By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Gary Palmer kicked off his campaign for Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District on Tuesday night in an overflow event at the Homewood City Hall. Over 170 people came out to hear Palmer speak to them about his plans for the nation if they elect him to the seat that is currently held by Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia. Congressman Bachus is not running for re-election.
Gary Palmer said, “We need to do more than just kick ant hills.” “Every candidate in this race is going to tell you they are for reducing government.” Palmer said that they will tell you that they are conservative Christians, “If you are going to run in Alabama you are going to run as a conservative Christian.” Palmer said that the question to ask is: “Whether or not they can be effective. I know that I can do that.”
The co-founder and longtime President of the Alabama Policy Institute said, “I helped set up a network of state based think tanks.” Palmer said that change is not going to change from the top down. “As Christians we have had this messiah complex,” conservatives all say that they wanted another Reagan. Palmer said that even if elected we will only have him for 8 years. Palmer said what we need is a movement that will transform this country from the bottom up.
Palmer said that there are five steps for a conservative revival in this country. First stop blaming liberals. Conservatives outnumber by liberals two to one; but they are more focused and are more committed to their ideals than we are. The average turnout for a midterm mid-term election is just 36%to 38% which means that 19% of the populace plus one decides the makeup of the Congress and most government bodies.
Second, stop saying how bad everything is and smile more. Anybody who does not understand by now how bad things are is not paying attention anyway. Conservatives should be articulating a plan to improve the country.
Third repealing Obamacare is not enough. “20 years ago we came up with a plan: Health Savings Accounts.” Hold a little bit of money for a major coverage and then the rest of the funds should go into an HAS account that the person is allowed to keep.
Palmer said that Americans ought to be able to buy coverage across state lines. Coverage ought to be portable. People with chronic conditions will need to get their insurance from high risk pools. Sen. Tom Coburn has proposed putting $7 to $10 billion in high risk pool to allow people to get insurance that could not before. Palmer said that his plan would cost less than a fourth of what we are going to spend on Obamacare.
Palmer said that we already have the money to pay down the debt. Palmer said that the Green River Formation alone has over a trillion barrels of oil and the federal government owns 70% of it. That is more oil than the world has used in the last one hundred years. We have enough coal to last four hundred years. “We are not broke we are stupid.” “We owe the Chinese $1.3 trillion and we owe the Japanese $1.2 trillion and they both need energy. We can pay down the debt with energy.” What Americans overpay for energy represents what they can’t put on their table. For some poor Americans energy represents 24% of their household income.
Palmer said that he supports the REINS act. “Every regulation with an economic impact of over $100 million must be voted on by Congress.” “Congress is violating the Constitution every day.”
Palmer said, “The Republican Party is being held captive by consultants.” In the 1960s Phyllis Schlafly, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan went out and appealed to the American people. “Ronald Reagan in that speech in 1964 set the stage for 1980. Ideas matter.”
Palmer said, “I am not an expert on world religion, but as far as I know there are only two religions that believe that man is made in the image and likeness of God.” “Only one nation in the history of the world that is built on that belief.” “Men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.” “You can’t have liberty without life.” “Your rights preexist government. No one has the right to take them from you.” “The purpose of government is not to tell you you have to buy a certain product or go to a certain school.”
In response to a question on the student loan crisis, Palmer said, “We gave money to people that did not qualify to get a loan.” “I spent my summers going to the woods logging with my dad.” While in college Palmer said that he worked 53 hours a week. “I don’t think that is a bad thing today. It is not a bad idea to get a job,” to pay for college costs.
Palmer said, “Right now I think that the courts have exceeded their scope of authority, just like Congress has, just like the White House has.” “We have the right to self-government and that is being denied to us every day.”
Palmer said that, “A Constitutional Convention is a little excessive but I support that,” to rein in federal government. “We are a representative Republic and not a democracy.”
On protecting the rights of the unborn Palmer said, “If we can’t get the right life we are not going to get anything else right. Life is absolutely fundamental to everything that I believe.”
Palmer said that he thinks that George Washington is the greatest American. Crossing the Delaware under those dire circumstances was a bold and difficult decision, but Washington could not have done it alone. All those men who were with him had to make the decision on whether or not to get in the boat and follow him across that frozen river to attack the Hessians. Palmer said, “There is no leader that is better than the people that follow him. I am asking you to get in the boat with me. We will save the Republic if enough of us will get in the boat and do your part.”
Rick Burgess endorsed Palmer at the event.
Burgess said we have to return to the original intent of the founding fathers. The founding fathers had a vision for this country that led to our success and to ignore them and their principles is to risk our demise.
Burges said, “I get so sick and tired of always having to compromise something in a candidate.” Burgess said that he is tired of selecting the lesser of two evils. “I am tired of holding my nose in voting and I am tired of explaining things to God.” “I know Gary Palmer and he will not compromise the original intent.” He knows why America is here.” Burgess said that he wants the country to turn back to God. We are on the wrong road. That is not even up for debate. I am at the point where I am going to be very strong on how I filter candidates from now on. I am here to represent Gary Palmer unapologetically.”
David Barton also endorsed Palmer. He said, “I have Known Gary for 20 years. Most of the people in this room like the Constitution, love this Constitution. We have got a great Constitution but if you don’t combine it with leaders who will uphold and support the Constitution it is worthless that is why I support Gary Palmer.”
Barton said that there are basic principles that are behind American exceptionalism and they are: 1) We believe there is a divine creator, 2) Inalienable Rights come from God, and 3) Government exists to protect inalienable rights.
Barton said, “If they won’t protect your life they won’t protect your money.”
Barton said that he has known Palmer for over 20 years and he is well informed on every one of those issues from top to bottom. “Elect leaders that you don’t have to lobby.” There are 10,000 to 13,000 bills introduced into Congress every year. “Gary is not going to be a vote in D.C, he is going to be a warrior.” “This is an opportunity to get a good guy in Congress.”
In Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District Republican Primary Gary Palmer joins state Senator Scott Beason from Gardendale, longtime Harbert executive Will Brooke, mattress manufacturer Tom Vigneulle, State Representative Paul DeMarco from Homewood, Indian Springs orthopedist Chad Mathis and Robert Shattuck.
The winner of the June 3rd Republican Primary will face Democrat Avery Vise in the November general election.
Study: COVID-19 infection rates more than double without lockdowns
Infection and fatality rates would have been higher without stay-at-home orders, a new UAB study found.
New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham says that if there had been no stay-at-home orders issued in the U.S. in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the country would have experienced a 220 percent higher rate of infection and a 22 percent higher fatality rate than if such orders were implemented nationwide.
Seven states never imposed stay-at-home orders, or SAHOs. The study analyzed daily positive case rates by state against the presence or absence of statewide SAHOs between March 1 and May 4, the period when such orders began to be implemented. Twelve states lifted their SAHOs before May 4.
The researchers defined SAHOs as being in effect when a state’s governor issued an order for residents of the entire state to leave home only for essential activities and when schools and nonessential businesses were closed.
“During March and April, most states in the United States imposed shutdowns and enacted SAHOs in an effort to control the disease,” said Bisakha Sen, the study’s senior author. “However, mixed messages from political authorities on the usefulness of SAHOs, popular pressure and concerns about the economic fallout led some states to lift the restrictions before public health experts considered it advisable.”
The research also sought to determine if the proportion of a state’s Black residents was associated with its number of positive cases. It found that there was.
“This finding adds to evidence from existing studies using county-level data on racial disparities in COVID-19 infection rates and underlines the urgency of better understanding and addressing these disparities,” said study co-author Vidya Sagar Hanumanthu.
The research can help advance a greater understanding of racial disparities in the health care system as a whole, and help leaders make future decisions about shutdowns as the virus continues to spread, Sen said.
“While the high economic cost makes SAHOs unsustainable as a long-term policy, our findings could help inform federal, state and local policymakers in weighing the costs and benefits of different short-term options to combat the pandemic,” she said.
The study was published Friday in JAMA Network Open.
Jones to attend Auburn student forum, Tuberville hasn’t yet responded to invitation
Jones has agreed to attend the forum, but it was unclear whether Tuberville planned to attend.
The College Democrats at Auburn University and the College Republicans at Auburn University have asked U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, and his Republican opponent, Tommy Tuberville, to attend a student forum on Wednesday.
“We are excited to invite the candidates running for our U.S. Senate seat and provide this opportunity for any Auburn student to hear directly from them, and we hope it will inform our student bodies’ decisions with the November 3rd election only days away,” said Carsten Grove, president of the College Democrats at Auburn University, in a statement.
Jones has agreed to attend the forum, Auburn University College Democrats confirmed for APR on Sunday, but it was unclear whether Tuberville planned to attend. The student organization was still awaiting a response from Tuberville’s campaign.
Jones has for months requested Tuberville join him in a debate, but Tuberville has declined.
“AUCR takes great pleasure in coming together with AUCD to co-host the Alabama Senate candidates in this forum. We are looking forward to a very informative and constructive event,” said Lydia Maxwell, president of the College Republicans at Auburn University.
Dr. Ryan Williamson, assistant professor of political science, is to emcee the forum, which will be open to all Auburn University students in the Mell Classroom Building at 6 p.m., according to a press release from the College Democrats at Auburn University.
Students will be permitted 30 seconds to ask a question of either candidate, and each candidate will have two minutes to answer, according to the release.
Capacity at the forum will be limited and precautions taken due to COVID-19. Any student with an Auburn ID is welcome and attendance will be first come, first served.
122,000 Alabamians could lose health coverage if ACA is overturned, study finds
President Donald Trump’s administration and 18 states, including Alabama, are asking the country’s highest court to strike down the law.
At least 122,000 Alabamians and 21.1 million in the U.S. overall would lose health coverage if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act, according to a recent study.
The Washington D.C.-based think tank Urban Institute’s analysis found that Alabama’s uninsured rate would increase by 25 percent if the court strikes down the Affordable Care Act. Oral arguments in a case against the landmark health care law are to begin on Nov. 10.
President Donald Trump’s administration and 18 states, including Alabama, are asking the country’s highest court to strike down the entire ACA.
Trump, speaking to CBS News’s Lesley Stahl in a recent interview, said he would like the Supreme Court to end the ACA. There’s concern among many that Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court, conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett, could be a deciding factor in the repeal of the ACA when the Supreme Court hears the case just after the Nov. 3 election.
“I hope that they end it. It’ll be so good if they end it,” Trump told Stahl.
“Repealing the ACA would throw our health care system into chaos in the middle of a pandemic and a deep recession,” Alabama Arise executive director Robyn Hyden said in a statement. “Tens of thousands of Alabamians would lose health coverage when they need it most. And hundreds of thousands would pay more for coverage or lose protections for their preexisting conditions.”
Health care coverage losses could be even larger next year, as the COVID-19 pandemic and recession likely still will be ongoing, according to the study.
“The ACA has been a health lifeline for many Alabamians during the pandemic,” Hyden said. “It provides coverage options for people who have lost their jobs or seen sharp reductions in their income. And it ensures people aren’t denied insurance just because they got sick.”
Ending the ACA would also reverse gains made in reducing racial disparities in health care coverage, researchers in the study found, noting that overturning the ACA would strip health coverage from nearly one in 10 Black and Latino Americans under age 65, and more than one in 10 Native Americans nationwide would lose health insurance.
People with pre-existing conditions would be charged higher insurance rates, or have their coverage dropped altogether, if the ACA is struck down, according to the study, which also found that the law’s repeal would harm people who have health insurance through their jobs.
Those who have health insurance from an employer could see their plans reintroduce annual and lifetime coverage limits, and requirements for plans to cover essential benefits and provide free preventive services would disappear, according to the study, as would the requirement for insurers to allow young adults to be covered through their parents’ plans.
While millions would lose health care if the law is repealed, the country’s top earners would receive tax cuts, according to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which found that the highest-income 0.1 percent of households, which earn more than $3 million annually, would receive tax cuts averaging about $198,000 per year.
“A portion of these tax cuts — about $10 billion per year — would come at the direct expense of the Medicare Trust Fund, since the additional Medicare tax the ACA instituted for couples with earnings over $250,000 flows to the fund,” the Center of Budget and Policy Priority study reads.
Pharmaceutical companies would pay $2.8 billion less in taxes each year, according to the study, while millions of seniors would pay billions more for prescription drugs due to the gap in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit if the ACA is repealed.
“The ACA has left Alabama better equipped to fight COVID-19 and rebuild our economy after the recession,” Hyden said. “And those benefits would be even greater if Alabama would adopt Medicaid expansion.
“Striking down the ACA would harm the Alabamians who have suffered the most during the pandemic and the recession. It would deprive our state of the opportunity to save lives and strengthen our health care system by expanding Medicaid,” Hyden continued. “And it would shower huge tax cuts on rich people while making life harder for everyone else. Alabama officials should stop seeking to undermine the ACA and start investing in a healthier future for our entire state.”
Two military pilots killed in plane crash in Foley
Friday, a Navy pilot and a Coast Guard student pilot were killed when their Navy T-6B Texan II training airplane crashed into a home in Foley. No one in the house was killed.
Commander Zach Harrell, a public affairs officer with Naval Air Forces, said that the plane crashed around 5:00 p.m. A house and two cars on the ground were hit in the crash.
“It is with a heavy heart that we mourn two of our pilots who lost their lives during an aircraft crash in Alabama today,” the Chief of Naval Air Training said in a Twitter post. “Our deepest sympathy goes to their family and friends at this difficult time. Rest in peace, Shipmates. We have the watch.”
Navy Lt. Rhiannon Ross, age 30, of Wixom, Michigan, died when her T-6B Texan II trainer aircraft crashed. She was a Navy instructor pilot, officials announced on Sunday. Also killed was Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett, a 24-year-old student aviator.
Ross earned her commission in April 2012. Before joining the Florida-based Training Squadron Two in February 2018, she served three years with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26 out of Norfolk, Virginia.
Garrett was from Weddington, North Carolina, and was a 2019 Coast Guard Academy graduate.
“Their spirit, friendship, and devotion to their country will not be forgotten,” Navy officials said in a Sunday news release.
Ross was a member of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor’s Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps, according to her Navy career bio. Her personal awards include a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
Friday’s accident marked the Navy’s first aviation-related fatality in more than a year.
“The incident is currently under investigation,” Harrell said. “The Navy is cooperating fully with local authorities.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, said on Twitter, “Very sad to hear about the Navy trainer aircraft that crashed in Foley. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two service members who lost their live.”
Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, said, “As we await additional information, I hope you will join me in praying for the victims and their families. According to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s office, the plane was a US Navy aircraft.”
A home caught fire after the plane crashed but the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office also said no one on the ground was injured.
The T-6B Texan II is a tandem-seat, turboprop aircraft primarily used to train Navy and Marine Corps pilots, according to the Navy.
There are 245 T-6Bs based at the Navy’s two aviation training bases, Naval Air Station Whiting Field, outside of Pensacola and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. The airfield is about 45 miles from the crash site.