I need to get something off my chest here. I wish that there were more genuine, honest people that lived their life to spread positivity on things and would learn to settle their differences aside and be civil to each other.
“All across the state, excitement is building for this race. There is just an excitement brewing for change,” said Democrat Doug Jones, opening his speech to a cheering crowd at Classic Too on Noble Street in downtown Anniston this Tuesday, November 7. “It’s not about me. It’s not about Roy Moore,” said Jones, referring to his controversial Republican opponent. “It’s about you. It’s about every man, woman and child in Alabama who wants to see this state go forward, not backward.”
With the whole nation turning its eye to the upcoming December 12 election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacant senate seat, Doug Jones has been putting in a good deal of footwork. Travelling across the state to meet citizens, Jones has learned a lot about what issues are important to the every-day Alabamian. He has gained valuable insight into what the citizens of Alabama are hoping to get out of our next representative.
“My experience with the people in this state is that we have so much more in common than we do that divides us,” Jones said. Jones believes that the most important issue to most Alabamians is healthcare.
“People want good healthcare,” Jones said, eliciting a round of applause. “The Affordable Care Act was never meant to be the end of the discussion. It was supposed to be a work in progress, but we have to find ways to make it better.”
Jones acknowledged that work needs to be done to help bring down insurance premiums while continuing to provide healthcare to Alabama’s struggling citizens: “We’ve got to continue to make sure that people talk about healthcare, that we quit playing political football with your health.”
Jones believes that another issue important to Alabama is building up the state’s manufacturing job opportunities.
“We have an opportunity to help put this state’s best foot forward,” said Jones. “To bring in jobs, to expand jobs, and to do it in a way that saves the planet and is environmentally friendly, but also lifts the wages of the people in this state, and while we lift those wages, to make sure that women get the same pay.”
Jones wants to help the state’s middle class by bringing back these manufacturing jobs, along with other business. He believes we can do so through education and with good workforce development. He believes that “putting the best foot forward” will attract businesses and other people to the great state of Alabama.
“The people of this state are saying ‘no more’ to the divisiveness, ‘no more’ to treating people like second class citizens. The bottom line is the people of this state are saying No Moore!”
After his speech, Jones personally met with nearly everyone at the rally and ended the event with a brief meeting with the press.
“I think to just throw cold water on it. Just tamp everything down with the rhetoric and make sure people start talking to one another and reach across the aisle and reach within my own party to find the things working with healthcare and examine those things that are not working so that we can find the common ground and ways to fix a broken healthcare system. I think we can do that with honor and civility. I think that is the only way we can fix this broken healthcare system,” Jones said in response to being asked what he felt he could do in the senate to put an end to the multiple failed attempts at repealing the ACA.
After being asked what he would say to millennials, a voting age group with notoriously low voter turnout, to get them to the polls, Jones said, “You’re not always going to be young. Sooner or later you will be my age and you will need to worry about Medicare. You’re going to need to worry about social security. You’re going to need to make sure that your children are educated and that there are hospitals in the community. I would also tell them to look at the elections that we’ve had the last two or three cycles. Elections have consequences. They have short term consequences, and they have long term consequences. I would tell them to examine the issues, really study. Millennials do that every day. They look at the issues that affect them every day and they make decisions, whether its their jobs, family, or education. They need to look at the electoral process in the same way. A vote is an investment in the future. As much as they need to save money for retirement now, they need to be investing by voting.”
An investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller has produced its first charges against several individuals connected with the Trump campaign on Monday, October 30. This is the first official confirmation that someone involved with President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign turned to Russia to obtain damaging information on his opponent Hillary Clinton.
George Papadopoulos, foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his meetings with an individual believed to have “had substantial connections to Russian government officials.” The investigation unearthed that this individual, a professor, offered him thousands of emails by and about Clinton.
Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman, and his associate Rick Gates were also indicted on charges of money laundering and illegally working with pro-Russian factions in the Ukraine. Both supplied a not guilty plea and were placed under house arrest. The bond for Manafort was set at $10 million and $5 million for Gates.
Manafort has been charged with 9 counts of conspiracy, money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent, making false statements and failing to disclose foreign banking activity. Gates received 8 counts on the same charges. They could spend up to 40 years in prison and face millions of dollars in fines.
Both individuals were revealed to have used their illegally earned income to live lavishly, without paying taxes. One report from the New York Times estimates that Manafort spent over $800,000 on luxury clothing over a 6-year period, while Gates is alleged to have spent a good portion of his money on redecorating his home and paying for his children’s tuition.
Mueller has notified the White House that six more aides close to the president will be sought for questioning including former press secretary Sean Spicer and former chief of staff Reince Priebus.
President Trump tweeted about the indictments, in an apparent attempt to shift focus to his former opponent: “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t crooked Hillary and the Dems the focus?????”
In another tweet, Trump reiterated his denial of any connections between him and Moscow: “Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”
The JSU College Republicans hosted Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Alabama Senator, on Sunday, September 24 at Houston Cole Library as part of his campaign. The speech came two days prior to his victory over President Trump’s endorsed candidate Luther Strange in Tuesday’s Republican primary run-off election. The Senate seat was left vacant by Jeff Sessions after Trump appointed him to the position of U.S. Attorney General.
Moore stated that “Washington is watching this election and attempting to control the vote in Alabama” and said that he believes the opposition against him is because he is “not part of the establishment.” Moore claimed that there is “a lot of fighting between parties” and that “nothing is getting done.” He stated that Trump’s agenda has stagnated but that with his victory, he could help repeal the Affordable Care Act and help the fight against “illegal aliens” coming to the country.
Moore said that despite threats against him and his family and slanderous ads paid for by the Luther Strange campaign he has run no negative ads against his former opponent.
In his speech, Moore stressed the importance of the limits of the Supreme Court and other governing bodies imposed by the Constitution and argued for smaller government. He claimed that the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage changed the definition of marriage and that is was not within the Court’s right to do so. Moore went on to compare the Supreme Court and its interference with “God-given law” to the genocide of people who wore eye-glasses during the reign of Pol-Pot and the Khmr Rouge in Cambodia.
“The government is out of control” said Moore. His promise is to keep the government restricted to their powers given by the Constitution and preserve the Christian ideals this nation was founded on.
Moore stated that the government is trying to “flip the 1st Amendment so that God has nothing to do with it.” He claimed that “God gives you the right to disbelieve” and that without a Christian government we could have an alternative like an “Islamic form of government.” According to Moore, there is “no law against free exercise of religion and fulfillment of our duty to the Creator.”
The JSU College Republicans are a “fast growing political group dedicated to giving conservative students on campus a greater voice.”
According to the group’s vice president, Coleman Amason, the group contains “many different beliefs, just like any political organization should.”
Amason said the group does not endorse any one faction of the Republican Party.
“We stand for the obvious intentions this nation was founded on, like personal liberties, freedom from despotism and tyranny, government accountability, fiscal conservatism, freedom of speech and a much smaller government,” Amason said.
The group does not take public stances on issues that the party may be split on due to the differences of opinions within the group. The College Republicans meet every second and fourth Tuesday in Brewer Hall room 213 at 7:00 p.m.
“It wasn’t easy getting Roy Moore to come speak at JSU,” said Amason. “Our president, Jesse Battles, did a great job making sure every precaution was in place for the event.”
Amason’s personal response to the speech was that it was “one of the best he’s ever given.”
“Judge Moore consistently recited historical documents from America’s founding from memory, all while tying those documents into his unwavering faith in the U.S. Constitution,” Amason said.
Wesley Brewer, a 21-year-old sophomore at JSU who attended the speech said, “I did not appreciate the repetitive moral stance he took on almost every issue.”
Brewer agreed with parts of Moore’s speech, too: “I agreed with his ideals on the Constitution and its goal on limiting power to the three branches.”
Brewer appeared to have a moderate stance stating that he has mixed feelings if Moore is elected to the Senate.
“Although he stands for limited power,” said Brewer, “his moral stance may be a conflict of interest while in the Senate.”
Other students disagreed with Moore, such as Noah Davis, a sophomore and president of the Secular Student Alliance.
“The thing I disliked most about Moore’s speech was his reasoning behind his claim that America is a Christian nation,” Davis said. “He cites the parts of the Constitution where God is mentioned but does not recognize that all references to a creator are made to define the freedoms of individuals as rights given at birth and not to define the law.”
“The thing I took away from the speech was that his arguments were fallacious,” Davis continued. “He claimed that the Constitution is often misinterpreted by people, especially the Supreme Court justices, but his interpretation is right based on the sole interpretation of someone that agrees with him.”
The Secular Student Alliance is dedicated to secular advocacy on campus and in the community as well as a support system for atheists, agnostics, and skeptics. The group meets on Monday night in Martin Hall room 202 at 6:30 p.m.
Roy Moore, also known as “The Ten Commandments Judge,” has been the subject of controversy since he was ousted from his position as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
In 2003, Moore was removed from office by a judicial ethics panel after refusing to remove a 5,000-pound monument of the Ten Commandments from the Supreme Court building. He ran again and won in 2012 but was again under scrutiny of the same ethics panel after defying a federal court ruling on same-sex marriage. He resigned in April of this year to focus on Sessions’ vacant Senate position.
Moore sparked controversy days before his JSU appearance with this quote: “Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting. Who’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A president? A congress? No. It’s going to be God.”
This quote sparked backlash as his use of the terms “reds and yellows” was seen as racially insensitive to Native Americans and Asians.
Moore’s Democratic opponent in the December 12th general election is Doug Jones, a lawyer and politician who has been involved in prominent court cases such as the Monsanto case in Anniston and the last trial of those the bombers of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
The U.S. has ordered the closure of three Russian diplomatic facilities in retaliation for being forced to downsize its own diplomatic presence in Russia by 60%.
The American order, issued on Thursday, August 31, 2017, called for the closure of Russia’s oldest consulate general in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington D.C. and a consular annex in New York City by the following Saturday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry that he “expressed regrets over the escalation of tensions in bilateral relations, which were not initiated by us.”
Russia ordered the decrease in U.S. diplomats on Sunday, July 30, days after Congress approved sanctions to punish the Kremlin for election tampering, the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s continued military presence in the Ukraine.
“We waited for quite a long time, that perhaps something will change for the better. We held out hope that the situation would somehow change. But, judging by everything, if it changes, it will not be soon,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Rossiya 1 Television, a state-run television channel. The Kremlin claims its expulsion of U.S. diplomats was to seek “parity” in the number of diplomats working in either country.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that the White House wishes to “halt the downward spiral” of relations between the countries.
“We’re going to look for opportunities to do that, but we’re also going to make sure that we make decisions that are best for our country,” Sanders said.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has stated that relations between the two countries could be at their worst since the Cold War.
Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, suggested on Sunday that President Donald J. Trump may not serve a full four-year term.
“Not all American presidents have reached the end of their term. It could be worth remembering, considering the government we are dealing with in today’s historical times,” Zakharova said on Rossiya 1 in an interview which aired 2 days after the closure of the diplomatic centers in the U.S.