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1 year ago

GOP needn’t despair about Alabama

 

 

Republicans should not be disheartened by Roy Moore’s loss in Alabama, because the election had little to do with Doug Jones — and probably even less with Donald Trump or the Republican agenda.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s quite troubling that the GOP’s thin Senate majority just became anorexic, but this election by itself is not a predictor of a Democratic rout in 2018. Republicans could sustain substantial losses, to be sure, but the Alabama election doesn’t make that foreseeable.

Roy Moore was a uniquely problematic candidate with more baggage than many Republicans believed they could excuse. Though it is remarkable that a Republican candidate lost in crimson-red Alabama, it is also noteworthy that even with his problems, he came close to winning.

The vast majority of Alabama Republicans did not want to sit home or to vote for Jones, because they understand the magnitude of the stakes before us. Yet enough of them did. Apparently, the fact that he would have doubtlessly voted as a conservative at a time when every single Republican vote is critical wasn’t enough to overcome the sexual allegations and other concerns about Moore for these voters.

Also, America’s political situation is particularly fluid, and there are too many variables and important events yet to play out for us to reliably forecast the 2018 election results. One savvy politician told me this week that he could see Republicans losing the majority in both houses in 2018 — but he also wouldn’t be surprised if they were to actually gain seats if the economy remains strong and Trump’s agenda continues apace.

Democrats have more Senate seats to defend in 2018 (26) than Republicans (eight), 10 of which are in states Trump carried in 2016 — five by double digits. Even CNN concedes that the electoral map “still clearly favors Republicans.” But like other liberals, they are counting on Trump’s supposed unpopularity and soaring passion in the Democratic base to offset any GOP advantages.

Moreover, prudent analysis has to factor in the adage that people vote with their pocketbooks — even young people, the demographic reputed to be least enamored with President Trump. A Bank of America/USA Today Better Money Habits survey conducted before the 2016 election showed that 65 percent of voters ages 18 to 26 would base their votes more on economic policies than on social issues.

Economic indicators are decidedly positive now, and notwithstanding Barack Obama’s delusional post-presidential assertion that he deserves the credit for it, it’s hard to dispute that Trump deserves the lion’s share of credit.

The economy is humming well above 3 percent — a threshold the Obama malaise architects had already written off as no longer attainable. Unemployment is way down, and the stock market is surging significantly above impressive Obama-era levels.

This is real growth, as opposed to the fake growth Obama defeatists were touting when the economy was stagnating at 1 percent. And it can be traced to Trump’s actions and the attitude he carried into office, just as Obama’s stagnation can be traced to his business-hostile bearing.

Trump is bullish on America, the free market and American business. Entrepreneurs have responded accordingly, as have consumers. (Look at Christmas season sales already this year.)

Trump has also been aggressive in rolling back stifling bureaucratic regulations across the board, and no one should underestimate the impact of his decision to back out of the Paris climate accord — or his support of the coal and natural gas industries.

Trump also tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to substantially revise, if not wholly repeal, Obamacare, and he is determined to try again. He and congressional Republicans have done a better job so far with the tax reform bill. Though it is imperfect and not the bill I would craft if I were king, it would meaningfully improve the existing law and is very close to being passed.

If it passes, I believe we’ll see even more growth and far more revenues than the experts — the same ones who predicted that our days of 3 percent growth were over — are forecasting.

Yes, things could so south, especially if Trump and Congress are unable to move the tax bill and other major items of legislation before the 2018 elections, but I’m feeling upbeat.

My main concern is chaos within the Republican Party. The angst toward Trump among many Republicans is palpable, and unfortunately, a disproportionate number of these opponents are influential in the media.

I understand the naysayers’ disapproval of Trump’s style and various other complaints. But I don’t understand why they won’t acknowledge the positive developments that are occurring during his presidency — even if they have too much pride to give him credit for them. I get (and sometimes share) their distaste for his tweets, but it’s baffling that they won’t concede that on policy, at least, he has been far different from — and almost entirely better than — what they gloomily warned he would be.

He’s not governing like a so-called populist nationalist, and he certainly hasn’t advocated liberal policies as many feared. No matter what you think of Trump personally, he is advancing a largely conservative agenda.

Unlike some of Trump’s perpetual critics, I don’t worry that Trump is going to usher in an era of alt-right dystopia or that the country is going to descend into Bannonism — whatever that means. The critics shouldn’t fear that Trump will forever taint the conservative movement or that America will descend into darkness.

America was descending into darkness under Obama’s eight years, and that process would have accelerated into warp speed had Hillary Clinton been elected. So could we please lighten up and support the president when he’s advancing salutary policies, which is often, and go into 2018 with a spirit of warranted optimism?

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney.

COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM

11 hours ago

Byrne first to officially declare run vs. Doug Jones – ‘Future is too important to sit on the sidelines’

Just down the street from where he grew up, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) announced Wednesday evening his candidacy for the United States Senate while surrounded by family, friends and supporters gathered at Wintzell’s Oyster House in beautiful downtown Mobile.

Byrne became the first candidate to officially announce a run against the incumbent from Mountain Brook, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL). In doing so, Byrne made clear his campaign will focus on his record as a fighter for Alabama’s values, drawing a clear and direct contrast between his traditional Yellowhammer State roots and the “radical policies” being pushed by Jones’ Democratic Party.

In his announcement speech, Byrne emphasized, “The fight for America’s future is too important to sit on the sidelines. I am running for the United States Senate to defend the values important to Alabama.”

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The congressman spoke about the “disconnect” between hardworking, everyday Alabamians and people stuck in the bubble of Washington, D.C.

Byrne urged attendees, “Look in Washington and tell me you don’t see people that have a vision that’s fundamentally at odds with what America is.”

“We need a Senator who will fight with President Trump to defend the Constitution, build the wall, stand up for the unborn, push for lower taxes, make health care more affordable and protect the Second Amendment,” he outlined. “I will fight every day to bring Alabama’s conservative values to Washington.”

Answering questions from reporters following the announcement, Byrne decried the Democratic Party’s embrace of socialism and “[killing] babies as they’re delivered.”

He also warned voters that Democrats should be expected to try and interfere in the Republican primary through “fake news” and  manipulative social media efforts. This comes in the wake of revelations that “Project Birmingham” was orchestrated to aid Jones’ general election candidacy in 2017.

Byrne, a labor-employment attorney by trade, is the former chancellor of the state’s community college system and one-term member of the state senate. He has served southwest Alabama in Congress since January 2014.

The Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Alabama will be held March 3, 2020, with the general election to follow in November.

You can watch Byrne’s announcement speech and hear him answer questions from reporters afterwards here.

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

12 hours ago

Watch live: Bradley Byrne announces U.S. Senate run against Doug Jones

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) is set to announce his candidacy for the United States Senate seat held by Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) live at the Wintzell’s Oyster House in downtown Mobile.

Watch live below:

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

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13 hours ago

Heavy rains swamping Deep South

Heavy rains are causing problems in parts of the Deep South.

Police in Huntsville, Alabama, say a half-dozen roads are blocked by downed trees or utility poles plus water from flash floods.

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Flood watches and warnings cover the northern parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia and nearly all of Tennessee is at risk for floods.

Several school systems are delaying classes or closing.

The weather service is predicting as much as eight inches of rain in spots through Saturday, and freezing rain and sleet are possible in western South Carolina.

Forecasters say moisture from the Gulf is mixing with weather systems moving eastward in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.

As much as one inch of rain an hour is possible, and the weather service says some areas could get more.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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13 hours ago

Ivey announces plan to turn old Jefferson County mine into technology park with $85 million economic impact

Alabama is working again — including in places that have been dormant for decades.

Governor Kay Ivey, the Alabama Department of Labor’s (ADOL) Abandoned Mine Land Program (AML) and United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel) announced Wednesday that long-abandoned mine land in Jefferson County will be reclaimed, making way for the new Grand River Technology Park project and relocation of the Southern Museum of Flight.

“This reclamation project has the potential to bring millions of dollars in economic impact, and hundreds of jobs to the Greater Birmingham area,” Ivey said in a press release. “The new Grand River Technology Park will be a regional nexus for research and development, tourism, and light manufacturing. This project will bring positive improvements to the citizens who call this community home.”

This project, which is expected to generate an economic impact of more than $85 million, has been made possible through funds appropriated from the U.S. Treasury through the AML Pilot Program Grant. The funding was secured by the stalwart leadership of Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), the powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Shelby said he is looking “forward to witnessing the impact it will have on the state.”

The senator said, “The Grand River Technology Park project will attract new businesses and promote economic development throughout the Birmingham area. I am proud that the AML Pilot grant funds I worked to secure have helped make this effort possible and look forward to witnessing the impact it will have on the state.”

The project is possible through a collaborative public-private effort and includes participation by ADOL’s AML Program, U. S. Steel, the City of Birmingham, the Southern Museum of Flight, Jefferson County and the City of Leeds.

In 2018, U. S. Steel and its community partners were given approval for a $6 million grant by the ADOL AML Pilot Program toward the development of its Grand River Technology Park.

“We are pleased to see the redevelopment of this land. We are grateful for the partnership of Governor Ivey, [ADOL] Secretary Washington, and the AML staff during this process and thank Senator Shelby for securing AML Pilot grant funds. We look forward to providing quality economic and community development projects that will benefit the Birmingham community,” U. S. Steel President and CEO David B. Burritt commented.

The technology park represents a multiphase opportunity to reclaim and transform approximately 105 acres of undeveloped land surrounding and including several pre-1977 abandoned coal mine lands in east Jefferson County. An initial assessment conservatively estimated that 1,200 new employment opportunities will be created by this project.

Plans for the Grand River Technology Park (Contributed)

Dangerous abandoned mine land features previously reclaimed on the property included many portals (openings to old underground coal mines) and vertical openings (former air shafts associated with underground coal mines) connected with Red Diamond Mines #2 – #5, #7, #9, #11 and #12, as well as the former Tennessee Coal and Iron (TCI) Mine #6, all of which ceased operations in 1948.

After the closure of these underground mines, a major portion of proposed development was strip-mined for coal prior to August 3, 1977, leaving extensive spoil piles (waste rock and soil overburden removed to access the coal seam) on the property and a highwall cut (a hazardous vertical bluff left where mining of the coal seam ceased) adjacent to the current location of the Barber Motor Sports Park. Evidence of the highwall cut and spoil piles still remain on the property today. As part of the redevelopment of the property, extensive reclamation will be performed on these remaining spoil piles.

“Our Abandoned Mine Land Program does a wonderful job in helping to ensure that old, dangerous mines are properly reclaimed, which eliminates safety hazards and allows the land to be redeveloped,” ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington advised. “In addition to cleaning up this site and making it safer, this project will help to improve the lives of many.”

To date, the ADOL AML Program has reclaimed 81.6 miles of dangerous highwalls, eliminated 1,613 dangerous mine openings and completed approximately 661 reclamation projects in the coalfields of Alabama.

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

14 hours ago

Alabama law requires the state and local governments fund The Democrat-Reporter’s racist rants — It is time to stop

Almost every politician in Alabama wanted to get in on condemning, and in some cases calling for the resignation of the editor, publisher and owner of a rag out of Linden, Alabama, with roughly 3,000 subscribers.

The governor, both United States senators, multiple congressmen and congresswomen, the State Senate pro tem, the lieutenant governor and surely countless others went on the record to say this is unacceptable.

It is obviously unacceptable, but now what? You can’t really force a guy who owns a newspaper to quit. Especially when he seems to think he has done nothing wrong.

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All of this is a minor problem. The Democrat-Reporter is a small-town nothing newspaper. If the Auburn Plainsman hadn’t posted the editorial in the form of a photo, no one would have ever known.

This raises another issue. The state of Alabama is providing revenue to this newspaper and other newspapers around the state of Alabama. And it is actually worse than that: Current state law requires government entities in Alabama to advertise legal notices, legislation, constitutional amendments, voter rolls and other public matters in the local print media outlets, which is not cheap.

So, how much does The Democrat-Reporter get from the governments?

Well, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) alone spends thousands every year.

Maybe these aren’t all required expenditures, but for what other reason would ALDOT be spending this money here?

What have the local governments been required to pay this newspaper? What about average citizens and businesses that have to post foreclosures, abandoned property and other matters in a local newspaper by state law?

Even without the racist overtones of this story, this matter should offend you. There is currently a state law that requires we do business with a series of private entities.

This may have been a necessity decades ago, but it is time for the state legislature to readdress this issue for the 21st century.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN