Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Trump & Bannon Fail in Alabama: Democrat Jones Wins

Republican Roy Moore is defeated in a huge blow for President Donald Trump and his former strategist Steve Bannon.
RadioOnFire.com - Democrat Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore in a special election earthquake Tuesday, flipping an Alabama Senate seat to Democrats for the first time in a quarter-century and delivering a blow to President Donald Trump.

The Associated Press called the race for Jones, a former U.S. attorney, who had 49.5 percent of the vote to Moore’s 48.9 percent with 91 percent of precincts reporting.

Jones’ win — after Moore was accused of sexual assault and other misconduct by multiple women in November — will shrink Republicans’ already tenuous Senate majority to 51-49, just as the party approaches final consideration of its sweeping tax bill and prepares for the 2018 midterm elections in a difficult political environment.

Moore’s loss relieves Senate Republicans from one burden: Considering whether they would expel him from the chamber if he won. But the Republican defeat was a major setback for Trump, who gave Moore a full-throated endorsement in the final days of the race, in a state he won with over 60 percent of the vote in 2016.

Moore & Jones neck-and-neck with Most of the Vote Counted

RadioOnFire.com - Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are locked in a neck-and-neck race in Alabama's special Senate election, with both campaigns bracing for a long night.

Moore and Jones each had 49.2 percent of the vote with more than four-fifths of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press. The candidates were separated by fewer than 500 votes out of more than 1.1 million votes. Both candidates are running strong in areas that form their base of support around the state.

The close returns provided no definitive sign whether Democrats would stage their first statewide win in a Senate race in decades, or whether Republicans would retain Attorney General Jeff Sessions' old Senate seat despite a raft of sexual misconduct allegations against Moore.

The outcome will have outsized consequences for President Donald Trump and the Republican agenda on Capitol Hill, given the party's already tenuous 52-48 majority. Politically, it will either be a boon or embarrassment for Trump, who advocated strongly for Moore in the campaign's final days.

And the outcome could provide tea leaves for the 2018 midterms, setting the stage for a potential wave election if Jones wins — or tempering Democratic enthusiasm after the party's strong performance in last month's off-year elections if Moore prevails.

Moore’s campaign was rocked in November by accusations of sexual assault and other sexual misconduct, which gave Jones a rare opening in a state President Donald Trump won by nearly 30 points in 2016. Public polls of the race have shown both Moore and Jones with leads, and Democrats have flooded Jones’ campaign with online donations to try and push him to a historic victory.

Moore, meanwhile, lost support from Senate Republicans, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee, after a number of women accused him of pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said Moore should expect to face an immediate ethics investigation if he wins, while other senators — including NRSC chairman Cory Gardner — have said that the Senate should vote to expel Moore if he is elected. But President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee rejoined the race on Moore’s behalf in the final weeks, with the president saying repeatedly that he would not stand for Alabama electing a Democrat.

Source: Politico

Mayor Pugh to replace MLK Jr. Parade with day of service

BALTIMORE — A big change is coming to Baltimore in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Mayor Catherine Pugh says instead of a parade, there should be a focus on a day of service.

"The mayor wants to take away a staple of this city. This administration is taking away everything but crime," said local Hassan Giordano.

Giordano said the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade is something he's enjoyed year after year with his sons. Regional marching bands, color guards, steppers, equestrian units, dance squads and floats have made their way down Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard in years past to honor the civil rights leader. Giordano said it's become a city tradition and he doesn't want to see it go.

"We already have a day of service. It was already there. It's not new (and) at the end of the day, we have 300-plus homicides in this city. We need something like this (the parade) to bring pride back into the City of Baltimore.

Pugh said she's replacing the parade with a day of service and a battle of the bands at Morgan State University. The bands that would usually participate in the parade would be a part of the battle of the bands where a drummer for justice would be chosen.

Pugh said she is asking people to sign up for community projects around the city. Those projects would be followed by the battle of bands and other entertainment.

A Facebook event has been created to hold a rally to save the parade.

Polls Close in the Alabama Senate Race at 8 pm EST

• Alabama voters are going to the polls right now to decide between Roy S. Moore, a Republican, and Doug Jones, a Democrat, in a special Senate election destined to be remembered as a strange and ugly campaign carrying immense political implications.

• Mr. Moore’s path to victory in a deeply conservative state has been thrown into doubt over claims of sexual misconduct with teenage girls. If Mr. Jones wins, filling the seat left vacant when President Trump appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Republicans would see their Senate advantage dwindle to a single seat, putting their majority in play next year.

• But should Mr. Moore survive, it would illustrate the enduring limitations of Democrats in the South and suggest that the tug of partisanship is a forbiddingly powerful force.

• President Trump, who after initial reluctance following the allegations against Mr. Moore offered a full-throated endorsement, tweeted his support: “Roy Moore will always vote with us.”

• Mr. Jones cast his ballot early. He will need strong turnout from black voters, urban voters and suburban white voters who might normally vote Republican. 

• Mr. Moore rode his horse to the polls. He will need support from rural white voters. Read how his sexual misconduct scandal unfolded.

• Polls fully close in the state at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

How did the G.O.P. end up with Moore? We take a look.

“For Republicans, it did not have to come to this,” writes Alexander Burns, one of our political reporters. Mr. Moore was never inevitable — read more in our outline of the decisions that Republican leaders made to bring things to this point.

Moore rides Sassy to the polls, cameras in tow.

Mr. Moore emerged from a stand of woods Tuesday astride Sassy, his Tennessee walking horse, about 40 minutes behind schedule. He was wearing a black hat and a grin, and keen to vote.

Gathered for the event at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department headquarters, journalists and camera operators had expected Mr. Moore to come riding along the road in Gallant, Ala., but when he and his wife, Kayla, instead trotted out of a stand of trees, there was an inelegant scramble for the better angle.

Mr. Moore tied Sassy to a fence and made his way up to the polling place.

He was asked what he would say to his accusers. “I’d say, tell the truth,” he replied.

Eventually Mr. Moore disappeared into the little building, then emerged with an “I Voted” sticker. Reporters asked what his message would be for Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, if he were to win.

“Well, I’m coming to the Senate, and we’ll work out our problems there,” he said.

Source NY Times

Sessions: FBI Will 'Probably' Agree To Take Over Suiter Case

RadioOnFire.com - Speaking in Baltimore on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the FBI will "probably" agree to Baltimore police Commissioner Kevin Davis' request that they take over the investigation into the killing of Detective Sean Suiter.
"We are always willing to cooperate as well as we can and I'm sure that the FBI will be considering that request and will probably be able to act on it," Sessions said.

Davis made the request on Dec. 1. It's been nearly four weeks since Suiter was gunned down, and no arrest has yet been made.
Speaking more broadly on the violence in Baltimore, he made reference to the consent decree agreed to in the waning days of the Obama administration, a decree Sessions' attorneys attempted to delay shortly after President Donald Trump's inauguration. Sessions said "the morale and the quality and the integrity of the entire department" have been unfairly assaulted.
He also said that an attack on the New York City subway system showed in the “starkest terms” that the failures of the U.S. immigration system are a national security issue.
Speaking at a news conference with the new chief of Homeland Security, Sessions said two terrorist attacks in New York in recent months were each carried out by men who were in the U.S. “as a result of failed immigration policies.”
Authorities said a 27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant is in custody after Monday’s rush hour attack in New York, described as a botched suicide bombing mission.
Sessions called anew Tuesday on Congress to strengthen immigration laws and said Trump’s administration was taking steps to more strictly enforce immigration law. Among those steps, he said, the administration has hired 50 immigration judges since January and plans to hire another 60 over the next six months to manage a backlog of cases that have “overwhelmed” the U.S. immigration system.
Sessions also said the immigration caseload has tripled since fiscal 2009, but that “under President Trump, we have already taken steps to bring down the backlog in cases.” He also said border crossings by undocumented immigrants are now at their lowest level in 45 years, but vowed “that number can be zero.”
Sessions spoke at the news conference with the new secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen M. Nielsen. She said U.S. law enforcement is redoubling efforts to sweep up members of MS-13 and other violent gangs that have spread from Latin America, adding their violence will not be tolerated within American communities.
She noted that MS-13 members are suspected of committing high-profile slayings in Maryland, Virginia and New York — at least one of those attacks just miles from the nation’s capital. A hallmark of the gang, which has ties to Central America, is repeated slashes to a victim’s body.
The MS-13 gang has become a prime target of the Trump administration amid its broader crackdown on immigration. Authorities said a national sweep in October netted more than 200 members.
Sessions afterward told reporters he had cast an absentee ballot in Tuesday’s special U.S. Senate election in Alabama but declined to specify who he voted for, saying he “valued the sanctity of the ballot.” The winner takes the seat Sessions held before he was tapped by Trump to become attorney general.
“The people of Alabama are good and decent and wonderful people I’ve been proud to serve for 20 years in the Senate, and they’ll make the right decision, I’m sure,” Sessions said after the news conference.

Republican Roy Moore, 70 — who was twice ousted as Alabama Supreme Court chief justice after flouting federal law — is seeking a political resurrection amid accusations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. He is facing Democrat Doug Jones, 63, a former U.S. attorney best known for prosecuting two Ku Klux Klansmen who killed four black girls in a 1963 church bombing.
When asked if he stood by comments made last month to the House Judiciary Committee that he had “no reason to doubt” the women who have accused Moore of sexual misconduct, Sessions said: “I answered the question as I knew it at the time.” He did not make any further comment Tuesday.
Republicans hold a narrow 52-48 Senate majority. A routine election in Republican-dominated Alabama wouldn’t be expected to alter that balance because Alabamians haven’t sent a Democrat to the upper chamber of Congress since 1992. Trump notched a 28-point win in Alabama in 2016 and remains popular in the Deep South state.

Source WBAL

3 Current, 1 Former Fallston Volunteer Firefighter Charged In Harassment Incidents, Attempted Rape

RadioOnFire.com - Three current members and one former member of the Fallston Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Company face charges in an alleged pattern of harassment and a possible sexual assault among members, officials at the fire company said Monday.

Chief Will Rosenberg was made aware of the allegations less than two weeks ago and referred the allegations to the Harford County Sheriff's Office, who charged the four Friday. Fire officials say the charges ranged from attempted first-degree rape to harassment. More information wasn't immediately available.

"Our very assertive posture will continue, as we remain focused and vigilant in rooting out and removing anyone from our ranks who engages in illegal, immoral or unethical behavior," Rosenberg said in a statement. "It simply won't be tolerated, everyone is accountable. Personally, I am both angry and disgusted by the assertions as the alleged behavior is not acceptable by any standard, particularly the highly principled threshold we demand among our members."

Sheriff's spokeswoman Cristie Kahler says the ensuing investigation brought charges based on two specific incidents: an attempted sexual assault of a 17-year-old male member during summer on company property, and a harassment incident on Nov. 22.

The four suspects are men whose names will be released once the three warrants and one criminal summons are served.

Rosenberg didn't elaborate on the nature of the allegations.

The active members allegedly involved were immediately suspended when the accusations were made known to Rosenberg. Their final status will be determined when the criminal proceedings are resolved and an internal administrative process is complete.

Alabama Voters To Decide Whether Accused Child Molester Becomes Their Senator

RadioOnFire.com - It is special election day in Alabama. Voters will decide whether they’re ready to send a Democrat to the Senate for the first time in decades ― or whether they’ll stick with the GOP, even though the party’s nominee has been accused of child molestation.

For many in the state, the special election has become a way to project a message to the rest of the nation on what Alabama is. And Democrats are hoping an unexpected win will reinvigorate their base and set the stage for the 2018 midterm elections.

Supporters of Democrat Doug Jones want to shed the stereotype of Alabama as a stagnant backwater. Jones is best known for his work as a U.S. attorney in the 1990s, prosecuting Ku Klux Klan members for blowing up a black church in 1963. Sending him to the Senate, they say, would be a positive step forward.

“We just don’t look good in the news. You know what I’m saying? It looks like Hicksville,” Sy Belyeu, 48, told HuffPost. She’s an African-American Birmingham voter who is backing Jones. “There’s a lot of racism, a lot of homophobia. We don’t want to be characterized like that any longer.”

On the other side are the backers of Republican Roy Moore, who has long been known nationally for his conservative religious beliefs. As chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, he tried to stop the state from following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality.

But during this race, Moore’s past interactions with teenage girls dominated the news. In November, The Washington Post published an article about four women who accused Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. One of them said she was 14 when he sexually assaulted her.

While many in Alabama ― including plenty of Republicans ― have been disgusted by the allegations, plenty of his supporters have stood by him. Some suspect the accusations are part of a plot by the liberal establishment to take down their man.

“I do not believe the allegations. It’s George Soros,” said Edna Bogue, 72, of Henagar, Alabama, referring to the billionaire Democratic donor.

“Haven’t we always been bad, like cousins marrying cousins? That’s not true, but people say what they want to say. Always have judged us,” Moore voter Ava Lyles, 71, told The Washington Post.

Moore backers have played up this us vs. them battle as much as possible. In one recent ad for Moore, the narrator says:

The same Washington insiders who don’t like President Trump are trying to stop our campaign. They just don’t like conservatives like us. They call us warmongers for wanting to rebuild the military. Racists for securing our borders. Bigots for recognizing the sanctity of marriage. And they call us foolish for believing in God. They’re afraid I’m going to take our Alabama values to Washington.

Source HuffPost

Trump & Bannon Fail in Alabama: Democrat Jones Wins

Republican Roy Moore is defeated in a huge blow for President Donald Trump and his former strategist Steve Bannon. RadioOnFire.com - D...