State Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) will air his first TV ad in his campaign for governor next week. An advance look at the commercial, which focuses on term limits, a flat tax and cutting spending, can be seen here:
Pat Buchanan: We have become an unserious nation
How stands John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” this Thanksgiving?
How stands the country that was to be “a light unto the nations”?
To those who look to cable TV for news, the answer must at the least be ambiguous. For consider the issues that have lately convulsed the public discourse of the American republic.
Today’s great question seems to be whether our 45th president is as serious a sexual predator as our 42nd was proven to be, and whether the confessed sins of Sen. Al Franken are as great as the alleged sins of Judge Roy Moore.
On both questions, the divide is, as ever, along partisan lines.
And every day for weeks, beginning with Hollywood king Harvey Weinstein, whose accusers nearly number in three digits, actors, media personalities and politicians have been falling like nine pins over allegations and admissions of sexual predation.
What is our civil rights issue, and who are today’s successors to the Freedom Riders of the ’60s? Millionaire NFL players “taking a knee” during the national anthem to dishonor the flag of their country to protest racist cops.
And what was the great cultural issue of summer and fall?
An ideological clamor to tear down memorials and monuments to the European discoverers of America, any Founding Father who owned slaves and any and all Confederate soldiers and statesmen.
Stained-glass windows of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson have been removed from the National Cathedral. Plaques to Lee and George Washington have been taken down from the walls of the Episcopal church in Alexandria where both men worshipped.
But the city that bears Washington’s name is erecting a new statue on Pennsylvania Avenue — to honor the four-term mayor who served time on a cocaine charge: Marion Shepilov Barry.
Whatever side one may take on these questions, can a country so preoccupied and polarized on such pursuits be taken seriously as a claimant to be the “exceptional nation,” a model to which the world should look and aspire?
Contrast the social, cultural and moral morass in which America is steeped with the disciplined proceedings and clarity of purpose, direction and goals of our 21st-century rival: Xi Jinping’s China.
Our elites assure us that America today is a far better place than we have ever known, surely better than the old America that existed before the liberating cultural revolution of the 1960s.
Yet President Trump ran on a pledge to “Make America Great Again,” implying that while the America he grew up in was great, in the time of Barack Obama it no longer was. And he won.
Certainly, the issues America dealt with half a century ago seem more momentous than what consumes us today.
Consider the matters that riveted America in the summer and fall of 1962, when this columnist began to write editorials for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. What was the civil rights issue of that day?
In September of ’62, Gov. Ross Barnett decided not to allow Air Force vet James Meredith to become the first black student at Ole Miss. Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent U.S. Marshals to escort Meredith in.
Hundreds of demonstrators arrived on campus to join student protests. A riot ensued. Dozens of marshals were injured. A French journalist was shot to death. The Mississippi Guard was federalized. U.S. troops were sent in, just as Ike had sent them into Little Rock when Gov. Orville Faubus refused to desegregate Central High.
U.S. power was being used to enforce a federal court order on a recalcitrant state government, as it would in 1963 at the University of Alabama, where Gov. George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door.
As civil rights clashes go, this was the real deal.
That fall, in a surprise attack, Chinese troops poured through the passes in the Himalayas, invading India. China declared a truce in November but kept the territories it had occupied in Jammu and Kashmir.
Then there was the Cuban missile crisis, the most dangerous crisis of the Cold War.
Since August, the Globe-Democrat had been calling for a blockade of Cuba, where Soviet ships were regularly unloading weapons. When President Kennedy declared a “quarantine” after revealing that missiles with nuclear warheads that could reach Washington were being installed, the Globe urged unity behind him, as it had in Oxford, Mississippi.
We seemed a more serious and united nation and people then than we are today, where so much that roils our society and consumes our attention seems unserious and even trivial.
“And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?” wrote the British poet Thomas Macaulay.
Since 1962, this nation has dethroned its God and begun debates about which of the flawed but great men who created the nation should be publicly dishonored. Are we really a better country today than we were then, when all the world looked to America as the land of the future?
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”
COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM
Pat Buchanan: Are we prepared to accept China as the world’s dominant power?
After the 19th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party in October, one may discern Premier Xi Jinping’s vision of the emerging New World Order.
By 2049, the centennial of the triumph of Communist Revolution, China shall have become the first power on earth. Her occupation and humiliation by the West and Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries will have become hated but ancient history.
America will have been pushed out of Asia and the western Pacific back beyond the second chain of islands.
Taiwan will have been returned to the motherland, South Korea and the Philippines neutralized, Japan contained. China’s claim to all the rocks, reefs and islets in the South China Sea will have been recognized by all current claimants.
Xi’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy will have brought South and Central Asia into Beijing’s orbit, and he will be in the Pantheon beside the Founding Father of Communist China, Mao Zedong.
Democracy has been rejected by China in favor of one-party rule of all political, economic, cultural and social life.
And as one views Europe, depopulating, riven by secessionism, fearful of a Third World migrant invasion, and America tearing herself apart over politics and ideology, China must appear to ambitious and rising powers as the model to emulate.
Indeed, has not China shown the world that authoritarianism can be compatible with national growth that outstrips a democratic West?
Over the last quarter century, China, thanks to economic nationalism and $4 trillion in trade surpluses with the United States, has exhibited growth unseen since 19th-century America.
Whatever we may think of Xi’s methods, this vision must attract vast numbers of China’s young — they see their country displace America as first power, becoming the dominant people on earth.
What is America’s vision? What is America’s cause in the 21st century? What is the mission and goal that unites, inspires and drives us on?
After World War II, America’s foreign policy was imposed upon her by the terrible realities the war produced: brutalitarian Stalinist domination of Eastern and Central Europe and much of Asia.
Under nine presidents, containment of the Soviet empire, while avoiding a war that would destroy civilization, was our policy. In Korea and Vietnam, Americans died in the thousands to sustain that policy.
But with the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the breakup of the USSR, it seemed that by 1992 our great work was done. Now democracy would flourish and be embraced by all advanced peoples and nations.
But it did not happen. The “end of history” never came. The New World Order of Bush I did not last. Bush II’s democracy crusade to end tyranny in our world produced disasters from Libya to Afghanistan.
Authoritarianism is now ascendant and democracy is in retreat.
Is the United States prepared to accept a world in which China, growing at twice our rate, more united and purposeful, emerges as the dominant power? Are we willing to acquiesce in a Chinese Century?
Or will we adopt a policy to ensure that America remains the world’s preeminent power?
Do we have what is required in wealth, power, stamina and will to pursue a Second Cold War to contain China, which, strategic weapons aside, is more powerful and has greater potential than the Soviet Union ever did?
On his Asia tour, President Trump spoke of the “Indo-Pacific,” shorthand for the proposition that the U.S., Japan, Australia and India form the core of a coalition to maintain the balance of power in Asia and contain the expansion of China.
Yet, before we create some Asia-Pacific NATO to corral and contain China in this century, as we did the USSR in the 20th century, we need to ask ourselves why.
Does China, even if she rises to surpass the U.S. in manufacturing, technology and economic output, and is a comparable military power, truly threaten us as the USSR did, to where we should consider war to prevent its expansion in places like the South China Sea that are not vital to America?
While China is a great power, she has great problems.
She is feared and disliked by her neighbors. She has territorial quarrels with Russia, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan. She has separatists in Tibet and Xinjiang. Christianity is growing while Communism, the state religion, is a dead faith. Moreover, the monopoly of power now enjoyed by the Communist Party and Xi Jinping mean that if things go wrong, there is no one else to blame.
Finally, why is the containment of China in Asia the responsibility of a United States 12 time zones away? For while China seeks to dominate Eurasia, she appears to have no desire to threaten the vital interests of the United States. China’s Communism appears to be an ideology disbelieved by her own people, that she does not intend to impose it on Asia or the world.
Again, are we Americans up for a Second Cold War, and, if so, why?
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”
COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM
Pat Buchanan: U.S. should reign in the rogue royal of Arabia
If the crown prince of Saudi Arabia has in mind a war with Iran, President Trump should disabuse his royal highness of any notion that America would be doing his fighting for him.
Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, the 32-year-old son of the aging and ailing King Salman, is making too many enemies for his own good, or for ours.
Pledging to Westernize Saudi Arabia, he has antagonized the clerical establishment. Among the 200 Saudis he just had arrested for criminal corruption are 11 princes, the head of the National Guard, the governor of Riyadh, and the famed investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
The Saudi tradition of consensus collective rule is being trashed.
MBS is said to be pushing for an abdication by his father and his early assumption of the throne. He has begun to exhibit the familiar traits of an ambitious 21st-century autocrat in the mold of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.
Yet his foreign adventures are all proving to be debacles.
The rebels the Saudis backed in Syria’s civil war were routed. The war on the Houthi rebels in Yemen, of which MBS is architect, has proven to be a Saudi Vietnam and a human rights catastrophe.
The crown prince persuaded Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE to expel Qatar from the Sunni Arab community for aiding terrorists, but he has failed to choke the tiny country into submission.
Last week, MBS ordered Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to Riyadh, where Hariri publicly resigned his office and now appears to be under house arrest. Refusing to recognize the resignation, Lebanon’s president is demanding Hariri’s return.
After embattled Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a missile at its international airport, Riyadh declared the missile to be Iranian-made, smuggled into Yemen by Tehran, and fired with the help of Hezbollah.
The story seemed far-fetched, but Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the attack out of Yemen may be considered an “act of war” — by Iran. And as war talk spread across the region last week, Riyadh ordered all Saudi nationals in Lebanon to come home.
Riyadh has now imposed a virtual starvation blockade — land, sea and air — on Yemen, that poorest of Arab nations that is heavily dependent on imports for food and medicine. Hundreds of thousands of Yemeni are suffering from cholera. Millions face malnutrition.
The U.S. interest here is clear: no new war in the Middle East, and a negotiated end to the wars in Yemen and Syria.
Hence, the United States needs to rein in the royal prince.
Yet, on his Asia trip, Trump said of the Saudi-generated crisis, “I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing.”
Do they? In October, Jared Kushner made a trip to Riyadh, where he reportedly spent a long night of plotting Middle East strategy until 4 a.m. with MBS.
No one knows how a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would end. The Saudis has been buying modern U.S. weapons for years, but Iran, with twice the population, has larger if less-well-equipped forces.
Yet the seeming desire of the leading Sunni nation in the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia, for a confrontation with the leading Shiite power, Iran, appears to carry the greater risks for Riyadh.
For, a dozen years ago, the balance of power in the Gulf shifted to Iran, when Bush II launched Operation Iraqi Freedom, ousted Saddam Hussein, disarmed and disbanded his Sunni-led army, and turned Iraq into a Shiite-dominated nation friendly to Iran.
In the Reagan decade, Iraq had fought Iran as mortal enemies for eight years. Now they are associates, if not allies.
The Saudis may bristle at Hezbollah and demand a crackdown. But Hezbollah is a participant in the Lebanese government and has the largest fighting force in the country, hardened in battle in Syria’s civil war, where it emerged on the victorious side.
While the Israelis could fight and win a war with Hezbollah, both Israel and Hezbollah suffered so greatly from their 2006 war that neither appears eager to renew that costly but inconclusive conflict.
In an all-out war with Iran, Saudi Arabia could not prevail without U.S. support. And should Riyadh fail, the regime would be imperiled. As World War I, with the fall of the Romanov, Hohenzollern, Hapsburg and Ottoman empires demonstrated, imperial houses do not fare well in losing wars.
So far out on a limb has MBS gotten himself, with his purge of cabinet ministers and royal cousins, and his foreign adventures, it is hard to see how he climbs back without some humiliation that could cost him the throne.
Yet we have our own interests here. And we should tell the crown prince that if he starts a war in Lebanon or in the Gulf, he is on his own. We cannot have this impulsive prince deciding whether or not the United States goes to war again in the Middle East.
We alone decide that.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”
COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM
Air Force warns it is short 1,926 pilots
The U.S. Air Force is being stretched to the limit, with budget constraints and a growing pilot shortage, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told a news briefing on Thursday.
“The fiscal year ’18 continuing resolution is actually delaying our efforts to increase the readiness of the force,” Wilson said. “And risk accumulates over time, and you just don’t know exactly when things will break. But we are stretching the force to the limit, and we need to start turning the corner on readiness.”
Wilson said restoring readiness means lifting sequestration and hiring more people:
Last summer, we were reporting to people that we were about 1,500…pilots short in the Air Force, and we expected it to get worse.
As the fiscal year closed, we assessed where we were with respect to pilots. And I’m announcing today that, at the close of the last fiscal year, we were 1,926 pilots short. So almost…2,000 pilots short of a force that has 20,000 pilots. So that’s one in 10 that we’re short.
It’s not just pilots, though, and air crew, when it comes to readiness. It is spare parts and flying hours and munitions. So increasing the readiness of the force so that we win any fight, any time, is our top priority.
Wilson said burnout is one reason for the pilot shortage: “We are too small for all the missions that we’re being asked to carry out on behalf of the nation,” she said. “And as a result, we’re burning out our people.”
“Surge has become the new normal in the United States Air Force, and you can do that for a year, or two years, or maybe even three or four years. But we’re asking — I met someone last week who was on — who has just come back from his 17th deployment — 17 deployments,” Wilson said.
“Less than one percent of Americans serve in uniform and protect the rest of us, and they are carrying a very heavy burden. And at some point, families make a decision: that they just can’t keep doing this at this pace, and I think that’s — that’s the biggest thing we’re facing, is we’re burning out our people, because we’re too small for what the nation is asking.”
To make up for some of the pilot shortfall, President Trump on Oct. 20 signed an executive order allowing the Air Force to recall (on a voluntary basis) as many as 1,000 retired pilots to active-duty staff positions.
“You may have heard that we got authority to welcome back retirees,” Goldfein told reporters. “I will tell you that my 85-year-old dad, who flew F-4s in Vietnam, and his fellow retiree — they are all excited about coming back.”
Goldfein added that boosting the number of pilots will be a “longer-term investment.”
And Wilson noted that “you can’t train a pilot in just a year.”
“You have to absorb them into a squadron and get them — you know, get them qualified on a weapon system.
“I was talking to a parent last week, out in Colorado, whose son is a — is a director of operations up in Alaska for the F-22. And he’s flying, you know? He’s — and his dad said, ‘Gosh, you’re a pretty senior guy to be flying. Why are you flying with your squadron?’
“He said, ‘Dad, we only have three instructor pilots in the whole squadron. We’ve got all these youngsters, and they have to be trained to be able to do the mission.’ So we’re just really short of people who can teach in the squadron.”
The manpower shortage also extends to Air Force ground and maintenance crews, the people who work on airplanes and their weapons systems before takeoff.
Goldfein gave the following example:
You know, when I started flying airplanes as a young F-16 pilot, I would meet my crew chief and a — dedicated and a secondary crew chief at the plane. We’d walk the airplane — walk around the airplane. I’d taxi out. I’d meet a crew that was in the runway, and they’d pull the pins and arm the weapons and give me a last-chance check. I’d take off. I’d fly to a destination. A different crew would meet me.
Here’s what often happens today. You taxi slow because the same single crew chief that you met has to get in the van and drive to the end of the runway to pull the pins and arm the weapons.
And then you sit on the runway before you take off and you wait, because that crew chief has to go jump on a C-17 with his tools to fly ahead to meet you at the other end.
This the level of — of numbers that we’re dealing with here. We’re making the mission happen but we’re having to do it, very often, on the backs of our airmen.
And so we’re going to have — the — the tension on the force right now is significant. And so we’re looking for all these different ways to not only retain those that we have invested in but increase production so we can provide some reduction on the tension on the force right now.
Wilson said the Air Force has created an Air Crew Crisis Task Force to come up with solutions to the pilot shortfall and training deficiencies. She said the most important thing is to get rid of the Budget Control Act (sequester).
(By Susan Jones, courtesy CNSNews.com)
Trump: Extreme Vetting of Gun Buyers ‘Not Going to Help’
Extreme vetting of gun buyers would not have stopped the situation in Sutherland Springs, Texas, President Trump told a news conference in South Korea on Tuesday.
The gunman who killed 26 people passed a background check to purchase four guns in a four-year period because information about his domestic violence convictions did not make it into the national criminal database. That’s because the Air Force failed to send the information to the FBI.
An NBC reporter asked Trump on Tuesday if the same “extreme vetting” measure he’s recommended for immigrants should be applied to American gun buyers.
“If you did what you’re suggesting (extreme vetting), there would have been no difference three days ago. And you might not have had that very brave person, who happened to have a gun or a rifle in his truck, go out and shoot him and hit him and neutralize him.
“And I can only say this, if he (Good Samaritan Stephen Willeford) didn’t have a gun, instead of having 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead. So that’s the way I feel about it. It’s not going to help.”
The president pointed to Chicago which he called a “total disaster,” despite its strict gun laws.
“And just remember, if this man (Willeford) didn’t have a gun or a rifle, you’d be talking a much worse situation in the great state of Texas.”
(Courtesy of CNSNews.com)
Trump: ‘We have a lot of mental health problems in our country’
Speaking at a news conference in Japan on Monday, President Trump said the horrific mass shooting at a Texas church was carried out by “a very deranged individual with a lot of problems over a long period of time.”
At least 26 people were killed during a Sunday service at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, when a 26-year-old man opened fire on the congregation. The victims include a five-year-old child and the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter.
“We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries,” Trump said on Monday.
“Fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise it would have been…much worse.”
Trump called it a “very, very sad event.”
“These are great people, and a very, very sad thing. But that’s the way I view it.”
Devin Patrick Kelley reportedly had been dishonorably discharged from the Air Force in 2014 for assaulting his wife and child.
Some press reports also note a possible connection between Kelley and the church where he opened fire:
His wife, Danielle Shields, “was previously a teacher at the First Baptist Church,” the Daily Mail reported.
And CBS News reported that his mother-in-law, Michelle Shields, “appears to have been a parishioner at the church and was friends on social media with the pastor’s wife.”
A man who lived nearby ran to the church with a rifle and shot at the killer, apparently wounding him. Here’s how Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin described the chase:
“At approximately 11:20 this morning, a suspect was seen at a Valero gas station in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He was dressed in all black. That suspect crossed the street to the church, exited his vehicle, and began firing at the church. The suspect then moved to the right side of the church and continued to fire. That suspect entered the church and continued to fire. As he exited the church, a local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect. The suspect dropped his rifle, which was a Ruger AR assault-type rifle, and fled from the church. Our local citizen pursued the suspect at that time.”
Authorities said the local citizen jumped into the car of another local man, whom he did not know, and together they chased down the killer.
Police found the suspect dead in his car, but they’re not sure whose bullet killed him.
“We cannot begin to imagine the suffering” of the people who lost friends and relatives, Trump said at Monday’s news conference in Japan.
(Courtesy of CNSNews.com)
President Trump Nominates Alabamian to Top Administration Position
On Friday, President Trump announced his nomination of Michael D. Griffin, an Alabamian, to be Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.
The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (OUSD AT&L) serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense in all matters regarding acquisition, technology, and logistics. According to the OUSD(AT&L) website, Congress has authorized the office to supervise Department of Defense acquisition, establish acquisition policies for all elements of the Department of Defense (including procurement of goods and services, research and development, testing, and contract administration), establish logistic policies for the Department of Defense, and establish policies to maintain the defense industrial base of the United States.
In addition to those duties, the office also has oversight responsibility to several military installations, including chemical, biological, and nuclear defense programs.
Dr. Griffin has most recently served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Schafer Corporation. The Schafer Corporation provides scientific, engineering, and technical services and products in the national security sector. He has also served as the administrator of NASA, where his successes included the architecture for space shuttle replacement, plans for human return to the moon, and the development of the first commercial cargo delivery service to Earth’s orbit.
Griffin has received many accolades throughout his career, including the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the AIAA Space Systems Medal, and the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal. He also boasts degrees from Johns Hopkins University, the Catholic University of America, the University of Maryland, the University of Southern California, Loyola College; and George Washington University.
If confirmed, Griffin will serve alongside Ellen M. Lord, who was confirmed by the Senate in August 2017 as Under Secretary for Defense (AT&L).
Trump Declares Opioid Epidemic a Public Health Crisis – What It Means for Alabama
On Thursday, President Trump held a press conference in order to declare the national opioid epidemic as a public health emergency. Trump declared that “as Americans, we cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from the scourge of drug addiction… We can be the generation that ends the drug epidemic. We can do it.”
According to the Washington Post, Trump’s declaration will give states more freedom in how they use federal funds to combat the epidemic, as well as expand the use of telemedicine treatment. It also orders acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan to direct all federal agencies to use any emergency personnel to contribute to the reduction of opioid related deaths across the nation.
Alabama senator Richard Shelby praised the president for his efforts to combat the epidemic.
“I applaud the President and his Administration on their efforts to end the opioid epidemic. This is a real emergency, and it affects just about every community in our country. Senator Jeanne Shaheen and I have been working on our Appropriations Subcommittee to make sure that both law enforcement and the Justice Department have the tools they need to fight this epidemic. It is going to take a massive effort, and I fully support President Trump’s attention to this matter.”
The last time a public health emergency of this magnitude was called was in 2009, in response to the H1N1 flu virus. The emergency status will last 90 days, but can be repeatedly renewed.
Hargan noted that in the current fiscal year, HHS has invested $900 million in “opioid specific funding” to help state and local governments provide treatment and take other measures to curtail the epidemic. Some other measures that are being put in place by Trump’s declaration include an attempt by the FDA to require “a specific opioid, which is truly evil, to be taken off the market.” Trump did not specify the specific drug at the time. He also announced the the United States Postal Service and Homeland Security will strengthen package inspections to crack down on the distribution of fentanyl through the postal service. Finally, Trump suggested that a large scale advertising campaign may be the best tool to keep the public aware of the dangers of opioid addiction.
In Alabama, state officials have been working for months to minimize the effects of the epidemic in the state. Attorney General Steve Marshall has joined coalitions with other state Attorneys General to force pharmaceutical companies to do their part to combat the epidemic. The Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council, of which Marshall is a co-chair, is set to advise Governor Ivey by the end of the year on ways that the epidemic can be stopped in Alabama. Their suggestions are expected to include new approaches to treatment, law enforcement, and legislation.
Alabama Company and Others Near Completion of Border Wall Prototypes
Construction crews are toiling away in the intense California heat as they put the finishing touches on prototypes for President Trump’s border wall with Mexico. The crews have been given an October 26 deadline, which is rapidly approaching.
The Arizona Republic, toured the construction site, where they found five of the wall designs already complete. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection awarded eight contracts to six companies, one of which is from the Yellowhammer State.
Most of the designs all use reinforced concrete to construct the wall, while others add some elements of steel panelling and other materials. Each firm has taken the liberty of putting its own twist on the design. The wall built by the Alabama company, for instance, has a large concrete base that tapers into a thinner frame at the top. Each wall is 30 feet tall, and will be tested for flaws allowing criminals to tunnel through or climb over them.
Their height is meant to serve as a deterrent to would-be criminals seeking to cross the border illegally. “The 30 feet is very impressive,” said Mario Villareal, the division chief for the San Diego Sector Border Patrol. “What we’re trying to accomplish is by putting tactical infrastructure on the border, by having all-weather roads, by putting Border Patrol agents on the immediate border, is the deterrence.”
The Trump administration later called for “see-through” features to be incorporated so that border agents can easily patrol the other side of the wall. A second design by the Alabama company incorporates narrowly-spaced metal bars for the bottom half of the wall, and solid concrete panels for the upper half.
“It’s good to be able to see through the south side. We can see them, they can see us,” said Border Patrol agent Theron Francisco. “But in a way, it can be negative because we’re always being watched. They always can see us. It goes both ways.”
Any improvement to the border wall will be much needed. The current metal-mesh fence that lines the international border is made of rusted Vietnam-era landing mats. The prototypes would be nearly twice the size of the current fence and much more stable.
BORDER WALL prototypes underway! pic.twitter.com/arFNO80zmO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2017
CBP has already funded the building of the prototypes; however, it is unclear if funding for the entire wall will ever make it through Congress. Last week, Trump revamped his requests, appearing to offer a deal with legislators that provides a legal solution to young immigrant “dreamers” living in the country, conditional on Congress appropriating funds for the wall.
After construction is complete next week, CBP officials will begin testing the walls. Depending on the outcome of those tests, the final design could “take key features from each prototype and develop one that will work for us along the border,” Villareal said. “That is something that not only CBP will be looking at, but our engineers, is what is the best utility along the Southwest border?”
Roy Moore: Kneeling During National Anthem is Against the Law
Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore gave an interview with Time Magazine in which he said that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are breaking the law. “It’s against the law, you know that?” he said. “It was an act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That’s the law.”
According to Newsmax, Moore is referring to a section of the U.S. Code that outlines appropriate conduct during the national anthem. That section states:
“Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and . . . all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their head dress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.”
The code doesn’t necessarily give any legal penalties for not following these rules.
Disputes over players kneeling over the national anthem have been at the forefront of national news, as politicians debate over the motives of the protests. President Trump has said that these protests are a blatant disrespect of the country, and has called for any NFL player who kneels during the anthem to be fired. Meanwhile, others believe that the players are exercising their right to protest the injustice they see throughout the country.
“I back the President in upholding respect for the patriotism for our country, on two grounds,” Moore said. “One, it’s respect for the law. If we don’t respect the law, what kind of country are we going to have? Two, it’s respect for those who have fallen and given the ultimate sacrifice. I’m surprised that no one brought this up.”
“If they didn’t have it in there, it would just be tradition,” he added. “But this is law. If we disobey this, what else are we going to disobey?”
Del Marsh Endorses Roy Moore for Senate
On Thursday, Roy Moore’s campaign announced the endorsement of the Alabama Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston). Marsh’s endorsement comes as many of the state’s Republican leaders have begun to rally behind their candidate to ensure he defeats the Democrat in December.
“This is a time for unity,” Marsh said Thursday. “Alabama Republicans voted overwhelmingly to elect Judge Moore as our nominee for the United States Senate, and I will support our nominee. The liberal policies of the Obama Era – embraced by Democrat Doug Jones – have failed, and we must do all we can to support our president. If Alabamians want to ensure that President Trump has another ally in the United States Senate, then it is imperative that they support the Republican nominee.”
Marsh has represented Senate District 12 since 1998, and has served as President Pro Tempore since 2010. He plans to seek reelection in 2018, continuing on his platform of improved education and infrastructure.
Moore continues to hold a significant lead over Doug Jones in early polls. Marsh’s endorsement is more than likely only the beginning of a plethora of Republican lawmakers who will throw their support behind Moore leading up to the general election in December.
After Moore Victory, Politicians Seek Bannon’s Backing In Alabama and Beyond
Weeks after Roy Moore’s victory in the Alabama senate election, political candidates across the country are biting at the bit to shake hands with Steve Bannon in hopes of getting his endorsement. According to the Sun Herald, from Senate candidates to state legislators, political rivals are jockeying for the ex-White House aid’s support.
“Steve is one of Washington’s Pied Pipers of the conservative movement,” said Brett Doster, media consultant for Roy Moore, Alabama’s Republican nominee for senate. With Moore’s victory, Bannon has found himself in the midst highly contested GOP races across the board.
Even more political figures from Alabama want to catch a ride on the Bannon train. “I plan to reach out to him to see if there’s an interest, to see if they’re willing to come on board to help us,” said Alabama state Rep. Barry Moore. “It would be a good shot in the arm. It would be good for us to have him involved if at all possible.” Moore hopes to challenge Representative Martha Roby in the 2018 Republican primary, partly over her criticism of President Trump during the 2016 election.
However, Bannon’s influence doesn’t stop at federal elections. State legislators from all over have flocked to garner Bannon’s support. Florida state Representative Mike Hill was spotted wooing the Breitbart executive chairman at a political rally for Roy Moore in Fairhope the night before the runoff. “The same establishment that he is fighting in Washington, D.C. is the same establishment we’re fighting against in Tallahassee,” said Hill.
Veteran Republicans, however, see Bannon as an alarming threat. Many see his nationalist brand as out of line with traditional Republican values, and a potential turnoff to more moderate voters. “A civil war led by the Steve Bannon’s of the world is destructive not only internally, but…independents are not in favor of nationalist movements and extreme politics,” said Al Cardenas, the former chairman of the American Conservative Union.
Some have also claimed that Roy Moore’s victory, in fact, had little to do with Bannon’s support. Many argue that Moore’s reputation as a religious crusader and Luther Strange’s appointment by disgraced former governor Robert Bentley and his backing from Mitch McConnell swayed voters more than anything. However, that hasn’t stopped candidates from West Virginia to Mississippi from calling on Bannon to stump for their campaign.
One GOP strategist said that Moore’s win opened “the floodgates, and people who have been on the fence about jumping in point to that, see a path and try to recreate that magic in their own states. They will probably be overlearning a lesson. I think there are things unique to…Alabama. But I think it’s huge encouragement to candidates like that.”
One thing is for sure; candidates are not likely to stop vying for Bannon’s support anytime soon.
Cavanaugh Embraces Pruitt’s Return to the Law Under Trump’s EPA
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced plans today to withdraw the Obama-era “Clean Power Plan” designed to curb emissions from coal-fired power plants. At a speech in the heart of coal country in Hazard, Kentucky, Pruitt said he is signing a proposed rule to withdraw the Obama initiative.
“When you think about what that rule meant, that rule really was about picking winners and losers,” Pruitt said.
“The past administration was unapologetic; they were using every bit of power, every bit of authority to use the EPA to pick winners and losers on how we generate electricity in this country. And that’s wrong,” he stated.
Continuing his speech, Pruitt said:
“How do we achieve better outcomes by working with industry, not against industry? There are bad actors out there for sure, but it’s not the premise we start with that all industry does not want to work with the EPA to achieve good outcomes. We are getting back to the basics [of] doing our work consistent with the rule of law…It’s Congress that gives us our orders as to how we administer those statutes and gives us the parameters. The last administration just simply made it up.”
Alabama Public Service Commissioner Twinkle Cavanaugh agrees. As she told Yellowhammer,
“President Obama’s energy policy was a disaster from the start. I applaud EPA Administrator Pruitt and President Trump for repealing the illegal, job-killing set of bureaucratic regulations known as Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
Alabama has tens of thousands of jobs tied to the coal industry, and the Obama plan threatened to kill not only those jobs but also jobs in manufacturing, small business and farming which depend on affordable energy.
I am glad that common sense has prevailed here. This is a victory for Alabama jobs and Alabama families.”
This move is consistent with the messages Pruitt stressed in an interview with Yellowhammer earlier this summer, in which he reinforced his commitment to the Back-to-Basics plan. In that interview he stated:
Achieving regulatory certainty on behalf of businesses simply means we’re going to act within the law. Over the past eight years, the EPA has been unpredictable, often going beyond its statutory limits. It has acted haphazardly with respect to its rulings, which paralyzes those we serve.
AG Sessions Stands Resolute With President Trump On Immigration
Over the weekend President Trump released a list of immigration proposals that, if granted, would help bring some of his campaign promises to fruition. The letter included the funding for a wall along the Mexican border, a crackdown on the influx of Central American minors, and the elimination of federal grants to sanctuary cities.
Now Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a long-time advocate for lawful immigration policies, has publicly applauded President Trump’s recent proposal.
Here is the complete statement from Attorney General Sessions:
“For decades the American people rightly have pleaded with their government for a lawful system of immigration. They have asked for secure borders and an immigration system that serves the national interest. Unfortunately, over the last several decades respect for the rule of law has broken down and immigration enforcement has been sacrificed for the sake of political expediency. This has made us less secure and it cannot stand. Now President Trump has put forth a series of proposals that will restore the rule of law to our immigration system, prioritize America’s safety and security, and end the lawlessness. These are reasonable proposals that will build on the early success of President Trump’s leadership. This plan will work. If followed it will produce an immigration system with integrity and one in which we can take pride. Perhaps the best result will be that unlawful attempts to enter will continue their dramatic decline. I applaud President Trump and urge Congress to listen to the American people and swiftly pass these commonsense proposals into law. The Department of Justice stands ready to continue making our neighborhoods and communities safe and secure again.”
In the release, President Trump made clear that the proposals “must be included as part of any legislation addressing the status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. . . Without these reforms, illegal immigration and chain migration, which severely and unfairly burden American workers and taxpayers, will continue without end.”
Sessions Revives Bush-Era Tough On Crime Policy
On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that his Justice Department is reviving a Bush-era crime policy that focuses on strict prosecution of gun and gang related crimes. The program is known as Project Safe Neighborhoods, and is the next step in the Trump administration’s tough-on-crime agenda.
According to POLITICO, the project is a large scale effort to crack down on drug traffic, gang violence, and gun crimes in communities. It develops plans for federal prosecutors to work with local police in order to get the most violent criminals off the streets.
“We cannot afford to be complacent in the face of violence that threatens too many of our communities,” Sessions said in his memo on the project. “All United States Attorneys must implement an enhanced violent crime reduction program that incorporates the lessons learned since the original program’s launch in 2001 and leverages new strategies to help turn the tide against violent crime.”
Project Safe Neighborhoods began as an effort to insure that those using guns in crimes got mandatory prison sentences. Part of the plan moves certain gun crimes to federal court, where they carry longer sentences in federal prisons. It also includes changes in how authorities process traces for guns used in violent crimes. Those linked to crime scenes would be given priority, with a goal of completing the trace in 24 hours.
Session’s department has been critical of the Obama administration’s handling of the project. DOJ officials noted that violent crime has risen over the past few years, making a federal response even more critical. The Department of Justice and Trump administration have set aside $70 million for the effort.
Joe Biden Makes Bold Prediction Ahead of Alabama’s Senate Election. Here is why he’s wrong!
At a Tuesday rally in Birmingham, former Vice President Joe Biden made it clear that the Democratic establishment endorses Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones. “Doug has demonstrated his courage and his absolute integrity,” said Biden. “Doug and I have been friends for a long, long time. Doug knows Alabama. He knows your heart, and he’ll never let you down.”
Most expected that type of ringing endorsement from Biden, though the former Veep’s bold prediction may have been less anticipated: “When he wins this race, it’ll send ripples down the country,” Biden forecasted.
As already reported today, however, Alabama Republicans and Democrats have made it abundantly clear that they are fed up with the establishment Biden embodies.
Americans want to change, and not just the worn out rhetoric about change used by Obama in 2008. The liberal Democratic agenda demands the redistribution of wealth, the unfettered right to abortion on demand, and a weak national security. That agenda has been rejected by voters in Alabama for years, and never has that rejection been more clear than in last November’s presidential election.
The left’s latest attempt to sell Alabamians on Jones just because moderate voters may disagree with Roy Moore proves that the Democratic establishment still doesn’t get it. The liberal agenda has had its day in the sun, as has the establishment across the political spectrum, and that day is over.
As long as Democrats ignore these facts, they will continue to lose statewide elections in Alabama.
Just a reminder: We are a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” It’s obvious this is a fact liberals have forgotten.
Alabama Candidate Defends Trump’s Response to Puerto Rico Disaster
Barry Moore, a Republican challenger to Martha Roby’s District 2 Congressional seat in 2018, took to Facebook in support of President Trump’s response to the disaster in Puerto Rico. On Tuesday, the candidate from Enterprise posted a description of the aid that has been dispatched to Puerto Rico so far saying, “so tired of the fake news we must tell the truth about or nation’s generosity and Donald J. Trump.”
In the post, Moore revealed “the truth of Puerto Rico.” He explained that President Trump has dispatched 140 helicopters, 28 ships, 6 Army field hospitals, 3 Navy Seabee Battalions, 5 US Army Combat Engineer Battalions, 3 Civil Affairs battalions, 2 Nuclear Submarines capable of generating 2.8 Gigawatts of Power, and released 300,000 tons of food, medical supplies, and water from military stocks to Puerto Rico.
The post recalled that Governor Ricardo Rossello has praised the president for the aide received so far and thanked the president and federal government for having a comprehensive relief plan in place before the storm hit. Puerto Rico’s non-voting Congressional Representative Jennifer Gonzalez expressed a welcome change from previous administrations saying, “This is the first time we get this type of federal coordination.”
The post then explains the difficulty that response teams have faced even accessing the island. The various ports along the coast were in such disarray that relief ships could not dock. Contrary to what the media has been reporting, no response was delayed, it was simply unable to reach its destination. Once damage was cleared as quickly as possible, 23,000 cots and 1.6 millions of gallons of water were brought into the island. Over the next few days, FEMA officials were able to ensure that each town and city had access satellite phones.
Moore then pointed out that this report is a stark contrast to the berating that the president has received from the media over the past few days. Moore insists that the president did not delay any relief effort because he hates hispanics. He concludes the post by saying, “How long are people going to keep falling for the same old lies? When are you going to realize you are being manipulated (willingly) so as to purposely divide the country?”
Mo Brooks Takes Firm Position on NFL Protests
Amidst the whirlwind created by national anthem protests in the NFL, Rep. Mo Brooks is suggesting a tactic he thinks will help curb the league’s policy of tolerance.
“I believe we ought to terminate all federal government support of the NFL,” Brooks told Breitbart News. “That would include the termination of any and all advertising that is done on behalf of the federal government, military and nonmilitary, to the extent we do any. The same thing with any other professional sport that insults our country and our flag and our anthem as the NFL has done,” he said.
In a 2015 report, CNN concluded that the NFL receives billions of dollars worth of subsidies from taxpayers. However, most of that comes from the local, rather than the federal level.
As reported last week, President Trump slammed the NFL protests during his visit to Huntsville. In that speech, he said that while players have the right to protest, fans should withdraw their support for the NFL so long as the kneeling continues.
In response, more players than ever before took a knee during the national anthem. In some instances, entire teams refused to exit their locker rooms until the anthem had concluded, igniting a firestorm of debate over the issue since.
Extremely Low Voter Turnout In Alabama’s Senate Run-off
As many pundits noted before last night’s election, Luther Strange needed a large turnout to win the runoff vote against Roy Moore in the Republican primary. Despite visits from President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, that didn’t happen and Roy Moore’s core base of ardent supporters more than carried the day.
While today’s news cycle has no shortage of speculation over why Moore won and why Strange lost, one thing is abundantly clear, the vast majority of Alabama’s voters didn’t bother to show up.
According to information on the Alabama Secretary of State’s website, only 14.39% of registered voters cast a ballot yesterday. That’s more than three percentage points lower than the meager 17.95% who turned out in the primary. Yes, runoff votes usually attract less attention, as do off-year elections and special elections.
Still, last night’s dismal turnout is particularly intriguing in light of the fact that the whole nation seemed hyper-focused on this race. Whether or not low voter turnout delivered the victory to Roy Moore is unclear, but what does seem obvious as the smoke clears today is that the media and a very small minority of engaged citizens cared far more about this race than most Alabama voters.
Trump Embraces Roy Moore – Says He’ll Help Make America Great Again
After Judge Roy Moore won the Republican nomination for the Alabama senate race on Tuesday, President Trump stuck to his promise and endorsed Moore on Twitter Wednesday morning. The President said that Moore will help “Make America Great Again.”
Moore defeated Senator Luther Strange, who Trump originally endorsed, by nearly 10 points last night. At a campaign rally for Strange in Huntsville last week, President Trump promised to campaign for Moore against the Democrat if he was to win. It seems the President is doing just that, going all in for the Republican nominee.
Trump reportedly called Moore to congratulate him on Tuesday night. He told Moore, “I look forward to working with you,” during the call.
Trump also tweeted his congratulations to the Republican nominee on Tuesday night, telling him to WIN in December.
Roy Moore will face off against Democratic challenger Doug Jones in the special election on December 12.
Vice President Pence Stumps For Strange In Alabama
In what’s shaping up to be a highly contested run-off between Sen. Luther Strange and Roy Moore, Vice President Mike Pence has been hard at work to help “send Big Luther back to Washington.” Not terribly long after Vice President Pence thanked American astronauts aboard the International Space Station, he touched down in Birmingham with a message for Alabama voters.
In a crowded hangar at the Birmingham airport, one message echoed above the rest – “Send Big Luther back to Washington.”
Pence visited Birmingham just days after President Trump put his full weight behind Sen. Strange during his visit to Huntsville. “Our President needs Luther Strange back in the United States Senate so he can finish the job. I know Sen. Luther Strange will be there for our President because he’s already been there,” said Pence.
The crowd was smaller than the one that received the President over the weekend, but the same energy filled the room as Pence delivered his speech. Loud cheers reverberated as the Vice President touched on issues like health care, border security, and the national anthem. Addressing the protests rocking the NFL, Pence said, “I stand with Luther, I stand with President Donald Trump. And I will always stand for our national anthem. We’ve all got a right to our opinions, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask the players in the National Football League to stand for our national anthem.”
Unlike the typically long speeches delivered by the President, the Vice President cut straight to the chase. “We are not here because we’re against anybody. We’re are here because we are for Luther,” Pence made clear. Then, towards the end of his speech, he asked three things of the people of Alabama. He emphasized the need to vote, ask others to vote, and most importantly, pray for America.
The visit marks the final attempt by the White House to help garner support for Sen. Strange on this, the eve of the vote. During the primary in August, voter turnout was a mere 18%. Both campaigns are working at a fever pace to boost those numbers as the polls open tomorrow. It will be interesting if visits from both the President and Vice President can help motivate voters who stayed at home last time.
Justice Department Led by Jeff Sessions Announces New Travel Ban
President Trump, along with officials from the Department of Justice, announced on Sunday a new set of travel restrictions on an expanded set of countries. The announcement comes just before major parts of the previous travel ban were set to expire. The new restrictions will replace the existing travel ban that denies visas to citizens of six Muslim-majority countries with ties to terrorism. The new ban includes all but one of the countries on the previous list.
According to Politico, the nations facing indefinite restrictions of travel under the new policy are Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.
This list drops Sudan, which appears on the current travel ban, and adds North Korea and Venezuela to mix. Existing visa holders are exempt, and those with ties to the U.S. are still capable of receiving waivers. The revised policy is set to take effect on October 18.
“We are taking action today to protect the safety and security of the American people by establishing a minimum security baseline for entry into the United States,” Trump said in a statement. “We cannot afford to continue the failed policies of the past, which present an unacceptable danger to our country. My highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and in issuing this new travel order, I am fulfilling that sacred obligation.”
When asked about what provisions he would like to see in the new travel restrictions, Trump replied, “The tougher the better.”
While the new order restricts travel from two non-Muslim nations – North Korea and Venezuela – many critics see those as symbolic. Only around 110 North Koreans obtained travel visas to the U.S. in the previous fiscal year, and the restrictions on Venezuela only apply to government officials. Many see these additions as an attempt to make the ban seem less targeted on Muslims. Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) maintains that “no amount of repackaging can disguise the fact that the intent behind the ban was and remains a noxious attempt to ban people based on their faith.”
A White House official who spoke to Politico under the condition of anonymity ensured that “the restrictions, whether previously or now, were never ever, ever based on race, religion or creed.” The new restrictions are based on a recent review of countries who are or are not complying with U.S. requests for information regarding threats of terrorism from respective travelers. For example, Iraq was removed from the ban in March for its partnership with U.S. officials in the fight against the Islamic State.
The new ban comes as litigation over the original policy is set to appear before the Supreme Court. The highest court in the nation is set to hear arguments on October 10 over the legality of the measure, but justices have already warned that the case may be moot due to the time limit of that directive.
BREAKING: Bannon To Hold Alabama Rally For Roy Moore
On the heels of President Trump’s Huntsville rally for Sen. Luther Strange, Steve Bannon, former CEO of Trump’s campaign and former top strategist in the White House, announces that he will come to Alabama in support of Roy Moore.
Since President Trump took America by storm in 2015, Bannon was a driving force behind much of the strategy used to captivate the electorate last November. And what makes the recent announcement notable is that this is the first time Bannon has publicly engaged in a political race on the opposite side of the President.
Bannon left the White House last month, and his support for Moore seems to indicate a split in conservative factions. Trump’s presidential campaign was propelled by anti-establishment forces, that now seem to be aligning behind Moore, regardless of the President’s unwavering support for Strange.
On Friday, Moore and Strange exchanged blows in the only debate before the run-off. That was immediately followed by a rally where Sarah Palin and Seb Gorka urged Alabamians to drain the swamp by supporting Moore.
Breitbart News has been a major booster of Moore’s. However, it was unclear if Bannon would publicly side with someone opposite of the President. While he’s been a key link between Trump and his populist base, Bannon was vilified in the media. Saturday Night Live has depicted him as the Grim Reaper, and he was featured in Time Magazine beneath the headline “The Great Manipulator.”
The run-off is set to take place Tuesday, and many predict it to be very close. It will be interesting to see if Bannon’s support will resonate positively with Alabama voters.
Huntsville Veteran to Receive Medal of Honor
President Trump is set to award the Medal of Honor to a Huntsville-native Vietnam veteran next month. The White House announced on Wednesday that Captain Gary M. Rose will be awarded with the nation’s highest military honor for his “conspicuous gallantry during the Vietnam War.”
According to the White House press release, in September 1970, while his unit was engaged deep in enemy territory, Captain Rose repeatedly put his life on the line to protect his comrades. Then-Sergeant Rose continually ran through enemy fire in order to provide medical attention to some of his fallen unit. He even used his own body to shield one wounded American from harm.
Although suffering several wounds of his own, Captain Rose again voluntarily exposed himself to enemy fire in order to escort wounded personnel to the extraction point. He stood his ground by the helicopter, helping to repel the enemy assault on the American position. However, enemy fire overcame the helicopter just as it began to take off, causing it to crash. Despite just having got on board, Captain Rose immediately took to pulling his wounded comrades from the burning wreckage. He was able to provide defense and medical aid until the second helicopter arrived to bring Rose and his unit home.
Rose retired from the Army in 1987, and subsequently earned a master’s degree in communication from the University of Oklahoma. He later worked as a technical consultant in the defense and automobile industries. Today, Captain Rose lives in Huntsville with his wife Margaret. The two have one son, Michael, and two daughters, Sarah and Claire.
The ceremony will be held on October 23.