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Tennessee-based racist, antisemitic radio show reveals reality TV pilot starring prominent white supremacists

Eddie Burkhalter

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Richard Spencer and two other prominent white supremacists filmed the pilot of a reality TV show with a “household name” media company some months ago, according to one of the men, who was recorded speaking about the project during a radio show taped in Alabama this month. 

James Edwards, host of the Tennessee-based racist and anti-semitic radio show The Political Cesspool, recorded an episode of the show in the Pine Level community in Autauga County on Sept. 7, just after the League of the South’s (LOS) annual conference, held Sept. 6-7.

During the taping, Edwards interviewed Rick Tyler, the Tennessee white supremacist and political candidate perhaps best known for erecting billboards in 2016, that said “Make America White Again.” He’s also announced that he’s running for president in 2020, on the American Freedom Party ticket. 

Tyler discussed the TV pilot project in the interview, which he said was taped “some months ago” and described it as a debate-style show between two panels. 

“It involves a major household name media entity and it was a project that myself, Sam Dickson and Richard Spencer, the three of us participated in the filming of a model-type production that could serve as template, let’s say, for a regular reality-type TV program in 2020,” Tyler said. 

Tyler said the three men were “brought in from out of town, from long distances and we went in to the belly of the beast so to speak.” he described the production facility as having “all the bells and whistles” and that they were “totally professional and they were very, very accommodating.” 

APR has been unable to identify the company that filmed the pilot. Tyler said during the show that he had signed a non-disclosure agreement and couldn’t discuss details, and in an email to APR on Monday in response to questions about the project Tyler wrote that “I am very limited concerning this matter” because of the non-disclosure agreement. 

Attempts to contact Edwards and Spencer on Monday and Tuesday were unsuccessful. 

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Far-right leader and white supremacist Richard Spencer is president of the white supremacists think-tank, the National Policy Institute. Spencer led the torch light protest of white supremacists on Aug. 11, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, the day before James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters killing Heather Heyer. 

Sam Dickson is an Atlanta lawyer who had given legal advice to klansmen and who in 2017, sued Auburn University after the school cancelled a planned speech on the campus by Richard Spencer. Dickson’s roots in white supremacy go back to the 1970s. In 1978, Dickson ran for lieutenant governor of Georgia, garnering 11 percent of the votes. 

Edwards, who once said Martin Luther King Jr.’s “dream is our nightmare,” said during the taping that the media company had approached him about the possibility of appearing in the pilot but that he’d suggested someone else, most likely Dickson, although Edwards doesn’t name the person during the show. Edwards described the project as a “pretty prominent media project.” 

Edwards, who regularly has David Duke and other prominent racists on his own show, in 2016, interviewed Donald Trump Jr. for the radio show, Liberty Roundtable. In March 2016, he was given press credentials to attend a Trump rally in Tennessee. 

“The producers of this particular broadcast had asked me to come on, and I don’t want to give away the topic of what the program was, but after understanding what the topic was I said, well, honestly for this particular topic there are other people better suited than me to provide the dissenting voice on this issue,” Edwards said. “And if you’re looking for clowns to come on, people that you could parody, you can keep  looking, but if you are serious about putting forth two sides of a hot button topic I could give you some recomendations.” 

Tyler told Edwards that the media company is aware that “white nationalism is a hot-button, buzzword-type issue” and wants to make money off of it, but that “if they want to use us, well hey, I’m perfectly willing to let them use me so that the cause of truth can use them.” 

“They understand that it has the potential to be milked for a lot of publicity and interest and ratings, and viewership, excetera, and of course, needless to say, the deck would be totally stacked against us, save for the fact that we have the truth and our enemies don’t,” Tyler said. 

Both men said they were unsure if the show will be picked up and advance to full production, but Edwards expressed hope that it would, and opined that perhaps the deadly Charlottesville protests and upcoming presidential election would make it more attractive to the network. 

“If this is scheduled to debut in 2020, with the political climate being what it is, you being the third party candidate, and Trump and the Democrats and Charlottesville. I mean, it’s a perfect storm. It’d be hard for them, I think, to keep it in the can,” Tyler said. 

“If this thing does happen in 2020 of course it will tie in with the presidential season,” Tyler said. “If it happens it could really be an incredible bonanza, in terms of getting us exposure, while at the same time we know that they’ll try to exploit us.”

Other guests who spoke at the conference and on the episode included white supremacist and former klan grand wizard David Duke, Michael Hill, founder and leader of the League of the South, the racist and antisemite retired professor of psychology Kevin McDonald, and the racist and antisemtic conspiracy theorist Adrian Krieg. 

Edwards mentioned during the show several times the LOS’s recent struggles in the aftermath of its participation in Charlottesville. The LOS, Hill and LOS Florida chapter leader Michael Tubbs are all defendants in a civil suit filed by several victims of the violence. 

The LOS’s longtime headquarters in Wetumpka is no longer available to the group after the building’s owner, Michael Whorton, chose to no longer rent to the group, and has distanced himself from LOS, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

Speaking of Charlottesville, Tyler said, “the League of the South was right on the front line. They made an excellent showing out in Charlottesville, but they also took some hits. Some serious hits, and so since Charlottesville there’s been a lot of fallout.” 

Tyler went on to discuss his plans to turn his home in Polk County, Tennessee into a “whitetopia. A virtually all-white county” through taking political control of the county by an influx of like-minded people “who understand racial truth and the JQ.” Antisemites use the term “JQ” to refer to the “Jewish Question,” a derogatory phrase long used to propagate conspiracies about Jewish people. 

“Polk County has the reputation of being the most racially-minded county in the state, historically, and that’s saying a lot for Tennessee,” Tyler said.

Eddie Burkhalter: [email protected] On Twitter @BurkhalterEddie

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Courts

Alabama Parole and Probation Officers supervising nearly 9,000 violent criminals

Brandon Moseley

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The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles released a report Thursday that was shared with state legislators and the media this week that shows Alabama’s 300 parole and probation officers are tasked with supervising 8,993 people convicted of violent crimes.

The officers are tasked with supervising more than 27,000 Alabama offenders as well as more than 3,600 offenders from other states who chose to move to Alabama following their incarceration in other states. Those are just the active cases.

There are an additional 22,947 inactive offenders for a total caseload of 50,055.

“The supervision of all these offenders that our officers provide daily is crucial to the safety of Alabamians and we are thankful for the selfless and dedicated work of these law enforcement officers,” said Bureau Director Charlie Graddick in a statement.

Graddick said that the Bureau put nine new officers into the field last week to begin supervising parolees and probationers and hopes to hire up to 138 more officers over the next three years — if the budget allows.

In the session that recently ended, the Legislature cut the bureau’s budget nearly in half.

“We are in need of more officers as we work to reduce caseloads,” Graddick said.

The report shows that 79 percent of the Alabama clients the bureau supervises were granted probation by judges throughout the state.

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Sixteen percent of the Alabama offenders are parolees who were granted release from prison by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Of the 6,078 Alabama parolees being supervised, 58 percent are violent offenders, some requiring much more intensive supervision.

Alabama has historically underfunded and understaffed the aging prison facilities managed by the Alabama Department of Corrections.

The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles is tasked with attempting to safely reintegrate parolees into society as well as to rehabilitate offenders sentenced to probation so that they do not re-offend and have to join the state’s prison population again.

A recent Department of Justice report claimed that Alabama’s prisons are among the most dangerous in the country.

The state has a critical need to increase prison capacity to reduce prison overcrowding and protect the public from crime and violence.

 

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Economy

Sewell, Rogers vote for bipartisan bills to improve Paycheck Protection Program

Brandon Moseley

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U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell, D-Selma, and Mike Rogers, R-Saks, voted in favor of a bipartisan bill aimed at improving the Paycheck Protection Program, dubbed the Payroll Protection Program Flexibility Act.

“The Paycheck Protection Program has been a lifeline for tens of thousands of Alabama businesses, but there are still too many small businesses that have been unable to access necessary resources because of the program’s strict stipulations,” Sewell said.

Sewell said many small businesses have not applied despite their urgent need because they do not believe they can meet current standards, and many are afraid to use the money because of the program’s strict requirements.

“The bills the House passed today would both make the PPP program more flexible so it can reach more small businesses in need, and also increase the program’s transparency to ensure funding is going to main street businesses that need support the most,” Sewell said.

Rogers said he was pleased the act passed the House.

“The bill will add more flexibility to these loans to help small businesses even more,” he said. “It will extend the loan forgiveness period, allow businesses that receive forgiveness to also receive payroll tax deferment and will allow businesses to spend different amounts on payroll costs and mortgage, rent, and other expenses. I hope these modifications will further help our small businesses that are the heartbeat of our local economies.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than 60,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans have been issued to small businesses in Alabama with each recipient receiving an average PPP loan of about $100,000.

According to Sewell’s office, the new bill would provide needed flexibility to the Paycheck Protection Program — originally created by Congress in the CARES Act in April — in order to make this key program functional for the small businesses that need it the most.

