10 months ago

Why Trump was right to move embassy to Jerusalem


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

TRUMP FOLLOWS THROUGH ON EMBASSY PROMISE

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, this past Monday was a significant day in the nation of Israel as President Donald Trump of the United States made a bold decision that was actually passed by Congress 20 years ago to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

DR. REEDER: This is something that has been the stated objective of almost every president and every Congress. And, in fact, it was almost an embarrassment to all of the allies who had knowingly turned their eyes and ears from the reality of the Holocaust being inflicted upon the Jewish people by the Nazi regime and then, of course, the uncovering of this site. So, the Holocaust, it was just a matter of a couple of years before the United Nations would pass the declaration for the restoration of Israel back to its homeland. Of course, all of this dates back to the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

Now comes this post-World War II movement. Every president, also, of course, wants to bring peace to the Middle East as well. Our last presidents have made initiatives and efforts but it’s been to no avail. Now, interestingly, what President Trump has done, which is placing our embassy in the capital of Jerusalem, let’s make a couple of facts abundantly clear. First of all, Jerusalem is, by the nation of Israel, declared to be her “eternal city,” the eternal capital of Israel.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT ?

Nations always place their embassies in the capital cities of the nation with which they have the relationships and our Congress has authorized that our embassy should be in the capital city of Jerusalem and has so directed it to be, but no president has placed our embassy in the capital city of Israel, which is Jerusalem.

Well, Tom, the question automatically says well, why haven’t presidents done what Congress has authorized? They put the embassy in Tel-Aviv, which has been the functional economic center of Israel. Even though all of their governmental buildings and organizations are located in Jerusalem, we’ve always put our embassy in Tel-Aviv.

WHY DID U.S. WAIT SO LONG TO PUT EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM?

Why? It’s been a bargaining chip out of deference to the Palestinians so that, in negotiations, that has positioned America as a broker of peace and it has been acknowledged that America would be the best broker of a peace agreement between the Palestinians and the Israeli nation.

Well, now, as Donald Trump has said, every president has promised to put the embassy there, Congress has authorized the embassy to be there, I’m going to put it there. He put it and an unmistakable message was given because it was on the day that commemorates the establishment of Israel in 1947. Therefore, the president does it and that, of course, has caused significant unrest in Israel.

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE STILL FACE UNREST

TOM LAMPRECHT: In fact, there were dozens of Palestinians that were killed as the Israeli defense forces acted forcefully when a number of terrorists tried to breach a security fence.

DR. REEDER: There were efforts to disrupt the process, efforts to go through the security fences so there were Israeli defense forces. And the Israelis now are under a number of assaults in that there is the Iranian-backed assaults coming out of Syria, which Israel has responded to very forcefully externally and then the internal issues of the Palestinian unrest and their response and the Palestinians have declared that they no longer will look to America or follow America’s peace initiatives.

Now, a lot of people are sitting here looking at this, having seen something we’re going to comment on tomorrow, the Korean initiatives that have been somewhat successful, and what has been the role of this presidential administration. And some are looking at this and saying, well, this may be another example of business as usual by presidents, which is, “I’m not going to put the embassy there so I’ve got a bargaining chip.”

The fact is the bargaining chip hasn’t worked. It hasn’t worked now for four presidents. This president decides: I’m not going to use it as a bargaining chip. I’m going to go ahead and do it and let’s see if that moves the process forward, because there is no other ally that we have that we will not put an embassy in their capital and, if Israel is a strong ally for us, then we need to go ahead and do what we would do with every other nation. And then, from that position, let’s be a player in the matters of negotiating a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

PEACE IS A TOP GOAL

It is my opinion that this actually may position the president’s negotiating teams in a more purposeful position. Instead of making Jerusalem a bargaining chip, you’ve made it a reality that has to be dealt with and now move ahead to deal with the reality of how we get a peace agreement there in Israel.

Of course, there’s some evangelicals that their position is this is futile to try to make a peace agreement because the Bible declares that there will be enmity between the sons of Ishmael and the sons of Isaac. However, I would suggest that, while in God’s purposes, what He does with the conflicts of nations is yet to be seen in His providence.

I believe the directive of God’s Word is very clear:

— We are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

— We should seek the peace of Jerusalem.

— We should be peacemakers wherever we go.

Well, Harry, what about wars? War is always the failure of human beings to deal with the issues of sin and unrighteousness and evil and, ultimately, wars may settle the immediacy of an issue, but they don’t position you for the long-term effects of what needs to be done for felicity — the fact that we need to promote peace. Whereby, with principles of what is right and what is wrong, you sit down at the table in order to do that which is just for both nations.

PAST APPROACHES WERE DECEPTIVE AND INEFFECTIVE 

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, Abigail Shrier, who writes for The National Review and The Federalist, said the embassy move could be Trump’s most enduring presidential achievement.

DR. REEDER: I have that hope, Tom. I have that very, very hope. I just know that the past approach of withholding the embassy by presidential directive in order to use that to create the opportunity to be the broker of peace between the Israeli people and the Palestinian people hasn’t worked and there is no sense that it will work. I think go ahead and deal with Israel as you would with any other ally, place the embassy there, go ahead and establish that and let Israel deal with the reality of that.

And then, from that position, call the factions within Israel to a table and then I actually think you can speak with more pointedness to Israel, having affirmed her position as an ally rather than, “Israel, we are authorized to put an embassy in Jerusalem but we’re not going to do it unless you make concessions to the Palestinians. And, Palestinians, see, we haven’t put an embassy there so that shows that we’re really not an ally with Israel and you can trust us.”

I don’t think that kind of deception really works. Go ahead and put the embassy there and sit down and say, “Now let’s get on the table what are the issues and how can we create a solution that takes care of the Palestinian people within the confines of the borders of Israel and how can an appropriate nation be established for the Palestinian people?”

I will again remind our listeners that I believe that this was a failure prior to World War II when the Balfour Declaration was not properly fulfilled underneath English oversight and what today is Jordan actually was the very place whereby those who are in Israel were supposed to be given land and a nation and it was to be established. And the creation of Jordan was, actually, I believe, a political figment for other purposes that was put into place, but now Jordan is there — it’s going to be there — now you’ve got to deal with the necessity of, I believe, carving out a Palestinian nation and that’s going to require some appropriate negotiations by Israel with the Palestinian people.

DON’T FORGET THE REAL KINGDOM OF GOD

I would also remind all of our listeners, Tom, that our kingdom we have our allegiance to as believers is, of course, the Kingdom of God that is to be spread with the Gospel to all the nations. And I would remind you that you have, in the Kingdom of God, brothers and sisters who are citizens of the Kingdom of God through a personal relationship with Christ as Lord and Savior who reside in both places. God’s covenant people come from all the nations and, therefore, we are to bring the Gospel of peace to all the nations.

COMING UP FRIDAY:

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Friday’s edition of Today in Perspective, as you’ve already alluded to, we’re going to revisit the North Korean situation. Specifically, I want to take a look at those three detainees that came back to the United States last week and a special note they handed Mike Pence.

DR. REEDER: I would encourage our listeners, why don’t you read Psalm 126 before tomorrow?

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.

2 mins ago

Ex-Auburn assistant basketball coach Chuck Person pleads guilty

Former Auburn University assistant coach and 13-year NBA veteran Chuck Person pleaded guilty Tuesday to a bribery conspiracy charge in the widespread college basketball bribery scandal, ensuring that none of the four coaches charged in the probe will go to trial.

Person, 54, of Auburn, Alabama, entered the plea in Manhattan federal court, averting a June trial.

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He and his lawyer declined to speak afterward and made a quick exit from the courthouse.

Prosecutors said Person accepted $91,500 in bribes to steer players with NBA potential to a Pittsburgh-based financial adviser.

As part of the plea, he agreed to forfeit that amount.

Person said he committed his crime in late 2016 and early 2017.

The plea deal has a recommended sentencing guideline range of two to 2½ years in prison, though the sentence will be left up to Judge Loretta A. Preska.

The sentencing is scheduled for July 9.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Person “abused his position as a coach and mentor to student-athletes in exchange for personal gain.”

“In taking tens of thousands of dollars in cash bribes, Person not only placed personal financial gain above his obligations to his employer and the student-athletes he coached, but he broke the law,” he said.

Person’s plea falls in line with those recently entered by three other former assistant coaches at major college basketball schools.

Tony Bland, a former Southern California assistant coach; ex-Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson; and former Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans are awaiting sentencing.

Their prison terms are likely to be measured in months rather than years.

Person, former associate head coach at Auburn, was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 1986 and played for five NBA teams over 13 seasons.

In court papers, prosecutors said Person arranged multiple meetings between the financial adviser and Auburn players or their family members.

Prosecutors said he failed to tell families and players that he was being bribed to recommend the financial adviser.

In one recorded conversation, the prosecutor said, Person warned an Auburn player to keep his relationship with the financial adviser a secret.

According to prosecutors, Person said: “Don’t say nothing to anybody. … Don’t share with your sisters, don’t share with any of the teammates, that’s very important cause this is a violation … of rules, but this is how the NBA players get it done, they get early relationships, and they form partnerships.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 hour ago

Marsh bill to repeal Common Core approved by Senate committee

MONTGOMERY — Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s (R-Anniston) bill to eliminate Common Core in the state of Alabama was given a unanimous favorable recommendation by the Senate’s Education Policy Committee on Wednesday.

The bill, SB 119, is now set to be debated and considered on the Senate floor Thursday.

Marsh spoke about this bill during Yellowhammer Multimedia’s “News Shaper” event in Montgomery Tuesday evening after he filed the bill earlier that day.

He acknowledged that he has been a proponent of letting the state school board set education curriculum and standards policy in the past and even stopped an effort to repeal Common Core a few years ago. However, in Marsh’s view, Common Core has been given a chance now and it is time for the legislature to step in.

“It’s not working. I think we have to have some radical change with education policy in this state. And y’all know me, I’ve pushed a lot of things –  public charter schools, the Accountability Act. We’ve got to address this issue and it’s critical for this state,” Marsh said.

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He said eliminating Common Core would “clear the field” so the state could then move forward to better education outcomes.

Alabama would come up with its own high standards, premised on local control, under Marsh’s proposal.

He said his bill is cosponsored by all 27 of his Republican Senate colleagues and he expects SB 119 to pass the chamber and then receive similarly strong support in the House.

“I am committed to moving to a different standard that’s right for Alabama and moves us forward,” Marsh emphasized.

He also advised that there is a high level of politics involved in education decisions in the state but that sound policy must come first.

“[T]he education community, who I’ve asked to get this fixed, who have not addressed this, quite honestly I don’t think has put us in shape to move forward to address the problem at present. But I’m going to do all I can to see that it happens,” Marsh added.

Democrats on the Senate Education Policy Committee spoke in favor of keeping Common Core on Wednesday.

A career public school teacher from Lee County spoke in favor of eliminating Common Core at the hearing, while representatives from the state school superintendents association and the school boards association had concerns about the implementation of new standards.

Marsh said his bill will be amended before a vote by the full Senate to allow another national standard to be used if found to be best for Alabama, as the current language in his bill would ban any national standard from being adopted by the state school board.

Update, 11:35 a.m.:

State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) released a statement in support of Marsh’s bill.

“I strongly support Senator Marsh’s bill,” Givhan said. “The Common Core standards just haven’t worked for Alabama’s students, and the proof is evident in the data. In 2017, Alabama’s 8th grade math scores ranked 49th among the 50 states, and math scores for 4th grade students were 45th in the nation, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Common Core’s curriculum standards and guidelines have been in place for nine years, and they have failed Alabama’s students. It’s clear we need to look at alternative educational methods, with an emphasis on returning as much control as possible back to the local school districts.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Marsh, McCutcheon talk lottery, ethics clarifications at Yellowhammer ‘News Shaper’ event

MONTGOMERY — Speaking Tuesday evening at Yellowhammer Multimedia’s first “News Shaper” event of 2019, Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) provided their insight on some of the hot-button topics expected to be debated during the legislature’s ongoing regular session.

Yellowhammer owner and editor Tim Howe, who moderated the discussion, outlined uncertainty in the state’s ethics laws brought on by recent court and ethics commission decisions. Howe then asked the two leaders how they think the legislature can provide certainty and codified clarification moving forward, especially when it comes to defining a “principal.”

“There is no doubt that there’s a lot of uncertainty in the ethics legislation,” Marsh said. “The [Alabama Code of Ethics Clarification and Reform Commission] was set up to look over this, but in addition to that, both the Senate and the House – in the Senate you have Greg Albritton and in the House [you have] Mike Jones – working throughout the entire break on how we address this.”

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“And remember,” Marsh continued, “it’s not about 140 legislators, there are 50,000 people in the state of Alabama affected by the ethics law. I’m going to make a plea to my colleagues, some of whom are in this room tonight: If it’s going to be fixed, we’ve got to fix it.”

He emphasized, “[I]t’s not going to get any easier. You’ve got to face the issues. You’ve got to address it and realize this is about much [more] than the legislature. So, I’m hopeful.

Marsh also noted that the uncertainty in the ethics law has “affected economic development.”

“There’s a section there where the economic developers are having problems keeping the [confidentiality] in the process of recruiting industries. We’ve got to address this,” he advised. “And I’m hopeful that we will address it this year.”

Marsh added, “I know that both Senator Albritton and Representative Jones have been in conversation with the attorney general and the ethics commission, as well. So we’re going down a path to try and get everybody on the same page. But we have got to -trust me, ladies and gentleman – we have best fix this. It’s got to be done.”

Howe then asked Marsh to articulate why certainty in the ethics law for economic development professionals is important not just for them, but for the entire state and each of its residents.

“[I]t’s important for the state, because we’re competing with all of the other states,” Marsh said.

He used the example of a piece of legislation passed out of committee that very day largely dealing with Polaris vehicles built in north Alabama and explained that the site selection process requires confidentiality, with most economic development recruitment projects being given code names.

“Because we’re competing against other states. And if we’re not able to keep that degree of secrecy at that stage of the game, we’re at a disadvantage to our neighbors,” Marsh explained.

He concluded, “So this is something that we have got to address. But I’m going to say this: that’s [only] a piece of it. And there’s going to be an attempt by the business community and economic developers to pass the piece. But I think it’s [incumbent] upon us to pass the big picture, solve all the problems, because you want as many people with you, supporting you, to make the changes. Every time you carve off a little piece, you lose some support. So, as I said, I want to help everybody, but I’m committed to the big picture.”

Lottery

Howe later asked the speaker if the time has come for a lottery proposal to pass the legislature and reach a referendum of the people.

“I think so,” McCutcheon responded. “I think it’s been coming for several years. I know that the districts, House districts, that are [bordering other states], most of those districts have seen a significant shift over the last seven or eight years because they see Alabamians driving across the state line to buy lottery tickets.”

He continued, “And people are starting to talk about it, and they’re starting to make it part of their discussion around the dinner table. … At the end of the day, there’s a good push from the people.”

McCutcheon did emphasize what he viewed as key to a successful lottery discussion.

“If we’re going to put this to a vote of the people, and I think it has a good chance of passing, we need to make sure that people understand what they’re voting on,” he outlined. “That’s very, very important. We don’t want to cloud the issue with the definition of a ‘lottery’ and try to sneak something in the back door. Let’s make sure the people understand in their minds what a lottery is and we define it in such a way that they know what they’re voting on.”

“Then, I think the next big debate will be, ‘Where’s the money [lottery revenue] going to go?’ And that will be something that we’ll have to contend with,” McCutcheon concluded.

This came the same day that Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville) filed a lottery proposal that was soon after called not “clean” by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who said McClendon’s legislation would legalize slot machines in a select few places in the state.

Watch the entire discussion:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

After 133 launches, Alabama built rockets boast 100% mission success

Thank you to the United Launch Alliance team and the entire workforce surrounding another successful launch.  Alabama’s Decatur based facility brings the utmost precision, passion and purpose to one of the most technically complex, critical American needs: affordable, reliable access to space.

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3 hours ago

Bipartisan bill to regulate vaping set for House committee hearing

MONTGOMERY — Alabama is currently one of only three states to not regulate vaping, but that could soon change.

HB 41, sponsored by Republican Rep. Shane Stringer and Democrat Rep. Barbara Drummond, both of Mobile County, is on the House Judiciary Committee’s agenda for Wednesday afternoon.

The bill would regulate the sale, use and advertisement of vaping – or “alternative nicotine products” – in the state.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News, both Drummond and Stringer emphasized that their bill is intended to protect the health and wellbeing of Alabama minors.

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“The motivation is simple,” Drummond emphasized. “We are trying to safeguard the teens in the state of Alabama.”

She outlined, “Vape shops, as it stands right now, are not regulated at all… And the bill came about because our drug education council locally brought it to our attention, but [Stringer and I] have both seen ourselves, as well as throughout the whole state, the rise of vape shops. They’re popping up everywhere in the state of Alabama.”

While it is too early to tell what vaping is directly doing to users’ health, Stringer and Drummond emphasized there is an objective gateway effect from vaping use and to smoking traditional cigarettes.

“Right now, there is no data that says what is the [direct] effect that these products are having on our young people. What we are seeing, and this is a national trend, is that you’re seeing smoking not going down, but increasing, among young people,” Drummond explained.

Stringer, a career law enforcement officer with stints as chief of multiple local police departments, said educators from every corner of Mobile County have voiced their concerns with the lack of state oversight on vape products and retailers “saying this is an epidemic and a problem what we need to address.”

“The products haven’t been out long enough to know the problems we could face in five, ten, 15 years from now,” he said. “It’s pretty similar to when smoking came out. There was basically no risk at that time, according to everyone. Now, look at all the data that we have to go with smoking… this is a new product we’re learning every day about.”

Stringer said statistics they were shown from the drug education council show an approximately 34 percent increase in children under 19-years-old that tried smoking after vaping.

“In Alabama, we don’t want to wake up one day and see the effects, negative effects on our kids,” Drummond added. “Right now, we’re trying to be responsible legislators to make sure that we look out for the welfare of our children.”

The two lawmakers also stressed that not only do vape shop operators have no restrictions on them, but the state has no way to even keep track of them currently.

Their bill would make it illegal to sell or give vape products to anyone under 19-years-old. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would regulate retail sales of the products, just as they do tobacco products. Retailers would have to obtain an annual permit, which includes an application fee of $300. Retailers would also have to comply with relevant FDA regulations and post signage warning of the dangers of nicotine usage.

Using vape products in certain places, including schools and child care facilities, would be prohibited.

‘This is something that is nonpartisan, it’s not anything that is about Republican or Democrat. This is something about our young people,” Drummond said. “Because if you look at the amount of nicotine that is showing up in these products, when they first hit the market, the nicotine levels were very low – like five percent. Now, it’s gone up to about ten percent. They’ve got other chemicals in there, like formaldehyde. What is the effect of that upon the brains of our kids? So, this is more of a public wellbeing bill for us.”

Stringer advised that he foresees widespread support in the legislature for the bill.

“Everyone agrees that there has to be some checks and balances [oversight] in place,” he concluded.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn