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Rogers Concerned About ISIS

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, February 27, US Representative Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said in an email to constituents that he is concerned about the terrorist group ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

Congressman Rogers said, “As I made my way around East Alabama during the District Work Week, one of the issues I heard about the most at my “Congress on Your Corner” events was the threat from the group known as the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL or IS). Folks were very concerned about the utter brutality shown by this radical terrorist group.” Rep. Rogers said, “I am very concerned as well.”

Rep. Rogers wrote that, “With the 24/7 news coverage, we are all too familiar with the barbaric actions of this group. They have executed Americans and other innocent individuals from around the world by beheading and even burned a Jordanian pilot alive. Most recently, we learned of the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians. The Islamic State killed them for one reason – because of their faith.”

Rep. Rogers said, “The Islamic State does not play by any rules when it comes to the treatment of the individuals they hold captive. They are a terrorist group who must be stopped and stopped soon. The Obama Administration is finally starting to give more than lip service to the need for a more coherent strategy to confront the Islamic State. This week, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), which I am a part of, will also hold a full committee hearing focused on the President’s request for Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).”

Rep. Rogers said, “While I believe this request for Authorization is a necessary step in the right direction, it does not outline a well thought out strategy for success. We can’t mistake action for a strategy. Arab allies like Jordan, Egypt and the UAE are starting to take the fight to the Islamic State. The US should support our allies and deliver the unique brand of American justice to the terrorist group. What we as Americans must do for now is remain vigilant as we go about our daily routines and remember that we are dealing with a group like we have never dealt with before.” 

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The conservative Alabama Congressman warned, “The Islamic State is barbaric and radical, and eliminating this group will not be a short or simple task.”

When the United States invaded Iraq, U.S. armed forces defeated the armed forces of Saddam Hussein relatively quickly. The Sunni terrorist group Al Qaeda (then headed by Osama Bin Laden) urged Islamist fighters from around the world to come to Iraq and fight the American forces as well as Shiites and Kurds. Al Qaeda of Iraq was eventually defeated by the U.S. military and they retreated across the border to Syria, where a despised Alawite religious minority under the Assad family ruled over a largely Sunni populace.

In 2012 the ‘Arab Spring’ led to the overthrow of military dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt, and (with considerable American and European support) in Libya. A loose coalition of Sunni groups from across the political spectrum revolted against Assad (with international support). The Obama Administration threatened to intervene in Syria to help the rebels (like the US and its allies intervened to help Libyan rebels overthrow their government). Massacres of Christians and others by the Syrian rebels eventually led to Congress questioning the wisdom of that strategy. Eventually the Free Syria Army was largely routed and the group of former Al Qaeda fighters from Iraq (who declared their independence from their parent group) emerged as the strongest of the Syrian rebel groups. President Obama once dismissed the group, now calling themselves the Islamic State of Syria, as the Al Qaeda JV team. 

In 2014 the Islamic State of Syria invaded western Iraq. The largely Shiite government was widely unpopular with the Sunnis in western Iraq and several Iraqi Sunni tribes went over to the side of the invaders. The Shia army fled or surrendered. Vast stockpiles of weaponry supplied by the U.S. fell to the rebels. The group renamed itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The second largest city in Iraq, Mosul, fell to ISIS. Religious and ethnic minorities including Christians and Yazidis were executed and brutalized if they would not convert. Numerous women have been taken as sex slaves. The violence has often been posted on the internet and serves to recruit more fighters from across the globe. An estimated 20,000 fighter from over 90 countries including the United States have served in ISIS’s army.

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After taking Mosul, which was the first capital of the Caliphate following Islam’s expansion out of Arabia, the group declared they were the new Caliphate and have called all true (meaning they agree with ISIS) believers around the world to join them. They have now branched out into Libya where the U.S. backed government has largely collapsed. ISIS is an apocalyptic group. They believe that this is the end times and that they are destined to rule the Islamic world and that Jesus will come soon to judge the world.

It is believed that the US led coalition will launch an assault to retake Mosul (which is across the river from the ancient city of Assyria) in the Spring. Some military analysts believe that only U.S. ground troops can accomplish that feat.

Congressman Mike Rogers represents the Third Congressional District of Alabama.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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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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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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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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