a certain understanding that tactics must match the noble ends of policy and that the end does not justify the means — the means must be appropriate to the end that’s desired.
THIS POLARIZATION IS INDICATIVE OF CULTURE SHIFT
Politicians and politics affect our culture, but what you need to understand even more is that politicians elected and every election is a reflection of the culture. Take a look at who we’re losing from the offices and who are going into the offices and realize that, once a person is elected, we have a responsibility to appropriately support them. When they declare good legislation and policies, let’s support it and, when they use wrong tactics, we must oppose those tactics. You can support the policy but oppose the tactics.
And whenever there is the attempt to normalize immorality in any form — whether it’s verbal, sexual, emotional, whatever form of embracing that which stands against God’s gracious commandments, we must not be silent. And, when we have politicians who attempt to enact both policy and use appropriate tactics at the same time, we cannot become pragmatists.
The Republican Party is moving in a Populist direction and increasingly embracing pragmatism — “If you get the policies in, we’ll wink at the tactics and lifestyle that you are embracing” — and the Democratic Party is clearly going left, and embracing the culture of death, and embracing policies of death and embracing the sovereignty of the state, in particular, and a globalist position corporately and politically, in general. That is leading the nation, those two parties.
CHRISTIANS MUST PROVIDE A GODLY AND MEASURED PERSPECTIVE IN POLITICS
Somewhere, there has to be the voices of those who say, “We want good policy, but we want it brought forward in a virtuous manner and we are appreciative of and embrace the nation state, the ethnos as declared in the Bible. We embrace it by, first of all, bringing the Gospel to every nation and we reject the policies of death, we embrace policies of life and we demand that those who produce the policies of life produce them in a way that honors the virtues of life as affirmed by God’s creation law and in His revealed law.
Therefore, with a Gospel movement of the hearts and lives of men and women from the grassroots up and electing officials who bring beneficial public policy in a manner that is honorable, then we could see a liberty under law because a nation is seeking the providential blessings of God.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.
Alabama gov’t is hindering the employment of its own skilled citizens
Dennis Gamble (API)
Sometimes the government tells us no.
I’m not allowed to sit in the Oval Office and watch President Trump mull over Fox and Friends, ready to Tweet at a moment’s notice. I (begrudgingly) accept that. I also can’t read classified intelligence briefings or call a special session of the Alabama Legislature. I could ask, but I’m quite sure I’d be told no.
Even so, in the United States, especially when compared to other nations, the government tells us no relatively rarely.
Mr. Gamble hails from Gardendale and has, for decades, kept up his certified blasters license, regularly paying the renewal fee so that he would be allowed to work.
Mr. Gamble started his involvement in the mining, coring, and construction industry 40 years ago. As a certified blaster, he oversaw many demolition projects that involved dynamite and other explosives. Although he began working as a blaster before the state regulated the occupation, he is no stranger to the testing and certification required before being allowed to work.
In fact, Mr. Gamble, along with others in the industry, was one of the original backers of state regulation. He even helped write the tests and determine what the qualifications of a blaster should be in the state.
While Mr. Gamble wasn’t always earning a living as a blaster, he kept up his license year after year—paying $100 a year for twenty years—because he wanted to be able to work when an opportunity presented itself. He looked forward to working occasionally in retirement on an as-needed basis, supervising different projects from time to time.
Unfortunately, however, Mr. Gamble was recently denied his renewal, in his words, “not because of any problems they had with me, but just because I didn’t have a job.”
The problem is that, to be hired, a blaster needs the state’s approval, and to have the state’s approval, a blaster must be employed. Therefore, by revoking Mr. Gamble’s 21st renewal request, the state effectively removed any possibility of Mr. Gamble working as a blaster again.
That’s not all.
Mr. Gamble sent three blasters-to-be to the state-approved, weeklong training at Bevill State Community College in Walker County. After passing the tests and fulfilling all the requirements, they, unfortunately, were told they could not receive their license for the same reason that Mr. Gamble could not renew his—unemployment.
This situation and the reasoning behind these rejections are clearly illogical. Unfortunately, the very regulation that Mr. Gamble helped create warped into a ban on pursuing work in the industry he knows better than almost anyone.
Problems with occupational licensing laws are commonplace. As I have argued before, when both the Obama and Trump administrations agree on something, it’s time to get to work.
Alabama spends millions of dollars in tax incentives luring big business to the state, hoping for job creation and economic development as a result. Simultaneously, the state government is hindering the reasonable employment of its own skilled citizens, effectively choosing winners and losers.
Something is wrong with this picture.
Nevertheless, there are obviously occupations that need oversight, as Mr. Gamble argues himself about blasters.
Any discussion about reforming occupational licensing, therefore, must be holistic in nature, allowing both the existence of licensing and the actual, minute, details of the regulations to be questioned in light of two priorities—public safety and individual freedom to work.
Parker Snider is Manager of Policy Relations for the Alabama Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to strengthening free enterprise, defending limited government, and championing strong families.
Move over, Trump Derangement Syndrome. Another unhinged liberal pathology is back:
Perhaps, in the interest of public health, the CDC should launch a weekly C-F-A-P surveillance report to map the recurrence of this culturally infectious disease. Early-onset symptoms include fear of pressure-cooked poultry, allergic reaction to waffle potato fries and an irrational hatred of cow costumes. Anti-Christian prejudice and coastal elitism are common comorbidities associated with this debilitating progressive condition.
Ground zero for the latest outbreak? The headquarters of The New Yorker magazine. This week’s issue online features the bigoted lament of writer Daniel Piepenbring, who decries the fast-food chain’s “creepy infiltration” of the Big Apple and warns against the company’s “pervasive Christian traditionalism.” Chick-fil-A opened its fourth location in the city last month. The largest franchise in the country, it seats 140, employs 150, and along with the other NYC locations, donates an estimated 17,000 pounds of food to a local pantry for the homeless and hungry. The company is reportedly on track to become the third-largest fast-food chain in the world.
A private business succeeding in the marketplace based on its merits, without coercion or cronyism.
An enterprise that values hard work, honesty and integrity.
A family-owned American Dream come true that creates jobs, pays taxes, satisfies customers of all backgrounds and gives back to the community.
Horror of horrors, what menaces these sandwich-sellers of faith be!
Chick-fil-A’s corporate mission to “glorify God” and “enrich the lives of everyone we touch” leaves The New Yorker scribe terminally heartsick about the “ulterior motive” of its restaurant execs. So do the founding family’s commitments to faithful marriages, strong families, Sundays off and the highest standards of character for their employees. The frightened New Yorker critic is especially perturbed by the “Bible verses” enshrined at Chick-fil-A’s Atlanta headquarters and by the restaurant’s popular bovine mascots — which he dubs “morbid” and the “ultimate evangelists” — whose ubiquity on New York billboards and subway corridors is akin to a “carpet bombing.”
Notice, by the way, how these hysterical Chick-fil-a-phobes have no qualms about the success of Jewish-owned delis or the spread of Muslim halal food shop operators in New York City who openly pay tribute to their faiths. Imagine a reporter freaking out over Quran verses or Torah citations hung up on a business owner’s wall. Welcome to Social Justice 101, where discriminating against Christian-owned business in the name of opposing discrimination is the definition of tolerance.
We’ve been here before, of course. It was a liberal activist reporter and gay marriage advocate at The New York Times, Kim Severson, who helped launch the first nationwide witch hunt against Chick-fil-A in 2011. The former vice president of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association used her straight-news platform to invoke fear of “evangelical Christianity’s muscle flexing” and spread false and libelous attacks on Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy and his family as “anti-gay.” Her propagandizing in the radical rag of record helped stoke boycotts and regulatory crackdowns by pandering Democrat Mayors Thomas Menino in Boston, Rahm Emanuel in Chicago, and New York City’s Bill de Blasio.
Ultimately, those media-manufactured efforts to stifle Chick-fil-A’s free enterprise and First Amendment rights failed. The company’s products have proved irresistible to customers on all sides of the political spectrum. Gastronomical satisfaction trumps anti-Christian zealotry and zealous anti-Trumpism.
And that’s what chaps the thin hides of the far-left journalists at The New York Times and The New Yorker who choke at the sights and smells of good, old-fashioned capitalism.
If leftists only want to eat and drink at a global fast-food company whose progressive CEO shares their Democrat-supporting, gun-grabbing, open-borders, gay marriage-boosting values, they should stick to Howard Schultz’s Starbucks cafes.
Michelle Malkin is host of “Michelle Malkin Investigates” on CRTV.com.
— Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) are constantly floating the idea that Moore is a dominant force in Alabama politics in spite of losing an election any other Republican would have won because Republicans stayed home.
— Moore’s 640,000 votes under-performed Trump’s 1.3 million votes in 2016 by roughly 50 percent, while now-Senator Doug Jones turned out more than 90 percent of Hillary Clinton’s votes.
Today the State of Alabama, on behalf of its citizens, will strap convicted murderer Walter Leroy Moody to a table, stick a needle in his arm and then pump a series of poisons into his bloodstream until he’s dead.
First, if you support the death penalty, then lethal injection is hardly retribution (it’s painless) and it’s not much of a deterrence (it’s hidden from view). It may be justice in a procedural sense, but killing someone is usually about more than just law enforcement.
Second, if you’re against the death penalty, the citizens don’t have to face the reality of what their state is doing (again, it’s hidden) nor the gruesomeness of the act (again, it’s painless and oddly sterile).
That’s why, for these reasons and more, the State of Alabama should bring back public executions — hangings, firing squads or even the guillotine.
That would sure focus our minds a bit more on what’s happening, like it or not.
The man being put to death today is guilty. Moody used pipe-bombs in 1989 to murder U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Vance Sr. of Mountain Brook and civil rights attorney Robert E. Robertson of Georgia. Vance’s wife was also seriously injured in the blast.
Moody is a convicted domestic terrorist and a murderer, no different than those we’ve locked up at Git’mo. He not only murdered our fellow citizens, he attacked our nation by targeting its justice system. Case closed.
Alabamians overwhelmingly support the death penalty for such crimes. I didn’t even need to cite any polls or surveys to write that — it’s self-evident.
And while our Christian faith teaches that God will forgive Moody for his sins, our human need for retribution will demand execution just as our human need for mercy will seek commutation.
But as long as we’re “administering capital punishment” behind closed doors in dystopian “Giver”-like sterility, neither cause will be served.
Actress Charlize Theron becomes the latest Hollywood flight risk
Charlize Theron recently became part of the elite group of Hollywood actors who have publicly considered leaving the United States because they don’t like the president, or because the country’s previously unrealized dark side has been exposed.
In an interview with Chelsea Handler published byEllelast week, Theron offered some analysis of “our current climate” and what she might do as a response to it:
Being raised during the apartheid era in South Africa made me so hyperaware of equality and human rights. Of course, I have two black kids, but that was always something I was passionate about. I don’t even know how to talk about the last year under our new administration. But racism is much more alive and well than people thought. We can’t deny it anymore. We have to be vocal. There are places in this country where, if I got a job, I wouldn’t take it. I wouldn’t travel with my kids to some parts of America, and that’s really problematic. There are a lot of times when I look at my kids and I’m like, If this continues, I might have to [leave America]. Because the last thing I want is for my children to feel unsafe.
Theron was tied with Emma Watson as the 6th highest paid actress of 2017, making $14 million. She and her children are extremely privileged. She can assure special protections for her children that 98 percent of Americans can’t, and yet she “might have to leave” so that her children feel safe.
Theron’s analysis of the administration and the current climate is highly debatable, but she nevertheless expresses a view shared by millions of non-millionaire Americans.
Her remedy, however, is elitism in its grossest manifestation.
If you’re rich, you can just flee your problems. That’s what Theron communicates.
It’s hard to tell how seriously Theron is actually considering leaving America, but even entertaining the notion demonstrates how insulated she is from normal life and how removed she is willing to be from solving the problems that she poses.
Can we all stop talking about Roy Moore? The ALGOP dismissed him
Roy Moore is no longer a thing. Republicans need to understand this, Democrats need to understand this, and the media need to come to grips with this. There are zero LEGITIMATE reasons to be asking Republican candidates if they supported Roy Moore in the 2017 Senate race. They did. They all did. The only reason this keeps coming up is so the media can imply Republican candidates supported a “child molester” for U.S. Senate. Here’s recent Pulitzer Prize winner John Archibald’s question at the latest debate in Birmingham:
“And there were many people in and outside the party who said that they would support [Roy Moore] no matter whether the accusations were true or not because politics was more important than that. What is your reaction to that and did you support Roy Moore?”
Why this matters: This is not a question for a debate, this is a narrative being created. No one thinks these men might not have voted for Roy Moore. There were not “many” people who said they would support Roy Moore EVEN if he did the things he was accused of. That’s inaccurate — there were a few. Almost all of Moore’s voters didn’t believe the reports … why? Because they don’t trust the media. Again, largely, Moore’s voters did not believe the accusations. Voters in the room shouted out that “we are passed that” and “Roy Moore is not here”, but Archibald doesn’t care because he is crafting his post-primary narrative in which whoever the GOP nominee is, they will be representing the party of Roy Moore, even though the reason Moore lost is that most Republicans stayed home. Roy Moore’s loss in 2017 was not an embrace of Roy Moore; it was a rejection.
DONALD TRUMP TIES HIS SYRIAN ACTION TO PAST PRESIDENTS AND ACTIONS
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, last Saturday morning, we all awoke to the news that the U.S. had led an attack on alleged Syrian chemical weapon facilities. Harry, the big question now is what’s next? Where do we go from here?
DR. REEDER: Well, it was interesting to hear the administration’s comment. It seemed like they were intentionally hearkening back to the two previous presidential administrations. First, as it was stated, this is a president who when he draws a red line and says there will be consequences, does inflict those consequences and then, secondly, after it was done, President Trump said “Mission accomplished.”
And those two phrases are so embedded now into the media culture. “Yes, if I do draw a red line, there will be consequences and this is an example. In other words, I’m not going to say there’s a red line and there’ll be consequences and then erase the line and have no consequences when the line had been crossed.”
And then, secondly, “Mission accomplished,” may have been a way to say, “Actually, this was the mission. I don’t have a mission beyond this. The mission was to take out the three chemical factories and the mission’s now accomplished by Great Britain, France and the United States.”
WHY DID WE GET INVOLVED IN DOMESTIC ISSUES IN SYRIA?
Many are responding negatively, “This is a sovereign nation and we don’t have a right to do this. American interests are not at stake.” Well, I would say to my Christian friends who say this on this issue that is an echo of the 1930s. You have Adolf Hitler invading Poland, literally cleansing away Polish resistance and declaring that his troops were authorized to kill women, children and civilians, which they did by the thousands. And then, of course, there was the appeasement to Chamberlain and the statement, “We can’t intervene on such war crimes.”
Chemical weapons are actually agreed as war crimes, the use of them. All the countries have signed off that they are not to be used and almost all countries have destroyed them, at least the known chemical that they had developed.
Even as we are doing this program, we are being informed that there is an agency going in that is equipped to determine whether chemical warfare was used. And, in particular, this infliction of chemical agents — probably chlorine gas — was dropped by barrel drums from airplanes that fell into the Syrian city, taking out hundreds of lives and casualties and the documentation of the films that were observed had all of the evidences of chlorine gas.
NO U.N. ACTION MEANT SOMEONE HAD TO ACT
And so the question is why hasn’t the UN acted? And, interestingly, after the attack, Russia brought forth a resolution condemning France, England and the United States. It failed, as it had to fail, because guess who is on the executive council that has the power of veto: France, England and the United States. And, of course, the United States has brought resolutions condemning Syria’s use of chemical warfare but guess who sits on that same council — Russia — and Russia and China have vetoed those because, in reality, Syria as it has been — before Russia there was the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union established Assad’s father and the Soviet Union continues to prop it up along with Iran. Therefore, Russia and Iran are the patron states behind Syria and maintaining Assad’s authority and power within Syria.
THIS WAS A SAFE AND STRUCTURED ATTACK
However, I read of people saying, “Hey, this is not something that we should be involved in.” I believe it is something that we should be involved in and I actually think this was appropriate. It was a measured strike. Clearly, they had made communications to remove human life from those sites — the Russians, obviously, were not there so they experienced no casualties, although they occupied places throughout the country in propping up Syria — and there were no human casualties so that means if you destroyed plants and there are no human casualties that meant some kind of advanced warning was likely given.
And so, what the United States did was, with pinpoint accuracy, took out those plants that manufacture chemicals. Why didn’t we destroy those plants if we knew they were there? I think it was appropriate. We can’t tell people what industries they can have — because chemicals have multiple uses — but, once they showed the usage of the atrocity of a war crime in gassing their own people with a genocidal assault, then to respond in such a manner, given the paralysis of the United Nations, by punishing what are agreed to be war crimes.
BELIEVERS, HUMANS ARE AT RISK, EVEN POTENTIALLY US
For those who say to me — particularly believers I’ve talked to — “We shouldn’t do that,” well, how course can our consciences be that we can see women and children foaming at the mouth and we will not stop a dictator? I’m not talking about going in and changing regime, just going in and telling them, “We’re not going to take over your country, but you cannot do what are agreed war crimes. You cannot gas your own people or any other people.”
And, by the way, if he can gas them, all he’s got to do is put it in a plane and fly it another hundred miles and now he’s over Israel and now he’s over Jordan — all of those countries that are around him. The patron states of Russia and Iran through Syria then take that chemical warfare to other nations.
WE CANNOT STAY SILENT ON WAR BUT MUST BE CLEAR AND CONSISTENT
However, whether they do that or not, the fact that it’s done to his own people, we cannot say, “Well, that’s a matter of internal politics.” No, it’s not a matter of internal politics — that’s a war crime. That is evil. That is evil and there’s two ways that you stop evil. One is the Gospel of saving grace in Jesus Christ that changes the heart whereby evil originates and changes men and women. Therefore, let’s send missionaries into Syria, which we are doing. Some of our own people from Briarwood have recently been there and I know we have been there and I know of some very special things that are being done that I cannot publicize on this program to bring the Gospel into Syria.
Secondly, there needs to be an external public policy that says, “Here is a red line: You cannot commit war crimes upon your people and kill women and children with gas. That will not be allowed.”
What did they do? They took out the factories that would produce those chemical agents. And to stand against it to me is no different than the confessing church in Europe and in Germany that knew what Hitler was doing in the cleansing of the Jews and then did not say anything but were silent because they were allowed to function.
And people have said, if we do this, Assad will bring warfare against Christians. Assad’s already bringing warfare against Christians and his statement that he allows Christians there is no different than Hitler telling the confessing church in Germany, “Just trust me and don’t worry, you can entrust the presence and security of your church to me.”
No, we don’t do that and we want to speak the public policy and, if necessary, evil has to be confronted. We don’t want it to have to be confronted with warfare acts, but when chemical warfare is present, chemical warfare must be stopped.
DON’T STOP WITH POLITICAL ACTION; BRING GOSPEL ACTION
And then we, of course, bring the Gospel to the hearts of those who would use chemical warfare as a tactic but we also bring force against evil that it is not allowed to move with impunity. We do it constantly in our own country. We go into a neighborhood and will plan a church to bring the Gospel to the hearts of men and women.
We also put policemen on every corner saying, “You cannot do what is criminal.” Well, we have agreed chemical warfare is criminal. Therefore, you cannot do it. We don’t want to be the world’s policeman, but those who have signed onto the reality that chemical warfare is a war crime must punish the crime if it is used with impunity against men, women and children.
Therefore, I believe that it was an appropriate response, it was a declared mission — “We’re taking out the factories” — therefore, the mission was accomplished. Now, are there other factories? I don’t have the slightest idea. Will he use it again? I don’t know, but he at least will think twice and that, to some degree, will be beneficial for women and children within Syria.
COMING UP: PAUL RYAN’S DECISION TO LEAVE CONGRESS
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on tomorrow’s edition of “Today in Perspective,” I want to take you to a Politico article, “Why Paul Ryan Has Called It Quits”.
DR. REEDER: Let me confess, I happen to be a Paul Ryan fan, but I’m going to try to do this dispassionately because his stated reasons, both publicly and privately, give us some insights that we need to examine concerning the political landscape in our country at the moment, its toxic nature and the opportunities that still remain. We’ll deal with that on Friday’s edition of “Today in Perspective”.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.
Roy Moore and Confederate monuments — AL(dot)com’s Archibald dabbles in lefty irrelevancies as GOP gubernatorial debate panelist
BIRMINGHAM — The gubernatorial debate HOSTED by AL(dot)com’s Reckon, Wednesday at the Lyric Theatre, went about as expected.
There was a little spice though. All three of the four GOP candidates weighed in on the recent spate of student-teacher romances and Alabama’s age of consent. We also learned the candidates’ positions on raising the gas tax. This is notable as rumors abound that Gov. Kay Ivey may call a special session in a lame-duck period to hike the state fuel tax.
Ivey was, however, noticeably absent from Wednesday night’s debate thanks, in part, to an empty dais emblazoned with her name and helpfully featured on the debate stage.
Otherwise, it was a lot of the same. Evangelist Scott Dawson is going to do a performance audit when he is elected governor. State Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) wants to privatize the ALDOT. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle believes in having computers in our public school classrooms.
And of course, AL(dot)com columnist John Archibald is still a self-righteous left-winger. Archibald and HIS beliefs were on display Wednesday. By the way, he won a Pulitzer Prize if you haven’t heard.
As expected, Archibald began the debate focused like a laser on those issues Republican voters really care about: Roy Moore and Confederate monuments.
“We just come through this situation in which allegations were made against Roy Moore in the Senate race. He was not a teacher, of course. But in his 30s, he was alleged to have relationships with under-aged women,” Archibald said, transitioning from a question from co-moderator and Birmingham ABC 33/40 reporter Lauren Walsh about student-teacher sexual relationships.
The largely Republican audience was not pleased.
“Roy Moore’s not here!” one woman yelled.
Archibald continued, “And there were many people in and outside the party who said that they would support him no matter whether the accusations were true or not because politics was more important than that. What is your reaction to that and did you support Roy Moore?”
WARNING (and, if we are being serious, duh!) to Republicans (and this goes for the absent Kay Ivey as well): The pseudo-intellectual left in Alabama, emboldened by Doug Jones’ victory, is going to try to make 2017 Roy Moore a 2018 issue.
None of the candidates took the bait.
On Roy Moore, #alpolitics gubernatorial (R) candidates:
Scott Dawson: “I did vote for Roy Moore.”
Tommy Battle: “I ended up voting Republican.”
Bill Hightower: “I couldn’t vote for the other candidate”#alpolitics
Archibald lobbed several out-of-touch-with-Republican-voter questions at the candidates. The kind that you might expect from someone with a warped liberal view of the world. How could a state where so many that practice Christianity allow for Alabama to be at the bottom of so many quality of life listicles? The subtext being, a religious population would recognize this and therefore elect those that would govern with progressive social impulses.
And of course, Confederate monuments.
“I feel like, at this point, this is a softball,” Archibald said, prefacing his question. “Gov. Ivey has recently staked her flag on the Confederate monuments issue. She said we shouldn’t try to erase our history, which I guess is easy politics. But do you think the monuments we have in Alabama accurately reflect the history in our state and all its people, and why or why not? And what can be done to portray our history in a way that includes all Alabamians?”
This was tied to Ivey touting the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017 in a campaign ad, which seems to be perceived as an obstacle to some to want to rewrite the history book. However, none of the candidates took the bait on this one, either.
On Confederate monuments:
Hightower: Monuments are important. We don’t want them to be vandalized or destroyed. But we also don’t want to offend our brothers.
Battle: Whether you like the history or you don’t like it, the monuments reflect our history.
Somewhere on I-65, probably around Calera, there’s some woman stuck in traffic. She probably has a job in or around Birmingham. She and her family moved away from Birmingham to that part of Shelby County so that they could live in an affordable house with good quality of life services – schools, police and fire protection, etc.
It’s pushing 6 p.m. CT, and she wants to get home to be with her kids. But she is sitting in gridlock near the Shelby County Airport.
Meanwhile up in Jackson County, there’s another guy who over the past two decades has managed to work construction jobs on projects that have come to Tennessee Valley. Once those projects wrap up, he is laid off and has to live off of unemployment until the next job comes along. It isn’t a great lifestyle, but he and his family manage.
If the unemployment benefits run out, he might take something up in Chattanooga, or over in Huntsville – but the drive back and forth is onerous.
Down in the Toulminville neighborhood of Mobile, there is another man. He has a management job in retail across town in West Mobile. He’s not getting rich from it, but that paycheck goes a long way in his neighborhood.
He lives with the mother of his two children. They haven’t gotten married because such as the welfare system is constituted, a wedding band might mean a scaling back of those benefits.
All three of these Alabamians have one thing in common: They don’t care about the aging early 20th Century Daughters of the Confederacy monument sitting in front of their county courthouse. It is not important to them, nor is determining how to portray history in a more inclusive way. That chapter in their life closed when they completed Alabama history in the ninth grade.
They probably care even less about how Tommy Battle, Scott Dawson, and Bill Hightower voted in the 2017 U.S. Senate special election. Roy Moore is definitely yesterday’s news. He could absolutely show up again, and probably will. But most GOP voters have learned their lesson about Roy Moore.
Are John Archibald’s antics allegedly born out of a desire for a compassionate outcome and better leaders for Alabama? Or is it just to satisfy a craving to throw out a liberal hobbyhorse gotcha question, and perhaps lay some ground for any of these candidates’ possible future Democratic opponent?
If you don’t agree with me, you’re a racist who likes death threats
(OU Outreach Video/YouTube)
On Monday, George Yancy, a black professor of philosophy at Emory University, wrote a lengthy piece in The New York Times detailing the awful death threats he has received from white racists. I can sympathize — throughout 2016, I received my fair share of death threats. But Yancy sees those death threats as representative of a deeper malignancy plaguing all of white America, not a sickness within a subset of the population. Thus, he asks, “Should I Give up on White People?”
Yancy’s case isn’t particularly strong.
According to him, he faces a serious dilemma: “Do I give up on white people, on white America, or do I continue to fight for a better white America, despite the fact that my efforts continue to lead to forms of unspeakable white racist backlash?” But why exactly is that a serious dilemma? America isn’t filled with racists — America is one of the least racist places on Earth, and its rate of racism has been decreasing steadily for years. In order for Yates’ complaint to make any sense, he has to believe that America is actually becoming more racist.
And he does. He says that he is “convinced that America suffers from a pervasively malignant and malicious systemic illness — white racism.” He offers no statistics to support this contention. And he suggests that those who disagree with his contention do so out of willingness to ignore white racism: “There is also an appalling lack of courage, weakness of will, spinelessness and indifference in our country that helps to sustain it.”
So, to get this straight, you may not be racist, but if you believe that most Americans aren’t racist, just like you, you’re an aider and abettor of racism. You’re in league with those sending the death threats. In fact, you’re a monster under almost any circumstances. Yancy calls white Americans “monsters … Land takers. Brutal dispossession. And then body snatchers and the selling and buying of black flesh.” No one alive in the United States has forcibly dispossessed anyone of land; this has been true for generations. No one alive in the United States has been involved in the slave trade. Yet the legacy of white racism lives on in us, according to Yancy.
So, how are white Americans to escape this label?
Only by agreeing with Yancy. He praises one of his white students who agreed: “The system is racist. As a white woman, I am responsible to dismantle that system as well as the attitudes in me that growing up in the system created. I am responsible for speaking out when I hear racist comments.”
Well, of course we’re responsible for speaking out when we hear racist comments. That’s not a revelation. But Yancy wants more than that. He wants a collective oath by white people to never deny generalized white racism, fact-free or not.
Which, of course, is racist. Yes, racism plays a central role in American history. Yes, there are still racists in America. But slandering white America in general for the crimes of a few bad apples is no better than slandering black America for the crimes of a few. If Yancy wants to deal with racist death threats, he could start by recognizing that we’re all in this together — and that we side with him against those who threaten him — rather than pre-emptively characterizing us as the types of people who would write such vitriolic and evil screeds.
Ben Shapiro, 34, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show” and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com.
The “Just bake the cake!” argument only cuts one way
For years Americans have been told that we need to provide services to people no matter our personal beliefs or the state will come down on them with a vengeance. But this argument is NEVER used in favor of conservatives. There are a couple reasons for that and most conservatives believe businesses should be able to tell them to “get lost” for any reason.
It’s easy for liberals to talk about inclusiveness when they control the rules. Huntsville shooting range and training facility, Bullet and Barrel was recently denied a chance to place an ad on Facebook, the reason is laughable:
Yellowhammer News has been blocked from advertising as well:
Why? Because I wrote a piece about Congressman Mo Brooks’ position on illegal immigration, where he used the word “invasion”. It was hardly controversial.
Why this matters: Mark Zuckerberg’s speech policing is completely legal, but it is a bit hypocritical to see that these limits mostly affect gun owners, Christians, and conservatives. Sure, after a Congressman complains, clowns like Diamond and Silk can get an arbitrary Facebook decision reversed, but where are the liberals on this issue? They screamed at bakers, florists and a pizza restaurant, telling them they had to do business with everyone, but they have remained largely silent as Facebook silences, demonetizes, and actively suppresses completely legal business activities at its whim. Liberals and their media allies remain silent because they are completely fine with Facebook actions as long as they aren’t directed at them.
Christian colleges: Will you fold under cultural pressures or actually BE what you say you are?
Listen to the 10 min audio
Read the transcript:
CHRISTIAN COLLEGES STRUGGLING TO MAINTAIN CHRISTIAN CODES
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, NPR ran an in-depth story recently, “Christian Colleges Are Tangled in Their Own LGBT Policies.” The article goes on to say, “Conservative Christian colleges, once relatively insulated from the culture war, are increasingly entangled in the same battles over LGBT rights and related social issues that have divided other institutions in America.
Students and faculties at many religious institutions are asked to accept a faith statement outlining the school’s views on such matters as evangelical doctrine, Scriptural interpretation and human sexuality. Those statements also include a rejection of homosexual activity and a definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman.
Mary Hulst, senior chaplain at Calvin College says, “You’ve got these two values. We love our LGBT people, we love our church of Jesus Christ, we love the Scripture, so those of us who do this work are right in the middle of that space. We’re living in the tension.”
DR. REEDER: You can see immediately the world and life view and perspective of the reporter and the article and those who are engaged in the interviewing process, even by the phrase that “Christian Colleges are Entangled.” Well, actually, they are being entangled. They were just going along as normal with a Biblical doctrine of sexuality and marriage. Marriage is one man, one woman, one life, with heterosexuality within marriage, monogamous — the Bible doesn’t change even though culture is visibly changing itself into chaos by redefining marriage and by the sexual revolution.
