British government resignations signal problems


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BRITISH GOVERNMENT RESIGNATIONS SIGNAL PROBLEMS

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, World Magazine is reporting that British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, who served as the key campaigner for Brexit, Britain’s departure from the European Union, resigned last Monday. His resignation is the latest move threatening Prime Minister Theresa May’s government and comes after Brexit secretary David Davis resigned on Sunday night. Steve Baker, a minister in Britain’s Brexit Department followed with his resignation almost immediately.

Harry, it was about two years ago that the citizens of Great Britain voted to leave the EU. It appears that Theresa May might be slow-walking that process and she’s running into some roadblocks.

DR. REEDER: Yeah, it’s really been interesting to watch this implementation of the popular vote in Britain to exit the European Union, the EU, and to watch its implementation under the administration of Prime Minister Theresa May.
And, of course, the sideshow — and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way — has also been the relationship between Prime Minister Theresa May and our own President Trump, which all coincides, by the way, because while all of this is happening, President Trump is on his way to Britain and the reports were that Prime Minister May — it may have contributed to this — had given strict directives that he was not to meet with Brexit supporters, even those that reside within her administration.

PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY SEEMS TO BE SLOW-WALKING BREXIT

As you and I were considering this and I was doing some research, it seems to be pretty undeniable, for whatever reason, that the prime minister is not fully supportive of the vote of the British people to exit the European Union. On the one hand, she’s tapping the brakes — she’s pumping the brakes — to slow everything down as much as possible and perhaps, in a year to two years, maybe see if a movement to reverse the vote could take place. Now within her own administration are those who campaigned for and are supportive of Brexit and they’re calling attention to it by their resignation, which has put her entire government in a precarious position and a possible vote of no confidence may just be right around the corner.

Let’s look at the overall issue of Brexit — that is, Britain exiting the European Union — and why. Tom, as you know, in the last century, we had two world wars that originated in Europe and originated out of national conflict so there were a couple of efforts to try to put in place an organization that would forestall any future conflict — a way to settle issues without the entire world being embroiled in a way.

IS EXITING THE EUROPEAN UNIT A GOOD IDEA?

First was the League of Nations after World War I and it didn’t work. Then came the United Nations and, while it’s not been as effective as many would like and has become an instrument in which people are using it to advance their own national interest instead of being a place to settle national issues, the greater fear always is that it becomes a world government and, by so becoming a world government, then national sovereignty is lost.

That looming specter out of the United Nations has an even compelling emotional response in Europe because what has developed in the last 25 years is the European Union and, what was meant to be an alliance of cooperation, well, it has become almost a settled fact that the European Union and its directives supersede national directives. And that’s what happened in Britain — “We don’t want the European Union telling us what kind of light bulbs we can use, how we recycle our trash,” all of the things that the European Union was now giving directives to nations, and they said, “No, we want our national sovereignty back,” which is understandable.

NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY IS IMPORTANT AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T TURN INTO NATIONALISM

Now, here is where, from a Christian world and life view, we recognize that God has ordained the ethos — that is, the nations of the world — and, as these nations exist, should their sovereignty be superseded by imperial movements of one nation or by imperial structures that dominate the nations and I think that’s what the pushback was in Britain.

As I listened to the debate in England, it seemed as if everyone was saying, “We’re fine with defense alliances and trade alliances such as NATO. We are not fine with losing our national sovereignty to the European Union.”

What readily raises its head in a fallen world are two dynamics concerning nations. One is nationalism. As you know, the populist presidency that we are now under in President Trump has tapped into this notion of “America First.” Now, President Trump has said, “I am not saying America First and only. What I am saying is what I think every nation should do — whenever you make a decision, it’s not in disregard to other nations, but it is in regard to we’ve got to do what’s best for our own nation. I was elected to be president of this nation and then the well-being of this nation will position us to be of benefit to other nations.”

CARE AND PRECEDENCE OF ONE’S OWN NATION IS BIBLICAL

I compare it to that emotionally jarring moment where, every time I get on an airplane and come those words, “In the unlikely event of an emergency, your oxygen mask will come down. Please secure your own mask before you assist someone else.” Well, you know, in my heart, that jars me emotionally because what I want to do is assist the other person in the virtue of sacrifice and helping them but, when you stop and think about it, that kind of emergency where you’re losing oxygen, you can’t help the other person without having oxygen.

That’s why, in the law of God, it says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In light of God’s love for you and your love for the Lord, you need to secure that intimacy with the Lord and that’s what enables you to love your neighbor thoughtfully, Biblically and effectively.

You understand, in a true approach to this, we have to handle our nation’s well-being first but you can’t let it slip into nationalism because, if you have nationalism, then you’re going to have imperialism, which is the robbing and domination of other nations in order to take from them what is theirs and add to your own coffers. National sovereignty cannot become an occasion for nationalism. On the other hand, national sovereignty is crucial for nations to be in position to rightly help other nations.

THERE IS HOPE FOR ENGLAND TO REBOUND WITH GOOD LEADERSHIP AND A GOSPEL AWAKENING

From a Christian world and life view, my ancestry comes from there — I’m one-fourth Scot, one-fourth Irish, one-fourth Scots-Irish, and one-fourth English — so I look to that nation with some interest and I would hope and pray, for the well-being of England politically and economically, that she would carry out the vote of the people and do it in such a way that nationalism doesn’t come to the forefront which would lead to another imperialistic movement or to an isolationist position. Nations, like people, need to hear the commandment of the Lord — we want to be in the world but not of the world.

And then, finally, what I would say for this is I am the beneficiary of a great Gospel awakening in our nation. It didn’t start in our nation; it started in England. I long for the day when, like the Oxford 12 — men like Charles Wesley, John Wesley, George Whitefield, Daniel Rowland, Ronald Sennick, and others — I am praying for God to raise up a Gospel awakening within England. It is in desperate need of the gospel to move forward. The answer is not found in nationalism, the answer is not found in isolationism and the answer is not found in imperialism. The answer is found in the movement of the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the population and may the Lord raise up great gospel preachers in England.

I look with interest in this political conundrum that Prime Minister Theresa May faces. I look with interest in how it’s going to affect the NATO summit and the side discussions that she and her government were having with Donald Trump concerning a trade alliance between England and America and how that’s going to affect that discussion.

While I look for all of that, I look to the heavens and pray, God, open the heavens up and pour down a gospel-saturating movement upon England and upon my own nation and may it go to the whole world. I pray may the grace of God cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

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.

12 hours ago

Birmingham-Southern College to impose fee on unvaccinated students

Unless students of Birmingham-Southern College are vaccinated against COVID-19, those who attend the private liberal arts school will be forced to pay a $500 fee “to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining.”

In an email sent to students, the college announced its pandemic protocols for those returning to campus for the fall semester. In what appears to be an effort to encourage students to receive the vaccine, BSC told students it will levy a monetary charge against those who are unvaccinated. The school cited the need for funding to be applied toward COVID-related mitigation measures as a reason for the charge.

The email reads in part, “Due to the lack of federal funds for pandemic precautions this term, all students will initially be charged $500 for the fall term to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining. Students who are fully vaccinated prior to the beginning of fall term will receive an immediate $500 rebate.”

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The college announced in the email that it has also set separate move-in dates for vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

The College Republican Federation of Alabama (CRFA) has condemned the move as discriminatory against students who have chosen not to receive the vaccine.

“The College Republican Federation of Alabama condemns this obvious attack on students who are not vaccinated,” says CRFA chairman Clint Reid. “While vaccines are an important tool in the fight against COVID-19 we are still a free society where one should not be held at ransom to the tune of $500 if they do not feel the vaccine is the best course of action for them. We call on Birmingham-Southern College to drop this outrageous fee.”

The college’s email goes on to direct students who have been immunized against the virus to complete a “Vaccination Report Form.” BSC stated that the school’s goal is to achieve an 85% vaccination rate among students, faculty and staff.

Portion of the email sent to BSC students as follows obtained by Yellowhammer News: 

Birmingham-Southern College did not respond to a request for comment. Yellowhammer News has inquired with the Attorney General’s Office regarding the legality of BSC’s guidelines and will provide updates accordingly.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

13 hours ago

Tim James: A house divided against itself cannot stand

Last week the discussion of COVID vaccination burst into the news and ripped the scab right off the wound exposing the divide among Alabamians about whether to vaccinate or not. We all know there can be tense moments among friends and family when the vaccine topic comes up especially when there are differing opinions in the room.

Well, last week the discussion hit a fever pitch on a grand scale and landed on the front pages of the national news outlets. According to news reports, in Alabama, there are about 2.5 to 3 million people that have CHOSEN NOT to take the vaccine out of the state’s population of 5.1 million. Approximately 60% of all Alabamians have made this their personal health choice.

I am writing this letter today to express my distaste for those bent on shaming people in which they disagree on the vaccine issue. They divide Alabamians into two classes: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. The media’s contempt is in overdrive for anyone that dares to disagree and not blindly follow the government directives. So, they shame by spewing their poison proclaiming the unvaccinated are the problem. Their assertion of “Blame” by extension means the unvaccinated are responsible for the spread of COVID. If you want to blame someone or something, blame the virus and the makers of it. As everybody knows, it was not the bats.

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The problem is not the unvaccinated, but rather those spawning division among the population. It’s the BLAME GAME.

They shake their fingers in the face of millions of Alabama citizens for refusing to take the vaccine and are beside themselves when everyone does not fall in line like sheep. I guess the unvaccinated are the “New Deplorables.”

I’ve listened to their shaming long enough and felt it was time to stand up for millions of Alabamians that have made their decision, over the many months, NOT to take the vaccine. I fall into this category; however, like most families I have family members that have chosen TO take the vaccine. Alabamians know full well what is going on in their communities, local hospitals, nursing homes and churches. They are not ignorant to the medical realities and associated risks. Neither are they reckless or selfish.

Every unvaccinated person has considered whether to take the vaccine for months. They have discussed the matter with others, prayed about it and even may have tolled back and forth on the decision. In the end, their “call” was to not take the vaccine for their own personal reasons. I can’t help but wonder why so many vaccinated people lecture everyone else when they themselves have marginal health risk as they are the vaccinated class.

Has it occurred to them that their shaming is certain to follow children into the classroom in the form of bullying? Do they care about young women in childbearing years who are rightfully cautious about what goes into their bodies? It’s ironic that people that CHOOSE NOT to take the vaccine are labeled dissenters even though they are the majority in Alabama and cross all races and political lines.

Going forward I want to encourage people to take a deep breath and stand back from the situation. COVID, of course can be lethal, but at the same time the odds of fatality are extremely low. This is one of those times when we must not succumb to fear. Fear is the root from which anxiety and worry bud.

Fear is a weapon used to manipulate the public, and the press is its enabler. The Lord speaks to the issue of fear through the Apostle Paul. “For God hath not given a spirit of fear but of power and sound mind” – 2 Timothy 1:7

I also would like to take this opportunity to say something about Governor Ivey’s statement last week concerning unvaccinated Alabamians. She said, “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”

The unvaccinated people represent approximately 60% of the population in our state. The Governor’s comments triggered uncontrollable elation and gaiety from politicians and news anchors at CNN, NBC and others. As one could expect, President Biden and Dr. Fauci were ecstatic at Alabamians being scolded by their Governor over this issue. I believe the Governor’s comments were off-base. I also believe she likely misspoke in the heat of the moment; something any of us could do. As we navigate forward, we need to lower the tone and not take the bait of those whose goal is to sow seeds of division amongst Alabamians.

I have a message for the American press corps concerning their hysterical, fear-based coverage of the pandemic.

It’s a quote from Edward R. Murrow, the great broadcast journalist during the first half of the 20th century.

He effectively warned his fellow journalists what would happen if the free press became compromised. He wrote: “No one can terrorize a whole nation unless we are his accomplices.”

Tim James, the son of former Gov. Fob James, is a Greenville, Alabama businessman. He was a 2010 GOP candidate for governor.

13 hours ago

Regions names Jason Isbell senior vice president of state government affairs and economic development

Regions Bank has tapped one of the state’s foremost experts on banking law and government affairs to serve as senior vice president of state government affairs and economic development.

Jason Isbell comes to the Birmingham-based bank brandishing nearly two decades of legal and government affairs experience in the public and private sectors.

Elizabeth Taylor, head of government affairs and economic development for Regions, highlighted Isbell’s depth of knowledge and relationships throughout the industry.

“Regions Bank has a strong history of working with government leaders and other stakeholder groups on issues impacting our associates, customers and communities,” Taylor said in a statement to Yellowhammer News. “Jason Isbell brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on a variety of financial services matters to this role. His work building relationships and navigating a myriad of legislative issues will serve us well. We look forward to his service advancing economic development opportunities that move our communities forward while also building on the strong relationships we have in the areas Regions serves.”

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Isbell most recently worked with Maynard Cooper & Gale where he represented a wide array of clients, including Regions, as an attorney and lobbyist in the firm’s Government Solutions Group.

Prior to his time at Maynard Cooper, he held the position of vice president for legal and governmental affairs at the Alabama Bankers Association (ABA). Isbell was charged with implementing ABA’s legislative and regulatory agendas at both the state and federal levels. He honed his skills in public policy during his 11 years in state government, first as a fiscal analyst for the Alabama Legislative Fiscal Office and then as general counsel to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Isbell is a member of the Faulkner University board of trustees and is a graduate of the school’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law.

Regions Financial Corporation recently reported $748 million in second quarter earnings. The company cited strategic decisions in high-growth areas, such as Florida, Texas and Tennessee, as contributing to those earnings.

Isbell noted the momentum of the bank’s growth and influence throughout its footprint as he prepares for this new endeavor.

“I’m excited to represent an institution with such a rich history and stellar reputation,” he told Yellowhammer News. “Regions Bank is poised to continue making a positive impact on communities in Alabama and beyond. I’m grateful for this opportunity and look forward to being part of the Regions team.”

