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Newt Gingrich Rallies In Hoover

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Speaker Newt Gingrich spent Saturday campaigning in Alabama.  His campaign had stops in Dothan, Robertsdale, Orange Beach, and Hoover.  ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ was in attendance at the Hoover Winfrey Hotel where former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich addressed 170++ supporters.

Speaker Gingrich told the enthusiastic crowd, “Barack Obama believes in the radicalism of Saul Alinsky.  I believe in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Barack Obama’s policies lead to unemployment and food stamps.  I want policies that lead to job and paychecks.”

Speaker Gingrich said, “Barack Obama appoints people who are very confused about their jobs.  For example his Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that international organizations supersede congressional approval.  I believe if he believes that he should be fired immediately.  I believe we want a Secretary of Defense of the United States and not a Secretary of Defense of the United Nations.

Presidential Candidate Gingrich said, “Barak Obama appointed a whole series of unconstitutional White House Czars I will sign an executive order to abolish every single one of them.”

Speaker Gingrich said, “It is very important to nominate someone who can take Barack Obama head on in a debate.” “We have to have someone who can articulate the things that are going on in this country.  Barack is going to have a $billion.  The only way we can beat him is to get him in the debates and show that Barack Obama combines being a radical with being incompetent.”  “My goal would be to run an American election.”  Speaker Gingrich said that Republicans need to “appeal to everyone of every background on some very basic issues.”

“Barack Obama believes it is ok to apologize to the people who are killing young Americans.  As commander in chief I will never apologize to terrorists,” Speaker Gingrich said.

Speaker Gingrich said that he and President Obama want to “lead the country down two very different paths and I want to lead us down the path of constitutional self-government.”  “In our system, power comes from God to each one of you personally.  You are sovereign.  You loan power to the government. Government never loans power to you.”  “The Constitution begins ‘we the people’ not we the lawyers, not we the politicians, not we the judges, or we the bureaucrats.”

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Speaker Gingrich focused his attacks on President Barack H. Obama but he did comment on his Republican primary opponents as well.  “I like Rick Santorum personally.” “When we had a team Rick Santorum was a good member of the team.  When I left the balanced budgets disappeared, the surplus disappeared, he helped pass Sarbanes-Oxley which was a disaster for the American People, he voted five times to raise the national debt ceiling, and he lost Pennsylvania by the largest margin of any sitting Senator in any state.”  Speaker Gingrich said of Mitt Romney, “I think it is impossible to be the author of Romneycare and plan to debate Barack Obama over Obamacare.”

Gingrich said that when he was in the Congress, “I helped developed winning campaigns at a national level.”  He said that under his leadership they increased the number of Republicans by 9 million, balanced the budget four years in a row, won the first Republican majority in 40 years, reelected the first Republican majority since 1928, cut taxes, reformed welfare, and passed the largest capital gains tax decrease in history, which created 11 million new jobs and brought unemployment down to 4.2%.

Speaker Gingrich said, “The 8.3% unemployment rates that came out yesterday is only 8.3% because so many people have dropped out of the workforce.  It would be 10.8% if we had the same size work force we had when Barack Obama was inaugurated.  The real unemployment rate is 19% when you count the people who are underemployed or who have given up.  Young blacks have 43% unemployment.”

“We have a President who just doesn’t get it,” Speaker Gingrich said.  “He is a genuine left winger.”  Gingrich said that Obama suffers from cognitive dissonance.  “That is when you believe something so strongly that you reject the facts.”  “Barack Obama really wants expensive energy.  His political advisors are telling him high gas prices are hurting him and he would like to get reelected” but he doesn’t do anything to increase domestic energy because of his ideology. “In 2008 his slogan was ‘Yes we can’ in 2012 his slogan is ‘Why we couldn’t.’

Presidential Newt Gingrich again extolled his energy plan:  “I have been campaigning on an American energy plan that will free us from the Middle East.” “He (President Obama) could sign three things tonight that would help lower gas prices.  He could sign approval for Keystone XL pipeline.  That is 700,000 barrels of Canadian oil a day.  He could reopen areas of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf as the Governors have asked him to do and that is 400,000 barrels of oil a day.  Open up more of Alaska: 1.2 million barrels a day.  2.3 million barrels of oil a day 800 million barrels a year and that is just a beginning.”  “He could also open up federal lands, he could open up offshore, and could change the rules to build new refineries.”  Speaker Gingrich said that Barack Obama won’t do any of that. Instead “algae is his solution.”

“The President (Barack Obama) does this whole thing about drilling will not work, then he offers up his idea about algae. Two pages after he tells us drilling will not work he goes off about natural gas.”  Speaker Gingrich said that there has been a revolution in natural gas technology. “We were going to bring liquefied natural gas from the Middle East.”  Ten years ago we had 7 years of supply left. With new exploration and new recovery techniques we have over 125 years of supply and are developing plans to ship liquefied natural gas to China. 600,000 new jobs were created from developing the natural gas. “How does the President think we found the natural gas?”  “On the one hand he is telling us that drilling will not work and then he tells us a story of great success that only occurs because drilling occurred.”  Speaker Gingrich said that our natural gas success proves his case for $2.50 a gasoline.  An 11% increase in supply of natural gas led to a collapse in the price of natural gas.  “$2.50 a gallon is enough incentive to open up offshore or federal lands.”  The price of gas “was 1.13 a gallon when I was speaker.  It was 1.89 when Barack Obama was sworn in.  There is no natural reason why gas price always go up it is supply and demand.”  Increase supply and price will go down.

“North Dakota drilled on private land where Obama can’t stop it.”  “They found 2500% more oil than they thought.” “North Dakota alone doubled the known reserves of the United States.”  North Dakota now has 3.5% unemployment, 16,000 oil field jobs they can not fill, the North Dakota state government has had 7 consecutive tax cuts and they have a multi-million dollar rainy day fund.

Speaker Gingrich said that the guy who developed the North Dakota field estimated that “over the next generation we could generate $16 to $18 trillion in oil royalties” from developing Alaska, federal lands, and off shore to its fullest energy production potential.

Speaker Gingrich said if we could impose discipline on Washington, balance the budget, and put all the royalties into the debt repayment fund and in the lifetime of the younger people in this room we could pay off the entire debt of the federal government.  It would strengthen the dollar, we would run a trade surplus and in one step take care of the Saudis and the Chinese.

“If you watch the news you will see that the Iranians are practicing closing the straits of Hormuz where 1 out of 5 barrels of oil flows.”  “Any effort to close the straits would be an act of war and the end of their government.”  “In the long run we want to be the #1 energy producer in the world, so we can tell the Chinese, the Indians, the Europeans, and the Japanese you have a problem with the Straits of Hormuz you handle it.”

Speaker Gingrich was introduced by his long time friend and Alabama Campaign Chairman State Senator Jabo Waggoner.  Sen. Waggoner said, “If we win Alabama and Mississippi it is a new ballgame.”  “This fall when he is on the stage with Barack Obama, can you imagine that guy standing toe to toe with our guy?  Talk to your friends and family.”  Sen. Waggoner told the gathering of Newt Gingrich supporter to make getting out votes for the Tuesday Primary a priority.

Rep. Jack Williams also spoke. “We are ready for no more years for Barack Obama.”

Saturday Speaker Gingrich received endorsements from B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott and former Gov. Fob James (R).  His website is claiming that new polls show the former speaker leading in both Alabama and Mississippi.

Candidate for President Newt Gingrich will be back in town Monday for the Republican Party Presidential Forum in the historic Alabama Theater in Birmingham at 5:30.  Senator Rick Santorum will also be there.

For more information about the Newt Gingrich Presidential campaign, visit his website:

 http://www.newt.org/

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with six and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook.

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Elections

League of Women Voters of Alabama sue over voting amid COVID-19 pandemic

Eddie Burkhalter

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The League of Women Voters of Alabama on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Gov. Kay Ivey, Secretary of State John Merrill and several Montgomery County election officials asking the court to expand Alabama’s absentee voting and relax other voting measures amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The nonprofit is joined in the suit by 10 plaintiffs who range in age from 60 to 75, many of whom have medical conditions that put them at greater risk for serious complications or death from COVID-19. 

“Voting is a right, not a privilege, and elections must be safe, accessible, and fairly administered,” the League of Women Voters of Alabama said in a press release Thursday. “Alabama’s Constitution specifically requires that the right to vote be protected in times of ‘tumult,’ clearly including the current pandemic.” 

Currently, to vote absentee in Alabama, a person must send a copy of their photo ID and have their ballot signed by a notary or two adults. The lawsuit asks the court to require state officials to use emergency powers to waive the notary or witness requirement, the requirement to supply a copy of a photo ID and to extend no-excuse absentee voting into the fall. 

Among the plaintiffs is Ardis Albany, 73, of Jefferson County who has an artificial aortic valve, according to the lawsuit. 

“Because she fears exposing herself to COVID-19 infection, Ms. Albany has already applied for an absentee ballot for the November 3, 2020, general election,” the complaint states. “Her application checked the box for being out of county on election day, and she is prepared to leave Jefferson County on election day if necessary to vote an absentee ballot.” 

Another plaintiff, 63-year-old Lucinda Livingston of Montgomery County suffers from heart and lung problems and has been sequestered at home since March 17, where she lives with her grandson, who’s under the age of five, according to the complaint. 

“She fears acquiring COVID-19, given her physiological pre-morbidity, and she fears spreading the virus to her grandson at home,” the complaint states. “She has never voted an absentee ballot, but she wishes to do so in the elections held in 2020. She does not have a scanner in her home, cannot make a copy of her photo ID, and has no way safely to get her absentee ballot notarized or signed by two witnesses.” 

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In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Gov. Ivey pushed the Republican runoff election back until July 14. Although Merrill has allowed those who may be concerned about voting in person in the runoff to vote absentee by checking a box on the ballot that reads “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls.”

Merril has not extended that offer for voters in the municipal and presidential elections in November, however. 

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alabama continue to rise, while testing for the virus has remained relatively flat in recent weeks. 

“We’re extraordinarily concerned about the numbers that we have been seeing,” said Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, speaking during a press briefing Thursday. 

Harris said the department continues to see community spread of the virus and have identified several hotspots. He’s concerned that the public isn’t taking the virus seriously or following recommendations to wear masks in public and maintain social distancing, he said Thursday. 

“One hundred years ago the nonpartisan League of Women Voters was founded to protect and preserve the right to vote and the integrity of the electoral process,” said Barbara Caddell, President of the League of Women Voters of Alabama, in a statement. “The unexpected risks posed by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID19) challenge our election system to the utmost.  Today, we ask that Alabama’s courts use Alabama’s laws to make it safe and possible for all citizens to vote.”

The League of Woman Voters of Alabama’s lawsuit is similar to a suit by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program which asks the court to require state officials to implement curbside voting for at-risk citizens during the coronavirus pandemic and to remove requirements for certain voter IDs and witnesses requirements.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday filed a brief in that suit that states the department doesn’t believe Alabama’s law that requires witnesses for absentee ballots violates the Voting Rights Act.

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Health

Two patients at Mary Starke Harper Geriatric Psychiatric Center die from COVID-19

Eddie Burkhalter

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Two patients at the state’s Mary Starke Harper Geriatric Psychiatric Center have died from COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Mental Health confirmed to APR on Thursday. 

There remained 17 active coronavirus cases among patients at the state-run facility, said ADMH spokeswoman Malissa Valdes-Hubert in a message Thursday. 

One patient at the facility has recovered from the virus, Valdes-Hubert said. Two nurses at the facility have also tested positive for the virus, Valdes-Hubert said on May 15. 

There were no confirmed cases at ADMH’s two other facilities in Tuscaloosa, Bryce Hospital and the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility as of Thursday, Valdes-Hubert said.

Among the preventative measures being taken at the Mary Starke Harper facility are staff temperature checks and screening for other symptoms, and workers are required to wear FDA approved masks, Valdes-Hubert previously said.

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News

Inmate at Elmore prison dies after attack from another inmate

Eddie Burkhalter

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A man serving at the Elmore Correctional Facility died Wednesday after being assaulted by another inmate, the Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday. 

Jamaal King, 33, died Tuesday from injuries he received after an attack from another inmate, ADOC spokeswoman Samantha Banks wrote in a message to APR.  

“The ADOC condemns all violence in its facilities, and the fatal actions taken against King by another inmate are being thoroughly investigated,” Banks said in the message. 

King was serving a 22-year sentence after being convicted of murder, according to ADOC. His exact cause of death is pending an autopsy.

 

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National

Alabama includes antibody test results in total test counts

Chip Brownlee

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The Alabama Department of Public Health is combining some antibody test results with diagnostic test results in its total tested count on the state’s public coronavirus dashboard, potentially complicating the picture of the virus’s spread.

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said Thursday that some antibody test results have been included in the state’s “total tested” count on its public dashboard, but that the state is working to separate the two categories of tests.

“I think the total number does include some antibody tests, although I’ve asked our staff to sort of ferret those out and start reporting those separately,” Harris said.

Diagnostic PCR tests, which are the vast majority of tests performed currently, check for a current infection, while antibody tests, which use blood and are sometimes called serologic tests, check for a past infection.

The acknowledgment that Alabama has combined the two types of tests on its public dashboard comes after several states faced a backlash from public health experts who say the two types of tests should not be combined.

Combining the two types of tests muddies the picture and could mislead the public and policymakers about where and when the virus spread. Depending on how many antibody tests have been included, it may also falsely inflate the total tested count.

Several other states — including Texas, Virginia and Vermont — said they also recognized the issue and have been working to fix them. The CDC also came under fire for combining the two types of tests in its public reporting of testing numbers.

Harris said he was not sure how many antibody tests have been included in the total tested category, but that the state is working to separate the tests into two different counts.

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“I’m not sure what that number is but we’re going to start reporting that separately just to make that clear to the public,” Harris said.

The state health officer also said the state does not use antibody test results to calculate the percent of tests that are positive, an important metric used to determine if the state is doing enough testing and if increased cases are the result of increased testing or community transmission.

“When we look at the percent of positive tests, those are not including antibody tests at all. We’re only looking at people who were tested with a PCR (diagnostic) test to see if they were actively infected,” Harris said during a live-streamed town hall with U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell Thursday. “And so that percent positive rate, which is the one we’re monitoring the most, is the one that does not include the antibody tests.”

On Wednesday, the CDC urged caution when seeking antibody tests because the tests could be wrong up to half of the time.

The CDC also warned that antibody tests are not accurate enough to use to make public policy decisions or personal safety decisions, despite calls from some policymakers who say the tests can be used to give people an all-clear to return to normal life.

Experts warn that getting a positive antibody test should not be taken as a license to think you are now immune from the virus. There is limited evidence about how long immunity lasts, and the test could be a false positive.

“Serologic testing (antibody testing) should not be used to determine immune status in individuals until the presence, durability, and duration of immunity is established,” the CDC said.

The CDC also cautioned against using antibody tests to make decisions about returning to work or school.

“Serologic test results should not be used to make decisions about grouping persons residing in or being admitted to congregate settings, such as schools, dormitories, or correctional facilities,” the CDC said. “Serologic test results should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.”

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