10 campaign promises Donald Trump kept — or attempted to keep — in his first year


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MEASURING TRUMP AGAINST HIS PROMISES IN FIRST YEAR

TOM LAMPRECHT: Today, specifically, I’d like to take a look back on the first year of Donald Trump’s administration and his presidency – what he promised and then what he accomplished – again, let’s sort of go through this in a bullet point fashion.

However, before we get into the specifics, Harry, can you remember a president who has managed to accomplish as much as Donald Trump has done in his first year?

DR. REEDER: The idea of us doing this program came about in terms of the extraordinary pushback against President Trump when he moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Presidents have been under an order to do this, although they’ve been given the flexibility not to do it for purposes of negotiations and national security decisions, but, every six months, they’d have to say why they hadn’t moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – and he went ahead and did it.

And he said, “Well, it’s time to do it. We’ve had all these presidents who were supposed to do it so it’s time to do it and I’ve done it.” He had promised this in the campaign and now he delivered.

Well, what else has he done? He has made, as I counted, ten basic campaign promises and, those campaign promises, he has responded to either accomplish them or initiate their accomplishment.

Now, let me be very clear: this particular Today in Perspective is not an evaluation of whether we agree with these particular acts that he has done, but we’re looking at the overall dynamic of a president who made campaign promises and then, within the first year, this is what he has done in relationship to those promises.

1. TAX CODE BILL

TOM LAMPRECHT: You’ve mentioned the first one, moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The No. 1 I’ve got on my list was this most recent accomplishment – that’s the tax code bill.

DR. REEDER: He made a promise to simplify and to bring tax reform. Again, we’re not evaluating the tax bill, but he has delivered in his first year of office.

2. SUPREME COURT NOMINATIONS

TOM LAMPRECHT: No. 2, the Neil Gorsuch confirmation.

DR. REEDER: And he made a promise on the Supreme Court which, by the way, probably was the most influential promise that he made that garnered much of the evangelical support, who had a number of issues with him on a number of things that he both said and did during his campaign, but ended up voting for him probably motivated by this issue more than any other. He also, in the first year, has appointed more appellate court justices than any other president in recent history.

3. ROLLBACK OF OBAMA-ERA REGULATIONS

TOM LAMPRECHT: No. 3 on the list is just the basic rollback of regulations that Obama implemented.

DR. REEDER: “For any regulation that we institute, we’re going to cut out three.” Well, he has gone way beyond that in what they would have determined as unnecessary regulations that are paralyzing upon the economy.

4. IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT

TOM LAMPRECHT: No. 4, Trump ran on a platform of tougher immigration enforcement – the travel ban.

DR. REEDER: He has attempted to initiate a vetting process on who is to be allowed in and also immigration reform. This is one where he has not delivered as most people would have thought he would have delivered because included in that was border security – the promise of the building of the wall – but there have been efforts at his immigration reform in terms of who is allowed in and the vetting process of visas in light of national security.

5. WITHDRAWAL FROM PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

TOM LAMPRECHT: Next on the list, Harry, is the withdrawal from the Paris Climate deal.

DR. REEDER: Tom, let’s take a look at two of these agreements that the previous administration had entered into that Candidate Trump campaigned against. One was the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal and the other was the Paris Climate Agreement that also affected manufacturing and regulation in the United States and it was declared that that was an unusual duress to what was required of the rest of the world. He said that he would get us out of both of those and he has delivered on both of those promises in his first year.

6. CUBA

TOM LAMPRECHT: The rollback of some of Obama’s Cuban policies.

DR. REEDER: That would fall in under his national security strategy, Sustainable Security Strategy, that he has initiated. When he did the speech, one of the things that he did was reverse the open-door policy with Cuba that had been initiated in the previous administration as well as a commitment to America First. And, by the way, he redefined that for everyone in his security policy, which was, “I am not saying America selfishly but, America First, I was elected to look out for America’s interest. And, by the way, in our negotiations with other nations, I fully expect those elected officials to come to the bargaining table on our various discussions looking out for their nation first.”