Isbell is set to officially join the bank in mid-August.

RELATED: Joia M. Johnson appointed to Regions board of directors

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

14 hours ago

State Rep. Wes Allen: Biden administration’s mixed message on COVID shows he doesn’t put Americans first

The Biden administration is issuing warnings to Americans regarding the increasing number of COVID cases across the country. Calls for a return to mask-wearing and social distancing are becoming more frequent from the President and his advisors.

Businesses, large and small, fear the possibility of mandated shutdowns that plagued our nation last year. Parents are wondering if they will be forced to face the inadequacies and challenges of remote schooling again. These are all worries that are being forced upon law-abiding, tax-paying Americans by the Biden administration.

But it goes further. Our northern border with Canada remains closed to non-essential travel for fear of spreading the virus. Biden and his team cited concerns over the Delta variant as the reason for banning travel from 26 nations including most of Europe, South Africa and Brazil.

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This all seems like a concerned President who is trying to save our nation from the death and damage of a pandemic. But a closer look at Biden’s policies proves that his concern is not for Americans and he has little to no desire to stop the spread of COVID from coming across our border.

His policy that allows thousands of illegal immigrants to move freely across our southern border and into our towns, neighborhoods, restaurants and schools without any regard for their immigration status or their COVID test results prove that the Biden administration doesn’t care about America or Americans. Is the health of Americans, the success of our economy and the fate of our schools and health care system of any concern to this President or his advisors?

I think not.

State Rep. Wes Allen is a Republican candidate for Alabama Secretary of State.

15 hours ago

Alabama League of Municipalities launches Economic Development Academy

The Alabama League of Municipalities (ALM) on Thursday announced the creation of its Economic Development Academy, which will partner with local leaders in an educational capacity to offer their assistance regarding business and industry recruitment practices.

Developed in conjunction with the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and supported by an advisory council of industry leaders, the Academy will engage local leaders and help them further understand their role in the economic development process.

The Academy is specifically designed to educate and engage municipal officials and designated community business leaders on best practices and strategies for successful economic and community development. Additionally, the ALM says the Academy will focus on the role of elected officials regarding evaluating abatements, legal processes and implications, correctly marketing the community, gaging the community’s expectations, workforce development as well as other key aspects of the development process.

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ALM says the Academy is unique from other economic development programs in that it is tailored to municipal officials using a team model. The mayor or another designated elected or administrative official and at least two council members are required to participate from each community to form a team of up to five members.

In promoting the new program, ALM executive director Greg Cochran conveyed the importance of economic development efforts that take place at the local level.

“Our organization is pleased to collaborate with the Alabama Community College System and Neal Wade to launch the ALM Economic Development Academy,” said Cochran. “It is our goal for the Academy to develop intentional programming and identify resources to empower our municipal officials so they can create legacy programs and projects within their cities and towns. Municipalities are the foundation of our state’s economy, and it is the League’s mission to provide our members the necessary tools to build a community where citizens can live, work, play and prosper and where businesses can thrive.”

The Academy will take place over a full year and consists of an orientation; four one-day sessions that include community assignments; and a special graduation ceremony. To graduate, participants must conduct an economic vitality survey of their communities; complete a community assessment/project; and attend all sessions.

At the conclusion of the year-long program, graduates will be presented a certificate of municipal economic development from the League and ACCS.

Neal Wade, former head of the Alabama Development Office as well as a consultant for Alabama Power, The St. Joe Company and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, has been tapped to develop the Academy’s curriculum and conduct the classes.

“The objective is for Alabama communities to be the best they can be and competitive for growth and new revenue,” Wade said. “Setting realistic expectations for each community will be foremost.”

In addition to working with Wade, the League has developed a partnership with ACCS to provide classroom space and workforce development resources for Academy participants. The four mandatory sessions for selected municipalities will be conducted at ACCS campuses throughout the state based on each region.

Chancellor Jimmy Baker praised the partnership and expressed his optimism on the potential growth opportunities he believes can stem from the Academy.

“At Alabama’s community colleges, everything we do is workforce development – from education and training to providing wraparound services and hosting community events,” Baker said. “We are honored to work alongside the Alabama League of Municipalities to launch the Economic Development Academy and host its participants at our campuses across the state. Education is so often the linchpin to positive change and the resources and training this effort will provide will have a positive impact on Alabama for years to come.”

An Academy Advisory Council has been developed to add input, assist with training and provide additional resources to the process. The Council consists of state and federal government agencies, ACCS presidents, utility partners, League strategic partners, local economic developers and statewide business associations.

Academy applications will be accepted via the League’s website July 29 – August 31. Applicants will be thoroughly evaluated and candidates chosen by mid-September. There is a community fee to participate.

Those interested in attending the Academy may apply via online application at almonline.org.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL