Alabama’s Dec. 12 Special Election for U. S. Senate, bursts into national consciousness, with charges that Judge Roy Moore sexually misused teenage girls in the 1970’s

News Analysis by John Zippert, Co-Publisher

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Vote or Die Campaign supporters rally in Selma

National attention has been focused of Alabama’s December 12th Special Election for U. S. Senate between Doug Jones (Democrat) and Roy Moore (Republican). Moore was accused by five women, who were teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18, of sexually misconduct in the 1970’s, when he was a thirty-year old Assistant District Attorney in Etowah County.
Moore denies all of the charges, but many Republican Senators and leaders have suggested that he withdraw from the race, in favor of a write-in candidate.
Initially four of the girls, now women in their fifties, made statements published in Friday’s Washington Post which were corroborated by as many as 30 family and other witnesses that Moore attempted to sexually mistreat them.
On Monday, a fifth woman made allegations of attempted sexual assault by Moore when she was 16. She stated that Moore offered her a ride home after work at a Gadsden restaurant and took her to a secluded area behind the restaurant and tried to sexually attack her in the car. She escaped his unwanted advances by jumping out of the car.
This week’s New Yorker magazine carries stories quoting people in Gadsden saying that Moore was banned from visiting the city’s mall because he went there to befriend and pick-up underage girls.

Even before this week’s revelations about sexual misconduct, the race between Doug Jones and Roy Moore was projected to be close. A recent poll showed each with 46% of the vote with the rest undecided. Other polls show Moore with a slight lead 49% to 45% for Jones and some show Jones leading Moore by a similar margin.
Many political observers point to the “embarrassment factor” which is how many voters are embarrassed by the prospect of voting for Moore, whose political views and past actions suggest that he is a right-wing religious extremist who will use his position in the U. S. Senate to advance his distorted views and not help the people of Alabama.
Moore is a self-appointed, self-anointed religious zealot who says his directions come from God. He willingly misinterprets the Constitution when it serves his purposes. His right-wing Evangelical Christian conservative followers and base, which represent a significant portion of Alabama’s white voters, support these views unconditionally. These voters supported him in the primary against Luther Strange and voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election.
Moore was twice removed from his state Supreme Court position, once for disobeying a federal court order to remove a 5,200-pound granite Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building, and later for urging state probate judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage.
Moore actively supported Trump’s ‘birtherism campaign’ which suggested that President Obama was not born in the United States and was used to discredit Obama’s legitimacy.
He said more recently that Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., should not be allowed to serve in Congress because he’s a Muslim. Asked about those comments during a Washington visit, Moore said only, “I’ll address that later.”
Many national observers and commentators have suggested that Alabama voters have a real choice between Moore and Doug Jones. Senator Amy Klobachar of Minnesota said, “Alabama voters can choose between Jones who courageously prosecuted Klansmen, who bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 1963, killing four teenage girls, or vote for Moore who was improperly pursuing dates with teenage girls. ”
A major factor in the election will be the turnout of Black voters in the Black-Belt counties and major urban areas of Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Huntsville and Mobile. A strong Black voter turnout can help swing a close election to Doug Jones.
Attorney Faya Rose Toure of Selma has been spearheading a ‘Vote or Die Campaign’ since the summer to increase voter registration, education and turnout among the state’s Black voters. ”We know that if Black voters do not participate that people will die because healthcare will be eliminated, good jobs at livable wages will be lost, affordable college education will be curtailed and police brutality will continue killing our Black youth.”
“We must participate in this special election on December 12 and future elections coming in 2018 to protect Black people and insure policies and benefits to keep us alive,” said Toure.
Moore has categorically denied all allegations against him for sexual misconduct with teenage girls. He has refused to consider suggestions from national Republican leaders like Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, that he step aside in favor of a Republican write-in candidate. McConnell and other Republican Senators have indicated that they may challenge Moore and try to censure and remove him if he elected to fill the unexpired term of Jeff Sessions in the U. S. Senate.
There are less than four weeks until the election on December 12, and voters in Alabama will now make their special election selection under the glare of national press and political attention.

Vote Or Die Campaign moving across state : ANSC Convention discusses youth involvement in voting and creating excitement in the build-up to Dec. 12 election

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Youth involvement panel at ANSC Convention includes William Scott, Moderator and panelists (l to R) Jasmine Walker, Jamia Jackson, Terri Wiggins and Azali Fortier

The Alabama New South Coalition met for its Fall Convention at the Montgomery Windcreek Casino on Saturday, November 2, 2017. The convention was well attended with over 200 delegates from twenty active chapters around the state.
The ANSC Convention was dedicated to creating interest and excitement in the December 12, Special Election for the U. S. Senate seat, vacated by Jeff Sessions. Democrat Doug Jones is running against Republican Roy Moore in a contest with state and national implications that is five weeks away.

The ANSC Convention featured a panel on youth involvement in politics and voting, a play about counteracting voter apathy, a report from county chapters on activities in the ‘Vote Or Die Campaign’ and luncheon speeches from two 2018 gubernatorial hopefuls – Sue Bell Cobb and Walt Maddox- and introduction of other candidates for next year.
The youth panel spoke about ways to motivate voters 18 to 40 to more actively participate in elections by utilizing social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach out to millennials on issues of concern to them. William Scott, panel moderator said he was working as the webmaster for the Vote Or Die Campaign Facebook account and for members and chapters to mail in reports and photos of activities that they want posted to this Facebook account.
Several ANSC chapters gave short reports on their work in the ‘Vote Or Die Campaign’ across the state.
• Sam Walker from Dallas County reported that they meet once a week on Thursdays and hold rallies holding ‘Vote Or Die’ signs as human billboards at the bridge in Selma and other sites around the city. We ask motorists to honk their horns in support of the campaign.
• Billy Billingsley of Gadsden is using voter lists from several organizations to do phone banking and door to door canvassing.
• Rebecca Marion of Tallapoosa County said her group was busy putting out Vote Or Die signs and canvassing for absentee voters.
• John Harris of Lee County said his chapter was meeting with ministers to help get out the vote. The chapter is also going into the jail, visiting barbershops, and going door-to-door for registration and absentee ballots.
• Esther Brown said her Project Hope death row prisoners were contacting family and friends to urge them to register and vote in this upcoming Special Election.
• Herman Mixon and Beulah Toney of Madison County reported on efforts to register people at community centers and A & M University. They are using social media to reach and motivate high school and college youth.
• Matilda Hamilton of Tallapoosa County had registered 153 new voters through the school system and was participating in rallies together with Lee County.
• Gus Townes reported that Montgomery County was working on voter registration; also focusing on ex-felons and working with churches to reach and register 1,000 new voters before the November 27, 2017 closing date before the Special Election.
• Rev. Hugh Morris from Talladega County said ANSC, ADC, NAACP, fraternities and sororities were working together to canvas, register and turn out voters. Michael Scales, ANSC Talladega County Chapter President said they were working with Talladega College, pastors and others on the campaign.
• Everett Wess of Jefferson County said the ANSC Chapter was partnering with other groups, had participated in the tailgating leading up to the Magic City Classic football game and other community gatherings to register voters and spread the ‘Vote Or Die Campaign’.
• Carol P. Zippert reported for Greene County that 50 high school students were registered and assisted with proper photo ID’s. A large community meeting was held to explore community issues like the future of the hospital and healthcare, recreational programs for youth and voting. U. S. Senate Candidate Doug Jones listened to the discussion and made remarks at the end. Greene County is now concentrating on absentee ballots and walk-in early voters for the next four weeks.
• A Macon County representative spoke on involving Tuskegee University Students in doing voter registration and canvassing leading up to the special election.
• Senator Hank Sanders reported that he has cut radio and TV ads promoting the importance of voting that are available to be sent to stations around the state. He said he participated in human billboards in Selma to promote the “Vote Or Die Campaign’.
Faya Rose Toure and a group from Selma and other counties did a role-play skit about voter apathy and reasons people give for not voting and how to counteract those concerns. The play was well received by ANSC members.
At the closing luncheon, ANSC members heard from two Democratic candidates who are planning to run in the June 2018 primary. Sue Bell Cobb, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said she proposes an Alabama lottery to generate funds for childcare, K-12 public education and closing the gap between Pell Grants and the cost of college tuition.
Walt Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa said he was running for Governor, “to build a brighter future for Alabama and make Alabama a better state for everyone.” He highlighted his record of rebuilding Tuscaloosa after the April 2011 tornadoes and making it the ninth fastest growing city in America.
Rev. Will Boyd of Florence announced that he was planning to run for Lieutenant Governor in 2018. Audri Scott Williams indicated that she was running for U. S. House of Representatives for District 2 against incumbent Martha Roby. Everett Wess stated he was running for Jefferson County Probate Judge – Place 1.