7. NET NEUTRALITY REPEAL

TOM LAMPRECHT: In another blow to regulations enacted under Obama, recently, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal its landmark Net Neutrality rules.

DR. REEDER: And I like the way you have explained it on your own program, Tom, of this being a socialism comes to the internet. What happened was, with what President Obama did in basically level the playing field in the internet research and advancement, it makes everything that someone does available to others.

Well, what happened is what always happens in socialism: It’s a loss of initiative and so people quit doing research on internet improvement and expansion and enhancement because they knew they either had to give it away or they knew that they could get what other people did without having to spend money on it.

He has rolled that back and I think what that means is you’re going to see some amazing advancements in the internet capabilities for our nation and for the world.

8. ISIS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, the final accomplishment I want to talk about today is something that has just sort of disappeared from the headlines of the national news and that is the degrading of Isis.

DR. REEDER: He said he was going to do it – amazingly, it’s been done with a great deal of reliance on Iraq. Their military capabilities on the ground have been fundamentally degraded and removed. That’s another accomplishment.

9. DRAIN THE SWAMP EFFORTS

Now, his drain the swamp promise – this deep-state bureaucracy and the opposition has come up in terms of the FBI and the State Department and other places – he has not made the advancement that he has promised, but it seems to have now been unearthed and exposed. And that may be something that will be dealt with in the coming year in terms of removals and putting people in place that would be serving the country and not serving themselves as if they are a State within the State.

Given the hiring and firing policies in the government and the protections that are put there, it is very difficult to unearth and remove bureaucrats, but I think he’s going to do that and he says that he’s going to do that in an effort to reduce the budget in that there’s going to be a lot of positions that are just going to disappear.

10. OBAMACARE

Finally, we would have to say that his promise to remove Obamacare did not meet with success, the repeal and replace promise, but there was an effort to do it.

And there has been some success in that there has been the reestablishment of the religious freedoms protection in that the requirement to participate in funding of abortions and abortifacients is no longer placed upon individuals and privately held companies that have religious convictions against the destruction of unborn life.

And, secondly, now, the tax package, there was the removal of the mandate for Obamacare, which would be the undoing of Obamacare unless the government decides to fully fund it. The cost of Obamacare is going to come full-force to next year’s Congress.

TRUMP’S PROMISE-KEEPING IS ADMIRABLE

Tom, can I, before we leave, just say one final thing from a Christian world and life view about today’s program? Again, with no evaluation upon the policies and programs, themselves, I do want to speak of one thing that’s commendable in this that I would put before all of our listeners: We ought to be people who, when we make promises, we attempt to fulfill our promises and not to make promises to manipulate people but, “When we make a promise, this is what we’re going to do. Our yes is yes and our no is no.” And that is always admirable in someone.

I would like to commend that, “way of life” that, when we say we’re going to do something, let’s make a commitment to do it. And, as I approach this new year, I rejoice in the fact that the God of glory and grace has made certain promises and definite promises and clear promises for the redemption of His people. And then we have just rejoiced in the coming of Christ in the Christmas season and that Christ would come and all of the promises of God are “Yes” and “Amen” in Him.

May our lives reflect that trustworthiness and that consistency and that integrity. We say what we will do, we do what we will say and, by God’s grace, we are never mean when we say or do what we say.

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

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

11 hours ago

VIDEO: Prisons could be built with COVID-19 funds, Shelby endorses Katie Britt for Senate, Brooks battles with Swalwell as a new poll shows big lead and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will Alabama really use COVID-19 relief funds to build prisons?

— Does Katie Britt’s entering of the U.S. Senate race shake things up, or has U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) already won this race?

— Can U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) keep the more radical members of the Democratic Party at bay?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by former U.S. Attorney Jay Town to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at those who want to use the illegally acquired tax returns of the uber-wealthy to push for higher taxes. He argues the released returns show that we should implement a flat tax and do away with all deductions.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

14 hours ago

Auburn’s David Housel tackles more than sports in ‘From the Backbooth at Chappy’s’

When David Housel retired from Auburn University in 2006, after a legendary career as athletics director for the Tigers, it wasn’t long before his wife urged him to get busy again – and a deli on Glenn Avenue in Auburn was the beneficiary.

“Susan wanted me to do something to get out of the house,” Housel recalls. “I started going to Chappy’s to drink coffee, read the paper. Pretty soon, Kenny Howard would meet me there, and it just kind of grew from there.”

In short order, friends of Housel began to gather, first a few one day a week and then, just prior to the pandemic, 12-16 people nearly every day of the week.

They meet at Chappy’s, where a plaque commemorates Housel’s booth, and they talk – about sports, of course, but about pretty much anything that’s on their minds.

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Housel began to write essays about those mornings, posting them to Facebook. He’s now compiled more than 100 of those pieces into a new book, “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s: Stories of the South: Football, Politics, Religion, and More.” It’s officially released next week at a series of book signings at Chappy’s in the Auburn area from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day: Tuesday in Auburn, Wednesday in Montgomery and Thursday in Prattville.

“Consider this Housel unleashed,” the author says. “Most of the stuff I’ve written in my life has been about Auburn on an Auburn platform. Even after I retired, I was a representative of Auburn, even though I wasn’t working there. This is not an Auburn book. It’s about football, politics, religion and more.”

“From the Backbooth at Chappy’s,” with a foreword by Auburn graduate and acclaimed journalist Rheta Grimsley Johnson, evolved as Housel’s morning gatherings at Chappy’s evolved, though he began writing the essays fairly early in the process.

“When something is in your mind, in your heart, in your head, if you’re a writer, it just has to come out, and it just comes through your fingers,” Housel says. “Turns out people like to read it, so I got the Facebook page. I shared thoughts and essays and that kind of thing. It was not a planned thing.”

When COVID-19 came along, Housel decided to listen to a few folks who told him his musings would make a good book.

“I had been thinking a lot about it, and it was time to do it,” Housel says.

Housel has written six other books. Most have to do with Auburn sports history, but one, “From the Desk of David Housel,” is similar to “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s.”

“That one was primarily sports, but it had some other things in it,” Housel says. “This one is about the other stuff, but it has some sports in it.”

Though the three topics in his book’s title – football, politics and religion  – are often the subjects people are warned not to bring up if they want to keep the peace, Housel and his friends don’t shy away from any of them. Housel especially gravitates toward religious topics.

“I like the ones that I hope make people think,” he says of his essays. “The good Lord gave us a mind, and we’re supposed to use it. Too few people who call themselves Christians do what the Lord said and use their minds. … Faith has got to be built not on challenging God but questioning God. I think God likes that, because it shows we’re engaged and that we care.”

Now that the pandemic is ending, the Backbooth at Chappy’s events are slowly but surely returning to normal. On Mondays, Housel eats two eggs scrambled, lean bacon and a helium biscuit; on Tuesdays maybe a parfait with granola; on Wednesdays, it’s blueberry pancakes, and Fridays a waffle.

What remains constant is the conversation. And the writing.

“I’m still writing the Backbooth, and since the first of the year, I’ve written a couple I think are book-worthy,” Housel says. “I started out doing maybe one a week, but I’m old enough that I don’t have to meet a self-imposed deadline. When the spirit moves me, I write.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

15 hours ago

State Rep. Pringle pushes to ban critical race theory in public schools — ‘Woke culture indoctrination,’ ‘Needs to be stopped in its tracks’

Last week, Florida’s Board of Education banned so-called “critical race theory” from its public schools, and it is a move State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) hopes to follow in Alabama.

Critical race theory, a belief that racism is ingrained in some of America’s sacred institutions, is widely panned by critics because it distorts and weaponizes history for political gain.

