Greene County votes: Jones 3,340 to Moore 462 Doug Jones wins U. S. Senate race with strong support and turnout of Black voters

 

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The Black Belt had strong turnout and support for Jones, who won a bigger margin there than Clinton did last year.

 

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News Analysis
By: John Zippert Co-Publisher

Doug Jones won a tightly contested special election yesterday for a U. S. Senate seat in Alabama, vacated by Jeff Sessions, when he became U. S. Attorney General.
Based on unofficial statewide returns, Doug Jones the Democratic candidate received 671,151 votes (49.9%), to 650.436 (48.4%) for Republican Roy Moore. 22,819 voters (1.7%) wrote in another choice.
In Greene County, Doug Jones led with 3,340 votes (87.6%) to 462 (12.1%) for Roy Moore and 9 write-in votes. Jones carried every precinct box in Greene County.
In neighboring Sumter County, Jones received 3.527 votes (81%) to 814 votes (18.7%) for Moore. In Macon County, Jones received 5,780 (88.1%) to 758 (11.8%) for Moore. Across the Alabama Black Belt, which has a predominantly Black population, Jones scored overwhelming wins, in many cases exceeding the 2012 turnout for Barack Obama.
Doug Jones won in all the major cities of Alabama, including Birmingham, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Mobile and Huntsville, with strong Black voter support. Moore’s vote in rural and suburban parts of Alabama did not meet expectations and in some cases Moore underperformed his own vote totals and percentages in 2014, when he ran for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
The election officials in each county will have 14 days to certify the official results, which includes counting military, provisional and other uncounted ballots. These officials will also have to certify that the write –in candidates, were qualified to hold the office of U. S. Senator, or these vote will be disqualified.

So votes for Mickey Mouse or someone residing in another state will not count, changing the percentages of the vote that each candidate received.
A mandatory recount of votes will be order only if Doug Jones margin of victory falls below one half of one percent (0.5%). Jones currently has a margin of 1.5%. If Moore wishes to pay for a recount, at his expense, he can request one, as soon as the results are officially certified.
National political observers view Doug Jones victory as an upset since Alabama was considered a deeply red Republican state that had not elected a Democratic U. S. Senator, in a quarter of a century, since 1992. Moore’s loss was attributed to his record of being dismissed from the Alabama Supreme Court twice for ethical violations, his opposition to gay and Muslim people, his theocratic view of political office and recent allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, forty years ago.
Moore’s defeat was also a defeat for his major backers including Steve Bannon and President Donald Trump, who weighed in with a last minute rally in Pensacola, Florida and robocalls on election day. Trump, who like Moore, faces questions of sexual misconduct with many women and a difficult path forward on tax reform and other issues, faces dwindling support from his right wing conservative base.
Doug Jones campaign put together a coalition of Black voters, younger voters, college educated and women to overcome Moore’s assumed Republican voter majority in the state. Jones says, he wants to give fair representation to every zip code in the state and work together with Republicans on the “kitchen-table issues of healthcare, wages, education and criminal justice that affect all Alabamians.”
Jones also inherits the task of rebuilding the Democratic Party in Alabama from the uncoordinated efforts of his campaign with Black, young, educated and women voters to pull together a winning strategy and campaign for the upcoming 2018 races, which include the Governor and all constitutional offices as well as the full State Legislature.

County Commission approves submitting proposal to purchase Carver School facility

At the regular monthly meeting of the Greene County Commission, held Monday, December 11, 2017, the body voted 3-2 to authorize the chairman to negotiate details of an offer to purchase the former Carver School property from the Greene County Board of Education.
The first dissenting voice came from Commissioner Corey Cockrell who questioned why would the commission want to consider purchasing Carver School now. According to Cockrell, the commission had had previous discussions on the property but had taken no action toward purchase.
Commissioner Allen Turner stated that the county had a long list of projects and needs that should be addressed instead of purchasing a building that brings with it additional obligations. Both Cockrell and Turner stated that the City of Eutaw has submitted a request with a plan to purchase Carver and it seems that the county is trying to undercut the city.
Commissioner Lester Brown spoke in support of the county’s securing Carver School. He stated that there are numerous projects that the county could house in that facility including Parks & Recreation, Senior Citizens Programs, Summer Feeding, Veterans Programs and others.
Commissioner Michael Williams, who also supported the county’s move to acquire Carver, noted that the Carver facility could allow the county to sponsor various training programs and workshops that would benefit employees and the community.
Rev. Michael Barton, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Forkland, was present and seemed to be the spokesperson for many in the audience who opposed the County Commission’s efforts to acquire Carver Middle School. Many of those in the audience were among his parishioners.
It should also be noted that Mayor Raymond Steele of Eutaw, proposed Rev. Barton to be employed by the City as Recreational Coordinator, if the City’s proposal for the school facilities is accepted by the Board of Education. Steele proposed employing Rev. Barton at the November 14 City Council meeting but withdrew the proposal before a vote since Eutaw Council members were reluctant to vote on staffing before the facilities had been secured.

Many in the audience echoed the sentiments of Commissioners Cockrell and Turner which were in favor of Eutaw purchasing Carver School, however Carl Davis suggested that the county and city come together and devise a plan for joint purchase.
It should be noted that a purchase by the city is for the city; whereas the county would be obligated to serve all of Greene County.
The commission voted to allow the Coroner to establish an office in the space above the Law Library, where the Society of Folk Arts & Culture currently stores it equipment and artifacts related to the production of the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival. The county is obligated to provide suitable work space for the Coroner.
In a previous conversation, Commission Chairperson Tennyson Smith stated he would work with the Society in securing suitable space for the festival equipment.
In other business the commission acted on the following:
* Approved RDS to collect lodging taxes and authorize chairman to sign necessary documents.
* Approved vacating un-named road off CR 203 with attorney filing necessary papers with Judge of Probate.
* Approved to consider agreement with JM Woods for sale of three dump trucks for June action.
* Tabled filling two vacant equipment operator positions.
* Approved joining lawsuit in regards to the Opioid epidemic and authorize Chairman to sign all necessary documents.

Approved travel for Probate Judge, Chief Clerk – Jan 16-19 in Montgomery.
Approved financial report and payment of claims as presented by CFO Paula Bird.
The CFO’s financial report included the following:Total Fund Balance as of Nov. 17, 2017, was $2,191,254.71. Total funds in banks – $4,061,096.44; total investments – $800,180.54; total ion Bank of New York – $358,521.42. Accounts payable totaled $500,574.95; Payroll Transfers totaled $242,520.89; Other Transfers totaled $71,398.97; Fiduciary $144,908; Total – $959,402.81.

Newswire : John Lewis and Bennie Thompson boycott Trump’s visit to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

By Monique Judge, The Root


 Congressman John Lewis and Bennie Thompson

Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) announced last Thursday that they are skipping last Saturday’s opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson because Donald Trump will be in attendance—something they consider to be “an insult” to the black heroes commemorated there.
Thompson and Lewis issued a joint statement that said, “President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum.” According to its website, the museum “shares the stories of a Mississippi movement that changed the world” and “promotes a greater understanding of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and its impact by highlighting the strength and sacrifices of its people.”
The website continues, ”Visitors will witness the freedom struggle in eight interactive galleries that show the systematic oppression of black Mississippians and their fight for equality that transformed the state and nation. Seven of the galleries encircle a central space called “This Little Light of Mine.” There, a dramatic sculpture glows brighter and the music of the Movement swells as visitors gather.”
President Donald Trump was the lead person spreading the lie that President Barack Obama, America’s first Black president, was not born in the U. S. President Trump also equated Ku Klux Klan members and Neo-Nazis to people protesting the evils of racism during the deadly White supremacist marches in Charlottesville, Va. last August.
Repeatedly, in front of the nation, he has flagrantly displayed racial insensitivities; even with his most recent support of Senate Candidate Roy Moore in Alabama, not only an accused pedophile, but a man who has said America was last great during slavery.
Since his inauguration, Trump and his appointee Attorney General Jeff Sessions have careful demolished important policies put in place during the Obama administration for the purpose of preventing police brutality and other issues of racial inequality in the criminal justice system.
In addition, President Trump has claimed massive voter fraud in America, a claim that experts say is patently false.
These are just a handful of the reasons that civil rights leaders opposed the president’s attendance at the Dec. 10 opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. They argue that the museum is like hallowed ground that celebrates those who risked their lives to fight against everything that Trump appears to embrace – despite his words to the contrary.
“President Trump’s presence at the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is not a show of respect. It’s merely a photo op,” says Derrick Johnson, president/CEO of the NAACP. “I live in Mississippi and its civil rights leaders are my mentors, sheroes, and heroes. I cannot sit silently alongside a man who has used the power of his office to turn back the clock on hard-won rights.”
In response to the announcement from Lewis and Thompson, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement, “We think it’s unfortunate that these members of Congress wouldn’t join the president in honoring the incredible sacrifice civil rights leaders made to right the injustices in our history.”
Lewis is an icon of the civil rights movement for his work in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He was at the lead of the civil rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in March 1965. He also participated in sit-ins in Nashville, Tennessee and in the Freedom Rides that ended in a mass arrest in Jackson, Mississippi. So it is fair to say that John Lewis is one of the civil rights heroes recognized in the museum.

Newswire : Obama invokes Nazi Germany in warning about today’s politics

By Miranda Green, CNN

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 Former President Barack Obama

Washington (CNN)Former President Barack Obama urged voters this week to stay engaged in democracy, warning that complacency was responsible for the rise of Nazi Germany.
“You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly. And we’ve seen societies where that happens,” Obama said at the Economic Club of Chicago on Tuesday, according to video of the event.

“Now, presume there was a ballroom here in Vienna in the late 1920s or ’30s that looked and seemed as if it, filled with the music and art and literature that was emerging, would continue into perpetuity. And then 60 million people died. An entire world was plunged into chaos,” Obama said. “So you got to pay attention — and vote.”

During the event, the former President mentioned similar themes of responding to a changing political landscape, mentioning examples from America’s history. “FDR is one of my political heroes. In my mind, the second greatest president after Lincoln. … But he interned a bunch of loyal Japanese Americans during World War II. That was a threat to our institutions,” he said.

“There have been periods in our history where censorship was considered OK. We had the McCarthy era. We had a President who had to resign prior to impeachment because he was undermining rule of law. At every juncture, we’ve had to wrestle with big problems.”
Obama also defended the necessity of a free press.

“During my presidency, the press often drove me nuts,” he said. “There were times where I thought reporters were ill-informed. There were times where they didn’t actually get the story right. But what I understood was that principle of the free press was vital, and that, as President, part of my job was to make sure that that was maintained.”

Obama over the past year has occasionally voiced thinly veiled criticisms of the Trump administration’s policies, particularly on climate change, though it’s not clear from the video that he was directly addressing his successor.

Newswire :Why Trump’s tax plan spells disaster for the environment

By: Erich Pica, Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

For all of the terrible elements in the Republicans’ new tax plan—the extreme giveaways to the rich, tax increases for the middle class, major breaks for corporations that pollute our air and water—the reality is that this isn’t a plan to reform the tax code. This is a plan to end government as we know it.

When Trump released his budget last spring, all reasonable people across the country declared in unison that it could not possibly be serious. The major cuts to the popular and important programs across the political spectrum would never be politically feasible.
While Republicans dream about rolling back environmental protections, the truth is the GOP has never had the votes or public support to dismantle the bedrock achievements of the environmental movement. A push to return the country to the days before the Clean Air Act would almost certainly fail. The work that agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency do is popular and the effect of their work impacts communities across the country. Yet, for all the support for these programs and agencies, Trump’s budget called for a 31 percent cut to the EPA, gutting some programs and abolishing others.
Surely these cuts to programs that help protect the environment and public health would never survive Congress. But the seriousness of Trump’s tax giveaway plan should reverse any notion that his budget was a farce. Republicans’ ambitions to force Trump’s extreme budget cuts on the American people runs through the new tax plan, which was passed by the Senate on Friday.

There are plenty of reasons for people who value the environment to be horrified by Trump’s tax plan, which is set to pump more rule change would be a major reward for an industry that parked money overseas allowing them to avoid paying taxes on these profits. Middle-class families will never get such luxuries nor will benefit from the giveaway.

It’s no lack of contrast that this bill would also gut the wind energy renewable energy tax credit, cutting it by 40 percent. Finally, this plan lets Big Oil keeps its most egregious tax giveaways and hands it a hefty cut to the corporate tax rate, guaranteeing that it will keep its place the most undertaxed and subsidized segments of our economy.
The vicious truth is that the GOP plan will add an estimated $1 trillion to the deficit, which they will use as further evidence to justify cuts to popular environmental protection programs.
Without enough votes to dismantle widely popular environmental protection laws, Republicans have set their sights on the next best thing: dismantling the widely popular agencies charged with enforcing them.
Ever since Grover Norquest begin insisting that Republicans make a pledge to cut taxes—no matter the cost—the goal of the party has been to break the government by cutting and underfunding one program at a time.
As these cuts have taken place, we’ve seen the rich grow richer, the essential functions of government wear and break, the divide between the two parties grow and the overpowering political voice of corporations expand. Trump’s tax plan will only make things worse. While GOP budget hawks made their votes on tax cuts that will add to the deficit, they began prepping their talking points on their plans to make austere cuts to that will strip these agencies to the bone.
As horrifying as Trump is in temperament, his tax plan is proof that he is just another Republican with broken ideas aimed at crippling the progress our country has made in protecting the environment.
For more than 30 years, the GOP’s endgame has been nothing but a plan to use tax policy to funnel Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars to Rebublicans’ wealthy donors, while compromising the essential functions of government.
Trump is just a louder, more toxic variation on the GOP’s very old theme.
Erich Pica is the President of Friends of the Earth. Follow Erich on Twitter @erichpica.

Newswire : Mammoth diamond brings Kono miners a share in $6.5 million auction sale

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‘Peace Diamond’

(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – When a Sierra Leonean pastor looked at the shiny stony that came from the ground, it didn’t look like much of a rock. It was orange with red speckles and the diggers at the Kono mining district almost tossed it aside.

But the lumpy stone was unusual enough to bring to a local diamond dealer who recognized a thing of great value. “The look on his face when he saw the rock made me believe we had discovered something extraordinary,” the pastor Emmanuel Momoh recalled in an interview with the NY Times.

The hockey puck-shaped sparkly thing turned out to be a 709-carat diamond – one of the world’s largest diamonds and the largest one ever found in Sierra Leone.

After much thought and debate, Pastor Momoh turned the gem over to the government, instead of selling it to middlemen and pocketing the cash. The community stands to lose, he said, if middlemen were involved.

“We lack a lot of things,” Momoh told the BBC. “We don’t have a good road network, we don’t have better schools or drinking water.”

Sierra Leone allows miners to sell diamonds up to a certain size, but requires them to turn over larger stones to the government to sell, with the proceeds, in theory, going to the ones who found them, minus an unspecified government tax.

Often, diamonds — both large and small — are sold on the black market, depriving the government of sorely needed revenue.

President Ernest Bai Koroma thanked the cleric for not smuggling the diamond out of the country and allowing the government to sell the historic stone in a set bidding process.

An early sealed bid offer involving five buyers for the stone produced a bid of $7.7 million which the government said was too low. Some estimates put the value at $50 million.

This week, the stone sold at a New York auction for a lower-than-expected price of $6.5 million. The buyer was reportedly British billionaire and jeweler, Laurence Graff.

According to the Rapaport auction house that handled the bidding, half the sale proceeds are to be used to fund clean water, electricity, school, medical facilities, bridges and roads, none of which are currently available in the village of Koryardu where the diamond was found.

The auction house is reported not to be charging its usual fees for the sale.