Roy Moore defeats Luther Strange in U. S. Senate Republican Primary Runoff; will face Doug Jones in Dec. 12 Special General Election

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A chart showing voting by precinct in Greene County

Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice, Roy Moore, defeated appointed U. S. Senator, Luther Strange, in yesterday’s Republican primary runoff election. Moore will face Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate, nominated in the August first primary, in a Special General Election on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, which is 76 days from today.
Statewide unofficial returns show Moore with 247,553 (54%) and Strange with 203,435 (45%). In Greene County, Moore received 168 (57.3%) to 125 (42.7%) for Strange. . Statewide the turnout was 15%. This is part of a special election process to fill the U. S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became U. S. Attorney General.

Moore has twice been removed, by the State Ethics Commission, from his position as Alabama Chief Justice. The first time for moving a two ton monument to the Ten Commandments into the vestibule of the Supreme Court building. The second time was early in 2016, when he instructed Alabama Probate Judges not to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, in violation of a U. S. Supreme Court decision, which ruled such laws unconstitutional.
President Trump endorsed Luther Strange in the race and tweeted support for him on multiple occasions. As polls showed Strange in danger of losing, Trump visited Alabama to campaign at a rally in Huntsville attended by more than 7,000 people. At that rally, Trump said that he may have been mistaken in endorsing Strange and would support and campaign for Roy Moore if he was successful in the runoff. National TV reported this morning that Trump had deleted his tweets for Strange.
Roy Moore, propelled by evangelical voters, consolidated support from a number of anti-establishment forces, including the pro-Trump Great America Alliance and former White House strategist Steve Bannon, who spoke for Moore at a Monday rally in Fairhope, Alabama. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in a rally for Moore last week, said the judge was a better match for Trump’s “movement.” At the Fairhope rally, Moore reached in his pocket and pulled out a pistol saying, “ I fully support the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution and I am not afraid to show it.”
Democratic nominee Doug Jones issued a statement on Tuesday night saying: “Even though I was not on the ballot today, our campaign has been building momentum for weeks with hundreds of volunteers signing up to join our effort, Republicans reaching out to us throughout the state, and our campaign just finishing our strongest week of fundraising. We started our general election campaign more than a month ago and are seeing increased energy moving toward December 12.”
Jones who served as U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, prosecuted and convicted two of the Klansmen that were involved in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing of four young girls in 1963. He has also represented progressive organizations and causes as a Birmingham attorney.
Political observers in Alabama predict a close race between Doug Jones and Roy Moore. Jones has solid support from Black voters and will be campaigning for votes from whites, who may be embarrassed to have Roy Moore, with his ultra-right wing views, representing them in the U. S. Senate.
Emerson College conducted a poll in mid-September 2017, suggesting that Roy Moore would win the runoff. In the same poll, Republican voters were asked their choice in a General Election against Doug Jones. The poll showed, regardless of who wins the divisive GOP nomination it appears Democrat Doug Jones will start in a competitive position for the General election as he trails Strange 40% to 43%, and Moore 40% to 44%, well within the polls 4.8% margin of error.
The GOP primary may have left supporters of both candidates unwilling at this time to support their party rival. Of those voting for Moore in the primary, 25% said they would vote for Jones and 49% said they would vote for Strange in the General. Similarly, Strange supporters found 31% voting for Jones and 34% voting for Moore. The GOP will need to find a way to unite during the weeks until the General Election, or face the prospect of Jones pulling off an upset. If Jones were to win, Alabama could send their first Democrat to the U.S. Senate in over 20 years.
The Alabama Secretary of State’s office advises that you can register to vote for the December 12 General Election starting today until November 27, fifteen days before the election. Absentee ballot applications will be available, 45 days before the election, which is October 28, a Saturday, or no later than Monday, October 30.

ANSC to hold Spring Convention in Montgomery on Saturday June 10

 

Doug Jones, Sue Bell Cobb and Walt Maddox

 

The Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC) is holding its Spring Membership Convention on Saturday June 10, 2017 from 8:00 Am to 3:00 PM at the Wind Creek Casino, Rambling Hall on Eddie L. Tullis Road in Montgomery.
The ANSC is a progressive statewide political organization, formed in 1985-86, in the aftermath of the Rev. Jesse Jackson campaign for President to work for a “Change for the Better – in Our Lifetime” in Alabama. The ANSC’s sister organization, the Alabama New South Alliance endorses candidates running for state and local offices in Alabama.
The membership convention will have luncheon remarks by three Democratic candidates, who expressed interest in running for Governor of Alabama in 2018 – former U. S. Attorney, Doug Jones, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

After the planning and invitations went out, Governor Kay Ivey decided to hold a special election for the U. S. Senate seat, vacated by Jeff Sessions, in November of 2017. Doug Jones then decided to run for this seat. Other Democratic and Republican candidates for the U. S. Senate seat will also be introduced and have a chance to address the group.
There will be two panels in the morning for members. The first will be about strategies for voter engagement, registration, education and turnout. The second will be a group of younger members of ANSC speaking about how to interest, attract and involve younger people in community building and change activities.
Senator Hank Sanders will give a talk on the “Current Political Landscape in Alabama” to start the program. John Zippert, State President and other ANSC officers will comment and provide direction for the work of the organization.
The meeting is open to all members of ANSC and those interested in joining. The organization has active chapters around the state that will be bringing members to attend. The registration fee for the Convention, which includes breakfast and lunch, is $25.00. For more information, contact Shelley Fearson ANSC State Coordinator, at 334/262-0932 or email; ALNewSouth@aol.com.

Trump Atrocities Report (TAR) #2

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The Greene County Democrat started a new column last week to point out some of the negative and harmful actions taken by President Donald J. Trump (No. 45) and the Trump Administration.
Some of these actions will be legislative changes, overzealous cuts in Federal regulations, appointees that are unqualified or chosen to destroy the government function they were asked to head up and official statements that do not make sense or are ‘alternative truths’.
Some of the atrocities are where President Trump or members of his family will get a financial benefit from their position or have a clear conflict of interest.
Last week, we listed four (4) atrocities, so we will be continuing our list, by listing our examples in consecutive order, beginning this week’s column with Atrocity No. 5.

Atrocity No. 5 : Treason by Retired General Michael Flynn, National Security Adviser. Trump has dismissed General Flynn after 24 days as National Security Adviser for improper and illegal contacts with the Russian Government, which would have been described as “treason” if committed by any other Administration. An independent investigation is needed to get to the bottom of ‘Benedict Arnold Flynn’ and his contacts with the Russian government and intelligence agencies both during the Presidential campaign and after taking his position in the White House. The investigation needs to determine what role President Trump himself played in this national security betrayal and debacle.

Atrocity No. 6: More problems for the Cabinet of Millionaires and Billionaires:

a. Andrew Puzder, Secretary of Labor: CEO of Hardees and Carl Jr. fast food franchise restaurant chain, who opposes an increase in the minimum wage, regulations increasing overtime pay and other benefits to help working people, has run into some problems with confirmation because he employed an undocumented ‘nanny’ and abused his former wife. Puzder’s nomination should be withdrawn because he is unfit to head a department to help and work with working people, who fueled Trump’s electoral victory.

b. Jeff Sessions, Attorney General : in his first action as our chief law enforcement officer, Sessions declined to continue supporting transgendered children suing the State of Texas for discriminatory bathroom use requirements. This is the beginning of Sessions trying to reverse voting, civil and human rights for the most vulnerable in our nation.

c. Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): still asserting denial of climate change and rolling back regulations for clean air, water and land.

Atrocity No. 7: Nordstrom Department Stores attacked by Trump for cancelling Ivana Trump clothing line; and Kellyanne Conway, 45’s Chief Adviser and a Federal employee, urging Americans to buy Ivana’s products during a TV interview.

Atrocity No. 8: Delaying implementation of the rules for fiduciary responsibilities for financial counselors advising people on their retirement funds. As part of dismantling the consumer protections of the Dodd-Frank Act, Trump delayed implementation of regulations requiring financial counselors to be transparent with people on the marketing and pricing of retirement products. How does this change help American workers!
We invite our readers to send us items to be included on our Atrocities List and for circulating this report among people who voted for ‘45’ in the election and who may be reconsidering their decision.