1 month ago

Sessions begins closing argument: ‘I have the ability to help in a way a new person does not’

MONTGOMERY — Yellowhammer News on Tuesday sat down for an interview with former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Alabama State House.

Sessions was in Montgomery visiting with some of the state’s most powerful elected officials and discussing many of Alabama’s most pressing issues. He advised that he met individually with Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth, Attorney General Steve Marshall, Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) during the day.

“It’s important for me to touch base with friends and the leaders of Alabama,” Sessions advised.

The U.S. Senate candidate also had lunch with his longtime friend from Wilcox County, Governor Kay Ivey.

“We were able to talk about high school things and teachers — and matters of importance,” he explained. “And she’s just fabulous.”

“Those were all good, important contacts, and they’re good people,” Sessions added.

The Sessions campaign told Yellowhammer News that none of the meetings were regarding an endorsement.

Home stretch

Asked about how the campaign trail is going with only two weeks until the March 3 primary, Sessions responded, “We’re working very hard. People are so generous and kind traveling around the state. It really makes it a pleasure. We’re asking people for their vote, committing to them that I’ll be faithful to the values that the state of Alabama believes in — that I have been throughout my career.”

He then reiterated that there is an opportunity for Republicans to have a working conservative majority throughout the next decade or so. Sessions stressed that the first two years of a second term for President Donald Trump would be especially key.

“I think he will be [reelected],” Sessions remarked. “And we’ve got to take advantage of that momentum. I know those issues — I know trade, I know immigration, I know taxes, I know judges and crime. Those are issues that we can make some real progress in.”

“Frankly, I also sense that some of our Republicans still don’t get what’s happened,” he continued. “They don’t understand the Trump movement that brought in large numbers of independent voters, more African Americans, more Hispanics than previous Republican candidates have gotten. And even Democrats he’s brought over. So what the Republican leadership in Washington needs to understand is they need to reach out with energy and strength to welcome these new voters in, continue to deliver for them as President Trump has and build a new majority that can govern America and fend off this Socialist movement that threatens the very foundations of American democracy and free enterprise.”

Sessions added, “I just think it’s an incredible opportunity. I’ve given a lot of thought about it. I think I understand it. And I think I have the ability to help in a way a new person does not.”

Sessions punches back

Yellowhammer News asked Sessions about the new ad his campaign released earlier on Tuesday. He framed the ad as a longtime-coming response to attacks (whether through ads or barbs on the campaign trail) from his top two opponents: former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville and Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01).

“I think the ad — I’ve been subject to attacks for months now,” Sessions remarked. “And I’ve always tried to be faithful and true to the people of Alabama, but it’s time to push back and ask, ‘Well, who are you? Where were you when Donald Trump was in a race for the presidency and nobody knew how it was going to come out?'”

“There were days that were good and days that were bad, but I never wavered,” he added of his support for Trump in the 2016 cycle.

“Whereas, in fact, Congressman Byrne did call for him to withdraw in [October], just a few weeks before the election,” Sessions continued. “And then, I’m not even sure Tommy Tuberville even voted for Trump. He certainly should’ve been able to make a modest contribution — he gave no contribution. So I don’t know where this comes from.”

He followed up by calling into question Tuberville’s stated support of Trump during this campaign cycle. Sessions referenced comments made by Tuberville in September about immigration, in which the former coach was talking about documented migrant workers. Tuberville’s opponents contend the comments amount to supporting “amnesty.”

Sessions outlined, “[Tuberville has] indicated to me from what he’s said [publicly] that he’s not passionately committed to the issues that the people care about and that President Trump has pushed for. Like immigration, I mean, his statement on immigration is open borders. It says, ‘They want jobs, we want them to have jobs and we want them to become citizens.’ This is a stunning thing; it is hugely stunning.”

“And then on trade, he has said that he is a free-trader, which is a signal he’s not with the Trump agenda,” Sessions further decried. “And then he said that … he didn’t agree with Trump standing up to China. Which is stunning.”

“We are in a monumental battle with China. I have talked to the president about this in the [2016] campaign more than once, on the airplane, together we talked about it,” he advised. “The president knows that if he can stand firm to China, they need us far more than we need them. They will have to come to the table. We can improve our trading situation with China substantially. And the last thing you need, the very last thing, is members of his own party undercutting his negotiating ability. That’s the only danger that we have in this negotiation. If we stand firm, we will win.”

Sessions then hit Tuberville on his remarks from August about veterans’ healthcare related to Trump.

“I was with [Trump on the campaign trial] in speeches all over this country about veterans. He made it the highest priority,” Sessions commented. “Yes, it’s a hard bureaucracy to move. But nobody’s done better in moving that bureaucracy to help healthcare for veterans than him. I just don’t see why our leader on improving healthcare for veterans ought to be attacked by a person who’s in his own party. That just makes no sense to me.”

