Why the Syrian strike was justified


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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”.

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.

SchoolFest sets the stage for Alabama children

The following is the latest installment of the Alabama Power Foundation’s annual report, highlighting the people and groups spreading good across Alabama with the foundation’s support.

 

Plato said art imitates life. Oscar Wilde said it was the other way around. It’s an argument that continues. However, one art form brings us face to face with the connection between art and life, perhaps better than any other: theater. It’s here people act out stories, hoping their audience forgets for a moment that it’s all make-believe. Were it not for the SchoolFest program of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF), many Alabama children might never be exposed to the magic of theater.

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Every year, 40,000 students attend SchoolFest in Montgomery. From the professional actors to the costume and set design, the productions are the same as those presented to other ASF audiences. Thanks to grants from the Alabama Power Foundation and others, ticket prices are discounted and many schools attend for free, exposing students from all walks of life to art.

For some, it’s an experience they’ll never forget. For others, like Emily Prim, it’s life-changing. Prim is assistant wardrobe supervisor at ASF. She remembers distinctly when the “theater bug” bit her. “I was in seventh grade at St. James School in Montgomery. We had a field trip to SchoolFest, where we saw ‘James and the Giant Peach.’ I remember it so well, because there was a Ferris wheel on stage that was the peach, and I thought that was so cool. I was sorta thinking about theater, because of shows we had done in school and stuff, but when I came to see ‘James’ here, it made me start thinking that this is something I could do after I graduate,” Prim said.

Prim’s experience is what ASF is all about. Executive Director Todd Schmidt put it this way: “It’s really a bedrock of our mission at ASF, which is to create communities through transformative theatrical experiences. It’s a lot of kids’ first introduction to theater. It’s important to do that, especially in this time of continued cuts in arts funding.”

Shakespeare Festival’s SchoolFest puts the arts at center stage for Alabama students from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Just in the past year, students have seen productions of “The Sound of Music,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Our Town,” “Steel Magnolias” and “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963.” The latter featured 24 students from Montgomery Public Schools in the cast. Schmidt chooses shows that are appropriate for audiences of all ages. SchoolFest builds many of these productions around school curricula.

“We put our programming out to schools, and then they select what they think is relevant to what they’re doing and what they want their kids to be exposed to,” Schmidt said.

What started decades ago as productions appropriate for students has continued to expand. In addition to SchoolFest, ASF offers educational programs. There are theater classes for adults and children, and summer theater camps for students. ASF has hosted a series of conversations that are tied – at least in part – to the shows. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell spoke alongside a cast member from “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963.”

“These are not about our productions, but they focus on themes of the productions,” Schmidt said. “There’s one coming up that talks about women dealing with glass ceilings, working in fields normally dominated by men, which ties somewhat into the production of ‘Steel Magnolias’ and a new production, ‘Into the Breeches.’”

Lonny Harrison, director of theater at St. James School in Montgomery, has been bringing students to see productions at ASF for 21 years. “We have some students who, up to the point they’ve hit SchoolFest, have never seen a live production outside of a school play. This definitely helps get them more into the arts.

It seems like kids respond differently to every show, but whether it’s something that’s the most amazing thing to them, or something that makes them think more critically, it at least makes them think about it. When we left ‘Romeo and Juliet’ the other day, kids were saying, ‘Let’s do some Shakespeare!’ I had to tell them, ‘Small steps.’”

Harrison has a long history with SchoolFest. He saw stage productions at ASF when he was in school. His experience echoes that of many Alabamians. Were you to poll the state, you’d likely be amazed at the number of people of all ages who’ve shared the marvel of live performance in a theater at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

In Alabama, it’s a generational thing. When it comes to the art imitating life vs. life imitating art question, perhaps Shakespeare got it right when, in the second act of “As You Like It,” the character Jaques said, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”

The parts being played by the men and women of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival are a rich and vital service to the people of our state. These are the people who transform our children, who show them a new and lively way to understand stories, and life – its comedies and tragedies. These are the “players” who expand the minds of our young people, and show them a world that lives within their own ability to imagine.

For more information on the Alabama Power Foundation and its annual report, visit here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 hours ago

Aderholt’s advice for Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate candidates: ‘Make it very clear that they’re supportive of the president’

Although it is still the early going of the 2020 U.S. Senate Republican primary election campaign, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) has some advice for the handful of candidates seeking the GOP nod.

When asked what he saw as important to him and his constituents in Alabama’s fourth congressional district, he said it was support for President Donald Trump.

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump dominated Aderholt’s district by winning more than 80% of the vote and was the only district in the country to break the 80% threshold.

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“They’ve clearly got to make sure that they make it very clear that they’re supportive of the president,” Aderholt said. “I mean, this president has as much support of any since I have been in office. I have never seen a president that has the support this president has. He has, everywhere I go, people are very optimistic that they are very positive about what he is doing. And they’re optimistic about the future. So I would first of all — they need to let their constituents, future constituents that are voters, know that they’re someone who would stand with the president.”

“As someone who is in another branch of government, we always want to make sure we don’t do just exactly like the executive or the president wants to do regardless of who it is,” he continued. “The Founding Fathers wanted the different branches to be a watchdog on each other. But, as I have seen from this president, the things that he is doing is consistent with what the voters want and what has been good for America. I’m fully supportive of this president. I think they need to communicate they’re supporting the president. I think that is probably the biggest thing right now. Alabama is a very pro-life state, and I think they need to communicate that, which again is consistent with the president’s message.”

Aderholt also suggested the Senate candidates should be supportive of Trump’s efforts to renegotiate NAFTA.

“I am also getting the feedback that the Mexican-Canadian trade agreement that the president is trying to negotiate — to redo NAFTA, people are very supportive of that,” Aderholt added. “But again, the president has been very supportive of these issues. What the president is doing, I’m very supportive of. I don’t see any issue as far as supporting what the president’s issue is.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

4 hours ago

Georgia-based Colonial sues contractor over Alabama spill

Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline Co. has sued an Alabama contractor over a spill that threatened gasoline supplies along the East Coast three years ago.

The pipeline operator contends faulty work by the Birmingham-based Ceco Pipeline Services caused a crack that spilled at least 250,000 gallons of gasoline in rural Shelby County in September 2016.

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The spill shut down a major pipeline for weeks, tightening gasoline supplies along the Eastern Seaboard.

The pipeline carries fuel from Houston to metropolitan New York.

With headquarters near Atlanta in Alpharetta, Colonial Pipeline filed the federal lawsuit Friday seeking an unspecified amount of money.

Ceco Pipeline Services has not filed a response in court, and general manager Luke Hotze declined comment Monday, citing the lawsuit.

Hired to replace coatings that protect the pipeline’s exterior, the contractor failed to adequately replace dirt around the pipeline after maintenance work, the suit said.

The failure left a void beneath the pipe, which bent as it sagged.

The bend caused cracks that led to the breach, according to the suit.

The failure cost Colonial Pipeline lost income, plus money spent on repairs and cleanup, the lawsuit said without specifying an amount.

The lawsuit said Colonial Pipeline transports an average of 100 million gallons (378 million liters) of refined petroleum products daily through a system that includes more than 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers) of pipeline.
(Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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‘School choice’ also means ‘tax choice’ in Alabama

It’s back-to-school season and for some parents, this is a happy time.

But for those whose children are stuck in underperforming schools, or schools where they are bullied or are in danger, this is a heartbreaking time, especially if they cannot afford to move or go to private school.

“There was fighting every day. People wanted to shoot me, kill me, and everything,” said Calvin Coleman in a speech about his experiences at his Mobile public high school.

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Did you know that you, or your company, can help students like Calvin by donating a portion of what you already owe in state income taxes to a program that funds scholarships for low-income families in Alabama?

“When my son Carlos was in the fifth grade, he was constantly bullied and I wanted to desperately put him into a private school,” wrote Nyenya Webster of Montgomery in Alabama Daily News. Every day was a struggle, she added. “I was at a loss as to what to do to help my son.”

Then Webster learned about the tax-credit scholarship program created in 2013 by the Alabama Accountability Act that serves roughly 4,000 low-income, mostly minority Alabama students.

She applied, and Carlos received a scholarship to attend Success Unlimited Academy in Montgomery.

“Success Unlimited has been a lifesaver for my son,” Webster wrote. “He … is now considering college. My son never talked about going to college before Success.”

For those who want to help other Alabama families break the cycle of poverty through education, it’s a no-brainer.

“For a donor, it doesn’t cost them anything,” said Warren Callaway, executive director of Scholarships For Kids, one of the scholarship granting organizations funded by the program.

That’s because a tax credit is different from a charitable contribution. When you make a charitable contribution to a non-profit organization, you deduct a portion of that on your income tax. However, a tax credit allows you to take a dollar for dollar reduction in your state income tax.

“Basically, donors are redirecting some of their state income tax liability to a [scholarship granting organization],” Callaway said. “So, if you give $100 to us, you can reduce your state income tax by $100.”

Who benefits from the donation?

“The average household income for these students is under $30,000 so these are families that would have no other way of choosing the school that is best for their child,” said Ryan Cantrell, director of state strategy and political affairs for the American Federation for Children, during an interview of the 1819 podcast.

Higher-income families have always had school choice, Cantrell said, but “it’s the low-income families who get stuck with no options in under-performing schools or schools that don’t work for their child.”

There are $30 million in tax credits available and, so far, only about a third have been claimed, according to the Department of Revenue’s My Alabama Taxes website.

Here’s how you can reserve your tax credit before the December 31, 2019, deadline:

Step 1: Estimate how much income tax you or your business will owe Alabama next year by checking how much you paid last year. Individuals and corporations can donate up to 50 percent of their tax bill, and while individuals are limited to $50,000, corporations are unlimited.

Step 2: Visit the My Alabama Taxes website and follow instructions for reserving an Alabama Accountability Act tax credit.

Step 3: Send a check to one of the seven scholarship granting organizations in Alabama within 30 days.

Step 4: When you do your taxes next year, fill out an Alabama Department of Revenue Schedule AATC form to reduce your income tax bill by the amount you donated.

For more help, individuals may call the Alabama Department of Revenue at 334-353-0602 or 334-353-9770, and corporations may call 334-242-1200.

You’re already going to have to write a check for your state income taxes. Why not control where some of that money goes, especially when it has the power to change lives?

“It was a relief that nobody would understand,” said mother-of-five Alleane West in an Alabama Opportunity Scholarship video about the program’s impact on her family. “You know, you’re a single mom with boys trying to not make them a statistic.”

Watch:

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is a senior fellow at the Alabama Policy Institute. Connect with her at rachel@alabamapolicy.org or on Instagram @RachelBlackmonBryars.

5 hours ago

Ivey to toll detractors: ‘Nobody wants to pay for anything — We just always want the benefits’; Calls for other ‘reasonable solutions’

On Monday, the political battle over the proposed tolling for the new I-10 Mobile Bayway Bridge escalated when Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth came out in opposition to the toll. Following in Ainsworth’s footsteps and coming out against the proposal as well was another heavy-hitter, State Senate President Pro-Tem Del Marsh.

Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey, who has insisted on the necessity of the project and warned that “cost of doing nothing” was too high, offered a response to detractors.

Ivey indicated to Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenberg, co-hosts of Birmingham radio Talk 99.5’s “The Matt & Aunie Show,” that a reaction to a toll was to be expected. She also said she would listen to alternatives at the Alabama Toll Road, Bridge and Tunnel Authority meeting scheduled for October 7.

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“Nobody wants to pay for anything,” she said. “We just always want the benefits. If somebody has got a better idea of what the toll should be or if we should never toll. That’s the reason I’m hosting the October 7 meeting at the State Capitol for the Toll Bridge and Road Authority – so people can put reasonable solutions on the table. How do we pay for the bridge?”

“Everybody would be for not having to have a toll,” Ivey added. “I just haven’t found that option yet. It’s the reason we’re hosting this meeting with state legislators, congressional delegation, constitutional officers have all been invited to come and be specific and offer some reasonable solutions of how we can pay for the bridge without using a toll or a lower toll.”

Earlier this year, the Alabama legislature raised the state’s gas tax, part of the Rebuild Alabama Act. That had some questioning the timing of the toll coming on the heels of a gas tax increase. According to Ivey, gas tax revenue alone would hardly cover the cost of the bridge.

“When we paid the gas tax, we only did 10 cents,” she said. “It’s a lot of money for some folks, but 10 cents only brings in $320 million annually for roads and bridges across the state. The bridge itself costs $2.1 billion … the gas tax is for statewide projects, not just one project.”

When asked about the timing of her awareness of a toll for the project, Ivey did not offer a specific time. However, she did mention a specific each-way price tag of $2.25, which varied from the $6 each-way toll in many reports.

“They’ve been talking about this bridge for 20-something-odd years for the environmental impact,” Ivey said. “I don’t know when exactly I heard the proposal but $2.25 one-way doesn’t seem too unreasonable.”

According to the governor’s office, the $2.25 Ivey cited referred to the average for the frequent user. The $2.25 cost would be the average price for five days a week for four weeks with the purchase of the proposed frequent user pass at a cost of $90 per month. Also, with the proposed pass, crossing the bridge would unlimited, and the $2.25 average could vary depending on how many times a pass holder crosses in a given month.

When asked about the prospects of additional toll projects throughout the state, Ivey told Talk 99.5 she was unaware of any.

“I’m not aware of any, and the toll roads we do have are on private property as far as I know now there are no other plans for a toll road on state or federal highways,” she said.

When asked about those suggesting U.S. Highway 280 in Birmingham or other roads being tolled, Ivey decried it as “misinformation.”

“So much misinformation out there is intentional,” Ivey said. “It’s just unconscionable for folks to be considering such information. It’s easy to verify what you hear before you spout it. I just encourage everybody to look on the big side of prosperity and let’s build the bridge so we can strengthen commerce and strengthen public safety, and keep our state productive.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.