1 year ago

Powerful senator won’t allow attacks on Sessions’ character during confirmation process

Senator Chuck Grassley speaks to a Republican audience in downtown Des Moines after winning his 7th election to the U.S. senate. (Photo: John Pemble)
Senator Chuck Grassley speaks to a Republican audience in downtown Des Moines after winning his 7th election to the U.S. senate. (Photo: John Pemble)

WASHINGTON — A senator who will wield significant influence in Sen. Jeff Sessions’ upcoming attorney general confirmation process is pledging to keep Democrats from engaging in the type of character assassination that doomed Sessions’ confirmation to a federal judgeship 30 years ago.

“Democratic members of the committee have pledged a fair process,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters after meeting with Sessions Tuesday morning. “Based on those commitments, I trust the other side will resist what some liberal interest groups are clearly hoping for — an attack on his character. That will not happen here.”

Senate Democrats have hinted at a protracted confirmation battle, based largely on hearsay from 30 years ago that claimed Sen. Sessions had made racially insensitive comments.

Prominent African American and civil rights leaders have rushed to Sessions’ defense this year, arguing that his record shows he will ensure equal justice for all Americans as the country’s top law enforcement officer.

“I worked closely with Senator Sessions while he was US Attorney and I was in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department,” said legendary civil rights attorney Barry Kowalski. “This was during the 1980s when many southern US attorneys were not always welcoming to the Civil Rights Division working in their districts. However, Senator Sessions could not have been more supportive of our investigations, and in the Michael Donald case specifically, he personally contributed to making sure his killers were brought to justice.”

“I am a 71-year-old African-American man, and I think I know a racist when I see one,” added Larry Thompson, who served as Deputy Attorney General during the Bush administration. “Jeff Sessions is simply a good and decent man. As a former federal prosecutor, Jeff knows the workings of the Justice Department inside and out. He is thoroughly familiar with the legal issues the department will face. He will carry out his duties in a professional, thoughtful and balanced manner.”

In spite of Democrats’ desire for a fight, Sen. Grassley, who provides over the Judiciary Committee, pointed to other recent confirmations as a blueprint for how he will oversee Sessions’ confirmation process.

“The hearings for the four most recent Attorneys General lasted one to two days each. And at each of those hearings, three to nine outside witnesses testified,” he said. “Nine witnesses testified at the hearing for Attorney General Lynch, seven witnesses testified at the hearings for Attorneys General Holder and Mukasey, and three witnesses testified at the hearing for Attorney General Gonzales.”

“Senator Sessions will receive the fair and thorough vetting process he deserves, as have the last four nominees to be Attorney General,” Grassley concluded.

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29 mins ago

4-year-old Alabamian Austin Perine feeding the homeless with huge heart and wise words: ‘don’t forget to show love!’

Most 4-year-olds live with only a few things on their minds: Mom, Dad, siblings, play, eat and drink.

Not Austin Perine.

He feeds the homeless.

Ask him why, and be prepared for a simple but wise answer.

“If you were homeless, would you want to be fed? Well, that’s why I’m feeding the homeless, because they’re hungry,” Austin responds.

(Austin Perine is a young Alabama Bright Light who proves some heroes do wear capes from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.)

Austin wears a superhero cape when he goes on his feeding outings with his father, T.J. Perine. At Linn Park recently, the little guy handed sandwiches and drinks to the homeless. Every time, he exclaimed, “Don’t forget to show love!”

Show Love is the name of the nonprofit the elder Perine started.

“This whole thing started when we were sitting at home watching Animal Planet and a baby panda was abandoned by its mom,” Perine said. “Just to give him an answer, I told Austin that the panda would be homeless. Then he asked, ‘Well, are people homeless?’ and I said yes. That sparked an idea for him to want to come and feed the homeless, so here we are just a few months later.”

A few of the homeless at Linn Park knew little Austin with his superhero cape, and exchanged hugs and fist bumps. Those who did not know him were flabbergasted. One homeless man said he’d never seen anything like this.

Most people are concerned with their own well-being. The few who show this level of dedication to serving others are usually adults with a giving spirit. For Austin, it’s not about age but empathy.

Austin explained how doing this makes him feel inside.

“When I feed the homeless it makes me really happy and I think what I do is very special,” Austin said. “When I grow up I want to be president. My jobs when I become president would be to feed the homeless and to chase the bad guys out of schools.”

Austin’s efforts have garnered worldwide attention from media outlets interested in his story.

“We’ve been on CNN, NBC and CBS, and we’ve been covered by news in France, Germany and England,” Perine said. “Austin has been doing his thing and has no idea; he’s just being Austin. I think it’s remarkable. Every day I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m still alive, because this is like a dream.”

Austin continued handing out sandwiches and drinks when he got a huge hug from a woman sitting on the steps at Linn Park. She had a grocery cart full of bags and clothes and other items, most likely all she owned.

“When I get hugs from the homeless, it makes me feel great inside,” Austin said.

Remember this: Austin Perine is only 4 years old.

To donate or for information visit, www.presidentaustin.org

(Courtesy Alabama News Center)

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59 mins ago

Inmate escapes from Alabama prison for elderly and sick

Authorities say a 61-year-old old inmate has escaped from Alabama’s prison for elderly and sick prisoners.

A statement from the Department of Corrections say Davis Curtis Wood was wearing only white boxer shorts when he fled the Hamilton Aged and Infirmed Center on Monday morning.

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The medium-security prison in northwestern Alabama is reserved for inmates who are elderly or have special medical needs.

Wood is serving a life sentence for burglary. He was sentenced in Mobile County in 1994.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 hours ago

Storms leave damage scattered across Deep South

Storms that moved across the Deep South left damage scattered across three states.

The Storm Prediction Center says high winds toppled trees and power lines in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia on Sunday.

No serious injuries are being reported, but a storm ripped the roof off a business in the north Alabama town of Hazel Green near Huntsville.

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Falling trees and limbs damaged several buildings in central Mississippi, and a gas station canopy fell on to a car in metro Atlanta.

Forecasters say additional storms with strong winds, heavy rain and intense lightning are possible Monday from Louisiana to Georgia. The weather service isn’t predicting severe weather for the region.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 hours ago

A Trump doctrine for Singapore and beyond

After Pyongyang railed this week that the U.S.-South Korean Max Thunder military drills were a rehearsal for an invasion of the North, and imperiled the Singapore summit, the Pentagon dialed them back.

The B-52 exercises alongside F-22 stealth fighters were canceled.

But Pyongyang had other objections.

Sunday, NSC adviser John Bolton spoke of a “Libyan model” for the North’s disarmament, referring to Moammar Gadhafi’s surrender of all his weapons of mass destruction in 2004. The U.S. was invited into Libya to pick them up and cart them off, whereupon sanctions were lifted.

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As Libya was subsequently attacked by NATO and Gadhafi lynched, North Korea denounced Bolton and all this talk of the “Libyan model” of unilateral disarmament.

North Korea wants a step-by-step approach, each concession by Pyongyang to be met by a U.S. concession. And Bolton sitting beside Trump, and across the table from Kim Jong Un in Shanghai, may be inhibiting.

What was predictable and predicted has come to pass.

If we expected Kim to commit at Singapore to Bolton’s demand for “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization,” and a swift follow-through, we were deluding ourselves.

At Singapore, both sides will have demands, and both will have to offer concessions, if there is to be a deal.

What does Kim Jong Un want?

An end to U.S. and South Korean military exercises and sanctions on the North, trade and investment, U.S. recognition of his regime, a peace treaty, and the eventual removal of U.S. bases and troops.

He is likely to offer an end to the testing of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, no transfer of nuclear weapons or strategic missiles to third powers, a drawdown of troops on the DMZ, and the opening of North Korea’s borders to trade and travel.

As for his nuclear weapons and the facilities to produce them, these are Kim’s crown jewels. These brought him to the attention of the world and the Americans to the table. These are why President Trump is flying 10,000 miles to meet and talk with him.

And, unlike Gadhafi, Kim is not going to give them up.

Assuming the summit comes off June 12, this is the reality Trump will face in Singapore: a North Korea willing to halt the testing of nukes and ICBMs and to engage diplomatically and economically.

As for having Americans come into his country, pick up his nuclear weapons, remove them and begin intrusive inspections to ensure he has neither nuclear bombs nor the means to produce, deliver or hide them, that would be tantamount to a surrender by Kim.

Trump is not going to get that. And if he adopts a Bolton policy of “all or nothing,” he is likely to get nothing at all.

Yet, thanks to Trump’s threats and refusal to accept a “frozen conflict” on the Korean peninsula, the makings of a real deal are present, if Trump does not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

For there is nothing North Korea is likely to demand that cannot be granted, as long as the security of South Korea is assured to the degree that it can be assured, while living alongside a nuclear-armed North.

Hence, when Kim cavils or balks in Singapore, as he almost surely will, at any demand for a pre-emptive surrender of his nuclear arsenal, Trump should have a fallback position.

If we cannot have everything we want, what can we live with?

Moreover, while we are running a risk today, an intransigent North Korea that walks out would be running a risk as well.

A collapse in talks between Kim and the United States and Kim and South Korea would raise the possibility that he and his Chinese patrons could face an East Asia Cold War where South Korea and Japan also have acquired nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

In the last analysis, the United States should be willing to accept both the concessions to the North that the South is willing to make and the risks from the North that the South is willing to take.

For, ultimately, they are the one who are going to have to live on the same peninsula with Kim and his nukes.

Trump ran on a foreign policy that may fairly be described as a Trump Doctrine: In the post-post-Cold War era, the United States will start looking out for America first.

This does not mean isolationism or the abandonment of our allies. It does mean a review and reassessment of all the guarantees we have issued to go to war on behalf of other countries, and the eventual transfer of responsibility for the defense of our friends over to our friends.

In the future, the U.S. will stop futilely imploring allies to do more for their own defense and will begin telling them that their defense is primarily their own responsibility. Our allies must cease to be our dependents.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 hours ago

Truck drives off bridge, plunges into Alabama river

A search is resuming Monday for a truck that drove off a bridge and plunged into a river in Alabama.

Gadsden Fire Chief Steve Carroll tells news outlets that witnesses reported the truck plowed through a guardrail on the Meighan Bridge on Sunday afternoon and went into the Coosa River.

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Carroll says crews have an idea of the vehicle’s general location and initially believed they had found it, but hadn’t. The search was suspended overnight and was scheduled to resume at 7 a.m. Monday.

Carroll says search crews are in recovery mode. It’s not known how many people were inside the truck. No details about the truck’s make or color have been released.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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