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2 years ago

Sessions: Obama is choosing the United Nations over the United States

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) (Photo: Screenshot)
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) (Photo: Screenshot)

NEW YORK — The Obama administration has declined to answer questions from a U.S. Senate committee about the president’s plans to drastically increase the number of Syrian refugees being admitted into the country, opting instead to pursue their agenda through United Nations General Assembly currently meeting in New York.

Top Obama administration officials will not be made available for a legally required Senate hearing scheduled for Wednesday, prompting Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, to accuse the the president of subordinating U.S. interests to those of the global community.

“Despite having sufficient notice of a statutorily required hearing regarding its plans for the Refugee Admissions Program in Fiscal Year 2017, the Obama Administration has once again elected to subordinate both its relationship with Congress and the legitimate concerns of the American people to advance the agenda of the United Nations,” Sen. Sessions said in a release. “The Department of State claims that not one official is available to appear at tomorrow’s scheduled hearing due to this week’s United Nations General Assembly and Summit for Refugees and Migrants. The Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services have also refused to attend tomorrow’s hearing in a strange display of bureaucratic solidarity with the Department of State’s indefensible decision. The American people deserve explanations about the Administration’s reckless plans to admit 110,000 refugees beginning on October 1, 2016. They demand that their leaders end the lawlessness and abuses in the Refugee Admissions Program, and that their leaders place the safety and security of this country first.”

RELATED: Sessions: Obama ignores security concerns, plans influx of refugees from terrorist hotbeds

Sessions is the second Alabama lawmaker this year to express concerns about the United Nations and the Obama administration’s support of it.

In the wake of Brexit, the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union (EU), Alabama congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL3) said he hoped it would spur the United States toward exiting the United Nations (UN).

Rep. Rogers recently laid out his major issues with the multi-national organization in the following statement:

“The United States’ participation with the United Nations (U.N.) should end immediately. The U.N. continues to prove it’s an inefficient bureaucracy and a complete waste of American tax dollars.

“Although the United States makes up almost a quarter of the U.N.’s annual budget, the U.N. has attempted a number of actions that attack our rights as U.S. citizens.

“To name a few, these initiatives include actions like the Law of the Sea Treaty, which would subject our country to internationally-based environmental mandates, costing American businesses more money, or the U.N.’s work to re-establish an international regulation regime on global warming which would heavily target our fossil fuels.

“The U.N. has also offered a potential Arms Trade Treaty which would threaten our Second Amendment rights and impose regulations on our gun manufacturers, who are already facing regulations and pressure from the Obama Administration.

“Lastly, the U.N. does not support Israel and voted to grant the Palestinian Authority ‘non-member state’ permanent observer status.”

For some UN officials, the feelings of disdain are mutual.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a statement late last year blasting the State of Alabama — and the United States more broadly — for its record on women’s and immigrants’ rights.

According to the UN, the organization sent a three-member delegation to Alabama, Oregon and Texas last year at the invitation of the United States government.

The leader of the delegation was feminist college professor Frances Raday, Chair of the Israeli Association of Feminist and Gender Studies and Vice-Chair of the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Discrimination Against Women.

“We acknowledge the United States’ commitment to liberty, so well represented by the Statue of Liberty which symbolizes both womanhood and freedom,” said Raday. “Nevertheless, in global context, US women do not take their rightful place as citizens of the world’s leading economy, which has one of the highest rates of per capita income. In the US, women fall behind international standards as regards their public and political representation, their economic and social rights and their health and safety protections.”

Among the delegation’s specific criticisms of Alabama is the state’s photo voter ID law, which it claims is discriminatory toward women.

“Our group is concerned that changes in voter identification laws, such as those in Alabama, which increase bureaucratic requirements for voter identification, in particular problematic for women who change their name in marriage and reduce the number of voting centers, can make registration and voting less accessible for the poor, of whom a majority are women,” Raday said in a somewhat difficult-to-follow sentence.

The UN delegation also bemoaned the state of “women’s reproductive rights” in Alabama, saying there are a lack of abortion providers and “many of the clinics work in conditions of constant threats, harassment and vandalising (sic), too often without any kind of protection measures by law enforcement officials.” Raday also said Alabama has “a history of severe violence against abortion providers.”

Raday concluded the UN delegation’s criticisms of Alabama by claiming the state discriminates against immigrations by not allowing them to enroll in Medicaid.

“According to various stakeholders we met… Alabama (does) not allow lawfully residing immigrants to enroll in Medicaid even after completion of the federal waiting period of five years,” she said. A spokesperson for Medicaid did not immediately return Yellowhammer’s request for comment. The UN group also criticized the United States a whole for not providing government healthcare to all of its citizens.

The United Nations’ criticisms of the United States are nothing new, but still may come as a surprise considering the US is by far the UN’s largest funder, contributing 22 percent of the organization’s total budget, the maximum allowed under its bylaws. The US also funds over 28 percent of the UN’s “peacekeeping budget,” which has over 80,000 troops deployed worldwide.

Congressman Rogers’ frustrations with the U.N. led him to introduce H.R. 1205, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2015, which he said would “end country’s participation in the U.N. and any organizations affiliated with them.”

“Why should the American taxpayer bankroll an international organization that works against America’s interests around the world?” Rogers asked rhetorically. “The time is now to restore and protect American sovereignty and get out of the United Nations.”

38 mins ago

Alabama native and former Marshall quarterback Reggie Oliver dead at 66

The Marshall University quarterback who was part of the team’s return after the 1970 plane crash that killed 75 players has died.

Reggie Oliver was 66.

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Marshall President Jerome A. Gilbert said in a release Tuesday that his “heart is broken” at the loss of Oliver.

He added that Oliver was “an integral piece of the fabric that makes up Marshall’s story.”

Marshall Athletics said in a release that Oliver “was one of Marshall’s true legends.”

The Herald-Dispatch reported Oliver was hospitalized in Huntsville, Alabama, last week after suffering a head injury in a fall.

Oliver grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and became a quarterback for the Young Thundering Herd, as the team was known.

In the school’s first home game after the crash, Oliver connected with freshman fullback Terry Gardner for a 13-yard touchdown on the game’s final play to upset Xavier 15-13.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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15 hours ago

Gov. Ivey appoints interim finance chief — ‘Thorough search’ underway for permanent appointee

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday named longtime state employee Kelly Butler as acting Director of the Alabama Department of Finance to replace outgoing Director Clinton Carter, who resigned this summer to become the Chief Financial Officer for the University of North Carolina System.

According to a press release by the governor’s office, Butler began his career with the Alabama Department of Revenue more than thirty years ago and has since worked for the Legislative Fiscal Office and the Alabama Department of Finance as Assistant State Budget Officer, State Budget Officer and, most recently, Assistant Finance Director for Fiscal Operations.

Now, a “thorough search” is underway for a permanent Finance Director.

Outgoing State Treasurer Young Boozer has emerged as the clear favorite for the appointment, as he leaves office in January due to being term-limited. Former Congressman Jo Bonner, who recently left his role as Vice Chancellor for Economic Development at the University of Alabama System, is also on the shortlist. Another possibility that has been floating around is state Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville).

Until then, the state is in experienced hands with Butler.

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His duties as Assistant Finance Director included overseeing the State Comptroller’s Office, the State Purchasing Division, the State Debt Management Division, and the State Business Systems Division.

“Kelly Butler has more than two decades of experience working with the state’s budgets and more than three decades experience as a fiscal analyst,” Ivey said in a statement. “I know he will do an excellent job leading the Alabama Department of Finance during this interim period.

The governor added, “I appreciate him stepping up as acting director and his commitment to my administration.”

In addition to handling his new job responsibilities, Butler will continue to work on crafting the Ivey administration’s budget proposals leading up to the 2019 Legislative Session. He accepted the new role with graciousness and thanked the employees that work with him for making the department run smoothly.

“I am honored that governor Ivey has asked me to lead the Department of Finance,” Butler announced in a statement. “The department has many talented employees who work hard to provide excellent services to other state agencies and to the people of Alabama. I look forward to working with them to continue those excellent services.”

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

16 hours ago

Alabama’s state climatologist John Christy rebuts claims of recent fires, heat waves being caused by human activity in in-depth interview

There is one particular word that Dr. John Christy turns to frequently for describing climate science: murky.

It’s a point of view foundational to his own research, and a message underpinning each of his twenty appearances before various congressional committees.

“It’s encouraging because they wouldn’t invite you back unless your message was compelling and not only compelling, but accurate,” Christy, Alabama’s state climatologist, told Yellowhammer News in an interview.

Christy, whose day job involves doing research and teaching as the Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), has gained notoriety over the years for dissenting from mainstream climate scientists and policymakers who argue that climate change is anthropogenic, or man-made, and that something must be done to stop it.

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A “working-stiff” scientist

Dissent has gained for Christy the characterization as a “climate change skeptic” or “denier,” as critics refer to him, but he himself rejects those terms.

“I’m a working-stiff atmospheric scientist,” he said, “as opposed to those who support modeling efforts, those who use data sets that other people create and analyze them, but they don’t build them themselves.”

According to Christy, the result of fewer “working-stiff” scientists contributing to the prevailing climate debate is more frequent misuses of data.

“They’re not aware of what goes into it,” Christy said, referring to the data.

“Here we have a science that’s so dominated by personalities that claim the science is settled, yet when you walk up to them and say prove it, they can’t,” he said.

Christy spoke at length about what can be proven and what cannot in his self-described “murky” field, referring often to principles of the scientific method.

“You cannot prove extra greenhouse gases have done anything to the weather,” he said, responding to claims made by many scientists that more greenhouse gases have caused extreme weather patterns to intensify.

“We do not have an experiment that we can repeat and do,” he said.

Christy outlined another problem with attempts to implicate greenhouse gases: a failure to account for things countering trapping effects.

“We know that the extra greenhouse gases should warm the planet,” he said. “The weak part of that theory though is that when you add more greenhouse gases that trap heat, things happen that let it escape as well, and so not as much is trapped as climate models show.”

Economics of climate policy

Though his scientific arguments are primary, Christy also frequently discusses in interviews and testimonies the economic consequences of proposed climate change mitigation policy via carbon reduction.

“Every single person uses energy, carbon energy, and relies on carbon-based energy,” Christy said. “None of our medical advances, none of our technological advances, none of our progress would have happened in the last hundred years without energy derived from carbon.”

Christy contrasts that reality within the modern, developed world with the world he saw working as a missionary teacher in impoverished Africa during the 1970s.

“The energy source was wood chopped from the forest, the energy transmission system was the backs of women and girls hauling wood an average of three miles each day, the energy use system was burning the wood in an open fire indoors for heat and light,” Christy told members of the House Committee on Energy in 2006.

Broad availability to affordable energy enriches countries, Christy said, praising carbon.

“It is not evil. It is the stuff of life. It is plant food,” he said.

What about the fires and heat waves?

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, fires were burning in fifteen states as of Tuesday, August 14.

Alaska reported seventeen fires, Arizona reported eleven, both Oregon and Colorado reported ten, and California reported nine.

Much of the news media’s discussion about these fires over the past few weeks has established a correlation between the many fires and anthropogenic climate change, a correlation that Dr. Christy rejects.

Christy argues that exacerbating fires out west, particularly in California, results from human mismanagement. Such states have enacted strict management practices that disallow low-level fires from burning, he said.

“If you don’t let the low-intensity fires burn, that fuel builds up year after year,” Christy said. “Now once a fire gets going and it gets going enough, it has so much fuel that we can’t put it out.”

“In that sense, you could say that fires today are more intense, but it’s because of human management practices, not because mother nature has done something,” Christy said.

Data from the Fire Center indicates that the number of wildfires have been decreasing since the 1970s overall, though acreage burned has increased significantly.

As for the heat, Christy said there’s nothing abnormal going on in the United States.

“Heat waves have always happened,” he said. “Our most serious heatwaves were in the 1930’s. We have not matched those at all.”

Christy continued, “It is only a perception that is being built by the media that these are dramatic worst-ever heat wave kind of things but when we look at the numbers, and all science is numbers, we find that there were periods that were hotter, hotter for longer periods in the past, so it’s very hard to say that this was influenced by human effects when you go back before there could have been human effects and there’s the same or worse kind of events.”

Though Christy didn’t deny that the last three years have been the hottest ever recorded globally, he doesn’t concede that the changes are attributable to anything other than climate’s usual and historical erraticism.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

16 hours ago

Alabama state Rep. Standridge on ‘In God We Trust’ legislation: ‘It’s a simple message, but I believe it’s a powerful message’

Alabama state Rep. David Standridge (R-Hayden) was interviewed Tuesday on “Fox and Friends First,” where he discussed the state’s new law that allows “In God We Trust” to be displayed in public buildings.

Standridge, who sponsored the legislation in the state legislature, explained that the idea came in part out of recent debate about school safety. He said he views displaying the national motto as a way to bring added comfort to students, teachers and staff while they are at school.

Along the way, Standridge was shocked by the number of people who were afraid to touch the subject, due to what he views as a modern-day culture of hypersensitivity and “political correctness.”

Media outlets like AL.com and the Associated Press reported that legal challenges are “expected,” but, like Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, Standridge does not see an issue with simply displaying the national motto – which he points out was passed by Congress and is featured on American currency.

“It’s a simple message, but I believe it’s a powerful message,” Standridge said on “Fox and Friends First.”

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Standridge’s wife, Danna, is a former teacher at Hayden High School in Blount County, which is being viewed as the guinea pig county for the new law.

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

17 hours ago

The media, including some in Alabama, continue endorsing aggressive action by liberals that will lead to violence

During the rise of the Tea Party, the American media pretended the group was violent and was going to get people hurt. There are multiple instances where the media disingenuously tied violent acts that were unrelated to the group or others on the American right; the facts didn’t matter.

Now, liberals are in the street punching reporters, cutting audio cables, yelling at people while they eat, showing up and screaming at town halls and throwing items at U.S. Senators like Doug Jones over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, while shouting, “You can kiss my ass if you vote yes. You can kiss my ass if you vote yes. You can kiss my ass.”

If the woman who committed this act were Republican, we would know every single thing about her and she would have been fired from her job.

But because she is fighting the liberal’s fight, the Alabama Political Reporter’s Josh Moon praised this ridiculousness:

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This comes on the heels of CNN’s Chris Cuomo endorsing violence by Antifa in a “fight between good and evil”:

The violence is going to get worse. It is being fueled by bad people for bad reasons. The cowards in the media will make excuses for these people, and they will tell those who might be considering action that they are morally right. It implies doing nothing is complicit, and that it is more important than ever that Americans resist — even if that means violence.

It is easy to see that Josh Moon and Chris Cuomo aren’t going to get out in the street and start throwing hands, but rather, they will praise violent acts from behind their keyboards and from their televisions studios as they benefit from the carnage.