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Don’t Let Facts Influence The Vote

Bill Britt

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By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

There will be no tanks on the streets, or soldiers with weapons locked and loaded as we go to the polls on Tuesday.

The only weapon of war that will have been used against the voters of our State, will be propaganda. This killing machine poisons the mind and soul, while leaving the body whole, at least for a time.

So far this election season, the propaganda machine has played mostly to our paranoias, fears and prejudices. This sort of information warfare has become stock-in- trade for modern political campaigns. Whether it’s Sen. Tom Whatley’s campaign photo-shopping an image of his opponent Andy Carter walking at Toomer’s Corner with President Barack Obama, (something that never happened) or Sen. Jerry Fielding a life long Democrat accusing his life long Republican opponent Dr. Jim McClendon of voting with Obama, (an outright lie).

Obama has been so widely used in political ads run by Republicans, that the whole State must be wondering why the President isn’t on the ticket.

Let me be among the many who will tell you, Barack Obama doesn’t care who is running for office as a Republican in Alabama. He doesn’t fear our State’s Republicans and couldn’t pick any of them out of a line-up.

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Perhaps the most despicable ad of the year has been the one recently released by Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, who is so desperate to hold on to power that he has stooped to the lowest levels of campaign propaganda. In his latest mailer the headline reads, “Don’t let Obama have the last laugh.” Here Hubbard has placed a picture of the President grinning widely, as if ready to break into a laugh, hovering over a smaller image of Hubbard’s opponent Sandy Toomer.

In Hubbard’s mind, this is supposed to make the voter think that Obama is backing Republican Toomer. But, that is just part of the message Hubbard is trying to convey. When the mail card is flipped over there is a picture of an unnamed little white girl holding an American flag.

Hubbard is playing the “race card” and using the image of a white child waving a flag to do the dirty work.

On one side, the grinning black man; on the other, the innocent white girl.

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It is amazing that the black athletes at Auburn University do not boycott until Hubbard is removed from his position overseeing the media rights to Auburn athletic. It is shocking that the sports giant IMG continues to employ Hubbard after this racist innuendo.

Politicians have become masters of using the dog whistle, coded images and selective facts, also know as lying by omission. This primary season, Republicans have used the words, liberal, special interests and Obama to salt so many commercials that one has to wonder if that salt has lost all flavor. It seems no one is campaigning on issues, they are running against a disliked president and the idea of some liberal special interest that does not exist.

A master of propaganda once wrote, “To attract people, to win over people to that which I have realized as being true, that is called propaganda. In the beginning there is the understanding, this understanding uses propaganda as a tool to find those men, that shall turn understanding into politics. Success is the important thing. Propaganda is not a matter for average minds, but rather a matter for practitioners. It is not supposed to be lovely or theoretically correct. I do not care if I give wonderful, aesthetically elegant speeches, or speak so that women cry. The point of a political speech is to persuade people of what we think right… We do not want to be a movement of a few straw brains, but rather a movement that can conquer the broad masses. Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. It is not the task of propaganda to discover intellectual truths. Those are found in other circumstances, I find them when thinking at my desk, but not in the meeting hall.”

These are the words of Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister in Nazi Germany, Joseph Goebbels.

The political class on the right as well as the left has learned what Goebbels knew: that good people can be tricked into believing anything, if the right propaganda is employed.

So, it is that the voters only know that, “Obama is bad, my opponent is in bed with him and therefore you must vote for me.”

Sen. Gerald Dial’s campaign even produced a commercial in which his opponent Tim Sprayberry is literally in bed with Obama. Sprayberry is not a liberal, he is not friends with the President or doing his bidding, but there he is cuddled up to Obama. The ad makes for great entertainment, but is short on truth or real information.

Sadly, many of our citizens are simply too busy working and living their lives to gather all the information they need to make a truly informed decision; so these false commercials may have an effect. Even worse are those who use Obama’s image and name as a racist tool to play on people emotions.

But many of our politicos are addicted to the power of office and lure of easy money. In our representative Democracy, voting is a sacred duty extended to every individual 18 years of age.

Theodore Roosevelt  said, “A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.”

Hopefully, during this primary, the voters will know what to do, despite all the propaganda.

But in our State, politicians don’t think facts should influence the vote.

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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Health

Vaccines should protect against mutated strains of coronavirus

Public health experts say it will be some time before vaccines are available to the wider public.

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Multiple vaccines for COVID-19 are in clinical trials, and one has already applied for emergency use authorization, but how good will those vaccines be against a mutating coronavirus? A UAB doctor says they’ll do just fine. 

Dr. Rachael Lee, UAB’s hospital epidemiologist, told reporters earlier this week that there have been small genetic mutations in COVID-19. What researchers are seeing in the virus here is slightly different than what’s seen in the virus in China, she said. 

“But luckily the way that these vaccines have been created, specifically the mRNA vaccines, is an area that is the same for all of these viruses,” Lee said, referring to the new type of vaccine known as mRNA, which uses genetic material, rather than a weakened or inactive germ, to trigger an immune response. 

The U.S. Food And Drug Administration is to review the drug company Pfizer’s vaccine on Dec. 10. Pfizer’s vaccine is an mRNA vaccine, as is a vaccine produced by the drug maker Moderna, which is expected to also soon apply for emergency use approval. 

“I think that is incredibly good news, that even though we may see some slight mutations,  we should have a vaccine that should cover all of those different mutations,” Lee said. 

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found in a recent study, published in the journal Science, that COVID-19 has mutated in ways that make it spread much more easily, but the mutation may also make it more susceptible to vaccines. 

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In a separate study, researchers with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation found that while most vaccines were modeled after an earlier strain of COVID-19, they found no evidence that the vaccines wouldn’t provide the same immunity response for the new, more dominant strain. 

“This brings the world one step closer to a safe and effective vaccine to protect people and save lives,” said CSIRO chief executive Dr. Larry Marshall, according to Science Daily

While it may not be long before vaccines begin to be shipped to states, public health experts warn it will be some time before vaccines are available to the wider public. Scarce supplies at first will be allocated for those at greatest risk, including health care workers who are regularly exposed to coronavirus patients, and the elderly and ill. 

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, speaking to APR last week, urged the public to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing for many more months, as the department works to make the vaccines more widely available.

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“Just because the first shots are rolling out doesn’t mean it’s time to stop doing everything we’ve been trying to get people to do for months. It’s not going to be widely available for a little while,” Harris said.

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Tuberville looks forward to public service “probably for the rest of my life”

Tuberville’s term as senator will begin on Jan. 3 when the 117th Congress is sworn in.

Brandon Moseley

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Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville during an interview with Sean Spicer on Newsmax.

U.S. Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, told Newsmax’s Sean Spicer that he looks forward to the opportunity to give back to this country.

“After winning this and after being up here a couple of weeks and seeing how much of a difference we have made just to this point in the Senate has been gratifying,” Tuberville said. “I look forward to doing public service probably for the rest of my life.”

Tuberville said that he was 18 years old when the Vietnam War was coming to a close and then got into coaching so never served in the military and looks forward to the opportunity to give back to the country.

“As I went around the state of Alabama for those two years though I learned the respect of the people and how much that they want this country to remain the United States of America that we know and grew up in to go by the Constitution and those things. As I went through the campaign I got more and more fond of that I want to give back,” Tuberville said.

“I never served, I never gave back, but God was so good to me and my wife my family,” Tuberville said. “Giving back means so much to me after I was given so much for many, many years.”

Tuberville said that education will be a priority for him, getting education back to fundamentals like reading, writing, history and math. Tuberville said that unless the country gets back to fundamentals in education, “This country is not going to make it. We have got to get back to fundamentals and we are getting farther and farther every day.”

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Tuberville was the only Republican on Nov. 3 to defeat an incumbent Senate Democrat when he unseated Sen. Doug Jones.

“I want to be the voice for the people of Alabama,” Tuberville explained. “The previous Senator was a voice for his party, the Democratic party.”

Tuberville, a career college football coach, reiterated his position that we should play sports and send kids back to school despite the coronavirus global pandemic.

“I think we are doing a lot better in sports than we are doing in a lot of other areas,” Tuberville said. “I was keeping my fingers crossed back in August that we would let our young kids go play high school sports, number one, and then we get into college sports. There are so many people throwing negatives on why we should not do that. But I can tell you, you can see many more positives if we go back to school and we play sports. It’s important that we attack this virus as it has been attacking us. If it gives us an inch, we gotta take it.”

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Tuberville reiterated his opposition to shutting down restaurants, schools and businesses to fight the virus.

“We have to get back to everyday life,” Tuberville said. “You can’t keep shutting people down. Freedom is a power that we have. A power that we have earned because of our forefathers. We can’t give that up.”

Tuberville is an Arkansas native. He was the head football coach at Auburn University where he won an SEC championship, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, and Cincinnati. Prior to that, he was a national championship defensive coordinator at the University of Miami. He was also the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

Tuberville’s term as senator will begin on Jan. 3 when the 117th Congress is sworn in.

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National

UAB cancels third game

The only remaining game on UAB’s schedule is a game at Rice on Dec. 12.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The UAB Department of Athletics on Thursday announced that it is canceling its final home game of the season. UAB was scheduled to play Southern Mississippi on Friday at Legion Field, but the game was canceled due to continuing problems with COVID-19.

UAB has said that it will “continue to work with Conference USA on the remaining regular-season schedule.”

The only remaining game on UAB’s schedule is a game at Rice on Dec. 12.

UAB currently has a record of just four wins and three losses.

A win at Rice would guarantee the Blazers a winning season, but in this COVID altered season, a four and three or four and four record is probably good enough to be bowl eligible.

Southern Miss has had a dreadful season. They are two and seven and have two remaining games, against UTEP and Florida Atlantic. Both of those games were postponed from earlier in the season.

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Unless the season is extended a week to the 19th, there is no way for UAB and Southern Miss to make up the canceled game.

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News

Official state Christmas tree was delivered

The approximately 35-foot tree will be displayed on the front steps of the state Capitol building.

Brandon Moseley

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The 2016 state Christmas tree in front of the state Capitol.

Alabama’s official Christmas Tree was delivered to the state Capitol this week.

This year’s tree was donated by Robbins Taylor Sr. It is an Eastern Red Cedar that was grown in Letohatchee, Alabama.

The approximately 35-foot tree will be displayed on the front steps of the state Capitol building.

The tree will be adorned with lights and decorations ahead of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 4. Gov. Ivey’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Capitol in Montgomery.

Alabama became the first state in the nation to make Christmas an official government holiday in 1836. Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.

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