Sunday, December 10, 2017

Much more wrong with Moore than accusations; twelve reasons to vote for Doug Jones Dec. 12

Even before Alabama Senate candidate and twice-fired state supreme court judge Roy Moore became an alleged sexual predator of underage girls, he was known for grandstanding, criticizing anyone who disagrees with him and using religion and bigotry to promote his political goals.

He mastered these political tactics years ago.

Now, as the nation watches and late-night comedians gratefully laugh at HIM and ALABAMA, Moore has denied and criticized, stuck to his divisive tactics and ducked behind his loyal base who are bound to be getting weary of believing him no matter what.  

Because this election is important on so many levels and because Moore is troubling on even more, I offer 12 reasons why Alabamians should vote in Tuesday’s special election – against Moore – and for Doug Jones and Alabama. We must avoid the mistake of sending Roy Moore to represent us in the U.S. Senate. 

This is serious. Let’s talk truth.

Reason 1: Moore’s EXTREMIST VIEWS will cost the state and its citizens.

Alabama’s business community fear that Moore’s extremist anti-gay and anti-Islam views – plus the serious credible allegations that surround him -- will bring negative consequences for Alabama’s economy, the state’s $13 billion tourist industry and efforts to attract new business and industry. 

“Industry as a whole…they don’t want to be in a place that’s known for extreme positions. Business comes because they going to get a good workforce and more importantly, make money. They don’t want to run the risk of insulting their clients.” -- David Bonner of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, on threats by past visitors to the state’s famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail visitors to never return if Moore is elected. (RSA manages the retirement-pension funds of thousands of Alabamians who worked for state agencies, including teachers.)

Reason 2: DEMAGOGUERY should not win again.

A DEMAGOGUE is a leader who uses popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power. Moore fits the definition so well I half expected his picture to show up next to the word in the dictionary. Other definitions for demagogue include “exploiting prejudice…to whip up the passions of the crowd and shut down reasoned deliberation.”  

Speaking of, President Trump has endorsed Moore.

Reason 3: The ACCUSATIONS are well documented, credible and collaborated.

NOT FAKE NEWS OR LIBERAL SMEAR CAMPAIGN: The Washington Post – whose thorough and well-sourced reporting first revealed accusations of Moore’s sexual misconduct with underage girls – is known for its investigative reporting, having helped write the book on it with the uncovering of the Watergate scandal, and for its 60 Pulitzer Prizes for excellence in journalism. 

The story included more than 30 on-the record sources from Moore’s hometown who collaborated the stories of women who were pursued by Moore as teenagers. None of the women – many who don’t know each other and are not Democrats – sought out the media. In all, nine women spoke on the record about being pursued as teens by Moore, including two serious allegations of sexual abuse.

Moore denied everything, and he and his defenders questioned the timing, implied payoffs and have called the women liars.

Reason 4: Here's why now

Moore and defenders asked why the women are speaking now, 40 years later, when Moore had been in Alabama politics for years? Sure is fishy.

Here's why:
  • Good reporters followed a national selection story (Moore's first run for NATIONAL office) to Moore’s hometown, and they ASKED QUESTIONS.
  • After learning the "common knowledge" that Moore dated teenage girls and spent his off time at the Y, the Gadsden Mall and high school events, reporters contacted women who knew Moore during this time, and they ASKED. 
  • Women, likely inspired by the national ME TOO movement, were brave enough to risk ridicule to tell their truth about a man who is asking citizens of his state for their trust.
  • And, like accuser Leigh Corfman explained, the women couldn’t sit back and “let him continue without the mask being removed."

Reason 5: Alabama GOP shakedown = no conscience choice; Shelby says NO to Moore.

The Alabama Republican Party threatened elected officials with being denied ballot access for up to six years if a Republican office holder failed to support Moore, citing a rule that forbids Republican officials or candidates from supporting any other candidate including write-in candidates.
“It would be a serious error,” said party chairman Terry Latham. 

Apparently six-term Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, who did not vote for Moore, didn't get the message, or the 83-year old could have cared less about the state party threat.  He wrote in the name of a "distinguished Republican” on his Alabama absentee ballot and has said "Alabama deserves better." 

In addition to what sounds a lot like blackmail by the state party, the national GOP backtracked on its moral indignation and calls for Moore to step down and is now helping to fund his campaign. President Trump, who has more in common with Moore than party affiliation, is campaigning for Moore, the candidate that beat the candidate Trump told Alabama was best for us in the primary election.  "Roy Moore denies it, that's all I can say, and by the way, he totally denies it," said the president, who has recorded a robo call for Moore, like he did for Strange against Moore back in August. 

Republicans: Remember it's a SECRET BALLOT. 

Reason 6: Moore has no answer for allegations, except lame conspiracy theory.
In Moore’s limited campaign appearances, the only answer he offers from the pulpit is basically everybody is picking on me because I’m so moral. Most often, he sends surrogates to speak with the media for him, and he’s yet to answer direct questions from reporters or Alabama citizens who are not already his followers.

It’s a massive Democrat liberal gay conspiracy. That’s the best he can come up with to explain the allegations that emerged from his home county. In his repeated denials, Moore has blamed a political conspiracy by “lesbians, gays, bisexual transgenders who want to change our culture” and Clinton-Obama liberal media agenda for fabricating the accusations of nine women.
Reason 7: MOORE’S BAGGAGE will follow him, and Alabama.

The accusations against Moore will follow him now wherever he goes – despite his denials and claims of an elaborate smear campaign. The accusations from multiple women will go to Washington with him if he does get elected to fill the seat of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who, by the way, has said he believes the women. If elected, Moore faces a promised ethics investigation in the Senate, where senators of both parties resigned within the last week amid accusations of sexual misconduct. Moore could easily become the first member of the U.S. Senate expelled since the 1860s.

“Roy Moore would be nothing but problems for the Republicans.” – political analyst Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report (from AL.com)

Reason 8: ABORTION is emotional issue = votes for Moore unless...

For many Christian conservatives, opposition to abortion is the main, perhaps only, reason they plan to vote for Moore. Knowing Doug Jones is a Democrat and ProChoice, voters say he is “for abortion.” He’s a baby killer, others have said, to me.
For the record, Jones supports the law that says abortion is a legal medical procedure. He has said abortion is a personal decision and he supports a woman's right to choose. He has said that “the law for decades has been that late-term procedures are generally restricted except in the case of medical necessity. That’s what I support. I don’t see any changes in that.” Moore’s camp has claimed Jones favors “full term” abortion, which does not even exist.
The facts are that abortion has been a legal medical procedure for more than 40 years since a1973 Supreme Court decision.. It is a complicated, emotional issue. The passion of ProLife advocates is strong and based on caring for LIFE. I understand that and personally abhor the very thought of an abortion and wish they were never necessary.
However, a vote for Moore will not prevent one abortion. No U.S. lawmaker -- Democrat or Republican -- made abortion legal in the first place (something I am not sure all voters understand) and neither party has been able to change its status nationally. 
What might prevent one more abortion are programs and policies championed by candidate Doug Jones that support women’s health and access to affordable birth control, which is the best abortion preventative. This is a cause and effect that should be obvious. 
I urge ProLIFE voters to look at ways other lives can be protected too and how legal abortion can be reduced – as opposed to tactics like straight Republican voting that have not workedIn the privacy of the voting booth and secret ballot, please don’t let one "settled law" issue that your vote will not impact keep you from doing what’s best for Alabama, your faith, community and family.
Reason 9: Moore misrepresents CHRISTIANITY for sake of religious nationalism.

Moore talks about Christian values while encouraging hate and condemnation -- a contradiction that hijacks and misrepresents Christianity. This has bothered me – to distraction.

To me and to many others – including 59 ministers who released an open letter Nov. 17 – Moore does not represent Christianity and acts in ways that are contrary to Christian faith.

THE CHRISTIAN VALUE Jesus talked about is LOVE. Love the Lord. Love one another as yourself. These are the two commandments Jesus gave his followers. Love your enemies. Judge not. Let your light shine. Do for the least of these and you do for me. Forgive to be forgiven.

Clear, simple and often not easy, LOVE is our charge as Christians.

I’ve searched for LOVE in Moore’s brand of Christian values, and I am still looking. In their letter, the pastors cited Moore’s denigration of people from other religions and countries and stated goals of entangling government in religion, failure to support policies and programs that help those in need (the least of these) as reasons they could not support him.

“It is our belief that in light of Roy Moore's extremist beliefs, his patterns of behavior, and the recent allegations against him, no person of faith can, in good conscience, support him or his religious nationalism. He has done harm to our government; he has done harm to our Christian witness; and he has done harm to vulnerable people.”

Reason 10: Moore’s God-in-government argument is wrong and dangerous.

Moore’s political platform that our nation needs to put God back in government is contrary to the U.S. founding documents and Constitution. Yes, many Europeans who first came to North America were Christians. Many were fleeing religious persecution from those in power who criticized and prohibited religious practices different from “true religion” those in power preferred. Sound familiar?

The first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Judeo-Christian values surely influenced U.S. law and government. But, history shows us that “religion” as part of government as a statutory goal should not stand. And, neither should Moore’s suggestion that the 9-11 attacks were God’s punishment for American’s lack of faith.

Reason 11: For our children – especially our daughters

If we endorse, elevate, elect a gay-bashing, demagogue who has taught that women shouldn’t run for office, said that homosexuals should be punished, perhaps executed, and that Muslims shouldn’t serve in office, what future are we creating?

Moore’s misogynistic tendencies are clear in a law and government study course he helped teach that declares that women should not run for office and should not be voted for by "moral people" The study also criticizes the women’s suffrage movement. Moore’s picture as a featured speaker is on the Law and Government: An Introductory Study Course, described as a biblical view of government and justice. Ironically, Doug Phillips, the head of the now defunct Texas-based evangelical group that produced the course, resigned after admitting to an “inappropriate” relationship with a woman not his wife, a woman who later sued, detailing an abusive relationship with Phillips that began when she was 15.
Reason 12: DOUG JONES will represent all Alabamians with decency and fairness
 - if we give him the chance.

Democrat candidate Doug Jones, given a chance, will represent Alabama with dignity and and honesty. Unlike Moore, whose campaign has been played out with sermons at church-sponsored events and little direct access to even local media, Jones has been meeting Alabama citizens where they live and talking about things they care about.

They care about health care, not losing protections in existing programs, and reversing the state’s loss of rural hospitals. They care about the economy, jobs, safe drinking water and a better future for their children and grandchildren.  These are issues Jones understands.

Yes, he is a Democrat in a state that hasn’t sent a Democrat to the senate in decades, probably since Senator Shelby was a Democrat.  

Jones is a guy from Fairfield (where we went to high school together) with blue collar roots (our fathers and grandfathers retired from U.S. Steel) who has proven himself to be a public servant who reaches out, listens and asks questions, has an open mind and wants to represent all of us. 

Please look at Jones’ record, countenance, and his reputation as a prosecutor of murdering home-grown terrorists, and member of the community. Compare it to Moore’s record, countenance and reputation. 

Alabama voters have an crucial decision to make Tuesday.

Please go VOTE to give Doug Jones a chance to proof himself during this abbreviated Senate term.

For more reasons than I can list, we must send the message that Alabama will not let a tainted Roy Moore represent us with extreme views and harmful beliefs, NO MATTER WHAT.

We are better than that, and Alabama and the nation deserve better, too.




OTHER VOICES, MORE REASONS


“Law to Moore is merely an instrument of exclusion and oppression, whether of women, teenage girls, African Americans, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, or homosexuals. He is a deluded theocrat who believes that God's conversations with him determine the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, not the words written by the Founding Fathers or their interpretation by the U. S. Supreme Court.” – Alabama historian and author Wayne Flynt

"I decided that I am done being silent. What you did to me when I was 14-years old should be revolting to every person of good morals. But now you are attacking my honesty and integrity. Where does your immorality end?' -- Leigh Corfman, one of the women who said Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 14 and he was 32, in a letter to Moore released to al.com.

If we elect Moore, we're responsible for him. Roy Moore's Alabama will be a world that is hostile to our daughters and to their hopes and dreams. I will tell my daughter, who is at college out of state, to not come home. And that's probably just what Roy Moore wants - a world without strong women who object to mistreatment and control." -- former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance

“Given the economic backlash against discriminatory legislation passed in North Carolina and Indiana, many Alabamians -- mainstream Republicans alongside the chronically thwarted liberals -- are bracing, if Moore wins the election, for what Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox told me could be a "catastrophic" blow to state commerce and self-esteem…” -- Alabama native Diane McWhorter, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution

"Alabama deserves better." -- Six term U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama)

"Country over party." -- memo on U.S. Senator Jeff Flake's $100 check to the Doug Jones for Senate campaign. The Arizona Republican is not seeking reelection.

"When there's a credible accusation or two or three or four and we still bury our heads and cry partisanship, that is intolerable." -- Nancy French, best-selling author of faith-inspired books and a sexual abuse survivor.

"This idea that God puts up with secret sins from His servant for the greater good is a total crock." --Beth Moore, Bible study leader and abuse survivor.

"Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation. Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority, is worth losing our honor, our integrity," -- Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee.





Picture of the day:


"All of Washington is watching to see what Alabama does," 
Moore said at a Sept 26 rally in south Alabama rally.

Song of the day:

Ain't no man Righteous, No Not One

-- From the newly released BOB DYLAN Trouble No More, live recordings from Dylan's 1979-1981 Christian gospel concerts. 


"When a man he serves the Lord, it makes his life worthwhile

It don’t matter ’bout his position, it don’t matter ’bout his lifestyle

Talk about perfection, I ain’t never seen none
And there ain’t no man righteous, no not one

Sometimes the devil likes to drive you from the neighborhood
He’ll even work his ways through those whose intentions are good
Some like to worship on the moon, others are worshipping the sun
And there ain’t no man righteous, no not one

Look around, ya see so many social hypocrites
Like to make rules for others while they do just the opposite

You can’t get to glory by the raising and the lowering of no flag
Put your goodness next to God’s and it comes out like a filthy rag
In a city of darkness there’s no need of the sun
And there ain’t no man righteous, no not one."
 





Saturday, April 22, 2017

Extra proud: Wishing Mr. Nettles and Miss Barbara of Wilcox County could see their girl now

The day Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey held her first news conference after taking over for shamed LUV GUV Robert Bentley, I watched news coverage as the Camden native repeated her priorities of righting the ship of state into an open, transparent and honest governor’s office.

“It’s the people’s business, y’all,” she said, reflecting her public-service attitude in an Alabama drawl and a sincerity that I KNOW is authentic and earned.

Alabama Gov, Kay Ivey 
I laughed out loud (I recall it as jubilant), and my next thought: I wish Mr. Nettles could see you now.

As a 15-year resident of Wilcox County and Camden, I knew our new governor’s parents before I knew her. In the early 1990s when we moved to Camden and first met Boadman Nettles Ivey and his wife Barbara, their only child, Kay Ellen, was busy being successful in Montgomery.

In a county full of characters, Nettles Ivey was a technicolor one. He was an Auburn man whose car sported Auburn license plate number 36, a Camdenite of some substance and a smart, world-wise man who spoke his mind. Barbara was a retired banker and principled lady who, I’m guessing, spent some amount of time trying to get Nettles to behave.  

I later learned Nettles Ivey was an Army major in World War II. He worked with the Gees Bend community in Wilcox County in a federal program that helped folks buy the land where they lived and farmed and taught new farming methods for the Farmers Home Administration. Barbara worked at the Lower Coastal Plain Experiment Substation and, later, was vice president at Camden National Bank. The Ivey family farmed cattle, raised horses and grew timber.

The 1990s Nettles Ivey was a friendly jumpsuit-wearing, sharp-witted, getting-elderly man who knew me as a young Selma newspaper reporter who had moved to Camden for my husband’s job.  

One day, Mr. Nettles called me at home and asked, “Young lady, if I buy that newspaper, The Wilcox Progressive Era, will you run it for me?”  I was flattered and remember saying, “I’ve always wanted to be the editor of a community newspaper, but Mr. Ivey….I’m working for MacMillan Bloedel now, and you know Mr. Hollis would never sell YOU the newspaper.”

See, Mr. Nettles occasionally disagreed with Progressive Era Editor and Publisher the late M. Hollis Curl, an admitted yellow-dog Democrat who wrote award-winning editorials and columns, at times from that viewpoint, much to the aggravation of some, including Mr. Nettles.

That day on the phone, he said, “Yeah, I reckon you’re right, but it’d be fun wouldn’t it?”

Yes sir, it would have been great fun, and it thrills me to this day that he thought enough of me to share his dream of taking over the local newspaper (that is now run, as is fitting, by Hollis’ grandson).

When I got to know Nettles and Barbara’s daughter Kay, she was director of governmental affairs and communication for the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and a member of the Alabama Forestry Association’s communications committee that I chaired. When she raised her hand to volunteer with ideas, knowledge and time, I saw so much of her parents in Kay Ivey: her well-spoken humor, grasp of landowner issues and willingness to do her part.

Before his death at 83 in 1997, Nettles Ivey had surgery at University Hospital in Birmingham, where he met my stepmother, Emily Romine, who worked at UAB doing EKGs and said “our daughter lives in Camden!” Em is outgoing with a thin-to-invisible filter, kind of like Mr. Nettles. They hit it off during his time in the hospital, and a few months later met again at a Camden restaurant when my parents and Grandpa visited us to attend of son Will’s baseball games (that got rained out).  

Em and the Ivys said hey and hugged, and when Em asked about his recovery, Mr. Nettles unzipped his jumpsuit to show how well his scar had healed. “Nettles Ivey! Put your clothes back on right now!” Miss Barbara said.  I love that memory of the governor’s parents and one of mine,

Years passed and Kay kept succeeding, having gone from school teacher to banker to hospital administrator to legislative aide, then appointments by three governors to state positions including assistant director of the Department of Commerce, formerly known as the Alabama Development Office. She became the first Republican woman to win a statewide office when she was elected treasurer in 2002 and was reelected in 2006 by the largest vote in a contested statewide election ever. As treasurer, she posted the state’s income sources online, updated technology and instilled private sector accounting and management practices.

Still, she came to forestry and farmer meetings, and when my job was eliminated in what became known as The Global Financial Crisis of 2008, Kay Ivey – even though she had to deal with that meltdown’s slam to the prepaid college tuition (PACT) program that her office managed -- helped me think through options and freely offered to be a reference.

My point: Gov. Kay Ivey is exactly who she appears to be, speaking her mind and meaning and doing what she says.

She’s the kind of person raised by Nettles and Barbara on their farm in Wilcox County – who rode horses in downtown Camden, was Wilcox Junior Miss and the county’s Girls State representative and then then first woman elected vice president of the campus-wide SGA at Auburn University.  
The first of many firsts:
Kay Ivey, AU class of 1967
  (Photo: Auburn Digital Services/al.com)

Our 54th governor’s talk of righting the state ship with open honesty is for real for Kay Ivey, just as authentic as her south Alabama accent and her devotion to public service.

Alabama lucked out with this lieutenant governor-to-governor ascension. You watch and see.

She’s already made some good calls: out with the Luv Guv’s girlfriend’s husband and in with a swift August 2017 election for a permanent replacement for senate seat of her high school classmate and new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Organized and efficient with an accountant’s mind and a get-it-done mindset, she’s conservative but not na├»ve, has a steel-strong work ethic and a time-honed understanding of the right way to “do the people’s business, y’all.”

Gov. Kay Ivey is a blessing to a state weary of corruption, bad news and same-old self-serving politics.

In the vernacular of L.A. (lower Alabama) and of Alabama at large, our new governor is good people…who comes from good people and a good place.

And I sure wish Mr. Nettles and Miss Barbara could see their girl now.