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2 years ago

George Soros cash behind move to smear, oust Jeff Sessions from key committee

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With less than one month before the 2016 election, it’s no secret that anyone and everyone surrounding Donald Trump has become a target for media fodder. So if you think the negative, liberal-driven press against Senator Jeff Sessions has been more intense than usual this week, there’s a reason for that.

Following Sunday night’s presidential debate, the Alabama Senator took to the spin room to address Trump’s positions. He was frequently asked about that infamous 11-year-old Trump recording, in which the Republican nominee was caught making lewd remarks about women.

It was during an interview with the Weekly Standard, a magazine whose leaders have championed the “Never Trump” movement, that the Sessions was asked to respond to the comments. He told the publication that Trump’s language was “improper,” but should not be labeled as sexual assault. The interviewer pressed him further, prompting Sessions to answer that “it’s not clear” how an assault would occur.

Sessions has since made it abundantly evident that he does not condone Trump’s 2005 statements, nor does he believe that sexual assault is in any way excusable.

“My hesitation was based solely on confusion of the contents of the 2005 tape and the hypothetical posed by the reporter, which was asked in a chaotic post-debate environment,” Senator Sessions said in a statement. “I regret that it resulted in an inaccurate article that misrepresented my views. Of course it’s crystal clear that assault is unacceptable. I would never intentionally suggest otherwise.”

Now, a radical, far-left feminist group known as UltraViolet is promoting a petition that calls for Senator Sessions’ removal from the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee. So far, the petition has gained over 40,000 signatures. It’s actually a low number compared to other outrage-based campaigns the group has waged. Other current petitions include one that urges NBC to fire entertainment host Billy Bush, while another demands federal protection for Planned Parenthood.

The organization merits a deeper look.

UltraViolet is headed-up by Nita Chaudhary and Kat Barr, two former high-level political directors of the liberal attack machine MoveOn.org. Like MoveOn, UltraViolet is also funded by liberal mastermind billionaire George Soros. (The same guy who also donated at least $6 million to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, $1 million to Planned Parenthood, $650,000 to Black Lives Matter, just to name a few.)

The petition was expectedly carried and promoted by liberal sites, but in a surprising turn, has also received recognition from right-leaning RedState, who- like the Weekly Standard- has strong ties to the Never Trump movement. Even they conceded that UltraViolet exclusively targets “conservatives and Republicans and attack them as being opposed to women” in order to further a false “war on women.”

Senator Sessions nor his base of conservative supporters seem to be giving the petition any credence.

“Senator Sessions has served honorably for many years on the Judiciary Committee as the defender of our liberties and a champion of our values,” Sen. Sessions’ Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn said. “I certainly hope no one is fooled by this effort. I don’t think anyone would honestly suggest he be removed, particularly based on a pitch by George Soros.”

1 hour ago

Huntsville City Council candidate’s ties to Bernie Sanders revealed in ad — ‘Few things are scarier than socialism’

On Monday, Dr. Mary Jane Caylor’s campaign for Huntsville City Council released a creative new social media ad that invoked her opponent’s ties to socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

With Halloween on the horizon, Caylor hit her opponent, Frances Akridge, with the tagline “few things are scarier than socialism… Especially in our local government.”

Akridge, the ad says, has donated to liberal campaigns across the country, including Bernie Sanders for President, Rick Nolan for Congress (Minnesota), Katie McGinty for Senate (Pennsylvania), Nelson for Congress (Wisconsin), Zephyr Teachout for Attorney General (New York), Nanette Diaz Barragán for Congress (California), Deborah Ross for Senate (North Carolina), Chase Irons for Congress (North Dakota), Maggie Hassan for Senate (New Hampshire), Paul Clements for Congress (Texas), Morgan Carroll for Congress (Colorado), Russ Feingold for Congress (Wisconsin) and Pramila Jayapal for Congress (Washington).

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While local races are normally less partisan than statewide or national races, Caylor’s campaign tied Akridge’s “ultra-left” activities to the local level, saying that Huntsville would be hurt by socialist City Council policies.

“Imagine how much of your money Frances Akridge will want to tax and spend… We cannot afford to let Frances Akridge traffic in her big-government values to our City Hall,” the social media caption reads.

It continues, “Huntsville’s bright future demands fiscal responsibility and a budget that is overseen by an experienced, conservative leader. We need the conservative, proven, and principled leadership of Dr. Mary Jane Caylor.”

Caylor has an extensive resume of public service, including past experience as superintendent of Huntsville City Schools, executive director of the Huntsville Bicentennial, member of the Base Realignment and Closure recruitment team and a four-term member of the Alabama State Board of Education. She was also crucial to the establishment of the Veteran’s Memorial in downtown Huntsville.

On her website, Caylor lists education, infrastructure, community safety, supporting first responders and being a good steward of taxpayer money as top issues. Akridge names community recreation, “maintenance & enhancement” and health along with safety and education.

In response to Caylor’s ad, Akridge shared a Facebook post that read, “Huntsville municipal elections are SUPPOSED TO BE nonpartisan. And now we have this crap.” The post did not dispute any of the ties to socialist or liberal candidates or that Akridge would govern as a socialist on the city council.

According to Caylor’s campaign, in the October 9 Huntsville City Council District 2 election, “the choice is clear: Socialist Frances Akridge or Conservative Mary Jane Caylor.”

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

3 hours ago

Maddox kicks off bus tour in Alabama governor’s race

Gubernatorial challenger Walt Maddox kicked off a statewide bus tour Monday, taking his message on the road as he seeks to gain ground against incumbent Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.

The Democratic nominee began the tour in Tuscaloosa where he is mayor.

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Describing himself as the only candidate in the race talking about the state’s “big problems,” Maddox is running on a platform of establishing a state lottery to fund education programs and expanding Medicaid.

Standing with his wife, Stephanie and his two children, Maddox said the race is about ensuring the state’s children have opportunities.

“Our state is not where it needs to be. We are at, or near, the bottom in everything that matters, everything,” Maddox said. “And they deserve to grow up in a state that can provide them the opportunities that I’ve had, that your families have had.”

Alabama has not elected a Democrat to the governor’s office since 1998 when Don Siegelman won after campaigning on a lottery that voters later rejected.

To win, Maddox will need support from some Republicans and independents, similarly to U.S. Sen. Doug Jones and his victory over Roy Moore last year.

Maddox said he thinks he can do that by talking about the issues that affect people’s lives.

He joked he won his first convert in 2010 with his wedding to wife Stephanie, who is a Republican.

Maddox said he hopes to speak with all sorts of voters during the tour, including those “who may or may not vote for you. … But that doesn’t matter because when you put your hand on that Bible, you represent everyone.”

Maddox is proposing a state lottery to fund college scholarships and other education programs.

He said expanding Medicaid, as 34 states have done, could stop the closure of rural hospitals, which have been shuttering in rural communities due to financial pressures.

“If you are in Haleyville, Alabama right now you’ve had to experience an increase in taxes because your hospital is on the verge of closing.

If you are in Alex City right now, your hospital could close. All because we didn’t expand Medicaid.”

Maddox also continued to take jabs at Ivey for refusing to debate him.

The Republican incumbent said last week that there was no need for a debate because “Alabamians know my record. They know what I stand for.”

“One thing Governor Ivey can’t avoid is the Nov. 6 election,” Maddox said. “The people will ultimately determine this with their ballot. It doesn’t hurt me that she doesn’t want to debate. It hurts the people of Alabama.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 hours ago

Federal lawyers say 14-year-old oil leak is getting worse in Gulf of Mexico

Federal government lawyers say a 14-year-old leak is releasing much more oil each day into the Gulf of Mexico than officials previously claimed, and it may be getting worse.

A Friday court filing in a case involving Taylor Energy Co. says 10,000 to 30,000 gallons (37,000 to 113,000 liters) daily is leaking from multiple wells around a drilling platform toppled by 2004’s Hurricane Ivan.

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That estimate is far above the 16,000 gallons (60,500 liters) of oil that the U.S. Coast Guard estimated in 2015 had been spotted in slicks over seven months.

The government cites a report it commissioned from a scientist who has studied satellite images of persistent oil slicks and sampled floating oil at the site about 10 miles (16 kilometers) offshore.

That report also suggests that while the amount of leaking oil decreased after some wells were plugged in 2011, the leak may be getting bigger again.

“There has been an uptrend of the areas of the slick during the last two years,” wrote Oscar Pineda-Garcia, who runs a company that maps oil spills and is an adjunct professor at Florida State University.

New Orleans-based Taylor said only two to three gallons was leaking daily out of mud on the seafloor.

Spokesman Todd Ragusa said the company disputes the government’s new estimate and will respond in court.

“The government’s recent filing is completely contrary to the comprehensive, sound science acquired by world-renowned experts, including those regularly relied upon by the government,” Ragusa wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

A 2015 AP investigation revealed evidence that the leak was worse than the company, or government, had publicly reported during their secretive response.

Presented with AP’s findings that year, the Coast Guard provided a new leak estimate that was about 20 times larger than one cited by the company in a 2015 court filing.

Friday’s court filing also says Taylor and the Coast Guard met in August and discussed plugging more wells as part of an effort to eliminate the persistent oil sheen seen at the site.

The wellheads are more than 400 feet (120 meters) underwater and buried under 60 to 100 feet (20 to 30 meters) of mud.

Taylor sued the government in January 2016 to recover millions of dollars it set aside for work to end the leak.

The suit claims regulators violated a 2008 agreement requiring the company to deposit approximately $666 million in a trust to pay for leak response work.

The company argued the government must return the remaining $423 million.

The government’s lawyers disagree, though, saying no change to the agreement has been made and the money should remain on deposit until the work is done.

“The trust requires — and has always required — that Taylor complete all of its decommissioning obligations before the trust can terminate.

The United States’ denial of Taylor’s request for a release from its existing obligations does not constitute an imposition of a new obligation,” the lawyers wrote.

Waves whipped up by Ivan triggered an underwater mudslide that buried a cluster of oil wells under treacherous mounds of sediment.

In 2011, the company finished drilling a series of “intervention wells” to plug nine of the wells.

Using Coast Guard pollution reports, West Virginia-based watchdog group SkyTruth estimated in December that between roughly 855,000 gallons (3.2 million liters) and nearly 4 million gallons (15.1 million liters) of oil spilled from the site between 2004 and 2017.

Garcia writes in his report that the oil is thick enough that people need to wear respirators because of fumes.

He says bubbles of not just oil, but natural gas is reaching the surface, while his report shows pictures of thick, brown oil emulsions in some places.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 hours ago

Alabama Ethics Commission director responds to Secretary of State Merrill’s op-ed criticizing their ‘ethical political leadership’

After Secretary of State John Merrill wrote an op-ed last week strongly criticizing the Alabama Ethics Commission, the commission’s director, Tom Albritton, appeared on Capitol Journal to push back and give their side of the story, saying, “We did our job.”

Merrill opened his piece by lamenting having “to ask what purpose the Alabama Ethics Commission serves to the people of this state.” He added, “To whom are the elected officials or those seeking public office to look to for ethical political leadership? The people of Alabama need an Ethics Commission that will enforce the laws and regulations it is charged with enforcing, with consistency.”

The dispute centers on the Ethics Commission’s handling of appeals of fines levied by the Secretary of State’s office on campaigns that filed their mandatory financial disclosures late. When fined, campaigns have 14 days under state law to appeal. When a campaign chooses to do so, the secretary of state’s office sends the appeal to the Commission to decide whether the penalty is upheld or not.

Earlier this year, the commission overturned fines even though the appeals were made outside of the allowed 14-day window. However, at the beginning of this month, the commission refused to rule on tardy appeals, saying they do not have jurisdiction after the window closes.

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Even though Merrill’s argument in the op-ed was titled “The people of Alabama need an Ethics Commission that will enforce the laws,” the issue at hand is actually that the commission did enforce the law this time but not in previous times.

This disconnect, and the op-ed itself, led Albritton to say, “We did our job. The op-ed piece was a little bit confusing to me in terms of exactly where the criticism is … If the point was that we hadn’t enforced the law, that’s what I don’t understand, because that’s specifically, exactly, what my commissioners did – was enforce it.”

He also voiced his displeasure that Merrill chose to write an op-ed – which said, in part, “without communication and cooperation between our agencies … the [law] does not work” –  instead of continuing dialogue directly between the commission and the secretary of state’s office on the issue.

“Well, to be completely honest with you, I was a little bit disappointed in the manner in which that was handled,” Albritton told host Don Dailey.

In the latest batch of appeals sent to the Commission by Merrill’s office, “there were a number of files where their office knew that they were filed well after the 14 days, yet they instructed the filers to go ahead and appeal, which is not supported by the language of the code,” Albritton added.

He continued, “So, we wrote their office and asked if they disagreed that we didn’t have jurisdiction [on the late appeals]. And instead, the op-ed piece was filed.”

Albritton reiterated that the Ethics Commission enforced the law this time, yet was criticized for it.

“[W]hat the Commission did, was simply looked at that group of files and found that there were a number that were simply filed too late, so we affirmed the fines that had been imposed by [Merrill’s] office. And now, it is their obligation to go enforce those fines by collecting on them,” Albritton explained.

Merrill argued in his op-ed, “[W]hy have they just now become aware of these appeal date issues? Each appeal delivered to the Alabama Ethics Commission is delivered as a file which includes each file that was not timely filed and a copy of the date the appeal was filed.”

The Ethics Commission director admitted that his office had made mistakes in ruling on late appeals earlier this year.

“Look, I’ll be the first one if we made a mistake to admit that we made a mistake,” Albritton said. “And in that earlier group of files, the 14 days … is something that my office did not pick up [on].”

However, while admitting the Commission’s role in these previous mistakes, Albritton also questioned why Merrill’s office had knowingly sent them appeals that were late.

“Now, again, we are dependent on [the secretary of state’s office] to point out to us if someone has filed outside of the 14 days, and in a way that it is very clear that that’s what happened. The preference would be that they not send over things that the law says that we have no jurisdiction over,” Albritton emphasized.

He reiterated that hearing the late appeals previously “was an oversight by my group,” adding “I’m not sure what my commissioners will want to do” with those corresponding fines that were overturned.

Merrill wants these fines reimposed since the commission did not have jurisdiction at the time they ruled.

“It’s the position of the secretary of state’s Office that these specific matters were improperly set aside and should be reinstated by the commission,” Merrill wrote about the fines that were improperly overturned earlier this year.

Watch, starting at the 50:35 mark:

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

Steve Marshall partners with White House to recognize ICE & border patrol agents

While ICE & CBP agents are defending themselves against partisan political rhetoric from the left, Attorney General Steve Marshall is working to highlight the important role they play in defending the rule of law and thus, securing our borders.

Last month, Marshall accepted an invitation to speak on a select White House Panel discussion on border security and how border crime and illegal immigration affect the citizens of Alabama.

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“Due to our state’s proximity to Atlanta, a major distribution point for drugs, and to Texas, a border state, Alabama has become a prime transit point for drug trafficking. We see marijuana, cocaine, meth and now illicit fentanyl coming into our state as a result. The drug trade brings dangerous and violent illegal aliens into Alabama.

Just this summer, our state was rocked by the brutal murder of a special needs 13-year-old girl— killed by affiliates of the Mexican drug cartel. I am grateful to the president and the White House for allowing me to share the observations of Alabama law enforcement and our citizens.”

Marshall praised the White House and President Trump for acknowledging these agents and their contributions and dedication to the safety of U.S. citizens. He knows the importance of respecting our law enforcement, border security, and the law itself and is committed to working with all sectors of government to ensure our citizens are protected.

“We must secure our borders and we must restore respect for the rule of law throughout this country. The men and women of ICE and CBP are critical to securing our borders, and Attorneys General — I believe — must play a major role in restoring the rule of law.”

(Paid for by Steve Marshall for Alabama, P.O. Box 3537, Montgomery, AL 36109)