4 months ago

Three former Republican U.S. attorneys general applaud Sessions’ job performance

In an op-ed in the Washington Post published Wednesday night, three former United States attorneys general praised now-former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying, “We salute him for a job well done.”

William P. Barr was attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush, Edwin Meese III was attorney general from 1985 to 1988 under President Ronald Reagan and Michael B. Mukasey was U.S. attorney general from 2007 to 2009 under President George W. Bush. The three men noted that they all served in Republican administrations, yet are “from different backgrounds, with different perspectives and who took different actions while in office.”

They wrote, “But we share the view that Jeff Sessions, who resigned at President Trump’s request on Wednesday, has been an outstanding attorney general.”

The former attorneys general then outlined that they have known Sessions for years and have thought highly of his record of public service since he was a U.S. Attorney, adding that both his “unexcelled” experience and temperament made him an ideal nominee for attorney general. For them, Sessions’ job performance over the past 21 months has lived up to these lofty expectations “[b]y any measure.”

They then detail how the Justice Department (DOJ) and nation’s law enforcement was suffering from low morale at the end of the Obama Administration’s tenure, calling it the “Ferguson effect.”

“Steep declines in the rate of violent crime from 1992 to 2014 were reversed in the last administration’s final two years, with violent crime generally up 7 percent, assault 10 percent, rape nearly 11 percent and murder 21 percent. Opioid abuse skyrocketed. Many people were concerned that the hard-won progress of earlier years would be lost,” the attorneys general wrote.

They then explain in detail how “Sessions made sure that didn’t happen.”

Excerpt from the op-ed as follows:

He reinstituted the charging practices that had been used against drug dealers before 2008. He leveraged the power of big data to locate those who were stealing taxpayer dollars and flooding the streets with opioids and other painkillers.

During his tenure, the Justice Department broke several long-standing law enforcement records. In 2017, the department prosecuted the highest number of violent offenders since 1991, when it started to track that category of prosecutions during the time that one of us (William P. Barr) was attorney general. Then, in 2018, the department broke the record again, prosecuting more violent crime defendants than ever by a 15 percent margin.

In 2017, the department prosecuted the most firearm defendants in 10 years, since another of us (Michael B. Mukasey) was attorney general, and in 2018 prosecuted the most firearm defendants ever, surpassing the prior mark by 17 percent.

Sessions set four goals for his tenure: to reduce the rates of murder, violent crime generally, opioid prescription fraud and drug overdose deaths. He achieved all four.

He attacked the rampant illegality that riddled our immigration system, breaking the record for prosecution of illegal-entry cases and increasing by 38 percent the prosecution of deported immigrants who reentered the country illegally.

Such numbers are impressive, but just as impressive has been the refocusing of the department’s efforts under Sessions’s leadership to protect the liberties of Americans.

In statements of interest in four cases, the Justice Department served notice that it would act to fulfill Sessions’s commitment to promote and defend “Americans’ first freedom” — the freedom of speech — at public universities, by opposing efforts to impose unconstitutional limitations on speech and speakers who allegedly offended the sensibilities of some on campus.

In October 2017, he issued a memorandum to all executive departments containing guidance for protecting religious expression, and oversaw the department’s participation in cases protecting the right of a religious institution to advertise on public transportation facilities, the rights of vendors not to participate in activities that would violate their religious beliefs and the right not to have the religious beliefs of business owners burdened by a mandate to provide funding for contraceptives.

To help restore the rule of law, Sessions has opposed sweeping nationwide injunctions by federal district courts; forbidden settlements in which the Justice Department has directed payments from settling defendants to third parties so as to circumvent the appropriation authority of Congress; withdrawn policies that expanded statutory protections based on gender identity that Congress had not provided for in law; and rescinded guidance documents previously issued by the Justice Department that were outdated, inconsistent with existing law or otherwise improper.

He has acted to protect our national security through such diverse steps as cracking down on leaks through the National Insider Threat Task Force; establishing the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team to combat the threat from Hezbollah narcoterrorism; and supporting reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to permit the intelligence community, under robust oversight by all three branches of government, to collect vital information about international terrorists and other foreign intelligence targets.

And, in addition to all of his specific policy achievements, often behind the scenes, the attorneys general applauded Sessions for the professional and dignified manner in which he conducted himself and represented the nation’s law enforcement community.

“Throughout, Jeff Sessions has set an example of personal grace and dignity under enormous pressure. He has remained humble and of good cheer, on good days and bad, and focused on fulfilling the mandate of the administration in which he has served. He has acted always out of concern not for his personal legacy but rather for the legacy of the Justice Department and the rule of law. We salute him for a job well done,” they concluded.

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

6 hours ago

GE Aviation to expand 3-D printing facility in Auburn

Governor Kay Ivey announced Wednesday that GE Aviation has plans to invest $50 million into expanding the additive manufacturing operation at its facility in Auburn, which is the first site to mass produce a jet component using 3-D printing technology for the aerospace industry.

“GE Aviation is at the leading edge of advanced aerospace additive manufacturing, and the company’s expansion plans at the Auburn facility will strengthen its technology leadership position,” Ivey stated, via Made in Alabama. “We look forward to seeing where the great partnership between Alabama and GE Aviation will take us both in an exciting future.”

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As a part of the project, GE Aviation will reportedly create 60 jobs and place new additive production machines in Auburn, which will allow the factory to begin greater production of a second engine part by implementing the additive process.

The expansion will allow the Auburn facility to mass produce a 3-D printed bracket for the GEnx-2B engine program.

“We’re very excited for this new investment in our additive manufacturing operation here in Auburn,” said GE Aviation’s Auburn plant leader, Ricardo Acevedo.

He added, “Our success thus far is a testament to all the hard-working folks at this facility who are leading the way in advanced manufacturing. The future here is bright, and we’re glad to have such great support from the Auburn community and the state of Alabama.”

Instead of taking the more traditional route to produce a part, additive manufacturing uses a CAD file to grow parts by using layers of metal powder and an electron beam. It is a much quicker process and allows for more product with less waste.

“Additive manufacturing technologies are revolutionizing how products are being made in many industries, and GE Aviation is helping to drive that revolution in aerospace,” said Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield.

He added, “We welcome GE’s decision to expand AM activities in Auburn because this will solidify the Alabama facility’s position as a hub for next-generation manufacturing techniques.”

Before today’s expansion announcement, the Auburn facility was set to employ an estimated 300 people in 2019.

“We’re grateful for GE’s continued investment in our community, and we are proud to be the home of GE Aviation’s leading additive manufacturing facility,” said Auburn Mayor Ron Anders. “For years, Auburn has sought after technology-based industries, and this expansion is evidence of the value in that.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

6 hours ago

Marsh’s bill to help build Trump’s wall filibustered by Dem Senate minority leader

MONTGOMERY — A bill authored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) that would voluntarily allow a taxpayer to divert a portion or all of their own state income tax refund to We Build the Wall, Inc. was filibustered by Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) Wednesday afternoon.

The bill, SB 22, has been carried over to a later legislative date yet to be decided.

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Singleton conducted several “small” filibusters, as he called them, leading up to debate on SB 22 when the chamber was confirming some of the governor’s various nominations.

Singleton said he wanted to slow down the bill’s passage and has managed to do so by at least one day.

When SB 22 came up as the first item on Wednesday’s special order calendar, Singleton launched into a mini-filibuster of just a few minutes before the Senate adopted a budget isolation resolution (BIR) on the bill, but in doing so, he threatened to filibuster for four hours on consideration of passage of the bill itself. He then began to appear to do just that after the BIR was adopted.

During his speech, Singleton claimed more “drugs and crime” come into the United States from Canada than Mexico. He also proposed that the federal government simply print more money to build the wall if it is needed and that walls should be built on both the southern and northern borders, rather than just the southern one.

After about 20 minutes of Singleton speaking passionately against SB 22, Marsh offered to carry the bill over to a later date so the rest of Wednesday’s legislation would not be adversely affected.

He emphasized that his bill does not divert tax money to help build the wall, but instead deals with money that taxpayers would be getting back anyway from the state. Individuals would voluntarily be able to send money already owed back to them by the state to a nonprofit named We Build The Wall, Inc.

Marsh also said SB 22 allows Alabamians to easily and directly send a message (through their monetary contribution) to the federal government and people around the nation – and world – that they support border security and President Donald Trump’s efforts. Marsh himself has made such a contribution previously, but his bill would make it easier for citizens to do the same.

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

8 hours ago

Ivey on Common Core: ‘We should be deliberate in determining a course of study for our state’

Governor Kay Ivey has released a statement on Senator Del Marsh’s (R-Anniston) bill to eliminate Common Core in the state of Alabama, saying, “I support Senator Marsh’s efforts to ensure that headlines about Alabama ranking last or close to last in education become things of the past.”

Marsh’s bill, SB 119, was advanced unanimously from committee Wednesday and will come before the full Senate on Thursday, with passage in that chamber expected. All 28 Republican state senators support the bill.

The legislature’s spring break is next week, and substantial discussion from the education community is expected to occur with Marsh over the break and heading into the House committee process.

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“Alabama has some of the greatest teachers anywhere, they do a fantastic job each and every day laying a strong educational foundation for the children of Alabama,” Ivey said. “I have supported our teachers by proposing pay raises each of the last two years and expanding programs that have proven successful. As a former educator and president of the Alabama State Board of Education, I know how important it is to have good course materials to teach.”

The governor concluded, “Efforts like this should not be taken lightly, and I believe we should be deliberate in determining a course of study for our state. I support Senator Marsh’s efforts to ensure that headlines about Alabama ranking last or close to last in education become things of the past.”

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

8 hours ago

Dale Jackson: The ‘clean lottery bill’ is not clean, nor a lottery bill

There was hope that the Alabama legislature would be dealing with a simple and non-complex lottery bill this legislative session. This was false hope.

Alabama Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville) touted his lottery bill as a bill that would simply give Alabama voters an opportunity to vote on a lottery. He wasn’t trying to solve the state’s economic ailments. He wasn’t hoping to appease every group in the state with some piece of the pie. He wasn’t creating a new spending obligation. All he allegedly wanted to do was give the average Alabamian an opportunity to buy lottery tickets in their home state and send the benefits to the state’s coffers.

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Simple. Easy. “Clean.”

But it was not to actually be. Instead, this clean bill provides a quasi-monopoly for certain individuals who already have gambling interests in place. McClendon says this is to protect the jobs at these facilities by giving them the ability to have new “Virtual Lottery Terminals.” The terminals are really just slot machines with extra steps, and some of these folks already have experience running this type of business because they have been running these quasi-legal machines for years.

These entities want this legalized and they want to stop any competition from springing up. This is a completely reasonable position for them.

Guess who has a problem with this? The Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians released the following statement:

We appreciate Sen. McClendon’s efforts to bring the question of whether the state should have a lottery to the forefront of this legislative session. However, the bill introduced today does not fit the definition of a “clean bill.” It does not give citizens an opportunity to cast one vote on one issue — whether we should have a traditional lottery in our State. Instead, the bill is cluttered with provisions that will expand private gaming operations in a few parts of the state owned by a handful of individuals. It also demands that any vote on a lottery include a vote on video lottery terminals, which are also commonly known as “slot machines.”

They are not wrong, but no one should be sympathetic to this argument. They want their own monopoly on slot machines. This is a completely reasonable position for them.

Neither position is reasonable for the state of Alabama to take. The state of Alabama should either offer a legit clean bill with no expansion/codification of existing gambling or open the door for others to enter the free market.

If the legislature thinks these types of gambling are good for the state, then it needs to regulate it, limit it and give other parts of the state and other operators an opportunity to take part in the benefits. Let Huntsville, Birmingham, and Mobile enter a developer bidding for gambling facilities.

Alabama legislators clearly want to address this in this legislative session. McClendon’s bill is not the way to do it.

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

 

9 hours ago

Ainsworth looks forward to Common Core repeal – ‘Damaging legacy of the disastrous Obama administration’

Count Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth as an adamant supporter of eliminating Common Core in the state of Alabama.

After Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) filed a bill to do just that, Ainsworth told Yellowhammer News that he “look[s] forward to dropping the gavel when the repeal of Common Core passes the State Senate.”

This is expected to occur Thursday after the bill unanimously was advanced from committee on Wednesday.

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Ainsworth said in a statement, “I believe Alabamians should determine the curriculum and standards for our schoolchildren based upon our available resources, our needs, and our first-hand knowledge of what makes Alabama great. We should not rely upon some out-of-state entity or liberal, Washington, D.C. bureaucrats to determine our standards, and we certainly should not continue embracing this most damaging legacy of the disastrous Obama administration.”

“Sen. Marsh and the co-sponsors of his bill should be commended for working to end this unnecessary Obama-era relic, and I look forward to dropping the gavel when the repeal of Common Core passes the State Senate,” he concluded.

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