2 months ago

7 Things: AG Barr says there was spying on the Trump campaign, Alabama congressman wants Democrats to help on immigration, ethics revamp hits a wall in Alabama legislature and more …

7. Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange arrested in Ecuadoran embassy

— A bearded, ranting and irritated-looking Assange was removed from the embassy he has been hiding in since 2012. He went there to avoid extradition to Sweden on a sexual assault charge. Depending on the year, and his actions, Assange has been hailed as a hero or a villain. His leaking of Bradley Manning’s stolen classified documents made him a hero of the American left, while the American right praised him and his organization for their role in exposing Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee in 2016. Wikileaks is widely believed to be a Russian front group used to create dissension across the globe.

6. The Alabama House approved an increased budget for the prison system; More will have to be done to avoid more federal complaints

— There has been a $40 million increase approved for the budget for the prison system. Governor Kay Ivey requested the increase before the Department of Justice report was released that claimed the Alabama prisons have unconstitutional conditions. $30 million will go to hiring 500 more correctional officers and increase the pay of current officers by 20 percent. Lack of staff and budget were two main issued referenced in the DOJ report. The budget passed with a 103-0 vote. Construction of new prisons, which the Alabama Department of Corrections is seeking, could cost $900 million and cost $78 million a year to operate.

5. 400 new jobs coming to North Alabama, with more expected to follow

— On Wednesday, Governor Kay Ivey visited Athens and announced that Toyota Boshoku will build its $50 million supplier facility in eastern Limestone County. This is the first announcement of indirect jobs coming to north Alabama due to the new Mazda Toyota plant. It’s expected that the Mazda Toyota plant could bring in as many as 4,000 indirect jobs once it’s fully operational. The Toyota Boshoku plant will produce 400 jobs and will be on 42 acres in the Breeding North Industrial Park where they will be producing seat systems. Construction is expected to begin around May 1 of 2019.

4. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has released his “Medicare for All” plan

— On Wednesday, Sen. Sanders introduced his Medicare for All healthcare plan again. The plan would ensure healthcare for all Americans, and Sanders claims that the health care proposal isn’t socialism. Sanders said, “It’s similar to what the Canadians have.” It’s estimated that the plan could cost nearly $32 trillion over the next decade. His plan has the support of many of his fellow Democratic candidates for the presidency. Sanders claims that his plan would eliminate insurance companies that make billions in profit every year, also alluding to the idea that insurance providers would be reduced to providing nose jobs. Will Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) force Democrats to go on the record as he did with the Green New Deal?

3. Revamped ethics bill will not happen this session

— Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) tweeted, “Ethics bill possibly dead for the session.” The bill by Senator Greg Albritton (R-Range) was criticized for its sweeping changes that would have removed the limit for gifts that individuals could give to Alabama officials. Ethics Commissioner Tom Albritton, no relation, said this bill could have potentially opened the door to rampant corruption. But Sen. Albritton claimed he was just attempting to clarify a law he felt was a bit murky. If the bill comes back, the attention the bill has received will probably significantly change the bill. Ward told AL.com, “It’s just too controversial too fast. There’s a lot of questions in there. There’s a lot of concerns. You’ve heard from the members. You’ve heard from the public. There are just a lot of concerns.” The Common Core repeal and a plan to privatize liquor sales bills have stalled as well.

2. Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said that Democrats need to give resources to deal with the border crisis

— Rogers was on Fox News Channel’s “Outnumbered Overtime” where he said, “We need the Democrats to finally give us the resources for the things they said we needed all along…They said we needed people and technology resources on the border to secure it. The president is going ahead with the barrier so they need to come around and support the things they said we needed.” Rogers also said that President Trump is getting barriers put up at the border, as well as moving Border Patrol officers around so more are on the ground rather than in administrative roles. Rogers added, “Trump is going forward with getting the fencing built. We went down with him last Friday. We were able to see the fence and demonstrate to the American public how different this is from what we’ve used in the past, how successful it is and to highlight the problem.”

1. Attorney General William Barr thinks federal authorities spied on the Trump campaign

— On Wednesday, AG Barr testified that federal authorities spied on the 2016 Trump campaign. Barr said, “I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated. … Spying on a political campaign is a big deal.” Barr doesn’t think that improper surveillance occurred, but he’s concerned so he’s looking into it. This spying was alleged by Donald Trump and denied by the media and intelligence community for almost two years. Democrats who spent two years pushing a debunked conspiracy theory of Russian collusion are understandably unhappy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) weighed in by saying, “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has accused Barr of peddling conspiracy theories. There is also an inspector general investigation into leaks of classified information involving General Flynn to the Washington Post.

10 hours ago

University of North Alabama adopting new tuition plan

The University of North Alabama is switching to a tuition plan that officials say will result in increased costs for some students but not others.

Officials at the school in Florence say they are reducing the total number of student fees from seven to one, and fees will be included in the overall tuition cost.

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A statement says students taking 15 hours will see a maximum increase in expenses of 4.1%.

But some could pay less, and costs will not change for others.

School officials say a lag in state funding is a continuing problem.

North Alabama’s vice president for business, Evan Thornton, says the school has deferred maintenance and capital needs totaling more than $160 million.

The school has an undergraduate enrollment of about 6,200 students.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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11 hours ago

Nathan Lindsay joining governor’s office from BCA

Another high profile staffer from the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) is joining Governor Kay Ivey’s senior level team.

The governor on Monday announced that Nathan Lindsay will join her office as director of appointments effective July 1.

This position is charged with spearheading the meticulous work that goes into Ivey meeting her duty to appoint qualified, representative and appropriate people to positions on the state’s various boards and commissions.

A press release from the governor’s office outlined that Lindsay assumes the role with an extensive background in state government and the private sector, which uniquely qualifies him to advise the governor in this capacity.

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Most recently, through his work in political and governmental affairs at the BCA, Lindsay interacted with members of the business community throughout the Yellowhammer State, which significantly adds to his ability to identify and select candidates for various appointed posts.

Additionally, Lindsay’s early career included time in then-Governor Bob Riley’s office where he served as aide to the governor from 2006 to 2011. Lindsay also worked in the governor’s communications office as deputy press secretary and advised Riley on education policy.

“Nathan brings to our team a wealth of knowledge that I know will serve the state well,” Ivey said in a statement. “In addition to his expertise and insight, Nathan is a man of character. The men and women of my staff must have a strong work ethic, a depth of knowledge and a heart for public service. Nathan certainly embodies all of these characteristics.”

Lindsay earned his bachelor’s degree from Faulkner University. During his time at Faulkner, he served as SGA president and later, in 2018, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Arts and Sciences.

“As governor, I have the important responsibility of appointing qualified individuals to serve on the more than 450 boards and commissions in our state. These men and women must not only be highly-qualified, but they should also be a true reflection of our great state,” Ivey added. “I am confident we will continue to find the best people to serve our state, just as I am certain Nathan will serve my Administration exceptionally well in this position. His experience speaks for itself, and he shares my goal of moving Alabama into a better future.”

This comes weeks after Leah Garner departed BCA to become Ivey’s communications director.

Mark Colson also left BCA to become head of the Alabama Trucking Association recently.

Update 5:55 p.m.:

BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt released a statement commending Ivey on the hire of Lindsay.

“Nathan’s background and expertise in political affairs combined with his political acumen uniquely qualify him to serve the governor and the state in this capacity,” Britt said. “I have no doubt Nathan will do an outstanding job, and I commend Governor Kay Ivey on this excellent addition to her staff.”

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

11 hours ago

Alabama listed as one of the top 20 most patriotic states in America

A WalletHub report released Monday revealed Alabama to be on of the top 20 most patriotic states in America.

Ranked 19 overall on the list, with a score of 47.43, Alabama ranked first for the “Civics Education Requirement.”

The report “compared the 50 states across 13 key indicators of patriotism” and “ranges from share of enlisted military population to share of adults who voted in the 2016 presidential election to AmeriCorps volunteers per capita.”

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With one as “Most Patriotic” and 25 as “Average,” Alabama received the following rankings:

  • 5th – Average Number of Military Enlistees per 1,000 Civilian Adults
  • 30th – Active-Duty Military Personnel per 100,000 Civilian Adults
  • 17th – Veterans per 1,000 Civilian Adults
  • 1st – Civics Education Requirement
  • 12th – Share of Civilian Adult Population in Military Reserves
  • 10th – Share of Adults Who Voted in 2016 Primary Elections

Alabama also ranked eight overall for ‘Military Engagement.’

The report, which compared red states to blue states in terms of patriotism, found that red states were more patriotic. Red states received an average rank of 23.67, while blue states received an average rank of 28.25.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

12 hours ago

Brooks: ‘Really dumb’ for Democrats to elect candidates mainly on ‘skin pigmentation or their chromosomes’

In an interview on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show”on Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) lamented that many Democrats have become more interested in racial and gender identity politics than the welfare of America.

Coming off of her much maligned comments comparing American immigration facilities to “concentration camps,” host Dale Jackson asked the north Alabama congressman if he believes that Democrats in Congress will allow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to continue to serve as their “de facto face and leader.”

“Yes,” Brooks answered succinctly, promoting a follow-up request for his reasoning.

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“Well, she is where she is,” Brooks explained. “She’s got a lot of political power. She’s got a lot of support — surprisingly.”

“There are large, large numbers of American citizens who have bit off on this socialist stuff, who have bit off on this victimization stuff, who have bit off on thinking that the most important criteria in determining whether to elect someone is their skin pigmentation or their chromosomes — which is really dumb, OK,” he continued. “We oughta be electing people based on their character and based on their public policy positions.”

“But, notwithstanding that, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the face of the Democratic Party in many different respects, and she does have great influence as evidenced by the presidential candidates on the socialist Democrats’ side who are trying to cultivate her support,” Brooks added. “They want her endorsement.”

Listen, starting at the 8:25 mark:

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

12 hours ago

Democrats hope it’s 2017 all over again, Republicans just want the nightmare to end

In 2017, Roy Moore won a Republican primary run-off against an extremely flawed Luther Strange. Strange wasn’t just a regular candidate — he had the cloud of his appointment, and he was dogged by former Gov. Robert Bentley’s investigation, impeachment and resignation.

Alabama Republicans, outside of U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), were reluctant to criticize Roy Moore because they knew doing so would hand the Senate seat to now-Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

But this is different.

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State Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) told the Montgomery Advertiser that he blamed the GOP establishment in 2017, but still thinks Moore can’t win in 2020.

He stated, “I do not believe, with the numbers I look at, that Roy Moore at the end of the day can get the nomination.”

State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) dismissed Moore when asked about the candidates, saying, “If you look at the candidates, you got Roy Moore. I don’t think we need to say more there.”

Later, he all but endorsed U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) by saying Byrne “would do the best job.”

Secretary of State John Merrill, a potential future Moore opponent, believes Moore has an uphill battle against Jones.

“I think it would be extraordinarily difficult for Judge Moore to be successful in a general election campaign against Senator Jones,” Merrill outlined.

He added, “I also think it would be difficult for Judge Moore to secure the Republican nomination.”

Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who endorsed Moore in 2017, has already endorsed State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) and is on record saying former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions would be a favorite.

“I do believe that Jeff Sessions would clearly be number one in the poll rankings, based on his having been such a great senator on three principle issues: free enterprise versus socialism; deficit and debt; and border security,” he explained.

Say what you will, but you do not usually see these kinds of pronouncements from Republicans in the middle of a primary.

Democrats hope 2017 is going to be repeated in 2020, but there are many different factors that will matter.

Roy Moore is already fatally flawed as 300,000+ Republicans voters abandoned him in 2017 and stayed home. Many of those voters will vote in the primary in 2020, but will not vote for him.

U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-Saks) expressed a similar sentiment on CSPAN last week.

“I personally don’t think Roy Moore is going to be our nominee, but whoever our nominee is will prevail in November because you’ll have the full complement of Republican voters turning out turning out to vote,” he said.

This is not 2017.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.