Therefore, what do Christian colleges do? First of all, you have the cultural elite motivated in compliance with and complicit with the LGBTQ agenda. They want to impose that upon Christian colleges so they will use phrases like this: “You’re going to be on the wrong side of history. If you don’t get on-board with redefining marriage as same-sex and affirming homosexuality as normal, if you don’t do that, you’re going to be on the wrong side of history.”
The Christian colleges they have leverage upon are those who are receiving whatever kind of aid from the federal government. At the moment, the present administration has removed the pressure that had been placed upon them in the previous administration.
However, of course, you don’t know what administration is coming and it’s more than likely that these same pressures are going to come that, “If you don’t affirm, embrace and allow, for instance, transgender definition of self-identification of gender — what bathroom, or facility or sports team you play on — if you do not affirm same-sex marriage, if you do not affirm same-sex sexuality, then the federal programs which you participate in can and will be removed and we will remove them if you don’t change your positions in your handbook and your practices.”
Now the Christian college is going to have to make a decision: Do we want to be politically correct, do we want to be on the “right side of history” or do we want to be theologically correct and be on the right side of the Word of God and God, Himself, in terms of what he has declared.
TWISTING THE BIBLE TO FIT THEIR PURPOSES
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me give you a quote from Brad Harper, who is a professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Multnomah University. He says, “Millennials are looking at the issue of gay marriage and, more and more, they’re saying, ‘Okay, we know the Bible talks about this, but we just don’t see it as an essential of the faith.’”
DR. REEDER: Right. What you see now is things that are being promoted like the Tony Campolo movement of “The Red-Letter Revival” — those Bibles that put the words of Jesus in red letters. What he’s saying is, “See how gracious Jesus is? Don’t be like Moses. Don’t be like Paul. We need to have Jesus Christ correct Moses and Paul.”
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT SEXUALITY?
Well, first of all, in the Bible, the Bible is never contradictory. Jesus doesn’t correct — in fact, Jesus is the One, by His Spirit, who led Moses to write what he wrote, and Paul to write what he wrote, and Luke to write what he wrote and Peter to write what he wrote because the Author of all the authors is the Holy Spirit and it’s non-contradictory. What the authors are doing are not correcting each other, but they’re complementing each other.
And then, secondly, you probably, Mr. Campolo, do not want to read very closely those “red letter words” of Jesus. If you want to do a Red-Letter Bible, everything in the Bible ought to have the red letters, but if you’re just identifying the direct quotes of Jesus, you’ll notice that, first of all, He gave more information on the doctrine of Hell than anybody else. In fact, two-thirds of the information on the doctrine of Hell is given by Jesus.
If you want to go to Jesus, then you can just pick up, for instance, in Mark 10: “But you do not know the Scriptures, for from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.” Well, there we are. God made them male and female. God made marriage because He goes on to quote from Genesis, “For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one,” so he affirms sexuality within marriage, He affirms a heterosexual marriage, a covenantal marriage, a conjugal marriage, a procreative marriage and, therefore, same-sex could never be accommodate by “the words of Jesus”.
PRESSURE IS MOUNTING FOR COLLEGES TO APOSTATIZE
Where we are are these apostate theologians, the colleges: “You must apostatize. It’s more important for you to get the approval of the government, and the money of the government, and the approval of the culture and the applause of the culture than it is to be faithful to God, Himself.”
Hear this very clearly and very pointedly from a Christian world and life view: If these colleges, in order to maintain the money and to maintain the freedoms of the culture that they offer to you, if they decide to apostatize from the Word of God — redefine sexuality, redefine marriage and find a way to accomplish that — if they so vacillate, if they so apostatize, then they are no longer a Christian college. You can’t be a Christian college and sacrifice the supremacy, the sovereignty and the sufficiency of the Word of God in terms of what we believe and how we practice.
The colleges that will most likely withstand the challenge are those that are under a local church or under a faithful evangelical denomination — they will be the ones that most likely will stand. If someone from a Christian college came to me right now, I would say, “You need to take advantage of this present administration backing off on the assault upon what you believe and what you do and use that period of time to go out with your Development Office and your fundraising and your friend building and get the support you need for your college so that you are not dependent upon the government. If you’re dependent upon the government, you’re going to be tempted to compromise.”
STUDENTS HAVE REDEFINED THEIR IDEA OF CHRISTIANITY AND WANT TO LEGITIMIZE IT
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me give you a quote from a student, Sam Koster, who is a junior at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He identifies as queer. He says in this article, “When I realize that my faith wasn’t necessarily about the Christian Reformed church and it wasn’t even necessarily about the Bible, but about my relationship with God and that God is all-compassing and loving, I felt very free.”
DR. REEDER: When you hear that from a student that’s in a Christian college, you know that Christian college has already failed in its job because no thinking Christian could ever say, “I don’t need the Bible.”
How do you know you need to be saved by Jesus without the Bible? How do you know who Jesus is and that He is a sufficient Savior without the Bible? How do you know who God is without the Bible? The Creation reveals God is Creator, but it does not reveal God in Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — because the Bible tells you that.
Therefore, you can’t be a Christian without the Bible and Christ’s church is not just a little addendum for the Christian — it is, as John Calvin said, “the womb established by the Lord to nurture believers as they grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.” You can’t have your relationship with God without the Bible. You can’t grow in your relationship with God without the Bible.
The Bible consistently condemns any sexual activity, whether it’s heterosexual promiscuity or homosexual perversion, it condemns it continually. He calls those “clobber passages” — don’t bring those passages to clobber me. The Word of God that brings the passages to clobber sin also tells you of the Savior who was clobbered under the righteous judgement of God so that you could miss any and all of that judgement because of Jesus Christ, Who will take you to glory in Heaven. And where do you find all of that out? You find it in the Bible.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.
No, Ivey shouldn’t participate in the GOP primary debates
(Governor K. Ivey/Flickr)
Although Gov. Kay Ivey hasn’t won a gubernatorial election, she is playing this one like a seasoned pro.
If you haven’t heard (or care), Ivey is taking a lot of heat for not participating in the numerous Republican gubernatorial primary debates, which for some reason are all in Birmingham.
(That latest count is three in the last week-and-a-half for the Magic City, by the way.)
If you believe the polling that is being whispered around, Ivey is right on the 50 percent threshold that would push her over the top and avoid a runoff contest.
Would her appearance at a debate, which would feature an older lady on a stage taking fire from her three male competitors, better her position or diminish it?
My guess would be neither. In fact, it might hurt Ivey’s challengers. At least this way, they can take shots at her from afar.
What’s in it for her? Very little.
But what about democracy? What about all the people that are planning to tune away from “Empire” or “The Voice” tonight so they can watch a debate and make an educated choice for a primary election that is two-and-a-half months from now?
Ivey has been governor for a year. If you’re that involved in the process, you know her by now. The other three, Bill Hightower, Tommy Battle and Scott Dawson, are somewhat unproven commodities to the state. They are the ones that should be proving themselves as a contrast to the status quo.
Much of the angst you see from the pseudo-intellectuals at AL(dot)com (that now includes a Pulitzer Prize winner – congrats John Archibald) is born out of a desire to promote their own product. Of course, they want the incumbent governor at the sponsored-debate.
Why should Ivey be concerned with the outlet that hammered her during the 2017 U.S. Senate special election cycle for not disavowing Roy Moore? Perhaps they will run a front-page editorial reminding her how unacceptable they found it for her to support a Republican nominee selected by the voters, which by the way was also the choice of nearly half of all the voters in the state.
It’s a bit puzzling why Ivey’s competitors would agree to a debate that included AL(dot)com columnist John Archibald as a moderator, who is openly hostile to the conservative position on policy. We’ll wait and see how that turns out.
Strategically, avoiding debates is a smart move for Ivey. Isn’t that what you want to see from the person at the helm of the ship of state?
Yesterday was “Tax Day.” It was April 17 this year because April 15 fell on Sunday and Monday was Emancipation Day. But by calling April 17 “Tax Day,” the media miss the big picture. Income taxes make up less than half the tax most of us pay.
We also must pay payroll tax, corporate tax, gift tax, gambling tax, federal unemployment tax, gas tax, cable and telecom taxes, plane ticket tax, FCC subscriber line charges, car documentation fees, liquor and cigarette taxes, etc.
People can’t keep track. For my latest YouTube video, Tate asked people, “What’s your tax rate?” Tourists in Times Square said that they thought they paid about 20 percent. But they left off the hotel taxes, airline taxes, etc., that push Americans’ total tax load to almost 50 percent.
When you pay those hidden taxes, you may assume they go toward useful things, but Tate knows her taxes pay for government waste.
“Extreme inefficiencies, pensions that are to die for — these amazing salaries that these public workers get that are just laughably above market.” New York City’s average subway worker makes $155,000 a year.
Politicians suggest their extra taxes go, not to fund those big salaries and “pensions to-die-for,” but to pay for the specific services for which the taxes are named. Tate says that’s rarely true.
“Cable bills and cellphone bills both have an ‘Enhanced 911 Fee.’ Consumers were told 911 fees were necessary to make upgrades to emergency communication needs. (But) after it was updated, instead of taking away the tax, it just stayed there.”
Chicago doubled cellphone fees to fund its Olympics bid. The Olympics rejected Chicago — but the tax remained. Now Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to raise it again.
More. They always want more.
“New York City has an eight-cent ‘bagel-cutting tax,'” says Tate. For some reason, unsliced bagels are not taxed.
California has a 33 percent tax on fruit bought through a vending machine.
Maine imposes a one-and-a-half-cent per pound tax on blueberries shipped out of state.
Because these taxes sound petty, governments disguise them, says Tate, using “important-sounding language — like ‘documentation fee,’ ‘service charge,’ or ‘equalization fee.'” But most of the money raised just goes to the general budget.
“Wisconsin just renamed its 911 fee the ‘Police and Fire Protection Fee,'” says Tate. “But actually, none of that money directly goes to fire or police protection. Instead it goes straight into the state’s general fund.”
And they still can’t fund the pensions the politicians promised government workers.
Tate adopted two dogs and then learned that New York City imposes a $34 per year “pet licensing fee.”
“I won’t pay it,” says Tate. “I am technically breaking the law.”
She’s braver than I am. I try to follow government’s stupid rules. And if I broke them, I wouldn’t announce it. I figure the IRS is eager to punish government critics like me.
“I’m totally comfortable talking about that,” said Tate. “They can come track me down.”
They may. Governments go to great lengths to collect taxes.
“Seattle purchased lists of people buying pet food and mailed them threatening letters,” says Tate. “The county’s pet-licensing agency made more than $80,000.”
Governments should drop the pretense and just charge one huge “everything tax.”
Of course, then taxpayers might wake up and realize what’s been done to us. That’s one thing politicians don’t want.
John Stossel is author of “No They Can’t! Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed.”
What advertisers should learn from the Laura Ingraham boycott results
(MSNBC, Fox News/YouTube)
The boycott targeted at destroying the career of Laura Ingraham that launched on March 29th under the direction of 18-year-old David Hogg has been somewhat of a benefit to the hit Fox News show, ‘The Ingraham Angle.’
The boycott, which was issued after Ingraham’s tweet directed at Hogg, has spiked viewership for the popular show. Since April 9th, Ingraham’s program has averaged 2.7 million viewers. That’s 20 percent higher than the average viewership of her show the week, March 26-29, prior to the boycott. Before the boycott, according to Newsbusters, the show was averaging around 2.23 million viewers.
As of April 13, a total of 27 companies had pulled advertisements from the show. However, Ace Hardware reversed their decision saying, “Advertising on any network or show is in no way an endorsement from Ace of the content contained or spoken within that program. We appreciate the different points of view from our customers, and believe people should be treated with respect and civility.”
On Monday, Ingraham excitedly shared the news with her 2.24 million followers on Twitter.
Will David Hogg and other students involved in the Parkland, Florida persist in having those with differing opinions removed from the public eye? Only time will tell.
In my opinion, I find it troubling how certain people insist on using their First Amendment right to limit another individual’s First Amendment right. That isn’t how it works and it certainly won’t be tolerated. An increase of viewership on Laura Ingraham’s show is a prime example of that.
I spend a lot of time trying to convince people that diverting attention away from the subject of criticism at hand to mount an unrelated attack on an ideological opponent is bad argumentation.
For example, on the Michael Cohen office raid, I was told, “If Obama had gotten this type of exam, half of his cabinet would be in jail.” That, I said, is a service to partisan instincts and fails to address the fact that Cohen did something meriting a judge to issue that warrant.
My instinct has been to assign to James Comey a mitigated culpability for his recent media charade, “because Trump…”
Trump being so unsaintly makes defending Comey’s book and ABC interview as an unorthodox but necessary response to a heretical presidency quite tempting.
Tempting though it is, I can’t blame Trump’s erraticism and pettiness for Comey’s self-indulgence and pettiness.
Comey was entirely correct that Trump has changed the “norms” of good tact in politics, norms that he, Comey, could embrace himself in post-bureau life.
The former director has opted instead to embrace the norm change and to talk about the president’s appearance, the lowest of low-hanging fruit.
I’ve been slow to write Comey off because I’ve tried to sympathize with the inherent difficulties of his job. There was no way – no way at all – for him to come out looking honorable as far as the Clinton investigation is concerned, and I’m sure that haunted him, influenced his decision-making, and so forth. I can hardly blame him for that. If you commit your life’s work to the Department of Justice, you want to be fair and to be remembered as fair.
I can even justify the book writing. As I imagine many people are, I am extremely interested in learning about what it’s like to lead the FBI, particularly over the last few years.
But I can’t justify Comey talking about the president’s hair. The only reason he is doing that is vengeance.
Trey Gowdy, who has spent many of the last few weeks defending the Department of Justice against the president’s and others’ criticisms, summed it up in his denouncement of Comey.
“I can’t think of anyone who’s done a better job of politicizing the FBI than he has in the last 36 to 48 hours, by talking about tanning bed goggles and the length of a tie,” Gowdy said on Fox News last week. “That is beneath the dignity of the offices that he held.”
Sadly, he’s right. More than politicizing his former office, Comey has trivialized it.
Paul Ryan was a failure — It’s important to understand why
Paul Ryan’s retirement from Congress marks the end for one of the most prominent Republicans of his generation. Even before taking the role of Speaker of the House, Ryan had managed to become, in the words of Mitt Romney, the “intellectual leader” of the post-Bush GOP. Unfortunately Ryan’s story can be seen as nothing but a tragedy. By all accounts he is a good-natured man, but one who ended up betraying almost all the causes he claimed to care about.
The legend of Paul Ryan begins when he was a college student studying economics and political science. As his enemies in DC love to remind us, he was inspired by the works of Ayn Rand. He may have even been exposed to the works of Hayek and Mises. He ended up as an intern in DC before eventually catching the eye of Jack Kemp, who would become his mentor, and inspired him to embrace the role of a reform-minded conservative when he entered Congress in 1998.
Paul Ryan ran for office at a time when the Federal government was running budget surpluses. He won over his Wisconsin district with simple mid-western values: promising to shore up social security, simplify the tax code, and reduce the Federal bureaucracy.
Of course, being a willing follower of the failed foreign policy of the Bush Administration isn’t what elevated Paul Ryan to future Speaker of the House. No, he became a Republican leader due to his work as Chairman of the Budget Committee and a reputation for being a serious policy wonk. Unfortunately that too does not hold up over any serious scrutiny.
The most impressive part of Paul Ryan’s famous “Path to Prosperity” budget is that it managed to get Paul Krugman and Bob Murphy to be in full agreement: it wasn’t a serious policy proposal.
As Murphy noted on Mises.org at the time, Ryan’s budget relied entirely on wishful thinking and bad accounting tricks. For example, his budget made only minor cuts in the short term, pushed off the most politically unpopular reforms well into the future (where they would likely be reversed), and still only managed to balance the cash flow for the Federal government by 2030 – which still didn’t address the real issue of unfunded liabilities. It’s only saving grace was how it looked in comparison to the plans that came from the Obama Administration in the time, but as Murphy quipped, “but that’s like saying Darth Vader is a pretty nice guy compared to the Emperor.”
Of course the entire notion that Ryan was the man to reform entitlements never held much weight given his own legislative track record. After all, he was among those that supported Medicare expansion back in 2003, which added trillions more to Medicare’s unfunded liabilities.
Unfortunately for Ryan, the inane nature of his budget didn’t protect him from vitriolic attacks from the left. Democrats famously portrayed him throwing little old ladies off of cliffs because he dare suggest making changes to future Medicare benefits. In fact, perhaps Paul Ryan’s greatest contribution to modern political discourse is proving the impossibility of Washington to even reasonably discuss taking minor steps towards remedying a fiscal situation that seems inevitably destined for default.
And that’s a lesson that shouldn’t go overlooked. Instead of wasting capital on toothless reforms, the best approach for fiscal conservatives going forward is to identify ways for Americans to opt out of these inevitable disasters. Just as the best way to “fix the Fed” is to allow Americans alternatives to it, and the best way to “fix public education” is to allow parents and kids to get out of its grasp, the best way to handle future entitlements is to be honest about their inevitable insolvency and encourage Americans to prepare for a future where they are not around.
In short, Paul Ryan’s experience in Washington is a great illustration of the inherent weakness of the sort of “reform conservatism” that is often championed in the pages of “respectable” conservative outlets. The idea that unfunded liabilities of over $100 trillion can be manged by means-testing benefits and making minor tweaks to eligibility doesn’t sound convincing in paper, and that’s before factoring in typical partisan gridlock. Particularly when those same “intellectuals” continue to beat the drums for an ever more active and expensive military.
I do believe that Paul Ryan went to Congress wanting to make his country better. Unfortunately he leaves it with his fingerprints all over policies that have burdened it with trillions of dollars in new debt, thousands of soldiers dead, a more dangerous world, and home of one of the most fearsome surveillance states in the world. Hopefully he return to Wisconsin and finds work outside of politics. The county does not need him to have any more influence in Washington.
When we watch a car crash panel discussion on cable news we also find ourselves asking “Is this real life? Is this scripted like WWE?” Apparently, on CNN, it is not. CNN Don Lemon has admitted they put people on the air who he knows are saying things they don’t believe. He is acknowledging that he is asking questions to people he knows are lying to him and, more importantly, his audience while Lemon sits there like a potted plant and allows it. Lemon admitted this on a “The Jamie Weinstein show” podcast earlier this month when asked if Trump supporters on CNN don’t really believe what they say:
“I won’t give names, but absolutely,” Lemon replied.
“I think that they feel that they have to defend him, on a personal level, not anything the network is telling them to do,” Lemon elaborated.
Weinstein then asked why Lemon continued to invite guests on his show who weren’t being truthful.
“Yeah, and they’ll say they are speaking for the Trump supporter who doesn’t have a voice,” Lemon said.
Why this matters: If Lemon allows pro-Trump voices to lie, does he allow anti-Trump voices to lie? How do we know? A better question here is probably “Is this real news or fake news?” It is fake news. This is CNN and Don Lemon’s fault, they continue to put people on they know are lying. Fox News’ Sean Hannity is under-fire for not disclosing his relationship with embattled Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen. Other networks, rightly, are seizing on this to question his credibility. But no one believes that Sean Hannity is saying something he doesn’t believe, maybe they question his motives BUT they cannot question his beliefs. But maybe CNN has some reasoning for this, because for the week of February 26th, World Wrestling Entertainment’s Monday Night Raw received higher ratings than Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC combined. Maybe Don Lemon is on to something.
A YEAR LATER: HOW HAVE TRANSGENDER “ACCOMMODATIONS” PLAYED OUT?
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, it was about a year ago that we talked about the Target retail stores and how they had made a decision to allow transgenders to use the bathrooms of their choice. There was a public outcry, however, Target decided that was the right thing to do.
Recently, in Chicago, a self-identified transgender male entered a ladies’ room. There was a little girl in the store and, unfortunately, what we warned might happen did, in fact, happen. Now, I’m happy to say the girl was not physically harmed but, unfortunately, she found herself in a predicament that will probably leave a scar on her for the rest of her life.
DR. REEDER: The point in the discussion previously, Tom, that we had was not that every person dealing with gender confusion would have such motivations and desires, but our point was the policy is exactly what opens the door for that and loses modesty, security, and privacy. Actually, this is the second time this has happened in a Target store since that policy has been enacted.
Interestingly, these regulations are not coming from the federal government under the Trump administration, but they are coming on state-levels and local levels. In fact, in Anchorage, there was an attempt to restore privacy, and security, and safety and modesty to public facilities.
STATES ARE NOW HAVING TO PROPOSE LAWS
TOM LAMPRECHT: Indeed. Nearly 53 percent of the voters in Anchorage cast their ballots against Proposition 1, which was proposed by a non-profit Christian policy group, Alaska Family Action, that would have meant biological males use the men’s room and biological females use the ladies’ room. That failed.
DR. REEDER: That’s not a Target or a private company that has embraced the policy, but that was a public vote on the issue. And it was narrow, but they turned it down so now whatever happens in those public facilities in Anchorage, Alaska, the voting population of Alaska has to bear responsibility for it.
However, Tom, it’s not just simply a matter of security, as important as that is. It’s also a matter of clarity. It’s a matter of chaos that is being introduced. It’s a matter of loopholes. We are constantly filtering stories that are coming to us of males who say, “I identify as a female,” and go out and win what historically would have been a female track event. We even have this whole issue that was recently publicized of the Iranian soccer team.
IRANIAN WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM HAS 8 TRANSGENDER MEN ON IT
TOM LAMPRECHT: The Daily Wire reported the Iranian women’s soccer team has found a loophole and, instead of comprising a team of actual women, they have added eight full-grown men who claim they are transgender and awaiting sex changes.
DR. REEDER: Interestingly, the country with the largest number of existing are those waiting in line for sex change operations is Iran. In a Muslim country, if you are a homosexual, there is a public penalty of death. Those executions are carried out in various Muslim countries under Shariah Law.
Interestingly, Iran does allow sex change operations so what many of them are doing is not actually getting the sex change operation but declaring their desire for the sex change operation and declaring that what they actually are is transgender.
By doing that, they escape the specter of the death penalty, but most of them are not carrying it out. Yet, a number of them are “athletes” or a number of them claim a transgender identity in order to compete in the arena of female athletics as males and just intentionally are making these claims which, of course, again, that’s something that in previous programs we said would happen.
ANOTHER DESTRUCTIVE CONSEQUENCE OF GENDER THEORY
Therefore, just as there is the consequence of the loss of privacy, modesty, security and safety in bathrooms, in the transgender ideology of the sovereign self — “I can be what I want to be and whatever I want to be is what I actually am. Not what I am is what I am, but what I declare myself to be, the self-identity of my gender” — the fact is that positions them with certain physical advantages in the field of competition and sports.
Now you’ve got an Iranian women’s soccer team that now has a majority of men who are actually playing as women because they self-identify as women. Some of them are on a list for a sex-change operation that, in reality, they’re not going to get.
Thus, you see the chaos and the confusion. Now, my prediction is, to deal with that, you’ll ultimately just have to remove any male and female distinctions in the arena of sports and you just have a team and everybody has to compete.
Therefore, Title IX, you can forget that because now women will be back into the situation where they cannot have protection to have equal resources for female competition that males have because any male can identify as a female and, even if it’s just three or four or five or whatever, you have, by chaos, transformed the landscape of competition.
And, thus, again, you have relegated women who identify as women and they are women into a position where they will not be able to compete on a level playing field because now men have access to their playing field, whatever the sport might be, if they simply identify as a woman.
IRONY: WHAT WAS ONCE RIDICULOUS IS NOW REALITY
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, how times have changed in just a generation. It was in 1959 that the movie “Some Like It Hot” came out with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon in which Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon dressed up as women to be a part of an all-women’s orchestra. It was a comedy that everyone thought was just hilarious and ridiculous.
DR. REEDER: And comedy, instead of a parody, becomes a prognosticator of future life. Sin, ultimately, is idolatry and that is the exaltation of the sovereign self instead of surrender to the sovereign God. There is a God who made us and this God made us for His glory and our joy is in living as he has made us.
Now, you can’t do that without coming to Christ, who will liberate us from a sin nature that declares the sovereignty of myself over the sovereignty of God. Now men and women sovereignly say to a sovereign God, “You made us like this, but we declare that we are this and so we will live as we sovereignly declare ourselves to live. And there is no such thing as objective truth to tell me I’m wrong — I can do what is right in my own eyes.”
SIN IS NOT NEW AND IT NEVER MAKES SENSE
None of this is new. It traces all the way back to the Garden. It traces all the way back to the Judges where, repeatedly, it says that they did what was right in their own eyes. It also traces back to the fact that sin produces death — the death of sports organizations, the death of competition, physical death, spiritual death. Sin always brings death and sin always brings confusion.
The reality is you can’t be on the field of life to play in the field of life if you take away the boundaries that God has established. Imagine going to play a football game in which there are no sidelines. What we’re telling God is, “Your boundary lines are not ours. We will worship and serve the creature and we will declare as null and void all of your distinctions that you have established. We will declare ourselves sovereign over those.”
The result: death and confusion. When a husband or a wife walks out of a marriage and the one who is the victim, having experienced the brokenness that comes when someone walks away from the marriage, looks at me and says, “Pastor, can you help me understand why they did what they did?” and my answer is always, “I can tell you what they are saying and I can tell you what influenced them, but I can’t help you understand because sin never is understandable. It never makes sense and it’s always destructive and it is always chaotic.”
SENSIBLE POLICY IS GOOD, BUT NOT THE GOOD NEWS
And what we are doing, telling God, “We will not be what you made us to be,” doesn’t make sense. It not only brings death and life, it also brings the death of hopes and dreams and it brings the death of order within life and now has introduced chaos and meaninglessness within a society as it descends into a neopaganism where humanity worships and serves itself.
However, there is an antidote to this and the antidote is not simply sensible public policy based upon creation law. It is also the glorious surrender to a proclamation of Good News that Jesus Christ can liberate us from our sins, not only the shame of them and not only the guilt of them, but the power of them so that, with great joy, we can be who he made us to be for His Glory. And, in that, comes an escalating joy that is glorious and I pray that, again, that would abound within our society.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.
Why whites — and blacks — flee some cities as soon as they can and what intelligent mayors must do about it
When World War II ended, Washington, D.C.’s population was about 900,000; today it’s about 700,000. In 1950, Baltimore’s population was almost 950,000; today it’s around 614,000. Detroit’s 1950 population was close to 1.85 million; today it’s down to 673,000. Camden, New Jersey’s 1950 population was nearly 125,000; today it has fallen to 77,000. St. Louis’ 1950 population was more than 856,000; today it’s less than 309,000. A similar story of population decline can be found in most of our formerly large and prosperous cities. In some cities, population declines since 1950 are well over 50 percent. In addition to Detroit and St. Louis, those would include Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
During the 1960s and ’70s, academic liberals, civil rights advocates and others blamed the exodus on racism — “white flight” to the suburbs. However, since the ’70s, blacks have been fleeing some cities at higher rates than whites. It turns out that blacks, like whites, want better and safer schools for their kids and don’t like to be mugged or have their property vandalized. Just like white people, if they have the means, black people can’t wait for moving companies to move them out.
At the heart of big-city exoduses is a process that I call accumulative decay. When schools are rotten and unsafe, neighborhoods become run-down and unsafe, and city services decline, the first people to leave are those who care the most about good schools and neighborhood amenities and have the resources to move. As a result, cities lose their best and ablest people first. Those who leave the city for greener pastures tend to be replaced by people who don’t care so much about schools and neighborhood amenities or people who do care but don’t have the means to move anywhere else. Because the “best” people — those who put more into the city’s coffer than they take out in services — leave, politicians must raise taxes and/or permit city services to deteriorate. This sets up the conditions for the next round of people who can do better to leave. Businesses — which depend on these people, either as employees or as customers — also begin to leave. The typical political response to a declining tax base is to raise taxes even more and hence create incentives for more businesses and residents to leave. Of course, there’s also mayoral begging for federal and state bailouts. Once started, there is little to stop the city’s downward spiral.
Intelligent mayors could prevent, halt and perhaps reverse their city decline by paying more attention to efficiency than equity. That might be politically difficult. Regardless of any other goal, mayors must recognize that their first order of business is to retain what economists call net positive fiscal residue. That’s a fancy term for keeping those people in the city who put more into the city’s coffers, in the form of taxes, than they take out in services. To do that might require discrimination in the provision of city services — e.g., providing better street lighting, greater safety, nicer libraries, better schools and other amenities in more affluent neighborhoods.
As one example, many middle-class families leave cities because of poor school quality. Mayors and others who care about the viability of a city should support school vouchers. That way, parents who stay — and put a high premium on the education of their children — wouldn’t be faced with paying twice in order for their kids to get a good education, through property taxes and private school tuition. Some might protest that city service discrimination is unfair. I might agree, but it’s even more unfair for cities, once the magnets of opportunities for low-income people, to become economic wastelands.
Big cities can be revitalized, but it’s going to take mayors with guts to do what’s necessary to reverse accumulative decay. They must ensure safe streets and safe schools. They must crack down on not only violent crimes but also petty crimes and misdemeanors, such as public urination, graffiti, vandalism, loitering and panhandling.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.
Would a Birmingham win render majority-black cities ungovernable?
The Alabama Legislature and the state’s biggest city are never going to truly see eye-to-eye because the politics and the demographics are too different. But when Birmingham decided to increase its minimum wage in 2016, the state Legislature asserted its control over the city in a way that many viewed as heavy-handed and anti-conservative. Birmingham pushed back with a lawsuit claiming racial discrimination. A judge blew that up, but the city appealed to a circuit judge. The argument for this case by those who want Birmingham to be able to do their own thing is that as a majority-black city, a majority-white legislature can’t tell them what to do. Bloomberg News lays out their argument:
“The law effectively ‘transfers all control to legislators elected by the statewide majority-white electorate’ and takes away the power of local officials in majority-black cities, opponents of the measure argued in a June 2017 brief to the appeals court. They allege the law violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution and the non-discrimination provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act,” wrote Bloomberg’s Chris Marr.
Why this matters: Precedent. If a lawsuit of this nature is successful, the city of Birmingham can literally do whatever it wants. Not only will Birmingham be free to do as it wishes on the minimum wage, but they will also have control over matters of gun control, immigration, and monument protection (all matters the city of Birmingham has signaled they would like to act upon). The real-world impact of an adverse ruling for the state of Alabama would be that cities like Montgomery and Selma could make the same argument on any law they don’t like. What about cities like Detroit, and Atlanta? Cities around the country could become completely disconnected from the states in which they live. The laws passed by state legislatures will be undone by city councils, creating a fracture that will be seized upon by city leaders and will lead to these cities being states within states.