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Sewell’s office provided a lengthy explanation of what the legislation does:

Under the current Paycheck Protection Program, the PPP loan converts to a grant as long as the small business uses the loan within eight weeks of the CARES Act enactment – that is, by June 30 – and uses at least 75 percent of the loan proceeds on payroll and the rest for such necessary expenses as rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. Many small businesses, particularly very small businesses, have reported that, with these restrictions, the loans do not meet their needs.

The bill makes the PPP program more flexible in the following key ways, in order to make it more accessible and usable for the vulnerable small businesses that need it the most:

Allowing loan forgiveness for expenses beyond the 8-week covered period to 24 weeks and extending the rehiring deadline. Back in March, the PPP program was established as an eight-week program, ending on June 30. However, it is clear that the economic effects of the pandemic will impact small businesses long past June 30. The current eight-week timeline does not work for local businesses that could only very recently have customers and those that are only allowed to open with very heavy restrictions. Small businesses need the flexibility to spread the loan proceeds over the full course of the crisis, until demand returns.

Increasing the current limitation on the use of loan proceeds for nonpayroll expenses from 25 percent to 40 percent. Currently, under regulations issued by the Trump Administration, the PPP loans require that no more than 25 percent of loan proceeds can be spent on non-payroll expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. This limitation has prevented many small businesses, such as independent restaurants, from applying to the program because their rent is significantly more than 25 percent of their monthly expenses. The 40 percent limitation in this bill is much more realistic.

Extending the program from June 30 to December 31. By ensuring the PPP program will operate for 24 weeks, rather than only eight, this bill will ensure that many more truly small businesses will be able to take advantage of the program.

Extending loan terms from two years to five years. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, full recovery for that industry following both the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the 2008 recession took more than two full years. This was also true for many other industries. If the past is any indication of the future, it will take many businesses more than two years to achieve sufficient revenues to pay back the loan.

Ensuring full access to payroll tax deferment for businesses that take PPP loans. The purpose of PPP and the payroll tax deferment was to provide businesses with liquidity to weather the crisis. Receiving both should not be considered double-dipping. Businesses need access to both sources of cash flow to survive.

The Payroll Protection Program Flexibility Act passed on a 417 to 1 vote. Alabama Congressmembers Bradley Byrne, Mo Brooks, Robert Aderholt, Martha Roby, and Gary Palmer also voted for the legislation. It now heads to the Senate for their consideration.

Rogers represents Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District. Sewell represents Alabama’s 7th Congressional District.

 

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Congress

Brooks, Palmer join lawsuit against House’s proxy voting rule change

Brandon Moseley

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U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, and Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, have joined constituents and members of the House Republican Conference as plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a recently passed resolution that allows representatives to cast votes for themselves and others on the House floor, known as proxy voting.

The rule change was supported largely by Democrats along party lines who said it was needed during the pandemic to protect the health and safety of members of Congress.

“This rule change is not a mere procedure change, but a direct assault on the Constitution and over 200 years of precedent,” Palmer said. “The Constitution requires that Congress assembles. There is no emergency so great that Congress cannot meet to do its job of representing the people.”

Brooks said the proxy voting scheme is not only “unprecedented and antithetical” to the job of a House member, but it is also “blatantly unconstitutional.”

“Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution requires that a ‘a Majority of each (House of Congress) shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; . . . and (each House) may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members,'” Brooks said. “The Constitution requires that the House assemble a majority of its Members to conduct business, and there is no more serious House business than voting.”

Palmer said members of Congress should rise to the challenge of the pandemic and meet in person.

“Our history is littered with wars, pandemics, and attacks on American soil, but none of that has ever prevented Congress from meeting to do the people’s business,” Palmer said. “The current public health crisis should not change that precedent. Precautions can be taken, but Congress must show up to work like everyone else.”

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California is the leader of the proxy vote lawsuit. Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, is already one of the plaintiffs.

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Byrne sues Speaker Pelosi to stop House rule changes

“The Constitution is clear that a majority must be present for the House to conduct business,” Byrne said. “Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to allow Democrats to cast multiple ‘proxy’ votes for their colleagues is a blatant violation of the Constitution. Under rules adopted last week, as few as 22 Democrats could claim a quorum and win a vote against all 197 Republicans. This scheme gives Pelosi and her lieutenants complete and dangerous unconstitutional powers. If Democrats won’t show up to vote, they should turn the speaker’s gavel over to Leader McCarthy and the Republicans who are actually willing to show up and work for the people they represent.”

“This week, House Democrats will break over 230 years of precedent and allow Members of Congress to vote by proxy on the House floor,” Leader McCarthy said. “This is not simply arcane parliamentary procedure. It is a brazen violation of the Constitution, a dereliction of our duty as elected officials, and would silence the American people’s voice during a crisis. Although I wish this matter could have been solved on a bipartisan basis, the stakes are too high to let this injustice go unaddressed. That is why, along with other members of the House and our constituents, I have filed a lawsuit in federal court to overturn Speaker Pelosi’s unconstitutional power grab.”

The Republican plaintiffs point out that in the last 231 years, the House of Representatives has never permitted a member to vote by proxy from the floor of the chamber. This includes during the Yellow Fever of 1793, the Civil War, the burning of the Capitol during the War of 1812, the Spanish Flu of 1918 and 9/11.

The GOP plaintiffs claim that voting by proxy is flatly prohibited by the Constitution.

Article I, Section 4, Clause 2 states: “The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall . . . .” o Article I, Section 5, Clause 1 states: “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections . . . and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; . . . and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members.” o Article I, Section 6, Clause 1 states: “The Senators and Representatives . . . shall . . . be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses” • The constitution clearly contemplates the physical gathering together of representatives as a deliberative body. As the Supreme Court has held, to constitute a “quorum” necessary to “do business,” the Constitution requires “the presence of a majority, and when that majority are present the power of the house arises.” United States v. Ballin, 144 U.S. 1, 6 (1892)

The plaintiffs have filed a constitutional challenge in the D.C federal district court seeking to enjoin the use of proxy voting in the United States House of Representatives.

Congressman Mo Brooks represents Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District. Congressman Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. Alabama Democrats were unable to find candidates willing to challenge either of the two popular incumbents. Brooks did defeat a Republican challenger in March.

 

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Elections

Carl, Hightower raising money for July GOP primary runoff

Brandon Moseley

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Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl and former State Senator Bill Hightower are running in the Republican Party primary runoff on July 14.

Both campaigns are preparing for the final push. Their Federal Elections Commission reports on their fundraising efforts are through the end of March.

Carl reported total receipts of $1,513,462.10. $709,525.10 of Carl’s money comes contributions. $670,169.60 of that is contributions from individuals; while $37,700 are contributions from other committees. Carl has contributed $1,655.50 to his own campaign. Carl’s congressional campaign also reports personally loaning his campaign $758,900.

Carl has already spent $1,307,240.85. $1,114,940.85 was for campaign operating expenses, $400 was for contribution refunds and $191,900 were loan repayments. Carl entered the month with $206,221.25 in cash on hand and debts of $567,000.

R.E. Myles of Grand Bay, AL donated $8400 to Carl’s campaign. Myles is the President of the law firm McDowell, Knight, Roedder, & Sledge. There are two entries for Mr. Myles of Grand Bay. The second is for $5,600. Carl’s other top contributors include: Rachel Burton is a Mobile housewife $5,800. Philip Burton of Mobile contributed $5,600. Burton works for the Burton Property Group. Clarence Burke Jr. of Foley works for Wolf Creek Industries $5,600. Nancy Myles of Grand Bay is retired, $5,600. Morgan Myles is a Mobile engineer with Core Industries, $5600. White-Spunner & Associates is a real estate firm, $5,400. Warren Nicholson of Mobile, who works for NFINA Technology, $5,400. Kathy Nichols of Mobile is retired, $5,400. Matt Metcalfe is a Mobile realtor, $5,400. Jerry Lathan is a contractor from Theodore, $5,400.

Former State Senator Bill Hightower reported total contributions of $1,071,355.21. $1,032,155.21 were individual contributions; while $39,200 were contributions from other committees. Hightower has no outstanding loans.

Hightower has already spent $858,340.60. $848,860.60 were operating expenses. $5,600 were refund contributions to individuals. $3,880 were other disbursements. The Hightower campaign had $213,023.40 in cash on hand.

Club for Growth PAC is supporting Hightower and they have donated $19.600 to his campaign. Major contributors include: Richard Uihlein of Lake Forest, Illinois is the CEO/owner of Uline, $11,200. Roy Drinkard of Cullman is the owner of Drinkard Construction, $2,800. Lamar Harrison of Wilmer, AL is the President of Gulf Construction and Hauling, $2,800.00. Rhonda Scott is an Opelika homemaker, $2,800.00. Allen Harris of Opelika is the owner of Bailey-Harris Construction Company $2,800. Donna Williams is a Mobile homemaker $2,800. George Montgomery is the president of his own company $2,800. Sherri Trick is a Tuscaloosa homemaker $2,800. Carrie Montgomery of Mobile is the treasurer at Gulf Fastener. $2,800. Kreis William of Birmingham is a vice president at JohsonKreis Construction $2,800.

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The winner of the Republican primary runoff will face the winner of the Democratic Party primary runoff between James Averhart and Kiani Gardner

The First Congressional District is an open seat, because incumbent Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, is not seeking re-election.

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