Friday, Pringle discussed his prefiled bill for the Alabama Legislature’s 2022 regular session to prohibit critical race theory from being taught in Alabama’s public schools.

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“It’s simply a bill that says in public education, you can’t teach or indoctrinate our children with critical race theory,” he said. “People are waking up all around the nation to how bad this stuff is. I mean, this is woke cancel culture gone completely amuck. They want to completely disregard our 14th and 15th Amendment rights, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. If you don’t agree with them — here’s what’s crazy: They want to send you to a reeducation camp. Think about that, a reeducation camp. Don’t they do that in China, Russia and North Korea?  That’s how bad this stuff is. Either you agree with them or you have to be sent off to a reeducation camp.”

“This is just indoctrination — the woke culture indoctrination of our children,” Pringle continued. “That’s all it is and it needs to be stopped in its tracks. I mean, our children need to learn history and we ought to open a frank discussion about history — the good, the bad. But this is not about good or bad. This is teaching our children that our nation is a bad nation, is an evil nation and is not the great country that we live in. We are the safest, freest people in the world and that’s what our children need to learn.”

“Do we have problems? Yeah,” he added. “Have we done bad things? Yeah. But we’re still the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

According to the Mobile County Republican lawmaker, the response to the effort thus far has been positive and supportive.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

19 hours ago

Why Sylacauga marble is known around the world

If you’ve ever visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and stared up at the translucent marble ceiling, you’ve witnessed a piece of Alabama history. The ceiling is made of white marble mined in Talladega County’s Sylacauga (appropriately known as the Marble City).

In addition to lending its natural treasure to some of the nation’s most notable buildings, Sylacauga also holds the title for having the longest deposit of marble in the world. The bed of stone runs 32 miles long, a mile and a half wide, and more than 600 feet deep. The marble found in this quarry is especially desirable for two key characteristics: its purity and its durability. When paired together, these distinct qualities make Alabama marble some of the most desired in the world for large-scale buildings and monuments, as well as homes and sculptures.

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The History of Alabama Marble

sylacauga marble

The Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Marble is formed when limestone is subjected to extreme pressure and heat. In Sylacauga, the conditions are perfect for the formation of metamorphic marble. Sylacauga’s massive deposit was first discovered by Native Americans, but it wasn’t quarried until 1834, 20 years after army surgeon Dr. Edward Gantt stumbled upon the vein while passing through with General Andrew Jackson’s army.

In the years that followed Gantt’s discovery, Sylacauga’s marble business thrived. More quarries popped up, mining the marble for everything from funerary monuments to building projects to sculptures. By the 1960s, the use of the quarried marble shifted toward the utilitarian. Rather than being mined in huge chunks for building material, the marble was being ground down for use in products like cosmetics, diapers, magazine paper, fertilizer, fiberglass, toothpaste, and chewing gum. In 1969, marble was named Alabama’s state rock.

A Timeless Treasure

Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Today the charge for Alabama marble is being led by the Swindal family, who own Alabama Marble Mineral & Mining Co. (AM3). AM3’s 50-acre quarry in Sylacauga is the world’s only supplier and leading distributor of Alabama marble. Owner Roy Swindal’s goal is to reintroduce the world to Alabama marble, once again marketing it as a prized material for both commercial and consumer construction. According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, around 30 million tons of marble have been pulled from the ground in Sylacauga since 1900. The Swindals hope to add to that number by continuing and improving upon the state’s tradition for many years to come.

Marble Mania

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Sculptor Enzo Torcoletti at the Sylacauga Marble Festival (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

It’s only fitting that a town built on marble pay tribute to the stone that brought its success. For the past 13 years, the city has celebrated its marble mining heritage with the 12-day Magic of Marble Festival. The festival, typically held in April, features several activities and events that are all free and fun for the whole family. Festival participants can take a tour of operational quarries and visit the Gantts/IMERYS Observation Point that overlooks the town’s historic first quarry. The creative side of marble is put on display at Blue Bell Park, where 25 sculptors create original pieces made entirely of marble. On the final day of the festival, the finished pieces are displayed and sold at nearby B.B. Comer Library. Other activities include a 5K run and a scavenger hunt.

If you can’t wait for next year’s festival and you want to see Alabama’s famous white marble in action now, there are several locations around the state to see it put to good use. In Birmingham, try the John Hand Building, Wells Fargo headquarters, City Federal building, or the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re in Montgomery, don’t miss the “Head of Christ” sculpture at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. It was created by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, who also happens to be the artist behind Birmingham’s Vulcan.

(Courtesy of SoulGrown)

19 hours ago

The economics of paying ransom

The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacker group DarkSide disrupted gasoline supplies across the Southeast. The company caused a stir by paying a 75 Bitcoin ransom to DarkSide. America historically has been opposed to paying evildoers, as reflected in the slogan, “Millions for defense, but not one cent in tribute,” and President Jefferson sending the Navy and Marines to fight the Barbary Pirates.

Ransomware raises many economic issues. A first question is, do hackers ever give the data back if paid? DarkSide provided Colonial Pipeline a key to decrypt their data. According to Proofpoint, this is the norm: 70% of ransom payers got their data back, 20% never got their data back and 10% received a second ransom demand.

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From an economic perspective, this is not surprising. About two dozen groups, identifying themselves by name and known to insurance companies, carry out most of the sophisticated attacks. Insurers would never recommend payment in the future to a group which has reneged. The hackers must deliver as promised to make money.

Some have suggested making payment of ransom for cyberattacks illegal. If no one ever paid ransom, the hackers could not make money. Refusing to pay ransom though faces two significant economic challenges.

The first is time consistency. Kidnapping illustrates this concept. Before an event, the incentive exists to say, “We will never pay ransom.” If the bad guys believe this, they will never invest the time, effort and expense to stage a kidnapping. Once they hold hostages, however, our incentive changes; negotiating just this one time now makes sense. Our policy to never pay ransom is not credible.

Collective action poses the second challenge. Businesses collectively have an interest in not rewarding cybercrime, yet individual businesses suffer these attacks. A business which does not pay ransom benefits other businesses, creating the challenge. Why should Continental Pipeline suffer losses to make other businesses less likely to be attacked?

Why do businesses pay ransom? Reports mention several factors. A business may face a closure of unknown length and cost. Customers’ personal information will be sold if ransom is not paid, leading to fines and bad publicity. And the hackers might sell proprietary information to competitors.

Good economists know better than to second guess business managers’ decisions. Decisions to pay ransom often involve the business’ executives, its insurance carrier and tech security experts. They know the options and likely costs and should make a good decision, despite the pressure of a crisis.

Insurance companies and government regulations reduce organizations’ vulnerability to hackers, which is good. But what about channeling President Jefferson and going after the hackers? Most of the hacker groups operate in Russia, which provides Safe Haven as long as the hackers do not target Russian companies. Some law enforcement options may exist. Federal prosecutors apparently recovered most of the Bitcoins paid to DarkSide.

Crime is a very costly way to transfer wealth. Stolen merchandise typically sells for one-third (or less) of market value. A criminal might have to steal thousands in property to net $1,000. Ransomware appears much more wasteful than traditional theft. Consider just the value of the time Americans spent searching for gas during the disruption. Remember then that the ransom was about $4.4 million.

Cybercrime makes us poorer. The hackers and defenders at tech security companies are highly skilled computer programmers. But instead of making new apps or games, they are hacking or defending existing computer systems. Add to this the service disruption during cyberattacks, the reduced use of technology for fear of being hacked and the time spent on security training. The costs may be $1 trillion annually, or one percent of global GDP.

We must guard here against comparing the real world to an imagined utopia. We cannot costlessly protect our property from thieves or our computers from malware, or make people no longer willing to steal from others. Economics teaches that there are no perfect solutions in life, only tradeoffs. Vigilance, antivirus programs and backup are the tradeoffs we face with cybercrime.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.