1 month ago

Alabama Democrats speak against resolution supporting Israel, condemning Hamas

MONTGOMERY — State Reps. Thomas “Action Jackson” (D-Thomasville) and Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham) on Monday evening spoke against a resolution “expressing solidarity with Israel in its defense against terrorism in the Gaza Strip.”

SJR 138 was introduced and passed by a voice vote in the Senate earlier the same day.

The resolution reads as follows:

WHEREAS, Hamas was founded with the stated goal of destroying the State of Israel; and

WHEREAS, Hamas has been designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization; and

WHEREAS, Hamas has launched thousands of rockets and mortars against Israeli population centers, since Israel
withdrew its civilian population and its military from Gaza in 2005; and

WHEREAS, Palestinian terrorists of the Islamic Jihad and Hamas have launched over 1800 rocket and mortars against Israeli civilian areas in 2021; and

WHEREAS, Hamas has increased the range and payload of its rockets, reportedly with support from Iran and others, putting hundreds of thousands of Israelis in danger of rocket attacks from Gaza; and

WHEREAS, Hamas locates elements of its terrorist infrastructure in civilian population centers, thus using
innocent civilians as human shields; and

WHEREAS, the democratic, Jewish State of Israel is a key ally and a strategic partner of the United States and
friend and partner of the State of Alabama; and

WHEREAS, the State of Alabama plays an important role in the production of the Iron Dome missile defense system
which has saved countless lives against rocket attacks by Hamas onto population centers in Israel; and

WHEREAS, Israel, a fellow democracy, has an inherent right to self-defense in the face of terrorist attacks; now therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, BOTH HOUSES THEREOF CONCURRING, That the State of Alabama:

(1) Expresses vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes its right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against Hamas’s unceasing aggression.

(2) Reiterates that Hamas must end the rocket and mortar attacks against Israel, recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence, agree to abide by previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, and verifiably dismantle its terrorist infrastructure.

(3) Encourages the Administration to work actively to support a durable and sustainable cease-fire in Gaza, as soon as possible, that prevents Hamas from retaining or rebuilding its terrorist infrastructure, including the capability to launch rockets and mortars against Israel, and thereby allowing for the long-term improvement of daily living conditions for the people of Gaza.

(4) Condemns Hamas for deliberately embedding its fighters, leaders, and weapons in private homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, and otherwise using Palestinian civilians as human shields, while simultaneously targeting Israeli civilians; and to lay blame both for the breaking of the calm and for subsequent civilian casualties in Gaza precisely where blame belongs, that is, on Hamas.

Givan spoke first on the resolution, which was being carried in the House by Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur).

“What in the slam-chiggity is this?” Givan asked.

“I think there are a lot of Alabamians who want to commit to solidarity with Israel,” Collins said.

“[Y]ou’re talking about in the Republican Party, because I know ain’t nobody from not one of my neighborhoods told you that,” Givan argued. “I know ain’t nobody — and I’m using Ebonics right now — ain’t nobody told you that in my neighborhoods. … Now, if all y’all ‘Dumplicans’ want to do it, that’s up to y’all.”

“I have heard much support of Israel, regularly, all around the state,” Collins reiterated.

“Well, I hear a lot of support for Africa and South Africa, but I don’t see you bringing not one resolution — nor would you be willing to support one,” Givan retorted.

She continued to say that SJR 138 is an example of the type of “agenda” that causes “a lot of grief and a lot of strife and heartache here in this chamber.”

“I don’t want to be a part of this,” Givan added. She said she wanted “five or six votes” in opposition to the resolution recorded next to her name.

“Because I am embarrassed tonight to even stand in this chamber,” she lamented. “And I’m hoping that the media is listening to me about the foolishness and foolery that goes on in this chamber. And the sensitive things that you people — and yes, I am saying you people — do in the name of whatever agenda that you are trying to push.”

Jackson, the Democrat from Clarke County, spoke next. Observers may remember Jackson from 2018, when he came out in support of the assertion that “the biggest terror threat in this country is white men.”

On Monday, Jackson began, “I was hoping that the lady (Collins) would include the opposite side, that Israel would start restraining itself.”

He subsequently argued that Hamas and the Palestinian people were justified in their stance.

“Now, Israel is not the Israel that the Bible was talking about,” commented Jackson, a preacher. “That little piece of land over there — these people do so much damage to so many people. … And the United States always funded them. Isn’t that wrong?”

Jackson claimed Israel is “just as bad” as Hamas, which is classified by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization.

“So, let’s not have a one-sided resolution,” Jackson continued. “Let’s include them both. … Let’s not make them feel worse than what they already feel.”

“Ask the question, ‘Why is Hamas doing what they’re doing?’ But you’re not asking that question,” he remarked. “They’re gotten in a situation that we’ve been in for over these 400 years in this nation. So, when do people stand and be themselves? When do they say, ‘Enough is enough.’? And the fight continues.”

“Israel is just as guilty as some of this stuff,” Jackson claimed, speaking to the motivations that he attributes to Hamas.

He soon thereafter accused Israel of “taking advantage” of Gaza residents.

“And that’s the situation that they’re in,” Jackson said. “We’ve been there. And we’re still fighting. But we don’t have rockets to — I don’t know where Hamas is getting their weapons from. Could be getting them from us.”

“I don’t think so,” Collins responded.

Jackson concluded his remarks after accusing Israel of committing “terror” and “crimes.” He called for peace on both sides of the conflict.

In the face of mounting vocal Democratic opposition, Collins then requested the House carry the resolution over at the call of the chair so other business could proceed. Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) said the resolution could come back up later in the night. Monday is the final legislative day of the 2021 regular session.

Minutes after the resolution was carried over, House Minority Leaders Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) took to the floor to do some apparent cleanup work.

“I felt that the resolution (SJR 138) was a positive resolution,” he stated. “And so I just want to make sure that that is clear, regardless of the messages that individuals received. Because I think we all are in support of that resolution. And I thought it was a positive resolution. I don’t want anybody to get the wrong idea about Democrats being anti-Semitic. That’s certainly not the case.”

Israel is a significant trading partner with the state of Alabama, a beneficial relationship which Governor Kay Ivey’s administration and private sector partners have been trying to strengthen even more in recent years.

UPDATE 10:00 p.m.

SJR 138 has been called back onto the floor, and Republicans have filed cloture in order to force a vote on the measure in less than 10 minutes time from now.

Right before that occurred, Rep. Mary Moore (D-Birmingham) spoke to the resolution.

She said President Joe Biden is “taking his time” in order to ascertain the facts of the conflict involving Israel and Hamas.

“But I know you don’t respect that,” Moore said. “You want somebody to go and say, ‘Shoot ’em up, bomb ’em up, kill ’em up.’ Regardless who it is. ‘Babies, if you bomb them now you won’t have to deal with them later.’ And that’s exactly what’s going on over there in Israel.”

UPDATE 10:10 p.m.

After cloture ended debate, the resolution passed 89-0, with 10 Democrats abstaining.

UPDATE 11:00 p.m.

Later in the evening, speaking on an unrelated matter, Rep. Givan referenced the earlier debate on SJR 138.

“I’m not anti-Semitic in any way,” she underscored.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

50 mins ago

Alabama’s May unemployment rate drops to 3.4% — Post-pandemic rate at lows; Record high wages

Alabama’s post-COVID pandemic economic recovery seems to be humming along based on data released Friday by the Alabama Department of Labor.

According to a press release, Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington revealed Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted May unemployment rate is 3.4%, down from April’s rate of 3.6%.

The 3.4% rate tops the May 2020 number of 7.9%.

“May’s rate represents 75,458 unemployed persons, compared to 79,319 in April and 174,680 in May 2020,” the release said. “May’s unemployed count is the lowest in 2021.”

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(ADOL)

“Our record-breaking streak is continuing in May, and we hope that it continues throughout the rest of the year,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in the statement. “Yet again, we’ve dropped our unemployment rate and each month we are getting closer and closer to our pre-pandemic record low unemployment rate of 2.6%. Our economy is adding jobs, and earlier barriers to joining the workforce have been significantly reduced. In fact, there are more job postings than there are people counted as unemployed! Alabama is, once again, open for business.”

Data showed that wage and salary employment grew last month by 4,700.

“Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+5,000), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+2,500), and the education and health services sector (+1,200), among others. Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 123,000, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+37,100), the professional and business services sector (+23,000), and the manufacturing sector (+22,900), among others,” the release said.

Average weekly earnings for the private sector rose to a new record high of $974.12, up $66.91 over the year, according to the Department of Labor.

“As we continue to see improvement in nearly all sectors of the economy, we’re also seeing record high wages in Alabama,” Washington added. “Once again, our average weekly wages are at new record high, representing an almost $67 per week over-the-year increase. Both the leisure and hospitality and manufacturing sectors are showing record high wages as well, with significant yearly increases. The economy is responding as we expected to labor force fluctuations brought about by the pandemic.”

Broken down by county, Shelby County led the way with a rate of 1.8%, followed by Blount, Marshall, Franklin and DeKalb Counties.

Wilcox County topped the highest in the state with an unemployment rate of 8.8%.

When broken down by municipalities, Alabaster had the lowest rate at 1.7%. Selma had the state’s highest, coming in at 7.0%, followed by Prichard at 6.5% and Bessemer at 5.2%.

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

2 hours ago

Shelby warns Biden on defense cuts — ‘Military investments in China and Russia … outpace U.S. investment’

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) fired his own warning shots over what he views as an inadequate defense budget proposal from President Joe Biden.

During a full Senate Committee on Appropriations review of Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 Department of Defense budget request, Shelby expressed his concern that the administration’s defense spending plan placed the nation at a disadvantage compared to its adversaries.

“The National Defense Strategy provides a road map for what the Department of Defense needs – at a minimum – to meet the challenges posed by a re-emergence of long-term strategic competition with China and Russia,” explained Shelby. “Anything less jeopardizes readiness, the recapitalization of capital assets, and necessary investments in new and emerging technologies.”

Shelby, who currently serves as vice chairman of the powerful Senate committee, believes that not meeting current national defense demands sends a dangerous message to the rest of the world.

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“This year, the budget proposal signals to the world that this administration is not committed to investing in readiness, training, state of the art equipment, and technological overmatch,” Shelby stated. “With military investments in China and Russia continuing to outpace U.S. investments, I find it hard to believe that the requirements outlined by General Dunford just four years ago are no longer instructive.”

This critical assessment from Alabama’s senior senator comes less than a month after the highest-ranking U.S. military officer described the nation’s relations with China and Russia as “fraying.”

In an address to graduates of the United States Air Force Academy, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said, “Right now we are in a great power competition with China and Russia. And we need to keep it at competition and avoid great power conflict.”

Milley and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

Shelby addressed both officials in his remarks, stating, “The world is a complex and dangerous place and I know that you both understand the magnitude of the challenges we face from our near peer adversaries who seek to undermine the United States’ position as a world leader and dominant military power. China and Russia are formidable adversaries and China, as you have acknowledged Secretary Austin, is proving to be a true pacing threat. China seeks hegemony – militarily, technologically, economically, and geopolitically – and is making unprecedented investments to see that to fruition.”

“Meanwhile, Russia is nearing the end of a massive military modernization program that saw its defense spending increase 30 percent in real dollars over the last 10 years,” he added.

Shelby concluded that he could not support an effective cut in defense spending in 2022.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

2 hours ago

U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl urges Biden to undergo tests for ‘mental impairment’

U.S. Representative Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) joined 13 of his congressional colleagues in urging President Joe Biden to undergo an examination to determine his mental fitness to serve.

The group cited a string of embarrassing verbal gaffes by the president as the basis for their request.

In a letter sent to Biden on Thursday, the Republican members of Congress explained, “We write to you today to express concern with your current cognitive state. We believe that, regardless of gender, age, or political party, all Presidents should follow the precedent set by former President Donald Trump to document and demonstrate sound mental abilities.”

They continued, “Unfortunately, your mental decline and forgetfulness have become more apparent over the past 18 months. In March, you forgot the name of the Pentagon, the Department of Defense, and the Defense Secretary, though you had said ‘Secretary Austin’ just a few minutes prior.”

In addition, the letter cites Biden’s telling of an Amtrak story with an inexplicable timeline, forgetting the first line of the Declaration of Independence and obvious disorientation during a visit to Texas as examples for why they believe Biden is in need of cognitive testing.

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The list of gaffes attributable to his mental acuity seems to be piling up for the 46th president.

During the G7 Summit in England recently, he asked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce the South African president.

RELATED: Biden lashes out at media member and Alabama native Kaitlan Collins over Putin — ‘You’re in the wrong business’

Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce has questioned whether Biden’s cognitive state is a national security liability.

Biden has received criticism in the early stages of his administration for calling on only a predetermined list of reporters during press conferences. The most recent instance of this occurred while Biden was in Geneva, Switzerland, for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Carl and the other letter signers pushed for transparency with any medical assessments being made, as well.

“We encourage you to follow the example set by President Trump by undergoing a cognitive test as soon as possible and immediately making the results available for the American people,” they concluded.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

3 hours ago

ALGOP chair John Wahl: AEA resurgence ‘a concern’; Reminds GOP candidates ‘not a good idea’ accept their campaign contributions

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Alabama Education Association (AEA) seemingly flexed its muscle at the end of the 2021 legislative session by successfully pushing through a two-year delay to the Literacy Act, which mandates children be able to read at a third grade level before proceeding to the fourth grade.

Gov. Kay Ivey vetoed the delay, but it left political watchers wondering if this was just the beginning of the AEA’s return to the forefront of Alabama politics.

During an appearance on FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show” on Thursday, Alabama Republican Party chairman John Wahl said it was indeed a concern for the party.

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“[I]t’s funny you bring that up because at one point in the past, there was actually a resolution passed by the state party, I believe, that was saying Republican candidates should not take money from the AEA because of their influence and the concern they would have over direct policy,” he stated. “So, of course, that’s a concern. That type of influence from anybody pushing to regulate themselves is never — you don’t want a group regulating themselves. That’s not good for policy.”

While there was a resolution in place that pertained to AEA campaign contributions to Republican candidates, Wahl said it was not an outright ban but a “strong recommendation” not to accept their money.

“I need to go back and look at the resolution in-depth,” Wahl said. “But I believe it was a resolution, so it’s not a direct ban. There’s no teeth to it. But it was a very strong recommendation to candidates — that it is not a good idea to take that money.”

“[T]here were jokes about how the AEA controlled the state and had a vast amount of control over policy and what would happen with the Governor’s office, the state legislature,” he explained. “So much of that has gotten better since Republicans have taken control. But you’re right — we’re seeing a resurgence, at least of their involvement. Hopefully not their influence.”

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

4 hours ago

Ainsworth scores Tuberville endorsement

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has thrown his support to Will Ainsworth as the first-term lieutenant governor ramps up his reelection bid. Ainsworth announced Tuberville’s backing in a release from his campaign on Thursday.

The former college football coach offered that his endorsement of Ainsworth was an easy play call for him.

“I’ve spent most of my life recruiting,” Tuberville explained. “When you run across leadership it stands out, and I’ve seen firsthand that’s especially true in the political arena. Alabama is a gritty, hardworking,
conservative state that puts God and family first.”

He continued, “I’m proud to endorse Will Ainsworth for Lt. Governor as the leader that reflects the work ethic and values of the great state of Alabama!”

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After announcing in front of 3,000 people during the first week in June that he would seek reelection, Ainsworth has now picked up the endorsement of the Alabama Forestry Association in addition to that of Tuberville.

Ainsworth welcomed the support from Alabama’s newest U.S. Senator.

“I am proud to have Senator Tuberville’s endorsement as I seek a second term as lieutenant governor to continue building a 21st century Alabama in which our people can earn a good living at a high-paying job and raise their families in safe, strong communities,” he remarked. “I’m focused on taking our Christian conservative values to Montgomery every day, ensuring we preserve and better the Alabama we all know and love for future generations to enjoy.”

Ainsworth’s first term has been marked by his heavy involvement in the state’s economic issues.

He has overseen the Alabama Small Business Commission, a panel tasked with recommending policies and legislation benefiting small businesses operating across the state.

During last year’s COVID-19 crisis, Ainsworth formed an emergency task force within the commission to focus on the reopening of Alabama’s economy. Most of the task force’s plan was implemented by the state during the reopening process.

Ainsworth has also served as chairman of the Aerospace States Association, a national group whose mission is to support and promote the interests of the aerospace industry in Alabama and across the nation.

Ainsworth has outlined that his focus moving forward would be to preserve Alabama values while improving opportunities for future generations.

“The main reason I’m running is for my kids, your kids, your grandkids’ future,” he stated. “It is a huge time commitment, but I want to say this: I want our kids, your kids, everybody in here to always be proud to call Alabama home. I don’t want our kids to have to move to Atlanta or Nashville or Austin or another state. I want them to be able to live right here in Alabama and have the same opportunities as any kids in the world. We’re going to do that.”

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia