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Alabama: The sellout State

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

There’s Luther Strange, smiling, talking about health care on Fox News, saying he wants to “immediately repeal Obamacare.”

And then he drops a doozy: “In my State of Alabama, we didn’t expand Medicaid. Through innovations and efficiencies, we’ve covered our people.”

If Strange, the appointed Senator from this State, had said that Alabama’s cold in July, he wouldn’t be a bigger liar.

Because it’s impossible to top the absurdity of saying Alabama “covered our people” through innovation and efficiency.

According to US census data, Alabama’s insured rate increased just 4.47 percent between 2010 and 2016 – one of the smallest increases in the nation. And one that has left more than 10 percent of the State uncovered, including 12 percent of black Alabamians and nearly 16 percent of low-income households.

By contrast, Massachusetts, a state that actually used innovation and efficiency – along with human decency and intelligence – had fewer than 5 percent of the state left uncovered, including its minority and low-income population.

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But see, that’s the MO of Luther Strange – and today’s conservative brand as a whole – for you.

It’s F-you politics.

It’s saying whatever it takes to win, cozying up to any person or company with money, selling out anyone and everyone.

If you doubt that, let’s take a look at the 35th Avenue superfund site – the north-Birmingham area of pollution that’s been making people sick for decades and required the removal of the tops of yards from hundreds of properties the last few years.

There has been quite a few allegations of wrongdoing being tossed about, and I’ve reported some of them. Some of them, I’m confident, occurred, and I’m confident that various state and federal law enforcement agencies believe they’ve occurred.

But here’s the thing: whether you believe wrongdoing occurred or not doesn’t matter.

Because we all know that rightdoing didn’t.

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We all know that Luther Strange, as Alabama’s Attorney General, didn’t go riding into Birmingham on a white horse to save the thousands of Alabama citizens who, year after year after year, reported illnesses, dying grass and pets, nasty water, and foul smells.

He, like the rest of the State’s politicians and its environmental agency, didn’t lift a finger to help those poor, mostly black people.

It took the evil, liberal, activist, coal-hating EPA to finally listen. To come into Birmingham, test the air, water, and soil, and announce to the world that those people weren’t crazy.

They were right.

Only then did Strange and ADEM come roaring to the rescue … of the polluters.

As the coal companies involved were dumping thousands of dollars into Strange’s campaign accounts, he was doing all he could to block everything the EPA wanted to do to clean up the area. And to prevent further testing of adjacent areas, where additional – and costly – pollution is likely to be discovered.

Because that’s Alabama’s MO – politicians selling out to the big-money interests that can push their careers along while everyone else suffers. And Alabama citizens helping them doing it, even pushing the scam.

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When are we going to learn that if a guy is willing to sell out blacks or Mexicans or the poor or anyone else who isn’t like you, that guy will sell you out too?

We haven’t learned it in 200 years, and we still have middle-class Alabamians who have benefitted in untold ways from government programs – like farm subsidies, land-grant colleges, low-interest government loans, grants, tax breaks, training programs, and straight-up government giveaways – fighting like crazy to prevent people from gaining access to programs that might help them too.

And then voting for a guy who claims Alabama’s wreck of a Medicaid program adequately covered everyone, who sold out the victims of environmental pollution in favor of the billion-dollar companies that dumped that pollution.

Over the weekend, in his latest, sad attempt to woo voters, Strange called the election of Donald Trump a “Biblical miracle.” He’s doing that a lot these days, referencing the Bible and God.

So, I can too: If the people of this State don’t follow the Biblical principal of caring for the least of us first, and continue to elect the charlatans and crooks who vilify our weakest citizens, we’ll always be last.


Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.


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