He then again underlined his argument about experience being integral to success in the Senate.

“I just think it’s really important the next senator understands how to be helpful on day one,” Sessions stressed.

“There’s not a military base in the state I don’t know about. There’s not a city size we haven’t worked with in the past. The businesses that often need to interface with Washington and need to be supported — Alabama businesses. I don’t have to be brought up to date on them. I know that already,” he advised. “And I think somebody starting with virtually no knowledge of the Congress is a problem.”

“And finally, I’ll say it this way: I have proven that I understand Alabama values. And that I fight for them every day. I have stood up to Republican colleagues on many key issues, sometimes alone, to advance trade and immigration issues that are important to Alabama. And why would we want to take a chance on somebody — may have been a good coach but’d be totally unproven. We don’t know what his philosophy is, except that it doesn’t look like he shares the Trumpian philosophy. I would say this is a critical election, and I believe I can provide valuable leadership,” Sessions emphasized.

Romney comparison

To conclude the interview, Yellowhammer similarly asked Sessions to react to two pro-Tuberville ads released on Tuesday comparing Sessions to Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), who recently voted to remove Trump from office on one impeachment article.

“This was very irritating to me,” Sessions responded. “Mitt Romney has indeed waffled. He’s a part of the crew that’s shown weakness and a lack of passion to advance the conservative agenda.”

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

14 hours ago

Website seeks to connect still-operating local restaurants with Alabama customers

The Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association (ARHA) has created a website to try and connect local restaurants with Alabama consumers.

The precautions being taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus have devastated the restaurant industry. A website that tracks the industry estimates that 3% of America’s restaurants have permanently gone out of business since the virus began spreading in the United States.

The website created by ARHA — carryoutal.com — is seeking to prevent that fate for restaurants in Alabama. Visitors are asked to select Carryout, Curbside or Delivery and the site then provides them with the options in their area.

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The site currently has around 300 restaurants in its database.

There is an option for any locally-owned business to list their establishment for free.

“Most restaurants in Alabama remain open and they need your support more than ever,” says the website’s description.

The site assures any skeptical customers, “While recent governmental orders and recommendations to limit social gatherings have forced restaurants to change the way they operate, the commitment to food safety and sanitation has not changed.”

The ARHA has also created a fund to provide relief for hospitality workers across the state. As of 2:45 p.m on Tuesday, it has raised $1,810 of its $100,000 goal.

Contributions to the fund are tax-deductible.

The description of the fund reads, “On March 19, 2020, restaurants and bars across the state were ordered to close dining area service to the public in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. The shutdowns have catastrophically impacted the restaurant and hotel industry.”

Those interested in donating can click here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

14 hours ago

Treasury Department issues guidance for small businesses seeking relief funds

The U.S. Treasury Department released new information on Tuesday afternoon for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The resources distributed by the agency provide guidance on how to tap into the $340 billion pool of relief funds set aside for the small business sector.

Under the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program, businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to receive the lesser of $10 million or 2.5 times its payroll over the period of several months.

Banks will distribute the funds in the form of loans granted under criteria contained in the law. Loans may become available as soon as Friday, April 3.

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Call your banker

That is the advice the Treasury Department is giving to small businesses.

The chairman of the Alabama Bankers Association has stated that banks in his state are ready, willing and able to immediately assist with the small business sector’s recovery.

“Banks in our state are already very familiar with helping customers access SBA funding,” said David Nast, president and CEO of Progress Bank and Trust. “Nearly 94% of banks headquartered in Alabama are SBA-approved lenders, and that number could easily grow higher over the next few weeks.”

RELATED: Alabama banks preparing to assist small businesses with recovery — ‘Call your banker’

Nast echoed the Treasury Department’s advice that interested small businesses should promptly contact their bank.

“Regardless of how banks are interacting with their customers, our advice for individuals and small businesses has been to put ‘Call Your Banker’ near the top of the to-do list,” Nast emphasized.

Info for small businesses

The Treasury Department is maintaining a comprehensive website for those seeking information about the economic stimulus programs it is administering.

Within the site are documents for small businesses to better understand the programs designed for them and how to apply for funds:

Overview of the Payroll Protection Program

Paycheck Protection Program Information for Borrowers

Application for Borrowers

Paycheck Protection Program Information for Lenders

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

15 hours ago

Jeff Sessions has a clear message for China: The world knows your communist regime is culpable for the Wuhan coronavirus

Former Attorney General and U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions seems to have a clear message for China: The United States will not take your Godless, communist regime’s lying and cheating anymore.

During an appearance on WVNN this week, Sessions said the United States and the world know that China covered up the origins and spread of the virus for months, and we know they are now engaging in a disinformation campaign to shed their culpability.

Sessions on Monday’s broadcast of “The Dale Jackson Show” took some strong punches at China, saying, “It’s a duty we have to explain to the American people, and to the world, really, the danger of this kind of government. It cannot be the dominant government in the world, it will not be if we stand up to it.”

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Sessions acknowledged that we have allowed this to happen with weak trade and foreign policy. He noted the reaction of the world would be far different if America was responsible.

“Imagine an American company, or American government, had learned about this virus and sat on it for weeks and allowed the world to be infected,” he stated. “I mean, the world would be in an outrage.”

But what can be done?

If elected to his old Senate seat, what will he specifically work to do?

Sessions isn’t the first politician to point out that we can’t allow China to dominate the markets of critical supplies and infrastructure needs, such as medical supplies and high-speed internet.

Specifically, Sessions outlined, “This is one where we need to send a message to China. No. You’re not gonna supply our medicines. Especially when you say you might cut them off. You’re not gonna supply our 5G high tech communications system, high speed. We’re not gonna let you dominate that.”

My takeaway:

This is nothing new for Jeff Sessions.

He has long been a leading critic on China for most of his career. He was calling for us to get tough on China before anyone else even cared.

The world has been too soft on China, and the United States has an obligation to end that. This is our wakeup call. This isn’t about trade, it is about the lives of Americans, which Sessions correctly noted that China’s state-run press has threatened.

America has an obligation to make sure the world knows this coronavirus is the fault of China and punish them for unleashing this on the world.

The coronavirus pandemic proves Jeff Sessions has been correct on China for decades. They lie, cheat and steal to achieve world dominance. He is also right when he says we cannot allow this to continue and our allies around the globe can’t keep turning a blind eye to it or they will win.

China has a plan to continue to dominate globally, and we need people that understand it and know how to combat it at the forefront of this fight.

Listen:

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

15 hours ago

Friends launch Local Distancing to support Birmingham businesses

Three friends in Birmingham were wrestling with a major dilemma created by the coronavirus pandemic: How can you lend support to your favorite restaurants and local businesses while maintaining the proper social distancing practices?

Their solution — a pay-it-forward approach. Local Distancing, an online platform, allows customers to help these Birmingham area enterprises pay their staff, cover overhead and survive the crisis without having to leave the security of their home.

Through the Local Distancing web site, consumers can purchase gift certificates from a wide range of restaurants, breweries, retailers and other Birmingham businesses. The site also includes links to GoFundMe accounts for displaced workers.

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The initiative appears to have struck a chord in the community, with more than 4,000 unique visitors in the first week eager to support more than 150 Birmingham businesses listed on the platform.

“Local businesses are the heartbeat of the Magic City, and they need our help during these challenging times,” said Vince Perez, a senior project manager at the Alabama Department of Commerce and one of the initiative’s founders. “This is a way that all of us can let local business owners and their employees know that we’re in their corner during this crisis.”

The way Local Distancing’s founders see it, buying online gift certificates represents the most practical way for loyal customers to support their favorite local businesses right now while remaining at their homes.

The web site does not charge businesses to participate and will not receive any portion of the gift card purchases. Moreover, it works with gift card processing companies like Square and Gift Up! that provide money immediately to businesses, instead of when the certificates are redeemed.

Instagift, a Birmingham-based firm that provides electronic gift card services to local businesses, is also supporting the effort by waiving monthly fees for new sign-ups and providing promotion on its social media.

Joining Perez in launching Local Distancing are Dylan Spencer, a web developer who built the site and founder of a marketing firm bearing his name, and Trey Oliver, an attorney at the Bradley Arant law firm. The three are childhood friends and all attended Auburn University.

“We all wish we weren’t in this situation, but here we are,“ Spencer said. “Thankfully, hard times have their way of bringing people together, and I believe this will somehow make Birmingham stronger. All we can do for now is stay home, stay healthy, and take care of our city – especially the businesses and restaurants that make it special.”

Local Distancing may just be the perfect substitute for an upcoming anniversary, birthday gift, and more, he said.

“Order food and buy gift certificates, even if to give away as a ‘thank you’ to grocery store workers, restaurant workers, delivery folks, medical workers, and the many others who are working so hard to keep us going,” Spencer urged.

You can also find Local Distancing on Twitter and Instagram under @localdistancing.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

17 hours ago

Video: Ride along with ULA’s Alabama-built rocket on U.S. Space Force’s first national security mission

Alabama’s United Launch Alliance (ULA) teamed up last week with the U.S. Space Force to complete the newly-formed agency’s first national security space mission.

A Decatur-built Atlas V rocket delivered the sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) satellite. The AEHF-6 will enhance the communications capabilities for American warfighters around the world.

The mission became ULA’s 138th overall. With its completion, ULA maintained its 100% mission success rate.

Watch rocket preparation, launch and satellite delivery in space:

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Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia